Dr. Tiller’s Murder and the Government’s Pursuit of Anti-Abortion Terrorism

On Monday, we posted about the murder of Dr. George Tiller–an abortion provider who offered critical services to women–and how the media is covering the case and how the government has responded. We noted that it hasn’t been labeled “terrorism,” even though the action was clearly aimed at intimidating doctors and abortion rights advocates.

Environmental writer Will Potter–who has written extensively on the radical environmental and animal rights movement–wrote a thoughtful piece earlier this week that asks why the murder isn’t being called terrorism. Potter points out that even though the chief suspect in the case was arrested back in the 1990s ammunition, gunpowder, a blasting cap, and a fuse–the government is not calling this shooting “terrorism.” Potter says that this is due to the fact that clinics do not have the lobbying power of multi-national corporations, that it’s not a threat to profits, and that it doesn’t “threaten the American way of life. Potter argues that companies that exploit animals have sought and won protective legislation, but doctors and pro-choice advocates have been unable to make similar gains.

Sadly, news has also come out that the FBI was warned about Dr. Tiller’s shooter within the past week. Democracy Now reports:

New information indicates that Scott Roeder, the man arrested and charged with first-degree murder for Dr. Tiller’s death, was seen vandalizing a Kansas City women’s health clinic called Aid for Women on two separate occasions last week, a week before Dr. Tiller was killed and a day before his murder.

The clinic manager, calls himself “Jeff Pederson” to protect his identity, says he called the FBI and local law enforcement, but the vandal, Scott, was not arrested.

The first incident was discovered on Memorial Day; the second, this past Saturday. That’s May 30th. Pederson and other clinic staff recognized the vandal as “Scott” from anti-abortion protests and gave the FBI his first name, his license plate number, and video footage of the incidents from a security camera at the clinic.

However, the FBI allegedly did not act on the tip according to the manager of Dr. Tiller’s Aid for Women clinic.

Democracy Now! also interviewed one of Tiller’s colleagues about law enforcement’s unwillingness to pursue anti-abortion protestors. In addition, The Michigan Messenger published a piece looking at how few prosecutions are pursued against anti-abortion groups.

To be sure, there is a lot to focus on with this murder–the radical anti-abortion movement, the need for the government to take this crime seriously (as it hasn’t done in the past with anti-abortion terrorism), the critical importance of the abortion services offered by Dr. Tiller, and the need to support women’s access to abortion–the media’s coverage of the murder is just one facet.

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Headlines: Cheney: Only Alternative to Guantanamo Is To Kill Terror Suspects; Women’s Health Care Services Clinic in Wichita To Reopen Next Week

Democracy Now Headlines: Cheney: Only Alternative to Guantanamo Is To Kill Terror Suspects; Women's Health Care Services Clinic in Wichita To Reopen Next Week

Headlines from DemocracyNow.org, a daily TV/radio news program, hosted by Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez, airing on over 650 stations, pioneering the largest community media collaboration in the US.<

GM Files For Bankruptcy

Auto giant General Motors filed for Chapter 11 Monday in one of the largest bankruptcy cases in U.S. history. Under the proposed restructuring plan, the US government will invest another $30 billion in GM-in addition to the $19 billion it has already received-and take ownership of 60 percent of the company.

Women’s Health Care Services Clinic in Wichita To Reopen Next Week

In Wichita Kansas, the Women’s Health Care Services clinic remains closed two days after the murder of its founder Doctor George Tiller. Associates of Tiller said the clinic will resume normal operations next week. Tiller was assassinated Sunday by Scott Roeder, an anti-abortion activist with ties to separatist militia groups. Roeder faces a scheduled court hearing today. Tiller had been a target of anti-abortion activists for over two decades. His clinic was bombed in 1985, eight years later he was shot in both arms. On Monday, anti-abortion activist Randall Terry, the founder of Operation Rescue, said Tiller reaped what he sowed.

Randall Terry: “Pro-life leaders and the pro-life movement are not responsible for George Tiller’s death. George Tiller was a mass-murderer and, horrifically, he reaped what he sowed.”

Due to the threat posed by anti-abortion activists, Attorney General Eric Holder has dispatched US Marshals to protect women’s health clinics and abortion providers nationwide.

UN Enters Gaza For War Crimes Probe

United Nations human rights investigators have entered Gaza to probe possible war crimes and other violations of international law during Israel”s military assault on Gaza last December. Israel has refused to cooperate with the investigation. The UN team is headed by South African jurist Richard Goldstone.

