Ballot Initiatives Represent Multi-Pronged Attack on Choice


This fall, ballot initiatives
in three states–California, South Dakota, and Colorado–attack women’s reproductive health
in different ways. California’s anti-choice groups have put forth
what has become a traditional anti-choice attack: a parental notification
measure that is designed to chip away at access to abortion. South
Dakota is again attempting an outright abortion ban, a measure that is designed
to challenge Roe v. Wade in the Supreme Court. Colorado citizens will vote on a new, extreme measure that would define a person’s life as beginning
at fertilization, outlawing not just abortions but also emergency contraception
and birth control.

"This really shows just how
divided the anti-choice movement really is," said John Kraus, communications
director for the Ballot Initiatives Strategy Center, a progressive non-profit
that aggregates information on ballot initiatives nationally. In each
state, the anti-choice movement is taking a different strategy to attack
women’s reproductive rights. It seems that the anti-choice movement,
rather than applying a unified national strategy, is catapulting a myriad
of anti-choice initiatives and seeing what sticks.

California

The proposed California ballot initiative (PDF), which the pro-life groups call "Sarah’s Law," is a combination of a 48-hour waiting period
and parental notification measure. To circumvent parental notification
in the case of abuse, the young woman must file a report of abuse against
legal parents or guardians and the doctor still has to notify "an
adult family member."

This isn’t the first time
California has voted on a parental notification measure. Similar measures
were defeated in 2005 and 2006. A recent Field Poll found that public opinion is in favor of
the parental notification measure by 48-39 percent. But this poll is early in the election season. In 2006, polling indicated the
measure might pass until a poll released the day before Election Day
indicated public opinion opposed the measure. Ultimately, the initiative
was defeated by 8.5 percentage points.

The chief funder behind the California initiative is
Jim Holman, editor and publisher of weekly newspaper San Diego Reader
and the California Catholic Daily. He additionally backed the
previous California parental notification measures.

Recently Planned Parenthood
and its affiliates have put forth a lawsuit that contests the story of "Sarah," who has
been confirmed to be Jammie Garcia Yanez-Villegas, a 15-year-old that died
in Texas in 1994. The lawsuit argues that the proposed parental notification
initiative would have done little to prevent the teenager’s death
because at the time she was living with her fiancée and became part
of a common law marriage under Texas law. But earlier this month, a judge ruled that the story
can remain part of the voter guide literature.

South Dakota

The South Dakota initiative (PDF) is an adaptation of the abortion
ban that was passed by the South Dakota legislature and repealed by ballot initiative in 2006. This time, the ban has been put on the
ballot and includes an exception for the life of the mother as well
as an exception for rape and incest. But Healthy Families, a coalition
that is fighting the abortion ban this fall, notes that the "exceptions"
outlined in the measure don’t necessarily provide the protections
that the anti-choice groups claim.

A woman must be willing to
undergo a "biological sampling" or other DNA testing by law enforcement
to earn the exception for rape or incest. Already, few rape survivors are willing or able to press charges, so undergoing medical
testing to prove that she has been raped or has been the victim of incest
creates a serious infringement on the woman’s right to an abortion.

Perhaps the most interesting
part of the abortion ban is that funding behind it is unclear. The initiative
in 2006 received an anonymous $750,000 donation. The
money was funneled through a corporation called Promising Future, Inc.,
and state Rep. Roger Hunt, who introduced the ban in the legislature,
said he was the sole member of the corporation’s board of directors.
The corporation was formed less than two months before the ballot initiative
was voted on and Hunt refused to disclose the number of donors or how
many are from within the state.

It’s unclear where the funding
for the abortion ban is coming from, but national anti-choice groups
like Focus on the Family and national anti-choice leader Jerry Falwell,
Jr., have endorsed the ban.

Colorado

Even schools within for the anti-choice movement consider Colorado’s proposed amendment extreme — Colorado Right to Life
has been disenfranchised from the National Right to Life, and Focus
on the Family has also chosen not to endorse the Colorado initiative. The ballot measure, if passed, would outlaw abortion care for a woman whose life may
be threatened by instances of miscarriage. For example, sometimes a
fertilized egg lodges in a woman’s fallopian tube and the expanding
cells cause the tube to rupture. Unless the doctor is allowed to remove
the cells, the woman may die.

