Civics & Politics The Environment Health Economics Social Issues Full Archive
NOW on Demand
Week of 2.5.10

Democrats and the New Politics of Abortion

Has the Democratic Party abandoned support of reproductive rights?

It appears that your computer does not have the Flash Player required to view NOW videos. Visit Adobe to download and install the latest version of the Flash Player.

The Weekly Q
To gain their historic control of Congress, Democrats fielded moderate candidates who didn't always follow the party line, especially when it came to abortion. Now that the Democratic Party has the legislative upper hand, are they willing to negotiate away reproductive rights for other political gains?

This week, NOW goes to Allentown, Pennsylvania to ask: Are abortion rights now in jeopardy at the very hands of the party that has historically protected them? Among those interviewed are pro-life Democratic U.S. Representative Bart Stupak and former DNC Chairman Howard Dean.

"If there was a bill on the floor to reverse Roe vs Wade, and says 'life begins at conception,' I would vote for it." Congressman Stupak tells NOW. Jen Boulanger, director of the often-protested Allentown Women's Center, says, "I would expect more from the Democratic Party, to stick to their ideals, not just throw us to the curb."

Has the Democratic Party traded principles for power?

Web Features

Crossing the Line
What's it like to protect women who walk into heavily-protested abortion clinics?
Related Links:

Congressman Stupak's Website and The Stupak Amendment

National Right to Life: Response to Obama Statement on Stupak-Pitts Amendment

NARAL Pro-Choice America: House: Yes to Extreme Anti-Choice Politics, No to Women's Health and Privacy

Planned Parenthood: Statement Opposing Stupak/Pitts Amendment

Guttmacher Institute: An Overview Of Abortion In The United States

Viewer Comments

Commenter: Afrocation
I must start by saying I'm not one of those right wing or pro-life nut, but I must ask, what's wrong with you people? Reproductive rights begin when an individual makes a decision to engage in the act of reproduction, i.e. having sex. With the exception of rape and incest, no one is made to engage in the act of conceiving a child.

This is were Women Right begin to either engage in the act or not, its her right to chose. After the choice has been made because one had got drunk, quick love, irresponsible, etc and now I want to take back my decision and I want someone else to pay because of irresponsible finances and decisions.

Its like you people want everyone other the individuals who engaged in the act to be held liable for another irresponsible act. What the hell ever happen to being responsible upfront when you have the power to be responsible?

Its this type of thinking that is destroying the success of civil rights and all the progress we have made. Civil Rights is being side tracked by ill responsible rich people like your guest who seem to not have a glue what choice really is.

Your choice is to have sex or not to have sex, this it the question and the answer, to the abortion debate.

The denial of Civil rights is when one never had or is deprived of said choice, rape or incest.

I am Afro American and will fight for the true meaning Personal Responsibility and Choice

Commenter: Anthony
i'm not saying its right but i'm not going to tell a women she can't do something with HER body if she wants to

Commenter: Kassandra
i believe people who can go through with abortion are heartless. I think you should let someone smash your head and see how it is, because that is what you are doing.

Commenter: Craig
The author's choice of title says everything one needs to know about this piece. An alternative rhetorical title could be "Has the Democratic Party abandoned the Hyde Amendement and is now pursuing unrestricted federal promotion of abortion?".

Commenter: Michelle
Dear Amy, the previous commenter, I am sorry that you've regretted your decision to have an abortion. It is something you can never revese once it's done.

Today they have plenty of counseling to ensure that a woman has given this procedure lots of thought before going ahead with it.

I agree with you that adoption can be an option, no one said it couldn't be. The problem is not all women who are faced with the situation you faced 16 years ago, think like you do.

There are plenty of women that have regretted being in the situation to have to choose an abortion, meaning, if they could, they would turn back the clock and make better decisions about avoiding an unwanted pregnancy.

Adoption involves the woman being pregnant and being faced with all sorts of obstacles during and after the pregnancy. It is not so simple a choice.

We have to wake up about contraception and promote the heck out of it! We could practically eliminate the demand for abortions because less women would be getting pregnant.

This is an argument that will never be resolved, but here is a middle ground, PROMOTE HEAVILY THE USE OF CONTRACEPTION!

Everyone is not a Christian, why do we have to be controlled by this body of people, with strong governmental lobbies, because it is their will?

Commenter: amy
Why can't adoption be an option? People would not have to deal with the pain of having let their baby die. This society has twisted the issue so much that it's a do or die situation. You keep your baby even when you can't, or you kill it. There are many programs that offer open adoption and healing from the grief of giving the baby up (Catholic Charities is one). I wish I had considered this option 16 years ago instead of allowing my baby Lauren Marie to die. I would not have the grief of having lost her to an abortionist's suction tube.

Commenter: michelle
The girl featured in the story said that she wanted to have a family (meaning she'd be married) one day when she is financially prepared in her life to take care of a baby.

She said she probably would have had the baby she aborted if the father would have at least agreed to help her financially but he declined.

So where are the protesters marching on the lawns of men (not abortion doctors) who get who pregnant with an unwanted pregnancies!

Why aren't there more right to lifers out there talking to men about men and sex. About their responsibilities in this situation, or how to avoid it by talking about wearing condoms and making sure that contraception is being dealt with.

Oh I forgot, they are against that too. Well guess what right to lifers, everyone doesn't think like you, not everyone in the world is going to be a virgin until they get married, no matter how much you pray it so.

This problem of unwanted pregnancies could be solved or reduced drastically by advertising, like Coke and Pepsi, about contraceptives.

The other thing is that some women don't want to abort their unwanted pregnancies but they are POOR, so what realistic solutions can right to lifers come up with besides praying. Because that will not put diapers on the baby, food in the belly and deal with all that is involved with taking care of a child.

Commenter: donald marsella
a womans right to choose is inalianable.if;; the bill of rights has not been changed what?? is there to debate;; why?? have we allowed a religous issue to question our bill of rights;; thot'' the pilgrams left britain to escape religous intolerance??

Commenter: Carole Gore
Only living things grow. If an embryo or fetus were not alive it could not grow. Therefore, abortion is the killing of an unborn human being. Also, there is a difference in an unwanted pregnancy and an unwanted baby. There is no such thing as an unwanted baby. The adoption waiting list are years long. Furthermore, I fail to understand how a woman can kill her unborn baby rather than give it up to a family who will love and cherish it. It may be a woman's reproductive system she wants control of but doesn't give her the right to destroy another human being unless her life is truely at risk. I do understand how inconvenient, unaffordable, not acceptable by her family and many other reasons that cause a woman to even think abortion is a solution. But wrong is wrong...we make mistakes but all life is a gift from God and God doesn't make mistakes. And, thankfully, He is a loving and forgiving God.

Commenter: Derek
I do respect the efforts of NOW to somewhat conscientiously present both sides of this issue but consistantly refering to Pro-Lifers as anti-abortionists and never once Pro-Choicers as pro-abortionists is a needless unprofessional supplement to their half-baked poker face.

Commenter: Joy
I'm for life not aboration. One of the main things in the Bible says Thall Shall Not kill. Abortion is, There is just to much out there to keep from getting that way. If not that keep your legs closed and your close on. Plain and simple.

Commenter: Ruth Peeples
As a Senior Citizen I remember what it was like for women who chose not to have their baby. It was back alley, illegal abortions with women maimed for life or died in the process. Hopefully the Democratic party will not abandon women's right to decide what to do about an unwanted pregnancy (along with her doctor's advice). This is an important issue that must be supported by the Democratic Party.

Commenter: Linda Hughes
We should have the morning after pill easily available and easy to use. Those who object to that and to safe abortion access to women in the first trimester are not sufficiently concerned with the impact of unwanted children. The world has enough of those.

Commenter: Alisa Costa
Thank you, thank you, thank you. This piece gives voices to the voiceless. You are amazing journalists and thank you for sharing the truths in our world.

I will share this with as many people as possible because it is so very important that we understand experiences which are different from our own.

Commenter: Nulono
The Stupak amendment in no way restricts abortions. The health care bill would be a NEW source of funding for abortions; all it would do is not ADD funding.

If you are really pro-choice, you shouldn't force taxpayers to pay for an act that they wholly disagree with.

Commenter: Nulono
The districts where the pro-life Dems are winning are conservative ones. So, it's a choice between having a Democrat that disagrees on one thing and a Republican that disagrees on EVERYTHING.

Also, the pro-life movement is not violent or judgmental. We do not condemn women that have abortions, nor do we kid ourselves into thinking that they are not facing hard times. Crisis Pregnancy Centers outnumber abortion businesses and give everything from ultrasounds to baby clothes to adoption referrals for FREE.

All we say is that parents should not be allowed to kill their offspring in or ex utero.

Commenter: Aaron
Hello, I greatly admire NOW programming. It seems to me that, short-term, attracting anti-abortion candidates certainly helped the Democratic Party. Long-term, it appears it could really hurt! I was not impressed by Stupak's "firm" demeanor or articulation as a Democrat with pro-life principles. But, the same could be said by somebody else about any pro-choice Republican who isn't articulating himself/herself mindfully. My opinion is that President Obama and the Democratic Party are right for the times at the moment, and have the legislative upper hand for a reason. Though, it looks like they are going to have to compromise considerably, as they must achieve something. THE SAME DEFINATELY APPLIES TO LAY-ABOUT REPUBLICANS!! Separately, I feel that many women need not find themselves aborting pregnancies if they would choose to be more responsible, and not allow a dead-beat man to impregnate them. Use protection. Just as a woman can choose to abort a pregnancy, a woman can choose to act a lot more carefully before she finds herself pregnant!


Commenter: MJ Dorismond
It seems like abortion is an economic issue and not a health issue. If Democrats want to support life then they need to fund life in a way that does not feel like the current welfare system. Also they should make life easier for the single mom like in Denmark. Daycare expense, daycare hours, and work hours for the mom are problems. Moms are getting fined for not being able to pick up their children on time. Ideally, being a housewife is best for raising children. But those who are not and can't be housewives should not be penalized.

Thank you very much.
M J Dorismond

Commenter: Carol Cairnes
It would be nice to have a law that required any hospital that receives federal funds to have to provide the full range of women's reproductive health services, including early and late term abortions. We need to turn the tables on these fanatics. Law needs to make it clear that life begins as it ends with breath. There is nothing but religious belief that life begins at conception and it is not borne out by reality. If the law clearly states that the State does not have jurisdiction over unborn children then it is settled law. Until then, the plunkers are going to continue to take potshots and people like Dr. Tiller are going to keep coming up dead. Who will be our champion and bring that debate to the fore? Who will introduce legislation?

Commenter: George R. Heustis
It is a fact that abortion is murder.
And sinse the mother decides to get the abortion, it is premeditated.
So any woman who gets an abortion should be convicted of first degree murder, and locked up in prison for the rest of her natural life, just as if she killed someone intentionally because this is in fact what she is doing when she gets an abortion.

Commenter: Linda J
When daycare and schooling through college are free, when single moms have a nice home to live in whatever work they do, then would I consider making abortions illegal? No, but absent those changes, the anti-choice people are moral hypocrites of the first order. The Democrats? Well, they're just cynical politicians and if Planned Parenthood doesn't come up with a better game plan than "vote democrat" all women are in trouble.

I have had an abortion. I suffered no ill effects whatever.

I have also worked on a hotline trying to find money for poor women needing abortions. It is so stressful, I couldn't take it since there are not the necessary funds thanks to the Democrats and their vote for the Hyde amendment every year.

Thank you, NOW, for the dash of cold water to Democrat women. Organize independently. We have to now.

Commenter: MH
I was disappointed that you didn't show more on the counseling that a woman receives from Planned Parenthood, such as the option of putting her baby up for adoption. From the program, many would assume that the only option discussed at one of the clinics is abortion, and I know that is not the case.

