Health Care and Abortion Coverage
Washington Post editor Vince Bzdek writes that the passage of health care reform was due in large part to Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s gender and focus on women’s issues. He writes that Pelosi’s “animating ambition has been to put so-called women’s and family issues such as health care, education and the welfare of children on the same level as homeland security, foreign relations and defense.”
Conservative Washington Post columnist Kathleen Parker continues to claim that health care reform will lead to tax-payer funded abortion care, despite current restrictions on such funding.
The San Francisco Examiner profiles Rep. Diana DeGette (D-Colo.), co-chair of the Congressional Pro-Choice Caucus, saying that she has “emerged in recent weeks as the House’s most vocal defender of abortion rights.”
The Seattle Times editorial board argues that in the publicized case of a Ballard High School student receiving a referral for abortion care through the school-based health center, “facts threaten to be eclipsed by political grandstanding about choice.” The editorial points out that the clinic workers acted “well within the clinic’s medical and legal purview,” as Washington has no parental consent or notification laws for minors seeking abortion care.
A second attempt to define fertilized eggs as legal persons has made it onto the 2010 Colorado ballot. A nearly identical ballot measure was defeated by Colorado voters in 2008. A similar ballot measure is currently being challenged in Nevada court; anti-choice activists in Florida have come under fire for their signature-gathering tactics for a fetal personhood measure there.
The Georgia state senate approved a bill that would make it a crime to coerce a woman to have an abortion. Supporters of the legislation cited false allegations that abortion providers target women of color.
New York Times columnist Susan Dominus writes that the “purported neutrality” of the Abortion Changes You ad campaign on New York City subways undermines efforts to find common ground in the abortion debate.
Other News of Note
While President Obama made 15 recess appointments on Saturday, he did not use the process to appoint Dawn Johnsen to head the Office of Legal Counsel. Conservatives have opposed Johnsen’s nomination in part because she is a former legal director for NARAL Pro-Choice America.