Richard Goldstone: “On behalf of the four members of the fact-finding mission sent here by the United Nations to do a fact-finding with regard to not only the military campaign in December and January in the past few months, but also to look at any violations of international human rights law, of international humanitarian law.”

Obama: U.S. Must Be More ‘Honest’ With Israel

President Obama has reiterated his call for Israel to freeze the construction of settlements in the West Bank. Obama’s comment came in an interview on National Public Radio in which he also indicated that he would be more willing to criticize Israel than previous administrations have been.

President Obama: “Part of being a good friend is being honest. And I think there have been times where we are not as honest as we should be about the fact that the current direction, the current trajectory in the region, is profoundly negative — not only for Israeli interests but also U.S. interests. And that’s part of a new dialogue that I’d like to see encouraged in the region.”

Kidnapped Pakistani Students Rescued

Pakistani soldiers have rescued scores of students and staff from a military-run college who were abducted by Taliban militants in the northwest of the country on Monday. Pakistani officials said 71 students and nine staff members had been rescued. Meanwhile a court in Pakistan has ordered the release of Hafiz Mohammad Saeed, the leader of an Islamic charity accused of being a front for a group tied to the Mumbai attacks that killed more than 170 people.

Kim Jong-Il Reportedly Picks Son To Be His Successor

North Korean leader Kim Jong-il has reportedly designated his youngest son to be the country’s next ruler. Little is known about his youngest son, who is thought to have been born in 1983 or early 1984.

Jimmy Carter Disagrees With Obama on Releasing Torture Photos

Former President Jimmy Carter said last night that he disagrees with President Obama’s decision to block the release of hundreds of photos of torture committed at US prisons overseas. Carter spoke on CNN.

Jimmy Carter: “[M]ost of his supporters were hoping that he would be much more open in the revelation of what we’ve done in the past. But he’s made a decision with which I really can’t contend that he doesn’t want to resurrect the past, he doesn’t want to punish those who are guilty of perpetrating of what I consider crimes against our own laws and against our own constitution. And the revelation of those pictures might very well inflame further animosity against our country causing some harm to our soldiers, so I don’t agree with him, but I certainly don’t criticize him for making that decision.”

Jimmy Carter also also addressed the possible prosecution of Bush administration officials.

Jimmy Carter: “I think prosecuting is too strong a word, what I would like to see is a complete examination of what did happen, the identification of any perpetrators of crimes against our own laws or against international law and then after all that’s done, decide whether or not there should be any prosecutions. But the revelation of what did happen is what I think I would support.”

Gen. Sanchez Calls For Truth Commission

Meanwhile the former top coalition commander in Iraq, General Ricardo Sanchez, has called for a truth commission to investigate abusive interrogation practices. Sanchez said: “If we do not find out what happened then we are doomed to repeat it.” Sanchez was in command of Iraq when the infamous abuses occurred at Abu Ghraib. In 2006 a German attorney filed a war crimes suit against Sanchez and other high-ranking offiicials.

Cheney: Only Alternative to Guantanamo Is To Kill Terror Suspects

Former Vice President Dick Cheney defended the military prison at Guantanamo saying the U.S. needs a place to hold suspected terrorists. Cheney said the only alternative the Bush administration had to creating Gauntanamo was to kill terror suspects.

Dick Cheney: “If you’re going to be engaged in a world conflict such as we are, such as the global war on terrorism, if you don’t have a place where you can hold these people, your only other option is to kill them And we don’t operate that way.”

Number of Armed Contractors on Rise in Afghanistan and Iraq

Newly released Pentagon statistics show the number of armed contractors in both Iraq and Afghanistan is rapidly rising. The number of military contractors in Afghanistan increased by 29 percent in the second quarter of 2009. The number in Iraq jumped by 23 percent. Independent journalist Jeremy Scahill reports there are now over 240,000 private contractors working in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Senate Criticized For Voting to Expand Funding of IMF

A coalition of civil society groups, as well as some U.S. lawmakers, are criticizing a recent Senate vote to expand funding for the International Monetary Fund by 108 billion dollars. InterPress Service reports opponents of the funding are concerned about the conditions the IMF usually imposes upon low-income countries when they accept these funds. Typically, the IMF requires recipient countries to reduce their budget deficits and increase interest rates. As a result, countries have been forced to cut essential social programs, like unemployment insurance and other safety-net mechanisms.

