Roundup: Texas Considers “Abstinence-Plus”

Emily Douglas

"Abstinence-plus" under consideration in Texas; North Dakota Senate Committee votes down "egg-as-person;" Population Connection staffer becomes abstinence educator; Obama's nominees face Republican opposition; rank-and-file Catholics share views of non-Catholics; looks to viral videos.

"Abstinence-Plus" Under Consideration in Texas
Reports the Star-Telegram: "Two San Antonio lawmakers say their controversial bills — which would
create "abstinence-plus" sex education programs and require that all
information taught about contraceptives be scientifically accurate —
are needed at a time when Texas ranks third nationwide in teen birth
rates."  The illogical counter-argument: "Why are we going to tinker with something that is working?" asked
Kyleen Wright, president of the Arlington-based Texans for Life
Coalition. "We already tried the Planned Parenthood sex ed plan in the

North Dakota Senate Committee Votes Down Egg-as-Person
The North Dakota Senate Judiciary Committee has voted unanimously down the state’s "egg-as-person" bill, KFYR-TV reports.  "The Senate`s Judiciary Committee voted 5-0 to ask that the full
Senate reject the bill. It could get a Senate vote Thursday."

Population Connection Staffer Becomes "Abstinence Educator"
On the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,
Stacie Murphy, a staffer at Population Connection, tells the story of
becoming a certified abstinence educator:

I have no medical
background, no public health training and no teaching
certification, but according to the Abstinence Clearinghouse I am now
qualified to go into schools across the country and teach your children
"everything they need to know" about sex — just like Derek the
Abstinence Clown…A little digging led me to the Web site of the
Clearinghouse, which, for $50, sent me a password to the online
Certification Exam. The site also helpfully suggested that I purchase
their publication "Abstinence 101," which, I was assured, would enable
me to pass the test and "fight the war against comprehensive sex
education" — for just another $20. Instead, I decided to wing it by
choosing for most questions the most absurd answer from the options

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Obama’s Nominees Face Republican Opposition
NARAL legal director and outspoken critic of the Bush administration
Dawn Johnsen is getting a lot of Republican opposition as President
Obama’s nominee to lead the Office of Legal Counsel, the New York Times reports.

Ms. Johnsen was also criticized, initially by conservative
commentators, for a footnote in a brief she filed 20 years ago when she
was a lawyer with the National Abortion Rights Action League. The
footnote said forcing a woman to bear a child when she had no desire to
do so was “disturbingly suggestive of involuntary servitude.”

blogs asserted that she had equated pregnancy with slavery, and the
argument was taken up by Republicans at her confirmation hearing on
Feb. 25. Mr. Specter suggested that she had said abortion rights should
be protected by the 13th Amendment, which abolished slavery. Ms.
Johnsen replied that the footnote had made a suggestion of an analogy
and that it had mentioned the amendment, but that she had never
“believed the 13th Amendment had any role” in the abortion issue.

Republicans are considering a filibuster, the Times says.

Rank-and-File Catholics Share Views of Non-Catholics
recent Gallup poll suggested that rank-and-file Catholics are no more
conservative on social issues than non-Catholics, in fact, in some
cases, they are more liberal, reports the Seattle Post-Intelligencer:

In a series of surveys over the last two years, 63 percent of
Catholics found acceptable for medical research using stem cells
obtained from human embryos. The figure for non-Catholics was 62

A total of 40 percent of Catholics found abortion morally
acceptable. The figure drops to 24 percent for those who attend church
regularly, and rises to 52 percent for those who are not regular in
attendance. Looks to Viral Videos
of power in Washington, and facing a citizenry bored and skeptical of
gory posters and shouting, plans to mobilize a viral
online video campaign, reports the Wall Street Journal. "We’re getting beyond the hackneyed ways of holding up posters with
graphic pictures of abortion," said Father Thomas Berg, director of the
Westchester Institute for Ethics and the Human Person. "That just
doesn’t work."

So plans a series of biographical videos along the
lines of the Obama video [that suggests that Obama could have been aborted]. The goal is to get people thinking about what
the world would be missing if musicians, athletes and other luminaries
with hard-luck life stories had been aborted.


And the pro-choice movement is growing its online video presence, too:

NARAL’s cerebral yet funky online video "Free.Will.Power."
celebrates the right to make personal choices and uses animation to
raise the specter of big government peering into bedrooms. It has been
viewed about 30,000 times on YouTube.

Both NARAL and Planned Parenthood also post clips of celebrities and
activists talking about the importance of choice; most haven’t
attracted near the number of hits as the antiabortion videos.

Despite their viral appeal, Ms. Keenan dismissed most antiabortion
videos as too shrill to win over the masses. In her view, those clips
fail to address the issues most people care about, such as preventing
unintended pregnancies or preserving women’s health.


Other News to Note

April 1: FOX News Blog: KIRSTEN POWERS: Women Are Not Delicate Little Flowers Despite What NARAL and Planned Parenthood Think

April 1: Chicago Tribune: Holland tulip fest bans anti-abortion group float

March 31: WaPo: Sebelius vs. Archbishop Naumann

April 1: Scripps: Erbe: Abortion is not a tragedy

April 1: Sun Sentinel: Gunman robs Oakland Park abortion clinic

April 1: Nashville Scene: Guns, Abortion and Disenfranchising Democrats: The GOP Agenda

April 1: Zanesville News Reporter: Take realistic approach toward contraception

April 1: AP: Teva says generic birth control pill Yaz approved

April 1: Fox Toledo: Will less funds mean more teen parents? Funding cut impacts pregnancy prevention programs

April 2: China View: Interview: Chinese family planning policy increasingly understood by world

April 1: Kaieteur News:  USAID to step up ‘mother to child’ HIV prevention

April 1: IPS: Global Financial Crisis Threatens Family Planning

April 1: The New Nation: National communication strategy for family planning launched

April 1: WFMZ:  Recession Affecting Family Planning

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