Report Cards

So we’ve got Frothy and the mitres pissing about contraception, states passing laws requiring vaginal penetration for an ultrasound prior to obtaining an abortion, a prengancy resulting from rape spun as a Gift From God, and numerous personhood bills on deck. Maybe worth taking a look at where the state laws stand around the country. NARAL has a handy map that grades all of the states on it’s laws and environments that impact on a woman’s health. I knew my own state was heavily Catholic despite being a Democratic state, but i was pretty shocked to find it got a D+. California gets an A+, NY gets an A-, and even liberal Mass gets only a B-. In some other 9000′ states – Vt. A-, Colorado C+, NJ – A-. Move along the poor deep southern belt, and you’ll find to no great surprise a long string of F’s. Doesn’t take a PhD to connect those dots.

In other reports, Democratic Underground showed a dismal report card issued by a fundie group grading some of the major Christian organizations on how effectively they promote K-12 Christian education and home schooling.

Chaplain E. Ray Moore issued a Report Card at the National Religious Broadcasters (NRB) in Nashville, Tennessee, on Feb 10, 2009, at a news conference, on how effectively major Christian ministries and organizations support K-12 Christian education or home schooling. Nine organizations were rated, many of which have actively engaged in the cultural war in the US for the past several decades. Moore said, “Even though these organizations have been valiantly fighting the culture war, they have suffered terrible defeats. They have not been able to arrest and reverse the moral and cultural slide by protests, lobbying, voting and legislative remedies. It’s time for these ministries to revisit their methodology and ask themselves if there is a biblical model for spiritual and cultural renewal.” The nine criteria used to rate the organizations in the K-12 Christian education Report Card included: promoting a Christian worldview and not promoting K-12 public schools as morally equivalent to Christian and home schools.

FAIL? Not quite, but getting there.

41 Responses to Report Cards

  1. Pornstar says:

    btw, the Doctrine of Salt and Light was new to me, so i had a quick google. First lnk that showed up was on an Opus Dei site. Make of that what you will.

    http://www.opusdei.us/art.php?p=40088

  2. Pornstar says:

    Good lord. That OD link is some seriously sick shit.

  3. MadameMax says:

    Amy, this was all verrrry Interesting. I am shocked to discover that not only has Vermont not repealed the pre-Roe ban on abortion but that it added a post-Roe (1981) amendment to criminalize the publication of any information about abortion.

    The only thing I can figure is that we have a true “citizen” legislature, our legislators mostly have real jobs and the legislative season is pretty short, so repeal might be seen as time-wasting in a tight schedule, since the ban is unenforceable. Still, you would think it would be a formality taking up a few minutes at most.

    This might explain, though, something I was extremely curious about. When my daughter had Acutane treatment at Fletcher-Allen Hospital in Burlington, she was made to watch a video about the horrible birth defects the drug would cause and the importance of strict responsibility in taking the required birth control. Not once in that video was the necessity of abortion in case of accident mentioned. At the time I thought that was due to fear of offending a tiny minority, but now I wonder if it was adherence to an unenforceable law, just to be on the “safe” side.

  4. Pornstar says:

    And what’s scary Madame, is that you guys got an A-. (I forgot to mention the scores from IL and NV, also pretty good ones.)

  5. KevinNevada says:

    One aspect of good news here: the fundie groups are at each other’s throats, bickering and smearing each other with venom.

    One could say this is their saving grace. :-)

    They do agree that Their Political Party, the now completely hijacked GOP must continue to push for their agenda on all fronts. This will destroy the Republicans at the polls this November.

    For example: the electoral folly of trying to push a “personhood” amendment to the Nevada constitution, this year, and yes they got a judge’s approval of their petition wording just last Friday. I do not doubt they will qualify this for a vote. And this will be a GOTV “gift from above” for the Democrats.