Commenter: Elsa Bondar
Murdering women because they are pregnant and need and abortion, by forcing them into unsanitary, back-alley unqualified abortion providers is reprehensible and wrong! This is a remnant of the Middle Eastern patriarchal social system which still hngs on in the mocern age.

Commenter: Nadine B.
As a French person from a country where women's right to choose, women's privacy and women's equality is respected and practiced, I feel sad and sorry for mentality that emerges behind comments posted on this site. I guess 40 years of drum beat "abortion is wrong" and "abortion is murder" and "God will punish you" has left quite an imprint on your national psyche....Let's face it,from the craddle on, throught your churches, school and media you've learned to punish and condemn and totally ignored the obvious: the woman's rights regardless of religion and politics. Period. Such puritanism in those discussing sex/no sex or birth control failing or absence of. Isn't it in your constitution the right to pursue your life the way you want to? I come from a country enslaved by religious dogma & royal edicts for centuries and you want to go towards this? To all of you,I suggest you re-read Thomas Paine to learn what choice and freedom really means.

Commenter: Michael
My wife and I both watched this episode, and were both struck by the stark divide that exists between those who are passionately 'pro-choice' and those who are 'pro-life.' At no point during the program was the reality that abortion is the willful destruction of a human being even hinted at. The Orwellian language of 'choice,' and 'freedom' and 'reproductive health' were entirely predictable. Your segment reduced a difficult and important issue into an infomercial for liberals who think exactaly as your reporter does: how DARE someone look at abortion as something with any more moral weight than having a mole removed, or a hangnail fixed? There is, quite literally, an ethical and moral gulf between those who view human life as valuable, and those who view human life as disposable.

I believe that abortion needs to remain legal. With that said, I will not pay for it with my tax dollars. Perhaps all of the passionate posters on this thread can make financial donations to organizations dedicated to assisting women to murder their own children.

Commenter: Steve
I am a fan of NOW, but this program's bias was blatantly obvious. The program lacked balance and perspective.

The message(s): All women who want abortions are hapless victims with no responsibility for their situations.

Anyone against abortion is a religious fanatic that harasses women and bombs clinics or tries to kill abortion providers.

Any democrat who chooses to be against abortion is a traitor to the pro-abortion/pro-choice cause and is obviously just choosing such a position for political expediency.

Other than Stupak there was not a single anti-abortion/pro-life person interviewed for this piece. Not even an anti-abortion/pro-life democrat.

I guess we cannot no longer complain about FOX not being Fair and Balanced.

Commenter: Jerry
Here we are talking about abortion and a woman right to chose, verse the Rightwing right to life issues again, then maybe its time to change the constitution on the right to bare arms also, maybe its time to talk about the life of all, Republicans talk about how much they care about life then I ask where are they when some child or young person out there are murder by guns, it seems to me that republicans say that they love life until they start a war somewhere out there in this world, then our kids have no right to life when it comes to their war mungering, but they talk about protecting the fetus but once that child is born they are willing to forget about it, and when the mother is struggling, the republicans is so willing to get rid of the support system that help them to raise this child.

Commenter: Candy
You have stealth GOP pretending to be Democrats. We have an overpopulation problem globally. It's amazing that these people want non stop breeding, yet have no care if their fellow American has access to affordable healthcare. THEY WANT babies born, but not gurantee that child access to healthcare. That is backward and immoral.

They want non stop breeding because the more people born, the more Corporations can enslave people and not pay them living wages/

Instead of making more and more people, we need to take care of the babies/children/people that are here.

Commenter: Pat Nolan
'Democrates and the New Politics of Abortion"
I found this program was an attack was on health care reform and little to do with abortion itself or how a polititians view of it affects the democratic party. Both sides are using abortion as the boogy man that scares everyone away from the real issue, health care reform. Woman seeking abortions are only the tip of the ice berg when it comes to needy patrons of health care. Because both political partys insist on making abortion funding such a major part health care reform. All will suffer from the gridlock that results from allowing it to be their only focus to the necessary changes to our health care system. I'd say boot abortion from health care reform; then deal with it on a separate plain;so that something can be accomplished NOW with the real issue. They will be fighting about abortion until the end of time, and we don't have that much time.
Children are going without healthcare.
People are dying.

Commenter: Joseph Theissen
"The Politics of Abortion" is an interesting choice for a title. I would offer that a more accurate title would be "The Morality of Abortion". For isn't that the crux of the matter? The issue seems to revolve around the beginning of life. A mother can be charged for murder by disposing of a newborn, but if the child is disposed of a few months earlier by an abortion there is no legal consequence.
As concerns "choice", a woman (and man) have choices:
to engage in sex, or to use contraceptives, or to place for adoption. But when one deals with a life, options are limited. Rationalizing the non-existance of "life" in the fetus through abortion is another example of not facing the consequences of our "choices"

Commenter: Sharon D
Excellent show. Balanced, fair, realistic and a honest depiction of abortion services. I especially appreciated the common and frequent reaction women have to viewing their ultrasounds. The anti-abortion forces want people to believe that women don't know that there is a growing fetus inside them unless they see the ultrasound. How condescending to the millions of women who have and will continue to make the decision to have an abortion! Thank you for recognizing and showing that women do not make this decision lightly.

Commenter: Sydney Ratnow,RN
Having been an RN since before abortions were legal and having worked in the intensive care unit where the botched abortions were brought, there must be nothing that can stand in the way of a woman getting safe medical care when she chooses to terminate her pregnancy. Women have saught terminations for centuries and will continue to do so even if Roe v Wade is overturned. Why don't people "get it?" If this were a simple matter it would have been a non-issue. Women have to make the choices that affect their lives not be told what to do by our government. There's always going to be that group that will suffer " the road not taken" after the decision has been made either way but isn't that true of other things that affect our lives? No political party should be a partner in that choice.

Commenter: Maria McKinney
A soul enters the body usually just prior to birth, therefore an abortion does not kill a soul. This is the reason I am for abortion when necessary.

Commenter: Darlene C.
I wish that whenever the abortion issue were discussed that adoption would also be mentioned. I realize that the mother must deal with a nine month pregnancy, but her life has been complicated anyway and adoption provides a benefit to the childless, a life to the little one, and maybe peace to the mom. I am old now with lots of time to think and I have a few regrets. I can't help but wonder how many mothers are left with psychological baggage that lingers or emerges years later. NOW does a wonderful job of deepening humanity's capacity for compassion by reminding us to guard against solutions that carry too high a cost in pain and suffering,destruction and regret -- as well as treasure.

Commenter: Tad in AnnArbor
It's about time!
Time to recognize and respect a female baby's 'right to choose.'

Commenter: Adrienne in CA
Great thanks to PBS for this illuminating, though infuriating, program. Reading through the comments, I'm struck by the intense anti-woman bias, heaping all the blame and child-as-punishment logic on her for daring to have sex without carefully analyzing possible outcomes. I wonder if people would be so quick to deny health coverage to persons who choose to smoke and then suffer lung disease, or who choose to over eat, then develop diabetes, or who choose to engage in risky sports, resulting in head injuries and broken bones, Even those who travel by car are taking on risk that consumes public resources for accident prevention like traffic signals and speed limit enforcement, and costly rescue and cleanup for those involved in crashes, regardless of fault. Should we leave the dead bodies of speeders to moulder by the side of the road as a warning to others? Ask yourself why that sounds harsh and extreme, whereas forcing a woman to bear an unwanted pregnancy, which itself carries significant cost in money, physical disability that will interrupt work or school, and real risk to her health, including the risk of death in childbirth (on the rise nationally), sounds fair and just. Clearly society has not outgrown the patriarchal notion that sex is evil and it's all woman's fault.

I do hope that PBS will present a thorough analysis of the "adoption solves everything" myth. More light on every aspect of this highly politicized debate would be invaluable.


Commenter: Kate
Kudos to NOW for addressing this very real and controversial issue. Who will be hurt most by the restrictions that are being placed on a woman's right to control her own body? The poor. What is best for the country, for women, for everyone involved? Every child, a wanted child! And we are ALL involved and connected to everything in our world. Thank you NOW for taking on this subject powerfully, and giving a voice to those who have been silenced. Kate

Commenter: amazed
"I do recommend that your female co-host/interviewer work on a more objective facial expression."

How about working on a bit of actual objectivity instead?

That was a licensed nurse? Really? Did she skip biology?

And please, you're really going to have to come up with more compelling evidence of any sort of a significant threat to abortion rights than one MTV show and a movie, Oscars or not. While both are certainly positive indicators, don't worry, the Hollywood sewer pipe is still polluting at full-strength.

Commenter: Nancy Telos
Thank you for the show on abortion rights and the new democratic strategy. Was enlightening, to say the least. I do recommend that your female co-host/interviewer work on a more objective facial expression. There are times, in her interview with Stupak and another one I've see, where she looks hateful. This does no good.

Commenter: Tom Dale Keever
The anti-choice movement, as least among our elected legislators, is fundamentally dishonest and the time has come to expose it.

Estimates of how many unused embryos the American fertility industry has produced, frozen, and now holds in storage range into the hundreds of thousands. The treatments they offer, at great cost, routinely produces more embryos than will be needed so that the doctors can implant embryos until a successful pregnancy is achieved. According to the so-called "Right to Life" movement each and every one of these are "persons" deserving legal rights equal to those of any other citizen. If the industry, and those who use its services, continue they will be conspiring in the wholesale slaughter of "persons" whose lives deserve every bit as much protection as do the unwanted offspring of less affluent women who need insurance coverage to pay for the termination of their pregnancies.

President Bush staged a publicity stunt in which he reached out for volunteers to "adopt" these unwanted embryos, which he and other supposed "Right to Life" enthusiasts call "Snowflake Babies." Few among the legions of anti choice activists have come forward to offer their wombs to these "persons." There is no realistic possibility that a significant number of such volunteers will ever be found. The embryos now in frozen limbo, when the couples who created them tire of paying storage costs, will be thawed and discarded.

The so-called "Right to Life" movement has never done anything to shut down this lucrative industry which, if its adherants really believed the extreme ideology they are trying to foist on the rest of us, it would have to regard as every bit as guilty of "murder" as Dr. Tillman or any of the other medical professionals they have targeted for calumny, harassment or even murder.

The reason for this double standard is not hard to find. The women whose embryos are produced as part of assisted fertility treatments are affluent individuals. The industry that caters to their demands is a thriving and lucrative one. The politicians who exploit the anti-choice movement for their own advantage are, with very few exceptions, among the most subservient to the interests of corporate interests and other forces with deep pockets to finance their campaigns or those of potential opponents. The fertility business, unlike lower income women, can hit back effectively at any politician who endangers its interests.

Far from restricting insurance coverage for this industry, which deliberately produces extra "persons" who will be disposed of if they are not needed by the couples who have contracted for fertility services, states are requiring insurance companies to pay for these "treatments." They are under pressure to extend this coverage, pressure applied by some of the very politicians who pander to the so called "Right to Life" movement.

Pro-Choice groups and legislators should call this hypocrisy into the open so that everyone can see it. They should introduce legislation that treats the fertility industry with precisely the same set of "values" these "moralists" pretend to uphold when they restrict reproductive rights. Affluent couples that contract to have eggs harvested for in vitro fertilization must be required to listen to a moralistic lecture about how, by producing extra embryos that they will not ultimately use, they are conspiring in the equivalent of homicide. Insurance plans that receive any federal subsidy must be forbidden to finance such "murder." Perhaps the parents of any woman seeking artificial reproductive services should be notified to find out how they feel about it.

