Roundup: Sebelius Obama’s Pick for HHS Secretary; Anti-Choicers Gird for Battle

Emily Douglas

Sebelius Obama's pick for HHS secretary; VIDEO: anti-choicers gird for battle; supporters, opponents of reproductive health access weigh in on overturning of HHS conscience rule; Oklahoma anti-choice bill passes the House; in hospital merger, reproductive health services to survive.

Sebelius Obama’s Pick for HHS; Anti-Choicers Gird for Battle
Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius is President Obama’s pick for HHS secretary, and anti-choice groups aren’t happy about it.  Reports The Hill blog, "Sebelius vetoed a late-term aborition law in 2008, and in 2007 she held
a reception at the Kansas governor’s mansion that included Dr. George
Tiller, a Wichita doctor whose clinic provided late-term abortions.
Tiller was under investigation for violating that state’s restrictions
on some forms of abortion."

On CNN’s American Morning, Christian Broadcasting Network reporter David Brody says Sebelius will face opposition from the religious right and anti-choice advocates on the basis of her support for a woman’s right to choose.

Meanwhile, Catholics United is taking a stand in support of the Sebelius pick, report The Hill and Politico:  "Sebelius has won backing from several pro-abortion rights
organizations who point out several steps Sebelius has taken they say
have reduced abortions in the state. Catholics United even launched a
website — — backing her nomination."

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Sebelius is a proven and tireless advocate for children’s health care,
education, adoption, and support for pregnant women, all components of
a public policy agenda intended to benefit the common good. Under her
leadership, the state of Kansas has witnessed sharp declines in both
abortions and teen pregnancy," said Chris Korzen, executive director of
Catholics United.  Reports the AP, "Spokeswoman Beth Martino said Friday that Tiller purchased the right to
attend the reception at a fundraising auction for an abortion rights
group. Also, Martino noted a drop in Kansas abortions, which were 9
percent lower in 2007 than in 2002, the year before Sebelius took

Supporters, Opponents of Reproductive Health Weigh In On HHS Rule Overturn
The Washington Post reports
on the Obama administration’s move to void the HHS regulation that
would have expanded providers’ protections for refusing care. 
According to some anti-choicers, rolling back a rule that compromised
women’s access to health care means the Obama administration is not
interested in seeking common ground:

"This is going to be a political hit for the administration," said Joel
Hunter, senior pastor of the Northland Church in Longwood, Fla., whom
Obama recently named to his Advisory Council on Faith-Based and
Neighborhood Partnerships. "This will be one of those things that kind
of says, ‘I knew it. They talk about common ground, but really what
they want is their own way.’ "

The Post quotes on HHS official:

"We recognize and understand that some providers have objections to
providing abortions. We want to ensure that current law protects them,"
the HHS official said. "But the Bush rule goes beyond current law and
seems to have upset the balance."

South Carolina Considers Legislation to Define Fetal Victims of Crimes

The South Carolina legislature has thus far "side-stepped" the opportunity to define fetal victims of crimes, the Winston-Salem Journal reports. But "[t]his year, the landscape is slightly different because an
unborn-victims’ bill has been filed by a powerful Democratic
legislator, Sen. Doug Berger of Franklin County," the Journal reports.

Berger’s bill would ensure that someone who injures or kills a
pregnant woman would be charged with two felonies. It would apply only
to cases in which the woman was more than 20 weeks pregnant, and only
if the defendant knew that the woman was pregnant. It contains language
to ensure that it would not affect legal abortions.

Pro-choice groups argue that the bill wouldn’t actually do anything to address or prevent domestic violence and argue against giving rights to fetuses.  The Journal reports, "Anti-abortion advocates have an entirely different problem with the
proposed legislation. They say they believe that it does not go far
enough in recognizing the unborn.  The two bills that have been filed so far this year do not
explicitly name the fetus as a separate living victim; they simply say
that anyone who kills or injures a pregnant woman should be charged
with two separate crimes." 

Oklahoma Anti-Choice Bill Passes House
In Oklahoma, women’s privacy rights are being undermined in more ways than one.  Pro-Choice Oklahoma reports that HB 1595, "which creates the ‘statistical abortion reporting act,’ passed
in the House 93 Ayes to 4 Nays votes." What’s so bad about collecting statistics on abortion?  "This bill is bad because the
reporting requirements, which would be listed on a state run website,
is so detailed that you could actually identify in rural towns who had
an abortion."

In Hospital Merger, Reproductive Health Services Remain
Comprehensive reproductive health care will still be offered after
the merger of two secular hospitals and one religious health care
provider in Kingston, NY,  Women’s eNews reports.  The post-merger health care facility will offer a number of reproductive health services, including abortions and sterilizations, in an ambulatory unit adjacent to the larger hospital building:

"The perfect solution would be to have let Kingston Hospital keep
delivering all the services it has over the years," said Lois Uttley,
director of the Merger Watch Project, a group that formed when a merger
between religious and secular hospitals in Troy, N.Y., resulted in a
loss of contraceptive services.

"But this solution preserves key reproductive services within
Kingston Hospital. It transfers the rest of them to an ambulatory
surgery center immediately adjacent to the hospital."


Women’s eNews adds, "The compromise is a far cry from 1997, when Kingston, as well as the
local Northern Dutchess, agreed to eliminate a range of reproductive
services–such as tubal ligation, vasectomy and abortion–in order to
merge with Benedictine."

Other News to Note

Feb 27: Huffpo: Placentas Found In Illinois Sewage System 

Feb 27: Obama’s Deputy AG pick: Braille porn and other “progressive” ideas 


Feb 28: Catholic News Agency: Bishop Martino writes Sen. Casey over vote against Mexico City policy

Feb 26: The American Spectator: Hide the Amendments

Feb 27: Babble: Did Catholic Church Push This Woman To Abort?

Feb 27: BBC: Brazil priest suspended for views

Feb 25: Yale Daily News: Pregnancy at Yale: What’s a girl to do if contraception fails?

Feb 27: Brightsurf: New tool guides doctors to save cancer patients’ fertility

Kinsey Confidential: Kinsey Institute in the News

Feb 28: Examiner: Woman with two wombs gives birth to twins

March 1: Unscripted Blog: Recession and Procreation

Feb 26: LifeNews: Pro-Life Congressional Leader Talks About Democratic Shut-Out on Abortion

Feb 28: Values Voters News: YouTube video of Chris Smith’s speech in the House attempting to keep our tax payers money from funding abortions…

Feb 28: WJAC: Blair County Drug Court Lends Money For Abortion

Feb 28: Anchorage Daily News: Our view: Parental consent? Teens seeking abortions must make their own decisions

March 1: Suite 101: Reducing Your Chances of Uterine Rupture: New Test Measures the Thickness of Previous Cesarean Scar

March 2: WaPo: Indian Youth Festival Puts Sexy Back in Dialogue About Safe Sex

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Freedom of the press is under direct threat by the Trump Administration. Now more than ever, we need evidence-based reporting on health, rights, and justice.

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