neadods: (facepalm)
The Amazing Grace Baptist Church (Canton, NC) is looking for donations of books, music, and Bibles.

To burn.

Yes, in addition to smoking Satan's music such as country , pop, heavy metal, western, soft and easy, contemporary Christian, jazz, soul, oldies but goldies (emphasis added) and Satan's popular books written by heretics like... Billy Graham... James Dobson... Oral Roberts... Mother Teresa, [and] The Pope, "Satan's bibles" are going on the barbie.

Anton LaVey can quit clutching his chest, though, because it's not The Satantic Bible getting roasted. No, no, no: it's bibles like the NIV, RSV, NKJV, TLB, NASB, NEV, NRSV, ASV, NWT, Good News for Modern Man, The Evidence Bible, The Message Bible, The Green Bible, ect.

These are perversions of God's Word, the King James Bible.


I don't know what's funnier, that they say they're serving barbequed chicken at this shindig, or that they have to assure people that Bibles in other languages aren't going into the fire...

... as long as they're translations of the KJV, that is.
neadods: (goodbye)
[livejournal.com profile] amilyn says it best: Homegrown Terrorism: America at War on Women.

Click through my tags below, too. Read about Noel Noeson, whose right to conscience involved stealing prescriptions and refusing to answer telephones lest he be asked about birth control. Read about the Biting Beaver, who was shuttled from hospital to hospital attempting to find Plan B until it was too late - and then was given abortion "advice" that might have killed her. Read about the head of Health and Human Services calling it "an important statement" that women be denied birth control. Read, and do not wonder why women need abortion in a country that treats them like this.

Then keep reading. Read about the doctors who've performed abortions on people who picket them - and who then return to the picket lines, because the only moral abortion is theirs. Read about the woman whose fetus died late term in utero - unable to get a doctor to remove the corpse that was festering and sickening her because nobody did late term abortions. Not even to remove a CORPSE. Read about the pro-life girl all ready to do the right thing and adopt - only to discover that none of the prolife shelters she'd helped advertise wanted a biracial baby.

There has been a war for a long time. A war of shouting, of vandalism, of intimidation, of attempted murder, and real murder. Call it for what it is:

A war.

A hate crime.

Terrorism.
neadods: (freedomfromreligion)
The Obama Administration is wasting no time in repealing the skewed 'moral conscience' act. This rule, passed at the nth hour of the previous Administration, allowed anyone in medicine the right to refuse to do anything that conflicted with their conscience without reprisal. The head of Health and Human services, in the face of already existing laws that protect doctors from not having to perform acts against their beliefs, felt that this was needed - and that if it passed and women were denied birth control (which he equates with abortion), that was "an important statement." (That web page now appears to be blank.)

I've had a few statements of my own regarding living in a country where people are already denying women their legal rights in the name of illegally enforcing said women to have to live within the dictates of beliefs they do not share.
neadods: (freedomfromreligion)
If you're American, care about women's rights, and have not yet emailed or written, the 30-day comment period on the Department of Health and Human Services Proposed Regulation Ensuring that DHHS Funds Do Not Support Coercive or Discriminatory Policies is still open. (HTML version here.)

I have talked about this before.

There have been many responses to this. None of them include a precise example of what health care would be like under this rule - so today I'm going further back in my posts to show you the future Leavitt envisions: the saga of Neil T. Noeson.

In April of 2005, the State of Wisconsin Pharmacy Examining Board reprimanded him and limited Noeson's license. This was in response to the fact that Noeson had not informed his employer of his objections to providing birth control, which ultimately led to his being the only pharmacist on duty one day, refusing birth control to a patient, refusing to refer her elsewhere, and refusing to pass on the prescription to the next pharmacist she found. She sued. He hid behind the very conscience clause that Leavitt proposes. The Pharmacy Board concluded (emphasis added):

The Wisconsin Pharmacy Examining Board has never held that a pharmacist is not entitled to exercise his or her conscience in the practice of his or her profession, nor is Respondent’s exercise of conscience the basis for prosecution of this case. Rather, this case is about following professional standards in the exercise of one’s conscience. This, Respondent failed to do. The discipline recommended in this Order is a consequence of Respondent’s failure to act as a professional. The Respondent is not being sanctioned for exercising his conscience. Rather, he is being held accountable, as would any other registered pharmacist, for engaging in a practice that departed from the standards of care that govern his profession.

Page 9 of Leavitt's proposed regulation whines the standards of professional organizations have been used to define the exercise of conscience to be unprofessional. Read that again, in conjunction with what the Board actually said. (And note that at no point in Leavitt's regulation mentions standards of care or patients' rights.)

This is not the end of the Noeson story. He went to a different pharmacy, one which had other pharmacists on staff to help women wanting birth control, even having a separate basket for such drugs so he didn't have to touch him... but he refused to talk to women who asked at the desk, refused to tell anyone else they were there, and even refused to answer the telephone lest he be asked about birth control. Unable to deal with that amount of refusal to do his damn job, they fired him.

