Tag: pregnancy

Paul LePage is a white supremacist

I’m not going to hold back in regards to my thoughts about Republican Maine Governor Paul LePage and his racist remarks about the heroin epidemic in Maine…LePage is a white supremacist.

Recently, LePage made racist remarks about the ongoing heroin epidemic in Maine and in America:

During an event Wednesday night in Maine, Gov. Paul R. LePage, a Republican, described the heroin trade in his state, suggesting it was being fueled by outsiders.

These are guys with the name D-Money, Smoothie, Shifty — these types of guys,” he said. “They come from Connecticut and New York, they come up here, they sell their heroin, they go back home,” Mr. LePage told the crowd, according to The Portland Press Herald.

“Incidentally,” he added, “half the time they impregnate a young, white girl before they leave, which is a real sad thing, because then we have another issue we have to deal with down the road.”

(emphasis mine)

If one is more concerned about a white woman being impregnated by a black man than actually doing something about the heroin epidemic in this country, than one is a white supremacist. In fact, the kind of racist meme that LePage used is a nearly identical meme to the one that Dylann Roof, the white supremacist perpetrator of the terrorist attack on the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina, to, in his mind, justify mass murder. The only significant difference between the two memes is that LePage didn’t make an overt reference to rape, whereas Roof did.

We need a serious response to the heroin crisis in America, not racist remarks from right-wing politicians. I’m a lifelong resident of a downstate Illinois county that has faced a serious heroin problem in recent years, so heroin is a major political issue in my area. These are just my own ideas, but I believe that there should be a two-prong approach to addressing the heroin problem in America (I do recognize that heroin is something that can’t reasonably be legalized in the way that alcohol and tobacco currently are, and marijuana can be). First off, we should treat heroin addiction as a medical problem and not prosecute people for merely possessing and/or using heroin. Secondly, the criminal justice system should focus heavily on arresting and prosecuting people who are selling heroin, not prosecuting people who merely use heroin. I would more than welcome comments on other ideas about combating the heroin epidemic in America.

Paul Ryan opposed abortion rights for women impregnated by rapists during failed 2012 VP bid

U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), the unsuccessful Republican vice-presidential nominee in 2012, is now officially considering a bid for U.S. House Speaker after previously having repeatedly refused to do so.

However, Ryan won’t negotiate with the House Freedom Caucus, a group of Republican right-wing extremists in the House that have refused to back a GOP establishment candidate for speaker unless said establishment candidate agrees to giving the Republican rank-and-file, which is chock full of right-wing nuts, more power in the House and cover-your-rear-end treatment from the GOP leadership every time someone in the rank-or-file says or does something incredibly stupid.

While Ryan considers whether or not to seek the speakership, I think it’s appropriate for me to mention that this is an actual quote from Paul Ryan from when he was running for vice president in 2012:

Well, I’m very proud of my pro-life record, and I’ve always adopted the idea, the position, that the method of conception doesn’t change the definition of life.

What Paul Ryan effectively said was that he thinks that any woman who was impregnated by a rapist should be forced to carry the fetus(es) to term, even if she does not want to. That’s because Ryan was asked by an interviewer about his thoughts on whether or not women who are impregnated by a rapist should be allowed to seek an abortion, and Ryan said that he was strongly anti-abortion and that the “method of conception doesn’t change the definition of life”. That is an absolutely barbaric point of view. While there was YouTube video of Ryan’s remarks online back in 2012, the video has long since been removed from YouTube. However, I’ve been able to confirm that Ryan actually made the remarks, because the International Business Times, which is where I got the Ryan quote from, and several other websites with credible political reporting and/or commentary, such as the Huffington Post and AlterNet, reported on it back in 2012, and their articles are still online.

Paul Ryan’s view that women impregnated by rapists should be forced to carry their fetuses to term is barbaric and sexist. Now, he wants to be House Speaker so that he’s in even more powerful of a position to control women’s bodies by legislative fiat, especially if a Republican were to win the White House in next year’s presidential race.

Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum wants to make income inequality even worse

Former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA) announced yet another bid for the Republican presidential nomination earlier today. This time, he’s trying to appeal to working-class voters, saying that “working families don’t need another president tied to big government or big money”.

However, Rick Santorum is not a real champion of the working class.

