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Winter 2006/07: Table of Contents
Volume XXVII — No. 4

 = Article available online



C Prevention Drives Today's Prochoice Agenda

After decades on the defensive, prochoice leaders decide that searching for common ground is better than losing ground

When Senator Hillary Clinton, a longtime supporter of abortion rights,
marked the anniversary of Roe v. Wade in January 2005 by suggesting that abortion was a “sad, even tragic choice” and that it was time to seek “common ground” with opponents, the prochoice community responded with a collective gasp. Less than two years later, other Democratic lawmakers and prochoice leaders aren’t
gasping at all; in fact, they are saying much the same thing as Clinton.

Jodi Enda

C Should Abortion Be Prevented?

The president of CFFC questions whether we should do more to prevent the need for abortion

If abortion is a morally neutral act and does not endanger women’s health, why bother to prevent the need for it? After all, the cost of a first-trimester abortion is comparable to the cost of a year’s supply of birth control pills—and abortion has fewer complications and less medical risk for women than some of the most effective methods of contraception. This question has plagued advocates of choice since abortion was legalized. It has intensified in the face of antiabortion moralism about sex and responsibility, in the continued stigmatization of women who have abortions and in the increasingly expressed mantra that “there are simply too many abortions in the U.S.”

Frances Kissling

Reducing Unintended Pregnancy in the United States

Is it an attainable goal?

Just under half of all pregnancies in the United States are unintended. There were more than 3 million such pregnancies in 2001, according to a recent study in Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health. Seven years earlier, these statistics had been the same. One of every two women aged 15 to 44 in the United States has experienced at least one unintended pregnancy. What is responsible for the high incidence of unintended pregnancy, and what can be done to reduce it?

James Trussell and Lisa Wynn

Prevention, and support for New Parents, Will Reduce the Abortion Rate

There are few issues in the political realm more difficult, with greater moral complexity, than that of abortion. For some, it is a choice between protecting the life of unborn children; for others, it is about protecting women’s capacity—not government’s—to choose what is best for themselves and their families, regardless of social or economic circumstances. To many observers, the battle over abortion rights must seem one of competing absolutes. And unfortunately, the issue has played out that way politically, with fewer issues more contentious and divisive than abortion. You can see why some would choose not to engage or even attempt to forge consensus on such a difficult issue.

Rosa L. DeLauro

Opinion: Some Messages Can't Be Messaged

Communications and “messaging” play a larger part in politics and social policy than at any time in history. In the U.K., as in the U.S., it seems that policymakers spend more time trying to work out how to “sell” initiatives to the public than assessing how effective they would be if they were adopted. “Will it win support?” seems more important than “Is it true?” or “Will it work?” Naturally, this affects and frames the abortion discourse on both sides of the pond.

Ann Furedi

Going Positive on Prevention

American voters are becoming aware of threats to the values represented by Roe

The political arena does not always afford Americans the luxury of a philosophical debate. It can be difficult to discuss privacy and reproductive freedom amid a barrage of 30-second TV ads distorting
candidates’ records or advancing misconceptions about the effects of certain policies. Distortions often win over facts, and good ideas are overrun by the fear associated with change.

Nancy Keenan

Roundtable: Talking the Talk on Abortion

The debate over abortion is not one that is going away soon, and there is much discussion about which side, if either, is winning or losing. Conscience asked leaders in the reproductive rights movement to send us their thoughts as to whether the reproductive rights movement needs to change how it talks about abortion and, if so, how. Some of the contributions we received are on the following pages.

Kirsten Moore
Beverly Winikoff
Lynn Paltrow
Rev. Carlton W. Veazey
Joan Malin
Margaret Conway
Aspen Baker

Abortion and Human Rights

Legal developments in Europe may open the door to wider availability of abortion in Ireland

The European Court of Human Rights has been examining the abortion issue in two cases against Ireland and Poland. In D v. Ireland, the applicant was expecting twins. After a scan, she learned that one twin had died in utero. An amniocentesis test showed her other twin had trisomy 18, a fatal chromosomal anomaly. She wanted to terminate her pregnancy. Her doctors believed that was not possible in Ireland, so she traveled to the United Kingdom for a lawful abortion.

Barbara Hewson

Opinion: Women Need Amnesty International to Support Abortion Rights

Amnesty International is in the midst of considering whether to include access to abortion in the list of rights that it supports. Many other organizations and individuals have long made the case that access to safe abortion services is a basic human right, one that saves thousands of women’s lives and protects the health of many, many more.

Dr. Carmen Angélica Valenzuela

How to Reach a Consensus on Abortion

An exerpt from The Human Drama of Abortion: A Global Search for Consensus

In 1997, I (AF) had the opportunity to organize a meeting on abortion for Latin American gynecologists and obstetricians, which included parliamentarians, jurists, ethicists, and women’s rights advocates as well. About forty people sat around the table for two days, discussing the social
problem of abortion and proposing possible solutions. An objective account of the abortion situation in the region was presented and possible actions that could help improve the situation were discussed. Well into the second day of the meeting, a female parliamentarian from Chile raised her hand to ask for the floor. Her contribution—short and to the point— remains engraved in my memory.

Anibal Faundes and Jose Barzelatto


Editor’s Note


C In Catholic Circles


  • Wendy Chavkin & Ellen Chesler's Where Human Rights Begin: Health, Sexuality and Women in the New Millennium
  • Susan Greenhalgh & Edwin A Winckler's Governing China's Population: From Leninist to Neoliberal Biopolitics
  • Victoria Lee Erickson & Susan A. Farrell's Still Believing: Jewish, Christian, and Muslim Women Affirm Their Faith

A list of new and noteworthy books

C Postscript
In their own words: supporters and critics of the church speak

Back Cover
Index: Catholics and Contraception