Category Archives: Doctor/Physician

Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (F.A.C.E.) Act – est. 1994

By the 1990s, controversy and battle of abortion and contraception politics have been building up for centuries. In 1994, President Bill Clinton signed the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act, prohibiting the force, threat of force, or physical obstruction from an individual providing or receiving abortions.

This U.S. law prohibits the following:

  1. The use of physical force, threat of physical force, or physical obstruction to intentionally injure with or attempt to injure, intimidate or interfere with any persons who is obtaining reproductive health services or providing reproductive health services
  2. The use of physical force, threat of physical force, or physical obstruction to intentionally injure with or attempt to injure, intimidate or interfere with any person who is exercising or trying to exercise their First Amendment right of religious freedom at a place of religious worship
  3. The intentional damage or destruction of a reproductive health care facility or a place of worship

The following are not prohibited: – because of the First Amendment

  • Protesting outside of clinics
  • Distributing literature
  • Carrying signs
  • Shouting (as long as no threats are made)
  • Singing hymns

The F.A.C.E. act is not as commonly known, but it has had a great significant role in our freedoms to organize publicly and peacefully. With the subject of abortion and contraception becoming increasingly controversial, it became time to settle a law regarding the organization/protest of people in the year 1994.

F.A.C.E. helped make clear of the legalities allowing individuals their freedom of both speech and access to abortion. It was in efforts to lessen the amounts of violence that had previously taken place in the decades and centuries prior circulating around the abortion controversy. The F.A.C.E. Act fell on both sides of the controversy, helping both ends and further organizing the two halves in a more peaceful manner.

According to the National Abortion Federation (NAF), between the years 1977 and 2009, “there have been at least 9 murders, 17 attempted murders, 406 death threats, 179 incidents of assault or battery, and 5 kidnappings committed against abortion providers. In addition, since 1977 in the United States and Canada, property crimes committed against abortion providers have included 41 bombings, 175 arsons, 96 attempted bombings or arsons, 692 bomb threats, 1993 incidents of trespassing, 1400 incidents of vandalism, and 100 attacks with butyric acid (stink bombs).” It is crimes like these, and the amounts of which there are, that make the F.A.C.E. Acts valid.

While combining the protection of clinics, physicians, and patients along with religious freedoms, both left and right wing politics are compromised.

Sources:

  • “Civil Rights Division Freedom of Access to Reproductive Health Clinics and Places of Religious Worship.” Civil Rights Division Freedom of Access to Reproductive Health Clinics and Places of Religious Worship. United States Department of Justice, n.d. Web. 03 Dec. 2014. <http://www.justice.gov/crt/about/spl/face.php&gt;.
  • “NAF Violence and Disruption Statistics: Incidents of Violence & Disruption Against Abortion Providers in the U.S. & Canada.” Apr 2009. National Abortion Federation, Web. 22 Nov 2014.
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NARAL Pro-Choice America: Heroes & Scandals

The organization has had several names throughout its existence. In its establishment in 1969, it was first known as the National Association for the Repeal of Abortion Laws, then the National Abortion Rights Action League, and later the National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League. It is, and always has been, an organization that engages in political action to oppose restrictions on abortion and expand access to abortion itself.

The original NARAL program directed the following parts:

  1. Assist in the formation in all states of direct political action groups dedicated to the purpose of NARAL;
  2. Serve as a cleaning house for activities related to NARAL’s purpose;
  3. Create new materials for mass distribution which tell the repeal story dramatically and succinctly;
  4. Train field workers to organize and stimulate legislative action;
  5. Suggest direct action projects;
  6. Raise funds for the above activities.

Among those who founded the NARAL were abortionists Lawrence Lader and Dr. Bernard Nathanson.

Lawrence Lader was a long time reproductive rights activist, and served as a hero in the pro-choice abortion world for nearly 4 decades up until his death in 2006. He did what he could to get involved with the laws and helped repeal New York State’s law of abortion restrictions in 1970. He also attempted to sue the Internal Revenue Service to end the Roman Catholic Church’s tax exemptions, implying that its opposition against abortion had now become a political matter. He first got involved in the abortion world while writing a biography of Margaret Sanger, going over abortion laws and techniques at the time. Then by the 1950s, he thought, techniques and procedures were now much safer and more commonly used, acknowledging that it was, however, still taboo to discuss.

Dr. Bernard Nathanson was another co-founder of the NARAL and was, at one point, the director of the largest abortion clinic in the western hemisphere. He had gone through a shift on his stance – and also got involved in the law in a different way than Lader. Nathanson, at first, was a firm believer in pro-choice abortion rights and over time began to lean the other way with his views. He openly admitted to a scandal against the NARAL, misinforming the public that abortion does not murder another human being. In a statement in 2008, he admitted that, “This was the greatest mistake of my life…legal abortion was the greatest mistake this nation has ever conceived.” (Nathanson)

The link below is a short video of a statement by Dr. Nathanson:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1xfEoqGeliA

This scandal was not taken lightly and NARAL then faced much digression. For an organization to knowingly misinform the public, and for a founder and director of an abortion clinic to shift his views so suddenly made the pro-choice world appear suspicious.

