Roundup: Massive Gender Gap in China

Emily Douglas

Indiana House passes TRAP law; massive gender gap in China; back story behind Vatican's snub of Caroline Kennedy; Obama a "recruiting drive" for anti-choice movement.

Indiana House Passes TRAP Law
The Indiana House passed a law that would require doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at hospitals, the IndyStar.com reports
The bill would also require doctors to inform a patient before the
procedure that "the fetus might feel pain."  "Critics
argued it effectively could halt abortions in the state, because few
physicians performing abortions in the state have admitting privileges
at a hospital. It typically takes a doctor several months to get
admitting privileges, they argued, if a hospital chooses to grant them
at all."  Anti-choicers argue that the bill promotes patient safety,
while pro-choicers say requiring hospital admitting privileges will do
nothing to promote patient safety.

Massive Gender Gap in China
Discover magazine
rounds up reporting on the gender gap in China: currently, there are 32
million more boys than girls under the age of 20 in the country. 
"While Chinese officials have acknowledged that the country’s
"one-child" policy has led to a gender imbalance, the new study offers
the first hard data on the extent of the disparity. The
study included nearly five million people under the age of 20 and
covered every county in China. It found that overall ratios of boys
were high everywhere, but were most striking among the younger age
group of 1-4 years, and in rural areas, where it peaked at 126 boys for
every 100 girls."

Back Story Behind Vatican’s Snub of Caroline Kennedy
We all know that the Vatican snubbed Caroline Kennedy as ambassador because of her pro-choice views.  On Comment Is Free, Sarah Posner gives us the back story:

But the flap over Obama’s appointments is more about American electoral politics than it is about church doctrine.

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As
"religious" voters have been increasingly portrayed as the pivotal
electoral prize of presidential campaigns, in Obama’s victory Catholics
took front and center. Although Obama worked hard to attract white
evangelicals, their movement into the Democratic column was miniscule.
In comparison, a higher percentage of Catholics voted for Obama than
had voted for Democrat (and Catholic) John Kerry in 2004.

Posner explains that Obama’s popularity among Catholics highlights the Pope’s relative lack of influence over American Catholics. 

Obama a "Recruiting Drive" for Anti-Choice Movement
Politico reports that Obama’s first months in office have acted as a recruiting drive for the anti-choice movement.  Many of the largest anti-choice groups have seen an uptick in membership and online activism.

Obama’s first 84 days in office have been like an extended recruiting
drive for the anti-abortion movement, reinvigorating a constituency he
sought to neutralize during the campaign. Activists report a noticeable
spike in activity as Obama moves to defend and expand a woman’s right
to choose an abortion – causing anti-abortion voters to mobilize in
ways never needed during the Bush administration…

The series of decisions started with Obama’s move soon after taking
office to lift federal funding restrictions on overseas family planning
groups. Later, he moved to repeal Bush-era conscience protections for
medical professionals. And his stem-cell decision angered groups that
consider it tantamount to ending a human life, because the embryos must
be destroyed to retrieve the cells. 

But his personnel moves also have caused alarm. Health and Human
Services nominee Kathleen Sebelius fought attempts to dial back
abortion rights as Kansas governor. Obama’s communications director
Ellen Moran previously ran EMILY’s List, which backed women candidates
who supported abortion rights. Obama’s pick to run the powerful Office
of Legal Counsel inside the Justice Department, Dawn Johnsen, was
previously legal director for the National Abortion and Reproductive
Rights Action League in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

News Politics

Clinton Campaign Announces Tim Kaine as Pick for Vice President

Ally Boguhn

The prospect of Kaine’s selection has been criticized by some progressives due to his stances on issues including abortion as well as bank and trade regulation.

The Clinton campaign announced Friday that Sen. Tim Kaine (R-VA) has been selected to join Hillary Clinton’s ticket as her vice presidential candidate.

“I’m thrilled to announce my running mate, @TimKaine, a man who’s devoted his life to fighting for others,” said Clinton in a tweet.

“.@TimKaine is a relentless optimist who believes no problem is unsolvable if you put in the work to solve it,” she added.

The prospect of Kaine’s selection has been criticized by some progressives due to his stances on issues including abortion as well as bank and trade regulation.

Kaine signed two letters this week calling for the regulations on banks to be eased, according to a Wednesday report published by the Huffington Post, thereby ”setting himself up as a figure willing to do battle with the progressive wing of the party.”

Charles Chamberlain, executive director of the progressive political action committee Democracy for America, told the New York Times that Kaine’s selection “could be disastrous for our efforts to defeat Donald Trump in the fall” given the senator’s apparent support of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). Just before Clinton’s campaign made the official announcement that Kaine had been selected, the senator praised the TPP during an interview with the Intercept, though he signaled he had ultimately not decided how he would vote on the matter.

