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Home | Tag Archives: abortion

Tag Archives: abortion

Op-Ed: FYI – It’s Not About Abortion

I think by now we’ve all seen the news over the last few months about the legislation and laws designed to “protect life”. I’m very angry about it, and I’m sure some of you are too.

I would really like to use stronger language than “angry” do describe my feelings. Rage? Definitely rage, but more colorful language is really needed to do my feelings justice.

You see, I know what this legislation is really about, and FYI, it’s not about abortion.

I know some of you are already with me on this, but let’s talk about it. None of this is about abortion. None of this is about protecting life.

If it was, then the people who create, sponsor, and sign into law these pieces of legislation would also be creating, sponsoring, and signing into law legislation which supports access to social services and healthcare, improves education, and improves wages and workers’ rights…but they aren’t.

If these lawmakers really believed life begins at conception, and if it was really about protecting life, then there would be legislation to stop the destruction of embryos at fertility clinics…but there isn’t.

This is about control.

Controlling women. Controlling reproduction. Controlling bodies. Controlling choice.

When people see or hear that statement, that this is about controlling women, the perception is often that it’s only about controlling cisgender heterosexual women, able-bodied women.

It’s not.

For all the exclusion and discrimination being legislated against the LGBTQ community and others, one thing that’s not discriminatory and is fully inclusive are anti-choice and anti-abortion laws.

These policies also aren’t ageist or ableist. In fact, these may be the most inclusive pieces of legislation ever. If you have a uterus, no matter your age, ability, health, sexual orientation, or gender identity, you are subject to the consequences of these laws.

If you are a Lesbian woman, or a Transgender man who has not undergone surgery to remove reproductive organs, you are included.

If you are immobile, if you have a chronic illness, if you have a diminished mental capacity, if you are at retirement age, if you are 9 years-old, you are included.

If you have a uterus and become pregnant, and in the case of the recently signed law in Alabama no matter the circumstances surrounding how that pregnancy came to be, if you are deemed to be able to remain pregnant without guaranteed threat to your life, your state government can mandate that you remain pregnant.

And according to the law which is supposed to take effect in 2020 in Georgia, if you have a miscarriage you may be investigated to determine if any action you took caused that miscarriage. How crazy is that?

Let’s take a moment to reflect on how completely and utterly insane that is. Do these people not know how common miscarriages are? Do these people not know how much higher a risk for miscarriage is if you are under significant stress, or have any time of physical vulnerability?

No, these people don’t know, or they don’t care, because facts are apparently not an important consideration when drafting legislation.

Of course, all of these bills that have been signed into law are being litigated.

Ohio, Indiana, Missouri, Mississippi, Kentucky, Arkansas, Utah, Georgia, and Alabama have action being taken against them to stop anti-choice laws from taking effect. However even if these laws don’t take effect, it doesn’t change the fact that reproductive freedom is on the chopping block every year, and this battle doesn’t give the impression that it will end any time soon.

Some states who haven’t attempted abortion bans this year have instead instituted rhetoric-filled bills designed to further stigmatize reproductive choice. Texas’ HB16, the Born Alive Act, addresses a non-existent problem: babies born after abortion attempts, and mandates that doctors must provide medical care for those babies.

Again, this is a problem that doesn’t exist, and this legislation is just an extremist tool working toward a greater agenda.

They could have drafted legislation to address a problem that does actually exist, like the abysmal maternal mortality rate or the fact that rural woman have literally nowhere to go for prenatal and postnatal care, but why on Earth would they waste time doing something like that when they can instead create legislation that allows people to feign outrage and moral superiority?

What is perhaps the most terrifying is that lawmakers and lobbyists in states who are passing anti-choice laws and abortion bans know fully well they won’t be implemented smoothly. They know that these laws will be litigated, and that’s the point. The point is to get to the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade.

So, here’s my question to you. Do you have a uterus? If you answered yes to that question, do you understand that this is a deliberate infringement on your body, on your right to freedom? Yes? Are you angry about it? Do you feel rage?

If you don’t, what will it take to get you there? Please be angry with me. Feel rage with me, and let that rage make you steady in a resolve to take action.

This is not the time to say, “this isn’t my fight”. I promise you it is your fight. And if you don’t have a uterus, it’s your fight too, because you should value the humanity and dignity of us uterus-havers just as much as you value your own.

