Roundup: Harold Ford Jr., the “Sometimes” Supporter of Choice

Rachel Larris

So what does Harold Ford Jr. really believe about abortion? Parsing his stances on reproductive choice is trickier than nailing jello to a wall.

So what does Harold Ford Jr. really believe about abortion? Is he a supporter of women’s reproductive choices all
the time or he is just another fair-weathered friend, for example claiming to
be "pro-life" when running for office in Tennessee but now saying he’s "always"
been pro-life. More important, what kind of politician would he be if somehow
he beat current New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand in a Democratic primary and
then managed actually win the election? While after meeting with New York NARAL’s
executive director Kelli Conlin, there is a phrase for Ford – he’s neither pro-choice
nor pro-life
.

Pro-choice group NARAL’s leader Kelli
Conlin emerged from a 40 minute meeting with Harold Ford Jr. making clear that he is not pro-life – but said she also doesn’t consider him
"pro-choice."

"No, I do not," Conlin, who’s
backing his rival, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, told reporters after sitting down
with the likely Senate hopeful, saying she considers the phrase to apply to
total support.

While she made clear she doesn’t consider him "anti-choice" – which had become a perception that some felt Conlin had – she said "pro-choice" is an all-in concept.

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And she took issue with Ford’s support
– as a Tennessee congressman, and recently professed – for a ban on late-term abortions and a parental-notification requirement.

It is true
that it’s hard to call yourself pro-choice if you are okay with limiting choice
in "some" scenarios, for some women, at some times. Ford recently took the heat
from Stephen
Colbert over his "choice."

Colbert gigged Ford over his changing
views. "Did you change from not pro-choice to pro-choice?" he asked. "Was that
your choice?"

Ford said he was trying to use the
political language differently in Tennessee, wanting to expand the definition
of "pro-life" to apply to other issues, such as health care and veterans’
benefits.

On gay marriage, Ford said he simply
changed his mind.

"Over the last few years I’ve come to a
different opinion, and I’m for marriage equality," Ford said. "If you’re for
politicians who are static in thinking, I’m not your guy."

Yes, it’s
true. Harold Ford certainly can’t be counted on for consistency in his thinking
at all.

In Other News: The woman who shot Dr.
George Tiller in the arms, Shelley Shannon, sent an email warning
of more violence directed at abortion clinics
and those that work in them.

In her e-mail, Shannon said the judge
had been influenced by media and abortion rights activists who said that if
Roeder had been allowed to use that defense more abortion doctors would be
killed.

"Abortionists are killed because
they are serial murderers of innocent children who must be stopped, and they
will continue to be stopped, even though Scott didn’t get a fair trial,"
she wrote. "May God bless Scott for his faithfulness and brave actions and
stand."

Roeder has also alluded there would be
more violence against abortion providers.

"I know there are many other
similar events planned around the country as long as abortion remains
legal," he told the AP just days after his arrest.

FBI spokeswoman Bridget Patton said
Shannon’s e-mail was not specific enough to require investigation.

Bonus item:
Speaking of warnings, Sen. Al Franken warns that the Roberts Court, having
proven stare decisis doesn’t mean much to the conservative members of the court,
might
be happy to rule against Roe.

 

February 3, 2010

Out of touch with pro-choice views Chicago Daily
Herald (Letter)

Abortion ads could
be First Amendment victory
 Chicago Tribune

California Medical Board admits allowing
troubled doctor to monitor another
 Los Angeles Times

Sex-obsessed Church must deal with
its own sins
 WalesOnline

 

February 2, 2010

Are Carpets & Computers
Dispensing Timed-Release Birth Control Vapors?
 Treehugger

Abstinence programs effective, new
study shows
 Catholic Culture

Girls bank on Saturday pills Times of India

A Look At U.S. Policy On Family
Planning Abroad
 NPR

Obama’s New Budget Contains Massive
Funding of Abortion, Planned Parenthood
 LifeNews.com

The Truth About CBS: C-hoice,
B-ias, and the S-uper Bowl
 Huffington Post

Study: Half Of Iowa Pregnancies
Unplanned
 KCCI.com

Stephen Colbert faces off with
Harold Ford Jr. over beliefs
 Memphis Commercial Appeal

Franken warns Roe v. Wade may be in
danger
 Minneapolis Star Tribune

NARAL leader: Ford’s not pro-life,
but he’s not pro-choice
 New York Post

Minnesota Pro-Life Group
Upset Al Franken Speaking at NARAL Pro-Roe Event
 LifeNews.com

When Pro-Life People
Kill
 Houston Chronicle

Oh No! Abstinence works?
(revisited)
 GetReligion

Do you live in the United States?
Here are some stats
 Feministe

Margaret Sanger and The Infamous
"Negro Project"
 AlterNet

For Abortion Rights
Group, the Choice Is Clear in NY Senate Race
 AP

Catholic Campaign for Human
Development’s Ties Pro-Abortion Group Blasted
 LifeNews.com

Woman who wounded Kan. abortion doc issues
warning
 KTKA.com

Include abortion in
maternal-health pledge, Michael Ignatieff tells PM
 Globe and Mail

Pseudo-Reality Web Show Zooms In on Abortion Issue Truthdig

Pro-life groups voice concern about
new Ellaone ’emergency contraceptive’
 Catholic News
Agency

New York Times Editorial, Opinion
Piece Examine Impact Of Abstinence-Only Programs
 Medical News
Today

The Great Abstinence Debate New York Times

Abstinence-only study could alter
sex-education landscape
 Christian Science Monitor

News Law and Policy

California Lawmakers Take Action Against Rampant Wage Theft

Nicole Knight

A survey of people who work for low wages found that wage theft robbed workers of $26.2 million each week in Los Angeles, making the locale the "wage theft capital of the country."

