Roundup: Where Will the Next Generation of Abortion Providers Come From?

Emily Douglas

Who will the next generation of abortion providers be?; Family Research Council snubs Brownback; three Dems vote against UNFPA funding; hospital merger threatens reproductive health care; Anna Quindlen against abstinence-only; abortion bills in West Virginia don't get traction.

Who Will the Next Generation of Abortion Providers Be?

staff members of women’s health clinics that provide abortions
developed a passion for their vocation during the pre-Roe era, seeing
women go through unsafe, illegal abortions.  Now, clinics struggle to
find staff to replace the those retiring, reports Michael Winerip on the New York Times. Winerip writes, “As [the current] generation approaches retirement — women whose
commitment to abortion was forged in the pre-Roe v. Wade days — will
younger women take their places at the clinics?”

“We worry about
that a lot,” said Sally Burgess, executive director of the Hope clinic,
who is also chairwoman of the National Abortion Federation, the main
professional support group for abortion providers. “Younger women have
always had access to abortion care, they don’t fully appreciate the
battle that was fought to have it available to them. And more
important, I don’t think they know how precarious the option is at this
point, even with Obama’s election.”

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the sacrifices required to work at an abortion clinic, Winerip writes,

“People running these clinics,” Ms. Arick said, “have brains wired for
social work and social justice even though they’re in the medical
business.” Studies show the typical woman having an abortion is a poor,
single parent in her 20s. Many don’t have insurance, or the insurance
won’t cover abortion. Ms. Burgess said half who come to her clinic need
financial help, and she employs a staff member to search for charitable

Family Research Council Snubs Sen. Brownback

CBN reports that “the Family Research Council is taking a “temporarily leave of absence”
from the socially conservative ‘Values Action Team’ meetings on Capitol
Hill because of Senator Sam Brownback’s support of pro-choice HHS
Secretary-Designate Kathleen Sebelius. FRC says they may rejoin the
meetings AFTER the Sebelius nomination is finished.”

Three Dems Vote Against UNFPA Funding

On the Washington Monthly,
Steve Benen calls the three Democrats who voted for the Wicker
amendment to strip funding for UNFPA out of the omnibus “heartless.” 
“The three remaining moderates in the Senate caucus — Collins, Snowe,
and Specter — voted with the Democratic majority. But three Democrats
— Evan Bayh (Ind.), Ben Nelson (Neb.), and Bob Casey (Pa.) — voted
with the Republican minority.”

Dr. Sanjay Gupta Takes His Name Off Surgeon General List

Dr. Sanjay Gupta has taken himself out of the running for the Surgeon General decision, Our Bodies, Our Blog reports.  Rachel Walden blogged about her reservations on Gupta back in January here.

Hospital Merger Threatens Reproductive Health Care

An Albany Times-Union op-ed
looks at the implications of a possible merger between two secular
hospitals and one religious hospital in Rensselaer County, New York. 
The op-ed examines the effects on abortion and other reproductive
health services for patients, and also on the impact on the hospitals’ employees:
“Last, but certainly not least for the 12,000 employees involved, is
question as to employee health insurance benefits. Following the
Catholic directives would mean no coverage for such services as birth
control and sterilization. That can equate to considerable expense for
employees trying to avoid an unplanned pregnancy.”

Public Opinion Opposes, Washington Supports, Ab-Only

In Newsweek,
Anna Quindlen decries the gulf between public opinion (overwhelmingly
in favor of comprehensive sex ed) and the state of Washington politics
(which just allocated another round of funding for abstinence-only).

“Positive Tone” at White House Health Care Summit, But No Specifics

US News and World Report, Deborah Kotz talked to National Women’s Law
Center co-president Marcia Greenberger about the “incredibly positive
tone” at the White House Health Care Summit.  Kotz notes that one of
the reasons there was such a genial tone was a lack of specificity
about coverage requirements for private plans or a public plan:

“Prevention, including contraception, was raised as important and vital
for saving money at the end of the day, even if they cost more money at
first,” says Greenberger. But she says no one specifically discussed
whether insurance companies should be required to cover contraception
on a par with every other prescribed drug.


What about abortion? I had a hard time fathoming how that didn’t come up in all the chatter. Obama is in favor of including the coverage of abortions as
part of a comprehensive healthcare plan, to the dismay of those who
oppose any government funding for abortions. “We didn’t really talk
about that,” says Greenberger. “There were very few conversations about
what should be covered.”

Abortion Bills in West Virginia Don’t Get Traction
of abortion bills have been introduced in the West Virginia state
legislature in the past four years, but none have passed, reports the Herald Dispatch.  “Lawmakers, occupied with staving off the deficits that have dragged
down nearly every other state and with roughly $1.8 billion in federal
stimulus dollars, seem to have misplaced their once dependable desire
to advance the goals of abortion foes.”

Of WV FREE, a state pro-choice group, the Herald Dispatch writes,

But WV FREE has seen success not only in the failure of bills it
condemns as divisive and ineffective, Chapman said, but also in
convincing lawmakers that a better strategy to reduce abortion is to
reduce unintended pregnancies.

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