For starters, Santorum has a long history of taking far-right positions and making offensive remarks on various issues, especially on social issues like abortion and marriage equality. For example, Santorum has staunchly opposed marriage equality, going as far as to claim that legalizing same-sex marriage would lead to people marrying dogs, which is absolutely false and absurd. On LGBT rights in general, Santorum has claimed that the Boy Scouts allowing openly gay people to join the Scouts would “murder” the organization, another absolutely false and absurd claim. On abortion and reproductive rights, Santorum has staunchly opposed the idea that women should be able to make their own decisions about their reproductive health, going as far as to say that survivors of rape who get pregnant via rape should “accept what God has given”, effectively saying that he thinks that women should be forced to carry an unwanted fetus to term.

When it comes to economic issues, Santorum’s “appeal” to working-class Americans is phonier than a $3 bill. For starters, Santorum supports eliminating the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and instituting a flat federal income tax rate. I have two things to say about this ridiculous idea. First, a flat income tax would make income inequality, already a serious problem in this country, even worse, because the wealthiest Americans would receive most, if not all, of the tax cuts from a flat income tax. Second, who the hell would be responsible for collecting taxes if the IRS were eliminated?

Rick Santorum is a phony and a far-right crackpot who would make an absolutely horrible president.

Crisis pregnancy center in my home county in Illinois caught violating patient privacy by local media

The Women’s Care Clinic of Danville (WCC), a crisis pregnancy center located in Danville, Illinois, which is located in Vermilion County, posted pictures of the sonogram of a pregnant woman’s fetus on their Facebook page and stated that the woman had scheduled an abortion and wanted people to pray that the woman would change her mind and not had the pregnancy terminated.

WCIA-TV, the CBS affiliate in Champaign, ran a segment on one of their local newscasts earlier today calling WCC out for violating patient privacy. While I’m not going to directly link to the article about this story on their website, illinoishomepage.net, as the online article includes a video that shows the sonogram in question, and it would be unethical for me to post or link to anything containing the sonogram in question, this is from their online article, titled “Clinic’s post causes privacy concerns” and dated February 11, 2015:

A picture of an unborn baby is causing controversy online. An area clinic posted what leaders say was a picture from a patient’s sonogram. It’s raising the issue of privacy. The clinic took the post down the same day it went up.

The Women’s Care Clinic of Danville says the image was removed because comments were “too negative.” The post shows a sonogram picture stating the baby’s mother had scheduled an abortion and asked people to pray she would change her mind.

But, clinic managers say they don’t know if the picture is an actual sonogram from the patient mentioned in the post. They say they didn’t identify who it was, so it wasn’t an invasion of privacy, adding clients agree any images can be used for promotion or education.

WCIA’s online article went on to describe WCC as an organization that “provides counseling and support groups for post-abortion” and that WCC stated that “asking for prayers for certain clients” is normal operating procedure for them.

Here’s my thoughts about this:

  • WCIA used a considerable amount of anti-abortion framing in their TV report about the WCC posting a sonogram online, which is not surprising given the fact that WCIA’s local newscasts have a heavy right-wing bias. For example, “Picture of an unborn baby” is not the medically correct term for a sonogram of a fetus; “sonogram of a fetus” is the medically correct term for that. Also, the reason why comments on WCC’s Facebook page got “too negative” is because WCC operates in a highly unethical manner, and those who made “negative” comments on their Facebook page were rightfully criticizing them for operating in a highly unethical manner.
  • WCIA is just as guilty as WCC is of violating patient privacy since they showed the sonogram, both on television and online, in fact, one could argue that WCIA is even more guilty of violating patient privacy than WCC is, since I’m guessing that a local newscast on WCIA has a considerably larger audience than WCC’s Facebook page, even though WCIA is located in what I’d call a medium-small local TV market.
  • While WCIA didn’t explicitly refer to WCC as a “crisis pregnancy center”, they did mention that WCC regularly asks people to pray that their patients who are considering whether or not to have an abortion decide not to terminate a pregnancy and offer post-abortion counseling, which is a huge indicator to me that WCC is a crisis pregnancy center, regardless of whether or not they refer to themselves as such. Crisis pregnancy centers are organizations that claim to be legitimate women’s health clinics, when, in reality, they’re actually organizations that are primarily set up to shame pregnant women by, among other tactics, doing everything possible to discourage pregnant women who want to have abortions from getting abortions and spreading false information about women’s reproductive health. While I don’t know if WCC is doing the latter, it’s obvious to me that they’re doing the former.
  • Regardless of whether or not the names of patients are disclosed, it’s still highly unethical and an invasion of medical privacy for a women’s health clinic of any kind to publicly post sonograms or other types of medical records for promotional purposes.

Every effort should be made to shut down these unethical, woman-shaming crisis pregnancy centers across the country and make legitimate women’s health clinics available in areas of this country where women would currently have to travel long distances in order to get to a legitimate women’s health clinic.