Mauricio Funes Sworn In As New President of El Salvador

In El Salvador Mauricio Funes was sworn in as the country’s new president Monday. Funes’ party, the FMLN, is a former guerrilla group that fought El Salvador’s US-backed military government for close to twenty years. Before the start of the inauguration ceremony, Funes visited the shrine of slain Archbishop Oscar Romero at the Cathedral of San Salvador. Romero, the so-called “voice of the voiceless,” was a powerful advocate for the poor and a leading critic of the former military government in El Salvador when he was assassinated while saying mass on March 24, 1980.

Mauricio Funes: “In the midst of the tough economic situation in El Salvador, the least we can do is pay homage publicly to the memory of Monsignor Romero.”?

Baucus to Meet With Single Payer Advocates

After months of protests, Democratic Sen. Max Baucus has agreed to meet with a delegation of leading single payer national health plan advocates on Wednesday. Baucus chairs the Senate Finance Committee and plays a key role in the debate over reforming the health care system. He has repeatedly said a single-payer system is off the table and has iced out single payer advocates from committee hearings.

Protests Set For 200th Execution in Texas Under Governor Perry

Death Penalty opponents in Texas are planning to protest today outside the prison where Terry Lee Hankins is scheduled to be executed. Hankins is set to become the 200th person executed under Texas Governor Rick Perry. No governor has overseen more executions in modern U.S. history. Meanwhile the Supreme Court has unanimously ruled that the state of Ohio should have another chance to sentence a convicted killer to death, despite a previous factual finding that the man is mentally retarded.

No More Deaths Activist on Trial in Arizona

In Arizona a human rights activist from the group No More Deaths went on trial Monday for leaving plastic jugs of water in a National Wildlife Refuge near the U.S.-Mexico border. The activist, Walt Staton, says the water jugs were left to prevent migrants from dying of dehydration. The U.S. government has accused Staton of “knowingly littering” in the Buenos Aires Wildlife Refuge. The group No More Deaths has worked for years to provide humanitarian aid to migrants. Over the past decade, nearly 2,000 men, women and children died while trying to cross the border into Arizona.

Catholic Priest & Writer Thomas Berry, 1914-2009

And the Catholic priest, historian and writer Thomas Berry has died at the age of 94. The self- described “geologian” founded the Riverdale Center for Religious Research. In 2005 Berry told a reporter: “If the earth does grow inhospitable toward human presence, it is primarily because we have lost our sense of courtesy toward the earth and its inhabitants.”

Abortion Doctor Murdered, Media and Government don’t Label it “Terrorism”

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Over the weekend, an a doctor named George Tiller–who provided abortions to women who needed them–was gunned down as he entered his church. The shooting was part of a long campaign of anti-abortion violence aimed at intimidating doctors who perform abortions. Not only that, it’s part of an upsurge in harassment of clinics since President Barack Obama took office. The lead suspect in the case has long been associated with the anti-abortion movement–a movement which has successfully restricted access to abortion over the years.

While the media coverage of the shooting has been correct to put in the context of a long history of anti-abortion violence–including shootings and clinic bombings–few media outlets spoke of the attack as an act of terrorism. Almost universally the shooting was referred to as simply a “shooting” or a “murder”–not as an act of terrorism. The only newspaper that mentioned the shooting in relation to “domestic terrorism” was the Los Angeles Times. Online alternative media has been quick to call the shooting terrorism, with The Huffington Post (1, 2) and Salon.com both ran articles calling the attack an act of domestic terrorism.

I’m not a huge fan of calling every crime under the sun terrorism, as the government has been wont to do in recent years, but it’s hard to imagine calling this attack anything else. The federal government defines “domestic terrorism” as:

`(A) involve acts dangerous to human life that are a violation of the criminal laws of the United States or of any State;

`(B) appear to be intended–

`(i) to intimidate or coerce a civilian population;

`(ii) to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or

`(iii) to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination, or kidnapping;

Under this definition, this was clearly an act of domestic terrorism. Tiller was specifically targeted for assassination with the goal of ending his capacity to perform abortions and intimidating doctors who perform them. Tiller’s movements were tracked by the anti-abortion movement and he was hated within that movement. He had previously been the target of protests and acts of violence. In the 1980s, his clinic was regularly targeted by protestors, it was bombed, and Tiller himself was shot. Recently, his clinic had been vandalized–an act that did thousands of dollars of damage. Tiller had also just beaten trumped up charges that he violated Kansas law.

