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News from the front

"News from the front" Continued...

Issue: "Roe v. Wade turns 40," Jan. 26, 2013

The pro-abortion Irish Choice Network used the woman’s death to call for ending the nation’s abortion ban. Although the Supreme Court of Ireland said in 1992 that abortion was permissible when the mother faced a “real and substantial risk” to her life, legislators never instituted the ruling in law. In December government officials said they would force a vote in parliament this year on legislation permitting abortion to save a mother’s life or prevent her suicide.

9. Math, science, and Plan B 

Free birth control and condoms at public high schools: Old news to American parents, yet some were shocked to hear in September that New York City schools hand out abortifacient drugs at taxpayer expense. In a program piloted in 2011 but largely unnoticed, the city began providing girls as young as 14 with Plan B—the morning-after pill. Schools didn’t inform the students’ parents of the prescriptions, except for a one-time letter allowing them to opt out of the program.

Plan B had been available at city high schools for a few years, but only through privately-run clinics. The new city-sponsored program in its first year prescribed Plan B to 567 girls at five high schools. It expanded to 13 schools last year and in the fall began offering regular Depo-Provera birth control shots. Girls between the ages of 15 and 17 in New York City schools conceive over 7,000 pregnancies annually, with two-thirds ending in abortion.

10. Debate slip-ups

Mishandling of abortion questions contributed to the defeat of Republican candidates for the Senate in Missouri and Indiana. Rep. Todd Akin, running in Missouri, became a household name in August after he claimed pregnancy from rape was rare because during “a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.” Mainstream media pounced. Akin apologized for his remark but ignored calls from some fellow conservatives for him to drop out of the Senate race. On Nov. 6 incumbent Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill trounced Akin by 16 points.

In Indiana, Tea Party-backed candidate Richard Mourdock fell prey to similar criticism after an October debate, when he stated, “Even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that is something that God intended to happen.” Although Mourdock said he meant God creates life without condoning evil, he lost his Senate bid to Democrat Joe Donnelly by 6 percentage points. Afterward, Susan B. Anthony List president Marjorie Dannenfelser said her group would begin coaching pro-life candidates on handling the rape question before endorsing them. (See "Doing better on 'hard cases'" in this issue.)

— with reporting by Rachel Lynn Aldrich & Jim Edsall

Daniel James Devine
Daniel James Devine

Daniel is a reporter for WORLD who covers science, technology, and other topics in the Midwest from his home base in Indiana. Follow Daniel on Twitter @DanJamDevine.

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