I’ve been really much too angry to talk about many of recent events both here in the US and overseas. Since the bombing of the Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctor Without Borders) hospital by the US military in Kunduz, Afghanistan to Friday’s mass shooting at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs, trying to remain objective …
Tag: Planned Parenthood
Dec 01 2015
Feb 16 2012
KEITH OLBERMANN: And now, as promised, a brief Special Comment on the resignation of Karen Handel from Susan G. Komen for the Cure.
There is no avoiding the simple fact that a week had passed since Ms. Handel decided that the Komen organization should collaborate with the witch hunt that the nation’s right wing has directed against Planned Parenthood. In the time until Ms. Handel’s exit this morning, Komen’s only real actions had been a mealymouthed partial reversal about a rule change it had first denied, a new-new policy to replace the new policy – a spineless convenience by which Komen has still not really committed to continuing its funding of Planned Parenthood and, perhaps more importantly, by which it has not committed to staying out of this dangerous, ideological game which will kill some freedoms and which could kill some women.
Komen could not do that by itself, of course.
If it never gave another dollar to Planned Parenthood, it would be doing the latter organization a fundraising favor, because it has raised the consciousness of many to whom the reality was not yet clear, that one of vote-getting machines in this country was zeroing in on Planned Parenthood as the scapegoat for all the evils which that vote-getting machine exaggerates – to whip up paranoia and political power among the easily led of this nation. Those who were thus awakened will find – or rather, fund – Planned Parenthood in ways Komen never has, and never could.
But the real issue here is the Komen organization’s attempt to hide its new partnership with that most base of political advocacy groups – the guttersnipe purveyors of hate, and fear and revenge fantasies – by couching as apolitical the most intense kind of political involvement; the willingness to participate in guilt by association; to echo the infamous call of investigation; to shun affiliation with a group or an individual purely to amplify suspicion and doubt and paranoia about that group or individual.
All of the dark periods of American history have begun with acts like Komen’s and excuses like Komen’s.
Planned Parenthood’s extraordinary services for men and women – 97 percent of which have had nothing to do with abortion – were to Komen’s advantage, until one Florida congressman decided to try to get himself re-elected by launching a specious investigation of Planned Parenthood.
And recall what we’re dealing with. Planned Parenthood’s opponents will believe anything and say anything. Remember well that tragic, comical story from yesterday about the Louisiana congressman who posted to Facebook, with horrified comments accompanying it, the story of an $8 billion Planned Parenthood “Abortion-Plex” being built in Kansas, without ever noting – perhaps without even caring – that the story was, in fact, from the satirical website The Onion. These are the people with whom Susan G. Komen for the Cure got into bed.
Ms. Handel’s resignation changes nothing of this. Komen’s statement today continues to lie about its own motives, to insist its attack on Planned Parenthood was, “Not based on anyone’s political beliefs or ideology,” and to speak only of, “Mistakes in how we have handled recent decisions.”
Komen – specifically its president, Susan Komen’s own sister Nancy Brinker – has still not told the truth nor explained how she will again make this organization worthy of the donations from, and participation in and by, the women and men of this country who had put women’s health and valuable organizations like Komen and Planned Parenthood above politics.
Mrs. Brinker has dishonored both her sister’s memory and this essential cause. Until she acts, either by correcting what she acquiesced to, or by leaving the organization to somebody who truly cares, until she does one or the other – since are a thousand generous organizations which perform what Komen performs – Komen does not deserve a dollar in donations from a shocked public. Karen Handel is gone. Komen’s corruption remains.
Feb 03 2012
Since of the Susan G. Komen for the Cure charity’s decision to eliminate funding to Planned Parenthood for breast cancer screenings, the Komen foundation has come under not just criticism for abandoning many women’s only option for breast cancer screening but it has brought to light some very ugly truths about the organization. The most critical one is that its pink ribbon campaign has done more harm than good. As David Dayen and TBogg at FDL both note, Komen’s official line that “our priority is and always will be the women we serve” is a joke considering the number of women who use Planned Parenthood for their health care and that Komen does virtually nothing for women’s health or fighting breast cancer
A documentary that premiered last fall at the Toronto Film Festival, Pink Ribbons, Inc, that is about to be released in Canadian theaters, exposes the Pink Ribbon campaign for what it is, a money raising farce for corporations that have done nothing to find a cure for breast cancer but in some cases may have contributed to its rise:
Indignant and subversive, “Pink Ribbons, Inc.” resoundingly pops the shiny pink balloon of the breast cancer movement/industry, debunking the “comfortable lies” and corporate double-talk that permeate the massive and thus-far-ineffectual campaign against a disease that claims nearly 60,000 lives each year in North America alone. Veteran helmer Lea Pool, working from Samantha King’s book, won’t be making any friends with her full-frontal attack on the corporate co-option of the breast cancer cause, which could limit Stateside circulation of this Canadian production. But there are plenty of women who’ll want to see it. And they’ll be seeing red, not pink.
