Politics

It Is Your Choice If There Is Choice

JAC

Will there be Choice after 2012? That is a choice we have to make in the coming months.

Will there be choice after 2012? The matter of choice largely depends on which party gains control of the White House and the Congress. Yesterday Republican hopefuls railed at the role and size of government  in our lives. Of course, the intervention of government into the private lives of citizens apparently does not apply to the right to reproductive choice. According to the NY Times, “Candidates were asked whether the Congress should intervene legislatively to make sure states cannot allow abortion. Most pledged instead to work toward a constitutional amendment banning abortion.” Now, these are the same candidates also decried the role of activist judges who do not respect the Constitution or established law.  Hmmm, Roe vs Wade seems to fall into the category of the right to privacy guaranteed in the Constitution and is established law. 

Combine the pledge by candidates to ban abortion with the new laws restricting abortion and the goals of the anti-abortion forces are fast becoming a sad reality for too many women.  Fortunately, brave individuals and advocates for women are challenging these laws in the courts. In Idaho Jennifer McCormack has challenged the fetal pain law. She highlights the issue that women in Idaho must travel to obtain abortions to satisfy all the conditions of this law. If she is successful women in southeastern Idaho may be able to exercise their legal rights to abortion.  In Texas, a federal judge issued a temporary injunction against the forced sonogram law. This suit was filed on behalf of medical clinics and doctors and of course, the women it would impact.  This law is an over-reaching intrusion of the state into the lives of individuals and medical professionals.  Federal judges have temporarily blocked implementation of restrictive abortion laws in Kansas, South Dakota and North Carolina.  

These reprieves may be temporary and do not insure that the laws won’t eventually be implemented. The threats are real.  New laws will replace these laws and more restrictions will be placed upon women. The anti-abortion agenda has powerful advocates in the Conservative movement and is advancing its case through a populist outcry of too many government regulations while it is busy regulating and interfering with women.

For those of us who believe in the right of a woman to make her own family planning and health decisions, the path to save choice lies in fighting the ever-increasing assaults on abortion rights. The fact is there is no choice but to elect officials who will respect the right of women to choose. For each of us there is a line beyond which we cannot go. For me, it is the rights of women. What is it for you?  

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Please work with me to support those who will protect our right to reproductive health and choice.  

 

Gail Yamner

President, Joint Action Committee for Political Affairs

originally posted on JACBlog!

News Politics

Sanders: I Will ‘Go After’ State-Level Anti-Choice Laws if Elected

Ally Boguhn

“I believe that in the United States of America women have that right to control their own body," Sanders said during a Monday town hall event.

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) on Monday vowed to use the Department of Justice to combat state-level restrictions on reproductive rights.

“It is no secret that in states all over this country, in a dozen different ways, there are governors and legislatures who are trying to make it impossible for a woman to control her own body,” Sanders said during a Monday town hall event broadcast on MSNBC. 

“I will use the Department of Justice to go after those states in every way that I legally can,” Sanders continued. “I believe that in the United States of America women have that right to control their own body, and I find that, I must say, completely hypocritical for my Republican colleagues who tell us every day how much they hate government, how they want to get government out of our life, but they think that local state and federal government have the right to tell you and every woman in America what she can do with her body.”

Sanders charged that protecting “a woman’s right to choose” would be a priority for him when filling Supreme Court vacancies, secondary to overturning the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling, which ended limits on corporate campaign donations.  

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Of the 1,022 provisions introduced in legislatures in 45 states this year, 411 restrict abortion access, according to analysis from the Guttmacher Institute. A total of 21 restrictions have been enacted this year in five statesFlorida, Indiana, Kentucky, South Dakota, and Utahin what the organization calls an “ongoing assault on access to sexual and reproductive health services.”

Missouri’s GOP-held legislature has led all states in the number of anti-choice measures introduced in 2016, with 28 such laws introduced by legislators there, according to a Rewire analysis.

