Roundup: Senate Republicans “Lower Expectations” On Supreme Court Nominee Fight

Emily Douglas

Republicans "lower expectations" for Supreme Court nomination fight; economic insecurity, adoption, and abortion; experts react to the news that percentage of births to unwed mothers has risen sharply; Tennessee abortion amendment passes House.

Republicans "Lower Expectations" for Supreme Court Nomination Fight
Republicans are "lowering expectations that they are planning any major
political fight" against President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee, which
may come as early as this week, the New York Times reported over the weekend.  "Those Republicans, including senior staff aides and some senators,
suggested in interviews that they believed Mr. Obama’s first nominee
for the court would be confirmed without great difficulty no matter how
they framed the issues during the confirmation process." 

But all of those interviewed said they understood that Senate Republicans would have to be sensitive
to the concerns of outside conservative advocacy groups that will take
a sharply adversarial position on the nominee. Some networks of
conservatives have already been mapping outlines of strategy to oppose
potential nominees, compiling and distributing brief dossiers on what
they believe are the weak points of candidates on speculative lists.

difference in the fervor of the conservative advocacy groups (the
outsiders) and the Senate Republicans (the insiders) mirrors in some
ways the situation Democrats faced for many years. Liberal advocacy
groups mounted several campaigns against the nominees of President George W. Bush and his Republican predecessors that were not taken up in a full-throated way by Senate Democrats.

Economic Insecurity, Adoption, and Abortion
In a thoughtful piece in USA Today,
Wendy Koch examines how the economy is affecting women’s choices to
relinquish their children for adoption.  "As parents struggle to raise
children in a weak economy, a half-dozen
large adoption agencies are reporting that more women with unplanned
pregnancies are considering placing their babies for adoption rather
than keeping them," she reports.  "Finances are also prompting more
women to question pregnancy and to
inquire about abortion. One in 10 married women say they are delaying
pregnancy because of the economy, according to a Gallup Organization
survey this month."

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Meanwhile, on Double X,
Annie Murphy Paul addresses the same question — the influence of
socioeconomic factors on women’s childbearing decisions — and offers a
historical perspective: "No one wants her most intimate decisions to be
driven by money. At the
same time, opting not to have a child you can’t afford to raise can be
a realistic and responsible-if painful-choice, one often based on
taking good care of the kids you already have. Nor is the intrusion of
economic concerns on childbearing a phenomenon of this recession, or
even of the loosening of sexual mores over the past half-century:
historically, financial hardship has been an ever-present motivation
for ending a pregnancy."  Paul adds, "Stephanie Poggi, executive
director of the National Network of
Abortion Funds, …says her clients are telling her: ‘"I’ve already
put off paying my rent, my electric bill. I’m cutting back on my food."
They’ve run through all the options.’
And yet to hear the pro-life activists tell it, women aren’t really
struggling with difficult choices-they just don’t want to give up the
luxuries to which they’ve become accustomed."    

Experts React to News that Percentage of Births to Unwed Mothers Has Risen Sharply
On its Room for Debate blog,
the New York Times invites five commentators to react to the news that
the percentage of births to unmarried mothers is rising sharply.  The
National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health’s Silvia Henriquez is
one of the respondents.  She writes,

The recently released study by
the Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention points out that the birthrate for unmarried women has risen
to 40 percent and is highest among Hispanic women — climbing 20 percent
between 2002 and 2006. While this data is worth noting and signals a
need for policymakers and advocates to reexamine our family-centered
policies, we shouldn’t present single motherhood as a problem in
itself…Moreover, for many Latino families, a household may not look
like a
traditional husband and wife scenario. Indeed, in many Latino
households, grandmothers, aunts and uncles play a significant role in
raising children and contributing to the household income. Finally, the
data that links single-motherhood to lower achievement for their
children is weak and dubious. And frankly, it’s always dangerous to
assume women would be better off with their husbands.

scientist Stephanie Coontz concurs: "The appropriate research and
policy question today is not what kind of
family we wish children were living in, but how to figure out the
variables within each category, so all parents can minimize the
specific vulnerabilities associated with their particular circumstances
and build on their potential strengths."

Tennessee State Abortion Amendment Passes House
A Tennessee state abortion amendment has now passed both chambers of the General Assembly, reports.  "The measure — which says that "nothing in this Constitution secures or
protects a right to abortion or requires the funding of an abortion" —
seeks to change the document to void a Supreme Court ruling in 2000
concerning abortion restrictions…Now that it has passed this session, the measure still has to be
approved by two-thirds — or 66 votes — in the next General Assembly
before it could go to voters in 2014."

Other News to Note
May 18: Examiner Buffalo: Obama at Notre Dame: The abortion battle rages on, but we can at least be civilized about it

May 18: Fox News: Lawmakers Push Ultrasound Bills as More Americans Say They’re Pro-Life

May 19: Chicago Tribune: As the abortion debate turns

May 18: Guardian: Obama’s bold stance on abortion

May 18: Healthcare Republic: Pill ‘raises risk of incontinence’ 

May 18: NYTimes Magazine: More Abortions in a Recession

May 18: Mother Jones: Obama and Abortion

May 18: HuffPo: Obama and Abortion: Escaping the Left/Right Divide

May 18: AP: Vatican: Obama seeks "common ground" on abortion

May 18: APP Jersey Shore: Ocean County professionals will cook to help Family Planning Center

May 19: Philippine Star: Luxury of the few

May 18: LA Times Blogs: A consistent ethic of disingenuousness

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