<\body> Stories in America: Praising God at Planned Parenthood's Interfaith Breakfast, Africans Call For Relaxed Abortion Laws

Monday, April 03, 2006

Praising God at Planned Parenthood's Interfaith Breakfast, Africans Call For Relaxed Abortion Laws

"The main problem derives from the laws, most of the time they are old and too restrictive. Many countries have either not changed these laws dating from the colonial period or put them into the criminal code, making abortion a crime."
-Fred Sai, a gynecologist from Ghana speaking at a conference on abortion in Addis Ababa. Health officials are calling on African governments to liberalize their strict abortion laws. This year in Africa, more than four million women will face serious injuries as a result of abortions performed by unskilled people under unsanitary conditions, according to the World Health Organization. Nearly 30,000 will die.


Reproductive Rights

The Abortion-Rights Side Invokes God, Too - NY Times
In any given week, if you walked into one of Washington's big corporate hotels early in the morning, you would find a community of the faithful, quite often conservative Christians, rallying the troops, offering solace and denouncing the opposition at a prayer breakfast. So you might be forgiven for thinking that such a group was in attendance on Friday in a ballroom of the Washington Hilton. People wearing clerical collars and small crucifixes were wedged at tables laden with muffins, bowing their heads in prayer. Seminarians were welcomed. Scripture was cited. But the name of the sponsor cast everything in a new light: the Planned Parenthood Federation of America. To its critics, Planned Parenthood is the godless super-merchant of abortion. To its supporters, it is the dependably secular defender of abortion rights. But at this breakfast, God was everywhere, easily invoked by believers of various stripes.

Plan B Proviso Added To Budget - Hartford Courant
A measure that would require all hospitals to provide emergency contraceptives to rape victims got a second chance at life when Democrats slipped it into a catch-all [CT] state budget approved by a key legislative committee Thursday. A similar measure appeared to die quietly two weeks ago, when members of the legislature's public health committee, apparently unwilling to step into a political wasps' nest, did not vote on the bill by the committee's deadline. The Catholic Church vehemently opposed the requirement, arguing that in some cases emergency contraceptives can prevent implantation of a fertilized embryo, thus making them tantamount to abortion. Under a policy initiated in January, the Catholic hospitals will give a rape victim the high-dose birth control pills if blood or urine tests confirm that she is not pregnant or ovulating. If they cannot provide the pills, the hospitals have agreed to provide a written prescription or transport the victim to another hospital willing to dispense the pills.

Abstinence, not condoms, is the word in Mozambique - Baltimore Sun
In the dimly lit church made of mud brick and corrugated metal, the young people gathered here believe it is a given that safe sex is anything but safe. "From what I know, some condoms have got holes," said 23-year-old Zodwa Ubisse, rising from a wooden bench to address 20 of her peers. "I've tried taking some new ones, but water comes out, so they're not safe." "So abstinence is the key, isn't it?" summed up Nelda Nhantumbo, the 25-year-old student-teacher, drawing nods and murmurs of assent. That is the message going out to young people in schools, churches and social clubs across Mozambique, where about 500 people a day become infected with HIV and AIDS. The message is being delivered, in this case, by Baltimore-based World Relief, the humanitarian arm of the National Association of Evangelicals, and the United States is paying for the effort.

Strict laws, churches behind rising clandestine abortion in Africa: experts - Todayonline.com
Stringent or vague legislation, coupled with deep-rooted social and religious beliefs in many African countries, have been blamed for the rise of often life-threatening backstreet abortions, health and social experts say. Of Africa's 53 nations, only South Africa, Cape Verde and Tunisia allow unconditional pregnancy termination within the first three months after conception. In 25 of them, abortion is only legal when the mother's health is threatened. Some 300,000 women have abortions in Kenya yearly, of whom 21,000 are admitted to hospital from resultant complications, according to 2003-2004 statistics, and at least 3,000 die.


Politics

In Senate Race, Republican Candidate Questions Mrs. Clinton's Abortion Message - NY Times
Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton was challenged over the issue of abortion yesterday for the first time in her re-election race this year, as a possible Republican opponent tried to chip away at her image as a moderate who supports adoption. John Spencer, who leads the field of Republican candidates in endorsements and fund-raising, visited a pregnancy center in Brooklyn that promotes adoption and denounced new federal legislation that would regulate advertising for these centers. The centers often operate near and compete with abortion providers, sometimes by using graphic material to discourage abortion.

Pelosi's goal: Democrats back on top - SF Chronicle
Pelosi presides over the House Democrats not because of her public image but because she has unified her caucus in their opposition to President Bush, seized on GOP disharmony and led her party members to believe they can soon become the majority. She is her party's No. 1 money raiser. She is a disciplinarian, who threatens to revoke privileges of members who buck the party line. And she knows how to manage the other 200 egos that constitute the House Democratic caucus. Interviews with dozens of members of Congress and their aides portray Pelosi as in command of her caucus because she is a pragmatist who lives and breathes a single quest: to bring Democrats back to power in the House of Representatives.


International

Comprehensive Care for Victims of Domestic Violence - IPS
Experts applauded the Chilean government's decision to provide comprehensive care for victims of domestic violence, although they warned of the enormous challenges remaining in this country and the rest of Latin America, where a large proportion of women have experienced violence at some time in their lives. One of the first measures adopted by President Michelle Bachelet after she took office on Mar. 11 was to make the public health service responsible for treating the physical and mental damages caused by domestic violence.

Venezuela courts often victimize abused women - Knight Ridder
In the land of beauty queens, there seems to be little justice for women. Venezuela has traditionally put a premium on women's physical appearance, with hundreds of beauty contests for even little girls, along with a booming plastic-surgery industry. But the high regard for women seemingly ends with how they look. An estimated 12 women are raped daily, and at least one in 10 suffer physical abuse at the hands of their partner, according to academic studies on the subject. What's more, nongovernmental groups tracking violence against women here estimate that only one in 10 victims of sexual abuse report it to authorities, and only one in 20 report physical violence.

Conservative woman struggles to win over Peru's poor - Reuters
Lourdes Flores is struggling to convince Peru's poor that she is their candidate, and not just the favorite of investors, as the conservative seeks to become the country's first woman president. Flores, who has slipped to second place in opinion polls behind Ollanta Humala, a nationalist campaigning to increase state control of business, spent the weekend trying to show she represents more than Peru's coastal, Europe-descended elite. "I'm going to be the most serious social reformer Peru has ever had," she told Reuters on Saturday, just over a week before Peru's April 9 presidential election.

2 Comments:

At 4/03/2006 10:37 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

So the Catholic church supports rapists. Well, we knew that all along.

 
At 4/03/2006 2:06 PM, Anonymous timmy said...

Federal legislation that would regulate advertising for a pregnancy center advocating adoption?

Leaving aside the freedom of speech issue...WTF?


"The centers often operate near and compete with abortion providers, sometimes by using graphic material to discourage abortion."

Problem here? I'm not sure exactly what blog I've seen it on, but using "graphic material," like photos of wounded children to discourage war, seems to be a common tactic to make a point these days.

Funny how people's reactions to "graphic material" can be so diverse depending on their politics.

 

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