While speaking to the National Federation of Democratic Women in South Carolina, Sanders in November promised to fight the anti-choice “counter-revolution” happening in GOP-led state legislatures across the country.

The Vermont senator vowed in February to work with Congress to repeal both the Hyde Amendment, which restricts most federal funding for abortion care, and the Helms Amendment, which stops foreign assistance funds from being used for abortion care.

News Politics

Donald Trump: Abortion Patients Should Face ‘Some Form of Punishment’ if Abortion Is Outlawed

Ally Boguhn

Trump’s commitment to punishing those who receive abortion care comes amid controversy over the GOP candidate's treatment of women.

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump asserted during an interview with MSNBC’s Chris Matthews that there must be “some form of punishment” for those who obtain abortion care, should the procedure be banned in the United States.

“Should the woman be punished for having an abortion?” Chris Matthews asked Trump during the network’s pre-taped Wednesday town hall event. “This is not something you can dodge. If you say abortion is a crime or abortion is murder, then you have to deal with it under the law.”

“Well, people in certain parts of the Republican Party and conservative Republicans, would say, ‘Yes, it should be punished,’” Trump replied. “I would say that it’s a very serious problem and it’s a problem that we have to decide on.”

“But you’re for banning [abortion],” Matthews said in a heated back and forth. “How do you ban abortion? How do you actually do it?”

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“Well, you go back to a position like they had where people will perhaps go to illegal places, but you have to ban it,” Trump said. The GOP presidential candidate went on, referring to unsafe procedures many who needed abortions have been forced to have when abortion care was inaccessible.

“Do you believe in punishment for abortion, yes or no?” Matthews asked again.

“There has to be some form of punishment,” Trump responded, refusing to say what that punishment would be. 

Trump, in a statement released Wednesday, claimed that though his “position has not changed” on the matter, doctors providing abortion care “would be held legally responsible, not the woman.”

Presidential candidates roundly condemned the Republican frontrunner’s position after a clip of Trump’s comments was released ahead of the town hall.

Chad Sweet, a campaign spokesperson for Sen. Ted. Cruz (R-TX), said on CNN’s The Lead with Jake Tapper that Cruz “focuses on punishing those who perform abortions, not women who get them.”

“Look, you know—I think probably Donald Trump will figure out a way to say that he didn’t say it or he was misquoted or whatever, but I don’t think so,” Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) said of Trump’s comments, according to the New York Times. “I don’t think that’s an appropriate response and it’s a difficult enough situation then to try to punish somebody.”

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton called Trump’s remarks “horrific and telling” and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) tweeted that the comments were “shameful.”

Ilyse Hogue, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, blasted Trump’s remarks in a statement. “Donald Trump hit a new low today in not only towing the anti-choice line that abortion should be outlawed but in proposing that women who seek abortion care should be punished,” Hogue said. “Not only is this an unhinged position far from where the American people are, but it is sure to endanger women were he to become president.”

“Everywhere abortion is illegal, the number of abortions don’t go down,” Hogue continued. “But the number of injuries and deaths go up. It’s appalling that in a week where Trump has blamed the victim of violence at the hands of his campaign manager, he would offer to be the leader to inflict more violence on women whether through forcing us back into the back alley or punishing us for making our own health-care decisions.”  

Trump’s commitment to punishing those who receive abortion care comes amid controversy over the GOP candidate’s treatment of women.

Though he claims to have “great respect for women,” many criticize Trump’s “sexist” rhetoric, which includes having called Fox News host Megyn Kelly a “bimbo” as well as a litany of other comments based on women’s appearances. The presidential candidate came under fire for using “victim blaming” to defend his campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, after battery charges were brought against him for allegedly grabbing and bruising reporter Michelle Fields.

Trump has spoken at length during the election about being anti-choice and his intention to defund Planned Parenthood, despite his admission that the health-care organization does “very good work.” His past support for abortion rights has led someincluding Cruz, to question his position on the matter.