Roundup: Block Those Racist, Sexist Women Seeking Abortions

Rachel Larris

The new reason to "ban" abortion: because the potential abortion seeker (aka, the woman who is pregnant) is a racist? I'm not sure how else to read new proposed laws in Georgia and Oklahoma that seek to ban "reasons" for abortion.

Part of the goal of chipping away at abortion rights is to make
people think there are nefarious "reasons" for abortion.  The new reason to "ban" abortion: because the
potential abortion seeker (aka, the woman who is pregnant) is a racist? I’m not
sure how else to read a new proposed law in Georgia. Just after the anti-choice
group The Radiance Foundation began putting up billboards around Atlanta
charging there is a "black genocide" going on, a new proposed bill in
Georgia wants to make it a crime "to
coerce or solicit an abortion based on race."

The bill was introduced as the
Prenatal Non-Discrimination Act and the main framework of the bill would make
it a crime to coerce or solicit an abortion based on race. Penalties would
include jail time and fines depending on the severity of the offense.

Supporters of the bill, such as
Georgia Right to Life, claim the state’s abortion rate points to a deliberate
attempt to target black women. However, Heidi Williamson calls that deceptive
and makes this counter claim, "they (Georgia Right To Life) make the
assertion that Georgia has the highest rate but part of it is…Mississippi."

Williamson is the National Policy
Coordinator for Sister Song.

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The Atlanta based group defines
itself as Women of Color Reproductive Health Collective. She says another
mistruth being circulated is that Georgia’s 15 abortion centers are all in
black neighborhoods so the group did its own research, "we pulled the
demographics of each zip code and only four fall into neighborhoods that
actually have a 50 percent population of black people or more."

As Rewire Contributor Pamela
Merritt points out
there are a lot of good reasons why reproductive healthcare
clinics are located near communities of color and more to the point, "women of
color are not children unable to make healthcare decisions."

Nor is Georgia the only state where anti-choice activists
are attempting to pass legislation that bans "reasons" for abortion. In
Oklahoma, the Senate just passed several abortion-related measures,
including one bill that "bans
abortions based on the sex of the fetus."

The panel also passed Senate Bill
1890, which bans abortions based on the sex of the fetus.

[Sen. Todd Lamb, R-Edmond] said he
had no evidence that women in Oklahoma were seeking abortions based on fetus
sex, but women in other countries had done so.

A bill signed into law last year
with the same provision faces a lawsuit in Oklahoma County. It banned abortions
based on sex and required women to report detailed information to be placed on
a state-maintained Web site. The information, however, would not identify the
person seeking the abortion.

The bill was one of several that the Oklahoma is considering
in wake of a law that was
tossed out last year as unconstitutional.
So anti-choice lawmakers are trying
to have a "do-over."

An Oklahoma County judge last year
tossed out one law that would have required women seeking abortions to have
ultrasounds within an hour of the procedure and have the details explained. The
bill also covered the administration of the abortion pill RU-486 and lawsuits.

The court found the measure
violated constitutional requirements that legislation address a single subject.
The state is appealing the ruling.

The Senate Health and Human Services
Committee on Thursday advanced Senate Bill 1891, which deals with lawsuits in a
single measure and repeals the older measure. SB 1891 by Sen. Todd Lamb,
R-Edmond, also says health care providers who object to abortions may not be
required to perform them.

Mini Roundup: Two
letters writers, one in California
and another in Washington
, say it’s pennywise and pound-foolish to make cuts to family planning

Bonus item: David
C. Wiley, professor of health education at Texas State University and chairman
of the Texas Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, offers
his opinion of the recent abstinence education study.


February 12, 2010

Kan. Bill Would Require Special
Insurance For Abortions

Kansas bill would bar insurance
coverage of most elective abortions
 Kansas City Star

How men are harmed by abortion The Pilot


February 11, 2010

Jesuit university’s birth
control, pregnancy resources
 Catholic Culture

Forty-Something British Women
Matching Teen Pregnancy Rates
 U.S. News & World Report

NBC’s ‘SVU:’ Abortion Debate Boils
Down to ‘Pro-Choice or No Choice’

‘Pro-choice’ columnist chides
abortion advocates for overreacting to Tebow ad

Valentine’s Day Cards From Planned
Parenthood Promote Abortion, Condoms

Pro-choice akin to
 Sparta Independent

Reader’s view: Super Bowl ad shows
adoption also a choice
 Duluth News Tribune

Clinton Hails Adoption Home That
No Longer Exists

Condoms won’t rubber the wrong way Daily Cardinal

Don’t ignore reproductive rights Ottawa Citizen

Sex, lies, and the Catholic Church BusinessWorld

The Female Condom: Effective,
 CBS News

Top-selling contraceptive stirs
 Daily Aztec

The pro-life case for
pregnancy termination. – William Saletan – Slate Magazine

Poll Brings Bad News for Sarah
Palin, But She Heads to Another Pro-Life Event

Tim Tebow Doesn’t Comment on Pro-Life Super Bowl
Commercial at Daytona 500

Pro-life expert
discusses effects of legalized abortion in Mexico City
 Catholic News

New Pro-Life Groups
Seeks to Get Truth about Abortion to Every Mailbox in Canada

Alabama puts abortion clinic on
probation following student’s undercover work

Bishop Vasa questions USCCB’s
association with pro-abortion coalition
 Catholic Culture

Anti-abortion group
wants Pittsburgh legal fees

Planned Parenthood Video Sting: Was
Clinic Allowing Secret Abortions?
 CBS News

Did You Consider Having an Abortion?

Abortion-rights license plate
advances in Virginia House
 The Virginian-Pilot

MTV Show 16 and Pregnant Criticized
for Not Promoting Teen Abortions

Nancy Pelosi Pushes for Majority
Vote to Railroad Pro-Abortion Health Care

County moves to block abortion insurance

Senate panel approves 3 abortion bills as
lawmakers seek to comply with judges …

Wake County eliminates abortion coverage
from employee health plan

Coalition of Catholic Groups Call
on Bishops to Stop CCHD’s Pro-Abortion Grants

Insurance coverage for abortion an issue
in Kansas
 Kansas City Star

Abortion rights
plate advances in Virginia


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.