Archive for the ‘abortion’ Category

The Supreme Court (of the United States) handed down several rulings last week, many of them truly significant in their reach. These included limits and capabilities of what the EPA can regulate, limits on Executive Orders, limits on Recess Appointments, a unanimous decision for civil liberties in that police now need a warrant to search the contents of your cell phone (which SCOTUS pointed out was now a “mini computer” with your life stored on it), and they eliminated the buffer around abortion clinics on First Amendment grounds (another unanimous decision, and one that I’m less happy with).

World Net Daily was ecstatic about the last one, posting no fewer than four stories about it. My view is perhaps best characterized by their snippet from The Guardian, which they included under their “Out of Left Field” section: “Supremes’ Ruling Protects Gauntlet of Horror.” Basically, a woman is going to have an abortion, making a very difficult decision, and she is harassed in the last few feet trying to get in the doors of the clinic. Harassed by people showing photos of bloody infant corpses, saying she’ll burn in hell, being screamed at through a megaphone, etc. What many states (16, I think, including Massachusetts which was the subject of the SCOTUS decision) have tried to do – to strike a balance between right to free speech and right to access to the abortion clinic – is to establish a buffer zone. You can scream and rant outside that zone, but those last few feet are off-limits. So at least you can get to the door without needing to fight through people.

Now, SCOTUS has ruled that buffer zone unconstitutional. Though I don’t think the decision invalidates the “bubble zones” that they upheld as constitutional, that are 8 ft from the clinic’s door. Personally, I don’t see how 35 ft is that much different from 8 ft — you can still see all the signs, hear all the protests, etc. It seems like more of a free-access and anti-violence thing to me, which was the whole point of the Massachusetts law (enacted in the wake of violence at a Boston clinic).

WND did a three-paragraph snippet from NBC News when it first came out (“Supremes Hand Huge Victory to Pro-Lifers”), and then Bob Unruh published his column on it (“Pro-Life Forces Consider Next Step in Free-Speech Fight”), and later in the day, Greg Corombos did his (“‘Huge’ Supreme Court Ruling ‘Boggles the Mind'”).


Interestingly, Unruh’s column only has nine comments, which is very surprising to me. His stuff about The Gay typically gets 20 times that. Corombos’ column got many more comments, with 164 when I wrote this post. I’m not going to get into the comments, they are what you would expect from WND.

What I’ll end with is what some of the more liberal bloggers (and Rachael Maddow) have somewhat ironically pointed out: SCOTUS’ hypocricy in this issue. The Supreme Court itself forbids all protests on the plaza to their building, roughly 252 feet wide. To quote Boston Magazine:

The court’s rules about protests on their grounds don’t apply to the sidewalks surrounding the building, but those areas are roughly 252 feet from the court’s doors. The buffer zone separating the plaza from the sidewalks is meant to keep the area clean and safe, and maintain “suitable order and decorum” on the property, according to the regulations.


Because they stick up for the little guys. The legislative branch is clearly dominated by the will of the majority. That’s how it works. The executive is dominated by, well, whatever. The role of the judiciary is, in part, to ensure that the laws that are created and as they are implemented are fair to everyone. Put another way, a primary role of the judiciary in America that has developed over the last several hundred years is to protect the minority from the majority. The balance in government is that the executive nominates judges, the legislative has to confirm them, and the legislative can impeach them. In some cases, judges are directly elected, but that’s at a state level; and they can be recalled.

The story this time (“Judge Overturns ‘Heartbeat’ Abortion Ban”) is almost inconsequential. Rather this post is aimed at the majority of the commenters.

Take “Pi10107” for instance, who clearly does not understand the judicial role: “No judge, you are unconstitutional. We need to get rid of these federal judges. They overturn the will of the people and decide on what they personally want. The Constitution means nothing to them.”

Or “truthtalker” who thinks that the judicial system of the state should be that of his religion: “Another judge headed to Judgement Day before the Throne of God with the blood of innocent unborn murder victims dripping from his fingers.”

I’m not saying that liberals aren’t idiots when it comes to the judiciary. I personally think that the SCOTUS decision to allow legislative prayer is horribly flawed. But, you won’t see me advocating for impeachment or removal of the Justices.

