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“The American people should know that anti-choice leaders like Janet Porter will support anyone regardless of what they have done to women or others in their quest to outlaw abortion.”

A who’s who of activists known for their extreme views on abortion held a press conference Thursday in defense of Republican U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore amid allegations that Moore abused and harassed teenage girls.

Janet Porter, the president of anti-choice group Faith2Action behind the “heartbeat” legislation at the state and federal level that promises to outlaw legal abortion, led the event. Addressing the crowd, she noted that the Moore campaign did not organize the press conference and the group of speakers “had actually called the campaign” and had asked Moore to come. Porter, who is considered too extreme for Christian talk radio, claimed that the allegations were part of a “firing squad to assassinate his character,” referring to the Republican candidate. “If the left can try to assassinate the character of Judge Roy Moore, then none of us is safe,” she said.

Rusty Thomas, director of the radical anti-choice group Operation Save America, told the attendees that he had appeared in order to support Moore “without hesitation” when contacted about it. “You need to know judge, you do not stand alone,” Thomas said. The anti-choice activist had already donated to Moore’s campaign.

Flip Benham, who formerly directed Operation Save America, appeared at the event in defense of Moore. He criticized the United States for allowing same-sex marriage and legal abortion. Benham noted that if he “had to go back 40 years and look back at” his past, he too “would be in serious trouble.”

“When we get close to overturning Roe v. Wade, the pro-abortion side comes out with every trick in the book, every dirty trick in the book, every dirty tactic they can think of,” said Andy Schlafly, an attorney for Phyllis Schlafly Eagles and the son of notorious Equal Rights Amendment opponent Phyllis Schlafly. He added that “we need someone in the Senate” like Moore for his “strength of character.”

Porter released a statement prior to the press conference pointing to Moore’s hardline opposition to abortion rights as a reason for her support of the Senate candidate. “I trust Judge Roy Moore,” she said. “Judge Moore has been a personal friend and a friend of life for decades,” she continued, criticizing Moore’s opponent, Democrat Doug Jones, for his pro-choice views.

Kellie Copeland, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio, has monitored Porter’s work at the state and federal level. The Faith2Action leader’s latest move didn’t come as a surprise.

“The American people should know that anti-choice leaders like Janet Porter will support anyone regardless of what they have done to women or others in their quest to outlaw abortion,” Copeland told Rewire.

Porter orchestrated an Ohio GOP attempt to end legal abortion as early as six weeks into a pregnancy—before many people know they’re pregnant. The “moderate” Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) vetoed the total abortion ban in favor of an equally unconstitutional 20-week ban, but Republican legislators have resurrected it as a pending bill in the current legislative session.

Porter subsequently convinced Rep. Steve King (R-IA), an unabashed white nationalist, to debut the federal version in Congress while both attended the funeral of Phyllis Schlafly, as People for the American Way’s Right Wing Watch first reported.

Porter’s leadership of the Moore press conference aligns with her increasingly prominent role on the national stage. Porter ran two Capitol Hill press conferences for King, the most recent after King’s contentious hearing on the total abortion ban. And she partnered with Tom DeLay, the former U.S. House of Representatives majority leader convicted on campaign finance violations that were later overturned on appeal, to lobby Vice President Mike Pence and his staff.

Porter and activists who spoke at the event are among many anti-choice leaders who have steadfastly supported Moore despite the allegations against him. Troy Newman, president of Operation Rescue, toldRewire last week that allegations of sexual misconduct against Moore were “far-left baloney” and “absolutely ridonkulous.”

Moore, who has denied the allegations that he abused minors, said at the conference that it was an “honor” to have the support of those who spoke on his behalf.

https://rewire.news/article/2017/11/16/anti-choice-extremists-throw-press-conference-support-roy-moore/

Half of respondents avoided visiting a military treatment facility out of fear of harming their careers and worries about confidentiality and stigma.

When the Army service member learned she was unexpectedly pregnant, she felt that the military doctor expected her to continue the pregnancy.

