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Comments, Anyone?

Editorial headline from LifeSiteNews.com:

"Abortion in Cases of Rape: Why Not Kill the Guilty Rapist Before the Innocent Child?"

Where to begin…   Comments, anyone?

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Looking for the Less-Obvious on Plan B

Acting FDA Commissioner Andrew von Eschenbach's decision, supported by President Bush, to approve Plan B for over-the-counter (OTC) status for women over 18 was a political decision. The question is not whether it was politically motivated, but what kind of political motivations were at play here.

I don't think this decision should be too quickly underestimated as political caving toward either direction. With today's decision, the FDA has crafted a unique policy that will for the first time permit a drug to be distributed with separate rules for different age groups. It's a decision that neither side of the debate is excited about: social conservatives don't like that it was approved at all, and reproductive health advocates are upset that the approval was made arbitrarily for a certain age group, irrespective of the science. Both sides are upset. In the search for an answer about motives, aren't we supposed to first discern who benefits?

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Right Wing Takes a Swing at FDA Nominee (or, Miersgate 2.0)

When I wrote last week during the Toronto AIDS Conference about the absence of “pro-life” voices speaking out against HIV/AIDS, I mentioned that many of them had turned their attentions to Plan B. While many of this site’s readers were focused on Toronto, several of those groups were mobilizing to take out Andrew von Eschenbach before he is possibly confirmed by the Senate as FDA Commissioner.

Concerned Women for America is leading the charge, claiming that the “driving force” in “efforts to make the abortion-causing drug available over-the-counter…is none other than the acting FDA Commissioner Von Eschenback” (sic). Family Research Council is on the move too, announcing that they oppose his confirmation on account of his possible compromise with Plan B’s manufacturer in developing a plan for over-the-counter sales – a possibility that most reproductive health advocates believe is by no means guaranteed. (Side-note on FRC’s statement: While they claim to have this strong moral opposition to Plan B, they dismiss Barr Laboratories, the drug’s manufacturer, from bearing any responsibility in the matter. Why? Because they’re a for-profit drug company. Apparently for FRC, morals don’t have to hold sway in the marketplace.) Both groups are inviting supporters to call the White House and Senate and complain about Dr. von Eschenbach’s nomination.

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Everyone’s Talking About AIDS, Except for So-Called “Pro-Lifers”?

I’ve spent the week wondering why, while 25,000 people in Toronto and almost every major media outlet has focused in on AIDS, the radical right-wing groups who claim to be “pro-life” have been dead silent about the world’s biggest preventable killer. Focus on the Family? Concerned Women for America? Family Research Council? Nothing to say. But then a little blink from my RSS reader alerted me to a new article posted on LifeSiteNews.com on Tuesday afternoon: they had proved us wrong, and had actually taken time to talk about the conference. And what, might you guess, did they have to say?

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Gateses Speak Out for Women

As coverage of the conference continues to roll along, I thought I'd make an addition to Tamar Abrams' post from earlier: we have video footage of the remarks from both Bill and Melinda Gates that Tamar mentioned in her post.

These clips both include strong messages of support for the need to reduce stigma and provide women with greater support in the fight against HIV/AIDS. As the Gates Foundation vies for its place among the G8, it should be encouraging for reproductive health advocates that they are making such bold statements.


[img_assist|nid=458|title=Melinda Gates at IAS Conference|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=640|height=524]

Videos (c) The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

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New Video from PAI Sheds Light on Married Women Living with HIV/AIDS

Did you know that married women in much of the developing world are increasingly more likely to become infected with HIV than their single peers?

Despite the hype surrounding "ABC" sexuality education — abstain, be faithful, use condoms — none of these are safe options for these women…



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Family Research Council’s Blog is Confused About Plan B

I’ll just start with the assumption that many of you (since you’re reading this blog) also read the blog from the Family Research Council. There may be a few of you here and there who don’t read it every day, yeah, sure. Fine. But those of you who do may have noticed that they, too, are providing some coverage of the Senate hearings for Andrew Von Eschenbach, and I bet you took issue with a response to Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) posted there yesterday.

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The Latest on Plan B

After months of silence on the issue, today has been a big day for Plan B, the emergency contraception pill at the heart of a political battle involving the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and the Workforce held its first hearing today to determine whether it would give approval to Andrew von Eschenbach, nominee for FDA Commissioner. And yesterday, just ahead of this hearing, FDA sent a letter to Plan B’s manufacturer requesting a meeting to discuss its approval for over-the-counter sales.

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The Face of Gender Inequity

The BBC ran a story today that will turn many who read it toward sympathy: “Bangladesh’s Acid Attack Problem” tells a brief story about the hundreds of people in that country who have had concentrated acid thrown on their bodies. Most of those victims are women, and they are most often victims because they refuse propositions for marriage or otherwise spurn would-be lovers. While the sheer numbers recounted may be relatively low compared with other crimes, the horror of these attacks is representative of the extreme gender disparity that still goes unchecked in some developing countries.

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Senate Vote Expected on Teen Endangerment Act

Senate debate began on Friday on a bill, S. 403, otherwise known as the Teen Endangerment Act.  The bill would make it illegal for anyone other than a parent to transport a minor across state lines for an abortion.  Pro-choice Senate Democrats are expected to offer a variety of amendments to the bill in order to soften its restrictive impact, including a provision that would allow clergy and grandparents to transfer minors as well as parents.

As debate progresses and the Senate votes on the bill, which is expected to happen as early as today, RH Reality Check will be keeping you up-to-date with more commentary.

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