3.25.2006

jane roe

Those of you who follow the burgeoning theocracy to the south may already have seen this, but it bears repeating. From Indianz.com:
Oglala Sioux president on state abortion law

"When Governor Mike Rounds signed HB 1215 into law it effectively banned all abortions in the state with the exception that it did allow saving the mother's life. There were, however, no exceptions for victims of rape or incest. His actions, and the comments of State Senators like Bill Napoli of Rapid City, SD, set of a maelstrom of protests within the state.

Napoli suggested that if it was a case of "simple rape," there should be no thoughts of ending a pregnancy. Letters by the hundreds appeared in local newspapers, mostly written by women, challenging Napoli's description of rape as "simple." He has yet to explain satisfactorily what he meant by "simple rape."

The President of the Oglala Sioux Tribe on the Pine Ridge Reservation, Cecilia Fire Thunder, was incensed. A former nurse and healthcare giver she was very angry that a state body made up mostly of white males, would make such a stupid law against women.

"To me, it is now a question of sovereignty," she said [to the writer] last week. "I will personally establish a Planned Parenthood clinic on my own land which is within the boundaries of the Pine Ridge Reservation where the State of South Dakota has absolutely no jurisdiction."
So there's one possible response to the post-Roe United States. Another response may be the return of self-care, now being called DIY abortions. This was practiced in the 1960s and 1970s by women's groups, most famously Chicago's Jane Collective. It was a way of taking control of women's health care, and making abortions safe, if not legal, for those who needed them.

From Voices of Choices, stories of US doctors who performed abortions before Roe v. Wade:
The Jane Collective was a group of women who became trained by a physician to provide abortions themselves. I was not part of the Jane Collective, but I was involved in the next tier out, the people who would lend their apartments to Jane. Somebody would appear at your door and say, "Jane would like to see you next Thursday. She'll be here at 7:30 in the morning." And that meant you should leave. And so you would leave your apartment at 7:30 in the morning and you would only know the one person who approached you. And at the time of your departure, the person would say something like, "Jane will be here until 7:30 tonight." So that meant don't come back until after that time.

They had this really extraordinary safety record and people didn't get into trouble. I've read that the Chicago police decided pretty much to leave them alone. Part of the way in which my experience with Jane pushed me towards becoming a doctor was that even though Jane's reputation was exemplary--their reputation was one of providing very sensitive, thoughtful and good care for people--I did come home sometimes after Jane visited and find blood spatters.

And even in my unsophisticated state, I thought, "Nobody should be subjected to having an abortion in my apartment and have blood spatters on the wall, and nobody should be in the position of trying to provide an urgently needed service without all the right equipment and training." It was very important personally in helping me decide to go to medical school and be in a position to provide those services properly myself.

I guess it must be about 15 years ago, I was the Director of New York City's Bureau of Maternity Services and Family Planning. I knew all the chiefs of ob/gyn departments around town. And I remember having conversations with two in particular, each of whom was an older, very religiously conservative man, neither of whom were themselves abortion providers. Both came from orthodox religious traditions that didn't approve of abortion. And they both said to me, "Wendy, if you've seen a 13-year-old dying of gas gangrene, you can never really be opposed to abortion after that."
Last time I posted about the US's rapidly dwindling reproductive freedom, a reader asked me what concerned Canadians can do to help. I've been giving this a lot of thought.

In the immediate sense, I think the best thing you can do is donate money to pro-choice groups. I don't know the laws governing foreign donations to US nonprofits, and I haven't been able to learn much online. I know there are laws prohibiting foreign donations to election campaigns and lobbying groups. So far I haven't come across any prohibitions on donations to charitable groups - but I really don't know. I'm sure there's at least one person reading this who knows, so please fill us in and I'll update this post.

In my opinion, these are the places your hard-earned loonies will do the most good.

The National Network of Abortion Funds (NNAF - pronounced En-Naf) helps low-income women pay for procedures. Click here to see the states that don't cover abortion in their Medicaid programs, thanks to Henry Hyde [spit!], Republican of Illinois. NNAF-affiliated funds are run by volunteers, so your whole donation goes to helping low-income women obtain abortions.

The Planned Parenthood Federation is a vital link between women and reproductive health. In addition to its comprehensive clinics, Planned Parenthood is involved with education and advocacy work, and is a leader in the ongoing struggle for true equality for women, people of colour and low-income people all over the world. Look here for all the good things they do.

NARAL Pro-Choice America is a very important pro-choice advocacy group. However, as a Political Action Committee, it's not allowed to accept donations from non-US citizens. American readers may want to contribute to their excellent work.

In the longer term, if you are concerned about reproductive rights and willing to donate time and effort - and if you live near the US border - it's very likely you'll be able to help individual women exercise control over their bodies. The abortion underground railroad may be coming to your town soon. If this happens, I'll be a part of it, and I'll let you know how you can help. The new passport regulations at the border may prove to be the biggest obstacle.

Running the Haven Coalition was exhausting, maddening, electrifying and incredibly rewarding. It was a huge amount of work. But being a Haven "host" - volunteering to take a woman (and often her friend or partner) into your home - was not. It wasn't always a breeze, there's effort involved, but it's a relatively easy form of direct-action activism, as well as simple human compassion.

13 comments:

Granny said...

I do what I can with NARAL and have for a while. Not much - I don't have much - but something.

