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ABORTION


Abortion refers to the physical act of purging, either by choice or accident, of a human fetus from a woman's womb. Abortion is a highly explosive subject, as it touches on two of the fundamental tenets of modern civilization; an individual's right to live and an individual's right to decide, or free will.

It represents a volatile mixture of morality, ethics, enlightened jurisprudence, individual rights, personal choice and religion.

FAST FACTS ON ABORTION

♦ The Center For Disease Control (CDC, Department of Health) is the federal overseeing body for abortions.
♦ An estimated 1.3 million abortions are performed annually (or approximately two and a half abortions every minute).
♦ 65% of abortions in the country are performed on unwed women.
♦ One fifth (19.3 percent) of all pregnancies ends with induced abortions.

The conflict over abortion is divided into two camps; the pro-life and the pro-choice.

Pro-life supporters essentially reject the idea of abortion based on religious, moral and ethical grounds. They seek to overturn the landmark 1973 Supreme Court decision in the case of Roe v. Wade, which they blame for the approximately 53 million cases of abortions since.

The ruling is seen by many pro-life advocates as extra-constitutional, and is a classic display of judicial activism that ignores the spirit of the law and the rights of an unborn child.

Pro-choice proponents meanwhile are unequivocally against the idea of any government involvement or influence in what they consider as ultimately, a woman's choice to make. They reject attempts to narrow down the issue to a single factor, ignoring the numerous extenuating circumstances surrounding the issue.

CENTRAL ISSUES


Pro-Life
The rights of the unborn

Pro-choice
The rights of the mother

Federal ban on abortions
The 30-year debate witnessed a renewed interest in 2010 following allegations by Republicans and pro-life groups that President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act will open the floodgates for indirect government funding of abortions. A bi-partisan "No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act" (H.R. 3), legislation was introduced by Rep. Chris Smith (R-New Jersey) and Dan Lipinski (D-Illinois) in the House of Representative in May 2011. The bill sought to permanently prevent federal funds from being used for abortions or on any related expenditures or insurance coverage. The bill passed the House on May 4, 2011, but it has not been tabled in the Senate following strong opposition over the text used to describe the act of rape.

Adoption

Adoption, the third alternative, is mainly espoused by pro-life advocates, who argue of its more humane approach in dealing with the subject of unwanted babies. Pro-choice supporters, while not rejecting the idea outright, contends that adoption causes the same, if not higher, level of emotional trauma to mothers. There is also the question of economic pressures faced by expectant mothers, raising the specter of legalized human trafficking. In addition, the national adoption rate, while comparatively higher than most developed countries, are still extremely low, averaging at about 3% of live births annually.

Roe v. Wade

Roe v. Wade (410 U.S. 113 / 1973) is a historic and still controversial ruling made by the United States Supreme Court on January 22, 1973. In its judgment, the Court ruled that a woman, based on the Ninth and Fourteenth Amendment, has the legitimate right to abort her pregnancy. In addition, the Court also ruled that a human fetus only possesses the potential for life, and thus, cannot be considered as an individual, and consequently, denies it any constitutional rights.

The case was initially filed in Texas by one Norma McCorvey against the DA of Dallas County, Texas, Henry B. Wade, in March 1970. The Texan Court ruled in favor of the defendants and declared abortion illegal, a decision that was subsequently overturned by the Supreme Court less than three years later.

Parental notification

Parental notification law requires underage mothers to seek the consent of their parents or guardians for any abortion-related procedures. Proponents argue that this ensures the involvement of an adult in the decision-making process. Critics, however, feel that the presence of trained medical personnel negates the argument and believes that such measures merely alienate and frequently cause additional mental distress to minors. It may even deter minors from approaching accredited facilities. Parental notification law is currently in force in 41 states in the country.

Parental Consent

Parental consent law takes the process of notification a step further by requiring the permission of parents or guardians to be obtained prior to any abortion-related procedures. Currently, 23 states require parental consent for any procedures involving minors.

Spousal Consent (A Father’s Right)

The question of whether a biological father has the right to share in the decision making process appeared to be settled in the aftermath of the 1992 case between the Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey (505 U.S. 833). The Supreme Court found in the favor of the plaintiffs and ruled that the five provisions of the Pennsylvania Abortion Control Act, one of which was the spousal consent clause, were unconstitutional.