Contrast with Left-Wing Violence

I think it’s interesting to contrast the media’s coverage of this case with so-called acts of terrorism committed by the left in the United States. Crimes committed by the Animal Liberation Front and the Earth Liberation Front–groups which engage in the criminal destruction of property and economic sabotage–are routinely labeled “terrorist” and both the media and the government are quick to call those crimes “terrorism.” For example, when environmental activist Marie Mason was arrested last year for a politically motivated arson at Michigan State University (MSU), the corporate media universally called the act “terrorism,” even before she was convicted. This echoed coverage back when the arson happened in 2000. No human lives were harmed or threatened–although the government and media would later hype the fact that the resulting fire put firefighters in harm’s way.

Similarly, environmental and animal activists have been rounded up as part of the government’s “green scare” campaign and labeled “terrorists”–and even imprisoned–when they have engaged only in acts that damage property, not taken human life. Moreover, there has been a recent trend of charging animal rights activists with terrorism for undertaking acts that are otherwise protected under the First Amendment–such as protests and informational campaigns.

How do you think the media and government would respond if it was a vivisectionist that was shot? I’m willing to bet there would be allegations of “terrorism” coming from all quarters.

Headlines: Israel Vows to Defend Soldiers Against War Crimes Claims; Obama Lifts “Global Gag Rule”

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Headlines from DemocracyNow.org, a daily TV/radio news program, hosted by Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez, airing on over 650 stations, pioneering the largest community media collaboration in the US.

Israel Vows to Defend Soldiers Against War Crimes

The Israeli government is vowing to give legal protection to soldiers accused of committing war crimes during the twenty-two-day attack on Gaza which left over 1,300 Palestinians dead and more than 5,000 wounded. On Sunday, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert told his cabinet the Israeli military would be safe from any war crime charges brought against them by the international community.

Ehud Olmert: “The commanders and soldiers sent to Gaza should know they are safe from various tribunals, and the state of Israel will assist them on this front and will protect them as they protected us with their bodies during the military operation in Gaza.”

Amnesty International has accused Israel of war crimes, including the use of white phosphorus in crowded civilian areas. For weeks, Israel has denied using white phosphorus, but over the weekend a Foreign Ministry spokesperson confirmed its use but claimed it was not used in an illegal manner. Eight Israeli human rights groups have called on the Israeli government to investigate the scale of the casualties, describing the number of dead Palestinian women and children as “terrifying.” UN humanitarian chief John Holmes called the casualty toll “shocking.”

John Holmes: “What I saw on the ground was even more shocking than I had expected in the extent and the nature of the destruction that there was there. Of course, it’s not universal, and it’s not the same in some areas as in others. There are some areas, for example, of Gaza City which are relatively–I say relatively–spared, with only the odd building destroyed or hit. But there are other areas I visited where most or all buildings had been destroyed and leveled.”

Obama Lifts Abortion “Global Gag Rule”

President Barack Obama has lifted the global gag rule that banned US funding for any international healthcare organizations that perform abortions or advocates for the legalization of abortion, even if those activities are funded by non-US money. The global gag rule was seen by many as a major global barrier to access to crucial women’s health services. Gill Greer of the International Planned Parenthood Federation praised Obama’s decision. She said, “For eight long years, the global gag rule has been used by the Bush administration to play politics with the lives of poor women across the world.”

Obama to Allow California to Set Auto Emissions Standards

In another break from the Bush administration, President Obama is expected to direct federal regulators today to allow California and thirteen other states to set strict automobile emissions and fuel efficiency standards. Obama will also order the Department of Transportation to draft new automobile fuel economy regulations and for federal agencies to make all government buildings more energy efficient.

Afghans Protest After Report of US Killing of 16 Civilians

Thousands of Afghans protested against the United States on Sunday over reports that a US air raid killed sixteen Afghan civilians on the previous day. Afghan President Hamid Karzai condemned the US operation, saying the killing of innocent Afghans “is strengthening the terrorists.” The US military claims the air strike killed fifteen militants. This comes as USA Today reports the number of roadside bomb attacks against US and coalition forces in Afghanistan increased by 45 percent last year. The number of troops in the US-led coalition killed by bombs more than doubled.

