Abortion is one of those things about which almost everyone has an opinion. However, there was once a time (or it seemed to me that there was a time) when people who were opposed to abortion were actually opposed to abortion, as opposed to weird stuff they made up about abortion. I don’t know if that was necessarily better, but it was at least somewhat grounded in reality. There was somewhere to go with that, I guess.
But now, thanks to years and years of misinformation efforts, there are a lot of people out there who are positively outraged about allegedly abortion-related things that are definitely not possible. Like the idea that post-birth abortions are a thing.
The first time I heard anything close to this theory was when then-candidate Donald Trump tried to claim, during a debate, that under the current laws “[y]ou can take the baby and rip the baby out of the womb in the ninth month, on the final day.” At the time, it seemed that everyone knew this was bullshit. Pro-choicers thought it was ridiculous, and anti-choicers assumed that he was just new to their cause and thus not clear on the rhetoric yet. Like the time when he said that he would love to throw women in jail for having abortions, and the anti-choicers had to reel him back and do the whole “actually we don’t tell people that’s what we want” thing.
But since then, it’s become a whole thing. It’s gone deeper. Now they’re claiming doctors are just whacking babies over the head as they’re coming out the birth canal. Rather than being clear about the fact that Donald Trump said a thing that is obviously untrue, the Right has decided to just run with it, because sure, why not? Anyone who would point out that it is not true is probably a liberal anyway!
It’s become such a game of telephone, with people mixing and matching their favorite abortion conspiracy theories, that we have ended up with this gem of a poll from a notorious Twitter anti-feminist.
Hello Twitter World. I’m Pregnant!!
So there’s 2 options.
Option 1. Love the baby, snuggle it, kiss it.
Option 2. Go to Planned Parenthood for a late term birth (post birth abortion & resuscitation), and sell it’s [sic] organs for 500k to pay off my mortgage. What should I do?
Then the voter is given an option for A) Keep the baby, B) Buy a Ferrari, and C) Pay off the mortgage.
This comes, by the way, from a woman who has previously argued that women should not be able to vote or own property.
Normally, I probably would have mocked this briefly on Twitter and moved on. But you know what? We are being far too nice and gentle about people believing this crap. It doesn’t get mocked half as much as anti-vaxx crap or QAnon crap or climate denial crap and frankly, it’s just as serious.
Just to be clear! There’s no such thing as a post-birth abortion. Late-term abortions are extremely rare and pretty much never performed inside Planned Parenthood clinics, and it is illegal to sell organs. Planned Parenthood was not selling baby organs to make a profit, it was donating fetal tissue and being paid a standard donation fee. If this were a common occurrence or even something it were at all possible to do, there would be a whole lot more women out there driving Ferraris.
If one were to go into labor, have a baby, kill the baby and then sell the baby’s organs, one would go to jail. Because it’s not actually legal to just go ahead and kill a baby you just gave birth to. That is very different from offering palliative care in the case of an infant that is not going to survive.
Also, if you successfully resuscitate a baby, that means it is not dead. Just sayin’!
You all know this. I know this. But we have a serious problem with people just casually believing these things are true, and people believing them is going to make this an even more fertile environment for taking our reproductive rights away. No pun intended. Ignoring things like this or gently saying “Actually, you know, doctors say that isn’t true,” instead of “That is ridiculous, you are an idiot, and if you try that you will definitely go to jail” is not helpful when we are this close to Roe getting overturned.
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Put up or shut up. What back door the NSA use to find this out, if they did find out anything… The allegation that Huawei maintains access to the data that flows through its network is the latest step in a campaign to thwart the Chinese telecom giant’s rise.
GOP oops! LOL Your trillion is a lie and foolish too. Focusing on trees as the big solution to climate change is a dangerous diversion.
