Scott Brown and Choice: What’s the Real Story?


Scott Brown, a candidate in the special election for Ted Kennedy’s Senate seat, claimed on Monday that his past opposition to providing EC to rape victims is “irrelevant.”

In 2005, Brown, a Massachusetts state senator, proposed an amendment to an emergency contraception bill that would have allowed doctors or nurses who didn’t like EC to refuse treatment to rape victims. Far from irrelevant, the amendment was shocking then and is shocking now.

Megan Carpentier takes Brown to task brilliantly on Air America, responding, in particular, to his claim that the right to withhold EC is “not about the victim.” In 2005, Brown defended his amendment as follows:

“Through our conversations, I’ve heard, ‘what if somebody has a sincerely held religious conviction about dispensing the emergency contraception medication? What about their rights? How do we address those?’ ’’ Brown said on the Senate floor, according to a State House News Service transcript.

Brown added that a rape victim would be referred to another facility at no additional cost. “It’s not about the victim."

Carpentier responds:

I am certain that a victim raped in Lee, Massachusetts who endures the 11 mile drive to the hospital in Great Barrington only to be turned away by a Christian emergency room nurse (who objects to emergency contraception she herself doesn’t have to take) wouldn’t mind at all then going to a hospital in Pittsfield (21 miles), Hudson, NY (27 miles) or Westfield (47 miles) in order to get the medical care she needs, as long as it’s a free ride.

Brown’s amendment is important, and we should be talking about it, because the cost of “provider conscience rules” is often overlooked. Brown’s amendment is totally out of line with our values as a society—our conviction that a person who goes through something terrible, like rape, should be cared for as quickly and as compassionately as possible. Anyone who wants to change the way rape victims are cared for is welcome to have a conversation about just that—rape victims, and how they should be treated. To talk about anything else, such as the “rights” of people with “religious convictions,” is to miss the issue in an amendment like this. Any other consideration, to borrow Brown’s phrase, is a red herring.

What was going on in Scott Brown’s head, and what does he believe? As the Globe points out, Brown’s record on choice is inconsistent. In 2007, he voted in favor of a 35-foot no-protester zone around abortion clinics, and he claims to support Roe v. Wade. In the past few years, provider conscience rules have become increasingly trendy among conservatives; perhaps the GOP serpent was whispering in Brown’s ear in 2005. Whatever his motivation, he should be held accountable, and his refusal this week to address the amendment is unwise and unacceptable. Where did Brown get the idea that medical care is about the prejudices of the provider? Would he like to explain how such a philosophy would affect health care in America?

So the question is not, why is Martha Coakley talking about a state Senate amendment from 2005? but rather, how could she not? Particularly when Brown has the gall to assert that refusing a woman medical care has nothing to do with that woman.

Au contraire, Brown’s amendment has everything to do with rape victims, and his attitude towards these women has everything to do with the upcoming special election. Every Massachusetts voter should think about whether he or she would want to be refused a potentially life-changing service after a traumatic experience.

Also pertinent is Brown’s newly-acquired endorsement from the Massachusetts Citizens for Life, who did not back him in 2004. (One wonders if Brown is entirely happy to receive this support.) John Rowe, chairman of MCFL’s federal political action committee, “believes that Brown’s position has evolved”:

 “We always welcome people coming over to our side,’’ he said.

What side is that, exactly, Mr. Brown? Why don’t you fill us in.

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To schedule an interview with contact director of communications Rachel Perrone at rachel@rhrealitycheck.org.

  • captain-boston

    Do the rights of one group supercede those of another? Answer, NO. In the healthcare world, concientious objectors have always been given the choice whether or not to participate or administer procedures that were against their personal beliefs without fear of retribution. This is the RIGHT that Scott Brown was attempting to protect. Any woman could be treated for injuries sustained during a rape and have their own local doctor administer "emergency contraception". Your argument hold no water. It seems as though you would prefer that someone objecting to administer "emergency contraception" should be fired. This is just silliness. Look at Brown’s wonderful daughters. Do you think a pragmatic man like this would ever not do the right thing? He is a patriot and a hero.

  • rachel-larris

    Captain Boston you go a long way from “must administer actual healthcare to rape victims” to “prefer they be fired for their personal beliefs.”

    This bill would only have compelled hospital staffs to do their jobs. Doctors and medical personnel may have lots of personal beliefs, but when they choose to join the medical professional judging their patients is something they have to give up. I don’t see why giving emergency contraception (which is just birth control) is any different than requiring hospitals to treat patients.

  • colleen

    Do you think a pragmatic man like this would ever not do the right thing?

    I think that anyone or any organization who argues that hospitals be permitted to treat rape victims in this manner has a very warped notion of what it means to "do the right thing" .

     

    The only difference between the American anti-abortion movement and the Taliban is about 8,000 miles.

    Dr Warren Hern, MD

  • crowepps

    Do the rights of one group supercede those of another? Answer, NO.

    That is absolutely correct.  The emergency room nurse or doctor does not have to explain the availability of or provide the EC if it’s against their ‘moral values’ and the patient who was raped shouldn’t have to deal with or even know about their ‘values’ because those workers should never be the only ones on duty.  People who are not willing to provide full spectrum medical care should always be scheduled on a shift when there is someone else present who is willing to step in and provide care for that patient.  The rights of the patient to care do not supercede those of the conscientious objector and the rights of the conscientious objector do not supercede those of the patient to adequate medical care.  If having only a few shifts available leads to difficulties, that seems fair – any price of conscience ought to be paid by the person who puts theirs before their profession instead of being extracted unwillingly from total strangers who are involved only because they are crime victims.

     

    The scientific consensus and all the research pretty overwhelmingly supports that EC works by preventing ovulation and does not cause abortion.  It kind of boggles my mind that any medical professional faced with a crime victim who was sexually attacked would move the focus of the interaction from helping the patient to an opportunity to demonstrate the medical professional’s ‘moral values’ by lying to the patient by omission in failing to tell her that she can cut her risk of pregnancy or by obstinantly refusing to provide her the means to do so.  Why should the patient have to get pregnant by a rapist to provide the nurse with the thrill of smug self-righteousness?

  • prochoiceferret

    In the healthcare world, concientious objectors have always been given the choice whether or not to participate or administer procedures that were against their personal beliefs without fear of retribution.

    Uh… no, they haven’t, actually. They can choose not to participate/administer abortion procedures, because that is a bit of a special case. But refusing to administer contraceptive pills?? If someone’s religious sensitivities are so fragile that they can’t do that, they shouldn’t even be working in health care in the first place. No different than if someone had a conscientious objection to viewing X-rays, prescribing painkillers, or taking blood samples.

    Any woman could be treated for injuries sustained during a rape and have their own local doctor administer "emergency contraception".

    Unless that local doctor is a "conscientious objector"…

    It seems as though you would prefer that someone objecting to administer "emergency contraception" should be fired.

    You’re suggesting that someone who refuses to perform their job duties shouldn’t be fired? I don’t suppose you hail from France?

    This is just silliness. Look at Brown’s wonderful daughters.

    What about them? Does the fact that he has two "wonderful" daughters mean that he cannot propose anti-woman legislation? After all, his family is wealthy—he could pass all sorts of laws that make reproductive health harder for poor women to obtain (like the amendment he filed), and it would have no practical effect on his daughters.

    Do you think a pragmatic man like this would ever not do the right thing?

    I don’t think so; I know so. Aside from his amendment, he is also in favor of torturing alleged terrorists.

    He is a patriot and a hero.

    They sure don’t make those like they used to.

  • kawmagnum

    The divide in this country continues to widen as evidenced by the above. Let’s apply some common sense!!!. Colleen and Rachel- I oppose abortions and therefore -I DO NOT WANT TO PAY FOR ABORTIONS. I respect a woman’s right to have an abortion-BUT DONT ASK ME TO SUPPORT ABORTION. How can you compel Hospital staff to support abortion when they are morally opposed? To them-it is repulsive and murder and some 45% or more of your fellow American’s feel this way. I know I am wasting my advanced typing skills on this, but you defy logic. First, because you disagree with Scott Brown’s position, you claim that “he does not do the right thing” and Rachael, you silly thing, the Hippocratic oath and the staff job description does not include “emergency contraception”.

  • crowepps

    But we weren’t talking about abortion – we were talking about emergency contraception, which is not abortion, because it prevents conception from taking place at all.  Is preventing a pregnancy from STARTING now considered abortion?

  • kawmagnum

    ProChoiceFerret,is that your primary Value? Amazing set of principals you have there. Let me make this clear. Unless you live in a closet on a campus somewhere-THE VAST MAJORITY OF YOUR NEIGHBORS and fellow thinking and taxpaying citizens support the policies of the previous administration which you have taken to mean “torturing alleged terrorist” so you are going to support a candidate who wants to use taxpayer money to support killing babies but is not in favor of defending our nation. Always curious where someone with your position hails from and how much sacrifice you or your family has made in defense of this Country.