“It was awkward, ’cause [my clinician] kept asking me … all these questions for people that want to keep the baby,” said the enlisted servicewoman. “But I didn’t want to keep the baby.”

Her account was one of 21 published in a study Wednesday in the journalPerspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health that sought to understand the abortion experiences of women in the military, where abortion care access is highly restricted.

And while the qualitative nature of the study cannot say whether these service members’ experiences are universal in the military, the paper explores an area of reproductive health care that’s received little research attention.

A team of researchers led by Kate Grindlay, an associate with Ibis Reproductive Health, conducted in-depth interviews between January 2015 and July 2016 among officers and enlisted members of the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps to explore the service members’ understanding and opinions of the military’s abortion policy.

Research from 2011 suggested active-duty women have a higher rate of unplanned pregnancies: 72 unintended pregnancies per 1,000 women, compared to 52 per 1,000 in the general population. But military medical facilities are prohibited by federal law from performing abortions except in cases of rape, incest, and life endangerment. Military insurance only covers abortion care services in those cases.

The authors found most respondents didn’t know about the policies until they became pregnant. Most believed the military should provide abortion services and insurance should cover it. Some felt upset or abandoned upon learning of the military’s abortion policy.

As one enlisted navy servicewoman told researchers, “Once I told them I wasn’t going to keep it, it was like, ‘OK, you’re on your own.’ They couldn’t provide me any other help, even if that was something as simple as a reference.”

Half of respondents avoided visiting a military treatment facility out of fear of harming their careers and worries about confidentiality and stigma. Some who sought abortion care off base faced delays. One army officer recalled struggling with inadequate post-op care.

“I was still bleeding, and I wasn’t able to, like, use the restroom whenever I wanted, and I had to wear like tampons and stuff, which I know you’re not supposed to do after …. I wasn’t able to follow the post-op instructions as much as I wanted to,” the officer said.

More than half of service members believed the military’s policy could lead to more pregnant people carrying unwanted pregnancies to term. “The military makes it easy for you to have kids, but not easy for you to not have kids,” an Air Force officer said.

The average age of respondents was 26. Nearly three-fourths identified as Black, Latina, or multiracial. Many said the policy left them feeling stressed, unsupported, judged, burdened, or embarrassed.

It “kind of makes me feel like a bad person …. Since they don’t offer it, it makes you feel like they’re not supportive of it, which makes it feel like if you were to go to medical, they would look down on you for it,” an enlisted navy servicewoman told the researchers.

The cost of the policy was considerable, the authors found. All but three respondents paid out of pocket. The average cost was $493.

For some, the expense took their entire paycheck.

“The ultrasound my sister helped me pay for because it was like last minute, and I didn’t have enough money,” said one enlisted army servicewoman. “But I had half of it, and she paid for the rest. And then I had the abortion like a week or two after, and I paid for that with an entire check.”

The paper includes several recommendations, including better knowledge about the policy. The authors suggest a system to refer service members to providers and improve confidentiality.

https://rewire.news/article/2017/11/16/kind-makes-feel-like-bad-person-explaining-toll-military-abortion-policy/

If Canada can do it, why can’t we remove our own barriers to securing abortion care?

Last week, the Canadian government announced important changes that should go a long way to making medication abortion easier to manage for health-care providers. In Canada, mifepristone is now governed by federal regulations that are similar to, instead of more restrictive than, other prescription drugs.

If Canada can do it, why can’t we?

In the United States, mifepristone is still encumbered with unnecessary and unusually restrictive handling requirements that Canada has successfully removed. Rather than focus on the negative, let’s look at what could be a few positive developments around access to the abortion pill that could quite possibly shape the future of abortion in the United States.

But First, What Exactly Is the Abortion Pill?

