TIME Carly Fiorina

Carly Fiorina Outlines New GOP Strategy to Talk About Abortion

Michael Bonfigli/The Christian Science Monitor Carly Fiorina speaking at the Christian Science Monitor breakfast in Washington, D.C. on April 16, 2015.

Carly Fiorina laid out the new Republican strategy for talking about abortion at an event in Washington Thursday.

Speaking at a breakfast hosted by the Christian Science Monitor, the former Hewlett-Packard CEO and likely Republican presidential candidate explained how she discusses the issue with female voters, many of whom she said are initially “uncomfortable” with the GOP’s pro-life stance.

Her answer, she says, is always to ask them whether or not they’ve read the Democratic platform on the issue.

“I remind them that it says any abortion, any time, at any point in a woman’s pregnancy for any reason to be paid for by taxpayers and now, some would like to add, to be performed by a non-doctor,” Fiorina said. “A policy succinctly summarized by (Sen.) Barbara Boxer as, ‘It’s not a life until it leaves the hospital.’ How do you feel about this? Women are horrified by that.”

The 2012 Democratic national platform says that it “strongly and unequivocally supports Roe v. Wade and a woman’s right to make decisions regarding her pregnancy, including a safe and legal abortion, regardless of ability to pay.” The Boxer quote, often cited by pro-life activists, comes from a 1999 colloquy on the Senate floor which the California Democrat has said is taken out of context.

Fiorina’s roadmap on the issue tracks other Republican comments. Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, who recently launched his campaign for the GOP nomination, took a similar tack when answering a question about abortion on the campaign trail.

“You go back and go ask (Democratic National Committee head) Debbie Wasserman Schultz if she’s OK with killing a 7-pound baby that’s just not born yet,” he told a reporter with the Associated Press. “Ask her when life begins, and ask Debbie when she’s willing to protect life. When you get an answer from Debbie, come back to me.”

Fiorina said that bringing the Democrats into discussions about abortion is a crucial way to make people who may have been skeptical more receptive to the Republican message.

“I don’t expect everyone to agree with my position on everything,” she said. “But I do think when you start to have a conversation in that way and lay out things that maybe people haven’t thought of before, then it is easier to find common ground.”

TIME health

Watch Jemima Kirke Explain Why She Refused Anesthesia During Her Abortion

She couldn't afford the extra cost

Girls actress Jemima Kirke is opening up about an abortion she got during college.

In a new PSA for the Center for Reproductive Rights, Kirke says she became pregnant with her boyfriend’s child while at college in Providence, R.I. “My life was just not conducive to raising a healthy, happy child,” she says. “I just didn’t feel it was fair.”

Even though her family is well off (her father is former Bad Company drummer Simon Kirke, and her mother is fashion designer Lorraine Kirke), she didn’t want to tell her parents about the pregnancy, so she had to pay for the abortion herself. She scraped together the money with her boyfriend, but they didn’t have enough for anesthesia, so she got the abortion without it. “The anesthesia wasn’t that much more, but when you’re scrounging for however many hundreds of dollars, it is a lot. I just didn’t have it.”

Kirke presents her story as an example of the various obstacles that are put in women’s way when it comes to making reproductive choices. “We think we do have free choice, and we are able to do whatever we want, but then there are these little hoops we have to jump through to get them,” she says.

The actress and painter said she talks about her story in order to reduce the stigma surrounding reproductive choices, and because she wants to protect reproductive rights for her two young daughters. “I would love if when they’re older, and they’re in their teens or their 20s, if the political issues surrounding their bodies were not there anymore,” she said, adding that settling the debate about reproductive rights would give them “one less thing to battle.”

TIME Oklahoma

Oklahoma Approves Ban on Second-Trimester Abortion Method

Nat'l Governors Association Delivers State Of The States Address In Washington
Win McNamee—Getty Images Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin speaks at the National Press Club in Washington on Jan. 15, 2014

The bill says doctors cannot use forceps, clamps, scissors or similar instruments on a fetus

(OKLAHOMA CITY) – Oklahoma lawmakers have approved a ban on a common second-trimester abortion procedure that critics describe as dismembering a fetus.

The Senate voted 37-4 Wednesday for the bill by Tulsa Republican Rep. Pam Peterson. It now goes to Republican Gov. Mary Fallin, who has previously signed several anti-abortion bills.

