Pro-Choice forces react to Bush actions |

Pro-Choice forces react to Bush actions

Susan Wood

Pro-choice forces took a major blow Monday, when President George W. Bush announced his plan to stop U.S. funds to international family planning groups that offer abortion services.

One of the first orders of business from the new administration came on the 28th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade U.S. Supreme Court decision that essentially bans states from blocking the highly controversial procedure.

“This is definitely what we feared would happen when he got into office,” said Alison Gaulden, regional spokeswoman for the Planned Parenthood of America.

“Roe v. Wade may be intact. But if they don’t have access to the information, then they don’t have access to abortion,” Gaulden said, objecting to the reversal on what has been known as the Mexico City policy because former President Ronald Reagan announced it during his term at a population conference there. The decision reverses a Clinton administration stance, freeing up the funds.

Gaulden characterizes Bush’s recoiling of funds as payback to the pro-life movement’s hefty campaign contributions to the Republican party during the elections.

Her most pressing concern involves low-income women, who traditionally don’t have their own health care benefits that may cover the procedure.

“People who need the services most are the people who are punished,” she said.

Gaulden also takes issue with the timing and motives of Bush’s renewed policy, given the fact that abortions are down in Lake Tahoe and nationwide.

The largest decrease is in the teen-age population.

And like a double-edged sword, Gaulden attributes this drop to education and to young adults making better use of family planning – which includes counseling for abortion, adoption and childbirth.

But pro-life forces claim Planned Parenthood’s primary objective in providing family planning services is performing abortions. The organization denies this claim.

Further, the Right to Life movement points to abstinence as the main reason to the steady decrease over the last decade. Abortions – at 1.3 million annually in the United States – have been at the lowest levels since 1977. Upon the inception of the 7-2 high court decision, abortions had numbered about 740,000 in 1973.

“(The drop in teen-age pregnancy) is a multi-faceted thing. I don’t think anybody has the answer to (why),” said Pat Glenn, spokeswoman for the Pro-Life League of Nevada.

She suggests that those in the abstinence movement have been praying a long time for young women to forego having sexual intercourse.

“I’m not faulting the young women who have abortions. They just feel trapped,” she said, calling abortion an easy way out.

Glenn said abortion opponents are happy with Bush’s attempt at limiting tax dollars for the procedure in developing nations. The global gag rule was in place from 1984 to 1993, until Clinton nullified it on his third day in office.

“Most taxpayers don’t want their money going to abortions. We’re delighted President Bush planned this as one of his first orders of business. It speaks well for him,” Glenn said, struggling to keep her voice after a rousing annual anti-abortion rally in Reno last weekend. About 100 abortion opponents met outside the Little Flower Church Saturday, some waving “Stop Abortion Now” signs.

Planned Parenthood intends to hold a rally in support of abortion rights today at the Atlantis Resort Casino in Reno, where State Sen. Randolph Townsend, R-Reno, will speak. He’ll be joined by Alex Sanger – grandson of Margaret Sanger, founder of the Planned Parenthood movement.

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