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Your search found 14 Results

  1. 1

    Are you for RU-486? A new pill and the abortion debate.

    Kaye T

    NEW REPUBLIC. 1986 Jan 27; 13-5.

    RU-486, a new drug which enables women to perform abortions privately at home, could transform, if not end, the abortion debate. This steroid compound, developed by the French drug company Roussel-Uclaf, blocks the cells in the lining of the uterus from receiving progesterone. Deprived of progesterone, the wall of the uterus breaks down. The ovum breaks off from the uterine wall and is discharged in a period. Unlike the "morning after" pill, RU-486 does not contain massive dosages of estrogen, which causes unhealthy side effects and thus limits its use to rape cases and other emergencies. At least 5 years away from the commercial market, RU-486 is being tested in Paris, Stockholm and the University of Southern California as a chemical alternative to surgical abortions and as a post-coital contraceptive to replace current methods like the IUD and oral contraceptives (OCs). Used instead of OC and the IUD, a woman could take the drug on the last 3 days of each cycle. If fertilization had occurred, RU-486 would prevent the ovum from implanting; if not, the drug would merely bring on her monthly period within 48 hours. Dr. Daniel Mishell of the University of California reports that his trials have revealed that 100 milligram doses of RU-486 have induced complete abortions in the first 6 weeks of pregnancy for 80% of the women who have taken it. Swedish tests have been 90% successful when RU-486 is supplemented with prostaglandins, which induce mild contractions of the uterus. Several women bled seriously in early tests, but Mishell states that fewer women have hemorrhaged in more recent trials with lower doses. He predicts the drug will prove to be safer and more effective when an optimal dose is found and tested in earlier pregnancies. If RU-486 became the abortion method of choice in the US, the abortion debate would be over for many who now consider it an open question. Polls show that the pro-life movement has failed to increase the number of Americans who support a legal ban on abortions. They have succeeded in making Americans uncomfortable about abortion generally. This soft support is vulnerable to RU-486 because polls also show that Americans oppose early abortions less fervently and in fewer numbers than late abortions. It is also likely that if RU-486 becomes the preferred method of abortion, abortion clinics in the US would close, replaced by 24-hour clinics to treat potential complications. And, if RU-486 is used monthly, pro-lifers would have a difficult time convincing the public that the drug isn't just another contraceptive. Although RU-486 erases much ambiguity in the abortion debate, it will create some. Women could take RU-486 without ever knowing whether they are pregnant.
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  2. 2
    Peer Reviewed

    American public opinion and U.S. immigration policy.

    Harwood E


    US attitudes toward both legal and illegal immigration tended to be highly restrictionist during the 1st half of the 20th century. Both legislative and executive-branch policy supported this restrictionist outlook up until the 1940s, when a gradual liberalization of immigration policy toward refugees began to occur because of foreign policy requirements and the onset of the cold war. Although only a very small percentage of Americans have advocated increasing the number of immigrants, the percentage who feel that the numbers should be decreased began to decline during the 1950s and 1960s. Liberalization of public opinion and governmental policy occurred. During the past 15 years, however, public opinion and government policy began to diverge. Because of economic and other problems, Americans became more restrictionist toward immigrants, at least when surveyed by public opinion polls. But the government has difficulty implementing a more restrictionist policy for a variety of reasons, among them the strong lobbying efforts of pro-alien activist groups combined with American ambivalence toward the plight of immigrants as individuals. (author's)
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  3. 3

    Immigration and American public policy.

