Monday, May 02, 2005

L.G. Abortion Debate Update

From this story:
When Judge Alvarez found out that L.G. has run away from DCF five times and most recently was gone for an ENTIRE MONTH, in which she became pregnant, he was pretty angry. When he realized that DCF hadn't bothered to announce her absence to the courts, he got pissed.
"To say I am angry is an understatement," Alvarez said Thursday. To say that I am pleased with this turn of events is an understatement. I hope that Alvarez's just anger will help direct blame on the negligent and unfair, unwanted behavior of the DCF.

Corridor of Shame

Corridor of Shame
Yesterday I watched Corridor of Shame: The Neglect of South Carolina's Rural Schools and basically cried the entire time. It broke my heart. I demand that anyone thinking about going into education watch it-- anyone who went to school in SC watch it -- anyone who cares about what happens to education in SC watch it. After the screening the director, Bud Ferillo (a CofC poli sci alumnus and lawyer) answered some questions and talked for a while. Matt and Ms. Moody were there, as was Dan. Charleston's mayor, Joe Riley, was in the documentary, as was Lindsey Graham.

What is the documentary about? Eight plantiff districts in SC (representing a total of 36) sued the state of SC over insufficient school funding, arguing that the state was not providing what they promised: enough for a "minimally adequate" education. (The fact that the state argues it just needs to provide an education --any education -- and not that the education has to be any good is one thing that pissed off a lot of people.) That was in 1993. This summer Judge Thomas Cooper Jr. will decide a verdict.


Florida blocks 13-year-old girl's abortion

Fuck Florida, and fuck conservatives that want to "save the life of an innocent child" in exchange for another child's life.

As I hope you've heard by now, Florida is blocking an abortion for a 13-year-old girl living in a state shelter. She realized she was pregnant two weeks ago and scheduled an abortion-- and now the state's social services is refusing to permit the procedure, arguing that the 13 1/2-week pregnant girl is too young and immature to make an informed medical decision, according to the ACLU appeal. (A judge granted a temporary injunction banning her from having an abortion, and ordered a psychological evaluation to be done, giving no immediate indication when a decision on the appeal would be made.)

Too young and immature to make an informed medical decision? Try too young to bear a child, you assholes. And now you have jerks like Lynda Bell, a Homestead woman who heads Florida Right to Life, an antiabortion group, praising the judge's action, saying officials needed to study the case more closely before making any decisions. ''I'm very concerned with the rush to abort,'' Bell said. Ms. Bell, I hope you become very concerned with the fact that you want to force a 13-year-old child to bear another child AGAINST HER WILL.

Florida law says that ''in no case shall the department [Department of Children and Families] consent to a sterilization, abortion or termination of life support'' on behalf of a client under department care." How ridiculous is that? Apparently in 2003 they tried to force a severely disabled woman not to terminate her pregnancy, too. What the DCF ignoring is that in 2003, the Florida Supreme Court struck down a law requiring parents to be notified if their minor daughters seek an abortion. Florida's high court also cited privacy rights in 1989 when it tossed out a law that would have required parental consent for a minor's abortion. So by state law, LG (as the girl is called in court documents) is legally allowed to have an abortion.

Also, today the The House passed a bill to make it illegal for adults to accompany/carry minors across state lines for abortions is the minor does not have parental permission, i.e. a 17-year-old girl whose state laws and parents are fucking her over can't get a ride from her 21-year-old friend. Or whatever.

"Supporters characterize the measure as pro-family, saying it will prevent abusive boyfriends and others from taking vulnerable young women across state lines to receive "secret abortions" against their will. They argue that the decision to have an abortion should rest solely with the parents. The House rejected amendments that would have allowed grandparents or members of the clergy to accompany the young women. The measure has the strong backing of the White House, which said Wednesday that the bill "is consistent with the administration's view that parents' efforts to be involved in their children's lives should be protected."

The choice is up to the parents of the girl? Are you kidding? What the fuck happens if it's the dad whose knocked his daughter up? What the fuck?

This blog quotes from this story:

L.G.: Why can't I make my own decision?
Judge Alvarez: I don't know.
L.G.: You don't know? Aren't you the judge?

Department of Children and Family Services: The Department of Children and Families has the custodial responsibility to do what is in the best interest of the child.
L.G.: I think if I want to make the decision, it's my business and I can do that. It would make no sense to have the baby. I don't think I should have the baby because I'm 13, I'm in a shelter and I can't get a job. DCF would take the baby anyway [but] If I do have it, I'm not going to let them take it.

L.G.: Since you guys are supposedly here for the best interest of me, then wouldn't you all look at that fact that it'd be more dangerous for me to have the baby than to have an abortion?
Judge Alvarez: A good point.
OBGYN: At her age and at her stage of gestation ... her risk of death from an abortion procedure is about 1 in 34,000. The risk of death in pregnancy is about 1 in 10,000.

Bring it on, Florida DCF. You've got a fight ahead of you.
There's only a few more days until L.G. enters her second trimester...I hope this issue is resolved soon and in her favor (i.e. she is allowed to abort her unwanted fetus).

NY City's Administration for Children's Services Under Fire

New York City's Administration for Children's Services (ACS) appears to be similar to Florida's Department of Children and Families (DCF), in that the ACS is the childrens' welfare department, governing over mostly foster kids and kids in homes (almost all of whom are believed to be black or Latino). And apparently since the 1980's (allegedly until 2002), the ACE has a policy that forced HIV positive kids in foster care to submit to clinical drug trials of experimental AIDS drugs. When the story first broke, ACS covered their ass like mad but are now admitting that they will be conducting a review of their policy.

There are a lot of troubling red flags -- some of the trials/protocols called the children/subjects "presumed to be HIV+." There is also no clear evidence that parental or guardian consent was obtained from the foster parent or the city (who share the guardianship of a foster child). ACS approved and enrolled children to be tested even before hospitals approved the specific protocols to be used.

Now there are several federal and non-government-affiliated agencies investigating ACS. The new commissioner of ACS, John Mattingly, claims that it is not ACS who made the blunder-- that it was ACS' predecessor -- the Human Resources Administration. It was Mattingly who came on board in 2004 and started an internal investigation.

There seem to be no clear answers other than indications that it was widespread -- most of the city's hospitals were involved in the program. Some big pharm. corp. have been alleged to have been involved, even accused of putting kids in foster care whose parents would not agree to the treatment.

How many children? Originally ACS said 78. Now they're saying they think maybe 465. Maybe more.
How young were some of these kids?
Three months old.

Are we ever going to know what really happened?
Probably not.

Democracy Now! story link here