Category: Education

Hillary spearheading fight against HHS ‘abortion’ label

Nothing makes my blood boil faster than someone, anyone, trying to tell me what I can or can’t do with or to my body. Seriously, how much more personal and private can you get?

So I flipped out when I came across Hillary Clinton’s article Monday on The Huffington Post. It seems the Bush administration is again taking aim at women’s rights to control what happens to their bodies, their families, and their lives. The Department of Health and Human Services is considering some new regulations restricting access to birth control pills, emergency contraception, and IUDs by labeling them “abortion.” That is neither a scientific nor a legal description; it’s an ideological judgment that a government agency has no right to make.

At the end of the story is a link to a petition expressing opposition to the new regulations. Hillary uses a bit more hyperbole than I would, but our positions are essentially the same. Leave health care decisions to the doctors; leave the moral/religious decisions to the women involved. Don’t use the power of the administration to impose on all women the ideology of one segment of the population.

I’m not arguing whether abortion is right or wrong, or when life begins, or parsing any of the other ethical and religious nuances involved. For me, it’s simple. As the feminists of the ’70s said, “My body, my choice.” My decision about my body is my choice, not yours. If you think contraception is abortion, that’s fine. No one is forcing you to use a contraceptive. But don’t tell me I can’t use it. And if I should become pregnant, don’t tell me I have to carry to term a baby that is going to affect my life forever. Nothing gives you the right to get in my face and tell me that my body is your incubator and yours to control.

Furthermore, restricting access to contraception isn’t even logical. It makes no sense to force women to carry and give birth to unwanted babies, particularly those women least able to deal with them. There are significant emotional, physical, and financial ramifications in having a baby. What sense does it make for a government agency to adopt a policy that results in more unwanted babies, more unwed mothers, more women (and families) mired in poverty? Wouldn’t it be better (and cheaper) to help those women plan meaningful futures for themselves and their families?

I’m not pro-abortion; quite the opposite. I believe in eliminating the need for abortion by promoting sex education, comprehensive family planning, and birth control — and making them readily available to everyone. A safe, confidential abortion is, and should remain, every woman’s legal right if she should find herself having to make that very difficult, very personal decision.

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PBS scores with ‘Judgment Day: Intelligent Design on Trial’

This evening PBS aired “Judgment Day: Intelligent Design on Trial.” I sat riveted for the entire two hours. Fascinating looks at the people and testimony in the Kitzmiller vs. Dover case in Pennsylvania a few years ago, where the judge had to decide whether an effort to inject Intelligent Design (ID) into the school’s science curriculum was a violation of the U.S. Constitution. Key to the decision was whether ID is simply another name for Creationism, and hence a religious view, not science.

PBS.org has a big section devoted to the program, and also a rapidly growing forum. It’s sad to see how much of the forum immediately fell into the eternal debate of which side is right and what idiots or heathens the other guys are.

Actually I felt the network did an outstanding job presenting the testimony of both sides, taken directly from court records, media accounts, and other sources of the time. It made a compelling story for those of us who’d picked up only bits and pieces before.

In my mind, it was a balanced presentation, but that may be because I’m a secularist and the Darwinists won, quite handily I thought. I understood what the ID supporters were getting at and appreciated it. But the fact remains that they changed their terminology from “creationism” to “Intelligent Design” in an effort to conceal its religious roots and get it into the public schools when they knew religion would not be allowed in the school. What intrigued me about the whole thing was that the judge in the case was a Bush appointee and a believer in ID. Still he adhered to the Constitution rather than his personal beliefs. That’s a tribute to the strength of the Darwinist case and to the courage of a judge who believed in upholding the law.

Nice job, PBS.

School authority stops at the curb

Fox News just aired a short discussion about schools suspending students because of what they (the students) posted on myspace.com. The question was whether schools had the right to do this.

The schools were acting within their rights if the activities occurred at school using school computers. The report, however, indicated that the alleged offenses occurred outside of school. In that case, the schools clearing were overreaching their authority.

Noting that she was a parent, the panelist defending the schools said she welcomed their action. Not once did she, the other panelist, or the moderator say anything about the parents’ responsibility in these cases. Where were the parents in these cases?

I’m a parent. I appreciate a school’s effort to keep kids safe. However, outside of school what my child does is my responsibility, as is the right and responsibility to discipline that child. The school had better not try to intervene.

Freedom of speech; let him teach

I prefer the local take on Colorado teacher Jay Bennish’s remark comparing President George Bush to Hitler.

The national networks have quoted him out of context, failed to mention that his is an honors class in “human geography,” and implied strongly that the student walkout was an indictment when in fact it was, for the most part, a demonstration of support.

Honors classes are expected to be less scripted, more free-flowing, more thought-provoking. The opportunity to enroll generally is extended to only the brightest, most intellectually curious students.

Listening to the entire recording (20 minutes of a 1-hour class) gives a somewhat different picture from that generated by the few sentences taken out of context by the networks. Listen and judge for yourself.