WBEZ | abortion http://www.wbez.org/tags/abortion Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Aborted baby flag removal sparks debate at DePaul University http://www.wbez.org/blogs/nico-lang/2013-01/aborted-baby-flag-removal-sparks-debate-depaul-university-105199 <p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/southie3.jpg" title="" /></div><div>Tuesday, January 22 marked the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the landmark court decision on abortion and women&rsquo;s sexual health, but at DePaul University, that day will be remembered very differently.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>In the university&#39;s quad, the conservative student group Young Americans for Freedom erected a pro-life memorial to their cited 54 million fetuses aborted in the decades since Roe&#39;s passage. To do so, the students hung pink and blue flags in the quad as a form of public protest. To counterprotest, another group of pro-choice students took the flags down, distributing them in garbage cans across campus.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>According to a source close to the pro-choice protestors, they thought it was the most peaceful way to respond. Some students planned on writing affirming messages on the flags and returning them to their previous positions, as a reminder that this issue isn&rsquo;t just about babies, it&rsquo;s about women&rsquo;s rights. They hoped that doing so would send a message to pro-life students on campus and start a dialogue at a school that often ignores issues of sexual health. No one expected it would go as far as it did. No one thought it would mean they might not graduate.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The problem began when an <a href="http://radio.foxnews.com/toddstarnes/top-stories/pro-life-display-destroyed-by-vandals-at-catholic-university.html">article</a> from Fox News, the Pied Piper of American conservatism, threw ideological gasoline all over the conflict, branding the pro-choice students as &ldquo;<a href="http://www.christianpost.com/news/vandals-destroy-pro-life-display-at-depaul-university-conservatives-say-intolerance-growing-88825/">vandals</a>&rdquo; and Young Americans for Freedom as heroes of the GOP and warriors of free speech. Fox writer Todd Starnes&mdash;who comes personally endorsed by Sarah Palin and Sean Hannity&mdash;used the conflict as a way to bash the pro-choice students as being bigots. Other articles continue to refer to the students as &ldquo;leftists&rdquo; and &ldquo;radicals&rdquo; (or sometimes <a href="http://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2013/01/radical-leftists-trash-a-pro-life-display-at-depaul-university/">both</a>!) and the act as a &ldquo;<a href="http://www.lifenews.com/2013/01/23/activists-trash-depaul-university-memorial-for-aborted-babies/">trashing</a>&rdquo; of students&#39; rights.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>To further this indictiment, Fox spoke to Kristopher Del Campo, the DePaul chairman for Young Americans for Freedom. Del Campo said, &ldquo;It is a sad thing to see that liberal minded students aren&rsquo;t more tolerant, and don&rsquo;t respect the views of those who respect the lives of the unborn. It&rsquo;s really discouraging and I&rsquo;m saddened by that.&rdquo;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>In a follow-up <a href="http://www.depauliaonline.com/news/flags-under-fire-pro-life-display-disposed-of-under-suspicious-circumstances-1.2976795#.UQnyN2f3GWZ">article</a> in the DePaulia, the university&rsquo;s student-run newspaper, Del Campo went much further, referring to the flags&rsquo; removal as an &ldquo;act of hate.&rdquo; (He also says that liberals are more likely to be the perpetrators of hate crimes.)</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Despite an apology from the university&rsquo;s Dean of Students, Art Munin, Del Campo advocated that the university go further, calling for expulsion for all the students involved.&nbsp; Del Campo told the DePaulia that YAF has surveillance footage of the students responsible and that they will show that alleged footage to the police. In the meantime, Del Campo stated that he like to see DePaul take responsibility in hunting down those responsible: &ldquo;If you really want to find these students, put out pictures&hellip;Let other students see it and identify students.&rdquo;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Del Campo&rsquo;s advocacy for a student witch hunt isn&rsquo;t the first time that the school&rsquo;s faced free speech issues at DePaul, as a &ldquo;satirical&rdquo; Affirmative Action Bake Sale in 2006 highlighted the extreme divisions between conservative and liberal students on the nation&rsquo;s largest Catholic campus.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>One of the pro-choice students involved in the incident, who asked not to be identified (and will be referred to as &ldquo;X&quot;), stated that incidents like these are endemic of a divided campus, an ongoing problem that the university has failed to holistically tackle. When X started at the university in 2009, students put up <a href="http://www.depauliaonline.com/news/university-groups-work-to-promote-healthy-religious-climate-1.2155312">swastikas</a> in Corcoran Hall, a residence building at DePaul, and in some of the other dorms. In 2011, another <a href="http://www.depauliaonline.com/news/university-groups-work-to-promote-healthy-religious-climate-1.2155312#.UQlQEmf3GWY">incident</a> arose when a student began to shout out anti-Semitic and anti-Muslim slurs in the student center.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>According to X, the pro-choice students involved didn&rsquo;t mean to &ldquo;fuel this fire&rdquo; at DePaul. This isn&#39;t what anyone wanted. They didn&#39;t even know that Young Americans for Freedom existed.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Because pro-choice groups are informally banned on campus, X&mdash;like many students I spoke with&mdash;assumed that pro-life groups would not be allowed to operate either, due to the university&rsquo;s strict procedures on sexually charged material and student organizations. Per school policy, student organizations aren&rsquo;t allowed to distribute condoms, and sex ed is heavily censored.