· · · · · 

Hell Hath No Fury like an Entire Female Population Scorned

The Supreme Court has effectively unfurled the judicial equivalent of a banner reading "Bring it on, Roe haters!" by upholding the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003; we can expect even more state-level restrictions in the months and years to come. Meanwhile, Nicaragua women are suffering from that country's total abortion ban—36 women have died from pregnancy- and childbirth-related causes so far in 2007.

· · · · · 

Crisis Pregnancy Centers … on Wheels!

Some people think pregnant women who choose abortions must be ignorant, hysterical or under coercion. Thus to prevent abortions they scare, confuse, or shame them—with your tax dollars.

· · · · · 

And How: The Keroack Saga Continues

Just when you thought the information surfacing about "Dr." Eric Keroack's professional practice and extracurricular pseudo-medical activities couldn't get any weirder … it just got weirder. Back in November, Keroack was appointed by Bush to head the Title X Federal Family Planning Program, amidst widespread outrage over the fact that he runs a chain of highly unethical crisis pregnancy centers, believes contraception is demeaning to women, and has used junk science to argue that premarital sex undermines women's biological capacity to fall in love. After just five months on the job, on March 29 Keroack abruptly resigned as Head-Anti-Family-Planning-Zealot in charge of meeting low-income women's family planning needs, amidst investigations into the legitimacy of his professional practice. This week, the Boston Globe took a closer look at the Mass. board of medicine's accusations, and their report indicates a disturbing series of ethical lapses that should come as no surprise to those who have been following the coverage of Keroack to date.

· · · · · 

Colombia’s Abortion Decision: Abortion as a Matter of Human Rights

In May 2006, Colombia's Constitutional Court handed down a historic decision, voting 5-3 to decriminalize abortion in cases where a pregnant woman's life or health was in danger, in cases where the pregnancy was a result of rape or incest, and in cases of severe fetal malformation. The decision, which came in response to a case brought by Colombian lawyer Monica Roa, was a watershed for Colombia—one of the few countries in the world where abortion had been illegal under any circumstances up until then, despite the fact that between 350,000 and 400,000 Colombian women still sought clandestine abortions every year.

First, it grounded the decision in the norms established by a number of international and regional human rights instruments to which Colombia (among others) is accountable. And second, it placed women's human rights, with a particular emphasis on their sexual and reproductive rights, at the center of its justification for decriminalizing abortion. Which makes it, like, 80 times more progressive than Roe v. Wade, by the way. Women's Link Worldwide, the organization that supported Roa's case, has recently translated the most groundbreaking excerpts of the Court's 600-page decision into English, and posted the document on their website together with an excellent foreword by Rebecca J. Cook, a feminist and human rights scholar at the University of Toronto. Highlights follow.

· · · · · 

The Pro-Choice Majority Demands to be Heard: Reforming British Abortion Laws

Safe and legal abortion has been widely available in the United Kingdom since the passage of the 1967 Abortion Act, a piece of legislation that accomplished for British women what Roe v. Wade would accomplish six years later for their sisters in the United States. The 1967 Act made abortion legal through the 24th week of pregnancy, provided that two doctors certified that continuing the pregnancy "would present a risk to the physical or mental health of the woman or her existing children." In cases where a woman's life is threatened by the pregnancy or in cases of fetal malformation, there is no time limit.

· · · · · 

2005 Cut to Medicaid Rears its Ugly Head

Bad news for the 39 percent of female college students currently trying to avoid unwanted pregnancy by taking the pill: thanks to the far-reaching effects of a 2005 bill that took aim at Medicaid from multiple angles, their contraception may soon become unaffordable. According to an AP story published last week, the 2005 bill—which took effect this year—makes it more expensive for drug manufacturers to participate in Medicaid, while simultaneously removing the incentive for them to provide deep discounts to campus health centers for things like contraception. The result? Women at Kansas State University who used to pay $10 a month for pills will now pay $30. At Texas A&M, prices are expected to triple. And at Indiana University, women are now paying $22 a month instead of $10 for the same pills. These are just a few examples. As this latest development proves, the 2005 bill was a slap in the face for millions of sexually active college students currently struggling to work, study, make ends meet, and exercise responsible control over their reproductive lives.

· · · · · 

10 Ways to Celebrate National Back Up Your Birth Control Day

Tuesday, March 20 is the sixth annual Back Up Your Birth Control Day of Action, and today, a coalition of more than 100 women's health and medical organizations will undertake dozens of educational activities nationwide. Their message is simple: back up your birth control with Emergency Contraception (EC), which can prevent pregnancy if taken up to 72 hours after unprotected intercourse. EC has been available over the counter in the United States since 2006, following a three-year political kerfuffle at the FDA. Women under 18 still need a prescription, which is why many of today's events will focus on increasing adolescent girls' access to information about EC. Here are a few ways to get involved (after the break) …

· · · · · 

The Latest Objective Presentation of Truth from the Man Responsible for Denying U.S. Funding for UNFPA

Move over Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, and Karen Hughes: the Society for the Blaming of Terrorist Attacks on Abortions, Feminists, and Gay People has a new member, and his rhetoric leaves yours in the dust. Meet Steven Mosher, president of Population Research Institute (PRI), a "non-profit research and educational organization dedicated to objectively presenting the truth about population-related issues," and the source of countless objective presentations of truth on sexual and reproductive health. Mosher and PRI are perhaps most famous for their misinformation campaign against UNFPA (United Nations Population Fund), the world's largest multilateral provider of reproductive health services, resulting in the Bush administration's decision to freeze the traditional $34 million U.S. contribution to UNFPA for five years running. It's nice when Steve & friends get to dictate U.S. policy on reproductive health, isn't it?

Mosher's latest screed—whoops, I meant objective presentation of truth about population-related issues—comes in the form of a PRI Weekly Briefing titled "How Not to Win the War on Terror: Keep Exporting Abortion and Sex Education."

· · · · · 

A Day in the Life of the American Vagina

What is happening in our culture when the following two stories break on the same day? First, over at the Washington Post, "Christopher A. Warner says he considers himself something of a maverick, a caring physician willing to challenge medical orthodoxy in order to help women … he is building a business as the first area physician to perform controversial procedures that use a laser to enhance sexual gratification by repairing tissue damaged by childbirth, to give women a ‘youthful aesthetic look' or to make those who are not appear to be virgins." Meanwhile, over at the San Francisco Chronicle, "A public high school has suspended three students who disobeyed officials by saying the word ‘vagina' during a reading from a well-known feminist play."

· · · · · 

Nicaraguan Women Gather Once Again to Demand Their Right to Life

Last Thursday, in commemoration of International Women's Day, over two thousand women and men from across Nicaragua gathered to protest the total ban on abortion—including in cases where pregnant women's lives are at risk—that has been in place since late 2006.

· · · · ·