How pregnant women in Wisconsin are treated like second-class citizens

Tamara Loerstcher at 35 weeks pregnant (photo by Wendi Kent)
Tamara Loerstcher at 35 weeks pregnant (photo by Wendi Kent)

In Wisconsin, pregnant women are treated like second-class citizens. Republicans, who control Wisconsin’s state government, have enacted numerous laws that, among other things, require pregnant women who wish to have an abortion undergo an ultrasound regardless if they want or need an ultrasound or not and cut public funding to women’s health clinics.

However, arguably the worst piece of anti-abortion legislation that has been enacted in recent years in Wisconsin is the so-called “Cocaine Mom Law” (officially 1997 Wisconsin Act 292), enacted in 1998, that allows Wisconsin officials to arrest, detain, and imprison pregnant women for up to the duration of their pregnancies if said officials believe that the pregnant woman is abusing substances, such as alcohol and other drugs, to the point that the egg, embryo, fetus, or child upon birth will be “seriously affected”. In effect, Act 292 gives fetuses more legal rights than pregnant women.

One of the worst examples of Act 292 trampling over the constitutional rights of Wisconsin women is the case of Tamara Loerstcher, who was jailed, had her constitutional rights violated, and was subjected to horrible treatment after she went to an Eau Claire hospital in order to receive a pregnancy test and treatment for a thyroid condition and Loerstcher told the hospital that she had self-medicated with drugs prior to going to the hospital:

According to Loertscher and her attorneys, unbeknownst to her, as hospital workers were preparing a prescription to treat Loertscher’s thyroid condition, they were also initiating unborn child protection proceedings on behalf of Loertscher’s then 14-week-old fetus.

Loertscher and her attorneys claim that within days of Loertscher seeking care, hospital workers had already turned over Loerstcher’s hospital records to the state without Loerstcher’s knowledge or consent. They also claim that with those records in hand, state officials filed a petition accusing Loerstcher of abuse of an unborn child and held a hearing in which the state had appointed an attorney, known as a guardian ad litem, for the 14-week-old fetus, but granted Loerstcher no meaningful representation.

At the hearing, Loertscher and her attorneys allege she was ordered by the court into in-patient treatment even though she had not used drugs recently and voluntarily sought medical care. When Loerstcher refused to go to in-patient treatment, she was held in contempt of court and sent to jail, where she was held for 17 days without prenatal care and subject to abuse and harassment.

“This was my first pregnancy, so I didn’t know what to expect,” Loerstcher told reporters. “I was having lots of cramping and a lot of stress from everything and they [jail officials] wouldn’t allow me to see the doctor. They told me I would have to see a jail-appointed doctor who told me she wanted me to take a pregnancy test to confirm the pregnancy even though that’s why I was in jail, because I was pregnant. They knew that’s why I was there.”

Loerstcher claims she refused the pregnancy test, and in response, correction officials put her in solitary confinement and threatened to use a taser on her. “The jail doctor told me if I chose to miscarry, there wasn’t anything they could do about it anyways,” Loertscher said through tears.

[…]

In order to be released from jail, Loertscher had to sign a consent decree agreeing to additional drug tests, so she remains under state custody to some extent, her lawyer said.

Even worse, despite the fact that she was never tried or convicted of child abuse, Tamara Loerstcher will appear on Wisconsin’s child abuse registry for the remainder of her life unless this is overturned on appeal.

To summarize, Wisconsin officials jailed Tamara Loerstcher, granted her then-14 week old fetus legal counsel but refused to grant her any meaningful legal representation, took her medical records from the hospital without her knowledge or consent, ordered by a court into in-patient treatment despite not needing in-patient treatment and not having been tried or convicted of substance abuse, held in contempt of court and jailed for 17 days without prenatal care, subjected to abuse and harassment while jailed, forced her to take a pregnancy test despite her pregnancy having been already confirmed, and even threatened to use a taser on her while jailed. How Tamara Loerstcher was treated by the legal system in Wisconsin is some of the most barbaric treatment of someone I’ve ever seen in my entire life, in fact, Loerstcher’s story is so shocking, I’ve had nightmares about it. Her constitutional rights were repeatedly violated, she was not granted due process of law, and she was effectively convicted of child abuse without a trial. Sadly, Loerstcher isn’t the only one who has had her constitutional rights violated by Wisconsin’s Act 292.

I hope that Tamara Loerstcher gives birth to a healthy child in a few weeks (she is expecting to have a son) and that her name is cleared by the legal system.