The mastermind behind this
initiative seems to be James Patrick Johnston, an osteopathic doctor
from Ohio. A recent Colorado Independent article linked Johnston to militant anti-abortion
group Army of God, which has endorsed a number of attacks on abortion
providers.

Colorado’s initiative would
represent an attack on a woman’s reproductive autonomy in ways that
can’t yet be predicted. Some legal experts speculate that women could be charged with murder
for miscarrying in an instance when she didn’t even know she was pregnant.
It not only threatens a woman’s right to an abortion, but it threatens
a number of widely accepted provisions for women’s health such as
birth control and medical aid during a miscarriage.

Altogether, the three bans represent a multi-pronged attack on choice appearing on the ballot this November. While
in 2006 all eyes were on South Dakota, this fall reproductive rights activists have three states to watch.

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  • invalid-0

    We’re not anti-choice at all. The woman can choose to keep her baby or adopt her baby out. It’s hilarious that the pro-death folks refer to this issue as a woman’s reproductive rights issue. How can a woman reproduce when she takes her unborn child to an abortion mill to have him or her murdered? You can only reproduce when you actually HAVE the child. Also, check your facts. James Dobson and Focus on the Family have endorsed Amendment 48 in Colorado. James Dobson, on his radio show, urged his listeners to vote Yes on Amendment 48. So, pro-deathers, keep worshipping at the altar of death and watch abortion die for a change instead of millions of unborn babies.

  • http://www.shypixel.com invalid-0

    If I disagree with you, does that make me pro-death?

    My wife had a nearly fatal case of preeclampsia while pregnant with our youngest son. She had to have an emergency C-section to save her life, and our son was born six weeks early. Her doctor opined that had she come to see him as little as two hours later, we would have lost them both.

    Two months later, despite contraceptive efforts, she was pregnant. This pregnancy could prove to be very dangerous, possibly even life threatening, but there was also a chance that it would proceed normally. We opted to terminate the pregnancy chemically, as this was still an option.

    According to you and your shining new ballot initiative, we are all guilty of murder.

    I am, and have been for all my life, a christian. I think you need to heed the words of Jesus, “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?”.

    Stop spending so much time and effort trying to force your version of God down other people’s throats, and start trying to make people’s lives better through service, as did Jesus. Before you say that you are doing so by trying to defend thousands of unborn “people”, I think that with 6.6 BILLION already born people, you could find something constructive and love-based.

    I forget the passage in the Bible where Jesus and the Disciples bombed tax-collection centers and Roman shrines…

  • invalid-0

    I have deleted the "No, I’m Not Kidding" comment because it violates our commenting policy that says that we will delete (without further notice generally) comments that "threaten, demean, or decrease the civility of discussion." The commenter called someone a murderer on this thread and that kind of discussion certainly does not further productive discussion. 

     

    Amie Newman

    Managing Editor, RH Reality Check

  • invalid-0

    Perhaps that is true, Miss Newman, about the “No, I’m not kidding comment”, but you deleted mine too and it hadn’t a thing to do with your above-mentioned criteria for so doing. So here it is again in its entirety:

    Greetings.

    Forgive my interloping, and not to endorse any particular position, but if we are really discussing Revelation and not Reason, then Jesus does indeed maintain that in John 5:22 that “The Father judges no one, but has given all judgment to the Son.” There can be no judgment without condemnation or reward, especially considering how much Jesus discusses the two distinct eventual realities that correspond to this judgment elsewhere in the Gospels. Anyway…

    Timothy+

  • invalid-0

    http://www.catholiceducation.org/articles/abortion/ab0045.html

    I’d like to know what pro choicers think of this.

  • http://www.shypixel.com invalid-0

    Is this the same Catholic church that gave us Indulgences (the rich could pay, in advance, for their sins with cash), that tells millions of Sub-Saharan Africans that are dieing from STDS, AIDS, over-population and starvation that trying to limit their procreation is a mortal sin, and spent millions covering up child molestation rather than fixing the problem?

    Really?

    I don’t think they have much “Moral Authority” left…

    I read the argument, and it pre-supposes that you accept the Catholic foundation of all moral principles… Even as a Christian I find that a bit of a stretch.

    All this is besides the point. The point is that it isn’t our place or our mandate to judge and correct, it is our mandate to love, forgive, and accept our brothers and sisters.