He sued them over the very conscience clauses Leavitt cites as current legal precedent.

He lost the first case. He appealed. In April 2007, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago handed him his ass on a platter. The very regulation that Leavitt suggests is reasonable and right a Chicago court finds "would impose an undue hardship... an accommodation that requires other employees to assume a disproportionate workload (or divert them from their regular work) is an undue hardship as a matter of law." (page 4 of the pdf)

Leavitt keeps talking about the hot topic of abortion (limiting of which he apparently considers "an important and legitimate social statement".) Noeson refused BIRTH CONTROL, something the vast majority of American women use. He refused to tell his own supervisors what duties he would or would not perform. He prejudged and refused to serve women. He refused to answer the fucking phone in case he had to hear something he didn't want to hear!

THIS is what DHHS thinks "nondescrimination" looks like. This is the test case of what the DHHS wants to make legal, acceptable, and praiseworthy behavior. If you think this is not the sort of "caring service" that you, your mother, your sisters, your wife, and your daughters should be subjected to, if you don't want to see the floodgates opened to yet more normal and needed services reclassified as "objectionable," then WRITE NOW!

Your voice DOES make a difference. Under the stewardship of Leavitt, the DHHS has also come up with such nonsense as assuming and treating all women as if they are "pre-pregnant" and redefining all forms of birth control equaling abortion. Both of these bits of utter nonsense were shot down as regulations after sustained public outcry (as you can imagine, due to some 98% of American women using birth control at one point or another). This is yet another attempt to get the same notion across, and even if we can't get the notion that women have rights through Leavitt's pointy head, we can make sure that his personal bigotry does not become Government regulation.
neadods: (freedomfromreligion)
In some ways it doesn't matter who Obama's running mate is because I wouldn't vote for McCain if you put a gun to my head. However, now that the choice is made, it should be examined. )

Most importantly to me, Biden has a rating of between 75 to 100% from NARAL and Planned Parenthood, which makes sense for someone who wrote the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). This makes him the perfect person to contact regarding Bush's latest loogie smearing down the Constitution, the upcoming Health and Human Services Regulation to Protect Health Care Providers From Discrimination

Know how the far right likes to frame basic human rights - child custody, employment, hospital visitation, marriage - as "special" rights when homosexuals want them? Well, this little bit of legislative sleight of hand puts conservative Christians in a protected class by making it illegal for them to have to aid the termination of a pregnancy - "termination" redefined as birth control of any sort and "pregnancy" redefined as the moment of conception - regardless of the wishes and beliefs of the patient.

Think I'm making this up? The full text is online as a pdf. Pages 1 and 2 provide means of responding to the Department of Health and Human Services during the 30-day comment period.

I've run a search, and the words "woman," "fetus," "mother," "baby," aren't even in the document. What is there is a whole bunch of whining about how "standards of professional organizations have been used to define the exercise of conscience to be unprofessional" and the health care profession is "intolerant of ... certain religious beliefs" (p 9)

My heart bleeds purple peanut butter in sympathy. How dare organizations set standards of provided care and expect all their members to actually provide it! Page 10 goes on to snivel about "the mistaken beliefs that rights of conscience and self-determination extend to all persons except health care providers."

Everyone else in the world has the choice to not take a job if it conflicts with their personal convictions or to put up and STFU. I can think off the top of my head of about 25 different medical careers that don't ever bring abortion or birth control into the issue - there aren't a lot of cardiologists or radiologists or orthopedists having "conscience" problems on the job. So that whole "we're discriminated against" dog won't hunt. What they're asking for is the right to not do their job AND keep their job AND not be penalized, a "right" extended to no one else anywhere.

Remember that guy I linked to a week or so ago? This is his pet project, only now it's inching from "piss-poor idea" to "law of the land." There is a 30-day comment period. Let the HHS *and* your congresscritter *and* your Presidential candidates of choice hear from you.
neadods: (freedomfromreligion)
Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] naamah_darling, I am aware that the Secretary of Health and Human services has a blog in which he defends the notion of reclassifying birth control as abortion. Which means, of course, that good Christians shouldn't have any truck with that.

I don't go to a steakhouse for a Hindu waiter to tell me that eating cow is abomination. I don't go to a hair salon for a Sikh stylist to tell me that cutting my hair is wrong. I don't go to a doctor (the one choice in this where, by the current rules in this land, my choice is extremely limited and not subject to the free market) to be told medical lies about birth control which will be withheld because their branch of Christianity trumps my rights to freedom from religion.

Which, by the way, according to this man has never happened. Funny how I can find daily reports of women denied abortions (even for a dead fetus) and birth control without even trying.

Naamah has the address if you want to write a letter to his office.