US Drones Kill 20 in Strikes on Pakistan

The US military has carried out its first strikes in Pakistan since President Barack Obama took office. At least twenty were killed on Friday after US Predator drones carried out two separate missile strikes. The Guardian newspaper says Barack Obama gave the go-ahead for the attacks inside Pakistan.

Iraqi Couple Killed in US House Raid

In Iraq, US soldiers killed an Iraqi couple and wounded their eight-year-old daughter during a house raid in the northern city of Kirkuk. The raid targeted the home of a former general in Saddam Hussein’s army. Meanwhile, the Iraqi government has announced plans to reopen the infamous Abu Ghraib prison under a new name: Baghdad’s Central Prison.

Bolivians Approve New Constitution

Bolivian President Evo Morales has claimed victory after voters approved a new constitution that would advance indigenous rights and reaffirm state control over Bolivia’s natural gas reserves.

Evo Morales: “The colonial state ends here. Internal colonialism and external colonialism end here. Sisters and brothers, neoliberalism ends here, too.”

About 60 percent of voters approved the referendum. The new constitution will give the indigenous majority more seats in Congress and greater clout in the justice system. It also officially recognizes their pre-Columbian spiritual traditions and promotes indigenous languages.

Report: Banks Reduce Lending After Receiving $148 Billion from US Gov’t

In economic news, the Wall Street Journal reports lending at many of the nation’s largest banks fell in recent months, even after the government gave them $148 billion that was intended to help make loans more readily available. Both Bank of America and Citigroup reduced their lending despite receiving $45 billion from the government. Duke University Professor Campbell Harvey said the government’s efforts to jumpstart lending has failed. Harvey said, “Basically we have dropped a huge amount of money…and we have nothing to show for what we actually wanted to happen.” Most banks have refused to say how they have spent the billions of dollars in handouts. When Congress approved the massive bailout, it attached nearly no strings to the money, and the Treasury Department never asked the banks how it would be spent.

600,000 File for Unemployment in a Week; Highest in 26 Years

In other economic news, the number of Americans filing for first-time unemployment benefits has risen to a twenty-six-year high. Nearly 600,000 people filed for jobless benefits during the second week of January. The last time jobless claims were this high was in November 1982. The number of people collecting unemployment insurance has jumped by nearly two million over the past year. In California, the nation’s largest state, the unemployment rate has risen to 9.3 percent. Michigan has the nation’s highest unemployment rate at 10.6 percent–the highest it has been since 1984.

Congress Considers New Oversight of Financial Sector

The Washington Post reports Congress is moving to create strong new oversight of the financial sector that would likely give the Federal Reserve authority to examine the workings of a wide range of companies. Under legislation proposed by Democratic Congressman Barney Frank, the Fed would likely be given the power to gather information about the inner workings of banks, investment firms, insurance companies, hedge funds and any other entity big enough or so intertwined with other companies that it creates the risk of a systemic collapse.

Congolese Rebel Leader Pleads Not Guilty to War Crimes

Congolese rebel leader Thomas Lubanga has pleaded not guilty to war crimes charges in the first case to be tried by the International Criminal Court in The Hague. Lubanga is accused of enlisting and conscripting children under the age of fifteen to fight in the Congo. The trial is the first since the court came into operation in July 2002.

Pope Revokes Excommunication of Holocaust-Denying Bishop

In religious news. Pope Benedict has revoked the excommunication of four conservative bishops who were removed from the church two decades ago for opposing the modernization of the church. All four bishops are members of the Society of Saint Pius X, a deeply conservative and traditional group that was founded to protest the changes spurred by Vatican II. Jewish groups condemned the Pope’s decision because one of the Bishops, Richard Williamson, is a well known Holocaust denier.

Robert Rozett of the Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum: “We believe the question of excommunicating or not excommunicating a member of the Church is an internal matter for the Church. Nevertheless, we find it scandalous that a member of the Church at this high level, a bishop, has views of denying the Holocaust. Such views are an insult to the memory of the Holocaust, to the victims and to the survivors, to those who rescued Jews during the Holocaust and, more than anything else, to truth, to historical truth. We continue to hope that the Vatican will take concerted efforts to condemn these views and the people that hold such views.”

Constitutional Amendment Considered to Hold Special Elections for Vacant Senate Seats

Senator Russell Feingold has announced plans to introduce an amendment to the US Constitution to require special elections in the event of a Senate seat vacancy, taking the power away from governors. Feingold said, “The controversies surrounding some of the recent gubernatorial appointments to vacant Senate seats make it painfully clear that such appointments are an anachronism that must end.” Feingold cited the spectacle of seeing Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich appoint a successor to fill President Barack Obama’s seat weeks after he was arrested for trying to sell the seat. Blagojevich’s impeachment hearing begins today, but the governor won’t be attending. Instead, he will be on a national media blitz, appearing on Good Morning America, The View and Larry King. New York Governor David Paterson has also come under criticism for selecting conservative Democrat Congresswoman Kirsten Gillibrand to fill Hillary Clinton’s seat.

BBC & Sky News Refuse to Broadcast Appeal for Victims of Gaza War

And in Britain, Sky News has joined the BBC in refusing to broadcast an emergency humanitarian appeal for victims of the war in Gaza. The appeal was organized by Oxfam, Save the Children, the Red Cross and other charities. The networks claim the two-minute appeal would compromise their impartiality. More than fifty British MPs have called on the BBC to reverse its decision. Critics of the BBC have included former parliamentarian Tony Benn.

Tony Benn: “If the BBC doesn’t broadcast it, people will die in Gaza, because they haven’t got the aid that would have come from an appeal…And the BBC will change. I have no doubt that will happen. And that’s what public pressure can do. Never, ever underestimate the power of determined people, if their cause is right.”

Blog for Choice Day

Blog For Choice Day 2009

Today is the 36th anniversary of the Roe vs. Wade decision. As a commemoration of the event, it is the third annual “Blog for Choice Day.” Blog for Choice is an effort launched by NARAL Pro-Choice America to promote the idea that “a woman’s right to choose is a core progressive value that must be protected and advanced.”

This year, hundreds of bloggers–including MediaMouse.org–are participating in the third annual “Blog for Choice” day. The topic is “What is your top pro-choice hope for President Obama and/or the new Congress?

Of course, even broaching this subject may be odd to some. What can I add to the debate as a male who has all of the privileges that come with my gender? However, I do think it is important that men identify as pro-choice and state clearly that we support a women’s right to chose. It’s a critical right and as men, I believe our position is to be allies in the struggle and support women’s rights (I think it’s also important to not use our status to cast “legitimacy” onto the issue–i.e. if men support it, it must be valid). We should step back and acknowledge that fact that the choice is a woman’s alone. Moreover, we should accept responsibility and be pro-active about birth control and not push the issue off on women as is done so often.

For far too long, men–even in progressive circles–have stood silent on the issue. In the worst cases, men have taken paternal roles–such as those taken by political and religious leaders–and purposely undertaken efforts that have stripped women of their autonomy and control over their own bodies.

In that spirit, I’d hope that Obama–as one who pledges to support reproductive choice–uses his newfound power to advance those rights. Pro-choice advocates have been on the defensive and have had to fight tooth and nail to stop further restrictions on abortion. Time has been spent fighting unconstitutional bans, challenging rightwing politicians, and debating whether or not progressives need to “moderate” our views on abortion.

It just so happens that there are some immediate steps that Obama can take to stop some of these attacks on reproductive choice. Moreover, these steps have ongoing campaigns attached to them, making it easier for us all to jump on and support these efforts without simply hoping that the new president takes action:

  • Repeal Bush’s Last Anti-Choice Regulation – As one of his last attacks on the right to choose, President Bush issued a regulation through the Department of Health and Human Services that allows healthcare providers who receive federal funding to “redefine abortion to include the most common forms of birth control” and then refuse to provide those services. This allows healthcare providers to decide what is appropriate for women.
  • Repeal the Global Gag Rule – The Reagan-era global gag rule mandated that no U.S. family planning assistance funding can be given to organizations that provide abortion services, offer counseling and referral for abortion care, or advocate legal abortion access in their own countries — even if they do so with their own funds. President Clinton overturned the rule, but President George W. Bush reinstated it – now it’s time for Obama to overturn it.

I’d also argue that a key issue is getting everyone access to low-cost birth control. There is a bill in Congress that would require insurance companies to cover prescription birth control in the same way that they coverage prescriptions for drugs such as Viagra. This–along with expanded sex education that focuses on birth control rather than abstinence (and that makes it clear that contraception isn’t simply a women’s responsibility)–are also essential areas on which Obama should act as it relates to reproductive choice.