    Simon RJ


    After a dormancy of more than 50 years, proposed legislation and other policy-related matters concerning immigration--and other demographic and behavioral characteristics of recent immigrants, their gain to or drain on the economy, and their social desirability and acculturation--have become major topics for research and debate in the public arena. Beginning in the 1970's, immigration as a topic for public debate and research came into its own. The Congress for the past 4 years has debated various immigration bills that have focused mainly on controlling illegal migration by introducing employers' sanctions, national identity cards, and the granting of permanent and temporary resident status to persons already in the country. The public debate in the media and the political areas has focused primarily on the impact that immigrants have on the nation's economy. Job displacement, lowered wage scales, and high welfare payments have been among the major concerns, along with problems of language acquisition, loss of control of our borders, and a concern about maintaining a national identity. The articles in this special issue provide data and report research findings that contribute to the public debate and to the making of informed decisions about immigration policy. It includes articles that assess the economic and social impact on the US of recent immigrants from different parts of the world, the adjustments that they have made to US society, the jobs they hold, the education they have attained, the money they earn. It also contains articles on bilingualism and separatism, on public attitudes toward immigrants, and on the changing behavior of white ethnic early-immigrant communities.
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  4. 4

    A cross-cultural history of abortion.

    Shain RN


    Attention is directed to preindustrial and transitional societies to illustrate the great variety of techniques and conditions under which abortion is practiced. The discussion covers changes in abortion status and attitudes through time as well as past and current attitudes in the US. Abortion traditionally has been performed under 2 primary sets of circumstances: the mother (or couple) does not want the pregnancy; or, for a variety of reasons, the pregnancy is deemed unacceptable by the given society, extended family, or a specific family member, usually the husband. Most accounts of abortion deal with its voluntary practice, revealing often the lengths to which women will go to control their fertility in the absence of contraception. Yet, examples exist from both preindustrial and modern societies where the decision to have an abortion is not made by the woman alone but is influenced either wholly or in part by political or cultural factors. Women who want an abortion either have performed the procedures themselves or have sought help from community practitioners, friends, or relative. Abortion techniques are highly varied and include abortifacients, magic, mechanical methods (such as instrumentation, constriction, and insertion of foreign objects into the uterus), heat applied externally, strenuous physical activity, jolts to the body, and starvation. Although abortion is extensively and rather openly practiced in many primitive societies, few groups give it unqualified approval. Cross-culturally, the most prevalent conditions for either approving of or imposing abortion include unmarried status of the mother, adultery, ambiguous paternity, mother's poor health, lactation of the mother, consent of the father, death of the father, rape, incest, and other varieties of illegal union. In Western civilization attitdues vary and have been changing in most cases. As of mid-1982, 10% of the world's population lived in countries where abortion was prohibited under all circumstances and 18% in countries where it was permitted only to save the mother's life. Close to 2/3 of the countries in Latin America, most countries in Africa, most Muslim Countries in Asia, and the 5 European countries of Belgium, Ireland, Malta, Portugal, and Spain belong in these 2 categories. An additional 8% lived in countries that permitted abortion under broad medical grounds. The remaining 64% of the world's population were governed by statutes that either allowed abortion on broad social grounds, such as unmarried status of the mother and financial problems, or permitted it on demand (usually within the 1st trimester). Recent estimates of the number of abortions have ranged up to 55 million, corresponding to an abortion rate of 70/1000 women of reproductive age and to an abortion ratio of 300/1000 known pregnancies. The US liberalized its abortion policy and then subsequently added restrictions at federal, state or local levels. Abortion is 1 of the most divisive issues in the US. Opinions range from disapproval under all circumstances, even to save the mother's life, to approval for any reason, i.e., on demand.
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  5. 5

    In vitro fertilization and public policy: turning to the consumer.

    Bonnicksen A


    A responsible and comprehensive policy of in vitro fertilization (IVF) should be preceded by the gathering of empirical information about the application of the procedure in the 138 IVF centers across the US. To date, attention has been directed more to the implications of IVF as a whole than to actual behaviors in the medical community. It is appropriate to survey patients and physicians, examine consent forms, and study guidelines issued by the medical community to enhance public knowledge of what has been done voluntarily in the medical community and what remains to be done. The social and medical experiences of consumers in the clinical setting pave the way for an understanding of IVF that is qualitatively different from that achieved by simply writing about IVF's potential costs and benefits. To develop a responsible IVF policy, it is necessary to move away from futuristic, slippery slope thinking and towards an examination of the actual application of IVF. Looking to the experiences of consumers, the consent forms developed in hospitals, and the regulations handed down by the medical community itself help identify policy needs and suggest what has been done in the absence of policy. Only by developing an empirical base can policy realistically be based on actual costs and benefits of the IVF technic.
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  6. 6

    Public policy and public opinion toward sex education and birth control for teenagers.