If your conscience won't let you fill the duties of a job to the fullest, then don't take the damn job. It's that simple.
neadods: (disgusted)
Proponents for a federal amendment to ban gay marriage go to court to stop their California statewide proposition from being described as "Eliminates Right of Same-Sex Couples to Marry." Why? The description, although accurate in a state that permits gay marriage, is "prejudicial."

"We feel the ballot language is so inflammatory that it will unduly prejudice voters against the measure," said Jennifer Kerns, a spokeswoman for ProtectMarriage.com-Yes on 8. The proposed "fair, non-prejudicial" wording on the ballot - 'Marriage,' or 'Rules Regarding Marriage' - has the minor problem of not actually telling people what they are voting for or against, which would be putting this statement into the state Constitution: Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.

This is being touted by the "vote yes" supporters as *not* having an impact on gay rights. Because if you didn't have a right in the first place except by some sort of aberrant mistake for a month or two, then it's not taking anything away, now is it?

(Someone remind me which of the Ten Commandments is the one about bearing false witness? I'd also like to see the Bible that defines marriage only as between a man and a woman, I really would. Because last time I looked at mine it also defined marriage between a king, his 3000 wives and concubines, a shepherd and his employer's two daughters, and a bunch of other alternatives, right down to a family including a man, his wife, and his wife's servant's kid and also a man, his daughters, and their incestuous pregnancy. So somebody's Bible seems to be missing a chapter or 50. And this is before I even go through recorded history which has recorded quite a few permutations on the 1 man+1 woman model.)

I'm not even going to link to the Orson Scott Card ravings about how horrible it is that activist judges are applying the law equally to citizens instead of letting some people's rights be decided by majority vote. Let that happen and you've got women thinking they can vote and slaves walking around like freedmen and now you're gonna have CATS AND DOGS LIVING TOGETHER! MASS HYSTERIA!

*eyeroll*
neadods: (freedomfromreligion)
My f-list exploded last night with the news that the Department of Health and Human Services is not only attempting to make it legal for care providers to refuse to provide care on the basis of their religious beliefs, but to also redefine most forms of contraception as abortion. I hope that the stink as this splatters across the web and print media will lead to a quick burial and mutters of "we were only thinking about it," just as with their previous attempt to rule all women to be treated as "pre-pregnant." (And if you want to read a rant on the subject, [livejournal.com profile] naamah_darling's is the best (and utterly NSFW) with a less profane follow up citing places where strongly worded outrage will do a little good.

There is going to have to be a Supreme Court case about personal rights (as in "your right to swing your fist ends at my nose and your religion doesn't trump my right to direct my wishes on health care.") And we need it soon.

But in a quieter way, sometimes the good guys win. Two library stories. In one, local members of a church group got their panties in a wad because the library computers can (and are used to) access Teen Planned Parenthood. (Among other complaints, sex ed is "pornography.") The library board voted unanimously to keep the site linked.

In the other, a librarian responds to the request to remove a children's book about gay marriage. Beautifully written anti-censorship piece, with a side order of "the Founding Fathers didn't found this country for the same reason your minister told you."
neadods: (disagree)
Just when it looked like it was going to be a nice day, my office mate finds this:

Cop sees a man beat a woman. Police arrest man for domestic abuse. Woman does not show up at trial. Does the judge wonder about fear? Flight? Witness intimidation? Nope. "The state is stepping into the shoes of the victim when she obviously doesn't care," the judge said Oct. 3 before acquitting Michael Antonio Webb of second-degree assault. "It's that big brother mentality of the state."

The judge said without the victim's testimony, he couldn't be sure she didn't want to be beaten.


He couldn't be sure that she didn't want to be beaten. That has to be repeated. Without her testimony, he had to assume that she wanted to be beaten. Because there are sado-masochists out there, y'know.

Seriously, that's what the judge cited. "[S]adomasochists sometimes like to get beat up."

In public? In front of a non-consenting cop?

I've been in the kinky community for a long time without finding anyone who thinks that's hot, as opposed to "the most stupid-ass way of getting arrested EVER."

But because there's something like a .000000001% chance that the cop interrupted a consensual public sado-masochistic scene, the guy - the 6+ foot-guy - who pounds a woman in front of a cop (for the crime of being late picking him up) is acquitted.

The judge (a recently benched Republican, natch) continues to insist that the state has to prove that the victim wasn't consenting. And that he's not a complete asshole either: "I'm probably as against domestic violence as anybody, when the case is proven."

Gotta love the "probably" in that sentence!

At least one person in this mess has his head screwed on right, though: "It's not like there is a rule saying you can't get a conviction without the victim's testimony," [Andrew D. Levy, an adjunct professor at the University of Maryland School of Law] said, noting judges infer murder victims didn't want to die all the time.

That's local. At the federal level, of course, we've got the new the Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for Population Affairs [which is, among other things, in charge of national family planning (low-cost birth control to poor women)] who thinks that making people provide contraceptives is not about choice. It's not about health care. It's about making everyone collaborators with the culture of death ... fertility is not a disease."

