9-27-20 Roe v Wade: Trump says Supreme Court ruling on abortion 'possible'
President Donald Trump has said it is "certainly possible" that his Supreme Court pick will be involved in a ruling revisiting the landmark 1973 decision that legalised abortion in the US. Mr Trump said he did not discuss abortion rights with Amy Coney Barrett before choosing her for the top court. But Ms Coney Barrett was "certainly conservative in her views", he said. She has been chosen to replace the late liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg but awaits Senate confirmation. Democrats and women's rights advocates fear Judge Barrett, a socially conservative jurist, could play a decisive role in any ruling overturning the 1973 judgment to legalise abortion, known as Roe v Wade. Should Judge Barrett's nomination be confirmed, conservative-leaning justices will hold a 6-3 majority on the Supreme Court, shifting its ideological balance for potentially decades to come. Mr Trump said he did not know how the judge would vote on the issue if her nomination was approved. "Mostly I'm looking for somebody who can interpret the constitution as written. She is very strong on that," Mr Trump said in an interview with Fox & Friends on Sunday. Mr Trump announced Judge Barrett's nomination to the country's highest court at the White House on Saturday, describing the 48-year-old as a "stellar scholar" with "unyielding loyalty to the constitution". The court's nine justices serve lifetime appointments, and their rulings can shape US public policy on everything from gun and voting rights to abortion and campaign finance. Judge Barrett is the third justice appointed by the current Republican president, after Neil Gorsuch in 2017 and Brett Kavanaugh in 2018. The abortion issue took centre stage in Supreme Court confirmation hearings for Mr Gorsuch and Mr Kavanaugh. Since then a number of conservative states have passed new abortion restrictions that could lead to legal challenges in the Supreme Court. (Webmaster's comment: Amy Coney Barrett is an enemy of us all!)
9-25-20 The German medical students who want to learn about abortion
Abortion has been available throughout Germany since the 1970s but the number of doctors carrying out the procedure is now in decline. Jessica Bateman meets students and young doctors who want to fill the gap. The woman at the family planning clinic looked at Teresa Bauer and her friend sternly. "And what are you studying?" she asked the friend, who had just found out she was pregnant, and wanted an abortion. "Cultural studies," she replied. "Ahhh, so you're living a colourful lifestyle?" came the woman's retort. Bauer sat still, hiding her rage. Stressed-out by the discovery of her accidental pregnancy, Bauer's friend had asked her to book the appointments needed to arrange an abortion. It wasn't just a case of calling her friend's GP to arrange a time for her to request a termination. First she needed to arrange a counselling appointment, which is designed to "protect unborn life", as German law puts it, and discourage a woman from going ahead with the procedure. Some of the clinics providing the service are run by churches - Bauer took care to avoid them, fearing that they would be judgemental. Then she needed to hunt down a doctor who could prescribe pills for an early medical abortion. It became legal last year for doctors to publicise the fact that they provide abortions but they cannot indicate what kinds of service they provide, so Bauer had to call medical practices one by one. "Berlin is a liberal city, so I thought it would be easier than it was," she says. "Even when we went to get the pill, the doctor's assistant kept asking, 'Are you really sure?' Seeing what my friend had to go through, and how she was treated, made me so angry that I decided to do something about it." Bauer was a third-year medical student at the time, so a few days later she emailed Medical Students for Choice Berlin, run by students at her university, telling them she wanted to start volunteering. She now works with them, campaigning for improved training on abortion for medical students, and raising awareness of the obstacles that people seeking an abortion may face.
9-9-20 Abortion: How do Trump and Biden's policies compare?
Abortion is arguably the most divisive issue in US politics - and with the presidential candidates promising to either revoke national rights to abortion or take extra steps to safeguard it, the stakes have never been higher. With President Trump in the White House, anti-abortion activists are energised and Republican-controlled states have tightened restrictions. Yet public support for abortion rights is the highest in decades, according to the Pew Research Center, with 61% of people favouring legal access to the procedure - and that's changed how Democrats talk about it. Let's compare where the presidential candidates stand on the issue. Mr Trump's key message: We are making it harder to get an abortion now, want to overturn federal protections and would support a near-total ban. Mr Biden's key message: We will protect a woman's right to choose and fight to keep access to abortion legal.
