Family Law Prof Blog

Editor: Margaret Ryznare
Indiana University
Robert H. McKinney School of Law

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Planned Parenthood Fights to Regain Initiative

From The New York Times:

The undercover videos were made over more than two years, yet Planned Parenthood was taken by surprise when the first one was posted online in July. Now one of the biggest crises in the 99-year history of the organization, the nation’s largest provider of women’s reproductive health care, could reach a climax this week as conservatives want to shut down the government rather than help fund the group.

Dawn Laguens, Planned Parenthood's executive vice president, recalled that after an aide alerted her to the initial video by the little-known Center for Medical Progress, an anti-abortion group, she thought: “This is not new” — Planned Parenthood had faced such tactics before — “but it’s a new low. And it is going to have reach.”

Immediately the organization was caught in a storm of internal confusion and defensiveness. There was disquiet among Democratic allies as Republicans, who control Congress and many state capitols, charged that the nonprofit organization was criminally “profiteering in baby parts.” A new video surfaced almost every Tuesday.

But Planned Parenthood has fought back and managed to put some opponents on the defensive after gathering information from its affiliates; hiring lawyers, crisis managers and video experts to document deceptive edits; and working to solidify support among donors, Democrats and, according to polls, a majority of Americans.

Read more here.

September 30, 2015 in Abortion | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, September 25, 2015

Senate fails to advance Bill that would cut Planned Parenthood funding

From Los Angeles Times:

With a federal shutdown days away, Senate Republicans tried -- and failed -- on Thursday to advance legislation that would eliminate money for Planned Parenthood but keep government offices and services open.

Democrats blocked the bill with a filibuster, refusing to cut funds for the large family planning organization after secretly recorded videos disclosed officials discussing the practice of providing fetal tissue from abortions for research. The debate has become a national conversation on abortion.

The vote, coming hours after Pope Francis' historic address to Congress, was 47-52.

One Democrat joined Republicans to advance the bill, but more telling for the internal GOP divide was that eight Republican senators joined Democrats to filibuster.

Now, with the government set to run out of funds Wednesday, the end of the fiscal year, Republican leaders are struggling for a new plan.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell could try to have the Senate approve a straightforward spending bill, without the limits on Planned Parenthood. But that would require him -- and eventually Speaker John A. Boehner -- to leave their conservative flank behind and compromise with Democrats.

Read more here.

September 25, 2015 in Abortion | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

An End to Virginia's Abortion Battles?

From The Washington Post:

THE EFFORT to shutter abortion clinics in Virginia, launched by Republican lawmakers in 2011, has wilted under the weight of law and logic. Now the state’s Board of Health is poised to end the assault on abortion rights in the commonwealth. It’s high time.

The board, which meets Thursday, will consider rewriting regulations, intended solely to close the clinics, which were forced on it by then-attorney general Ken Cuccinelli II, a staunch opponent of abortion. The board, even when it was composed mainly of GOP appointees, in 2012, tried to shield the clinics from the legislature’s predations until Mr. Cuccinelli (R) threatened to withhold legal representation in the event board members were sued.

The rules apply exacting standards for the construction of new hospitals to existing, small, outpatient abortion clinics — a medically unjustified departure from long-standing practice for health-care facilities. Thirteen of Virginia’s 18 clinics remain in business only because the administration of Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D), who took office last year, has granted temporary waivers delaying the regulations from taking effect.

Republican lawmakers said the rules were intended to protect the health and safety of women seeking abortions. That was always a flimsy cover story; there was no evidence of any risk to women’s health posed by previous standards.

Read more here.

September 16, 2015 in Abortion | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Texas Abortion Providers Ask Supreme Court to Reverse Ruling on Clinics

From The New York Times:

Abortion providers in Texas asked the Supreme Court on Wednesday to reverse an appeals court ruling that would leave the state with 10 abortion clinics, down from more than 40. Should the court agree to hear the case, as appears likely, it could issue its first major abortion ruling since 2007 before its next term ends in June.

“Texas is the second-most-populous state in the nation — home to 5.4 million women of reproductive age,” the providers wrote in urging the court to hear the case. “More than 60,000 of those women choose to have an abortion each year.”