Congressman Stupack and his fellow moralistic crusaders against a woman's right to choose should be invited to co-sponsor this legislation. When they refuse, and almost all of them will, the public must demand how they can apply one standard to wealthy women who wish to produce embryos for future destruction as part of fertility treatments, and a totally different standard for less affluent women who find themselves facing an unplanned and unwanted pregnancy.

Commenter: Alexandra Milspaw
THANK YOU, PBS, for taking a stand towards upholding women's human rights and freedom of reproductive choice and access to SAFE reproductive healthcare. It was an honor to work with your crew. THank you for sharing women's stories. One woman at a time we will shut down all negative stigma towards these very brave and courageous women who took a stand for THEIR OWN LIVES. peace.

Commenter: Rebecca Terrell
This was a thoughtful and informative show on the issue at the front line of the culture war. The idea that whether or not to continue a pregnancy is anybody's business other than the woman herself is beyond preposterous. If the choice of whether to give birth or not is taken away from women in this country, all other rights for women will fall like dominoes.

Commenter: Jill Doctoroff
Thanks NOW and PBS (and all the women who were interviewed) for a great segment on abortion care services, women and their stories. It is so important to get accurate information out to the American public as so much misinformation has been circulated. I really appreciate the thoughtful, respectful and factual angle this piece took. Bravo to you all!

Commenter: Eric B
" order to shame women who have been raped, molested, or can't afford to responsibly take care of a child. I feel like rolling down my window and shouting, "SHAME! SHAME for turning your back on the women of your country! SHAME for humiliating frightened teenagers, scared, alone women, who are already suffering and in deep emotional pain!"

There is always one loud mouth with more words then actions.

Hopefully we can find was to stop these problems. But people have raised their children of rape. How can they do that? How can we learn from them?

What about children having children? How can they manage? Surely they are an example that children need to learn from. The sacrifices they make in order to raise a child from a bad decision. And the bad decision. We need to learn from that.

It is only people who are surrounded by responsible people, that can share the job so this mother can raise the child. The real problem is the irresponsibility, and how we try to compensate for it.

Commenter: Carol Bunk
Its about a women's right to chose what is right for her and her family. No one else has the right to make that choice for her, certainly not a man sitting is Washington DC who has great insurance and makes a good living. I want my daughters to do what is right for them and hopefully this show will help people understand what is really going on.

Commenter: Woman for Women
Where was the choice?
That poor young woman was given no choice!! Being inundated with fearful questions of how she will pay for it, not being told there are MANY organizations out there that could help her through the pregnancy and, as someone already posted here, more than MANY ppl dying to adopt.
I was surprised to hear about the law where they have to perform the sonogram, but saddened, that the technician only has to "describe" what the technician sees - or use whatever phrases they want (blob of cells/tissue) - and not show the sonogram to the patient. We've been attacked by the so called CHOICE when reality is not disclosed to these patients.

Commenter: tammy
great story...thanks for showing us real women, real families, making real life choices....thank you for showing a compassionate and caring abortion provider...

when mr stupek needs an abortion-i will care what his opinion is...

Commenter: Frank Cesert
If the Democratic party doesn't become more pro life they will cease to exist in national politics. The latest polls show pro life people outnumber pro abortion people among likely voters. After a lot of introspection many are now realizing that abortion is just a sanitized word for killing. It is a natural continuation of the civil rights movement to see that EVERYONE has rights and that the most important right is the right to life (the first right mentioned in our Constitution.)
Three of the major institutions of mankind recognize that the unborn are people.
1.Our laws recognize the person-hood of unborn children in inheritance cases and charge wrongful death when a fetus is killed in an accident or during the comission of a crime.
2.Most religions teach against abortion.
3.Scientists overwhelmingly say that life begins at the moment of conception.

Commenter: Amber
I am a pro-choice person. I believe the choice begins the night before the pregnancy starts. Women need to be more responsible with their bodies. Pregnancy is a consequence of having sex. Why aren't women more accountable for that choice? They cast off a future child by killing any possibilty of it, when they could bring a beautiful baby into the world and give it up for adoption.

Commenter: Tina Pugh
I understand the complicated situation a young woman goes thrugh when she finds out she is pregnant and not ready for a baby. However, our society is telling young women the only solution is to have an abortion. What if we told them to respect themselves and not allow a man to have his way, and then expect her to deal with the consequences. Having an abortion scars a woman no matter her circumstance, it is not a solution it is part of the problem.

Commenter: Amy Hagstrom Miller
Thank you to NOW for such an open and honest portrayal of abortion care workers and the women we serve. The show was real and the stories were real - about what women struggle with as they face an unwanted pregnancy. No woman plans on having an abortion and this episode captured that place women find themselves in when they are with us - and showed how deeply women examine the big stuff; their families, their religion, their identity, their beliefs and their dreams.
The story also showed the passionate commitment and kindness of the abortion care workers - a story that is not often told. Jen and her team provide excellent medical care and emotional support and I am proud to call them collegues. I congratulate NOW for talking on these issues in a complex and deep way. Kudos.


Commenter: Susan
My tax dollars pay for children who are unwanted & sometimes unloved, for wars I don't want to partake in, and other projects I have no use for, so why shouldn't yours (those of you who don't want yours spent for legal medical procedures on poor women or artwork you don't like or approve of) be spent for things you don't want the money spent on? That's how taxes work. In an ideal system, I guess we could check off what we want our money spent on & if there weren't enough funds for something, it wouldn't get done. We probably wouldn't be very happy with that, either. How is it right for this legal procedure to be available only to women with money?

Mac Eld: Wake up. Contraception does not work 100% of the time.

Ken Corliss: How eloquently stated.

And Chloe Benedict: So true.

Claire Noel: No, pro-choice means I won't tell you that you can't make your own choice & you won't tell me I can't make my own choice.

All of you people shocked by the lack of balance - where have you been? NOW often has a particular point of view. Is it only unbalanced when it's not your point of view? Perhaps there needs to be a 2nd program, because 30 minutes isn't very much time for all your points of view & I agree that adoption should be discussed, too. It may not be the blanket answer for this issue, however.

Jeanne Carley: Why should my taxes fund killing in various places in the world? But they do because that's how taxes work, like I said before. Join the club.

All of you: Why do the mother & the unborn not have the same rights? Are we advocating rights for the unborn but not for the already born?

Ah, but Pamela Sebastian, isn't that the point? Let the women go to the back alleys & let the consequences be their punishment for their wayward behavior?

Ida Goldberg: Yow! That'll put some people's knickers in a twist. Good for you!

Greg W.: But then do you prevent them from being adopted by Republicans?

I do not believe it is supported by the numbers in countries with legal abortions that public insurance pays for that abortion rights open the floodgates for irresponsible sex.

Melissa: I want to be on your side, but girl, I cannot believe there was nothing to be done about those 8 pregnancies before they became pregnancies. 8?! What were you missing somewhere?

Jill: For all you know, Tina was using birth control. Even "effective birth control" can fail.

Barbara Stakes: The arguments against separate payment for an abortion policy were included in the NOW broadcast. People don't plan to ever need an abortion, so wouldn't buy such coverage. If only a few were interested, insurance companies wouldn't offer it - not "cost effective."

Sorry, I know it's a long comment, but I had a lot to say.

Commenter: Charlotte Taft
I am so grateful there are wonderful providers like Allentown Women's Clinic that women can trust with their most fundamental life decisions. Jen Boulanger and her staff clearly care about the women they see. The courage of their patients in speaking out when there is still so much judgment against women is breathtaking. Thank you PBS for a glimpse into this largely misjudged and underappreciated world.

Commenter: margaret johnston
This was a great show. Thank you for having the courage to explore the reality of women seeking services and what providers experience in this climate.

Commenter: Tammi K
I think hearing from real women and the reality that abortion providers face each day is good journalism. Jen & her staff put themselves on the line each day to provide, safe, LEGAL services to those women. The patient who let herself be filmed is a heroine. Jen Boulanger is MY heroine! Keep up the good work PBS, Allentown Women's Center & all the silent women who have made the brave decision to have an abortion.

Commenter: Nancy Boothe
Although this segment is about abortion and the dedicated people working in a clinic, it was also about the realities women face in their lives. I couldn't help wishing we could come up with a way for governments to stop craving a hole in women's insurance coverage! Whether it's simply a logical conclusion or feels complex and and emotional, women deserve a second chance if they want it. Thanks to the clinic staff who help these women, the people who give financial assistance when no one else will step up and to PBS for sharing this compelling snapshot of the inequities in health care.

Commenter: Emily Turk
this is ridiculous....way behind the times!

Commenter: Rachel M. MacNair, Ph.D.
Concerning the main case that was offered in this report: what about the invisible man? Because he participated in launching that pregnancy every bit as much as she did, he's just as responsible for the consequences. Setting aside the question of whether feticide is a reasonable way of resolving the situation, he isn't even expected here to so much as chip in for the cost of the abortion. He uses a woman for sex and then splits. No matter whether the consequences are abortion or childbirth, inflicting all the consequences on the woman and having none for the man means male domination of sexual relationships.

We need to consider more than the situation as it's presented to us. We need to consider how it came to be, and how it couldn't come to be if we didn't live in a society that is intolerably sexist.

The abortion clinic is serving as an accomplice to male irresponsibility. How the hell are women ever going to achieve equality as long as we put up with this?

Commenter: Deanna
I don't mean to sound hateful, but abortion is taking the easy way out. There IS a little thing called ADOPTION.

Commenter: David
Thank you for showing a woman who was willing to speak out. The anti-abortion people have stigmatized this procedure very effectively. No woman makes this decision frivolously and to picture them that way is very unfair.
It is a difficult decision, but women should have the right to a safe, legal and accessible abortion. If they don't (and there are many places around the world where they don't) then women die.

Commenter: Tamara
When a politician says he would vote to overturn Roe v. Wade he is saying that he is ok with forcing me to bear a child against my will, a child I cannot afford, just because my birth control fails.

Who does he think is going to pay for these children? I assume he is volunteering himself. I suggest we start showing up at Representative Stupak's office and asking him to feed our children lunch and dinner and buy them clothes.

Commenter: Melanie MacLennan
thank you for airing a deeply thought through view of one of the many abortion clinics in this country with which almost half of the women in this country are familiar!
Thank you!

Commenter: Floyd Bartlett
NOW - concerning your pro-abortion program of Feb 5 : being a Christian conservative, I agree with Rep Stupak. If there are women who want to hire a 'doctor' to murder their baby, using abortion as a birth control option, don't try to force me to pay for it. She will face God in the future for the decision. Ms Boulanger wants the Democrats "to stick to their ideals". That is an 'ideal'? That is sick! Funding of Planned Parenthood with any taxpayer dollars should be eliminated. 50 million babies killed since 1973 are not enough for these people, including Obama and his lackeys. After having her baby killed, the comment of 'Maria' that she could now go home and relax is very telling about the mentality of too many Godless women.

Commenter: mary w.
I am an avid fan of your weekly show, and I am a very pro-lifer. It was very painful to watch as young women are citeing poverty issues determining ending the life of their unborn children. We know for a fact that adoption parents are on waiting lists to help these mothers and even pay all their expenses in some cases if need be. Counseling and homes to house them for the duration of their pregnancy. The lame excuse to kill a live because it is unwanted and poorly timed is the worst reflection of our countries citizens.

Commenter: Erin D
Fantastically well-done piece. Wouldn't it be great if people in the United States actually trusted women to make the decisions that are best for them, personally, rather than regulate what happens in a doctor's office? The decision to have an abortion is a deeply personal one, and the people who are against choice are, quite frankly, anti-woman. It's fine to disagree with a decision, but to protest a simple procedure so vehemently and to murder people who are trying to help women does not help their cause. If we actually armed women and girls (and men and boys) with appropriate knowledge about the potential consequences that come with being sexually active, maybe our abortion rate would go down.