Author: Ashley Heidebrecht Borderland Rainbow Center


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Research: Texas Law Closes Clinics, Restricts Abortions

AUSTIN, Texas – New research shows restrictions placed on Texas clinics that perform abortions are causing significant barriers and hardships for women seeking those services.

A study by the Texas Policy Evaluation Project says more than half of the clinics that provided abortion services in Texas have closed since House Bill 2 went into effect in 2013.

Liza Fuentes, a co-researcher on the study, says they interviewed almost 400 women seeking abortion services between May and August of 2014.

“We were really able to provide some research on multiple obstacles that haven’t been well measured before,” says Fuentes. “Everything from increased travel distances to out-of-pocket expenses, to women’s own assessment of difficulties.”

House Bill 2, passed by the Texas Legislature in July 2013, requires abortion clinics meet ambulatory surgical center standards, and that their doctors have admitting privileges at local hospitals.

It also limits abortions to the first 20 weeks of pregnancy.

Fuentes says of the 41 clinics that existed before the law was passed, only 19 remained open a year later.

She adds among the women surveyed, by mid-2014, the average travel distance to a clinic was 85 miles. That, and longer waits to schedule services, meant many women were having abortions much later in their pregnancies.

“The delays and later abortion are concerning, because they’re more expensive for women,” says Fuentes. “And, even though abortion is one of the most common and safest medical procedures in the United States, later abortion still does carry risk.”

The constitutionality of HB2 has been challenged in the courts and is awaiting a ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court.

The Texas Policy Evaluation Project is a program of the Population Research Center at the University of Texas at Austin.

Author: Mark Richardson – Texas News Service

UT/TT Poll: Texans Say Mental Health Top Cause of U.S. Mass Shootings

Mental health issues, gun laws, unstable families and media coverage get most of the blame for mass shootings in the U.S. in recent years, according to the latest University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll.

Voters also attributed either “a great deal” or “a fair amount” of the blame for shootings in the U.S. to the spread of extremist views on the internet and to drug use.

“When we look at the explanations for the shootings, what we see is that there is bipartisan agreement on the failure of the mental health system,” said Jim Henson, head of the Texas Politics Project at the University of Texas at Austin and co-director of the poll. “It was the No. 1 response among most major subgroups. If I was a political leader looking for an area where we could get agreement on gun violence, this is where I would look.” 

“It prompts immediate reactions that we ought to regulate guns.  But when you offer a plethora of options, I think people respond to the notion that there are crazy people out here and you ought to do something about these crazy people.”

Shaw noted the 41 percent who want stricter gun laws in a state that is generally seen as pro-gun rights.  That said, he said 54 percent either want gun control laws left alone or loosened.

Asked how they view the National Rifle Association, 48 percent say they have a favorable opinion, while 31 percent have an unfavorable opinion of that group. While 56 percent of Republicans have favorable impressions of the NRA, only 7 percent of Democrats do. And while 24 percent of Republicans have a negative opinion, 78 percent of Democrats do.

Immigration and the Border

Texas voters consistently rank immigration and the border as top issues facing the state — a signal to politicians that those positions matter — and the voters have some hardline views on the subject.

More than half agree with this statement: “Undocumented immigrants currently living in the United States should be deported immediately.”

While 39 percent disagree, 55 percent agree. Some are more emphatic: 30 percent strongly agree, and 21 percent strongly disagree.

Partisan and ethnic differences are deep. While 74 percent of Republicans agree, 64 percent of Democrats do not. Anglos (63 percent) and blacks (54 percent) agree, but Hispanics (58 percent) do not.

“I don’t know that the public has a set way of viewing immigration in the way they have a set way of viewing something like taxes,” Shaw said. “There are reasons to question whether you can frame this in a way that advantages you in 2016, and whether that’s in the long-term interest of the party.”

Almost half of Texas voters favor amending the U.S. Constitution to repeal automatic citizenship for children born here regardless of their parents’ legal status. But while 48 percent favor that notion, 39 percent oppose it.

“Republicans continue to have highly restrictive attitudes on immigration,” Henson said. “You see overall support for deportation, but that number is driven by lopsided results among Republicans and especially, Tea Party Republicans.

“To the extent that we are hearing the drums beating loudly and persistently on immigration in the Republican presidential primary, this is where the sheet music is coming from,” he said. “These numbers are extremely one-sided.”

 Sanctuary cities — a term for cities where local law enforcement agencies do not actively enforce some federal immigration laws — are not popular with Texas voters.
The survey found that 60 percent disapprove of sanctuary cities while 23 percent approve.
As with the other immigration questions, the answers were marked by partisan differences. For instance, only 2 percent of Tea Party Republicans said they approve of sanctuary cities, compared with 46 percent of Democrats.

