***Update from U.S. Attorney General, via Huffington Post***
The Huffington Post is reporting that Attorney General Eric Holder is dispatching U.S. Marshalls to prevent any additional violence at abortion clinics. Because this story is breaking on a Sunday night, the DOJ press release web page has not been updated to confirm this report.
Prominent late-term abortion provider Dr. George Tiller was shot and killed in a Wichita, Kansas church where he was serving as an usher today. The gunman fled but has been arrested by authorities later in the day. While violence towards abortion doctors, clinics, and patients is by no means unheard of, a murderous act like this is certainly shocking and outrageous enough to be of national consequence.
There isn't too much we can add to the discussion that hasn't been reported in the media, so we're documenting reports and statements from major news sources and pro-choice organizations after the jump.
From the Wichita Eagle:
President Obama's reaction
Dr. Tiller's commitment to patients
Discussion of anti-choice communities thoughts on aftermath
Statements from organizations
Statement from Planned Parenthood Federation of America
Statement from NARAL Pro-Choice America
Statement from NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio
Reporting in major news outlets:
New York Times
Huffington Post main story
Huffington Post discussion of anti-choice reaction
Huffington Post listing of violence toward abortion providers
Salon main story by Joan Walsh
Salon on Obama reaction
Salon on apprehension of suspect
Salon review of Bill O'Reilly's comments on Dr. Tiller
Planned Parenthood Affiliates of Ohio released their monthly Thanks and Spanks today. The organization's cheers and jeers go to two groups or individuals who have made a difference in reproductive rights, either good or bad.
editorial endorsing Comprehensive Sex Ed
- Comprehensive Sex Ed classes are shown to dramatically increase the use of contraceptives and even delay the age when teens first have sex.
- All Comprehensive Sex Ed classes start with a solid discussion about the benefits of abstinence and why it's important to wait until adulthood before having sex.
- Seventy-one percent of Ohioans believe that schools should focus equally on the value of abstinence and the value of condoms and contraceptive use. The percentage rises to 81% among parents who have kids in school. (Quinnipiac poll)
- Abstinence-only programs, which do not teach birth control, leave teens and young adults without the knowledge of how to prevent a pregnancy or stop the spread of STD's once they become sexually active.
for inviting Tucker Max to the OSU campus.
Unfortunately, not everyone in Ohio is working to assist young people in Ohio with making good choices about sex. The Ohio Union Activity Board at Ohio State invited author Tucker Max to campus this month to discuss his book, blog, and upcoming movie, "I hope they serve beer in hell."
The author's writings are entirely autobiographical stories about how he has exploited women in varying degrees. Average tales involve Mr. Max getting women to engage in sexual experimentation after they have become so intoxicated they lose clear judgment, or even the ability to consent. Despite the deplorable content of his writing, the OUAB paid Mr. Max $8,500 in speaking fees and travel accommodations to present his message to Ohio State students. Funding for the event came from student activity fees charged to every undergrad. Why the OUAB Executive Board decided to hold the event after multiple student objections is beyond us.
Hopefully, the large student protest (including many Planned Parenthood volunteers!) and media storm that accompanied the event will convince the OUAB to make better choices regarding the educational and entertainment events they offer. Read more...
The president has nominated Federal Appeals Court Judge Sonia Sotomayor to be the next Associate Justice in the U.S. Supreme Court. While conservatives are steadily working at painting Sotomayor as a liberal activist, multiple media and pro-choice organizations note that she has never made a decision on reproductive rights or gay marriage.
How quickly the Senate decides to move forward, and how Sotomayor answers the inevitable questions about Roe v. Wade, is yet to be seen.
Official statements from pro-choice organizations and RNC talking points after the jump for our 50th post!
STATEMENT FROM CECILE RICHARDS, PRESIDENT OF PLANNED PARENTHOOD FEDERATION OF AMERICA, ON NOMINATION OF JUDGE SONIA SOTOMAYOR TO THE U.S. SUPREME COURT
This historic nomination of Judge Sonia Sotomayor to the U.S. Supreme Court sends a strong signal that President Obama understands the importance of ensuring that our Supreme Court justices respect precedent while also protecting our civil liberties.