The case concerns two parts of a state law that imposes strict requirements on abortion providers. It was passed by the Republican-dominated Texas Legislature and signed into law in July 2013 by Rick Perry, the governor at the time.

The brief said that the law “would delay or prevent thousands of women from obtaining abortions and lead some to resort to unsafe or illegal methods of ending an unwanted pregnancy.”

Read more here.

September 12, 2015 in Abortion | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Christian Schools Ask Supreme Court to Strike Down Obamacare Abortion Mandate

From The Washington Examiner:

A group of Christian schools wants the Supreme Court to strike down an Obamacare mandate that they provide health plans that enable access to abortion-inducing pills, the latest religious nonprofits to challenge the law's mandate.

The group of four universities petitioned the Supreme Court on Friday after a lower appeals court upheld the mandate earlier this month. The universities are Southern Nazarene University, Oklahoma Wesleyan University, Oklahoma Baptist University and Mid-America Christian University.

"The government should not force faith-based organizations to be involved in providing abortion pills to their employees or students," said Gregory S. Baylor. Baylor is senior counsel for the Alliance Defending Freedom, which is representing the schools.

The petition is the latest from several religious nonprofits objecting to an accommodation in the healthcare law for birth control and the abortion drugs.

Read more here.

July 30, 2015 in Abortion | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, June 29, 2015

Kansas Ban on 2nd-Trimester Abortion Procedure Delayed by Judge

From The New York Times:

A Kansas state judge on Thursday temporarily blocked a new law that would have banned the most common method of abortion in the second trimester.

The law, adopted in April and the first of its kind in the nation, would have barred a method known as dilation and evacuation, which doctors say is usually the safest and most convenient abortion technique after about the 12th to 14th week of pregnancy.

Abortion opponents labeled the procedure “dismemberment abortion,” defining it in the Kansas law as “knowingly dismembering a living unborn child and extracting such unborn child one piece at a time from the uterus.”

In a bench ruling on Thursday, Judge Larry D. Hendricks of Shawnee County District Court in Topeka, said he would block the law while a lawsuit challenging it proceeds.

Read more here.

June 29, 2015 in Abortion | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Rape Survivor Child Custody Act


A new federal law, the Rape Survivor Child Custody Act, will protect women who are victims of rape and decide to keep their baby. Shauna Prewitt, an attorney who co-founded Hope After Rape Conception, first spearheaded the idea along with rape survivor Analyn Megison.

Rebecca Kiessling, who has been working to protect mothers across the country who decide against having an abortion after they were victimized, has helped pushed the legislation on a state level. Kiessling tells LifeNews that the new law “provides an incentive to states to pass legislation providing for a means to terminate the parental rights of rapists, using the “clear and convincing evidence” standard from the U.S Supreme Court case of Santosky v Kramer.”

Read more here.

June 9, 2015 in Abortion, Custody (parenting plans), Termination of Parental Rights | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, March 31, 2014

Adoptions in Ohio

From the Columbus Dispatch:

Janice Matteo plans to download a document that might change her life.

Matteo said she will fill out a Contact Preference Form, a new way for Ohio birth parents to state their wishes about being contacted by the child they placed for adoption.

The only record Matteo has now is an old Polaroid photo taken after she gave birth in 1988 to a healthy, 9-pound boy. He’d be nearly 26 now. Matteo has no idea where he is or whether he has tried to find her.

“I felt bad later, when I understood the law better, that I had chosen closed adoption,” she said. “That was a real awakening for me. How do I let him know?”

Matteo will check the box that says she would like to be “contacted directly by the adopted person or their lineal descendant” and hope that he will someday get in touch.

Other options for birth parents are to request contact through an intermediary or to ask not to be contacted at all.

Read more here.


March 31, 2014 in Abortion | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, July 15, 2013

Abortion in TX

From the New York Times:

The Texas Senate gave final passage on Friday to one of the strictest anti-abortion measures in the country, legislation championed by Gov. Rick Perry, who rallied the Republican-controlled Legislature late last month after a Democratic filibuster blocked the bill and intensified already passionate resistance by abortion-rights supporters.

Read more here.


