(VIDEO) Bart Stupak and His Merry Band Of Eleven Anti-Choicers Want to Run Your Life

Jodi Jacobson

Like a petulant child, Bart Stupak is going all over radio and television media stomping his feet on health care reform.  Last week he claimed he had 15 to 20 members who would refuse to vote for reform unless they could impose their own religious ideology on the entire population of American women.  Today he is down to 11. Bart is having a classic tantrum and I think its time for him to get a time out.

Like a petulant child, Congressman Bart Stupak (D-MI) is all over radio and television stomping his feet on health care reform.

He now says that unless he and his supporters in Congress “get their way,” they will refuse to vote for passage of the Senate bill in the House.

I think Bart Stupak needs a time out.

According to the Huffington Post, Stupak is ready to jettison health reform “to stand up for his principles.”  (Or those of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, as Stupak and the USCCB are playing in the same pen).

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“We’re not going to vote for this bill with that kind of language,” Stupak said on ABC’s “Good Morning America,” a reference to language included in the Senate health bill that Stupak and 11 other Democrats say is not tough enough when it comes to limiting federal funding for abortions. 

That kind of language” here referring to the extremely troubling Nelson provision in the Senate health care bill which is so onerous in itself it will  have basically the same effects as Stupak’s own language.  But maybe he needs his own name tied to the effort to restrict women’s rights or the USCCB won’t give him the biggest gold star?

“I want to see health care pass,” Stupak said. “We must have health care but, boy, there are some principles and beliefs that some of us are not going to pass.

“We’re prepared to take the responsibility. I mean, I’ve been catching it ever since last fall. Let’s face it, I want to see health care. But we’re not going to bypass some principles and beliefs that we feel strongly about.”

Boy, you know, there are some principles and beliefs held by the majority of Americans regarding the right to privacy, the freedom to decide on whether and when to have children, and freedom of religion that we just don’t think Mr. Stupak is allowed to abrogate.  

And there are some types of health insurance coverage that the majority of women covered by private insurance currently have and would like to keep. But Bart Stupak wants to eliminate your coverage in the private market too. You’ve got the good congressman and a group of men in collars peeking into your bedroom, your uterus, your insurance….where does it stop?

I, like millions of others I am sure, would like to move on from this tired attempt at tyranny from the religious right and start to fix the health care system. But Stupak keeps inserting himself and his religious beliefs and his civilian representation of the Catholic Bishops into the process.

Unfortunately, the only reason we have to deal with Stupak is that the Democratic Party keeps catering to him and helping him run for office.  But that is another story.

The fact is, even Stupak’s own assessment of his support in the House keeps dwindling.

Today, he claims 11 other representatives will vote against reform if they don’t get their way on “that language.”  But on February 24th, he told The Hill he had “15 to 20.”  On February 26th, it was down to “10 to 12” members declaring an official tantrum unless they can impose their will, yesterday it was 12, and today it is 11.

Either he didn’t get a passing grade in math, or he is bluffing.

Whichever it is, there are tens of millions of American women–and men–who still get the separation of (Catholic) Church and state.  Let’s send Bart back to Michigan so he can retake politics and civics classes and get real health reform passed for all people, including women.

News Abortion

All In: North Dakota Anti-Choicers Seek Heartbeat Bans, Human Life Amendments, TRAP Laws, and More

Robin Marty

When your state legislature only meets every other year, you apparently work twice as fast at eliminating abortion access all together.

The North Dakota legislature only meets every other year, so in its “on” year it has a lot of business to accomplish. Sadly, it looks like the major focus this year will be banning abortion any way they can.

With just one clinic left—the Red River Women’s Clinic has recently become the face of abortion limits in this post-Casey world of abortion restrictions—any new law meant to interfere with a woman’s right to access an abortion can be devastating. Now, with four different laws being proposed, limited access may quickly turn into no access at all.

State Concurrent Resolution 4009 would add a “Human Life Amendment” to the state constitution, an action that anti-choice advocates have been trying to do nationally since Roe v. Wade was decided 40 years ago. Ballot initiatives to eliminate access to safe abortion care in the state have been a series of failures in the Dakotas, but with a cheap media market pursue a campaign through, anti-choice activists can’t seem to take no for an answer.

But at least an amendment would be up for a vote. SB 2302 would enact a so-called “personhood” bill banning abortions, stem-cell research, and possibly birth control and IVF, depending on what the state decides is or is not birth control that “kills a person.”

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Nothing in this section may be construed to prohibit the sale, use, prescription, or
administration of a contraceptive measure, drug, or chemical. Only birth control
that can be clinically proven to kill a person shall be affected by this section. In
the interest of protecting the health and safety of the people of North Dakota, the
state department of health shall provide a list of birth control products along with
their clinically proven effects upon women and preborn human beings at every
stage of development.

Also clearly stated in the ban? No abortions allowed for victims of sexual assault. “The state of North Dakota does not punish the crime of sexual assault with the
death penalty, and neither shall persons conceived through a sexual assault be
punished with the loss of life.”

