Roundup: New Political Landscape for Pro-Choice Advocates; March for Life in DC

Emily Douglas

Celebrating the 36th anniversary of Roe v. Wade; it's Blog for Choice Day!; March for Life features women regretting their abortions; Caroline Kennedy withdraws her Senate candidacy; provider conscience regulation not suspended by the White House; political landscape around abortion reshaped; early priorities for reproductive health groups.

36th Anniversary of Roe v. Wade 

It’s the 36th anniversary of the decision in Roe v. Wade, which we’re celebrating on Rewire. The Center for Reproductive Rights is acknowledging the day by calling on President Obama to work towards the repeal of the Hyde Amendment, which bars Medicaid funding of abortion care, stating,

For thirty-six years, women in this country have had the
right to obtain safe, legal abortion. But since 1977 when Hyde was first
enacted, low-income women have been deprived of that right by anti-choice
politicians intent on doing away with a woman’s access to abortion

These restrictions patently discriminate against
women.  Abortion is a health service only used by women, and it is the only
medically necessary service not covered by Medicaid for instance.
According to the Guttmacher Institute, a nonpartisan research organization, as
many as 35% of women who are eligible for the program and seeking an abortion
are prevented from making the personal decision about their own lives and
forced to carry their pregnancies to term.  On the other hand, virtually
all other health services are covered.

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And it’s also Blog for Choice Day!  Visit NARAL Pro-Choice America’s Blog for Choice and sign yourself up to participate in their blogosphere-wide pro-choice event.

March for Life Features Women Regretting Their Abortions
If it’s the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, it’s also the date of
the annual March for Life.  This year’s anti-choice protest will
feature women who have had and regret their abortions, reports LifeNews.com.  According to LifeNews, “The
pro-life movement has a rich history of focusing not just on the death
of an unborn child in an abortion but on the pain and regret millions
of women fell following an abortion. Some of those women who wish they
could undo their abortion decision and choose life will speak out again
at this year’s March for Life.”  Studies have repeatedly found no
correlation between abortion and adverse mental health outcomes.

Caroline Kennedy Withdraws Senate Candidacy

She was in, she was out, in, and out again — Caroline Kennedy has withdrawn her bid for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s Senate seat, the New York Post reports.
She was a pro-choice candidate, but luckily, so are the other
front-runners — Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, Rep. Carolyn Maloney,
Rep. Kristen Gillibrand.

Provider Conscience Regulation Not Suspended by White House
The White House has suspended all still-pending “midnight regulations” issued by the Bush administration
in its waning days, but that won’t affect the Department of Health and
Human Services’s provider conscience expansion — it has already been
finalized and went into effect January 19.  “Yesterday,
Rahm Emanuel issued a memo placing
a moratorium on any regulations still in the pipeline and giving
leeway to suspend the effective dates of any rules finalized but not
yet in
effect.  Since agencies are in charge of rulemaking, this is certainly
their purview and there is precedent for taking this action,” said
Marilyn Keefe, of the National Partnership for Women & Families.
“Sadly, this won’t
impact the HHS ‘conscience’ rule, which is final and now in effect.”
The administration will have to engage in a new round of rule-making to
address the rule.  Seven state Attorneys General, the National Family
Planning and Reproductive Health Association, and Planned Parenthood
have all filed suit against the regulations.

Political Landscape Around Abortion Reshaped

The Associated Press takes a close look
at the reshaped political landscape around abortion in the wake of
President Obama’s taking office, and examines the hopes and early
priorities of reproductive health groups.

In the U.S., abortion-rights groups are
backing what they call a “common-ground, commonsense” agenda in
Congress aimed at reducing the number of unintended pregnancies. The
Prevention First Act, already endorsed by Obama, would increase federal
funding for family planning, promote comprehensive sex education, and
expand women’s access to contraceptives.

Will pro-choice legislators take on the Hyde Amendment?  They’re not in a hurry, says the AP:

Rep. Diana DeGette, D-Colo., a lead
sponsor of the Prevention First Act, says she opposes the Hyde
Amendment but would not make it a priority to repeal it this year.

“Our efforts should be focused on finding common ground to prevent
unwanted pregnancies so you won’t have to worry about abortions in the
first place,” she said in a telephone interview Wednesday.

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