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With layers of rules and restrictions, is Roe a reality anymore?

REUTERS/Gary Cameron
How can Roe v. Wade be a reality when so many people are prevented from accessing it?

As we approach the 42nd anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the Jan. 22, 1973, Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion in the United States, we reflect on how it dramatically bolstered women’s health and dignity.

Ho Nguyen

After three blissful years of uninterrupted access to the right to obtain an abortion, 1976 marked the beginning of a 40-year avalanche of targeted restrictions and regulations preventing people and their family’s access to a safe and legal abortion procedure. So, what is legal abortion without access? Who is granted this right? Who are the people and the communities that face an undue burden of obstacles just to obtain a legal procedure that has been granted to them by the Supreme Court?

As Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg and countless other reproductive health, rights, and justice advocates have said again and again: Women with means will always find a way to travel and afford their care. Women without means, women without access to money and transportation, will always be the ones facing obstacles.

Making abortion costly, hard to obtain

Anti-choice politicians often target groups of people and communities that are already systemically and institutionally marginalized in an effort to make abortion harder and harder to access. Politicians use bans on abortion coverage, waiting periods, medically inaccurate scripts, and medically unnecessary laws (such as dictating the width of the halls of a clinic) to make abortion harder to get, and more expensive.

The reality is that these regulations do nothing to make abortion safer or help a woman with her decision — but they do make getting an abortion more costly and difficult. In these cases, low-income people, young people, and communities of color are the most affected. In 1976, then-U.S. Rep. Henry Hyde said, “I would certainly like to prevent, if I could legally, anybody having an abortion: a rich woman, a middle class woman, or a poor woman. Unfortunately, the only vehicle available is the [Medicaid] bill.” Medicaid is a federal health-care program designed to aid our most economically vulnerable populations.

Burden falls on rural women, the poor and women of color

When we parse out the scale of impact we can see that this burden falls on communities of color, low-income communities and rural communities. We begin to wonder how Roe can be a reality when so many people are prevented from accessing it. When we support and respect that personal health decisions are ours to make, we are all stronger. Instead of restricting reproductive health care — including abortion care — we need solutions to improve all aspects of our health.

To make Roe a reality for all people again, we must continue to shed light to restrictions and regulations that are disguised as safety measures for women and families and see them for what they are: an unjust elimination of abortion care. 

Ho Nguyen is the grassroots advocacy coordinator for Pro-Choice Resources


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Comments (53)

  1. Submitted by Steve Rose on 01/20/2015 - 07:50 am.

    Black Lives Matter

    “When we parse out the scale of impact we can see that this burden falls on communities of color, low-income communities and rural communities. We begin to wonder how Roe can be a reality when so many people are prevented from accessing it.”

    Since you didn’t parse out the scale of the impact, I will do it. Abortion is decimating black communities, stealing their young disproportionately. 1,876 is the number of black babies, pre-born and partially born, that are lost to abortion on the average day in America.


    “Minority women constitute only about 13% of the female population (age 15-44) in the United States, but they underwent approximately 36% of the abortions.
    According to the Alan Guttmacher Institute, black women are more than 5 times as likely as white women to have an abortion.”

    “This incidence of abortion has resulted in a tremendous loss of life. It has been estimated that since 1973 Black women have had about 16 million abortions. Michael Novak had calculated “Since the number of current living Blacks (in the U.S.) is 36 million, the missing 16 million represents an enormous loss, for without abortion, America’s Black community would now number 52 million persons. It would be 36 percent larger than it is. Abortion has swept through the Black community like a scythe, cutting down every fourth member.”

    This calculation assumes that none of the children aborted in the past 40 years would have become parents themselves.

    Layers of rules and restrictions don’t seem to be an impediment.

  2. Submitted by Thomas Swift on 01/20/2015 - 09:58 am.

    400,000 human beings that were prevented from taking their first breath in 2010 say RoevWade is potent as ever.

    As to minority access, well you can perhaps be excused for not seeing this headline, as the MSM completely ignored this ignominious milestone:

    NYC: More Black Babies Killed by Abortion Than Born

  3. Submitted by Connie Sullivan on 01/20/2015 - 11:24 am.

    Sorry, boys.The black women

    Sorry, boys.

