Jesurgislac’s Journal

June 19, 2008

William Saletan on the pro-abortion pharmacies

Pro-abortion pharmacies are a bizarre phenomenon: claiming to be “pro-life”, they promote abortions by denying women contraception: especially emergency contraception, which is of course needed precisely when a woman knows there’s a high risk she might well need an abortion otherwise.

William Saletan (via) sees these pro-abortion pharmacies as a “matter of conscience”: some pharmacists, he feels, just see it as moral to ensure that more women need to have abortions, and the law shouldn’t stand in their way.

There’s actually, I discover via Saletan, an entire website devoted to supporting pro-abortion pharmacists, including even a PDF of guidelines to ensure a person who wants to work as a pro-abortion pharmacist or in a pro-abortion pharmacy, can get the job they want.

The PDF suggests that “the following techniques have been used successfully on several occasions to obtain employment in which the company agreed to a [proabortion] dispensing policy for the pharmacy. This means no [female contraceptive] drugs or devices, including birth control pills, and no referrals for the same.” (I’ve edited the unscientific inaccuracies out.)

  • a belief that God has such employment in mind
  • prayer that God will prepare the way to find it
  • include the pro-abortion message clearly on the resume
  • Unless the interviewer brings up the pro-abortion ethics statement, defer discussing it until the end of the personal interview
  • refuse to take the job unless the pharmacist enforces pro-abortion policies on all staff and customers

Saletan’s “solution” to these pro-abortion pharmacies is typically libertarian:

And Stein’s reporting suggests the abstaining pharmacies aren’t making their policies clear enough. If they won’t do this voluntarily—by posting them, for instance—the law should make them do it. If I were writing the regulations, I’d draw up a big, fat, standardized “We don’t stock birth control” notice, complete with a 24-hour toll-free number that will direct you to the nearest pharmacy that has what you need.

Which of course, if it’s the only pharmacy in a small town, might be a hundred miles away.

I’d suggest to Saletan that a more accurate notice would say: “We promote abortion” and besides Saletan’s slightly pointless 24-hour toll-free number for the nearest real pharmacy, would be required to include contact details for the nearest health clinic that performs abortions: and each pro-abortion pharmacy would be required to pay a percentage of their gross take per 28-day period to that clinic to support women on a low income who need abortions.

Or, you know: the law could just require that a pharmacist who has suddenly developed religious scruples about doing their job, which includes providing women with the means to prevent abortion, would have to either quit being a pharmacist or quit trying to impose their religious beliefs on their customers.

Meanwhile, as an active Internet citizen, I’d like a websearch for pro-abortion pharmacy and pro-abortion pharmacists to bring up the appropriate site: PFLI, the pharmacists for abortion. Unlike pro-lifers, and certainly unlike these pharmacists, I actually think it would be great if there were fewer abortions each year – safely carried out, as early as possible, and prevented as far as possible by provision of wider choices to women.

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Robert Semler, the pro-abortion pharmacist
Robert Semler, the pro-abortion pharmacist
Drugstores Market Beliefs:

When DMC Pharmacy opens this summer on Route 50 in Chantilly, the shelves will be stocked with allergy remedies, pain relievers, antiseptic ointments and almost everything else sold in any drugstore. But anyone who wants condoms, birth control pills or the Plan B emergency contraceptive will be turned away.

That’s because the drugstore, located in a typical shopping plaza featuring a Ruby Tuesday, a Papa John’s and a Kmart, will be a “pro-[abortion] pharmacy” — meaning, among other things, that it will eschew all contraceptives.

Like the doctors, nurses and other staff members at Tepeyac, Robert Semler, the pharmacist who will run DMC Pharmacy, plans to start each workday with a prayer with his staff, which at first will just be his wife, Pam, a nurse. “Being a faith-based workplace, it’s a logical thing to do,” Semler said.

(More on this from Jill at Feministe.)

June 15, 2008

US: Pro-life politicians are anti-children

Here’s a convenient piece of documentation: American politicians, and how they vote on pro-child policies.

You can look up the worst and the best politicians for yourself.

John McCain has a 10% score, by the way. Barack Obama has a 60% score. (Hillary Clinton has a 70% score.)

Correlating the pro-child politicians against the “pro-life” politicians, unsurprisingly, we find that the politicians most likely to vote against children are the politicians also most likely to vote “pro-life”. Being anti-child has a strong correlation with being anti-woman.

I won’t give them a link, but the NRLC has a convenient little tool by which you can look up different politicians and discover how they voted on anti-women bills: McCain has the lowest score as anti-child in the Senate, and he also has a lot of bright green ticks on NRLC (and is endorsed by them as a “pro-life” candidate).

