The Escalation of Anti-Abortion Violence Ten Years After Dr. George Tiller’s Murder

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The Escalation of Anti-Abortion Violence Ten Years After Dr. George Tiller’s Murder

By Jill Heaviside & Rosann Mariappuram. First published on Rewire.News

As we mark the tenth anniversary of the assassination of Dr. George Tiller, it is incredible to think that, just over a month ago, Republican Sen. Ben Sasse was really asking how “the pro-life position is in any way violent.”

Violence has been a central tenet of the anti-abortion movement since before the U.S. Supreme Court decided Roe v. Wade. As activists have sought control over the reproductive freedom of millions of people—particularly women of color, low-income women and families, and queer, gender-nonconforming, and transgender communities—they have used violence as a tactic of control, abuse, and fear across the United States.

Dr. Tiller was Wichita’s only abortion provider for 40 years and was known for his deep commitment to trusting women and their families’ reproductive health decisions. Because of his work, Dr. Tiller was a target of many anti-abortion groups; before he was killed, he survived a clinic bombing and a prior shooting.

Dr. Tiller’s murder wasn’t an isolated incident. Anti-abortion extremists have killed at least 11 people since the 1990s. Their violent history includes the first recorded murder of an abortion provider, Dr. David Gunn, in 1993, and the 2015 shooting at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs, which claimed three lives and injured nine people.

SIA Legal Team + If/When/How Unite As Pro-Choice Counter To Anti-Women Federalist Society

MERGER OF SIA LEGAL TEAM AND IF/WHEN/HOW REPRODUCTIVE JUSTICE LAWYERS UNIT ANNOUNCED MARCH 13, 2019

MERGER OF SIA LEGAL TEAM AND IF/WHEN/HOW REPRODUCTIVE JUSTICE LAWYERS UNIT ANNOUNCED MARCH 13, 2019

SIA Legal Team + If/When/How Unite As Pro-Choice Counter To Anti-Women Federalist Society

Two powerful groups fighting for women’s reproductive rights have joined forces under the If/When/How name. Their goal? Creating a national network to push back against restrictive abortion legislation in every state, helping those ‘whose rights are being trampled.’

The merger of SIA Legal Team and If/When/How—two existing pro-choice groups that already shape policy, file lawsuits, and inform lawyers around reproductive rights issues — launched today March 13. To date, most legal work in the reproductive rights arena has focused on protecting clinics and providers. Executive director Jill Adams says the new organization will also focus on providing a network of attorneys for everyday people facing reproductive rights challenges.

Ryan Magers Madison County, Alabama

Examples of new lawsuits include that of Alabama man Ryan Magers of Madison County, Alabama, who recently filed suit on behalf of an aborted fetus, claiming that his girlfriend had a medication abortion against his wishes in February 2017. In the law suit, filed in January, Magers filed a petition to serve as the “personal representative” of the aborted fetus’ estate.

Next, Magers sued the clinic that performed the abortion, the Alabama Women’s Center for Reproductive Alternatives in Huntsville, on behalf of himself and “Baby Roe,” as the fetus is referred to in court documents.

On March 5, Madison County Probate Judge Frank Barger granted Magers’ petition to represent the estate in a decision his attorney, Brent Helms, said broke new legal ground.

NARAL President Ilyse Hogue called the decision a “very scary case”. “This is the logical consequence of all anti-abortion activity,” tweeted Erin Matson, founder of Reproaction. “Fetuses are treated like people and women and people who can become pregnant are not.”

Baltimore Health Commissioner Dr. Leana Wen Named Head Of Planned Parenthood

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Baltimore Health Commissioner Dr. Leana Wen Named Head Of Planned Parenthood

Baltimore health commissioner Dr. Leana Wen has been named the new head of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. Growing up poor in California as a Chinese refugee, Dr. Wen, her little sister and mother received ongoing health care from Planned Parenthood.

Wen is a prodigy who enrolled at Cal State University at age 13, graduating at 18 with a degree in biochemistry. She attended Washington University in St. Louis for medical school and was a fellow at Harvard. Dr. Wen also studied public health at Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar.

Before taking the health commissioner position in Baltimore, Dr. Wen forked as an emergency room doctor at George Washington University, where she was also a professor.

Dr. Wen says she is leaving a job she loves in Baltimore because of growing attacks by the Trump administration and other conservatives on Planned Parenthood and women’s reproductive health rights.

“I see how the single, biggest health catastrophe of our times is the threat to women’s health,” Wen said. “I am deeply troubled by how women’s health issues are singled out, stigmatized and attacked.”

Planned Parenthood’s need for an articulate and fierce public voice is filled by the outspoken commissioner who is widely known for her newspaper op-eds and TV appearances, writes The Baltimore Sun.

US Supreme Court: Does Regulating 'Fake' Women's Health Centers Confine Religious Freedom?

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US Supreme Court: Does Regulating 'Fake' Women's Health Centers Confine Religious Freedom?

Given all the regulations that Republican state governments have put on Planned Parenthood -- including the width of their hallways and the size of closets (restrictions that render existing facilities not qualifying to operate) -- it's mind-boggling to see them go before the Supreme Court and argue that fake pregnancy counseling centers are legit and cannot be subject to state laws because they are run by Christians. Any attempt to govern them by laws is an illegal attack on their religious freedoms. 

The test of these perceived freedoms is now before the US Supreme Court, in the first abortion-related case of the Trump administration. 

Any Woman Can is part of a nationwide network of over 3,000 “crisis pregnancy centers” (CPCs) established by evangelical Christians to dissuade women from having abortions.  Presenting themselves as women's health centers that support women when Planned Parenthood closes down, unable to meet state laws, these so-called clients typically have no licensed medical professionals on staff. 

The Any Woman Can website says it offers a comprehensive overview of health care options open to women. This is a blatant lie. Other members of this network are Pregnancy Care Clinics and Informed Choices, also arguing before the Supreme Court On Tuesday.

Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards Announces Search To Replace Her in 2018

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Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards Announces Search To Replace Her in 2018

Cecile Richards sent spasms of concern through the hearts of progressive women, announcing that she will leave her position as president of Planned Parenthood later this year. As The Trump Administration launches a full frontal assault against Planned Parenthood 45 years after the Supreme Court affirmed a woman's right to abortion, a new leader will step into the limelight. 

The New York Times writes that the move is well timed for her to promote a new memoir: "Make Trouble: Standing Up, Speaking Out, and Finding the Courage to Lead — My Life Story" due out in April. 

Richards says she's not running for any office and plans on pouring herself into the midterm elections, fund-raising, campaigning for Democrats and advising the record number of women candidates. 

Mary Alice Carter Leads New Equity Forward, Monitoring Women's Reproductive Health Care Rights At HHS

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Mary Alice Carter Leads New Equity Forward, Monitoring Women's Reproductive Health Care Rights At HHS

Hearings opened for on Jan. 9 for HHS nominee Alex Azar to replace Tom Price as HHS Secretary. Women's health groups launched a full-scale confrontation around women's reproductive health -- clearly under assault by the Trump administration. The issues go far beyond abortion rights and into contraception. Trump has stacked HHS with women who don't believe in birth control. 

A new group Equity Forward will be acting as a watchdog focused on reproductive health care at the Department of Health and Human Services. 

Mary Alice Carter, the executive director of Equity Forward, which officially launched Friday, said the nonpartisan group will hold accountable organizations and individuals they argue limit access to reproductive health care.