Family Law Prof Blog

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

Friday, July 28, 2017

Texas Bill to Revoke Medical Licenses for Doctors Who Perform Abortions

From The Texas Observer:

A bill filed in the Texas Legislature’s special session would revoke the licenses of doctors who perform abortions in the state, with limited exceptions.

The measure, filed by far-right Representative Valoree Swanson, R-Spring, would expand the “prohibited practices” that result in a physician’s license being revoked, a category that already includes several abortion-related measures. Under House Bill 86, almost all abortions would be prohibited, with very narrow exceptions for the health of the woman and fetus: when necessary to save the life of the woman or prevent “substantial and irreversible physical impairment of a major bodily function, other than a psychological condition,” or when the procedure is necessary to ensure the viability of another fetus she’s carrying.

Read more here.

July 28, 2017 in Abortion | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Americans Split on Abortion, Research Shows

From Pew Research Center:

Abortion has long been a contentious issue in American politics and one that splits deeply along partisan, ideological and religious lines. Today, a 57% majority of Americans say abortion should be legal in all or most cases, while 40% think it should be illegal in all or most cases. These views are little changed from a year ago, though the share saying abortion should be legal in all or most cases is now higher than it was in the fall of 2015, when Congress battled over funding for Planned Parenthood (51% legal, 43% illegal).

The latest Pew Research Center political survey finds deep disagreement between – and within – the parties over abortion. In fact, the partisan divide on abortion remains far more polarized than it was two decades ago.

Read more here.

July 12, 2017 in Abortion | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

GOP, Abortion, and the Health Care Bill

From ABC News:

Senate Republicans working on high-stakes health care legislation are anticipating problems with abortion restrictions that their House counterparts have already passed.

As a result, they're considering ways to channel new financing for health insurance through existing government programs that bar the use of taxpayer dollars for abortion, according to sources familiar with the policy discussions. Those options include the Children's Health Insurance Program.

The sources spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss details of closely held discussions about a Senate version of the health care bill. GOP aides said nothing has been resolved. Republican leaders are pressing for a Senate vote on health care, which could come before the July 4 holiday.

Senate GOP leaders want their bill to bar federal funds for abortions. Failure to include such restrictions would jeopardize support from conservative Republican senators, whose votes will be needed for passage.

Read more here.

June 21, 2017 in Abortion | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Judge Considers Holding Anti-Abortion Leader in Contempt

From The Washington Post:

SAN FRANCISCO — A federal judge said Thursday he will consider holding the leader of an anti-abortion group in contempt after links to videos that the judge had barred from release appeared on the website of the man’s attorneys.

U.S. District Judge William Orrick ordered David Daleiden and his attorneys, Steve Cooley and Brentford J. Ferreira, to appear at a June 14 hearing to consider contempt sanctions.

A phone message at Cooley and Ferreira’s law firm number was not immediately returned. A representative for Daleiden said she expected to have a statement later.

Daleiden is a leader of the Center for Medical Progress, which has released several secretly recorded videos that it says show Planned Parenthood employees selling fetal tissue for profit, which is illegal. Planned Parenthood said the videos were deceptively edited to support false claims.

Read more here.

June 4, 2017 in Abortion | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, May 26, 2017

Texas House Votes to Ban Abortion Procedure

From The New York Times:

AUSTIN, Texas — Texas’ Republican-controlled Legislature has advanced tough new limits on abortion, hitting back at a United States Supreme Court decision last summer that struck down most of the sweeping restrictions on the procedure that the state approved four years ago.

The Texas House voted 96 to 47 late Friday on legislation that bans a commonly used second-trimester abortion procedure, known as dilation and evacuation, similar to laws that courts have blocked in Alabama, Kansas, Louisiana and Oklahoma. It further stipulated that doctors performing the procedure in Texas would face felony charges.

Those contentious provisions were tacked onto a broader bill requiring the burial or cremation of fetal remains from abortions, even though a federal judge has blocked an existing state rule that mandates the same thing.

Read more here.

May 26, 2017 in Abortion | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, May 18, 2017

TN Governor Signs Strict Late-Term Abortion Ban

From The Tennessean:

Gov. Bill Haslam signed a strict new abortion measure into law on Friday, drawing praise and sharp criticism. 

The measure will further limit the few abortions already performed in Tennessee past the point of fetal viability — and potentially send doctors to jail if they fail to prove in court that an abortion of a viable fetus was necessary to save a woman's life or prevent substantial or irreversible harm to a "major bodily function of a pregnant woman." 

Tennessee becomes one of at least 21 states that explicitly ban abortions beyond viability, but the measure, called the Tennessee Infants Protection Act, goes further than most other bans and could become the subject of a lengthy court challenge.

Read more here.

