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Issues for Your Tissues
Last week on Issues for Your Tissues Malia Litman joined me to discuss her book, Rebuttal to the Rogue.  Malia wears many hats including, but not limited to, blogger, author, attorney, registered nurse and mother.  During the 2008 cycle she became very politically active and volunteered for the Obama campaign.  She, like many other women, was not fooled by the shiny veneer on the Republican candidate for Vice President.  Rebuttal to the Rogue is Malia's response to the hypocrisy we all observed in the short but somehow long stretch of time that held the possibility of a Sarah Palin [vice]presidency.

Just writing this, "hypocrisy" seems to strong a word, but after reading the definition one more time, it is the right one.  Palin does indeed persistently express beliefs that are inconsistent with her actions.  A good example of this inconsistency is her continued claim to be a feminist, yet being publicly against the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act.  The justification was just a heinous as her opposition.  It would have been "a boon to the trial lawyers who...could have taken advantage of women," she said.

Try, try, try, but you can only explain that one way, Sarah Palin holds her contempt fro attorneys closer to her heart than her concern for pay parity.  She would rather vex attorneys than serve women, who she was supposed to be courting away from Hillary Clinton.  Why?

Malia illustrates example after example of this hypocrisy with such extensive research that my ire was effectively raised.  Malia is also donating a portion of the proceeds from the sale of Rebuttal to the Rogue to Planned Parenthood.  Effectively, you can get really angry and then feel really good about what you've done.

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Today on Issues for Your Tissues my guest was Angie Jackson who just last month tweeted and blogged and youtubed about her abortion experience.  Angie put a lot of thought into her decision, just as every woman does, yet unlike every other woman, Angie was bold enough to share her abortion publicly.  I first learned of Angie by reading Mary Ann Sorrentino's article, Abortion as Self-Promotion, and I spoke with Mary Ann last week

One in three women in America choose abortion at some point, but not enough of us are talking about it.  As a result, abortion remains shrouded in some mix of shame, taboo and mystery for many.  Angie and Mary Ann are bringing the abortion experience back into the public discussion of abortion.  They've taken it from the third person to the first, each in her own way, and we're all better for it.

You can find Angie on twitter @antitheistangie, and I am @katievitale.

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Yesterday on Issues for Your Tissues my guest was Mary Ann Sorrentino, author, columnist, blogger, and pro-choice advocate.  Mary Ann wrote The A Word, a collection of true stories about people dealing with unintended pregnancy.  She also spent ten years as the Executive Director of Planned Parenthood of Rhode Island, so she has a lot of experience speaking with women considering abortion and with women who have undergone abortion.

I was first interested in speaking to her after reading her article on Angie Jackson's very public abortion experience, but find after speaking with her, I find there is a lot more to what she says than just denegration of the Jackson's act.  

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Abortion as Self-Promotion
by Mary Ann Sorrentino, 3/8/10 at Mary Ann's Open.Salon Blog

27-year-old Angie Jackson decided to use Twitter as a public stage for her private decision to terminate a pregnancy using RU486, the miscarriage-inducing drug legally available in the US for a decade.


Jackson, who has a 4-year-old son with special needs, says that that difficult pregnancy and outcome made her decide long ago not to have another child. She was committed to aborting future pregnancies that might occur.


If this is true, and her decision about ending her child-bearing is solid and responsible, one has to wonder why she didn't just have a tubal ligation. That would have seemed like a logical step and one that would have saved her from the need to go through the discomfort of a faux-miscarriage, while saving the rest of the universe from the anguish of assisting at such a personal and difficult moment.


Jackson allegedly has about 800 followers on the social website Twitter.  In a CNN television interview today, she mentioned a book she's like to have published. If aborting-on-Twitter is her idea of a great way to boost future book sales, this is an even greater abuse of reproductive rights than initially thought.


Those of us who came from generations where women had no legal abortion choices understand how precious the right to choose is. Those of us who drove in the dark of night to deliver or pick up a friend in a back-alley clinic, terrified that that friend hemorrhaging in the back seat of our cars might die on our watch know things that clearly Ms. Jackson cannot fathom.


We put flowers on women's graves, took to the streets, marched, got arrested, lobbied, volunteered our time, held fund-raisers, took abuse from opponents, shouldered death threats, and -- in my case -- got thrown out of the churches of our birth-- so that our daughters and others could have reproductive choices. 


We make no apologies: we have no regrets.


But the right we were fighting so hard for-- which was granted only a short 37 years ago-- was based in what the Supreme Court called, "privacy."


We wanted women to be able to make personal decisions about their pregnancies in the privacy of their most intimate circle-- typically by the woman with her partner, family, closest friends, physician and/or religious advisors should she choose. If not, she could decide as a panel of one and discuss it with no one.


Angie Jackson has the right to choose to take RU486 and then write about her cramps, her bleeding to the eventual expelling of the products of conception on the internet.


But many of us who have spent our lives on the front lives of the abortion debate also have the right to hate the fact that she chose to do this.


At its worst, it is self-serving, exhibitionistic, and selfish: at best, it has "Bad Judgment" written all over it.

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Last Wednesday on Issues for Your Tissues it was membership drive time.  I want to thank Emily, who renewed her KOOP membership on Issues for Your Tissues, and to all of the other new and renewal KOOP members.  Because of your generosity, we met our goal of $52,000 and were able to end the membership drive a day early.