Judge Sotomayor has vast experience in nearly every aspect of the law, having served as a big-city prosecutor and a corporate litigator, a federal trial judge on the U.S. District Court, and an appellate judge on the Second Circuit Court of Appeals. What our nation needs from our Supreme Court justices is a deep understanding of the law, an appreciation of the impact of the court’s decisions on everyday Americans, and a commitment to the protection of our individual liberties. Judge Sotomayor will bring this dedication and commitment with her to the bench.
There is no doubt that Judge Sotomayor’s story is an inspiration to all. Her nomination as the first Hispanic woman justice reminds us that, with hard work and commitment, all things are truly possible in America.
National Organization for Women (NOW) president, Kim Gandy:
Judge Sotomayor will serve the nation with distinction. She brings a lifelong commitment to equality, justice and opportunity, as well as the respect of her peers, unassailable integrity, and a keen intellect informed by experience. President Obama said he wanted a justice with "towering intellect" and a "common touch" and he found both in Judge Sotomayor.
NARAL Pro-Choice America made this statement:
President Obama has selected a nominee with a distinguished record of professional accomplishments as a judge, prosecutor, and community leader. This impressive personal biography signals that she possesses an understanding of how the law affects everyday people's lives," NARAL President Nancy Keenan said. "We are encouraged by the strong support she receives from her peers and other legal scholars and the fact that the Senate has twice confirmed her for federal judgeships. We look forward to learning more about Judge Sotomayor's views on the right to privacy and the landmark Roe v. Wade decision as the Senate's hearing process moves forward.
Finally, the RNC's communications department released talking points for their members to respond to media inquiries. They also sent them to the media on accident. TheHill.com posted them this morning:
President Obama’s nomination of Judge Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court is an important decision that will have an impact on the United States long after his administration.
Republicans are committed to a fair confirmation process and will reserve judgment until more is known about Judge Sotomayor’s legal views, judicial record and qualifications.
Until we have a full view of the facts and comprehensive understanding of Judge Sotomayor’s record, Republicans will avoid partisanship and knee-jerk judgments — which is in stark contrast to how the Democrats responded to the [Chief Justice John] Roberts and [Justice Samuel] Alito nominations.
To be clear, Republicans do not view this nomination without concern. Judge Sotomayor has received praise and high ratings from liberal special interest groups. Judge Sotomayor has also said that policy is made on the U.S. Court of Appeals.
Republicans believe that the confirmation process is the most responsible way to learn more about her views on a number of important issues.
The confirmation process will help Republicans, and all Americans, understand more about Judge Sotomayor’s thoughts on the importance of the Supreme Court’s fidelity to the Constitution and the rule of law.
Republicans are the minority party, but our belief that judges should interpret rather than make law is shared by a majority of Americans.
Republicans look forward to learning more about Judge Sotomayor’s legal views and to determining whether her views reflect the values of mainstream America.
President Obama on Judicial Nominees
Liberal ideology, not legal qualification, is likely to guide the president’s choice of judicial nominees.
Obama has said his criterion for nominating judges would be their “heart “and “empathy.”
Obama said he believes Supreme Court justices should understand the Court’s role “to protect people who may be vulnerable in the political process.”
Obama has declared: "We need somebody who's got the heart, the empathy, to recognize what it's like to be a young teenage mom, the empathy to understand what it's like to be poor or African-American or gay or disabled or old — and that's the criterion by which I'll be selecting my judges."
Additional Talking Points
Justice Souter’s retirement could move the Court to the left and provide a critical fifth vote for:
Further eroding the rights of the unborn and property owners;
Imposing a federal constitutional right to same-sex marriage;
Stripping "under God" out of the Pledge of Allegiance and completely
secularizing the public square;
Abolishing the death penalty;
Judicial micromanagement of the government's war powers.
"Teens should be taught that abstinence will prevent pregnancy and sexually transmitted disease. But they also need comprehensive instruction about how to cope wisely with sexual issues if they abandon abstinence."The Dispatch gave a ringing endorsement of Comprehensive Sex Ed today, restating the president's arguement for programs that reduce the need for abortion through education and increased access to birth control.