“It just does not happen, except for in countries that have authoritarian rule.” [ more › ]
Crony Traitors stick together
Barr is a ‘tough on crime’ hypocrite, a Trump toady and chief law enforcement officer who makes a mockery of the legal system
No one has ever accused the US attorney general, William Barr, of being soft on crime. Just last year, he gave a speech in which he blasted progressive district attorneys who “style themselves as ‘social justice’ reformers” and then “spend their time undercutting the police, letting criminals off the hook, and refusing to enforce the law”. When these prosecutors do bring charges, he complained, they seek “pathetically lenient sentences”. Barr’s message was clear: the integrity of the criminal justice system had to be protected at all costs.
Given Barr’s track record of fulmination against weak prosecutors, it came as something as a surprise yesterday when he intervened in the case of longtime Trump associate Roger Stone. Stone – an attention-seeking Republican bit-player whose crimes against fashion alone warrant a heavy sentence – committed a series of felonies including obstruction of justice, witness tampering, and lying to Congress during the Mueller investigation. In turn, these crimes stemmed from Stone’s attempts to obfuscate his contact with WikiLeaks during the 2016 election.
Palestinian officials welcome report, while Israel condemns it as ‘shameful blacklist’
The UN has published a list of companies with business ties to Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories, including the US-based TripAdvisor and Airbnb and the British truck and digger maker JCB.
Most of the 112 companies linked to settlements, which are regarded as illegal under international law, were Israeli. The list included 18 international firms, including the London-based online travel agency Opodo and the Netherlands-based Booking.com.
The movie `Contagion’, released 9 years ago, portrayed a fictional SARS-like virus (dubbed MEV-1) emerging from bats in China and spreading quickly around the globe as scientists at the CDC frantically worked to develop a vaccine. Unlike most summer blockbusters, this film endeavored to portray the science as accurately as possible (see my review here).
One area where the movie took considerable dramatic license was in portraying the development (and deployment) of a vaccine for this never-before-seen virus as happening over a matter of months, rather than years.
Just 4 months ago, a naturally occuring novel coronavirus sparking an epidemic was the fictional scenario used by Johns Hopkins Center For Health Security (JHCHS) – in concert with the World Economic Forum and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation – in a half-day table top pandemic exercise (#Event201) hosted in New York City.
In the JHCHS scenario, there was no possibility of a vaccine being available in the first year, and while there was a fictional antiviral drug that could help the sick, it wouldn’t do much to slow the pandemic.
Now, with life imitating art, we’ve got a very real novel coronavirus – albeit of uncertain severity – spreading across China and slowly spilling out around the world. A vaccine is considered a long shot in anything less than 12 to 18 months, and right now, we don’t have a known pharmacological intervention.
Despite all of this, we are not defenseless.
Last November, I wrote a multi-blog series (links below) on the WHO’s revised 91-page Guidance document on the use of Non-Pharmaceutical Interventions during a severe influenza epidemic or pandemic.
Nonpharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) are actions, apart from getting vaccinated and taking medicine, that people and communities can take to help slow the spread of illnesses like influenza (flu). NPIs are also known as community mitigation strategies.
Measures like social distancing, hand hygiene, staying home when sick, avoiding crowds, wearing a mask if you are sick, even the closure of schools or other public venues are all potential NPIs.
While some may scoff at their effectiveness, we have a real-world example during the worst flu pandemic in recorded history – the 1918 Spanish flu.
- The sharp, but much shorter pandemic wave depicted by the solid line occurred in Philadelphia, where relatively few steps were taken by the public health department to slow the spread of the disease . They even went ahead with a massive Liberty Loan parade on September 28th of that year, apparently heartened by the low number of flu cases reported in Pennsylvania to that point.
- The dotted line represents St. Louis, which closed schools early and where the Health Department prohibited public gatherings in places like theaters, churches, and restaurants. As you can see, the percentage of cases reported on a daily basis were far fewer in St. Louis, but their pandemic wave lasted nearly twice as long as in Philadelphia.
During the 3 weeks following Philadelphia’s parade at least 6,081 deaths from influenza and 2,651 deaths from pneumonia were registered in Pennsylvania, most occurring in Philadelphia (CDC source).At its worst, the percentage of excess people afflicted in the city of Philadelphia was 5 times greater than what St. Louis experienced.
