JACblog! is moving. We will be housed on the new JAC website at www.jacpac.org and we hope you will follow us there.

We will continue to have this blogspot location up, but new postings will be seen on the new site. Please join us there.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Activist Randall Terry wants to take graphic abortion ads nationwide in 2012

Randall Terry, founder of the anti-reproductive rights group Operation Rescue, has announced he is seeking to recruit candidates for the 2012 election with the express purpose of putting graphic images of aborted fetuses on the airwaves, and is possibly considering a run in the presidential election with an eye on an anti-abortion ad during the Superbowl.
Last month, Washington-area residents watched dozens of TV commercials that featured gruesome images of aborted fetuses. In two years, many more Americans might be faced with similar ads if a prominent anti-abortion activist makes good on his plans.

Randall Terry -- the fiery activist who recruited D.C. resident Missy Reilly Smith to run for congressional delegate, thus clearing access to the airwaves -- announced this week that he plans to recruit candidates to run for Congress in the nation's 25 largest media markets, expressly to air graphic TV commercials.
Read more at The Washington Post

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Why Israel is a Rogue State

In case you missed it, here is the entire argument offered by Gabriel Latner, a 19-year-old student at Cambridge University who recently participated in a debate at the university's prestigious debate society.  The topic - proposed by Lauren Booth, who works for Tehran's state-run global TV station, and is ardently anti-Israel - was "Israel is a rogue state."  Mr. Latner was chosen to argue for the motion, and delightedly turned the entire argument on its ear by proclaiming Israel's "rogue" status and celebrating it.
This is a war of ideals, and the other speakers here tonight are rightfully, idealists. I'm not. I'm a realist. I'm here to win. I have a single goal this evening -- to have at least a plurality of you walk out of the “Aye” door.

I face a singular challenge -- most, if not all, of you have already made up your minds. This issue is too polarizing for the vast majority of you not to already have a set opinion. I'd be willing to bet that half of you strongly support the motion, and half of you strongly oppose it.

I want to win, and we're destined for a tie. I'm tempted to do what my fellow speakers are going to do -- simply rehash every bad thing the Israeli government has ever done in an attempt to satisfy those of you who agree with them. And perhaps they'll even guilt one of you rare undecided into voting for the proposition, or more accurately, against Israel.

It would be so easy to twist the meaning and significance of international “laws” to make Israel look like a criminal state. But that's been done to death.

It would be easier still to play to your sympathy, with personalized stories of Palestinian suffering. And they can give very eloquent speeches on those issues.

But the truth is, that treating people badly, whether they're your citizens or an occupied nation, does not make a state “rogue.” If it did, Canada, the U.S., and Australia would all be rogue states based on how they treat their indigenous populations. Britain’s treatment of the Irish would easily qualify them to wear this sobriquet. These arguments, while emotionally satisfying, lack intellectual rigor.

More importantly, I just don't think we can win with those arguments. It won't change the numbers. Half of you will agree with them, half of you won't. So I'm going to try something different, something a little unorthodox.
Read the rest at UN Watch

'Birthornot' website a fake

A recent website which sparked controversy has been confirmed as untrue.  The website asked visitors to vote on whether or not the couple should have an abortion.  The developer has confirmed that the couple never intended to have an abortion, regardless of the vote outcome - they wanted to spur debate.
A Minnesota man who put up a website asking people to help him and his wife decide whether to have an abortion admitted Tuesday they never intended to terminate the pregnancy.

Pete Arnold, who describes himself as a conservative/libertarian and has stirred controversy for his conservative posts on several websites, said he wanted to stimulate conversation about the politically charged subject.
Read more at CNN.com

Middle East with a side of hummus

In response to a proposed referendum for Princeton students that Sabra hummus not be sold on campus, this commentary looks at who owns this company and what they support and the fallacy that buying hummus is supporting human rights violations.
You are being deceived. A thin veil (of hummus) is being pulled over your eyes. You are being told that by purchasing Sabra hummus, you are propagating the violation of human rights — that by purchasing Sabra hummus, you are enabling abuses by the Israeli army’s Golani Brigade, whose soldiers are portrayed as cruel perpetrators. This is simply not true.
The truth is that 50 percent of Sabra Dipping Company is owned by PepsiCo, and 50 percent is owned by the Strauss Group, an Israeli company. The Strauss Group sponsors a range of community outreach programs, including raising money for premature infants in Serbia and providing scholarship funds to children with cancer. The Strauss Group’s list of projects also includes a “support the troops” program, for which the company provides care packages of free hummus to Israeli soldiers in the Golani Brigade. The company has not been providing weapons or ammunition; it is simply giving the 18-year-olds in uniform free hummus and a little moral support.
 Read more at The Daily Princetonian