Under the bill, doctors cannot use forceps, clamps, scissors or similar instruments on a fetus to remove it from the womb in pieces. Such instruments are used in a dilation and evacuation procedure performed in the second trimester.

The bill would ban the procedure except when necessary to save a woman’s life or a serious health risk to the mother.

A similar measure was signed into law in Kansas on Wednesday.

TIME reproductive rights

Ohio State Rep: Why I Spoke Out About My Rape and Abortion

Teresa Fedor is a Democratic member of the Ohio House of Representatives.

Ohio state representative Teresa Fedor on the shattering incident that compelled her to fight for a woman's right to choose, and against the "Heartbeat Bill"

As an Ohio legislator, I have witnessed for nearly 15 years legislation introduced that intends to marginalize or completely eliminate a woman’s reproductive rights. The most recent and arguably worst offender is House Bill 69, termed Ohio’s “heartbeat bill,” which would ban an abortion after a fetal heartbeat can be detected — as early as six weeks into a pregnancy. This bill allows no exceptions for victims of incest or rape, but only ones when a mother’s life is endangered or when she is at risk of serious physical impairment. This means a woman undergoing or physician performing an abortion could be charged with a fifth-degree felony.

Last week, I again found myself enduring the arguments by those in support of House Bill 69. As one legislator after another spoke and gave no reason for excluding victims of incest or rape as exceptions, I felt the overwhelming need to voice my opinion regarding the potential impact of such inhumane legislation. I could no longer be silent.

As I was recognized to speak in the debate on the bill, which passed the House, my frustration was at its peak. At the core of my opposition lay a very personal story but one that I would have to disclose in order to underscore the seriousness of leaving out these exceptions. In one moment, without having planned to speak out beforehand, I made it known that over 35 years ago, I had been a victim of rape and underwent an abortion while serving in the military. Because this happened to me at such a young age, I refused to let this victimization define who I was going to be. More important, I was thankful I had the freedom to make this decision — back then. Unfortunately, it is this freedom that could be stripped from women today.

As the words poured out of me, I proclaimed, “You don’t respect my reason, my rape, my abortion, and I guarantee you there are other women who should stand up with me and be courageous enough to speak that voice. What you’re doing is so fundamentally inhuman, unconstitutional, and I’ve sat here too long. I dare any one of you to judge me, because there’s only one judge I’m going to face.

I dare you to walk in my shoes. This debate is purely political. I understand your story, but you don’t understand mine. I’m grateful for that freedom. It is a personal decision, and how dare government get into my business.”

As a young victim, I made a decision not to carry my pregnancy to full-term. I also know that many women who’ve been victimized by rape make a different decision and carry their pregnancies to full-term. There is no right or wrong answer, and I respect either decision. But it is a personal freedom that should be determined only by the woman whose life it impacts, not by the government.

As an elected official and public servant, I continue to stay true to what I believe is the right thing to do. For nearly a decade, I tirelessly promoted legislation to protect Ohio’s most vulnerable against the scourge of human trafficking. I am proud to have authored Ohio’s first of several anti-human-trafficking bills, setting a precedent throughout our state and country. Comparable to the abortion debate, this issue was widely misunderstood, and others ridiculed or minimized what I fought for.

Sadly, over the past four years, state governments have enacted 231 laws limiting access to abortion, with 26 new laws being passed in 2014, according to an analysis by the Guttmacher Institute. Over the years I have felt that the escalating war on our reproductive freedom will require more voices speaking out at the risk of judgment and stigma in our culture. However horrific the circumstances, I was proud to speak truth to that power.

Fedor represents Ohio’s 45th district in the state’s house of representatives.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME Congress

How a Human Trafficking Bill Became a Debate About Abortion

Sen. John Cornyn
Bill Clark—CQ-Roll Call/Getty Images Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, on Tuesday, Feb. 10, 2015.

Language to block funding for abortions has Democrats ready to filibuster

In February, the leading anti-trafficking organization Polaris praised the Senate for taking up their cause. On Wednesday, the group’s tone had changed dramatically, as it was now urging that same group of lawmakers to pass the same bill.

What happened? Two words: Abortion politics.

Until Tuesday, the bill was set to easily pass the Senate with bipartisan support. Now, it’s in jeopardy due to the inclusion of language that would limit women’s access to abortions.

“The bipartisan support to address modern slavery should not be held up by a separate debate on partisan issues,” said Brandon Bouchard, a spokesperson for Polaris.

