Roundup: Diane Rehm’s Show Covers Abortion in Health Reform

Jodi Jacobson

A letter to the editor of the Ventura County Star (Ventura County, California) discussing health reform and abortion articulates succinctly the position of the majority of Americans who self-identify to pollsters as "pro-life."

Diane Rehm’s Show takes on abortion and health reform

The Diane Rehm’s Show this morning featured an hour-long segment on abortion and health reform, during which a lay representative of Catholic theology on contraception and abortion perpetuated misinformation about federal funding for abortion under the Capps Amendment in the House bill and similar language in the Senate Bill.  In effect, both bills maintain the "status-quo" on abortion funding–which in effect denyies poor women their right to choose by denying them federal funding to access abortion care–while not prohibiting private plans from providing coverage for abortion care.

Stephen Schneck, director of the Life Cycle Institute at the Catholic University of America, stated that he would not support the bill as it is right now, and also did not approve of federal funding for contraception, to which he is personally and theologically opposed.  Other guests included Andrew Kohut, director of the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press; Ceci Connolly, reporter, The Washington Post; Rachel Laser, director of the Culture Program at Third Way.


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New Prevention First Bill Introduced in Ohio

Ohio State Senator Teresa Fedor is cosponsoring a bill that will require public schools to teach more than just abstinence. The bill, which is called "Prevention First," after the name of a similar bill introduced in the U.S. Congress, would require
public schools to teach more than just abstinence and to offer medically accurate information on sex, reproduction, contraception and other sexual health issues.

Letter to the Editor: I may not choose abortion but I don’t want to take the choice away from others.

A letter to the editor of the Ventura County Star (Ventura County, California) discussing health reform and abortion articulates succinctly the position of the majority of Americans who self-identify to pollsters as "pro-life."

I’m most comfortable to be associated with the pro-choice camp. I can
only speak for myself. Being pro-choice doesn’t imply that I personally
believe in abortion or would consider this a legal medical option. I
don’t want to eliminate this difficult and personal decision from my
fellow human beings. 

The majority of people who say they would not choose or are not pro-choice nevertheless do not want to take the choice away from others.



October 5

Catholic Exchange: “Sort of, Kind of, Maybe” Against Taxpayer-Subsidized Abortions

En Passant: Abortion and democracy

Ventura County Star: Tax money for abortions


Town Talk: Pro-life rally in Alexandria draws from 3 parishes

Naples News: Abortion opponents fan out along U.S. 41 to hold peaceful demonstration

News Record: Sex during bad economy complicated

ABC 13: Senator wants change in Ohio’s contraception policy

Brisbane Times: More Aussies are now pro-choice: report

South Bend Tribune: ‘Abstinence Plus’ is the wrong approach

October 4

OneNewsNow: Breaking the stronghold of abortion

Central Florida Future: Birth control ban a possibility

AP: Lawmakers face balancing adoptees’ rights

Brisbane Times: Right to choose abortion wins strong support

The Northwestern: UW-Oshkosh newspaper rejects ad from pro-life group

The Spokesman Review: New birth control pills, old debate

October 3

Evansville Courier Press: Ellsworth draws line at funding abortions

Moderate Voice: A Chance To Be Born vs A Chance To Live

Progress Ohio: Video: Senator Teresa Fedor: Statement On SB176 The Ohio Prevention First Act

AP: Neb. couple honored as ‘adoption angels’

Catholic Exchange: Council of Europe Pushes Abortion as Part of Cairo Conference Anniversary

Canton Rep: (Letters) Time spent protesting abortion could be better used for seeking solutions

National Post: An abortion addict speaks: Irene Vilar in her own words

HuffPo: Sex and Sin

NYTimes: Ephemeral Comfort of Conservatism
Boston Globe: Support for abortion rights down in survey
CBS News: Americans Split on Abortion with Obama in Office
HuffPo: Abstinence-Only Programs: What Part of ‘They Don’t Work’ Is Hard to Understand?
Star Tribune: Bachmann shares more abortion fears
Imprint: The science behind the abortion debate
Feminists for Choice: Did You Know? Some Interesting Pro-Choice Trivia
LifeNews: Pro-Life News: Catolic Bishops, Illinois, Wisconsin, Connecticut, Korea
Examiner: Democrats at war with themselves over abortion
Catholic News Agency: Spanish bishops urge faithful to participate in October 17 pro-life march
LifeNews: Man Who Allegedly Shot Pro-Life Advocate James Pouillon Declared Incompetent
Courant: Dodd picks up the endorsement of NARAL
LifeNews: Pro-Life Groups Applaud New Pew Poll Showing Pro-Life Movement on Abortion
True/Slant: Abortion and health-care reform: Which side misleads more?
Kirksville Daily Express: No plans for Planned Parenthood at ACHD
The Hill: Pro-life Dem not confident health bill will bar abortion funding
NBC Washington: Graham Supports Woman’s Right to "Choose"
LifeNews: Pope Tells New Obama Vatican Ambassador to Uphold Pro-Life Position on Abortion
Heritage Foundation: A Glimmer of Hope for Abstinence Education Funding
U.S. News & World Report: Bart Stupak, Leader of Antiabortion Democrats: ‘Not Very Confident’ on Healthcare
Catholic Exchange: 183 Reps: Nix Abortion Coverage, or No Health-Care Bill

10/1 FDA Approves Mirena to Treat Heavy Menstrual Bleeding in IUD Users

News Human Rights

Feds Prep for Second Mass Deportation of Asylum Seekers in Three Months

Tina Vasquez

Those asylum seekers include Mahbubur Rahman, the leader of #FreedomGiving, the nationwide hunger strike that spanned nine detention centers last year and ended when an Alabama judge ordered one of the hunger strikers to be force fed.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS), for the second time in three months, will conduct a mass deportation of at least four dozen South Asian asylum seekers.