  • crowepps

    THE VAST MAJORITY OF YOUR NEIGHBORS and fellow thinking and taxpaying citizens support the policies of the previous administration

    Then why do we have a Democratic President and a Democratic Congress? My guess is that the VAST MAJORITY got kind of fed up with the ineffective and unAmerican policies of the previous administration. The unthinking, of course, still support the UberConservatives and their 16th century values.

  • colleen

    I would have  more respect for this argument if their religious objections involved anything besides making sure  women are as miserable and socially devalued as possible.

    I’ve yet to hear one pro-lifer ever suggest that people who work for insurance companies should refuse to deny cancer patients the medical benefits they’ve been paying for because said patient failed to reveal they were, say, treated for acne 20 years ago when they purchased the insurance.Just as an example.

     

     

     

     

    The only difference between the American anti-abortion movement and the Taliban is about 8,000 miles.

    Dr Warren Hern, MD

  • colleen

    First, because you disagree with Scott Brown’s position, you claim that "he does not do the right thing"

     

     

    No, I believe that anyone who thinks it’s legitimate to deny emergency contraception to rape victims has no idea what ‘doing the right thing’ means.

     

     

     

    The only difference between the American anti-abortion movement and the Taliban is about 8,000 miles.

    Dr Warren Hern, MD

  • prochoiceferret

    Colleen and Rachel- I oppose abortions and therefore -I DO NOT WANT TO PAY FOR ABORTIONS.

    What, do you have a secret compulsion to write checks to Planned Parenthood or something? Don’t pay for abortions, then!

    I respect a woman’s right to have an abortion-BUT DONT ASK ME TO SUPPORT ABORTION.

    Thank you for being pro-choice!

    How can you compel Hospital staff to support abortion when they are morally opposed?

    Someone is compelling unwilling hospital staff to support abortion!? Who? Where??

    Rachael, you silly thing, the Hippocratic oath and the staff job description does not include "emergency contraception".

    It doesn’t include "kidney dialysis" either, but I don’t see that being any less a part of health care.

  • crowepps

    Almost 80% of Americans believe that pharmacists should not be able to refuse to provide birth control pills.

     

    Over 80% of Americans believe that abortion is moral in cases of rape.

     

    http://www.pollingreport.com/abortion.htm

     

    Personal medical privacy should never be held hostage to the views of the fanatic fringe.  If they just can’t reconcile their conscience to providing medical care the way the majority of the country thinks is appropriate, perhaps they ought to find another job.  I’m sure all those ProLife RN’s could easily find jobs at nursing homes where the subjects of abortion and birth control never arise.

  • progo35

    This does NOT have to do with rape victims, it has to do with the hospital’s choice to distribute EC or not. The bill did not say that hospitals had the right to refuse to distribute EC to rape victims, it said that they had the right not to distribute it in general. That could inadvertently impact rape victims, but that is not the same as writing a bill specifically aimed at rape cases.

    "Well behaved women seldom make history."-Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

  • prochoiceferret

    ProChoiceFerret,is that your primary Value?

    Yes, ferrets are my primary value. We’re so cute and cuddly!

    the policies of the previous administration which you have taken to mean "torturing alleged terrorist"

    The Bush Administration is on record as supporting the torture of suspected terrorists, both by our military and intelligence apparatus, and by overseas third parties. It’s not just me who has taken that meaning!

    so you are going to support a candidate who wants to use taxpayer money to support killing babies but is not in favor of defending our nation.

    Which candidate supports killing babies with taxpayer money? Are you talking about George Bush, whose war in Iraq has resulted in the deaths of thousands of innocent Iraqis, no doubt including many babies?

     

    And which candidate is not in favor of defending our nation? (Even if they have no clue how to do it right, as Bush clearly did?)

  • crowepps

    It’s hard for me to think of a circumstance in which a woman who just had the condom break would run over the ER to get Plan B. It’s really easy for me to think of circumstances in which women who have been raped would have the police take them to the ER. Certainly the bill could have very easily included an exception and required hospitals and their workers to provide Plan B to victims of rape brought in by the police for care.

    The effect then is that in order to prevent a few women who voluntarily had sex from getting the means to prevent pregnancy (so that they could be appropriately punished for having sex), a far larger percentage who had been raped will be hurtl. That doesn’t seem ‘inadvertent’ but rather part of a planned campaign to uphold the right of rapists to force pregnancy on their victims as well as sex.

    How that can possibily be described as ‘upholding morality’ is beyond me. Personally, I’m pretty anti-rape.

  • colleen

     This does NOT have to do with rape victims,

     

     Sadly, it has everything to do with rape victims. MA has a law requiring all hospitals to "provide women of childbearing age, who are victims of rape, with medically and factually accurate information on emergency contraception, to offer these women emergency contraception, and to provide them with emergency contraception upon request."

     

    It also has a law requiring "police standardized rape kits to include medically and factually accurate information about emergency contraception."

     

    Hospitals are where rape kits are processed, hospital staff are trained to process rape kits.  This bill was an attempt to circumvent these laws. Women don’t go to an ER when they need EC because they forgot tto take their pill or a condom broke, they are brought to ER’s by police after they have been raped. The harm  this bill would have caused rape victims was not "inadvertent", rape victims were the target.

     

     

     

     

    The only difference between the American anti-abortion movement and the Taliban is about 8,000 miles.

    Dr Warren Hern, MD

  • nandlsdad

    I am having a hard time getting excited about this issue. First of all, the amendment failed, so we are left with a sketchy record. But let’s take it at its face. It absolutely does not let a facility opt out — the exemption was written only for an individual doctor or nurse. Not for a hospital. Let’s consider Ms. Carpentier’s example above — is it really reasonable to suggest that no one on duty in the emergency room at Fairview Hospital in Great Barrington woudl be willing to dispense the pill? I have a hard time imagining that. Also, I think you can take Plan B up to 6 days after intercourse, so going someplace else, or having someone prescribe over the phone, are possibilities. I do not agree with either the side that says it is about rape victims and not about health care providers, or the side tha tsays it is about health care providers and not rape victims. Clearly it is about both, right? And that is why we need to be reasonable and understanding. Imagine a woman who has been an ER nurse for 30 years, is pro-life (or anti-choice if you wish), has never had to administer Plan B and then comes to work one day and is told: "This is part of your job now. Do it or you are fired." Fair? Maybe – but I think that our hypothetical friend deserves more consideration than that, consistent with the overriding goal of caring for the victim. One can envision circumstance in which the amendment would add another burden, no matter how slight, to the the trauma a rape victim endures. Maybe the burden would be more than slight. Maybe that is enough to reject it out of hand. However, in Massachusetts, where we are lucky enough to have many hospitals filled with many excellent providers, it seems to me that the amendment, while perhaps ill-advised or proorly thought out, is insufficient evidence that Scott Brown is "against the rights of rape victims" or that he would "seek to deny them treatment." Hyperbole like that is never going to convince anyone to change their position.

  • captain-boston

    If everyone is so concerned about the rights of rape victims then a vote for Scott Brown is the ethical and moral choice. Martha Coakley allowed Father Geoghan (a serial rapist) to go free with one years probation. She allowed Mr. Amirault to rot in jail, despite overwhelming evidence acquitting him. His family destroyed, business ruined and mother dead. Martha Coakley has a fluid morality, lacks ethics and should not be our senator. Mr. Brown has proven to be an ethical and moral gentleman, he deserves our vote.

  • progo35

    Good point, Nandlsdad and Captain Boston!
    "Well behaved women seldom make history."-Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

  • princess-rot

    Actually, I find it disgusting that underneath all this “protect my rights as an objector!” bull is that it puts a goddamn possible zygote’s interests above that of an actual living person. This can only be born of the idea that women don’t matter, that we are community property.

    I don’t give a rat’s ass what some medic does and doesn’t agree with. I don’t care about their “right” to be self-righteous. At the end, it’s the patient that’s going to be affected – is that worth a feeling of smugness? They have no right to decide – even passively – what any woman should do with her body, raped or not. Do your effing job. If you can’t stand the heat, get off the pot.

  • princess-rot

    Jesus tap-dancing Christ, the passive-aggressive misogyny on this thread burns. All you people here who support "conscience" laws – can you not see that it means a potential zygote’s unprovable presence matters more than violence against half the born population? You ought to be ashamed. The confusion over what EC does is astounding. It’s amazing how well pro-liars have managed to reclassify preventing a pregnancy as aborting one, and that’s even before we can medically prove a woman is actually pregnant! What’s next? Are we going to call periods abortions, if you cannot "prove" there was no egg fertilized at the time of menstruation? This is all about the fight to have contraception outlawed, it must be because it’s going to do sweet f-all about rape culture.

