Wednesday, March 23, 2005

A Winding Road & Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude on media frenzy; Planned Parenthood, Kim Gandy of NOW

Last entry for the night, sorry.

Reading through the e-mails tonight, a few of you worry that you came off "rude" or "uncaring" for being tired of the Terry Schiavo story. I don't think you did. No e-mail attacked Schiavo, her husband or her parents. The e-mails were repeatedly about the round the clock coverage that had gone on too long and too loudly.

So we're going to note two posts tonight on this subject.

First from Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude, which Maria and Kara both e-mailed,
"enough on terry schiavo:"

when i got home i thought about doing a post but i look around online while i've got the radio on and all i'm seeing and hearing is schiavo, schiavo, schiavo.
i wasn't in the mood.
the media circus rides continues.
a judge gives a verdict. the media pants. an appeal is filed. the media drools. and always non-stop talk.
talk talk
talk around the clock
as joni mitchell sings in 'tax free.'
did you ever hear such a choir?
oh sure you have some tenor voices. some baritone voices. some sopranos. some altos. a little bass thrown in for the mix.
but it's the same damn song - just different people singing their different parts (melody and counter-melody).
and it all makes this huge din that drowns out everything ani difranco sings 'and everywhere i go it's the same damn song.'
that's the state of american media today.

Rob e-mailed in Folding Star's latest at A Winding Road. It's entitled "Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch . . ."

Suffice it to say that I feel the Schiavo case was worth addressing last weekend, but I see no need for anyone to be dwelling on it at the exclusion of all else, especially when those addressing it are merely saying the same things over and over.
That there has been precious little news really covered in the last few days is frightening.
We all remember the memo put out by a member of the British Government in the aftermath of 9-11, which made clear, that in times like this, when the entire media is so focused on one issue, ''bad news' can be put out with little notice and easily swept under the rug. It's like a clarion call to dump all the news that you've been worried about.
So what else has been going on that we should be paying attention to?
How about the fact that Paul Wolfowitz, one of the primary architects of the Iraq War and the Bush 'foreign policy', if you can call Shoot First, Ask Questions After We've Got the Oil a foreign policy, is about to become head of the World Bank with very little opposition, even from Governments that were outspoken in their opposition to the Iraq war?
The word is that the Europeans want US support to confirm their own nominees to other positions, so they're seemingly willing to look the other way at the confirmation of a War monger like Wolfowitz.

Will also note the Associated Press article by Sam Hananel entitled "Planned Parenthood Denounces Record Search:"

Planned Parenthood (news - web sites) officials charged Wednesday that efforts by two state attorneys general to seize patient medical records from the organization's clinics are aimed at discouraging women from seeking abortions and other reproductive health care.
[. . .]
Planned Parenthood sued the state of Indiana last week to stop the seizure of medical records there, saying investigators were on a "fishing expedition," possibly to identify the partners of sexually active 12- and 13-year-olds. None of the records requested in Indiana involved abortions.
The state actions follow an unsuccessful attempt last year by then-U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft (
news - web sites) to subpoena abortion records from several Planned Parenthood affiliates as part of the government's defense of a new law barring certain late-term abortions.
Karen Pearl, interim president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, called the efforts to get access to the records an "attack on medical privacy."

You can find a statement from Planned Parenthood online:

Comprehensive Health of Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri (Comprehensive Health) is fighting to protect dozens of confidential patient records that have been subpoenaed as part of an "inquisition" (K.S.A Chapter 22) pursued by anti-choice Kansas Attorney General Phill Kline. Comprehensive Health has appealed to the Kansas Supreme Court to safeguard the information, the women and their medical privacy, and will file its final brief with the court today.
"Comprehensive Health provides high quality reproductive health care, protects medical privacy and fully complies with the law," Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri President and CEO Peter Brownlie said. "This is about a covenant between a doctor and his/her patient ... a covenant of confidentiality that all citizens expect and deserve. We will do everything we can to protect the medical privacy of women, including those who seek abortion care."
The subpoenas, which were prepared by Attorney General Kline's office and issued in September, ordered Comprehensive Health and Women's Health Care of Wichita to hand over dozens of complete medical records of abortion patients, including identifying information and full medical and sexual histories. Comprehensive Health and Women's Health Care first sought in the lower court to protect their patients' identities and any medical information not relevant to the investigation. When their requests were denied, Comprehensive Health and Women's Health Care appealed to the Supreme Court on February 22. The attorney general filed his response to the appeal last week, and the clinics are replying to the attorney general today.
"The courts placed a gag order on this matter and we therefore deferred comment until it was lifted. We're disappointed the attorney general chose not to honor the order," said Brownlie.
"Women of all ages must feel confident that, when they go to their doctor, the medical and health information they share with that doctor will remain confidential," Kansas State Representative Judith Loganbill said. "If they are afraid their information will be shared without their knowledge, they will be less willing to share and even less willing to visit a doctor for needed health care."

And let's note Kim Gandy (president of NOW) and her Below the Belt bi-weekly column for March 18, 2005, "Small Actions Make a Difference!" From the column, here's an excerpt:

Like many activists, you're probably wondering what you can do (in the midst of an already-crazed schedule, I know!) to make a change on issues you care about - to make a difference right now. The bad news and below-the-belt hits seem to just keep coming. But the good news is that your actions have made a difference, and there are more opportunities this week -- quick-and-easy action items, where you can speak out on issues that affect us all.
Trust me -- your emails that are filling up the inboxes of key decision-makers, your phone calls and letters, your voices raised in chorus with others all around the country will make the difference.
For instance, the Family and Medical Leave Act needs your help! Because of FMLA, more than 50 million people in the U.S. have been able to take job-protected leave when they had a new baby or when they or a family member became seriously ill. As a result, fewer people had to choose between job and family. But now the Bush Administration is considering changes to FMLA regulations that would roll back protections for millions of us. Before they decide to play this game, let's convince the Department of Labor that they will face a large, organized public fight if they make the changes being urged by the business community.
What can you do? First,
send a message to Secretary of Labor, Elaine Chao. If the threats don't stop soon, I'll be asking you to write to your members of Congress and call their offices to demand protection for FMLA.