May 18, 2017 in Abortion | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Legal Fight Could Make Kentucky The Only State With No Abortion Clinic

From The New York Times:

As states across the nation enact increasingly aggressive restrictions on abortion, perhaps nowhere has the political climate shifted as much as here in Kentucky, where the E.M.W. Women's Surgical Center, a squat tan brick building on Market Street, is the state's sole abortion clinic.

Over the past year, Gov. Matt Bevin, a Republican who calls himself "unapologetically pro-life," has blocked a new Planned Parenthood clinic from performing abortions, shuttered E.M.W.'s satellite clinic in Lexington and threatened to close the existing one in Louisville. Backed by the American Civil Liberties Union, the clinic has sued the state; a trail is set for September. 

The governor's forceful moves have rattled reproductive rights advocates, made him a hero among abortion opponents and prompted both sides in the debate to ask a question: Could Kentucky become America's only state to lack a single abortion clinic?

Read more here

May 3, 2017 in Abortion | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Missouri Rejects Federal Money In Order To Set Up Its Own Abortion Restrictions

From NPR:

A new Missouri law cuts off a line of funding to all organizations that provide abortions in the state, including hospitals.

For years, Missouri has helped low-income women pay for family planning under a Medicaid program called Extended Women's Health Services, which is funded by both the state and the federal governments.

Federal law already prevents Medicaid from reimbursing providers for most abortions. Missouri's new measure rejects $8.3 million in federal funds for the women's health program, allowing the state to block state funds for other family planning services from going to abortion providers.

Other states, including Texas, Arkansas, Mississippi and Indiana, have tried to exclude abortion providers from Medicaid funds before, but courts have said that would violate a federal law that gives patients the right to choose their health care providers. Missouri hopes to get around that by rejecting the federal money. The rule has not been challenged in court.

Read more here.

April 9, 2017 in Abortion | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Texas Bill Would Allow OBs To Withhold Information From Pregnant Women

From The Huffington Post:

The Texas Senate Committee and State Affairs voted this week to advance a controversial bill that would prevent parents from suing their care provider if their baby is born with disabilities, even if their doctor discovered the fetus’ condition and failed to disclose it.

Proponents say Senate Bill 25 protects doctors and children with disabilities, but opponents have slammed it as a thinly veiled attempt to curb abortion rights by extending protections to doctors who mislead their patients.

“SB 25 would allow doctors to lie to their patients,” Heather Busby, executive director at the advocacy group NARAL Pro-Choice Texas, said in a statement to The Huffington Post. 

If, for example, an OB-GYN discovered during an ultrasound that a fetus had severe abnormalities and failed to inform his or her patient ― knowing the mother might chose to terminate the pregnancy ― that mother would be prevented from later bringing what is known as a “wrongful birth” suit.

Read more here.

March 9, 2017 in Abortion | Permalink | Comments (1)

Friday, March 3, 2017

Abortion bill targets parents' rights in cases of pregnant minors

From The Indianapolis Star:

When a pregnant minor seeks an abortion in Indiana without her parents' consent, she has one option: a hearing involving her attorney and a juvenile court judge who decides whether she is mature enough to make the decision for herself.

A bill that advanced in the Indiana Senate on Wednesday would give her parents the right to enter the courtroom and even testify on whether she is competent to make the decision.

Supporters of Senate Bill 404 say parents should have a role in deciding their daughter's well-being and whether she can undergo a surgical procedure such as an abortion. Opponents say requiring parent involvement could push pregnant minors into dangerous situations because their greatest fear is often being disowned by their families.

The bill also would give parents the right to sue adults who help their child get an abortion without their consent. And it opens up abortion doctors to potentially losing their medical licenses if they fail to properly inform the state when they provide an abortion to a girl younger than 16.

The bill, approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee on a 6-4 vote, is the latest front in the bitter battle over abortion rights in Indiana. It drew support from a constellation of groups opposed to abortion — Indiana Right to Life, the Indiana Catholic Conference, the Indiana Family Institute and the American Family Association of Indiana. It was opposed by Planned Parenthood, the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana, family law attorneys, a pediatrician and a doctor of adolescent medicine.

The scope of the war is evident in the language of the bill. Corrine Purvis, an attorney with Indiana Right to Life, said passages were adapted from a law in Missouri. Other provisions have been adopted by as many as 15 states.

Read more here.

March 3, 2017 in Abortion | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Lawmaker proposes bill in Oklahoma requiring a father's consent for abortion

From The Washington Post:

A bill advancing in Oklahoma would require a woman to get the written consent of the fetus’s father before obtaining an abortion.

The bill, which passed out of a House committee Tuesday, would also require a woman “to provide, in writing, the identity of the father of the fetus to the physician who is to perform or induce the abortion,” according to the bill’s language. “If the person identified as the father of the fetus challenges the fact that he is the father, such individual may demand that a paternity test be performed.”