Planned Parenthood

The Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) is one of the nation's biggest health care providers for reproductive issues, with over 800 affiliated health centers spread over fifty states and the District of Columbia. It receives federal funding under the Federal Family Planning program. Planned Parenthood also happens to be the biggest health service provider for assisted abortions in the United States, accounting for approximately a quarter of all abortions annually.

For the past three decades, pro-life activists and Republican legislators have attempted to defund the organization, as they believe that federal funding provides Planned Parenthood with the freedom to focus their internal resources to assisted-abortion services.

Supporters of Planned Parenthood point out that the organization plays a crucial role in the country's sexual and reproductive health care services as 76% of their clients are living under the poverty level. Moreover, Planned Parenthood's education programs and contraceptive services prevent unintended pregnancies for at least half a million American women annually.

Embryonic stem cell research

Embryonic stem cells are cells derived from pluripotent embryonic stem cells (ES) originating from human blastocysts found in adult bone marrows, human embryos and umbilical cords. Scientists hope to eventually harness the technology for use in human transplantation therapy involving the nervous system, organs and appendages.

However, bone marrow stem cell extraction carries a high probability of permanent ancillary and second level damage, besides being of lower stem cell content. There are fears that the pharmaceutical industry, opportunists and middle men would leverage the current standoff in the debate over abortion to their advantage in the form of a rich and cheap source of stem cells from aborted fetuses.






 

 

2012 Republican Presidential Nominee
Former Governor of Massachusetts

Mitt Romney

Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney

Romney Position on Abortion

Pro-Life

Romney previously supported a woman’s right to decide, but he is now adamantly opposed to abortions, unless it involves cases of rape, incest or if the mother’s life is in mortal danger.

During the 1994 Massachusetts senatorial debate against the incumbent Senator Edward M. Kennedy, Romney explained that he does not belief in imposing his personal beliefs unto others, and that, as a result of the death of a relative from an illegal abortion issue, his family has supported Roe V. Wade since 1970, and the right of a woman to choose. In 2007, Gov. Romney subsequently explained in an interview with USA TODAY that he no longer feels the same about the issue, and cites his earlier position as wrong.


Ms. Sally Jacobs: If abortion is morally wrong, aren’t you responsible for discouraging it?

Gov. Romney: One of the great things about our nation, Sally, is that we're each entitled to have strong personal beliefs, and we encourage other people to do the same. But as a nation, we recognize the right of all people to believe as they want, and not to impose our beliefs on other people.

I believe that abortion should be safe and legal in this country. I have since the time that my mom took that position when she ran in 1970 as a US Senate candidate. I believe that since Roe v. Wade has been the law for 20 years, that we should sustain and support it, and I sustain and support that law, and the right of a woman to make that choice. And my personal beliefs, like the personal beliefs of other people, should not be brought into a political campaign. Too much has been written about religion in this race. I’m proud of my religious heritage. I’m proud of the values it has taught me, but if you want to know my position on issues, ask me, and I’ll tell you. I think the low point of this race was when my opponent and their family decided to make religion an issue in this campaign – brought it out, attacked me for it. I think that’s a mistake, I think the time has passed for that. John Kennedy was the one who fought that battle, but that battle lives for all of us of all faiths.

Senator Edward Kennedy: I would agree with Mr. Romney that religion has no place in this campaign and the best way to make sure that it doesn’t, is not to talk any further about it, and I don’t intend to do so. On the question of the choice issue, I have supported the Roe v. Wade, I am pro-choice - my opponent is multiple choice. I have not only introduced, introduced, the freedom of choice legislation, but I’ve fought for Roe and saw it successfully pass. The clinic access bill that will permit women to be able to practice their constitutional rights in selection of abortion. And I’ve also led the fight against judges in the Supreme Court of the United States that refuse to permit a woman’s right to choose.

Moderator (Mr. Ken Bode): Senator, time’s up.