    Reichelt PA


    Government policy toward provision of sex education and contraception for adolescents is influenced by public opinion. This is reflected in the fact that recent program formulation appears to follow the conventional wisdom of a general conservative shift among the American public; i.e., recent policy toward adolescent pregnancy is conservative in the sense of being reactive rather than preventive. The validity of this conventional wisdom was checked by examining available data on public opinion toward sex education and birth control services for teenagers. However, these data reveal an upward, not a downward, trend in public approval of such services for adolescents, which runs counter to the conventional wisdom. The available data on American opinions and values demonstrate that the overall movement in attitudes decisively contradicts the idea of a simple conservative swing. Provision of more and better contraceptive services and sex education to teenagers is an important policy goal that would lower the incidence of adolescent pregnancy and would be supported by the American people. (author's modified.)
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  7. 7

    [Three projections of population decline for Quebec: characteristics and implications for the working population] Trois scenarios de decroissance de la population quebecoise: caracteristiques et incidences sur la population active.

    Gauthier H

    CAHIERS QUEBECOIS DE DEMOGRAPHIE. 1986 Oct; 15(2):181-212.

    After a brief review of various projections of population decline for Quebec, the author analyses some previous examples of depopulation, and emphasizes that public opinion will have to change much if immigration is to be used as a tool for avoiding population decline. He then investigates four implications of the projected decline: the size of the working population, its age and sex structure, the labor force participation ratio, and the economic dependency ratio. (SUMMARY IN ENG AND SPA) (EXCERPT)
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  8. 8

    AIDS, power, and reason.

    Bayer R


    This article outlines some of the potential societal consequences of the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) epidemic. The epidemic hit the US after a long process of affirming certain rights to privacy and decriminalization of certain victimless private acts. Now US society is faced with the possibility of having to alter private behavior to halt the advance of a very serious disease. From a liberal point of view, measures designed to restrict personal freedom must be justified by a strong showing that no other path exists to protect the public health. The public health departments in the 2 US cities most affected have shown remarkable restraint in the face of demands for very strong measures to control the infection's spread, including strict quarantines, mostly on the part of conservative elements and press. Actually, the practical aspects of separating great numbers of people (adequate testing, transportation, feeding and housing, forcible containment), preclude this solution, even assuming these people were not overwhelmingly opposed. An alternative suggestion: mass screening, would also present immense logistical and civil-liberties obstacles, even in modified versions, i.e. government-mandated workplace testing, and mass-screening with the sole purpose of education and counseling would be inconceivable: the logic leads inevitably to mass quarantine. Quarantine or similar control exerted over AIDS-antibody positive individuals who continue to behave in ways exposing others to infection risk (e.g. male and female prostitutes) has historical precedents, but would probably have little impact on the epidemic, especially since it would not affect those who, in private, continue to engage in dangerous behavior. Mass education, though legally, morally, and politically palatable, has often not shown results in campaigns to eliminate other types of dangerous behavior. However, innovative efforts especially by gay community groups to educate for safe sex seem to have been dramatically successful.
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  9. 9

    Quarantine and the problem of AIDS.

