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RE: Planned Parenthood And Outrage

Category: Women's Issues
Posted: 07/17/15 01:13, Edited: 07/18/15 11:24

by Dave Mindeman

http://www.mnpact.org/sblog/upload/moocher.jpg

I know this will be like walking through a minefield but there are things about the "undercover" Planned Parenthood video that need to be said.

Yes, the idea of selling fetal tissue body parts is a revolting idea to confront and yes, the cavalier attitude of the doctor isn't going to win Planned Parenthood any friends, but the self righteous attitudes bearing down on Planned Parenthood because of this have their own revolting demeanor as well.

First, Planned Parenthood isn't doing anything illegal. Research does request and has a need for this tissue and Planned Parenthood does not profit from it; they only recoup their costs - which the law clearly allows. And this also involves consent of the family.

But the people making this video obviously knew that. Otherwise, why would they wait a year to make it public?

Another question is why would they allow some Congressional Republicans to view this a few months in advance, and still not release it?

I think the reason for the long delay is that this was being planned and choreographed for maximum effect and the Congressional Republicans would help with the timing of the release for maximum legislative effect.

A person who was truly concerned about this practice would want it stopped as soon as possible....if it truly was an illegal act. Our undercover sleuths weren't really concerned about a speedy remedy - they were more concerned about political and legislative effect.

Abortion is not something anybody wants. But there is still a legitimate medical need for it. Most of the time women make a decision to have an abortion for medical necessity, family choice, or other complications. Few abortions are done just to "get rid of" the baby or some kind of family planning technique. It is a hard choice. A difficult choice. But it MUST BE A CHOICE.

What is being done with fetal tissue in these instances is at the request of the medical community for research purposes. If people want to end the legalities of this medical use because it is abhorrent or uncomfortable, then yes, let's have that discussion. If these procedures are ended, then so be it. I actually could understand the validity of that notion.

But if the purpose of this is to simply "outlaw" abortion, then you are treading on much shakier ground.

Abortion will not end - legal or illegal - it will continue....and I would prefer that if it must be done, that it be done in a safe and medically appropriate environment.

Those that want to end abortion by any means (and states have found some very innovative ways to make that happen) should consider the inconsistency of this absolutist position.

First, a lot of abortions are necessary to save the life of the mother. If the mother is in medical distress, it seems pretty certain that the fetus is in greater medical distress. Doctors and the mother need to have hands that are untied and able to make the quick and necessary decisions.

Second, there can be fetal development problems that will never lead to a live birth. For the safety of the mother, there needs to be options.

Third, if families are going to be forced to take on a financial burden for a fetus that is destined to have major issues, then the family has to be given a choice as well. If an abortion is not allowed in this situation, then the general taxpayer should take on the additional medical expenses and pay the family that has had their own choice taken away. If we, as a country, are unwilling to take on that expensive burden, then we should shut up.

Fourth, the general idea that we can force a mother to carry a baby to term regardless of her own wishes, needs to be followed with a financial backing of that premise. Society would be better served if the choice to have a child was easier for the mother to make. Not by coercion which is the general premise of the current Pro-Life movement, but by a societal partnership in which we take on the financial and medical burdens which may be a reason a woman feels compelled to choose the abortion.

Of course it is no accident that so many Congressional and Legislative Republicans have immediately expressed their outrage. They have had time to prepare for their statements. And of course the hearings will follow for maximum publicity effect.

But they should tread carefully on any major action on reproductive rights. Women should be deciding this. Not a bunch of blow hard politicians. We can argue about outrageous attitudes and the sensitivity of medical procedures. But to use them as a means to bad policy is bad politics as well.

Note: Jeff in comments shares a link that talks about the editing on this video, which is highly suspect. Read the link.
comments (3) permalink

20 Weeks Is A Number - Not A Policy

Category: Women's Issues
Posted: 05/20/15 16:38

by Dave Mindeman

OK, I'm going to be talking some science here - so I'm sure a lot of GOP supporters will be leaving and especially MCCL members, but here goes anyway.

Let's discuss this 20 week abortion ban that has become the new mandatory issue for Republicans. I'm going to refer to an article on the LifeNews site that gives us all the new "evidence" about scientific fetal research.

The article has a very provacitive title:

Medical Expert Confirms Unborn Children Feel Excruciating Pain During Abortions

The medical expert involved here is David A. Prentice, Ph.D., Vice President and Research Director of the Charlotte Lozier Institute. Notice that there is not an MD in the title...not that I have anything against Ph.D's, but when you talk medical, I automatically think doctor.

And if you look up the Charlotte Lozier Institute you will get this explanation:

The Charlotte Lozier Institute is the 501(c)(3) research and education institute of the Susan B. Anthony List, an organization dedicated to electing candidates and pursuing policies that will reduce and ultimately end abortion.

