Hiring a Catholic ex-priest was only one of many stupid decisions

Ha-ha, you fool! You fell victim to one of the classic blunders, the most famous of which is “Never get involved in a land war in Asia,” but only slightly less well known is “Never hire a Catholic priest as an advisor”! You should be especially leery of defrocked Catholic priests, because you know they had to have done something especially terrible to be chastised by the Vatican.

Donald Trump made this classic blunder, one among many.

Frank Pavone, a defrocked priest who was formerly a Catholic adviser to Donald Trump, is engulfed in a sex scandal that is rocking the anti-abortion movement.

Pavone, 64, is the director of Priests for Life, a non-profit that funnels millions of dollars a year into the anti-abortion movement.

He is also an outspoken activist whose political activities have brought him into repeated conflict with the Catholic Church. In December 2022, he was defrocked by the Vatican after repeated clashes with his bishop over his use of social media to advocate conservative political causes.

Now, at least four different women have accused Pavone of sexual misconduct according to reporting by The Pillar. Pavone and Priests for Life have strongly denied the accusations.

Another classic blunder: you’ve got a rumored harasser in your organization, so put him in charge of the sexual-harassment committee!

“Priests for Life had an excellent sexual harassment policy on the books. But they had no human resource department and their sexual-harassment committee reported to, and was headed by, Frank Pavone. So it was neither safe nor independent,” Imbarrato says. “I went directly to the board and demanded a safe and confidential, independent sexual harassment committee that reported to the board directly.”

It should be totally unsurprising that a guy who loved to put up posters of bloody fetuses would be a creep in his personal interactions with women.

Uteruses are scary, so protect them!

I did not sleep well last night. I made the mistake of reading this story of a traumatic birth just before bed, and all I could think of was how my wife had three children, and how much could have gone wrong, and how lost I’d be if she hadn’t survived, and how much our kids would have missed, and it gave me unpleasant, morbid dreams. It’s well written, but don’t read it if you like being complacent. I need Mary around, and it smacked me right in the what-could-have-been anxiety center!

If you choose to avoid the tale of emergency surgery and blood and exposed organs, you should at least get the main message.

When Senator Lindsey Graham showed his hand and proposed a national abortion ban, he condemned an entire population to medical trauma. When he and his GOP cohort grandstand about “preserving the sanctity of life,” they do not seem to include the onslaught of death from placental abruption, placenta previa, uterine rupture, ectopic pregnancy, chorioamnionitis, stroke, preeclampsia, amniotic fluid embolism, cardiomyopathy, suicide from PTSD or postpartum depression, and various other freak shit shows that happen to those of us in stirrups.

The “culture of life” is a cult of maternal death. To claim otherwise is to turn away from medical fact, which, of course, has been the right wing’s entire modus ever since Trump decided face masks were itchy. To entrust reproductive healthcare legislation to the same politicians whose criminally negligent pandemic response killed over a million people is to sign the death warrants of untold Americans.

Those vile right-wingers who claim to be pro-life are wrecking medical education, shackling doctors’ hands, and condemning women to death. Don’t let them get away with it.

Good work, Minnesota

Taking effect immediately:

Gov. Tim Walz on Tuesday signed into law a proposal that guarantees in state law the right to abortion and other reproductive health care options.

The move backstops the current right to an abortion laid out in a 1995 Minnesota Supreme Court decision, and it expands that to include access to birth control, sterilization, family planning support and other services. The law also prohibits local governments from enacting policies that infringe on those rights.

Consult your local school board and city council for all your medical decisions

Getting surgery is a lot like requesting a zoning change, you know.

Once again, Oz has opened his mouth and willingly given Fetterman a delightful bon mot for his campaign.

A woman can’t possibly decide to get an abortion on her own! She must have a doctor who decides for her, and a small troop civil servants and bureaucrats crowded into the clinic to vote on the procedure. The authorities must be involved in every step of a pregnancy!

A sign of hope…in Kansas

Look at all the happy Kansans.

