Abortion Pills, Prayer, and *NSYNC

Abortion Pills, Prayer, and *NSYNC: Inside Anti-Abortion Activists’ Weekend of Celebrating and Pleading

Carter Sherman for VICE News reports on the recent National Pro-Life Summit, which is the largest annual anti-abortion gathering in the country. Several organizations, such as ADF and Students for Life, hosted training sessions to prepare young anti-abortion activists for the post-Roe battle. Sherman underscores that the movement is struggling to agree on what it should tackle next. Currently, there are at least 13 states that ban most abortions, but pro-lifers lost all 6 state referendums on abortion in the midterms, including in red states like Kansas and Kentucky. Anti-abortion supporters discussed about a dozen different ways to limit abortion further. A main focus was to thwart the accessibility of abortion-inducing pills, which accounted for more than half of all U.S. abortions in 2020, and the FDA recently made easier for pharmacies to dispense. PRRI research finds that about two-thirds of Americans (68%) oppose laws that would make it illegal to use or receive through the mail Food and Drug Administration-approved drugs for a medical abortion.


What Gun Control Studies Tell Us About How To Stop Violence

Matthew Rozsa for Salon reports on two back-to-back shootings in California cities, that he describes as an “attestation that the depressing American trend of gun-related violence is far from over.” An analysis by The Los Angeles Times found that shootings are becoming more deadly, in addition to becoming more frequent. Rozsa notes that as gun rights supporters point out, the studies which analyze firearm control legislation by their nature study correlation rather than causation. According to the RAND Corporation, studies prove a correlation between lowered violent crime rates and laws like mandatory waiting periods and imposing child-access prevention laws. Conversely, concealed-carry laws and stand-your-ground laws were both linked to increased rates of violent crime. Dr. Eric Fleegler, who has written about firearms legislation and teaches pediatrics and emergency medicine at Harvard Medical School, notes that “smart guns” have been available outside of the U.S. for 20 years, using technology that recognizes fingerprints or RFIDs that recognize a bracelet or ring of an authorized used. “Guns are the only commercially available good sold in the US that is not regulated for safety and that is a travesty,” Fleeger stated.


Brett Kavanaugh Documentary Raises Questions About FBI Actions During Probe

Giulia Carbonaro for Newsweek reports on Doug Liman’s “Justice,” which premiered at Sundance last week after a last-minute addition into the festival’s program. The secretly-made documentary examines the sexual misconduct allegations against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. The film investigates the FBI’s findings of Kavanaugh, and focuses on the testimony of Deborah Ramirez, one of his accusers. Another former Yale classmate, Max Stier, told FBI investigators and senators about a different incident of sexual misconduct he witnessed, but said no one ever never followed up with him. Carbonaro writes that in 2019 The New York Times and The Los Angeles Times detailed how the White House and Senate Republicans ordered the FBI to limit its investigations into Kavanaugh. In a letter to U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland, the organization Free Speech for People writes that the film “reveals disturbing new evidence” including text messages in which a mutual friend referred to his defense of Kavanaugh as “a cover-up.” PRRI researchfrom 2018, during Kavanaugh’s hearings, found that 41% of Republican men believe false accusations of sexual assault or harassment are a bigger problem than unreported or disbelieved experiences.


An Epidemic Among My People: Religion, Politics, and COVID-19 in the United States

An Epidemic among My People is a newly released book, edited by PRRI Affiliated Scholar Paul A. Djupe and Amanda Friesen, that examines the interaction between religion, politics and COVID-19 in the United States. According to PRRI President and Founder, Robert P. Jones who wrote the book’s forward, “this volume promises to be the benchmark against which future analyses of religion, culture and politics in this critical time in our nation’s history are measured.” The book features chapters by PRRI’s Dr. Diana Orcés, Ian Huff and Dr. Natalie Jackson, which considers the connection between religious thinking and conspiracy thinking about COVID-19’s origins. PRRI CEO Melissa Deckman writes with Dr. Stella Rouse, PRRI Board member and Professor of Government at the University of Maryland about the role of religion in shaping attitudes about COVID-19 among Generation Z. PRRI Board Member Andrew Whitehead, writing along with Samuel Perry and Joshua B, Grubbs, finds that Christian nationalism is strongly linked to understanding Americans’ responses to the Covid-19 pandemic. The book can be purchased here.


What’s Buzzing?

Read PRRI’s report “Are Immigrants a Threat? Most Americans Don’t Think So, but Those Receptive to the “Threat” Narrative Are Predictably More Anti-immigrant” here.