Monday, March 30, 2015

A Grisly Crime In Colorado Could Give 'Personhood' Laws Their Best Shot - TPM Cafe

"With this latest crime used as another plank in the fetal personhood argument, extreme abortion opponents may be able to gain traction where they couldn’t before. While an unborn baby lost in a car accident is a heartbreaking event, it doesn’t compare to the visceral reaction one has after hearing about a nearly full term baby literally cut from the womb of the mother who was carrying it, then left gasping for breath until it died."

read the rest at TPM Cafe

Monday, March 23, 2015

"On the sidewalks of a Chicago clinic a battle about how to end abortion" - Clinic Stories: Chicago Excerpt

The activists standing outside Albany Medical Surgical Center, the Family Planning Associates Medical Group clinic on North Elston Avenue often differ depending on the day of the week.

If it is a Thursday, Joe and Ann Scheidler, the founding couple of Chicago’s pro-life movement, may be there with signs and pleas to patients entering the doors. On Saturday, it is far more likely to be Ryan Bouse, who cut his protest teeth in Joe Scheidler’s office, but is now in the midst of writing his own script for ending abortion in the city.
Bouse and the Scheidlers represent two schools of tactics in the anti-abortion movement. While Bouse and his cohorts counter what they see as today’s culture of biblical immorality with narratives heavy on sin and redemption, the Scheidlers are focused on the immediate “save” of pregnancies about to be ended.
Both, however, have made the clinic on Elston a regular stop when it comes to their mission.
“I need to come every Thursday to remember,” said Joe Scheidler. “I need to come at least once a week to reaffirm the reality of abortion. This is a place where a woman is going in with a live child, and inside they will terminate that life.”
It’s hard to believe that Joe Scheidler, even at 87, is in danger of forgetting anything. When I visited his office at the Pro-Life Action League in August, it was a shrine to his more than 40 years of trying to stop legal abortion.
One wall was covered in pictures of popes, bishops and politicians supporting Scheidler’s crusade and letters of commendation for his efforts in the pro-life movement. Directly behind his desk chair hung a large portrait of a brightly haloed Jesus.
A curio cabinet was filled with memorabilia from his decades palling around with and organizing the most notorious anti-abortion activists in history. On one shelf rested a coffee cup declaring “The World’s Best Dad.” Next to it: a copy of the infamous “Have a Blast!” photo from a 1985 Pro-Life Action Network conference in Appleton, Wisconsin, of which the Pro-Life Action League and Scheidler was the key organizer.
That photo depicts group members holding signs demanding the jailing of “baby-killers” while standing in front of a kiosk that read “Welcome Pro-Life Activists, Have a Blast!” It was one of many pieces of evidence in the landmark suit generally known as National Organization for Women (NOW) v. Scheidler. In the case, Scheidler and other anti-abortion activists were accused of racketeering to intimidate and commit violence, including clinic bombings and arson, against abortion providers. After being decided in favor of NOW in 1998, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the verdict in 2006.

“We’ve had trouble with other pro-lifers,” Scheidler said as we sat in his office and I looked through his extensive collection. “We had those who went off the deep end, and then started shooting and bombing and all that stuff. We knew these people, and we had meetings with them.  We even have met them after they get out of prison, and so on. They’re still pro-life. They just went too far.”
In the corner stood a television and VCR and DVD player at the ready. With it, Scheidler shows guests tutorials about the “Chicago Style” of “sidewalk counseling,” the term abortion opponents have given to their attempts to talk a patient out of an abortion just before she enters a clinic. Other videos on his playlist include interviews with former abortion providers who have changed their minds, left their jobs and joined the pro-life movement. But Scheidler’s favorite, “Holy Terror,” is a mid-’80s NOW documentary about him and other Pro-Life Action Network members. He finds the film so enjoyable that he urged me multiple times to sit down and watch the whole thing.
“See, I am the ‘Holy Terror,’” he joked.

Download the entire article here.  For photos outside the Elston Clinic, click here.

Meet Joe Scheidler, Patriarch of the Anti-Abortion Movement (Public Eye)

"Decades later, Scheidler’s advice for establishing direct contact with those who perform or support abortion has been mostly discarded, but some of his ideas occasionally reappear. In 2013, Dr. Cheryl Chastine, a reproductive health and abortion provider at South Wind Women’s Center in Wichita, Kansas, received two pieces of mail to her home address, both sent from Pro-Life Action League. The first was a letter from Joe’s wife Ann, Pro-Life Action League’s Vice President, asking her to meet for a cup of coffee to discuss why Dr. Chastine performs abortions. Later, she received an invitation to the League’s Christmas party.

Both mailings came just months after PLAL systematically and methodically pressured 22 Dr. Chastine’s private practice into severing ties with her. PLAL’s tactics included protests, letters to other businesses sharing the space, and threats of more public actions against the building if their professional relationships continued." - more at Public Eye.

Why This State Representative Revealed Her Sexual Assault While Testifying on an Abortion Bill -

"Telling my story was incredibly difficult. I tense up and shiver whenever I talk about this. But for someone for whom the trauma is so fresh, having to turn around and prove that she is eligible for an exemption to a health insurance company – that's abuse. Our state legislature should not be in the position to do harm. This harms people. This bill will harm people." - more at

5 Women Explain Why They Became Abortion Providers -

"It's absolutely harder to provide abortions in Ohio than it was in New York. There are fewer providers in Ohio, so the providers that are here are singled out a little more than they are singled out in New York, where there are more numbers. I have my name on multiple websites saying things that are not necessarily true. I get letters at my house from anti-choice folks, and no other doctors suffer this sort of harassment for the surgeries they perform." more at

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Talking Points Memo - "Is 'Reversing' An Abortion Really A Good Idea?"

His name is Gabriel, and according to the press conferences, he’s not supposed to be here. His mother, Andrea Minichini, said she was at a clinic and told the provider she wanted an abortion, but changed her mind as she held the first dose of the medication abortion regime in her hand. Allegedly feeling pressured by staff, she took the pill anyway, then took herself to a hospital where she was told she would need to take the rest of the protocol or put the fetus at risk of deformities. Rather than follow their advice, she Googled until she found a website with a number to call, and after that call received the name of a doctor who would “reverse” her abortion. -- Read more at Talking Points Memo

Cosmo - "What It's Like to Be an Activist When Your State Is Hostile to Reproductive Rights"

Since 2011, reproductive rights activists from red states around the country have met up in Norman, Oklahoma, for the Take Root conference. There, they strategize about the movement's approach not only to abortion access but also to poverty, civil rights, marriage equality, and more. "Abortion services and other forms of reproductive health care are not isolated from social factors and histories that influence the access and discussion surrounding them," the organization explains on its website. At this year's conference, held February 20 and 21, attendance topped at over 550 advocates, allies, and organizers.

What is it like for activists trying to change a culture so hostile to the causes they care about? asked four women just that question. -- Read more at Cosmo.