A lot of people were surprised when House Republicans' desire to eliminate federal funding for Planned Parenthood very nearly caused the shutdown of the federal government last week.
But those who have watched the abortion debate over a long period of time were not surprised.
Despite the successes members of the anti-abortion movement have had over the years in restricting the procedure, "Planned Parenthood remains the thorn in their side," says Deana Rohlinger, associate professor of sociology at Florida State University.
Everybody over a certain age — say, around 50 — has these moments: The car keys go missing. They can't retrieve a once-familiar name. They stride into a room with purpose and then forget why.
Phyllis Hersch knows about those lapses.
"I go to the store and do five errands and miss the most important one because I've gotten distracted by something else," says Hersh, who just turned 70. Recently she alarmed herself by leaving her car in the garage with the motor running at her home in Massachusetts.
The national birth rate fell 4 percent between 2007 and 2009 — more than it had in any two-year period in the past 30 years. With a national average of 66.7 births per 1,000 women between the ages of 15 and 44, nearly every demographic group had lower birth rates, with the sole exception being women over 40.
By age, the largest decline was 9 percent, among women between 20 and 24. Fertility rates among Hispanic women also dropped by 9 percent.