No, but it's damned inconvenient when you don't want to be fertile while still doing certain activities that are safe, sane, consensual and - I can't believe how often I have to remind people of this - legal.

Silly women out there having sex! Apparently we're supposed to work out our adult ya-yas getting our faces caved in instead. THAT'll be just peachyfine, and you don't even need contraceptives!
neadods: (disgusted)
Back in 2005, I wrote about a man named Neil T. Noeson.

Mr. Noeson is a pharmacist, but he is also a Man of Faith, and he refuses to violate that faith by dirtying his hands (or any clients) with anything involving birth control. He wrote a letter to that effect which never made it into the hands of his supervisors at the "On the Go" pharmacy within K-Mart in Menomonie, Wisconsin.

Which is why when On Saturday, July 6, 2002, the patient, referred to hereinafter as “AR”, went to the K-Mart Pharmacy and requested a refill of her Loestrin FE 1/20 prescription, Mr. Noeson (the only pharmacist on site) asked her specifically if she was using the drug for contraception. When she said yes, "AR" got turned down flat. He refused to aid her, refused to refer her to anywhere else, and (when she went to Wal-Mart and they called for her prescription information) he refused to pass the prescription on.

AR pitched a bitch to the manager of K-mart, who admitted that K-Mart had been having problems the whole day because women could not get their prescriptions filled. She suggested that AR come in on Monday, which is what eventually happened, as Mr. Noeson refused all weekend long to violate his conscience by dispensing the drug... which means that AR had a lapse in her coverage, as she was due to start taking the next course of pills by then.

AR pitched a bitch, Noeson stood his ground and appealed, and the the matter ended up in front of the State of Wisconsin Pharmacy Board which, quite frankly spanked him soundly. They announced Respondent clearly needs training in the ethics of his profession and hit him with the full court costs of the case along with a demand to attend ethics classes and make employers fully aware of his limitations.

Now, many of Noeson's problems came from his point-blank refusal to not only dispense the drugs, but to make his employers aware of his planned refusal, or to take responsibility for not telling them. Again quoting from the WI Pharmacy Board (all the quotes above from their decision): When asked whether he had an obligation to make certain that the pharmacies knew the extent of his conscientious objections and the acts which he would not perform, Respondent answered, “That’s a good question. Is that a good answer or not?” At another point in the hearing, Respondent was asked to explain how an employer could accommodate a pharmacist’s refusal to transfer a prescription if they did not know that the pharmacist would refuse to do so. Respondent again replied, “That’s a good question. That’s my answer.”...

Respondent would have the Board conclude that it was the obligation of others to interpret the extent of his conscientious objections and to ensure that an alternate arrangement was in place so that patients would receive their health care.


Well, in the intervening years, now under order to be Very Very Clear about what he would or would not do thanks to the previous ruling, Noeson found a Wal-Mart where his conscience would be much less conflicted. His supervisor was so very helpful in respecting Mr. Noeson's objections that he not only excused Noeson from dealing with any sort of contraceptive orders, he even put out a separate basket for anything dealing with birth control so that Noeson wouldn't have to touch anything sullied by the evil.

And that STILL wasn't enough! The supervisor soon noticed a pattern: when Noeson got phone calls or clients asking about birth control he didn't get another pharmacist to help them - he put them on hold or walked away from the desk and never told anyone else that there were clients waiting.

The supervisor offered to vet all incoming clients and to ask Noeson to only deal with men and women "not of childbearing age," but Noeson was just going to have to answer the damn phone.

After five days of noncompliance, Noeson was fired. He had to be removed by police when he started lecturing the Wal-Mart shoppers.

Noeson promptly filed a lawsuit, saying that his civil rights were being violated by Wal-Mart's refusing to "insulate him from any interaction, no matter how brief, with any person seeking birth control."

The court smacked him around. He appealed, saying that due to his religion he should have been relieved of all telephone and counter duties and anything else was discrimination. The appeals court just ripped him a new one too (warning: pdf file).

"Life News" has the headline Appeals Court Rules Wal-Mart Can Ignore Pharmacist's Conscience Plea They do make passing mention of the options that Wal-Mart had offered, but also regretfully say that Wal-Mart had announced it would stock Plan B "after tremendous pressure from Planned Parenthood."

The hardships for the employer are glossed over. The hardships for the women are not mentioned.

Part of me is happy that the Board and the Courts are showing some basic common sense regarding the rights of women. The rest of me wants to go to that Wal-Mart right now and smack the crap out of that supervisor, who was only aiding and abetting the notion that to refuse to handle A LEGAL, SAFE, COMMONLY-PRESCRIBED DRUG ON THE BASIS THAT HIS RELIGION OUTWEIGHED THE WOMAN'S BELIEFS AND BODILY INTEGRITY was any kind of permissable.
neadods: (disgusted)
Never has this icon been more appropriate. Woman fined for peace-sign shaped Christmas wreath; neighbors complain it is anti-American and satanic. Considering how hysterical neocons and chickenhawks have been when anyone questions the Holy War in Iraq, I'm not too shocked that there are people who see a peace sign as unAmerican.