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Currently, the university offers a Sexual Health and Violence Prevention center (that many students don&#39;t even know exists) and a undergraduate group called the Student Health Advocates. However, it&#39;s hard for these groups to be effective on a campus that won&#39;t allow them to hold public demonstrations on Safe Sex 101&mdash;and give students the educational resources they need. Because of their strained relationship with sex, DePaul University <a href="http://www.depauliaonline.com/news/trojan-ranks-depaul-most-sexually-unhealthy-university-1.2685719#.UQby2Gf3GWY">claimed</a> the title of &ldquo;Most Sexually Unhealthy University&rdquo; in 2011.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The DePaul administration claims that the university&rsquo;s Catholic affiliation precludes amending these policies, even though other religious institutions (like Siena) allow for the distribution of condoms on campus.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>However, X believes that the strict adherence to Catholic doctrine in the school&rsquo;s sexual policies is a strange double standard, as the university allows LGBTQ groups to operate very publicly on campus and has been a champion of queer student visibility. In addition to an LGBTQ studies department, the school boasts three active queer student groups and allows them to throw yearly drag shows, which are a tentpole of the spring quarter. The 2011 show even took place in the DePaul Atrium, the common space of the school&#39;s student center.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Because the university&#39;s LGBTQ leadership has often been stereotyped as male (which was also an issue when I was a DePaul undergraduate), X remarked that queer visibility has been easier for DePaul administration to swallow.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>As a student heavily involved in both LGBTQ and feminist organizing at DePaul, X stated that feminists on campus are &quot;treated differently because they have vaginas.&quot; This creates a culture where some female students feel unsafe, which include those students involved in last Tuesday&#39;s incident. X put it bluntly: &quot;When you step on this campus, it feels like you <em>don&#39;t</em> have a choice.&quot;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Because of this gender gap, the student worried that DePaul is going to use the flag removal to further marginalize the school&#39;s feminist and pro-choice communities. When X was initially questioned about the event, the student told me that administrators were already looking for links to feminist groups and leaders on campus. They were searching for a target. Currently, the university is seeking possible expulsion for anyone who was involved in the flag removal.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Tracey Harkins, a senior DePaul student in Women and Gender Studies, agreed that gender inequality on campus is a huge problem and said that DePaul should show the same progressive stance to sexuality that they have demonstrated on queer issues. Instead of further silencing women&rsquo;s voices on campus and scapegoating them for the university&#39;s problems, the university should use this as an opportunity to start a conversation on sexual health, a dialogue that should have taken place a long time ago.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>According to Harkins, the conflict &ldquo;speaks to a real issue at DePaul,&rdquo; causing her to &ldquo;question how DePaul handles a range of women-related issues.&rdquo; Harkins cited this incident as yet another failure from the university in regards to its female population, as the school has yet to take action against sexual assaults that occurred on campus last fall. For Harkins, this is representative an <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/nico-lang/sexual-assault-awareness_b_1427525.html">ongoing problem</a> at &ldquo;campuses across the country,&rdquo; where women are &ldquo;made to feel devalued&rdquo; by administrations that don&rsquo;t take their sexual health seriously. She argued that &ldquo;women cannot feel safe at an institutional level if they are considered unequal.&rdquo;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>In response to DePaul&#39;s sex problems, Harkins is working with a team of student organizers on &ldquo;Say Yes to Consent,&rdquo; which hopes to change the culture of sex at DePaul and on Chicago&rsquo;s campuses. With student members from universities across the city&mdash;including the University of Illinois at Chicago, Columbia College and Northwestern University&mdash;the group hopes pressure university administrators to include policies educating students on sexual assault, consent and women&#39;s health, rather than sweeping these issues under the rug.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>As statistics show that 1<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/09/06/one-in-four-women-will-be_n_706513.html"> in 4</a> women will be sexually assaulted before graduating college, Harkins feels the best way to commemorate Roe v. Wade is to continue the fight for greater awareness: &ldquo;We&rsquo;ve come a long way in the past 40 years, but our work is far from over.&rdquo;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><em>Nico Lang blogs about LGBTQ life in Chicago for WBEZ.org. Follow Nico on Twitter <a href="http://www.twitter.com/Nico_Lang" target="_hplink">@Nico_Lang</a> or on <a href="http://www.facebook.com/NicoRLang" target="_hplink">Facebook</a>.</em></div></p> Tue, 29 Jan 2013 05:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/nico-lang/2013-01/aborted-baby-flag-removal-sparks-debate-depaul-university-105199 Mourdock and the meaning of 'moderate' http://www.wbez.org/blogs/achy-obejas/2012-10/mourdock-and-meaning-moderate-103410 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/RS6602_AP625487735492-scr.jpg" style="float: right; height: 450px; width: 300px; " title="Indiana GOP U.S. Senate candidate Richard Mourdock (AP)" /></div><p>The whole world now knows that Indiana GOP U.S. Senate candidate Richard Mourdock said <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/decision2012/mourdock-rape-comment-adds-to-election-year-furor-over-social-issues/2012/10/24/efa6a530-1e05-11e2-b647-bb1668e64058_story.html?tid=pm_pop">he believes</a>&nbsp;&ldquo;that even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen.&rdquo;</p><p>In other words, God has a plan, and it involves that rapist fathering a kid. Don&rsquo;t doubt or question it because, damn it all to hell, it&rsquo;s God&rsquo;s plan.<br /><br />Mourdock opposes abortion with a single exception: cases where the life of the mother is at stake.<br /><br />The kicker? The Democratic candidate, Rep. Joe Donnelly, took a <a href="http://www.wishtv.com/dpp/news/politics/richard-mourdock-joe-donnelly-spend-day-dealing-with-rape-abortion-comment">more &ldquo;moderate&rdquo; stance</a>, saying that his position allows for abortion in the case of rape, incest or the life of the mother.<br /><br />That&rsquo;s a hell of a choice Hoosiers have.<br /><br />My question is: When did these three exceptions &mdash; the holy trinity, if you will &mdash; become a &ldquo;moderate&rdquo; stance on abortion rights? Exceptions for rape, incest and the woman&rsquo;s very life are not actually much of a choice.<br /><br />Back when I was a teenager and more readily in need of safe and legal abortion for myself and my friends than I am now, that position meant you were anti-abortion.<br /><br />I&rsquo;m not actually arguing against religious conviction. I&rsquo;m pro-choice but I totally follow the reasoning that if you believe life begins at conception and anything after that is murder, then the only logical conclusion is that exceptions can&rsquo;t be made.<br /><br />But let&rsquo;s call that what it is: If there&rsquo;s no negotiating, if there&rsquo;s no middle ground, that&rsquo;s an extreme position.<br /><br />Have Republican and religious extremists convinced us that allowing a birthing mother to live if the choice is between her and her unborn child is actually an exception, a kindness?<br /><br />Have these words &mdash; rape and incest &mdash; lost their power? Did we forget what these words actually mean?<br /><br />This is what we&rsquo;re talking about when we talk about abortion without exceptions:<br /><br />If you&rsquo;re a woman and get pregnant because a man forced you to have sex, which is to say, if you get pregnant as a result of sex you did not consent to (and was traumatic), then <em>you have to give birth to your rapist&rsquo;s child, whether you want to or not</em>.<br /><br />If you&rsquo;re a woman and get pregnant because your father/brother/grandfather/uncle/cousin/stepfather/etc. raped you (see above), then <em>you have to give birth to your father&rsquo;s/brother&rsquo;s/grandfather&rsquo;s/uncle&rsquo;s/cousin&rsquo;s/stepfather&rsquo;s, etc., child, whether you want to or not.</em><br /><br />Mitt Romney&rsquo;s own position on abortion in this election cycle allows exceptions in the cases of rape, incest and the life of the mother. (Paul Ryan disagrees, in line with his faith and the GOP party platform: no abortions, no exceptions.)<br /><br />Support for these lousy exceptions has allowed Romney to step back from extreme GOP candidates like <a href="http://www.salon.com/2012/10/23/todd_akins_militia_ties_exposed/">Todd Akin</a>, who doesn&rsquo;t understand biology, and our own <a href="http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2012/10/19/tea-party-illinois-rep-joe-walsh-one-ups-akin-s-legitimate-rape.html">Joe Walsh</a>, who thinks pregnancy is risk-free.<br /><br />But, for some reason, Romney isn&rsquo;t stepping back from Mourdock. Of all of the GOP candidates running for election, Mourdock is the only one for whom Romney has taped <a href="http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/video/mitt-romney-supported-richard-mourdock-political-ad-17552447">a personal campaign ad</a>, which has already run in Indiana more than 100 times.<br /><br />The Romney campaign said Wednesday that he <a href="http://2012.talkingpointsmemo.com/2012/10/richard-mourdock-john-mccain.php?ref=fpa">didn&rsquo;t agree with Mourdock&rsquo;s views </a>on abortion, but the television spot (which was taped long before Mourdock opened his mouth) is still running in Indiana.<br /><br />That&rsquo;s <em>moderate</em> Mitt.</p></p> Thu, 25 Oct 2012 09:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/achy-obejas/2012-10/mourdock-and-meaning-moderate-103410 Illinois is the nation's latest abortion battleground http://www.wbez.org/blogs/marcus-gilmer/2012-10/illinois-nations-latest-abortion-battleground-102814 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/abortion_protest.jpg" title="Anti-choice protesters set up a protest across the street from a Northwest Side family planning clinic (Photo by Marcus Gilmer/WBEZ)" /></p><div class="image-insert-image "><p><strong>Lead story: </strong>Abortion took center stage at times during this election, and thanks in no small part to <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/marcus-gilmer/2012-08/rep-todd-akins-ridiculous-legitimate-rape-comments-101812">the wrong-headed words</a> of U.S. Senate candidate Todd Akin, it seems a new battleground for the debate has emerged over the past few weeks: Illinois.&nbsp;Two weeks ago, after 17 years of skirmishes and injunctions, the state&rsquo;s controversial abortion notification law &mdash; requiring patients 17 years old or younger to notify their parents before having an abortion &nbsp;&mdash;&nbsp;<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/20/illinois-abortion-notific_n_1901354.html">went before the Illinois state supreme court</a>. Then, late last week, an&nbsp;<a href="http://www.sfgate.com/news/article/Ill-court-backs-pharmacists-on-morning-after-pill-3886082.php">Illinois appellate court ruled</a>&nbsp;that two pharmacists could refuse to fill prescriptions for the Morning-After pill if it interfered with their &ldquo;conscientious convictions,&rdquo; saying the pair were protected by the Illinois Health Care Right of Conscience Act. (<a href="http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2012/09/22/14026790-court-illinois-cant-force-pharmacists-to-give-morning-after-pill?lite">An executive order</a>&nbsp;signed in 2005 by former Gov. Rod Blagojevich had forced pharmacists to fill all prescriptions.)