Roundup: America is Pro-Choice, More Opposition to HHS Rule

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Roundup: America is Pro-Choice, More Opposition to HHS Rule

Brady Swenson

Gallup poll shows America has been steadily pro-choice for two decades; Chorus of opposition to proposed HHS rule continues; Mexico City to revisit legalization of abortion one year later; Study links pre-term births with internal infections.

America is Pro-Choice … An ongoing Gallup poll shows remarkable consistency in the prevailing attitudes of American’s on the issue of abortion over the past two decades (via DailyKos). 
The poll shows that American’s are firmly pro-choice but also reveals
the complexity of the issue in American minds as a majority of
Americans support various restrictions, like parental and spousal
consent laws and limits on third-trimester abortions.  Contrary to what
many may think based on news coverage of impassioned advocates on both
sides of the issue, "abortion is not an important issue for most

While a majority of Americans say they feel strongly about their
abortion views, few indicate they only support political candidates who
share their views on the subject. Abortion typically ranks at the
bottom of any list of issues Americans are asked to rate in terms of
their importance for political candidates to discuss or as a government

The Gallup poll concludes:

Americans support restrictions on abortion that, if enacted, would make
abortion less accessible than it is today. But there is scant evidence
the public is anxious to see these changes made. Few call the issue a
priority, and when asked in general terms about changing abortion laws,
most Americans seem opposed.

Sex. Abortion. Parenthood. Power.

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issue, however, receives much attention during election season as the
far-right has sucessfully used the issue to drive a wedge between
voters and parties, as evidenced this election cycle by John McCain’s flip from a relatively pro-choice position to advocating the outlawing of abortion and his persistent attacks on Barack Obama on the issue.

Chorus of Opposition to Proposed HHS Rule Continues … Today the Salt Lake Tribune, the Sarasota Herald Tribune and the Springfield News Herald all published letters and opinion pieces standing in opposition to the recently proposed HHS rule that will make access to comprehensive, quality reproductive health care more difficult for American women.  The Bureau of National Affairs published a reaction to the proposed rule.

The Salt Lake Tribune says:

Mike Leavitt, secretary of
federal Health and Human Services, says doctors, nurses and other
health care workers should not "be forced to provide services that
violate their own conscience." Instead, a new rule Leavitt is proposing
would, in essence, force poor women to limit their health care choices
to just those that are morally acceptable to taxpayer-funded providers.

Now that is morally suspect. 

A reader of the Springfield News writes:

This rule would especially impact low-income women and women in
rural areas who often depend on federally funded health centers for
basic health care, including affordable birth control. In the midst of
a health care crisis, Bush wants to deny access to over 17 million
women who utilize publicly funded family planning.

If Bush really
wanted to prevent abortion he would not demonize contraception. He
would help reduce the number of unintended pregnancies by making access
to birth control easy and affordable. It is time Bush and his
administration stop playing politics and realize women’s health
matters! Women matter!

Mexico City to Revisit Legalization of Abortion One Year Later … In yesterday’s roundup I linked to an article in the New York Times that took a look at the state of abortion services in Mexico City one year after the procudure was legalized.  Today Fox News is reporting that Mexico’s Supreme Court just yesterday began debating a bid to overturn the new law:

Backed by anti-abortion groups and the Roman Catholic Church, the conservative federal government has challenged the law.

out of 11 supreme court judges will be necessary for the law to be
abolished. Four judges have not yet revealed how they will vote –
including the court’s two female judges.

Since abortion was legalized in Mexico City, 12,262 women between the ages of 18 and 29 have had abortions in one of 12 clinics.

means that some 80 women per day have exercised their controversial
right,” Maria Luz Estrada, spokeswoman for the Catholics for the Right
to Decide organization told Agence France-Presse.

The short article concludes with the proposed punishment for women who would obtain an illegal abortion: "If the court reverses the law, women who do have abortions will face prison sentences of three to six months."

Study Links Pre-term Births with Internal Infections … Not much is known about why more and more babies have been born early over the past two decades but a recent study may begin to shed light on one reason:

Infections may play a bigger role in premature birth than doctors
have thought, says a new study that found almost one in seven women in
preterm labor harbored bacteria or fungi in their amniotic fluid.

It’s a small study, and it doesn’t prove that the germs triggered the early labor.

Monday’s research used specialized molecular testing to uncover
microbes that ordinary methods miss, and thus uncovered more women with
simmering infections than previously estimated.

The more heavily
infected the amniotic fluid, the more likely the woman was to deliver a
younger, sicker baby, researchers reported in PLoS One, the online
journal of the Public Library of Science.

"We don’t think any
organisms belong in the amniotic sac," said Stanford University
microbiologist Dr. David Relman, the study’s senior author. "You’d have
to presume there’s something wrong."

More than half a million
babies a year are born premature, before completion of 37 weeks of
pregnancy. It’s a toll that has steadily risen for two decades, yet
doctors don’t know the cause of most preterm births or how to prevent
them. Every extra week in the womb helps. Those born before 32 weeks
face the greatest risk of death or devastating disabilities, but even
babies born a few weeks early can face serious problems.