As inconceivable as it may be, it seems our legislators could really use an English lesson. From reading comprehension to basic definitions to clearer writing, the politicans in these states could use a trip back to school.
Tennessee’s new “anti-coercion” bill is on its way to the governor for his signature. The bill mandates that signs which read “It is against the law for anyone, regardless of the person’s relationship to you, to coerce you into having or to force you to have an abortion,” be placed in the healthcare centers, or the proprietors will face a $2500 fine. The anti-coercion bill is a pet project of anti-choice legislators convinced that women having abortions are doing so against their will. However, it appears that the data being used to support that assertion isn’t the best.
Sen. Jack Johnson has sponsored legislation requiring abortion clinics in Tennessee to post anti-coercion signs. He cites statistics that purport to show that 64 percent of women “were coerced into having that abortion.” Let’s dig a little deeper.
The statistics that Sen. Johnson cites are from a report that was published in 2004.
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The 64 percent statistic is based on interviews with 217 American and 331 Russian women. Three of the four institutions that backed this research have taken public positions opposed to abortion.
In other words, these statistics are 6 years old, are based on a very small data sample (over half of which wasn’t even in the U.S.), and were prepared at the behest of organizations with a clear bias about the outcome.
Is this the sort of informed decision-making we should expect from our legislators?
Speaking of governors signing bills, the first three anti-choice bills in Oklahoma have now made it to the governor’s desk, and he didn’t hesitate to sign. And the anti-choice legislature is so excited to get going that they’ve been enacted immediately.
The governor signed:
• SB 1890, which makes abortion on the account of the sex of the unborn child illegal. Revokes or suspends the license of any provider who violates this law.
• SB 1891, which creates the Freedom of Conscience Act. An employer cannot discriminate against an employee by refusing to accommodate the religious beliefs of said person as it pertains to abortion, human embryos, fetal transplants or euthanasia.
• SB 1902, which regulates the prescription of RU-486, or mifepristone, and its use in inducing an abortion.
All three measures had enough support in the Legislature — at least two-thirds — that they contained what is known as an emergency clause, which allows the measures to take effect immediately.
Apparently Oklahoma has a different definition of “emergency” than the rest of us.
Definitions can be a difficult thing to work out in a legislative bill. In Alaska, the petition for a proposed parental consent/notification bill was so poorly written that anti-choice supporters are being asked rewrite the whole thing.
People who signed the petition were misled by language in the petition booklet, according to Laura Einstein, legal director for Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest. The rights group said the signers may have thought they were supporting something different because the proposal and its ramifications were not clearly written.
The judge agreed it needed to be rewritten, but did not think they needed to get new signatures, even though the people who signed before may not have known what they were signing.
Two groups want to keep a proposed abortion initiative off the ballot because the language used in petition signature booklets wasn’t accurate.
Jeffrey Mittman, executive director of the ACLU of Alaska, says it’s not enough that a judge ordered the lieutenant governor to rewrite ballot language.
Mittman says his group, and Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, have appealed with the state Supreme Court.
Mini Roundup: The anti-choice sidewalk counselor who had a knife pulled on her has varying stories of what really happened (Did she approach Hall first, or was she simply attacked for no reason?) And a Texas man tries to claim his religious beliefs justified threatening workers at a reproductive health clinic.
April 5, 2010
Kenyan Legislature Approves Pro-Abortion Constitution – Christian News Wire
Health care reform upsets both sides of abortion issue – Legislative Gazette
No plea from defendant in Boulder abortion threat case – Daily Camera
Georgia Abortion Bill Targets African American Women – Politic365
Is the Ultra-Right Insane? (They May Just Be!) – Political Affairs Magazine
Senators say smokes, education, abortion will be part of budget talks – The Times and Democrat
Man accused of abortion doc threat to undergo exam – Seattle Times
3 anti-abortion laws take effect in Oklahoma – USA Today
Indiana: Hostettler Hits Coats On Abortion, Guns – CQPolitics.com
Special Forces Providing Federally Funded Abortions in Afghanistan – Huffington Post
Texas man threatened deadly force to stop abortion – Dallas Morning News
Planned Parenthood appeals decision on consent petition – Anchorage Daily News
Abortion access must be included in plan – Toronto Sun
Jhpiego gets $22.9 mill to increase contraceptive use in Kenyan cities – The JHU Gazette
Comprehensive STD, AIDS testing now more accessible – Wyoming Tribune
Make emergency contraception available to all rape victims – St. Louis Post-Dispatch
New Male Contraception Offered – PR-USA.net
Clinton vs. Canada – National Review Online
New Male Contraceptive Procedure Takes 15 Minutes – eMaxHealth
April 6, 2010
‘Personhood’ movement seeks end to abortion – Kansas City Star
Clinton not duplicitous – Vancouver Sun
Lawmakers continue efforts to restrict women’s rights – News-Leader.com
LA County study raises worry over unplanned pregnancies – Los Angeles Times
Dorothy Mann’s work helping those with AIDS nets agency’s ‘Favorite Straight … – Philadelphia Inquirer
Intensified HIV/AIDS campaign critical – Botswana Press Agency
CDC Increases HIV Testing Program – TheBody.com
Researchers identify antibodies that may slow down HIV infection – HealthJockey.com
Breastfeeding Saves Lives and Money – Food Consumer
Editorial: Teen births take toll on cities – MassLive.com