Roundup: I Don’t Think That Word Means What You Think It Means

Robin Marty

Tennessee uses bad data to support their "anti-coercion" bill, Oklahoma declares an "emergency" on eliminating abortion, and Alaska writes a bad, bad petition.

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 issueLegislative Gazette

No plea from defendant in Boulder abortion threat caseDaily Camera

Oklahoma Gov. Brad Henry signs 3 anti-abortion

Georgia Abortion Bill Targets African American WomenPolitic365

Is the Ultra-Right Insane? (They May Just Be!)Political Affairs Magazine

Senators say smokes, education, abortion will be part of budget talksThe Times and Democrat

Pro-Abortion Supreme Court Justice Stevens May Retire Soon, Will Under

Man accused of abortion doc threat to undergo examSeattle Times

3 anti-abortion laws take effect in OklahomaUSA Today

Indiana: Hostettler Hits Coats On Abortion,

Special Forces Providing Federally Funded Abortions in AfghanistanHuffington Post

California Senate Candidate Carly Fiorina Opposes Abortion in New

Texas man threatened deadly force to stop abortionDallas Morning News

Battle over Abortion in Health Care Overhaul Moves to StatesCBS News

Prestige license plate proposal rejected by House

Groups appealing ruling on abortion notification initiative languageKTUU

Planned Parenthood appeals decision on consent petitionAnchorage Daily News

Abortion access must be included in planToronto Sun

Abortion anti-coercion bill headed to governorWRCB-TV

Jhpiego gets $22.9 mill to increase contraceptive use in Kenyan citiesThe JHU Gazette

Comprehensive STD, AIDS testing now more accessibleWyoming Tribune

Make emergency contraception available to all rape victimsSt. Louis Post-Dispatch

Utah PTA tries to clarify stance on sex education, homosexualityABC 4

New Male Contraception

Clinton vs. CanadaNational Review Online

New Male Contraceptive Procedure Takes 15 MinuteseMaxHealth


April 6, 2010

‘Personhood’ movement seeks end to abortionKansas City Star

Clinton not duplicitousVancouver Sun

Lawmakers continue efforts to restrict women’s

LA County study raises worry over unplanned pregnanciesLos Angeles Times

Dorothy Mann’s work helping those with AIDS nets agency’s ‘Favorite Straight …Philadelphia Inquirer

Intensified HIV/AIDS campaign criticalBotswana Press Agency

CDC Increases HIV Testing

Older sexual partners increase HIV risk for younger gay menAidsmap

Researchers race to bring cheap HIV testing to developing

Researchers identify antibodies that may slow down HIV

Breastfeeding Saves Lives and MoneyFood Consumer

Editorial: Teen births take toll on

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