    It doesn’t matter what you think about Abortion, or what I think, or what anyone thinks. What really matters is how you love your enemy.We have no business and no right, and certainly no religious obligation to tell other people how to live their lives, or what they can and cannot do. They have a word for that, its called Theocracy. Its what they tried back in the “Dark Ages”, and what they have in Iran right now. No thanks.

  • invalid-0

    Greetings,

    Sir, you have an invalid proposition as determined by the law of non-contradiction. You are holding the Holy Roman Catholic Church accountable for Her moral transgressions and you are determining Her moral culpability by so doing. However, you are, indeed, right to judge. If there is no judgment while we also strive to love our neighbor, then every act our neighbor commits is morally permissible, including the most heinous. Your fallacious proposition actually proves that there is objective truth by which we judge our actions because you contradicted yourself by actually judging: “We have no business and no right, to tell other people what they can and cannot do.” So, the Church cannot be wrong because we have no right to tell them that they are wrong. Words have meanings, Sir.

    Good day,

    Timothy+

  • http://www.shypixel.com invalid-0

    There is a difference between judgment and being selective. Let me explain: If your neighbor sells crack, and you tell him he is going to hell, that is judging him. If your neighbor sells crack, and you decide that having him babysit your toddler is a bad idea, you are being selective.

    When I say that the past and current actions of the Catholic Church have led me to disregard it as a moral authority, I am being selective. Were I to have said that Catholics are wrong, evil, or are going to hell, that would’ve been a judgment.

    I most wholeheartedly agree that words have meanings, and I also agree that there is no objective truth. Is my idea of God better or worse than yours, or theirs? I don’t know, and I’m not going to get into a metaphysical measuring contest.

    The bible commands us not to judge our neighbor, it does not tell us to not use the information at hand to make good decisions.

    As far as ever being right to judge, or all acts become morally reprehensible…. NO! how many times does the Bible directly say, DO NOT JUDGE? But you’re going to tell me its OK? Now there may be passages that mention things against this or that that can be interpreted to mean other things, but it is pretty unequivocal about the whole judgment thing. In fact, Jesus directly tells us to turn the other cheek. Now if you want to talk about how to live in a modern world, and how we can’t just forgive serial killers and let them go about their lives, we are no longer in the scope of the Bible, but in the scope of government. Which is kind of the point I’ve been making.

  • invalid-0

    Greetings,

    Yes, I agree. It is wrong to assign moral culpability to an act of an agent. That is up to the conscience of the agent acting to do. However, it is not wrong to classify the specific act as wrong in itself and to go out and tell the whole world. Semantically proposing, is it wrong to tell someone that are doing something bad while making sure that you are also telling them that they are not a bad person? Anyway… nice writing.
    Timothy+

  • invalid-0

    Greetings,

    CORRECTION: It is wrong to assign moral culpability to an agent that acts.

    Timothy+

  • invalid-0

    Dear Amie,

    If I said Jeffrey Dahmer was a murderer, would you have deleted that comment? Women who have abortions are murderers along with the abortionist and staff even if they don’t realize it. Ending the life of the innocent cannot be anything but murder. Just because it’s legal doesn’t mean it’s not murder. Remember the Dred Scott decision concerning ownership of blacks? According to your world view, was that a correct, moral decision? If not, how is the Roe v Wade decision any less evil than the Dred Scott decision?

    Scott

  • mellankelly1

    Just because it’s legal doesn’t mean it’s not murder

    Listen, douchebag… it wasn’t murder even when it was illegal.

  • mellankelly1

    I’d like to know what pro choicers think of this

    I found it irrelevant.  What did you think of it?

  • invalid-0

    So what’s your definition of the killing of an innocent person?

  • mellankelly1

    So what’s your definition of the killing of an innocent person?

    Silly me, I thought we were discussing abortion (you know, abortion: the termination of a pregnancy – either elective or spontaneous)

     

    Further, when I made the (quite factual) statement that abortion is not and never has been murder I was responding to this inaccurate and emotive nonsense: "Just because it’s legal doesn’t mean it’s not murder."

  • invalid-0

    how many times does the Bible directly say, DO NOT JUDGE?