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Kaine’s record on reproductive rights has also generated controversy as news began to circulate that he was being considered to join Clinton’s ticket. Though Kaine recently argued in favor of providing Planned Parenthood with access to funding to fight the Zika virus and signed on as a co-sponsor of the Women’s Health Protection Act—which would prohibit states and the federal government from enacting restrictions on abortion that aren’t applied to comparable medical services—he has also been vocal about his personal opposition to abortion.

In a June interview on NBC’s Meet the Press, Kaine told host Chuck Todd he was “personally” opposed to abortion. He went on, however, to affirm that he still believed “not just as a matter of politics, but even as a matter of morality, that matters about reproduction and intimacy and relationships and contraception are in the personal realm. They’re moral decisions for individuals to make for themselves. And the last thing we need is government intruding into those personal decisions.”

As Rewire has previously reported, though Kaine may have a 100 percent rating for his time in the Senate from Planned Parenthood Action Fund, the campaign website for his 2005 run for governor of Virginia promised he would “work in good faith to reduce abortions” by enforcing Virginia’s “restrictions on abortion and passing an enforceable ban on partial birth abortion that protects the life and health of the mother.”

As governor, Kaine did support some existing restrictions on abortion, including Virginia’s parental consent law and a so-called informed consent law. He also signed a 2009 measure that created “Choose Life” license plates in the state, and gave a percentage of the proceeds to a crisis pregnancy network.

Regardless of Clinton’s vice president pick, the “center of gravity in the Democratic Party has shifted in a bold, populist, progressive direction,” said Stephanie Taylor, co-founder of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, in an emailed statement. “It’s now more important than ever that Hillary Clinton run an aggressive campaign on core economic ideas like expanding Social Security, debt-free college, Wall Street reform, and yes, stopping the TPP. It’s the best way to unite the Democratic Party, and stop Republicans from winning over swing voters on bread-and-butter issues.”

News Abortion

Parental Notification Law Struck Down in Alaska

Michelle D. Anderson

"The reality is that some young women face desperate circumstances and potentially violent consequences if they are forced to bring their parents into their reproductive health decisions," said Janet Crepps, senior counsel at the Center for Reproductive Rights. "This law would have deprived these vulnerable women of their constitutional rights and put them at risk of serious harm."

The Alaska Supreme Court has struck down a state law requiring physicians to give the parents, guardians, or custodians of teenage minors a two-day notice before performing an abortion.

The court ruled that the parental notification law, which applies to teenagers younger than 18, violated the Alaska Constitution’s equal protection guarantee and could not be enforced.

The ruling stems from an Anchorage Superior Court decision that involved the case of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands and physicians Dr. Jan Whitefield and Dr. Susan Lemagie against the State of Alaska and the notification law’s sponsors.

In the lower court ruling, a judge denied Planned Parenthood’s requested preliminary injunction against the law as a whole and went on to uphold the majority of the notification law.

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Planned Parenthood and the physicians had appealed that superior court ruling and asked for a reversal on both equal protection and privacy grounds.

Meanwhile, the State of Alaska and the notification law’s sponsors appealed the court’s decision to strike some of its provisions and the court’s ruling.

The notification law came about after an initiative approved by voters in August 2010. The law applied to “unemancipated, unmarried minors” younger than 18 seeking to terminate a pregnancy and only makes exceptions in documented cases of abuse and medical emergencies, such as one in which the pregnant person’s life is in danger.

Justice Daniel E. Winfree wrote in the majority opinion that the anti-choice law created “considerable tension between a minor’s fundamental privacy right to reproductive choice and how the State may advance its compelling interests.”

He said the law was discriminatory and that it could unjustifiably burden “the fundamental privacy rights only of minors seeking pregnancy termination, rather than [equally] to all pregnant minors.”

Chief Justice Craig Stowers dissented, arguing that the majority’s opinion “unjustifiably” departed from the Alaska Supreme Court’s prior approval of parental notification.

Stowers said the opinion “misapplies our equal protection case law by comparing two groups that are not similarly situated, and fails to consider how other states have handled similar questions related to parental notification laws.”

Center for Reproductive Rights (CRR) officials praised the court’s ruling, saying that Alaska’s vulnerable teenagers will now be relieved of additional burdensome hurdles in accessing abortion care. Attorneys from the American Civil Liberties Union, CRR, and Planned Parenthood represented plaintiffs in the case.

Janet Crepps, senior counsel at CRR, said in a statement that the “decision provides important protection to the safety and well-being of young women who need to end a pregnancy.”

“The reality is that some young women face desperate circumstances and potentially violent consequences if they are forced to bring their parents into their reproductive health decisions. This law would have deprived these vulnerable women of their constitutional rights and put them at risk of serious harm,” Crepps said.

CRR officials also noted that most young women seeking abortion care involve a parent, but some do not because they live an abusive or unsafe home.

The American Medical Association, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and the Society for Adolescent Medicine have said minors’ access to confidential reproductive health services should be protected, according to CRR.