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Posts Tagged ‘abortion’

…On Ineffective Protest.

Posted by Steve on September 28, 2008

A short distance from the Capitol Building, around the corner of Independence and New Jersey, an R1-1 has had two other signs affixed to its back. The first is black with white lettering that reads, “BUSH CAUSED [something]”. I’m not sure what that [something] is, because the word was (when I saw it, and presumably still is) covered by the second sign, which is a red piece of tape with black lettering. The result is the utterly nonsensical “BUSH CAUSED LIFE”.

Yes, the second “sign” only became a sign after it was attached to the other sign on the back of the official R1-1 sign. It began, though, as something a little different. Namely, it began as inept symbolism by an anti-abortion protestor.

See, while I was walking in front of the Supreme Court Building, I saw two people at the bottom of the steps up to the courthouse, facing the building and wearing the same thing: red tape over their mouths, the word “LIFE” in black letters. I recalled seeing the same thing before, in a movie. If you’ve seen the documentary Jesus Camp, you may recall it as well: the scene where the kids line up in front of the Supreme Court Building with their mouths taped shut, the tape red and bearing “LIFE” in black letters. Now, had I not seen that movie before, I’m not sure I would’ve known that those two people standing in front of the Supreme Court were opposed to abortion.

Allow me to explain why.

Here’s the thing: taping someone’s mouth shut is something I associate with hostage-taking. Tape over someone’s mouth gags them, it smothers them, and most of all, it binds them. So, when I see someone with their mouth taped shut, I see a victim. And, of course, when I see a word like “LIFE” on an object like tape over someone’s mouth, I read that as a political cartoon-style label. In short, when I see people standing with tape over their mouths and something written on that tape, I interpret that as those people saying, “Just as this tape binds me, gags me, and smothers me, my people have been bound, gagged, and oppressed by what is written on this tape.”

So, the way I see it, a piece of tape saying “LIFE” put over your mouth is obvious visual symbolism for making a statement to the effect of, “The ‘pro-life’ movement’s cause would so totally oppress and dominate women that it would silence them and hold them in bondage.”

So, doesn’t strike me as effective symbolism for anti-abortion protest. Whatever the intended meaning’s supposed to be, I don’t think it gets across.

Oh, and an R1-1? That’s the

Posted in Public Involvement, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

…On Those Proposed HHS Regulations.

Posted by Steve on August 31, 2008

It’s been now nine days since I reported the Department of Heatlh & Human Service’s release of a draft regulations for public comment. I wanted to talk about those some. This will probably get hell of long, so…

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in The Law | Tagged: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

…On Doing it Twice in a Row.

Posted by Steve on August 21, 2008

Read these and weep, Ames. I’ve now scooped you twice. The topic from before has now been released for 30 days of public comment, as announced in a third post on the Secretary’s blog.

A quick scan reveals the following:

  1. The words “contraception” and “contraceptive” do not appear.
  2. The rule applies to “sterilization procedures” and abortions.
  3. It states “This regulation does not limit patient access to health care, but rather protects any individual health care provider or institution from being compelled to participate in, or from being punished for refusal to participate in, a service that, for example, violates their conscience” but does not provide analysis as to how not compelling providers to participate in the service does not limit patient access. I assume this is because of the flaws fundamental to U.S. law that actions are not judged solely by their effects and that any intermediation, however tenuous, between an action and its effects severs culpability.
  4. I’d say more but it’s a quarter to 7 and I have to be somewhere at a quarter after.

I encourage you, if you have an opinion on the matter, to submit a public comment. Instructions are contained at the beginning of the proposed rule. After all, active participation in government is a good thing.

Posted in From the News, Here be Politics!, Other people's blogging, The Law | Tagged: , , , , | 3 Comments »

…On a Cabinet Secretary’s Blog

Posted by Steve on August 19, 2008

My old friend Ames (we go back to the mid-90s) posted on his blog, Submitted to a Candid World, about a month ago about a draft Department of Health & Human Services regulation to 1) prohibit Federal funds to any governmental (at any level) program or entity that “subjects any institutional or individual health care entity to discrimination on the basis that the health care entity does not provide, pay for, provide coverage of, or refer for abortions” and 2) classify contraceptives as abortifacents.

Following up on that, I discovered that Health & Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt has his own blog, which it appears he writes & staff moderates comments on. On this, he has two posts, Physician Conscience and Physician Conscience Blog 2 in which he addresses this proposal and public reaction to it. I encourage you to read it for yourself because I think you learn more from primary sources than secondary sources. But to sum up what he says:

  1. He believes there exists “a physician’s right to choose whether he or she performs abortion”
  2. Three pre-existing Federal laws he doesn’t specify (and I don’t know what they are – I’d say Hyde Amendment was one, but I think that just forbids any Federal funds from being spent on abortions) grant legal recognition and protection to that right.
  3. Various (unspecified) medical organizations have been trying to subvert/violate those laws.
  4. He asked that this regulation be written to address #4.
  5. Addressing contraceptives is unintended.
  6. The draft was a preliminary draft that hadn’t even gotten to his desk yet when it became public knowledge.
  7. He isn’t certain that any regulation will be passed.

Now, #6 certainly fits how I’d expect things to be done: various staff write some proposals, bounce them around, and eventually send something to the Cabinet Secretary for them to read, comment on, and send back for changes, until eventually there’s something the Cabinet Secretary likes enough to stick in the Federal Register… and I guess that starts up a public comment period?

Obviously, I disagree with #1. Especially as concerns pharmacists, since this may insult them, but oh well: I think the only difference between a pharmacist and a vending machine is that a pharmacist can say “Hey, I shouldn’t give you SSRIs and MAOIs at the same time” while a vending machine can’t. But with #1 as well, I think providing for abortion’s part of a doctor’s duties, and as doctors knowingly and voluntarily join their profession, it seems to me they ought to be treated as knowingly and voluntarily assuming all of those duties. Plus, I think their “act of conscience” is patently immoral.

That said, I can see a pragmatic reason not to require doctors who oppose abortion to perform one. Nothing wrong with compelling them to make a substitute doctor available to their patient, but compelling them to perform the procedure themself just doesn’t seem like something that would actually work – at least not without some serious unintended (but highly foreseeable) consequences.

Anyway, I think more Cabinet Secretaries should have blogs, I beat Ames to the punch on this, I’m thinking about leaving a comment on Leavitt’s blog but am worried about it being in the results when people Google my name and causing me trouble at work or something, and Firefox’s spellcheck tried telling me that “abortifacents” isn’t a word – ditto with “spellcheck” itself. Totally is so a word, and Wikipedia can take that extra “i” in abortifacient and shove it.

Posted in Here be Politics!, Other people's blogging | Tagged: , , , | 5 Comments »