Catholics Asked to Tell Their Bishops to End Ban on Contraception … Catholics for Choice has launched a campaign to get Catholics all over the world to contact their bishops in an effort to pressure the Vatican to end its mostly-ignored but still harmful 40-year ban on contraception. In conjunction with the campaign the group relaesed an in-depth look at the history of the ban, a document called Truth & Consequence: A Look behind the Vatican’s Ban on Contraception (PDF). The Catholics for Choice media relaese on the campaign, linked above, provides a taste of what Truth & Consequense explains in greater detial:
Forty years ago, a
decision was announced that has had a catastrophic impact on the poor
and powerless around the world. On July 25, 1968, Pope Paul VI slammed
the door on the hopes of the vast majority of Catholics and confirmed a
complete prohibition on modern methods of contraception. The papal
encyclical Humanae Vitae was a defining moment in modern church history
and continues to be a source of great conflict and division in the
is a little-known fact that before Humanae Vitae was released the
hand-picked Vatican Birth Control Commission voted overwhelmingly to
recommend that the church rescind its ban on artificial contraception.
However, the pope rejected that recommendation and today, the rupture
that Humanae Vitae caused between the Vatican and lay Catholics remains.
O’Brien, president of Catholics for Choice, called on Catholics to
contact their bishop and tell them that the ban must end. In their
calls and e-mails, Catholics should press their bishops to contact the
Vatican, explain the will of Catholics worldwide and call for an end to
the ban on contraception. He said, “It is well known that Catholics,
particularly those in the global north, have ignored this ban. It is
time for them to speak out and say enough is enough. We need Catholics
to pick up the telephone or send an e-mail to their local bishop saying
that it is time to change church policy. Less-privileged people—who
often only have access to health care through Catholic-run facilities
or live in countries where the Catholic hierarchy has considerable
influence over public policy—are dying as a result of the ban.”
Planned Parenthood Launches Ad Highlighting McCain’s Viagra-Birth Control Gaffe … Almost two weeks ago now we ran in Roundup the video of John McCain squirming in slience in response to a question about Viagra being covered by many insurance companies while birth control is not. Planned Parenthood is betting that McCain’s silence will speak volumes to voters, especially women, who are not aware of his anti-contraception votes in the Senate.
The Washington Post’s political blog, The Trail, has more on the ad, including in which states it will run:
The group cites a Guttmacher Institute study
that reports "nearly all sexually active women have used at least one
method of birth control," and the women spend more money on health care
costs than men, partly because of birth control supplies and services.
The ad will air in Colorado, Iowa, Minnesota, New Mexico, Ohio,
Wisconsin and Washington, D.C. during local cable ad buys on Bravo’s "Project Runway," which makes its season debut tonight. (MoveOn.org has also advertised during the show, which is popular with women.) The ad will also air during local breaks on Lifetime’s "Army Wives" and in some states it will air on broadcast stations during "The Oprah Winfrey Show."
While the group would not disclose the cost of the ad buy, it is part of Planned Parenthood’s $10 million "kNOw McCain" campaign designed to educate and register women voters.
The new ad got Bill O’Reilly all wound up late last week. Check out the video:
Think Progress responds to Bill O:
Although O’Reilly may not know it, preventing unwanted pregnancies is not just another “choice.” It is “central to good health care for women.” According to NARAL, 98 percent of women “use some form of birth control during their reproductive years” to “control the timing and spacing of their pregnancies, which in turn reduces the incidence of maternal death, low birth weight babies, and infant mortality.”
Failure to cover birth control also places women at an unfair disadvantage “by singling out for unfavorable treatment a health insurance need that only they have.” According to the National Women’s Law Center:
Failure to cover contraception forces women to bear higher health care costs to avoid pregnancy, and exposes women to the unique physical, economic, and emotional consequences that can result from unintended pregnancy.
With opinions like these, O’Reilly won’t have to worry about buying anyone dinner.
TP is right on but forgets to mention that many women take birth control pills to treat a medical condition and those medical conditions are generally considered more critical health concerns than erectile disfunction. Sorry, Bill O, you’re wrong yet again.
Baby Dead After Mother Apparently Gives Herself an Abortion … The Chicago Sun-Times has published an early report from a sad scene on Chicago’s Far South Side:
Police are conducting a death investigation after a woman apparently
gave herself an abortion inside a vehicle on the Far South Side early
Baby boy Johnson was found unresponsive in the back seat of a vehicle
at 708 W. 103rd St., according to the Cook County Medical Examiner’s
office. The baby was pronounced dead at the scene at 6:20 a.m.
An autopsy Sunday revealed the boy died from asphyxia, the medical examiner’s office said. His death has been ruled a homicide.
Police responded to the 103rd Street address about 5:15 a.m. when they
found that a mother had apparently given herself an abortion, according
to a Calumet Area police sergeant.
Detectives remain on the scene at 6:20 a.m., according to the sergeant,
who said he did not immediately know the mother’s condition.
Calumet Area detectives are conducting a death investigation.
We will follow the story as it develops and we may or may not find out why this woman decided to give herself an abortion but these avoidable tragedies will become more common if the far right succeeds in it’s efforts to overtrun Roe v. Wade.
Catching Up on Sex Education … The Des Moines Register ran a story yesterday on the state of sex education in Iowa. While Iowa refused federal funds for abstinence-only education this past year a private organization called Sexual Health Education Inc., which received $3 million in federal funds last year, that works with 30 schools in Eastern Iowa. In Iowa state education officials leave sex education up to local schools. The Department of Education doesn’t track what schools teach. Proponents of comprehensive sex education, which emphasize abstinence but also teach safe sex methods, are confident that the facts are reasching Americans and that things will change with a new administration in the White House:
"My sense is that once the Bush administration leaves … comprehensive
education will kind of prevail," said David Popenoe, a Rutgers
University professor who founded the National Marriage Project.
The ACLU is taking on abstinence-only education in Florida saying that "basic, lifesaving information is being censored away from the kids."