Based on searching through my archives, I’ve decided to start numbering yet another series on this blog, in this case, “Rules Apply to Everyone but Christians!” The rule in question this time is whether, if you’re hired to do a job, you shouldn’t have to do some parts of that job because it conflicts with your religious values. Um, yes? You were hired to do a job. If you don’t want to do all of that job, get a different one. Duh.

But apparently not “Duh” to the Thomas More Society (a religious “liberties” law firm), who has decided to file “a federal lawsuit in Tennessee on behalf of former Walgreens pharmacist Philip Hall, alleging Hall was unfairly fired because his faith would not permit him to sell the Plan B morning-after pill over the counter.” The WND post is by Michael Carl: “Walgreens: Leave Your Beliefs at the Door.”

I think that should be: “All Employers Say: Employees – Leave Your Beliefs at the Door.”

Here’s what the Thomas More Society says is the basis of its lawsuit:

Thomas More Society attorney Jocelyn Floyd is representing Hall in his federal lawsuit and she says that Hall’s constitutional rights have been violated.

Floyd says that the law recognizes an enormous list of reasons people can lodge religious objections, but she says there are limits. The law requires the employer make a “reasonable accommodation,” a process that begins with the employee.

“If someone has a religious objection, they have to go to their employer and say they can’t do something. In this case it’s selling the morning after pill for religious reasons. The employer is required to make what is called the reasonable accommodation.

“In this case, this would require the store to allow Dr. Hall the opportunity to have another cashier process the sale. That is a reasonable accommodation. Now that it is over the counter it can be any cashier,” Floyd said.

She also says that the over-the-counter status of Plan B makes it easier for the store to accommodate Hall’s beliefs.

“Before, when it was a prescription drug, the dispensing of the drug and the sale had to be done by another pharmacist. Now it can be any cashier and that means that finding another cashier doesn’t place an undue burden on the store.

“It might be a slight hassle and it can be a little annoying to have to find another cashier, but it is not an undue burden. If he believed his religious beliefs were such that he couldn’t even work in the store and that the company would have to stop selling the product altogether, that would be an undue burden,” Floyd said.

If they don’t settle out of court, I would expect Walgreens to win this one. To me, at least, this is simple: Your job as a pharmacist is to dispense medication. Even if it’s OTC and not prescription, that is the fundamental raison d’être for being a pharmacist. Just as an Orthodox Jew working at the meat counter should not expect to be allowed to refuse to serve any meat product that has pork in it, a pharmacist should not get away with not having to dispense various drugs they don’t agree with.

I’ve written before about the United States’ (effectively) unconditional support for anything Israel does, especially among the very conservative (at least Christian conservative). So, it makes you wonder: What’s a Christian conservative to do when Israel happens to have a more liberal – a more progressive – policy in favor of something that the Christian conservative loathes? Enter the cognitive dissonance!

In fairness, I fully realize that I’m pulling a bit of an over-simplification here, and I fully recognize that one can generally be in favor of some group while not liking some of the individual things they do. For example, I’m generally in favor of President Obama, but I think his use of the NSA with their spying is horrible.

With that in mind, we get to an article by Ryan Jones of Israel Today that was either written for or posted in full by WND: “Israel Picking Up Tab for Abortions.” I’ll quote the first four paragraphs and a fifth one farther down:

Israel’s newly-passed health budget for 2014 includes a significant increase in government funding for legal abortions, a move that Sandy Shoshani, national director of the pro-life organization Be’ad Chaim, says is a serious indictment of the nation’s spiritual condition.

Last month, the Health Basket Committee – which annually decides which medications, treatments and procedures will be covered or subsidized by the government – determined that the previous practice of paying for abortions for women under the age of 19 and over the age of 40 wasn’t enough.

Included in the new budget is 16 million shekels (USD $4.5 million) to also cover abortions for women between the ages of 20-33.

While all women seeking a legal abortion must receive special approval, the committee in charge of making that decision rubber-stamps 97 percent of requests, or well over 20,000 abortions each year.

… That Israel’s government would regard the lives of unborn babies in so flippant a manner is evidence that “the moral fibers of our nation are in shreds,” said Shoshani, who warned that “you can’t bring a curse on your nation and not expect repercussions. We just opened the door wide and made ourselves vulnerable.”