David Vitter, James Inhofe, James W. DeMint, Tom Coburn: score at 20%, – strongly anti-child: and all of them have a 100% voting record as anti-women. Among the legislation they supported was a vote that had the effect of defunding UNPFA.

You can continue checking: it’s tedious but disgusting work, confirming that if you’re the kind of politician who votes to limit women’s choices, you are the kind of politician who votes against helping children.

Pro-lifers don’t care about preventing abortions (a pro-lifer showed up in the comments to that post to confirm this): but if you ask them, they’ll claim their justification for trying to make abortion difficult to access or illegal is “Helping moms, saving babies, ending abortion!”

Yet they vote for and urge others to vote for politicians who don’t care about helping moms, or saving babies (or older children) and who actively prefer to avoid preventing abortions.

Now why do they do that? If they wanted to “help moms” they could campaign for paid maternity leave, for free healthcare for pregnant women and children. If they wanted to “save babies” – well, babies and older children – they could campaign for and support politicians who can be trusted to vote for policies supporting children.

There are Senators who score 100% on voting for pro-child legislation (listed below) and, unsurprisingly, NRLC doesn’t like how they vote very much. Check their names: some of them have a few approving green ticks from NRLC for voting for anti-woman legislation, but most have nothing. NRLC doesn’t score points for voting to help children: all NRLC cares about is the codeword “saving babies” – which has nothing to do with actually helping real children, any more than it has anything to do with preventing abortions.

Sen. Daniel Akaka (D-HI) 100%
Sen. Evan Bayh (D-IN) 100%
Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) 100%
Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) 100%
Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD) 100%
Sen. Robert Casey, Jr. (D-PA) 100%
Sen. Richard Durbin (D-IL) 100%
Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI) 100%
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) 100%
Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) 100%
Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-HI) 100%
Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) 100%
Sen. Herbert Kohl (D-WI) 100%
Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) 100%
Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) 100%
Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI) 100%
Sen. Joe Lieberman (D/I-CT) 100%
Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) 100%
Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski (D-MD) 100%
Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) 100%
Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI) 100%
Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) 100%
Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) 100%
Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) 100%
Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) 100%

June 4, 2008

This is what “pro-lifers” want

From Repairing the damage before Roe, by Waldo L. Fielding, an obstetrician and gynecologist in Boston for 38 years:

Almost any implement you can imagine had been and was used to start an abortion — darning needles, crochet hooks, cut-glass salt shakers, soda bottles, sometimes intact, sometimes with the top broken off.

Another method that I did not encounter, but heard about from colleagues in other hospitals, was a soap solution forced through the cervical canal with a syringe. This could cause almost immediate death if a bubble in the solution entered a blood vessel and was transported to the heart.

The worst case I saw, and one I hope no one else will ever have to face, was that of a nurse who was admitted with what looked like a partly delivered umbilical cord. Yet as soon as we examined her, we realized that what we thought was the cord was in fact part of her intestine, which had been hooked and torn by whatever implement had been used in the abortion. It took six hours of surgery to remove the infected uterus and ovaries and repair the part of the bowel that was still functional.

When pro-lifers plunge into eager discussion of how awful abortion is (for obvious reasons, pro-lifers tend to focus on the small proportion of abortions performed late in pregnancy, and for obvious reasons, pro-lifers tend to claim that late-term abortions are performed for the same reason as early abortions) it’s worth noting: what they want is to criminalize abortion. They don’t care about preventing abortions: they don’t support free provision of contraception to all, informative sex education for all, nor do they support free universal support for pregnant women and mothers: health care, employment protection, paid maternity leave.

They just want to return to the good old days when women who had abortions sometimes died of it, because the government had claimed the authority to force any woman who got pregnant to go through with the pregnancy and give birth against her will.

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Update: Sharon (the same Sharon of the God of Bloggers shall strike thee down) came up with some statistical data:

The fact is, the number of teen pregnancies has dropped 15 to 53% in all reporting areas. This is during a time when abstinence-only programs have been in effect.

Unfortunately, Sharon has a long history of losing arguments when she ventures away from her own blog (on her own blog, she can delete comments…) so she naturally didn’t want to come here. While the research tells a consistent tale: abstinence-education doesn’t work in preventing teenage pregnancies, what Sharon misses is that the number of teenage girls getting pregnant dropped in all reporting areas – but dropped faster in areas where schools were still allowed to teach comprehensive sex education. The data is available from the CDC, though last time Sharon and I argued about the merits of preventing teenage pregnancies she didn’t like those big figure-filled tables and didn’t look at them.

That thread, incidentally, is further evidenc that pro-lifers do not care about human life in any respect: a horde of pro-lifers who love the Iraq war and don’t want to think about the million Iraqis dead.

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