    The black women having abortions are not committing genocide (the term demands an outside force, not a member of a group itself). They are asserting their right to control their reproductive lives. More power to them, despite male voices like yours who would deny them their right and punish them.

    I say, as a woman who knows what it was like for women before Roe v. Wade: Good article! Carry on!

    • Submitted by Steve Rose on 01/20/2015 - 12:32 pm.


      “Genocide” from Webster’s Dictionary, “the deliberate and systematic destruction of a racial, political, or cultural group.” No outside force demanded.

      It is not only women who are permitted to speak out in defense of the helpless.

      • Submitted by Jon Kingstad on 01/20/2015 - 02:09 pm.

        No, abortion is not “genocide”.

        The definition I found at Merriam-Webster on-line is: “the deliberate killing of people who belong to a particular racial, political, or cultural group.”

        Abortion is abortion. It’s not murder or genocide anything else except for people trying to assert political control over a woman’s private business.

        • Submitted by Steve Rose on 01/20/2015 - 03:03 pm.

          We are talking about a racial group; a group that is targeted, and is disproportionately represented in abortion statistics.

          Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger is quoted in “Woman’s Body, Woman’s Right: A Social History of Birth Control in America”, by Linda Gordon: “We do not want word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population and the minister is the man who can straighten out the idea if it ever
          occurs to any of their more rebellious members.” Though a prolific writer, Sanger is seldom quoted by Planned Parenthood.

          • Submitted by Thomas Swift on 01/20/2015 - 03:47 pm.

            Abortion supporters would be happy if they could snuff out any reference to Margaret Sanger. She served her purpose and is now another liability they do not need on top of everything else.

          • Submitted by Jon Kingstad on 01/20/2015 - 09:50 pm.

            Equal access to reproductive rights

            I thought the topic in this column was about equal access to reproductive rights and how the denial of such access falls disproportionately upon the less affluent, these being people of color. Birth control including safe and legal abortion is theoretically available to all women (and men) regardless of race, creed or color, but the de facto and unnecessary restrictions imposed by governments and the ongoing efforts to shut down abortion clinics and Planned Parenthood are all restricting equal access to these rights.

            I take issue with your interpretation of Margaret Sanger”s meaning in her statement. Sanger advocated participation of black ministers in the 1939-1942 project to make birth control available to blacks. I’ll quote New York University’s Margaret Sanger Papers Project, which argues that in writing that letter, “Sanger recognized that elements within the black community might mistakenly associate the Negro Project with racist sterilization campaigns in the Jim Crow South, unless clergy and other community leaders spread the word that the Project had a humanitarian aim.”

            It’s preposterous to suggest that Sanger meant to promote genocide by promoting birth control among the less affluent. Or that Planned Parenthood is part of some “genocide agenda.”

            I have no idea what you mean by saying that there are some racial group (s) which are “targeted” or “disproportionately represented” by abortion statistics. Who is targeting whom? How does anyone target a racial group by disproportionately representing them? How does one “disproportionately represent” a racial group? and what abortion statistics are you referring to?

            • Submitted by Steve Rose on 01/21/2015 - 07:51 am.

              I will repeat them for you

              Looking back to comment 1, we see the central point of this column quoted, “”When we parse out the scale of impact we can see that this burden falls on communities of color,” As I pointed out, women of color represent 13% of the female 15-44 population but undergo 36% of the abortions in America. That is disproportionate.

              Someone will need to explain to me the access problem, as the numbers don’t bear it out. Speaking of numbers, this column lacks them from beginning to end.

              • Submitted by jason myron on 01/21/2015 - 11:18 am.

                But you trot out “numbers”

                from some bogus “blackgenocide” website , along with a partisan hack like Brent Bozell? Are you seriously going to suggest that the pro-birth movement hasn’t attempted to block access to a legal procedure? This new found care for black youth is touching, especially considering that it comes from the same people who are against every social and educational life line thrown out to some of those same kids who will be born into abject poverty with virtually no hope for a bright future…or any feature for that matter.