I discussed Rep. Bart Stupak's (D-MI) attempts to block the healthcare bill reconciliation with his cadre of a dozen or so pro-birth representatives including Mr. Stupak, Jerry Costello (D-IL), Kathy Dahlkemper (D-PA), Joe Donnelly (D-IN), Joseph Cao (R-LA), Steve Driehaus (D-OH), Brad Ellsworth (D-IN), Marion Berry (D-AR), Marcy Kaptur (D-OH), Dan Lipinski (D-IL). 

I also discussed a public relations campaign by the Radiance Foundation in Atlanta that asserts that black children are an endangered species.  Jodi Jacobson of RHRealityCheck wrote this article on this misleading stunt.

The billboards in question look like this .  I hope that all of the money that is generated by the Radiance Foundation is going to family planning services in under-served communities.  Women don't choose abortion lightly.  I hope that the Radiance Foundation seeks to pass the healthcare reform bill so that women in those areas can get the preventive care they need.  Dozens of these signs are up in Atlanta and if they prove successful for the Radiance Foundation, I'm sure they will spread.

I was a little peeved because, again, the same folks who would restrict access to healthcare, including reproductive healthcare, restrict access to government subsidies and entitlements, and cut the heart out of the social services budgets are the same ones trying to guilt minority women into choosing birth to the detriment of all else.

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Wednesday on Issues for Your Tissues my guests were Tiffany and Marisa from the Esperanza Peace & Justice Center.  They worked to organize this year's 20th Anniversary International Women's Day March in San Antonio.

Also, in commemoration of International Women's Day and Women's History Month, Austin Community College is holding a panel discussion focusing on "Austin Women in Media" at the new South Austin Campus Monday, March 8th at 6pm.  I'll be speaking!

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Screening tonight 6pm at the downtown Radisson for Robin Lim & Deja Bernhardt, who have created a film about their midwifery work in Bali and Aceh called Guerrilla Midwife.  It is a fundraiser for Robin’s new work in Haiti, where she has just opened a birth center and is also offering primary health care to people off the beaten track who don’t have access to healthcare otherwise.

Follow Ibu Robin Lim into the trenches of her work. From Bali, where hemorrhage after childbirth is a leading cause of death, into the Tsunami disaster zone in Aceh, where her battle is fought with only one weapon, love."


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Today on Issues for Your Tissues My guests were Dr. Tami Michele and author Robbie Davis-Floyd.  Both of these women work with a group called the Coalition for Improving Maternity Services (CIMS) whose mission is to promote a wellness model of maternity care that will improve birth outcomes and substantially reduce costs.

Dr. Michele is a Michigan physician specializing in OBGYN care who serves on the board of CIMS, and Robbie Davis-Floyd is a founding member of CIMS, former member of its leadership council and lead editor for the CIMS Mother-Friendly Childbirth Initiative (MFCI).  Robbie has also written a number of books on birth.

I finally saw The Business of Being Born earlier this month and it really got me thinking.  If today's show got you thinking too, the CIMS Annual Mother-Friendly Forum is this weekend, February 26-27 here in Austin!  The keynote speaker is Ricki Lake, producer of the documentary The Business of Being Born. 

Please send your comments and questions to me, katie@koop.org!

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Today on Issues for Your Tissues I discussed efforts of Young Catholics for Choice (yCFC) and Family Planning Health Services (FPHS) to inform folks in Wisconsin about emergency contraception, specifically of its availability to rape victims at hospitals--including Catholic hospitals.  For just under two years now, emergency contraception has been explained and/or dispensed to rape victims in Wisconsin.

Apparently there are some other people who don't think this is a good idea.  They think women shouldn't chose their future if they are raped.  Catholic Archbishop Listecki condemned the groups for working together to spread information that may help people.  Heaven forbid people have complete information available to them.  I'm disappointed.

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Madison, Wis., Jan 25, 2008 / 04:23 am (CNA).- The Wisconsin State Assembly has passed legislation mandating that all Wisconsin hospitals, including religiously-affiliated hospitals, must inform any self-described victim of sexual assault of “emergency contraception” and must provide it upon her request.

Emergency contraception, as defined by the bill, includes both the morning-after pill and the intrauterine device (IUD).  The morning-after pill can alter the lining of the uterus so that a newly conceived embryo cannot implant in the womb, leading to its death.  The IUD always blocks implantation, also causing the death of any newly conceived human being.

“It is a sad day for Wisconsin,” said Peggy Hammil, state director of Pro-life Wisconsin.  “The state Assembly has shamefully ignored the fate of embryonic children by forcing Wisconsin hospitals to dispense a known abortion-causing drug to vulnerable women.  In so doing, they have trampled upon the conscience rights of hospitals and hospital workers in blatant disregard of our federal and state constitutions which guarantee freedom of religious expression and liberty of conscience.”

Pro-life Wisconsin, which represents 30,000 families in the state, commended the 34 Republican legislators and the one Democrat legislator who voted against the bill.

Bishops Robert Morlino and Jerome Listecki have spoken out forcefully against the legislation in the past few months. Efforts to pass the bill included a letter sent by Catholics for a Free Choice which claimed to represent the Catholic position on abortion and contraception.

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