Abortion? Don't Mention It.

Science, technology, and life.
March 3 2009 8:33 AM

Abortion? Don't Mention It.

 

In its final hours, the Bush administration implemented a regulation expanding the right of medical professionals to abstain from practices they find objectionable. On Friday, the Obama administration moved to " review " and eventually repeal the regulation. Organizations on all sides of the debate issued press releases responding to Obama's move. This table tells you everything you need to know about the politics of the fight:

William Saletan William Saletan

Will Saletan writes about politics, science, technology, and other stuff for Slate. He’s the author of Bearing Right.

Advertisement

1. Mentions of "abortion":

2. Mentions of "contraception" or "birth control":

To sum up: The liberal groups don't want to mention that the regulation involves abortion, and the conservative groups don't want to mention that it also covers the right to withhold birth control. Why? Just look at the polls. As Rachel Laser of Third Way astutely puts it , "If the president kept in place the conscience clause in regard to abortion but reversed it in regard to birth control, most Americans would agree that's common ground." And that's exactly what the Obama administration aims to do, according to a Health and Human Services official who spoke to Reuters :

The wording was vague enough to let health professionals invoke the conscience clause for things like contraceptives, family planning and counseling for vaccines and blood transfusions, the agency official said. ... "We recognize and understand that some providers have objections to providing abortions. We want to ensure that current law protects them," the official said. "But we do not want to impose new limitations on services ... like family planning and contraception that would actually help prevent the need for an abortion in the first place."

If Obama convinces the public that this is what he's doing, then politically, he'll be fine . And morally, he'll be well-justified .

 

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

The Democrats’ War at Home

How can the president’s party defend itself from the president’s foreign policy blunders?

Congress’ Public Shaming of the Secret Service Was Political Grandstanding at Its Best

Michigan’s Tradition of Football “Toughness” Needs to Go—Starting With Coach Hoke

A Plentiful, Renewable Resource That America Keeps Overlooking

Animal manure.

Windows 8 Was So Bad That Microsoft Will Skip Straight to Windows 10

Politics

Cringing. Ducking. Mumbling.

How GOP candidates react whenever someone brings up reproductive rights or gay marriage.

Building a Better Workplace

You Deserve a Pre-cation

The smartest job perk you’ve never heard of.

Hasbro Is Cracking Down on Scrabble Players Who Turn Its Official Word List Into Popular Apps

Florida State’s New President Is Underqualified and Mistrusted. He Just Might Save the University.

  News & Politics
Politics
Sept. 30 2014 9:33 PM Political Theater With a Purpose Darrell Issa’s public shaming of the head of the Secret Service was congressional grandstanding at its best.
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 30 2014 7:02 PM At Long Last, eBay Sets PayPal Free
  Life
Gaming
Sept. 30 2014 7:35 PM Who Owns Scrabble’s Word List? Hasbro says the list of playable words belongs to the company. Players beg to differ.
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 30 2014 12:34 PM Parents, Get Your Teenage Daughters the IUD
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Sept. 30 2014 3:21 PM Meet Jordan Weissmann Five questions with Slate’s senior business and economics correspondent.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 30 2014 8:54 PM Bette Davis Talks Gender Roles in a Delightful, Animated Interview From 1963
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 30 2014 7:00 PM There’s Going to Be a Live-Action Tetris Movie for Some Reason
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Sept. 30 2014 11:51 PM Should You Freeze Your Eggs? An egg freezing party is not a great place to find answers to this or other questions.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 30 2014 5:54 PM Goodbye, Tough Guy It’s time for Michigan to fire its toughness-obsessed coach, Brady Hoke.