The abortion pill is actually a combination of two medications (mifepristone and misoprostol) used together to safely end an early pregnancy. These medicines are most often obtained through a health-care provider and used at home within the first 70 days of pregnancy. The medicines block a hormone needed to sustain a pregnancy and cause cramping and bleeding, similar to what happens during a menstrual period, effectually ending the pregnancy. The average time for completion of a medication abortion is about 3-5 hours after taking the second medicine, misoprostol. The abortion pill is not the same thing as the morning-after pill. Emergency contraception, aka the morning-after pill, prevents a pregnancy while the abortion pill ends one.

These medications are very safe and very effective, and 93-98 percent of people have a complete abortion with no need for additional medical treatment after their initial visit.

How Difficult Is It to Get an Abortion?

Abortion access in the United States continues to be a struggle for many people. It is not uncommon for a patient, who has an unintended pregnancy, to have to travel many miles from their home to find an abortion provider when they need one. Women in the South and Midwest are often the most affected by provider shortages where they live—primarily due to harsh and unnecessary restrictions imposed by state legislators. At the carafem location in Georgia almost 20 percent of our clients drive over 100 miles to obtain an abortion. In a report published by the medical journal Lancet last month, researchers found that one in five women travel nearly 43 miles to get an abortion in the United States.

How Do We Increase Access to the Abortion Pill in the United States?

Expand Who Can Provide Medication Abortions. carafem unequivocally supports the ability of advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) to provide medication abortion. Not only is the process of providing the abortion pill well within the scope of their practice and training, APRNs are often the best suited to be supportive, empathetic, and to ensure the quality of care needed to help patients through abortion care. With over 200,000 licensed advanced practice nurses and physician’s assistants in the United States, they are already serving many women of reproductive age who might experience an unintended pregnancy. These clinicians know the needs of the diverse and often underserved populations that they are already caring for. It makes good sense to allow people to seek abortion care from these quality health care providers whom they may already see for their health care. We support the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) in a lawsuit it has brought challenging a Maine law that bars these nurses from performing abortions, and we are hopeful that by increasing access to safe abortion care through these providers, it will allow for better relationships of trust around all sexual and reproductive health care needs for underserved people.

Make the Abortion Pill Available in Pharmacies. The ACLU also launched a lawsuit in Hawaii against overly restrictive FDA guidelines regarding the provision of the abortion pill. The suit takes issue with the arbitrary and medically unnecessary guidelines that force providers to jump through a number of hoops just to be able to provide mifepristone, the first medication in a medication abortion.

Things like requiring providers to register with the drug manufacturer or agreeing to provide the medicine only through their approved medical facilities does nothing to protect clients or improve their experience. This is a very unusual and unnecessary restriction placed on an extremely safe medication. The requirement that a patient must be given the medication at a clinic, medical office, or hospital makes it difficult to get in the first place as many patients will face waiting periods to see a physician to obtain the medication. It also places additional hardship on those seeking abortion care, as they may have to search for another doctor who, hopefully, will have the medicine in stock.

While many primary care providers already have a trusted and caring relationship with their clients, and may be very willing to prescribe and help a client use the abortion pill, the cost of acquiring and storing the medicine is very high and may be too much of a barrier to keep it in stock in their office. Pharmacies are experts at ordering, storing, and providing medications to clients, and doing so with more flexible hours than those available to many medical offices. Why should this safe and relatively common medication be provided in any other way? carafem supports the ACLU in fighting to change the way mifepristone is regulated and agrees it should be treated similarly to how other medications are obtained in the United States.

Abortion Care Is Basic Health Care

It is important to remember that almost 50 percent of all pregnancies in the United States are unintended, and of those unintended pregnancies, about half end in abortion. As the future of our health-care system remains unclear, especially for those among us who make the least money and have the fewest choices, this is an issue that will continue to be very important.

Efforts to end abortion through restrictive laws only increase the shame and desperation for those seeking abortion; they do nothing to decrease the number of unintended pregnancies or the number of abortions. Empowering more providers, like APRNs, to increase the scope of the care they provide builds relationships of trust with the patients they serve. Additionally, having medication abortion available in pharmacies reduces barriers for people needing this basic health-care service by increasing the number of providers patients can reach out to when looking for an option for an early, safe, and private abortion.