    Musto DF


    This artical discusses the concept of quarantine and social and attitudinal manifestations of it through history, with a view towards preparing for the likely societal reaction to acquired immunodeficiency syndrome. Will public fears surrounding the AIDS epidemic spur public efforts for a quarantine? AIDS is prevalent among groups traditionally held in low esteem (homosexual men, and intravenous drug users), engaging in practices that are or have been illegal, and shares characteristics with diseases historically inspiring quarantines: leprosy, where the church took a role in the quarantine ritual; bubonic plague, where the breath, contact, and even gaze of victims were suspect; yellow fever, which in the US inspired much debate over the relative benefits of quarantine or environmental cleanliness, with quarantine often winning out at the expense of cleanliness; cholera, which killed 1000s in New York City in 1832 despite immense powers given to the Board of Health to control shipping and transportation; and tuberculosis, which, like AIDS, has a long latent period and period and period of contagiousness when the patient can continue to be in contact with the community. Irrational beliefs associating the use of certain drugs with ethnic groups (e.g. opium with Chinese; marijuana with Mexicans); as well as a perceived threat to racial purity of contact with these groups have often inspired restrictive immigration laws and discriminatory practices. AIDS has shown potential for spreading outside of traditional risk groups. History also shows that quarantines are often attempted over the objections of the contemporary medical establishment. Reminders of the past ineffectiveness of quarantines and an improved knowledge of AID's characteristics should help protect against irrational fears prompting a quarantine.
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  10. 10

    Immigration to southern California: fact and fiction.

    Goodis TA; Espenshade TJ

    Washington, D.C, Urban Institute, 1986 May. 26 p. (Impacts of Immigration in California Policy Discussion Paper No. PDS-86-1)

    This paper presents an analysis of recent immigration to Los Angeles County and compares public perceptions with recent Urban Institute findings on the impacts of immigration in southern California. The first part...summarizes the size, composition, and characteristics of recent immigrant flows into Los Angeles County. The second part reports on the results of a 1983 Urban Institute poll of public attitudes in southern California toward the impacts of undocumented immigration and the consequences of U.S. immigration reform, and the third part summarizes recent Urban Institute findings on the actual impacts of immigration in southern California. This is a revised version of a paper originally presented at the 1986 Annual Meeting of the Population Association of America (see Population Index, Vol. 52, No. 3, Fall 1986, pp. 420-1). (EXCERPT)
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  11. 11

    Community population size and social heterogeneity: an empirical test.

    Wilson TC

    AMERICAN JOURNAL OF SOCIOLOGY. 1986 Mar; 91(5):1,154-69.

    The author uses 1980 survey data for the United States to test the hypothesis that "community size leads to heterogeneity in values and attitudes that compose the sets of cultural elements of a subculture....An independent size-heterogeneity relationship is found for political and sexual attitudes....It is concluded that community size does increase social heterogeneity, but, consistent with subcultural theory, the relationship is restricted to subcultural elements." (EXCERPT)
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  12. 12

    Immigration to Los Angeles: trends, attitudes, and reform.

    Goodis TA

    [Unpublished] 1986. Paper presented at the Population Association of America Annual Meeting, San Francisco, April 3-5, 1986. 28, [9] p.

    Based on 1980 census data, this paper examines the demographic characteristics of recent immigrants to Los Angeles, specifically focusing on Mexican immigration. In 1980, 1/4 of all foreign-born persons in the US lived in California. Results of a 1983 Urban Institute poll of public attitudes toward the impacts of immigration in southern California and the consequences of US immigration reform are also presented. Over 22% of Los Angeles County's total population was foreign-born in 1980. Public opinion shows that: 1) over 65% of all respondents predicted that the size of the undocumented population in southern California would increase over the next 5 to 10 years, 2) 75% thought that most undocumented immigrants would remain in southern California permanently, 3) 88% described the situation as very or somewhat serious, and 4) 70% felt the influx of illegal immigrants had a very or somewhat unfavorable effect on the state as a whole. Although the survey respondents were about evenly divided on whether illegal immigrants took jobs away from other residents, a 69% majority thought that undocumented workers tended to bring down wages in some occupations. Congress has responded to similar concerns throughout the US by proposing a comprehensive reform of US immigration laws. Results of the Urban Institute regression analysis find no significant relationship between black unemployment rates and the concentration of Hispanics. However, there is some evidence of wage depression attributable to immigrants. California's major challenge in the future will not be deciding how to provide for the economic integration of the millions of immigrants already in the state and the millions more to come, but rather learning how to absorb these immigrants into the mainstream of society.
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  13. 13

    Progress for peers.