The article got 220 ratings (4.80/5 star average) and 283 comments, and it was published 13 days ago (I’m sorta catching up). I was curious to see how WND commenters would handle this issue: Maintain unbridled support for Israel no matter what, condemn this practice, or something else?

Mostly, at least skimming the high-rated comments, anyway, they ignore it. There are a lot of comparisons to Hitler and pointing out numbers of people he killed versus number of abortions performed. Lots of people saying that the US is “in judgement” because of their policies. Some anti-Obama stuff. Some anti-Muslim stuff. The most direct comments I found (that were highly rated) claim that the current government of Israel is anti-Biblical and going to lead to Israel’s downfall and the apocalypse.

World Net Daily’s Jack Minor got to write up this doozy: “State Bill Makes Abortion ‘Class 3 Felony.’” In the lovely state where I reside, Colorado.

For those who don’t know, we have a bit of history here in Colorado with making any abortion illegal. It was soundly rejected by voters (by something like a 3:1 margin) the two times that I remember it being on the ballot under the guise of a “Personhood” Amendment. (If passed, it would mean that as soon as an egg is fertilized, it will be recognized as a “person” in Colorado law, meaning that destroying it in any way would constitute murder.)

But, that kind of overwhelming rejection doesn’t stop anti-abortion people. The latest is House Bill 14-1133 (link to PDF), with 12 sponsors in the state House and 7 in the state Senate. The sponsor in the House is Rep. Stephen Humphrey (district 48), and in the Senate, it’s Scott W. Renfroe (district 13). Both are Republicans. To quote:


Meanwhile, the bill defines an “unborn human being” as any homo sapien “FROM FERTILIZATION TO FULL GESTATION AND CHILDBIRTH.” In other words, instead of amending the state Constitution, they’re trying to just do it by statute. There are only two exceptions: The mother’s life is in danger, but the physician still has to try to save the life of the fetus; and if the death is accidental during some routine kind of medical procedure. Period. The bill is very clear about its intent, the very first line explaining, “Legislative intent.(1) It is the intent of the general assembly to make the practice of abortion illegal in the state of Colorado.”

Maybe this is common in bills – I don’t know ’cause I very very rarely read them – but it almost anticipates a court challenge (and a successful challenge) if passed: “It is the further intent of the general assembly that if and as long as any portion of part 9 of article 6 of title 18, Colorado Revised Statutes, is declared unconstitutional by an appellate court, the existing statutes or portions of statutes that relate to abortion shall be enforced as law.”

I don’t think it’s a stretch for me to say this bill has almost zero chance of passing. Democrats have a majority in both the House and Senate, and the Governor is a Democrat (though Jack Minor notes, “Democrat Gov. John Hickenlooper also is facing a tough re-election campaign this year”).

I expect this bill to die in committee. Not just because of its blanket ban on all abortion – which has very little support as evidenced by past election results – but also because the legislature is controlled by Democrats and because the Supreme Court clearly ruled in Roe v. Wade that at least some form of abortion is a protected right. Though I think that these ultra-conservative groups keep trying to get these laws passed so that they will be challenged and then appealed all the way to the Supreme Court which they hope will then overturn Roe v. Wade.

Just for completeness, the article has 433 ratings (4.90/5 average – the highest I remember seeing on posts with >100 ratings), and it has 559 comments.

The article is pretty basic — a simple excerpt from a FOX “news” source entitled, “Supreme Court Blocks Abortion Ban.” The US Supreme Court simply let stand a 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decision that determined an Arizona law that banned most abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy was unconstitutional.

For those who don’t remember, or who aren’t in the US and don’t know about how our government works, we have three branches: Executive (President), Legislative (Congress), and Judicial (Supreme Court). This structure is duplicated in pretty much all jurisdictions at all levels across the United States.

The basic roles are that the executive runs things, implementing the laws; legislative passes laws that set rules for how things should be run; and judicial ensures that both the executive and legislative follow the laws, especially within the context of the Constitution. It’s called “checks and balances” where each branch both supports and keeps the other branches in check (such as the executive nominates people for judicial, but legislative has to approve those nominations, and can impeach them once on the bench, but once in, the judicial branch can throw out stuff the executive has tried to do or is doing and stuff the legislative has done).