  • kawmagnum

    Somehow, my last Post-Didn’t. And Good Thing because “Princess Rot” continues to prove my initial point. There are those that continue to divide and attack;never advance or support sensible solutions, and continue to advocate that somehow Government at taxpayer expense should do things it was not created to do. MAssachusetts did not need the Legislation in the first place; the pill is effective for 3 days, Doctors and Nurses are Caring Professionals and anyone the hospital could legally give the Pill to could purchase it themselves.

  • colleen

    ost people There are those that continue to divide and attack;never advance or
    support sensible solutions, and continue to advocate that somehow
    Government at taxpayer expense should do things it was not created to
    do.

     In this thread that would be the religious right and the republican operatives who continue to propagate dishonest information about emergency contraception (it is most effective if taken within 24 hours after intercourse)and refuse to acknowledge that Brown’s horrible law was an attempt to circumvent the sensible and effective laws regarding the rights of rape victims already on the books.

     

     Doctors and Nurses are Caring Professionals and anyone the hospital
    could legally give the Pill to could purchase it themselves.

     

    OK, once again, current MA law requires that all hospitals "provide women of childbearing age, who are victims of rape, with medically and factually accurate information on emergency contraception, to offer these women emergency contraception, and to provide them with emergency contraception upon request." This is part of processing a rape kit, counseling about STI’s and EC  is done after the forensic evidence is collected.

     I know that this is difficult for republicans to understand but there is nothing ‘caring’ or ‘professional’ about refusing to provide a rape victim with EC just as there’s noting decent about pretending that a physically and emotionally injured woman should be forced to track down a provider of EC or risk pregnancy. There is nothing ‘caring’ or ‘professional’ about trying to stop a rape victim (or any other woman for that matter) from preventing a pregnancy she does not want.

     

     

    The only difference between the American anti-abortion movement and the Taliban is about 8,000 miles.

    Dr Warren Hern, MD

  • crowepps

    Also, I think you can take Plan B up to 6 days after intercourse, so going someplace else, or having someone prescribe over the phone, are possibilities.

    You can Plan B late but the effectiveness of Plan B depends on how quickly it is administered because the way that it works is to PREVENT conception, either by delaying the release of an egg or by preventing sperm from reaching the egg.

    Plan B reduces the risk of pregnancy by 89 to 95 percent after a single act of unprotected sex. Effectiveness declines as the interval between intercourse and the start of treatment increases. Plan B is more effective the sooner it is taken after intercourse.

    http://www.uoregon.edu/~uoshc/patientinfo/contraception_emergency.html

    Think your scenario through – a rape victim is brought into ER by the police.  The medical staff set any broken bones and treat her wounds and test her for STDs and then say, "since intercourse only happened a short time ago, you are not yet pregnant, and it’s possible to lower the risk you will become pregnant, but I think it’s immoral for you to prevent pregnancy.  Here’s a phone number you can call."  Or is even providing the phone number enabling the equivalent of abortion?  Perhaps that Pro-Life health care worker wouldn’t even be willing to do that.

     

    I find it a little puzzling that in a case where a person is the victim of a crime, and where they are not yet pregnant, where no egg has yet been fertilized, you would feel that the issue must be settled by balancing the needs of the victim and the health care worker.  What need does the health care worker have?  If the health care worker is not aware of how reproduction works, they need more training.  If the health care worker is aware of the fact that there is not yet a fertilized egg, what is their ethical stance based on — the fringe religious belief that sex is only moral if it has a connection to procreation?

     

    Newflash – rape itself is immoral and leaving a woman at risk of pregnancy does not add even the thinnest gloss of morality.

     

    I wonder how sympathetic you’d be to an emergency room worker who believed drinking alcohol was immoral and whose conscience prompted them to refuse to treat any patient who arrived drunk or who believed women should submit to their husbands and so refused to treat victims of domestic violence.

  • paul-bradford

    Brown’s amendment is important, and we should be talking about it, because the cost of “provider conscience rules” is often overlooked. Brown’s amendment is totally out of line with our values as a society—our conviction that a person who goes through something terrible, like rape, should be cared for as quickly and as compassionately as possible.

     

    I made a New Year’s resolution to give myself short breaks from debating Pro-Life issues every now and then.  That’s why I was ‘out of the loop’ for a couple of days, but I picked up the Boston Globe this morning and read Yvonne Abraham’s pointed and passionate column about Brown’s stance on EC and I knew it was an issue I wanted to discuss. When I logged on to the ‘site an hour ago I said to myself, "surely they’ve picked up on the flap by now." Thank you for not disappointing me!

     

    I’ll say more later, but I’d like to bring this point out first.  There are actually two methods for preventing pregnancy after intercourse.  One way works if the woman hasn’t ovulated, the other way works if she has.  crowepps has focused our attention on the method that works if a woman hasn’t ovulated (but is all but ineffective if she has).  That’s Plan B and it’s not the abortion pill and my dear friends in the Pro-Life movement do no favors to anybody by making an issue out of whether or not rape victims should have Plan B made available.  They should.  They must.  There is no reason to deny it.

     

    There’s another way to prevent pregnancy after intercourse that works even if a woman has ovulated.  That’s by administering mifepristone.  Mifepristone is the ‘abortion pill’ and Pro-Lifers are perfectly correct when they point out that there are ethical considerations associated with its use.

     

    When I have the chance to post again, I’ll share my thoughts about compassionate care for a rape victim who has already ovulated.

     

    Paul Bradford

    Pro-Life Catholics for Choice

     

    P.S.  I’m voting Democratic on Tuesday.

  • crowepps

    Gee, you people in Massachusetts sure have some doozies running.  Perhaps all this focus on picking politicians according to what they believe about SEX would be better directed to finding some people who actually know how to run a government.

     

    Your assertion that Brown is ethical and moral is contradicted by the fact that he sunk to introducing unnecessary laws making things harder on rape victims in order to suck up to the conservative wingnuts.

  • any

    I am thinking rape is a very bad thing.

    Rape is not about sex…most people believe it to be more about power.

    I am not getting the professional medical argument!

    Everyone has a religious view point. Working in an abortion clinic should be as much an individual health care professional’s choice as choosing to be a dentist. That’s were a health care professional’s personal reasons truly might end. Upon a person’s religion prohibits them from servicing an individual…then maybe that is a position that person need not hold. Emergency room activity, and daily medical services should always be the right of the patient. Medical services is just that…people paying for a service. Upon choosing medicine as a profession with the possibility of some exceptional real limitation…a medical professional should always be able to provide the best medical care currently available. Giving a rape victim back anything and maybe everything that may have been taken from them is the best care one may hope. Forcing an already traumatized person to go on their own to another hospital to seek well practiced and established medical treatment…isn’t that like raping the person of their right to make the personal choice to say no all over again? So, what is more humane…allowing a health care professional to practice their religious right upon another VS having a medical professional practice the best medical care available? A medical professional who does not understand the difference between practicing their religion and forcing their religious views upon another may not need to work within the medical field, or maybe should make the personal choice to find a more personal suitable position within the hospital keeping it the legal responsibility of the hospital to accommodate their staffs individual personal religious beliefs. P.S. An openly Christian Hospital or Catholic Hospital is just that…a private establishment created for people sharing the same view point and therefore, I think should be able to openly practice that view point. So again there maybe exceptions. Those exceptions should have policies in place to get emergency room victims to socially common medical services and practices without patient cost or a violation of the patient human rights. Then there is our government and wasteful spending on special interest instead of the protection of human rights. I think that just really means less money for the grants to transport real victimized citizens to real helpful services.

    Hugs to you.

  • crowepps

    Factcheck.org notes that when Mr. Brown’s amendment failed and the bill to require Plan B to be provided to rape victims went forward without it, he did vote yes in support.

  • crowepps

    One way works if the woman hasn’t ovulated, the other way works if she has.  crowepps has focused our attention on the method that works if a woman hasn’t ovulated (but is all but ineffective if she has).  That’s Plan B

    In addition to stopping ovulation, there is some evidence that Plan B also can prevent the rapist’s sperm from reaching an ovulated egg if the Plan B is administered as quickly as possible.  If the egg has already been fertilized, then there is no evidence that Plan B will prevent it from implanting. 

    There’s another way to prevent pregnancy after intercourse that works even if a woman has ovulated.  That’s by administering mifepristone.  Mifepristone is the ‘abortion pill’ and Pro-Lifers are perfectly correct when they point out that there are ethical considerations associated with its use.

