Family Law Prof Blog

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

Friday, November 27, 2015

Abortion Rates in the U.S. Continue to Decline

From CBS News:

U.S. abortions continue to fall, according to a new federal report released on Wednesday.

Federal statistics show abortions have been in a general decline for about 25 years.

The number of reported abortions dropped four percent in 2012, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported. About 699,000 abortions were reported to the federal government that year. That's about 31,000 fewer than the year before.

Experts offer various reasons for the recent drop: Better use of birth control and the lingering effects of the economic recession. Others argue there's been a cultural shift and more women opt to continue their pregnancy.

In 2012, the abortion rate fell five percent to 13 abortions per 1,000 women of child-bearing age. That's about half what it was in 1974, the year after the landmark Supreme Court decision that established a nationwide right to abortion.

Read more here.

November 27, 2015 in Abortion | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Supreme Court to Hear Major Abortion Case

From CNN:

The Supreme Court announced Friday that it will hear a challenge to key parts of Texas' 2013 abortion law that supporters of abortion rights say is one of the strictest in the nation.

The court has not heard a major abortion case since 2007, and its decision will likely come down sometime next spring or early summer in the heat of the presidential campaign. If the justices uphold the lower court's decision and allow two provisions of the law to go into effect, the number of available clinics in the state is expected to fall to about 10.

While supporters of the law argue it's meant to protect women's health, opponents say it has nothing to do with health and safety, but instead is a disguised attempt to put an end to abortion. Other states have similar legislation percolating through the lower courts.

One provision at issue requires that doctors who perform abortions have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital. The other mandates that clinics upgrade their facilities to hospital-like standards.

Amy Hagstrom Miller, who owns and operates four clinics in Texas, is the lead plaintiff in the case and is represented by the Center for Reproductive Rights. She says the provisions directly challenge court precedent that renders a law invalid if it "has the purpose or effect of placing a substantial obstacle in the path of a woman seeking an abortion."

Read more here.

November 17, 2015 in Abortion | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, November 6, 2015

March for Life Faces Obama Administration Appeal Over Birth Control Mandate

From Washington Times:

The Obama administration filed notice Thursday that it will appeal a federal ruling that blocked it from enforcing its birth control mandate on a pro-life nonprofit known for its massive D.C. rallies against abortion.

In August, U.S. District Judge Richard J. Leon said the Health and Human Services Department practiced “regulatory favoritism” by exempting houses of worship on grounds that its employees are less likely to want the contraceptives, while rejecting pleas from March for Life, a secular group that says its employees also don’t want contraceptives, particularly those they equate with abortion.

“HHS may be correct that this objection is common among religiously affiliated employers. Where HHS has erred, however, is in assuming that this trait is unique to such organizations. It is not,” wrote Judge Leon, who was appointed to the District of Columbia bench by President George W. Bush.

On Thursday, secretaries of the Treasury and Health and Human Services and Labor departments filed notice with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.

The birth control mandate is an outgrowth of the Affordable Care Act of 2010 that requires employers to cover 20 types of drugs and services approved by the Food and Drug Administration as part of their health care plans. Pitched as a boon for women’s health, the rules quickly spawned controversy, with dozens of religious nonprofits and devout business owners filing suit.

Read more here.

November 6, 2015 in Abortion | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Woman Forced to Drive 300 Miles to Abort Dying Fetus

From USA Today:

An Ohio woman whose baby would have been stillborn was forced to travel 300 miles to Chicago because no Ohio abortion clinic would do the procedure, she said.

Sheva Guy, 23, a doctoral student from Cincinnati, said her daughter was diagnosed with a fatal spinal abnormality when she went to a hospital for her second-trimester ultrasound at about 22 weeks. She and her husband were expecting to find out the gender of their child.

"I wanted a girl. He wanted a boy, so it was like, 'Who was going to be right?'" Guy said.

But the technician was quiet. The baby was too small. Something was wrong.

A second test at a second hospital confirmed that the baby's head was too large, the rest of the body was too small and a severe spinal abnormality meant the baby would never live.

"I just completely broke down. I mean, I was so vulnerable," Guy said. "Pantsless on the table, I was finding out this news. I was just sobbing. Both my contacts fell out. I couldn't see anything."

Guy shared her story at a Tuesday news conference hosted by ProgressOhio, a liberal-leaning public policy group, and NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio. Both groups oppose tightening restrictions on abortions.

Guy said she had two options: deliver a stillborn daughter or have an abortion. The first was more than she could bear.

Read more here.

November 5, 2015 in Abortion | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, October 26, 2015

Abortion Group Asks Top House Republican to Investigate New Videos Posted Online

From Fox News:

A trade group for abortion providers is asking a top House Republican to investigate after secretly recorded videos were posted online by a conservative blogger who wrote that he got the footage from a congressional source.