This sets the stage for the Ohio General Assembly to pass the Ohio Prevention First Act. Ohio's teens need medically-accurate instruction about abstinence, birth control, and condom use to have a complete understanding of what it takes to prevent pregnancy and the spread of STD's.
Nationally, we have wasted $1.5 Billion on ineffective Abstinence-Only education that has contributed to increased costs to taxpayers in the form of higher Medicaid expenditures, lost wage-earning potential, domestic violence, and a host of other products of a high teen birth rate. Click here for a full study of how taxpayers foot the bill. (.pdf)
President Obama’s budget completely eliminates funding for the Community Based Abstinence Education (CBAE) program and the Title V Abstinence Education program for states, saving the federal government $149 million. In addition, the president’s budget includes $178 million in new funding for “evidence-based” teen pregnancy prevention programs. Of that, $75 million is designated for "programs that replicate the elements of one or more teenage pregnancy prevention programs that have been proven through rigorous evaluation to delay sexual activity, increase contraceptive use (without increasing sexual activity), or reduce teenage pregnancy”; and $25 million is slotted for research and development of new and innovative strategies for preventing teen pregnancy.
Full text after the jump.
Editorial: Out of the dark
Obama's plan to end abstinence-only approach improves sex education
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
Teens should be taught that abstinence will prevent pregnancy and sexually transmitted disease. But they also need comprehensive instruction about how to cope wisely with sexual issues if they abandon abstinence.
That's why President Barack Obama's budget plan shifts federal funding away from abstinence-only programs in favor of efforts that have demonstrated their effectiveness and focus on teen-pregnancy prevention.
Of about $170 million to be targeted for these programs, about 75 percent of the funding would support those that research shows have reduced teen pregnancy and have caused teens to delay sex and to increase use of contraceptives. The other 25 percent would be directed to innovative programs. These, according to Melody Barnes, director of a White House domestic-policy team, could include some abstinence-only courses, but only if they have proved to be effective.
Teens today aren't much different from the teens of the past who usually received no sex-ed instruction but did hear repeatedly the say-no-to-sex-before-marriage lecture from Mom and Dad.
Studies show that teens in abstinence-only programs are no more likely to refrain from sex than are other teens. And some studies suggest abstinence-only curricula can be harmful because teens don't learn alternatives that can help protect them from pregnancy and diseases if they don't abstain from sex.
Under the Bush administration, abstinence-only education drew $1.3 billion in federal money for fiscal years 2001-2009. Ideology trumped science and human nature.
Many state officials, however, saw the futility of the abstinence-only bent. In recent years, state after state, including Ohio, quit taking federal abstinence-only grants, because the money could not be used to pay for an abstinence component in a comprehensive sex-education course.
Obama's plan is the right one. The United States has one of the highest teen-pregnancy rates among industrialized nations, and some sexually transmitted diseases are increasing among teens.
The time for federal funding that helps emphasize the education in sex education is overdue.
Congressman Tim Ryan (D-Youngstown) appeared on MSNBC's Hardball tonight. Labeled as "Pro-Life" by moderator Chris Matthews, Congressman Ryan was there to discuss his H.R. 1074, which would provide for programs that reduce the number of unplanned pregnancies, reduce the need for abortion, help women bear healthy children, and support new parents. The bill would implement policies that achieve the goals that the president spoke about at Notre Dame yesterday.
Full text of the speech after the jump.
President Obama's commencement speech at Notre Dame
Thank you, Father Jenkins for that generous introduction. You are doing an outstanding job as president of this fine institution, and your continued and courageous commitment to honest, thoughtful dialogue is an inspiration to us all.
Good afternoon Father Hesburgh, Notre Dame trustees, faculty, family, friends, and the class of 2009. I am honored to be here today, and grateful to all of you for allowing me to be part of your graduation.
I want to thank you for this honorary degree. I know it has not been without controversy. I don't know if you're aware of this, but these honorary degrees are apparently pretty hard to come by. So far I'm only 1 for 2 as President. Father Hesburgh is 150 for 150. I guess that's better. Father Ted, after the ceremony, maybe you can give me some pointers on how to boost my average.
