Roundup: Vitter “Abortion is Not a Women’s Issue”

Robin Marty

The Senator from Louisiana makes it clear why anti-choice legislators have no issue with taking away women's rights.

Nevada Senate candidate can say some really stupid things.  But she’s not the only politician to put her foot in her mouth.  Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) is giving her a run for her money by saying that his aide, who has recently made headlines for being charged with domestic violence, wasn’t in charge of “women’s issues.”

Just handling abortion.

Talking Points Memo reports:

It’s all starting to make sense. In continuing to deny that he assigned his former aide, Brent Furer to be his point man on women’s issues after Furer was charged with domestic violence, Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) now says it’s all a big misunderstanding. Furer’s job, it turns out, had nothing to do with women at all.

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If, like Vitter, you don’t count abortion as a woman’s issue, that is.

After his uncomfortable candidate filing event yesterday in Baton Rouge, Vitter faced the press again — this time in Alexandria, where reporters again asked him why Furer’s portfolio included women’s issues. According to Vitter, “he handled issues including abortion issues, including several other issues, but not women’s affairs.”

As Salon points out, it all makes perfect sense when you remember that conservatives believe that abortion isn’t about the woman who is pregnant, but about that potential life inside of her.

Oh, I get it. Perhaps the anti-choice candidate, who has a 100 percent rating from the National Right to Life Committee, doesn’t see abortion as a “women’s issue” so much as a “pre-born fetuses’ issue” or some other such nonsense. That doesn’t explain why Furer was publicly listed the way he was, or why he was charged with working with anti-domestic violence organizations. Regardless, it is plenty revealing, and utterly fitting, that Vitter not only doesn’t see abortion as being particularly relevant to women, but that he saw fit to assign that particular political territory to a man who pled guilty to violently assaulting his girlfriend.

I suppose it’s not very shocking when you think about it.  After all, mostly male legislators have spent huge amounts of time even just this last session in deciding how to restrict women’s access to abortion, especially in Louisiana.  Why would it ever be considered a woman’s issue when so many men are making the final decision?

Video of the exchange follows:

Mini Roundup: As if teen mothers didn’t already have enough to worry about, it looks like they are much more susceptible to birthing premature infants, according to recent studies.

July 8, 2010

La. Gov. Jindal Signs Several Antiabortion Bills – Medical News Today

Poll: Pro-Abortion Barbara Boxer Has Narrow Lead Over Pro-Life Carly Fiorina – LifeNews.com

More Senators Oppose Pro-Abortion Supreme Court Nominee Elena Kaga – LifeNews.com

Sharron Angle’s Advice For Rape Victims Considering Abortion: Turn Lemons Into … – Huffington Post

Sharron Angle: Turn Rape Into Rape-ade – Firedoglake

ACLU Claims Catholic Hospitals Refusing Life-Saving Abortions for Women – LifeNews.com

Michigan Pro-Abortion Groups Back Virg Bernero, Pro-Life Group Supports Cox – LifeNews.com

Good health care includes abortion – Isthmus

Vitter: Furer Handled Abortion, Just Not ‘Women’s Affairs’ (VIDEO) – TPMDC

Angle on abortion, incest, lemons, and lemonade – msnbc.com

David Vitter: Abortion isn’t a “women’s issue” – Salon

Pinay worker in Perth settles suit vs McDonalds over ‘forced abortion’ – GMA news.tv

Ginsburg: Roe will hold – Politico

Males Should Be Actively Involved In Family Planning – Peace FM Online

Should We Need a Prescription for Birth Control Pills? – Babble

What are the most effective contraceptives of today? – Helium

Ethiopia: Speaking Truth on Behalf of Women – AllAfrica.com

Hormonal Contraceptives Have Mixed Success Among Overweight Women – Health Behavior News Service

Teenagers ‘risk premature babies’ – BBC News

Breaking: Middle-aged women like sex – Salon

Study Suggests Link Between HPV, Skin Cancer – MSN Health & Fitness

July 9, 2010

Urges “no” vote on Measure 2 – Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman

Spain’s unrestricted abortion law takes effect – Las Vegas Sun

Delay sought in ruling on dispensing Plan B – Seattle Times

Scientists Discover Most Powerful HIV Antibody Yet – Tonic

UN lauds Namibia’s lifting of travel ban for people living with HIV/AIDS – UN News Centre

Midwives vs. Doctors in US Maternal Mortality Crisis – Inter Press Service

Teenage mothers ‘more likely to give birth prematurely’ – Telegraph.co.uk

Would you tweet during childbirth? – KGO-TV

Mini Roundup:

News Health Systems

The Crackdown on L.A.’s Fake Clinics Is Working

Nicole Knight

"Why did we take those steps? Because every day is a day where some number of women could potentially be misinformed about [their] reproductive options," Feuer said. "And therefore every day is a day that a woman's health could be jeopardized."

Three Los Angeles area fake clinics, which were warned last month they were breaking a new state reproductive transparency law, are now in compliance, the city attorney announced Thursday.

Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer said in a press briefing that two of the fake clinics, also known as crisis pregnancy centers, began complying with the law after his office issued notices of violation last month. But it wasn’t until this week, when Feuer’s office threatened court action against the third facility, that it agreed to display the reproductive health information that the law requires.

“Why did we take those steps? Because every day is a day where some number of women could potentially be misinformed about [their] reproductive options,” Feuer said. “And therefore every day is a day that a woman’s health could be jeopardized.”

The facilities, two unlicensed and one licensed fake clinic, are Harbor Pregnancy Help CenterLos Angeles Pregnancy Services, and Pregnancy Counseling Center.

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Feuer said the lawsuit could have carried fines of up to $2,500 each day the facility continued to break the law.

The Reproductive Freedom, Accountability, Comprehensive Care, and Transparency (FACT) Act requires the state’s licensed pregnancy-related centers to display a brief statement with a number to call for access to free and low-cost birth control and abortion care. Unlicensed centers must disclose that they are not medical facilities.

Feuer’s office in May launched a campaign to crack down on violators of the law. His action marked a sharp contrast to some jurisdictions, which are reportedly taking a wait-and-see approach as fake clinics’ challenges to the law wind through the courts.

Federal and state courts have denied requests to temporarily block the law, although appeals are pending before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

Some 25 fake clinics operate in Los Angeles County, according to a representative of NARAL Pro-Choice California, though firm numbers are hard to come by. Feuer initially issued notices to six Los Angeles area fake clinics in May. Following an investigation, his office warned three clinics last month that they’re breaking the law.

Those three clinics are now complying, Feuer told reporters Thursday. Feuer said his office is still determining whether another fake clinic, Avenues Pregnancy Clinic, is complying with the law.

Fake clinic owners and staffers have slammed the FACT Act, saying they’d rather shut down than refer clients to services they find “morally and ethically objectionable.”

“If you’re a pro-life organization, you’re offering free healthcare to women so the women have a choice other than abortion,” said Matt Bowman, senior counsel with Alliance Defending Freedom, which represents several Los Angeles fake clinics fighting the law in court.

Asked why the clinics have agreed to comply, Bowman reiterated an earlier statement, saying the FACT Act violates his clients’ free speech rights. Forcing faith-based clinics to “communicate messages or promote ideas they disagree with, especially on life-and-death issues like abortion,” violates their “core beliefs,” Bowman said.

Reports of deceit by 91 percent of fake clinics surveyed by NARAL Pro-Choice California helped spur the passage of the FACT Act last October. Until recently, Googling “abortion clinic” might turn up results for a fake clinic that discourages abortion care.

“Put yourself in the position of a young woman who is going to one of these centers … and she comes into this center and she is less than fully informed … of what her choices are,” Feuer said Thursday. “In that state of mind, is she going to make the kind of choice that you’d want your loved one to make?

Rewire last month visited Lost Angeles area fake clinics that are abiding by the FACT Act. Claris Health in West Los Angeles includes the reproductive notice with patient intake forms, while Open Arms Pregnancy Center in the San Fernando Valley has posted the notice in the waiting room.

“To us, it’s a non-issue,” Debi Harvey, the center’s executive director, told Rewire. “We don’t provide abortion, we’re an abortion-alternative organization, we’re very clear on that. But we educate on all options.”

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.

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