But I do wonder what the "peace=Satan" carols those fine upstanding Christians are going to be singing this season:

Can't be Silent Night (sleep in heavenly peace, sleep in heavenly peace)
...or Bring A Torch, Jeanette Isabella (Hush, hush, peacefully now He slumbers)
...much less Good Christian Men Rejoice (Now ye need not fear the grave; Peace! Peace!)
...and Do You Hear What I Hear (Pray for peace, people everywhere!) is right out!
Along with Joy To the World (Peace on earth and mercy mild and Hail! the heaven-born Prince of Peace!)
...plus I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day (wild and sweet the words repeat/Of peace on earth, good will to men)
...not to mention It Came Upon a Midnight Clear (Peace on the earth, good will to men and The Prince of Peace their King).
Forget about O Holy Night (His gospel is peace)
...or O Little Town of Bethlehem (And peace to men on earth)
...and round off the banning with While Shepards Watched Their Flocks (All glory be to God on high/And on the earth be peace).

But I tell ya, one carol is REALLY appropriate this year:
And in despair I bowed my head:
"There is no peace on earth," I said,
"For hate is strong and mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good will to men."
neadods: (freedomfromreligion)
Today's Washington Post has an op-ed piece by Peter Sprigg, billed as "vice president for policy at the Family Research Council." Although the title is Pro-Family, Pro-Vaccine, the point to it is that Gardasil must not be made a mandatory vaccine because it's so much more important that fundamentalists still be able to threaten their daughters with death before dishonor.

It starts off so promisingly. Honestly, the article says all the things that you'd expect it to say if it really was pro-science and pro-health: Various strains of HPV are sexually transmitted and produce infections that are responsible for virtually all cases of cervical cancer. Cervical cancer kills 10 American women a day. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has already found the vaccine to be both safe and effective. Development of a vaccine for HPV is a tremendous medical achievement and a boon to public health. It holds the potential to protect the health of millions and preserve the lives of thousands of American women each year.

Having established that a proper pro-life position is to be against something that kills women (although his numbers are a bit low; the previous statistic I saw was 4,000 American women a year, which is closer to 11 women a day), he goes on to admit that yes, not supporting the vaccine would be political suicide. After extensive study, we and other pro-family groups have concluded that the clear benefits of developing an HPV vaccine outweigh any potential costs. The groups welcoming it include leading conservative pro-family organizations such as the Family Research Council, Focus on the Family, Concerned Women for America and the Medical Institute for Sexual Health.

The rot starts in at the very next paragraph. With tortured politeness and an air of clearing the public record of liberal lies, Mr. Sprigg then announces There are, however, two important concerns that must be emphasized. The first is the accurate communication to the public of what the vaccine does, and does not, prevent. Gardasil is being touted by its manufacturer, Merck, as the world's first vaccine to prevent cancer. And, Mr. Sprigg hastens to inform us, it doesn't. It merely targets four strains of HPV, and those four strains account for merely 70% of the cases of cervical cancer, so you see, Gardasil doesn't REALLY cure cancer.

Or, as he puts it, But 70 percent is not the same as eradication.

Which, no it isn't. They never said it eradicated all cancers, but Mr. Sprigg makes it sound like he's airing some deep dark lie when he says The public must understand the undisputed scientific facts regarding the HPV vaccine. Most important, it is only "100 percent effective" against the strains of HPV it targets, leaving 30 percent of cervical cancer cases untouched. This means that even if every person in the country were vaccinated, women would still need to get yearly Pap tests. And, tragically, some women will still die even when all precautionary measures are taken against cervical cancer. Claims that "the new vaccine, when used appropriately, will virtually eliminate cervical cancer" are simply false.

They never said "virtually eliminate." They did say that they would save many lives. You know, like 70% of them. Close to three-quarters of the women now afflicted. It is simply true that Gardasil is enough to save the lives of 7 of those 10(.958) women who die every day without the vaccine. Seven lives a day; 2555 lives a year in America alone. I'm sorry that's not good enough for you Mr. Sprigg. It beats the hell out of the status quo, though, especially for those two-and-a-half-thousand women.

The second "concern" is, of course, exactly what I've been sounding the clarion call to expect -that fathers' parents' rights include the "right" to play dice with their daughter's lives. In other words, they shouldn't be "forced" to protect their daughters from dying. But before he goes there, Sprigg throws pretty bright sparkles in the air to confuse the issue. If use of the vaccine becomes part of the recommended standard of care, and if the federal Vaccines for Children program pays for vaccination of those children whose families cannot afford it, then vaccination should become widespread without school mandates. Mr. Sprigg soothes. In other words, there is no problem here... so why is he bringing it up?

Because there's a problem here.