    I don’t believe there are ethical considerations associated with the adminstration of mifepristone in the case of rape.  I believe that everything possible should be done at the time of the rape to assist the woman in preventing ovluation, preventing fertilization, AND/OR preventing implantation because I agree with the 80% of Americans who believe rapists have no right to reproduce.  Compassion to a crime victim requires she should be given every opportunity to stop a potential pregnancy so that she is not victimized a second time.

  • emma

    Apparently this excellent link needs to be posted again. In said link, a biologist explains how emergency contraception works, which is by preventing ovulation. It has absolutely nothing to do with abortion, except insofar as it prevents pregnancy and therefore prevents abortion.

     

    I can think of only a few reasons the anti-abortion crowd would be latching on to denying the morning after pill as a fantastic ‘pro-life’ idea: 1) abject, pathetic ignorance; 2) they believe that not only should women be forbidden from terminating pregnancies, but also prevented from controlling when they ovulate (all women’s ovaries are public property, don’tcha know?!); and/or 3) they get off on the idea of imposing even more misery on women who’ve been raped.

     

    The patently obvious misogyny is literally nauseating. Please don’t ever try to claim again that you’re not motivated by a pathological hatred of and need to control women, or I may choke to death laughing.

  • emma

    kawmagnum, you know nothing of which you speak. There is a great deal of evidence available on the record – if you care to look for it – that detainees were, in fact, tortured under the Bush administration, and probably under the Obama administration as well. Many of those detainees (torture victims) have since been released because the US government had no evidence that those detainees were involved in anything even remotely resembling terrorism. If the majority of the American population supports torturing innocent people (or guilty people, for that matter), then there is something grotesquely sick about the majority of the American population.

     

    If you care to google the names Mohammed Jawad and Omar Khadr, you’ll note that, under Bush’s administration, the United States was capturing children, detaining them at Guantanamo Bay and torturing them. Does the majority of the American population also support torturing children? You might also care to look up Dilawar, the subject of ‘Taxi to the Dark Side’. He was an Afghan taxi driver, caught in the wrong place at the wrong time, who was beaten and tortured to death by your heroic and patriotic American soldiers, who admitted that they believed he was innocent, but found it amusing to hear him screaming out to Allah as they beat him. Do you support that, too?

     

    Is this what being ‘pro-life’ means to some of you people? Can your beliefs be accurately summarised as something like ‘women should not be able to control when they ovulate. Women should be forced to bear their rapists’ children. Bombing countries full of innocent people is good. Iraqi foetuses deserve to die when their mothers are bombed. Torturing people is good. Torturing children is good. Those who torture, murder and bomb are heroic patriots.’???

     

    And you dare to try to claim the mantle of ‘pro-life’? 

  • princess-rot

    You had an original point? I mean, other than "women deserve to bear their rapist’s baby because chemical contraception offends my puritan morals," you had a valid point? I must have missed it.

  • paul-bradford

    I don’t believe there are ethical considerations associated with the adminstration of mifepristone in the case of rape.

     

    crowepps,

     

    I think it boils down to this: "Do you believe that a zygote or a blastocyst is as worthy of our care and concern as a rape victim?"  If a woman were to answer this question in the affirmative, doesn’t it follow that she would decline the administration of the drug even if she’d been raped?

     

    Another way to put it is this: "Do you believe that the administration of mifepristone to a woman who is bearing a conceptus is an act of violence against a living human being?"  If a health care worker were to answer this question in the affirmative wouldn’t s/he resist giving this medicine to a woman, even if she’d been raped?

     

    Can you tell me why this issue always seems to come up in the context of rape?  Any woman could take mifepristone after having sex to prevent pregnancy — the question of whether or not the sex is consensual is immaterial.  Do you agree with me that there’s no reason to raise ethical objections to mifepristone after consensual sex if you take the position that it’s morally licit to take mifepristone after rape?

     

     

    Paul Bradford

    Pro-Life Catholics for Choice

  • crowepps

    the question of whether or not the sex is consensual is immaterial.

    The circumstances are certainly not immaterial to ME, or to the victim for that matter.

  • colleen

      If a woman were to answer this question in the affirmative, doesn’t it
    follow that she would decline the administration of the drug even if
    she’d been raped?

    First, No one is advocating that a woman who has just been raped should be forced to take emergency contraception of any sort. What the law says (and what the Catholic hierarchy resists) is that women of childbearing age be offered emergency contraception. The ONLY person whose opinion or belief on this matter is important is the opinion or belief of the crime victim. Medical personnel have no business manipulating or trying to force their beliefs on any woman in this circumstance.

     

     If a health care worker were to answer this question in the
    affirmative wouldn’t s/he resist giving this medicine to a woman, even
    if she’d been raped?

     

    If a health care worker were to answer this question in the
    affirmative  s/he should never come in contact with rape victims.

    Can you tell me why this issue always seems to come up in the context of rape?

     

    In this case because Mr Brown decided to pay back the Catholic church for helping him get elected by trying to circumvent a law requiring that  hospitals treat rape victims with decency and respect.

     

    Do you agree with me that there’s no reason to raise ethical objections
    to mifepristone after consensual sex if you take the position that it’s
    morally licit to take mifepristone after rape?

     

    I don’t believe that the objections being raised in either circumstance are ethical or an expression of a morality however much those who espouse them like to pretend they are

     

     

    The only difference between the American anti-abortion movement and the Taliban is about 8,000 miles.

    Dr Warren Hern, MD

  • cmarie

    Anybody who has ever been to an emergency room will tell you that they saw many health care providers. I doubt a rape victim is going to say to the person providing EC “Wait, are you actually an employee of this Catholic hospital or were you sent by another hospital because of someone else’s religious objections? I really want the very first nurse I saw to be the one who gives me this particular pill.” Make sure nurses are available from nearby hospitals to provide treatment that Catholic hospital employees can’t. It makes much more sense to transport another nurse to the emg room than to see the whole hospital close down and that could happen. I don’t know anyone who is opposed to EC for rape victims on principal but unfortunately the Archdiocese is and if that means taking the extra step of bringing in the employee of another hospital it makes sense to do exactly that. That may not be PC but its certainly a reality check. And if you are worried about choice in general now, imagine how little choice you’ll have if this disaster of a “health reform” bill passes. Come November sanity will be restored to the House and Senate but right now Scott Brown’s vote will be crucial to avert disaster. I certainly look forward to voting for him tomorrow. The big story in Boston now is not how many Republicans and Independents are voting for Brown tomorrow but how many lifelong Democrats will.

  • emma

    I’m still not understanding why anyone has any moral/religious objections to administering emergency contraception/the ‘morning after pill’ to rape victims (or to anyone else, but that’s another topic entirely).

     

    The morning after pill can delay ovulation, and it can slow down the speed with which sperm reach the egg. If ovulation has already occurred, then emergency contraception isn’t going to help. Plan B does not work by preventing implantation of fertilised eggs. It works by preventing/delaying ovulation, and thus preventing fertilisation. When the morning after pill works successfully, there is no special new human being with unique DNA and a full set of human rights, because fertilisation does. not. occur.

     

    I do not understand why anyone would object to this.
    I also cannot see how some people just cannot even begin to comprehend the horror and the trauma of being raped. When you’re taken to a hospital to be examined and treated after that rape, you have every right to expect quality care and the provision of all relevant information. Could you even begin to imagine being raped and hospitalised, and then being told ‘oh sorry, it’s against our religious beliefs to prevent your rapist’s or rapists’ sperm from fertilising your egg, so you’ll have to go somewhere else. And then perhaps to somewhere else. All this in the immediate aftermath of a traumatic act of violence.

     

    This just isn’t making sense to me.

  • heather-corinna

    Paul:

     

    I think it boils down to this: "Do you believe that a zygote or a
    blastocyst is as worthy of our care and concern as a rape victim?"  If
    a woman were to answer this question in the affirmative, doesn’t it
    follow that she would decline the administration of the drug even if
    she’d been raped?

     

    This statement/question is so incredibly offensive to me that I’m not even sure who to express how offensive it is.  Not only does it, as you often seem to do do, presume that in making decisions about preventing pregnancy or birth a woman who decides to engage in that prevention is incapable of making choices thinking BOTH of herself and of others (or potential others), we are talking about the care of someone who has just been assaulted here.  A blastocyst isn’t who is showing up at the ER here in need of physical and emotional care due to having been assaulted: a woman is. And if you are suggesting that somehow some cells can be traumatized in not being allowed to become a pregnancy the way a person who has been raped can be traumatized….ugh.  I hardly know what to say, besides feeling strongly that you just don’t get it, just don’t get what rape is or feels like. And just don’t get what it’s like being female-bodied, either.

     

    It’s been said here more than once at RH by staff and others in conversations around rape, but I feel the need to say it again, both as a survivor myself and as an advocate for other survivors.  PLEASE do try and have more sensitivity when you are talking about rape survivors.  I know that you probably don’t think this is insensitive, but it very much is.