The Alliance to End Slavery and Trafficking, another anti-trafficking advocacy group, expressed similar sentiment: “We urge all members of the Senate to turn away from this divisive debate and find a bipartisan approach to this new initiative to protect and serve the needs of survivors,” it said in a statement.

Introduced by Sen. John Cornyn of Texas in January, the Justice for Victims in Trafficking Act would establish a fund for victims using fines collected for trafficking crimes. Democrats and Republicans supported the bill, which passed out of the Senate Judiciary Committee with ease in late February. And on Monday, Senators seemed excited to move forward on the legislation.

That changed Tuesday, when Democrats cried foul over language in the bill they say was slipped in under the radar that would restrict the use of any funds collected from the trafficking punishment for abortions. Democrats say the abortion restrictions were not included in a list of changes to the bill that was circulated when it was introduced. Because of that, Democrats said they were unaware of any such provision when they decided to support it. Plus, they say adding it to this legislation goes too far.

Cornyn, however, says that doesn’t make sense. “I don’t believe for a minute they would have missed a reference in this legislation to a restriction on spending on funding taxpayer-provided abortions,” he said in an impassioned floor speech on Tuesday. “There are no shrinking violets in the United States Senate.”

Cornyn also said when he offered Democrats the option of offering an amendment they rejected it. “When we offered them an opportunity to offer an amendment to change that, they said: ‘No, we don’t want an amendment. We don’t want to change it by a vote of the Senate. We just want to block the bill,’” Cornyn said Wednesday. “And that’s what, unless something changes between now and the time we vote on cloture on the bill, is going to happen. Because they don’t want to amend the bill.”

But Democrats gave Republicans two options on Wednesday: remove the language or risk having the bill blocked.

“This bill has been hijacked by an issue completely unrelated to human trafficking,” Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid said in a floor speech on Wednesday. “I would suggest to the Majority, take it out.”

The whole ordeal is endemic of the partisan gridlock plaguing Washington, with both sides reluctant to cede any ground even though both agree on the fundamentals. Stuck in the middle of it all: the victims of trafficking and the organizations that were hoping greater protections and resources were on the horizon.

With reporting by Alex Rogers

 

TIME Venezuela

A 36-Pack of Condoms In Venezuela Now Costs $755 at Official Rates

Because of a near-defaulting economy, consumer goods such as condoms are scarce and hugely marked up

In Venezuela, a 36-pack of Trojan condoms now costs $755 at the official exchange rate. That’s the price being asked on the MercadoLibre website, where Venezuelans go to buy goods in short supply.

Compare that to a box in the U.S., which goes for $21.

The huge markup is due to the collapse in oil prices, which has had disastrous consequences in Venezuela, Bloomberg reports.

The South American country relies on crude-oil exports for 95% of its foreign-currency earnings and has seen a 60% fall in those exports over the past seven months.

As a result of the government’s policy of slashing imports to make up for the deficit, consumer goods have become scarce and expensive, and people are forced to queue for hours to get basic products such as meat, sugar, medicine and now contraceptives.

For those with access to American dollars, condoms can be bought on the black market for around $25. But this is only the lucky few.

The lack of access to contraceptives could deepen the country’s social problems. Venezuela has one of South America’s highest rates of HIV infection and teenage pregnancy. Because abortion is illegal, the disappearance of condoms and other forms of birth control like the pill may force more women to clandestine abortion clinics, increasing the risk of maternal deaths.

[Bloomberg]

TIME health

How a German Measles Epidemic Stoked the Abortion Debate in 1965

00835963.JPG
HENRY GROSKINSKY—The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images 4 month old baby girl with eye and ear defects because mother had German Measles.

When doctors discovered the health risks to babies born to infected mothers, the virus became another front in the battle for abortion rights

Fifteen years after the U.S. declared the measles eliminated, a growing outbreak has many up in arms about the risks posed to public health by parents who choose not to vaccinate their children. Fifty years ago, the debate centered not on whether to vaccinate babies, but whether a pregnant woman infected with the virus should be able to decide whether to have the baby in the first place.

The year was 1965. A growing movement calling for legalized abortion would declare victory with Roe v. Wade eight years later, but until then, women seeking abortions would either be denied or undergo the procedure in secrecy. A small number of doctors, however, chose to deliberately defy the law and perform abortions on women whose fetuses had been exposed to the German measles, also known as rubella.