You know, conservative, flaming red, pro-Trump Kansas, which I’ve long felt was a lost cause? They just voted to protect abortion rights.

In a major victory for abortion rights, Kansas voters on Tuesday rejected an effort to strip away their state’s abortion protections, sending a decisive message about the issue’s popularity in the first political test since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June.

And look at this!

With 90 percent of the vote counted, 60 percent of voters wanted to maintain those abortion protections compared with 40 percent who wanted to remove them from the state constitution. Turnout for Tuesday’s primary election far exceeded other contests in recent years, with around 900,000 Kansans voting, according to an Associated Press estimate. That is nearly twice as many as the 473,438 who turned out in the 2018 primary election.

November is going to be interesting. Republicans may have finally gone too far.

I guess I was too hasty in writing Kansas off.

Less than a day away from Minnesota, and I already miss it

I’m heading to Missouri, which is kind of the opposite of Minnesota. This is what’s happening in my home state:

Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison Thursday announced that his office will not appeal the recent district court ruling that struck down most of Minnesota’s abortion restrictions.

On July 11, a Ramsey County judge ruled that Minnesota’s mandatory 24-hour waiting period before an abortion, and the two-parent notification requirement for girls under the age of 18 before an abortion, violated the state constitution.

Judge Thomas Gilligan — a Mark Dayton appointee — also lifted a state law that said only physicians can perform abortions.

We do rather stand out in the region.

Of its immediate neighbors, the state of Minnesota has by far the most liberal abortion laws. As a result, the state is set to become an abortion destination following the Supreme Court’s ruling.


Go away, Chad.

Remember how Biden was going to appoint an anti-choice fanatic to a federal judgeship in a deal with McConnell, and we were so disappointed in his surrender to the Republicans? Good news!

The White House dropped plans Friday to nominate an anti-abortion lawyer backed by Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell for a federal judgeship in Kentucky.

I guess all those Democratic voters saying this was a really stupid deal, and that you can’t trust McConnell had an effect, right? Or maybe someone told him that the optics on this one were really bad.

Nope, neither.

The decision to back off the nomination of Chad Meredith came amid a split between McConnell and Republican Sen. Rand Paul, his fellow Kentuckian, over the selection.

Republicans are the only ones with any choice or agency in our government. I’m impressed at how Democrats can look bad even in victory.

Heart of the storm

Oh boy, Minneapolis-St Paul is bracing itself for a sudden surge.

Steps from an interstate and minutes from an airport sits a nondescript building with a tenant never more in demand.
Whole Woman’s Health is one of the nation’s largest independent abortion providers, and the location of its Minnesota clinic is no accident.
“Some patients may fly, some may prefer to drive. So being near the highways that we are and the airport in Bloomington gives patients the most options available,” said Sharon Lau, Midwest advocacy director for Whole Woman’s Health Alliance.
Lau says the clinic is bracing for an influx of patients from states with more restrictive abortion laws than Minnesota after the Supreme Court overturned Roe V. Wade and enabled states to determine abortion access.
Planned Parenthood of Minnesota tells CNN that on Monday, the first business day after the Supreme Court decision, it received its highest call volume ever — an increase of 50% — with many of the calls coming from out-of-state.

This is hitting at a difficult time, when medical services are already strapped nationwide by a pandemic people have been trying to pretend doesn’t exist.

“I don’t know if we’re going to be able to handle the increase,” Stoesz said. “There is already a healthcare worker shortage and we’ve been struggling with that since the beginning of the pandemic. That hasn’t gone away.”
Stoesz expects an increase in the use of the abortion pill as an initial solution, “because appointments are going to be difficult to get,” she said.

Whenever I feel stressed about my occupation of teaching and the risks therein, I just have to remind myself that it could be worse — I could be working in healthcare. Yikes.

Next, rage

Next week, our monthly Podish Sortacast will tackle a hot-button issue: abortion. We’ve got a doctor, a biologist, and a whole swarm of people here who will happily defend the medical procedure and castigate the people who oppose it. Should be fun. I’ll be sure to take my blood pressure medicine beforehand.