Reports out of Bolivia indicate that the government will decriminalize some abortions in that country. The legislature has approved a bill to allow abortions for students, adolescents or girls up to the eighth week of pregnancy. President Morales has said he will sign the bill. There is loud opposition from the Catholic Church that he must face down.
The Health Minister Ariana Campero has pointed out that this bill is a public health matter, that there are over 80,000 clandestine and unsafe abortions annually and that deaths from these abortions is the third leading cause of maternal death.
Until now abortion had been permitted only when the woman’s life is in danger, in cases of rape or incest or fetal malformation.
A further bill is being proposed to decriminalize abortions for reasons of extreme poverty, doesn’t have resources to support a child, has three or more children or is still studying.
These measures are a refreshing adjustment to reality. Women are dying, or becoming infertile, from illegal abortions. The medical establishment must take steps to train more doctors in abortion practice to make sure that legal abortions are accessible and safe and that the woman is treated with dignity.
Amidst the Democratic cheering over last week’s election results in Virginia and New Jersey, one sobering fact remains: white women still preferred the Republican anti-choice candidates in both states.
Not that there wasn’t improvement for Democrats over 2016, but the majority of white women still voted Republican and anti-choice.
In Virginia, white women voted 51-48 for the Republican Gillespie (it was 54-41 in 2016, so a 3-point improvement). Black women went the other way, voting 91-8 for the pro-choice Democrat Northam (the same ratio as 2016).
In New Jersey, white women voted 55-44 for the Republican Guadagno (it was 51-45 in 2016, so a 4-point improvement). Black women were 94-4 for the pro-choice Democrat Murphy (it was 92-8 in 2016).
Political experts will slice and dice the exit polls looking for trends, silver linings, dangers. Here are a few.
Married women (white and black) in Virginia voted 54% for the pro-choice candidate, while unmarried women voted 77% for him. Lower income women and whites with no college degree skewed Republican. Reproductive freedom is of vital importance to unmarried women; marital security is of vital importance to the less-educated and lower-income women (and legal birth control and abortion are seen as a threat to that). The pro-choice candidates need to make a better case why reproductive freedom is of vital importance to the married too, as it permits the optimal timing, spacing and number of children.
In Virginia only 8% of the electorate said that abortion was the most important issue – health care, guns, immigration and taxes being offered as more important. The issues in New Jersey were similar, with government corruption thrown in for good measure. So, one cannot call the 2017 election a referendum on abortion, though it is known that the position on abortion is a deal breaker for many on both sides, even if they profess to be more interested in other issues.
The first-year record of the President has not changed the votes of a majority of white women.
“There are lions in the jungle,” the boy said. He had cropped hair, protruding ears, and wry smile. He looked eight, nine maybe, and wore a yellow shirt and a pair of bright orange crocs.
“Leones?” I ask. Lions.
“Si, senor, leones. Hay muchos.” There are many, he says.
San Francisco Review of Books: Interview: Alexander Sanger says “firm determinati…: This is the final article of my discussion with Alexander Sanger. The first , second , and third pieces are available on-line. Story …
San Francisco Review of Books: Interview: Alexander Sanger explains how his grand…: This is the third of four articles spanning my discussion with Alexander Sanger. The first and second pieces are available on-line. …
San Francisco Review of Books: Opinion: Margaret Sanger — Humanitarian, Republic…: Margaret Sanger: Humanitarian, Republican, American Hero Commentary by Joseph Ford Cotto Few people seem to attract the level of derisi…
Interview: Alexander Sanger says “efforts to shut down Planned Parenthood” threaten “women’s health at large”, explains why:
The Global Gag Rule is like a cartoon character, no sooner squashed by a falling boulder than it emerges from under the rock that fell on it and goes on its un-merry way, leaving destruction in its path. It was instituted by Ronald Reagan in 1984, overturned by Bill Clinton, reinstated by George W. Bush, overturned by Barack Obama and now has been reinstated by Donald Trump.
When I was in college in 1966, a dear friend who I had not seen in a year told me she was pregnant and needed an abortion. She was desperate-and broke. Abortion was illegal. I asked around and got the name of a physician in Washington, D.C., called him, made the arrangements and raised the money for my friend. The doctor turned out to be professional and everything went as smoothly as it could given the circumstances, but I decided that I would do everything I could to ensure no other woman went through what my friend endured. In a way, the experience awakened my social conscience.