Anniversary of Roe Met, Once Again, with Rallies of Support and Protest
Supporters and opponents of reproductive freedom participated in events across the country yesterday, marking the 34th anniversary of the Supreme Court decision in Roe v Wade that legalized abortion for women in the US. Across the country - from Washington, DC to Wichita, KS and San Francisco, CA - events marked the political climate around abortion rights in the US.
The Annual March for Life in Washington, DC, which was heavily supported by the Knights of Columbus, Catholic dioceses, and parochial school children, garnered small press coverage. While the organizers are claiming that tens of thousands attended, eyewitnesses report that the numbers seemed more like thousands than tens of thousands. As usual, President Bush addressed the anti-abortion crowd by a telephone call from Camp David. An additional anti-abortion protest outside of the Metro Washington Planned Parenthood clinic was also extremely small. Just one busload of demonstrators stayed some 15 minutes.
Roe events in Washington, DC closed yesterday with a vigil organized by the National Organization for Women on the steps of the Supreme Court. The speaker line-up ended with DC Representative Eleanor Holmes Norton (D) who spoke of the inability for women in the military to get an abortion, and the heightened hurdles to reproductive freedom that lower-income women face.
In Wichita, anti-abortion group Operation Rescue demonstrated for four days outside of the clinic where Dr. Tiller, one of the few late-term abortion providers in the US, works. On Friday, January 19, their opening day of protests, some 23 anti-abortion activists were outnumbered by twice as many supporters of the clinic. Despite calls from Operation Rescue's leader Troy Newman, who estimated at least a hundred in attendance, and FOX News host Bill O'Reilly, who said that "there should be thousands of people demonstrating outside Tillerís abortion clinic," a member of the Feminist Majority Foundationís field team reported that the largest attendance for any single event was between 50 and 60 anti-abortion protestors.
Finally, in San Francisco, several thousand anti-abortion activists marched while supporters staged a solid counter-protest.
"The relatively low turnout of anti-abortion activists on the 34th anniversary of Roe v. Wade plus the overwhelming wins in the ballot box of pro-choice candidates and the defeat of three initiatives shows that the anti-abortion movement is waning," said Feminist Majority Foundation President Eleanor Smeal of the events yesterday. "The debate over abortion bans, stem cell research, and the decision in the Terri Schiavo case has weakened the political clout of the anti-abortion movement."
4/15/2014 Virginia Bishops Advocate More Abortion Restrictions for Poor Women - Using the Medicaid expansion debate as a platform, the Virginia Catholic Conference issued a statement Friday calling for the repeal of a Virginia law that allows state funding of abortion care for Medicaid recipients in situations where the fetus exhibits a "gross and totally incapacitating physical deformity" or a "gross and totally incapacitating mental deficiency."
Bishop Francis DiLorenzo of the Diocese of Richmond and Bishop Paul Loverde of the Diocese of Arlington authored the statement which urges Virginia lawmakers to act to expand Medicaid to cover more of Virginia's poor. . . .
4/14/2014 Kathleen Sebelius Resigns as Secretary of Health & Human Services - President Barack Obama last week announced the resignation of Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Kathleen Sebelius.
Noting that she will "go down in history" for "serving as the Secretary of Health and Human Services when the United States of America finally declared that quality, affordable health care is not a privilege, but it is a right for every single citizen of these United States of America," President Obama praised Secretary Sebelius for guiding the implementation of the landmark Affordable Care Act (ACA).
At least 7.5 million Americans have now signed up for health coverage through health insurance marketplaces created by the ACA. . . .