I also want to congratulate the class of 2009 for all your accomplishments. And since this is Notre Dame, I mean both in the classroom and in the competitive arena. We all know about this university's proud and storied football team, but I also hear that Notre Dame holds the largest outdoor 5-on-5 basketball tournament in the world - Bookstore Basketball.
Now this excites me. I want to congratulate the winners of this year's tournament, a team by the name of "Hallelujah Holla Back." Well done. Though I have to say, I am personally disappointed that the "Barack O'Ballers" didn't pull it out. Next year, if you need a 6'2" forward with a decent jumper, you know where I live.
Every one of you should be proud of what you have achieved at this institution. One hundred and sixty three classes of Notre Dame graduates have sat where you are today. Some were here during years that simply rolled into the next without much notice or fanfare - periods of relative peace and prosperity that required little by way of sacrifice or struggle.
You, however, are not getting off that easy. Your class has come of age at a moment of great consequence for our nation and the world - a rare inflection point in history where the size and scope of the challenges before us require that we remake our world to renew its promise; that we align our deepest values and commitments to the demands of a new age. It is a privilege and a responsibility afforded to few generations - and a task that you are now called to fulfill.
This is the generation that must find a path back to prosperity and decide how we respond to a global economy that left millions behind even before this crisis hit - an economy where greed and short-term thinking were too often rewarded at the expense of fairness, and diligence, and an honest day's work.
We must decide how to save God's creation from a changing climate that threatens to destroy it. We must seek peace at a time when there are those who will stop at nothing to do us harm, and when weapons in the hands of a few can destroy the many. And we must find a way to reconcile our ever-shrinking world with its ever-growing diversity - diversity of thought, of culture, and of belief.
In short, we must find a way to live together as one human family.
It is this last challenge that I'd like to talk about today. For the major threats we face in the 21st century - whether it's global recession or violent extremism; the spread of nuclear weapons or pandemic disease - do not discriminate. They do not recognize borders. They do not see color. They do not target specific ethnic groups.
Moreover, no one person, or religion, or nation can meet these challenges alone. Our very survival has never required greater cooperation and understanding among all people from all places than at this moment in history.
Unfortunately, finding that common ground - recognizing that our fates are tied up, as Dr. King said, in a "single garment of destiny" - is not easy. Part of the problem, of course, lies in the imperfections of man - our selfishness, our pride, our stubbornness, our acquisitiveness, our insecurities, our egos; all the cruelties large and small that those of us in the Christian tradition understand to be rooted in original sin. We too often seek advantage over others. We cling to outworn prejudice and fear those who are unfamiliar. Too many of us view life only through the lens of immediate self-interest and crass materialism; in which the world is necessarily a zero-sum game. The strong too often dominate the weak, and too many of those with wealth and with power find all manner of justification for their own privilege in the face of poverty and injustice. And so, for all our technology and scientific advances, we see around the globe violence and want and strife that would seem sadly familiar to those in ancient times.
We know these things; and hopefully one of the benefits of the wonderful education you have received is that you have had time to consider these wrongs in the world, and grown determined, each in your own way, to right them. And yet, one of the vexing things for those of us interested in promoting greater understanding and cooperation among people is the discovery that even bringing together persons of good will, men and women of principle and purpose, can be difficult.
The soldier and the lawyer may both love this country with equal passion, and yet reach very different conclusions on the specific steps needed to protect us from harm. The gay activist and the evangelical pastor may both deplore the ravages of HIV/AIDS, but find themselves unable to bridge the cultural divide that might unite their efforts. Those who speak out against stem cell research may be rooted in admirable conviction about the sacredness of life, but so are the parents of a child with juvenile diabetes who are convinced that their son's or daughter's hardships can be relieved.
The question, then, is how do we work through these conflicts? Is it possible for us to join hands in common effort? As citizens of a vibrant and varied democracy, how do we engage in vigorous debate? How does each of us remain firm in our principles, and fight for what we consider right, without demonizing those with just as strongly held convictions on the other side?
Nowhere do these questions come up more powerfully than on the issue of abortion.