Friday, November 19, 2010

Durbin Chairs Hearing on Ratification of Women's Rights Treaty

The first hearing on CEDAW held by the Senate since 1982 yesterday in Washington, DC.  Those who support its passage include Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, Actor Geena Davis, Ambassador Melanne Verveer - Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women's Issues, US State Department, and many others.
Assistant Senate Majority Leader Dick Durbin (D-IL) chaired a hearing today on U.S. ratification of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). CEDAW is the only international treaty to focus solely on the rights of women and it addresses issues such as violence against women, sex trafficking, the right to vote and equal access to education. Today’s hearing was the first ever Judiciary Committee hearing on whether to ratify a human rights treaty.

“CEDAW is about giving women all over the world the chance to enjoy the same freedoms and opportunities that American women have struggled long and hard to achieve,” Durbin said. “These are fundamentally American freedoms – the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness – and CEDAW is a fundamentally American treaty. Women have been waiting for 30 years. It’s long past time for the U.S. to ratify this treaty and we should do so without further delay.”
Read more at eNews Park Forest

German Parliament demands Gilad Shalit’s release

Gilad Shalit has been held prisoner by Hamas since June 25, 2006, when he was captured at a border check-point during a cross-border raid.  Hamas has consistently refused requests by international governments and organizations for Shalit to be visited by the International Committee of the Red Cross, a group that routinely visits prisoners to verify humane treatment.  In 2009, the UN Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict called for his release, to no avail.
German Jewish leaders and pro-Israel groups applauded a German parliamentary motion demanding that Hamas release captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.
The motion, passed Nov. 11, calls for negotiations and "trust-building" measures leading to Shalit's release, including allowing a Red Cross to visit the soldier who was captured in a cross-border Gaza raid in March 2006. The text was presented Oct. 27 by the Christian Democratic Party and Christian Social Union, the Social Democratic Party, the Free Democratic Party and the Greens.
 Read more at JTA

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Extraordinarily Ordinary Israel

This eastern Mediterranean Jewish republic is the focal point of one of the most divisive conflicts of our time and is a source of strong emotions for many people. Although many may think of Israel as an exceptional country, I consider it as an ordinary country faced with extraordinary obstacles. Rather than focusing on the numerous obstacles facing it, I would like to focus on its normality, particularly on its ethnic and liberal democracy, economic structure, and cultural diversity.
Read more at The Harvard Crimson

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

New high school biology books recommended by state

A state panel has recommended that the top education board in Louisiana adopt new high school biology textbooks that teach evolution as fact, with many who testified before the board stating they were against emphasizing evolution as a theory, or the inclusion of intelligent design.
A state panel recommended Friday that Louisiana's top education board adopt a new batch of high school biology textbooks, despite complaints that evolution is taught too matter-of-factly in the books. 

An advisory council, made up of educators and lawmakers, voted 8-4 to recommend that the new life science textbooks be approved for use in high school classrooms. The state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education will make a final decision on the books next month. 
"There is no major research university in this country that teaches intelligent design or anything like that. It is simply not science," said Kevin Carman, dean of the LSU College of Science. "We need our textbooks to be focused on what is scientifically accurate and not religion." 
 Read more at The Times-Picayune

Monday, November 15, 2010

Abortion opponents will target new Iowa clinic

Following the announcement last week by Dr. LeRoy Carhart that he plans to open three reproductive health clinics in the next couple of months, abortion opponents have vowed to fight the clinic scheduled to open in Council Bluffs, IA.
Iowa abortion opponents say they will work to block a Nebraska abortion provider from opening a clinic in Council Bluffs.

Dr. LeRoy Carhart has been the center of controversy for years because he performs late-term abortions. This week, he told reporters that he intends to open clinics in Council Bluffs, Indianapolis and the suburbs of Washington, D.C.
Read more at the Des Moines Register

Monday, November 08, 2010

Guilty: Anti-choicer behind "wanted" posters

Philip Benham, of Operation Save America has been found guilty of "criminal stalking with intent to cause emotional distress" and been sentenced to 2 years of probation.  He was charged following his distribution on "wanted posters" of doctors who perform abortions.  Similar posters have appeared before the deaths of reproductive health doctors, including Dr. George Tiller.
Distributing "wanted" posters of doctors who perform abortions is not free speech, a North Carolina court ruled Monday. Philip "Flip" Benham of Operation Save America (formerly Operation Rescue) was "just found guilty of two charges of criminal stalking with intent to cause emotional distress and disruption of domestic tranquility for residential picketing," reports Ms. Magazine. Benham, who papered the neighborhoods of the doctors' offices and homes with the flyers, got two years of probation and was ordered to stay away from the doctors in question.
Read more at Salon

Biden at GA: U.S.-Israel ties ‘unbreakable’

Vice President Joe Biden called the U.S.-Israel bond "unbreakable" in a speech at the General Assembly of the Jewish Federations of North America.