    The impact can be widespread. One Senate seat is up in the air, currently held by Dean Heller (R) but he is being challenged by a vigorous campaigner name of Shelly Berkley. If a slew of extra women show up to vote against the Personhood thing, which is very likely than this state will definitely go for Obama too, and Heller will be toast.

    If the GOP wants to take the Senate, they cannot lose seats they already hold.

    Fear may not be the rational response to all these rantings of the extremists. They are opening up a wonderful opportunity for the Democrats.

  6. KevinNevada says:

    I looked at that NARAL map. They understate the situation here in Nevada.

    We have a pro-choice statute – and that is backed up by a constitutional amendment, enacted by initiative, that prevents the Legislature from changing that law without a confirming vote of the population. Bottom line is, freedom of choice is protected in this state even if Roe. v. Wade is repealed nationally.

    And the notion that the people here will ban the Pill via this “personhood” absurdity, well that is just silly. The fools promoting that measure will destroy the Republicans here.

    It will affect the federal House seats too. Right now, there are 2-R, one-D. The new lines for our now-four districts are now settled, and a good turnout for Democrats could easily give three of those four to Dem’s, for a net gain of two.

    A similar dynamic is working in California, their new House lines will shift at least two more seats from R to D this fall, and if THEIR “personhood” initiative gets on that ballot, then even more could shift.

    Extend that across the nation, and a Democratic recovery of the House becomes quite possible.

  7. MadameMax says:

    I think it’s only the unenforceable but non-repealed law that keeps us from A+, and this is what warrants nothing less than an A-.

    The Vermont Constitution protects the right to choose to a greater extent than the U.S. Constitution. A regulation limiting state medical assistance for abortion to those procedures covered by the federal Medicaid program was struck down under the state constitution because the provision excluded medically necessary abortion services and allowed reimbursement for abortion care only in cases of life endangerment. Doe v. Celani, No. S81-84CnC (Vt. Super. Ct. May 26, 1986). A similar restriction has been upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court under the U.S. Constitution. Williams v. Zbaraz, 448 U.S. 358 (1980).

    Just about any abortion can be said to be medically necessary, if carrying to term would cause severe emotional or mental harm. Which pretty much covers any unwanted pregnancy. It wouldn’t be difficult to find a pro-choice doctor to sign off on it for any woman on state medicaid.

  8. MadameMax says:

    I notice NARAL is grading only based on state laws and the site doesn’t mention anything about availability, which is a big factor. Good thing that we’re a small state; I would wager that no one is more than a two-hour drive from some place an abortion can be obtained. Also, state medicaid pays for medical procedures in border states, IF the provider accepts VT state medicaid. Which Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in NH does, and it’s the best place to go for anything.

  9. Pornstar says:

    Madame -

    It doesn’t grade on availiability, but it does get into it under the “Access Facts”. It’s kind of hard to grade on it i would think – we live in small states. For example, my state says 80% of counties have no abortion provider. But we have only 3 counties, and it’s 40 minutes from one end of the state to the other.

    Otoh, for a large state with a small population, there may be only like 100 people in a county, and the next ones over too. So you can’t really justify an office nearby to serve them.

  10. MadameMax says:

    Oh, I missed the Access Facts box the first time around.

    Vermont is better than I imagined, with only 43% of counties not having an abortion provider. I’d bet that two of those counties are the ones north–northeast of me because they don’t provide much of anything else either, except moose wandering in the roads. Low population too (of people, I mean).

    Oh, wait, I forgot the thriving “city” of Newport, up near the border. It has a Planned Parenthood, which my own county no longer has. But Newport is only a 35-minute drive from here.

  11. KevinNevada says:

    Fresh news from the Choice Wars:

    1. The vile new law in Virginia, the forced-ultrasound state-mandated-violation-of-vaginas thing is now being amended to require only external ultrasounds. The revised bill will be voted on soon.

    2. From Georgia comes this new legislative notion, reported in the HuffPost:

    A group of female Democratic legislators in the Georgia House of Representatives has proposed a bill that would ban men from seeking vasectomies.