As I considered the controversy surrounding my visit here, I was reminded of an encounter I had during my Senate campaign, one that I describe in a book I wrote called The Audacity of Hope. A few days after I won the Democratic nomination, I received an email from a doctor who told me that while he voted for me in the primary, he had a serious concern that might prevent him from voting for me in the general election. He described himself as a Christian who was strongly pro-life, but that's not what was preventing him from voting for me.
What bothered the doctor was an entry that my campaign staff had posted on my website - an entry that said I would fight "right-wing ideologues who want to take away a woman's right to choose." The doctor said that he had assumed I was a reasonable person, but that if I truly believed that every pro-life individual was simply an ideologue who wanted to inflict suffering on women, then I was not very reasonable. He wrote, "I do not ask at this point that you oppose abortion, only that you speak about this issue in fair-minded words."
After I read the doctor's letter, I wrote back to him and thanked him. I didn't change my position, but I did tell my staff to change the words on my website. And I said a prayer that night that I might extend the same presumption of good faith to others that the doctor had extended to me. Because when we do that - when we open our hearts and our minds to those who may not think like we do or believe what we do - that's when we discover at least the possibility of common ground.
That's when we begin to say, "Maybe we won't agree on abortion, but we can still agree that this is a heart-wrenching decision for any woman to make, with both moral and spiritual dimensions.
So let's work together to reduce the number of women seeking abortions by reducing unintended pregnancies, and making adoption more available, and providing care and support for women who do carry their child to term. Let's honor the conscience of those who disagree with abortion, and draft a sensible conscience clause, and make sure that all of our health care policies are grounded in clear ethics and sound science, as well as respect for the equality of women."
Understand - I do not suggest that the debate surrounding abortion can or should go away. No matter how much we may want to fudge it - indeed, while we know that the views of most Americans on the subject are complex and even contradictory - the fact is that at some level, the views of the two camps are irreconcilable. Each side will continue to make its case to the public with passion and conviction. But surely we can do so without reducing those with differing views to caricature.
Open hearts. Open minds. Fair-minded words.
It's a way of life that has always been the Notre Dame tradition. Father Hesburgh has long spoken of this institution as both a lighthouse and a crossroads. The lighthouse that stands apart, shining with the wisdom of the Catholic tradition, while the crossroads is where "...differences of culture and religion and conviction can co-exist with friendship, civility, hospitality, and especially love." And I want to join him and Father Jenkins in saying how inspired I am by the maturity and responsibility with which this class has approached the debate surrounding today's ceremony.
This tradition of cooperation and understanding is one that I learned in my own life many years ago - also with the help of the Catholic Church.
I was not raised in a particularly religious household, but my mother instilled in me a sense of service and empathy that eventually led me to become a community organizer after I graduated college. A group of Catholic churches in Chicago helped fund an organization known as the Developing Communities Project, and we worked to lift up South Side neighborhoods that had been devastated when the local steel plant closed.
It was quite an eclectic crew. Catholic and Protestant churches. Jewish and African-American organizers. Working-class black and white and Hispanic residents. All of us with different experiences. All of us with different beliefs. But all of us learned to work side by side because all of us saw in these neighborhoods other human beings who needed our help - to find jobs and improve schools. We were bound together in the service of others.
And something else happened during the time I spent in those neighborhoods. Perhaps because the church folks I worked with were so welcoming and understanding; perhaps because they invited me to their services and sang with me from their hymnals; perhaps because I witnessed all of the good works their faith inspired them to perform, I found myself drawn - not just to work with the church, but to be in the church. It was through this service that I was brought to Christ.
At the time, Cardinal Joseph Bernardin was the Archbishop of Chicago. For those of you too young to have known him, he was a kind and good and wise man. A saintly man. I can still remember him speaking at one of the first organizing meetings I attended on the South Side. He stood as both a lighthouse and a crossroads - unafraid to speak his mind on moral issues ranging from poverty, AIDS, and abortion to the death penalty and nuclear war. And yet, he was congenial and gentle in his persuasion, always trying to bring people together; always trying to find common ground. Just before he died, a reporter asked Cardinal Bernardin about this approach to his ministry. And he said, "You can't really get on with preaching the Gospel until you've touched minds and hearts."