In the United States, as in Canada, these are good steps toward decreasing the abortion stigma perpetuated by needless and arbitrary restrictions on a routine health care option, while assuring better health outcomes for all people.

https://rewire.news/article/2017/11/17/case-making-abortion-pill-accessible/

Anti-choice protesters in Charlotte, North Carolina, filed a lawsuit in federal court alleging the city is improperly enforcing zoning laws to curb their clinic protests.

Anti-choice activists on Friday filed a complaint in federal court alleging the City of Charlotte, North Carolina, is enforcing local ordinances in a discriminating manner that interferes with their rights to protest A Preferred Women’s Health Center, an area abortion clinic.

The lawsuit was filed by attorneys from the Thomas More Law Center, a far-right conservative legal advocacy organization, on behalf of Cities4Life and its leader Daniel Parks. Parks is a familiar protest presence; both he, and the clinic in question, feature in the Rewiredocumentary Care in Chaos, which explores the chilling effect that anti-choice efforts can have on patient access to reproductive medical services.

According to the complaint, the plaintiffs have encountered “unconstitutional censorship, intimidation, and harassment” from the city when it enforces local zoning ordinances. The plaintiffs allege that a city ordinance that prohibits people from placing signs within 11 feet of the edge of a road, alley, or other public rights of way violates their First Amendment speech rights because it is an improper content-based restriction.

The plaintiffs claim the city improperly targeted them based on their religious beliefs and to chill their protest activities—which include placing large anti-abortion signs on the road and approaching cars—as exercises of religious belief that abortion is a sin. They claim the city is selectively enforcing the ordinance against their protests only.

Cities4Life and Parks have received a total of four citations under the ordinance.

The lawsuit also alleges that members of the city council are “working with pro-abortion groups to develop ways to interfere with and curtail Cities4Life’s ministry and free speech” such as by considering a parking ban outside of the clinic.

Attorneys for the City of Charlotte and its city council members have not yet responded to the lawsuit.

https://rewire.news/article/2017/11/17/abortion-clinic-protesters-sue-city-charlotte-enforcing-zoning-laws/

  • The GOP has included a very strange clause in their proposed tax plan.
  • Hidden among massive corporate tax breaks is a provision allowing families to open 529 educational savings accounts for “unborn children” – essentially college plans for fetuses.
  • This dangerous “personhood” language needs to be highlighted. The conversation about when life begins belongs with our scientists, our clergy, and our families. The last place it belongs is in our tax code.

Ultrasound scan

Peter Dazeley | Photographer’s Choice RF | Getty Images
Ultrasound scan

Legislative progress has been rough going for Republicans in their first year in control of the house, senate and the presidency. Despite repeated efforts, they have failed to deliver on their most significant promise to their base: their complete failure to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

And given the indictments for former GOP campaign officials, infighting made public via Twitter, and cabinet and White House officials resigning from their posts on a regular basis, it’s clear the GOP is moving into the tax bill debate with some desperation to deliver a win to a lot of different constituencies.

That may explain why the GOP has included a very strange clause in their proposed tax plan. Hidden among massive corporate tax breaks and the other items on their long standing wish list is a curious provision allowing families to open 529 educational savings accounts for “unborn children” – essentially college plans for fetuses.

As a parent, I am deeply sympathetic to the spiraling costs of college and the constant worry of being able to afford higher education for kids. But this provision is so bizarre that the Brookings Institute calls it “not an economic one, but an existential one.”

Affirming this language through the tax code would lay the foundation for “personhood,” the idea that life begins at conception thus granting a fetus in utero legal rights. It’s long been the holy grail of the anti-choice movement, since it would be the basis on which they would argue to outlaw abortion entirely.

