New Pieces

I have been very busy at TAPPED, so please, come visit me there! In other news, I have two new columns out. The first, at the Prospect, introduces American readers to a debate over Afrocentric public schools taking place in Toronto:

Across our northern border, a battle is raging over race and education. The Toronto District School Board has approved a plan to create an Afrocentric high school for black students, set to open in 2009. Many black community activists overcame initial reservations about racial separation to support the idea; in Canada as in the United States, there is an intractably high drop-out rate among black students, although up north, the majority of blacks are descendents of Caribbean immigrants, not slaves. In Toronto, 40 percent of black Caribbean youth never graduate high school. Parents and advocates rightly argue that radical action is needed.

But the Toronto school board’s split 11-9 decision in late January to move forward with the plan reflects what has become an increasingly divisive political fight.

And over at RH Reality Check, I outline how the anti-choice right is planning on attacking Barack Obama for his opposition to the "Born Alive Infant Protection Act." A lot has been said about Obama’s "present" votes on choice, but much less attention has been paid to his history of taking a strong stance for reproductive health, a history that social conservatives can’t wait to exploit.

The anti-choice anti-Obama strategy is based on Obama’s clear "no" votes on the "Illinois Born Alive Infant Protection Act," or BAIPA. Leading anti-choice blogger Jill Stanek, who testified in the Illinois state Senate on behalf of the bill, has played a key role in disseminating this anti-Obama argument in the right-wing blogosphere. Taking the bait, former presidential candidate Sen. Sam Brownback, in a fundraising email to supporters of his political action committee last month, excoriated Obama for opposing BAIPA. And in a Feb. 26 editorial, the National Catholic Register fumed, "Obama wouldn’t even protect children born alive by mistake during abortion attempts."

But BAIPA isn’t really about protecting infants; it is anti-abortion rights legislation crafted by the hard right. … [T]he idea that otherwise viable babies are regularly "born alive" during abortions is an invention of the anti-choice movement.

5 thoughts on “New Pieces

  1. Eli

    Hey Dana, I liked the RH piece a lot. I lost faith in the Clinton campaign when it doubted Obama’s pro-choice cred in New Hampshire, and I’m glad you’re implicitly calling them out on it.

  2. JivinJ

    I think you really should have done some more research on the RH Reality Check piece before writing it.

    If you had read the Illinois BAIPA, you would have quickly realized the legislation could have never banned partial-birth abortion because the legislation clearly notes that the child would need to be “completely” expelled to be given rights. Fetuses whom are killed when they partially removed from the mother aren’t completely expelled.

    Writing a piece about legislation without ever reading the legislation (especially when the text of the legislation is like a page long) is pretty sloppy.

    The federal BAIPA passed the U.S. House by something like 380-15 and the Senate by a voice vote. If it banned partial-birth abortion, why didn’t the pro-choicers put up more of a fight?

  3. Dana

    JivinJ, I most certainly did read the text of the legislation. I never said BAIPA would make dilation and extraction illegal, I said it “targeted” it for vilification, which it certainly does do.

  4. Jivin J

    How did the BAIPA target partial-birth abortion for vilification? The text of the legislation clearly says “completely expulsed.” Yet fetuses killed by partial-birth abortion aren’t completely expulsed, they’re only partially expulsed. In reality, the BAIPA targeted the practice of using an induction abortion technique coupled with leaving children who survive their early birth to die. If you had done the slightest research, you would have known this. BAIPAs only started popping up in the early 2000′s while PBA legislation has been around since the mid-90′s.

    Did the federal BAIPA (which passed with the support of numerous pro-choicers in favor of PBA) also target PBA for vilification? Did you read that legislation as well?

    You provide no real evidence or arguments for any of your claims. If you actually read the text of the legislation (which you conveniently didn’t link to) I have trouble believing you’re dumb enough to think it had anything to do with partial-birth abortion.

    On the other hand, in your post you act like there are only two kind of late term abortion techniques. Are you really that ignorant? Do pro-choicers really know that little about the “right” they so fervently defend?


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