WBEZ | abortion http://www.wbez.org/tags/abortion Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en The Supreme Court's new term: here's what to watch http://www.wbez.org/news/supreme-courts-new-term-heres-what-watch-113172 <p><p style="text-align: justify;">The United States Supreme Court opens a new term Monday, and, as always, many of the most contentious issues facing the country &mdash; including abortion, birth control coverage, public employee unions, affirmative action in higher education, voter participation &mdash; are likely to be before the court.</p><p style="text-align: justify;">But there is a difference this term. Chief Justice John Roberts, despite his overall conservative record on the bench, has become a punching bag for candidates vying for the Republican presidential nomination.</p><p style="text-align: justify;"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/first%20three.JPG" style="height: 749px; width: 250px; margin-left: 10px; margin-right: 10px; float: right;" title="" />Presidential candidates have often criticized the court, pledging that they would appoint a different kind of justice. It&#39;s been more than a half century, though, since politicians have put a chief justice, by name, in the cross-hairs of criticism. What is puzzling about the Roberts critique is that the right hailed this George W. Bush appointee when he was named ten years ago, and Roberts has a consistently conservative record on most issues.</p><p style="text-align: justify;">He has voted with the court&#39;s conservatives to strike down most of the legal limits on campaign spending, opening election campaigns nationwide to a flood of new cash. He has consistently supported an individual&#39;s right to bear arms. He wrote the court&#39;s opinion in the 2013 case&nbsp;<em>Shelby County v. Holder</em>, which struck down the heart of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. He has consistently opposed any sort of racial preferences. Last term, he wrote the leading dissent when the court struck down state laws banning same-sex marriage.</p><p style="text-align: justify;">On only one flashpoint subject has he parted ways with some or all or the court&#39;s most conservative members: Obamacare.</p><p style="text-align: justify;">Yet, in the first two televised debates, Republican candidates took turns pummeling him, characterizing his nomination as a grave mistake, and suggesting that Roberts follows a political path rather than a legal one. If President George W. Bush had appointed someone more conservative than Roberts, said Sen. Ted Cruz, &quot;Obamacare would have been struck down three years ago, and the marriage laws of all fifty states would be on the books.&quot;</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/last2.JPG" style="text-align: justify; float: right; height: 495px; width: 250px; margin-left: 10px; margin-right: 10px;" title="" /></p><p style="text-align: justify;">Never mind that Roberts actually dissented in the same-sex marriage case.&nbsp;Jeb Bush, whose brother appointed Roberts, was less strident, but suggested nonetheless that Roberts was a &quot;politically expedient&quot; choice because he was a conservative whom the Senate could confirm. And Gov. Mike Huckabee said that he would require anyone he appointed to oppose all abortions and to see religious freedom as the first of all rights.</p><p style="text-align: justify;">Nobody thinks it will be easy for Chief Justice Roberts or the other justices to ignore such talk. But, the job of the chief justice is, among other things, to guard the independence of the judiciary and to preserve the court&#39;s institutional role as a dispassionate arbiter of the nation&#39;s laws and the Constitution.</p><p style="text-align: justify;">Notwithstanding the critique in the GOP debates, the Roberts court is most often a conservative court. But it is closely divided, and last term, for the first time in a decade, the court&#39;s liberals prevailed in the majority of 5-to-4 rulings. They did that by picking off not just Roberts and Justice Kennedy on Obamacare, and Kennedy on same-sex marriage, but other conservative justices in other cases.</p><p style="text-align: justify;">Most experts see those liberal victories, however, as a product of an idiosyncratic mix of cases. This term, the issues play much more to the strength of the court&#39;s conservatives. There are cases that could further cut back affirmative action in higher education, hobble or destroy public employee unions, and make it easier to limit voter participation in elections.</p><p style="text-align: justify;">There is a strong likelihood that the court will revisit the abortion question, as well as the issue of birth control coverage under Obamacare. &quot;The worry is, does what goes around come around,&quot; said Tom Goldstein, Supreme Court advocate and publisher of SCOTUSblog, &quot;and the writing on the wall sure seems to up there that has got the left scared &mdash; bejesus!