But they have a problem: “personhood” is so unpopular, it has lost every time it has been on the ballot, even in deep red states like Mississippi and North Dakota. When Cory Gardner ran for Senate in Colorado, he had to spend a considerable amount of time distancing himself from his prior support for personhood measures, even going so far as to claim the bill he cosponsored did not exist.

So to throw their base a bone, the GOP has chosen to hide this deeply unpopular and extremely dangerous provision deep in the tax code where they think no one will find it. And if it goes unnoticed and passes into the final bill, it will have succeeded where they have always failed: in establishing a definition of when life begins that goes against legal precedent, science, and public opinion.

Never mind that the provision is unnecessary: Americans can already set up 529s for the children they wish to have. A 529 that’s already seeded with capital in a parent’s name can be transferred to a child once that child is born. And never mind that the implementation would be a mess begging all sorts of questions as to when you get social security numbers and other identifying factors for children.

The anti-choice movement knows this, but they simply don’t care as their real intent was never to provide hard working families a tax break. It was something else entirely: As Jeanne Mancini of March for Life told Politico:

A child in the womb is just as human as you or I yet, until now, the U.S. tax code has failed to acknowledge the unborn child—all while granting tax breaks for those seeking an abortion under the pretense of ‘healthcare.’… The proposed tax plan is a huge leap forward for an antiquated tax code, and we hope this is the first step in expanding the child tax credit to include unborn children as well.

And here’s the kicker: this same crew is absolutely fine with the fact that this bill actually cuts the modest student debt relief provision that exist in current tax laws to help struggling young people. Bizarrely, it also cuts the adoption tax credit, only allowing biological parents to get a break for having kids.

The tax bill is a horror in many different ways that will be publicly debated over the next days and weeks. But the dangerous “personhood” language needs to be highlighted, as it has the potential to dramatically shift the ideological underpinnings of our laws and our culture while having nothing whatsoever to do with helping middle class Americans get ahead.

We should be raising the alarm and shouting this from the rooftops. The conversation about when life begins belongs with our scientists, our clergy, and our families. The last place it belongs is in our tax code.

https://www.cnbc.com/2017/11/14/gop-tax-bill-is-no-place-to-address-rights-of-the-unborn-commentary.html

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) last year directed his staff on the powerful Senate Judiciary Committee to investigate false claims that Planned Parenthood profited from fetal tissue donations.

Congressional Republicans are again pressuring Attorney General Jeff Sessions to open a criminal investigation into Planned Parenthood based on allegations stemming from a debunked anti-choice propaganda campaign launched in 2015.

The latest move occurred Tuesday during a hearing in the U.S. House of Representatives. Sessions traveled to Capitol Hill to testify before the House Judiciary Committee, which split along party lines over Sessions’ changing account of what he did and didn’t knowabout the Trump presidential campaign’s ties to Russia. Enter Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ), a vocal proponent of racially biased anti-abortion myths. Franks followed up on the Hill newspaper’s Monday report that relied on “sources,” without any further attribution, claiming the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) asked the U.S. Senate for unredacted documents obtained from abortion care providers.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) last year directed his staff on the powerful committee, now known for rubber-stamping President Trump’s far-right judicial nominations, to investigate discredited claims that Planned Parenthood profited from fetal tissue donations. Republicans’ subsequent 547-page report failed to provide evidence substantiating those claims, but that didn’t stop Grassley from asking the Obama-era U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) to prosecute the targeted Planned Parenthood affiliates and tissue procurement companies. Grassley in April resurrected his request with Sessions’ DOJ, which includes oversight of the FBI.

Back in the House Judiciary Committee, Franks asked Sessions if, “generally speaking, are findings made by any Senate investigation, any subsequent referral, sufficient evidence for the Justice Department to bring charges up on any party guilty of violating federal law?”

“Well, it depends on the substance of those congressional findings, but they certainly can provide a basis for starting an investigation, to verifying the findings of the Congress, and could provide a basis for charges,” Sessions replied. “I think that’s an appropriate way for us to relate to one another.”

