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May 18, 2023 | 1 comment

Abortion Rights this Primary Election Season

Ask students: How have abortion rights changed since the 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling? Do you agree or disagree with the decision to overturn Roe v. Wade?


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UPDATE: North Carolina’s state legislature successfully overrode the governor’s veto passing a 12-week ban on abortion.

Tuesday, May 16, marked the start of the 2023 primary season as political battles on the state level heat up and debate continues over abortion laws. NewsHour checked in with reporters from North Carolina, Kentucky and Pennsylvania.

TEACHER’s NOTE: If your focus is on the issue of abortion at the state level, watch just the first reporter from North Carolina (start of video to 3m:52s).

For a transcript of this story, click here.

News wrap alternative: Check out this recent segment from the NewsHour, and choose the story you’re most interested in watching! You can make a Google doc copy of discussion questions that work for any of the stories here. 

Remote video URL

Five Facts

  1. Who was the governor that vetoed a bill and what did the bill do?
  2. How will the passing of the bill in North Carolina affect residents from other states?
  3. Why do some Kentucky residents want to “topple” the governor? Who are the Republican frontrunners?
  4. Where is the election for a vacant state supreme court seat taking place?
  5. When did the ‘Stop the Steal’ movement begin and what is it? How has it impacted the election in Pennsylvania?

Focus Questions

  1. How have abortion rights changed since the 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling?
  2. How will the new 12-week abortion ban in North Carolina affect voters this election season? What about similar bills/laws in your state?
  3. Do you agree or disagree with the decision to overturn Roe v. Wade and the push for abortion bans?
  4. How has tension between the Democratic and Republican parties increased in past years over the issue of abortion, including when Roe was overturned on June 24, 2022?

News analysis: While this segment is from a reporter’s perspective whose stance on abortion is not known, how would’ve it been different if it were from a pro-life perspective? A pro-choice perspective?

Alternative: See, Think, Wonder: What did you notice? What did the story make you think? What story would you want to find out more about? Where would you go to learn more?

For More

What students can do:

With a peer, family member or one’s self, compare and contrast the three reporters’ findings in their respective states. Then, using this link, research the abortion laws in your own state, and discuss the information you came across.

  • For example, check if your state has parental involvement laws (if a person is under the age of 18, a parent must be notified by the health care provider and consent must be given for the abortion) or trigger bans.

STUDENT VIDEOS OF THE DAY — Choose one to watch

How restrictive is Texas’s new abortion law? via Student Reporting Labs

Remote video URL

How to fact check election ads before voting via MediaWise and Student Reporting Labs 

Remote video URL

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PBS NewsHour Classroom

PBS NewsHour Classroom helps teachers and students identify the who, what, where and why-it-matters of the major national and international news stories.

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