Roundup: Anti-Choice Bemoan ella Approval, Demand Useless Pregnancy Tests

Robin Marty

A blatocyst is an embryo!  A pregnacy test is effective at 4 days except that no test is!  No wonder the anti-choice movement seems so confused.

Yesterday, the FDA met and approved the use of ella, a new emergency contraceptive pill that can provide a greater window of use than Plan B, which must be used within 72 hours.  Effective for up to 120 hours after intercourse, ella can offer a wider time frame for preventing pregnancy after contraceptive failure, sexual assault, or unprotected sex.

Sadly, the extended period of possible use seems to reflect exponentially on how outraged the anti-choice crew is over advances in reproductive freedom.

First, the Cardinals reacted, via press release:

Concerns have been raised over other drugs considered for “emergency contraception,” such as the “Plan B” regimen, because they might act not only to prevent ovulation but also to prevent implantation of the developing embryo in his or her mother’s womb.  However, such drugs were thought to have no post-implantation effects.  Ulipristal is a close analogue to the abortion drug RU-486, with the same biological effect – that is, it can disrupt an established pregnancy weeks after conception has taken place.  

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This drug is contraindicated for women who are or may be pregnant.  Yet its proposed use here is targeted precisely at women who may already have conceived, as it would be administered within five days after “unprotected” sex or contraceptive failure.  No existing pregnancy test can exclude the possibility that a new life has been conceived in this time frame.  Indeed, advocates praise this drug as an advance precisely because it seems to retain its full efficacy five days after intercourse – that is, after the opportunity to prevent fertilization has passed. 

It seems that Cardinal DiNardo’s solution would be for the woman to wait until after she sees if she is pregnant before she takes the drug, since no test can exclude that early that she in fact is not. Also, the Cardinal seems to have forgotten developmental biology — an embryo is at least 21 days post-fertilization.  Before that, you have a blastocyst or a zygote.

During the trial, testimony, based on scientific studies, was given showing that ella in fact had “little effect on established pregnancies.”  Yet, according to the New York Times, scientific study isn’t good enough for the Concerned Women for America, either.

Wendy Wright, president of Concerned Women for America, a conservative group, called ella an unsafe abortion pill that men might slip to unsuspecting women.

“With ella, women will be enticed to buy a poorly tested abortion pill in the guise of a morning-after pill,” she said.

But Wendy Wright didn’t just stop there.  Even better, she claims that the panel is trying to “fool women” by not allowing them to have a pregnancy test before they get the drug.  From Lifenews:

“The drug sponsor couldn’t provide information on whether Ella can cause birth defects, or what happens to women who are pregnant who take it. And yet the committee strongly recommended not giving a woman a pregnancy test,” she told LifeNews.com after the hearing.

“In Europe, Ella is contra-indicated (not to be used) in pregnancies. But the FDA committee voted to not to test women to detect if they’re pregnant. They are telling doctors to be willfully blind when giving the drug,” Wright continued.

“The committee voted to deceive women,” Wright complained.

Um, Ms. Wright?  Cardinal DiNardo says that “No existing pregnancy test can exclude the possibility that a new life has been conceived in this time frame.” 

I think you anti-choice spokespeople need to go over your talking points better before you start hitting the media circuits.

Mini-Roundup: The FACE Act is used against a man who entered a clinic in San Antonio, parents in Iowa claim a sex-ed class used “sex toys” in their demonstration, and one politician claims God is providing economic prosperity to cities that refuse to allow abortion.

June 17, 2010

Rossi on Murray’s abortion votes – Seattle Post Intelligence

Tories absent as MPs call for abortion funding at G8 – Toronto Star

Anti-Abortion Activist Wins Free-Speech Ruling – Courthouse News Service

Abortion bill on Jindal’s desk – KPLC-TV

Louisiana To Require Forced Medical Rape Ultrasounds Before Abortions – Blue Wave News

mcCollum supporters drop the A-bomb (abortion) on Scott – Orlando Sentinel

Alaska health department releases abortion figures – CNBC

FDA Panel To Decide On New Morning After Pill – CBS 4

Parents voice concern of Shenandoah sex ed class – SW Iowa News

Canadian Women Protest Lack of Funding for Family Planning and Abortion in … – Ms. Magazine

McCollum Team Continues to Attack Scott on HCA/Columbia and Abortion – Sunshine State News

Top Catholic Bishop Blames Catholic Health Association for Pro-Abortion HCR – LifeNews.com