                • Submitted by Steve Rose on 01/21/2015 - 03:57 pm.

                  Bring forth your numbers

                  Let’s see your data, your argument seems light on facts and heavy on assumptions and stereotypes.

                  “In 2012, there were more black babies killed by abortion (31,328) in New York City than were born there (24,758), and the black children killed comprised 42.4% of the total number of abortions in the Big Apple, according to a report by the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.”


                  Would someone like to make the case for the access problem experienced by people of color that this column claims? Is it just the “the width of the halls of a clinic”?

  4. Submitted by Bill Gleason on 01/20/2015 - 07:09 pm.

    Martin Luther King, Margaret Sanger and Planned Parenthood

    Happy MLK Day: Your Friendly Reminder Martin Luther King Loved Planned Parenthood and Birth Control

    In 1966, when the Planned Parenthood Federation of America inaugurated the PPFA Margaret Sanger Award, its first awardee was Martin Luther King. Coretta Scott King accepted the award for her husband, delivering the speech he’d written for the occasion. Titled “Family Planning – A Special and Urgent Concern,” it lamented the lack of investment in family planning.

    King compared the movement for civil rights to the movement for reproductive rights:

    “There is a striking kinship between our movement and Margaret Sanger’s early efforts. She, like we, saw the horrifying conditions of ghetto life. Like we, she knew that all of society is poisoned by cancerous slums. Like we, she was a direct actionist – a nonviolent resister. She was willing to accept scorn and abuse until the truth she saw was revealed to the millions. At the turn of the century she went into the slums and set up a birth control clinic, and for this deed she went to jail because she was violating an unjust law.” MLK

    It is not clear what Martin Luther King would have to say about abortion, though given that King was so progressive and ahead of his time, I find it hard to believe that he would oppose a woman’s legal right to choose even if he opposed abortions on a personal spiritual level. The new Pew poll found that 65% of black Protestants support keeping Roe v Wade while 29% of black Protestants want to overturn the ruling. I highly doubt that Dr. King would be among that 29%. But what we do know beyond any doubt is that Martin Luther King not only saw family planning and birth control as justifiable, but as an integral part of the Civil Rights movement.

    • Submitted by Steve Rose on 01/21/2015 - 07:45 am.

      Back when Planned Parenthood was Anti-Abortion


      “Dr. King did in fact receive the Margaret Sanger Award in 1966. But it is also a fact that in 1966, Planned Parenthood was still (at least publicly) anti-abortion. They were still using a pamphlet they wrote and published in 1963 titled Is Birth Control Abortion?. The pamphlet read: “Is birth control abortion? Definitely not. An abortion kills the life of a baby after it has begun. It is dangerous to your life and health. It may make you sterile so that when you want a child you cannot have it. Birth control merely post-pones the beginning of life.” (Is Birth Control Abortion, Planned Parenthood pamphlet, Aug. 1963, p.1)”

      • Submitted by Bill Gleason on 01/21/2015 - 08:13 am.

        Planned Parenthood

        has done more to reduce the number of abortions in the US than any other organization I know of.

        “Abortions represent 3 percent of total services provided by Planned Parenthood, and roughly 10 percent of its clients received an abortion. The group does receive federal funding, but the money cannot be used for abortions by law.”


        Dr. King lauded Margaret Sanger and Planned Parenthood for their work in making contraceptives available to the poor as I’ve indicated in my citation.

        Whether Dr. King would “approve” Planned Parenthood’s use of 3 percent of their funding for abortions has also been addressed. There is no evidence that Dr. King opposed the position of Planned Parenthood on abortion.

      • Submitted by Thomas Swift on 01/21/2015 - 08:39 am.

        The idea that King would have viewed the current percentage of pregnancies among the black population that end in abortion with anything other than abject horror is beyond laughable.

        • Submitted by Bill Gleason on 01/21/2015 - 09:51 am.

          That is your opinion, Mr. Swift

          I’ve already presented evidence to the contrary.

          You also need to become more aware of facts such as data related to teen pregnancies
          and abortion.