Commenter: Garson Romalis
a very balanced view of the current abortion controversy. I admire the courage of the abortion providers and the patients who spoke out, particularly in view of the violent rhetoric and violent acts against those who provide and need abortion services.

Commenter: Jen Boulanger
Great thanks to PBS for showing the real stories of women who are making important life decisions. What I'm hearing in these comments is that the general public, particularly the vocal anti-choice minority, is averse to accept the reality that women choose abortion even when offered the option of adoption. All women are informed about the option of adoption. What this program conveys is that good women choose abortions. This program was not about adoption. If it were, it would have mentioned that the Allentown Women's Center has an adoption specialist on staff.

Take a look at the poll above these comments. The overwhelming majority feel that the anti-choice democrats are hurting the party. Politicians should not be forcing their religious beliefs onto their constituents.

Commenter: Terry Merritt
Thank you for this much-needed story. Women do need to tell their personal stories to the likes of Stupek, but until they feel safe enough, brave enough,your show helps. The disconnect that too many who are in charge feel to the many, many who have no voice allows the perpetuation of the harmful stigma surrounding abortion, the women who choose abortion and the providers who offer the care. Stories like yours show the reality - women making important decisions, not with the help of government, but in spite of governmental hurdles and barriers. Women have always and will always choose abortion when they feel it is the best decision. No one wants forced motherhood to be our government policy - or intention. Thanks for highlighting the complexities women deal with in making a pregnancy decision and the all-too-simplistic grasp of these complexities that too many people in charge ignore.

Commenter: The Moral Pilgrim
This was a wonderfully balanced show that portrayed how utterly ignorant the Democrats are when it comes to women's health.

Commenter: Reverend Rebecca Turner
Thank you for this outstanding look at abortion from the woman's perspective. Whenever the arguments begin with anything other than the woman herself, they erase every woman's experience. As Ms. Boulenger stated, at least one-third of all women WILL have an abortion in their lifetimes. To reduce their experiences to political or religious idealism is cruel. I give thanks for professional abortion care providers like Ms. Boulanger and her staff who listen to the women they care for every day. As a Christian minister I am deeply offended by the way many who want to make abortion illegal and unsafe use the name of God to shame women into submission. Women who choose abortion are good women who are making the best decision they can in their circumstances. Jesus did not condemn women who violated the cultural norms in his anti-woman world, and neither should we. Let's stop the shame. Thank you PBS and NOW for your bravery in telling the truth.

Commenter: Ki
The day is coming soon when the word "abortion" is not on a political or religious hypocritical agenda. What is more important is that every child in America has a true right to a full fulfilling life. When the U.S. values loving, healthy intact nuclear and extended families and communities. Fathers across the nation will claim and support each of their children.
And if they do not want to be responsible for having more children then the laws should be made to punish the man -- not the woman -- and they have no say or have to be worried about what the pregnant women's decision about keeping or caring for the baby will be. Men will stop forcing sex on women. That is the real issue not abortion.

Commenter: Rick Evertsen
P.B.S programming should be balanced. This one was not. Where does the pregnancy begin? Who is responsible for the act that began the process of pregnancy? I don't recall hearing anything about the male participant in this, nor the responsibility of both parties to this act. You present an example of a young lady who blames a "system" that does not provide her and her unspoken of male bed partner, understanding and financial assistance. How irresponsible. Shame on them. Shame on you.
Rick Evertsen

Commenter: Former PBS Viewer
I just saw the re-broadcast of the Now episode covering Democrats pulling public funds from Abortion. I have one big question: Why should I support your "right to choose" when you have a HISTORY OF MAKING BAD CHOICES!! The evidence is that you have an "unwanted pregnancy" !! So, you don't understand anything about sex and life, but you want me to help pay the cost to tear the child out of your body? All you women who had abortions seem like selfish murderers! There is no reason to do this. If its a rape, give the baby up for adoption. If it threatens your life in a truly unforeseeable way, pray for a miracle, for isn't it the most noble and beautiful thing to give your life for another?!? The only thing you can stand on is this: you are too self-absorbed with sex and fun, you won't let anything slow you down!! This is just another example of the lack of personal responsibility that pervades and is destroying our society!!
If you are too poor and unsettled to be able to raise a child, then you are too poor and unsettled to have sex. Its as simple as that. You are in college, alone and scared?? Where's the 'stud' who knocked you up?? Another loser!! Men who refuse to take any responsibility ARE NOT MEN AT ALL. It looks like you've just traded your college degree for diapers, and learned an important lesson!! If you weren't aware that sex is the way to make babies, then I don't think you belong in college anyway! Drop out, be responsible, raise your baby and let someone else take your seat!
The sad reality is that most of these abortions aren't an extreme case of rape, but of stupid people making stupid choices.
Think of someone else for a change!!
Saying meaningless things like: "fundamental women's health rights" or "reproductive rights" is no defense. There is no logical argument to support it. Either you believe that Human Life is precious and should be protected and honored, or you believe that when someone is inconvenient that person can be eliminated, be they very young, very old, 'wrong' color, 'wrong' beliefs, 'wrong' orientation, whatever. Go ahead, start with, "since every single human life is important.." and conclude with "its ok then to murder this baby". Since you can't do it, you have to change it to," abort the fetus" since that sounds less offensive, in the same manner that "solve the population problem" nicely masks genocide. Once you admit that you don't believe that every human life is precious, we can continue the discussion...

Commenter: Trish
I support this Right to Choice Politics. The right to choose is a woman's right. This new movement is abnormal and they need to keep their nose out of our business. Since the burden to bare and raise children is ours we have the right make decisions to do this. I was a rape victim, and had an abortion to end my night mare that he left me with. I had 3 children and did not want, need, or deserve to bring this to term. Thank God I had a choice to insure my sanity. That's all I have to say and will fight for others to have this right. Democrats don't fail us now!

Commenter: Gabriel
Despite your intent to show Stupak as a bad guy, your program actually supported him and all of his colleagues. This was not a debate about abortion, but simply: should taxpayer money be used to pay for some irresponsible women's poor choices? Clearly no. You showed two women who were poor and who chose to get pregnant, then chose to abort those children. Neither one received taxpayer money, but both succeeded in getting the child removed from their bodies.

Please tell me how anyone could be upset with this? Given that you assume people have free will and are allowed to make choices, I can say I'm disappointed with their choices, but I cannot remove their freedom to make them. **STUPAK DOES NOT STOP WOMEN FROM MAKING CHOICES!!** YOU DEMONSTRATED THIS ON YOUR PROGRAM!!

Commenter: Concerned Viewer
I just finished watching this week's show, "Democrats and the New Politics of Abortion," and felt it to be extremely slanted--not a good example of unbiased journalism.

I know that the purpose of the show was to discuss the Democractic Party's current struggles with health care and abortion legislation, but it seemed more like a plug for the pro-choice movement.

The program described the issues surrounding abortion as "complex," but I felt that it did a poor job of touching on these complexities. The main focus was on women's right, which is an important part of the picture but not the WHOLE picture. There was no mention of the unborn children and their rights and no recognition of the serious emotional scars that abortion can leave on women.

The protestors at the doors of the clinic, the laws that have been passed in some states requiring pre-abortion counseling and/or sonograms, and the efforts of people like Congressman Stupak were portrayed in a negative light by the program. The show did a poor job of discussing why these protestors and laws exist.

The goal of these efforts is not to suppress women or disadvantage the poor. The goal is to protect the rights of all people, including the unborn, by providing information and reminders to the women who find themselves in the midst of an unwanted pregnancy. And they attempt to protect our right to follow our consciences.

The consciences of many Americans say that abortion is murder, so how can these citizens just stay quiet and willingly allow their tax money to fund something that they see as a vicious crime? How can they NOT find ways to protest?

The same principle can be applied to any issue. To slavery, to war, etc. We have a right to stand up for what we believe and oppose what we see as moral evil. In fact, we have a duty to do so. The real issue comes down to balancing our passion with respect, peace, and love. This is the real struggle.

I saw nothing wrong with the interviews done with the individuals at the Allentown Women's Clinic. Their thoughts were an important part of the story. Pro-choice people have a right to stand up and voice their thoughts.

But so do pro-life individuals. And this program was lacking when it came to telling their story. I could tell that the woman interviewing Stupak had strong pro-choice views and seemed to belittle his thoughts. Plus, the program needed more than just the Stupak interview. It would have been good to hear the voices of women, clinicians, and protestors who could intelligently and passionately provide the other side of the story.

In my opinion, the media should make a bigger effort to report fairly, to record the various voices of the American people. That's what we need to hear to truly form our consciences and make our decisions.

Commenter: Joyce Arthur
Thank you. The program was excellent and so was everyone in it. It really humanized the abortion issue and the patients/staff - something often sorely lacking in the abortion debate - and it exposed the extremism and cruelty of anti-choice protesters and legislators like Stupak. Jen Boulanger is a hero for speaking out so bravely and publicly since Dr. Tiller's s murder. Thank you Jen!

I really liked Tina, too - an ordinary woman at a difficult time in her life, putting a true face on abortion, and making it sympathetic, even matter-of-fact - in other words, a typical abortion for a typical patient.

What enraged me the most was Stupak's demonstration of how easily expendable women's right to abortion was for the Democrat party. I.e., in order to attract more voters, the very FIRST thing they let go is their commitment to women's reproductive rights! It shows not only how unimportant women's rights are, but how upfront politicians can be about it without serious repercussions. Sexism is the last acceptable bigotry. It's tragic that this blatant and inexcusable misogyny has been given the official stamp of approval by the Democratic Party.

I'm really tired of the ignorance and denial of the reality of abortion in women's lives, the cynical politicking at the literal expense of women's lives, and the erasure and dismissal of the 45 million American women who've had abortions since the 1970's. Anti-abortion laws are misogynist laws, including the refusal to fund abortions.

Commenter: melissa grantham
Abortion is an issue that is easy to disagree with until you are faced personally with an unintended pregnancy. Many of those who believe they are pro life live in a Polly Anna world where contraception always works and it could not happen to them because they are responsible. The reality is.. Pro life believers become pro choice immediately when unintended pregnancy happens to them. I have seen it over and over and over again.

One in three women in the US have an abortion. Many of them are right wing republicans... they just can't believe it when unintended pregnancy happens to them.

Commenter: Jacqueline Benvenuto
Abortion is a subject best left to the woman in question to answer for herself / but without using my tax dollars.

Commenter: Josefa
The woman has the rights to decide!! Moral and not, is a personal choice. And yes, woman have to speak out!

Commenter: Robert
Thank you for this eye opening view into abortion from a woman's perspective. I believe the Democratic Party is making a dangerous mistake in inviting anit-abortion politicians into the party. It's like a Trojan horse with the fundamental principles of the Democratic party insidiously being destroyed from within. Voters, who are predominantly pro-choice, should be aware of the real and imminent danger to a woman's right to choose about her body and pregnancy. Jen Boulanger stated it well that pro-life or anti-abortion really means forced pregnancies and babies, and this will ultimately lead to this country becoming an overpopulated and poverty stricken third world country with an overwhelmed welfare system. Women should not be forced into a life of poverty due to forced pregnancy. Vote against Stupak and other anti-abortion Democrats.

Commenter: magrisanti
It is time to have a national account where we can donate money to pay for the abortions poor women seek and bypass all insurance and government organizations.As long as abortion is legal, women can help each other afford it.

Commenter: Barb
Babys & sex should not be a politacal subject. Sex is God's way of procreation not a sport or recreation or make me feel good or show you love me. Why don't women think of all this CRAP before they spread their legs - it makes no sense to me & who pays?? The innocent BABYS. I pray daily for our world.

