Reproductive Rights, Week in Review, Feb. 26-Mar. 4


2 comments posted

It must have taken you all week to compile this!

So much darkness in this world.

media girl's picture
Posted by media girl on 6 March 2006 - 10:08am
i spend all week reading the madness

i compile it in 4 to 12 hours, depending on how down i get from the weight of the information. i try not to rush. it's not difficult from a skills standpoint (other than in the emotional toll that comes from the awful realization of how far this country has fallen). Its mostly reading the news, permitting my curiousity to roam the interwoven hyperlinks, notating the things that i find interesting and then trying (and usually failing) to bring a little more human perspective to the news. I could not do it without the assistance of everyone on the Chitchat email tree even though a lot of the base information is easily available in a much more condsensed form at kaiser. What i've found is, oftentimes, the rich opinions and info available in the blog world, or on the internet, are far better than some of the packaged news, which often mislead by simply reporting the facts and giving no backstory and no context. what i would like to do is marry important news both from the chitchat list and from trusted traditional sources and then seek out context and backstory. in many cases i just end up citing a news story but sometimes i manage to put something more useful together. heres a perfect example (with me failing in my effort too!) that i'll share.

Two weeks ago I was nearing the end of producing the piece and I came across the last list email that I had tagged for possible inclusion. The story referenced Ohio, and so i followed the link in the mail and found this:

Appeals court orders new hearing on abortion license

CINCINNATI - A federal appeals court on Friday gave the state another chance to show why a doctor shouldn't be allowed to perform abortions at a clinic in Dayton.

The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, overturning a lower court, dismissed the notion that closing of the Women's Medical Professional Corp. clinic would be overly burdensome on women seeking abortions.

The dispute involves the state's requirement that an abortion clinic have a written agreement with a hospital to accept patients from the clinic in case of an emergency.

No Dayton-area hospital would agree to the requirement, and the clinic asked the state to waive it. J. Nick Baird, director of the Ohio Department of Health, refused, and in January 2003 ordered the clinic closed.

It's straight reporting, "nothing but the facts ma'am". So I went to google news and began looking for a little more info and all I really found were instances of the same piece being run in different papers. It was late, I was tired, and I already had way too much information as it was as one of my main problems is RRWR is always too long.

So I left out the story, cut it do to lack of context and detail, and began publishing the piece online.

About two hours later Madman sent a link to the list that concerned the court ruling and I followed the hyperlink and just about died when I read the linked post at Lawyers Guns and Money.

How To Ban Abortion For Poor Women

The case (Women's Professional Medical Corp. v. Baird) concerns an Ohio regulation, requiring abortion clinics to have a "written transfer agreement," that has forced a clinic in Dayton to close. The court, as iocaste explains, eventually allowed the clinic to stay open on a technicality, but rejected the claim that the regulation as applied constituted an "undue burden" to abortion, which is the standard by which abortion regulations are evaluated under the controlling case. These kinds of licensing regulations, as anyone who say the chilling Frontline documentary about abortion in Mississippi knows, are a very effective way of preventing clinics from operating, and should the Court uphold them the effect on abortion access will likely be severe.

This case is initially tricky, because on its face the regulation seems reasonable; all ambulatory surgical facilities have to have a license, and the director of the Ohio Department of Health can create regulations to require a license, and issue a waiver. The requirement that a clinic have an agreement with another hospital to treat patients in an emergency does not, on its face, constitute an undue burden; protecting the health of patients is certainly a legitimate state interests. So the question is, is the regulation actually trying to protect health, or is about trying to shut down abortion clinics for no good reason? It's an easy question when you examine this history. Dr. Haskell's clinic applied to an agreement, and one hospital accepted. However, "Dr. William Stalter, a pro-life advocate and member of the Board of Trustees of Miami Valley, objected to the written transfer agreement. He called the head of Premier Health Care, the owner of Miami Valley, to voice his concerns. Within four days, Miami Valley rescinded its written transfer agreement with the Dayton clinic, offering no explanation for its decision." He then applied for a waiver for the requirement, noting that he received a letter from the Miami Valley Hospital Emergency and Trauma Center that it would "be available to any of your patients that have an emergency medical condition," in addition to a tacit agreement with doctors (who did not want to identify themselves for understandable security reasons.) So how, and why, did the government react?

There's more going on behind these reproductive rights stories than is being reported. As is so brilliantly stated in the cite above: because on its face the regulation seems reasonable; all ambulatory surgical facilities have to have a license. And this is exactly what the straight news pieces often never seem to get to. A reader is not made aware of the "under-the-radar" stealth withdrawal of women's reproductive rights. It's all "wolf in sheep's clothing" shit. The lying outward appearance belies the true nature of the intent. Every once in a while I'm able to put something like what I've exampled together (with the help from all of you email listers!).

The real magic is being done by women and men who are experts in their fields writing about what concerns them, as exampled by the Lawyers Guns and Money piece referenced above. There's a lot of it out there. If we, in our efforts, make you aware of something you might have missed? Well, thats why we spend the time, I suppose.

the anti-choice movement is out to destroy our existing right to control our bodies. they don't give a shit if they kill women in the process. and they don't give a shit if they ruin young women's lives.

bayprairie's picture
Posted by bayprairie on 6 March 2006 - 3:07pm