Thursday, July 23, 2009
Federal Bill Takes a Common Ground Approach on Abortion
Broadsheet (Salon.com): How's that "common ground" going?, by Frances Kissling:
A new bill on abortion reduction shows serious strain -- but also progress
After four years of behind-the-scenes negotiating, pro-choice groups turned out in full force for the introduction of the Preventing Unintended Pregnancies, Reducing the Need for Abortion and Supporting Parents Act, the odd-couple legislation whose lead sponsors are pro-choice Rosa DeLauro and pro-life Tim Ryan. At a Hill press conference this morning, Planned Parenthood, NARAL and the Religious Coalition stood in close proximity to mega church pastor Joel Hunter. The bill is bound to get good media coverage, as it fits nicely with the President’s “can’t we all get along” plea for common ground on abortion.
Apparently everyone could not get along, and the task of lining up supporters for the bill, which was lead by the pro-choice Third Way Democratic think tank’s culture program director Rachel Laser, was a bruising experience. Pro-lifers were disappointed that contraception was included. Pro-choicers were concerned the language of the bill sent an “abortion is bad" message. It was a bitter pill for both sides to swallow, though, so far, no one has choked.
Frankly, it's the kind of bill that should have been passed 20 years ago -- what a shame that for women to get what they need, it must be framed in terms of reducing the need for abortion. But the bill expands Medicaid coverage for family planning for low-income women and increases support for the Title X family planning program; it breaks new ground in preventing teen pregnancy and launches a new initiative to involve parents in teen pregnancy prevention. . . .