3-13-20 Sweden abortion: Nurses fail in European court case
Two nurses denied jobs as midwives in Sweden because of their refusal to perform abortions have lost their legal action against Sweden at the European Court of Human Rights. Swedish-born Ellinor Grimmark and Linda Steen from Norway object to abortion because of their Christian faith. Swedish law requires midwives to carry out abortions - and several Swedish courts ruled against the two women. They then went to the ECHR but it declined to take up their case. They both trained to be midwives, receiving state funding, but were turned down for midwifery jobs. They argued that their freedom of conscience had been violated and that they had suffered discrimination. The nurses got legal assistance from ADF International, part of a US-based Christian group called Alliance Defending Freedom. It campaigns for what it calls "religious freedom, the sanctity of life, and marriage and family" worldwide. The nurses cannot appeal again to the ECHR, now that it has dismissed their case. Robert Clarke, deputy director of ADF International, called the court decision "very disappointing". "Medical professionals should be able to work without being forced to choose between their deeply held convictions and their careers," he said. But Hans Linde, a leading sex education campaigner in Sweden, said it was "not a human right for nursing staff to refuse to provide care". He told Reuters news agency the ECHR decision would "help to protect women's health, the right to good quality care and to be treated with respect when seeking an abortion". The judges' decision on Ms Grimmark's complaint said there had been "an interference with her freedom of religion under Article Nine" of the European Convention on Human Rights. But it went on: "The interference with the applicant's freedom of religion was proportionate and justified with the view of achieving a legitimate aim." The judges said that interference "had a sufficient basis in Swedish law and... pursued the legitimate aim of protecting the health of women seeking an abortion".
1-31-20 Roe v. Wade
69% of Americans are opposed to overturning Roe v. Wade, including 91% of Democrats, 41% of Republicans, and 70% of independents. 79% think that decisions about abortions should be made by women and their doctors rather than by lawmakers. Only 11% think abortion should be illegal in all cases.
1-24-20 Trump first president to attend anti-abortion rally
Donald Trump has become the first US president to attend America's largest annual anti-abortion rally. He addressed thousands of protesters at the March for Life near the US Capitol where his impeachment trial is ongoing. Mr Trump said: "We're here for a very simple reason: to defend the right of every child born and unborn to fullfil their God-given potential." The annual demonstration first began in 1974 - a year after the US Supreme Court legalised abortion in Roe v Wade. Until now no president had ever attended the march, which takes place just steps from the White House, though previous Republican presidents, including George W Bush and Ronald Reagan, have addressed the group remotely. Mike Pence became the first sitting vice-president to attend the rally in 2017. Mr Trump's appearance at the 47th March for Life delighted protesters. Voters who support limiting abortion make up a key constituency for Mr Trump, who is seeking their support at the polls again in the 2020 election. On Friday, marchers in Washington shouted "four more years" and "we love you". On the streets surrounding the National Mall vendors selling Trump flags and Make America Great Again hats were aplenty. Many of the attendees sported pro-Trump merchandise, though for some, there was a distinction between liking the president and liking his anti-abortion stance. One young woman, Julia, told the BBC: "I'm not necessarily pro-Trump, but I appreciate that the President of the United States is making the move to be here." She added that she was unhappy at all the focus on Mr Trump as opposed to the issue. "Until the day we can see Roe v Wade switched, [the movement] will continue, whether he's president in the next election or not." Chuck Raymond, a financial advisor in St Louis, said: "Without a doubt, he is the most pro-life, pro-family, pro-religious freedom president we've ever had."
1-22-20 Dissatisfaction With U.S. Abortion Laws at New High
Fifty-eight percent of Americans say they are dissatisfied with the nation's policies on abortion, marking a seven-percentage-point increase from one year ago and a new high in Gallup's trend. On the flip side, 32% are now satisfied, a new low. The percentage wanting the laws to be less strict has increased to the point that roughly equal percentages of U.S. adults now are dissatisfied and favor less strict laws (22%) as are dissatisfied and want stricter laws (24%).
- Nearly six in 10 Americans not content with nation's abortion laws
- The dissatisfied are split between wanting stricter vs. less strict laws
1-13-20 Majority of women who have an abortion don’t regret it five years on
The majority of women who have an abortion don’t regret their decision. The finding rebuts the idea that mental distress is commonplace, which is often the basis of laws that require women to have cooling off periods after requesting an abortion, says Corinne Rocca at the University of California, San Francisco. Abortion is a political battleground in the US, with many states having introduced laws that restrict access. In eight states abortion providers must provide women with materials informing them that the procedure will cause lasting emotional harm, and in 27 states women who request an abortion have to wait for a compulsory cooling off period, usually of 24 hours, before they can have the procedure. When Ireland legalised abortion last year, it mandated a three-day cooling off period, partly to allay fears women would experience regret. The latest study was based on telephone surveys Rocca’s team conducted with 667 women who had abortions across 21 US states that have a variety of laws. The first interview took place about a week after the abortion, and the women were interviewed again semi-annually for up to five years. About half the women said in retrospect that the decision to have an abortion had been a difficult one to make at the time, but five years later 99 per cent said it had been the right one. When asked about their feelings five years on, 84 per cent of the women said they either had mainly positive emotions or no emotions about the procedure. The rest said their feelings were negative. The findings could have been biased by the fact that only 38 per cent of those asked to take part in the survey accepted, and women who felt more negatively about their decision might have been less likely to participate. However, Rocca says the results are similar to another study where women who had an abortion answered questions about their emotions just before their procedure.
1-10-20 Overturning Roe: The GOP sees an opening
“Finally, Republicans are saying what they have always meant about abortion,” said Lauren Rankin in NBCNews.com. Last week, 205 GOP members of Congress (plus two centrist Democrats) signed an amicus brief urging the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade, dropping their usual doublespeak about their concern for “the health and safety of women.” In the brief, Republicans said Roe had created an “unworkable standard” for states crafting their own abortion restrictions. With a firm 5-4 conservative majority, Republicans are seizing on the Supreme Court’s upcoming review of a Louisiana law that would require abortion providers to have hospital admitting privileges—a rule designed to close the state’s abortion clinics. The justices struck down an “indistinguishable” Texas law just four years ago, said Mark Stern in Slate.com. “In a remarkable act of chutzpah,” Republicans are saying the Texas ruling left states confused about how to define an “undue burden” on abortion rights, so the court should simply overturn its precedents and remove the right to abortion altogether. In most red states, Roe “has long been more concept than reality,” said Katie McDonough in NewRepublic.com. Although 77 percent of Americans say they support Roe, abortion rights have been under assault for decades, as states made it “more expensive, more time consuming, and more humiliating to access.” But pro-choice organizers across the country have built “shadow infrastructures” to enable women in these states to cover the costs of abortion, travel out of state, or obtain medications for “self-managed abortion.” That work will continue “whether or not Roe holds.”