My heart and mind were touched by the words and deeds of the men and women I worked alongside with in Chicago. And I'd like to think that we touched the hearts and minds of the neighborhood families whose lives we helped change. For this, I believe, is our highest calling.
You are about to enter the next phase of your life at a time of great uncertainty. You will be called upon to help restore a free market that is also fair to all who are willing to work; to seek new sources of energy that can save our planet; to give future generations the same chance that you had to receive an extraordinary education. And whether as a person drawn to public service, or someone who simply insists on being an active citizen, you will be exposed to more opinions and ideas broadcast through more means of communications than have ever existed before. You will hear talking heads scream on cable, read blogs that claim definitive knowledge, and watch politicians pretend to know what they're talking about. Occasionally, you may also have the great fortune of seeing important issues debated by well-intentioned, brilliant minds. In fact, I suspect that many of you will be among those bright stars.
In this world of competing claims about what is right and what is true, have confidence in the values with which you've been raised and educated. Be unafraid to speak your mind when those values are at stake. Hold firm to your faith and allow it to guide you on your journey. Stand as a lighthouse.
But remember too that the ultimate irony of faith is that it necessarily admits doubt. It is the belief in things not seen. It is beyond our capacity as human beings to know with certainty what God has planned for us or what He asks of us, and those of us who believe must trust that His wisdom is greater than our own.
This doubt should not push us away from our faith. But it should humble us. It should temper our passions, and cause us to be wary of self-righteousness. It should compel us to remain open, and curious, and eager to continue the moral and spiritual debate that began for so many of you within the walls of Notre Dame. And within our vast democracy, this doubt should remind us to persuade through reason, through an appeal whenever we can to universal rather than parochial principles, and most of all through an abiding example of good works, charity, kindness, and service that moves hearts and minds.
For if there is one law that we can be most certain of, it is the law that binds people of all faiths and no faith together. It is no coincidence that it exists in Christianity and Judaism; in Islam and Hinduism; in Buddhism and humanism. It is, of course, the Golden Rule - the call to treat one another as we wish to be treated. The call to love. To serve. To do what we can to make a difference in the lives of those with whom we share the same brief moment on this Earth.
So many of you at Notre Dame - by the last count, upwards of 80% -- have lived this law of love through the service you've performed at schools and hospitals; international relief agencies and local charities. That is incredibly impressive, and a powerful testament to this institution. Now you must carry the tradition forward. Make it a way of life. Because when you serve, it doesn't just improve your community, it makes you a part of your community. It breaks down walls. It fosters cooperation. And when that happens - when people set aside their differences to work in common effort toward a common good; when they struggle together, and sacrifice together, and learn from one another - all things are possible.
After all, I stand here today, as President and as an African-American, on the 55th anniversary of the day that the Supreme Court handed down the decision in Brown v. the Board of Education. Brown was of course the first major step in dismantling the "separate but equal" doctrine, but it would take a number of years and a nationwide movement to fully realize the dream of civil rights for all of God's children. There were freedom rides and lunch counters and Billy clubs, and there was also a Civil Rights Commission appointed by President Eisenhower. It was the twelve resolutions recommended by this commission that would ultimately become law in the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
There were six members of the commission. It included five whites and one African-American; Democrats and Republicans; two Southern governors, the dean of a Southern law school, a Midwestern university president, and your own Father Ted Hesburgh, President of Notre Dame. They worked for two years, and at times, President Eisenhower had to intervene personally since no hotel or restaurant in the South would serve the black and white members of the commission together. Finally, when they reached an impasse in Louisiana, Father Ted flew them all to Notre Dame's retreat in Land O'Lakes, Wisconsin, where they eventually overcame their differences and hammered out a final deal.
Years later, President Eisenhower asked Father Ted how on Earth he was able to broker an agreement between men of such different backgrounds and beliefs. And Father Ted simply said that during their first dinner in Wisconsin, they discovered that they were all fishermen. And so he quickly readied a boat for a twilight trip out on the lake. They fished, and they talked, and they changed the course of history.
I will not pretend that the challenges we face will be easy, or that the answers will come quickly, or that all our differences and divisions will fade happily away. Life is not that simple. It never has been.