</p><p>It was against this backdrop that anti-abortion protesters gathered Monday night at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Aurora <a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/ct-met-planned-parenthood-vigil-20121002,0,1759244.story">for a prayer vigil</a> to mark the five-year anniversary of the clinic&rsquo;s opening. The clinic had been a lightning rod of controversy when it opened and the vigil falls during anti-choice protesters &ldquo;<a href="http://40daysforlife.com/index.cfm">40 Days For Life</a>&rdquo; campaign.&nbsp;Though it&#39;s no question which way the state will go in the upcoming election, the schism between liberal, urban Chicago and more conservative downstate areas will continue to widen over this issue well after the election, setting the groundwork for some interesting local elections down the line.</p><strong>Also: </strong>Monday was a big night for the Bears: The team came away with <a href="http://www.chicagobears.com/gameday/game/2012/regular4/">a 34-18 victory</a> over the Dallas Cowboys, playing in a stadium with so many Bears fans it sometimes felt like a home game. The Bears defense had yet another stout performance, forcing five Cowboys interceptions, two of which were returned for touchdowns (by Charles Tillman and Lance Briggs). While the offense took a while to get going, it clicked well when it did with Jay Cutler throwing for 275 yards (138 of those to Brandon Marshall) and two touchdowns. At 3-1, the Bears remain tied with the Vikings atop the NFC North division and head to Jacksonville this weekend for their next game.&nbsp;<br /><p><br /><strong>Announced: </strong><a href="http://www.suntimes.com/entertainment/15492582-421/macarthur-foundation-bestows-23-genius-grants.html">The 23 new MacArthur Foundation &quot;genius&quot; grant recipients</a>,&nbsp;including Northwestern University historian Dylan C. Penningroth, who is researching pre-Civil War slaves who owned land. Other recipients include Claire Chase, flutist and co-founder of the International Contemporary Ensemble in Chicago, Punch Brothers mandolin player extraordinaire Chris Thile and acclaimed writer Junot Diaz.</p><p><br /><strong>Elsewhere</strong></p><ul><li>A Louisiana man became the nation&rsquo;s 300<sup>th</sup> death row prisoner <a href="http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-dna-evidence-20121001,0,2977942.story">exonerated by DNA evidence</a>.</li><li>Todd &ldquo;legitimate rape&rdquo; Akin <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/01/todd-akin-women-pay_n_1928534.html">said he didn&rsquo;t vote for the Ledbetter Bill</a> to secure equal pay for women because, well, freedom.</li><li>The Supreme Court is back in session and is&nbsp;<a href="http://www.npr.org/2012/10/01/162110683/high-court-takes-up-human-rights-on-first-day-back">taking up a human rights case</a> involving Nigerians seeking asylum.</li><li>Seth MacFarlane <a href="http://www.avclub.com/articles/seth-macfarlane-is-hosting-the-oscars,85895/">has been tapped to host</a> the 2013 Academy Awards, which should keep the censors busy (hopefully, anyway).</li><li>So an Iranian news agency <a href="http://thelede.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/09/30/iranian-news-agency-claims-onion-report-it-ran-by-mistake-is-essentially-true/?partner=rss&amp;emc=rss&amp;smid=tw-nytimes">ripped off a story from <em>The Onion</em></a>, claimed it was true, then apologized for plagiarism yet still sorta claims it&rsquo;s true. Which makes total sense because, you know, Iran.</li></ul><p><br /><strong>Looking Ahead</strong></p><ul><li>There&rsquo;s <a href="http://blogs.suntimes.com/politics/2012/10/wls-tv_gm_anti-duckworth_ad_still_under_review.html">confusion over whether or not</a> WLS refused to air an anti-Duckworth ad or deemed it unsuitable for airing.</li><li>Now even IDOT <a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/chi-idot-asks-for-publics-input-to-map-future-road-projects-20121001,0,435718.story">is asking for public feedback</a> to help them make future plans.</li><li>Chicago Media Baron&trade; Robert Feder <a href="http://timeoutchicago.com/arts-culture/chicago-media-blog/15740946/wls-host-don-wade-comes-out-of-surgery-%E2%80%98really-well">has the latest on WLS-AM host Don Wade</a>, who is recovering from surgery to remove a growth from his brain.</li><li>There are <a href="http://www.chicagobusiness.com/article/20120929/ISSUE01/309299973/tenants-flee-suburban-office-parks">a lot of empty offices</a> in suburban office parks.</li></ul><p><br /><strong>Sports</strong></p><ul><li>The White Sox were officially elimanted from the 2012 MLB playoffs Monday night courtesy of <a href="http://scores.espn.go.com/mlb/recap?gameId=321001107">Detroit&#39;s win</a>, and thus completing the team&#39;s epic collapse.</li><li>Meanwhile, the Cubs <a href="http://scores.espn.go.com/mlb/recap?gameId=321001116&amp;teams=houston-astros-vs-chicago-cubs">hit the infamous 100-loss mark</a> for the first time in 46 years after losing to the Astros.</li><li>The Bulls have done the right thing and <a href="http://espn.go.com/chicago/nba/story/_/id/8449078/chicago-bulls-tom-thibodeau-agree-four-year-extension">re-upped with Coach Thibs</a> for four years.</li><li>Mayor Rahm Emanuel <a href="http://www.wbez.org/emanuel-mum-where-he-wants-depaul-basketball-team-move-back-city-102800">wants DePaul to play their basketball games</a> in the city proper again but isn&rsquo;t giving any specifics as to where he wants them to play.</li><li>Indianapolis Colts coach Chuck Pagano <a href="http://espn.go.com/nfl/story/_/id/8447831/indianapolis-colts-coach-chuck-pagano-leukemia">has been diagnosed with a treatable form of leukemia</a> and will take a leave of absence from the team.</li></ul><p><br /><strong>Finally</strong><br />Next time your kids ask you why the sky gets dark at night, you can give them a real answer other than what my parents told me, which was that Jesus turned off the sun so we could hide safely from the dragons. That&rsquo;s Alabama for you.