Archive for Saturday, January 22, 2011

Abortion foes see chance for tougher restrictions

January 22, 2011

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— Buoyed by huge election gains for their allies, anti-abortion activists head into their annual March for Life rallies sensing a prime opportunity in many states to rein in the broad abortion access established 38 years ago by the Roe v. Wade decision.

Foes of abortion gained strength in Congress, among state governors and in many legislatures, raising hopes among social conservatives for a broad surge of anti-abortion bills.

“We are seeing a cultural shift toward protecting life and rolling back the tide of unrestricted abortions, said Charmaine Yoest, president of Americans United for Life, in a statement ahead of Saturday’s anniversary of the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court ruling.

Yoest and her allies have particularly high hopes for three types of bills under consideration in several states:

• Measures modeled after a Nebraska law passed last year that outlaws abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, based on the assertion that fetuses can feel pain after that point. That’s a departure from the standards set by Roe, which allows states to limit abortions when there’s a viable chance the fetus could survive outside the womb, generally between 22 and 24 weeks.

• Bills requiring women to have an ultrasound before an abortion. Some versions would also require doctors to describe the ultrasound image of the fetus to the woman.

• Laws prohibiting abortion coverage in health insurance plans offered by the new state exchanges that are to commence in 2014 under President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul. Five states passed such measures last year; more may follow suit.

In many states, prospects for passage of such measures are bright, although they may face court challenges. NARAL Pro-Choice America, a leading abortion-rights group, said there are now 29 anti-abortion governors, an increase of eight, including 15 in states where abortion opponents also control both legislative chambers.

While abortion-rights supporters traditionally hold commemorations of the Roe decision, the anniversary has become an even higher-profile date for the anti-abortion movement. Its major event, the March for Life in Washington, D.C., is scheduled this year to take place on Monday — not the anniversary itself — while other events are scheduled throughout the weekend nationwide.

On both sides of the debate, the mood contrasts sharply with 2009 and 2010.

Two years ago, the anniversary came two days after Obama’s inauguration — a time of enthusiasm among abortion-rights supporters. A year ago, the anniversary coincided with the first day of testimony in the murder trial of Scott Roeder, who was later convicted of killing late-term abortion provider Dr. George Tiller at his church in Wichita, Kan.

Kansas is now one of the states where anti-abortion activists hope for dramatic legislative gains.

Comments

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 4 years, 6 months ago

It'll be interesting to see how far Republicans are willing to push the abortion issue. They use it primarily as a hot-button issue to get social conservatives to vote for them, even though their true constituency, the wealthy, corporate elite, really couldn't care less about the issue.

And they know if they go too far, there'll be a strong backlash, especially among women. Are there enough social conservative Republicans to overcome the fear of that backlash?

Fossick 4 years, 6 months ago

"Are there enough social conservative Republicans to overcome the fear of that backlash?"

They make plenty. Ever been to a megachurch? They are full of little social conservatives. For some odd reason, there is a dearth of little pro-choice children to offset them.

The lengths to which the legislature can go is limited by Supreme Courts decisions, which means the conservatives will, in reality, be limited to nibbling around the edges of abortion.

But the backlash by women has already occurred, it's done, it's in the past. I truly doubt there is an army of women who are going to be swayed against Republicans because they pass parental consent with a judicial bypass, or insist on better record-keeping or higher safety standards.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 4 years, 6 months ago

Good points.

RE: the megachurches. Yea, they make lots of babies, but I'd say a whole lot of them, by the time they get to high school or college, are more than ready to get out of that church and get a life. And I'd say a whole lot of the underage girls who need abortions, and don't want to tell their parents, grew up in churches like that.

The Republicans have been stacking the courts with hard-core ideologues for the last several decades, but they tend to be corporate Republicans rather than social conservatives. So they may not be too anxious to approve of new restrictions.

But if social conservatives really feel emboldened to greatly restrict abortion, there will be a backlash.

Richard Heckler 4 years, 6 months ago

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 4 years, 6 months ago

"So, no, I'm not a Republican."

By the end of Kobach's Reign of Electoral Reform, this means you won't be allowed to vote.

Richard Heckler 4 years, 6 months ago

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beatrice 4 years, 6 months ago

I am pro-choice, but personally don't have a problem with the 20 week limit being placed on having an abortion. I would actually make it earlier than that -- 15 weeks perhaps? Because we can't determine the home-life situation of every underage girl, I think making it a law to report to parents is potentially dangerous. Since some girls might want to do anything other than tell their parents, this could potentially force girls to hide their pregnancies, or attempt self-abortions or private, back-alley type abortions. And what if the parents refuse to give consent? Can parents really force their children to procreate? Will we also force DNA tests on parents to insure we aren't dealing with incest?

The more important question might be: What other medical procedures will the so-called anti-big government practitioners want to control? I can easily see the social conservatives demanding that people in vegetative states be kept on life support systems.

Cait McKnelly 4 years, 6 months ago

If they attempt self abortions they will be jailed. Utah did it, Kansas is not far behind.

Richard Heckler 4 years, 6 months ago

And I've never met a pro choice person who actively promotes abortion per se.

It's more about believing big government has no business in this issue.

verity 4 years, 6 months ago

People are going to have sex.

Some don't think it's immoral to have sex outside of marriage.

Some who believe in abstinence will get pregnant.

Some people believe life starts at viability outside the womb.

Woman are going to have abortions whether it's legal or not.

Some women will die from illegal abortions.

So what would be the rational way to deal with it?

Abortion is not going to go away and most of the "socially conservative" politicians who supposedly are anti-abortion don't want it to. It's just too good an issue to get people stirred up and voting for them.

seriouscat 4 years, 6 months ago

• Measures modeled after a Nebraska law passed last year that outlaws abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, based on the assertion that fetuses can feel pain after that point. That’s a departure from the standards set by Roe, which allows states to limit abortions when there’s a viable chance the fetus could survive outside the womb, generally between 22 and 24 weeks.

I don't have a problem with this. Dr. Tiller would routinely perform abortions on babies right up to the point of due date on the flimsiest rationality.

• Bills requiring women to have an ultrasound before an abortion. Some versions would also require doctors to describe the ultrasound image of the fetus to the woman.

I'm squeamish about this one; yes on the ultrasound no on the description, too subjective.

• Laws prohibiting abortion coverage in health insurance plans offered by the new state exchanges that are to commence in 2014 under President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul. Five states passed such measures last year; more may follow suit.

Awesome. I wish people would stand up more often against tax money being spent on what they consider immoral and deleterious to society. Wonder what would happen if the same kind of activism was drummed up around military spending?

It's funny how unreasonable people become when their hot button issues are brought into the limelight. Absolutism leads to such silliness:

Abortion is murder! No it's a removal of tissue and nothing more!

Ban all guns! No every single man woman and child should carry one all the timel!

etc etc etc

BUT we NEED you absolutist fetishist people on the margins to keep complacency in check:

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20110119/ap_on_re_us/us_abortion_clinic_investigation

A doctor whose abortion clinic was described as a filthy, foul-smelling "house of horrors" that was overlooked by regulators for years was charged Wednesday with murder, accused of delivering seven babies alive and then using scissors to kill them.

Dr. Kermit Gosnell was also charged with murder in the death of a woman who suffered an overdose of painkillers while awaiting an abortion.

In a nearly 300-page grand jury report filled with ghastly, stomach-turning detail, prosecutors said Pennsylvania regulators ignored complaints of barbaric conditions at Gosnell's clinic, which catered to poor, immigrant and minority women in the city's impoverished West Philadelphia section.

Prosecutors called the case a "complete regulatory collapse."

State regulators ignored complaints about Gosnell and the 46 lawsuits filed against him, and made just five annual inspections, most satisfactory, since the clinic opened in 1979, authorities said. The inspections stopped completely in 1993 because of what prosecutors said was the pro-abortion rights attitude that set in after Democratic Gov. Robert Casey, an abortion foe, left office.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 4 years, 6 months ago

"Dr. Tiller would routinely perform abortions on babies right up to the point of due date on the flimsiest rationality."

This is what anti-abortion folks like to say, but I haven't seen any indication that this charge is based on anything but opposition to abortion of any kind, for any reason.

seriouscat 4 years, 6 months ago

Are you talking about late-term only? Or just all abortion? Because the centrist position is clearly for restrictions on late abortions but not on early ones.

Even France restricts abortions after the first trimester. It is the absolutist position that abortion rights advocates in the US have adopted; abortion during any time in pregnancy for any reason the woman deems acceptable or that women should have taxpayer subsidized abortion on demand, that is driving support for the current policies.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 4 years, 6 months ago

That Gosnell was allowed to run such a practice says more about the marginalization of abortion providers than it does about providers themselves. One major reason he was able to run such a practice is that most good doctors have been forced out of providing abortion services for fear of ending up like Tiller, whose murder was cheered by many, many abortion opponents.

seriouscat 4 years, 6 months ago

That Gosnell was allowed to run such a practice says more about the marginalization of abortion providers than it does about providers themselves.

Absurd, and evidence of the myopic view of people who put on their politics goggles rendering themselves unable to see the naked truth. The reason he ran that clinic for 30+ years is because regulators weren't doing their job...you know, enforcing reasonable abortion regulations.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 4 years, 6 months ago

If there were reputable providers operating there, he'd have been out of business long ago.

But you are right that regulators weren't doing their jobs.

Those two situations are not mutually exclusive, and such examples of malpractice are hardly limited to abortion services.

Cait McKnelly 4 years, 6 months ago

"....Gosnell's clinic, which catered to poor, immigrant and minority women in the city's impoverished West Philadelphia section." This is the most telling statement. It's not abortion providers being marginalized, it's the women they serve. These are women who, because of legal restrictions, couldn't get funding to go to a safe clinic so they went to the one run by the butcher. He was able to operate because no really cared about these women. They were, after all, just "poor, immigrant and minority women". The Right will outlaw abortion, alright. For everybody but their women.

Cait McKnelly 4 years, 6 months ago

It's always nice to get half the story, isn't it Ag?

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