Roundup: He Will Repeal the Global Gag Rule, Right?

He’s Still Going to Repeal the Global Gag Rule, Right?
The thirty-sixth anniversary of Roe came and went with no
word from the White House repealing the global gag rule, frustrating
the hopes of many women’s health advocates.  Does this mean President
Obama won’t take swift action on the gag rule?  He will do so “soon,” reports Laura Meckler in the Wall Street Journal.  But not, as tradition dictates, on the Roe
anniversary.  According to Meckler, Obama is pursuing a strategy of
“defusing emotional political debates: “President Obama was breaking
with the tradition set by his recent
predecessors to make an abortion-related order on the anniversary of
the Supreme Court ruling, another example of his attempt to support
liberal policies he believes in while trying to defuse emotional
political debates.”  Obama’s statement in honor of the Roe
anniversary acknowledged the importance of the decision while staking
out a common ground:

“While this is a sensitive and often divisive
issue, no matter what our
views, we are united in our determination to prevent unintended
pregnancies, reduce the need for abortion, and support women and
families in the choices they make,” the president said in a statement.
“To accomplish these goals, we must work to find common ground to
expand access to affordable contraception, accurate health information,
and preventative services,” he said.

More on Rep. Kirsten Gillibrand’s Record

Reports suggest Gov. David Paterson will announce Rep. Kirsten Gillibrand as replacement for Sen. Hillary Clinton at noon today. On TAPPED, Dana Goldstein has more on Rep. Gillibrand’s record, raising some red flags on her position on civil rights issues, particularly LGBT rights.

Anti-Choice Members of Congress Speak On Roe Anniversary
Decrying the Freedom of Choice
Act and the work of Planned Parenthood and , anti-choice members of Congress took the floor yesterday to voice
opposition to legal abortion, reports

A series of speeches in the US Congress marked the legalisation of
abortion in the US by the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision of 1973. A
group of pro-life representatives urged President Obama to pursue
pro-life policies, such as retaining the Mexico City Policy that
restricts funding for international organisations that promote abortion
overseas. They also denounced the new president’s stated intention to
sign the Freedom of Choice Act that would lift all state restrictions
on abortion in the country.

“Thousands” Gather at the March for Life
Commemorating the Roe anniversary, thousands of anti-choicers marched in DC against abortion rights, reports the Los Angeles Times.  The LA Times writes that youth made up a significant percentage of the crowd, and President Obama, who was invited to speak, instead issued a statement supporting women’s right to legal abortion.

Abortion Can Be A Moral Choice

Rev. Elizabeth Dilley writes thoughtfully in the Des Moines Register:

Women do not have abortions without careful deliberation with their
hearts, heads and souls. Long before a woman makes an appointment at a
clinic, she has weighed the costs of pregnancy – to her body, spirit,
and livelihood – against the benefits of parenting. She has taken into
account the attitudes of her partner, family and community. She has
discerned what her faith says (if she is part of a religious community)
about abortion, adoption and parenthood.Still, our culture
continues to deny these realities. Politicians allege that women choose
abortion casually or as a “birth-control method.” Society believes it
must protect women against any possible future regrets. Few public
religious leaders argue that women are competent, thoughtful and
capable moral agents, fit to make this decision without governmental


Anti-Choice Movement Down But Not Out


The anti-choice movement is down but not out, says Michael J. New on the National Review Online,
and he counts the ways that, despite electoral setbacks, the
anti-choice movement has successfully pushed its agenda over the past
decade.  The Democrats are defensive and/or distancing themselves from
abortion; the so-called Partial Birth Abortion Ban shifted public
opinion; Planned Parenthood “faces more scrutiny,” ultrasound
technology dissuades women from terminating unintended pregnancies.



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  • alexm

    Way to go, Reverend Dilley!  If only more spiritual leaders could speak out in support of women’s moral agency. 

    The personal is political.

  • alexm

    Thank you Emily for your feedback!

    It is so important to recognize the reason that the antis even bother with their assault on women’s rights.  Yes, some of it is misogyny, some of it is ignorance and all of it has to do with the perpetuation of the male-dominated, patriarchal status quo. 

    However, as my role model and mother (pro choice) once said, "they have a point".  Pro-choicers, including myself, recognize that the potential for life may be inherently valuable regardless of one’s personal political orientation.  By remembering this, we allow room for the woman to self-define what her pregnancy means to her.  This is the first step towards full reproductive rights for all.

    The personal is political.