The thrust of King’s thesis is that all the pink-themed walk-a-thons, parades, singing children and rose-lit monuments (the Empire State Building, Niagara Falls), actually do more harm than good. By putting a warm and fuzzy spin on the state of breast cancer, the public is distracted from some very ugly numbers: In 1940, a woman had a one-in-22 chance of developing breast cancer; today, the number is one in eight. Only 20%-30% of women with breast cancer have high-risk factors, which means no one really knows what causes the disease. The leading foundations involved in funding cancer research are peopled by representatives of the pharmaceutical, chemical and energy industries, so their ethics are inherently compromised.
“a million dollars a year in donor funds” aggressively going after other organizations that dare to use the phrase “for the cure” – including small charities like Kites for a Cure, Par for the Cure, Surfing for a Cure, Cupcakes for a Cure, and even a dog-sledding event called Mush for the Cure.
The Komen foundation is nothing more than a front for corporations. Running for cures, buying pink ribbons and balloons will not find a cure and hasn’t done a damn thing but rake in profits for corporations. Those pink ribbons should make every woman and man (they get breast cancer, too) see red.
May 01 2011
Note: Sections 1-4 contain dozens of additional editorial cartoons and commentary. I’m not sure why but I was getting the below error when trying to post the complete diary. Check out the remaining portions of the diary at Daily Kos.
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Apr 14 2011
So Arizona Senator Jon Kyl went and did a stupid thing the other day by claiming on the floor of the Senate that 90% of what Planned Parenthood does is related to abortions, and that, by God, we need to cut that Federal funding for abortions, and we need to cut all Federal funding for Planned Parenthood-and we need to do it today.
Of course, that 90% claim was total hooey; it turns out that only 3% of Planned Parenthood’s work relates to abortions. (The Federal funding for abortions part is, too; the Hyde Amendment made such funding illegal decades ago.)
When confronted, Kyl’s office released a statement claiming the Senator’s comments were “not intended to be a factual statement”.
Sir Rev. Dr. Stephen T. Colbert, DFA, decided to have a bit of fun with Kyl, and he challenged his audience to Tweet their own “Not Intended To Be A Factual Statement” about Kyl.
I decided to compose a Tweet of my own…and then another…and before I knew it I had an entire story’s worth; that’s why, today, we’ll be taking a taking a short break from the daily grind to have a bit of fun with a man who truly deserves it: Jon Kyl.
Apr 11 2011
(Wanted this to be days’ earlier, but it wasn’t possible. So, TMC’s diary here seemed a perfect place to comment, but then the comment became very long . . . . so!)
While traveling to an appointment last Thursday (April 7th), I listened to David Sirota, filling in for Thom Hartmann.* Sirota began by talking about Pentagon horrendous wastes, even to the extent that the Pentagon has an Entertainment Division. Essentially, the Pentagon puts up money to back films about war and for war and does everything, with money included, to discourage film makers from making films that are against war. He said he has detailed that information in his book, “Back to Our Future.”
Several veterans (one of VietNam era) called in speaking about the excesses of Pentagon spending and blatant waste. Both discussed Halliburton and Blackwater, in particular.
Sep 10 2010
This was being heavily reported locally yesterday, but didn’t see any national news then or today, wonder why, especially with all the related news as to possible domestic criminal activity that’s coming.
Hmmm, wonder if this will help Marko’s book sales on his new book, might want to put a sub-title on it now “American al Qaeda”, this extremist might really enjoy that fame add!
By the way, for those who might not know, Concord is just north of Charlotte, home of Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Jul 26 2010
In this country, a long tradition exists of individuals who have refused to perform a particular duty or task, citing their religious beliefs as justification. The very definition of Civil Disobedience, of course, depends on the person, the situation, and how it is applied. The latest incident has opened up a discussion which has never really subsided, only dipped underneath the radar from time to time. In this circumstance, a Texas bus driver, who is also an ordained conservative Christian minister, claims that he was fired for not taking a women to Planned Parenthood. His decision is in the same vein as those of pharmacists who, stating moral reasons, will not dispense the morning-after pill to women who request it.
Feb 11 2010
Recent high profile news events involving abortion rights have revealed that while the omnipresent skirmishing may temporarily subside, it doesn’t take much to stir the issue into a new frenzy. The latest embarrassing public relations snafu involves the Birmingham, Alabama, Planned Parenthood clinic, which has been placed probation for a year. Before there was ACORN and young right-wing activists with visual evidence, last year a California-based anti-abortion group employed the services of an UCLA student to secretly videotape instances of wrongdoing. Posing as a 14-year-old girl seeking an clandestine abortion after getting pregnant with her 31-year-old boyfriend, the tape revealed that the worker she spoke to agreed not to report the matter, in violation of state law, and added that it might be possible to perform the procedure without the knowledge of her parents. By the time the video came to the attention of the Alabama Attorney General, the statue of limitations had passed, but it did trigger a revealing in-depth investigation via Alabama’s Department of Public Health.
John A. MacDonald of The Birmingham News has the whole story.
Perhaps the most damning allegation is that the clinic has come under increasing scrutiny and fire due to new charges which allege that workers a negligently refused to report obvious instances of childhood sexual abuse.