July 15, 2013 in Abortion | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, June 6, 2013

AZ Abortion Ban

From Fox News:

A federal court Tuesday struck down Arizona's ban on abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy absent a medical emergency.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said the law violated a woman's constitutionally protected right to terminate a pregnancy before a fetus is able to survive outside the womb. "Viability" of a fetus is generally considered to start at 24 weeks. Normal pregnancies run about 40 weeks.

Read more here.


June 6, 2013 in Abortion, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, November 30, 2012

Adoption in Nebraska

States all across America are celebrating November as Adoption Awareness Month.  In Nebraska, children in foster care in the state waiting for a family are highlighted.  Even though the process can be quite lengthy, adoptive parents can have a positive effect on children.  Almost 500 adoptions occur each year in the state.

Read more here.


November 30, 2012 in Abortion | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Adoption in Iowa

From Radio Iowa:

Events across Iowa this month aim to raise awareness about the thousands of Iowa kids in foster care and the hundreds who are eligible for adoption. Corinne Sills is a post-adoption support specialist in Mason City, part of Iowa Kids Net.

Sills says more than 400,000 children are in foster care nationwide due to abuse, neglect, abandonment and other family issues. “There are approximately 6,100 Iowa children in foster care and that includes those that are in foster homes, relative homes, group care institutions and pre-adoptive homes,” Sills says.

Also, some 750 children in Iowa are legally eligible for adoption. As part of National Adoption Month, she says there will be candlelight vigils held at locations across Iowa. “It’s to raise awareness of the 104,000 children in the United States waiting to be adopted,” Sills says.

Read more here.


November 28, 2012 in Abortion | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

New Study on Abortion

Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis has published a study in Obstetrics & Gynecology.  The study, published on Thursday, October 4, enrolled 9,256 women ages 14-45 from the St. Louis region into the Contraceptive Choice Project between August 2007 and September 2011.  Many of the women were poor, uninsured, had a low education, and had a previous unintended pregnancy; they were either not using a "reversible" contraception method or were wanting to switch to a new one.  After being provided free, FDA-approved birth control for three years (2008-2010) in the form of their choice, the women experienced far fewer unintended pregnancies than expected.  4.4 to 7.5 abortions per 1,000 women (adjusted for age and race) in the study saw unintended pregnancies, as compared to the national rate of 19.6 abortions per 1,000 women.  The results were also lower than the rate in the St. Louis area (13.4 to 17 abortions per 1,000 women).

Read more here.


November 13, 2012 in Abortion, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Cohen & Sayeed: "Fetal Pain, Abortion, Viability and the Constitution"

I. Glenn Cohen (Harvard) & Sadath Sayeed (Harvard Univ.-Harvard Medical School) have posted "Fetal Pain, Abortion, Viability and the Constitution" (39 The Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics (2011)) on SSRN.  Here is the abstract:

Can a U.S. state prohibit pre-viability abortions based on concerns about fetal pain?

Given that recent legislation in Nebraska purports to do so, and the fact that similar efforts are now working through the legislative process in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Oklahoma, and other states, the question is a pressing one.

In this short paper for the leading peer-reviewed law and medicine journal, we are the first to comprehensively examine from a constitutional, medical, and bioethical perspective these efforts to prohibit early abortion based on concerns about fetal pain.


April 12, 2011 in Abortion, Scholarship, Family Law | Permalink | Comments (5) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, January 17, 2011

NYC Abortions

The number of abortions in New York City in 2009 has been released:

From CBS New York:

In 2009, there were 225,667 pregnancies in the City with 126,774 resulting in live births and 87,273 resulting in abortions. In addition to those abortion numbers, there were 11,620 spontaneous terminations.

Forty-six percent of all births in the Bronx result in abortions—the highest among the five boroughs, according to the report.

Blacks had the highest number of abortions with 40,798 with Hispanics having the second highest at 28,364, according to the report.

Read the news story here and the report here.



