With two stubborn, diametrically opposed sides, the country’s abortion debate has moved very little in either direction since Roe v. Wade 40 years ago. While polls indicate most Americans do not support overturning the landmark supreme court decision to allow abortions, many do support some limitations on the procedure. And it’s in this direction that many state legislatures have swung recently, with a record number of restrictions passed since 2010. While this trend is changing the landscape for abortion access in some parts of the country, New England continues to be an exception.
In the new movie “Delivery Man,” Vince Vaughn discovers that his “donation” has been used hundreds of times without his knowledge. Far-fetched plot? Maybe not. The United States does not track sperm donations. We have no idea how many there are, how often they're donated, nor how many children are born from those donations. Rene Almeling is an assistant professor of sociology at Yale. She wrote an op-ed piece for the New York Times about “The Unregulated Sperm Industry.”
The increasing prominence of women’s issues on a global scale has a number of scholars and activists wondering if we are on the verge of a “Feminist Spring”. Two years after seething political and social discontent exploded into protests that changed the landscape of the Middle East, mass movements are forming around women’s issues. From the streets of India to Steubenville, Ohio, protestors are marching against sexual violence against women. In Syria, Bahrain and Yemen, women are active members of the ongoing resistance. Here in the US, a record number of women are now in congress and running states as governor, and issues like reproductive health and gun control have activated formerly silent female voters. Sahar Khamis is assistant professor of communication at the University of Maryland. She’s written extensively about female activism in the Arab spring uprisings, and joins us for a read of where those struggles stand today.
An abortion rights activist speaks before the Virginia Senate Education and Health Committee on Thursday. Following a protest outside the state capitol and criticism from moderates in his own party, Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell asked for revisions to a bill requiring an invasive ultrasound before an abortion.
Several states are considering laws that would mandate an ultrasound before a woman has an abortion. Critics say the laws are unnecessary and intrusive, and the debate reached a fever pitch recently over a Virginia bill that would have required an invasive ultrasound procedure.