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Progressive Politics in Minnesota, the Nation, and the World

Abortions Increase -- Can Heated Debate Be Far Behind?

Category: Minnesota Politics
Posted: 07/02/07 17:42

by Dave Mindeman

A report on Minnesota abortions that came out today will most assuredly find its way to an MCCL flyer near you.

For the first time since 2001, abortions performed in Minnesota had an increase. Total number of abortions climbed 5%, but the figure that will draw the most attention is that abortions for women 17 and younger showed a 16 percent increase.

Scott Fischbach, executive director of MCCL, jumped on the news. He called it "a predictable result of Planned Parenthood's increased promotion of abortion." He cited 2 new Planned Parenthood clinics in suburban malls as an example of the problem.

Now, that 16% jump involving women 17 and under is an issue that should be discussed. But simply invoking Planned Parenthood's name is a little disingenuous.

Some additional facts are needed for perspective. The current increase is being compared to the 2005 figure which happens to be the lowest number of abortions in 30 years. The highest annual number occurred in 1980 at just over 19,000.

The 17 and under increase occurred despite a parental notification law and an emphasis on abstinence only sex education.

MCCL and its allies need to take a more realistic approach to reducing abortions.

First of all...no organization of any kind promotes abortion ...Planned Parenthood included. Progressives want unrestricted abortion access. That is fundamentally different. The key to reducing abortions is not restricting access and not making women criminals... it is education. Pure and simple.... education.

And sex education is not sex education if all the information you provide is that sex outside of marriage is bad.

It didn't work for the Puritan settlers, it didn't work for the Catholic Church, it hasn't worked for the Moral Majority, and it hasn't work for anyone else either.

Teenagers are going to explore their sex lives... it is inevitable. But filling their heads with taboos, punishments, moral absolutes, and fears is not a solution. The only solution is responsible birth control availability and proper information. There is simply no other way to reduce unwanted pregnancies and ultimately abortions.

Abortion debates are always circular. It is always complicated by religion, poverty, and educational access. In reality, the only proper solution is to deal with the root causes of unwanted pregnancies....because obviously without them, abortion would never need to be discussed.

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Rep. Oberstar: "Disturbing Lack of Judgment"

Category: Minnesota Politics
Posted: 07/02/07 13:18, Edited: 07/03/07 15:12

by Dave Mindeman

Rep. Jim Oberstar weighed in on the Minnesota Department of Health situation with an opinion piece in the Mesabi Daily News.

He outlines the damage done and outside help missed by Diane Mandernach's internal decision to withhold the important health information regarding the mines.

He outlines 3 sources of help that should have been resourced immediately upon receiving this information:

1) Bureau of Mine Safety and Health.
2) Health researchers at the Univ. of Minnesota.
3) United Steelworkers Union.

And finally, Oberstar suggested a 4th advocate she could have turned to... Oberstar himself. Rep. Oberstar is a powerful committee chair in a Democratic Congress. You know he would have done everything in his power to secure whatever was needed to speed up the process and help with funding this research.

But all that was delayed. Delayed by an unfathomable personal decision without a plausible explanation. At the Iron Range hearings, Mandernach apologized again for her actions. That apology wasn't acceptable at those hearings and it shouldn't be.

In order for everyone to be comfortable going forward, there needs to be new leadership in the Health Department. A decision like this should never happen again. As Oberstar put it:

When a government agency has information concerning dangers in the workplace, the government has a fundamental responsibility to make that information known to the public.

A "fundamental responsibility". This wasn't a mistake regarding wrong calculations or misinterpreted data. This was a mistake that involves the very reason Mandernach's position exists. Public Health means public information.

We can't make people healthy....we can only help them make good choices. For one full year, the miners weren't being given fundamentally crucial knowledge they needed and for one full year vital studies have been delayed.

If somebody in the Pawlenty administration has any sense of accountability, Diane Mandernach should no longer serve in her position.
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Fox News Doesn't Lead To a Well-Informed Electorate

Category: US Politics
Posted: 07/01/07 22:55

by Tom Hammond

Our Founding Fathers established this great democracy on the idea that a well informed electorate could effectively manage its own affairs. If those visionaries could have read Paul Krugman?s editorial in the Sunday Star-Tribune, they would roll over in their respective graves.

Regarding Iraq, Krugman not only focused on the falsity of the WMD and ties to AL Qaeda claims, he exposed where the slanted reporting came from. 80% of those people who got their news primarily from Fox News believed these untruths. Only 23% of those who got their news from the Public Broadcasting System and National Public Radio believed them.

Fox News is not ?Fair and Balanced? as it claims. The distortions,
half-truths and untruths that pour forth from Fox often deceive
Americans rather than inform them. Without accurate information, Americans cannot make good decisions.

Our Founding Fathers would see this as a threat to our democracy.
Americans who truly love their country should do the same.

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