Statement on Alabama’s Proposed HB405 “Heartbeat Ban” Bill

“This proposed bill makes it quite obvious that the Alabama Legislature is once again trying to eradicate a woman’s constitutional right to obtain a safe, legal abortion. These attempts have nothing to do with women’s health and everything to do with interfering with women’s reproductive healthcare choices, as most women are not even aware they are pregnant before a heartbeat might be detected. This type of legislation has been overturned by the courts in North Dakota & Arkansas and will be challenged in Alabama if it passes. We would hope that the Legislature would work to solve our looming budget shortfall instead of passing unconstitutional legislation that will cost the state untold amounts of taxpayer money that it does not have to spare.”

-Alabama Reproductive Rights Advocates

The text of the bill can be found here.

Statement regarding Alabama’s Proposed SB289 Bill

Below is our statement in regards to Alabama’s proposed SB289, which would repeal the 48 hour mandatory hospital stay for new mothers after birth and informing women of dense breast tissue on mammograms.

ARRA is in support of laws designed to improve healthcare for women, especially those that protect women through preventative measures. Though we do not represent ourselves as medical professionals, any attempt by the AL legislature that directly jeopardizes womens reproductive healthcare is a matter that needs to be swiftly addressed. We find it particularly troubling that Senator Stutts would like to repeal a law that was put in place specifically after one of his own patients tragically passed away.

Text of SB289 can be found here.  Check out the coverage of this bill at Left in Alabama and al.com here & here.

Thank you Judge Thompson!

In the recent ruling that was handed down yesterday there was an absolutely scathing report by Judge Myron Thompson on the anti choice protesters in Alabama.  Huntsville was particularly highlighted in the ruling, and Judge Thompson scolds the protesters for their actions and exposes the truth about their tactics.

 

But lets talk a moment about the ruling itself. In a great victory for Alabama women a part of the TRAP laws was ruled as unconstitutional.  Specifically the part of the law that required abortion providers to have hospital admitting privileges.  On the surface it would appear that the law was designed to protect women and expedite medical care in the event of an emergency (which, as pointed out by the court, is extremely rare. ) But considering that other outpatient procedures and surgeries, for example oral surgery which has a much higher complication rate, do not require these measures it becomes evident that abortion providers are being singled out. Consider also that most abortion providers live out of state or in a different county than the clinics for their own safety, which would bar them from gaining those privileges. Add on the fact that admitting privileges at a local hospital has its own set of requirements such as a minimum number of admissions per year and its easy to see that this would be an almost impossible requirement  for abortion providers to meet. It could have shut down 3 out of 4 of the clinics  that are currently up and running.

 

But the Judge saw the bill for what it was, a veiled attempt to close down clinics under the guise of safety for women. He also took it further to publicly chastise the anti choice protesters for their actions. He said:

“Although the vast majority of those who oppose abortion do so in nonviolent ways, this court cannot overlook the backdrop to this case: a history of severe violence against abortion providers in Alabama and the surrounding region. […]The effect that this climate of violence, harassment, and hostility has on abortion providers in Alabama was palpable at the trial in this case. In their testimony, discussed at length below, the doctors described their daily fears for their professional livelihoods as well as their personal safety. One of the physicians described being followed and threatened by abortion opponents, and fearing for herself, her spouse, and her children every day that she goes to work in Alabama. Indeed, that fear was driven home to this court even in the conduct of the trial itself: in order to protect their identities, the doctors were referred to by pseudonyms throughout the case and would testify in open court only from behind a black curtain.”

 

Huntsville was of particular interest as it was mentioned over a dozen times. Judge Thompson had this to say about them protesting outside of one of our doctors private practices:

“The protesters in Huntsville were not targeting abortion patients and trying to dissuade them from going through the procedure, instead, they were approaching women who sought to carry their pregnancies to term. Rather than attempting to change general public perceptions on the issue of abortions or dissuade women from obtaining abortions, the court must infer that these protesters sought to threaten economic destruction for any doctor who enabled the provision of abortion within the city. They succeeded twice in ending a doctor’s obstetric practice.”

 

He went on to say the the Huntsville protesters “go beyond the run-of-the-mill political protests prompted by an issue as morally and politically charged as abortion.” He didn’t name names in his ruling, but we all know he was talking about the good Rev. Henderson and his band of merry do gooders. And apparently their little feelings are hurt and they are just shocked that anyone would have anything bad to say about them. After all they only harass everyone from the patients to unsuspecting citizens buying groceries at a local Publix.

