Family Research Council’s Blog is Confused About Plan B

I’ll just start with the assumption that many of you (since you’re reading this blog) also read the blog from the Family Research Council. There may be a few of you here and there who don’t read it every day, yeah, sure. Fine. But those of you who do may have noticed that they, too, are providing some coverage of the Senate hearings for Andrew Von Eschenbach, and I bet you took issue with a response to Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) posted there yesterday.

Kansas Primary, South Dakota Poll, Count Down to Connecticut …. HOT Politics!

While much of the national news coverage about yesterday's Kansas Primary focused on the evolution issue, the Kansas State Bored (for surely they must be) of Education has sought to compromise sexuality education as well. Fortunately, the defeat of several socially conservative ideologues in both the GOP and Democratic primaries likely signals an end to the madness. Moderate candidates won in both primaries, securing a 6-4 moderate majority no matter which party wins in November. As a Kansan-in-exile, I can assure you that is a relief, because the evolution jokes were starting to out-number the Dorothy jokes.

Looking forward, a new poll from South Dakota indicates voters there are leaning toward rejecting the legislature's ban on abortions (even in the cases of rape and incest), but according to the same poll, would approve it if those exclusions were not written into the bill.

Bush’s AIDS Council: Texas Two-Step Only Qualification

William Smith is Vice President for Public Policy at the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States.

It comes as no surprise to readers of this site that the Bush Administration puts a very low value on public health. Did you know, for example, that Surgeon General Carmona’s term expired last week? Carmona who? Exactly.

An equally opaque announcement came last week with the appointment of seven new members to the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS (PACHA). Created under the Clinton Administration, there was a time when these spots were coveted and coveted because PACHA once reflected the national face of AIDS. Now, however, PACHA reflects Texas, and the hypermoralism that has come to characterize every social issue on President Bush’s agenda.

It Might Surprise You to Learn…

So I hear from the Internet that after more than three years of delays, in a move doubtless spurred on by some fantastic grassroots activism on the part of ordinary American women, the FDA might actually get around to approving emergency contraception (EC) for over-the-counter use in the United States--this time, for serious (though I'll believe it when I see it). Will wonders never cease? If the FDA puts its money where its mouth is, American women might finally have access to the safe, effective, unintended-pregnancy-preventing product that their sisters in countless countries worldwide have been buying at the drugstore for years.

The Latest on Plan B

After months of silence on the issue, today has been a big day for Plan B, the emergency contraception pill at the heart of a political battle involving the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and the Workforce held its first hearing today to determine whether it would give approval to Andrew von Eschenbach, nominee for FDA Commissioner. And yesterday, just ahead of this hearing, FDA sent a letter to Plan B’s manufacturer requesting a meeting to discuss its approval for over-the-counter sales.

The Face of Gender Inequity

The BBC ran a story today that will turn many who read it toward sympathy: “Bangladesh’s Acid Attack Problem” tells a brief story about the hundreds of people in that country who have had concentrated acid thrown on their bodies. Most of those victims are women, and they are most often victims because they refuse propositions for marriage or otherwise spurn would-be lovers. While the sheer numbers recounted may be relatively low compared with other crimes, the horror of these attacks is representative of the extreme gender disparity that still goes unchecked in some developing countries.

Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice Featured

The Rev. Carlton Veazey and the great work of the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice were featured recently in a major article about pro-choice people of faith in the Boston Globe. From the article:

The religious abortion-rights ... movement works toward what it calls true "reproductive choice," envisioning a society in which education and contraception prevent unintended pregnancies, and widely available healthcare and child care foster conditions supportive of childbearing. The religious right, they charge, has largely neglected these goals in favor of pressing the fight against abortion. "If you say you don't want to see abortions, let's try to prevent them," says Veazey.

Rev. Flip Benham Is Right About Holocaust

"What is happening in Jackson today is exactly what happened in Nazi Germany!"

That is the rhetoric of Rev. Flip Benham of Operation Save America. Benham was protesting in front of Mississippi's last abortion clinic, an accounting of which, Abortion Under Siege in Mississippi, is in today's Salon from Michelle Goldberg. It is a MUST read.

"The Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world," and asked the arresting officer, "Are you a Jew?"

That is the drunken rhetoric of Mel Gibson, according to an Associated Press reporter.

The Rev. Flip Benham is right. Gibson, whose father denies the holocaust, is wrong. The holocaust happened, and the Jews were not responsible.

Through the Looking Glass

Editor's Note: Andrea Lynch, who has been blogging from Brighton, England, since joining Rewire, will now be blogging from Managua, Nicaragua. This is her first post from Latin America, and we're glad her travels were safe. Our goal at Rewire is a mix of domestic and international postings that compare and contrast policies in the US and abroad, and the reality of how some of our policies affect the lives of people elsewhere. If you have ideas for coverage about either domestic or international issues, please contact us.

Greetings from Managua, Nicaragua—the gorgeous, chaotic, unpredictable, sweltering Central American city where this blogista will be composing her dispatches from now until April 2007. I arrived here on Thursday to begin a nine-month research collaboration with the feminist NGO Puntos de Encuentro (“Meeting Points” or “Common Ground” in Spanish) as part of my masters degree in Participation, Power, and Social Change (try explaining that one in a crowded bar in a language you’re still learning to speak). I’ve never been to Nicaragua before, and although I spent four years working for a U.S.-based international organization, this is my first time living in the developing world. It’s also my first opportunity to see, day to day, how people experience their sexual and reproductive lives in a context completely different from the one where I grew up; and my first chance to witness how current and historical U.S. policies shape daily realities in another country.

Lieberman Trying to Have It Both Ways On Life Issues

Last week, Senator Joe Lieberman (CT) was asked by a New York Times reporter what he thought of Michael Schiavo, husband of the late Terri Schiavo, campaigning for Ned Lamont. Lieberman replied, it was time “for politicians to let Terri Schiavo rest in peace.” It was as callous as his suggestion that a rape victim be turned down for emergency contraception, despite the defense of Senator Boxer (CA) that Sen. Lieberman was misunderstood.

Speechless. It left me speechless when I read that, remembering that Lieberman could not stop talking about Mrs. Schiavo when his ideology blinded him to the reality of her medical condition, and kept him on every talk show seemingly nonstop discussing her case.