Los Angeles has earned the distinction as the country’s wage theft capital, but a new California law is tackling the rampant problem of wage theft with new enforcement tools.

The law, SB 1342, signed last month by Gov. Jerry Brown (D), gives city and county authorities subpoena powers when investigating wage violations. Until now, the state Division of Labor Standards Enforcement was the primary agency charged with investigating wage theft cases.

State Sen. Tony Mendoza (D-Artesia) authored the legislation to “ensure that our low-wage workers, who already face many challenges, receive the pay that they have earned,” Mendoza wrote in an Orange County Breeze op-ed.

Wage theft is the illegal practice of failing to pay overtime and minimum wages, denying lunch breaks, or forcing employees to work off the clock. A survey of people who work for low wages by the UCLA Institute for Research on Labor and Employment found that wage theft robbed workers of $26.2 million each week in Los Angeles, making the locale the “wage theft capital of the country.”

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Some 654,914 workers in L.A. County are subjected to at least one pay-based violation in any given week, researchers noted.

Most people who work low-wage jobs in L.A. were born outside the United States, and the majority are Latino (73.4 percent), Asian (17.9 percent), or Black (6.3 percent), researchers found.

Wage theft is not only illegal, it contributes to food insecurity and housing instability in low-income families, Mendoza noted.

“This bill protects hard-working Californians by clarifying the ability of cities and counties to investigate non-compliance with local wage laws,” Mendoza said.

A legislative analysis of SB 1342 cited research noting that minimum wage violations are rampant in industries such as garment manufacturing, domestic service, building services, and department stores, where wages are low.

The measure comes as states and cities are increasing minimum wages as lawmakers in Congress have refused to consider raising the federal minimum wage of $7.25.

Brown in April signed a law lifting the statewide minimum pay rate to $15 per hour by 2022. More than a dozen cities, including Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Seattle, have proposed or enacted $15 minimum wage rates, according to the National Employment Law Project.

News Abortion

Study: Telemedicine Abortion Care a Boon for Rural Patients

Nicole Knight

Despite the benefits of abortion care via telemedicine, 18 states have effectively banned the practice by requiring a doctor to be physically present.

Patients are seen sooner and closer to home in clinics where medication abortion is offered through a videoconferencing system, according to a new survey of Alaskan providers.

The results, which will be published in the Journal of Telemedicine and Telecare, suggest that the secure and private technology, known as telemedicine, gives patients—including those in rural areas with limited access—greater choices in abortion care.

The qualitative survey builds on research that found administering medication abortion via telemedicine was as safe and effective as when a doctor administers the abortion-inducing medicine in person, study researchers said.

“This study reinforces that medication abortion provided via telemedicine is an important option for women, particularly in rural areas,” said Dr. Daniel Grossman, one of the authors of the study and professor of obstetrics, gynecology, and reproductive sciences at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF). “In Iowa, its introduction was associated with a reduction in second-trimester abortion.”

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Maine and Minnesota also provide medication abortion via telemedicine. Clinics in four states—New York, Hawaii, Oregon, and Washington—are running pilot studies, as the Guardian reported. Despite the benefits of abortion care via telemedicine, 18 states have effectively banned the practice by requiring a doctor to be physically present.

The researchers noted that even “greater gains could be made by providing [medication abortion] directly to women in their homes,” which U.S. product labeling doesn’t allow.

In late 2013, researchers with Ibis Reproductive Health and Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health interviewed providers, such as doctors, nurses, and counselors, in clinics run by Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands that were using telemedicine to provide medication abortion. Providers reported telemedicine’s greatest benefit was to pregnant people. Clinics could schedule more appointments and at better hours for patients, allowing more to be seen earlier in pregnancy.

Nearly twenty-one percent of patients nationwide end their pregnancies with medication abortion, a safe and effective two-pill regime, according to the most recent figures from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Alaska began offering the abortion-inducing drugs through telemedicine in 2011. Patients arrive at a clinic, where they go through a health screening, have an ultrasound, and undergo informed consent procedures. A doctor then remotely reviews the patients records and answers questions via a videoconferencing link, before instructing the patient on how to take the medication.

Before 2011, patients wanting abortion care had to fly to Anchorage or Seattle, or wait for a doctor who flew into Fairbanks twice a month, according to the study’s authors.

Beyond a shortage of doctors, patients in Alaska must contend with vast geography and extreme weather, as one physician told researchers:

“It’s negative seven outside right now. So in a setting like that, [telemedicine is] just absolutely the best possible thing that you could do for a patient. … Access to providers is just so limited. And … just because you’re in a state like that doesn’t mean that women aren’t still as much needing access to these services.”

“Our results were in line with other research that has shown that this service can be easily integrated into other health care offered at a clinic, can help women access the services they want and need closer to home, and allows providers to offer high-level care to women from a distance,” Kate Grindlay, lead author on the study and associate at Ibis Reproductive Health, said in a statement.

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