November 21st, 2002

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Wake up call -- reproductive rights (not just abortion)

This article appeared in today's AJC but comes from the San Francisco Chronicle.

I am really just posting this to get awareness out there. I am on a mailing list from NARAL but even I had not "put the pieces together" of ALL that's been done/undone.

As for comment, I think I will simply mark up the sections of this article that are most... well... OUTRAGEOUS!!!!!

Oh, and for more info, see the link in the last paragraph, which also gives you info on what you can DO about this situation, if you are so inclined.

Reproductive rights must be preserved
Ruth Rosen - San Francisco Chronicle
Thursday, November 21, 2002

This is an open plea to young women. I know you think abortion rights have been won. I know you take for granted the right to choose when and whether to bear a child. But now those reproductive rights are under attack and it's your turn to carry the torch. It's time to roll up your sleeves and get to work. It's time to organize and march in the streets.

President Bush will have the opportunity to nominate two or three new Supreme Court justices, who will decide the future of Roe vs. Wade, the 1973 decision that gave American women abortion rights.

''Even if Roe. v. Wade is not overturned,'' says Carole Joffe, an expert on reproductive rights and visiting professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of California at San Francisco, ''there is much that Bush can do to eviscerate existing abortion rights. Extremist Bush appointees in the Food and Drug Administration will very likely attempt to restrict access to RU-486, the 'abortion pill,' as well as emergency contraception. John Ashcroft's Justice Department could refuse to prosecute those who commit acts of anti-abortion violence.''

You may not realize it, but the Bush administration has been waging a steady campaign to establish legal personhood for the fetus and to restrict women's reproductive rights both here and around the world:

  • The United States withheld $34 million from the United Nations' Population Fund that offers contraceptive and reproductive services (but not abortions) to women in other countries.

  • The Bush administration recently joined Islamic fundamentalists and the Vatican in opposing the Program of Action adopted at the United Nations' Conference on Population and Development in Cairo in 1994 that sought to improve women's reproductive choices and educational opportunities.

  • Joined by Iran, Iraq, Sudan, Libya, Syria --- all branded by the State Department as sponsors of terrorism --- and the Vatican, the United States voted to oppose sex education to fight teen pregnancy and AIDS because it included the use of condoms.

  • New administration directives have given the unborn embryo health benefits (but not mothers or children once they're born) and endowed it with the same rights that protect other ''human subjects'' involved in scientific research.

  • The Republican-dominated Senate will now consider a slew of House-passed bills: the Unborn Victims of Violence Act (which gives legal status to a fetus hurt or killed when a federal crime is committed); and the Child Custody Protection Act (which makes it a crime to take a minor out of state for an abortion in violation of a state's parental notification laws).

Joffe rightfully worries that too many of us are oblivious to these attacks on reproductive rights. ''If younger women, who have never experienced adult life without legal abortion, do not become active in the struggle to protect both the right and access to abortion, this essential component of women's health could be lost for generations to come.''

So what can you do? Get informed, know your rights and act to protect them. Click on the ''Ten Minute Activist'' on the National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League's Web site,, or go to Choice USA,, an organization of younger women. Abortion foes have gained great momentum; you have no time to lose.

Ruth Rosen is a columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle.
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Like the Who, I'm (probably) "Goin' Mobile"

I think I am finally going to do it.

The inexorable forces pressing down on me for years, coupled with a lot of really annoying and inconvenient incidents lately, have pretty much convinced me to get a mobile. I am just sick to death of missing a bus and not being able to call and say I'm late. Or every time I use a pay phone, having to have it ask some outrageous amount (always higher, I'm sure you've noticed) or having to figure out some phone card, which I never can. Then there's always the "Where the hell is Caleb?" and "Here I am!" calls I always seem to need to make.

Actually the best part of this is that I will probably be going the Eurotrash route and choosing T-mobile, since they're German, ads all over Germany, and since they're just penetrating the U.S. market, they've got cool deals. If I go really Eurotrash, I will get text messaging... and just wait for somebody else I know to get it to. The camera phones are damn tempting too but you can't get a free phone deal with that, whereas the talk/text plan has a free phone that looks just like it's from Star Trek -- look! There's a T-Mobile store at Peachtree Center I will try and drop by today after work.

I can't believe I'm doing this, but the time seems right. Just about every single day, I go through hassles nobody with a mobile would have to deal with. Like two nights ago, being stranded at that MARTA station for an hour being sexually harassed. If I'd had a phone, I would have called information, got the bar's name, called and asked the bartender to give me Ed or somebody -- and they would've come get me! Better yet, I could've had somebody's phone programmed in and I could've called! Stuff like that really bugs me when I know there's an alternative that I can easiy afford.

Ah, well. I have resisted a lot of things and still will. I don't drive, I don't have a DVD player (although I concede I probably will soon), haven't tried any of the lemur-shit coffee...
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