1. 40 years later, Roe v. Wade is still under siege. The pro-abortion-rights Americans who fought to win the landmarkdecision might not recognize today’s bruised-and-battered version of the law. 

    Read more

    (Source: theweek.com)


  2. Gallup has released its annual poll of Americans’ views on abortion rights, and the headline number made quite a stir: Half of respondents called themselves “pro-life,” just shy of the record 51 percent from May 2009, while a “record-low 41 percent” identified themselves as “pro-choice.” When Gallup first asked people to choose between those two labels in 1995, “pro-choice” was at its high-water mark of 56 percent and “pro-life” was at 33 percent. This isn’t the only new poll raising eyebrows, and the others don’t exactly paint the U.S. as increasingly socially conservative: In a Washington Post/ABC News poll, a record-high 53 percent of Americans say same-sex marriage should be legal, versus a record-low 39 percent who want it illegal; Gallup has also found that 89 percent of people think birth control is “morally acceptable” (including 82 percent of Catholics); and Rasmussen even found a new high of 56 percent of likely voters supporting legalizing and regulating the sale of marijuana.

    So, what’s going on with America and abortion?

    1. Support for abortion rights is dropping
    Why not take the poll at face value? asks Ed Morrissey at Hot Air. ”We are seeing a societal shift in attitudes on abortion.” More and more Americans, especially independents and Democrats, are coming to see abortion as “barbaric.” That’s largely due to “sonograms, science, and real-life experience with abortion,” says W. James Antle III at The American Spectator, all of which make it “harder to reconcile choice with the reality of the act being chosen.” Yup, “we pro-lifers are clearly winning the battle,” says Donald McClarey at The American Catholic. With the media, Hollywood, and academia “stacked against us,” that’s a miracle, “but we are a cause that believes in miracles.”

    2. This poll is probably just a fluke
    Here’s what this poll means: “Probably nothing at all,” says Ed Kilgore at Washington Monthly. The last time Gallup’s abortion findings got so much attention was in 2009, when “pro-life” hit 51 percent and “pro-choice” 42 percent. Other than that “strange finding in 2009,” and this “inexplicable” blip, the polling has been unusually stable for the past decade and a half, closer to the 2011 results: 49 percent “pro-choice,” 45 percent “pro-life.” That means this poll, like the 2009 numbers, “is likely an outlier.” 

    3. Conservatives are winning the branding war
    The buzzwords matter, says Melissa McEwan at Shakesville. With their amazing knack for “demonizing language,” conservative strategists have “turned ‘pro-choice’ toxic in much the same way they did ‘liberal.’” Abortion-rights supporters have a lot of work to do. Actually, this shift is mostly about semantics, says Steve Benen at The Maddow Blog. When you look past the headline numbers, our views on the legality of abortion are pretty much unchanged: 25 percent say it should always be legal, 20 percent say it should never be legal, and 52 percent say it should be legal sometimes. Those “fundamental views matter more than vague buzzwords.”

    4. Americans don’t think abortion rights are imperiled
    In May 2009, the “pro-life” high point, “pro-choice Barack Obama” had just taken office, says Steve M. at No More Mister Nice Blog; in May 2011, when “pro-choice” was back on top, “the overwhelmingly anti-abortion GOP class of 2010” had started rolling back reproductive rights at the state level. The majority of Americans are somewhere in the middle on abortion, and their self-labeling shifts with the political tides. Lesson: People support abortion rights when those rights are threatened. So “what’s going on now?” According to polls, “Americans think Obama will be president for four more years, therefore abortion rights aren’t threatened.” 

    5. It’s a generational thing
    There has been a slight shift “toward a more pro-life position in the last decade or so,” including in “the younger generation,” says Andrew Sullivan at The Daily Beast. People are becoming more attuned to the moral questions involved in abortion, while staying firm on the legal issues. For example, “I don’t want to criminalize abortion in the first trimester, but if I had to describe myself, I’d probably say ‘pro-life.’” Yes, there’s “an increasingly expansive view of what pro-life means,” especially among younger members of the pro-abortion-rights side, says Sarah Kliff at The Washington Post. “Pro-choice” dates back to the 1970s, and “a label developed 40 years ago might not speak to abortion-rights supporters in a way it did for previous generations.”

    (Source: theweek.com)


  3. Meet Rep. Bob Dold, the Republican trying to save Planned Parenthood. The Illinois politician wants to keep taxpayer dollars trickling to the women’s health organization the GOP loves to hate. He’s introduced a bill that would prevent agencies and governments from denying it family-planning dollars just because it offers abortion services. 

    Who is this guy, and will lawmakers approve his bill? 


  4. Planned Parenthood clinics in at least 11 states have noted suspiciously similar walk-ins in recent weeks by young women suggesting they want an abortion only if they are pregnant with a girl. 

    The apparently coordinated series of “hoax visits” has Planned Parenthood bracing for another “propaganda campaign” by anti-abortion activists who selectively edit secretly videotaped visits to “promote misinformation about Planned Parenthood and our services,” spokeswoman Chloe Cooney tells The Huffington Post. 

    Keep reading

  5. Texas Republicans’ war on Planned Parenthood is still raging. Already, more than a dozen Planned Parenthood clinics shut down last year after state lawmakers slashed women’s health spending by two-thirds in the name of stopping abortions. However, many low-income women depend on Planned Parenthood for health coverage other than birth control. Now, Gov. Rick Perry and GOP legislators have set the stage for further cuts that will hit next week. What effect is this having on women’s health?

    (Source: theweek.com)


  6. From the Indy Star:

    A tough state anti-abortion law cutting off Medicaid funding to Planned Parenthood of Indiana went into effect May 10, but more than $100,000 in donations has helped the health-services provider stay open and continue serving Hoosiers on Medicaid — until this week.

    In a further effort to reduce costs, Planned Parenthood this week will close all its clinics on Wednesday and send employees home without pay.

    A total of 85,000 Hoosiers receive services at Planned Parenthood of Indiana’s 28 health centers. If the law stands, Planned Parenthood says, it must close eight of them.


  7. Indiana could become the first state to end Medicaid coverage for Planned Parenthood services, after the Senate on Tuesday approved a bill that would cut off taxpayer money to the reproductive health-care provider.

    The Senate voted 35-13 to approve House Bill 1210, which also shortens the window in which women can have abortions and mandates that doctors make certain statements to patients seeking the procedure.

    The measure requires doctors to tell women seeking abortions that the procedure has been linked to infertility. The bill also sets 20 weeks as the cutoff when a woman no longer may seek an abortion. The current cutoff is viability, which a doctor determines, usually around 24 weeks.

    "It makes absolutely no sense to reduce access to birth control when the objective is to reduce the incidence of abortion," said Betty Cockrum, president of Planned Parenthood of Indiana.

    No other state has cut off Medicaid funding to Planned Parenthood.

    Read the entire article here.


  8. House Republicans’ hopes of stripping all federal funding from Planned Parenthood hit a big obstacle Tuesday, and his name is Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass).

    The junior senator from Massachusetts (and one-time Tea Party favorite) said the measure simply “goes too far.” Two other GOP senators, Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Susan Collins (R-Maine), had already voiced their opposition to the House plan. But does having a male Republican vocally support “family planning and health services for women” effectively save Planned Parenthood’s $330 million from the chopping block?