&quot;</p><p style="text-align: justify;">The court, for instance, for the first time is being asked to determine the meaning of the one-person, one-vote principle in<em>&nbsp;Evenwel v. Abbott.</em> Does it mean that state legislative districts should have the same number of people, or the same number of eligible voters? Does the population count include children, non-citizen immigrants both in the country legally and illegally, and others like those with a criminal record who are thus ineligible to vote? Or does the population count include only those eligible to vote, or even just those registered to vote?</p><p style="text-align: justify;">Virtually all state and local governments currently draw districts based on total population. But if those challenging that practice prevail, it could dramatically shift political power away from districts with lots of children and immigrants, and it would likely give Republicans a big boost in state legislative elections.</p><p style="text-align: justify;">Also likely to come before the court are election cases involving strict voter ID laws and other provisions that make it more difficult to vote.</p><p style="text-align: justify;">The union case,&nbsp;<em>Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association</em>, could also have huge political consequences by crippling public employee unions and possibly all unions. The case pits the practical needs of collective bargaining against the First Amendment. The nation&#39;s labor laws, as the court has interpreted them since 1977, have struck the balance this way. Once a majority of public employees vote to be represented by a union, those who choose not to join do not have to pay for the union&#39;s political activities, but they do have to pay for contract negotiations that they benefit from.</p><p style="text-align: justify;">In short, they must pay their so-called &quot;fair share.&quot; Otherwise they would become free riders on the backs of those who do pay. In two recent cases, four justices, and possibly five, have suggested that requiring such fair share payments violates the nonmembers&#39; free speech rights.</p><p style="text-align: justify;">Waiting in the wings at the high court are two politically incendiary cases: one involving abortion, the other birth control under Obamacare. The abortion test case will likely come from Texas, where the Republican-controlled legislature enacted strict new regulations on abortion clinics, requiring them to make costly renovations, and limiting the ability of doctors to perform abortions. The state maintains that the new law was aimed at protecting the health and safety of women. Abortion providers, backed by major medical organizations, counter that the regulations are unnecessary and that the law is in fact aimed at making abortions difficult to obtain.</p><p style="text-align: justify;">The birth control case is a test of the Obamacare provision that exempts religious organizations from having to pay for birth control coverage in their health insurance plans. While churches, synagogues and the like are totally exempt, religiously affiliated organizations such as universities and hospitals are exempt only if they notify the federal government of their objections. That in turn triggers an independent mechanism to provide the coverage for those employees who want it. Some religious organizations contend that the notification requirement makes them complicit in facilitating birth control coverage and thus violates their religious principles.</p><p style="text-align: justify;">&mdash; <a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/itsallpolitics/2015/10/05/445885201/the-supreme-courts-new-term-heres-what-to-watch?ft=nprml&amp;f=445885201" target="_blank"><em>via NPR</em></a></p></p> Mon, 05 Oct 2015 09:47:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/supreme-courts-new-term-heres-what-watch-113172 Six clips of audio you should hear from the Planned Parenthood hearing http://www.wbez.org/news/six-clips-audio-you-should-hear-planned-parenthood-hearing-113115 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/AP_214836156310.jpg" alt="" /><p><div id="res444552195" previewtitle="Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America Inc. testifies during a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on Capitol Hill, on Tuesday."><div data-crop-type="" style="text-align: center;"><img alt="Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America Inc. testifies during a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on Capitol Hill, on Tuesday." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/09/29/gettyimages-490526590_custom-674767c7e3e0ce1a4b158fe4e97fc9e8c5cfdb11-s800-c85.jpg" style="height: 425px; width: 600px;" title="Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America Inc. testifies during a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on Capitol Hill, on Tuesday. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)" /></div></div><p>For the first time since&nbsp;<a href="http://www.npr.org/2015/08/27/435273173/planned-parenthood-says-experts-found-misleading-edits-in-videos">surreptitious videos</a>&nbsp;put Planned Parenthood in the spotlight again, the organization&#39;s president, Cecile Richards, faced the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.</p><p>The more than five-hour hearing was oftentimes contentious. Richards defended her organization on several fronts. She said the videos released by the anti-abortion group Center for Medical Progress were misleading and she said her organization does not receive federal funding for most abortions.</p><p>Republican lawmakers for their part questioned why Planned Parenthood should continue to receive federal funding if many Americans don&#39;t agree with abortions.</p><p>With that, here are six audio clips that will give you a sense of the hearing.</p><p><iframe align="left" frameborder="0" height="290" max-width="500px &amp;" scrolling="no" src="http://www.npr.org/player/embed/444528541/444533413"></iframe></p><p>In the fiercest confrontation of the hearing, Rep. Jim Jordan, a Republican from Ohio,<strong>&nbsp;sparred with Richards over the apology she issued after the first video was made public.</strong> If the videos were so misleading, he asked, then why did Richards apologize:</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><iframe align="right" frameborder="0" height="290" max-width="500px" scrolling="no" src="http://www.npr.org/player/embed/444528541/444534461"></iframe></p><p>Given an opportunity to speak by Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton, a Democrat from Washington, D.C., Richards offered this <strong>concise defense</strong> of Planned Parenthood:</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><iframe align="left" frameborder="0" height="290" max-width="500px" scrolling="no" src="http://www.npr.org/player/embed/444528541/444534559"></iframe>Rep. Gerald Connolly, a Democrat of Virginia,&nbsp;<strong>chastised his fellow lawmakers</strong>&nbsp;for what he said was disrespectful and misogynist behavior toward Richards:</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><iframe align="right" frameborder="0" height="290" max-width="500px" scrolling="no" src="http://www.npr.org/player/embed/444528541/444541195"></iframe></p><p>In a hearing dominated with questions about women&#39;s rights, Rep. John Duncan, a Republican of Tennessee, asked,&nbsp;<strong>&quot;Surely you don&#39;t expect us to be easier on you because you&#39;re a woman?&quot;</strong>&nbsp;Richards responded by conjuring her mother, the late Texas Gov. Ann Richards:&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><iframe align="left" frameborder="0" height="290" max-width="500px" scrolling="no" src="http://www.npr.org/player/embed/444528541/444546062"></iframe>Rep. Brenda Lawrence had<strong> the most impassioned soliloquy</strong> of the hearing. She began by pointing out that the men asking questions had no sensitivity to understand &quot;what a woman goes through with her healthcare.&quot;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><iframe align="right" frameborder="0" height="290" max-width="500px" scrolling="no" src="http://www.npr.org/player/embed/444528541/444550804"></iframe></p><p>This hearing was supposed to be about the testimony of Richards. But it really became a <strong>debate among lawmakers</strong>. This clip with Rep. Scott DesJarlais, a Republican from Tennessee, Richards and Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman, a Democrat from New Jersey, make that point:</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&mdash;<a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2015/09/29/444528541/6-clips-of-audio-you-should-hear-from-the-planned-parenthood-hearing?ft=nprml&amp;f=444528541" target="_blank"><em> via NPR&#39;s The Two-Way</em></a></p></p> Tue, 29 Sep 2015 16:10:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/six-clips-audio-you-should-hear-planned-parenthood-hearing-113115 Pope Francis announces a year of 'mercy' — and gives ordinary priests the power to forgive the sin of abortion http://www.wbez.org/programs/takeaway/2015-09-02/pope-francis-announces-year-mercy-%E2%80%94-and-gives-ordinary-priests-power <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/pope.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>It&#39;s part of the Jubilee Year of Mercy &mdash; a special year for Catholics to receive blessings and pardons from God &mdash; which begins on December 8. Every 25 or 50 years since the year 1300 the Catholic church has evoked a jubilee year, as&nbsp;<a href="http://ncronline.org/news/vatican/francis-announces-new-global-jubilee-holy-year-mercy" target="_blank">the National Catholic Reporter explains</a>.