Commenter: Teresa Hornsby
Thank you for the sensitive and smart look at how politics and the stigma of abortion affects women's lives (particularly poor women).

Commenter: Susan
I have never been more disappointed in PBS than I was on Friday night with the broadcast of NOW. I count on Public Broadcasting to be fair, at least, if not unbiased, and to be comprehensive in their reporting. Maria Hinojosa was anything but that on this program. She interviewed 3 pro-choicers yet only 1 pro-lifer. She insisted on using the term anti-abortion, when even Howard Dean used the term pro-life. She was seen nodding in agreement with the pro-choice Clinic Manager, while appearing to constantly challenge Rep. Stupak. Rhetoric and body language DO matter, and if she cannot objectively report on a subject, she should seek a job with another network with obvious bias.
As for being comprehensive, the majority of the program focused on the plight of one woman who saw abortion as her only choice. In fact, the only time Adoption was mentioned was in the scripted material being read to a patient over the phone. Yet, on at least 3 occasions, Tina expressed reservations about her decision. There was no discussion about birth control either in the past or future. There was no discussion about how the father of this baby should take responsibility for the decisions he and Tina made. The Clinic Manager on the one hand states that pregnancy is not without its risks, and then claims that Tina is "my hero" for going through with the abortion. What about those women who accept the risks of the pregnancy, sacrifice to give birth, and then put the needs of their babies above their own by giving them a better life through adoption? As a Pro-life (anti-war, anti-death penalty, pro-health reform), liberal, Democrat, and an Obstetrical provider, who has personally been in the position of having to deal with an unplanned pregnancy, and who has counseled numerous women in this situation, I can verify that the choices are never easy. Shame on society for creating a situation that makes abortion SEEM like the only answer. It is time that those who are Pro-life stand up and support these women by providing funding for pre-natal care and adoption, instead of trying to shame women outside abortion clinics. Abortion need not be outlawed, it just needs to be made as obsolete as possible.

Commenter: Mark Albert
Your episode on the Democratic party supporting pro-life candidates in rural, conservative districts explored an important and interesting topic, but Maria Hinojosa failed to address an important question: In pursuit of Governor Dean's 50 state strategy, did the Democrats support any pro-life Democratic candidates who were running against a pro-choice Republican?

I would think that any thoughtful progressive would support a conservative, pro-life Democrat over a conservative, pro-life Republican when it is unrealistic to expect a more progressive candidate to win.

Commenter: Debbie D.
If people do not believe in abortion, they should not have one. A woman should have destiny over her body and future. Access to safe and legal abortions are a great need and not just for women who have the means to pay for an abortion themselves. Why should I have to pay for women to have a bunch of children? Why can't we agree to disagree on the right to choose; those that claim to "choose life" often support the death penalty. If they truly supported life, they would not support the death penalty. I have had an abortion and it was the right thing for me to do at the time. Do I wish that my circumstances would have been different? Of course I do but given my life at the time, I made the best decision I could for myself at the time and have no regrets.

Abortions need to be safe and legal for every woman who makes a decision to have an abortion. This is a very difficult decision and it's nobody's business.

Commenter: Anonymous
Thank you so much for your program. It seems that this issue will always divide people.
I had an abortion over 30 years ago. It was a very tough decision, but I did not have the resources for a child -- the income, my partner's support, or family support. It haunted me, but I still feel that I made the right decision.
There are many choices and actions to take for a more nurturing, healthy, and just society. I believe that is being pro-life.

Commenter: Sue I.
This was a very disappointing piece of journalism; incredibly biased against the pro-life view point. I expect at least an attempt at balance. In this program, women's choices were presented as limited to abortion or raising a child in poverty. Adoption has become dirty word. The pro-lifers interviewed were asked hostile questions. The pro-choicers were simply allowed to present their views.

I was really pleased to see someone like Mark Stupak on the national stage. He is right there are many pro-life Democrats, and the leadership of the party should reflect that.

Commenter: Mac Eld
For decades pregnancy prevention methods have been readily available to women. There is virtually no excuse for a woman to willingly engage in sexual activity and become pregnant from it. In my opinion abortion is a license to indiscriminately screw around and avoid the consequences. Rape and incest are repeatedly brought up as reasons abortions need to be available. But really, how many pregnancies result from rape and incest, 2%, 5%, maybe. The way I hear it 95% of pro-abortion women are using the misfortunes of 5% to justify their own indiscretion. If you want to engage in sex, be prepared to deal with its natural consequences. Accept responsibility for your actions.

Commenter: Angela
After reading all these comments, my heart strings have been tugged this way and that. This is such an emotional issue to most people that it is hard to draw a line between black and white, moral and immoral. I am a young democrat, but I am also a new mom. I had my first child as a young single mom with no family around and let me say, it was incredibly difficult and I felt sometimes that I couldn't do it, but it was the GREATEST decision I ever made. I now am married and just had another baby, and the glory of motherhood is something that I can't get over! I can never imagine aborting a baby, but I can't imagine the painful process that women that make that choice must go through. I feel that as a society there are some things that need to change in the way we view life and womanhood, sexuality and family and only then will this problem subside. I have to agree with the statement that abortion should be "safe, legal, and RARE".

Commenter: James E. Bradley
I am usually one of the pro-life people shown standing behind the parking lot fence at the Allentown "Women's Center" which is four blocks from my home. Those asking for abortion have ALREADY MADE a choice - to have sex relations. Sometimes, a baby is conceived. At conception, a new, distinct human being begins development. That new human already has a gene blueprint which says male or female, blonde or dark, tall or short, etc. Roe v. Wade mentions a 'right of privacy'. As a distinct human person, does not that baby have its OWN 'right to privacy'? Stopping that development, thus violating that right to privacy, is the same action one performs by doing a murder, execution, fatal war action, 'mercy' killing, neglect to starvation or exposure to fatal disease. Ignoring these facts - and they ARE facts, NOT beliefs - and covering these killings with soothing phrases allows those bent on killing (and, it's for profit!!) to continue. Most of us pro-lifers have a religious motivation, but that's not necessary. An atheist can see a killing for what it is! Any discussion of abortion MUST start with the fact of killing. The question is not 'choice' or 'freedom' but rather "What, if anything, JUSTIFIES this killing?" In view of the adoption alternative, what answers can be given? Do we just repeal the murder laws? Or, maybe, abortion should be a "Fourth degree homicide" ? I think there has been far more than enough killing !

Commenter: Aharon Grossman
1)The question STATED: Has the Democratic Party abandoned support of reproductive rights?
To answer it PBS focused the show on how DIFFUCULT going through an abortion can be for a woman (approx. 2/3 of the show).
The remainder of the show was devoted to interviewing Bart Stupak and Howard Dean who explained why it is legitimate for Democrats to support anti-abortion legislation.
The show SHOULD HAVE either:
1)Spent minimal, if any time highlighting the diffucult experiences and emotions of those who actually provide and opt for abortions and stuck to the views of politicians who represent Democrats from THROUGHOUT the party OR:
2)Spent equal time covering EVERYDAY PEOPLE who are STAUNCHLY Democratic and happen to believe HONESTLY in PRO-CHOICE.
The way it was done was clearly designed to ask us, the viewers, to empathise with those who think they should abort and the diffuculties this new Democratic viewpoint imposes on them.
Although I LOVE PBS, I have SERIOUS question about PBS's commitment to balanced reporting and have VERY serious questions about supporting a network that acted (in this case) as a mouthpiece primarily for just one side of a extremely important issue.

Commenter: Ken Corliss
My wife and I are strong supporters of the "right to choose" so we listened intently to your recent segment on the abortion debate and in particular to Rep. Stupak's comments. I am writing you to express my concern about the way the Pro-choice lobby continue to frame their arguments. I feel that to argue that this is simply about a woman's right to choose a safe legal abortion is a losing argument even if focused. The argument is too narrow and misses a major point: that the right of Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness is not meaningful in a society that engages in coercion and intimidation whether through financial, verbal or legal means.
Consider this: India has 10's of millions of Hindus who believe that all animal life is too sacred to kill. They choose to be vegan because of this belief. Suppose that Hindus one day become a plurality in the United States and decide to change the law such that food stamps cannot be used to buy meat and schools that receive Federal dollars cannot serve meat in school lunches. Perhaps as a first step, Hindus start to demonstrate in front of schools and call the food service people "Cow Killers." Yes I know that is unlikely, even absurd, but the supposition demonstrates a simple point: Freedom is meaningless if it does not mean freedom from coercion and intimidation. Ultimately the abortion debate is a debate about freedom itself.
We pride ourselves as leaders of the free world, but we do not deserve that place if we cannot resist the urge to impose our values on each other and on the rest of the world.

Commenter: Rhonda
Im sick of all the back and forth. Anti-choice activities need to leave women alone. The law has spoken.

Commenter: Sharon
Thanks so much for this show. Tina is unbelievably brave to share her story and I'm sure that when she's in a better position to have a child she'll be a fabulous mother. I wish more people like her felt empowered to speak up and take away the stigma of abortion.

Commenter: Rhodeliz Resto
The desicion of abortion is very delicate and is to be taking from the person who doing it.Some people dont understand how the person feel that they are going to bring a life that will suffer, and is better to do the abortion if you know you pregnant do it as soon as posible ,And not do it when is to big inside of you. And this not a politic decision is woman decision for her mental peacefull,that the person dont be in stress all life and with out a peacefull mental. Please respect what others want to do and world will be much better for all.

Commenter: Chloe Benedict
Congressman Stupak and many of his cohorts are hypocrites to say the least. Wouldn't it be interesting to check their voting record on supporting all our wars and funding them, voting for the gross military budget each year etc. Then to make it more interesting ask them about receiving money from corporations that manufacture and distribute all kinds of weaponry all over the world. What a "pro-life" belief they have! They are SO protective of the pre-born cells....not the mothers that face so many problems in their lives. And you can be sure they and their families are not involved in the wars.

Commenter: Claire Noel
My husband and I enjoy watching David's program because we thought the programs were non-biased and objective. Last night's program was very disappointing. It was totally biased towards abortion. No other choice was indicated. The term pro-choice should be changed to pro-abortion because pro-choice indicates a woman also has a choice to give life. The use of the term "pro-choice" refers only to choosing abortion.

Commenter: h
I feel that woman has a birth right to choose and go or not through the unpalnned pregnency but at the same time that woman has to take responcibiliting of her action as they knew exactlly what they were getting into with their habits and high risk behavier and not to except tax payer to pick the fees.

Commenter: Sister Mary Schmuck, RSM
I am a big fan and promotor of NOW.

However, I am deeply saddened by the very skewed treatment of human rights and human life in the Feb 5 probram. I didn't ever expect to see such with this program.

Commenter: Kathleen
Watching Democrats sell out their values for votes makes me feel there is no hope. If a woman doesn't have control over what happens to her own body, she has no rights. This issue is really about the church controlling women and punishing them for having sex.