7-7-20 One in Four Americans Consider Abortion a Key Voting Issue
Just as Americans' general views of abortion remain mostly steady, so too are their opinions of whether it is a key voting issue for them. Nearly half of U.S. adults (47%) polled in May, before the recent Supreme Court decision on abortion, say the issue will be just one of many important factors in their vote for a candidate for a major office; 25% do not consider it a major issue. At the same time, the 24% of U.S. adults who say they will vote only for a candidate who shares their views on the issue is, along with last year, significantly higher than most other years in the trend.
- 47% say abortion issue is one of many important factors to their vote
- 24% say candidate must share abortion views; 25% say not a major issue
- 30% of pro-life, 19% of pro-choice adults say abortion is threshold issue
6-29-20 US top court strikes down law limiting abortions
The US Supreme Court has ruled that a law restricting abortions in Louisiana is unconstitutional. In a landmark decision, the justices said a law requiring that doctors who provide abortions have the right to admit patients at a local hospital placed an undue burden on women. Chief Justice John Roberts joined liberal justices in the 5-4 decision in a blow to anti-abortion groups. The court struck down a similar policy in Texas in 2016, the opinion noted. This was the first major abortion case ruling from the Supreme Court during the Trump presidency. The 2014 Louisiana law said that doctors must hold so-called admitting privileges at hospitals within 30 miles (48km) of their practice. But critics said the controversial law would limit the number of providers in the state, violating a woman's right to an abortion. June Medical Services v Russo asked the Supreme Court to rule on whether to uphold a lower court's opinion concerning the Louisiana law. The law required doctors to have admitting privileges to a hospital "not further than 30 miles from the location at which the abortion is performed or induced" in order to perform abortions. While the state said the requirement was to protect women's health, pro-choice advocates said that it's incredibly rare for women to face complications from an abortion. They also pointed out that many hospitals in the region are religiously-affiliated or conservative and don't allow abortions to take place in their facilities, which severely limits the number of doctors who can carry out the procedure. This then, in turn, constitutes an undue burden on a woman's constitutional right to seek an abortion, they said. A district court agreed that the law was unconstitutional, however, the 5th Circuit appeals court determined no clinics would "likely be forced to close" because of the law, and allowed it to stand. The petitioners asked the Supreme Court to rule on whether that decision violated past precedents and should be struck down.
6-29-20 Americans' Abortion Views Steady in Past Year
Americans' overall stance on abortion has been stable in recent years, with the 48% calling themselves "pro-choice" and 46% "pro-life" similar to the close division on this measure observed most years since 2010. For the past decade, an average of 47% of Americans have identified as pro-choice and 47% as pro-life. Almost every poll conducted during those years has revealed a close division in identification -- except in 2015, when the public tilted pro-choice, and in 2012, when it was more pro-life. Before that, from 1995 to 2009, the public leaned more pro-choice than pro-life by 49% to 43%, on average.
5-20-20 Roe v Wade: Woman behind US abortion ruling was paid to recant
The woman behind the 1973 ruling legalising abortion in the US is seen admitting in a new documentary that her stunning change of heart on the issue in later life was "all an act". Norma McCorvey, known as Jane Roe in the US Supreme Court's decision on Roe v Wade, shocked the country in 1995 when she came out against abortion. But in new footage, McCorvey alleges she was paid to switch sides. The documentary, AKA Jane Roe, airs this Friday on the US channel FX. The programme was filmed in the last months of McCorvey's life before her death at age 69 in 2017 in Texas. The Supreme Court ruling came after McCorvey, then a 25-year-old single woman under the pseudonym "Jane Roe", challenged the criminal abortion laws in Texas that forbade abortion as unconstitutional except in cases where the mother's life was in danger. Henry Wade was the Texas attorney general who defended the anti-abortion law. McCorvey first filed the case in 1969, when she was pregnant with her third child and claimed that she had been raped. But the case was rejected and she was forced to give birth. In her "deathbed confession", as she calls it, a visibly ailing McCorvey says she only became an anti-abortion activist because she was paid by evangelical groups. "I was the big fish," she said. "I think it was a mutual thing. I took their money and they'd put me out in front of the cameras and tell me what to say. "That's what I'd say. It was all an act. I did it well too. I am a good actress. Of course, I'm not acting now." She added: "If a young woman wants to have an abortion, that's no skin off my ass. That's why they call it choice." AKA Jane Roe chronicles McCorvey's troubled, impoverished youth as a sexual abuse survivor and her longstanding relationship with girlfriend Connie Gonzalez. After her mid-1990s conversion to become a born-again Christian, McCorvey disavowed Gonzalez, even as they continued to live together. The documentary touches upon another irony of McCorvey's life - that she herself never had an abortion.
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.”