A choice meal



roevwade The Humboldt Pro-Choice Coalition held its 27th annual Choices Breakfast this morning at the Baywood Country Club in celebration of the 36th anniversary of Roe v Wade. Local dignitaries like HSU President Rollin Richmond and newly elected First District Assemblyman Wes Chesbro joined members of Clergy for Choice, employees of Six Rivers Planned Parenthood and various other choice champs for bacon and eggs (aborted chickens), fruit and pastries, awards and speeches.

The mood could be described as post-inaugurally hopeful, with several speakers name-dropping the big O (no, not Oprah), heralding the arrival of an administration friendly to women's reproductive rights. (President Obama plans to sign an executive order today ending Bush's federal funding ban -- aka "gag rule" -- for international family planning groups.) Of course, that very same presidential stance led to "March for Life" protests nationwide, with protesters co-opting Obama's campaign slogan. With a twist: "Yes we can -- terminate abortion."

The keynote speaker at Friday's shindig was Jennet Arcara. Here's the press release blurb:

[Arcara is] an international health policy specialist with Venture Strategies, a non-profit agency working to improve public heath in developing nations.

Specifically, she spoke about her work in Ethiopia, where a whopping 94 percent of births take place at home, often many miles from a medical center. Not surprisingly, Ethiopians have a high rate of postpartum mortality -- more than 2,000 deaths per year. They also suffer more than 7,000 deaths per year from unsafe abortions. Venture Strategies is working to make available the generic drug Misoprostol, which was designed to prevent ulcers but can also be used to induce labor and medical abortions.

Attendees signed a giant "thank-you" note to former Assemblymember Patty Berg for her work on women's health issues.

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