     

    I do not know your own history when it comes to rape, but I think that on the whole, if you have not survived rape yourself, the best tactic is to be incredibly cautious in how you talk about (and to: when you talk here like this, you are not only talking about some of us, but TO some of us) survivors, and to even exempt yourself from these kinds of conversations sometimes if you have not survived rape. Statements like this not only are deeply insensitive, they make it very tough to sustain the understanding central to most of your comments that you have respect for living beings, particularly female-bodied beings. This kind of statement seems deeply disrespectful.

  • crowepps

    I think it boils down to this: "Do you believe that a zygote or a blastocyst is as worthy of our care and concern as a rape victim?"

    Even it were true that "a zygote or a blastocyst is as worthy of our care and concern", that’s not what is under discussion because it isn’t US who are going to be providing the zygote/blastocyst with anything.  What is under discussion is whether the zygote or blastocyst should get care TO THE DETRIMENT OF the unwilling rape victim, thereby victimizing her twice.

     

    You just can’t seem to grasp that your conceptualization of ‘blastocyst deserves equality’ involves placing huge, possibly fatal, penalties on the OTHER human involved, the rape victim.

  • cmarie

    I can certainly see why it wouldn’t make sense and I would further say that most emg rm. workers would have no objections to providing EC to a patient. Unfortunately though, if you work for the Church there are certain thing they are not going to allow you to do. And with this economy, people are trying to hold on to their jobs. I used to work for an insurance company and I remember employees of the Archdiocese (hospital or school) couldn’t even get routine birth control. So generally its not the individual nurses or doctors, its the Church overall who makes these policies. And the Roman Catholic Church subsidizes a tremendous amount of health care in Massachusetts and possibly up to half of social services overall – (the other half coming from the taxpayers). If you really want the Church to pack up and leave they will but humanitarian consequences across the state would be devestating. Hopefully, nurses (from other hospitals) would be able to come to the patients rather than the other way around so it would be seamless for the patient. Also the Brown campaign has just gotten a cease and decist order against the Dems regarding that moronic “Brown is pro rape” ad. The order went through of course because its slander. Hello? he has two daughters. Its just another example of how desperate Coakley has become. Its always been frusterating to be a Republican in Mass but hey we waited 86 years for the World Series and we’ve waited long enough now for the Senate. Baby we’re back!!!

  • crowepps

    I also cannot see how some people just cannot even begin to comprehend the horror and the trauma of being raped. When you’re taken to a hospital to be examined and treated after that rape, you have every right to expect quality care and the provision of all relevant information. Could you even begin to imagine being raped and hospitalised, and then being told ‘oh sorry, it’s against our religious beliefs to prevent your rapist’s or rapists’ sperm from fertilising your egg, so you’ll have to go somewhere else. And then perhaps to somewhere else. All this in the immediate aftermath of a traumatic act of violence.

    There’s only one way it can make sense, and that is if you understand that the focus of the ‘treatment’ is always the not-yet-fertilized-egg.  The woman herself, both body and brain, is not only totally irrelevant but also disposable.  Her value to society rests entirely on her potentiality — the use of her as breeding stock to produce a (hopefully male) blastocyst that might be able to grow into a ‘real (male) person’ by using her body up.  Nobody worries excessively about whether breeding stock is ‘willing’ or how breeding stock ‘feels’ or whether it survives the experience of reproduction.

  • harry834

    your hypothesis: anti-abortionists (unconsciously or otherwise) viewing women as a breeding stock whose only value is on whether or not they will sustain that unborn child (fertilized egg, not-yet-fertilized egg, fertilized-but-not-implanted egg) they care so much about

    This hypothesis does make sense. I think it does take extra info to support the "hopefully male" part of the hypothesis, but I might just need more literature to read, as do others.

    Thank you for stating your analysis.

  • crowepps

    I can certainly see why it wouldn’t make sense and I would further say that most emg rm. workers would have no objections to providing EC to a patient. Unfortunately though, if you work for the Church there are certain thing they are not going to allow you to do.

    The Church may believe itself to have absolute authority in religious matters among its own laity (which routinely ignore its fiats), but it is a huge violation of our constitutional freedom of religion for the Church to be in position to demand the right to impose its own decisions and take away the right of conscience of non-catholic medical workers or non-catholic patients.

     

    Rights cannot exist unless they are reciprocal — if ProLife workers should have a conscience right to refuse to inform rape victims EC exists, then  ProChoice workers must have an equal conscience right to give out the information and offer prescriptions.

     

    And the Roman Catholic Church subsidizes a tremendous amount of health care in Massachusetts and possibly up to half of social services overall

    I would certainly be interested in any material you have backing up this startling assertion, since the Church keeps most of its financial information secret and refuses to release it even in the face of lawsuits when its routine for it to make claims of bankruptcy.

  • ack

    Hopefully, nurses (from other hospitals) would be able to come to the patients rather than the other way around so it would be seamless for the patient.>>>

    Another nurse can’t just waltz into the exam room during a sexual assault forensic examination; it violates the chain of evidence. The exams can take up to 8 hours sometimes, which would mean potentially waiting 8 hours to administer the medication, and then waiting however long for the willing health professional to be available. All that after a trauma. You’re also asking another hospital to spare a nurse or doctor to be on call to offer a service that the hospital should be offering in the first place. In rural Mass, it might take an hour just to drive to the next hospital.

  • crowepps

    In additiona, Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners are a sub-specialty who have taken additional training specific to rape and molestation and who have been trained on specialty equipment specific to rape and molestation.

     

    SART nurses are not thick on the ground yet, their training is expensive, and I’ve got to say it would be pretty silly for someone to apply for or go through the training and accept a job in this field if they weren’t willing to follow the medical protocols after they were hired, including the explanation of and provision of EC.

     

    Just as a teetotaler Baptist wouldn’t WANT a job as a bartender, I would think that someone who had strong objections to providing any kind of birth control wouldn’t apply for training as or take a job as a SANE — unless of course their motive was to put themselves in a position to control and limit the information given to patients in order to ‘save’ zygotes.  The victims having already had control of their lives and body wrested from them by a criminal, it seems to me that any medical personnel who went into the training with the motive of controlling the lives and bodies of the patients would be psychologically unfit to serve in the position for which they were training.

  • crowepps

    I wasn’t referring to anti-abortionists but rather to the anti-birth control crowd.  If you’re unsure of their preference on sons, read their own literature.

     

    In addition, data on gender preference from the 2000 and 2003 Gallup polls show that while women have a nearly equal preference for a boy or a girl, men prefer a boy 2.5 times more often.

     

    This is also interesting:

    Content analysis of birth announcements was used as a method to investigate parental preference for the sex of newborns in Canada. The expression of positive affect (happiness and pride) in birth announcements was examined to determine whether parents express these emotions differently as a function of the sex of newborn. The findings suggest that parents express relatively more pride at the birth of boys than girls, whereas the opposite results were found for happiness. Parents seem unconsciously to categorize boys and girls into two distinct motivational systems: status and attachment, which are related to pride and happiness, respectively. This distinction may influence parents’ perception of their child’s worth and their subsequent investment in their child’s development.

    http://www.springerlink.com/content/pw6q3207937812t6/

  • harry834

    A clear explanation of the importance of this research:

    Parents seem unconsciously to categorize boys and girls into two
    distinct motivational systems: status and attachment, which are related
    to pride and happiness, respectively. This distinction may influence
    parents’ perception of their child’s worth and their subsequent
    investment in their child’s development.

    Paul Bradford, I hope you are absorbing this info about the male preference among the anti-choicers.

  • cmarie

    Oh its so ironic someone would say that right here! “don’t work in an emg room” because that’s exactly what Martha said and yet another reason why she’s going to get her ass handed to her tomorrow in a state that’s 60% Catholic. You want us to give up all the Church subsidizes just because the nurse providing the ei might get her paycheck from another hospital. Talk about cutting off your nose to spite your face. You’re all as crazy as mad king George ever was but don’t worry, we’re here, again. Even though ACORN and co will have every dead body from the Berkshires to the ocean voting against us. Believe it or not, even those of us with cancer in our families deserve a chance. Your welcome America.

  • crowepps

    You want us to give up all the Church subsidizes just because the nurse providing the ei might get her paycheck from another hospital.

    I find it really unlikely that the Catholic Church has agreed that floaters from other hospitals can drop by and advise patients in their ER about birth control.  For that matter, I find it really unlikely that the Catholic Church would allow volunteers to drop by the ER and advise patients.  After coughing up for the multi-million dollar settlements (so far) in the sexual abuse lawsuits, they’re kind of sensitive about creating such enormous liability issues.