Gov. Romney: Ken, on multiple choice, I gotta…

Mr. Ken Bode: Mr. Romney, you have fifteen seconds to rebut…

Gov. Romney: On the idea of multiple-choice I have to respond. I have my own beliefs, and those beliefs are very dear to me. One of them is that I do not impose my beliefs on other people. Many, many years ago, I had a dear, close family relative, that was very close to me who passed away from an illegal abortion. It is since that time my mother and my family have been committed to the belief that we can believe as we want, but we will not force our beliefs on others on that matter. And you will not see me wavering on that, or being multiple-choice, thank you very much."


October 25, 1994: The Boston Globe/Herald Massachusetts Senate Debate between Senator Edward Kennedy and Gov. Mitt Romney

Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney is all too aware of that dichotomy. In 1994, when he challenged Democratic Sen. Edward Kennedy, Romney said he supported the abortion rights recognized in Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision.

In 2002, when Romney ran for governor, he said he wouldn't seek to change abortion laws in Massachusetts, where most voters support abortion rights.

Now Romney, a potential presidential candidate in 2008, said in an interview that his views have changed over time.

“Understand over time one's perspective changes somewhat," he said. "I'm in a different place than I was probably in 1994, when I ran against Ted Kennedy, in my own views on that."

Massachusetts state Rep. James Vallee, a Democratic committee chairman who has worked with Romney on criminal justice issues, says the governor "is obviously trying to go a little bit to the right" as he weighs a bid for president.

What are Romney's views now? The governor said he was "personally pro-life" but declined to say more. "I choose not to elaborate on those because I don't want to be confusing to people in my state," he said
May 23, 2005: What’s a governor like you doing in a state like this? (by Susan Page, USA TODAY)


“I am pro-life. I believe that abortion is the wrong choice except in cases of incest, rape, and to save the life of the mother.”
July 26, 2005, Boston Globe, Why I vetoed contraception bill


Federal ban on abortions
No. Romney favors state level legislation.
“But while the nation remains so divided over abortion, I believe that the states, through the democratic process, should determine their own abortion laws and not have them dictated by judicial mandate.”
July 26, 2005, Boston Globe, Why I vetoed contraception bill

Adoption
In favour.


Roe v. Wade
Favors a repeal
“I'd like to see Roe v. Wade overturned and allow the states and the elected representatives of the people, and the people themselves, have the ability to put in place pro-life legislation.”
5 June 2007, Republican Presidential Debate (Manchester, New Hampshire)

Parental Consent
Agrees.
"Furthermore, this legislation would make the morning-after pill available to young girls without any restrictions on age... this bill undermines the state's parental consent laws and represents a departure from the public consensus that minor children should not act without parental involvement in these matters."
Romney explaining his decision to veto the Contraceptive Bill
July 26, 2005, Boston Globe

Planned Parenthood
Despite revelations that Romney attended a Planned Parenthood fundraiser in 2004 and his wife Ann, gave a $150 donation, Romney has been on record supporting moves aimed at de-funding the organization.
"Mitt Romney supports the Pence amendment," Eric Fehrnstrom (Romey’s spokesman), 3 April 2011. The Pence Amendment is sponsored by Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN) aimed at eliminating all Title X grants for Planned Parenthood.

Embryonic stem cell research
Not in favor.
“Altered nuclear transfer creates embryo-like cells that can be used for stem cell research ... I have a deep concern about curing disease. I have a wife that has a serious disease that could be affected by stem cell research and others. But I will not create new embryos through cloning or through embryo farming, because that will be creating life for the purpose of destroying it.”
3 May 2007, GOP primary debate, Simi Valley California

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2012 Republican Vice-Presidential Nominee
U.S. Representative from Wisconsin

Paul Ryan

Presidential Candidate Paul Ryan

Ryan Position on Abortion

Pro-Life

Ryan, by his own admission, is “as pro-life as a person gets.” He believes that life begins at conception, and a fetus has the right and privileges of personhood and constitutional protection, and would only consider abortion if it were judged necessary to save the mother’s life. He has a perfect record of voting in favor of pro-life legislations in Congress.