January 17, 2011 in Abortion | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Fetal Bodies at Thai Temple

From Time:

Following the discovery of more than 2,000 aborted fetuses at a temple crematorium in Bangkok last week, Thai police have promised a crackdown on clinics performing illegal abortions, already arresting one abortion practitioner and investigating several clinics. The nascent crackdown immediately sparked criticism from reproductive-rights activists, who say it will force poor women into even more illicit and unsafe conditions if they choose to end a pregnancy in Thailand, where most abortions are illegal.

Police, who were called to the Phai Ngern Chotanaram Buddhist temple in Bangkok last Tuesday after neighbors complained of a foul odor, initially discovered 348 fetus remains wrapped in small plastic bags. After arresting an undertaker and a health-clinic worker, over 1,500 more fetuses were found on Thursday. According to the English-language Bangkok Post, the undertaker told police the temple's crematorium had broken down a month ago, and so the fetuses had not been burned. The gruesome discovery shocked the temple's neighbors and government officials. Police pledged to shut down clinics providing abortions illegally and on Thursday arrested a woman whom they accused of performing abortions and delivering the fetuses to the temple for cremation. She said she had transported the fetuses from several clinics, and claimed that models and actresses were among her clients.

Though abortion is still illegal in Thailand, there are exceptions in cases of rape, incest, a threat to the mother's physical or psychological health or if the mother is underage. Nonetheless, according to Professor Kamheang Chaturachinda, president of the Women's Health and Reproductive Rights Foundation of Thailand, some estimates say 300,000 to 400,000 abortions are performed each year in the nation of 67 million people, and because most are performed in illicit circumstances, they are unsafe, he says.

Read more here.



December 2, 2010 in Abortion | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, November 19, 2010

"Birth or Not" Website

The internet has been buzzing with the following story, with many suggesting it cannot possibly be true:

From Star Tribune:

A suburban Twin Cities couple touched off an Internet frenzy Thursday with their "birth or not" website -- an online poll on asking whether the woman, who is 17 weeks pregnant, should have an abortion.

"We wanted to give people a chance to voice their opinions in a real situation where it makes a difference," said Alisha Arnold, 30, of Apple Valley.

She and her husband, Peter Arnold, began the online vote because she was still healing emotionally from the most recent of three miscarriages, she said. They weren't sure whether she was ready for a baby.

Read more here.


November 19, 2010 in Abortion | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, April 16, 2010

Minor’s Abortion During School Hours


SEATTLE -- The mother of a Ballard High School student is fuming after the health center on campus helped facilitate her daughter's abortion during school hours.

The mother, whom KOMO News has chosen to identify only as "Jill," says the clinic kept the information "confidential." 

When she signed a consent form, Jill figured it meant her 15 year old could go to the Ballard Teen Health Center located inside the high school for an earache, a sports physical, even birth control, but not for help terminating a pregnancy.

The girl received a pass and sent off in a taxi to have the abortion during school hours.  Read more here.


April 16, 2010 in Abortion | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, April 8, 2010

IL Parental Notification in Abortions

From the Chicago Tribune:

A Cook County Circuit Court judge on [last] Monday lifted a temporary restraining order that has barred the Illinois parental-notification abortion law from going into effect, but then prevented state officials from enforcing the law pending an appeal.

The 1995 law, which has been delayed in court and never enforced, would require doctors to notify a parent or guardian when a girl 17 or younger seeks an abortion. In November, the Illinois medical disciplinary board decided the state could begin enforcing the law. Hours later, Judge Daniel Riley granted a temporary restraining order sought by the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois.

Read more here.


April 8, 2010 in Abortion | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Judge Delays Contoversial Abortion Survey

An Oklahoma judge has delayed a decision on the constitutionality of an Oklahoma law which would survey doctors performing abortions and then post facts relating to those abortions on a public website.

An Oklahoma judge Friday put off until Feb. 19 any decision about an anti-abortion law that critics have said is "like undressing a woman in public."

The law, which was to have gone into effect on Nov. 1, requires doctors performing abortions to ask the patient 37 questions -- from her age to her marital status and financial condition -- which would then be posted on a public website.

Supporters of the bill say the information is crucial to understanding why women have abortions. Opponents say the questions are invasive and the public posting of the answers could easily lead to women being identified in rural parts of the state, even though their names are not used.

Read the full story from ABC News here.


December 31, 2009 in Abortion | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)