Jesurgislac’s Journal

December 30, 2009

You need the NHS…

Filed under: Uncategorized — jesurgislac @ 8:33 am
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At Dead Horse (via):

Was anti-Hillary ad by Obama campaign in Feb 2008

Aneurin Bevan, then Minister of Health, speaking on the founding of the National Health Service a year after its introduction.

Sixty years ago, the UK already had a better health service than the US does today. And all Obama’s accomplished is produce the same health care “plan” his campaign derided Hillary Clinton for supporting.


December 22, 2009

Nobel Peace Prize Winner & War Criminal

Someone needs to remind President Barack Obama, Nobel Peace Prize winner extraordinaire, of a plain fact that Fred at Slacktivist likes to point out: You’re not allowed to kill civilians: “It’s been awhile so it seems again it’s time for a helpful reminder that noncombatant immunity isn’t just a good idea, it’s the law. In other words: You’re not allowed to kill civilians. Killing civilians is against the law. Killing civilians makes you a criminal.”

Planning to kill civilians – even if your stated plan is to kill al-Qaeda operatives by launching military strikes at a civilian population where you believe al-Qaeda operatives may be located, you are by that planning to kill civilians – is a war crime. (Via, worth reading.)

It’s not the first time the Nobel committee have awarded the Peace Prize to a war criminal, of course…

December 16, 2009

Pro-life is what they call themselves, part 2

Catherina Lorena Cenzon-DeCarlo is an ER nurse at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York. Or was. She’s suing her employers because they forced her to save a patient’s life by a means DeCarlo disapproved of.

A woman was brought into ER at Mount Sinai, 22 weeks pregnant, suffering from preeclampsia.

Preeclampsia is the third leading pregnancy-related cause of death in the United States, after hemorrhage and embolism. Preeclampsia is the cause in an estimated 790 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births. cite

The triage system at Mount Sinai’s ER figured there was a six-hour window to save this woman’s life. And, as this article in EMS Magazine makes clear in a shy kind of way:

If the patient is experiencing severe preeclampsia or eclampsia, consider rapid transport to an appropriate medical facility. The one definitive procedure to reverse preeclampsia or eclampsia is to deliver the baby and placenta. Thus, careful consideration must be given to transporting to a medical facility that is able to manage acute obstetric emergencies. cite

the only certain way to save a woman’s life if she’s suffering from severe preeclampsia is to perform an abortion.

The only person whose opinion matters in this case is the pregnant woman herself, or whoever she has granted her medical power of attorney: ER staff have the job of saving lives, and if the woman came in unconscious and without a decision-maker, it’s the medical staff’s responsibility to save her life by performing the abortion.

So what does this “pro-life” nurse do, asked to help save a woman’s life? She refuses, claiming (without any prior knowledge of the case: she first set eyes on the woman in the OR where the abortion was to be performed) that the preeclampsia isn’t advanced enough to warrant an emergency abortion. On being threatened with insubordination and patient abandonment for, well, being insubordinate and threatening to abandon a patient, DeCarlo went back and helped to save the woman’s life, under protest. (Apparently she wants everyone to know, this Nurse DeCarlo, that she was only willing to save the woman’s life after having been threatened with career-ending disciplinary procedures. Otherwise, she’d just have left the woman to die. But, if you threaten her career, under protest, she’s willing to help save a life. Nice.)

Pro-lifers by definition believe women (other women) are slaves, breeding animals, incubators: bodies to be used to generate babies, not entitled to full human rights. But even the owner of a breeding animal will agree to abort when continuing the pregnancy will kill: even the operator of a piece of machinery, a mere incubator, may take pride in the proper operation of a machine and ensure it is not “used till broken”. This kind of attitude, this belief that a pregnant woman can be left to die rather than save her life by performing an abortion: this is aggressive mistreatment of an enemy.

It is a horrid irony that these people call themselves “pro-life”.

December 11, 2009

This is what Republicans think of families

A lot of Republican politicians trade heavily on being “family values” politicians. By which they mean, they support a ban on same-sex couples marrying and a ban on the children of same-sex couples having two legal parents.

What they don’t mean by “family values” is any support for actual families, living together and supporting each other, caring for their children.