Make sense? Sure … in a very fast top-of-my-head way.

That basic civics lesson, however, was apparently lost on some WND commenters on this article. “MarvLS1” with 11 up and 1 down-vote (the highest-rated) wrote, “How can they legitimately refuse to hear the appeal?”

In response, “gertd” with 6 up and 3 down tried to inform him/her: “If they feel the issue has been addressed already and the law is clear, they will not re-open the matter.” Yup. If you agree with the lower court ruling, you don’t have to revisit the issue.

But, “MarvLS1” didn’t like the response, and with 8 up and 1 down vote, wrote: “In other words, judicial rule by fiat is the law of the land. No wonder this country is in decline.”

Um, no. The SCOTUS (Supreme Court of the United States) doesn’t have to hear an appeal. They exist to protect the rights of the people and keep Congress and the President (and governors and state legislators, etc.) in check. And if they act contrary to the Constitution, then Congress can impeach them. It seems only to be “judicial rule by fiat” when a ruling goes against what you want it to.

That’s all … it’s really not worth getting into the completely ignorant comments by others, like “dude911” who seems to think that all pregnancy is a choice (“Face it, if you didn’t want to get pregnant, you should have made that choice.” or “Women have a choice. But when they act, and become pregnant, that choice has already been made, the consequences being the creation of life. After that, a womans right is forfeit to the child, whom she owes a duty to protect.”)

Catholics, by doctrine, are against abortion. That’s kinda a “duh” statement to anyone who knows much of anything about Catholicism. The grey area is how much against it when the consequence of not inducing an abortion is that the mother will die?

It’s one of those moral quandaries that we all (hopefully) hope to never have to make, but statistics show that most people would rather do nothing and let someone die than do something to save someone else but lead to someone else’s death. The classic example is that a train is coming, and it will kill 5 people on one track. But, you could switch tracks, and it would only kill 1 person. Do you switch? Most would say “no.”

This moral question apparently has a Doctrinal answer from the Catholic Church: Women are baby factories, abortion is NOT ALLOWED UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES. No exceptions.

With that lovely preamble, we are brought to December 3’s short snippet from NBC News, “ACLU Sues Catholic Hospital.” At issue is that a woman, 18 weeks pregnant, was taken to the nearest ER in Michigan with complications. She was sent home with some drugs. She came back later and ended up suffering a very dangers, painful, and prolonged miscarriage. The standard medical practice – as witnesses will testify at trial – is to induce labor to result in a miscarriage (“abortion”) in such circumstances to save the life of the mother. The doctors apparently knew that (or should have if they were competent), but did not tell the mother because they were a Catholic hospital and driven by Catholic Bishops’ directives.

So, the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) is suing with the woman as the plaintiff. (By the way, I got a lot of the information above from memory from reading another article on this story, NOT from the WND snippet.)

The story, posted nearly two weeks ago now, has 6 ratings with an average of only 2.5/5 stars. It does have 39 comments, pretty much all of them talking about the downfall of society. ‘Cause, you know … Jesus.

For example, “General Quarters” wrote, with 10 up-votes and 1 down-vote: “Go ahead and sue. “We must obey God rather than men.” Acts 5:29. If the Catholic hospital loses, they might close their doors. If that is the case……We the People will lose since the Catholic hospitals treat anyone regardless of race, creed, religion or ability to pay. Close all the Catholic hospitals and watch the choas that ensues. That rigid ideology of death to the unborn will become the death of this nation. I will watch for the outcome of this trial. God’s Church v Satan once again. I have noticed that whenever the ACLU takes on a lawsuit they win when they are unopposed. There will be plenty of lawyers out there to take this case against the ACLU. Abortion is nothing more than pre-meditated murder! Keep in mind, this is a press report prior to the trial. So the verdict is already in as far as they are concerned. The original source is the vastly liberal NBC News. So I can almost guarantee the news is slanted against the Catholic Hospital. The press no longer informs, they form the public mind.”

Edited to Add (December 21, 2013): The New York Times points out that the Catholic hospitals, because of the Bishops’ rule(s) on abortion, violates medical ethics and existing laws.