          For example:

          Teen Abortions | Child Trends

          “Abortion rates are much higher for black teens than for white and Hispanic teens. In 2010, there were 34.5 abortions per 1,000 black females ages 15-19, compared with 8.5 per 1,000 white adolescent females, and 15.3 per 1,000 Hispanic adolescent females. However, abortion rates among black adolescents have fallen more than have rates for the other groups, so the gap has narrowed over time.”

          There is general agreement that the decrease in abortion rates is due to more widely available contraception methods. You should be grateful to Planned Parenthood for their work in this area.

          • Submitted by Thomas Swift on 01/21/2015 - 01:05 pm.

            Evidence to the contrary

            “…it is also a fact that in 1966, Planned Parenthood was still (at least publicly) anti-abortion.”

            We are talking about abortion (see topic), not contraception.

            If you think *just* 400, 000 abortions is a victory, I wish you joy in that.

            • Submitted by Bill Gleason on 01/21/2015 - 01:26 pm.

              When discussing abortion

              contraception is certainly relevant since it is the major factor in decreasing the number of abortions which you seem to oppose.

              And please don’t claim that I ever said that “*just* 400,000 abortions is a victory.”

              The number of abortions among pregnant black teenagers is less than half what it was twenty years ago.
              (link previously provided)

              You can thank Planned Parenthood for that.

  5. Submitted by Joe Musich on 01/20/2015 - 10:31 pm.

    Thanks for the well ….

    written piece bringing home the reality of a very difficult choice some would undoubtedly not want to find themselves in a position of making. It will be always easier for me as a male to only have an opinion on this choice. I will do whatever I can to support the choice being made that is more directly connected to a women physical and emotional well being. I never understood a need to make this choice more difficult as seems to be happening. And the consequence of not having this choice is making life doubly, triply and many maybe even factors greater then that with the erosion of empthy and the economics of survival with todays economic inequities.

  6. Submitted by Crystal Brakke on 01/21/2015 - 09:09 am.

    My thanks

    This is an important and much needed perspective. Thank you to the author, for writing this piece and for all you’re doing to preserve and advance women’s rights (and particularly focusing on the way women of color, and those in low-income and/or rural communities are being disproportionately affected).

  7. Submitted by RB Holbrook on 01/22/2015 - 09:41 am.

    Interesting Comments

    Once again, I note that the voices raised most stridently against legal abortion belong to men.

    • Submitted by Steve Rose on 01/22/2015 - 10:01 am.

      A robust data set, quantity 2.

      Speaking out in defense of the helpless; it is no longer just for women.

      • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 01/22/2015 - 10:18 am.

        Robust data makes meddling OK

        Speaking out to tell women what they may or may not do with their own bodies has historically been a male endeavor.

        • Submitted by Steve Rose on 01/22/2015 - 10:55 am.

          Feminists for Nonviolent Choices

          No, actually, it is not.

          There are large organizations of women, of which you are apparently unaware, that speak out against abortion. They get beyond the popular “own bodies” argument.

          Here is a link to one, Feminists for Nonviolent Choices:


          • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 01/22/2015 - 11:41 am.

            Look at the big dogs

            No, I have never heard of “Feminists for Nonviolent Choices.” They are not the ones picketing Planned Parenthood, are they?

            I have heard, however, of the Roman Catholic Church, run exclusively by men who took vows of celibacy. I have also heard of conservative evangelical Protestants, who believe that women must be submissive to their husbands.

            • Submitted by Steve Rose on 01/23/2015 - 03:32 pm.

              Never Heard Of

              I am not surprised that you are not familiar with the organization. I am familiar with the organizations you mentioned, though they hold no sway with me.

              Husbands? As about 85% of women seeking an abortion are not married, husbands are not of great relevance.

  8. Submitted by Rachel Kahler on 01/22/2015 - 10:05 am.

    White, black, poor

    I find it abhorrent that people are claiming /genocide/ of the black population because the rates of abortion in the black community are higher. That’s an incredibly twisted conclusion from the numbers.

