Roundup: Lawmakers Endorse Law Opposing Abortion

Amy Dempsey

lawmakers changed the health bill to ensure it does not require funding for abortions; Abortions on the rise in China; India launching campaign to encourage later marriage.

Lawmakers Endorse Law Opposing Abortion
Washington lawmakers changed the health bill to ensure it does not require funding for abortions, according to The Associated Press. The measure was approved Thursday in the House Energy and Commerce Committee as conservative Democrats and Republicans joined together to support the bill.

amendment says requirements for abortion coverage cannot be imposed
unless a woman’s life is in danger or her pregnancy is a result of
incest or rape, The AP reported.
It still has to go through the House and Senate.

Abortions in China Increase
The number of abortions in China has increased from 9 million to 13 million since 2003, the New York Times reported. Chinese officials attribute the increase to the low level of sex education among young people. According to the article,
the China Daily reported that more than 70 percent of callers to a
hospital in Shanghai knew little, if not nothing, about contraception,
venereal diseases and that HIV/AIDS could be transmitted sexually.

The New York Times said:

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"Sex is no longer considered taboo among young people today, and they believe they can learn everything they need
from the Internet," Yu Dongyan, a gynecologist, told the paper. "But it
doesn’t mean they’ve developed a proper understanding or attitude
toward it."

A Chinese cultural preference for sons, combined with
the state’s longstanding one-child policy, has resulted in a widening
use of gender-selective abortions and "an imminent generation of excess
men," according to a recent report in the online British Medical
Journal. There are now 32 million more Chinese boys than girls under
20, the researchers found, an imbalance that is expected to widen over
the next 20 years.

Abortion has been legal in China since 1953,
although sex-selective abortions were banned starting in 1994. China
was the first country to approve mifepristone, the abortion-inducing
drug also known as RU-486, and by the late 1990s it was widely available – by prescription and on the black market – all across China.


India’s Campaign for Later Marriage

government is launching a new campaign to encourage couples to marry at
an older age and to engage proven family planning practices.

The National article said:

In New Delhi last week, the Indian health minister Ghulam Nabi Azad
urged couples to marry after 30 years of age, saying resources in the
country were unable to meet the demands of the growing population.

"Only people who opt to marry at 30-31 should be awarded," he said at a
ceremony to felicitate couples who have opted for late marriages.

Though the legal age of marriage in India is 18 for girls and 21 for
boys, various studies conducted recently reveal that in rural India,
which constitutes 70 per cent of the total population, girls are
married as young as 13 years of age.

According to the article,
India’s population is 1.14 billion and will surpass China by 2050, when
it will become the world’s most populated country. A similar family
planning campaign, which promoted the use of contraceptives, was
enacted in 1952 when its population was less than half of what it is
now, but it failed to reach its fertility rate target.


July 30: AP: House lawmakers endorse measure opposing abortion

July 30: U-TV: US teenagers need real sex education

July 30: AFP: Italy health watchdog approves abortion drug: report

July 30: Deseret News:Adoption battle quashed by Supreme Court

July 30: HuffPo: Chris Matthews "Birthers Out" with his "Deather" Stance on Living Wills

July 30: EmpowHer: Birth Control May Help Ward Off Bacterial Vaginosis

July 30: CNN: Dr. Joycelyn Elders’ advice to surgeon general nominee


July 30: Guardian: Debbie Purdy case: Pro-life group plots legal action

July 30: Minnesota Independent: Abortion foes fund Bachmann, bash Clark

July 30: CBC News: Families attempt to rescue adoption agency from bankruptcy

July 30: The National: Campaign for later marriage in India

July 30: Newsmax: Forced Abortion Issue Could Unite Pope, Obama

July 30: NYTimes: A Tipping Point on Maternal Mortality?

June 30: LifeNews: Ask About Health Care, Abortion, Rationing During August Congressional Recess

July 30: Orato: China’s New International Adoption Rules

July 30: Pro Life Blogs: My Story of Silence on a Friend’s Abortion

July 29: LifeSiteNews: No House Vote on Healthcare until after August Recess

July 30: Unreasonable Faith: Your God Isn’t Pro-Life

July 30: SmartBrief: Excess weight gain seen early with DMPA birth control

July 30: HuffPo: A Taxing Problem

July 29: LifeSiteNews: Proposed Health Care Bill is an "Abortion Industry Bailout" Warns Congressman

July 30: Global Health: Things That Work – Health Visitors

July 30: LifeNews: Polls Show Pro-Abortion Barack Obama at All-Time Low, Drops on Health Care

July 30: NYTimes: Abortions Surge in China; Officials Cite Poor Sex Education

July 30: Greenville Online: Roxanne Walker: Sex education, contraception vital to society

July 27: Care2: Interview with Nancy Keenan, NARAL Pro-Choice President

July 30: Catholic Exchange: Rocco Buttiglione Clarifies Remarks on Protecting the Unborn Child

July 30: Arizona List: Arizona List Supports Progressive Women With Progressive Agendas

July 30: Feministing Community:Creating a Feminist Coalition in a Catholic College

July 29: NYTimes:Crisis in the Operating Room

July 30: Catholic News Agency: Report shows decrease in abortion providers, calls for procedure to be mainstreamed

July 30: Michigan Liberal: Stupak: No health care reform with abortion funding

News Politics

Missouri ‘Witch Hunt Hearings’ Modeled on Anti-Choice Congressional Crusade

Christine Grimaldi

Missouri state Rep. Stacey Newman (D) said the Missouri General Assembly's "witch hunt hearings" were "closely modeled" on those in the U.S. Congress. Specifically, she drew parallels between Republicans' special investigative bodies—the U.S. House of Representatives’ Select Investigative Panel on Infant Lives and the Missouri Senate’s Committee on the Sanctity of Life.