 

But we are ecstatic about the ruling and everything it included. The truth is out about these so call peaceful protesters,  and I am sure there will be some backlash.  There have already been talks of appeals and the Governor has vowed to back the Attorney General in that appeal. I say go ahead. Make my day. If you would like to read the ruling in all its glory, here is the link: http://www.scribd.com/mobile/doc/235820667?width=360

About that birth control ruling…

I have been getting a lot of questions and comments in the last 24 hours, and a lot of it is in the vein of “well you lost, now what?” And I have been very quiet, for me, about it until I could come up with a direct answer that encompassed exactly what I wanted to say. This is going to be a long one, so put on your seat belts. In the latest SCOTUS ruling it has become evident that we need to KEEP FIGHTING as long as it takes. We are lucky in some ways that this is an election year. Let me take a moment to remind women what that means. My grandparents mothers didn’t vote. They did not have the right to. In a very narrow decision they earned that right through the work of the suffragists who with hunger strikes and campaigning managed to convince the men in charge that women are of equal value to society and deserved a voice. We have an opportunity to use that voice this year. Our grandmothers and mothers fought hard for our right to be able to have control over our own bodies. Their generation saw great strides in the advancement of health care for women. Women no longer had to die for pregnancies that didn’t go as planned, suffer at the hands of back alley doctors out of sheer desperation, or have sex be used as a method of control dismissed largely by society as acceptable. Women could choose when to start a family. Women gained more legal leverage against rape, incest, and domestic violence. There was a level of fear that was starting to be stripped away. They still had many layers to go, but it was a starting place. They began to enter the work force and seek higher education in much larger numbers. They gained ground there with FMLA and anti discrimination laws. And then began a generation of people that through selective history lessons have taken these rights, laws, hard won battles for granted. They didn’t notice the slight, or if they did they didn’t care much because everything was “mostly” even and nothing was really being threatened. They focused on other things. Now we have found ourselves not only needing to expand and blaze new trails for our future generation of women, but we have to regain ground that we had already secured. While we were sleeping special interest disguised as religion and protecting the family has snuck into our government, workplace, and bedrooms. Its actually so brilliant that it has convinced women to voluntary give up a lot of their rights. I will give them credit where it is due, but after all money can buy the best in the business of politics. So where do we go from here? I look at my daughter and think about what I want for her. I think about my sons and what I want for them. It isn’t very different. I don’t want my children to be victims of circumstance. I want my daughter to have the choice to decide who and when she will marry, and if she will at all. I want her to decide when she will have children and have access to what she needs to achieve that goal. I want the same for my boys. I want my children to walk through this life, free from shame inflicted upon them by other people. I want my children to know the value of hard work, and also that their paychecks will be the same regardless of their gender. I want them to be able to see a doctor when they need to, and not be enslaved by medical bills. I want them to have equal healthcare available to them. I want my daughter to be able to leave the house safely without feeling like she has to be in a group or dressed a certain way to be deserving of basic respect as a human being. I want my sons to be able to have emotions without being told not to and to be treated as more than sex crazed animals without any capacity for self control. I want my daughter to not have to make excuses for everything while my sons are excused by society. I want this for all of our sons and daughters. So until these things happen, I’m not going to stop. I will not shut up. I am not going to back down, and in the words of Harvey Milk, “LOVE IT OR LEAVE IT!”

Goodbye Madison Street!

That’s right, I said it. The only clinic in Huntsville is closing its doors this week. But don’t get too shaken up about it! We are off to bigger and better things.  However, there are some facts that are being twisted, at least by the antis…

BUT THEY ARE MOVING ACROSS THE STREET FROM A SCHOOL!

MOVING TO A PREDOMINATELY BLACK AREA IS CLEARLY TARGETING AFRICAN AMERICANS!

Oh, my! How bold of us! CLEARLY we are trying to indoctrinate young minds into extremism…

But they forget that THEY are the reason we HAVE to move. The TRAP laws in Alabama require us to do certain things and meet certain requirements. The anti abortion movement intentionally made it impossible for many clinics to stay open without major changes. It is a clear attempt to shutter legitimate health care facilities and impede access to legal and professional medical care. They have not only shamed the patients and harassed the doctors, they have launched an all out legislative assault because they think that their belief system applies to everyone, and that it should be forced by law to restrict women from having any part in their own bodies when it comes to reproductive care.

But back to the clinic.

After doing everything they could and exhausting all resources the little clinic on Madison Street, one block from the emergency room at Huntsville Hospital, they  just couldn’t meet the stringent requirements of the TRAP laws, and had to look at other options all in the name of “safety for women.” And they found an awesome building on Sparkman Dr that could meet all of those requirements with minimal renovation and at a reasonable price. Sounds like a win-win right?

But there’s a school across the street! Ed White Middle School is smack dab on the other side of the road. What the other guys forget to say while stirring this little pot is that the school is slated to be closed in  August. Right after the summer school session there will be no more Ed White Middle. It will be combining with another school. But the usual suspects have already started their holy mission to save the babies and the young eyes of middle schoolers.  And when they hold up their signs with graphic images and threatening language that doesn’t count. See, that’s totally different. Holding up bloody staged pictures that are blown up to poster size in the name of Jesus is much less traumatizing that a sign that says “WOMENS CLINIC” any day. And the thing that they forget is that we didn’t want this move, they forced it on us, and now they want to complain about location. They have caught themselves in a pickle. Oops, sorry God, must have misheard that last message.

Giving every Alabama woman a voice for choice.