Abortion Debate
February 7, 2019

On Thursday night, the Supreme Court ruled that Louisiana can't enforce a law that would require abortion providers to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals. Chief Justice John Roberts sided with the court's four more liberal justices; President Trump's two appointees, Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch, were among the dissenting conservative justices. The Louisiana law is similar to a Texas law the Supreme Court struck down in 2016, with former Justice Anthony Kennedy — replaced by Kavanaugh — siding with the court liberals and Roberts agreeing with the three other conservatives.

The Supreme Court may yet hear the case, June Medical Services v. Gee, in its next term, which begins in October. If the law had taken effect, the plaintiffs and a federal judge agreed, there would be only one, maybe two, doctors eligible to perform abortions in Louisiana. Peter Weber

August 9, 2018

Early Thursday, Argentina's Senate rejected a bill that would have legalized elective abortion during the first 14 weeks of pregnancy. After more than 15 hours of debate, 38 senators voted against the bill while 31 voted in favor. Currently, abortion is legal in Argentina only in cases of rape or if the woman's heath is endangered. The lower house of Congress had narrowly approved the measure in June, after nearly 24 hours of debate, and President Mauricio Macri had said he would sign it. Lawmakers have to wait a year before reintroducing the legislation. Peter Weber

July 24, 2018

Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision that established the legal right to abortion, is back in the spotlight — but not many Americans think it should be up for debate.

Support for the ruling is at an all-time high, an NBC News and Wall Street Journal poll found, with 71 percent of American voters believing that Roe should not be overturned and 23 percent supporting a reversal.

Back in 1989, only 58 percent of Americans wanted to keep the decision in place. Support for Roe has steadily climbed over the years, poll data shows, especially among Democrats. Most recently, 88 percent of Democrats said they wanted the ruling to remain, while 76 percent of independent voters agreed. Most Republicans also support Roe, with 52 percent wanting to keep it in place and 39 percent preferring that it be overturned.

About 4 in 10 voters said they'd rather vote for a candidate who supports abortion rights, the poll found, including 15 percent of Republicans. On the other hand, 26 percent of respondents said they're more likely to vote for candidates who would restrict abortion, and 29 percent don't consider the issue a factor in their voting.

The NBC poll was conducted July 15-18 among 900 registered voters reached by phone. It has a margin of error of 3.3 percentage points. Summer Meza

May 26, 2018

Exit polling and early vote counts indicate a majority of Irish voters have backed the repeal of their country's constitutional ban on abortion. Save the 8th, the campaign supporting retention of the amendment prohibiting abortion, conceded defeat Saturday after Friday's vote, calling the decision "a tragedy of historic proportions."

If the ban is lifted, the Irish Parliament is expected to pass a law legalizing abortion through the 12th week of pregnancy, with exceptions for later abortions if the mother's health is at risk or there is a diagnosis of fatal fetal abnormalities.

Final voting results are expected Saturday afternoon, but with about half of all votes tallied, the repeal side has a strong lead of two-thirds support. Bonnie Kristian

May 2, 2018

In Iowa, the state legislature has passed a bill that would make abortion illegal as soon as a fetal heartbeat is detected, which is after about six weeks of pregnancy.

Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) has not said if she will sign the law, which was passed by the state House late Tuesday and state Senate early Wednesday. Iowa now allows most abortions up to 20 weeks, but if this new measure is signed into law, the state will have one of the most restrictive bans in the country. Many women do not realize they are pregnant before six weeks, and Iowa Public Radio says the legislation would make some exceptions for rape, incest, fetal abnormalities, and if the mother's life is in danger.

House Republicans said they want the law to be challenged, The Des Moines Register reports, so it can go to the U.S. Supreme Court, their ultimate goal being to overturn Roe v. Wade. Catherine Garcia

March 20, 2018

Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant (R) signed legislation Monday banning abortion in the state after 15 weeks of gestation, joined in the closed-door signing ceremony by lawmakers who pushed through the legislation and other abortion opponents. If it survives court challenge, it will be the nation's strictest abortion law. About an hour after the signing, Mississippi's lone abortion clinic sued to block the law, arguing that it violates Supreme Court precedence by banning abortion before a fetus could survive outside of the uterus. The legislation exempts pregnancies where a fetus has health problems making it "incompatible with life" and in cases where a woman's life or "major bodily function" is threatened, but not for pregnancies from rape or incest. Peter Weber

January 30, 2018

On Monday night, Ireland's Cabinet gave approval for a referendum on repealing the eighth amendment to the Irish Constitution, which outlaws abortion except when a mother's life is at stake, giving equal legal protection to mother and fetus. Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said after the meeting that the referendum will be held in late May. Ireland approved the eighth amendment in 1983, giving Ireland some of the strictest abortion laws in the developed world.

Varadkar said for the first time that he will campaign in support of the referendum, calling it a personal decision that does not necessarily reflect the stance of his administration. "We already have abortion — unsafe, unregulated, unlawful," he said. "We cannot continue to export our problem and import our solution." Almost 4,000 Irish women — including from Northern Ireland — traveled to England and Wales to obtain an abortion in 2016, according to U.K. government statistics, CNN notes. "I know this will be a difficult decision for the Irish people to make," the prime minister added. "For most of us, it is not a black-and-white issue — it is very grey."

A 56 percent majority of Irish voters support changing the eighth amendment, as do a solid majority of Irish lawmakers, according to a recent Irish Times poll. Anti-abortion and abortion rights advocates said they will study the wording of the referendum very closely. Peter Weber

October 3, 2017

The House of Representatives is set to vote Tuesday on a bill that would ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, CNN reports. The Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act — which leaves open exceptions in cases of rape or incest, or if the mother's life is at risk — has failed in similar iterations in recent years, although President Trump announced his support of the legislation on Monday:

"America's children deserve ... stronger protections," the White House wrote in a statement. During the campaign, Trump additionally vowed "[to sign] into law the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which would end painful late-term abortions nationwide."

Planned Parenthood and other pro-choice activists have called the ban unconstitutional:

If the legislation passes the House, it could stall in the Senate; Republican Whip Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) said the bill is "not a near-term priority." Jeva Lange

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