Dems need to up-end their dialogue on abortion rights. Now.

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 The dialogue spilling from tired democratic ideas has to evolve my friends.  I understand the pain that many on the right, AND left feel for this issue. These are very serious and valid concerns. Women can say what they want about pro-choice, and some of it is also valid, but there is a middle ground and dems and repubs must finally meet there. If any Dem enters the general election with the same old ROE v WADE dialogue, then shame on us for the degradation of the caring, creative mind that sources new ideas so we can come to the middle for national healing, compassion and unity.

Should a women retain the right to an abortion? Yes – as I don’t believe in stripping rights from women, just because the Goddess of Earth wants to experiment and women happen to be the birth canal. No human being should ever be stripped of their individual rights. But, about the fetus/baby.

There is FAR to much abortion. There needs to be FAR more education, leadership, guidance and real help for mothers who find themselves pregnant with an inconvenient child. As they say. There are so many families who want to have children and can’t. It is my feeling that the Dems need to step up right here. Until the moment arrives when there are no good and reliable parents who would take this child, there should be no abortion. I posit there would be very little abortion in this case. A nationwide database could be made available through medical doctors and hospitals that would act to put unborn child’s parents in immediate contact with a couple, or single, who would be willing to partner for the best interest of the unborn child. If either parent fails to show up for the process, from beginning to end, there would be stiff consequences for that. It is too easy for the male to take off, and the woman to be left managing it all – alone. That must change. Dems need to speak to it. Out loud.

The parents of youth having babies need to be guided – not fom a pro choice, pro life stance, but from a Pro Love approach. It will pay off. Just remember, the baby feels EVERYTHING the mother feels.

Yes, there would need to be help perhaps, financially, to help such a pogram work, but it would cost less than what we pay for all of the horrific effects caused by abortions, or unwanted children growing up in the world.

Dems need to STOP using the words Pro Choice. They are not accurate. But, you can’t just change the words; you have to change the perspective and the approach and the heart.

Dems need to come to the middle on this issue and if dem women don’t like it, let them vote for Huckabee.

We can’t stand in the left hand corner with our middle finger in the air and make things better. We must come to some real and meaningful compromise and we can be first to extend our hand.  If conservatives feel a *genuine* effort, there is greater chance for a meeting of minds in the center. Not far left and not far right. Those are war zones we cannot afford any longer. 

 There are lots of things that can be done to remove the appeal for abortion. No young woman is happy about having one, but their stresses sometimes overtake them. This is where honest and centered compassion can facilitate a better outcome for all involved.

Abortion should be the very last option, and so time is of the essence. I don’t believe late term abortions should be legal. Every person involved has had plenty of time to make up their mind, except in the case of rape, incest, or health of the mother.

Obama, Edwards and Clinton….please. Don’t come to the table with the old stone monuments in tow. Take a breath and set your sites on a bright new world where we can get more creative, more caring, more tolerant, more understanding and we can be first to the table with that compromise.

 The conservatives have their valid concerns. They need to be heard. This has to evolve and evolve now. Roe v Wade is a good law, but it isn’t perfect, and we can do better, without stripping women’s rights. But, to make abortion easy and convenient is not correct. When one makes a choice – there are consequences, and that is something the Dems fail to speak to in the right tone and with the correct perspective on the actual taking of life inside the womb. Until there is one of you who are hearing the larger vibe on this, you will be stuck in a cement that suffocates all opportunity for Grace.

Please

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JAMA STANDS AGAINST MANDATED HPV VACCINE

Medical journal sides with HPV scientist

 

CHICAGO — An editorial May 2 in what is considered the Bible of the medical profession vindicates a researcher who told this newspaper months ago that mandating the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine for young girls is “a great big public health experiment.”

The vaccine, Gardasil, offers protection against four of the more than 100 known HPVs, two of which scientists believe cause about 70 percent of cervical cancers.

Last week, The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) took a public stand against legislation to mandate this vaccine. The article, “Mandatory HPV Vaccination: Public Health vs. Private Wealth,” was co-authored by Chicago-based JAMA editor Dr. Catherine D. DeAngelis and Washington, D.C.’s Georgetown University professor Lawrence O. Gostin. Gostin specializes in public health law.

Declaring it unethical to rush into mandates, the authors accuse Gardasil’s manufacturer, Merck & Co., of putting profits ahead of the safety of the 2 million girls and women in the U.S. who, if it were mandated, would receive the vaccine before the long-term effectiveness and safety of it had been determined.

(This blog author believes there is a deeper evil than just money at work)

Pointing out that the Federal Drug Administration’s approval of the vaccine was conditional upon Merck agreeing to further test the safety and effectiveness of it, the JAMA article says, “Making the HPV vaccine mandatory contributes to long-standing parental concerns about the safety of school-based vaccinations.”

