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LGBT Group Joins Reproductive Health Community in Opposing Prop 85

Molly Goldberg is a Field Organizer for the San Francisco chapter of Pride at Work.

The San Francisco chapter of Pride at Work, an organization that seeks to mobilize mutual support between the Organized Labor Movement and the LGBT community, has taken on California's Proposition 85 this year. Proposition 85 is an anti-choice parental notification initiative on the ballot. It is a dangerous initiative that puts California's most vulnerable teens at risk, and seeks to undermine reproductive choice for all women. San Francisco's young LGBT activists are turning out across the city to do bar crawls and voter education against Proposition 85. Still more people are coming out to walk door to door in LGBT neighborhoods, and to call voters in these neighborhoods to talk to them about choice. But why is an LGBT organization organizing the queer community against Proposition 85? Why is this reproductive health issue also an LGBT issue?

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Think Outside Your Bubble: New Campaign Ad

No on Prop 85 released an unusual TV ad on Monday. Sponsored by the ACLU and the California Teachers Association (CTA) in the Bay Area, this ad was designed to cut through the election clutter and highlight vulnerable teens who would be endangered by Prop 85.

[img_assist|nid=1240|title=Watch the New Ad from No on Prop 85|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=381|height=314]

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What Really Hurts Women is When They Are Lied To

Kate Looby is the South Dakota State Director for Planned Parenthood Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota (PPMNS).

Last week I had a painful experience. Casey Murschel, Executive Director for NARAL Pro-Choice SD, and I faced off at a forum against State Representative Roger Hunt, the prime sponsor of the abortion ban legislation, and Alan Unruh, the spouse of Leslee Unruh, long-time anti-abortion activist and manager of the campaign working to pass Referred Law 6, the abortion ban. The forum was held at the University of South Dakota in Vermillion; however, many people in the audience were not students but rather people from off campus sporting Vote Yes for Life (VYFL) shirts.

While it was not an actual "debate," we each gave opening remarks and then took questions from the audience for approximately forty-five minutes.

One of the unbelievable comments from the supporters of the bill was that there is a "provision" in the law for rape and incest victims because they can use EC up until the time they can get a positive pregnancy test through "conventional medical testing" – at least nine to ten days after sex. When we pointed out that EC is approved by the FDA for use up to 72 hours, Roger Hunt noted that he had drafted the bill to apply not only to current medical technology, but future technology as well. Always the forward thinker he is.

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One Step Forward

These days, I need some good news on abortion rights like it's my job. Back home in the United States, disingenuous doctors are lying through their teeth on TV about South Dakota's proposed abortion ban. Here in Nicaragua, the National Assembly – egged on by the Catholic and Evangelical hierarchies, the current president, and three out of four of the current presidential candidates – is on the verge of eliminating the therapeutic abortion provision from the Penal Code. Both proposed bans would condemn countless women – among them, those whores with life-threatening ectopic pregnancies, and those sluttish pre-teen survivors of rape and incest – to death. But hey, condemning women to death is just an unfortunate consequence of the culture of life. If you want to make an omelette…

Happily, rays of hope sometimes spring from the most surprising places, and I was thrilled to read last week that Portugal – one of the only countries in Europe where abortion is still illegal under most circumstances – will be holding a referendum this January that could legalize abortion up to ten weeks.

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As a Mother and a Doctor, I’ll Vote No on 85.

Dr. Anne Foster-Rosales is the Chief Medical Officer for Planned Parenthood Golden Gate.

As a mother, I know that parents rightfully want to be involved in the lives of their teens. As a Planned Parenthood doctor, I counsel teens to speak with their parents, to seek their support and guidance in all situations…when they are thinking about becoming sexually active, when they are seeking birth control or when they want to terminate an unintended pregnancy. Unfortunately, the reality is that not all teens can safely turn to a parent in these situations. And that's why I'm voting No on proposition 85.

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Character Counts. But What About Young People’s Health?

The irony of President Bush’s "National Character Counts Week" has not gone unnoticed amidst the flurry of scandal in our nation’s capitol… But another – and more substantive – scandal is that the GAO (Government Accountability Office) found that that the federal health agency under the President’s authority is knowingly trying to skirt the law and is putting the health of American citizens at risk.

The non-partisan GAO found that the Department of Health and Human Services is failing to enforce the law requiring that organizations receiving federal grants to prevent the spread of sexually transmitted diseases to provide medically accurate information about the effectiveness of condoms. Somehow HHS doesn’t think that organizations receiving our tax dollars to provide abstinence-only-until-marriage programs need to provide this medically-accurate information. The GAO disagrees.

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Far-right Groups Botch Science on Abortion & Breast Cancer

A study from Oxford researchers was released this week that once again concluded that there is no data to support the claim from radical anti-choice activists that abortion (induced or spontaneous) causes breast cancer. This research only further bolsters the arguments from the American Cancer Institute (a federally-funded branch of NIH), the Mayo Clinic, a US Congressional report and others that say there is conclusive evidence that there is no link between abortion and breast cancer. But for some reason, the far-right Canadian website, LifeSite, was quick to write that this new research is flawed, and to reaffirm their claim that there is a link between abortion and breast cancer. What on earth is going on here? How can they keep making these claims? Some people are inclined to think that it’s just because they’re so ideologically constrained that they can’t see the science sitting right in front of them. But if you read their article, you get an even more comical picture: they have absolutely no ability to logically evaluate the science, and (why is this typical of the far-right?) they will continue on message regardless of the research and regardless of how ridiculous they look.

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Dirty Rotten Scoundrels in South Dakota

Supporters of anti-choice legislation have sunk to new lows this week. The anti-choice campaign in South Dakota used to rely on distorting the facts, but now they are getting desperate and resorting to bald-faced lies.

First, the proponents of the abortion ban mocked a rape survivor by appearing at a press conference dressed in a Cat in the Hat costume. Then they hid information and launched a TV ad that says referred law 6 has an exception for rape and incest (it does not). Now, their latest TV ad shows doctors supporting the ban, reiterating an exception for "the life and the health of the mother." As Kate Looby and Rep. Murschel previously explained, there are no exceptions to protect women's health in referred law 6. The South Dakota Campaign for Healthy Families has responded with their own TV ad.

[img_assist|nid=1181|title=Watch the New TV Ad from South Dakota Campaign for Healthy Families|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=406|height=330]

 

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RH Reality Check on Daily Kos & Political Cortex

We're excited to report that RH Reality Check has been cross-posting featured content from our editorial staff on two other prominent blogs: Daily Kos (www.dailykos.com) and Political Cortex (www.politicalcortex.com). We took a couple days to alert our readers because we wanted to see how things would work out… They've worked out great!

We have created "diaries" at both sites that feature content from our site and that make that content available to the hundreds of thousands of readers going to those two sites each day. This effort is part of our Campaign 2006 project: on this site, we're bringing political news related to reproductive health advocates, and on those sites, we're bringing relevant reproductive health news to political buffs. This way, we're reaching far more readers than we would on our site alone with important news about how reproductive health & rights stand to be influenced this election season.

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Beyond Black and White in the Abortion Debate

There's a fantastic article on Alternet right now called "Reflections from a Former Anti-Abortion Activist" – a must-read for those on both sides of the abortion debate. The article, written by the intelligent, thoughtful, and truly pro-life Elizabeth Wardle, is an excerpt from the recently published Abortion Under Attack: Women on the Challenges Facing Choice. If this article is any indication, the book may not be a bad investment, especially for those who believe that the best way to move forward amidst the current political deadlock on abortion is to broaden, rather than narrow, the conversation.

Wardle's story isn't particularly shocking or sensational: growing up, she was a self-described "chaste, Christian, small-town, pro-life teenager from a happy home with two parents." She began to rethink her views on abortion when she arrived at college-she encountered points of view on sex and gender that were different from the ones she grew up with, her classes raised her historical and social consciousness, and she started to seriously contemplate what she would do, as a girl coming from a fundamentalist Christian family, if she accidentally got pregnant. Slowly, through a combination of empathy, contemplation, and pragmatism, her rigid views on the unacceptability of abortion for all women changed, and she now considers herself pro-choice.

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