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Hullabaloo


Friday, August 16, 2013

 
Taxpayer paid brainwashing in 34 states! And homegrown terrorism scores a win too!

by digby

I guess religious freedom requires taxpayers to fund lies now:
Well over half of the states in the country are directly funding “crisis pregnancy centers” (CPCs), right-wing groups that pose as nonpartisan health clinics while advocating for an anti-abortion agenda. According to NARAL Pro-Choice America, 34 states currently have policies that funnel money toward CPCs.
[...]
For example, a recent NARAL investigation found that Virginia’s Department of Health currently refers low-income women to a list of 18 CPCs where they can receive a free ultrasound before getting an abortion. But when women visit those centers, they encounter misinformation about the abortion procedure — typically, false information about abortion’s link to breast cancer and depression. The staff at Virginia’s CPCs was also documented employing emotional manipulation, like writing “Hi, Dad” on the image of an ultrasound before handing it back to a patient. In extreme cases, CPC employees have even refused to turn over the ultrasound results to women who needed to bring them to an abortion clinic.

CPCs advertise themselves as viable alternatives to other women’s health clinics, even though they don’t tend to employ medical professionals and don’t offer the full range of reproductive health services. Multiple outside investigations have caught CPCs’ lies on tape. Women who visit the right-wing “clinics” are frequently told that emergency contraception is the same thing as an abortion, birth control contains carcinogens, condoms aren’t effective at preventing STDs, abortion is extremely dangerous, and women always regret ending a pregnancy.
Basically they are harassing pregnant women and girls who have already decided they are not in a position to go through pregnancy and childbirth (as is their constitutional and basic human right.) And the government is helping them do it. Mostly it's just the young, poor and uneducated ones though. The privileged will find places to go that treat them with respect. Most of the women funneled to these brainwashing centers will be unpersuaded as well, since they know instinctively when they're being fed a pile of nonsense. Others, however, especially the younger ones, will be traumatized and misinformed and possible persuaded to be parents when they are not capable of doing so.

Oh, and not that it needs to be pointed out again, but the people who want the government fo fund these "crisis centers" tend to be the same people who refuse to let the government help support the children that are produced. They don't care if either the mother or the child lives or dies once the child emerges from the womb.

Meanwhile, the anti-abortion rights zealots won another big one the other day. They're now free to threaten and harass doctors as much as they want to:
An abortion opponent’s letter to a Wichita doctor saying someone might place an explosive under her car is constitutionally protected speech and not a “true threat” under existing law, a federal judge ruled Thursday.

U.S. District Judge J. Thomas Marten summarily found in favor of Angel Dillard in the 2011 civil lawsuit brought by the Justice Department under a law aimed at protecting access to abortion services. The 25-page decision handed down comes after a flurry of sealed filings seeking summary judgment.

The judge wrote that the government supplied no evidence that actual violence against Dr. Mila Means was likely or imminent.

“It was a great victory for the First Amendment,” said her attorney, Don McKinney. “Obviously, we agree with the opinion. I appreciate the court held the U.S. Department of Justice accountable to the law and the evidence.”

He portrayed his client’s reaction to the ruling as “joy,” noting she had been deposed for eight or nine hours by the government.

“It was a long, difficult case,” McKinney said. “The government was very energetic and all the government lawyers worked very hard.”

The Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division said in an emailed statement that it is reviewing the court’s order and evaluating its options.

“The right of doctors to deliver lawful reproductive health services free from threats of violence is protected by federal law,” the department said.

The government sued Dillard under the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act (FACE) after the Valley Center woman wrote Means a letter in January 2011 when Means was training to offer abortion services at her Wichita clinic. At the time, no doctor was doing abortions in Wichita in the wake of Dr. George Tiller’s murder by an abortion opponent.

Dillard wrote in her letter that thousands of people from across the nation were scrutinizing Means’ background and would know “your habits and routines.”

“They know where you shop, who your friends are, what you drive, where you live,” the letter said. “You will be checking under your car every day because maybe today is the day someone places an explosive under it.”


The judge noted in his decision that Dillard sent the letter openly with her return address on it.

Dillard had testified in her deposition that “I did what the Lord asked me to do. He impressed upon me that I needed to write the letter and I did.”
Let's turn this around a little bit, shall we? What if a young American Muslim sent a letter with exactly the same wording to a US government official saying: "you will be checking under your car every day because maybe today is the day someone places an explosive under it?" Is that free speech too? Or is only ok for anti-abortion terrorists to make such threats?

If so, it's kind of odd because there aren't a whole lot of homegrown terrorist groups that have made good on their death threats over the years, but the anti-abortion movement is one that has quite an impressive body count.

Not that any of this matters really. The threats worked:
The judge also rejected the government’s request for a permanent injunction prohibiting Dillard from again contacting Means. He was persuaded by the defense argument that she would have no reason to do so since Means no longer has any plans to offer abortion services in Kansas.

The court also noted the government’s argument that Dillard had refrained from contacting Means while the lawsuit was pending.

“If the glare of publicity and the prospect of additional government legal action are sufficient by themselves to prevent further communications by Dillard, they would remain even in the absence of separate injunction relief,” the judge wrote. “That is, the government effectively concedes that Dillard is a rational person, at least in sensing the folly of additional communications with Dr. Means.”
In other words, because the threats succeeded in stopping the legal act the terrorist opposed, there was no reason to pursue this any further. Also, since the terrorist is rational rather than crazy, there's no reason to fear that her threats were real. Good to know.

We talk a lot about progress in this country and are proud of having overcome some of our deepest injustices by acknowledging the basic human rights of everyone. But anyone who thinks that once acknowledged it's then impossible to lose should take a look at what's happening to women's fundamental rights, right now, in state legislatures and courtrooms all over this country.

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