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Abortionomics: When Choice Is A Necessity

2:55 pm in Uncategorized by On The Issues Magazine

By the On The Issues Editors, cross-posted at OTI Magazine

A new study puts another face on women’s reproductive decision-making during an economic downturn. It indicates that low-income women increasingly are being forced to “choose” abortions out of economic need.

Condicted by independent researcher Robin H. Pugh Yi, Ph.D., president of Akeso Consulting in Vienna, Virginia, the study is called Abortionomics: When Choice Is a Necessity, The Impact of Recession on Abortion. The analysis was commissioned by Merle Hoffman, founder and president of Choices Women’s Medical Center, after hearing anecdotal information from abortion patients that today’s economic hardships were a large factor in women’s decisions to have abortions. The findings were presented by Hoffman and Pugh Yi at the National Press Club in Washington D.C. on Jan. 17, 2011.

On one hand, it seems obvious: When the economy dips, it’s harder for people to raise a family. But this living reality, borne out in the report’s data, remains outside today’s heated political debates about abortion and birth control. As a result, too many politicians seem oblivious to the consequences of unwanted pregnancies and, when carried to term, the resulting births that impose difficult, if not impossible, financial burdens on already strapped mothers and families.

Follow-Up to Reagan-Era Report

The new report is actually a follow-up to a 1980s study undertaken by Hoffman and Choices in partnership with Adelphi University. Hoffman titled it “Abortionomics” because it showed that high numbers of women who were having abortions did so because they couldn’t afford not to. In addition, more than half of those responding to the earlier survey said they would do “whatever it took” to have an abortion, even if abortion were illegal. The stark conclusion is that they were willing to risk their very lives to have unsafe abortions if that were the only option, a risk that many women have been forced to make when abortion is illegal or inaccessible.

The newly-released report, some 30 years later, shows similar economic concerns driving the reproductive decisions of women, men and families today. (Entire report available, here.)

The current research pointed to three key findings.


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Echoing at “Occupy”: The Women Behind Social Security

7:01 am in Uncategorized by On The Issues Magazine

Mary Harriman Rumsey (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

Mary Harriman Rumsey (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

By Carolyn Gage, cross-posted at On The Issues Magazine

The emergence of the Occupy Wall Street movement would not have been a surprise to one woman activist born over a century ago. Mary Harriman Rumsey was the partner of President Franklin Roosevelt’s Secretary of Labor, Frances Perkins, who was the first woman to occupy a Cabinet position.

Perkins has been called the “woman behind the New Deal.” Her achievements include the adoption of the minimum wage, the 40-hour work week, worker’s compensation, unemployment insurance, employer-provided health insurance, welfare, Social Security, job-creation programs and the banning of child labor.

Perkins made adjustments to fit into the male-dominated arena of politics. She changed her name from “Fannie” to Frances and dressed to remind men of their mothers. But after her cabinet appointment, she found herself in an awkward position. The wives of male cabinet members were expected to host social gatherings where the real business of government frequently was conducted. Perkins didn’t fit the protocol.

Mary Harriman Rumsey came to the rescue. She rented a house in Georgetown and invited Frances to become her “roommate.” History notes that the two were far more than roommates, and that Mary was far more than a typical cabinet wife.

Rumsey, the daughter of a railroad tycoon, had grown up on an estate in upstate New York, where she eventually supervised the 600 employees. Her dinner parties with Frances were legendary, and, as one biographer noted, one would find Will Rogers, Eleanor Roosevelt, Margaret Bourke-White, General Douglas MacArthur and unknown Appalachian folk singer all at one table.

Rumsey founded a Washington weekly called Today, which later became Newsweek magazine. More significantly, Roosevelt named her to chair the new Consumer Advisory Board.
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