Life Magazine

The year before, an outbreak of rubella had spread across the East Coast, Midwest and South. When it reached California during the spring of 1965, LIFE Magazine assigned reporter Bob Liang and photographer Co Rentmeester to investigate reports that “reputable doctors in reputable hospitals” were performing abortions on women infected with rubella during the early stages of their pregnancies.

After being turned away from every obstetrician in the Los Angeles phone book, Liang found Keith Russell, head of the California Obstetricians Society and a doctor with an interest in reforming abortion laws. Russell led Liang to the hospital where he would encounter Dolores Stonebreaker, a pregnant woman who had contracted rubella from her 12-year-old son.

After weighing the advice of her husband and doctor — and the vague guidance of her Roman Catholic priest, who would later reproach her for murder — Stonebreaker was preparing to terminate her pregnancy on the 50-50 chance that her baby would be born with “mental retardation, heart defects, blindness, deafness, disease of the bone and blood abnormalities.”

Stonebreaker’s infection had manifested in a rash, but many pregnant women exhibited no symptoms, leading to a majority of “German measles babies” — 9 out of 10 — born to mothers who had been unaware of their infections. To address this, doctors developed a blood test for pregnant women, who could find out whether they had been infected even if a subsequent decision to terminate the pregnancy could only be made illegally.

A rubella vaccine was only five years away, and the combined measles, mumps, rubella vaccine would emerge in the early 1970s. But the questions the virus raised with regard to abortion added fuel to a fire already stoked by cases like that of Sherri Finkbine, who traveled to Sweden in 1962 to terminate a pregnancy after learning that pills she had been taking contained Thalidomide. Although staunch opponents, including many Catholic clerics, argued that terminating a pregnancy with a chance of birth defects could “doom a possibly perfect baby in the process,” public sympathy for some women seeking abortions — like Stonebreaker and Finkbine — was also spreading.

By 1968, four states had passed laws allowing women to terminate a pregnancy if, as TIME reported then, “the child is likely to be born defective, as is commonly the case if the mother has had German measles (rubella) within the first three months of pregnancy.” Russell, the doctor who led Liang and Rentmeester to their story, would become a leader among others in the medical community who believed in therapeutic abortion and, more broadly, in a woman’s right to make those decisions privately with her doctor.

When Liang reported back to LIFE’s editor in chief about the assignment, he lauded Stonebreaker’s doctor — the one Russell had led him to — as “a brave man.” Despite the risks to his career and reputation, “he dared to stick his neck out for something he believed in.”

TIME Chemistry

The Chemist Who Helped Develop the Pill Has Died

Carl Djerassi
Boris Roessler—AP Scientist and patron of the arts Carl Djerassi sits during an interview with the DPA German Press Agency at the university in Frankfurt Main, Germany, 29 October 2013.

His scientific work led to the world's first oral contraceptive in 1952

Carl Djerassi, a 91-year-old Stanford chemist who helped to develop the birth control pill, passed away from cancer Friday in San Francisco.

Djerassi’s scientific work led to the world’s first oral contraceptive in 1952, which gave women the option to control pregnancies. He developed a synthetic molecule called norethindrone, the effects of which simulated, in stronger form, those of progesterone. For his work, he earned an induction into the National Inventors Hall of Fame and received the presidential National Medal of Science, which only a few hundred scientists have received since its creation.

“Carl was interested particularly in individual freedom and self-determination, and believed that all of us, women included, should have that opportunity,” said Dr. Philip Darney, the director of UCSF’s Bixby Center for Global Reproductive Health. “He saw birth control and access to abortion as agents of that opportunity.”

Djerassi, a polymath, penned three biographies The Pill, Pygmy Chimps and Degas’ Horse, In Retrospect: From the Pill to the Pen and This Man’s Pill, and founded a free art residency program called the Djerassi Resident Artists Program, funded by earnings from the birth control pill.

[SF Gate]

TIME Congress

Pro-Life Congressman Explains Why He’s Now Pro-Choice

Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio, speaks at a news conference in Washington on Feb. 14, 2007.
Susan Walsh—AP Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio, speaks at a news conference in Washington on Feb. 14, 2007.

Ryan says talking to women helped change his mind

Democratic Congressman Tim Ryan has officially changed his stance on abortion—from pro-life to pro-choice.

