Abortion

Grant Blankenship / GPB

Plans for a clinic that would provide abortion access drew protest in Macon. 

About 150 anti-abortion protesters sang, prayed and held sometimes medically graphic posters outside the proposed location of a Summit Medical Center clinic in downtown Macon. Summit Medical Center operates a clinic in Atlanta and another in Detroit.

(AP Photo/David Goldman)

On this edition of Political Rewind, Governor Deal says he’ll support the legislative push to buy voting machines that leave a paper trail, but critics say the proposed fix won’t assure Georgians that their votes have been tallied accurately.  Also, a federal court has blocked a measure just signed into law that would make Mississippi’s abortion restrictions the toughest in the nation, and now one candidate for Georgia governor says he wants to take those laws and make them even tougher here.  Plus, a number of Democrats running for Georgia GOP congressional seats are pledging to vote again

For some Alabama voters, supporting abortion rights may be a sin worse than some of the sexual misdeeds Alabama GOP Senate nominee Roy Moore has been accused of — allegations Moore has denied.

That's the conundrum facing the state's conservative, deeply religious electorate: Embrace Democrat Doug Jones despite his liberal stance on abortion and other social issues or vote for Moore anyway even if they believe there is some truth to the sexual assault allegations against him.

There's a clinic that's right in Kelsey's town of Sioux Falls, S.D., that performs abortions, but she still drove hours away to get one.

Back in 2015, she was going through a difficult time — recently laid off, had to move suddenly, helping a close family member through some personal struggles — when she found out she was also pregnant.

"I kind of knew right away that this was just not the time or place to have a child. I mentally wasn't ready, financially wasn't ready," she says. "The whole situation really wasn't very good."

Dr. Graham Chelius has delivered hundreds of babies. But when a woman comes into his family medicine practice in Waimea, Hawaii, seeking an abortion, he can only advise her to buy a plane ticket.

"There are no abortion providers on our island," Chelius said, "so if one of my patients wants to end her pregnancy, she has to fly to a different island 150 miles away to get this care."

Sean Powers / On Second Thought

A new bill to keep the federal government funded through September does not include cuts to Planned Parenthood.

The Trump administration will withhold $32.5 million in funding that had been earmarked this current fiscal year for the United Nations' lead agency on family planning and maternal health, known as the United Nations Population Fund or UNFPA.

The administration says it's doing so because it has determined that UNFPA helps to support a Chinese government family planning program that forces people to get abortions and sterilizations. The U.N. agency says that is not the case.

A new Missouri law cuts off a line of funding to all organizations that provide abortions in the state, including hospitals.

For years, Missouri has helped low-income women pay for family planning under a Medicaid program called Extended Women's Health Services, which is funded by both the state and the federal governments.

The numbers, in several cases, are astounding. 350.org, a climate action group, saw donations almost triple in the month after Donald Trump's election. Since Trump's win, Planned Parenthood told NPR it's gained over 600,000 new donors and more than 36,000 new volunteers. And the American Civil Liberties Union has raised more than $80 million since Nov. 8.

Carafem

In the last year, a nonprofit abortion and birth control clinic on the East Coast has expanded its presence in the South by opening two clinics in Georgia. The group is called Carafem, and it’s also trying to reduce the stigma around abortion through an aggressive media campaign. We talked with Melissa Grant, who is Carafem's vice president of health services.

At a conference in Brussels on Thursday, more than a dozen nations and private funders pledged a combined total of $190 million for international family planning charities that stand to lose their U.S. support as a result of President Trump's Jan. 23 executive action to block U.S. foreign aid funding of groups linked to abortion.

Updated at 9:10 a.m. ET Sunday

Anti-abortion rights protesters gathered outside Planned Parenthood clinics across the country Saturday, in a series of rallies calling on politicians to end federal funding for the century-old organization. The activists planned to picket outside roughly 200 Planned Parenthood clinics — but at many of those locations, counterprotesters were there to meet them.

Eric Gay / The Associated Press

Abortion rights groups are keeping a close eye on Washington as President Trump vows to see the landmark Roe v. Wade decision overturned. Last week, he announced his choice to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Once more, the National Mall has swelled with demonstrators.

Just a week after President Trump's inauguration at the Capitol and six days after the Women's March on Washington, abortion-rights opponents were raising their voices in the nation's capital. The annual rally they call the March for Life attracted demonstrators from across the country Friday.

Marchers — many of them women — are descending on Washington, D.C., to send a message about abortion to the Trump administration and the Republican-led Congress.

If that sounds like déjà vu, it's not: What the organizers call the March for Life is a protest against legalized abortion, unlike the Women's March last week, which included support for abortion rights in its platform.

A different kind of march

It's President Donald Trump's first official act on the abortion issue. On Monday, the new president signed a presidential memorandum reinstating the "Mexico City" policy — barring U.S. aid from any group that provides or "promotes" abortion overseas. The policy dates to 1984, when Ronald Reagan unveiled it at a United Nations Conference in Mexico City. The Trump version is even broader than the incarnations that previous Republican presidents have adopted.

What does this mean in practice? To help make sense of it we've put together an FAQ.