“I’m as pro-life as a person gets… You’re not going to have a truce. Judges are going to come up. Issues come up, they’re unavoidable, and I’m never going to not vote pro-life.”
Jul 19, 2010: Paul Ryan Rules Out 2012 Presidential Run, Talks Up Mitch Daniels, The Weekly Standard

On May 7, 2003, Ryan co-sponsored the H.R. 1997 (Unborn Victims of Violence Act of 2004 or Laci and Conner's Law), which sought to “protect unborn children from assault and murder.” The bill also noted that “the term ‘unborn child’ means a child in utero, and the term ‘child in utero’ or ‘child, who is in utero’ means a member of the species homo sapiens, at any stage of development, who is carried in the womb.’’
Few issues evoke as much passion in America as the debate over abortion. For those that believe life does not begin at conception, the issue is that of a woman’s right to choose. For those that believe life does begin at conception, the issue is that of a human’s right to life. In Wisconsin and Washington, relatively minor attention has been given to major debates and decisions on the abortion question.

I support the rights of the unborn child. Personally, I believe that life begins at conception, and it is for that reason that I feel we need to protect that life as we would protect other children...
… I remain committed to restoring the value of human life and fighting for the rights of the unborn... Most importantly, we must ensure that the most vulnerable among us – both unborn children and mothers struggling with unplanned pregnancies – are afforded the compassion and opportunities they need to choose life.
February 4, 2009: No Retreat in Defense of Life by Paul Ryan, published in The Journal Times


Roe v. Wade

Ryan favors the repeal of Roe v. Wade, and maintains that the Supreme Court had erred in their decision, arguing that it “has failed so drastically in making this crucial determination.
Yet, identifying who “qualifies” as a human being has historically proved to be more difficult than the above examples suggest. Twice in the past the U.S. Supreme Court—charged with being the guardian of rights—has failed so drastically in making this crucial determination that it “disqualified” a whole category of human beings, with profoundly tragic results.

The first time was in the 1857 case, Dred Scott v. Sandford. The Court held, absurdly, that Africans and their American descendants, whether slave or free, could not be citizens with a right to go to court to enforce contracts or rights or for any other reason. Why? Because “among the whole human race,” the Court declared, “the enslaved African race were not intended to be included…[T]hey had no rights which the white man was bound to respect.” In other words, persons of African origin did not “qualify” as human beings for purposes of protecting their natural rights. It was held that, since the white man did not recognize them as having such rights, they didn’t have them. The implication was that Africans were property—things that white persons could choose to buy and sell. In contrast, whites did “qualify,” so government protected their natural rights.

Every person in this country was wounded the day this dreadful opinion was handed down by this nation’s highest tribunal. It made a mockery of the American idea that human equality and rights were given by God and recognized by government, not constructed by governments or ethnic groups by consensus vote. The abhorrent decision directly led to terrible bloodshed and opened up a racial gap that has never been completely overcome. The second time the Court failed in a case regarding the definition of “human” was in Roe v. Wade in 1973, when the Supreme Court made virtually the identical mistake. At what point in time does a human being exist, the state of Texas asked. The Court refused to answer: “We need not resolve the difficult question of when life begins. When those trained in the respective disciplines of medicine, philosophy, and theology are unable to arrive at any consensus, the judiciary, at this point in the development of man’s knowledge, is not in a position to speculate as to the answer.” In other words, the Court would not “qualify” unborn children as living persons whose human rights must be guaranteed.

Since the Court decided there was no “consensus” on when fetuses become human persons, it struck down abortion restrictions in all 50 states that thought they had reached a “consensus.” Only those already born “qualified” for protection. Moreover, the already born were empowered to deny, at will, the rights of persons still in the womb. The Court did not say that, given the lack of consensus, the matter ought to be left to the states. It did not choose to err on the side of caution, since human lives might be at stake. Nor did it choose not to rule on the matter. These options would seem to be rational courses in light of the Court’s stated agnosticism. Instead, the Court used the lack of consensus to justify prohibiting states from protecting the life of the unborn.

Like the Dred Scott decision, this opinion has wounded America and solved nothing. It has set good people on all sides against each other, fueled a culture war, split churches, soured politics, and greatly strained civil dialogue. A recent Gallup poll showed that 51 percent of Americans consider themselves pro-life, 42 percent are pro-choice, and 7 percent not sure.