</p></div><p style="text-align: center; "><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/gxJ4M7tyLRE" width="560"></iframe></p></p> Tue, 02 Oct 2012 09:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/marcus-gilmer/2012-10/illinois-nations-latest-abortion-battleground-102814 Akin connections to Ryan remain despite distancing by GOP http://www.wbez.org/blogs/achy-obejas/2012-08/akin-connections-ryan-remain-despite-distancing-gop-101838 <p><p>For all the outrage GOP presidential aspirant Mitt Romney has expressed over Missouri Republican candidate Todd Akin&rsquo;s comments about &ldquo;legitimate rape,&rdquo; he&rsquo;s probably a little glad Akin stuck his foot in it.<br /><br /><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/AP908050424389.jpg" style="height: 367px; width: 300px; float: left; " title="GOP VP candidate Paul Ryan and Missouri Rep. Todd Akin co-sponsored at least two extremist bills on women's health issues. (AP/file)" />Why? Because how else were Romney and the other GOP bigwigs going to command the spotlight in such a way as to create the impression that the Republican Party isn&rsquo;t really all that bad for women?<br /><br />First of all, Akin: &ldquo;From what I understand from doctors, pregnancy (from rape) is really rare. If it&rsquo;s legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut the whole thing down.&rdquo;<br /><br />Even Romney couldn&rsquo;t let that pass. &ldquo;Congressman&rsquo;s Akin comments on rape are insulting, inexcusable, and, frankly, wrong,&rdquo; <a href="http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/314452/romney-akins-inexcusable-comment-robert-costa">Romney said</a>. &ldquo;Like millions of other Americans, we found them to be offensive.&rdquo;<br /><br />(You&rsquo;ll notice the &ldquo;we&rdquo; there, implying his running mate, Congressman Paul Ryan, is with him on this too, and I&rsquo;ll get to that in a minute.)<br /><br />Romney, for all his waffling, has a history of supporting abortion exemptions in cases of rape, incest and to save the life of the mother, though he did <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2011/07/which-gop-candidate-worst-reproductive-rights">veto emergency contraception </a>to rape victims as Massachusetts governor. (Never mind the basic contradiction of insisting life begins at conception and then having exemptions. . . .)</p><p>Predictably, the Dems came down hard on Akin; but on the GOP side it wasn&rsquo;t just Romney hammering the Missouri Republican.&nbsp;&quot;What [Akin] said is just flat wrong in addition to being wildly offensive to any victim of sexual abuse,&rdquo; said <a href="http://www.latimes.com/news/politics/la-pn-mcconnell-suggests-todd-akin-consider-his-options-20120820,0,5243455.story">Sen. Mitch McConnell</a>, the GOP minority leader.&nbsp;&ldquo;Although Rep. Akin has apologized, I believe he should take time with his family to consider whether this statement will prevent him from effectively representing our party in this critical election.&rdquo;</p><p>Asking Akin to step aside is about as harsh as it comes, right?<br /><br />But there was more: According to the <em>Houston Chronicle</em>, Texas Sen. John Cornyn, who heads the National Republican Senatorial Committee, <a href="http://www.chron.com/news/politics/article/Cornyn-urges-Akin-to-withdraw-from-Mo-race-3802337.php">threatened to withdraw financial support</a> unless Akin withdraws. Ditto Karl Rove.<br /><br />But don&rsquo;t be fooled. Next month the House is set to discuss <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/30/opinion/republicans-vs-women.html?_r=2&amp;src=me&amp;ref=general">a Republican spending plan </a>that, according to the <em>New York Times,</em>&nbsp;&quot;would bar Planned Parenthood&rsquo;s network of clinics, which serve millions of women across the country, from receiving any federal money unless the health group agreed to no longer offer abortion services for which it uses no federal dollars &mdash; a patently unconstitutional provision. It would also eliminate financing for Title X, the effective federal family-planning program for low-income women that provides birth control, breast and cervical cancer screenings, and testing for sexually-transmitted diseases. Without this program, some women would die, and unintended pregnancies would rise, resulting in some 400,000 more abortions a year and increases in Medicaid-related costs, according to the Guttmacher Institute, a leading authority on reproductive health.&rdquo;<br /><br />Take note that Romney, in his condemnation of Akin&rsquo;s words, didn&rsquo;t touch the whole &ldquo;legitimate rape&rdquo; aspect. How could he? His running mate and Akin were co-sponsors of a bill that tried to redefine rape so that it required a violent component for an exemption to their wide-ranging <a href="http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/112/hr3/text">No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act</a> (introduced by none other than Chicago&rsquo;s own Democratic Congressman Dan Lipinski).<br /><br />The bill, which was passed by the House and stalled in the Senate, would ban federally funded abortions (again) and allow for &quot;conscience exemptions&quot; on the part of health providers. It would also prohibit tax benefits to pay for abortions, including tax exempt health savings accounts (HSAs), nor would the cost of an abortion count as a medical deduction either.<br /><br />The bill would allow exemptions <em>if the pregnancy endangers the life of the mother, or is the result of rape or incest</em>. But its original language suggested limitations: &quot;if the pregnancy occurred because the pregnant female was the subject of an act of <em>forcible</em> rape or, if a minor, an act of incest.&quot; (Meaning that statutory rape, for example, would not qualify unless it involved some sort of violence or threat.)<br /><br />Akin and would-be VP Ryan also co-sponsored yet another extremist bill, <a href="http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/112/hr212">The Human Life Act</a>, which declares that &quot;human life begins with fertilization, cloning, or its functional equivalent, at which time every human has all legal and constitutional attributes and privileges of personhood.