Liberties at the Liberty Bell – Wall Street Journal

Louisiana Approves Wave of Anti-Abortion Legislation – Ms. Magazine

US panel approves French morning-after pill – AFP

FDA Advisory Committee Gives Thumbs Up to New Abortion Drug Ella – LifeNews.com

Alaska health department releases abortion figures – Fairbanks Daily News-Miner

5-Days-After-Sex Pill Gets FDA Panel Nod – WebMD

Pro-Life Chair Voices ‘Grave Concern’ over FDA Plan to Approve Abortion Drug … – PR Newswire

Hepatitis Gone Viral: 100 Times More Infectious Than HIV, Over 40 Americans …  – Huffington Post

June 18, 2010

Feds sue abortion opponent from SA – San Antonio Express

Lawmakers say take 24 hours to think over an abortion – WCBD

Patricia Blair files wrongful death lawsuit – Bennington Banner

Abortion rates shock lawmakers – Dickinson Press

Panel Recommends Approval of After-Sex Pill to Prevent Pregnancy – New York Times

Court rules women can’t be charged for taking drugs during pregnancy – Lexington Herald Leader

Antiabortion message for specialty plate – Boston Globe

Bitter pill for Muslim women – Asia Sentinel

Abortion laws slash sales of ‘Morning After’ pill – The Portugal News

Fireworks over New “Morning After Pill”? – CBS News

News Family Planning

Lawsuit Challenges Arizona’s Attempt to Defund Planned Parenthood

Nicole Knight Shine

The Republican-backed law specifically targets abortion providers, excluding any facility from Medicaid that fails "to segregate taxpayer dollars from abortions, including the use of taxpayer dollars for any overhead expenses attributable to abortions.”

Planned Parenthood and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) asked a federal court to block an Arizona law defunding Planned Parenthood, arguing in a legal challenge filed Thursday that the Arizona measure is “illegal.”

The GOP-backed law, signed by Republican Gov. Doug Ducey in May, specifically targets abortion providers, excluding any facility from Medicaid that fails “to segregate taxpayer dollars from abortions, including the use of taxpayer dollars for any overhead expenses attributable to abortions.”

Federal law already bars health-care providers from using Medicaid dollars for abortion care, except in cases of rape, incest, or life endangerment.

In an 18-page complaint, the plaintiffs argue that the restriction is impermissible under Medicaid statutes, and they ask for an injunction on the law, which goes into effect August 6. Planned Parenthood said in an emailed statement that the law could slash funding for birth control, cancer screenings, and preventive care, affecting more than 2,500 Medicaid patients in the state.

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The Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System, the state Medicaid agency, did not respond to a request for comment.

Jennifer Lee, staff attorney at the ACLU, called the Arizona law “another attempt to intimidate doctors who provide abortion and to punish low-income women in particular,” in a statement announcing the lawsuit. Planned Parenthood operates 11 medical centers in the state, including three in underserved and impoverished communities with high rates of infant mortality, according to the court filing.

At least ten states, including Arizona, have attempted to strip Planned Parenthood of funding—the fallout from a string of deceptive smear videos masterminded by David Daleiden, the head of the anti-choice front group the Center for Medical Progress, who now faces a felony record-tampering charge.

“This case is about the people who rely on us for basic care every day,” said Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, in an announcement of the Arizona suit. “We’ll continue fighting in Arizona, and anywhere else there are efforts to block our patients from the care they need.”

The Arizona law represents the state’s second attempt to defund Planned Parenthood. In 2014, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a lower court decision finding a similar defunding measure, HB 2800, violated federal Medicaid law.

In April, the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services sent a letter to all 50 states saying that cutting funding to qualified providers solely because they provide abortion care violates federal law.

Independent analysis suggests gutting Planned Parenthood funding exacts a toll on health care.

2015 report from the Congressional Budget Office indicated that health-care access would suffer under Planned Parenthood funding cuts, with the potential for $650 million in additional Medicaid spending over a decade and thousands of more births.

In Texas, births surged 27 percent among low-income women who were using injectable birth control but lost access to the service when the state cut Medicaid funding to Planned Parenthood, according to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Roundups Politics

Campaign Week in Review: Trump Selects Indiana Gov. Mike Pence to Join His Ticket

Ally Boguhn

And in other news, Donald Trump suggested that he can relate to Black people who are discriminated against because the system has been rigged against him, too. But he stopped short of saying he understood the experiences of Black Americans.

Donald Trump announced this week that he had selected Indiana Gov. Mike Pence (R) to join him as his vice presidential candidate on the Republican ticket, and earlier in the week, the presumptive presidential nominee suggested to Fox News that he could relate to Black Americans because the “system is rigged” against him too.

