Roundup: RNC Chair Says Abortion Is An “Individual Choice”

Emily Douglas

RNC chair says abortion is an "individual choice;" Dr. Margaret Hamburg, abstinence-only opponent, nominee for head of FDA; new female condom approved by FDA; support for excommunicated Brazilian doctor who performed abortion; "egg-as-person" bills target stem cells, not just abortion.

RNC Chair Says Abortion is an "Individual Choice"
In an interview, RNC chair Michael Steele told GQ magazine that abortion is an "individual choice":

Are you saying you think women have the right to choose abortion?
Yeah. I mean, again, I think that’s an individual choice.

You do?
Yeah. Absolutely.

Are you saying you don’t want to overturn Roe v. Wade?
I think Roe v. Wade—as a legal matter, Roe v. Wade was a wrongly decided matter.

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Okay, but if you overturn Roe v. Wade, how do women have the choice you just said they should have?
The states should make that choice. That’s what the choice is. The individual choice rests in the states. Let them decide.

How so?
You know, Lee Atwater said it best: We are a
big-tent party. We recognize that there are views that may be divergent
on some issues, but our goal is to correspond, or try to respond, to
some core values and principles that we can agree on.

Think Progress points out that Steele is contradicting himself:

"Steele, in fact, presented himself as a strong pro-life candidate
when running for the RNC chairmanship. Family Research Council
president Tony Perkins said that Steele had “shown a commitment to the values that were once the GOP’s guiding light,” including on abortion. Here’s how Steele pitched himself on his campaign website (cached site here):"

No one should ever doubt Michael Steele’s commitment to life. He has been pro-life his entire adult life.
In 2006 he was endorsed for US Senate by National Right to Life and
Maryland Right to Life. He ran as a staunchly pro-life candidate in a
state that rarely elects pro-life candidates.

Dr. Margaret Hamburg to Head FDA

Obama’s nominee for FDA head, Dr. Margaret Hamburg, comes to the agency with "a successful run as New York City’s youngest health commissioner under her belt," reports TIME.

The Women’s Daily Health Policy Report adds,

While serving as New York City health commissioner, Hamburg
opposed a "morality oath" put forth by the Board of Education in 1992
when New York City was considering abstinence-only sex education. She
also said that science-based public health strategies and not "moral
judgment" or "wishful thinking" should be the foundation for HIV/AIDS
education aimed at young people. In addition, Hamburg gained praise for a needle-exchange program for injection drug users that aimed to curb the spread of HIV.


Second Generation Female Condom Approved by FDA
A cheaper, quieter female condom has won approval from the FDA, Reuters reports (and so does Kimberly Whipkey on Rewire).  "The FDA’s approval
allows the United States Agency for International Development and other
U.S. organizations to buy the FC2 Female Condom and distribute it to
global programs that try to prevent the spread of the virus that causes
AIDS, the company said," Reuters explains.

Support for Excommunicated Doctor Who Performed Abortion
"A doctor excommunicated by the Catholic Church for performing an
abortion on a 9-year-old rape victim received a standing ovation during
a national convention on women’s health," CNN reports. "The newspaper O Povo reported that [health minister] Temporao called on the audience to
acknowledge the ‘brilliant’ work done by a medical team in the
abortion, performed in Brazil’s northeastern city of Recife."

"Egg-as-Person" Bills Targets Stem Cells, Not Just Abortion
states are fighting back against President Obama’s repeal on the ban on
federal funding of embryonic stem cell research by contemplating
"egg-as-person" bills that define life beginning at the moment of
fertilization, reports the AP.  "Legislation granting fertilized embryos "personhood" has gained
momentum in at least three state legislatures. The strategy — which has
been used to try to undermine the Roe v. Wade decision legalizing
abortion — is now aimed at embryonic stem cell research."  The AP adds, "In Georgia, a measure that would ban some forms of stem cell research
on fertilized embryos is moving quickly through the state Senate. The
bill would outlaw the destruction of fertilized embryos, which the
legislation defines as a person. It is expected to face a vote in the
full state Senate on Thursday."

Church Sermons in Alabama Congregation Focus on Sex
A pastor in New Hope, Alabama, has started a "monthlong focus on sex," reports MSNBC, and the town is divided about it.  MSNBC points out, "The controversy is a bit ironic considering the church’s overall point
is about as straight-laced as they come: That God intends for sex to be
enjoyed solely within a heterosexual marriage, and that anything else —
adultery, pornography, homosexuality, even ‘sexual arousal’ outside of
marriage — is sin."  "Lawson, the pastor at the center of the debate, said the purpose of his
sermons and the billboards was to get Christian parents talking to
their kids about sex before they learn too much immorality from TV or
playground buddies."

Abortion, Repro Health Opinionator Ross Douthat Heads to the NYT
"Pro-life Catholic" Ross Douthat heads for the New York Times, where he will be an opinion columnist, replacing Will Kristol.  Douthat did recently acknowledge (in an imprecise way) that birth control can be useful for reducing abortions, but he also believes that there’s no way to be personally opposed to abortion and pro-legal abortion.

Other News to Note

March 11: HuffPo: America’s Restored Funding to UNFPA Sends Strong Message to Women Worldwide

March 11: Townhall: Sebelius’ Pro-Choice Incoherence

March 10: Beliefnet: Obama’s stem cell flop

March 11: Purdue Exponent: MLK Jr.’s niece assigns right to life after learning from mistakes

March 11: Truthdig: Are We Breeding Ourselves to Extinction?

March 11: Blog for Iowa: Enact the Medicaid Family Planning State Option: Protect Health Care for Women and Families in Iowa

March 11: United Media: Family Doctor: Birth control pills linked to clot formation

March 11: AP: Gingrich: Pay pregnant teens to take vitamins

March 11: Religious Intelligence: Pro-life groups concerned over US policy shift

March 11: Brody Files: Exclusive: Pro-Life Group To Target Members of Congress 

March 11: Right Wing Watch: The Return of Marilyn Musgrave

March 11: Citizen Link: ADF Sues after College Rejects Pro-Life Event

March 11: The Huffington Riposte: Randall Terry: The Vatican must remove key members of the US Catholic episcopate

March 11: National Post: New Moms and myths

March 12: AP: Willamina ties on school contraception vote

March 10: Mother Jones: The Future of Abortion Providers

March 11: Boston Globe: Caritas deal gets support of leading theologians

March 11: Philadelphia Inquirer: Candidates for governor trade jabs over abortion

March 10: WFPL: Lawmaker Alleges Reprisal For Abortion Bill Opposition

March 11: Telegraph UK: Brazil’s president attacks Vatican for condemning nine-year-old rape victim’s abortion

March 10: Tennessean: Abortion on the agenda 

March 10 KTVA: Teenage Abortion Debate Hits State Lawmakers 

March 11: LifeNews: Obama Administration Promotes Pro-Abortion Agenda at UN Women’s Meeting

March 11: The Bulletin: Critics Say Sex Ed Ineffective In Myriad Of Ways

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