World and Nation

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Poll Suggests Decline in Support For a Right to Abortion

For most of the last two decades, a clear majority of Americans has supported the right to abortion. A new poll, though, suggests that support for abortion may have declined, with the public almost evenly divided over the issue.

The apparent shift, which contradicts some other recent polls, appears in a poll by the Pew Research Center released on Thursday. A 2008 poll by Pew researchers had found that those in favor of keeping abortion legal outnumbered opponents, 54 percent to 40 percent. In the new Pew poll, the gap has narrowed: 47 percent of those surveyed said abortion should be legal in all or most cases, and 45 percent said it should be illegal in all or most cases — a difference within the poll’s margin of sampling error.

The new survey did not find the reasons for the shift in opinion. But Pew researchers pointed out that the shift has occurred since the election of President Barack Obama, a Democrat who supports abortion rights but has often spoken about the need to reduce the number of abortions. New York Times/CBS News polls, as well as others, found no such shift after Bill Clinton took office.

After Lewis’ Exit, Bank of America Searches for New Chief

Who will lead Bank of America out of this mess?

That question is reverberating through Wall Street and Washington following the abrupt resignation of Kenneth Lewis, the bank’s beleaguered chief executive. On Thursday, a day into this remarkable boardroom drama, bank insiders and a rapt audience in the financial community were grasping for a clear answer.

No sooner did news of Lewis’ resignation break Wednesday evening than the handicapping began. Wall Street odds-makers tossed out the names of half a dozen possible successors. But Bank of America directors have only just begun to consider their options. The search is expected to take weeks.

Few banking executives have the skill and experience to run Bank of America, a coast-to-coast giant with nearly $1 trillion in deposits — a bunch of giant-size problems.

Urging Information and Shots, Officials Track Flu

Swine flu is widespread across the entire country, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Thursday as federal health officials released Tamiflu for children from the national stockpile and began taking orders from the states for the new swine flu vaccine.

Also, as anecdotal reports and at least one poll showed many Americans are nervous about the vaccine, officials emphasized that the new shots were nearly identical to seasonal ones, and said they were doing what they could to debunk myths about the vaccine.

Dr. Anne Schuchat, the Disease Control Center’s director of immunization and respiratory disease expressed particular worry about pregnant women. As of late August, 100 had been hospitalized in intensive care, and 28 had died.

Because pediatric cases are increasing, the Department of Health and Human Services on Tuesday released 300,000 courses of children’s liquid Tamiflu from the national pandemic stockpile, with the first batches going to Texas and Colorado.

Some was past its expiration date, Schuchat said, but the Food and Drug Administration tested the stocks and certified them as still usable.