Targeting Crisis Pregnancy Centers

Crisis pregnancy centers do a lot of good, giving women with an unwanted pregnancy an alternative to abortion and giving tangible, material help to women in need.  But now pro-abortion forces are starting to target them.  In apparent retaliation for pro-life efforts to cut off funding for Planned Parenthood and to require abortion centers to follow hospital standards, pro-abortion activists have pushed through a measure in New York City to regulate crisis pregnancy centers and to make them inform their clients up front that they are pro-life organizations.  From a (very biased) news story:

On the heels of a decision by the U.S. House of Representatives to cut funding for Planned Parenthood, and following an outcry regarding a controversial pro-life billboard ad, the City Council yesterday passed (39 to 9) a bill — Intro-371-A — that hopes to strengthen protections for women seeking reproductive healthcare in New York City.

The goal of Intro-371-A is to eliminate misinformation at women’s pregnancy centers citywide and also clearly identify those centers that are pro-life organizations with no licensed medical provider on staff.

The bill will help draw a clear distinction between the two types of centers so clients can make an informed choice during their time of pregnancy or family planning.

Specifically, the bill will require pregnancy service centers in New York City to inform their clients whether or not they have a licensed medical provider on staff; disclose the kind of pregnancy-related services provided by the center; and provide confidentiality protections for clients’ personal and health information.

“Our goal here is not to shut down these pregnancy service centers. We just want to keep them honest and tell women the kind of services they provide,” said City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn.

“We want women to make an informed decision about the health care services they are seeking and not duped by false advertising. Nobody has the right to prevent a woman from taking care of her health. Women will now feel confident in their personal and legal health care decisions – and know that no one will be allowed to stand in their way.”

Additionally, this bill will require pregnancy services centers disclose whether they provide or refer for prenatal care; provide or refer for abortion; and provide or refer for emergency contraception.

Notices will be required to be in both English and Spanish in the form of a posted sign visible at entry and in waiting areas as well in any advertising of services published.

“This bill is a truth in advertising measure.  To be clear, it only regulates centers that are deliberately trying to deceive women into thinking they are in a medical facility when they are not.  What those centers are doing is not only dishonest, it is incredibly dangerous,” Council Member Jessica Lappin said, sponsor of the bill.  “We are passing this bill to protect women and their health.”

Comments Susanne Metaxas, who directs a crisis pregnancy center in New York:  “With 41% of all viable pregnancies in New York City ending in abortion, you would think the city council would be looking to us to help women and mothers find a way to make the choices they really want to make!”

HT:  Cathy


Sex survey surprises

A wide-ranging and embarrassingly detailed survey of Americans’ sexual practices turned up some surprises.  Abstinence among young adults is significant and growing.  More than twice as many women than men have homosexual attraction and behavior.  And quite a few people with homosexual attraction have never had a same-sex experience.

Among the findings of a sweeping federal government survey of American sexual behavior is one that may surprise those bewailing a permissive and eros-soaked popular culture: More than one-quarter of people interviewed in their late teens and early 20s had never had sex.

The latest round of the quaintly named National Survey of Family Growth found that among 15-to-24-year-olds, 29 percent of females and 27 percent of males reported no sexual contact with another person ever – up from the 22 percent of both sexes when the survey was last conducted in 2002.

“The public’s general perception is that when it comes to young people and sex, the news is bad and likely to get worse,” said Bill Albert, chief program officer of the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, an advocacy organization in Washington.

The seventh and latest round of the survey, first done in 1973, provides a corrective to that view.

“Many, many young people have been very receptive to the message of delaying sexual activity,” Albert said. “There’s no doubt about it.” He added that the nearly 40 percent reduction in teen pregnancy since the 1990s – which experts attribute to both increased condom use and increased abstinence – represents “extraordinary progress on a social issue that many once considered intractable.”

The uptick in abstinence is one of many revealing facts arising from structured interviews with a random sample of 13,495 Americans, ages 15 to 44, that were done from 2006 to 2008. The findings provide evidence for almost every theory and supposition about the nation’s secret sex life. . . .

Across the entire age span surveyed – 15 through 44 – 13 percent of women reported some “same-sex sexual behavior” in their lifetime, compared with 5 percent of men. For women, the fraction was up slightly from 2002, and for men, it was down slightly. . . .

There were small effects related to education. For example, 9 percent of women with bachelor’s degrees or higher reported same-sex encounters, compared with 15 percent of women who had not graduated from high school. On the other hand, 6 percent of male college graduates reported such encounters, compared with 3 percent of men who had not finished high school.

The survey also asked about sexual identity and orientation.

Among 18-to-44-year-olds who described themselves as heterosexual, 9 percent of women and 3 percent of men reported having same-sex encounters. On the other hand, 15 percent of women and 12 percent of men who described themselves as homosexual or bisexual had never had a same-sex experience.

via A sweeping survey of Americans’ sexual behavior.

