Planning is what you do when you know the potential consequences of your actions. Planning is taking that knowledge, and moving forward to either prevent, or ensure a specific outcome.
The absence of planning makes one a slave to unintended consequences. When policy makers consciously choose to remove planning options, it creates another, more insidious kind of slavery.
Such is the case in Hamilton County, where the Hamilton County Commission voted yesterday to table debate on a grant of $581,700 for Family planning services by the Chattanooga-Hamilton Co. Health Dept.
The rationale? Abortion.
Now mind you, these are federal dollars flowing through the state. As a result, they are subject to the Hyde Amendment. They can’t be spent on abortion services in the first place.
Further, there are no abortion providers in Hamilton Co. The prospect of these funds doing anything but what they’re meant to do: provide regular gynecological checkups, oral contraception, condoms and other resources related to reproductive health – is not only unlikely, but impossible.
Despite these facts, the specter of abortion as family planning was raised as a means to derail funding family planning services to 4000 largely poor and uninsured individuals.
That’s family values.
By putting this grant funding in question, the Hamilton County Commission is also not simply limiting the choices of women who may have no other place to turn, they are removing options.
This is not about abortion. This is not even about the concept of choice. This is about removing options on misplaced ideological grounds, from a position that is either intentionally or tragically misinformed.
Abortion is something that happens when their either isn’t a plan, or that plan fails. There are many more cost effective and less emotionally charged options than abortion. By removing options for women, you ensure that more abortions will happen.
Yet some seem to believe that there is some equivalency between abortion and contraception. There isn’t. By taking that position, it accurately frames the individual as not just anti-abortion, but anti-women’s health, which is the definition of anti-choice.
Commissioner Mitch McClure dismissed that his position is ideologically based.
“My questioning and my negative vote has nothing to do with political ideology,” he said. “It has to do with my belief that every child is a human being … at any point of conception.”
If a “child” is a human being at “any point of conception”, that means that sperm is a human being because it is in a “point of conception”…pre-conception.
Is anyone really willing to accept that as a standard?
There are dire consequences for Hamilton County if this grant money is denied. There will be an increase in teen pregnancy, and single mothers. There will be a decrease in pre-natal care, which will cause an increase in infant mortality. Sexually transmitted diseases will increase. The list goes on and on.
If you want to understand what will eventually become of Hamilton Co. if these funds are denied, you need look no further than Shelby Co., where our grant funds for Family Planning amount to just $630,000 for the County Health department even though we have nearly three times the population (some money has gone directly from the state to outside agencies, but I’ll address that in a future post).
What the Commissioners that voted against this funding are advocating is not planning, but ensuring there is no plan.
If you live in Hamilton County and are concerned about the future of this program and the women it serves, please contact your County Commissioners and encourage them to accept these funds for the good of the women who have been served by this program for years.
I don’t get emails from people challenging the words I use, well, ever, but just the other day I did receive the following email from someone who apparently didn’t want to comment on the post.
Upon reading your article “Chickens and Eggs and Calls to Murder,” I wanted to bring a particular point to your attention.
Your use of the term “anti-choice” is very misleading, and shows a significant misunderstanding of the term.
The term anti-choice by definition means “one who opposes ALL choices”, no matter what the topic of choice be. The opposition to abortion does not stem from the opposition of choices in general (as the term anti-choice would lead one to believe). Those who oppose abortion are against feticide and embryocide, thus making them anti-feticide, anti-embryocide, or anti-abortion. Just as someone who opposes the choice of a man to hit his wife is not anti-choice, but anti-domestic-violence, the correct label for a person who opposes abortion would be anti-abortion (or anti-feticide, anti-embryocide, etc.)
I would invite you to visit the website www.notantichoice.com to review and read more information on this subject and on the use of the term anti-choice.
The email was in reference to this post.
The emailer can say what he/she wants concerning the language I use to describe positions, but, as people who have been reading for a while will know, I’ve defined “anti-choice” once before. So for those of you just joining us in class, here’s the definition:
The truth is, most of the proponents of SJR127 are not as “Pro-Life” as they claim to be, they are anti-choice. They don’t want you to have any say in your life. They are less concerned about your liberty than their drive and desire to restrict it. They want to regulate your body, mind and spirit in a way that harkens back to “serfdom”, and SJR127 is a step in that direction. I can respect someone who is “Pro-Life” but also votes for legislation to help people through their struggles by supporting contraception, education, jobs and affordable healthcare, but the people that put SJR127 up aren’t those people. They don’t give a crap about you once your born, and if you have a problem, or are living in poverty, or don’t have access to education or employment opportunity, from their perspective, it’s probably something you did.