Ok - so we know where the credentials are coming from, so let's talk about the article. Mr. Prentice gives us an explanation about the 20 week ban...

The science is pretty conclusive at this point. And there are always going to be people, especially those in favor of abortion, who will say, "Oh that really doesn't happen, and they'll throw up a smokescreen. And what they usually do is they refer to an old study back in 2005 that was published actually by people who had associations with Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers. But the real science - and there's some new things in fact, that have come out in the last few months - but the science pretty conclusively demonstrates: Young babies still in the womb at 20 weeks after conception, and probably even earlier, do indeed feel pain, and in fact, may feel more intense pain than a newborn or an adult.

Wow. Conclusive is a pretty strong word - especially when the experts tend to go pretty much the opposite way on this.

But there is another quote which I find even more suspect....

Question: So one of the arguments that's made is that at twenty weeks the baby doesn't have a mature cerebral cortex. What do you say to that argument?

Prentice: Well, if your listeners aren't up to speed on brain anatomy, the cortex is sort of the outermost part that is, in terms of your conscious thoughts and so on, it's the last part of the brain to develop.

There is indication that some of that neuronal material in your brain is already present, starting to be formed certainly by twenty weeks after conception, but it also turns out that that's not the most important part of your brain for pain perception.

There's another deeper layer that forms early in your brain called the thalamus, deep inside your brain. It forms even earlier in development - probably about 8 to 12 weeks is when you start to see it forming, and those nerve tracks already connect to the thalamus by the time you are 20 weeks after conception, or after fertilization.

In fact, there are individuals who are born without the cerebral cortex, and they feel pain. We know that for a fact.

So, you don't need that cortical layer to actually feel pain. What you need are these deeper parts of the brain and simply the neural tracks for sensation. And those are definitely formed, intact, and responding by twenty weeks after conception.


There is a difference in having pain receptors which can be stimulated and the actual perception of pain - which requires brain development.

Although the thalamus starts to develop in the 8 to 12 week period, the inner workings of the thalamus are not complete until 24 to 26 weeks of gestation. In addition, most scientists believe that the perception of pain requires consciousness, sentience, and external stimuli. Outside of a rudimentary thalamus, the fetus has none of those criteria.

Anti-choice activists have used this "science" of fetal pain to promote a sympathetic ear among legislators - many of which have an anti-choice slant anyway.

A fetus can "react" to pain stimuli in much the same way as a sleeping person might have a reflexive action to being touched. It is not perceived by a brain that can interpret it and to actually attribute a sentient action is not a rational extrapolation.

Humans are conditioned to think of fetal protection and protecting a person. It is a necessary condition and a natural reaction for people who have kids or want kids.

And I am not going to question anyone's beliefs about abortion. That is a personal choice and belief. But this "pain" argument is not scientific and it is not something upon which to base a legislative policy decision.

When it comes to choice decisions in a pregnancy, it is easy to use human emotion to push an agenda. And I would hope that human emotion is never removed from the choice process. But to make a blanket legislative policy on disputed and questionable science - and promoting it as fact - is just not rational and must be rejected.

20 weeks is a number...and only that.
comments (1) permalink

Yes, We Are Ready For Hillary

Category: Women's Issues
Posted: 04/12/15 13:51

by Dave Mindeman

As a progressive I know I am supposed to be skeptical...but I do want and support Hillary Clinton to be our next President.

I supported her in 2008 as well, (doing an enthusiastic transition to Obama when that became a reality) - I just think it is past time for this country to have a woman as President. And since being a woman cannot be the main reason for qualifying for the job, Hillary Clinton brings all of the needed other attributes to the table.

Yes, I worry that she is a bit too cozy with Wall Street. That she was too quick to sign on to the Iraq War when she was in the Senate. And I am also worried about the very fact that John McCain likes her.

But I am enough of a pragmatist to know that she is the Democrats best chance to hold the White House in 2016.

Yes, I would follow Elizabeth Warren to the ends of the earth if she was a candidate - but I don't think she can win just yet. Her fundraising ability would not be as strong and the Republican attacks would have to go unanswered.

Frankly, I think Elizabeth Warren would be an incredible Majority Leader in the Senate (assuming the Democrats can take back the majority in 2016). Not only would she move the Senate Democrats to the progressive left, but she could act as a buffer to "President" Clinton's potential problem issues.

The thought of a President Clinton....a Majority Leader Warren....and a Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi is a Democratic leadership dream.

As usual the Democrats appear to be going with an inferior Senate leader in Chuck Schumer - yes, that Chuck Schumer....the guy in the hip pocket of Israel and a Wall Street shill. That always seems to be part of the Democratic problem - the progressive message gets watered down by the money interest picks at leadership.

But in an era where money is king, we have to work for the small victories that are attainable. And right now, we need to hold the Presidency -- and that means we are Ready for Hillary.

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