What We're Reading This Morning -- May 24
Good morning, everyone! The story today seems to be the internal struggles of the Catholic Church, where many are leaders are divided over the lawsuits filed in response to the administration’s ruling to protect birth control. Meanwhile, Pennsylvania is dominating the news in the states, as a bill that would effectively bar funding to Planned Parenthood was introduced.
Here’s what we’re reading this morning…
A new Gallup Poll finds that a majority of Americans believe birth control is morally acceptable, and less people are identifying with traditional labels. “Gallup poll finds record low numbers of respondents identify as 'pro-choice'”—“The Gallup poll, released Wednesday, revealed a six-point drop in the number of self-identified ‘pro-choice’ Americans since the question was last posed in July 2011. At that time, respondents were equally split between ‘pro-choice’ and ‘pro-life,’ 47 percent to 47. Gallup noted that the ‘pro-choice’ identification had held a wide lead in the mid-1990s that narrowed gradually until 2009, when the ‘pro-life’ position first caught up…. Planned Parenthood Federation of America president Cecile Richards pointed out in a statement that a majority of Americans — 52 percent — believe abortion should be legal under certain circumstances, according to the poll. Another 25 percent said abortions should be legal under any circumstance. ‘Abortion is a deeply personal and often complex decision for a woman,’ Richards said. ‘What this poll makes clear is that labels like ‘pro-choice’ and ‘pro-life’ simply don’t reflect the complexity of how most people actually think and feel about abortion.’ She also pointed to another Gallup poll released Wednesday that found that 89 percent of U.S. adults, including 82 percent of U.S. Catholics, say birth control is ‘morally acceptable.’”
Even the leaders in the Catholic Church are unsure of the lawsuits against affordable access to birth control. E.J. Dionne Jr. writes in the Washington Post: “The battle among Catholic bishops”—“There is a healthy struggle brewing among the nation’s Roman Catholic bishops. A previously silent group, upset over conservative colleagues defining the church’s public posture and eagerly picking fights with President Obama, has had enough. The headlines this week were about lawsuits brought by 43 Catholic organizations, including 13 dioceses, to overturn regulations issued by the Obama administration that require insurance plans to cover contraception under the new health-care law. But the other side of this news was also significant: The vast majority of the nation’s 195 dioceses did not go to court. It turns out that many bishops, notably the church leadership in California, saw the litigation as premature. They are upset that the lawsuits were brought without a broader discussion among the entire membership of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and wanted to delay action until the conference’s June meeting…. For too long, the Catholic Church’s stance on public issues has been defined by the outspokenness of its most conservative bishops and the reticence of moderate and progressive prelates. Signs that this might finally be changing are encouraging for the church, and for American politics.”
Yesterday, Pennsylvania’s State Rep. Daryl Metcalfe introduced a bill to cut funding for the health centers that provide care to 120,000 men and women every year. “Pennsylvania Joins Rush To Defund Planned Parenthood”—“Pennsylvania Republicans will introduce legislation today to defund Planned Parenthood as the state joins four other states considering legislation that strips public funds from family planning services. Rep. Daryl Metcalfe (R-Butler) will introduce the Whole Woman’s Health Funding Priority Act, a bill similar to one in Ohio that would put health care providers that offer abortion services at the bottom of the priority list for state funding. The bill is co-written with anti-abortion activist group the Susan B. Anthony List and the Alliance Defense Fund. Supporters of the measure argue the bill is an ‘upgrade’ for women’s health services because it directs money away from Planned Parenthood clinics and toward other kinds of hospitals and family clinics that don’t provide abortion care. Mallory Quigley, communications director for the SBA List offered this:
‘The emphasis is on comprehensive whole woman care, so instead of them going to Planned Parenthood to receive one type of service, they will now be going to qualified health clinics where they can get mammograms, treatment for hypertension and depression, dental care, all these things Planned Parenthood doesn’t provide,’ Quigley said. All it is is an upgrade of women’s health care without any additional cost to the taxpayer.”