  • emily-douglas

    Alex M, I totally agree. While I’m convinced by legal and medical arguments for reproductive rights, I’m always unexpectedly moved by the moral arguments members of the clergy and other people of faith make when accentuating the need to respect women’s moral decision-making, and the sanctity of their lives. Thanks for the comment!

  • invalid-0

    As a strong, independent woman and an “anti”, I would like to disagree with the above. It is as little up to me to define whether my unborn fetus should live or die as it would be for me to define whether my mother should live or die. I am very much against government interference, which is what I consider making abortion legal, not the act of making it illegal.
    On a note of agreement, however, I agree that President Obama’s statement certainly grasps at “fake common ground” between the sides of the abortion debate. I don’t think contraception is the answer either, but respect and working against all violence.

  • invalid-0

    “Jessica”, are you really a woman and really pregnant? I don’t mean this as an attack; it’s just that I realized the difference between my mother (or any other person) and my unborn as soon as I was pregnant and felt my very body, and even my soul, change. My mother can not do this to me. I did bring this child into the world, and four more after him, and it was decidedly something else than not clubbing my beloved mother over the head. It involved some pretty hard work on my part, some career changes, and permanent changes of my body (including scars that remained pain sensitive). Of course it was all worth it, but it definitely is not the government’s business to make decisions about my body and soul, especially since there are no comparable laws on the book for other cases. For instance, nobody can is forced by current laws to give up some blood if this saves another person’s life, or even the use of an empty room in their house when people are freezing in the street.

  • invalid-0

    Hi, yes my name is really Jessica and no I am not pregnant; i didn’t mean to imply that i am. I do have a 2 year old boy and an almost 1-year old boy. Like you said, when I first was pregnant (at a time I didn’t want to be, at first) I felt something change too, but the opposite of what you experienced: I felt even more PASSIONATELY that this baby was its own person, as much as any other person.*

    I agree that one is not obliged to let a stranger occupy a room in their house. However, abortion is not a simple denial of someone occupying your body, it is a direct action of killing him/her. Like not simply refusing the homeless person a room but going out and shooting him/her.

    I understand not wanting government interference: for example seatbelts may be lifesaving to me, but it is a matter of opinion whether the government should be enforcing me to use it, as an adult, for myself. However, the government is in its right bounds to say I can’t abuse my child or kill my co-worker.

    This is where all the disagreement lies, I guess. Is that unborn one part of me (thus the government needs to mind its own business) or is it a separate person, threatened by me if I try to kill it, therefore deserving protection of the law?

    *Clarification: It wasn’t clear what you were saying you felt when you were first pregnant and felt your body and soul change: did you mean it felt like the fetus was a new person (like any born person), or that it was still just your body?

  • invalid-0

    I reread my entry, and my emphasis was on legality. I stand by that, but even more so, I just wish that individual women wouldn’t kill their unborn babies. I feel the same way about it as if I passed someone on the street throwing their newborn to the ground or someone getting beaten up.

    Most people are good, with good hearts and would feel like that was their business and not just leave the decision up to the person, no matter how difficult was the life-situation for the person doing the violence. One could still have mercy on and seek help for the perpetrator while still trying to help end the violent act.

  • invalid-0

    But under your logic a womans right to decide on prenatal care of her choice and Csection vs. natural then is government interference as she decides based upon the medical information given to her and her weighing of it- instead of the government protect should fetuses from her making the wrong decision by deciding the best course of action in all medical decisions. ….after all if I have an unwanted pregnancy I will definitely not make any medical decisions for the benefit of the fetus….and if I do have a wanted pregnancy I still am biased….so ‘government interference’ exists as long as its legal for women to make any medical decisions during pregnancy.

  • invalid-0

    I don’t think Anonymous arguments apply solely to passive actions. The government doesn’t step in to stop a homeowner from taking a direct action against a homeless person to kick them out of their house, even if the homeowner knew that them freezing as a result of this action would kill them.

    Depending on methods of abortion too, the woman can simply expel the fetus (which also happens at birth) – no action taken to directly to kill the fetus yet it dies from its own inability to live outside of her.

    Passive killing is prosecuted in many cases…as in child and elder abuse. A parent who never acts on behalf of a newborn to feed or shelter it is allowing it to passively die.
    The government does intervene, whether active or passive, when rights are at stake. In order to protect the fetus the government has to mandate that it will interfere over the womans body by giving the fetus the right to live by interfering in her bodily integrity… a right that doesn’t exist (same for any other born person).

    As far as violence goes, I’ll always pick a homeless person freezing to death as violence over cells that aren’t even sentient.