Roundup: The Harm Caused By Anti-Choicers

Rachel Larris

Today's roundup is all about the harm caused by those who oppose abortion so strongly, they ignore all the other harm they are creating for women and doctors.

Today’s roundup is all about the harm caused by those who oppose abortion so strongly, they ignore all the other harm they are creating for women and doctors.

First up, as the trial of Scott Roeder continues the jury
selection process today Judge Warren Wilbert has decided to question potential jurors
in private. However he did agree to release
a blank jury questionnaire
.

After the closed hearing, Vix said
Wilbert had agreed to open parts of jury selection to the public but that
individual jurors will first be questioned in private about "sensitive
personal issues."

The focus of the individual
questioning will involve personal beliefs about abortion, the judge and the
lawyers have said, and whether they can set those aside to listen to evidence
in the murder trial from both sides.

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The shooting of Dr. George Tiller has upped the ante again
for anti-choice crusaders. Operation Rescue is now offering a
reward for "whistle-blowers"
who report on abortion doctors.

A Kansas-based
anti-abortion group is offering a $10,000 reward for information that leads to
the arrest and conviction of abortion doctors who break the law.

Operation Rescue announced its Abortion Whistleblower campaign Thursday.

The campaign will include a series of radio and Internet ads, as well as direct
mailings to abortion clinics across the country asking clinic workers to report
clinic abuses.

The group’s campaign follows Nebraska abortion doctor LeRoy Carhart’s
announcement last month that he will likely perform more late-term procedures
at his Bellevue, Neb.-based clinic.

Meanwhile remember Massachusetts Republican Senate
candidate Scott Brown’s attack of conscious for all the poor hospital staff who
would have been required to give emergency contraception to rape victims? Well
the Boston
Phoenix
says it probably was because Brown owed the Catholic Church a favor
for getting him elected.

The state legislature wanted to make the hospital
provide the pill. The Catholic Church opposed that mandate. (Abraham, in
her otherwise excellent column
, suggests that the law was largely about
allowing individual practitioners to opt out. While that would have been an
effect, the legislative battle was entirely about the state’s Catholic
hospitals’ refusal, as policy, to offer emergency contraception.)

There’s a legitimate debate to be had on that issue
(not to mention, on whether the refusal to provide the pill is an act of good
"conscience"), and that debate was waged among the Democrats
controlling the legislature, and the Church lost. So, they needed a Republican
to try a Stupak-like attempt to introduce a "conscience clause"
amendment to the mandate bill, in hopes that they could pressure enough
legislators to win an open up-or-down vote. They got Brown to introduce it.

And frankly, his daughters may very well be correct
when they insist that this was not because Brown is a cold-hearted,
misogynistic bastard. Instead, it was more likely because he owed a big favor
to the cold-hearted, misogynistic Church, which had just played a major role in
getting him elected.

Lastly a bill in Kentucky requiring all women seeking an
abortion to have an ultrasound has been passed
by the Senate’s Judiciary Committee
.

Similar bills have passed the
Republican-controlled Senate in recent legislative sessions but died in the
House, which is controlled by Democrats.

[Bill sponsor Sen. Elizabeth Tori,
R-Radcliff] said that this year’s bill goes further than the one she sponsored
last year in that it requires the physicians to explain what the ultrasound
shows, including the "number of unborn children depicted" and the presence of
organs and "external members," such as arms and legs.

Considering all the effort anti-choice groups put into
trying to tie abortion to medical problems, it’s worth noting that Henry
P. David
, a clinical psychologist who "helped alter the prevailing
assumption among clinicians that abortion was a source of mental health
problems in women" recently died.

In the
late 1960s, Dr. David became one of the first to study the psychological
aftermath of abortion. He guided younger psychologists to do similar research,
and their combined efforts helped alter the prevailing assumption among
clinicians that abortion was a source of mental health problems in women.

Their work
influenced the public debate. As opposition to abortion mounted in the 1980s,
President Ronald Reagan asked Surgeon General C. Everett Koop to prepare a
report on the psychological effects of abortion. Koop, a vocal antiabortionist,
was widely expected to denounce abortion as a risk to women’s mental health.

After
surveying 250 studies, including those by Dr. David and scientists he had
mentored, Koop refused to issue the report, citing inconclusive evidence. Koop
later called the psychological harm caused by abortion "minuscule from a
public health perspective.”

Bonus item: Canada’s Supreme Court rejects anti-tax crusader’s
right to
refuse paying taxes
because of abortion.

January
15, 2010

Princeton Plan B The Daily Princetonian

‘Political chameleon’ Ford is
neither pro-choice nor anti-choice on abortion …
New York Daily News

Hillary Clinton attempts to
redefine UN agreement by adding abortion
 Catholic News Agency

Henry David dies; psychologist
studied abortion’s effects
Washington
Post

 

January
14, 2010

Couple’s Adoption Of Haitian Boy
Derailed By Quake
CBS
13

Families worry about children’s
food, adoption papers
ABC7Chicago.com

Franken And Snowe Write Bill To
Make Morning-After Pill Available To Servicewomen
TPM LiveWire

It’s a Good Thing for Martha
Coakley That There Are No Catholics in Massachusetts …
National Review Online

Will Kay Bailey Hutchison Re-Affirm
Her Pro Choice Stance Tonight?
Burnt Orange Report

Americans evenly split on abortion
health coverage
Seattle Post Intelligencer

Please stop appropriating feminism
Feministing

Congressman: Stupak, Pro-Life
Democrats Hold Fast on Health Care, Abortion
LifeNews.com

Record Number of Pro-Life College
Students Attend Youth Conference on Abortion
LifeNews.com

Texas Pro-Life Group Chides Kay
Bailey Hutchinson for Pro-Abortion Stance
LifeNews.com

Pro-life group calls for ‘real
health care’ on press tour
Catholic
News Agency

Women’s issues back on the agenda
for US
The Post-Standard

Pro-Choice but Spreading Natural Family
Planning
Lifesite

Abortion becomes issue in
Massachusetts race for US Senate
Catholic News Agency

Murder trial shines national
spotlight on abortion debate
CNN

Top court rejects anti-abortion
crusader’s tax case
National
Post

Abortion bill clears Senate committee Louisville Courier-Journal

Anti-abortion group offers reward for
information on abortion doctors
KFSM

Abortion bill passes senate
committee
WYMT

Signs Declaring Women Do Regret Abortion
Will Flood March for Life Event
LifeNews.com

More Taxpayer Funding of Abortion
in the Senate Health Bill
Heritage.org

Anti-abortion bill advances in
Kentucky
UPI.com

Poll: 67 Percent of Americans
Oppose Funding Abortion in Health Care Bill
LifeNews.com

Hillary Clinton Promotes
Fundraising Push for Pro-Abortion Reproductive Health
LifeNews.com

Ryan Believes Stupak ‘Holding Firm’
on Abortion Language
Human
Events

Is there any common ground on abortion? The Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life

Yaz, Yasmin Birth Control Pills
Prompt New Round of Lawsuits
Catholic
Online

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.