Speaking before an audience of approximately 4,000 at the opening plenary of the annual federations conference in New Orleans, Biden said tensions that may seem to exist between the Obama administration and Israel do not imply a weakening of ties between the two countries.

“This administration represents an unbroken chain in American leaders who have understood this critical relationship,” Biden said. “It is one that we will not yield one single inch. President Obama feels exactly the same way I do. The ties between our countries are literally unbreakable.”
 Read more at JTA

Friday, November 05, 2010

Abortion's foes resort to deception: What I found when I went to a crisis pregnancy center

Further reporting on so-called "Crisis Pregnancy Centers," which advertise as pregnancy clinics but are actually run by anti-abortion activists and seek to dissuade pregnant women from pursuing abortion as an option.  Many of these clinics appear to be medical facilities, but frequently have no medically professionals on staff.  A new bill in the NY City Council aims to end that by requiring these centers to disclose to patients if they do not have medical professionals on staff.  It would also require these centers to disclose that they do not provide abortion services, contraception or referrals for those options.
A television offered the only sound in the waiting room. On the screen, graphic videos of abortions played on a loop.
Some of the young women next to me sat with their eyes glued to the floor. A few glanced at the television, their eyes wide and wet.

Like me, they were either pregnant or afraid that they were. They had come to a Brooklyn office of EMC Pregnancy Center to get help.
Read more at NY Daily News

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Colorado voters reject anti-abortion measure

The Colorado ballot initiative, known as the Personhood Amendment, has been defeated by Colorado voters for the second time. 
For the second time, Colorado voters have overwhelmingly rejected an anti-abortion proposal that would have given unborn fetuses human rights in the state constitution.
Voters defeated a similar ballot measure by a nearly 3-to-1 margin in 2008. The initiative defeated Tuesday would have granted constitutional rights at the moment of conception and would have outlawed abortions.
Read more at The Washington Post

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

A Hidden Minefield at Pregnancy Centers

Continuing their coverage on Crisis Pregnancy Centers, a writer for the NY Times reviews her experience at an Expectant Mother Care Center and contrasts that with her experience at a Planned Parenthood Center in New York.  Current legislation is being considered that would prevent CPCs from advertising as abortion providers and prevent deceptive practices, namely to keep counselors from posing as neutral while pursuing a political agenda.
I had barely finished signing in at the Expectant Mother Care counseling center in Downtown Brooklyn when a staff member ushered me into a darkened room for a sonogram. As we both watched the flickering image of what looked more or less like a tadpole, she called my attention to every anatomical detail, from eyes and nose to hands and toes. Staring at the little bugger wriggling around inside me, a tear slid out of my eye.
Did that tear trigger some alarm? Suddenly, two more people crowded into that tiny, darkened room. One asked if I was considering abortion.
Read more at The New York Times

Monday, November 01, 2010

In the war on breast cancer, Israel leads

Irit Paneth, in and out of remission from breast cancer for more than a decade, was among the thousands who wound their way like a giant pink-and-white ribbon through Jerusalem's streets in the first Susan G. Komen Foundation’s Race for the Cure held in Israel.

"What's important here is to raise awareness," Paneth said during the Oct. 28 march, wearing the pink T-shirt reserved for breast cancer survivors.
Read more at JTA

Arizona abortion rules expected to take effect Monday

A new abortion law goes into effect today in Arizona.  While on the surface, it may seem reasonable, opponents state that requiring a licensed physician to be present for various aspect of the procedure, including a physical exam prior to the surgery, will make it harder for women seeking an abortion due to the limited number of physicians willing to do the procedure in Arizona.  Until now, highly trained nurse practitioners, as well as physicians, were able to perform abortions in the state.
New restrictions on abortion are expected to take effect Monday following a ruling this week by a Maricopa County Superior Court judge.

Judge Donald Daughton ruled late Wednesday that Planned Parenthood could not amend a separate lawsuit in an effort to block provisions of a 10-year-old Arizona law from taking effect.

The law requires a licensed physician to participate in various aspects of the procedure, including a physical examination of the woman before surgery.
 Read more at The Arizona Republic