If you’ve ever talked to an anti-marriage activist, you generally find that while they’re willing to admit that same-sex couples exist, they are utterly unwilling to acknowledge that they have children: they are too busy carrying a big sign that says in large friendly lying letters that they want to PROTECT children, to think for a moment about the children their bans on marriage and adoption and their promotion of homophobia in schools are attacking. For them, those children are invisible, inaudible, unwanted problems who should never have been born. (About six months ago I had a depressing series of discussions with Renaissance Guy, one of the breed of right-wing “Christians” who hold it to be an essential tenet of their faith to promote legal discrimination against same-sex couples and their children: RG is far from the only such religionist to believe that homophobia is more central to Christianity than caring for children, he just runs a more open blog than most of his co-religionists.)

I’ve been convinced for years that homophobic, racist, and misogynistic bigotry are all growths from the same root, but I’ve been becoming more and more convinced recently that class discrimination is tied in with this too: see the post I wrote a year ago about the attitude that only wealthy families can have fine children (Persephone embraces Hades).

In the Seattle Times this week (Via, via) there’s a fresh example of children officially determined not to exist because of Republican policies.

On the face of it, a “family values” politician ought to have thought well of a woman like Rachel Porcaro: a single mom, granted, no husband around to help support her two kids, which must be one strike against her, but: She’d moved to live with her parents: she was working and taking care of her kids. A family: grandparents, mom, and kids.

But: Rachel Porcaro earned only $18,992 a year. In Seattle, that put her and her two sons below the poverty line. And, she got the “earned income tax credit” which is tax relief for the working poor. Republicans – those “family values” politicians – call that “welfare by the back door”. When the Republicans were in control of Congress, a head-of-family in receipt of earned income tax credit was more than twice as likely to get audited than the rest of the 140 million American taxpayers. Apparently the Republicans would prefer it if a woman like Rachel Porcaro was on welfare, rather than being a working single mom earning barely enough to get by on: tax audits are bitterly discouraging. Granted poor people may commit tax fraud as well as wealthy people, but auditing poor people more than wealthy people is a thoroughly backwards way of going about it – unless you care more for protecting the wealthy and penalizing the poor than you do about actually recovering money from tax cheats.

Not the end of the story, though. Rachel Porcaro’s children were declared non-children by the IRS. She was earning so little they decided she couldn’t claim them as tax dependents: and they disallowed any other claim because there weren’t enough receipts to prove she – or their grandparents – were keeping them in food and clothing.

Republicans claim they’re pro-family. Rightwing Christians claim they’ll vote Republican because they believe in protecting families and children. But these imaginary ideals somehow evaporate into poison gas when they’re faced with the real families, the actual children, directly and visibly harmed by right-wing policies and Republican politicians.

December 8, 2009

For the sake of fairness

Abortion is legal in mainland UK with the consent of two doctors.

Abortion is not legal in Northern Ireland – the 1967 Act which made abortion legal did not cover Northern Ireland, and changes in the law (and changes in the political independence of the constituent countries of the United Kingdom) mean that abortion is likely to remain illegal in Northern Ireland for the foreseeable future: the politicians in the Stormont Assembly have, whether Protestant or Catholic, a united front when it comes to acknowledging that women’s rights are human rights.

So, women living in Northern Ireland who need an abortion do the same as women living in the Republic of Ireland do: they make the trip to the mainland, London or Liverpool or Glasgow, have their abortion, and travel back – a quick, relatively cheap trip, if travel and accommodation costs were all. A normal uncomplicated early abortion can take place within two days, and must, when a woman is compelled to travel to get one.

A woman from Northern Ireland is a UK citizen. She pays the same taxes for the NHS as she would if she were living anywhere else in the UK. But when she needs an abortion, she cannot get one on the NHS, as she could if she lived anywhere else in the UK. She is required to go private – to find somehow £1500 or more,, on top of what it costs her to travel to the mainland and stay overnight.

It is unjust that women living in Northern Ireland are not allowed to make use of the NHS to have an abortion. It is not fair, it is not right, and it should be changed.

If you are a UK citizen, please sign the petition to the Prime Minister to let him know that women in Northern Ireland deserve the same access to full NHS services as women anywhere else in the UK.

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