&rdquo;<br /><br />What all those rights might be is a real mystery but <a href="http://paulryan.house.gov/news/documentsingle.aspx?DocumentID=207539">Ryan&rsquo;s own web page</a> waxes philosophically about his support of fetal personhood, so that, all of a sudden, his willingness to allow the killing of persons in utero as an exemption for victims of rape or incest is a <em>huge</em> flip.</p><div class="image-insert-image ">Whether Ryan had an abrupt and profound change of heart is considerably less likely than that he understands signing on to rape and incest exemptions makes him &mdash; and his fellow Republicans &mdash; seem a lot less hostile, even somewhat reasonable, on choice and women&rsquo;s health issues than before Akin opened his big mouth.</div></p> Tue, 21 Aug 2012 10:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/achy-obejas/2012-08/akin-connections-ryan-remain-despite-distancing-gop-101838 In U.S., abortion debate predates Roe by decades http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-08-12/here-there-us-abortion-debate-predates-roe-decades-90072 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/7203440510_0bd5feabbd_z.jpg" title="While the demand for abortions in the U.S. is on the decline, the debate remains polarized and political. (Flickr/American Life League)" /></div><p><em>This episode of Worldview was originally broadcast on August 12, 2011. </em></p><p>Friday we conclude our <a href="http://wbez.org/herethere" target="_blank"><em>Here, There</em></a> series on abortion with a look at the debate in the United States.</p><p>Earlier in the week, we learned that abortion in France is framed in medical, rather than moral and political terms, that laws in Mexico vary by state and that Portuguese women often struggle to find doctors to perform the procedure.</p><p>Though certain parallels can be drawn between our debate and those in other countries, U.S. abortion politics stand out as particularly divisive. The extremes on both sides dominate the cultural conversation. Politicians, activists and the media rarely attempt to find a middle ground.</p><p>To make sense of how we got here, we talk to <a href="http://cwpp.pdx.edu/content/dr-melody-rose" target="_blank">Melody Rose</a>, author of <em><a href="http://www.cqpress.com/product/Safe-Legal-and-Unavailable-American.html" target="_blank">Safe, Legal and Unavailable? Abortion Politics in the United States</a>&nbsp;</em>and&nbsp;founder and director of the&nbsp;<a href="http://cwpp.pdx.edu/" target="_blank">Center for Women, Politics and Policy</a>&nbsp;at Portland State University. Rose takes us through the long and winding path of U.S. abortion, starting at least a century before <em>Roe v. Wade</em>.&nbsp;</p><p><strong>On the abortion debate&rsquo;s starting point in America:</strong></p><p>&quot;[In the mid-19th century] doctors led the charge for restricting access to abortions in part to take away the clients of their midwife competitors &mdash; who normally handled abortions. . . Many women in abortion practices were not very safe, so doctors also made a safety claim.&quot;</p><p><strong>On pro-life activism</strong>:</p><p>&quot;Most of the pro-life activism in the U.S. in the 20th century was driven by social conservatives from protestant ranks. We can certainly look to the Catholic Church around its policies, which became stricter in the 1960s, but most of the social movement organizations in this country that formed in prior to and in response to<em> Roe vs. Wade. . .&nbsp;</em>were Protestant based.&quot;</p><p><strong>Before <em>Roe v. Wade</em></strong>:</p><p>&quot;[The 1873 Comstock Act] essentially equated any form of reproductive health advertising with obscenity and made it illegal to pass any of that material through U.S. mail. Most women received a lot of their information about reproductive health decisions and fertility options through the old fashioned women&rsquo;s magazines. Comstock was very effective in limiting ads for abortion, which cut off a lot of access for women.&quot;</p><p>&quot;Abortion became inaccessible for women in this country. For some periods of that time we had rising birth rates, more self-aborting and access to illegal procedures, which was leaving a lot of women dead and physically damaged. These trends in the mid-20th century lead us to the women&rsquo;s movement in the 1960s.&quot;</p><p><strong>Leading up to <em>Roe v. Wade</em></strong>:</p><p>&quot;Doctors begin to agitate on behalf of liberalizing access to abortion because they frequently saw women desperately seeking ways to control their fertility in ways that wouldn&rsquo;t leave them badly, physically wounded. So doctors began the movement to policy change in the 1960s and the women&rsquo;s organizations followed suit.&quot;</p><p>&quot;By 1973 when <em>Roe v. Wade</em> was handed down by the Supreme Court, there had been an entire decade or two of activism from doctors and women&rsquo;s liberal organizations.&quot;</p><p><strong>On the landmark <em>Roe v. Wade </em>decision: </strong></p><p>&quot;In 1973, Justice Blackman spent some time researching abortion practices across the world and cultures when deciding this case. He found that people were most uncomfortable with ending a pregnancy past twelve weeks.&quot;</p><p>&quot;Blackman created the &#39;trimester system.&#39; The ruling set up a system that gave women the greatest right in the first trimester. Following that, the state&rsquo;s interest in the &#39;future citizen&#39; grows as the emerging fetus grows.&quot;</p><p><strong>Important points following <em>Roe v. Wade</em>:</strong></p><p>&quot;The <em>Webster v. Reproductive Services </em>ruling opened the doors to more pro-life policy. This case claimed that if a fetus has rights at the end of pregnancy, then it certainly does at the beginning. It gave a lot of hope to pro-life activism.&quot;</p><p>&quot;The 1992 case of <em>Planned Parenthood v. Casey</em> created the concept that states have the ability to restrict abortion so long as that restriction does not create an &#39;undue burden to the woman.