  • jacqueline-s-homan

     Crowepps, you nailed it dead on! I must ask you out of curiosity, since I’ve written blog articles about this very subject of childbirth chattel slavery and treat the religious causes for it extensively in my book, Divine Right: The Truth is a Lie, have you read either my book or my  articles?

     

    I am told I am "too strident" and that I should "tone it down." As long as women’s human rights are violated right here in my country by legalized childbirth chattel slavery at peril to our health, wellbeing, and lives in the US (the "land of the free"), I refuse to do so.

     

    The pro-choice camp has passively allowed the "pro-life" terrorists walk all over American women for the past 30 years (or longer) beginning with the Hyde Amendment which passed in 1976 — on the 200th anniversary of this nation’s "freedom." The time is long overdue for women to demand our emancipation proclamation and our equal human/civil/Constitutional rights.

     

    The overwhelmingly rich white Christian male dominated "pro-life" movement admittedly doesn’t care if women die from pregnancy and childbirth. They don’t care if women, desperate to terminate an unwanted pregnancy, die from dangerous self-induced/black market illegal abortions — Gerri Santoro or Becky Bell ring a bell?

     

    Pro-forced birthers don’t see women as human enough for harm against us to matter. A woman’s right to life is negotiable in their ideological culture war. That’s the true face of "pro-lifers."

     

    I will even go so far as to accuse these misogynistic pro-forced-birthers of desiring to cause women of childbearing age to become disabled or die from pregnancy and birth — deliberately

     

    "Pro-lifers" leave no pious Playboy or pedophile behind. Forcing women to become injured, maimed, disabled and prematurely die from our bodies being worn out from endless cycles of pregnancy and birth ensures that the "merry widowers" will have access to a fresh supply of trophy wives — many young enough to be their daughters and granddaughters.

     

    And for the women who survive but end up permanently maimed with fecal or urinary (or both) incontinence and diminished or destroyed ability to ever enjoy sex again from third and fourth degree tears and/or episiotomies and prolapsed pelvic organs from giving birth? They’ll just get kicked to the curb and told "Sorry, I’m just not that into you" as gratitude for the uncompensated forced commandeering of their bodies for breeding for the benefit of a patriarchal government in bed with the patriarchal church.

     

    Here are some excerpts from my book on this matter as forced childbirth is definitely interwoven with rape and other forms of biblical patriarchy’s hatred for women: 

    "Studies conducted and published by Dr. Elizabeth Miller in the September 2007 edition of Ambulatory Pediatrics revealed that 25% of teen women alone reported that they were sexually active in relationships that included recurring patterns of verbal, emotional, financial, physical or sexual abuse by their male partners. Over one fourth of the teens aged 16-20 surveyed by Dr. Miller stated that their partners were actively trying to get them pregnant against their will by manipulating condom use, sabotaging the girls’ contraception use, and making statements about being determined to impregnate them."  (pp. 177)

     

    "The micro mirrors the macro. Anti-abortion zealots want to sugar coat it by saying how sweet babies are and that "it’s only natural" to force a woman to endure pregnancy and childbirth against their will. And when that candy-coated sales pitch fails, force – in the form of political action and abortion clinic violence – follows. It is carrot-and-stick dominance." (pp. 178)

     

     

    "Imposing the non-benign medical condition of childbirth, on unwilling women at peril to their health, wellbeing, lives, and liberty; is the ultimate form of chattel slavery — a human rights violation under Article 7(g) of the Rome Satute."

  • jacqueline-s-homan

    Controlling women’s bodies and lives has everything to do with it. The "pro-lifers" have always been about that. The same "pro-lifers" who are against abortion are also against contraception. They always have been. They were just more quiet about it until very recently when Personhood USA —the nationwide coordinators of state groups responsible for proposing laws like North Dakota’s Measure 11 and Colorado’s Amendment 48 — finally became emboldened enough to admit that the agenda behind the recent spate of specious "fetal personhood" laws was to eliminate access to contraceptives; not just abortion. And it’s not just the Roman Catholic Church that’s behind it. 

     

    Eliminating women’s access to reliable contraceptives as a matter of gradual public policy was advanced by Albert Mohler (president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary) and Robert Rector (Heritage Foundation) who authored some of the federal legislation mandating "abstinence-only" sex (non)education. Mohler and Rector admitted to having an agenda of social engineering to force a change in behavior and in the way people think about (and have) sex. And they’re admittedly using the bodies of women and girls as human shields in their fascist theological war against freedom.

     

    Their goal is about stubbornly clinging onto unfair advantages, including unjust enrichment, derived from unearned (male) privilege. Now, this is not to say that all men are out to hurt women. But the fact is that this "pro-life" religious Mafia is 77% male; 100% whom will never endure pregnancy and childbirth. And this is a vanguard movement that is very well-heeled; from "The Family" to the Vatican, which has more than its fair share of woman-hating foot-soldiers to do their dirty work of killing doctors, bombing clinics, and terrorizing women.

     

    They don’t care how many women they hurt or kill to hang onto their privileges. And part of this agenda is to subjugate and enslave ALL American women (whether they’re Christians or not) for Christian men’s benefit under the iron-fisted rule of theocracy is to keep women out of schools, good jobs, and the public quare by forcibly keeping them barefoot and pregnant (and even poorer than women already are in this country) — and under male domination and control .

     

    It is also about a pathological desire to destroy women: to harm our bodies, our psyches, and yes, even to kill us — with forced pregnancy and childbirth. The "original sin" story in Genesis led to 2,000 years of male hatred for women’s death-dealing vaginas: women are viewed as the instrument of seduction, sin, and death who must be punished with injury, pain, torture, and even death in childbirth in accordance with God’s word. Women’s salvation and redemption is only possible through suffering as male property and only in childbirth.This is what the Bible, the world’s best-selling hate literature, teaches: Genesis 3:16. This is what church "doctors" from Saint Augustine onward promoted. And this is what most Christians believe today.

     

    "If a woman grows weary and at last dies from childbearing, it matters not. Let her die from bearing — she is there to do it." ~ Martin Luther

     

    In a nation where all citizens are supposed to be entitled to be "secure in their persons" and free from slavery, especially from something as heinous as childbirth chattel slavery, the Christian cabal’s endeavor is to take away all American women’s right to use birth control — not simply restrict themselves from using any.

     

    The US Constitution guarantees all citizens the right to "liberty" and the right to be "secure in their persons." Well, being secure in one’s person includes the right to bodily integrity, personal autonomy, and control over what is done to your own body and to be free from the oppressive encroachment of someone else’s religious beliefs.

     

    Christians are getting away with deliberately oppressing women by influencing the passage of laws resulting in the forcing of their religion on women’s bodies — to the detriment of our health, wellbeing, and lives.

     

     

     

     

    "Imposing the non-benign medical condition of childbirth, on unwilling women at peril to their health, wellbeing, lives, and liberty; is the ultimate form of chattel slavery — a human rights violation under Article 7(g) of the Rome Satute."

  • crowepps

    I came to this conclusion myself many years ago, from an extensive reading of history.  In addition, after it was explained to me that women who were dying of pregnancy complications shouldn’t be allowed to have life-saving abortions because the whole point of women existing was their production of a infant I realized that women’s ‘special role’ can be fulfilled by someone in a coma (so long as their uterus continues to function).

     

    Certainly the comments on here from conservatives about how women only retain their ‘value’ when they are virginal (unused) and only fulfill it by by marrying and reproducing (being used by their husband/owner sexually and reproductively) make it crystal clear that the only part of  women that ‘traditional society’ focuses on is their uterus.

  • crowepps

    Their unrelenting propaganda efforts to ignore the science, confuse the issue and conflate birth control pills and Plan B and "the abortion pill" as all being the same thing, so that they can convince everyone that using hormonal birth control is abortion.  I never have figured out how not ovulating and providing eggs to be fertilized is abortion, but I guess if the only thing women are good for is producing babies, willfully refusing to GET pregnant is ‘deviant’ as well.

  • jacqueline-s-homan

    kawmagnum wrote: "The divide in this country continues to widen as evidenced by the above. Let’s apply some common sense!!!. Colleen and Rachel- I oppose abortions and therefore -I DO NOT WANT TO PAY FOR ABORTIONS. I respect a woman’s right to have an abortion-BUT DONT ASK ME TO SUPPORT ABORTION. "

     

     Yes, please DO apply some common sense: I oppose paying for poor men on Medicare and Medicaid to get free Viagra on MY dime so they can get all the sex they want, impregnating their bed victims, while it’s "to hell with the women" in this country. The risk of dying from pregnancy and childbirth is eleven times as high as the risk of dying from a legal, medical abortion.

     

    Remember, it is women’s bodies and lives that are 100% at risk in pregnancy and childbirth — not men’s. Authority is commensurate with responsibility. Since nature endowed women to be the half of the human race that is responsible for birthing at peril to OUR health, liberty, wellbeing, and lives; it is our natural human right to retain the AUTHORITY in deciding when, if, or how we do so. Any policy or law set down by man that would undermine that authority is a law or policy that is contrary to nature and is, of necessity, illegitimate and needs to be abolished.