But as you leave here today, remember the lessons of Cardinal Bernardin, of Father Hesburgh, of movements for change both large and small. Remember that each of us, endowed with the dignity possessed by all children of God, has the grace to recognize ourselves in one another; to understand that we all seek the same love of family and the same fulfillment of a life well-lived. Remember that in the end, we are all fishermen.
If nothing else, that knowledge should give us faith that through our collective labor, and God's providence, and our willingness to shoulder each other's burdens, America will continue on its precious journey towards that more perfect union. Congratulations on your graduation, may God Bless you, and may God Bless the United States of America.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists released a study by Gallup that shows that 6% of women that were using prescription birth control have stopped using it because of the economy and the cost. Of all women at a child-bearing age, 3% have stopped using birth control altogether because of cost.
Repeat: Three percent of women have stopped using birth control!
My humble opinion and a request for your stories after the jump.
I predict a baby boom. Because this imminent increase in the birth rate comes as a product of economic recession (as opposed to the economic growth following WWII) a sudden increase in the population will create a strain on taxpayer-funded social services. Health care providers and public schools will feel population increases the most.
Teen girls are included in this study, and are more susceptible to economic hardships that affect birth control practices. (For a look at how some unintended pregnancies create new costs to taxpayers, click here and here.)
It will also increase the number of women who obtain abortions, both legally and illegally. Economic distress leads some women to seek no-cost or low-cost abortions that are not performed by doctors that may be using unsafe methods.
We want to know if the bad economy has changed the birth control habits of you or someone you know. Have you stopped using a form of birth control because of the cost? Post your story in the comments section below.
Last month, one of the biggest birth control stories of the season broke - the FDA legalized over-the-counter sales of Plan B to 17 year old girls. Cecile Richards appeared on CNN to debate the issue (video here) and Ohio's three largest papers all carried the story.
Cleveland Plain Dealer
On Monday, Beth Whitted had a great Letter to the Editor printed in the Columbus Dispatch. Full text after the jump.
Plan B decision will trim teen pregnancy
Monday, May 4, 2009
The Associated Press article "FDA lowers 'Plan B' age limit," in the April 23 Dispatch, was a great piece on the "Plan B" morning-after contraceptive pill being available over the counter to teens.
It clarified the way that Plan B works, which is to prevent a pregnancy from occurring, not cause an abortion.
It is appalling that the United States has the highest rate of teen pregnancy among the most developed countries in the world. Approximately 750,000 teens will get pregnant this year, and this decision by the Food and Drug Administration can help reduce this alarming statistic.
For those concerned that teenagers will rely on Plan B as a regular method of birth control, studies have shown that this is not the case.
This decision is a common-sense policy that will help reduce the number of unintended pregnancies and protect the health and safety of all women.
April was National STD Awareness Month, and Planned Parenthood in Cincinnati wanted to make sure people noticed! Their Oxford Health Center (at Miami University) closed two years ago. Since then they’ve heard from countless Oxford community members about a gap in services. Little did they know how big that gap was.
They decided to re-open their Oxford center for one day only, offering free STD testing (gonorrhea, chlamydia and HIV) to anyone who needed it. They partnered with StopAIDS to offer rapid HIV testing and counseling, so patients could receive the results of that test before they even left the clinic.
Planned Parenthood's Tara Bonistall: "Thursday morning rolled around, and as they were finishing up last minute preparations, I began to worry. What if no one came? What if no one needed to be tested? The clinic opened at 11:00 AM, and at 11:04, my worries had already been dismissed – we already had ten people waiting to be tested."
The Oxford clinic waiting room remained completely full of people wanting to be tested all day. Tara added, "We ran out of testing supplies and paperwork twice, and even brought in more staff members! Six hours and more than 130 tests later, we shut the doors on a day well done."
This testing day brought very positive responses from patients and community members. "Everyone coming into the clinic was grateful for services, and willing to be patient as the wait times increased, said Tara. "Some people even made new friends in the waiting room!" Almost everyone who was tested also requested an HIV test. HIV prevention organizations have done a great job educating about the importance of being tested and knowing your status.
Thanks the full Planned Parenthood staff in the Southwest Ohio region for encouraging everyone to Get Yourself Tested.
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