Anti-Choice Radicals, The Pill’s Got a Birthday Comin’ Up, and More…

In 1993, anti-choice extremists murdered a doctor, burned 12 buildings, set off a bomb, and blockaded 66 abortion clinics. The following year, President Bill Clinton signed the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act. FACE made it a federal crime to obstruct a clinic or intimidate patients and providers.

Wendy Norris of RH Reality Check reports that, in the intervening 16 years, the Justice Department has only prosecuted 19 civil and 45 criminal cases under FACE. Abortion provider Dr. George Tiller was assassinated last year by a hardcore clinic protester, and many asked if the FACE Act was being enforced.

Norris’s story is part of a series on FACE published by RH Reality. The next installment will explore how one radical anti-choice protester has managed to terrorize the same clinic for 30 years with apparent impunity. Kudos to the Guggenheim foundation for funding this important and timely series, and to the John Jay College Center on Media, Crime and Justice for providing editorial input.

The Pill and I

May 9th is the 50th anniversary of the FDA’s approval of Enovid, the first birth control pill. Care2 contributor Ann Pietrangelo, who recently celebrated her own 50th birthday, reflects on how the Pill changed history:

I went through my entire reproductive life in a way that my female ancestors, indeed my own mother, could scarcely have imagined. The Pill and other contraceptive choices were always available to me. I have never had to face the dreaded abortion decision, but throughout my reproductive years, I had the peace of mind of knowing that such a decision, difficult though it would be, was mine to make. I, and millions of women of my age group and younger have been most fortunate. We’ve lived a different kind of life than would have been possible in another time and another place.

Anti-”personhood” coalition kicks off

A new group has united to fight Colorado’s proposed “egg as person” ballot initiative, Joseph Boven of the Colorado Independent reports.  The organization calls itself Protect Families, Protect Choices (PFPC). If Amendment 62 passes, it would effectively outlaw abortion, stem cell research, and even some forms of contraception. Women who drink, use drugs, or attempt suicide could face criminal charges if the ballot initiative becomes law.

The Colorado measure is one of many similar measures proffered by anti-abortion activists in state legislatures around the country. The last time Coloradans voted on whether to give fertilized ova the full complement of rights under state law, 73 percent voted against the measure. If the bill passes, will frozen embryos be able to own property? Could Coloradans evade their creditors by signing their houses over to zygotes?

Will health care reform save Democrats?

In The Nation, Katherine S. Newman and Steven Attewell tackle the question on everyone’s mind: Will health care reform change the political fortunes of President Barack Obama and the Democrats? They warn that Democrats shouldn’t expect short-term political gains, even if reform is ultimately regarded as a success story:

For some time to come we can expect the firestorm of opposition to health care reform that is unfolding today to persist, even from people who stand to benefit from the provisions of the new law. The rose-colored glasses through which we sometimes view the legacy of the New Deal and the Great Society often obscure how contentious the debates were or how long they continued after the passage of key legislation. We should not be deterred by the noise coming out of the Tea Party. The weight of history is against them.

Passive aggressive red states

Suzy Khimm of Mother Jones sees trouble ahead: So far, at least 15 states have refused to create high-risk health insurance pools. The refusniks are red states hostile to health care reform. High-risk pools are a stopgap to provide coverage for people with preexisting conditions. Insurers are free to discriminate against sick people until 2014, and high risk pools are supposed to cover those who can’t buy coverage in the meantime.

Khimm explains that the federal government will have to step in and create high-risk pools if states aren’t willing to do so. Health care reform left a great deal of power in the hands of states. The stage has been set for a grim power struggle, a bureaucratic battle of attrition.

This post features links to the best independent, progressive reporting about health care by members of The Media Consortium. It is free to reprint. 

photo credit: thanks to jessica.diamond via flickr
by Lindsay Beyerstein, Media Consortium blogger


Beng Kiat Low
low beng kiat7 years ago


Eileen P.
Eileen P7 years ago

some of this article is objective and some of it is not......

Dannielle S.
Elle S7 years ago

Thanks for the article

Bee Hive Lady
Fiona O7 years ago

I understand what my mother and grandmothers went through. I took the pill but in only three months I was critically ill with blood clots in my legs. Every other form of contraception availabe had serious negative conditons on my health. I only had three pregnancies. Each delivery was life treathening. Of couse, I would never give up my children. But I know all too well the terrors suffered by women of bygone days.

Hugh V.
Hugh V.7 years ago

The pro-lifers lost any credibility to their claim to stand for the sanctity of all human life years ago , during the early years of the AIDS epidemic. They fiercely and successfully , opposed the use of any public funds for HIV research. The subsequent delay in acquiring effective treatment options denied thousands even a fighting chance at survival. I know, I buried fifty-seven good friends.

Chris C.
Christine C7 years ago

I believe that the pill is the single most important advance for women in the past century.

I also agree with Freya above. I do not understand why the anti-abortion people think that killing and hurting people who are just trying to exercise their right to free will is being pro-life.

And by the way, people who support choice are pro-life as well. It's the quality of life that they are, I feel rightly, concerned about.

Mik C.
Mik C.7 years ago

It is simply not true that there was less infanticide, fornication or pornography nor was there less abuse of children and spouses, that is simply a fallacy that you've invented to make your point Carole Tokaruk.
Please link to the data you got these "alleged results" from.
There is a difference between sex and procreation though. Some people shouldn't have to be parents whatever the reason but all of us should be free to have a fulfilling sex life if we so desire. That is an individual choice for all whether on the pill or not. I chose not to have children with my husband
and I'm glad I made that decision it worked out well for me.
Having kids is not the "be all, end all" for every person.
As for assumption that the pill is ruining the environment?
Please read a book or join in this life quickly Carole!

johan l.
paul l7 years ago

We have comments ranging from well said to ridiculous!
Their seems to be as much controversy about this than than the hen/egg debate!
It will remain as controversial as long as there are women having to decide between abortion and keeping their baby!
Ladies, I sympathise with all of you and I have to admit that I am glad to be a man, although I blush saying that!

Heather G.
Heather G7 years ago

Well said Freya!! They would also support health-care for mothers and babies, living wages for both parents, and affordable and quality daycare for everyone!!!

Vilislav I.
Vilislav I.7 years ago