David Goldman / Associated Press

A challenge to the state law that prohibits the abortion of a fetus after 20 weeks of pregnancy is scheduled to be heard by the Georgia Supreme Court on Monday.  The hearing will determine whether or not a lower court judge’s decision to dismiss the challenge was justified.

The law was passed by the Georgia General Assembly in 2012. It restricts abortions from being performed five months after conception, except when a fetus has a severe defect or the life and health of the mother is being protected. Cases of rape or incest are not considered exceptions.

What The Future Holds For Abortion Laws

Jan 18, 2017
We Are Woman / Foter

The abortion debate has been waged in the courts and in society for decades. It seeks to balance the rights of women seeking abortions against the rights of a fetus. One side believes in the sanctity of all life. The other side believes in reproductive freedom, that women should have control over their bodies. Is this a moral, ethical or legal question? Emory University Law Professor Michael Perry join us to discuss the law as it relates to reproductive rights.

How To Run An Abortion Clinic In A Conservative State

Jan 18, 2017
FreeVerse Photography / Foter

Nearly 96 percent of counties in the Midwest and South have no abortion provider, compared with 80 percent of counties in the rest of the country which have none. Those numbers come from the Trust Women clinic in Wichita, Kansas. It was founded in 2013--the only such clinic within a 200-mile radius. 

We talk with Trust Women CEO and Founder Julie Burkhart, who describes the challenges she faced opening two new clinics.

Sean Powers / On Second Thought

The U.S. Supreme Court decided Roe v. Wade 44 years ago this month. At the same time, it also ruled on a companion case from Georgia called Doe v. Bolton. This case was another challenge to states' abortion restrictions.

Before The Legal Fight For Abortion

Jan 18, 2017
The Associated Press

Nearly 44 years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court legalized getting an abortion with its Roe v. Wade decision. The battle over abortion rights goes back a long way in the United States, long before the landmark decision in 1973. There was a time in the 19th century when abortions during early pregnancy were legal according to common law. But by 1880, most states had passed anti-abortion laws.

The Debate Over Abortion Rights

Jan 18, 2017
American Life League / flickr

The debate over a woman’s right to an abortion is one issue that’s expected to take center stage with the incoming Trump administration. Donald Trump has picked Georgia Congressman Tom Price to head the Department of Health and Human Services. Price has long opposed abortion rights. For more on that side of the debate, we talk with two abortion critics: Emily Matson of Georgia Life Alliance and Ricardo Davis of Georgia Right to Life.

The abortion rate in the United States fell to its lowest level since the historic Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision legalized abortion nationwide, a new report finds.

The report by the Guttmacher Institute, a research group that supports legalized abortion, puts the rate at 14.6 abortions per 1,000 women of childbearing age (ages 15-44) in 2014. That's the lowest recorded rate since the Roe decision in 1973. The abortion rate has been declining for decades — down from a peak of 29.3 in 1980 and 1981.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich signed a 20-week gestation limit for abortions into law Tuesday, while separately vetoing a measure that would have banned abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detectable.

The so-called heartbeat bill, which Kasich rejected, was considered more vulnerable to legal challenge. Provisions of the measure would have essentially limited the period during which women could get an abortion to about six weeks, when many women don't even realize they're pregnant, reports the Associated Press.

Abortion rights groups filed suit Monday to stop the state of Texas from enacting a rule on Dec. 19 that requires fetal remains to be buried or cremated after miscarriages or abortions.

The lawsuit calls the rule "politically motivated" and says it aims to shame women.

Ohio's Legislature has passed a bill that would ban abortion once a fetal heartbeat can be detected, which is typically around six weeks after conception — before many women even realize they're pregnant.

The bill is now sitting on the governor's desk. John Kasich has 10 days to veto the measure; otherwise, it becomes law, reports NPR's Jennifer Ludden.

Jennifer notes that the bill does not include exceptions for rape or incest — the only exception would be if the life of the woman were in danger.

It's a policy battle that has been playing out over three decades.

In 1984, then-President Ronald Reagan imposed an anti-abortion rule — known as the "Mexico City policy" after the city where he announced it. The rule blocked federal funding for international family planning charities unless they agreed not to "promote" abortion by, among other actions, providing patients with information about the procedure or referrals to providers who perform it.

Delegates at the Republican convention in Cleveland have approved the strongest anti-abortion platform in the party's history. But groups that oppose abortion — groups that lobbied for the strong language — are far from unified.

In fact, following last month's Supreme Court decision reaffirming a woman's right to abortion, leaders of a movement known for speaking largely with one voice are showing some surprising disagreement.

How Hard Is It To Receive An Abortion in Georgia?

Jun 27, 2016
Brianne / Flickr

The U.S. Supreme Court struck down a Texas law Monday which would have made it more difficult for women to receive abortions in that state. While the decision is a victory for pro-choice advocates, various challenges still exist for women seeking abortions. 

Ro*Co Films/Abramorama

A case before the Supreme Court will determine whether a controversial Texas law places an undue burden on women who seek an abortion. Hundreds of these laws have been passed across the country. They're known collectively as "TRAP" laws, which stands for Targeted Regulations of Abortion Providers. A new documentary called “Trapped” is now playing at the Midtown Art Cinema in Atlanta and looks at how these laws have made it harder for abortion clinics in the South to keep their doors open.