&#39; And since then, we have been debating what an &#39;undue burden to a woman&#39; really means.&quot;&nbsp;</p><p><strong>On what we face today:</strong></p><p>&quot;It&rsquo;s critical to know this trend: The vast majority &mdash;&nbsp;about 90 percent &mdash; of counties in this nation have no abortion provider.&quot;</p><p>&quot;Abortions are going down in the U.S. A lot of it has to do with contraceptive policy which is pretty liberal and the U.S. has been successful in controlling unintended pregnancy, which has reduced the demand for abortion.&quot;</p></p> Fri, 20 Jul 2012 07:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-08-12/here-there-us-abortion-debate-predates-roe-decades-90072 Mexico City a progressive outlier in nation’s patchwork of abortion laws http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-08-09/here-there-catholic-church-big-player-patchwork-abortion-laws-mexico-and <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/RS6022_AP080813047679-scr.jpg" style="height: 414px; width: 620px; " title="To show their support of safe abortions, activists displayed 8,000 self portraits in downtown Mexico City. (AP/Alexandre Meneghini)" /></div><p><em>This episode of the Worldview was orginally broadcast on August 9, 2011. </em></p><p>Tuesday we continue our week-long look at abortion laws in other parts of the world. It&rsquo;s part of our occasional series <em><a href="http://wbez.org/herethere" target="_blank">Here, There</a></em>, where we look at how other cultures approach challenges we face at home.</p><p>Now we turn our eyes to Mexico, which, much like the U.S., has laws that vary from state to state. In 2008, Mexico City became the first &ndash; and so far only &ndash; place in the country to legalize voluntary abortion up to the 12th week of pregnancy. Like Washington, D.C., Mexico City does not belong to any state.&nbsp;</p><p>Not surprisingly, decriminalizing abortion was a controversial move in the strongly Catholic country. Fifty-three percent of Mexico&#39;s states are still advocating to impose stricter bans on abortion or criminalize it entirely.</p><p><strong>Tuesday on <em>Worldview</em>:&nbsp;</strong></p><p>To learn more, we talk to <a href="http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/faculty/ana-langer/" target="_blank">Ana Langer</a>, director of the <a href="http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/women-and-health-initiative/" target="_blank">Women and Health Initiative</a> at Harvard University&rsquo;s School of Public Health. She talks about the situation in Mexico and describes four Latin American countries that ban abortion under all circumstances, including rape and health of the mother: El Salvador, Nicaragua, Chile and Uruguay.</p><p><strong>On how the law became possible:</strong></p><p>&quot;A number of factors came together to make reform possible: A leftist government, which has been ruling the city since the late &lsquo;90s, almost 14 years now; a very, very active civil society with feminist groups playing an important role; and good information about the toll that unsafe abortion took on women in the capitol city and on women in the country in general in terms of morbidity and mortality.&quot;</p><p><strong>On the Supreme Court ratifying the law:</strong></p><p>&quot;The judges came to the conclusion that the law was constitutional. . . which came as a surprise to all of us. . . The Supreme Court is quite conservative.&quot;</p><p><strong>On the anti-abortion backlash prompted by the law: </strong></p><p>&quot;Usually what happens in the capitol city has a strong impact on the rest of the country. But in this case, that didn&rsquo;t happen.&nbsp; In fact, what happened was completely opposite to that. Since the law was approved, 17 out of 32 states &ndash; 53 percent &ndash; have now passed initiatives or reforms to ban abortion entirely.&quot;</p><p><strong>On the impact on access:</strong></p><p>&quot;A large number of women . . . travel to Mexico City to get abortions. The procedure is free for residents of Mexico City, but for those who travel they have to pay a fee, but the fee is very modest. . . In the states where abortion is banned, obviously, women with financial resources access abortion, which has always been the case. The poorer women have more difficulty in getting the procedure done at all.&quot;</p><p><strong>Has this changed the number of abortions?</strong></p><p>&quot;It&rsquo;s difficult to know the number of abortions performed before the law. . . there weren&rsquo;t any reliable statistics. But if we count legal abortions, the change was amazing &ndash; from a few dozen every year to. . . 52,000 by January [of 2011].&quot;</p><p><strong>On the political dimensions compared to the U.S.:</strong></p><p>&quot;In Mexico you don&rsquo;t see those people demonstrating outside of clinics. Never, ever has a provider been killed so far. . . People may pass judgment on women who seek abortions but it&rsquo;s not aggressive. . .The situation is not as polarized as in the U.S.&quot;&nbsp;</p></p> Tue, 17 Jul 2012 10:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-08-09/here-there-catholic-church-big-player-patchwork-abortion-laws-mexico-and 'Archaic, revolutionary': An OBGYN's complicated feelings on the pill http://www.wbez.org/blogs/onstagebackstage/2012-04/archaic-revolutionary-obgyns-complicated-feelings-pill-98544 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/6715866381_1bd934f369_z.jpg" style="float: right; width: 300px; height: 225px; " title="An original package of Ovral birth control pills. (Flickr/Benjamin Stone)">The terms pro-choice and pro-life are so common in our current political discourse that they barely need an explaination. But as the 2012 election cycle heats up, it seems the use of the word "choice" as the terminology of women's reproductive rights appears firmly planted in discussions about abortion only.</p><p>Dr. Crystal Goldsmith joins <em>The Paper Machete</em> this week to provide the history of a form of birth control so popular it got its own nickname, and argues that "choice doesn’t just mean 'abortion.' It means having options for contraception and support in obtaining those options."