Saturday, August 30, 2008

GOP Seeks To Outlaw Right To Choose Even Contraception

John McCain together with all of his spokespersons, which too often includes the established news media, are "marketing" McCain as a "Maverick Centrist Republican." In truth, when the vote really counts, McCain has always voted with other far-right conservatives in the U.S. Senate to enact the far-right conservative philosophy into federal law and to confirm far-right conservative judges for the U.S. Federal and U.S. Supreme Courts. His own home state paper, The Arizona Republic concluded, after researching McCain's Senate votes over the past decade that, “McCain almost never thwarted his party’s objectives.” This is particularly true on issues of women's rights.

McCain has repeatedly stated that he opposes Roe v. Wade and that, if elected, he would appoint Supreme Court Justices who would overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark court decision from the 1970s that legalized abortion. In picking Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, an ardent evangelical Protestant, for his VP running mate, McCain again clearly demonstrates his extreme right-wing position on women's rights.

Palin is as ardently opposed to pro-choice rights as John McCain, and perhaps even more extreme in her position than John McCain has so far publicly stated; Palin is on record as opposing pro-choice rights for women even in cases of rape and incest. Palin is also on record as advocating abstinence-only birth control eduction for teens during her 2006 Alaska gubernatorial race. Palin believes that the pregnancy safeguards afforded by contraceptives are not subjects that should be taught to teens.

While Mayor of Wasilla, Alaska Palin’s administration began charging rape victims for so called rape kits. (Video) (Palin’s signature is on the budget.) Rape kits containing the medical supplies necessary to collect forensic evidence that is required to identify and prosecute the rapist. Rape kits includes an emergency oral contraceptive that reduces the likelihood that a woman will become pregnant as a result of the rape. Many conservatives are strongly opposed to dispensing oral contraceptives, even to rape victims, that prevent a fertilized egg from implanting to form a pregnancy.

We know McCain, his evangelical Republican base, and his VP pick Sarah Palin will eliminate a woman's individual and private right to choose whether or not to bare children by reversing Roe v. Wade.

It is becoming apparent that evangelical Republicans will not stop at just reversing Roe v. Wade. Next on their list is to overturn or circumvent Griswold v. Connecticut, the Supreme Court ruling that guarantees the right of men and women to use birth control. The 1965 Griswold v. Connecticut ruling overturned a Connecticut law that outlawed the use of contraceptives by married couples.

It is the Griswold v. Connecticut ruling that also gives explicit voice to the implicit concept that the U.S. Constitution grants a "right of privacy to Americans" to make private individual decisions about family and our own bodies. This includes but does not stop with the private right to choose when or whether to have children. The Griswold decision is one of the foundation blocks for the Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade ruling.

In case there is doubt in anyone's mind that Republicans want to ban the use of contraceptives like the birth control pill, consider the Bush Administration's attempt to "administratively" define contraception as a type of abortion.

As reported in the Wall Street Journal OnLine, "The Bush Administration's Department of Health and Human Services has written a draft regulation that defines most birth-control pills and intrauterine devices as abortion because they work by preventing fertilized eggs from implanting in the uterus." Evangelical Republicans define a fertilized egg, from the "moment of conception," as human live with full civil rights. Any human interruption to the natural processes that might allow the fertilized egg to implant in the uterus and develop into a full term birth is murder.

The draft regulation, as written, defines the common contraception approaches in use today as "destroying the life of a human being." By its expansive definitions, the draft furthers a key goal of Evangelical Republicans - to define single-cell fertilized eggs as legal people with full legal rights from the "moment of conception." McCain's VP running mate Palin is on record as advocating abstinence-only birth control eduction for teens. Does she also believe that abstinence-only is the only form of birth control that should be practiced by married couples?

Palin and McCain should be asked by reporters if they support the Bush administration's attempt to define common contraception, that prevents fertilized eggs from implanting in the uterus as a form of abortion. They further should be specifically queried if they believe that married couples should be allowed to use birth-control pills and intrauterine devices that prevent fertilized eggs from implanting in the uterus.
If Roe v. Wade were to be overturned, it is conceivable that even the common birth control pill and IUD device could eventually be ruled a type of abortion by a very right leaning Supreme Court of the United States.

