On July 20, 2017, The Heritage Foundation published the fourth installment of its annual Index of Culture and Opportunity (“Index”). The Index is an exercise in civil society that tracks and analyzes data that affects freedom and opportunity. Heritage writers explore three indicators: (1) cultural indicators, (2) poverty and dependence indicators, and (3) general opportunity indicators. Among the cultural indicators, Heritage analyzes America’s abortion rate.
Pregnancy help centers (PHCs) have won a victory in their struggle against oppressive regulations.
At issue is a 2016 Illinois law regulating physicians and other health care personnel. Plaintiffs, including the National Institute of Family and Life Advocates (NIFLA), challenged the law, arguing, in the words of a federal district court, that it “compels [PHCs] to tell pregnant women the names of other doctors they believe offer abortions, and compels them to tell pregnant women that abortion has ‘benefits’ and is a ‘treatment option’ for pregnancy.”
Proponents of assisted suicide often dismiss “slippery slope” arguments on the grounds that proper safeguards will assure that assisted suicide will not devolve into euthanasia, either voluntary or not.
Earlier this year, for example, Hawaii became another of several states to consider legislation to legalize assisted suicide (the effort failed). During debate, one lawmaker who supported the bill dismissed concerns over where legalization might lead, saying “the inclusion of protections, such as euthanasia bans, helps allay the fears of critics who worry about the ‘slippery slope.’”
Oregon lawmakers have passed a bill that would force health benefit plans offered in the state to provide coverage for abortion and voluntary sterilization.
The bill, known as HB 3391, also would require health benefit plans to cover any contraceptive drug, device, or product approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. As this Lozier paper explains, some contraceptives can also cause abortions.
State abortion reporting provides a valuable perspective on abortion trends throughout the country. In particular, the Commonwealth of Virginia’s most recent report of abortion by facility, released by the Virginia Department of Health with data for 2015, offers a helpful overview of the numbers of abortions performed by each facility in the state. As Planned Parenthood fights for continued federal funding by insisting that abortion plays only a small part in its total health care services, Virginia’s information is especially relevant.
Oklahoma’s annual abortion report serves as proof that state abortion reports can be both comprehensive and timely. Out of the 43 states that publish annual abortion reports, Oklahoma is one of only nine to have published its 2016 annual report by June of 2017. At the same time, Oklahoma’s 40-page report on abortion remains one of the most exhaustive in the nation.
“My biggest issue is this: a parent is a caregiver and then of course the health professionals are the caregivers, but you know, who gets the final say?”
-Mother whose daughter has osteosarcoma
This essential question was posed by the mother of one of 33 children living with chronic conditions whose parents I interviewed for my recently published study in the current issue of Health Communication. The study is titled, “You know the medicine, I know my kid”: How parents advocate for their children living with complex chronic conditions.