September 20, 2010: The Cause of Life Can’t be Severed from the Cause of Freedom by Paul Ryan, published in Indivisible: Restoring Faith, Family, and Freedom Before It's Too Late


Parental notification and Consent

Rep. Ryan is strictly in favor of parental notification and consent. He voted in favor of an amendment to the Child Custody Protection Act S. 403 (Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act), which sought to:

• Amend the federal criminal code to prohibit transporting a minor child across a state line to obtain an abortion – unless the abortion is deemed necessary to save the life of the minor.

• Make it an affirmative defense to a prosecution or civil action under this Act that a defendant: (1) reasonably believed that before the minor obtained the abortion, the required parental consent or notification or judicial authorization took place; or (2) was presented with documentation showing that a court waived parental notification requirements or authorized the minor's abortion.

• Authorize any parent who suffers harm from a violation of this Act to seek relief in a civil action unless such parent committed an act of incest with the minor.
Define "abortion" as the termination of a pregnancy with an intention other than to increase the probability of a live birth, preserve the life or health of the child after live birth, remove a dead unborn child who died as the result of a spontaneous abortion, accidental trauma, or a criminal assault on the pregnant female or her unborn child.
Define "parent" to include a guardian, legal custodian, or person standing in loco parentis.

• Imposes a fine and/or prison term of up to one year on a physician who performs or induces an abortion on an out-of-state minor in violation of parental notification requirements.

• Require such physician to give 24-hour actual or constructive notice to a parent of the minor seeking an abortion (exclusion applies).


Planned Parenthood

Ryan is firmly opposed to federal funding for abortions. He voted in favor of the H. Con. Res. 36, which sought to cut off federal Medicare funds to Planned Parenthood for elective abortion-related procedures. Ryan also voted in favor of the H.R.1 (The Pence Amendment), which sought to prohibit any federal funds, from any program, from going to the Planned Parenthood or its 102 affiliates.

In addition, Ryan is also opposed to compelling pro-life health care providers to perform elective abortion-related procedures on their patients. Further, Ryan believes that foreign aid should never be used to finance abortion.

Concerns have been raised with respect to an ongoing debate at a University of Wisconsin health center in Madison. Some UW Health officials are seeking to clear the way for second-trimester abortions to be performed at the Madison Surgery Center. Acknowledging the divisiveness of this issue, many on both sides agree that those morally opposed should not be forced to contribute to what they believe is the ending of a human life For federally-funded health care facilities, federal law protects the conscience rights of physicians and health care professionals.

Along with my colleague Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner from Menomonee Falls, I have written to the UW Hospitals and Clinics (UWHC) expressing my concerns with the impact on pro-life employees should the Madison Surgery Center begin performing second-trimester abortions. Pressure should never be placed on pro-life health care providers to perform what they believe to be morally wrong. The UWHC Authority Board is scheduled to meet this week on the proposed abortion clinic, and many pro-life Wisconsinites will be paying close attention.

In a similar vein, I believe that pro-life taxpayers should not be forced to fund abortions. On January 23, 2009, three days after taking the oath of office and one day after the 36th Anniversary of Roe v. Wade, President Obama cleared the way for your tax dollars to fund overseas abortions. In one of his first executive orders, Obama reversed a long-standing policy (the so-called “Mexico City policy") that prohibited U.S. tax dollars from funding abortions overseas.

I believe that U.S. foreign aid should be used to promote and protect life – not finance abortion. In addition to the flagrant disrespect for the rights of the unborn, this decision also offends the deeply held beliefs of millions of pro-life taxpayers. While ensuring that provisions that promote abortions are excluded, I will continue to support efforts to efficiently and effectively allocate resources to help confront the grave public health emergencies that grip many parts of our world.

February 4, 2009: No Retreat in Defense of Life by Paul Ryan, published in The Journal Times


Embryonic stem cell research

Ryan is not opposed to embryonic stem cell research using stem cell lines which did not originate from human embryos, but he is not entirely in favor of expanding federal funding for stem cell research.

