My Baby Would Have Died Under the Stupak Amendment

Tiffany Campbell

My son would have died under the Stupak Amendment. Help stop it from becoming law and ensure that you and I can make our own decisions about what is good for our families.

I always considered myself pro-choice, but was never involved in the movement until South Dakota’s State Legislature passed an abortion ban and Governor Mike Rounds signed it into law.

Pro-Choice Activists joined forces and The South Dakota Campaign for Healthy Families was formed.  According to the SDCHF website in less than 10 weeks, the organization successfully collected more than twice the number of petition signatures required to refer that abortion ban to a vote of the people using an all-volunteer force. With the help of our volunteers and supporters throughout the state, the abortion ban was defeated by a wide margin- – 11 points!

As a resident of South Dakota I followed news reports on the ban and the grassroots efforts to defeat the ban. I was hoping the ban would be defeated, but hadn’t given it much thought because as a married mother of two beautiful children, I knew we would welcome a third child and would never need an abortion, so the law wouldn’t affect me.

In 2006 I became pregnant and was thrilled.  After landing in the hospital with a severe kidney infection at 19-weeks gestation, I received my first ultrasound, leaving us shocked and thrilled to see we were expecting identical twin boys.

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The joy didn’t last when our babies were diagnosed with Twin-to-Twin Transfusion Syndrome.  Webmd.com describes Twin-Twin transfusion syndrome as “the most serious complication of identical twins. It starts in the womb when one twin gets too much blood and the other not enough. The outcome for both twins is grim.”

Severe TTTS has a 60-100 percent likelihood of fetal or neonatal mortality rate.  We were sent to one of the premier fetal care centers in the country and told our only hope for saving this pregnancy was to have a selective termination on the one of the babies, and hope the other twin would survive.

At my next doctor appointment when I asked my perinatalogist if the termination we had would be allowed under the abortion ban.  He said no. 

I was outraged and felt violated, how a group of individuals dare think they can make life-altering medical decisions for me.  If I hadn’t had the termination, I would have buried two babies instead of only one.  I contacted the SDCHF and the next day I was giving my first interview with Newsweek. 

In 2008 the same anti-choicers were back attempting to ban abortion.  They gained enough signatures to put Initiated Measure 11 on the ballot.   I once again shared my story with the world in the hopes that South Dakota voters would vote against Initiated Measure 11 and keep a women’s right to choose in place. For the second time in two consecutive elections, voters rejected an attempt to ban abortion in South Dakota.

I never thought I would have to once again open deep wounds and share my deeply personal story, but then the Stupak-Pitts Amendment was added to the House version of the Affordable Health Care for America Act.  The selective termination that saved my baby’s life would not be covered under the Stupak-Pitts Amendment. 

The total bill from the fetal care center was just over $220,000.  Add the care for the entire pregnancy and the cost was well over $500,000.  We were fortunate that our insurance covered 80% of the costs.  Had they not, I’m not sure what we would have done.  Why should I have to choose between having a life-saving procedure that will most likely put us into bankruptcy while at the same time forcing me to choose between the best interests of our much wanted unborn child versus the best interests of our other two children?  After three years we have finally paid off our share of bills from that pregnancy. 

TTTS doesn’t pick wealthy families to affect. I was fortunate to have a husband with a good job and insurance.  Many women are not as fortunate and it is because of these women I am once again fighting against anti-choice attempts to limit a women’s right to reproductive health care.

My fellow activist friends and I decided to use Facebook to get the word out about the devastating effects of the Stupak-Pitts Amendment.  We started a Facebook group, Stupak Amendment REVOLT.  After only two weeks we have 3,052 members.  We have a website where you can donate to help get as many activists to Washington D.C. for the December 2nd rally-lobby day.  We also have an online petition you can sign and members of Stupak Amendment REVOLT will be delivering them Dec. 2nd.  In only two days we have collected 635 signed petitions!  I hope you will join us for the rally/lobby day, but if you can’t please consider making a donation to our cause and signing our online petition. 


To make a donation please visit:
http://www.stupakrevolt.com/To sign our on-line petition please visit:

http://stupakrevolt.com/stupakREVOLT/petition.cfm

To join Stupak Amendment REVOLT Facebook group please visit:

http://www.facebook.com/notifications.php#/group.php?gid=170766567967&ref=ts

News Politics

Rep. Steve King: What Have People Of Color Contributed to Civilization?