The real battle ground is the schoolyard, and just as cancer prevention is being reframed as being "about" promiscuity, death prevention is being reframed as a schooling issue. Namely, that Gardasil (although it protects against a current health issue and against a future fatal one) doesn't cover anything important enough that it should be made one of the mandatory vaccines required for public school attendance. (Why this is a particular battleground for the same contingent that is also currently arguing that their children should be homeschooled is bending my brain a bit.)

Unfortunately for Mr. Sprigg, the real agenda comes out quickly enough. Pro-family groups are united in believing that parents should decide what is best for their children. And if those parents decide that it's best that 70% of their daughters should be at risk for dying, well then, that's more important than the lives of the little whores anyway.

And they would be little whores by definition if they catch cooter cancer, despite Mr. Sprigg's nth-hour, last paragraph, next-to-last sentence quiet admission that even someone who practices abstinence and fidelity could be exposed to HPV through sexual assault or marriage to an infected partner. Mr. Sprigg wants us to think that we're discussing health issues, school issues, even civil rights (although never from the perspective of minor females who, one is left to assume, don't actually have civil rights), but what we're REALLY discussing is sex. Evil, evil sex.

But in this case the strains of HPV that cause cervical cancer are transmitted only through sexual contact. ... The scientific advance that the HPV vaccine represents should not distract us from the primary truth that abstinence until marriage and fidelity within marriage constitute the single best formula for sexual health. Mr. Sprigg, you're so good at complaining about the statistics regarding Gardasil coverage, would you like to cite the statistics regarding the abstinence pledges in delaying, much less denying, premarital sex? No? I suppose that after having bitched that 70% protective coverage isn't good enough that it might be a tad embarrassing to have to admit that independent studies show that abstinence courses not only fail over 90% of the time, but there are also corresponding statistics for the rise of STDs and teen pregnancies.

The paternalistic view that just because something is good for you the government should force you to do it is not one that most American families would welcome, Mr. Sprigg grandly proclaims. So I must ask you, Mr. Sprigg - what is the opinion of 70% of the daughters of those families? What do they welcome? Because nobody is asking you, the adult male. You're not at risk of death. Unlike you, we are actually thinking about saving your daughter's lives. Unlike you, we are not willing to silently risk them rather than allow you to gamble with them.

If you're willing to publicly admit that "even someone who practices abstinence and fidelity could be exposed to HPV" then you have already admitted that your program CANNOT save girls' lives. Game over. You've just undermined your own argument.

There is only one pro-life decision that can be made by American families, Mr. Sprigg, and that is to save 2555 lives in America every year and not to cross your fingers that your daughters will cross their legs and not become one of the 10-a-day statistic.
neadods: (freedomfromreligion)
Step in the right direction - federal panel unanimously recommends girls aged 11-12 be vaccinated with Gardasil, with side comments that it should also be made available for females aged 9 - 26 at their or their parents (depending on age) permission.

This is one step closer to saving thousands of women from death by cancer. 4,000 preventable deaths per year in America alone.

And this is the reaction to such a pro-life position:

"If that [making the vaccine mandatory] happens, state officials, not parents, would become the primary sexual-health decision makers for America's children. That's the way things are done in dictatorships, not democracies," said Linda Klepacki of Focus on the Family.
---
"This is not a communicable disease that would keep kids out of school like mumps or rubella," said Gerald Tirozzi, executive director of the National Assn. of Secondary School Principals, whose members include middle school and high school administrators. "To make this a condition to enter school — I think parents would become very upset, and many would see this as a signal to their daughters that they can become sexually active," Tirozzi said. "I think there would be a lot of push-back." It's only a communicable disease that could kill the girls. Slowly, painfully, expensively. That shouldn't bother the parents half as much as the idea of darling daughter ever parting her thighs.
---
``You can't catch the virus, you have to go out and get it with sexual behavior,'' said Linda Klepacki of Focus on the Family, a conservative Christian nonprofit group that opposes efforts to mandate Gardasil vaccinations. ``We can prevent it by having the best public health method, and that's not having sex before marriage,'' Klepacki said. Best public health method? Care to stack that claim up against any other public health threats? Abstinence going to cure avian flu, lung cancer, heart disease, the common cold? No? How about ending rape, pedophilia, sexual abuse? Not that either? But don't worry, Ms. Klepacki, if any of the latter happen to a girl and she later dies of HPV-related cancer, you can add insult to injury by saying she went "out and get it."

This Klepacki seems to be a mine of mind-twisting quotes. I'd google her, but I have a feeling I'd end up needing a shower and lots of brain bleach.

The Guardian in England lays it out on the line in that refreshingly British way: Which is the greater evil, cervical cancer or sluttish behaviour? ... Because being vaccinated against a potentially deadly disease could make girls slutty. Seriously. ... [R]ead: "Only whores get cancer."