In 2005, Ryan voted against the H.R. 810, Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act of 2005, which sought to amend the Public Health Service Act to compel the federal government to conduct and support research that utilizes human embryonic stem cells, regardless of the date on which the stem cells were derived from a human embryo, provided such embryos:

(1) have been donated from in vitro fertilization clinics;
(2) were created for the purposes of fertility treatment;
(3) were in excess of the needs of the individuals seeking such treatment and would never be implanted in a woman and would otherwise be discarded (as determined in consultation with the individuals seeking fertility treatment);
(4) were donated by such individuals with written informed consent and without any financial or other inducements.

Ryan voted in favor of H.R.534 Latest Title: Human Cloning Prohibition Act of 2003. The bill had sought to amends the federal criminal code to prohibit anyone from knowingly performing or attempting to perform human cloning or receiving an embryo produced by human cloning or any product derived from such embryo. Offenders could face penalties ranging from a $1,000,000 fine or imprisonment of not more than 10 years – or both.


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Declared 2012 Republican Presidential Candidate


Kathyern Lane

Presidential Candidate Kathyern Lane

Lane Position on Abortion

Kathyern is against any form of abortion.

Religiously, she believes that abortion is murder and is therefore, wrong. The country does not discriminate against gender - except on matters involving abortion! For instance, if a woman decides to terminate a pregnancy, it is called a “choice," and is not punishable under the law. However, if the father terminates the pregnancy by force, it is considered murder. So which is it? We can’t have it both ways. Termination of a life is murder, and the taxpayer money should never be used for this.

Lane also opposes abortion for the psychological damage it causes women.

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Declared 2012 Republican Presidential Candidate
U.S. Representative from the State of Texas

Ron Paul

Presidential Candidate Ron Paul

Paul Position on Abortion

Pro-Life
I am strongly pro-life
27 October 1999, providing for consideration of House Resolution 2260, Pain Relief Promotion Act of 1999 to accompany House Resolution 339

”I believe beyond a doubt that a fetus is a human life deserving of legal protection, and that the right to life is the foundation of any moral society.”
March 29, 2005, LewRockwell.com (Pro-Life Politics?)

Federal ban on abortions
The federal government should not play any role in the abortion issue, according to the Constitution. Apart from waiting forever for Supreme Court justices who rule in accordance with the Constitution, Americans do have some legislative recourse. Article III, Section 2 of the Constitution gives Congress the power to strip the federal courts of jurisdiction over a broad categories of cases".
1 April 2008, The Revolution: A Manifesto (Page 60)

Under the 9th and 10th amendments, all authority over matters not specifically addressed in the Constitution remains with state legislatures. Therefore the federal government has no authority whatsoever to involve itself in the abortion issue. So while Roe v. Wade is invalid, a federal law banning abortion across all 50 states would be equally invalid.
31 January 2006, LewRockwell.com (Federalizing Social Policy)

Roe v. Wade
“Although the real problem lies within the hearts and minds of the people,the legal problems of protecting life stem from the ill-advised Roe v. Wade ruling, a ruling that constitutionally should never have occurred ... Roe v. Wade was wrongly decided, but not because the Supreme Court presumed to legalize abortion rather than ban it. Roe was wrongly decided because abortion simply is not a constitutional issue.”
Speaking to the House on 24 July 2002, on the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban
(Congressional Record, V. 149, Pt. 10, May 22, 2003 to June 9, 2003)

Planned Parenthood
Voted in favor of the Pence Amendment (H.R 217, amendment of the Public Health Service Act), which is a bill designed to ban all federal funding for Planned Parenthood and eliminating the fiercely criticized Title X program), 18 February 2011

Embryonic stem cell research
Qualified yes
"to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to provide credits against income tax for qualified stem cell research, the storage of qualified stem cells, and the donation of umbilical cord blood."
Paul sponsored the Cures Can Be Found Act of 2007 (H.R. 457; H.R. 3444 in 2005) to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to provide tax credits for qualified stem-cell research or storage and for donation of umbilical cord blood.(19 Mar 2009)


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Declared 2012 Republican Presidential Candidate


Matt Snyder

Presidential Candidate Matt Snyder

Snyder Position on Abortion

"Can’t think of one reason to kill an unborn child."


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Declared 2012 Republican Presidential Candidate
Businessman

Vern Wuensche

Presidential Candidate Vern Wuensche

Wuensche Position on Abortion

• Vern Wuensche believes that abortion and particularly partial birth abortion should be banned.

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