Ally Boguhn

King came under fire this month after local news station KCAU aired footage showing that the Iowa representative keeps a Confederate flag displayed on his desk.

Rep. Steve King (R-IA) on Monday questioned what “contributions” people of color have made to civilization while appearing on an MSNBC panel during the Republican National Convention in Cleveland.

King’s comments came during a discussion on racial diversity within the Republican Party in which fellow panelist Charles P. Pierce said, “If you’re really optimistic, you can say this was the last time that old white people would command the Republican Party’s attention, its platform, its public face.”

“That [convention] hall is wired by loud, unhappy, dissatisfied white people,” Pierce added.

“This ‘old white people’ business though does get a little tired, Charlie,” King responded. “I’d ask you to go back through history and figure out, where are these contributions that have been made by these other categories of people that you’re talking about. Where did any other subgroup of people contribute more to civilization?”

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“Than white people,” Hayes attempted to clarify.

“Than Western civilization itself,” King said. “It’s rooted in Western Europe, Eastern Europe and the United States of America and every place where the footprint of Christianity settled the world. That’s all of Western civilization.”

Another panelist, reporter April Ryan, countered “What about Asia? What about Africa?” before the panel broke out into disarray. Hayes moved to cut off the group, telling them, “We’re not going to argue the history of civilization.”

“Let me note for the record that if you’re looking at the ledger of Western civilization, for every flourishing democracy you’ve got Hitler and Stalin as well,” Hayes said. “So there’s a lot on both sides.”

Hayes justified abruptly ending the conversation about King’s comments in a series of tweets, saying that he had been “pretty taken aback by” the comments.

“The entire notion of debating which race/civilization/ ‘sub group’ contributed most or is best is as odious as it is preposterous,” Hayes tweeted. “Which is why I said ‘we’re not debating this here.’ But I hear people who think I made the wrong call in the moment. Maybe I did.”

King came under fire this month after local news station KCAU aired footage showing that the Iowa representative keeps a Confederate flag displayed on his desk. King, speaking with Iowa talk radio host Jeff Angelo, defended keeping the flag in his office.

“This is a free country and there’s freedom of speech,” King said, according to Right Wing Watch. “And, by the way, I’d encourage people to go back and read the real history of the Civil War and find out what it was about. A small part of it was about slavery, but there was a big part of it that was about states’ rights, it was about people that defended their homeland and fought next to their neighbors and their family.”

As the Washington Post’s Philip Bump explained in a report on King’s comments, “there have been a great number of non-white contributions to human civilization.”

“Civilization first arose in cities in Mesopotamia, in what is now Iraq and Syria. Arabic and Middle Eastern inventors and scientists brought astronomy to the world, which in turn aided innovations in navigation,” Bump wrote. “Critical innovations in mathematics and architecture originated in the same area. The Chinese contributed philosophical precepts and early monetary systems, among other things. The specific inventions that were created outside of the Western world are too many to list: the seismograph, the umbrella, gunpowder, stirrups, the compass.”

Commentary Politics

In Mike Pence, Trump Would Find a Fellow Huckster

Jodi Jacobson

If Donald Trump is looking for someone who, like himself, has problems with the truth, isn't inclined to rely on facts, has little to no concern for the health and welfare of the poorest, doesn't understand health care, and bases his decisions on discriminatory beliefs, then Pence is his guy.

This week, GOP presumptive presidential nominee Donald Trump is considering Mike Pence, among other possible contenders, to join his ticket as a vice presidential candidate.

In doing so, Trump would pick the “pro-life” governor of a state with one of the slowest rates of economic growth in the nation, and one of the most egregious records on public health, infant and child survival, and poverty in the country. He also would be choosing one of the GOP governors who has spent more time focused on policies to discriminate against women and girls, LGBTQ communities, and the poor than on addressing economic and health challenges in his state. Meanwhile, despite the evidence, Pence is a governor who seems to be perpetually in denial about the effects of his policies.