But after all that, a shining light of sanity and reason:
Two national health insurers, Aetna and WellPoint, the parent of Blue Cross of California, said they would follow the committee's recommendations and begin reimbursing for the vaccine immediately. HIP-HIP-HUZZAH FOR THEM!
neadods: (freedomfromreligion)
I've never heard of Skepchick before, but thanks to [livejournal.com profile] acroyear70 (who has some alarming must-read posts today) I do now. If this is the quality of her stuff, I'm going to become a regular reader. This is a link to Just Say No To Fire Extinguisers, wherein she applies the anti-cancer-vaccine arguments to the use and availability of fire extinguishers.

When she stops making analogies, she doesn't mince any words: Worldwide, 250,000 women will die of cervical cancer this year, and judging by his argument, Dr. Finger appears to believe that these tramps had it coming. Why? Because they made the fatal mistake of having sex before Finger’s god told them it was okay. Well, according to him, at least.

She also links to a rant at Truthdig, which has some really mind-blowing "death before defloration" quotes: Yet another organization that promotes abstinence is the Physicians Consortium. The head of the consortium, Dr. Hal Wallis, is also critical of the vaccine. In his opinion [http://www.aidsmap.com/en/news/3429199D-5FE5-4795-B0E6-CD957617C160.asp], “If you don’t want to suffer these diseases, you need to abstain, and when you find a partner, stick with that partner.” The founder of the National Abstinence Clearinghouse also opposes the vaccine. This organization was formed “to promote the appreciation for and practice of sexual abstinence (purity) until marriage.” Leslee Unruh, the organization’s founder, stated firmly, “I personally object to vaccinating children against a disease that is 100% preventable with proper sexual behavior.”

These people were not vanquished when Gardasil was approved. They were not silenced. They are fighting a rearguard action that will allow them to criminally endanger their daughter's lives and the lives of every female child whose parents cannot afford the vaccine if it is not made mandatory.

What they are fighting for - and these quotes make it quite clear - is the ability to leave women unprotected and (icing on the cake) blame them for contracting cancer.

Do not let people frame this as being about sex and "being a good girl." This is about life and health. Anti-vaccine = pro-death. There is no other framework.
neadods: (ani-me)
My f-list exploded yesterday with joy that the FDA had approved Gardasil, the vaccine that protects against HPV and therefore against cancer. I would be a great deal more personally joyful if I wasn't so aware that the FDA has also long since approved the pill - which hasn't stopped the growing American Taliban from trying to make sure that just because it's legal doesn't mean it's going to be available to the women who want it.

When we can get Gardasil without a bunch of hysteria about sex and sexuality, THEN I'll rejoice. Because I have yet to see a single article about this vaccine, its testing, its uses, its coverage, etc. without at least one quote from Focus on the Family and its ilk, always beating the drum that abstinence programs - which haven't worked to stop STDs, teen pregnancy, or even abstinence from sexual activity - will magically protect women from cancer. As if that has anything to do with saving women's lives or the many ways in which virtuous girls can become exposed to HPV.

The message being touted here, under all the handwaving about being glad that the vaccine is available just as long as it isn't made mandatory, is simple: Don't make us protect our kids, because we think the little sluts deserve cooter cancer if they don't toe the line. Katha Pollitt states it beautifully in Virginity or Death! It's honor killing on the installment plan... Faced with a choice between sex and death, they choose death every time.

The FDA approval was only the smallest of steps in the right direction. The real battle is not yet begun.
neadods: (oy)
My planned rant on the facile faith of the song "Christmas Shoes" has been interrupted by disgusted shock over yesterday's blatant Congressional violation of the First Amendment. Last night Congress voted 401 - 22 to "protect the symbols and traditions of Christmas."

Whereas the Framers intended that the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States would prohibit the establishment of religion, not prohibit any mention of religion or reference to God in civic dialog: Now, therefore, be it Resolved, That the House of Representatives--

(1) recognizes the importance of the symbols and traditions of Christmas;

(2) strongly disapproves of attempts to ban references to Christmas; and

(3) expresses support for the use of these symbols and traditions.
(text from Library of Congress website.)

Democrat Steve Israel asked the Republican author of the resolution, Rep. Jo Ann Davis (R-VA), if she would permit the symbols of Chanukah and other holidays to be included in the protection of the resolution. She refused. The same site quotes several of the Congresspeople brave enough to stand up for the First Amendment and those of their constituents who are being denied equal protection for their beliefs:

Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-NY): "There are people around who need an enemy at all times to try to separate us one from the other as Americans in order to advance their own agenda. ... To tell the truth, it is slightly offensive to see people trying to create a war and claiming they are attacked just so that they go on the offense instead of the defense. This is a prefabricated issue that has no merit. Nobody is attacking the symbols of Christmas. Are you objecting to our wanting to be included because the symbols of your religion are more important than the symbols of anybody else's religion in America? Or is it because you think that the symbols of your religion are more official?"