Those asylum seekers include Mahbubur Rahman, the leader of #FreedomGiving, the nationwide hunger strike that spanned nine detention centers last year and ended when an Alabama judge ordered one of the hunger strikers to be force-fed.

Rahman’s case is moving quickly. The asylum seeker had an emergency stay pending with the immigration appeals court, but on Monday morning, Fahd Ahmed, executive director of Desis Rising Up and Moving (DRUM), a New York-based organization of youth and low-wage South Asian immigrant workers, told Rewire that an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officer called Rahman’s attorney saying Rahman would be deported within 48 hours. As of 4 p.m. Monday, Rahman’s attorney told Ahmed that Rahman was on a plane to be deported.

As of Monday afternoon, Rahman’s emergency stay was granted while his appeal was still pending, which meant he wouldn’t be deported until the appeal decision. Ahmed told Rewire earlier Monday that an appeal decision could come at any moment, and concerns about the process, and Rahman’s case, remain.

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An online petition was created in hopes of saving Rahman from deportation.

ICE has yet to confirm that a mass deportation of South Asian asylum seekers is set to take place this week. Katherine Weathers, a visitor volunteer with the Etowah Visitation Project, an organization that enables community members to visit with men in detention at the Etowah County Detention Center in Gadsden, Alabama, told Rewire that last week eight South Asian men were moved from Etowah to Louisiana, the same transfer route made in April when 85 mostly Muslim South Asian asylum seekers were deported.

One of the men in detention told Weathers that an ICE officer said to him a “mass deportation was being arranged.” The South Asian asylum seeker who contacted Weathers lived in the United States for more than 20 years before being detained. He said he would call her Monday morning if he wasn’t transferred out of Etowah for deportation. He never called.

In the weeks following the mass deportation in April, it was alleged by the deported South Asian migrants that ICE forcefully placed them in “body bags” and that officers shocked them with Tasers. DRUM has been in touch with some of the Bangladeshis who were deported. Ahmed said many returned to Bangladesh, but there were others who remain in hiding.

“There are a few of them [who were deported] who despite being in Bangladesh for three months, have not returned to their homes because their homes keep getting visited by police or intelligence,” Ahmed said.

The Bangladeshi men escaped to the United States because of their affiliations and activities with the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), the opposition party in Bangladesh, as Rewire reported in April. Being affiliated with this party, advocates said, has made them targets of the Bangladesh Awami League, the country’s governing party.

DHS last year adopted the position that BNP, the second largest political party in Bangladesh, is an “undesignated ‘Tier III’ terrorist organization” and that members of the BNP are ineligible for asylum or withholding of removal due to alleged engagement in terrorist activities. It is unclear how many of the estimated four dozen men who will be deported this week are from Bangladesh.

Ahmed said that mass deportations of a particular group are not unusual. When there are many migrants from the same country who are going to be deported, DHS arranges large charter flights. However, South Asian asylum seekers appear to be targeted in a different way. After two years in detention, the four dozen men set to be deported have been denied due process for their asylum requests, according to Ahmed.

“South Asians are coming here and being locked in detention for indefinite periods and the ability for anybody, but especially smaller communities, to win their asylum cases while inside detention is nearly impossible,” Ahmed told Rewire. “South Asians also continue to get the highest bond amounts, from $20,000 to $50,000. All of this prevents them from being able to properly present their asylum cases. The fact that those who have been deported back to Bangladesh are still afraid to go back to their homes proves that they were in the United States because they feared for their safety. They don’t get a chance to properly file their cases while in detention.”

Winning an asylum claim while in detention is rare. Access to legal counsel is limited inside detention centers, which are often in remote, rural areas.

As the Tahirih Justice Center reported, attorneys face “enormous hurdles in representing their clients, such as difficulty communicating regularly, prohibitions on meeting with and accompanying clients to appointments with immigration officials, restrictions on the use of office equipment in client meetings, and other difficulties would not exist if refugees were free to attend meetings in attorneys’ offices.”

“I worry about the situation they’re returning to and how they fear for their lives,” Ahmed said. “They’ve been identified by the government they were trying to escape and because of their participation in the hunger strike, they are believed to have dishonored their country. These men fear for their lives.”

Roundups Law and Policy

Gavel Drop: Republicans Can’t Help But Play Politics With the Judiciary

Jessica Mason Pieklo & Imani Gandy

Republicans have a good grip on the courts and are fighting hard to keep it that way.

Welcome to Gavel Drop, our roundup of legal news, headlines, and head-shaking moments in the courts.

Linda Greenhouse has another don’t-miss column in the New York Times on how the GOP outsourced the judicial nomination process to the National Rifle Association.

Meanwhile, Dahlia Lithwick has this smart piece on how we know the U.S. Supreme Court is the biggest election issue this year: The Republicans refuse to talk about it.

The American Academy of Pediatrics is urging doctors to fill in the blanks left by “abstinence-centric” sex education and talk to their young patients about issues including sexual consent and gender identity.

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Good news from Alaska, where the state’s supreme court struck down its parental notification law.

Bad news from Virginia, though, where the supreme court struck down Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s executive order restoring voting rights to more than 200,000 felons.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) will leave behind one of the most politicized state supreme courts in modern history.

Turns out all those health gadgets and apps leave their users vulnerable to inadvertently disclosing private health data.

Julie Rovner breaks down the strategies anti-choice advocates are considering after their Supreme Court loss in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt.   

Finally, Becca Andrews at Mother Jones writes that Texas intends to keep passing abortion restrictions based on junk science, despite its loss in Whole Woman’s Health.