The National Abortion Federation said Friday that the videos were recorded at recent meetings by the Center for Medical Progress, a small group of anti-abortion activists. The center's furtive recordings of Planned Parenthood officials discussing their retrieval of fetal tissue have sparked an uproar by conservatives and unsuccessful efforts by congressional Republicans to cut Planned Parenthood's federal funds.

The federation obtained a court order in San Francisco against public release of the footage. But in recent days, videos have been posted online at, a conservative website.

That website's founder, Charles C. Johnson, wrote on his site that he has obtained "all of the Planned Parenthood tapes" and got the recordings "from a source on Capitol Hill."

Read more here.

October 26, 2015 in Abortion | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

"Abortion Bus" Will Tour Ireland Selling Dangerous Abortion Drug

From Life News:

The Life Institute has said that it is ‘deeply shocking’ to see that abortion activists who plan to make access to illegal abortion pills available on a bus touring the country appear to be playing ‘fast and loose’ with women’s lives.

Today, Ruth Coppinger TD said that the abortion bus would ensure that women in Ireland could avail of the abortion pill by meeting the bus – but she admitted that no doctor would be present on the bus, and was dismissive of warnings from senior medical experts who warned that unsupervised use of the abortion pill could result in the death of the woman.

Dr. Sam Coulter Smith, Master of the Rotunda Maternity Hospital, in an interview with RTÉ’s Prime Time said that incorrect administration of the drug could lead to perforation of the uterus, and warned that this had caused women to die.

Spokeswoman Niamh Uí Bhriain said that the ‘abortion bus’ was a cheap publicity stunt but that it was deeply shocking that a TD would take part in an initiative that could lead to a woman to lose her life.

“Ruth Coppinger was interviewed by Morning Ireland today and it was put to her that medical experts said  it was dangerous for women to take the abortion pill unsupervised. Dr Sam Coulter Smith said that women had lost their lives because of unsupervised use of the abortion pill. But Ms Coppinger refused to call a halt to the abortion pill campaign.”

Read more here.

October 20, 2015 in Abortion | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Republicans Target Abortion, Not Planned Parenthood

From Washington Examiner:

If it wasn't obvious, it is now: Republicans are making the congressional hearings on Planned Parenthood more about abortion itself than the organization.

Lawmakers used a range of props including diapers, surgical instruments and videos at a Judiciary Committee hearing Thursday afternoon to illustrate what they view as a gruesome procedure. Rep. Trent Franks, R-Ariz., held up a tiny diaper designed for a premature baby, noting that some fetuses aborted midway through pregnancy could fit into it. Anthony Levatino, a doctor who used to conduct abortions, held up a catheter and a clamp used during the dilation and evaculation procedure.

"You use this instrument again and again to tear out the spine, the intestines, the heart and lungs," Levatino told the committee. "Sometimes a little face comes out and stares at you."

It was the fourth congressional hearing prompted by a series of undercover videos highlighting Planned Parenthood's participation in supplying aborted fetal tissue, which sparked widespread Republican outrage against the group and led lawmakers to create a new committee on Wednesday specifically charged with investigating the group.

Prior hearings had disappointed many on the Right, who criticized Republicans for appearing uncoordinated, unprepared and ineffective. But as Republicans kicked off their latest hearing, they made clear they intend to keep the focus almost exclusively on the procedure of abortion itself, rather than on questions of whether Planned Parenthood illegally profited from providing the tissue to human tissue companies.

Read more here.

October 14, 2015 in Abortion | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Australia to Deport American Anti-Abortion Activist

From Washington Times:

An American anti-abortion activist is expected to be deported from Australia, after the nation’s highest court ruled Friday that he posed a threat to public order amid concerns he could incite violence against women.

Troy Newman, president of the Kansas-based anti-abortion group Operation Rescue, was detained at Melbourne Airport on Thursday after trying to enter Australia even though officials had already canceled his visa.

The battle to prevent Newman from coming to Australia for a speaking tour began earlier this week, after a lawmaker sent a letter to Immigration Minister Peter Dutton saying Newman could pose a threat to community safety.

“I am most concerned that Mr. Newman’s call for abortionists to be executed could lead to threats or the commission of acts of violence against women and medical professionals,” wrote Terri Butler, a member of the opposition Labor Party.

Immigration officials then revoked Newman’s visa.

Newman, who co-authored a book that suggested doctors who perform abortions are committing a crime egregious enough to warrant the death penalty, denied that he posed a threat to anyone.

Read more here.

October 10, 2015 in Abortion | Permalink | Comments (0)

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)