-----

Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA): "Madam Speaker, this resolution purports to protect the symbols of Christmas, but what really needs to be protected are not the symbols of Christmas, but rather the spirit of Christmas. The spirit of Christmas demands generosity and goodwill towards others. Instead of legislation that respects the spirit of Christmas, Congress in just these past few weeks has passed a budget that includes mean-spirited attacks on the least of us. For those who are hungry, we are cutting food stamps. For those who are sick, we are cutting Medicaid. For those who are in prison, we are imposing senseless mandatory minimums. For others we are ignoring increases in heating costs and cutting student loans. At the same time we are cutting those programs to help the least of us, we are cutting taxes for the wealthiest in society. Madam Speaker, we ought to express our passion for Christmas through deeds, not words; and we should not be distracted from our responsibility to uphold the spirit of Christmas as we consider the effects our actions on the Federal budget will have on the least of us during this holiday season. For these reasons I oppose this resolution."

----

Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY): "For someone who does not celebrate Christmas, the question looms: Why? Why not say to someone who wants to make this inclusive that, indeed, we are going to make it inclusive? The symbols of Chanukah are not valuable? Sure, they are, I think. The symbols of Kwanzaa are not valuable to some? Sure, they are. I cannot imagine why the gentlewoman who is the sponsor of this, who says that she speaks from a sense of inclusion, would not want to include those. Are those not worthy of being protected? What is the message that is being sent?"

----

Congressman Dingell, who voted for the resolution, nevertheless raked it down in a satirical poem on his webpage.

The "War on Christmas" just drew blood. So much for "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." There are a lot of Jews on my friends list who are furious that Congressional support has been point-blank denied for "the use of [their] symbols and traditions."

And even if O'Reilly gets wind of this and trumpets it as a great victory, we all know that he's going to be screaming about the same "war" next winter holiday season, just has he has for the last two.

Rep Bobby Scott said it best. If you want to keep Christ in Christmas, the best way to do so is to act in a Christlike manner. Not to fulminate about what to call a decorated tree - ESPECIALLY since said tree wasn't a Christian tradition in the first place!

x-posted to [livejournal.com profile] dark_christian
neadods: (freedomfromreligion)
I've raged often enough in my LJ about women who are denied birth control by pharmacists who won't dirty their moral righteousness by their duty to their customers.

Well, remember that slippery slope that I kept bitching about? How it wasn't going to just stay birth control, how this was the wedge to start denying all sorts of things on religious grounds? It's begun: A California appeals court last week sided with the doctors, Christine Brody and Douglas Fenton, saying they can claim religious liberty in refusing to treat a patient who was gay because it was against their Christian beliefs.

We're sliding down that slippery slope, people, and we're picking up speed. Both sides admit that this case is exactly what it looks like it is - not a discussion about fertilization or right to life, but the test case on "whether a doctor can choose who to treat based on religious beliefs."

The doctors are claiming that they didn't refuse to treat her because she was gay, they refused to treat her because she wasn't married. Discrimination based on marital status, y'see, is not prohibited by law. Except for that charming Catch-22 that there is no gay marriage in her state...
neadods: (oy)
ABC has an article on the ID decision in Kansas, spinning it as a win for the Discovery Institute. Which it is - but they're not going to wave the victory flag long if they keep acting like this:

The Discovery Institute denies allegations that its true agenda is religious.

Their public relations representative stopped ABC News' interview when asked about the organization's many evangelical Christian donors.

"I don't think we want to go down that path," he said.

Meyer says no matter who provides financial support, his goals are scientific and that science may one day prove his belief that the intelligent designer is God.


Oh, golly, I could go on for hours just about these few sentences. I'll stick with three:

1) Stopping an interview is the same as standing up and shrieking "I'M HIDING SOMETHING I DON'T WANT YOU TO KNOW!" and is the world's stupidest way of deflecting a conversation. If you don't want to go down that path, why not say "Most of our doners are not evangelicals." Or - if that's, say, a lie, why not deflect with "many evangelicals also donate to [insert other cause(s) here]" and make it seem like no big deal?

2) The attitude seems to be that refusing to talk about funding is the same as making sure that questions won't ever be asked. I'm sure that Frist and DeLay and the people who ran Enron sincerely wish it worked that way. It doesn't.

3) The Discovery Institute can deny allegations of religion all it wants; its page still refers to God. Also free-market capitalism and American supremacy. It also lists a program on religion and public life. With bonus page praising the Pope's pro-Intelligent Design statement.

(It also claims that No one is proposing that supernatural explanations should be included in science. They just don't want such things entirely ruled out; you see, solely natural explanations of phenomina "subtly shift the emphasis in science education from the investigative process to the end result... and encourages premature answers to scientific questions" for reasons that are never explained.)

Now, taking just those web pages, I suppose it would be possible to argue that acknowledging religion is not the same as endorsing it... until Meyer opens up his mouth and says that he hopes to scientifically prove that there is a God.

Glad to know that there really isn't a religious goal, Meyer.

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