Ryan, who has been serving in the House of Representatives since 2003, says he has self-identified as pro-life for the majority of his political career, having being raised Catholic. But the Ohio representative wrote in an op-ed published by the Akron Beacon Journal on Wednesday that his conversations with women across Ohio and the country about the myriad reasons that lead them to have an abortion led him to change his mind.

“These women gave me a better understanding of how complex and difficult certain situations can become. And while there are people of good conscience on both sides of this argument, one thing has become abundantly clear to me: the heavy hand of government must not make this decision for women and families,” Ryan writes.

Ryan goes on to say, “each and every American deserves the right to deal with these difficult situations in consultation with their families, close friends, or religious advisers.”

The op-ed comes nearly a week after some Republican women in the House of Representatives stopped a vote on an anti-abortion bill because of language included in it that would have but restrictions on women seeking to end pregnancies that resulted from rape. A vote on that bill was scheduled for Jan. 22, the anniversary of the 1973 Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion, Roe v. Wade.

As recently as 2009 Ryan trumpeted his record on pro-life legislation, while promoting a bill that would reduce unintended pregnancies in an effort to find common ground among pro-choice and pro-life communities. In 2013, Ryan opposed a ban on abortions after 20-weeks, saying it was “dangerous in its implications.” Douglas Johnson of National Right to Life Committee, a leading pro-life organization, calls Ryan a “pro-life impersonator” and notes he’s never consistently voted pro-life—according to the organization’s scorecard, he’s voted “against” them more times than he has for them throughout his time in office.

“This is dog-bites-man from my perspective,” Johnson tells TIME.

Yet given his past self-identification as pro-life, Ryan’s stance is now abundantly clear. “I am a 41-year-old father and husband whose feelings on this issue have changed. I have come a long way since being a single, 26-year-old state senator, and I am not afraid to say that my position has evolved as my experiences have broadened, deepened and become more personal. And while I have deep respect for people on both sides of this conversation, I would be abandoning my own conscience and judgment if I held a position that I no longer believed appropriate,” he writes

Women’s health organization Planned Parenthood has lauded Ryan’s pivot on the divisive issue saying in a statement that they look forward to working with him.

“Congressman Ryan joins the overwhelming majority of Americans who want women to have access to abortion and don’t want politicians to interfere in women’s personal medical decisions,” said Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Action Fund, in a statement.

Read next: Mormon Church Supports LGBT Protections in Shift

Listen to the most important stories of the day.

TIME health

Was Iceland Really the First Nation to Legalize Abortion?

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Planet Observer / Getty Images / Universal Images Group Satellite image of Iceland

The oft-cited law was passed 80 years ago, on Jan. 28, 1935

Ask the Internet which country was the first to legalize abortion and you’re likely to find some confusing answers, many of which point in one direction: Iceland.

It’s true that, 80 years ago, on Jan. 28 of 1935, Iceland’s “Law No. 38″ declared that the mother’s health and “domestic conditions” may be taken into consideration when considering whether to permit doctors to perform an abortion. And, according to the 1977 book Abortion by Malcolm Potts, Peter Diggory and John Peel, that law stuck for decades.

However, there are a lot of caveats to that “first” label. For one thing, abortion spent centuries as neither illegal nor legal, before becoming formally legislated, which happened in the 19th century in many places. Iceland, then, was the first Western nation to create what we might now recognize as a common modern abortion legalization policy, with a set of conditions making the procedure not impossible but not entirely unregulated.

Some other nations that passed abortion laws before Iceland’s (like Mexico, for example) also included conditions, like rape, under which it would be permitted. And, as Robertson’s Book of Firsts clarifies, the Soviet Union had actually legalized abortion, on demand, more than a decade earlier. The difference was that (a) the Soviet law didn’t last, as that nation underwent a series of regime changes, and (b) the conditions for legality were different. Though abortion was later strictly limited in Russia, legalization was apparently no small thing when it was first introduced.

As TIME reported on Feb. 17, 1936:

A not entirely enthusiastic participant last week was Dictator Joseph Stalin at the celebration by massed Communist delegations from all over Russia of the tenth anniversary of the founding in Moscow of the Union of the Militant Godless. This unprecedented Jubilee of Godlessness could only be compared to that celebrated by Bolsheviks in honor of the tenth anniversary of the Legalization in Russia of Abortion.

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