Monday 27 June 2016

"Unmitigated Disaster" for Fetus Freaks

I don't have time for more than a quick happy dance over the US Supreme Court's "beat down" of Texas's anti-abortion law.

I just love this headline from ThinkProgress.

And the photo that accompanies the story.

Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt is a beat down of Texas’ anti-abortion law HB 2. Justice Stephen Breyer’s majority opinion piles facts upon evidence upon statistics to demolish Texas’ supposed justification for the law. At one point, Breyer even damns the law with words uttered by Texas’ own attorney. By the end of the opinion, it is surprising that Breyer did not finish with the two words “HULK SMASH!”

Even more significantly, Whole Woman’s Health leaves the right to an abortion on much stronger footing than it stood on before this decision was handed down. It’s difficult to exaggerate just how awesomely anti-abortion advocates erred in urging Texas to pass HB 2 in the first place. This law was supposed to provide those advocates with a vehicle to drain what life remains in Roe v. Wade. Instead, reproductive freedom is stronger today than it has been at any point in nearly a decade.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote a separate concurrence, in which she called out the sham. It gave birth to several variants of this meme:

But let's be clear. This won't solve Texas's abortion access problem immediately, if at all. While no more clinics will close, this report points out that in order to reopen, clinics will have to restaff, re-equip, and maybe most problematic, get relicensed. The government of Texas, having just had its panties pulled down for a MASSIVE spanking, may be a tad vindictive, and make the relicensing as protracted and petty as possible.

And a little set-back like this is not going to stop fetus freaks from continuing to pass more bullshit laws.

But it is exhilarating when facts and evidence win. And when anti-choice hypocrisy is named and held up for all to see.

PDF of the whole judgment.

Thursday 23 June 2016

Wolf in Sheep's Clothing Bill: The E-Petition

In December last year, Canada's government acknowledged the power of the Intertoobz and started allowing e-petitions. They need to be sponsored by an MP and if they get 500 signatures, can be tabled in Parliament.

Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada yesterday initiated an e-petition against Bill C225 (full text of bill), "An Act to amend the Criminal Code (injuring or causing the death of a preborn child while committing an offence)," with its glurgy nickname, "Cassie and Molly's Law."

Or as we call it: the Wolf in Sheep's Clothing (WISC) bill.

English version

French version

PDF backgrounder on ARCC's reasons for opposing C225.

The main reason to oppose it is the usual: it is yet another backdoor attempt to restrict abortion, with the ultimate goal of putting pregnant people under the microscope of the law. Such laws elsewhere have had the effect of criminalizing pregnancy -- in the US, sending dozens of women, largely poor and people of colour, to prison for the crimes of miscarriage, attempted suicide, or substance abuse while pregnant.

It is also a "personhood" law, conferring on a fetus rights that WILL compete with those of the incubator, er, pregnant person.

And if you need further evidence of its intended narsty effects, ALL the fetus freak groups support it.

At ARCC, there is also a resources page listing other actions to take, like signing a paper petition, a sample letter to your MP, and a list of groups opposed to C225.

On March 22, fetus freaks started an e-petition in support of WISC. It currently has 4402 signatures, 31 from "other countries."

The ARCC petition now has 88 signatures, broken down by province/territory. There are none yet from any of the territories or from PEI.

Let's get on this, digital citizens. It's fast and easy. Please sign, then tweet, Facebook, and generally promote it on social media.

Here's the link again in plain text for easy copying:

Previous DJ! posts on the Wolf in Sheep's Clothing bill:
Dead as a Door Nail

Exploiting Grief to Attack Abortion Rights

Vengeance Drives "Unborn Victims" Law

It's Baaaack: Unborn Victims Bill C484 Redux

Nope, This "Pre-born Victims Bill Won't Pass Either

Tuesday 7 June 2016

LifeSite Is Just Embarrassing Itself: Fetal Pain Redux

They really got nuthin'.

Look at this from yesterday's LieShite.

The Journal of the American Medical Association [JAMA] is facing calls to retract a 2005 study that pro-lifers have labeled a “propaganda tool” for abortion activists.
In 2016, fetus freaks are attacking a study from 2005 still deployed to refute the BAD (biased, agenda-driven) science used to pass "fetal pain" laws, lowering abortion term limits and/or imposing idiotic protocols on providers, as recently in Utah.

What do the fetus freaks offer in support of their contention that fetuses do too feel pain?

Dr. Steven Zielinski, an internal medicine physician from Oregon, is one of the leading researchers into fetal pain. He first published reports in the 1980s to validate research showing evidence for unborn pain.

He has testified before Congress in the past that an unborn child could feel pain at “eight-and-a-half weeks and possibly earlier” and that a baby before birth “under the right circumstances, is capable of crying.”

That seemed eerily familiar. Look what I found from 2010, also at LieShite.
Dr. Steven Zielinski, an internal medicine physician from Oregon, is one of the leading researchers into the concept of fetal pain and published the first reports in the 1980s to validate research show [sic] evidence for it.

He has testified before Congress that an unborn child could feel pain at "eight-and-a-half weeks and possibly earlier" and that a baby before birth "under the right circumstances, is capable of crying."

More bells started ringing in my old brain. Yes! I had trashed Dr. Zielinksi's rep here in 2012.

But, maybe the doc has been up to more recent stuff. After all, I can find no reference to him beyond 1986, thirty years ago.

I googled "Steven Zielinski Oregon fetal pain" and got this.

Amusingly, DJ!'s 2012 trashing is eighth on the first page in an otherwise exclusive club of fetus fetishist sites. All of which refer to him as "one of the leading researchers into fetal pain."

Let's consult some real scientists, shall we? Here's Live Science, on May 17, 2016, speaking with "a leading expert on fetal pain," Dr. Anne Davis, OB/GYN and associate professor at Columbia University Medical Center, who appears a tad more impressive than the elusive Dr. Zielinski.

She says the 2005 JAMA study, now under SHRIEEK attack from the freaks, is still valid. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) has also recently reaffirmed the study, saying "no research has contradicted its findings."

No new research. Same old bullshit references. Almost identical wording. Their "leading researcher into fetal pain" still MIA after thirty years.

They got nuthin'. But as long as they keep trotting this crap out, I'll be watching.

Previous DJ! posts on "fetal pain" and BAD science.

Monday 6 June 2016

New! Fraudster Certification

Hey, fetus freaks! Want to make money from your fetish? Of course you do!

Get certified in Fake Clinic Management!

OKWU [Oklahoma Wesleyan University] is launching an “applied bioethics” certificate program this July that will train students in pro-life activism and pregnancy center management. It’s a partnership with the Life Training Institute and Care Net.

The "credits" will be transferrable.

[Scott] Klusendorf teaches an ethics and abortion course that examines “the toughest critics of the pro-life view, the academic critics,” and equips students to answer their objections, he said.

Credits from his course will be transferable as philosophy while those from another instructor, Speaker for Life founder Marc Newman, will count as speech credits, Klusendorf said: “Virtually any institution could look at the syllabus and say that it qualifies for another area of study.”

Because this is what the US needs: more people trained in lying, manipulation, and shaming.

Even though their own data shows fake clinics actually fail miserably at scaring the shit out of dissuading women from abortion.

Nicole Knight Shine crunched the numbers.

Crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs) are billed as alternatives to abortion clinics, but new data suggests they largely fail at their mission, persuading less than 4 percent of clients to forgo abortion care.

Of the 2.6 million clients who visited crisis pregnancy centers since 2004, 3.52 percent, or 92,679 people, decided against having an abortion. The statistics come from, Inc., an anti-choice, Texas-based software company, which says more than 1,200 CPCs use its software to track clients and measure results.

Less than four per cent.

But they don't care because that's not the point.

As Amanda Marcotte says:
It’s because preventing abortion has never been and will never be the actual goal of CPCs, no matter what their fundraising materials might say. The real purpose is to shame women for having sex and to spread stigma over abortion, contraception, and any non-procreative sexual activity. The vicious lies and guilt trips they lay on women are not the means to an end, but are the end itself. The point is not really “saving lives”, but making women feel scared, guilty, and anxious, as punishment for having sex.

And remember, we have them here in Canada too. And they're just the same: lying liars.

Fake Clinics Respond! With More Lies!

A couple of weeks ago, we reported on Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada's (ARCC) review of websites for 166 fake clinics, aka crisis pregnancy centres. (PDF link to entire study.)

LifeShite has since published a hilarious "rebuttal" that says, in essence, "sure, we lie, but we could lie a LOT more."

Some examples:
[Jared] White [executive director of Advokate Life and Education Services in Abbottsford, BC] said that the report’s numbers were misleadingly low. For example, the report notes that 24 percent of the centers “promoted sexual abstinence as the ideal solution for unwed women” on their websites. But White says, “I would think 100 percent would promote that” with women who get inside the door.

The report claims that 5 percent of centers claim there is “a possible risk” of breast cancer after abortion, which the report says has been “scientifically rejected.” But White commented,  “Again, I would have thought more centres than that would have claimed that there might be a link,” so the 5%-figure is far too low.
I don't need to tell DJ! readers that the abortion-breast cancer link is complete bullshit, do I? But White thinks more centres should be spreading more of this brand of manure.

Then there's a peculiar quibble with how the study posed questions.

Arthur’s report also claims that “48% [of the pregnancy centers] mentioned negative psychological consequences, primarily in the context of ‘Postabortion Syndrome’, which is not medically recognized.”

But this is not true. The question ARCC’s volunteers were asked was whether “sites claimed that abortion results in negative psychological consequences such as depression, suicidal thoughts, or ‘Post-Abortion Syndrome.’” So the 48-percent result could have been reached without a single reference to PAS.

A subsequent question specifically about Post Abortion Syndrome indicated only 20 percent of the websites – not 48 percent – even “mentioned” PAS.
This passage seems to say that they could have done quite adequate lying without mentioning PAS but that some websites throw it in anyway.

LifeShite of course does not mention the report's finding that a majority of fake clinics are registered charities, i.e. subsidized by the rest of us.

Global News, the only media outlet to report on the study, does care to inform its readers of that fact.
More than two-thirds (68 per cent) of the centres studied are registered charities, the report says. There are 66 charities dedicated to crisis pregnancies and pregnancy counselling registered with the Canada Revenue Agency. Many also get direct government funding.
The Global story includes a handy link to CRA's search results page, with more links, for the 66 fake clinics. Have a look. I find the paid employees sections interesting. Many people across Canada make a living from lying to pregnant people.

Speaking of lying, let's return to LifeShite for a couple more whoppers:
“We are just trying to help women in very trying circumstances,” Dr. [Laura] Lewis [of Canadian Association of Pregnancy Support Services] told LifeSiteNews. “We know whatever way they go, adoption, abortion, keeping the baby, they are making a life-changing decision. And if they choose abortion, we don’t put any obstacles in their way, but we could never facilitate it.”
As if manipulation, guilt-tripping, disease-mongering, and straight-up lying are not "obstacles" atall atall.

These centres don’t give women any help obtaining an abortion or contraceptive care because they can get that elsewhere, Lewis said.
Right. It's easy-peasy to get reproductive healthcare in PEI, say, or New Brunswick or Saskatchewan. Or any damned place away from cities.

According to this 2016 ARCC list of abortion clinics, including hospitals (PDF), there are 43 of them in all of Canada.

There are four times MORE fake clinics. There are MORE fake clinics registered as charities than abortion clinics.

The lying liars are doing pretty well. For themselves. As for pregnant people seeking factual, unbiased information and assistance, well, fuck them.