Veto by lack of quorum

As you know, 15 Democratic state legislators in Wisconsin are hiding out in Illinois–beyond the jurisdiction of Wisconsin state troopers–to prevent a quorum so that Republican lawmakers can’t pass a bill cutting benefits for state workers and restricting their union.  Now Democratic lawmakers in Indiana are doing the same thing, for much the same reason.  Two Maryland legislators were briefly on the lam on the issue of gay marriage.  The tactic has been used before–Abraham Lincoln did it as a state representative in Illinois, as did Texas Democrats in 2003 trying to foil a redistricting plan–but not all that often.

Let’s bracket the specific issues that have sparked this behavior.  Though the modern-day examples I could find have all been Democrats doing it, the tactic could just as easily be used by Republicans in the minority who want to stop some bill.

Doesn’t the deliberate absence of legislators to prevent a quorum thwart democracy and representational government?  Doesn’t this give minority parties, in effect, a preemptive veto on all bills they do not like?  State and national constitutions generally give a veto to the executive branch, to the president or governor, but this seems an even greater power.  Executive vetoes can be overturned by a two-thirds majority, but this legislative veto cannot be overturned by any majority, since it prevents a majority from ever being formed.  Moreover, it prevents a duly-elected constitutional body from convening.

Isn’t this tactic unconstitutional, whether according to the national Constitution, which mandates that all states be governed as republics, or to state constitutions?  Is there any theoretical argument that can justify this practice?  If so, I’d like to hear it.  (I’m not interested in arguments that “they have a right to do this” or that “it’s legal.”  I’m wanting to know in what sense this can be considered good government.  If you defend it because of the specific bills that are being blocked, please use examples as if the other side from the one you agree on were doing this.  That is, if you like the Democrats doing it to protect unions, would you similarly like it if the Republicans did it to block health care reform?)


Democratic legislators embracing tactic to gain leverage: Fleeing.

Good writing

World Magazine is planning to set up regional online bureaus to provide local and regional news coverage.  The first one is for Virginia and is making use of journalism students at the school where I work, Patrick Henry College.  One of my former students, Hannah Mitchell, has written a feature story on a big Picasso exhibit at a Richmond art museum.  It struck me as just a very, very good piece of writing.  See for yourself:  WORLD Magazine | Picasso’s tragedy | Hannah Mitchell | Mar 01, 11.

What I’d like us to do is discuss what is good about this particular piece of writing.  Let’s not talk about Picasso, as such.  Let’s talk about how Hannah approaches him, how she sets up her article, her style, and her good lines.

For example, I like the sentence where she describes a professor speculating about Picasso’s art.  She describes him as “wondering through the exhibit.”  Get it?  wandering/wondering?  A wordplay that shows genuine wit.

What else?  What’s good about this article in the way it’s written?

American Idol this time around

Yes, I’m following American Idol again, despite the way some of you have been giving me a hard time about this particular guilty pleasure.  Last night the 13 finalists were selected.  I would just like to note that I picked every one of the male performers and voted for four of them.  The one female contestant that I was pulling for, Naima Adedapo from Milwaukee, did not get enough votes from the public, but the judges put her back in as a “wild card.”  My favorite and the one I’m predicting to win is Jacob Lusk.  As Steven Tyler said, we need his kind of singing again, a strong, jazzy, standards-kind-of-voice.  Naima is much the same way.   These are adult voices.  It’s time adults made music for adults, as opposed to kids making music for kids, or kids making music for adults.

A feature of “Hollywood Week” was a plump baby-faced 15 year old with an angelic voice getting thrown out of a group by, in effect, some mean cool kids.  The mean ones were all voted off, except for country-singer-with-a-deep-voice Scotty, who tearfully repented.

Also, I will say that the new judging team of Tyler, Jennifer Lopez, and veteran Randy Jackson has, to my surprise, done a good job.  I had assumed the dark lord Simon Cowell would be missed, but the more positive panel has worked well.

This new crop of finalists is very strong, surely one of the best.

With twist, `American Idol’ down to 13 contestants.

So if any of the rest of you are following the show, I would welcome your assessments and your predictions.  (If you aren’t and if your comment would just be something on the order of “why would anyone watch this show?” you can keep that to yourself.)

The last dough-boy

The last American veteran of World War I died at the age of 110.  Frank Buckles enlisted in 1917, lying about his age, which was only 16.  After that war, he worked in the civilian merchant marine. When World War II broke out, he was captured by the Japanese and spent over three years in a P.O.W. camp in the Philippines.

Two others who served in World War I are still alive, a 109-year-old man from Australia and a 110-year-old woman from Great Britain.

Mr. Buckles, who lived in West Virginia, sounds like he was a really likeable guy.  Read his profile: Last U.S. World War I veteran Frank W. Buckles dies at 110.