    “Thousands of children are deprived of birth in this state every year because of the lack of state regulation over vasectomies,” said bill author Yasmin Neal in a statement. “It is patently unfair that men can avoid unwanted fatherhood by presuming that their judgment over such matters is more valid than the judgment of the General Assembly, while women’s ability to decide is constantly up for debate throughout the United States.”

    The proposed legislation is a response to HB 954, a bill sponsored by Republican Doug McKillips that seeks to ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy

  12. Pornstar says:

    Kevin -

    Ha, awesome, Georgia ladies! Like my new friend Constance from last week.

  13. MadameMax says:

    I’d like to see a bill that would mandate vasectomies for all men opposed to abortion.

  14. Expat says:

    “Thousands of children are deprived of birth in this state every year because of the lack of state regulation over vasectomies,” said bill author Yasmin Neal in a statement. “It is patently unfair that men can avoid unwanted fatherhood by presuming that their judgment over such matters is more valid than the judgment of the General Assembly, while women’s ability to decide is constantly up for debate throughout the United States.”

    Kevin – Such an argument might raise a titter and provide comfort and justification in the echo chamber but it is a recipe for losing the wider majority who understand the tragic reality of, but reluctantly accept abortion as the lesser of two evils and not the happy equivalent of vasectomy, tubal ligation, other contraception, onanism, etc, etc, as recently trotted out here, on CiF and in the media in general. Something that the current administration clearly understands from the direction of the debate.

    btw – 9,000′ has been getting a bit insular over the last few days :)

  15. MadameMax says:

    the tragic reality

    the happy equivalent of vasectomy, tubal ligation, other contraception,

    Both those are gross distortions. With the latter, it’s not about “equivalency” but rather personal bodily autonomy.

    As for the former, the only “tragic” abortion is one where the pregnancy is desired but is aborted either due to discovery of serious fetal defects or to save the life of the mother.

    When the pregnancy is accidental and undesired, an abortion is a great relief. Been there, done that. The tragedy would have been the lives ruined had abortion not been available. I’ve met a lot of women throughout my life who’ve had abortions and they all felt the same way. Even that good Catholic paralegal I worked with who was vehemently anti-abortion until she found herself unexpectedly pregnant. Suddenly she understood. Some people just have to experience things for themselves before they can empathize,

  16. Expat says:

    Both those are gross distortions.

    I whole heartedly agree Madam. But that is exactly what Kevin quoted and what I have heard elsewhere, here and on CiF – namely equating abortion to all of these and more – even if in a lame attempt at satire.

    It isn’t a winning argument.

  17. Pornstar says:

    Expat -

    What Kevin quoted and what you hear on CiF, and from me at times as well, is to highlight the absurdity of attempting to legislate interference with the body of another.

  18. Expat says:

    Still not a winning argument at large Amy.

    You won’t find the president or his proxies using it any time soon.

    The 10 Excellent Reasons thread is interesting btw.

  19. KevinNevada says:

    Expat:

    turn it around. The “conservatives” are very poor at staying on message.

    The “Southern Strategy” began as a deliberate scheme to exploit white folk’s resentment of measures that were redressing patterns of racism towards black people. Now it has become a compulsion to find ways to insult and alienate all other non-white people.

    Legitimate concerns about the flood of illegal immigrants, mostly from Mexico has turned into a broad distaste of the proportion of Hispanic citizens in this country, most of whom are here legally. What began as concern about some is now a tendency to insult all.

    The result: states like California are now safely Democratic, Nevada is trending that direction and the next “domino” is Arizona, where the Hispanic population is quickly learning the skills of political organizing. The author of SB1070 was recalled last election.

    And what began as a movement purportedly about abortion is now, very clearly, a movement that also wants to make contraception illegal, as it was within living memory in this country. Google the Griswold v. Conn. decision and consider the date. Yup, it was only in 1965 (!!!) that states lost the power to ban the sale or use of the Pill.