In that potential abuse case, a 13-year-old girl reported that she became sexually active at 12 and came in for two abortions within four months. She was not asked by staff about potential abuse, and her case was not reported to authorities.
“If she was being abused, you give her a chance to be rescued from that situation,” said Rick Harris, director of health provider standards for the Alabama Department of Public Health.
This matter only throws hot water onto an already overheated issue. Aside from the immediate emotional appeals, explosive revelations like these reveal that local government often fails to adequately police itself internally and to follow rudimentary protocol. As for why these seemingly basic rule were not followed, perhaps the worker or workers in question at the clinic might have sought to protect at least two young women, and likely more, from the stigma and emotional turmoil of prosecution and a trial by jury. Indeed, our own initial responses might be to cover up or skirt past tragic situations like these out of sympathy for the victim or out of our own desire to not have to think about them. Some may consider tactics like those tantamount to cowardice or sloth, and there is an strong argument to be made for that as well. But no matter what justification and rationalization may be provided, state law does require those who observe cases of flagrant child sexual abuse to report them immediately to the proper channels. So many of these cases are not reported enough already and this is, in part, the reason why these sorts of offenses are shockingly prevalent in our supposedly civilized society.
In nine out of nine cases tested, the clinic did not get girls ages 13-15 to authenticate the signature of the parent providing consent for the abortion. In one case, the person who signed the consent for a 15-year-old girl provided an expired driver’s license of a person with a different last name and address from the girl’s. A subsequent review of Alabama birth records showed that person was not listed as a parent.
The pattern that emerges here is that of gross incompetence and dereliction of duty rather than some sort of willful desire to broach protocol and skirt the law. I doubt that anyone holds such a radical agenda that they would choose to violate parent notification rules and in so doing, fail to adequately check identities before proceeding. While I have always believed that requiring parental consent before an abortion can be performed unfairly restricts a woman’s right to choose, ANY woman’s right to choose, I am deeply uncomfortable with the notion of civil disobedience at the workplace in this context. There is lots of blame to go around, but I point the finger at the system itself. I think the most likely is that what transpired over time is that women would arrive without the necessary paperwork to move forward and after observing much delay in extracting the necessary signatures and confirmation in prior cases, clinic workers eventually overlooked them to expedite the process and make their own jobs easier.
One can form any number of conclusions based on the available information. Anti-choice proponents will surely use this story to confirmation of their own views in this and those of us who are pro-choice may, as I do, find it hard to easily make sense of this. I seek not to be an apologist for this kind of behavior, specifically because it makes women’s reproductive rights and abortion services agencies look foolish and incompetent. But what it does highlight, however, is how uncomfortable we are when it comes to frank discussions about abortion. We can screech and yell about baby killers or those who murder abortionists, but we rarely really talk about the lives of individual women who find themselves faced with a grave situation—presented with the unenviable option of either terminating their pregnancy or bringing a child into the world. If we, as part of our 9-5 job, sat across the desk from a child whose pregnancy clearly resulted from a case of incest or rape, it would be tempting to wish to spare her from any subsequent trauma. Since a strong taboo already is in place regarding these sorts of crimes, it would be easier to simply take the path of least resistance.
The story also implies that sad tales like these are hardly unusual. To this I add that anyone who has dealt with our convoluted legal system knows that justice, assuming it eventually arrives, is not exactly a precise, timely affair. Court dockets have long been swelled past capacity, trials routinely last weeks on end, and moreover the emotional stress involved with lawyers, fees, strategies, and the massive amount of hoops to jump through make the process thoroughly exhausting for everyone involved. Though I do not absolve the Planned Parenthood workers for refusing to follow their job descriptions and adhere to the letter of the law, I do recognize that often existing systems are so ridiculously complex and set in place to patch a hole, not for the ease of implementation. After a time this encourages people to take short cuts. If we ever really wished to devise a world that was fairer and more efficient, we’d adopt a system whereby the only rules we imposed were those absolutely necessary. As it stands now, if one person breaks a rule, everyone else is punished by having to adhere to a new regulation or restrictive standard. Good management punishes, and if need be, removes the individual offender, not the collective body. Pushing aside for a moment our own passionate defenses, we can learn from ACORN and Planned Parenthood if this pushes us to closely re-examine whether rules, regulations, standards, and statutes really make our lives easier, or burden us to the point that we’d just as soon ignore them wholesale.
May 29 2009
Happy Friday and welcome to the 6th in the Dog’s First Amendment Friday series. This series is following the syllabus for the class called The First Amendment and taught at Yale Law School by Professor Jack M. Balkin. As with the Friday Constitutional series this is a layman’s look at the Law, specifically the Supreme Court opinions which have shaped the boundaries of our 1st Amendment Protections. This week we don’t actually have a Supreme Court case, as the High Court refused to take up the appeal on this one. It is still part of Professor Balkin’s syllabus and as we look at the details you will see why it is an important First Amendment case. If you are interested in the previous installments of this series you can find them below: