Big news via the Washington Post:
The Supreme Court won’t reconsider a decision stopping a Nebraska anti-abortion group from fighting for an abortion law that requires health screenings for women seeking abortions.
For those of you who may have missed the details of this ridiculous law due to the volume of inane legislation put out by Republicans after the 2010 midterm elections, here’s the gist from HuffPo (emphasis mine):
The law would require women wanting abortions to be screened by doctors or other health professionals to determine whether they were pressured into having the procedure. Women also would have to be screened for risk factors indicating if they could have mental or physical problems after an abortion.
The risks could be “physical, psychological, emotional, demographic, or situational,” according to the law.
This was another attempt by anti-choice organizations to paint women as being unable to make important decisions regarding their own lives; the sole purpose being legislation to supposedly “help” them, while doing nothing of the kind. These insulting and condescending bills are often times, sadly, proposed by women. “Stop Forced Abortions” is one such group behind these ridiculous laws, claiming on their website:
“We are an alliance of individuals and groups who are deeply concerned about the growing number of women who have been hurt by unwanted, unsafe, unnecessary or coerced abortions.”
You know, those rare-if-ever type problems. They even post a “model bill” on their site making it super easy for GOP legislators to introduce their own versions; because as we all know, men in the Republican Party are woefully ignorant about reproduction, and are led around by the nose by groups like this.
In other anti-choice news, the website Renew America is arguing that government has the right to legislate “sin”, and cites the opinion of Father John Trigilio Jr., president of the Confraternity of Catholic Clergy:
“We cannot compel by civil law people to act or do good, but we can and must outlaw sinful and evil acts which seriously threaten the person and/or the community. Danger to the institutions of marriage and family is no less serious than danger to one’s life, health, property or reputation. Law protects the latter and should protect the former as well.”
As I’ve mentioned before, Renew America is a sounding board for the far, far, far, religious right, but this is precisely the kind of foolishness that has found a home in the Republican Party. Forget the fact that only about 25% of Americans are Catholic, or that the Catholic Church is the last religious organization on the planet with any credibility regarding sinful and evil acts; this highlights the length to which religious extremists would go without the constitutional separation of church/state.
Speaking of fanatics, Bill O’Reilly, was complaining on his show recently that “he didn’t want his tax money given to organizations with which he has differing views.” From Media Matters:
In another of O’Reilly’s recent uninformed pronouncements he states:
“Birth control is not a medical condition, it is a choice.”
Yes, in many cases it’s a choice, to prevent a medical condition, just like those to prevent high cholesterol, erectile dysfunction, heart attacks and strokes. Is this guy really a fool, or does he just play one on TV?
In more news that should fire up the old Republican “activist judges” meme: Bush appointee, Judge Carol Jackson, “rejected a Catholic business owner’s challenge to the Obama Administration’s rules requiring employer health plans to cover birth control.” According to Think Progress:
“…the plaintiffs in this suit argued that the birth control rules substantially burden their faith by requiring them to pay for employee health benefits which might then in turn be used to pay for birth control. As Judge Jackson’s opinions explains, however, this argument proves too much:
The burden of which plaintiffs complain is that funds, which plaintiffs will contribute to a group health plan, might, after a series of independent decisions by health care providers and patients covered by [an employer's health] plan, subsidize someone else’s participation in an activity that is condemned by plaintiffs’ religion. . . .
[Federal religious freedom law] is a shield, not a sword. It protects individuals from substantial burdens on religious exercise that occur when the government coerces action one’s religion forbids, or forbids action one’s religion requires; it is not a means to force one’s religious practices upon others. [It] does not protect against the slight burden on religious exercise that arises when one’s money circuitously flows to support the conduct of other free-exercise-wielding individuals who hold religious beliefs that differ from one’s own. . . .
[T]he health care plan will offend plaintiffs’ religious beliefs only if an  employee (or covered family member) makes an independent decision to use the plan to cover counseling related to or the purchase of contraceptives. Already, [plaintiffs] pay salaries to their employees—money the employees may use to purchase contraceptives or to contribute to a religious organization. By comparison, the contribution to a health care plan has no more than a de minimus impact on the plaintiff’s religious beliefs than paying salaries and other benefits to employees.”
I love that line: “A shield, not a sword” – perfectly stated. In other headlines:
Rick Perry Wants To Replace Planned Parenthood With Crisis Pregnancy Centers That Don’t Provide Health Services: “When Texas Republicans cut off Planned Parenthood from the state’s Women’s Health Program — losing millions in federal funds and endangering access to health care for women in the program — Gov. Rick Perry (R) promised to keeping the program going with only state funds and without Planned Parenthood…”
Colo. ‘Personhood’ Amendment Cannot Appear on 2012 Ballot, Despite Legal Challenge
“The Colorado secretary of state’s office on Tuesday said that a proposed “personhood” amendment will not appear on the 2012 ballot, regardless of legal action that its supporters have pledged to take, the Denver Post reports…”
U.S. Circuit Court Set To Hear Challenge to Idaho Abortion Law
“The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on July 9 is scheduled to hear a case that challenges the constitutionality of an Idaho law that makes it illegal for state residents to obtain medication abortion drugs from out-of-state doctors through the Internet, the Los Angeles Times reports…”
Criminal Charges Against Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri Dropped
“The criminal prosecution of Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri on Friday came to an end when the state dropped 32 remaining charges of illegally providing abortion care later in pregnancy and not first determining fetal viability, the Kansas City Star reports…”