NARAL, however, never did shut down, and it never went through any trial or courts for that scandal. It is still in existence today, assisting millions of individuals facing abortion restrictions.

For more information regarding NARAL, click on this link to their homepage:
http://www.naral.org/

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The Comstock Act – est. 1873

Photo: Anthony Comstock

The post-Civil War era was a time of emancipation, freedom, industry, and new inventions and ideas. One of those being the camera, and another being the newly popular form of pornography. This, along with increased uses of contraception, birthed the Comstock Act of 1873, when Anthony Comstock found these two ideas purely evil ones.

This Act in the United States took on a new degree and area of the ‘abortion problem’ across the country. This meant that now, men and women had less access to information regarding abortion and contraception. Before 1873 there was only discouragement of the abortion itself, but to discourage access to information alongside it took on a new dimension.

The Comstock Act itself prohibits the possession or mailing of ‘obscene’ materials, while at the same time it never defined exactly what was considered obscene. It was an attempt to regulate what had been networking throughout the U.S. Postal Service mailing route, by a 29-year-old man who had not been impressed by the latest that American society had to offer. As a U.S. Postal Service inspector, he felt that it as his job to regulate such.
Later in the Roth v. United States case in 1957, the term ‘obscene’ is more defined:
“Obscene material is material which deals with sex in a manner appealing to prurient interest – i.e., material having a tendency to excite lustful thoughts…
The standard for judging obscenity, adequate to withstand the charge of constitutional infirmity, is whether, to the average person, applying contemporary community standards, the dominant theme of the material, taken as a whole, appeals to prurient interest.” (Epstein and Walk, 346)
Anyone who was convicted of violating any of the Comstock laws would receive up to five years of imprisonment with hard labor and a fine of up to $2000.

The Comstock Act lived nearly 100 years until it was finally determined inapplicable to certain unlawful situations. However, still even today there are lingerings of it. Pornography continues to be limited in various ways. Contraception and abortion are far from becoming accepted and fully legalized across the country. We especially see problem and controversy in the abortion industry as of yet, and information regarding such topics still continues to be limited and restricted in certain areas of the nation.

It is not difficult to determine what the Comstock Act did to American society in the late 19th century. This not only put another level of law onto the abortion and contraception issue, but also struck fear and stressed ignorance among the public. Thousands of cases and violation of the Comstock Act sprouted throughout the decades until the Roe v. Wade case ruled it only applicable to ‘unlawful’ abortions in 1973.

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Dr. Horatio R. Storer (1830-1922)

Photo: Dr. Horatio Storer

Dr. Horatio Robinson Storer is not one that is of regular familiarity. He was an American physician and founder of modern gynecology, and is also known to have had a major role in the Physicians’ Crusade Against Abortion. As a student of Harvard Medical School, he was especially interested in female genitalia and gynecological studies, which was of high suspicion at the time. Not only was it unacceptable to have a specialization in practice in general at such an early stage in study, but to have one of women and gynecology was simply unheard of.
In 1865, Storer won an AMA prize for his essay aimed at informing women about the moral and physical problems of induced abortion. This was published as Why Not? A Book for Every Woman. It was widely sold and many physicians distributed it to patients who requested abortion.” Dr. Storer also published the first journal of gynecology in 1869, the Journal of the Gynaecological Society of Boston.
It was Dr. Storer who began associating gynecology with mental illness. One of his most notable books, The Causation, Course, and Treatment of Reflex Insanity in Women, deals with the notion that In 1869, he was the first doctor to ever remove a pregnant uterus completely out of a woman’s body, as the use of hysterectomies began to be a form of treatment.
The Physicians’ Crusade Against Abortion was a movement founded by the American Medical Association, when Dr. Storer persuaded them to form a committee on criminal abortion. This movement began in Massachusetts and gained national attention, persuading the public to become educated with the pro-life views of the time. It was all in efforts to strengthen laws against elective abortions, pressuring legislatures of the states and territories in the United States. It was, in his mind, essential to attempt the illegalization of all forms of abortion.
Although the legacy that Dr. Horatio Storer left behind is great, he is more likely than not unheard of. Dr. Storer is the founder of modern gynecology practice and was a pioneer in the great Physicians’ Crusade Against Abortion in the 1850s. It is unclear as to why Storer was so against the abortion practice; like many of his time it could have been religiously related. It could have also been his great concern and love for the female anatomy. As the author of various informative books on women and women’s health, he was a man of great curiosity and attempted to educate people in the particular study.

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