“Well, I hope the Justice Department obviously will take a very close look at the evidence that the Senate is providing to the FBI,” Franks said.

The Hill‘s story on Monday and Franks’ questioning on Tuesday each quickly circulated on anti-choice social media, including mentions from the head of the anti-choice front group known as the Center for Medical Progress (CMP), which coordinated its propaganda campaign with GOP lawmakers.

Operation Rescue, a radical anti-abortion group that has long pushed violent rhetoric, used Sessions’ answer to fuel the allegations against Planned Parenthood, even though three Republican-led congressional committee investigations13 states, and a Texas grand jury have disproved them. The litany doesn’t count Grassley’s staff-level investigation and the House’s so-called Select Investigative Panel on Infant Lives, which concluded in January with a similar baseless report echoing the CMP smear campaign that first made the allegations.

But Operation Rescue has reason to be hopeful, given Sessions’ opposition to a broad range of rights, including access to abortion care. Troy Newman, Operation Rescue’s president and a CMP ally, cheered Sessions’ nomination last November. Anti-choice protesters have mobilized in an effort to dare Sessions to enforce federal law designed to protect access to abortion clinics.

Grassley in October used a separate Senate Judiciary Committee hearing to ask Sessions about the status of his criminal referrals.

Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) condemned the most recent partisan outcry against the organization.

“Planned Parenthood has never, and would never, profit while facilitating its patients’ choice to donate fetal tissue for use in important medical research,” PPFA Vice President of Government Affairs Dana Singiser said in a statement. “Planned Parenthood strongly disagrees with the recommendations of the Senate Republican staff to refer this matter to the Justice Department.”

https://rewire.news/article/2017/11/15/republicans-ask-sessions-prosecute-planned-parenthood-using-discredited-anti-choice-smear-campaign/

It’s only become a hot-button issue in recent decades. For America’s first century, abortion wasn’t banned in a single US state.

Advertisement for Beecham’s pills, late 19th century

When US states did begin banning abortion in the 19th century, doctors seeking to drive out traditional healers, or in their words, quacks, often led the way. They had help from nativists who were concerned about women’s growing independence and the country’s growing diversity. Contemplating the colonization of the West and South in 1868, anti-abortion campaigner Dr. Horatio R. Storer asked if these frontiers would be “be filled by our own children or by those of aliens? This is a question our women must answer; upon their loins depends the future destiny of the nation.” Who would control those loins, and indeed whose childbearing is considered desirable, lay at the heart of regulations on abortion and contraception across the centuries.Even the definition of abortion was different. In early America, as in Europe, “What we would now identify as an early induced abortion was not called an ‘abortion’ at all,” writes Leslie Reagan in When Abortion Was a Crime: Women, Medicine, and Law in the United States, 1867-1973. “If an early pregnancy ended, it had ‘slipp[ed] away,’or the menses had been ‘restored.’ At conception and the earliest stage of pregnancy before quickening, no one believed that a human life existed; not even the Catholic Church took this view.” Abortion was permissible until a woman felt a fetus move, or “quicken.” Back then, Reagan notes, “the popular ethic regarding abortion and common law were grounded in the female experience of their own bodies.”

The laws every state passed by 1880 banned abortions in all cases but for “therapeutic reasons” that were largely left up to the medical practice and the legal system to determine. In practice, that meant wealthier women with better access to doctors had abortions, while other women bled. “One stark indication of the prevalence of illegal abortion was the death toll,” writes Rachel Benson Gold of the Guttmacher Institute. “In 1930, abortion was listed as the official cause of death for almost 2,700 women—nearly one-fifth (18 percent) of maternal deaths recorded in that year.” Fatalities began decreasing with the advent of antibiotics to treat sepsis, but this too depended on one’s status. “In New York City in the early 1960s,” Benson Gold notes, “1 in 4 childbirth-related deaths among white women was due to abortion; in comparison, abortion accounted for 1 in 2 childbirth-related deaths among nonwhite and Puerto Rican women.”

