Roundup: Stupak’s Still Mad, Nelson’s Unpopular and Justifiable Homicide

Rachel Larris

With the Nelson "compromise" language still filling the today's newspapers with editorials and columns, the consequences of the vitriolic nature of the abortion debate will be on display today in a Kansas court room.

With the Nelson "compromise" language still filling
the today’s newspapers with editorials and columns debating the pros and cons, the
consequences of the vitriolic nature of the abortion debate will be on display today in
a Kansas court room.

Scott Roeder, charged with the murder of Dr. George
Tiller, wants to use the "necessity
defense."

Since the killing,
Roeder has confessed to reporters that he shot Tiller, while his anti-abortion
allies have urged Roeder to present the so-called "necessity defense"
in hopes that an acquittal could turn the larger debate over abortion in their
favor.

Courts have never
allowed
defendants to use justifiable homicide when they are charged with
murdering abortion doctors. Despite the fact he has admitted to killing Dr.
Tiller, Roeder’s lawyers may have
another defense they want to use.

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Legal experts and
others close to the case have suggested his public defenders may actually be
aiming at a conviction on a lesser offense such as voluntary manslaughter –
defined in Kansas as "an unreasonable but honest belief that circumstances
existed that justified deadly force."

That would be an easier
argument to make to jurors than a necessity defense, which is unlikely to win,
said Melanie Wilson, a University of Kansas law professor. A necessity defense,
also known as the "choice of evils defense," requires proof that the
defendant reacted to an immediate danger, an argument that is undermined by
abortion’s legality.

Judge Warren Wilbert will
hear arguments today
on whether to bar Roeder’s lawyers from using this
defense.

Of course the Roundup isn’t complete without some
news about our favorite senator, Ben Nelson.

It seems that despite all his work to make sure
women won’t have access to abortion services if health care reform bill passes, neither the Republican governor of Nebraska nor its other senator appreciate
his efforts to give special treatment to the state
.

[Gov. Dave] Heineman
joined Republican Sen. Mike Johanns in criticizing special advantages inserted
in the legislation after Nebraska was granted full federal funding of expanded
Medicaid coverage in lieu of federal-state cost-sharing…

On Monday, Heineman
wrote Nelson: "It is imperative that every state is treated fairly and
equally or all special deals must be removed" from the bill.

Meanwhile Congressman Bart Stupak still
isn’t happy with the bill.

In
International News

Kenyan women are more afraid of getting
pregnant
than contracting HIV. Research shows Kenyan women are using emergency contraception as a regular form of birth control because they are afraid of asking their partners to use condoms. Kenyan women are far more worried about preventing pregnancy, which is harder to hide, than contracting an STD.

"Unlike a sexually
transmitted disease, pregnancy cannot be hidden; it is a visible consequence
and demonstration of a sexual act and for the unmarried girl in our society,
the shame that accompanies it is heavy," says [Dr. Marsden Solomon, the Reproductive Health Regional Medical Advisor for Family
Health International].

In better news Mexico City’s legislative assembly voted
to legalized
same-sex marriage
and adoption by same-sex couples.

Also Ireland is considering passing reforms that
would allow 16
and 17 year olds "to
ask for or refuse medical and life-sustaining treatment, including surgery and
contraception."

Bonus
Item:
Cynthia Nixon of "Sex in the City" is speaking
out against the Stupak-Pitts
language being included in the final health
care reform bill, relating that her mother had an illegal abortion prior to Roe v. Wade.

 

December 22, 2009

Both
sides question health bill’s abortion compromise
Washington Post

EDITORIAL:
Government’s abortion
mandate
Washington
Times

Stupak
blasts abortion language
The Detroit News

What’s
the deal on healthcare?
Los Angeles Times

Women’s
rights taken for a ride
Ithaca Journal

Former
Planned Parenthood CEO teaches at Georgetown’s nursing school
Catholic Culture

Colorado
court pulls the curtain back on adoption records
Denver Post

Women
on the Verge
Huffington
Post

Sen.
Nelson ‘betrayed’ pro-lifers back home

OneNewsNow

 

December 21, 2009

Seminar
touts importance of abstinence, birth control
Jakarta Post

Asheville,
North Carolina Councilman Cecil Bothwell Acts as Abortion Center Escort
LifeNews.com

California
loses Catholic pro-life
leader
California
Catholic Daily

Northern
Ontario Town to Reconsider Approval of Pro-Life Monument
Catholic Exchange

Assault
charges filed against clinic guard

OneNewsNow

Senate
Ends Filibuster on Manager’s Amendment to Pro-Abortion Health Care Bill
LifeNews.com

Ben
Nelson Faces Pro-Life
Rally, Backlash After Abortion-Health Care Sellout
LifeNews.com