Congressional Republicans are responsible for perpetuating widely discredited and often inflammatory allegations about fetal tissue and abortion care practices for a year and counting. Their actions may have charted the course for at least one Republican-controlled state legislature to advance an anti-choice agenda based on a fabricated market in aborted “baby body parts.”

“They say that a lot in Missouri,” state Rep. Stacey Newman (D) told Rewire in an interview at the Democratic National Convention last month.

Newman is a longtime abortion rights advocate who proposed legislation that would subject firearms purchases to the same types of restrictions, including mandatory waiting periods, as abortion care.

Newman said the Missouri General Assembly’s “witch hunt hearings” were “closely modeled” on those in the U.S. Congress. Specifically, she drew parallels between Republicans’ special investigative bodies—the U.S. House of Representatives’ Select Investigative Panel on Infant Lives and the Missouri Senate’s Committee on the Sanctity of Life. Both formed last year in response to videos from the anti-choice front group the Center for Medical Progress (CMP) accusing Planned Parenthood of profiting from fetal tissue donations. Both released reports last month condemning the reproductive health-care provider even though Missouri’s attorney general, among officials in 13 states to date, and three congressional investigations all previously found no evidence of wrongdoing.

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Missouri state Sen. Kurt Schaefer (R), the chair of the committee, and his colleagues alleged that the report potentially contradicted the attorney general’s findings. Schaefer’s district includes the University of Missouri, which ended a 26-year relationship with Planned Parenthood as anti-choice state lawmakers ramped up their inquiries in the legislature. Schaefer’s refusal to confront evidence to the contrary aligned with how Newman described his leadership of the committee.

“It was based on what was going on in Congress, but then Kurt Schaefer took it a step further,” Newman said.

As Schaefer waged an ultimately unsuccessful campaign in the Missouri Republican attorney general primary, the once moderate Republican “felt he needed to jump on the extreme [anti-choice] bandwagon,” she said.

Schaefer in April sought to punish the head of Planned Parenthood’s St. Louis affiliate with fines and jail time for protecting patient documents he had subpoenaed. The state senate suspended contempt proceedings against Mary Kogut, the CEO of Planned Parenthood of St. Louis Region and Southwest Missouri, reaching an agreement before the end of the month, according to news reports.

Newman speculated that Schaefer’s threats thwarted an omnibus abortion bill (HB 1953, SB 644) from proceeding before the end of the 2016 legislative session in May, despite Republican majorities in the Missouri house and senate.

“I think it was part of the compromise that they came up with Planned Parenthood, when they realized their backs [were] against the wall, because she was not, obviously, going to illegally turn over medical records.” Newman said of her Republican colleagues.

Republicans on the select panel in Washington have frequently made similar complaints, and threats, in their pursuit of subpoenas.

Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), the chair of the select panel, in May pledged “to pursue all means necessary” to obtain documents from the tissue procurement company targeted in the CMP videos. In June, she told a conservative crowd at the faith-based Road to Majority conference that she planned to start contempt of Congress proceedings after little cooperation from “middle men” and their suppliers—“big abortion.” By July, Blackburn seemingly walked back that pledge in front of reporters at a press conference where she unveiled the select panel’s interim report.

The investigations share another common denominator: a lack of transparency about how much money they have cost taxpayers.

“The excuse that’s come back from leadership, both [in the] House and the Senate, is that not everybody has turned in their expense reports,” Newman said. Republicans have used “every stalling tactic” to rebuff inquiries from her and reporters in the state, she said.

Congressional Republicans with varying degrees of oversight over the select panel—Blackburn, House Speaker Paul Ryan (WI), and House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Fred Upton (MI)—all declined to answer Rewire’s funding questions. Rewire confirmed with a high-ranking GOP aide that Republicans budgeted $1.2 million for the investigation through the end of the year.

Blackburn is expected to resume the panel’s activities after Congress returns from recess in early September. Schaeffer and his fellow Republicans on the committee indicated in their report that an investigation could continue in the 2017 legislative session, which begins in January.

News Law and Policy

Purvi Patel Could Be Released From Jail by September

Jessica Mason Pieklo

In 2013, investigators charged Patel with both feticide and felony neglect of a dependent, based on the theory that Patel had self-induced an abortion and delivered a live infant, which then almost immediately died post-delivery.

The State of Indiana will not appeal a decision vacating the feticide conviction of Purvi Patel, the Granger woman who had previously faced 20 years in prison for what state attorneys described as an illegal self-induced abortion.

Patel was arrested in 2013 after she sought treatment at a hospital emergency room for heavy vaginal bleeding. While being examined by medical personnel, Patel told doctors she’d had a miscarriage and had disposed of the remains. Investigators located those remains and eventually charged Patel with both feticide and felony neglect of a dependent, based on the theory that Patel had self-induced an abortion and delivered a live infant, which then almost immediately died post-delivery. In February 2015, a jury convicted Patel of both counts.

But in July, the Indiana Court of Appeals vacated Patel’s feticide conviction, holding the statute was not designed to be used to criminally charge people for their own failed pregnancies. However, the court largely upheld Patel’s felony neglect of a dependent conviction, deferring to controversial medical testimony offered by the state that claimed Patel’s fetus was on the cusp of viability and had taken a breath outside her post-delivery.

Patel had initially been sentenced to serve a total of 20 years. But because attorneys for the state failed to appeal the July decision, she could be available for re-sentencing as soon as the court can schedule a hearing—which could mean a possible release as early as September, depending on her new sentence and credit for time served.

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