I’m not saying the person who sent the email is one of these people, I’m not saying they aren’t. I am saying, from an operational standpoint, this is the definition of “anti-choice”. If this seems to lead one to believe that there is an implied opposition to choices in general, that is EXACTLY the message I’m relaying.
Further, the analogy the emailer used is just pure bull. Trying to equate abortion and domestic violence as “choices” is not just a stretch, but a Stretch Armstrong. Try again.
In the post that prompted the email, I kept to this definition, targeting the fringiest of the fringe elements that wish to criminalize abortion, contraception, the rhythm method, and even possibly ovulation through their ridiculous “egg as human” ideas. These people are “anti-choice” because they would exclude everything short of tying off the tip, and possibly even that as well as access to reproductive healthcare and legal medications that both regulate the monthly cycle as well as prevent pregnancy. In short, these people are anti-choice, and if that includes the emailer, then I am confident we have nothing further to discuss.
From a semantic standpoint, since that’s how this whole thing got started, I will say that people who hold “pro-choice” views are not “pro-death” as the radical anti-choice crowd who likes to call themselves “pro-life” would lead one to believe. I can’t think of ANYONE who espouses a “pro-death” or “make abortion mandatory” position. The debate is not about “life” per se, but about when “birth” is. The Choice side holds with thousands of years of precedent that something isn’t born until it’s born. The “other” side believes that something is alive from the point of fertilization.
Finally, no matter what you call them, if people who oppose abortion would spend as much time publicly working to improve reproductive healthcare options for poor expectant mothers, as well as all the other healthcare, educational, economic needs and opportunities for the child throughout it’s life, anti-abortion advocates could make the point moot, by ensuring the situation only came up in extreme circumstances. Instead, they choose a path of vocal prohibition, which is a path that restricts choices, which makes them “anti-choice”.
Ed Note: This is a form letter. I’m told Feministe got the exact same letter just days ago. So, you’re either not a person, or not very creative. Kisses!
“Which came first, the chicken or the egg?”, as the old question goes. If you’re a radical anti-choice/anti-contraception advocate, the egg is the same thing as a chicken.
It’s being called the ”personhood strategy”, and the language is pretty broad. From the proposed ballot language: “the term ‘person’ shall apply to every human being from the beginning of the biological development of that human being”.
This ballot initiative is actually focused on contraception and probably loosely connected to the pill kills people that protested a while back. I just don’t think they’ve though it all the way through. By trying to tie life to the egg, or anything that constitutes the “beginning of biological development” they create a serious problem not just for women, but for EVERYONE.
Since sperm is also part of the “beginning” of the biological development of a human being, it stands to reason that they too would be covered, setting up a situation that would make any sexual action that didn’t result in a self-sustaining entity abortion.
What’s crazy is that even if a self-sustaining entity did come of a sexual act, there are millions of other sperm that do not end up becoming “self-sustaining”. Would those be considered aborted? Will wet dreams be considered abortion too?
I recognize that I’m going a tad farther than even the “personhood movement” people are, but it stands to reason that they’re trying to make sure that men in their state suffer from the most widespread mass case of blue balls ever.
In all seriousness, I understand that men don’t have abortions, but sperm, like eggs, are one of the building blocks that make the “beginning of the biological development of” a human being. It stands to reason that sperm could fall under the same definition as the eggs. Despite that, blinded by their aim, they plow forward, pushing one of the dumbest ideas in the US since new Coke.
On the flip side, while the anti-choice/anti-contraception advocates may believe that an egg is a chicken, a chicken is not an egg, and killing a chicken is just fine with them!
On Saturday I saw an article that noted Scott Roeder, the man suspected of the murder of Dr. Tiller in Kansas has been advocating for MORE KILLINGS.
You may remember that back in early June Roeder made a statement to the AP that, “many other similar events planned around the country as long as abortion remains legal.” Since then he has been communicating with other radical anti-choice advocates who advocate violence including Rev. Donald Spitz of “Army of God” and Linda Wolfe, who has been jailed some 50 times for interfering with clinics and is a friend of the person who shot Dr. Tiller in 1993.
Y’all are makin’ my head hurt more than the shenanigans at Memphis City Hall.
This has to stop people. Murder is not winning an argument; it’s killing a person. You want to win the argument, get a better argument, not a gun. People who try to win arguments with guns are either thugs or terrorists. People who use guns to further their argument have conceded that they have lost the argument. End of discussion.
I’ve been thinking, and reading a lot about the assassination or Dr. Tiller in Kansas last week and activities of Operation Rescue and other anti-choice groups. As a collective, their rhetoric, strategy and tactics are nothing new. They’ve been doing this for a long time. The tenor of their rhetoric is, perhaps, the only real change, and when it changes is not only interesting, but telling.