What
Did Senators Get For Their Votes on Health Care?
Human Events

Imposing
abortion morality on the dollars of pro-life Americans
The North Star National

Judge
in Killing of Abortion Practitioner George Tiller Considering Roeder Motions
LifeNews.com

Senate
Abortion Language is No Compromise, Pro-Life Dem Says
CNSNews.com

Pro-Life
News: Bob Casey, 40 Days for Life, Spain, Wisconsin, California
LifeNews.com

American
Values Forum
Wall
Street Journal

Pro-Life
Hero: The Real Kelly Ayotte
RedState

Sex
education for 20-somethings
Baltimore Sun

Soldiers
in Iraq could face jail time for getting pregnant
Raw Story

Did
Nelson Sell His Vote?
FOXNews

Abortion not
biggest issue for some priests
Chicago Sun-Times

US
bishops oppose Senate health care legislation in current form
Catholic Culture

An abortion
compromise that’s fair
Washington Post

Abortion
Language in the Health Care Bill: Another Women’s Smackdown
Huffington Post

Anderson
Cooper 360: Cynthia Nixon: Abortion
CNN

Abortion
deal may be hard to keep in health bill
The Associated Press

Coakley:
‘Yes’ to health reform bill, even with abortion limits
Christian Science Monitor

Analysis:
Insurance companies may stop covering abortion
Seattle Post Intelligencer

Crib
Sheet: Who’s Opposing Senate’s Healthcare Abortion Compromise–and Why
U.S. News & World Report

Democrats
Face Challenge in Merging Health Bills

New York Times

The
Abortion Deal That Saved Health Care (for Now)
Politics Daily

Don’t
just pop the pill
Mumbai
Mirror

Kenya:
Study Shows Young Women Would Rather Get Aids Than Fall Pregnant
AllAfrica.com

Bleak
future for adoption
charities
Public
Service

Mexico
City legalizes same-sex marriage, adoptions

CNN International

Planetary
birth control
gone mad
Globe
and Mail

 

News Abortion

Study: United States a ‘Stark Outlier’ in Countries With Legal Abortion, Thanks to Hyde Amendment

Nicole Knight Shine

The study's lead author said the United States' public-funding restriction makes it a "stark outlier among countries where abortion is legal—especially among high-income nations."

The vast majority of countries pay for abortion care, making the United States a global outlier and putting it on par with the former Soviet republic of Kyrgyzstan and a handful of Balkan States, a new study in the journal Contraception finds.

A team of researchers conducted two rounds of surveys between 2011 and 2014 in 80 countries where abortion care is legal. They found that 59 countries, or 74 percent of those surveyed, either fully or partially cover terminations using public funding. The United States was one of only ten countries that limits federal funding for abortion care to exceptional cases, such as rape, incest, or life endangerment.

Among the 40 “high-income” countries included in the survey, 31 provided full or partial funding for abortion care—something the United States does not do.

Dr. Daniel Grossman, lead author and director of Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health (ANSIRH) at the University of California (UC) San Francisco, said in a statement announcing the findings that this country’s public-funding restriction makes it a “stark outlier among countries where abortion is legal—especially among high-income nations.”

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The researchers call on policymakers to make affordable health care a priority.

The federal Hyde Amendment (first passed in 1976 and reauthorized every year thereafter) bans the use of federal dollars for abortion care, except for cases of rape, incest, or life endangerment. Seventeen states, as the researchers note, bridge this gap by spending state money on terminations for low-income residents. Of the 14.1 million women enrolled in Medicaid, fewer than half, or 6.7 million, live in states that cover abortion services with state funds.

This funding gap delays abortion care for some people with limited means, who need time to raise money for the procedure, researchers note.

As Jamila Taylor and Yamani Hernandez wrote last year for Rewire, “We have heard first-person accounts of low-income women selling their belongings, going hungry for weeks as they save up their grocery money, or risking eviction by using their rent money to pay for an abortion, because of the Hyde Amendment.”

Public insurance coverage of abortion remains controversial in the United States despite “evidence that cost may create a barrier to access,” the authors observe.

“Women in the US, including those with low incomes, should have access to the highest quality of care, including the full range of reproductive health services,” Grossman said in the statement. “This research indicates there is a global consensus that abortion care should be covered like other health care.”

Earlier research indicated that U.S. women attempting to self-induce abortion cited high cost as a reason.

The team of ANSIRH researchers and Ibis Reproductive Health uncovered a bit of good news, finding that some countries are loosening abortion laws and paying for the procedures.

“Uruguay, as well as Mexico City,” as co-author Kate Grindlay from Ibis Reproductive Health noted in a press release, “legalized abortion in the first trimester in the past decade, and in both cases the service is available free of charge in public hospitals or covered by national insurance.”