The bill’s author, Rep. Justin Humphrey (R), could not be reached for comment Tuesday. But in an interview with The Intercept earlier this month, Humphrey said that men should be able to have a say over the fate of a fetus, and suggested that a woman has greater responsibility in a relationship for preventing pregnancy because she would be the “host.”

Read more here.

February 26, 2017 in Abortion | Permalink | Comments (1)

Saturday, October 15, 2016

British women, please rally to support decriminalisation of abortion

From The Guardian:

In Poland mass protests have forced the government to drop plans to tighten its already draconian abortion laws. Yet here in Britain most people are unaware that women still live under the threat of being sentenced to life imprisonment if they end their own pregnancies by buying pills on the internet. Doctors also face harsh penalties if they do not fill in the correct forms before terminating a pregnancy.

Back in 1967 our law was changed to allow the legal ending of pregnancies if certain conditions were met. Otherwise the 1861 Offences Against the Person Act remained in place; and so it still is today – nearly half a century later.

On Wednesday 24 October a ten-minute rule bill is to be introduced to the House of Commons proposing that abortion in Britain is decriminalised. To do so would not only allow speedier and much less bureaucratic use of modern medical procedures, but would save a huge amount of NHS money while bringing us into line with countries such as Canada where medical abortion was decriminalised nearly three decades ago.

Read more here.

October 15, 2016 in Abortion, International | Permalink | Comments (1)

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

‘Contraception deserts’ are what you get when you cut off this little-known federal program

From The Washington Post:

The Zika virus has arrived in the United States, threatening reproductive-age American women with the prospect of compromised pregnancies — and returning the country to its decades-long debate over reproductive rights. If a pregnant American woman wanted to end a Zika-compromised pregnancy, could she? If she wanted to prevent pregnancy until she knew that any Zika risk was past, could she find the contraception she would need?

For women with enough resources to travel, the answer is always yes. But for women with more limited means, the answer, over the past 20 or so years, has come to depend in very large part on where they live. Over the past few years, dozens of abortion clinics closed, largely in response to state policies enacted to make their existence impossible.

We’ve been researching an approach to restricting reproductive health care that fewer people know about: contraception deserts. A number of states and Congress have made it harder for women with few resources to get contraception by manipulating the regulation of Title X. Title X is the only federal program dedicated exclusively to family planning and related preventive health care.

Why does that matter? According to a recent study published in Obstetrics & Gynecology, while maternal mortality rates around the world are decreasing, they increased in the United States between 2000 to 2014.

Read more here.

September 28, 2016 in Abortion | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Irish women live-tweet journey to Great Britain for abortion

From CNN:

An Irish woman live-tweeted her journey to the United Kingdom to have an abortion this weekend. The woman, and a friend who accompanied her, began posting early Saturday morning from the Twitter account Two Women Travel.

Abortion is illegal in the Republic of Ireland, except in certain circumstances, and more than 165,000 women traveled from Ireland to Great Britain for the procedure between 1980 and 2015, according to the United Kingdom's Department of Health.
The pair described their mission as "Two women, one procedure, 48 hours away from home."
Most of the tweets were directed at Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny, with an early morning post from Dublin Airport reading "boarding, it's chilly, @EndaKennyTD."
 
Read more here.

September 4, 2016 in Abortion | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Controversial Pro-Life Governor is Chosen as Vice Presidential Candidate

From USA Today:

On Friday, July 16, Donald Trump made the announcement that Indiana Governor, Mike Pence, will be his running mate. Pence has been in the national spotlight due to his controversial recent bill regarding restrictions on access to abortions in Indiana. Reactions to Trump's announcement were "immediate" for pro-life and pro-choice groups.

Planned Parenthood has long stood against Pence's endeavors in Indiana and the selection of such a candidate sends a "terrifying message" to women across the nation.

Read more here.

July 16, 2016 in Abortion | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Victory for Planned Parenthood and ACLU in Indiana Over Abortion Law

From U.S. News:

United States District Judge, Tanya Walton Pratt, granted a preliminary injunction that blocks an Indiana law that sought to ban abortions because of a fetus’ genetic abnormalities, race, or gender. Furthermore, the injunction blocks portions of the law which mandate that the remains of an aborted or miscarried fetus be cremated or buried. Had the law not been blocked, it would have taken effect Friday, July 1, 2016.

Governor Mike Pence signed the new law in March after it was approved at this year’s legislative session. Supporters of the law claim that the purpose was to prohibit discrimination that might occur due to improved genetics testing.

The suit was originally brought in April by Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky on grounds that the law is a violation of privacy and is unconstitutional pursuant to other Supreme Court rulings. The ACLU of Indiana, represented by Ken Falk, challenged the portion of the law pertaining to disposal of the remains.

Read more here.

June 30, 2016 in Abortion | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, May 20, 2016

Burdens Increase for Texas Women as Abortion Clinics Close Their Doors

From MSNBC:

As Texas abortion clinics close, Texan women are facing more burdens in attempting to procure safe, legal abortion services. Because abortion clinics are closing and clinics are further away, many Texan women are faced with the burdens; such as, taking off additional time from work and/or school, accounting for increased travel time, and having to pay additional money to stay at hotels. For some women who are struggling financially to make ends meet, having to pay additional money for hotel accommodations or losing money from taking off work makes the difference between being able to obtain an abortion and not. 

Read more here.

May 20, 2016 in Abortion | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Tanzanian Women Face High Rates of Abortion-Related Deaths

From The New York Times:

Unsafe abortions kill many Tanzanian women, according to a recent study, but the deaths result from several factors and women in some regions die much more often than others.

Birth control is hard to get, and public health clinics lack trained staff and vacuum aspiration kits used to perform abortions. In addition, the legality of abortion is ambiguous, forcing many women to try to do it themselves or see illegal abortion providers. Of one million unintended pregnancies in 2013, the study found, 39 percent ended in abortion.

The study, done by the Guttmacher Institute, Tanzania’s national medical research institute and the country’s leading medical school, and published in PLOS One, was based on surveys of hospitals and clinics and interviews with Tanzanian doctors.

 

Although Tanzania ratified the African Union’s 2005 Maputo Protocol on women’s rights — which endorsed abortion rights — and also recognizes colonial-era British case law permitting abortion in some circumstances, national law mandates 14-year sentences for anyone “unlawfully” performing an abortion and seven years for women who try to make themselves miscarry — but without defining “unlawfully,” said Sarah C. Keogh, a Guttmacher Institute researcher and the study’s lead author.

Women have been prosecuted under it, she said.

Read more here.

May 7, 2016 in Abortion | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Georgia Governor OKs State Funds for Anti-Abortion Centers

From ABC News:

Georgia can give state money to "pregnancy resource centers" that offer medical and other services to pregnant women while discouraging them from getting abortions, under legislation signed Tuesday by Republican Gov. Nathan Deal.

The measure's sponsor, Republican state Sen. Renee Unterman of Buford, described her bill as a "positive" response to videos released this summer by abortion opponents showing Planned Parenthood officials discussing procedures for obtaining tissue from aborted fetuses for research.

A Texas grand jury later cleared the organization of wrongdoing.

Deal signed the bill in a private ceremony and didn't issue a public statement.

Georgia now joins at least 10 other states that specifically dedicate funding to anti-abortion efforts, according to the Guttmacher Institute, a research organization that supports legal access to abortion. Elizabeth Nash, a policy analyst at the organization, said the practice began in some states decades ago.

Opponents of the grants say the centers use deceptive advertising to bring pregnant women in but won't discuss all legal options. They also argue that the state could still contribute financially toward lowering abortion numbers, through sex education or counseling programs.

"The state should be ensuring women are getting the best, most accurate and relevant information," Nash said. She added that bill Deal signed "allows state funds to go to organizations providing women with incomplete information or outright misinformation."

Emily Matson, executive director of the anti-abortion organization Georgia Life Alliance, said about 70 facilities in Georgia could qualify for the grant. About 40 of those centers are licensed to provide medical care, she said, while the rest provide other services including clothing and other supplies.

Matson said the organization hopes more funding for the centers will reduce the number of abortions. State records show about 27,500 abortions were performed in Georgia in 2013, the latest year available.

"When you're facing an abortion total of more than 27,000 babies being terminated each year, you're going to look closer at what we can do to ensure women truly are making choices and not just being caught in a for-profit business scheme," Matson said.

Read more here.

 

May 5, 2016 in Abortion | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Abortion in Europe

From NBC News:

Graphic pictures of aborted fetuses, prayer vigils and protesters. It's no coincidence that the anti-abortion movement looks the same from London to Dublin to Warsaw.

It's mostly Gregg Cunningham. The California-based activist has been farming out his imagery and strategies to like-minded groups in Europe for more than five years.

It started with the trained lawyer building a collection of thousands of photos.

"Aborted baby pictures didn't really exist on any sort of commercial scale in the U.S. until we began to compile the archive that we use," Cunningham explained.

He won't say how or where the images were shot but takes pride in their professional lighting.

"We invented the genre of aborted baby photos that were shot by commercial photographers," Cunningham said. "We pioneered the use of that material here in the United States first."

The Republican former two-term member of Pennsylvania's House of Representatives regularly travels to Europe and shares his pictures — plus notes, advice and strategy.

Pro-abortion activists, providers and seekers in Finland, Sweden, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Ireland, England and beyond have been confronted with the same photos of dismembered fetuses as American women from Austin to Buffalo.Some have had holy water thrown on them. Others are called "murderous whores" and are filmed.

Read more here.

May 3, 2016 in Abortion | Permalink | Comments (0)