By Dave Andrusko
The Guttmacher Institute, the former PPFA “special affiliate,” wields enormous influence in framing how the abortion issue is covered. Pro-abortion to its institutional gills, Guttmacher occupies a special niche in that without exception, the “mainstream media” accepts its every report as if it came down carved on stone tablets from Mt. Sinai.
Which brings us to “Laws Affecting Reproductive Health and Rights: 2015 State Policy Review,” by Elizabeth Nash, Rachel Benson Gold, Gwendolyn Rathbun, and Zohra Ansari-Thomas. And as we always caution when reporting on their conclusions, Guttmacher has a different way of counting pro-life initiatives and includes measures that fall outside our single-issue purview.
To begin with, and to state the obvious, because 2015 was a very good year for pro-lifers in the states, Guttmacher is very unhappy. But, as a pro-life friend, pointed out, they are even more unhappy because they (properly) placed 2015 in a larger context. Here are two key paragraph:
Including the 57 abortion restrictions enacted in 2015, states have adopted 288 abortion restrictions just since the 2010 midterm elections swept abortion opponents into power in state capitals across the country. To put that number in context, states adopted nearly as many abortion restrictions during the last five years (288 enacted 2011–2015) as during the entire previous 15 years (292 enacted 1995–2010). Moreover, the sheer number of new restrictions enacted in 2015 makes it clear that this sustained assault on abortion access shows no signs of abating. …
Four states—Arkansas, Indiana, Kansas and Oklahoma—each enacted at least 20 new abortion restrictions, making this handful of states, which together adopted 94 new restrictions, responsible for a third of all abortion restrictions enacted nationwide over the last five years. Kansas has the dubious distinction of leading the pack with 30 new abortion restrictions since 2010.
There is a lot we could say in response, although to do it justice would require far more than the roughly 2,400 words it took the quartet of Guttmacher authors to state their case. In addition, we need to leave room to say a few words about Guttmacher’s take on the abortion case the Supreme Court is currently considering.
First, while Gold in particular will offer reporters sizzling explanations for what is (to Guttmacher) a parade of horribles, this report does not talk about the why. It lays out in great detail the thorough, ingenious manner in which pro-life legislators are hedging in the unbridled “right” to abortion. These laws are passing not only because there are a ton of pro-life elected state officials, but also because they resonate with most people.
Second, although obviously some regions of the country enact more provisions than other, it’s interesting that Guttmacher writes “Thirty-one states—spanning all regions of the country—enacted at least one abortion restriction during the last five years.” There is a ripple effect when pro-life laws are passed, not just in the individual state, but elsewhere.
And third (again to state the obvious), Gold, Rathbun, and Zohra Ansari-Thomas put the pro-abortion spin on everything. “This year,” they write, “will be remembered not only because 17 states enacted a total of 57 new abortion restrictions, but also because the politics of abortion ensnared family planning programs and providers as well as critical, life-saving fetal tissue research.”
“Ensnared family planning programs and providers”? See below.
Ensnared “critical, life-saving fetal tissue research”? Dr. David Prentice debunked that favorite pro-abortion canard.
Suffice it to say, as he told me in an interview,
Numerous claims, some ridiculously exaggerated and all unsupported, have been made about the scientific and medical benefits of human fetal tissue from abortions. One of the most egregious is contained in the consent forms for fetal tissue donation used by various Planned Parenthood clinics, for women about to undergo an abortion.
The forms state that “tissue that has been aborted has been used to treat and find a cure for such diseases as diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, and AIDS.” The statement is obviously false; fetal tissue transplants have been attempted since the 1920s, yet with largely dismal and sometimes catastrophic results for the patients.
Meanwhile, over 1.2 million patients have received adult stem cell transplants for dozens of conditions, and adult stem cells are considered the gold standard for patient transplants. The misleading Planned Parenthood statement was crafted to exert undue influence on a woman who may still be uncertain about moving forward with the procedure.
There is one other (among many) passages I’d like to hone in on. Guttmacher writes
2015 may also be memorable for setting the stage for what is widely anticipated to be one of the most significant Supreme Court rulings on abortion since 1992. In November, the Court agreed to hear a challenge to a Texas law requiring abortion providers to adhere to the standards set for ambulatory surgical centers and to have admitting privileges at a local hospital. At stake is the question of how far states may go in regulating abortion before their actions amount to an unconstitutional “undue burden” on women’s ability to access care. The Court will hear the case in March 2016, with a decision expected in June; it is still considering whether to review a Mississippi admitting-privileges law.
This is pretty much spot-on. To Guttmacher this is “ensnared family planning programs and providers,” but to us (and I believe most Americans) this is Texas passing commonsense laws to protect women.
Is it really “unnecessary” to require abortion clinics to meet building standards that states require of medical professionals who do much less controversial (and safer) procedures?
Abortionists shouldn’t follow the woman to the hospital for follow-up care when they botch an abortion, which requires that they have admitting privileges?
For all its shortcomings and biases, “Laws Affecting Reproductive Health and Rights: 2015 State Policy Review” is worth reading.