</p><p>In a&nbsp;<a href="http://press.vatican.va/content/salastampa/en/bollettino/pubblico/2015/09/01/0637/01386.html#ing" target="_blank">letter</a>&nbsp;published today, Francis said he understands that some people approach abortions with &quot;superficial awareness.&quot; He writes:</p><blockquote><p>&quot;I know that it is an existential and moral ordeal. I have met so many women who bear in their heart the scar of this agonizing and painful decision. What has happened is profoundly unjust; yet only understanding the truth of it can enable one not to lose hope. The forgiveness of God cannot be denied to one who has repented, especially when that person approaches the Sacrament of Confession with a sincere heart in order to obtain reconciliation with the Father. For this reason too, I have decided, notwithstanding anything to the contrary, to concede to all priests for the Jubilee Year the discretion to absolve of the sin of abortion those who have procured it and who, with contrite heart, seek forgiveness for it.&quot;</p></blockquote><p>Though the news has been welcomed by some, Rev.&nbsp;James Bretzke, a professor of moral theology at the Boston College School of Theology and Ministry, says the pope&rsquo;s announcement does not mark a doctrinal shift in the Church&#39;s teachings on abortion.</p><p>&ldquo;This is a big deal, but I don&rsquo;t think it should be misunderstood,&rdquo; Bretzke says. &ldquo;He is not saying that abortion is no longer a sin. What he&rsquo;s saying is this is a real sin and we need to give the power to deal with that real sin to as many priests as possible so that everyone who needs to have this reconciliation can obtain it easily, and in a sense of mercy and forgiveness.&rdquo;</p><p>Historically under church law, only bishops and certain priests had the power to absolve the sin of abortion. But Francis is extending that ability to every priest worldwide.</p><p>&ldquo;Let&rsquo;s use a business analogy: If you wanted to open a checking account, maybe you had to go to the bank&rsquo;s main office,&rdquo; Bretzke says. &ldquo;Now, [Francis] is saying you can go to any ATM or any store &mdash; any place where there is a representative of the business. That&rsquo;s really what he&rsquo;s doing &mdash; he&rsquo;s given this power not just to the branch office or the main office, but to every priest, wherever that priest is.&rdquo;</p><p>Pope Francis has the ability to permanently delegate this power to all Catholic priests, though it&rsquo;s still unclear if he will do so. And many Catholics in the United States are split on the issue.</p><p>According to a&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2013/09/19/majority-of-u-s-catholics-opinions-run-counter-to-church-on-contraception-homosexuality/" target="_blank">2013 Pew Research Center poll</a>, 53 percent of white American Catholics say abortion should be legal in all or most cases, while 41 percent say it should be illegal in all or most cases. Among Hispanic Catholics in the United States, 43 percent say it should be legal in all or most cases, while 52 percent say it should be illegal in all or most cases.</p><p>Since he assumed his role in March 2013, Pope Francis has consistently shaken things up in the Catholic Church. He has criticized the &ldquo;<a href="http://www.thetakeaway.org/story/pope-francis-criticizes-tyranny-unchecked-capitalism/" target="_blank">tyranny</a>&rdquo; of unfettered capitalism; he has tackled&nbsp;<a href="http://www.thetakeaway.org/story/pope-francis-call-climate-change-action-vatican-conference/" target="_blank">climate change</a>&nbsp;and called on Catholics to be stewards of the Earth; he has sought to address clergy&nbsp;<a href="http://www.thetakeaway.org/story/judging-pope-francis-vaticans-handling-sexual-abuse-church/" target="_blank">sexual abuse</a>, and he&rsquo;s touched on issues of&nbsp;<a href="http://www.thetakeaway.org/story/will-pope-change-his-mind-divorce-and-remarriage/" target="_blank">divorce</a>&nbsp;and&nbsp;<a href="http://www.thetakeaway.org/story/catholic-bishops-signal-potential-shifts-divorce-homosexuality/" target="_blank">homosexuality</a>.</p><p>In the United States, Pope Francis&rsquo;s more liberal stances on all of the aforementioned issues have caused a stir&nbsp;<a href="http://www.politico.com/story/2015/05/popes-pronouncements-making-trouble-for-gop-catholics-118234" target="_blank">among conservative Republicans</a>. And though this new announcement may complicate his trip to Congress later this September, Bretzke says that Catholic lawmakers must stand with the pope.</p><p>&ldquo;If they&rsquo;re good Catholics, they have to follow pope and the Gospel of Jesus Christ on forgiveness of sins,&rdquo; he says. &ldquo;This pope is putting the accent on forgiveness and mercy. Certain bishops and priests, regrettably, have put the accent in the past on punishment and excommunication. I think the pope is trying to say that we need a different approach.