Have you read about the so-called "loophole" in the SD law? According to what I read, they didn't ban Plan "B".

I'm sure you have. You're always 3 jumps ahead of me.

It may be their undoing.

L-girl said...

You're always 3 jumps ahead of me.

Nah Granny, I learn a lot from you.

Have you read about the so-called "loophole" in the SD law? According to what I read, they didn't ban Plan "B".

The thing is, Plan B does not induce abortion. It only works within 72 hours of sex to prevent conception. Once conception has occured, Plan B is useless.

Most women who end up needing to terminate a pregnancy don't know it this early.

RU-486 would be very helpful here, but that would fall under any abortion ban, as it is a medical (as opposed to surgical) abortion.

Let me know if you have any good links about this. Thanks.

L-girl said...

P.S. Granny, I got caught up on your photos this morning. What a beautiful family you have. :)

Karen said...

american by birth.
canadian by choice.

Says how I feel and have threatened more than once to move to Canada since half of the U.S. are idiots by voting bush into office.

As far as the abortion issue, ohhhhhhhhh, it makes my head hurt to think what's happening here. Hopefully we will return a Democrat to office in 2008 and try to reverse some of this damage. If another idiot gets elected... I'M OUTA HERE!

btw, found you from Kyahgirl and glad I did. I love my Canadian neighbors!

L-girl said...

Thanks Karen!

No offense to your 2008 plan, but what are you waiting for? There was a Democrat in office for 8 years and fat lot of good it did. If you live in the wrong state and/or are poor, there's almost no abortion access anyway.

The Supreme Court is cooked now, and most of the states are controlled by the Right. Why wait?

Scott M. said...

From CRA's P113 Gifts and Income Tax, here's the relevant section:

---

Gifts to U.S. charities
Generally, if you have U.S. income, you can claim any gifts to U.S. charities that would be allowed on a U.S. return. You can claim the eligible amount of your U.S. gifts up to 75% of the net U.S. income you report on your Canadian return. However, you may be able to claim the eligible amount of your gifts to certain U.S. organizations up to 75% of your net world income. You can do this if you live near the border in Canada throughout the year and commute to your principal workplace or business in the U.S., which is your main source of income for the year.

---

HOWEVER, many charities have associated Canadian charities, and they are allowed to send money across the border free of charge. I don't know the names of American charities, but if you have a favourite you can look it up HERE.

L-girl said...

Thanks, Scott. But that's about tax deductibility. I'm looking for the legality of US nonprofits accepted donations from "foreigners" (non US citizens), whether or not those doncations are tax-deductible.

Scott M. said...

Thanks, Scott. But that's about tax deductibility. I'm looking for the legality of US nonprofits accepted donations from "foreigners" (non US citizens), whether or not those doncations are tax-deductible.

But that's what I'm saying. It's perfectly legal in Canada to give to American charities. You're right, I have no idea if there's a prohibition on US charities accepting Canadian money, but a prohibition of that sorts just wouldn't make sense anyway. Why would they care about the source of the money if it's being used legally?

Anyway, as I mentioned, many US charities set up Canadian charities so Canadians can donate to them and get a tax reciept, and the money is transferred directly to the US charity. Wouldn't this be the best way you could have Canadian's contribute? Yes, they could do it out of simple kindness, but why not get a tax writeoff at the same time?

L-girl said...

but a prohibition of that sorts just wouldn't make sense anyway. Why would they care about the source of the money if it's being used legally?

There are a lot of rules about nonprofits that don't make much sense. For example, I'm no longer allowed to sit on the board of any US nonprofit, because I'm no longer a US resident. There are dozens of these kind of regulations.

Yes, they could do it out of simple kindness, but why not get a tax writeoff at the same time?

Sure, that's always nice, it's just not a concern of mine. I find the paltry write-off means very little in the long run.

I'm accustomed to giving to grassroots groups that don't have official nonprofit status, where there's no tax deduction, but I see directly where my money goes. Or political-action groups, where there is no legal tax deducation (like NARAL, which Granny mentioned above).

Because really, I'm not talking about kindness, I'm talking about activism.

James said...

Sure, that's always nice, it's just not a concern of mine. I find the paltry write-off means very little in the long run.

At the least, they give you room to bump the size of your donation up a bit.

Granny said...

I'll try to back track. Another blog was quoting the exact language. SD were stating contradictory positions in the same law in any event according to the writer.

It was a few days ago but I'll check and let you know if I find it again.

sharonapple said...

Thanks for the information. It's been frustrating getting updates and not being able to do anything.

And for a small laugh at the other side, there's a "pro-life" monument, a statue of Britney Spears giving birth.

(Don't click the link below if you're easily offended. The artist sexualized childbirth. It's horrifically funny.)

http://thewingnuterer.blogspot.com/2006/03/this-is-not-joke.html

As the wingnuterer said: How the heck is this thing a 'pro-life' celebration anyway? Is the spectacle of a filthy rich women giving birth in a provocative pose supposed to make some broke teenager suddenly realize that she can go through with it all?

Lone Primate said...

And for a small laugh at the other side, there's a "pro-life" monument, a statue of Britney Spears giving birth.

Wow. I never knew labour could be that vapid. I mean, I was always under the misapprehension it was a big deal... y'know, the Carroll Burnette "take your bottom lip and pull it over the top of your head" kind of thing. But here's the proof that it's more like, "Gee, what a cool dead bear head..."