    Never. The following verse definitely says it’s right to judge as long as it’s not hypocritically:

    Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me remove the speck that is in your eye,’ when you yourself do not see the plank that is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck that is in your brother’s eye. – Luke 6:42 NKJV

    Here are a few more to shoot down the “DO NOT JUDGE” argument:

    1Cor. 6:2-3 Do you not know that the saints [the saved; Christians] will judge the world? And if you are to judge the world, are you not competent to judge trivial cases? Do you not know that we will judge angels? How much more the things of this life!

    Prov. 3:21 My son, preserve sound judgment and discernment, do not let them out of your sight;

    John 7:24 Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.

    Jer. 22:3 Thus saith the LORD; Execute ye judgment and righteousness…

    Phil. 1:10 so that you may be able to discern [judge] what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ…

    Phil. 1:7 It is right for me to feel this way about all of you [judge you]…

  • invalid-0

    When an abortion kills an innocent, living human being in the womb, it is definitely murder to the same degree as when the abortion is botched and the live baby is set aside and ignored until he suffocates to death; a procedure Barack Obama is OK with, by the way.

  • mellankelly1

     When an abortion kills an innocent, living human being in the womb, it is definitely murder

    But what if it’s guilty?  Seriously though, it is not murder to terminate a pregnancy… it’s an abortion.  When we kill innocent people (sometimes referred to as collateral damage) it is "definitely murder."

    when the abortion is botched and the live baby is set aside and ignored until he suffocates to death

    Doesn’t happen.

     procedure Barack Obama is OK with, by the way

    Obama has not and never would support infanticide… when you get all hysterical it makes your argument seem silly.

  • invalid-0

    If it doesn’t happen that botched abortion babies are set aside to die, why was the Born Alive Infant Protection Act necessary in 2002 and if Obama would never support infanticide, why did he vote against that same act?

    When you don’t do your homework, it makes your argument irrelevant.

  • http://www.cpcwatch.org invalid-0

    There was already legislation in place that protected such infants, as well as medical codes of conduct that would have required doctors to act in the appropriate medical manner when dealing with an infant born from a “botched abortion” (which by the way, RARELY happens). Obama voted against the “Born Alive” act because the language of it would have further encroached on Roe v. Wade and redefined “Born Alive” infants as infants who weren’t even born yet! It would have prevented women who received incomplete abortions from going in for a second procedure.

    Do YOUR homework, Scottie.

  • http://www.cpcwatch.org invalid-0

    I don’t make anything of it because my opinions on abortion and contraception come from a MEDICAL and SCIENTIFIC standpoint, not one filled with religious propaganda. I support a woman’s religious convictions when dealing with unplanned pregnancy… I am for reproductive justice, which means I support women who CHOOSE (and I do mean CHOOSE without societal pressure or bad education) to continue an unplannned pregnancy. That woman should have access to pre-natal care and what she needs for the baby after she/he has been born. I also support the decision of the woman to choose to terminate a pregnancy, for whatever reason, and to have access to abortion care as well.

    Maybe I just trust women :)

  • invalid-0

    Obama voted against the “Born Alive” act because the language of it would have further encroached on Roe v. Wade and redefined “Born Alive” infants as infants who weren’t even born yet! It would have prevented women who received incomplete abortions from going in for a second procedure. Do YOUR homework, Scottie.

    I did my homework. You didn’t do yours, CPC Watcher. Here’s the Act’s wording:

    Public Law 107-207
    U.S. Code
    Title 1, Chapter 1: Rules of Construction
    Section 8.

    ”Person”, ”human being”, ”child”, and ”individual” as including born-alive infant


    (a) In determining the meaning of any Act of Congress, or of any ruling, regulation, or interpretation of the various administrative bureaus and agencies of the United States, the words ”person”, ”human being”, ”child”, and ”individual”, shall include every infant member of the species homo sapiens who is born alive at any stage of development.

    (b) As used in this section, the term ”born alive”, with respect to a member of the species homo sapiens, means the complete expulsion or extraction from his or her mother of that member, at any stage of development, who after such expulsion or extraction breathes or has a beating heart, pulsation of the umbilical cord, or definite movement of voluntary muscles, regardless of whether the umbilical cord has been cut, and regardless of whether the expulsion or extraction occurs as a result of natural or induced labor, cesarean section, or induced abortion.