     

    I oppose MY tax dollars paying for rich white male Congressmen, presidents, and Supreme Court judges to get penile implants and Viagra so they can have access to all the sexual intercourse they want while women in need of either contraception, sterilization or abortion are DENIED their health care needs — and yes, that includes contraception and abortion since pregnancy and giving birth are non-benign medical conditions that encumber women physically and restrict our liberties, and can (and frequently do) have permanent devastating consequences on women’s health, liberty, wellbeing, and lives.

     

    I am opposed to TAXATION WITHOUT REPRESENTATION as a woman — and that, my friend, is what discrimination against women as human beings and citizens amounts to. Only when we’re talking about women not having access to certain reproductive healthcare options, we’re talking about women ending up permanently disabled, maimed, or dead — needlessly.

     

    I oppose MY tax dollars being used to maintain and perpetuate normalized human rights violations, civil rights deprivations, discrimination and abuse against women in the form of childbirth chattel slavery in order to preserve unearned male privilege.  Women are human enough for harm to us to matter. Regardless of what you may think.

     

    That’s my two cents on the matter. You may keep the change.

     

    "Imposing the non-benign medical condition of childbirth, on unwilling women at peril to their health, wellbeing, lives, and liberty; is the ultimate form of chattel slavery — a human rights violation under Article 7(g) of the Rome Statute."

  • ack

    Since SANEs are so rare, it is quite common for RNs without the extensive training to do the exams. (I know this is true in at least one rural county in MA.) I shudder to think of what a nurse who was "morally opposed" to EC would feel entitled to say when a victim asked about it.

  • paul-bradford

    A blastocyst isn’t who is showing up at the ER here in need of physical and emotional care due to having been assaulted: a woman is.

     

    Heather,

     

    How are we going to get past this impasse?  You are deeply offended.  I am deeply offended.  We do, however, have some common ground.  We both agree that the woman who shows up at the ER deserves physical and emotional care.  We both agree she ought to be administered Plan B but we both agree that Plan B isn’t nearly as effective at preventing pregnancy as mifepristone.

     

    What is hard for me — and it really is hard — is your comment that the blastocyst isn’t showing up at the ER.  Where on earth do you think the blastocyst is?  The blastocyst is most assuredly showing up at the ER and the blastocyst is most assuredly vulnerable to physical assault — in fact, physical assault in the ER is imminent for the blastocyst if her/his mother is given mifepristone.

     

    You chide me for not respecting a woman’s capacity to care for others while she cares for herself.  That’s hardly my opinion in the general case; but in this particular case I don’t see you even noticing that the blastocyst exists, say nothing of caring for her/him. 

     

    Clearly we disagree on the question of whether a blastocyst is as deserving of our care and concern as a rape victim is — but the disagreement isn’t because I care less about rape victims than you do because I care a great deal more than you know.  Our disagreement is rooted in the fact that you care less about blastocysts than I do — a position I find extremely curious since you yourself were once a blastocyst.

     

    Paul Bradford

    Pro-Life Catholics for Choice

  • heather-corinna

    Our disagreement is rooted in the fact that you care less about
    blastocysts than I do…

     

    No, our disagreement on this point is that a blastocyst is highly unlikely to be present in this scenario at all. Given the timing of the process of pregnancy, unless a woman who has been raped only came to the ER no earlier than 3-5 days after her rape, there is no blastocyst to discuss. All the same, neither a zygote nor blastocyst, if and when either is present, have been raped.  Our disagreement is that a blastocyst is not at the ER (if it is there at all) due to a profound physical and psychological trauma and malicious assault: a woman who is brought to or comes to the ER is there because this has happened to her.  She is there for HER treatment, she was brought there because SHE needs care. Our disagreement is that you equate even cells which have not yet — and may not, even without Plan B or a termination — even become a pregnancy, let alone a born person, with a born, living woman.  And you also now seem to be suggesting (please correct me if I am wrong, because I’d really like to be on this point) that a woman taking a medication to prevent a pregnancy is an "assault" one can compare or consider the same as a rape.

     

    I would also posit that if, in fact, "our disagreement is rooted in the fact that you care less about blastocysts than I do," then it follows that it is also because you care less about women than I do.

     

    (FYI? We cannot gender or sex a blastocyst, no matter how you slice it. Sex cannot be determined anything even remotely close to that early, and cannot be determined and has not happened at that stage of development. You do know that, right?)

     

    Here’s something I’ll ask you flat-out: have you been a woman who has been denied proper care — or heck, any care — after rape by police, healthcare professionals, or anyone else? Do you posit that if a pregnancy is prevented, or does not continue to develop, that the trauma to a zygote, blastocyst (or even a fetus, when we’re not talking about Plan B but about abortion), is the same trauma as a rape is for a woman?  That it is acutely felt and experienced the same way, that it requires the same amount of time in one’s life to heal, that it results from the same motivations, that the whole, and often gargantuan impact a rape has on a women’s whole life, from the moment it happens until that woman is no longer living, are the same?

     

    While I’m asking that, perhaps another appropriate question to ask given your views and beliefs is this: how do you feel about triage as  a concept and approach to trauma?

     

  • harry834

    the blastocyst is most assuredly vulnerable to physical assault — in
    fact, physical assault in the ER is imminent for the blastocyst if
    her/his mother is given mifepristone

     

    how big do think a blastocyst is? How would it get the same medical and emotional care as a woman who has been raped?

    You also said that the blastocyst may face assault the same way the woman does. How? Mifepristone, you said right? Should the police then arrest the doctor who prescribed the mifepristone? Before or after they arrest the man who raped the woman?

    If they are both assault (as you said), I see no difference in the logical conclusion. Do you?

    Should all these issues be discussed with the woman? That she could be participating in assault if she takes the mifepristone?

  • crowepps

    A woman can only get pregnant during the 5 or 6 day period when her egg has been released and is available for fertilization.  That is only 17 to 20% of the average month.  Assuming that rapes fall fairly equally over the month, 80 to 83% of the women appearing at the ER aren’t even at risk of getting pregnant in the first place, and the Plan B or mifeproistone is unnecessary except for the psychological comfort it provides.

     

    Sperm do not instantaneously reach an available egg after sex.  It takes many hours for them to make their way up to where the egg is released.  Given immediately, Plan B is at least 90% effective by either preventing an egg from being present or preventing the sperm from reaching it.  Mifepristone is 100% effective because it causes the same effect as a menstrual period, the lining of the uterus is expelled.  This isn’t any more of an ‘assault’ on the blastocyst then when a blastocyst happens to form naturally right before a period and instead of implanting is flushed away, or fails for other reasons to implant and is flushed away, an extremely common occurrence.

     

    There was a lot of discussion on here about a ways back about how it wasn’t ‘immoral’ to remove an ectopic pregnancy by removing the tube in which it was lodged because the death of the fetus was an accidental byproduct of removing the tube.  If that is true, and I don’t agree such hairsplitting is necessary in order to justify saving a woman’s life, then in the case of rape the Mifepristone removes the lining of the uterus and the inability of the blastocyst to implant is an equally accidental byproduct of having done so.

     

    Unless you believe that the lining of the uterus should be under the control of someone other than the woman victim who has presented at the ER, I find it hard to understand how you can argue that the woman is OBLIGATED to allow herself to BECOME pregnant as a result of a felonious assault.  She has no more obligation to present a field for growth to a blastocyst WHICH HAS NOT YET BEEN CREATED than she did to provide the rapist with sex.

  • princess-rot

    …the blastocyst is most assuredly vulnerable to physical assault — in fact, physical assault in the ER is imminent for the blastocyst if her/his mother is given mifepristone

    This is some crazy shit. Have women become so irrelevant to Paul that we’re just fleshy life support systems for potentialities? Our wishes about what happens to us, our bodies, our very lives, be damned even if there is just the vaguest chance a zygote may be present?

  • harry834

    when Paul uses the word assault to describe both the rape of a woman and the effects of mifepristone on a blastocyst, I start to wonder. Does he feel the blastocyst is as traumatized, abused as the rape victim? So I felt compelled to ask him if he knows about the size of the blastocyst. To my knowledge it is microscopic. Can a microscopic budle of cells be viewed the same as a human rape victim? And should the ER specialist then take this position?

    If it really is "anyone’s view" whether or not the ER person should treat the blastocyst the same as the rape victim, then we’ve answered the question: the blastocyst is not a victim in any objective sense.

     

  • colleen

    Can a microscopic budle of cells be viewed the same as a human rape victim?

