Archive for July 31st, 2009

Rep. Anthony Weiner: Why do we need health insurers at all?

| July 31, 2009 | 3 Replies
Rep. Anthony Weiner: Why do we need health insurers at all?

New York Representative Anthony Weiner is my new hero. It’s clearly time for a single payor system and it appears that progressives are finally getting the courage to speak up for it. There is no rationality in a system that syphons health care dollars off as profits to big insurance corporations. Kudos to Rachel Maddow for prominently featuring this issue.

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Anti-abortion = anti-contraception?

| July 31, 2009 | 11 Replies
Anti-abortion = anti-contraception?

One of the first posts I wrote at this site was an in-depth look at a “pregnancy resource center” which, to my dismay excelled at spreading untruths about abortion and did its best to discourage the use of effective birth control. What a strange thing, I thought, to discourage methods that would prevent accidental pregnancy which would, in turn, lower the abortion rate. Maybe fighting effective birth control (i.e., methods that don’t exclusive rely on just say no) would be good for repeat business at the “pregnancy resource center,” but it is terrible for the unwitting clients of these highly dysfunction centers.

Along comes this Alternet post by Christina Page, “Why the Anti-Choice Movement Is on the Verge of Civil War.” This is a fascinating look at the anti-choice movement’s big schism:

The question now is: ‘are you pro-life and pro-contraception, therefore trying to reduce the need for abortions, or are you pro-life and against contraception and you hope that people’s lives improve just by hoping it, wishing it so.'”

And consider this–I think that Page’s logic is impeccable:

It may come as a shock to most pro-life Americans, but there’s not one pro-life group in the United States that supports contraception. Rather, many lead campaigns against contraception. As [anti-abortion yet pro-contraception] Congressman [Tim] Ryan explained, “I think the pro-life groups are finding themselves further and further removed from the mainstream; they’re on the fringe of this debate.” Considering that the average woman spends 23 years of her life trying not to get pregnant, the anti-contraception approach depends on a scourge of sexless marriages or a lot of wishful thinking.

Where does this lead? If you aren’t for preventing accidental pregnancies, you can’t truly be anti-abortion. Yet that is the situation with all major anti-abortion groups. For example, none of them support Ryan’s legislation that would increase funding to make birth control available, promote effective sex-ed and provide financial incentives for adoption. Yet no pro-life group supports his efforts. Many groups staunchly oppose the use of real birth control (e.g., this one). On the other hand, most pro-life individuals support his efforts. Not surprising, in that 80% of pro-life individuals (90% of Catholics!) support the availability of effective birth control. Page presents many other eye-popping stats in her article.

The bottom line?

The greatest opportunity to reduce the need for abortion is to focus the 95% of unintended pregnancies that are highly preventable. The plan is simple: address the lack of and incorrect use of contraception.

This is a solution that virtually all individuals agree on. But all we get from “pro-life” groups is defiance. Therefore, pro-life groups (such as Democrats for Life) are wholly unaccountable to their constituents.

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Where is Xu Zhiyong?

| July 31, 2009 | Reply
Where is Xu Zhiyong?

Where is Xu Zhiyong? Where, indeed?.

At around 5 A.M. on Wednesday, Chinese authorities visited the home of Xu Zhiyong, a prominent legal scholar and elected legislator in Beijing, and led him away. He has not been heard from again. Unless something changes, he is likely to stay away for a long time, with or without formal charges. Anyone with an interest in China, its economy, its place in the world, or the kind of future it will fashion, please take note: This is a big deal.

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