Zika and abortions

Scientific America has some bad news about Zika in Puerto Rico:

“Based on the limited available information on the risk of microcephaly, we estimate between 100 to 270 cases of microcephaly might occur” between mid-2016 and mid-2017, said Dr. Margaret Honein, chief of the birth defects branch at the CDC, who was one of several authors of the study published August 19 in JAMA Pediatrics.

Politico’s Jennifer Haberkorn looks at how Zika could change the discssion on abortion:

Pregnant women with the Zika virus are at risk of giving birth to babies with devastating brain damage, which can be detected only around 18 to 20 weeks — and often much later than that. …

An Aug. 5 Harvard University-STAT poll found only 23 percent of American adults believe a woman should have access to abortion after 24 weeks of pregnancy. But that opposition softened notably when the question was framed in terms of Zika.

“Maybe the Zika epidemic and its implications for pregnant women will help us shine a light on the exactly tragic situation in which you have these abortions,” said Rep. Diana DeGette (D-Colo.), co-chairman of the House Pro-Choice Caucus.

Life and decision making gets a lot simpler when we assume that women are capable moral agents making their own decisions about their own health and autonomy.  But our political process does not allow for that.  The Politico article brings up the rubella epidemic that led to abortion being discussed in public as “respectable” discussion as it was seen as a health procedure instead of an non-punishment for the sluts (you know those girls) for having sex.

Dr. Jen Grunter writes about how she came to perform abortions during later stages of pregnancies.  Her patients needed help and she helped them.

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Monday Olympics Open Thread: Mandatory Political Content

Apart from more sports-watching, what’s on the agenda for the evening?



Monday Morning Open Thread: Geekbait!

I had no idea this movie was coming out, and now I cannot wait. Taraji P. Henson! Octavia Spencer! JANELLE MONAE!… and rocket ships.

Since the book it’s based on won’t be released till September, I may have to read Rise of the Rocket Girls while I’m waiting.

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Apart from finding other reasons to grit through this election season, what’s on the agenda as we start the week?



Long (Encouraging) Read: “A Hillary confidante’s letters reveal a window into her friend’s life”

Isaac Stanley-Becker, in the Washington Post:

Hillary Clinton was first lady when an influential legal journal featured her in its spring volume, drawing tributes from such luminaries as Elie Wiesel, Sen. Edward M. Kennedy and the Queen of Jordan.

But the most intimate portrait came from Diane Blair, a woman Clinton befriended in Arkansas who was not a Nobel laureate or legal scholar and never held elected office. Through 30 years of friendship, Blair knew more than perhaps anyone about Clinton’s private struggles as she became the governor’s wife, moved to the White House and transformed herself into the most famous woman in American politics.

In her tribute to Clinton in the 1995 Annual Survey of American Law, Blair portrayed her friend as a female crusader, setting an example at great personal cost.

“When I was a schoolchild I was both fascinated and horrified by stories of the canaries who were carried down into the mines as early warning systems for the miners; if poisonous gases started seeping into the mine-shafts, the canaries would quickly expire, thereby giving warning to the men in the mines. I wonder now whether Hillary is playing the risky part of national canary for the women of America,” Blair wrote.

Clinton wrote back to Blair in the summer of 1995, calling her a “fellow canary.”

“We flap our little wings harder and harder, while chirping as loudly as our voices permit about what’s happening around us,” she said. “Sometimes we even are heard outside our cages!”

Blair never sought the limelight, but she became one of Clinton’s closest confidantes as the first lady wrestled with what she saw as a legion of political detractors and a hostile press. Clinton turned to Blair with her fears that her husband was “ruining himself” and the presidency because he had no strategy to fight back at his enemies.
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Saturday Morning Open Thread: Compare & Contrast

It is absolutely men’s responsibility to fight sexism too. And as spouses and partners and boyfriends, we need to work hard and be deliberate about creating truly equal relationships.

The good news is that everywhere I go across the country, and around the world, I see people pushing back against dated assumptions about gender roles. From the young men who’ve joined our It’s On Us campaign to end campus sexual assault, to the young women who became the first female Army Rangers in our nation’s history, your generation refuses to be bound by old ways of thinking. And you’re helping all of us understand that forcing people to adhere to outmoded, rigid notions of identity isn’t good for anybody—men, women, gay, straight, transgender, or otherwise. These stereotypes limit our ability to simply be ourselves.

This fall we enter a historic election. Two hundred and forty years after our nation’s founding, and almost a century after women finally won the right to vote, for the first time ever, a woman is a major political party’s presidential nominee. No matter your political views, this is a historic moment for America. And it’s just one more example of how far women have come on the long journey toward equality.

I want all of our daughters and sons to see that this, too, is their inheritance. I want them to know that it’s never been just about the Benjamins; it’s about the Tubmans too. And I want them to help do their part to ensure that America is a place where every single child can make of her life what she will.

That’s what twenty-first century feminism is about: the idea that when everybody is equal, we are all more free.

Apart from GOTV — and watching the Olympics — what’s on the agenda for the day?



Late Night Open Thread: Early Reviews

Major Major Major Major says:
I AM HILLARY OF HOUSE CLINTON! RIGHTFUL HEIR TO THE OVAL OFFICE! MOTHER OF HEALTHCARE, SLAYER OF TERRORISTS, BREAKER OF CEILINGS!

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DNC Pinnacle Night #4 Open Thread


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Courtesy, blessings upon them forever, the Guardian, livestreaming here.

There’s also the official DemConvention.com livestream, which unfortunately right at the moment is showing backstage clips instead of the podium speakers…

Abdul-Jabbar introduces a video in which Clinton tells the story of Humayun SM Khan, an army soldier who died in a car bombing.

Now out stop Khizr Khan, the soldier’s father, and his wife, unintroduced.

Khan says they stand as parents of Khan “and as patriotic American Muslims.” They are fervently applauded.

This don’t look like Cleveland.