Teen birth rate in the U.S. continues to decline; former anti-abortion leader/Catholic excorcist accused of "inappropriate relations" with women; Florida "Choose Life" law may be re-written; new Lifetime show presents natural chidlbirth as moronic; and the battle over homosexuality all over Africa.
- I'm not quite sure what to make of this story on so many levels. The former president of the extremist, anti-abortion group Human Life International, Rev. Thomas Euteneuer, is being accused of having "inappropriate relations" with women. I am SO not going to make a snarky comment here about how all anti-choice organizations, in effect, have inappropriate relations with women. The former HLI president is a Catholic priest who...performs excorcisms? I truly am not clear as to why an exorcist was heading up an anti-abortion group or why no one felt, as one commenter on the article notes, that was at all weird? In any case, according to HLI, after one woman stepped forward - a woman under Rev. Euteneuer's spiritual care - more women have made "allegations" against the Catholic exorcist, according to the Palm Beach Post. What those allegations are exactly I do not know yet.
- Teen birth rates are at an all time low says the National Center for Health Statistics. 2009 marked the second year in a row that birth rates for teens fell. Between 2007 and 2009 teen birth rates declined 8 percent. According to the Washington Post,"...the rates fell significantly for teens in all age groups and all racial and ethnic groups, pushing the rate for each age group and for nearly all race and ethnic groups to the lowest levels ever reported, according to the analysis."
- A re-write of a Florida law governing the state's "Choose Life" license plates has provoked frustration from both Planned Parenthood and pregnancy centers alike, according to the Florida Independent. The re-write involves directions for where to funnel the funds from the license plates, which now go to crisis pregnancy centers, when particular counties do not have a pregnancy center. The new bill mandates that revenue from the sale of the license plates would go directly to Choose Life, Inc., which would then funnel money to CPCs or use a portion of the funds for publicity purposes:
Current law states that at least 70 percent of the funds made off the plates go to providing for women making an adoption plan for their unborn children. Only 30 percent or less can go to the oft-criticized crisis pregnancy centers that The Florida Independent has found often disseminate misleading information about abortion. But Fasano’s rewrite does away with the 70/30 split, and doesn’t specify what portion of the funds must go to providing for the material needs of women.
“The legislature promised that the funds from these plates would be used to provide adoption resources — to actually increase the number of adoptive homes for children in Florida,” says Danielle Prendergast, public policy director of ACLU Florida. “Now they’re trying to break that promise, and it looks like they want to use the state as a pass-through to fund anti-abortion propaganda. The bottom line is: There’s no need to change the way the funds are used. This is a solution in search of a problem.”
- Okay, I haven't seen this show yet but Tracie's write up on Jezebel about a new Lifetime program, One Born Every Minute, makes me boil anyway. According to her post, the show makes women who desire natural childbirth look like absolutely morons. Writes Egan Morrissey, "It was infuriating to watch as women were admitted into labor and delivery and were immediately pressured by nurses to get started on Pitocin—which was treated as a routine step in the labor process—but not informed of the drug's potential (and numerous) risks." Yeah, I can see why that would be infuriating to watch.
- An excellent artlcle on VOA.com (Voice of America) says gay and lesbian Africans are "under siege" like never before. All over the continent, there are reports of an increase in discrimination and violence against gay and lesbian people. According to the article, "In most of Africa’s 53 countries, same sex acts are illegal and punishable with long prison sentences. In some nations, like Mauritania, Somalia and Sudan, gays and lesbians can be put to death if convicted of “sodomy” or “indecent” sexual activities." At the same time, gay and lesbian Africans are protesting more than ever, fighting for their rights, openly demanding basic human rights for themselves. The issue is, of course, harshly lit as of late by recent events in Uganda where prominent gay rights activist David Kato was murdered recently, after an on-going debate in the country around a new law which would impose the death penalty on those who engage in homosexual activity in the country.