    The true reality is that while the abortion rate overall has fallen, the rate of abortion among the POOR has actually increased. That is, the POOR are disproportionately represented by those who have abortions. That is, those who can least afford it are increasingly taking the last resort measures to preventing an unplanned birth. This seems to suggest that the POOR are becoming less able to either afford a child or access to other methods of birth control. After all, the most reliable birth control methods require ANNUAL doctor visits in order to get a prescription.

    While INSURANCE now must cover the cost of birth control (assuming you don’t have the unfortunate distinction of working for a “religious corporation” and no, it’s not free because insurance is not free), those who remain uninsured are SOL with regard to BC coverage. And, for those who have reduced access to doctors, due to various factors (uninsured, overworked, lack of transportation, lack of time off), it doesn’t make a lick of difference whether birth control is the ONE THING insurance must pay for.

    The fact that black women are more likely to have an abortion than white women has much more to do with the proportion of poor black women versus poor white women than whether there’s a secret anti-black agenda amongst “pro-abortion” groups. In fact, it’s a clear indication that the “pro-birth” coalition has succeeded in making a desperate situation worse for those who can least afford it. In other words, it’s despicable that there are people who would harass those who have an abortion while claiming that other forms of birth control are immoral AND rail against welfare (some commenters above are guilty of this). Sorry, but if you really stand for humanity, you’d find a way to make abortions unnecessary rather than gripe about their existence and push agendas that force their continuing existence.

    Quite frankly, if there’s a hidden racist agenda, it’s an agenda that keeps the poor more desperately poor by forcing an unaffordable child upon them. It’s a way to control the population by making sure they’re unable to deal with anything external to their own immediate existence.

    • Submitted by Steve Rose on 01/23/2015 - 05:51 am.


      “the rate of abortion among the POOR has actually increased. That is, the POOR are disproportionately represented by those who have abortions.”

      Your statement seems to contradict the assertion of this column; from the title, “is Roe a reality anymore?” The author goes on to answer the question, “We begin to wonder how Roe can be a reality when so many people are prevented from accessing it.” Reading this, it would seem that we have a severe shortage of abortions in this country.

      Approximately 1.2 million babies are aborted in the United States each year. What goal are we trying to reach? When will we know we have achieved full access?

      • Submitted by Rachel Kahler on 01/23/2015 - 02:51 pm.

        I would assume

        That you’re suggesting that my goal is to increase abortion to some number? What a ridiculous assertion. But, if you really do need clarification of my standpoint, here it is:

        Unless and until there are 0 unintended pregnancies, every woman who chooses not to give birth should have access to medically safe abortions. Until then, in order to promote a future in which abortions are unnecessary, we should SUPPORT and FUND access to scientifically appropriate education (abstinence only is not an example) and safe and effective birth control (abstinence only is not an example), as well as the medical care required to use them, without barriers, legal, physical, financial, or otherwise.

        • Submitted by Steve Rose on 01/23/2015 - 03:16 pm.

          Why would you assume that?

          From my comment, “Your statement seems to contradict the assertion of this column”

          This column states, “We begin to wonder how Roe can be a reality when so many people are prevented from accessing it”. If this alleged access problem (so many people are prevented) is solved, the number of abortions each year will surely increase. At what point, how many more abortions will it take, for Roe to become a reality once again?

          My position is that too many of our young are lost to abortion. As I pointed out previously, black babies born in New York City are far outnumbered by babies aborted. While I think that is tragic, this column complains of abortion accessibility issues.

          • Submitted by Pat Berg on 01/23/2015 - 04:57 pm.

            Whether or not the columnist addressed it

            A comprehensive examination of the issue must encompass the issues of education AND access to contraception, as well as to safe abortion if need be.

            Are you also someone who supports denying women access to needed contraception?

  9. Submitted by jason myron on 01/23/2015 - 12:27 pm.

    The “goal”

    is for all women to have the freedom to make their own reproductive healthcare choices, free of harassment from religious zealots who want to impose their view of morality on them.

    • Submitted by Thomas Swift on 01/23/2015 - 12:52 pm.

      How about those of us that object out of good old secular sense of human decency; not a speck of religion in it…is that OK with y’all?

