This week, Facebook commenter Heather made a simple but important statement about prevention: “Birth control and family planning aren’t necessarily moral decisions. They’re medical decisions which people choose to overlay with moral constructs.” Heather’s comment is so significant because in today’s tense political environment, it is far too easy to loose sight of the real issues and forget how Americans actually feel about this important family issue.
In the aftermath of the Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood hearings before the Supreme Court, it is easy to get caught up in the politicization of and moral discussions surrounding contraception. In reality, however, most people recognize the basic necessity of family planning, and that prevention is, after all, a personal family issue, not a political one. A recent survey published by the Pew Research Center reveals what Americans of all backgrounds actually think about birth control. The results of extensive polling show that only 7% of Americans think contraception is morally unacceptable. And among Republicans 92% do not think contraception is morally objectionable. The results are clear – Americans recognize that family planning is an important part of personal medical decision making. Over one-third of those surveyed don’t even think that birth control is a moral issue at all.
Conversations about contraception belong in the doctor’s office, not in the political arena. And extremists who oppose birth control on moral grounds make up only a tiny fraction of the American population. Far-right social extremists may be loud, but they clearly do not speak for most people. It surely is time to start putting prevention before politics and stop tolerating birth control being caught up in moral debates. Most Americans have made it clear that cost-saving preventive family planning is too important to politicize.
Alaska Public Media (Juneau, AK)
Alaska Gov. Sean Parnell has signed an anti-choice bill that restricts state Medicaid payments for abortions even in emergency situations. The new law also limits the term “medically necessary” to cases where a woman’s life or physical health is at risk. The regulations put lawmakers between patients and their doctors.
Austin News (Austin, TX)
A judge has reinstated temporary admitting privileges to two doctors who perform abortions. Their privileges were stripped from them by a Dallas hospital after a court upheld strict new Texas abortion restrictions.
San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco, CA)
Roman Catholic organizations in Wyoming are trying to block the birth-control coverage requirement in the federal health care overhaul. A federal judge has now allowed the pro-choice groups to file briefs in the lawsuit.
A federal judge has struck down the most restrictive anti-choice law in the nation.
On Wednesday, a U.S. District judge overturned the North Dakota law that prohibited abortion after a fetal heartbeat can be detected. Typically, that cutoff is about six weeks, before many women even realize that they are pregnant.
The highly restrictive law was being challenged by North Dakota’s only abortion clinic, which filed suit when the legislation was passed last summer.
In his decision, the District Judge explicitly declared the law “invalid and unconstitutional.” Under Roe v. Wade, which has stood for over four decades, states cannot ban abortion outright before the point of viability.
The ruling comes as no surprise to either side of the abortion debate, but it does come at considerable cost to taxpayers. Already, the state has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on legal fees to defend huge government infringements that are clearly unconstitutional. If the case is appealed further, that will only rack up more bills. Anti-choice leaders, however, increasingly prove that they have no qualms about increasing the size of government, inserting politics into physicians’ offices, and defending their extremist actions with taxpayer funding.
A federal judge has overturned the most severe anti-choice law in America – a North Dakota law banning abortions as early as six weeks into pregnancy and before many women know they’re pregnant. U.S. District Judge Daniel Hovland on Wednesday ruled that the law is “invalid and unconstitutional.”
Post and Courier (Charleston, SC)
A South Carolina Senate panel’s concerns over an anti-choice bill that would largely ban and criminalize abortions performed past 19 weeks stalled the measure on Wednesday, as senators say that the bill may have more wide-ranging impacts than the ban itself.
The Times Picayune (New Orleans, LA)
An anti-choice bill that would ban reproductive health providers and their employees or affiliates from speaking in public schools or distributing information about health issues passed the Louisiana House with little resistance Wednesday.
Washington Post (Washington, DC)
The issue isn’t being discussed at all by Washington prognosticators these days. But you can bet that some of the most hard fought Senate races this fall will feature big fights over “Personhood” measures, which have declared that full human rights begin at the moment of fertilization.
Pew Research Center (USA)
A new survey asked people in 40 countries about what is morally unacceptable, morally acceptable or not a moral issue. In the U.S. there were little partisan differences on contraceptives, generally seen as morally acceptable or not a moral issue by Republicans, Democrats, and independents. The poll found only 8% of Republicans find contraception “morally unacceptable.”
Kansas City Star (Kansas City, KS)
The Oklahoma Senate voted overwhelmingly Tuesday to further restrict the use of the safest and earliest method of abortion in Oklahoma in an anti-choice bill written in direct response to a recent state Supreme Court decision.
Arizona Daily Star (Phoenix, AZ)
Arizona Governor Jan Brewer signed anti-choice legislation Tuesday that submits abortion clinics to standards not held by any other medical facility, allowing the state Department of Health to make unannounced inspections of abortion clinics without first getting a warrant from a judge.
RH Reality Check (USA)
The anti-choice Virginia Catholic bishops urge repealing a section in the Code of Virginia that provides state funding for abortions in the Medicaid program in the event of a gross and totally incapacitating physical deformity or mental deficiency in a fetus.