Pence Selected to Join the GOP Ticket 

After weeks of speculation over who the presumptive nominee would chose as his vice presidential candidate, Trump announced Friday that he had chosen Pence.

“I am pleased to announce that I have chosen Governor Mike Pence as my Vice Presidential running mate,” Trump tweeted Friday morning, adding that he will make the official announcement on Saturday during a news conference.

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The presumptive Republican nominee was originally slated to host the news conference Friday, but postponed in response to Thursday’s terrorist attack in Nice, France. As late as Thursday evening, Trump told Fox News that he had not made a final decision on who would join his ticket—even as news reports came in that he had already selected Pence for the position.

As Rewire Editor in Chief Jodi Jacobson explained in a Thursday commentary, Pence “has problems with the truth, isn’t inclined to rely on facts, has little to no concern for the health and welfare of the poorest, doesn’t understand health care, and bases his decisions on discriminatory beliefs.” Jacobson further explained: 

He has, for example, eagerly signed laws aimed at criminalizing abortion, forcing women to undergo unnecessary ultrasounds, banning coverage for abortion care in private insurance plans, and forcing doctors performing abortions to seek admitting privileges at hospitals (a requirement the Supreme Court recently struck down as medically unnecessary in the Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt case). He signed a ‘religious freedom’ law that would have legalized discrimination against LGBTQ persons and only ‘amended’ it after a national outcry. Because Pence has guided public health policy based on his ‘conservative values,’ rather than on evidence and best practices in public health, he presided over one of the fastest growing outbreaks of HIV infection in rural areas in the United States.

Trump Suggests He Can Relate to Black Americans Because “Even Against Me the System Is Rigged”

Trump suggested to Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly that he could relate to the discrimination Black Americans face since “the system [was] rigged” against him when he began his run for president.

When asked during a Tuesday appearance on The O’Reilly Factor what he would say to those “who believe that the system is biased against them” because they are Black, Trump leaped to highlight what he deemed to be discrimination he had faced. “I have been saying even against me the system is rigged. When I ran … for president, I mean, I could see what was going on with the system, and the system is rigged,” Trump responded.

“What I’m saying [is] they are not necessarily wrong,” Trump went on. “I mean, there are certain people where unfortunately that comes into play,” he said, concluding that he could “relate it, really, very much to myself.”

When O’Reilly asked Trump to specify whether he truly understood the “experience” of Black Americans, Trump said that he couldn’t, necessarily. 

“I would like to say yes, but you really can’t unless you are African American,” said Trump. “I would like to say yes, however.”

Trump has consistently struggled to connect with Black voters during his 2016 presidential run. Despite claiming to have “a great relationship with the blacks,” the presumptive Republican nominee has come under intense scrutiny for using inflammatory rhetoric and initially failing to condemn white supremacists who offered him their support.

According to a recent NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Marist poll released Tuesday, Trump is polling at 0 percent among Black voters in the key swing states of Ohio and Pennsylvania.

What Else We’re Reading

Newt Gingrich, who was one of Trump’s finalists for the vice presidential spot, reacted to the terrorist attack in Nice, France, by calling for all those in the United States with a “Muslim background” to face a test to determine if they “believe in sharia” and should be deported.

Presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton threw her support behind a public option for health insurance.

Bloomberg Politics’ Greg Stohr reports that election-related cases—including those involving voter-identification requirements and Ohio’s early-voting period—are moving toward the Supreme Court, where they are “risking deadlocks.”

According to a Reuters review of GOP-backed changes to North Carolina’s voting rules, “as many as 29,000 votes might not be counted in this year’s Nov. 8 presidential election if a federal appeals court upholds” a 2013 law that bans voters from casting ballots outside of their assigned precincts.

The Wall Street Journal reported on the election goals and strategies of anti-choice organization Susan B. Anthony List, explaining that the organization plans to work to ensure that policy goals such as a 20-week abortion ban and defunding Planned Parenthood “are the key issues that it will use to rally support for its congressional and White House candidates this fall, following recent setbacks in the courts.”

Multiple “dark money” nonprofits once connected to the Koch brothers’ network were fined by the Federal Election Commission (FEC) this week after hiding funding sources for 2010 political ads. They will now be required to “amend past FEC filings to disclose who provided their funding,” according to the Center for Responsive Politics. 

Politico’s Matthew Nussbaum and Ben Weyl explain how Trump’s budget would end up “making the deficit great again.”

“The 2016 Democratic platform has the strongest language on voting rights in the party’s history,” according to the Nation’s Ari Berman.