  10. Submitted by Thomas Swift on 01/23/2015 - 12:55 pm.

    The “goal”

    You could wipe religion off the face of the planet and you’d still have to deal with the objection of people who’s morality is directed by their sense of human decency. So if the “goal” is uniform approval, it’s never, ever gonna happen.

  11. Submitted by beryl john-knudson on 01/24/2015 - 02:17 pm.

    Just wondering here…do male voices need a womb-of-one’s own?

    Closest I can come to an understanding of this issue is bringing up the past state of intolerance for the rights of unwed mothers. My mother cared for other peoples children; children of mothers who did not, could not care for their own children for diverse reasons .

    I do recall in retrospect that social workers would too often… seldom be supportive of girls keeping their child for someone out there wanted it the young girl would be advised.

    The state welfare institution as it was called back then, assumed, someone else could give the child a “better home” and to a girl with no support system was reluctantly at times ‘persuaded to give up her child since girl/woman had no means of support for the child.

    Maybe that was the only alternative?

    Making a choice for others has always been my primary consideration… who am I to choose for another or deny them their right to choose?

    I try to weigh in on the issue and as I read, I hear dominant male voices for or against?

    I do wonder, if the day may come when men through science will develop by whatever means “A womb of one’s own”…yup, that will be the day but who can say?

    Then I do wonder too, will male voices speak the same message as they did before they had a more deeply ‘ personal attachment’ to the issue?

  12. Submitted by Peder DeFor on 01/26/2015 - 08:45 am.

    Male Voices

    As far as I can tell, the vast majority of comments on Minnpost are male so regardless of subject, there will almost certainly be a large number of men commenting. The attempt to silence dissenting voices with some sort of implication that men shouldn’t comment on abortion is disheartening. Of course men can have opinions on abortion. And childcare. And how children are raised. The idea that women should have a monopoly there is outright sexist.

    Isn’t there a quote, something like ‘injustice anywhere is an injustice everywhere’? Well, if someone honestly thinks that abortion is ending a human life (and that’s NOT a crazy thought), then it’s not hard to see it as an injustice. And if you don’t think that pro-life people actually care about injustice, actually care about the unborn, then you don’t actually know any pro-life people.

    • Submitted by Matt Haas on 01/26/2015 - 12:13 pm.

      I’m sorry

      But what I see is a selfish desire to appease one’s chosen deity, and to increase one’s chances of avoiding eternal punishment, little more. Mr. Swift strains credulity by claiming secular oppostion to abortion, which is somehow seperate from strident Christian positions taken elsewhere. Overreaching all is any challenge about post birth support for these “precious ” lives that inevitably leads to gruff refusals about “it’s none of anyone’s business how I as an individual use my money” or “Jesus never said it was the governments job to help poor people”, all the while these “precious” lives continue to strain under the yoke of poverty, and abuse, and hopelessness as the “defenders of life” move on to the next batch of “precious” unborn lives to save. It’s bunkum, they rail for the lives of the unborn because it’s easy, it uncomplicated, and because they think they are commanded to their God. They don’t have to wonder if a fetus is deserving of their compassion, whether it may have played a role in its situation. Their minds can rest at ease knowing that there is no way their support could be misconstrued as letting a “taker” off too easy. That’s why pro lifers care, because it is always, and always has been, about them.

      • Submitted by Peder DeFor on 01/26/2015 - 12:49 pm.

        Bad Faith

        Matt, have you looked into how much and what types of charity work church goers do? The main complaint from small government types (which doesn’t exactly equal religious pro-life) is that welfare and other government attempts to ease poverty don’t work or that they do more harm than good. That doesn’t mean that pro-lifers don’t believe in charity and helping the poor. That’s a total non-sequitur and frankly an unfair accusation of bad faith.

        Can you really not understand how someone sees a fetus as a baby and how they might oppose killing babies? I don’t think that requires any special amount of faith. I imagine that an atheist would be bothered if they saw a child being beaten by their parents, even though their feelings would be to ‘appease’ a deity or out of any concern of hell. It’s not hard to imagine one step further with concern about babies.

        • Submitted by jason myron on 01/26/2015 - 03:23 pm.