     I would like to point out that the conservative Catholic view which Paul  would force all women to comply with does not see or treat rape victims "the same as". blastocysts or zygotes. It  elevates the imagined ‘needs’ of a few cells  to a absurd degree and treats women like animated tubes of meat. Ironically, rapists also treat women like tubes of meat. When it comes to their treatment of women, the main difference between rapists and men like Paul is that rapists don’t call what they’re doing  ‘compassionate’ or try to sell it as ‘morality’ and ‘protecting the unborn’.

     

     

     

     

     

    The only difference between the American anti-abortion movement and the Taliban is about 8,000 miles.

    Dr Warren Hern, MD

  • ack

    I’ve read this blog regularly since the day I discovered it. I appreciate the commentary and the debate, much of which happens in voices I have come to respect. This level of education and dedication is rarely represented on other blogs.

    Paul, as a pro-choice woman, I appreciated the voice you brought. I disagreed, I argued in my head, but I appreciated the dialogue you (I think) hoped to stir up. But this sentence:

     

    >>>>

     

    I think it boils down to this: "Do you believe that a zygote or a
    blastocyst is as worthy of our care and concern as a rape victim?

     

    >>>>

     

    has potentially slaughtered any credibility you once had.

    I’ve been a zygote, a blastocyst , and a rape victim. The answer to your question is no.

     

  • heather-corinna

    I absolutely agree. 

     

    Paul, I hope I was as clear as I could be, and hope you can somehow manage to really hear what I and other women have said.  Not only is what you are saying simply nonsensicial (the blastocyst you’re talking about is as likely to be present at an ER where a woman has just come in right after a rape as Harvey the rabbit is), it is also intensely rape-enabling, which was part of why I felt so deeply offended.

  • harry834

    read your response colleen.

  • emma

    Just noting that comments by colleen, crowepps and Princess Rot (with which I strongly agree) remind me of the line ‘sometimes you’re nothing but meat’ in the Tori Amos song Blood Roses 

     

    Hope it’s ok to post that link. It’s from a RAINN benefit concert, so seemed somewhat relevant to the subject at hand. And that line so perfectly encapsulates the way in which the anti-choice/anti-emergency contraception crowd see women.

     

    If blastocysts should be treated with the same care and compassion as rape victims, I’m wondering whether blastocysts should be offered trauma counselling, as the victim of rape hopefully would?

     

    You’re asking too much, Paul. I don’t understand how you think it’s your right to expect a woman presenting at an emergency department after having been raped to feel care and compassion for a potential zygote/blastocyst/whatever that might result from her being raped. You’re arrogant and clueless and have absolutely no idea what women who’ve been raped go through.

  • paul-bradford

    Our disagreement is that you equate even cells which have not yet — and may not, even without Plan B or a termination — even become a pregnancy, let alone a born person, with a born, living woman.

     

    Heather,

     

    This is our disagreement.  We do not disagree about whether a rape victim has been traumatized and is in need of physical and emotional care.  We disagree about whether a zygote or a blastocyst is a genuine person who is also in need of care.

     

    Do you realize that I get the same criticism from those who disagree with my opposition to the death penalty?  I am told, over and over, that I don’t understand or care about the friends and family of murder victims.  That isn’t true nor is it true that I don’t understand or care about the trauma of rape victims.

     

    People who have suffered a deep and violent injustice are often convinced that they can mitigate their suffering by ending the life of another human being.  Victims of terrorism want to go to war against the countries where the terrorists live.  Do you think that the fact that I counsel peace is rooted in a disregard for the victims of terrorism?  I certainly realize that it doesn’t make me popular to tell victims of injustice that they are still obligated to respect the lives of those who victimized them, and the lives of their children, and the lives of their countrymen.

     

    Some people claim that murderers are some sort of subhuman class — and that they have forfeited their right to life.  I say that those people are wrong.  You seem to be relegating zygotes and blastocysts to subhuman status.  I say that you’re wrong to do that.

     

    1) Do zygotes have as much of a right to live as their mothers?

    2) Do murderers have as much of a right to live as their victims?

    3) Do members of a society that promotes terrorism have as much of a right to live as those who suffer as a result of terrorism? 

     

    I answer ‘yes’ to all these questions and because I do I have to defend myself against the criticism that I don’t value life or justice.  I think there was a guy once, I forget who, that said something about ‘turning the other cheek’.  Who knows what he was talking about, but it might have had something to do with the fact that victims of injustice often believe they have the right to perpetrate injustice.  I’ve noticed that effect myself — and I am strongly of the belief that two wrongs don’t make a right.

     

    Paul Bradford

    Pro-Life Catholics for Choice

  • paul-bradford

    how big do think a blastocyst is?

     

    The way I’ve heard it explained, a blastocyst is about the size of Roosevelt’s eye on the dime.  A zygote can’t be viewed without magnification.  Let me ask you a couple of things, "Do you think you were a blastocyst once?  If you were, did you have a living human body?" 

     

    Am I right, Harry, in thinking that you feel that the fact that a blastocyst is tiny is reason to be less careful of her/his life than we ought to be with other people’s lives?  How about the fact that blastocysts have an astronomically high mortality rate?  In your estimation, does that fact make their lives less valuable than yours or mine? 

     

    How would it get the same medical and emotional care as a woman who has been raped?

     

    Blastocysts don’t need emotional care because they don’t have emotions.  They may someday develop to the point where they DO have emotions, but in order to do that their mothers have to refrain from taking mifepristone.  Mifepristone has the same effect on zygotes and blastocysts that starvation would have on you or me.  We might die even if we have food available, but we’re CERTAIN to die if we don’t.

     

    Should all these issues be discussed with the woman? That she could be participating in assault if she takes the mifepristone?

     

    Hopefully, we would all have had discussions about these matters, so no woman would be compelled to take in new information or develop a judgment on an important life issue while she was in shock. 

     

    Here’s the thing, Harry: I consider it essential for us to answer two questions 1) What are the obligations a society owes its members? and 2) Who are the members of a society?  You and I may disagree about these questions, but I hope you recognize that it can’t possibly be satisfactory for individuals to come up with their own independent answers.  Pluralism and diversity aren’t virtues when it comes down to these issues.  It’s no good for us to ‘agree to disagree’, or to disregard each other because each thinks the other is crazy, or stupid, or evil. 

     

    We’re either going to have to start treating blastocysts as if they’re equal members of society or we’re going to have to educate people like me to stop making dangerous claims — because I well realize that if I’m wrong I’m doing damage. 

     

    Paul Bradford

    Pro-Life Catholics for Choice

  • crowepps

    Actually, our first disagreement is about whether a zygote is even present or likely to be present.  Setting that aside as your usual evasion of any discussion point which you don’t care to tackle, let’s move on to your points.

    1) Do zygotes have as much of a right to live as their mothers?

    2) Do murderers have as much of a right to live as their victims?

    3) Do members of a society that promotes terrorism have as much of a right to live as those who suffer as a result of terrorism? 

    So a victim of rape who doesn’t want to be pregnant is equivalent to a murderer is equivalent to a promoter of terrorism? 

    Considering the ‘not yet pregnant’ state of the rape victim, your first bullet point would be more accurately stated:

     

    1) Zygotes have a right to be created and therefore women are obligated to provide a ripe egg for assaultive sperm, a welcoming edometrium for the zygote to invade, their physical self as a supplier of any necessary ingredients which the BZEF demands, and the metabolic labor of their own bodies in support as it grows, all without consideration for how much physical or emotional damage this causes to the woman or how unlikely it is that the zygote will actually successfully complete the long path to complete maturity.

     

    Does this mean that every woman in her fertile years who isn’t actually pregnant right this minute ‘hates life’ because she is denying the potentiality of this month’s egg?  Or does only become ‘sacred’ when the sperm shows up?

  • crowepps

    Am I right, Harry, in thinking that you feel that the fact that a blastocyst is tiny is reason to be less careful of her/his life than we ought to be with other people’s lives?  

    Yes.

    How about the fact that blastocysts have an astronomically high mortality rate?  In your estimation, does that fact make their lives less valuable than yours or mine? 

    Yes.

    Mifepristone has the same effect on zygotes and blastocysts that starvation would have on you or me.  We might die even if we have food available, but we’re CERTAIN to die if we don’t.

    And therefore we have the right to grab food from our neighbor or steal it from the store?  The blastocyst gets it food by "invading the endometrium" and stealing it from the woman.

    I hope you recognize that it can’t possibly be satisfactory for individuals to come up with their own independent answers.    Pluralism and diversity aren’t virtues when it comes down to these issues.

    Why not?  Because everybody has to agree with you and the Pope?

    we’re going to have to educate people like me to stop making dangerous claims — because I well realize that if I’m wrong I’m doing damage. 

    You are indeed doing damage, but unfortunately you seem to be uneducable.