The next President will likely appoint as many as three new Supreme Court Justices to the bench. The three Justices who are likely to retire during the next President's term of office are the only remaining "centrist" judges left on the Supreme Court who believe the U.S. Constitution grants an inherent right of privacy for Americans to make personal choices about their own families and their own bodies. Long after the next president is gone, his appointments will be sitting on the bench, making decisions that impact our rights and liberties.

McCain has repeatedly stated that he opposes Roe v. Wade and has said that he would appoint Supreme Court Justices who would overturn Roe v. Wade. The three evangelical-right leaning Supreme Court Justices that John McCain would appoint, joined by the very right leaning Justices already on the court, very likely will not only overturn Roe v. Wade, but they likely will also overturn Griswold v. Connecticut too. John McCain's Supreme Court likely will outlaw a woman's right to make a choice about whether to bare children beginning with her choice to use contraceptives.

Even more serious than eliminating the choice to bare children or to use contraceptives, as if that were not enough, overturning Griswold v. Connecticut would also weaken the concept that Americans have a constitutional right to privacy to make private individual decisions about family and their own bodies. Without this constitutional "right to privacy" protection same sex partners could also find that the door has been once again opened for states to pass laws attempting to control what happens in the privacy of their homes. The Griswold decision is also one of the foundation blocks for the Supreme Court overturning sodomy laws and other such same sex statutes that were on the books of many states until the 1970's.

Texans going to their polling places to vote on November 4th should remember that John Cornyn, the incumbent Republican Senator for Texas, stands shoulder-to-shoulder with John McCain and George Bush on this issue - Women do not have a right to choose, even contraceptives.

Rick Noriega, the Democratic candidate running for the U.S. Senate seat against Cornyn, supports Barack Obama's and the Democratic Party's postion that Americans should have a guarenteed right of privacy and constitutional protections against government intrusions into private family and personal decisions. Which candidate for the U.S. Senate do you want to send to the U.S. Senate to voting on the next President's Supreme Court nominees?? The choice is up to you - the voter!

Which Presidential candidate do you want to nominate the next three Supreme Court Justices for U.S. Senate consideration and confirmation? John McCain or Barack Obama?? The choice again is up to you - the voter!

A message from Cecile Richards,
President of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America.

It seems like the [other] person who doesn't want to discuss this issue is Secretary of Health and Human Services Mike Leavitt. A few days ago, health care blogger Scott Swenson asked Secretary Leavitt whether it will be "HHS policy that the 98 percent of Americans who use contraception at some point in their lives are terminating rather than preventing pregnancy." Leavitt's reply: no comment.

We deserve answers from Secretary Leavitt on this secret plan to radically change family planning funding rules, and we need you to help us get those answers. Here's what you can do:
  • First, leave a comment on Secretary Leavitt's blog urging him to respond to Swenson's question and growing concerns that the Bush administration's proposed rule would severely threaten women's health care. Just leave a comment on his most recent blog post. Leavitt uses his official blog to communicate about government policy — it's time he came clean on this issue.
  • Second, let us know you left a comment. Because the blog comments are moderated, some may be blocked from visitors to the site. We need a way to keep track of the growing outcry about the Bush administration's proposed attack on women's health care — we can't let them keep this quiet.
Please, help us stop this proposed rule change before it can harm the people who most desperately need access to quality, comprehensive health care. The first step is to get straight answers from Secretary Leavitt. And don't forget to tell us what you said to Secretary Leavitt.

Thank you for standing with us, and please keep an eye out for future updates on this vital issue.

P.S. Our best chance of stopping this assault on the fundamental health care rights of women is to raise a massive public outcry. Help us get a head start by urging your friends to contact President Bush. Click here.

Cecile Richards interview on MSNBC

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