          Church goers have no lock on charity work

          any more than secularists do. The problem that many of us have with the pro-birthers is the hypocrisy of their position. By and large, these are the same people who rail against every social, medical and educational program designed to help some of these kids that will be born into abject poverty. They will also tout their 2nd amendment rights and “castle doctrine ” laws to more easily dispatch some of these kids as they fall through the cracks of society. The other part of the equation is that many of these so called “pro lifers” are against contraception of any kind. No, Peder…this all about control and foisting a religious standard of morality on women, plain and simple. I spent a couple of years as an escort at a clinic in Milwaukee and I’ve seen these people up close and personal. I’ve had the most vile things imaginable said to me and hurled towards the women I was helping by people with crosses around their necks. There is no moral high ground on that side and it sure seems that who they extend “human decency” to is a pretty short, heavily censored list.

        • Submitted by Matt Haas on 01/26/2015 - 03:27 pm.

          Don’t equate

          Your average church goer, dropping a few bucks in the plate with rabid pro life zealots who take every opportunity to label the other side “genocidal”. I would be more inclined to give a pass were not those same people so ready to punt any real societal challenge to their ever loving lord , “God’s will after all”, and recognize that charity alone has never, and will never, ever be enough to solve our all too human problems. Charity of convienence is not charity at all.

      • Submitted by Steve Rose on 01/26/2015 - 02:42 pm.

        Human Decency

        Your opinions about the motivations of others, while of interest to you, are speculation and indicate a basic lack of understanding of the issues.

        Abortion is an issue of both personal justice and social justice. Because children survive abortion procedures and survive premature birth (viable as early as 23 weeks gestation), pretending that the child within the womb is not a child requires a special kind of denial.

        • Submitted by jason myron on 01/26/2015 - 03:36 pm.

          The special kind of denial

          is ignoring the 1,000+ laws (in 2012 alone) that were enacted or attempted by GOP led legislatures all designed to limit accessibility to women who want to make their own decisions regarding their reproductive health care. Your assertion that the writer has a “basic lack of understanding of the issue” is nothing more than the idle speculation that you accuse her of.

          • Submitted by Steve Rose on 01/27/2015 - 08:04 am.

            A Very Busy Second Half

            According to NPR:

            “2011 was a banner year for state laws restricting abortion. And 2012 looks like runner-up.

            That’s the central finding of the midyear report from the Guttmacher Institute, the reproductive policy research group that keeps track of such things.

            There were 39 laws restricting abortion enacted in the first half of 2012. While that’s less than half the 80 put in place during the first half of last year, the number of laws already on the books for 2012 is higher than any other year before 2011.”


            The federal and state legislatures must have been very busy in the second half to attempt or enact over 1000 laws, the annual total that you claim but reliably fail to source.

            In the instance of my comment above, “your opinions” means your opinions, not the opinions of the author of this column. I have no doubt that the author understands the issue. However, she fails to make a case for her claims regarding accessibility of abortion to communities of color.

            • Submitted by jason myron on 01/27/2015 - 01:44 pm.

              Guttmacher is where I got it and apparently you

              ignored most of it…..
              A recent report from the Guttmacher Institute details the extent of 2011’s war on Women’s Reproductive Rights. The report states,

              By almost any measure, issues related to reproductive health and rights at the state level received unprecedented attention in 2011. In the 50 states combined, legislators introduced more than 1,100 reproductive health and rights-related provisions, a sharp increase from the 950 introduced in 2010. By year’s end, 135 of these provisions had been enacted in 36 states, an increase from the 89 enacted in 2010 and the 77 enacted in 2009. (Note: This analysis refers to reproductive health and rights-related “provisions,” rather than bills or laws, since bills introduced and eventually enacted in the states contain multiple relevant provisions.)
              Fully 68% of these new provisions—92 in 24 states—-restrict access to abortion services, a striking increase from last year, when 26% of new provisions restricted abortion. The 92 new abortion restrictions enacted in 2011 shattered the previous record of 34 adopted in 2005.
              Abortion restrictions took many forms: bans (6 states), waiting periods (3 states), ultrasound 5 states), insurance coverage (3 states joined the existing 5 with such restrictions), clinic regulations (4 states), medication abortion (7 states).

              o Anti-abortion Laws

              Republican legislators have introduced a wide array of laws designed to either outlaw abortion outright or to discourage it by making ridiculous and sometimes humiliating requirements of women who might consider having a pregnancy terminated. These include so-called TRAP (Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers) regulations.