Commenter: Jeanne Carley
As a retired journalist, I was greatly disappointed with your program re Democrats and abortion. Besides being completely biased , I felt the reporting and the questions asked of people. No one in favor of Pro-Life except for Bert Stupak was interviewed and all the others favored abortion - naturally, since one of them was oerforming abortions and another was receiving one and still another was president of planned Parenthood.. Also,, the questions were framed in such a way that Pro-Life came out as Anti-Abortion and Pro-Abortion was called Pro-Choice. A young girl is used to get sympathy and tragic when her own actions resulted in the pregnancy - no details mentioned there- and she manages to get funding for an abortion despite the doubts she will be able to. Why should taxpayers fund killing innocent children? And most important the question was never mentioned: Where are the rights of the unborn? The facts remain that these are children created by God no matter how aborrion proponnets phrase it. You cannot get around this fact. Don;t blame good Democrats for voting and believing in their consciences. I am a Democrat and cringe everything I am forced to vote for one who believes and votes for abortion policies. I only do it because I dislike the alternative Republicans, but I would always select a Pro-Life Democrat over an abortion proponent. Also, why didn't Maria bring up the possibility of adoption- she wouldn't have to go on welfare if she considered adoption. Some agencies will pay for births if the mother allows the baby to be put up for adoption. This is why there are so few baies to adopt in this country- they all get aborted/killed. Is this what you want to promote? I have never seen a more prejudiced view on NOW though I watch it faithfully and have liked what I saw. I couldn't believe Maria H would do such a poor job of journalism. Where is your sense of morality?. I suggest you take another look at this subject and do a fair and balanced piece. And one more thing: I think Bert Stupack is an admirable character to stick to his principles. He didn;'t get upset with the reporter despite he demanding questios and maintained his composure. He is not preventing women to get abortion; all he's doing is preventing taxpayer money to fund them. Nothing wrong in that. So his views should not be distorted as some of the foolish wrongheaded women in this piece thought. These women are just morally WRONG!

Wow, is this discussion ever monumentally silly. Individuals who are so self absorbed with the perceived cosmic importance of their own existence are complaining that their inalienable "right" to slaughter their own children, simply because they don't want them, is in jeopardy of being abridged. In addition, a courageous defense is encouraged against vicious sidewalk counselors wielding razor sharp bibles and piercing words that might possibly wake the conscience of the soon to be mother of a murdered child to the personal catastrophe she is about to embark upon. Can we allow her to suspect the true nature or consequences of her actions, the death of her child and likely her heart? These folks have been regurging this same nonsense since the sixties when I was fired from one of the larger abortion providers around for refusing to participate in the slaughter, even before Rowe V. Wade. Now, as then, they are still a bunch of self absorbed losers who cannot make a moments real justification for the practice of abortion based upon anything but the rhetorical vomit they have been wallowing in since the days of their youth. The truth is these folks seek anonymity and justification for their own murderous actions in numbers by encouraging others to participate in their own crimes against humanity with slobbering sentimentality, devoid of any real facts. Misery truly loves company and what a miserable bunch they are. When I was a child, I was taught, and rightly so that there was a name for individuals who practice, support or promote the victimization of the innocent and helpless among us. They are called cowards. Anybody want to discuss that?

Commenter: Pamela W. Sebastian
Women have been getting abortions for millennia. Outlawing abortions does not make them go away, it just puts them back in the alleys and shadows, and subjects women to the risk of health and life. Outlawing abortions is like outlawing the consumption of liquor; it accomplishes nothing except to make more people outlaws. The Democratic Party needs to stick to its ideals and assure that appropriate medical care, including abortions, is available to ALL people, regardless of their ability to pay. Mr. Stupak, with his heinous amendment, should be drummed out of the party.

Commenter: Patricia Hamlin
Your show was a typical bias portrayal of pro-lifers. You showed the abortion Dr., the pro life senator, the poor woman getting the abortion, the planned parenthood official and of course the crazy pro-lifer holding the sign shouting baby killer. I have no doubt that woman holding the sign saying baby killer was not a democrat. Did you ask? Probably not. Why? I think because of your own agenda you want to show us as hateful. Well NOW producers I would just like to tell you that I am a life long pro life democrat that would never hurt or threaten anyone. I would never call anyone a name either. I found your program bias because you made no attempt to interview a typical pro life democratic voter. Yes we do exist. Google democrats for life. We are really very loving people who just feel that life is precious at ALL stages, born, unborn. I will tell you its not an easy life for us because we are hated by republicans AND many democrats alike. I challenge your program to show a real unbiased show on prolife democrats. Not crazy right wing bombers. I would like to think that you are the REAL fair and balanced journalists. Thank you for offering a place for me to comment on your show.

Commenter: Travis -Indy
If anti-abortion is the preferred phrasing, would you also prefer pro-death for the counter view? I usually enjoy watching NOW, however as a PRO-LIFE
viewer I was more keenly aware of the bias of the
entire program. No one asked the question 'How could protecting the rights of developing people,aka fetus,
be inline with the Democratic party.'
What's so troubling to me is that you were only going about the story as if abortion is unquestionably only a reproductive rights issue. As if any issue should be looked at as how it conforms to the ever-changing stances of the political parties.

Commenter: William Zaffer
Like aborthion, I think PBS is selling out to Coke and Exxon with money support that do not care about peoples health or energy independence.

Commenter: Eric B...
Abortion... what about responsible thinking? Is it really responsible to avoid the child? Is it really responsible to assume the child is worthless? Why don't we try to fix the reasons for abortion first? That is what a truly humanitarian society would do.

Look at identical twins... they share a bond that goes beyond any other bond of blood. It's like the only thing that separates theirs souls is space.
(((we actually use 100% of our brain. each section of the brain was designed to react to spiritual energies. each section of the brain is used to react to spiritual energy, and translate it into the physical world. And love is forever abstract to the physical world because it is a spiritual energy. For, the soul is independent of the physical world, but has side effects in it.)))

Why is it the number one reason we accept abortion is because of unwanted children (adoption mess) and alcoholic parents. Abortion doesn't solve this. It merely hides from the problem making it easier to avoid it and grow ever more calloused. obviously coupled with tolerance as the new definition of love taught in schools.

If someone has a child they can not take care of, this merely means we should step in as a community to help. Where is a good community organizer when you need one? What about all of these abortion doctors, they truly desire to help?

College kids are out their partying, acting like adults, doing adult things, and then it happens. A consequence for the life they live. Ohh how we desire to make life into our unfounded ambitions. The scientist only believes in the things he can engineer, as part of some sick power struggle, and loss of respect for anything but what gives them power to control the problems. Scientists can't admit they aren't in control, so they ignore anything that doesn't fit that. And scientists think they don't have a wild imagination. Somehow they escaped what they blame Christians as having. That's pretty arrogant if you ask me.

What about the depression associated with abortion. I'd be more scared of those who don't feel depression. For you have to care before you can be hurt. What if this sense of loss, uncertainty, and hurt comes from killing something that's apart of them? What if depression associated with child birth comes from nine months of anticipation followed by a sudden realization? What if the uncertainty is too much to handle and they shut down. ...a level of feelings deep inside them they need to confront and rise above.

I know scientists have an imagination. Every time they were proven wrong is a testimony to that. They should instead use it to learn what they don't know so they stop biting off more then they can chew.

Commenter: Ida Goldberg
1. I don't see any special needs children in tow by anti-abortion protesters. If they feel so passionately
about abortion they need to adopt and foster parent unwanted children.Adopt a crack baby and put your money where your mouth is. 2. Don't push your "one life to live" Christianity on the rest of us. The soul can not be killed and will be reincarnated. The unborn soul has a choice to reincarnate. It's called the soul's blueprint and is predicated upon what we need to learn in the next lifetime. Babies aren't innocent victims as they're reincarnated souls that are "born with original sin." Don't shove your religion on the rest of us.

Commenter: Steve & Cindy Frohnauer (Amery WI)
My wife and I, having watched Now for many years, and appreciating the informative and "unbiased" way you have presented news stories, were very disappointed with the program presented on 2/5/2010 involving the abortion issue as related to the Democratic Party. We felt that Maria H clearly was biased in her method, both in voice tone and body language,in which she presented the piece. This was most evident in her interviewing of Congressman Stupak.
Our disappointment is not based on our personal beliefs on the issue, but on the fact that we felt your news report was very slanted. In this day in age of "tabloid" news programs we feel you strayed away from a news program that gives us a straight forward presentation of information & facts that allows us to make up our own minds on an issue.
Extremely disappointed.
Sincerely, Steve & Cindy Frohnauer (Amery, WI)

Commenter: Vikash
Thanks for such a gutsy piece of journalism. Can't imagine the MSM touching these issues, even with a barge pole. The saying '..only in America...' is so apt for anti-abortion fanaticism in the USA.

Commenter: Carol Willis
I don't recall this piece mentioning Adoption as an option. In the piece there seemed to be no middle ground between abortion vs. raising a baby with no resources, a dangerous example of "excluded middle".

Commenter: Greg W.
Do the Democrats not understand that the more children aborted, the fewer future democrats? One cannot seriously expect to win a battle by thinning their own ranks. Adoption is the alternative to this difficult decision that women have agonized about for so many years. The mother and baby both win.

Commenter: John Wolfram
As one who finds exceptional objectivity in the documentaries I view at film festivals, the amatuerish super bias is so over the top in your prolife Democrats piece. The interviews if counted in time are 3/4 pro abortion. As a democrat who has always felt that adoption is the best alternative to fetus destruction. You did not even get into the reason behind the reduction in providers. Your bias during the interviews was all over your facial expressions to the point that I had to look away. This kind of programming only discourages me from contributing to PBS. Clear was the message, if I am forced to give birth I will by defnitionbe on Welfare, what incredible trash.

Commenter: Chip Uni
Of course it "helps" the Democratic party to be as broad as possible: more people can declare themselves Democrat, the less that the word "Democrat" stands for.

The same is true for the Republican party.

Commenter: carmen bellavia
your program's view of the problem is very biased.
killing 50m potential workers,citizens,consumers, doctors, scientists,taxpayers, et al, through abortions is an evil that is destroying our nation economically and especially morally. there should not be funding for abortions. we should work to overturn Roe v wade. may God give our president, congress, supreme court, the courage, compassion, and wisdom to end this evil as they did to end slavery, and make our great nation a nation that truly provides all the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Commenter: Betsy McMahon
Excellent show on the present state of abortion in the U.S. Thank you so much for this presentation!

Commenter: Mary
Will the Democrats finally see that many of us, like myself, lifelong Democrats who are NOT pro-choice will finally feel that we have a place back in the party? The Democrats stand toward the "choice" to kill babies has been one of my greatest disappointments.

The young girl on tonight's show could very well have saved that baby and made some childless couple overjoyed at the chance to adopt. Unfortunately, it seemed to me that the program was favoring the pro-choice side.

Commenter: Selmer1
Welcome to the Stone Age America! It's getting harder by the day to be an intelligent, progressive 21st. Century human being in this country. Thank you NOW for this disturbing but very important program.

Commenter: Michael Monahan
I am disappointed, not surprised, but disappointed in the editorial slant you took on this week's story. How about "Democrats and the new politics of Life." There were so many things in your story that I take issue with. I support reproductive rights. However, I think that this right is conditioned by the presence of a new life once a woman has reproduced. Sexual intercourse has natural consequences. Both men and women have to be educated about that. The availability of abortion opens the flood gates for irresponsible sex. It is easy to have sympathy for the unfortunate woman with an unplanned pregnancy. They often need our help and support, not to terminate the pregnancy but to accept it and turn her attention away from her possibly unfortunate circumstances and toward the life that is growing within her. Imagine the terror of the child that is being ripped apart in its mother's womb. But we cannot see that so we focus on the terror induced by those who oppose abortion. Maybe BOTH are wrong! I would like to see you redo this whole piece from Burt Stupack's point of view. You took the point of view of the abortion provider...that good old liberal media bias. What else should I expect from NOW. I did not like your editorial bias.

Commenter: chris moerike
i have a solution for the anti abortion issue. all pro lifers MUST submit their names and information to a national lottery, when an unwanted baby is born a name is drawn and they MUST accept custody and raise the child as if it were theirs, because it will be.

Commenter: Observer
Your report interviewed a lot of people angry with Democrats who oppose taxpayers paying for abortion.
Conspicously missing was the viewpoint of the babies who have been aborted. How many Democrats speak for the constitutional rights of the children that the mother does not choose?

Commenter: larry smith
All decisions are conditional.
Nobody has a 'free' choice.
A pregnant woman does not choose, she reacts.
Encourage a life affirming behavior.
Do not pay for abortion.

