Roundup: Can Pawlenty Recover from “Abortion Recovery Month”?

Robin Marty

Pawlenty declares April Abortion Awareness Month, and much criticism ensues.  Plus, if fetuses must be protected after they "feel pain" can we shelve personhood now?

If you weren’t entirely sure that Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty is running for president, you figured it out pretty quickly on April 1st, 2010.  That was the day that the Republican politician declared April “Abortion Recovery Month” for the state of Minnesota.

It got him attention, just like he wanted, with the anti-abortion base fawning over him for his pandering.  However, the criticism is becoming harsher and harsher.

It began with Minnesota Independent noting that this proclamation was really an chance to bring more state attention by local religious groups and organizations.

According to Abortion Recovery InterNational, Inc., the national clearinghouse for abortion recovery, there are five such programs in Minnesota, and all are run out of churches: The Marian Project is a program of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis. Liberate Ministries is a husband and wife duo from Eden Prairie, while Healing Hearts of Fire Baptist Church in Rochester also runs such a program. Anoka-based Conquerors states on its website that “[t]hrough every service we provide, our hope is that each client will come to know Christ.” New Beginnings Pregnancy and Family Services in Red Wing “nurtures a Christ-like view of human life.”

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Pawlenty didn’t make note of that characteristic in his press statement about the proclamation.

Pro-Choice Minnesota was more blunt.

Linnea House of NARAL Pro-Choice Minnesota echoed that sentiment. “I was hoping the governor’s proclamation was an April Fool’s Day joke last week, but unfortunately, it is very real,” she said. “Clearly, this proclamation is truly nothing more than Gov. Pawlenty pandering to the anti-choice organizations in the state. If the governor truly wanted to help prevent unintended pregnancy, he would ensure that our youth are equipped with the proper education to prevent unintended pregnancies in the first place.”

Ellen Friederichs does a breakdown of what “Abortion Recovery Month” really means at Alternet.

We are halfway through April, which you may not have realized has been dubbed “Abortion Recovery Awareness Month” for the second year in a row by Texas Governor, Rick Perry and Minnesota Governor, Tim Pawlenty.

Just for the record: Abortion Recovery Awareness Month is not designed to offer comfort to women needing to recover from the experience of trying to obtain an abortion under ever more present restrictions (the newest being Nebraska’s recent law requiring mental health screenings for women seeking the procedure). Nope, this “month” is simply another way for abortion opponents to showcase tired old scare tactics in the hopes of demonizing a procedure that 35% of all American woman will have before they are 45.

Meanwhile, an anonymous writer who has recently had to make the decision to end a pregnancy has a few choice words for Pawlenty over at Salon.

Now, weeks into my recovery process — I’m still bleeding, cramping, underweight, emotional, grappling with my need for children and a partner with whom to raise them — I see my experience grossly manipulated by Pawlenty, a man who doesn’t, can’t, know how I feel. But it’s always like this, the moralists and proselytizers stealing the microphone because I, and millions of other women, didn’t make the choice they prescribed.

That reaction not angry enough for you?  How about Bonnie Erbe, in U.S. News and World Reports?

Here we go again. Just when you thought the religious right couldn’t come up with any more outrageous behavior designed to offend mainstream Americans and accomplish nothing of worth, Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty proclaims April, again, “Abortion Recovery Month.”

So as long as Pawlenty is declaring April Abortion Recovery Month, if he wants to be fair and unbiased on this issue, he should declare May, “Anti-abortion Zealots Recovery Month,” so the rest of us can get a break from their unrelenting proselytizing and tomfoolery.

I guess Pawlenty better not be counting on their votes.

Mini Roundup: A terrifying headline, and the bright side of the Nebraska “fetal pain” threshold.  Plus, if we have the greatest healthcare system in the world, why are women crossing the border for birth control?

April 14, 2010

Abortions Declining in Florida – Sunshine State News

ObamaCare High School: Reading, Writing, and Suicide Assistance? – American Thinker

Bill will make it harder for Florida teens to get an abortion –

New laws in Neb. add restrictions on abortions – The Associated Press

Abortion flap stalls cigarette tax – The State

Abortion bill seeks parental notification –

Taxpayers and Abortions – American Spectator

Supreme Court reporter will talk about abortion – Sarasota Herald-Tribune

Could the abortion debate become more partisan? – Politico

Abortion, Health Care and the Psychology of Compromise – Psychology Today

New Jersey’s Governor Cuts Women’s Health Out of the Budget – Huffington Post

s Fetal Pain the Newest Abortion Battleground? – Wall Street Journal

Senate Democrats to Obama: Ignore GOP, Nominate Pro-Abortion Activist for … –

Nebraska Law Restricts Abortion Based on Fetal Pain – The Stir

McDonnell signs abortion ‘choice’ license bill, but blocks revenue from … – Washington Post

Budget Limits Abortion Funding – WSET

Abortion’s Grey Area – Tiger Weekly

Measure to prohibit Tenn. tax dollars from being used for abortion services – WHNT

Abortion Foes Slam Shut All Openings: Ann Woolner (Correct) – BusinessWeek

KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, LouisianaBill would ban insurance coverage of abortions – KPLC-TV

The complexity of the abortion debate exposes the human side of the issue – Tiger Weekly

Clock ticks on Kansas abortion bill – Kansas City Star

The End of Anti-Abortion Democrats as a Political Force? – Opposing Views

Legal battle looms over Nebraska abortion restrictions – AFP

Anti-abortion group stops short of shunning Dems – KCAU

Measure Barring Abortions In Federal Health Plan Ready For State Senate Vote – Nashville Public Radio

McDonnell proposes restriction on state abortion funding – Washington Examiner

House panel votes to outlaw Louisiana insurers from covering elective abortion –

WHO chief sides with US over abortion access – Vancouver Sun

Health Care Lessons from the Old South – AlterNet

Ouch! Anti-rape device grabs more than just headlines –

HIV, Maternal Mortality Link Demands Re-vamped US Policy – Common Dreams

Advocates call for end of discrimination to HIV positive prisoners – Free Speech Radio News

April 15, 2010

Expert lectures on Roe v. Wade – Bradenton Herald

Insurer-funded abortion targeted – 2TheAdvocate

Nebraska Make Abortion Law History – Health

NFL Divorce — Anger Over Abortion Decision –

California Catholic Lobby Day denies abortion solves state budget problems – Catholic News Agency

Chastity Belts to Plan B: A History of Birth Control – The Stir

Maternal Mortality Decrease is not “Mission Accomplished” – Huffington Post

Viewpoint: How far would “pro-lifers” go to control women’s actions? – Kalamazoo Gazette –

I Feel Your Pain Even When You Can’t: Another Assault on a Woman’s Right to Choose -Huffington Post

Manatee board discusses teen pregnancy – Sarasota Herald-Tribune

Convenience Drives U.S. Women To Buy Over-The-Counter Contraception in Mexico – Newswise

Teaching the birds and the bees may land educators behind bars – Journal

Adolescents account for 15 percent of all maternal deaths-Survey – Ghana News Agency

The maternal mortality crisis persists – Salon

SC defends HIV policy for inmates – The State

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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