In fact, legislating the vaccine now “could have the unintended consequence of heightening parental and public apprehensions about (all) childhood vaccinations,” the article adds.

The article also questions how vaccine recipients would be compensated in the event of their suffering adverse effects from it, since some courts may determine that the manufacturer would not be liable if the states mandated it.

The article also admonishes Merck, which could rake in billions of dollars from a mandated vaccine, for financing efforts to persuade states and public officials to mandate it. “Private wealth should never trump public health,” the article says.

Vindicated

Until the JAMA article came out, Diane Harper, a physician, scientist and professor at Dartmouth University Medical School in New Hampshire, who spent 20 years studying the virus and helping to develop a vaccine for it, had stood virtually alone among her peers in denouncing efforts to mandate the vaccine.

When she first interviewed with this newspaper, she said she’d tried to convince major print and broadcast media to “tell the whole story” about the vaccine and why she, as a lead researcher on it, believes it is premature to mandate it.

“But no one would listen,” she said. She said she was speaking out with this newspaper because “it was the only one willing to listen to the whole story.”

Answering questions by e-mail, Gostin said he was aware of Harper’s concerns. (DeAngelis sent word through an aide that she was unavailable for an interview.) He and DeAngelis were motivated to write the editorial, Gostin said, because of the states’ rush to mandate the vaccine before all of the safety and effectiveness data were collected and analyzed.

In place of mandates, Gostin’s and DeAngelis’ JAMA article encourages public education about HPV and routine, voluntary vaccination as part of a comprehensive package aimed at preventing the infection. It also suggests that a young girl’s assent to being vaccinated is as essential as her parents’ consent.

“As for work with the states, it is important to stress that the vaccine is an important public health innovation, but it is necessary to move carefully and deliberately, taking a science-based approach,” Gostin said in his e-mail. “I think that mandatory vaccination has its place, but should be a last resort only if it is clear that it would be safe, effective and in the public’s interest. That standard has not yet been met with HPV vaccination.”

Relieved

Tuesday, Harper was at a national conference of gynecologists in San Diego when she learned of the JAMA article. Acknowledging that she’d experienced some backlash because of her views — but declining to go into specifics — Harper said she felt relieved and excited that a publication as prestigious as JAMA was basically vindicating her and validating her views.

“I’m glad we are starting to get clarification in our communications, and in understanding the details of points that need to be considered for this vaccination,” Harper said. “The Associated Press has consistently miswritten, and consistently reported information that was not accurate about HPV. I have gone to them in New Hampshire several times for corrections, and they did correct a couple of things, but the last time they were unresponsive.”

So many people had questioned her because of her non-politically-correct stance on the issue that there were times when it looked like even her research was being doubted, she said, which made her position even more troubling. However, she stood behind her convictions.

“There is a lot of colleagial pressure to conform to the message, and be united in the message,” she said. “But I think we are too early in our knowledge of information to have just one message.”

She reiterated that this is “a wonderful vaccine,” and that this is an exciting time for medicine in this area. Today, the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) is publishing some HPV articles that she co-authored, and that should help explain what this vaccine can and cannot do, she said.

“But there are things we still don’t know about this vaccine,” she said. “For one thing, it takes 129 women to be vaccinated to prevent one case of CIN 2/3 (a type of cervical cell dysplasia), and that is important for people to know. It will be interesting now that the JAMA article is out, and the NEJM articles about Gardasil are published, what the public understanding will be.”

For more on this story and to read past stories in the HPV vaccine series, go to http://kpcnews.com/online_features/hpv_vaccine/ on the KPC Media Group Web site.

Last modified: Friday, May 11, 2007 12:55 PM EDT

TEEN CORRECTION PROGRAMS NEED YOUR ATTENTION

Must-See Indy Film Exposes Cruel Teen Correction Programs

 

By Maia Szalavitz, www.HuffingtonPost.com
Posted on July 7, 2007, Printed on July 8, 2007
http://www.alternet.org/story/56241/

The New York Times calls Nick Gaglia’s indy production, Over the GW a “lean yet harrowing … look at reprogramming that masquerades as rehabilitation.” It is playing for just a short time here in New York City (details)— and I urge everyone to see it, especially those whose lives have been touched by these monstrous “therapies.”

The movie was based on Gaglia’s own story. From 1997-1999, he attended the KIDS program in New Jersey, which was run by Miller Newton. Those who follow these issues will probably recall that Newton previously served as national clinical director for Sembler’s Straight Inc. Despite having had to pay out over $10 million in settlements related to abuse he participated in and directed and admitting abusive practices to regulators, Newton still sits on an advisory board for Sembler’s Drug Free America Foundation.

