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#Sept28 Hyde at 40

Carole Joffe

University of California

Carole Joffe is a professor at the Bixby Center for Global Reproductive Health at the University of California, San Francisco. NOTE: The views and opinions of the participant expressed here on this site do not necessarily state or reflect those of the Regents of the University of California, UCSF, UCSF Medical Center.


All Work

Carole Joffe
Carole Joffe

Commentary Violence

Anti-Choice Violence: Why Colorado Springs Is Different

Unlike nearly all the actions of other anti-abortion terrorists, the violence at the Colorado Springs clinic for which Dear was arrested did not appear to specifically target abortion providers. Rather, the institution of Planned Parenthood itself, along with anyone who happened to be on the premises, appeared to be the intended victim.

Carole Joffe
Carole Joffe

Commentary Abortion

The Hidden Work of Abortion Providers: Laverne’s Story

Unlike their counterparts in other industrialized countries, abortion providers in the United States don’t simply perform abortions. Because of all the ramifications of the abortion wars in this country, U.S. providers have become de facto social workers, fundraisers, and travel agents, to name just a few of their ancillary roles.

Carole Joffe
Carole Joffe

Commentary Abortion

A New Day for Abortion Providers?

The “new day” that David Bennett dreamed of on January 22, 1973 can only happen if there is a forceful stand by this majority in support of these doctors and against both the violence and legislative persecution that has characterized abortion care in the United States.

Carole Joffe
Carole Joffe

Commentary Abortion

The Death of Savita Halappanavar: A Tragedy Leading to Long Overdue Change?

Hopefully, the tragedy of Savita will, at least, finally spur the Irish government to issue clearer guidelines that the life of the pregnant woman must be privileged over that of her fetus. But if the thousands demonstrating reflect changes already underway in Irish society—including a growing dissatisfaction with the Catholic Church’s influence—perhaps some day Savita Halappanavar will be remembered as the woman whose death was a turning point in the long struggle for the legalization of abortion in Ireland.

Carole Joffe
Carole Joffe

Commentary Religion

Collision of Reality and Ideology: Karen Santorum’s Past and Rick Santorum’s Vision of Your Future

Before marrying Rick Santorum, Karen Santorum lived with a pro-choice Ob-Gyn 40 years her senior. Today, Santorum the candidate believes the government should be able to ban contraception and abortion, and criminalize extra-marital sex and gay sex among other things. The Senator’s fervent desire to deny the rest of us the sexual and reproductive choices that his own wife once enjoyed is breathtakingly hypocritical and cruel.  

Analysis Abortion

Working with Dr. Tiller: His Staff Recalls a Tradition of Compassionate Care at Women’s Health Care Services of Wichita

Carole Joffe

Dr. Tiller’s murder and the closing of his clinic brought renewed national attention to the problems facing women who need abortions late in pregnancy. While he was viciously attacked by anti-choicers, one of whom eventually killed him, he was beloved by his staff and his patients for compassionate care in extraordinary circumstances.

Analysis Abortion

Another Planet: Abortion in Norway

Carole Joffe

Norway, where abortion is not politicized, has a better record than the United States with respect to teenage pregnancies and births, but also has a lower abortion rate—a reflection, among other things, of Norwegians’ better access to contraception, its comprehensive sex education policies, and its generally more mature attitude toward human sexuality.

Robin “Rocket Woman” Rothrock, R.I.P.

Carole Joffe

The death of Robin Rothrock, who ran an abortion clinic in Shreveport, Louisiana for many years, is a huge loss, not only, obviously, to her family and close friends, but also to the close-knit community of abortion providers who cherished her.

The Billboard Circus and the Abortion Wars

Carole Joffe

The abortion wars rage relentlessly on, in the United States and elsewhere, and the only lesson to be drawn from recent federal and state legislative action is that the wars show no signs of abating.

Terror in Charlotte

Carole Joffe

Staff at a clinic in Charlotte, N.C., under attack from anti-choice "terrorists" work in conditions most would find unendurable. Why? They say: "We believe in what we do. And some of us came to work here after being patients here ourselves."

The Legacy of George Tiller

Carole Joffe

Dr. George Tiller was asked repeatedly by friends how he could continue his work in the face of the unending violence and legal harassment that he endured in the years leading up to his murder. His answer was always the same: "Where else can these women go?"

Yale Performance Art: Where Are the Grown-Ups?

Carole Joffe

All that has been accomplished by a Yale senior's art project on pregnancy and abortion is a highly visible trivialization of the issue of abortion and a phenomenal insensitivity to women who suffer repeat miscarriages.

A Community in This War

Carole Joffe

Those who provide abortions, either as clinicians or administrators, can be relentlessly pursued in their communities by their opponents. But there are millions of supportive "civilians" aiding the community of abortion providers in this war.

Huckabee Rising — to a VP Pick?