              • Submitted by Steve Rose on 01/27/2015 - 08:18 pm.

                I was reading about …

                I was reading Guttmacher Institute about abortion, which is the same topic as this article and the NPR article I referenced. That is why the difference in numbers; less than 100 bills in a year versus over 1000 bills in a year; issues related to reproductive health and rights is a far broader topic, and beyond the scope of this conversation.

                Again with the clinic regulations? Safe and accessible but without prudent clinic regulations; finally, something we can all agree on.

  13. Submitted by Peder DeFor on 01/26/2015 - 08:49 am.

    Safe Access

    After the Gosnell case highlighted the complete lack of oversight and safety of abortion clinics in PA, did Planned Parenthood or Pro-Choice Resources speak out about how to insure safe regulation there or in other states? If they didn’t, then I don’t really trust their arguments against regulation. Certainly regulation can be too burdensome. (Ironically this is almost the only field in which liberals will argue this.) But it was clearly too lax before. Are they working to fix this? Or are they willing to tolerate bad conditions if it means greater access?

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 01/26/2015 - 10:55 am.

      The Gosnell Case

      Recall that Dr. Gosnell was criminally prosecuted and ultimately convicted of over 200 crimes. He is now serving life without the possibility of parole.

      Bear in mind that this was one clinic, so it does not show a “lack of safety of abortion clinics in PA” generally. Recall also that Dr. Gosnell was convicted of over 200 criminal charges and is serving life without parole. Existing laws locked him up, and unless we have constant monitoring of all clinics at all times, this kind of after-the-fact enforcement is how things are going to happen.

      Regulations that were “too lax” would have let Dr. Gosnell go free. Would more burdensome regulations have done any good (ironically this is almost the only field in which “libertarians” will argue this)? How effective would they be without more enforcers standing around?

      • Submitted by Peder DeFor on 01/26/2015 - 12:42 pm.

        Too Lax

        RB, the regulations were *much* too lax. Or they would have figured out that there was a problem much earlier than they did. In fact, the Gosnell clinic went 17 years without any real oversight. If regulators had inspected the place, they would have shut him down. But they didn’t. 17 years! Can you imagine a restaurant that would go that long? And we’re talking about a place that handled medical procedures. Yes, the regulations were too lax.

        The libertarian dig is understood but frankly it’s a bit off base. There is quite a bit of skepticism in libertarian circles about new abortion regulations. Here, for example from Reason:

        Obviously there is some middle ground between regulations that make clinics stay safe and allows them to stay open.

        • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 01/26/2015 - 03:11 pm.

          Too Lax

          I think you mean, enforcement was too lax. Dr. Gosnell was convicted of violating existing regulations, which were enough to send him to the slammer for the rest of his life.

  14. Submitted by Margaret Houlehan on 01/26/2015 - 10:01 pm.


    desire to eliminate abortion is based upon control of women, not about concern for the fetus. How else does one explain the desire to cut off the most basic provision for children once they are born?

    • Submitted by Jonathan Ecklund on 01/27/2015 - 10:19 am.

      Taking this one step further…

      I agree with your assessment, Margaret. I notice that while there have been numerous times where there were big enough Republican majorities to legislatively overturn Roe, they didn’t. I believe that the GOP brays about this so loudly when they are in the minority as a way to play to their base and use it as a wedge in rural communities in election years- their disdain for children once they are born, and for women in general illustrate their moral hypocrisy, Basically, if it ever went away as an issue for them, they would lose a tool in their electoral kit, so they have an incentive to actually never overturn. That and their desire to tell women what’s what.

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 01/27/2015 - 10:37 am.


      The religious right seized the abortion issue in the late 70s as a proxy for racial issues. The fights to preserve any vestige of legal segregation had been lost (i.e. the courts were not going to overturn laws disallowing tax exemptions for private segregated schools), so abortion became the rallying cry.

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