    Those same religious groups that are rated in the “report card” atop this thread, are the network of eager little thumpers who have been discussing Griswold openly for some years now. Most people have not paid attention. But the move to “defund” PP is not just about abortion, it is also about limiting access to contraception.

    Yes, the whole thing is absurd. So some of us employ absurd arguments in reply. Rational argument does not get through to some people. They also preach against the use of rationality, or science, or anything other than Received Wisdom.

    I think you can take this to the bank: The female voters of this country are now aware that their fundamental right to control their own reproductive choices is under serious attack. And that will annoy and outrage them. It will bring a wave of angry voters into the polls this November, who were not there last time, and very few of them will vote for any Republican.

  20. Pornstar says:

    Expat -

    No one is trying to make it a winning argument. It is simply to highlight the absurdity of it. I would no sooner support forced sterilization, medication, euthanesia, or any type of interference with the body then i would prohibit abortion.

    I have said before that as a non-athiest, i am not anti-religion. Not even anti-fundamentalist. Believe whatever you want with no derision from me with regard to personal beliefs. But when it comes to attempts to force any religion on others, government, schools, courts of law, etc – then all bets are off.

  21. Expat says:

    And what began as a movement purportedly about abortion is now, very clearly, a movement that also wants to make contraception illegal……

    Kevin – That is a straw man drummed up to divert attention from abortion which is a loser what ever end of the spectrum you approach it from – unless you can paint your opponent into an absolutist corner on the issue.

    There will never be any agreement on the issue as long as each side has different views on the status of the fetus. You can ascribe other nefarious motives as long as you like but it all comes down to that one simple question.

  22. Pornstar says:

    There will never be any agreement on the issue as long as each side has different views on the status of the fetus. You can ascribe other nefarious motives as long as you like but it all comes down to that one simple question.

    And there is actually a simple answer too. The status of the person whose life is affected by the fetus. Who would have to carry it, somehow obtain the medical care and funding to do so, find a way to make up lost work time and wages, give birth to it, and be stuck caring for it and financially supporting it afterwards. The one who actually has to do this stuff, as opposed to just mandate and then be done with it.

  23. KevinNevada says:

    Expat:

    yes, the key question is when a human life begins. Yes.

    And this “personhood” movement is trying to shove down our throats a definition that is absurd, e.g. the point of fertilization of an egg, creating a zygote, prior by almost a week to implantation in the uterus which begins a pregnancy.

    If enacted, this definition creates a host of new problems, most of which the supporters of this absurdity have not thought through. Thinking these things through, with logic and facts is precisely what that demographic of our society don’t do very well.

    (Amongst the new problems, it would ban any hormonal system of birth control, and any current method of in-vitro fertilization to help couples make a baby, which always create surplus fertilized zygotes. It would also mandate a police investigation of each and every late period and miscarriage. Think about that one. Please.)

    The USSC got the matter right, way back with Roe vs. Wade when they settled on the standard of “viability”, ability to begin an independent life, e.g. somewhere in the third trimester. That is justifiable on medical grounds that make sense.

    But let’s talk raw politics. When this “personhood” absurdity was put to a vote in one of our most knuckle-dragging states, in an ‘off year’ with lower turnout last November, it was voted down even there by 58 percent.

    It also lost in Colorado, ground zero for religious nuttiness in this country, in 2010.

    Despite that, at least 12 states have active initiative drives going right now, including both CA and NV. If they get on those ballots, the wave of angry voters who show up to vote “HELL NO” will also sweep away quite a few Republican candidates.

    Nevada is a swing state, anyone who wishes to occupy the Oval Office has to include this state in their strategy. The Personhood Initiative therefore ranks as gross political malpractice too, and is a folly of grand proportions for the “conservatives”.

    Think about it: ban birth control . . . . in Las Vegas? Are they nuts??

    Yes, they are.