This weekend, anti-choice groups made a tactical choice that, probably inadvertently, exposed what is, at least a side motivator, if not, the true call behind their movement. The Pill Kills protests that were planned across the nation, sought to motivate people to lash out against a universally accepted medical treatment. The protesters claim that the pill “kills unborn babies”. The pill may provide birth control, but it also normalizes women’s monthly cycles, among other things beyond just limiting the possibility of a fertilized egg becoming a fetus. It’s as if these people believe that any egg that gets by, fertilized or not, is a life that has been lost. By this standard, nearly every male in the WORLD is guilty of genocide on a scale that is unimaginable.
In taking this protest forward, on the day Dr. Tiller was laid to rest, the anti-choice crowd has exposed what their real agenda is. They’re not only against abortion, but just about any kind of access to reproductive healthcare for women, period. Abortion is just the hot button issue to get the foot soldiers activated. Abortion is the motivating factor, to pull on the faith and emotions of people who may genuinely disagree with abortion, but have not been fully radicalized.
The reality of the situation is that there is no such thing as an “abortion clinic”. There are doctors who perform abortions as one in a long list of procedures that include normal OB/GYN exams and family planning and counseling. The notion that everyone who walked into Dr. Tiller’s clinic was there to get an abortion is a flight of fancy that even the anti-choice crowd should scoff at. But still, members of anti-choice groups protest these clinics, in the hope that they can deter someone, anyone, from patronizing a doctor that performs a perfectly legal procedure, just because they don’t like it. Ultimately, this action results in women being denied access to critical healthcare services.
And that’s where this whole strategy gets turned upside down. If groups like “Operation Rescue” really gave a damn about unborn babies, they would be driving poor expectant mothers to clinics for pre-natal care, rather than standing in front of clinics trying to dissuade patients from taking care of their reproductive health, and ultimately, their unborn children. For that matter, they would continue to provide support to these mothers and their children after the child is born.
Nope, the anti-choice movement doesn’t really give a damn about the expectant mothers, their unborn children, or the children after they’re born. The movement’s only interest is building a religio-political organization wrapped in an opposition to abortion, but grounded in the idea that faith, specifically THEIR faith, should be the law of the land, Constitution be damned.
Perhaps this is why the organization formerly known as “Operation Rescue West”, which is now in control of the national organization based in Kansas, lost it’s non-profit status as a ministry in 2006 for organizing politically against the Kerry campaign in 2004. Despite this political activity, Operation Rescue is not found in the FEC Disclosure database, nor is their former organization “Youth Ministries Inc.”. Their funding sources are, to my knowledge, undisclosed anywhere despite their overt political activities.
After the 1993 assassination of Dr. David Gunn by Michael Griffin (whose family was shielded from the media pro bono by Joe Scarborough), the Clinton Administration passed and signed the “”FACE Law”. The “Freedom of access to clinic entrances” law was designed to protect clinics and their patients from the kind of intimidation, vandalism, and violence that had become the more frequent in the early 90’s.
In July of 1994, Operation Rescue and other organizations came to Little Rock, the home of President Clinton, to protest the new law. Only 60 anti-choice protesters showed up, despite former Operation Rescue head Randall Terry’s prediction of 300, and thirty were arrested in one day for violating the FACE law.
Since Clinton left office, violent actions against abortion providers seemed to decline. Christina Page at Huffington Post has an interesting theory that I tend to subscribe to about why this may have been the case. Still, as mentioned in the article, in the last year of the Bush Administration there were just 396 reported harassing calls to clinics. Since the inauguration there have been some 1400. This is not because of increased interest, but as Ms. Page suggests,
…like terrorist sleeper cells, these extremists have now been set in motion. Indeed the evidence is already there. The chatter, the threats, the hate-filled rhetoric are abundant.
Back in 1994, at the Little Rock action of Operation Rescue, I was among a large group of pro-choice Arkansans who stood to “defend the clinics” against the actions of Operation Rescue. I saw and heard the more radical elements of the movement first hand, and can attest that, at least at the time, the radicalization of rhetoric used by anti-choice protesters was not only not discouraged, it was encouraged with great fervor by the leaders of the action at the time.
Individuals in the anti-Choice movement has been committing acts of vandalism and violence for decades. As detailed on Rachel Maddow’s show Monday, there has been much open discussion over the years regarding what is, or is not, fair game in the tactics of the anti-choice movement. With that in mind, the following clip is a must see.
As they mention in the interview above, accused killer Scott Roeder says there is more violence to come. Roeder’s statement is chilling, but what’s stunning is the admission in the interview above that the anti-choice movement has actually discussed the potential impact of violence in such a detached manner as if violence were some kind of political maneuver, rather than the taking of a life….something they claim to oppose.