    (c) Nothing in this section shall be construed to affirm, deny, expand, or contract any legal status or legal right applicable to any member of the species homo sapiens at any point prior to being ”born alive” as defined in this section.

    CPC Watcher, there is no wording in the Act that protects infants before they are born.

  • mellankelly1

     there is no wording in the Act that protects infants before they are born

    Here are the similarities and differences between the State and Federal Bills (and how they were amended and subsequently passed): 

    Both Federal and State bills imputed full rights to infants "born alive" and both have identical wording in a key paragraph which defines "born-alive" as meaning "breathes or has a beating heart, pulsation of the umbilical cord, or definite movement of voluntary muscles."

    HOWEVER, the State bill contained this: "A live child born as a result of an abortion shall be fully recognized as a human person and accorded immediate protection under the law."  Bearing in mind that there is no such thing as "born alive abortions" and that the State bill was included with several other bills aimed at restricting access to abortion in Illinois, it is no wonder that a pro-choice Senator would not support it. It is also worthy to note that the Illinois State Medical Society also opposed this paragraph

    The Federal Bill contained the following: "Nothing in this section shall be construed to affirm, deny, expand, or contract any legal status or legal right applicable to any member of the species homo sapiens at any point prior to being ‘born alive’ as defined in this section". Pro-choice lawmakers approved this bill only after this paragraph was added.

    In the 2005 version of the State bill the following two statements were added: "Nothing in this Section shall be construed to affect existing federal or State law regarding abortion" and "Nothing in this Section shall be construed to alter generally accepted medical standards." and it passed.

    I did my homework. You didn’t do yours, CPC Watcher.

    Homework, my sweet bum.  It is insane to believe (or perpetuate the lie) that Obama supports infanticide unless you are an anti-abortion extremist who believe that a fertilized egg is an infant.  Obama is pro-choice and as such his motive for voting against State Bill 1082 was to preserve abortion rights, not to wantonly kill infants.  Drama Queen much? 

    Further, I believe that CPC Watcher was referencing compiled statute 720 ILCS 510/6 which was already in place to protect newly born infants.

  • invalid-0

    When the federal bill was being debated, NARAL Pro-Choice America released a statement that said, “Consistent with our position last year, NARAL does not oppose passage of the Born Alive Infants Protection Act … floor debate served to clarify the bill’s intent and assure us that it is not targeted at Roe v. Wade or a woman’s right to choose.”

    But Obama voted against this bill in the Illinois senate and killed it in committee. Twice, the Induced Infant Liability Act came up in the Judiciary Committee on which he served. At its first reading he voted “present.” At the second he voted “no.”

    The bill was then referred to the senate’s Health and Human Services Committee, which Obama chaired after the Illinois Senate went Democratic in 2003. As chairman, he never called the bill up for a vote.

    Anyone who believes a human is not human at the moment of fertilization is the extremist. It’s the only objective view. Any other view is subjective because then it’s anyone’s opinion when an unborn child is considered human.

  • mellankelly1

    Anyone who believes a human is not human at the moment of fertilization is the extremist

    Anyone who pretends that the argument ever was that the fertilized egg of two humans was anything other than human would be a man made of straw.  Hey, but kudos on that whole anti-abortion myth keeper thing.

     

    human egg + human sperm = human fertilized egg

  • invalid-0

    Anyone who pretends that the argument ever was that the fertilized egg of two humans was anything other than human would be a man made of straw.

    Are you saying that a human is not an infant with these words of yours from two posts ago? If so, then again, who’s the extremist?

    It is insane to believe (or perpetuate the lie) that Obama supports infanticide unless you are an anti-abortion extremist who believe that a fertilized egg is an infant.

  • mellankelly1

    Are you saying that a human is not an infant with these words of yours from two posts ago? If so, then again, who’s the extremist?

    You either have reading comprehension problems or you’re being obtuse.  Either way, it doesn’t change what I’ve said… two posts ago, three posts ago or 37 posts ago. 

    Now, you are certainly free to believe that a fertilized egg and an infant are one and the same – I tend to believe that an infant is a child from birth to about one year of age; call me crazy or extremist, if you’d like, but I do not believe that the death of a fertilized egg is one and the same as the death of an infant.  Apparently, neither does Obama – and no, he does not support infanticide, you damned fool.