SB 2303 reiterates much of the “fertilized eggs are people” legalese presented in SB 2302, but clarifies more how IVF would be affected. Once an embryo is created, the family and doctor have 36 hours to discard of it, or it must either be implanted or kept frozen, unless a doctor is willing to certify that after testing the embryo would not progress to a live birth if it were implanted. Criminal penalties for destroying a fertilized egg do not apply to:

The screening, collecting, preparing, transferring, or cryopreserving of a human
being created through in vitro fertilization for the purpose of being transferred to a
human uterus.
c. The disposal or destruction of a fertilized human ovum, zygote, or embryo,
created through in vitro fertilization, which has been subject to medical testing
and analysis, and in the reasonable judgment of a medical professional, if
transferred to a human uterus, would not produce a live birth.
d. The disposal or destruction of a fertilized human ovum, zygote, or embryo,
created through in vitro fertilization which has not progressed in development for
thirty – six hours in culture .

After that 36 hours, however, it looks like your options are implant it somewhere, or keep it frozen indefinitely.

As if the multiple attempts to ban abortion all together weren’t enough, the state will also take a swing at closing down the sole clinic by introducing the same TRAP law that has now put Jackson Women’s Health Organization in jeopardy. A combination of admitting privileges to a local hospital and a requirement that the doctor performing the abortion be a board certified OB-Gyn is likely expected to have the same effect for Red River as it is currently having down south. Even more daunting for the North Dakota clinic, however, is the fact that for many women in the state, if that clinic closes their next nearest option is the Planned Parenthood Clinic in South Dakota, which may have a 72-hour waiting period and potentially a mandatory crisis pregnancy center counseling session in effect as well.

Even without actually closing down the clinic or giving fertilized eggs legal rights, the legislature still has a backup plan to eliminate almost all abortions—a heartbeat ban. If all other bills fail, the state may still just eliminate abortions as soon as a heartbeat can be detected, sometimes less than 28 days post conception. Not a coincidence is this language, which makes it a crime to perform an abortion without first checking for a heartbeat.

Except when a medical emergency exists that prevents compliance with this subsection, an individual may not perform an abortion on a pregnant woman before determining, in accordance with standard medical practice, if the unborn child the pregnant woman is carrying has a detectable heartbeat. Any individual who performs an abortion on a pregnant woman based on the exception in this subsection shall note in the pregnant woman’s medical records that a medical emergency necessitating the abortion existed.

Red River Clinic states that they have no equipment to listen for a heartbeat at this time.

“Anti-choice politicians in North Dakota have undertaken an all-out assault on women’s constitutionally protected rights, introducing not one, but five bills that would end safe and legal abortion in the state,” Nancy Northup, President and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights said via email statement. The CRR is representing Red River Clinic in a lawsuit over a 2011 medication abortion restriction bill.

“Whether through tactics that outright ban abortion or backdoor efforts to block women’s access to reproductive health care providers, the end result is the same: women will be gravely harmed,” continued Northup. “We strongly urge the members of these legislative committees to support women’s access to basic health care and reject these extreme measures that are both unconstitutional and dangerous for North Dakota women.”

All of the bills were heatedly debated in testemony at the state capital, where opponents of abortion called it murder, and said that TRAP laws that could close the only clinic were “safety” issues that no one could oppose “except those with a vested financial interest,” according to the Bismark Tribune.

Also testifying, a woman who noted that with the new limits of “personhood” that would be put in place on invitro fertilization, her own existence never would have occurred. “I strongly believe my parents and the doctors are not abortionists, but rather miracle workers who brought life when there was none,” said Alexis Grabinger, High School senior and daughter of state Senator James Grabiner.

Roundup: Virginia Pro-Choice Groups Ask for Equal Regulation of Outpatient Clinics

Beth Saunders

Same-sex marriages won't be allowed in California during Prop 8 appeal, international transgender news, trade schools cannot discriminate against applicants with HIV or AIDS, and Virginia pro-choice groups ask for new regulations to be applied to all outpatient surgery centers, not just abortion clinics.

Same-sex marriages won’t be allowed in California during Prop 8 appeal, international transgender news, trade schools cannot discriminate against applicants with HIV or AIDS, and Virginia pro-choice groups ask for new regulations to be applied to all outpatient surgery centers, not just abortion clinics.

  • The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has denied a request from plaintiffs in California’s Proposition 8 lawsuit that asked for same-sex marriages to be legal during the appeal process. The California Supreme Court will take up the case in September.
  • In international transgender news, Portugal has simplified the process by which an individual can legally change name and/or gender, while Lithuania has proposed banning gender reassignment surgery in the country.  
  • The Department of Justice has sent letters to states and territories with reminders that the law does not permit discrimination against people with HIV or AIDS in trade school applications. A hairstyling school in Puerto Rico recently denied admission to an applicant who was HIV-positive.
  • New regulations in Virginia permit the state to regulate abortion clinics as ambulatory surgical centers, which could close the majority of clinics in the state. Pro-choice groups have written a letter to the Governor Bob McDonnell asking him to apply the regulations to all outpatient clinics, including those that perform plastic surgery, colonoscopies, and laser eye surgery. The letter asks, “If you truly believe that current standards in Virginia are lax and that there is a health and safety concern relating to outpatient care, why is it that only abortion clinics must meet this new standard and not ALL outpatient facilities?”

Mar 23