Tuesday, June 16, 2015

The Nomination I am REALLY Concerned About

So there I was settling in to a calm evening of watching the hearing from the comforts of my own home.   I know there will be some sparks on the Susan Garber nomination and, being the wonky blogger that I am, I was puffing away on my chocolate strawberry flavored bubble machine[1], waiting for surplus properties and vaping.   Near the beginning of the hearing I catch something out of the corner of my ear:

Council Resolution 29-2015 a resolution confirming the appointment of Kimberly A. Hartman to the Howard County Local Children’s Board.

Now to be clear, I don’t know Ms. Hartman personally, in fact we have never met and I had never even heard her name until last night.  What set sirens off in my head was when she came up to testify and introduced herself as “the Executive Director of the Columbia Pregnancy Center”.

Are you familiar with crisis pregnancy centers?  They are the source behind the billboards and ads that say things like “Pregnant? Scared?  We can help”.  They are also the purveyors of some blatantly dishonest information and a systematic strategy to prevent woman from accessing real medical clinics with their actual doctors and complete access to legal reproductive options[2].

Feel free to get more information from www.itslies.org (I typed the whole thing out so you could see that the campaign against crisis pregnancy centers is called “it’s lies”.)  Of course there are many other sources to find out about them and feel free to do any and all due diligence.  You will excuse me though if I just skip past that (having already done it myself) and go straight to the outrage.
On a national level, the U.S. House Committee on Government Reform[3] produced this report for Representative Waxman.  Here is the highlight quote for me “[CPCs] frequently fail to provide medically accurate information. The vast majority of pregnancy centers contacted in this investigation misrepresented the medical consequences of abortion, often grossly exaggerating the risks. This tactic may be effective in frightening pregnant teenagers and women and discouraging abortion. But it denies the teenagers and women vital health information, prevents them from making an informed decision, and is not an accepted public health practice.”

This report about CPCs here in Maryland “found consistent use of false and misleading information, biased and manipulative counseling, and delay tactics to deter and prevent women from exercising their right to choose. The centers investigated also consistently refused to provide information or referrals for affordable birth control services, despite targeting their services to sexually active low-income and young women.” 

To be sure there will be little to no opportunity for Ms. Hartman to exercise these views or the deceptive tactics of her organization on the Local Children’s Board.  That is hardly the point though.  The Executive Director of Howard County’s own version of this affront to reproductive freedom SHOULD NOT be confirmed to ANY board by our County Council.  To do so would be . . . not in line with our County’s values.  All crisis pregnancy centers are an insult and this sort of appointment could easily serve to validate it as a community service.

[1] That’s a poorly executed vaping joke.  I wasn’t puffing on anything for the record
[2] Including birth control
[3] Minority Staff Special Investigations Divisions


  1. As someone who endured 5 hours of testimony last night in the Banneker Room - the Vape guy was one of the better prepared speakers I'd heard in quite a while. The Strawberry Chocolate should be a e juice flavor you can market, but not use in Hoco.

    There were quite a few people that people were questioning who are they and what does that board do?

    I felt really bad for Mr. Irvin. He is stuck with a mess not of his own creation and dumped in his lap and left for him to clean up. He didn't instigate or embark on this property acquisition on his own. The questions that were asked, should have been asked before these properties were purchased. Don't know if one could read his body language on screen as sitting a few feet away.

    I appreciate some of the issues you bring to HoCo residents attention - at least those who try keep up with what is happening in their community and work hard to make changes when needed.

  2. Judy,

    Thanks for your comment, I really want to stay focused on the issue of the crisis pregnancy centers but for the record I don't see the surplus property issue the same way as you. I agree Mr. Irvin was being asked questions he shouldn't have had to answer but that's because Councilman Fox wanted it to seem like the past administration did a bad thing buying them. Truth is though, it's just a reflection of different policy priorities. Personally I think I would have agreed with two of the three being purchased but it was definitely not Mr. Irvin's responsibility to argue for (or against) the purchases.