  24. MadameMax says:

    Still not a winning argument at large

    Perhaps not “at large,” but I had a very interesting experience at the diner a few years back, sitting at the counter with a group of men who were outraged at the fact that they could not legally stop their wives or girlfriends having an abortion. (Don’t remember why the subject came up except it was not I who raised it.)

    Cheerily I said, “How ’bout this. How ’bout we pass a law that says that any woman who does not want to get pregnant can legally force her partner to have a vasectomy?”

    Shocked looks. Dead silence. One guy, who was not of the same mind as the others, grinned.

    Then came some mutterings about how outrageous that would be. I agreed that of course it would be just as outrageous as forcing a woman to have a child against her will, but hey, if it would prevent the need for abortion…

    And you know what? Most of them decided it’s better for women to make decisions about abortion than to be allowed to have control over men’s fertility.

    Fascinating, it was.

  25. KevinNevada says:

    Expat:

    another thought came to me, as they do.

    When Grover Norquist spoke of shrinking government to a size where it could be drowned in a bathtub, no one imagined that their real agenda was to then proceed to ram it up inside every woman’s uterus.

    But that is where the “Party of Freedom”, the party of “limited government” are now headed, in quite a headlong charge.

    That is why I now place quotes around the word “conservative”.

    The hypocrisy is stunning, and blatant.

  26. KevinNevada says:

    MMax:

    your post at 7:11 just showed up, after I posted my latest.

    That tale from the diner is what some folks call a “come to Jesus moment”.

  27. Pornstar says:

    Kevin -

    See, it’s not really very hard for me to sit here at home and be pro-life. I can feel genuinely bad for all of the fetuses that never get to be born. Maybe i’d even be such i strong believer in right-to-life that i’d vote for it. My conscience would be clear and i’d know i did the right thing. But it cost me nothing. Nothing at all. I go to work, eat dinner, mow the lawn, whatever. Because i’m not the one holding the bag and paying the price at all for that decision.

  28. Expat says:

    Madam and Kevin

    What the world at large knows and understands – no matter how you spin or dissemble – is that preventing or avoiding a pregnancy is totally different to ending one. Also that once the clock is ticking there inevitably comes a stage when the difference between a developing fetus and a new born infant is vanishingly small so the hypocricy is in using the full force of the law to protect one and not the other.

    When Grover Norquist spoke of shrinking government to a size where it could be drowned in a bathtub, no one imagined that their real agenda was to then proceed to ram it up inside every woman’s uterus.

    Again – keep up that trite rhetoric – outside of the bubble it helps the other side.

  29. MadameMax says:

    Again – keep up that trite rhetoric – outside of the bubble it helps the other side.

    Expat, that statement shows that you won’t even try to empathize with women who are looking at the very real and frightening prospect of having their birth control options severely limited and then of being forced to carry unwanted pregnancies to term.

    For those to whom this sort of thing matters, which is to say all fertile women, it is NOT trite rhetoric. Do you consider all women of child-bearing age to be inside some elitist, unrealistic bubble? It’s you and your ilk who are trapped in a bubble of smugness and self-righteousness without a thought to what reality is like for the vast majority of females in this country.

  30. MadameMax says:

    And, Expat, if you could spell “hypocrisy” maybe you’d understand who the real hypocrites are.

  31. Expat says:

    ….looking at the very real and frightening prospect of having their birth control options severely limited…

    Election season scaremongering.

  32. KevinNevada says:

    Expat:

    No, it is not “election season scaremongering”. We are observing the newly-radicalized GOP in action.

    The first legislation introduced at many state leg’s and in the House in 2011 all dealt with these issues, not with jobs or budgets or the size of government. The top legislative priority in many states has been PP, not the economy.

    The right wing have picked this fight ever since their power was aggrandized in the 2010 elections.

    The “personhood” measures are not only aimed at abortion, they would severely limit options on contraception also. That is a fact. I already listed some of the effects in a post further up this thread, which you dismissed with a toss off line. You did not respond to those real concerns.

