3.30.19 Abortion Debate Heats Up Around the Country

This week, the Chicago Catholic Archdiocese, Cardinal Blase Cupich, spoke out against two abortion-related bills proposed to the Illinois Senate. The first bill aims to end the practice of minors needing judge’s approval for an abortion if the minor does not have parental consent. The other would repeal a provision — already blocked in court — that provides for criminal penalties for doctors providing abortion care to patients, Tina Sfondeles writes in the Chicago Sun-Times. Cupich stated the proposed law are “an attack on human dignity.” Cupich posted a formal letter throughout Chicago churches, in attempts to drum up support against the bill. “As citizens of a state and people of faith who care about the common good, I urge you to join me and my brother bishops in an effort to defeat this radical departure from current law and practice in our state,” Cupich wrote. Reproductive health and abortion bills have gained popular attention by Illinois lawmakers for several years. In 2017, former Governor Bruce Rauner signed House Bill 40, which ensures abortion remains legal in Illinois, even if the U.S. Supreme Court overturns Roe V. WadePRRI polling from 2018 shows that 56 percent of Americans believe that Roe v. Wade was correctly decided and should be upheld. That same survey shows that 41 percent of Americans believe that abortion is a critical issue, up from 31 percent in 2014. 
Elsewhere around the nation, commercials for “Unplanned” an anti-abortion drama have been rejected by all prominent TV networks, other than the Fox News Channel. The R-rated film tells the true story of Abby Johnson, a former Planned Parenthood employee, later turned pro-life activist. “The claims in this film are simply false,” Planned Parenthood said in a statement.“Planned Parenthood is proud to provide expert, high-quality health care to our patients, including safe and legal abortion, in a safe and compassionate environment. The movie promotes many falsehoods including most importantly, distortions and incorrect depictions about healthcare.” A 2018 PRRI survey shows just how divided the nation is on abortion. Nearly three-quarters (73 percent) of Democrats believe abortion should be legal in all or most cases, compared to less than one-quarter (23 percent) who believe it should be illegal. Conversely, a majority (57 percent) of Republicans believe it should be illegal in all or most cases, while 40 percent say it should be legal. 

In The New York Times, Michelle Goldberg looks at just how divided the parties have become on the issue, following the passing of laws in several states that would ban abortion after a baby was six weeks old. “As Roe is weakened, conservative states are becoming more conservative, liberal states more liberal. Mutual antagonism is increasing around abortion, as it is around nearly everything else. If Roe is overturned altogether, it won’t just be a disaster for women’s health care and autonomy. It will further rip America apart.” She continues.“Seeing Roe endangered, the anti-abortion movement has become more legislatively audacious.”