Gaglia discussed his experience with me recently. Just 25, the writer/director is beginning to hear from Hollywood — the NY Post, NY Sun and Variety also took note of his debut film. Before being sent to KIDS, Gaglia had auditioned for and was accepted to New York’s prestigious Professional Performing Arts School, whose notable alumnae include Clare Danes, Alicia Keys and Britney Spears.

But Gaglia had problems at home. Although he’s still not quite sure why, he didn’t want to go to school and simply couldn’t communicate with his parents, who had divorced when he was nine. “I wanted to do what I wanted to do,” he says. “I wanted my independence and they were getting in my way.” Soon he was drinking and smoking pot daily– and coming home late, smashing furniture and punching doors. Until after KIDS, he’d never even tried any other drugs.

When taken to the program, located near a major shopping mall just over the George Washington Bridge from his home, he was told by his parents that he’d be going shopping. “I tried to run away, but a group of five people grabbed me. I was a really skinny kid and I wasn’t going to fight, I wasn’t violent.”

He was strip-searched by teenagers who were already inmates– made to “chicken squat” naked in front of them. In the film, the violence and potential for abuse in having unsupervised adolescents do such searches is represented with the terrifying snap of a rubber glove and images of a naked boy, surrounded by bigger, tougher kids who are clothed.

What he doesn’t show is the urine stains visible on the “clean” underwear he was given to replace the “druggy” clothes he was made to leave behind when admitted. When restrained on the floor, teens were not given access to the bathroom. “At my first group, there was a kid being restrained on the floor and his hands were soiled,” he says.

“I was restrained over 100 times,” he continues, detailing how fellow participants would throw him to the floor for “offenses” such as responding to being poked because he wasn’t paying attention by trying to fend off the attack. These restraints could last hours– with one person sitting atop the victim while others held down each limb. The most frightening part was fear of suffocation: sometimes the victim’s mouth would be covered and his nose pinched close.

Writhing was interpreted as defiance. “One time I felt like I was five seconds away from dying,” he says, “I have scars in my mouth which was bleeding. I was panicked and trying to communicate but they think you are resisting. What are you supposed to do?”

Grim as this material is, Gaglia represents only the barest outlines of it in the film: limited both by budget and by recognizing that if he did show the whole truth, he might make a movie that was unbearable to watch. He also avoided the trap of didacticism, which often mars attempts to tell these stories.

“I wanted the viewer to feel like he was sitting in that room,” he says. “You don’t know why your sister was there, you don’t know what day it is, you don’t know why they were doing certain things. And that’s the way I directed the actors.”

In fact, the actor who played the character based on Newton didn’t even know that there was a real-life model for the story until later. “I told him to act as though he believed he was doing everything ‘to help these kids,'” says Gaglia. The self-righteous rage and “ends justify the means” thinking that characterize the operators of tough-love programs comes through vividly.

Gaglia eventually managed to escape from KIDS by jumping out of a car stuck in traffic at the toll plaza of the GW Bridge. The program parents who were driving the car had childproof locks to prevent escape via the back doors– but the front seat was empty, and Gaglia went for it. Fortunately, after getting the attention of the police, he was able to convince his own parents not to return him.

But, like many who left, he was at first terrified that the program’s predictions of a future of “jails, institution or death” would come true rapidly because he’d left without completing it. And, again like many others, when that wore off, he began drinking more heavily and using harder drugs. “When the drunkest guys you know are saying ‘Hey dude, you’re drinking too much,’ you start to think it’s a problem,” he says. Ultimately, he studied film at Hunter College and got back on course.

“I don’t see how anyone who was in that kind of a situation for as long as I was could come out without post-traumatic stress disorder,” he says. “I had nightmares all the time that I was back in.”

I attended a screening recently for those who had been through KIDS and similar programs. I was struck by the age range: there were people from their mid-20’s to their 40’s who had suffered through years at KIDS. Though many were nervous that the film would trigger distressing memories, those I spoke with found that the film validated their experience. “More than anything, I made the movie as an homage to these people,” says Gaglia, “We’re all speaking with this film.”

Let’s hope that people who can prevent the abuse from continuing are finally listening.

Maia Szalavitz is a journalist who covers health, science and public policy. Her most recent book, co-written with leading child trauma expert Bruce D. Perry, MD, PhD, is The Boy Who Was Raised as a Dog and Other Stories from a Child Psychiatrist’s Notebook: What Traumatized Children Can Teach Us About Loss, Love and Healing (Basic, 2007).

© 2007 Independent Media Institute. All rights reserved.
View this story online at: http://www.alternet.org/story/56241/