    You are correct that the question of just when a developing fetus becomes a human, with its own rights, deserves to be discussed. Medical technology is affecting this debate.

    But the notion that we must move that line all the back to fertilization of the egg is not only absurd, it also has awful social effects. Amongst other things, it reduces every ovulating female into a mere vessel for other “persons”, even before a pregnancy is started. (That, please understand, is about five to seven days after fertilization.)

    So any hormonal method of birth control, which acts to prevent that implantation, becomes illegal.
    So the methods used for artificial fertilization, to help couples to have children, become illegal.

    And here is the choice, wonderful bit. It will require some form of external monitoring of every ovulating female’s menstrual cycles. Any late period could, after all, be a miscarriage and therefore, the “death of a person”. We will see an imperative for a police report every time any ovulating female is even late with their periods.

    If every fertilized egg is a “person”, nothing less will be acceptable, once the consequences are tested in court.

    Now I ask you. Just how abusive will such a society become? How could this be used by zealous prosecutors? Or, by corrupt local officials with an axe to grind against some family?

    When you advocate a position, be very careful that you understand at least the consequences that can be forecast with ease.

  33. KevinNevada says:

    PS to my post:

    I just checked into HuffPost. The “personhood” statute being considered by the Virginia legislature has been postponed to a future year. It is shelved until after the next election.

    Four Republicans joined with most of the Democrats to do this. Two (gutless wonder) Democrats abstained.

    They are moving ahead with the medically-unnecessary ultrasound bill but that has been modified to no longer require that the patient be raped with a plastic probe for this medically-unnecessary pre-abortion ultrasound. The probes are no longer required.

    So that is progress, Virginia-style.

  34. Cochise says:

    WARNING- Discussing insane and absurd ideas for extended periods has been proven to cause sterility in chickens and anally retentive myopia in other species.

  35. KevinNevada says:

    Cochise:

    thanks for your kind warning.

    I just watched part of the great zombie film “Dawn of the Dead”.
    So I’m now in the mood for serious goofiness.

  36. Pornstar says:

    o/t, but has anyone noticed the new checkmarks for sign-in to the Graun now? I’m hoping that this is an astroturfer / troll deterrent.

  37. Expat says:

    I just watched part of the great zombie film “Dawn of the Dead”.
    So I’m now in the mood for serious goofiness.

    Try Shaun of the Dead Kevin

  38. KevinNevada says:

    Expat:

    the next on my must-see list is the Woody Harrelson version, it looks like a hoot. That, and Shaun of the Dead too. Thanks for the rec.

    BTW, I hope you didn’t take my vehemence personally. It was not meant so. But the right wing really are pushing to ban both abortions, and access to what limits the demand for them, which is utter madness when you think about it.

    I get fired up about intrusions into the most personal of decisions. That must make me a true conservative.

    :-)

    And, I have spent serious time in a high-risk delivery ward. Things can go horribly wrong even with modern tech. – and so, no person should have to proceed with an unwanted pregnancy. Women still die, you know.

    Besides – the zombies will show up someday, anyway. It must be true, we see it in films.

  39. Bluthner says:

    It must be true, we see it in films.

    I keep waiting to meet a woman who looks like Meg Ryan, who hates me and hates until, because I never stop pestering her, she suddenly realizes she loves me and then….

    That’s true, too, right?

  40. NatashaFatale says:

    It must be true, we see it in films.

    Giggling pack of Pollyannas…

    I do not avoid women, Mandrake. But I do deny them my essence.

  41. KevinNevada says:

    NF, and for that matter, Expat too:

    well, that wholesome agenda of a True Amurican Patriot is now being undermined.

    There shalt be no mention of rubbers, nor demonstrations upon bananas, henceforth in the good public schools of Deseret, e.g. Utah.

    The tale is told here.

    Hey, this will work out just fine. Just tell the teens to keep them pants zipped, and to think of Joe Smith . . . . oh, wait . . . . HOW many wives did that old goat have?? . . . .

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