Obama Asks Congressional Democrats to Remove Contraceptive Provisions from the Stimulus
Big news of the morning: The White House is not
standing by the family planning provisions included in the economic
stimulus plan. Recall that these family planning provisions simply allow states not to seek the permission of the federal government
before extending family planning coverage under Medicaid. Worse,
they’re selling low-income women and families down the river for no
additional Republican votes. Lindsay Beyerstein has the facts right here on Rewire, and Jodi Jacobson decries the spinelessness of the Dems, even when they’re in power.
For The American Prospect’s A. Serwer,
the Republicans’ opposition to contraceptive funding is evidence that
maybe anti-choicers are anti-sex:
I’ve never bought the idea that
opposition to abortion is solely about
controlling women’s bodies. I’ve just known too many people who were
genuinely sincere in their religious beliefs that abortion is wrong.
But I’ve seen little evidence that conservatives’ hostility to
contraception, to methods that prevent unwanted pregnancies and
therefore abortions, from taking place, could be anything else…Beyond
the fact that this policy would save the government money in the
long run (a finding from the same office that didn’t produce that report
on the stimulus), are Republicans really arguing that unwanted
pregnancies don’t result in a significant financial burden for families
that are already struggling in an economy that’s likely to get worse?
What’s the moral justification for denying them the choice of
preventing pregnancies they don’t want? That having sex should be
predicated on yearly income?
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Pill Inventor Sets the Record Straight on Demographics
One of the inventors of the birth control pill, Carl Djerassi, says that his comments about demographic shifts were taken seriously out of context by Catholic leaders worldwide and twisted to suggest that he regrets the effects of the Pill on demographic trends worldwide. Djerassi writes,
I accused the disturbingly large xenophobic segment of Austrian voters
(notably young ones) of assuming that their small country was not
situated in the middle of Europe but rather on an island where God
permits them to live independently to enjoy their schnitzels…
To assume that I attributed the decline in Austria’s family size
(matched by all-Catholic Italy and Spain) to the pill is absurd. People
don’t have smaller families because of the availability of birth
control, but for personal, economic, cultural and other reasons, of
which the changes in the status and lifestyles of women during the last
50 years is the most important. Japan has an even worse demographic
problem than western Europe, yet the pill was only legalised there in
1999 and is still not used widely.
Vatican Condemns Repeal of the Global Gag Rule
Time magazine reports
on the Vatican’s response to President Obama’s repeal of the global gag
rule, saying that, "With unusual speed, the Vatican has condemned
Obama’s Jan. 23 repeal of
the ban on U.S. funding for foreign family planning aid groups who
offer abortion services."
Troubled by the swiftness of Obama’s pro-choice move, Fisichella
brushed off earlier vows by the new president to try to cut the number
of abortions, while ensuring a woman’s access to the procedure. "On
ethical questions, you can’t play with words," said the Italian
Archbishop, considered close to Pope Benedict XVI.
Economic Downturn Drives Interest in Egg Donation
On Salon’s Broadsheet,
Tracy Clark-Flory reports on recent news stories covering an uptick in
interest in egg donation among economically struggling women.
Clark-Flory reminds us, "But keep in mind that the reported increase is
in interest, not actual donation"
is also a strict approval process for accepting donors, including a
screening of medical history and a series of psychological tests meant
to exclude those who are all about the cashova; the vast
majority of applicants are turned away. Plenty of applicants reject
themselves after being lectured about the required tests, daily hormone
injections, ultrasounds and, ultimately, the needle stuck through
their vaginal wall. It is not by any means easy money, and maybe that
indicates the level of financial desperation at play.
The economy also means bad news for women and couples seeking to grow their families through egg donation:
Of course, the recession is having an influence on the demand side of
this reproductive economy as well. Amy Demma, the president of
Prospective Families, says: "We are seeing a slowdown in demand for
donors. I guess folks are having a hard time." It’s safe to say.
Other News to Note
Topeka Capitol Journal: Abortion disclosure bill surfaces in House
New York Times: The Myth of Rampant Teenage Promiscuity