Listen to Tina 'I have no choice'.
The guy would not help her.
She could not raise her child alone.
She had to have the abortion.
Even if her heart told her to love her child.

Help women follow their heart.
Roe vs Wade did not grant rights to pregnant women.
Roe removed protection for women and children.
Pregnant women are our prey.
Roe grants us the right to kill their unborn child.
All we have to do is make their life tough enough.
Then they have no choice but to abort.

Commenter: RDR
I certainly hope this young lady, featured, has been well advised as to how she can avoid this situation again. I personally think there were other choices (i.e. adoption) but she made hers and has to live with that. I certainly don't want to see women driven back to illegal abortions but I don't want to pay for them either since that is against MY convictions and beliefs. Perhaps private organizations that approve should be funding those abortions for low income patients. Seems $400-500 should be easy enough to come up with.

Commenter: tom tu
great show!

Commenter: AMH Carter
By framing the issue politically, a Trojan horse is created. To say that it 'hurts' the Democratic party is only a symptom of a larger issue that some in Stupak's camp no doubt call Postmodernism and to leave it there, is a 'cop out' isn't it? How convenient...if your paying attention. Allowing debate to rest between the horns of the bull thereby closes off critical thought. While this may be billed as 'framing the debate' it does little to address the issues facing Health Care, including naturalistic philosophies that were a problem post 911 and in The Age of Terror, still pose domestic threats now. More Marxism anyone?

Commenter: Melissa
When a society empowers its women the society flourishes.

I am a mother of one child. I, as a young adult, believed God does not judge, humans judge. I had 8 pregnancies, 6 abortions and 1 miscarriage. Had I allowed those pregnancies to come to full term especially since I did not have the emotional nor financial support of the father's of these pregnancies, I would not have been able to complete my education, or become a productive citizen to my community and my country. I am confident I made the right choices for me. I am grateful for what results my choices have brought me. I could not imagine how my life would be if I did not have that choice.

This country is at a threshold of having a two party system where neither party honors or respects the rights of women, especially women who live in poverty. If all women do not have the right to choose, then the quality of our country and it's future are fated to having government rule their bodies. If this was a men's issue, like government deciding all men must all be caregivers and not be paid for your job as a caregiver, and still try to find and hold a menial paying job, well, what would be the quality of this country then?

Women are always willing to take responsibility whether it is choosing to bear a child, or choosing to break a cyclic familial & societal pattern and spare society from the economic costs of raising a child to adulthood.

I will leave the Democratic Party if Stupak and the Democratic Party stand against women's rights, against equal access to Pro-Choice healthcare and against equal pay. Can you hear me, now?

Women's rights are human rights and the government has no place in making decisions when it come to a women's body! Only the child-bearer can do this! Who are we here to empower? How can we be an empowered party, or country without women's right to choose?

Commenter: William
Thanks for the show. I was a little surpirsed that supporters of the Stupak amendment were so consistently labeled as political opportunists and anti-women's rights.. I am for universal medicare for all, and generally think Obama has been behind the curve in a very sad way on this. Yet, the equation of unplanned pregnancy with disease and injury - and therefore deserving of free medical care, confuses me. I don't think anyone should be forced to care for a baby that they are unprepared for, but your show only mentioned adoption as it were a ruse, an unreal option posed only for political advantage as part of a script. I know both fathers and mothers who've had their children adopted, and while the stress is immensely greater for women, the knowledge that their child exists and is thriving has come as a huge bonus late in their lives. I don't think anyone should be forced to make this decision, but it's odd that it is so rarely mentioned in this debate by pro choice people. Of course women have the right to choose, but isn't it legit to at least suggest that abortion should not be taxpayer funded? People have the right to have all sorts of medical care which is not medically necessary, but that doesn't mean it must be free. It is not always a bad thing to have to stop and think, and to pay something out of your own pocket, particularly in such heart wrenching circumstances.

Commenter: Kerry
PBS is very bias. You come across very prochoice in the Now interview about the Allentown Abortuary. I have quit giving to PBS because of the liberal agenda it has and it's slanted view against conservatism. If I ever see a change, I might begin to support PbS again. Until then, noda.

Commenter: J C Bollinger
Democratic congresspeople & other politicians whom support prohibition on abortion procedures hurt the Democratic Party, as well as the people at large.
Having extra children whom cannot be care for sufficiently is one of the worst problems we face on earth.
When a party and a politician does not stand up honestly for their understanding, such as human rights, the middle-of-the-road stance or the mixed-message stance has no strength. The many voters like me have not excitement nor motivation to work for candidates whom are too "cautious" to take a courageous and potentially unpopular stand. We are still waiting for the candidate who is the genuine article whom we can vote for and see stand by his/her word.

Commenter: JudyB in Colorado
I had hoped the Democrats would stand tough and protect our poor, our young children, our elderly and women's rights. Just like the Republicans, you have turned away from those who need the help the most. The only thing that moves you is money and being re-elected. You have abandoned the people of this country. I am becoming more and more ashamed of the Democrats and I am embarrassed by the direction our country is going.

Commenter: Patrick Worley
Maria should have asked Tina if she considered adoption.

Commenter: Matt
Why was the reporter in this program referring to anti-choice candidates/people as "pro life"?

According to Associated Press, there is no such thing as pro life - it is a politically-charged term used by public interest groups.


Commenter: Rebecca Reese
Thank you for a sensitive and informative program about the issues facing abortion providers and women who have made a choice but government regulations make the process horrendous.

Commenter: Metta Hooker
I am a life-long (85yrs) Democrat, a nurse and a female activist who supports a woman's right to choose whether or not she should bear a child. The Democratic party must see to it that women who share my conviction make their views known as strongly as, or even stronger than, the well-organized pro-life advocates! In addition, the clinics and staffs who provide this service MUST be better protected from harm.

Commenter: Amy S
I'm angered that PBS is taking a pro-death stand in the abortion issue! Pro-death, not pro-choice. Pro-choice would mean there is a choice and supporters of abortion are not interested in the choice they are only interested in the end result....death! Call it like it is. I know of three very loving homes not able to have children of their own who would adopt; three in a very small community. How many more are out there? How come that's not a choice? How come the baby doesn't have a choice? What about birth control? How much does it cost to kill a baby? How much does it cost for birth control? Where is the NOW special on that? It's time to listen to the masses...we are tired of innocent babies being killed. How about government funds be used for adoption assistance, rather than for killing a baby? I will not support PBS any longer based on this extremely bias program.

Commenter: Jim Wilson Missouri
I don't believe in murder. When we abort a fetus thats what it is. Let me give you my basis. A fetus does not act with malice. A fetus is the product of adult decissions either well planned or selfishly executed with no thought of the conscience until after. Kind of the same as a drunk driver. We live in a out of control society, that wants a quick fix every time they mess up. I don't think tax dollars should assist either for pre-natal care or abortion. That is what special interest groups and non-profits should do.

Commenter: Stephanie Tofighi
It is shocking how politicians use the rights of individual women to win or lose elections. How dare other individuals and groups even claim to take the right over what happens to individual women! Every woman should have the only say over the things that come in or out of her body. She should have the right to judge for herself based on her abilities to raise a child as well as the circumstances surrounding the conception and possible birth what to do about a future person. Perhaps some do see it as vulgar to "take a human life" because "birth begins at conception" but in my opinion it is vulgar to bring a child into a world who cannot be viably cared for either because of financial limitations, personal feelings, etc. Women are not stupid and every time someone raises a anti-abortion protest sign or votes for a politician who is trying to destroy that right is proclaiming that we are; we as women have no common sense and consequently need national laws that outlaw us to make up our own mind. Think about it women, yes abortion may be an extreme, and I hope that I personally will never have to make that decision, but I will not take it away from someone else because I know that if I ever was in that place, I would demand a free choice. If rights like abortion are taken away, other birth control methods e.g. pills, patches, and morning after pills have a strong probability to follow suit. We cannot let another party of politicians try to take away our decisions.
I am a prior Nebraskan resident who was so disgruntled over how conservative and Republicanish the Democratic party was there as a whole that I left the party. Even though I have left Nebraska, I will not return to the Democratic party. I did work diligently with grassroots organizations and donated funds to different aids to elect President Obama, but I didn't see that effort as being completely party focused. It was simply the right choice at the time. I am, however, strongly convinced that the time of the two party system must be at an end. This is the only "progressive" country in the world that has such a limit on their actually effective votes. Sorry to all you Green party candidates that I would love to support, please start working together. The environment needs you; Americans need you. And Green party you're not the only ones. I personally wouldn't support it, but come on Libertarians. Let's get some extremists in there that can shake up the dead heads that are supposedly governing us. Here in Arizona, they're just trying to get re-elected and are sacrificing everything from the education of their children to the health of their citizens, but heaven forbid they neglect the roads. Thanks for listening to my rant. Point is, don't take away the rights of anyone and don't let them take ours. Women, you are not stupid and even if you would never have an abortion, don't make that decision for others before you have walked in their shoes.

Commenter: Susan
The same people who are opposed to giving any help to a low income woman trying to avail herself of a LEGAL medical procedure, will be the loudest ones criticizing & castigating her when a forced pregnancy leaves her no choice but to be a "welfare mother." It is so wrong for this to be a legal procedure for women with money, but not for those without it.

The women working for the equality of all women who face this choice are incredibly brave. They put their lives on the line every day that that they do their jobs or show up to protest this inequality. It was sobering to see the one woman putting on a vest.

Thanks (I think) for a disturbingly excellent program.

Commenter: Mike
Just as I expected. A show that interviewed Stupak and didn't use any statistics about why abortion is bad for women. Yet, interviewed several people on how it's a great thing and women who are poor are used to sell the idea it's the best choice. Nice going with the liberal agenda PBS!

Commenter: Justin
I have been a puplic TV supporter for many years, and have come to expect objective journalism to be promoted by most puplic TV programs.I was quite disappointed with the NOW pro abortion show tonight. I previously believed your show to present a somewhat objective view of your subject matter. Objective journalism was not presented on the NOW abortion presentation.Your report on abortion was all pro abortion. You did not give equal time to the right to life people and ignored all the other non abortion options that are available to women. Adoption options were not covered.

I will not watch any more NOW shows, since they are only showing half the story.

Commenter: steve hemmel
I have always been a Democrat and I have always been against abortions. The Democratic Party I know has always stood with the weakest members of society. So defending the unborn is consistent with the party's principles, and should be the Democrat's domain, rather than the Republicans'.

Historically, the Democratic Party has never been exclusively pro-abortion. Only in the last 40 years, I would say, has pro-abortion been the view of the majority of Democrats. Abortion advocates have moved in recently and have been able to make people who are with the Democrats' on most or all policies except abortion feel unwelcome. I think it's about time the abortion advocates take a seat and realize their views are just one of many in the Demorcratic Party.

Commenter: Carmela Feldmann
I think tonight's show on abortion and the Democratic party was the most untruthful piece of journalism I have ever viewed. It was poorly done and you should be ashamed of yourselves. I think this will be the last evening I will ever view your show, because this piece was so biased I do not feel I can trust you to present the truth about other subjects I know less about. Next week I would like to see the pro-life side and the damage abortion has done to women both psychologically and physically. I will also contact my local Public Television station and ask that your show be removed from their lineup.

Commenter: anonymous
When George W. came to our college to give a talk, I immediately prepared a sign to protest his ideas of drilling the arctic. When I arrived, I was told that I could not protest there where he was going to enter the building. I was told that I must drive six blocks down the street, take a left, another left, and there was an empty field that protestors were allowed to gather in. I was shocked. Polar bears, penguins, and numerous other animals were going to suffer immensely due to his decision to drill if it happened, and I wasn't allowed to protest and let him know how I felt? What happened to Democracy? I walked back to my college classroom and put down my sign.