“It suggests that the Trump/Cruz line sells pretty well in Texas,” Shaw said, Donald Trump and Ted Cruz were tied for the lead for the presidential nomination among Republican primary voters in the poll, and each has taken a particularly hardline approach to immigration policy and favored deporting undocumented immigrants now in the U.S. “It’s important to get it right because so many people think it’s a big important issue.”


An overwhelming majority — 87 percent — say women who want to avoid becoming pregnant should have access to birth control. Only 5 percent say they should not have access; the remainder express no opinion.

Almost half of Texas voters — 45 percent — consider themselves “pro-life,” while 35 percent consider themselves to be “pro-choice,” the survey found. The remainder — about one voter in five — chose neither label.

“I think the label matters, because candidates use the label,” Shaw said. “If you drill down and ask people more detailed questions, the label matters but doesn’t specifically map their policy positions.”

“The clear problem here is that because Planned Parenthood is an abortion provider and because they have a political arm that is very active and very identified with Democratic candidates, they have become a political target,” Henson said.

While 34 percent say they have a favorable impression of the organization, 46 percent say they have an unfavorable opinion.

Included in that last group are 38 percent who say they have a “very unfavorable” opinion of Planned Parenthood.

Republicans lead the way to those ratings, but the organization’s Democratic support has weakened in Texas, compared with results from the May 2012 UT/TT Poll. Then, 77 percent of Democrats had favorable opinions of Planned Parenthood, but that dropped to 62 percent in this poll. Most of those Democrats landed in the neutral/undecided bin, Henson said.

Planned Parenthood has spent much of 2015 responding to a series of videos released by abortion opponents — the Center for Medical Progress — that purport to show Planned Parenthood officials discussing the sales of tissue and organs from aborted fetuses. Though Planned Parenthood has criticized the videos for being heavily edited, last month the organization said it would no longer take reimbursement for fetal tissue research.

“The recent negative campaign against Planned Parenthood at the national level and in the state seems to have successfully reframed them in the mind of some people and weakened them with some Democrats,” he said.

Voters’ views of Planned Parenthood contrast sharply with their opinions of the NRA, another highly politicized organization in the news. Each is seen by voters largely through partisan filters.

“Any of these organizations that come across as being intrinsically involved in the partisan debate have kind of a stench about them,” Shaw said. That’s reflected in the partisan underpinnings of voter opinions.

Same-sex marriage

Texans are split exactly down the middle when it comes to same-sex marriage, with 43 percent saying gay and lesbian couples should have the right to marry and 43 percent saying they should not have that right.

Those overall numbers mask partisan differences. Among Democrats, 65 percent approve of same-sex marriage. But 59 percent of Republicans disapprove.

There is also a gender gap: 48 percent of women approve, while only 38 percent of men do.

And there is also a big church gap: Same-sex marriage is not okay with 68 percent of Texans who attend church more than once a week and 56 percent of those who attend at least once a week. Among those who never attend church, 51 percent say same-sex couples have the right to marry.

“Texans are very divided,” Henson said. “If you look at it, they are still more open to gay marriage now, but Republicans are still resistant. Democrats have moved much more rapidly on the issue than Republicans. With some of the recent politicization of gay marriage and the national conversation, it’s not surprising to see Republicans not moving much on this.”

The University of Texas/Texas Tribune internet survey of 1,200 registered voters was conducted from Oct. 30 to Nov. 8 and has an overall margin of error of +/- 2.83 percentage points. Numbers in charts might not add up to 100 percent because of rounding.

UT/TT Poll, November 2015 – Methodology
PDF (66.2 KB) download
UT/TT Poll, November 2015 – Summary
PDF (209.1 KB) download

This is one of several stories on the latest University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll. Thursday: The race for president. Friday: What Texas voters think about various state and federal officeholders and institutions. Tomorrow: The mood of the state.

Disclosure: The University of Texas at Austin is a corporate sponsor of The Texas Tribune. Planned Parenthood was a corporate sponsor of the Tribune in 2011. A complete list of Tribune donors and sponsors can be viewed here.

Author:   – The Texas Tribune | All graphics by Emily Albracht

The Texas Tribune is a nonpartisan, nonprofit media organization that informs Texans — and engages with them – about public policy, pol itics, government and statewide issues.

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