As other countries began liberalizing their abortion laws, women who could afford it began circulating pamphlets on how to make the trip. At least hundreds of women went to Mexico, England, Sweden — even Asia. The California-based Society for Humane Abortion, founded in 1961, explained how West Coast women could go as far as Japan to terminate: “If they want to know why you want to get the passport in a hurry, tell them you are meeting a tour group in Japan and you didn’t know you could go till just now….Try to get the price reduced. Tell them you are a student or a poor working girl and don’t have much money.” The Chicago-based Jane, founded in the late 1960s, famously had a hotline where women could ask for “Jane” to be referred to an illegal abortion, and eventually members began performing abortions themselves. By 1973, these women had performed an estimated 11,000 abortions. “The women in the service were bold, and there was a growing women’s movement which was about taking our lives into our own hands,” recalled Jane co-founder Heather Booth.

Images from the Jane Collective, which helped women obtain “underground” abortions in a safe manner when it was illegal. (Courtesy Women Make Movies)

Some feminists historically had been ambivalent about abortion. The move to repeal the abortion bans was initially driven by doctors appalled at the women with perforated uteruses lining up at emergency rooms and a budding environmentalist movement worried about population growth. “Feminists sought to free women to participate fully and equally in the workplace, calling for contraception and abortion rights that would give women control over the timing of motherhood, at the same time that the movement sought public support for child care,” write Linda Greenhouse and Reva Siegel in Before Roe v. Wade: Voices That Shaped The Abortion Debate Before the Supreme Court’s Ruling. “Only gradually, against the backdrop of the 1960s’ understanding that sexual expression was a good independent of its procreative aims, did abortion rights migrate to the top of the women’s rights agenda.”

There were no paeans to sexual expression or women’s freedom in Roe v. Wade. Nixon appointee Harry Blackmun wrote mostly about doctors’ rights, ignoring arguments about women’s equality but concluding that “the right of personal privacy includes the abortion decision, but that this right is not unqualified and must be considered against important state interests in regulation.” The effect was sweeping: On a single day in 1973, all those 19th-century bans were wiped out, and states could only ban abortion at fetal viability.

Though history has nearly obscured it, Blackmun did not go out on a partisan limb. Five of the justices in the seven-justice majority in Roe v. Wade were appointed by Republicans. As recently as 1972, a Gallup poll had found that a majority of Americans (64 percent) thought “the decision to have an abortion should be made solely by a woman and her physician.” Republicans, at 68 percent, supported abortion rights most firmly of all.

Even the most casual news consumer knows that’s no longer the case, as abortion has become hopelessly partisan. Among most people, if not politicians, abortion is not nearly as controversial as the headlines might suggest. Around 1 in 4 women will have an abortion by the age of 45; until recently, the number was closer to 1 in 3.

The most recent Gallup data shows that exactly half of Americans say abortion should be “legal only under certain circumstances,” while a third say it should be legal in all circumstances. If you’re keeping track, that means that only a minority — 18 percent — want abortion banned entirely. And yet that view is represented by the president (who promised during the campaign to appoint justices who would overturn Roe v. Wade, and has already appointed one likely Roe skeptic) and majorities in Congress and statehouses. Indeed, “since Roe v. Wade,” says Guttmacher analyst Elizabeth Nash, “there have been 1,187 restrictions enacted at the state level.”

These days, not only do anti-abortion activists want the procedure to be illegal at any stage of pregnancy, they even want to redefine common forms of birth control, like the intrauterine device, or IUD, and emergency contraception as abortion. This view has quickly reached the mainstream. In 2012, the Republican nominee for president declared, “Contraception, it’s working just fine. Leave it alone.” Today, an opponent of contraception, Teresa Manning, heads the federal family planning program. Manning has said, “family planning is what occurs between a husband and a wife and God” and has opposed the use of contraceptives for years. America has come a long way since the days of “quickening.”

http://billmoyers.com/story/history-of-abortion-law-america/