Carole Joffe

"Yes, I think he'd make a great vice-president," Senator Mel Martinez of Florida told one of the MSNBC talking heads, speaking of Mike Huckabee. Huckabee has done extremely well thus far, especially in the South-as of this writing, he is ahead of both McCain and Romney in Georgia, the winner in the W. Virginia and has done well enough in other states to cost Romney victories the latter would have otherwise had. All this has led to increasing speculation, by politicians and non-politicians alike, that McCain owes Huckabee bigtime, and will make him his vice-presidential candidate. For progressives, in the reproductive justice movement and elsewhere, this is a terrifying prospect.

Huckabee of course would help McCain where he is weakest--among Republicans who identify as evangelicals, about one third of the Republican electorate. Unlike McCain and Romney, who have changed their positions to one degree or another on abortion, Huckabee has been consistently and fervently anti-abortion. He has also a long record of opposition to gay marriage. Most pertinently, he will not avoid speaking about these issues that still have considerable power to mobilize an important bloc of voters.

Is there a downside to McCain choosing Huckabee as his running mate? After all, Huckabee is on record as not believing in evolution, as wanting to abolish the IRS, as wanting the Constitution to more accurately reflect "God's law," -- not positions held by most Americans. So yes, there are some negatives.

But recall that the vice-presidential candidate doesn't usually play a very high profile role in national elections. There will be likely only one vice-presidential debate, i.e. only one time where Huckabee would have to spin for voters his disbelief in evolution and various of his other controversial statements. Bottom line, McCain would probably gain more than he would lose by such a choice. And if the Republicans are victorious, we would have a 71 year old president and a vice-president--the proverbial one heart beat away from the presidency--who might well make Bush's policies on reproductive and sexual health look reasonable.

Agony and Ecstasy in Berkeley

Carole Joffe

In some ways the Democratic primary in this hyperpolitical city feels like an Introduction to Women and Gender Studies classroom (fittingly enough for a city whose University helped pioneer this field in the 1970s and which continues to have a lively department). Namely, how does one balance/prioritize issues of gender, race and class, especially when these issues compete in a literal sense--embodied by Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and while he was in the race, John Edwards?

The problem--and there are, to be sure, worse problems in politics--is that Berkeley is full of people who have passionate lifelong commitments to all three of the social movements represented by the candidates. Though the contest might now be constructed, at the simplest level, as between the feminist movement and the civil rights movement, John Edwards' support of the labor movement resonated deeply in this community. So though on one level, many are ecstatic at the history-making nature of this race--whoever is ultimately the Democratic nominee will be precedent-making, and a tribute to the staying power of the social movements of the 1970s--many are also agonizing over for whom to vote.

Endless discussions, similar to those already reported on Rewire, are held among friends and acquaintances. "She's more experienced and ‘ready' ." "Yes, but he's more electable. He'll bring in the youth vote." "Yeah, but you can't count on the youth vote. She can better take the dirt the Right will throw at whoever is nominated," and so on.

The reality is that there are very slight differences between these candidates on matters of domestic policy. They are very close on most issues Californians hold dear--environmentalism, reproductive rights, support for labor, and education. Perhaps the one non-trivial difference is their respective health care plans (hers calls for a mandate for all who can to purchase coverage, his doesn't).

The main difference of course is their historic position on Iraq. And this seems to be pushing many Berkeleyites to Obama's corner. Obama signs outnumber Clinton signs in all the neighborhoods I've walked in the last week. If Obama indeed carries the city on the basis of foreign policy, it will hardly be surprising. Berkeley is a city noted for the intense involvement of its city government in national and even international issues, periodically voting, for example, against nuclear weapons. Most recently the City Council voted 8-1 to declare Marine recruiters were "unwelcome" in Berkeley (a move some Council members are now rethinking).

In such a thoroughly Democratic environment as Berkeley, and the surrounding Bay Area, one presumes that whoever wins the nomination will ultimately get the support of most voters. But some have concerns that Obama supporters have been more deeply critical of Clinton than vice versa. For example, Robert Scheer, a long time progressive journalist in California, in an article promoting Obama on the basis of his anti-Iraq stance, was devastating on Clinton's record, and finished his article by reluctantly admitting that "Hillary would probably be better than the Republicans." "Probably"?! No difference between her and McCain who wants to stay in Iraq indefinitely? Not to mention their differences on tax cuts and reproductive rights? This statement is frighteningly reminiscent of the Ralph Nader pronouncement that Gore and Bush were essentially the same. One hopes that political purity among some on the Left will not snatch defeat from the jaws of victory again.

The Republican Candidates’ Abortion Problem

Carole Joffe

Bush's legacy on sexual and reproductive policies is so egregious that there is a real opening to expose the extent to which the Republican party is out of step with mainstream values of the American electorate.

Groveling for Choice: What Good Doctors Will Do

Carole Joffe

The negotiations that physicians have to undertake with hospital administrators, insurance executives, and other doctors give us window into the chaotic and Kafkaesque world that is contemporary abortion provision, even as Roe remains technically legal.

Bush and SCHIP: It’s Also About Fetuses

Carole Joffe

Republican Senators Orrin Hatch and Chuck Grassley have "implored" George Bush not to follow through with his promised veto of the expansion of SCHIP, the State Children's Health Insurance Program.

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