The burden on hospitals, mortuaries, and practically all segments of the economy was certainly far greater.
Specific goals for implementing NPIs early in a pandemic include slowing acceleration of the number of cases in a community, reducing the peak number of cases during the pandemic and related health care demands on hospitals and infrastructure, and decreasing overall cases and health effects ( Figure 1).
NPIs don’t come without a cost, both economic and societal, but they can greatly limit the impact of a severe epidemic or pandemic, and save lives.
But in order to be successful, they must be rigorously observed.
Additionally, the CDC has prepared pandemic guidance for a number of other venues:
- Get Ready for Pandemic Flu: Educational Settings [PDF – 16 pages]
- Get Ready for Pandemic Flu: Workplace Settings [PDF – 16 pages]
- Get Ready for Pandemic Flu: Event Planners [PDF – 16 pages]
- Get Ready for Pandemic Flu: Community and Faith-Based Organizations Serving Vulnerable Populations [PDF – 16 pages]
- Get Ready for Pandemic Flu: Health Communicators [PDF – 17 pages]
While it is too soon to know which of these measures will be needed here for the novel coronavirus, much of what you can do now to prepare for a pandemic will hold you in good stead for any prolonged emergency or disaster.
P-56 was part of the National Park Service’s ongoing study of mountain lions in the area. He was fitted with a radio collar in April 2017. (Courtesy National Park Service via Flickr)
The death of mountain lion P-56 has grabbed the attention of city leaders in L.A., where two council members are calling for an end to permitted killings.
The male mountain lion was shot and killed legally using what’s known as a depredation permit issued by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife after a dozen sheep and lambs were killed in the Camarillo area. Such permits are issued to landowners who can prove the loss or damage of livestock was caused by mountain lions.
Councilmen Paul Koretz, whose 5th District covers parts of the westside and San Fernando Valley, and David Ryu, whose 4th District covers parts of Hollywood, the Hollywood Hills and Sherman Oaks, wrote a resolution calling for the state to stop issuing these permits and establish a fund to reimburse anyone who loses an animal in an attack.
I am outraged at the unnecessary killing of mountain lion P56 in a time when we are working on all levels to protect our local wildlife and habitats. Thank you @davideryu & @BobBlumenfield for your support in stopping depredation permits and listing our local pumas as threatened pic.twitter.com/8PnEkDANhV
— Paul Koretz (@PaulKoretzCD5) February 12, 2020
Mountain lions are not threatened or endangered in California. However, Prop 117, a ballot measure passed in 1990, made them a “specially protected species,” a status which, combined with other statutes, makes it illegal to hunt them, according to CDFW.
In Southern California, the spread of freeways and urban development have left them so dangerously isolated that their long-term survival is in question. P-56 was a collared lion that was part of an ongoing study in the Santa Monica Mountains Recreation Area.
“I think there’s just an insane disconnect between the fact that we are working to conserve our mountain lions, especially in the city of Los Angeles, where there’s possibly one still surviving that’s collared and there may be another one that’s not collared — two males, and we just allowed one to be killed,” Koretz said.
Speaking on KPCC’s AirTalk, Koretz called the killing “absolutely unnecessary” and pointed to other steps that might be taken to prevent the loss of livestock, including the use of rubber bullets to deter mountain lions and using more sophisticated animal pens for protection.
But some residents in areas impacted by mountain lions say they have a right to defend life and property.
Phillips said victims of attacks shouldn’t be blamed for not building a better pen or taking other precautions that don’t end up working.
“I mean, it would be sort of like tantamount to telling a burglary victim, ‘Your burglar alarm wasn’t the best and therefore you’re at fault for being burglarized,'” he said.
CDFW has said it will review P-56’s death to make sure protocols were followed.
- Verified mountain lion-human attacks (California Dept. of Fish and Wildlife)
- Table of depredation permits and mountain lions killed 2001-2018 (CDFW)