News Abortion

Anti-Choice Legislator Confirms Vote on House Conscience Protections (Updated)

Christine Grimaldi

The Conscience Protection Act would give health-care providers a private right of action to seek civil damages in court, should they face supposed coercion to provide abortion care or discrimination stemming from their refusal to assist in abortion care. The Act allows providers to sue not only for threats, but also for perceived threats.

UPDATE: July 14, 10 a.m.: The House passed the Conscience Protection Act Wednesday night in a largely party line 245-182 vote. Prior to floor consideration, House Republicans stripped the text of an unrelated Senate-passed bill (S. 304) and replaced it with the Conscience Protection Act. They likely did so to skip the Senate committee referral process, House Democratic aides told Rewire, expediting consideration across the capitol and, in theory, ushering a final bill to the president’s desk. President Barack Obama, however, would veto the Conscience Protection Act, according to a statement of administration policy.

The U.S. House of Representatives will vote next Wednesday on legislation that would allow a broadened swath of health-care providers to sue if they’re supposedly coerced into providing abortion care, or if they face discrimination for refusing to provide such care, according to a prominent anti-choice lawmaker.

Rep. Joe Pitts (R-PA) told Rewire in a Friday morning interview that House leadership confirmed a vote on the Conscience Protection Act (H.R. 4828) for July 13, days before the chamber adjourns for the presidential nominating conventions and the August recess. Pitts said he expects the bill to be brought up as a standalone measure, rather than as an amendment to any of the spending bills that have seen Republican amendments attacking a range of reproductive health care and LGBTQ protections.

The office of U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) had no immediate comment.

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Pitts’ remarks came during and after he hosted a “Forum on Conscience Protections” in the House Energy and Commerce Committee room to garner support for the bill.

Energy and Commerce Democrats boycotted the forum, a House Democratic aide told Rewire in a subsequent interview.

Legislation Builds on Precedent

Conscience protections are nothing new, the aide said. The latest iteration is a successor to the Health Care Conscience Rights Act (S. 1919/H.R. 940), which remains pending in the House and U.S. Senate. There’s also the Abortion Non-Discrimination Act (S. 50) and similarly named bills in both chambers. The fiscal year 2017 Labor, Health, and Human Services funding bill, which guts Title X and Teen Pregnancy Prevention grants, includes the Health Care Conscience Rights Act.

At the leadership level, Ryan’s recently released health-care plan mimics key provisions in the Conscience Protection Act. Both would give health-care providers a private right of action to seek civil damages in court, should they face alleged coercion or discrimination stemming from their refusal to assist in abortion care. The Conscience Protection Act goes a step further, allowing providers to sue not only for threats, but also for perceived threats.

The proposals would also codify and expand the Weldon Amendment, named for former Rep. Dave Weldon (R-FL), who participated in Pitts’ conscience forum. The Weldon Amendment prohibits states that receive federal family planning funding from discriminating against health-care plans based on whether they cover abortion care. Currently, Congress must pass Weldon every year as an amendment to annual appropriations bills.

Administration Action Provides Impetus

There hadn’t been much public dialogue around conscience protections with the exception of some anti-choice groups that “have really been all over it,” the aide said. The National Right to Life issued an action alert, as did the Susan B. Anthony List, to galvanize support for the Conscience Protection Act.

The relative silence on the issue began to break after the Obama administration took a stand on abortion care in June.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights rejected anti-choice groups’ “right of conscience” complaint against California’s requirement that insurance plans must cover elective abortions under the definition of “basic health-care services.” Anti-choice groups had argued the California law violates the Weldon Amendment, but the administration found otherwise.

The California decision reinvigorated support for the Conscience Protection Act, the aide said. Ryan’s earlier health-care plan also specifically references the decision.

“We think this is going to be a big issue for us throughout the rest of this Congress,” the aide said.

Aide Outlines Additional Consequences

Beyond creating a private right of action and codifying Weldon, the Conscience Protection Act contains additional consequences for abortion care, the aide said.

The legislation would expand the definition of health-care providers to employers, social service organizations, and any other entity that offers insurance coverage, allowing them to raise objections under Weldon, the aide said. The aide characterized the change as a direct response to the California decision.

The legislation also broadens the list of objectionable services to include facilitating or making arrangements for abortion care, according to the aide.

The Republican-dominated House is likely to pass the Conscience Protection Act. But the aide did not expect it to advance in the Senate, which would all but certainly require a 60-vote threshold for such a controversial measure. More than anything, the aide said, the bill seems to be catering to anti-choice groups and long-time proponents of conscience clauses.

“The House oftentimes will pass these kinds of anti-choice proposals, and then they just go nowhere in the Senate,” the aide said.