&rdquo;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><em>&mdash;<a href="http://www.thetakeaway.org/story/pope-allow-priests-forgive-abortion/" target="_blank">The Takeaway</a></em></p></p> Wed, 02 Sep 2015 08:30:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/takeaway/2015-09-02/pope-francis-announces-year-mercy-%E2%80%94-and-gives-ordinary-priests-power Worldview: Chile debates legalizing abortion http://www.wbez.org/programs/worldview/2015-04-15/worldview-chile-debates-legalizing-abortion-111877 <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/photo%20for%20web%20page.jpg" style="height: 413px; width: 620px;" title="" /></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/200983402&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p><span style="font-size:18px;">Chilean president pushes for changes to abortion law</span></p><p>Last month a 25 year old woman was arrested in the Chilean city of Calama, after she was treated for what a doctor suspected was a deliberately induced an abortion. Abortion is illegal in Chile, even in cases of rape. It became illegal at the end of the Pinochet military dictatorship. Now, legislation is being considered that would make it available in some limited circumstances. Easing the restrictions has been a priority for Chilean president Michelle Bachelet, who is a pediatrician but the legislation faces strong opposition. Lessie Jo Frazier, professor of American Studies and Gender Studies at Indiana University and author of<em> Salt in the Sand: Memory, Violence, and the Nation-State in Chile, 1890-Present</em>, explains the current debate around abortion in Chile.</p><p><strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);">Guest:</strong></p><p><em>Lassie Jo Frazier is a professor of American Studies and Gender Studies at Indiana University and author of the book Salt in Sand: Memory, Violence and the Nation-State in Chile, 1890-Present</em></p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/200982455&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p><span style="font-size:18px;">Refugees grow fresh produce to feed the public and their families</span></p><p>With social media outrage still swirling around too many limes in one celebrity&rsquo;s food stamp challenge, 100 refugee families are quietly spring cleaning their urban farm on the Northwest Side of Chicago, many to grow their favorite though perhaps divisive vegetable: bitter melon. Linda Seyler, Director of the Global Gardens Refugee Training Farm, in Albany Park joins us to share the season&rsquo;s garden news. Louisa Chu, WBEZ&rsquo;s food contributor, who visited the farm for their end of season BBQ also joins the conversation.</p><p><strong>Guests:</strong></p><p><em>Linda Seyler is the director of the Global Gardens Refugee Training Farm</em></p><p><em>Luisa Chu is WBEZ&#39;s food contributor</em></p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/200982834&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p><span style="font-size:18px;">Global Notes: Cambodia, music and the Khmer Rouge</span></p><p><span style="font-size:14px;">Cambodia was perhaps like no other in Asia; Khmer musicians of the era were influenced by western R&amp;B, rock n&#39; roll, Afro Cuban and French pop. They took all these sounds and added a heavy dose of Cambodian musical culture. It all ended on April 17, 1975, the day the Khmer Rouge took over Phnom Penh.&nbsp; Many of the artists&nbsp; where executed or sent away to prison camps to die.&nbsp; This Friday marks the 40th anniversary of that fateful day and the darkness that followed.&nbsp;</span></p><p><strong>Guest:</strong></p><p><em>Tony Sarabia is the host of &nbsp;Morning Shift and Radio M on WBEZ.</em></p></p> Wed, 15 Apr 2015 13:14:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/worldview/2015-04-15/worldview-chile-debates-legalizing-abortion-111877 ISIS poses threat to neighbors http://www.wbez.org/programs/worldview/2014-08-20/isis-poses-threat-neighbors-110679 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/AP163856221898.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>In a statement today, President Obama said a group like the Islamic State &quot;has no place in the 21st century.&quot; Today we&#39;ll talk to Steven Simon, a fellow at the Middle East Institute, about the ISIS threat to surrounding countries and what can the U.S. do about it.</p><div class="storify"><iframe allowtransparency="true" frameborder="no" height="750" src="//storify.com/WBEZ/worldview-isis-poses-threat-to-neighbors/embed?header=false&amp;border=false" width="100%"></iframe><script src="//storify.com/WBEZ/worldview-isis-poses-threat-to-neighbors.js?header=false&border=false"></script><noscript>[<a href="//storify.com/WBEZ/worldview-isis-poses-threat-to-neighbors" target="_blank">View the story "Worldview: ISIS poses threat to neighbors " on Storify</a>]</noscript></div></p> Wed, 20 Aug 2014 14:17:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/worldview/2014-08-20/isis-poses-threat-neighbors-110679 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