Let’s take the economy. From 2014 to 2015, Indiana’s economic growth lagged behind all but seven other states in the nation. During that period, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce, Indiana’s economy grew by just 0.4 percent, one-third the rate of growth in Illinois and slower than the economies of 43 other states. Per capita gross domestic product in the state ranked 37th among all states.

Income inequality has been a growing problem in the state. As the Indy Star reported, a 2014 report by the United States Conference of Mayors titled “Income and Wage Gaps Across the US” stated that “wage inequality grew twice as rapidly in the Indianapolis metro area as in the rest of the nation since the recession,” largely due to the fact “that jobs recovered in the U.S. since 2008 pay $14,000 less on average than the 8.7 million jobs lost since then.” In a letter to the editor of the Indy Star, Derek Thomas, senior policy analyst for the Indiana Institute for Working Families, cited findings from the Work and Poverty in Marion County report, which found that four out of five of the fastest-growing industries in the county pay at or below a self-sufficient wage for a family of three, and weekly wages had actually declined. “Each year that poverty increases, economic mobility—already a real challenge in Indy—becomes more of a statistical oddity for the affected families and future generations.”

In his letter, Thomas also pointed out:

[T]he minimum wage is less than half of what it takes for a single-mother with an infant to be economically self-sufficient; 47 percent of workers do not have access to a paid sick day from work; and 32 percent are at or below 150 percent of the federal poverty guidelines ($29,685 for a family of three).

Despite the data and the struggles faced by real people across the state, Pence has consistently claimed the economy of the state is “booming,” and that the state “is strong and growing stronger,” according to the Northwest Indiana Times. When presented with data from various agencies, his spokespeople have dismissed them as “erroneous.” Not exactly a compelling rebuttal.

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As a “pro-life” governor, Pence presides over a state with one of the worst infant mortality rates in the nation. Data from the Indiana State Department of Health reveals a “significant disparity” between white and Black infant mortality rates, with Black infants 1.8 times more likely to die than their white counterparts. The 2013 Infant Mortality Summit also revealed that “[a]lmost one-third of pregnant women in Indiana don’t receive prenatal care in their first trimester; almost 17% of pregnant women are smokers, compared to the national rate of 9%; and the state ranks 8th in the number of obese citizens.”

Yet even while he bemoaned the situation, Pence presided over budget cuts to programs that support the health and well-being of pregnant women and infants. Under Pence, 65,000 people have been threatened with the loss of  food stamp benefits which, meager as they already are, are necessary to sustain the caloric and nutritional intake of families and children.

While he does not appear to be effectively managing the economy, Pence has shown a great proclivity to distract from real issues by focusing on passing laws and policies that discriminate against women and LGBTQ persons.

He has, for example, eagerly signed laws aimed at criminalizing abortion, forcing women to undergo unnecessary ultrasounds, banning coverage for abortion care in private insurance plans, and forcing doctors performing abortions to seek admitting privileges at hospitals (a requirement the Supreme Court recently struck down as medically unnecessary in the Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt case). He signed a “religious freedom” law that would have legalized discrimination against LGBTQ persons and only “amended” it after a national outcry. Because Pence has guided public health policy based on his “conservative values,” rather than on evidence and best practices in public health, he presided over one of the fastest growing outbreaks of HIV infection in rural areas in the United States.

These facts are no surprise given that, as a U.S. Congressman, Pence “waged war” on Planned Parenthood. In 2000, he stated that Congress should oppose any effort to recognize homosexuals and advocated that funding for HIV prevention should be directed toward conversion therapy programs.

He also appears to share Trump’s hatred of and willingness to scapegoat immigrants and refugees. Pence was the first governor to refuse to allow Syrian refugees to relocate in his state. On November 16th 2015, he directed “all state agencies to suspend the resettlement of additional Syrian refugees in the state of Indiana,” sending a young family that had waited four years in refugee limbo to be resettled in the United States scrambling for another state to call home. That’s a pro-life position for you. To top it all off, Pence is a creationist, and is a climate change denier.

So if Donald Trump is looking for someone who, like himself, has problems with the truth, isn’t inclined to rely on facts, has little to no concern for the health and welfare of the poorest, doesn’t understand health care, and bases his decisions on discriminatory beliefs, then Pence is his guy.