When I had my abortion, I was an emotional wreck. I was in college, scared, emotionally fragile - almost to the point of suicide, due to the emotional suffering I was experiencing, knowing I would ultimately I alone would be responsible for such a huge choice. When I arrived, there were protestors standing there at the gate shouting at me! They were yelling, "MURDERER!!! DON'T KILL YOUR BABY!!!" holding signs, and walking back and forth, staring at me. I became angry at them. I wanted to tell them how I didn't have the money to support a child. That we would go hungry. That my parents would then have to use their money, and wouldn't have enough for retirement, and wouldn't be able to stay in a home, or have medical supplies. I was being responsible. I was making the right decision for everyone involved.

So why was I being persecuted? And WHY were these people allowed to stand right there, looking into my eyes, yelling to my face when I wasn't allowed to stand and peacefully hold a sign when the president walked by? The president - in all his unpopularity - certainly had more people on his side than I did at that moment. Is this Democracy?

I think that all abortion protestors should be made to drive six blocks and take a left. There there is a field. They may protest all they want once there.

Commenter: anonymous
I just watched Crossing the Line. I am so glad this issue was covered somewhere. I was disappointed that the protestors were not shown in the Democrats and the New Politics of Abortion segment shown tonight. When the lady left the clinic the protestors were not shown yelling and screaming, abusing her, humiliating her as she left. Unfortunately, these protestors do this on a regular basis. Women and teens who have been raped, shamed, humiliated, beaten, etc. by their partners who have worked so hard to act responsibly are ridiculed, shamed, and humiliated more. What other medical procedure does this happen? It is only this one procedure. It is because the right-winged people like Congressman Stupak who are living in some warped idea of what it is to be Christian are allowed to treat others in such an un-Christianlike way. It is not only "un-Christian." It is un-human. This hatred has to stop. Let the scared teenagers and down-trodden women live their life and make their choices! Our country is a Democracy! Let us abide by that!

Due to the clan-like mentality which shrouds this issue, I could not even submit my name, due to fear of being recognized by a Right-winger who might attempt to have me ousted from my job. Should responsible people, Stewards of the Earth, have to live in such fear? Please look and see.

Commenter: Linda Rowe
I adopted a child whose mother could not afford an abortion. No one came to her rescue with money. No federal funds were available to her. I have to tell you I consider that a blessing and have had opportunity to write to that woman 30 years later to say thank you for giving me the opportunity to love such an incredible human being as she produced from her unfortunate experience so long ago. This was my only child and brought me my only grandchild as well.

My mother smoked all her life. This life was shortened by emphysema, a horrible death. She chose to smoke. She needed others to pay for her poor choice at the end of her life.

This is what sparks the controversy I think, when "choice" of whatever the issue is begins with a very individual decision, and then paying for any consequences becomes a very public issue. I truly wish that those who want personal choice in the beginning also choose personal payment as well. In this case, I will always support a person's right to choose their own course. Now, if you want someone else to pay, then you have to accept that they may want some control as well.

Thank you for your thoughtful presentation of the issue tonight.

Commenter: Kathryn ranieri
Thank you, thank you for being so "right on" and for showing so poignantly what women must deal with when they need to access fundamental health care.

Commenter: Anonymous
I just watched the segment: The New Politics of Abortion. I feel our society is falling back into some strange Sci-Fi like The Handmaid's Tale when I hear comments like those coming from Congressman Stupak. This mob-like mentality that the pro-life people have is scary. I had an abortion in my early 20's. It was a very hard choice that will haunt me the rest of my life. When I arrived at the clinic, there were two or three people standing outside with signs shouting loudly that I was a murderer. I had to be seen by these people and had they recognized me, there is no doubt I would have been subjugated to a Scarlett Letter treatment. Luckily they did not know me.

Here in Alabama, Parker Griffith, our senator who WAS Democrat, and now has changed his party to Republican, bought a lot and gave it to the pro-life/anti-abortion protestors. They stream in in droves daily in order to shame women who have been raped, molested, or can't afford to responsibly take care of a child. I feel like rolling down my window and shouting, "SHAME! SHAME for turning your back on the women of your country! SHAME for humiliating frightened teenagers, scared, alone women, who are already suffering and in deep emotional pain!"

The main protestors are retired men, by the look of them. I can't understand why they have such vehemence. I can't understand why hating your fellow human beings (women) is any better than making a responsible choice. "Ye who is without sin throw the first stone!" But stones are flying. Those who use Christianity as their excuse for their ruthless behavior, such as yelling & screaming, bombing, shooting, and death threats sadly misunderstand Christ's teachings.

Let women make our own choices! If I had had to have had a child before graduating college I wouldn't have had a chance to do all the humanitarian work I have over the past 10 years. I would have been too concerned about making ends meet. Instead of helping make this world be a better place, I would most likely be buried in bills with an empty future. I am so grateful for my freedom of choice. I am grateful that there are still those who are willing to make a stand for my rights as a women - despite the risks of being blackballed by many in society. I am grateful for being in a country that is not like some backwards third world country where a women's right to choose ANYTHING is restricted. Next Congressman Stupak will try to use the Bible to force women back into skirts and the kitchen to only serve their husbands in a subservient manner. Thank God for America and the pro-choice Democrats!

Commenter: anon life long democrat
It is high time that democrats who truly believe abortion is wrong except to save the life of the mother spoke up. it has been a shame and embarassment to stay a democrat except going to join the republican party of I'll get mine and dont dare tax me to help Anybody would be just as humilating.
As to the health bill, it is not a health issure, it is a choice, like a face lift. so pay for it but don't ask me to.

Commenter: Sandy
Just a suggestion: instead of focusing on the legislators who are against the right to choose, how about full-length discussions with those who support this right? We have heard enough from those who are against; let's hear from those who are for and what they are willing to do to stick to their principles instead of cow-towing to what they feel will get them elected or not. It would do more for the fight for individuals' rights to their own bodies as their own property--perhaps that's a thought for some legal minds? And how about listing the names of all those legislators who are against and for?

But THANK YOU for all you have been doing. I don't always agree with your programs, but, certainly, appreciate your putting them on for us to think about.

Again Thank you!

Commenter: Janet Dalquist
Stupak is my representative. I wrote and told him I would not contribute to his campaign nor vote for him.
But as a liberal Democrat what choice to I have? The Pro-life Democrats have people like me over a barrel.
There is no other choice. I am so angry!!

Commenter: CH
I appreciate the concern for the health and care of women and supporting her in a time of financial or emotional crisis. In the case of asking taxpayers to foot the bill for a procedure that ends the life of an innocent child I am vehemently opposed. There is no question scientifically that there is life after conception. It is currently a matter of our governing bodies recognizing the personhood of such life and affording it the same protection as other persons in our country of freedom.
Kindness to either party, mother or child, is NOT abortion. It does irreversible damage to both. Please consider the proven life-saving alternatives: open or closed adoption, church and community support of the family in need, as well as providing honest and accurate education to the mother.
Thank you for the opportunity to voice my convictions.

Commenter: Ingo von der Ruck
If a liberal politition is against abortion rights, Americans have no party to support his or her freedom of choice. It means no party in the districty of this polititian provides a way for this American, The democratic machine is not working, by bthe way, similar to the view against death penalty.

Commenter: Julie
I had so much written, but lost my post.

So, in a nutshell...I am 60, my reproductive days have long gone. However, if I were of that age again, and in a position to have to make such a decision? Personally, I doubt very much that I could do it. BUT...BUT...BUT...

what would be MY decision may not be the decision of another WOMAN [not a MAN], but another WOMAN.

Until a "Y chromosome" is faced with such a situation, such a decision? Please guys (Stupak included), please mind your own business. Better yet? Keep it in your pants. Once you learn to keep it zipped? The need to fight for or against abortion will be moot.

Commenter: faye mccluskey
I was a poor woman 30 years ago. I was pregnant and afraid, the dr. convinced me that abortion was easy and the state would pay so I had the abortion and have suffered a lot of pain and regret. At 54 I have forgiven myself and I know God has forgiven me. I will NEVER agree with abortion or pay for one. Please stop killing the children of the poor. It is wrong. We have killed 1/4 of our taxbase but more than that these are precious children who have no voice. Mother Teresa said it best, "Bring those children to me".

Commenter: Sally Johnson
As one who knows a number of women who have decided not to have an abortion when they looked at a sonogram of their baby in the womb, I'm very glad we're having this discussion. One of the most beautiful songs I've heard on this issue can be heard here:

Commenter: Don
This was a very interesting show but I am wondering why there was no mention of adoption. Not once. The young woman in the show only thought that she had 2 choices: to have the child or to abort. But there is adoption. I know it is not easy to carry a child to term but there is a 3rd way. Why don't we support these women (funding and emotional support) so they can bring the kid to term and give him or her up for adoption. There are so many who want very much to adopt. Why did NOW never bring this up?

Commenter: KShanks
This program just spurred me on to send a contribution to Planned Parenthood! I had an abortion over 30 years ago--after having three children and three miscarriages. My Doctor was a Catholic and he still recommended it. Thank God that We--my husband and I--had that choice and that it was covered by our insurance!!

Commenter: Jill
Just watched your program. Why didn't you ask Tina or the other woman if they were using birth control when they got pregnant? If they are so sure they can't care for a baby why not act responsibly, go to a clinic and practice effective birth control.

Commenter: Pat
Are you also planning to interview those young and old people who marched in Washington for Pro-Life last week? Or have you sold out to the Planned Parenthood self-centered approach with no regard for the life within the woman's body. There are TWO bodies involved, not just one body, in a pregnancy! Why didn't we see a detailed ultra-sound picture where there was obviously a small body forming!

Commenter: Mandy
The news program didn't show it, but I hope these women are being told about adoption. It seems like the women think that their options are abortion or keep the baby, why not adoption? I know pregnancy is hard, but they could give the baby to a family that is waiting to love and raise a child.

Commenter: gbm3
From a DFLA email I just got:
"How were pro-life Democrats greeted? In the past, there has been some tension between the organizers of the parade and DFLA. However, if that existed this year, you couldn't tell it from the marcher's responses. Yes, there were a few that came up and showed us their handwritten excerpts from the Democratic Party platform supporting abortion, but in general and by far we received numerous congratulations of support and requests for photos and brochures. Many Democrats came up and expressed their gratitude for our presence. We had many former Democrats who approached our display to tell us that they would return to the Party if our Party ever became pro-life again.

A common (and fair) question that we received was, "Why do you stay with the Democratic Party?" My answer: "There are two ways to solve a problem, from the inside and from the outside. The most effective way is to have both. I stay because there are values in the Democratic Party that are important to me and because I can work from the inside to bring about change. You and others have to work from the outside to create the pressure that promotes change. Only by having both of us can we succeed.""

Count me in! If the DNC became pro-life (OTAAAC), I would join up in a heartbeat (pun intended).

Commenter: gbm3
It's about time the Democratic party (DNC) became the party of the littlest guy or gal out there: the preborn. Many, many people including me would come over cheering over to the DNC if the party became truly pro-life for everyone, no discrimination.

Remember who was the party of slavery way back? The Democrats. Will they ever get it right the first time around? (Ted Kennedy et al. used to be pro-life and would vote for a personhood amendment like Stupak would.)

Commenter: Barbara Stakes
Why can't Stupak sign on to Ben Nelson's Amendment which stipulates that a separated check goes to the insurance commpany for a policy; therefore, there would be no question of government funds going towards abortion.
And, what about the Hyde amendment!

Democrats and the New Politics of Abortion

Crossing the Line

Audio: Stream | Download
Buy a DVD
Contact Us

Topics search results will display here.