But the real key is what Mr. Shaeffer eluded to at the end of the interview. The anti-choice movement is duty bound to report those who cross the line between protest and aggressive acts if they are serious about their claims that They Abhor Vigilantism. Until this happens, they can claim that they hold life in the highest regard, but their inaction on these acts of violence and vandalism serve as tacit approval that not only makes them complicit, but accomplices.
So the question remains, “If Someone Did, Would it Help the Movement?”. Well, someone HAS DONE IT, and more than once. The anti-choice movement can disavow and disown the actions of individuals all they want, but until they do SOMETHING to prove that they are not only against such violence in spirit and word, but also in action, either by counseling these known individuals, or reporting them to the police, the blood of these victims is on their hands.
Fighting What the Fight is Really About or The Barbarism of Subterfuge
This is part 2 of a 3 part post. Part 1 can be found here
What about SJR127? The truth is, SJR127 is a Trojan horse, being rolled into the state constitution that would allow the state to make a determination on your right to privacy. Despite the emotionally charged debate that’s been going on since long before Roe Vs. Wade, a right to privacy, not abortion, is the foundation upon which that case was decided. Supporters of SJR127 want to limit your right to privacy, whether they realize it or not.
That’s right, one of the cornerstones of the conservative movement, a movement grounded in the idea of personal liberty and responsibility supports legislation that, once enacted, would limit your right to privacy, thus infringing on your liberty. Ironic isn’t it?
Liberty is defined as …the state of being free within society from oppressive restrictions imposed by authority on one’s way of life, behavior, or political views.While the purest ideas of liberty may not be possible in a world of societal norms, due process, …the principle that the government must respect all of the legal rights that are owed to a person according to the law of the land… the idea that is the core of the Roe v. Wade decision, not just abortion, is the thing that will suffer under the implementation of this state constitutional amendment as well as availability of abortion, should it pass.
For me, this whole thing is not about the emotional arguments fronted on the left or the right about “killing babies” or “choice”, it’s about whether or not “liberty” is truly endowed by our Creator, as set forth in the Declaration of Independence, the intellectual cornerstone of our Republic. The act of barbarism is the attack on one’s right to privacy in medical affairs, as determined by over 200 years of case law and the 14th Amendment. The act of barbarism is forcing someone to make a choice based one someone else’s perception of values, while clearly denying the right to privacy and due process based on a “feeling” of what should be done rather than reality.
The truth is, most of the proponents of SJR127 are not as “Pro-Life” as they claim to be, they are anti-choice. They don’t want you to have any say in your life. They are less concerned about your liberty than their drive and desire to restrict it. They want to regulate your body, mind and spirit in a way that harkens back to “serfdom”, and SJR127 is a step in that direction. I can respect someone who is “Pro-Life” but also votes for legislation to help people through their struggles by supporting contraception, education, jobs and affordable healthcare, but the people that put SJR127 up aren’t those people. They don’t care about you once your born, and if you have a problem, or are living in poverty, or don’t have access to education or employment opportunity, from their perspective, it’s probably something you did.
We’ve got some time on this before it becomes law. If we want to defeat this, electing more Democrats may help, but the biggest thing we have to do is we have to get organized, which is the topic of the next post.
Annoying aside…Finally, just a bit of reality on the emotional side of the issue. First, the notion that women use abortion as birth control is crap. I have several friends who, for one reason or another have had abortions. All of them carry the weight of the decision with them years beyond the actual procedure. These women didn’t have abortions because they didn’t want babies, but for a litany of reasons that are too numerous to name. Telling these women that their decision to terminate the pregnancy is a “second chance at birth control” or that they’re “baby killers” is vile disgusting, and the people who spout this filth should be ashamed. You can oppose abortion without engaging in this kind of over-the-top rhetoric, but I imagine that since you are left to rely solely on an emotionally explosive argument, then you have no logical argument to give.
Further, if you want to reduce the number of abortions then support something other than tying off the tip and praying nothing slips through. Education, contraception, and readily available healthcare are all solutions to reducing abortion. Acting like sex shouldn’t happen except under certain circumstances is denial. Accept responsibility for your position and support programs to limit unwanted pregnancies instead of trying to apply some outmoded code on a group of people who do not share your views. You’ll win more people over that way, honest.
Secondly, in February 2007 a child was born after just 22 weeks of gestation. This is almost exactly the mid point of the 2nd-trimester, or 8 weeks AFTER the first trimester (1st 14 weeks), which is the time frame in which an abortion, under normal circumstances may be performed. (Source) While it is a modern miracle that this child was able to live just barely halfway through the pregnancy, there is no indication that a younger fetus would be able to withstand the shock of such a procedure. Abortion is not murder because murder assumes that you are “alive”. Life is the the period between the birth and death of a living thing, esp. a human being. If you have not been born you cannot die, or be murdered, simple as that.
The next post is the mother lode…time to organize folks.