</p><p>Read an excerpt or listen:</p><p><em>"Every morning, as a doctor -- an OBGYN -- I get to go upstairs and I get to make my post-partum rounds and I check on all my patients who just had lovely little babies and I say the same thing to all of them: What can I get you for birth control?' And invariably there is some woman -- many women -- who say, 'Um, I think I'm just going to use the pill.' And this makes me want to gauge my eyes out.</em></p><p><em>And I look at her and I smile and I say, 'Okay, you just had your third C-section in three years, but I will </em>happily <em>write you that prescription for the pill...although there are some better options.'&nbsp;</em></p><p><em>It's true. As an OBGYN, hearing women say they want to use the pill is sometimes like hearing nails on a chalkboard.</em></p><p><em>The pill is archaic. It’s cumbersome. And women are notoriously bad at taking it.</em></p><p><em>And nonetheless, despite all that baggage, it's pretty darn revolutionary.</em>"</p><p><a href="http://thepapermacheteshow.com/" target="_blank">The Paper Machete</a>&nbsp;<em>is a weekly live magazine at the Horseshoe in North Center. It's always at 3 p.m., it's always on Saturday, and it's always free. Get all your</em>&nbsp;The Paper Machete Radio Magazine&nbsp;<em>needs filled&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wbez.org/tags/paper-machete" target="_blank">here</a>, or download the podcast from iTunes&nbsp;<a href="http://itunes.apple.com/podcast/the-paper-machete-radio-magazine/id450280345" target="_blank">here</a>.</em></p></p> Fri, 27 Apr 2012 05:37:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/onstagebackstage/2012-04/archaic-revolutionary-obgyns-complicated-feelings-pill-98544 Study finds global abortion rates no longer on the decline http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2012-02-24/study-finds-global-abortion-rates-no-longer-decline-96716 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/segment/photo/2012-February/2012-02-24/AP080131070528.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Some 22 percent of pregnancies end in abortion in the United States. That’s according to the Guttmacher Institute, an organization that studies women’s reproductive health.&nbsp; A <a href="http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736%2811%2961786-8/abstract#" target="_blank">study</a> published in <em>The Lancet</em> last month found that the world’s abortion rate, which had been on the decline, has stopped falling. <a href="http://www.guttmacher.org/media/experts/Sedgh.html" target="_blank">Gilda Sedgh</a>, the lead author of the study and a senior research associate at the Guttmacher Institute, discusses her findings.</p></p> Fri, 24 Feb 2012 19:11:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2012-02-24/study-finds-global-abortion-rates-no-longer-decline-96716 Illinois abortion rates at 37-year low http://www.wbez.org/story/illinois-abortion-rates-37-year-low-95833 <p><p>The <a href="http://www.idph.state.il.us/health/abortion/Abortion73-current.htm">number of abortions</a> in Illinois continues to drop. The Illinois Department of Public Health reports between 2009 and 2010, abortion rates decreased by nine percent.</p><p>Tom Schafer is with the agency and said he doesn't know why there are fewer procedures being done. He said his organization is in charge of collecting the numbers and not interpreting them.&nbsp;</p><p>"You will see these numbers spun in all sorts of different direction. Everybody has their own opinion on this issue. It's very controversial," Schafer said.</p><p>Advocates on both sides of the abortion debate say they're pleased with the drop in abortions, and both take credit for it. Ann Scheidler is vice president of the Pro-life Action League and said campaigns featuring women speaking about their abortion experiences are one reason for the drop. Carole Brite is president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Illinois and said increased availability of long-acting reversible contraceptives has made some of the difference.</p><p><a href="http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/17000.html">Population growth in Illinois</a> has continued to be well below the national average, and <a href="http://www.idph.state.il.us/health/bdmd/birth2.htm">state's birth rate</a> has been in overall decline for a decade.</p><p>In 2010, nearly 42,000 abortions were performed in Illinois. That's the lowest rate in 37 years.</p><p>This week marks the 39th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision.</p></p> Wed, 25 Jan 2012 20:32:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/illinois-abortion-rates-37-year-low-95833 Parents around the globe using modern technology to choose boys over girls http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2012-01-03/parents-around-globe-using-modern-technology-choose-boys-over-girls-9523 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/segment/photo/2012-January/2012-01-03/unnatural1.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>The selective termination of a pregnancy based on gender is on the rise globally.&nbsp; Science has made it easier than ever to detect the sex of a fetus and to determine whether to continue or end a pregnancy.&nbsp; The phenomenon is growing not only in countries like China and India, but also in places like Vietnam, Korea, Georgia and Albania.</p><p><a href="http://marahvistendahl.com/" target="_blank">Mara Hvistendahl</a> is the Beijing-based correspondent for <em><a href="http://www.sciencemag.org/" target="_blank">Science</a></em> magazine and author of <a href="http://www.publicaffairsbooks.com/publicaffairsbooks-cgi-bin/display?book=9781586488505" target="_blank"><em>Unnatural Selection: Choosing Boys Over Girls and the Consequences of a World Full of Men</em></a>. She tells <em>Worldview</em> why, as sex selection becomes more common and the world becomes increasingly male, we may face profound social upheaval down the road.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Tue, 03 Jan 2012 16:35:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2012-01-03/parents-around-globe-using-modern-technology-choose-boys-over-girls-9523