Podcast: KHN’s ‘What The Health?’ The State Of The Abortion Debate — A Deep Dive


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Abortion is one of the hottest political issues of 2019. With a newly configured Supreme Court, which many pundits think has the votes to roll back or overturn the landmark 1972 Roe v. Wade ruling, states are rushing either to protect abortion rights or pass laws intended to restrict or ban it.

But the abortion debate is much more complicated than just pro or con. It’s entangled in partisan politics, health care, religion and more.

For this 100th episode of KHN’s “What the Health?” we take a deep dive into the state of abortion in the United States.

This week’s panelists are Julie Rovner from Kaiser Health News, Alice Miranda Ollstein of Politico, Jen Haberkorn of The Los Angeles Times, and Sandhya Ramen of CQ Roll Call.

Also, Rovner interviews KHN’s Lauren Weber, who wrote the latest “Bill of the Month” feature about a not-so-funny bill for laughing gas.

If you have an exorbitant or inexplicable medical bill you’d like to submit for our series, you can do that here.

Among the takeaways from this week’s podcast:

  • The Supreme Court’s split decision this week on an Indiana abortion law — allowing the part of the law requiring burial or cremation of fetal remains while nixing the abortion bans in the bill —gave those on both sides a win without tipping the court’s hand on where it is leaning or getting it embroiled in 2020 politics.
  • The number of abortions in America is at an all-time low — partly because of the effectiveness of long-term birth control — while the politics dogging the issue are as tense as ever.
  • Are Democrats in Congress really looking to overturn the long-standing Hyde Amendment, which bars federal abortion funding? Previous Democrat-led Congresses have tried before with no luck, although the current Congress has fewer Democrats who oppose abortion rights.
  • If you’re an organization opposed to abortion and trying to sway a Supreme Court swing vote, on whom should you focus? Chief Justice John Roberts or newcomer Associate Justice Brett Kavanaugh?

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Courts Elections Multimedia Public Health States