    Biggs CJ

    Emphasis. 1986 Winter; 12-3.

    In April 1984, Planned Parenthood of North Central Ohio (PPNCO) was awarded $16,151 of a $280,920 grant to fund a Child and Family Health Services Project to train 25 peer educators in 18 months and to implement a peer education program in cooperation with youth-serving agencies and city and county school systems. PPNCO felt that the peer education program could serve as a pilot program to address the issue of teenage pregnancy and to better evaluate what problems the teenagers in Richland County were facing. After presenting the program at a school board meeting, the Mansfield City Board of Education voted to accept the proposal in the 2 city high schools. PPNCO began recruiting teens immediately after the meeting. The peer educators would be paid for attending the initial training, for meeting twice a month, for in-service training, and for logging their contacts. By the end of July 1984, 10 peer educators had been selected and were ready for training. The curriculum took a family life education approach and covered 30 hours of training divided into the following 4 phases: orientation -- role of the peer educator, myths and misinformation, adolescence, and positive self-image; self-esteem -- societal pressures, rights and responsibilities, assertiveness, peer pressure, decisionmaking, and problem solving; health education -- reproduction, fertilization, pregnancy, prenatal care, sexually transmitted diseases, alcohol and drug abuse, eating disorders, sexual abuse, rape and incest, and abstinence; and communication skills -- group discussion, effective communication, and listening skills. Opposition developed in response to Planned Parenthood's conducting this community program, not to peer education itself. Efforts to rescind the school board's decision were initiated and continued throughout the summer. As the school year began, opposition remained high in the schools. Many teachers would not let peer educators introduce themselves in their homerooms. The peer educators, enthused after completing their training, became frustrated in their efforts to become known as contact people. They were seen by many of their peers as "another club." To increase the program's effectiveness and to minimize controversy, the school faculty advisor officially assumed the supervision of the program within the 2 schools. PPNCO's Education Director maintained minimal contact with the peer educators. In-service training and supervision were maintained by the school faculty advisor. As the peer educator program officially ended on the last day of school, PPNCO felt successful in making the community aware of the local teenage pregnancy problem. The peer educators showed an increase in knowledge after training. Self-esteem and communication skills also were improved.
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  14. 14
    Peer Reviewed

    How technology is reframing the abortion debate.

    Callahan D

    Hastings Center Report. 1986 Feb; 16(1):33-42.

    The prochoice movement in its most political manifestation is particularly vulnerable to recent medical and scientific developments. It has never made sufficient room in its public stance for a serious consideration of the fetus. Simultaneously, by deliberately cultivating a supposedly neutral, therapeutic language toward the medical act of abortion, calling it a "procedure," a "termination of pregnancy," and so on, it mistakenly seems to think it can pacify and comfort the conscience, minimizing and denaturing some unmistakeable realities. Medical and scientific developments which threaten the prochoice movement include the lowering age of viability, the emergence of neonatal medicine, the use of the sonogram, embryological knowledge, and late abortions. In attempting to understand the possible impact of the medical developments on the abortion debate, their interaction with other crucial ingredients in the debate will be important. Of special significance are public opinion, the question of the personhood of the fetus, pertinent court decisions and trends, and feminist arguments and political tactics. There is still time for prochoice adherents to show themselves as willing in practice as in theory to concede the moral uncertainty of abortion decisions. If that is not done, the combination of the new medical developments and too many people for too long holding their doubts at bay may well begin shifting opinions. In that event, the prochoice movement will have done itself far more damage than those who try to stop it by bombing abortion clinics.
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