Family Law Prof Blog

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

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)

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Abortion Procedure Challenged as "Torture" in Alabama

From ABC News:

A commonly used second-trimester abortion procedure would be illegal under a new bill debated in the Alabama legislature on Wednesday.

The House Health Committee held a public hearing on a bill that supporters say would prohibit a medical procedure called dilation and evacuation, or "D&E." The bill would allow the procedure, which it describes as "dismemberment abortion," in the event of a "serious health risk to the mother."

Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant signed a similar bill into law last week, while West Virginia lawmakers overrode their governor's veto in March to pass a similar law. D&E bans in Kansas and Oklahoma have been struck down by state courts.

Supporters of the bill on Wednesday compared D&E procedures to torture and medieval forms of punishment.

"I don't see how a civilized society could support these barbaric procedures," said the bill's sponsor, Republican Rep. Mack Butler.

Elizabeth Potter Graham, an attorney who spoke against the bill, said it is a woman's "fundamental right" to choose the procedure.

D&Es, or surgical abortions, are used in the majority of second-trimester procedures, according to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

Butler's bill does not target medical abortions, which are induced by medication and have higher complication rates than surgical abortions in the second trimester, according to the ACOG.

Read more here.

 

April 24, 2016 in Abortion | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, April 23, 2016

"Abortion Reversal" Laws Gain Steam, Despite Scant Scientific Evidence

From STAT:

South Dakota will soon require doctors to tell women that they can change their minds after taking the abortion pill and potentially halt an abortion in progress. Arizona and Arkansas passed similar laws last year. And an antiabortion group is promoting model legislation to inform women they can “reverse” medication abortions.

Yet that claim has no solid science behind it — just an anecdotal case report written by a physician who invented a protocol and arranged to have it tested on a half-dozen patients who regretted swallowing the abortion pill.

That’s raised alarms among mainstream medical groups.

“As physicians, we can’t just experiment on patients willy-nilly,” said Dr. Daniel Grossman, a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of California, San Francisco. Doctors offering to undo medical abortions are “essentially testing an unproven, experimental protocol on pregnant women,” he said.

The new laws target the growing popularity of the abortion pill at a time when states have forced many surgical abortion clinics out of business with tight regulation.

About 2 million women have taken the pill since it was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 2000; it is now responsible for 40 to 50 percent of pregnancy terminations in some states. The FDA recently took steps to expand access to medication abortions by approving their use through 10 weeks of pregnancy, up from the previous limit of seven weeks.

To push back, antiabortion groups have been urging states to restrict access to abortion pills — for instance, by mandating that they be dispensed only after a face-to-face examination by a doctor, rather than a video consultation. More recently, Americans United for Life has been circulating a model bill which would require doctors to advise all women taking the pill that they might be able to reverse the abortion, “but that time is of the essence.”

Read more here.

April 23, 2016 in Abortion | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, April 15, 2016

Abortion Rights Advocates Rally at Indiana Statehouse

From South Bend Tribune:

Hundreds of abortion rights supporters gathered Saturday at the Indiana Statehouse to protest an anti-abortion law signed by Gov. Mike Pence that is among the most restrictive in the U.S.

Some waved signs reading "Fire Mike Pence" while speakers took turns criticizing the law, which bans abortions sought because of fetal genetic abnormalities.

Rachael Himsel, of Bloomington, held a large banner that said "Stop This Pencestrual Cycle." She says the new law amounts to lawmakers intruding in a private decision that should be made between a woman and her doctor.

National backlash to the law has been building, and the American Civil Liberties Union and Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky have also sued the state, calling it unconstitutional.

The Republican governor says the law affirms the sanctity of life while still allowing abortions if a mother's life is at risk.

"I believe that a society can be judged by how it deals with its most vulnerable--the aged, the infirm, the disabled and the unborn," Pence said last month when he signed the measure.

Under its provisions, doctors could be sued for wrongful death or face professional reprimanded if they perform an abortion sought due to genetic abnormality or a fetus' race or sex. There is an exemption for fetuses not expected to live past three months if brought to term.

One provision in the law requiring that all aborted or miscarried fetuses be cremated or buried was particularly galling, said Himsel, who says she once miscarried.

Read more here.

April 15, 2016 in Abortion | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Indiana Abortion Bill Foes Troll Governor About Their Periods

From USA Today:

A social media campaign by opponents of a restrictive new Indiana abortion bill has prompted women to call Gov. Mike Pence's office to report on the status of their menstrual cycle.

The Facebook page "Periods for Pence" has received more than 11,500 "likes" since it was posted three days ago. By Saturday, a Twitter page was also up and running.

The measure, signed into law last week by Pence, a Republican, makes Indiana only the second state to prohibit a woman from seeking an abortion because her fetus was diagnosed with a disability such as Down syndrome. It also prohibits abortions when they are sought based on the gender or race of a fetus and requires the remains of miscarried or aborted fetuses to be interred or cremated.

Pence, a social conservative with a long track record of opposing abortion, described the new restrictions as a “comprehensive pro-life measure that affirms the value of all human life,” The Indianapolis Star reports.

The "Period for Pence" group calls on supporters to "Let Governor Mike Pence know what you think about his intrusive HEA 1337 bill. Women should have the right to make their own medical decisions!"

It includes purported calls by women who said they took up the suggestion to call the governor:

Caller: "I need to get a message to the Governor that I am on day three of my period. My flow seems abnormally heavy, but my cramps are much better," one woman called to say.

Read more here.

April 9, 2016 in Abortion | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, April 8, 2016

Poles Protest Possibility of Total Ban on Abortion

From ABC News:

Thousands of Poles took part in street demonstrations on Sunday to protest a possible tightening of the country's abortion law, already one of the most restrictive in Europe.

The rallies in Warsaw and other cities were held under the slogan "No to the torture of women" and came as the influential Roman Catholic Church launched a campaign for a total ban on abortion, something supported by Prime Minister Beata Szydlo and ruling party leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski.

Abortion is currently illegal in Poland in most cases but there are exceptions if the pregnancy poses a threat to the woman's health or life, if it results from a crime like incest or rape or if the fetus is damaged.

Protesters say a total ban would lead to women dying or force them to travel to other countries for abortions. In Warsaw they strung up coat hangers, a symbol of primitive underground abortions.

The current abortion law dates to 1993 and was a compromise between the country's liberal and Catholic circles.

Read more here.

April 8, 2016 in Abortion | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Indiana Governor Signs Abortion Bill With Added Restrictions

From The New York Times:

Indiana’s governor signed a bill on Thursday that adds broad limits to women’s access to abortions, banning those motivated solely by the mother’s objection to the fetus’s race, gender or disability, and placing new restrictions on doctors.

The law, which passed both chambers of the Republican-controlled General Assembly with large majorities, builds on Indiana’s already restrictiveabortion rules, and was cheered by anti-abortion groups that had encouraged Gov. Mike Pence to sign it.

“We are pleased that our state values life no matter an individual’s potential disability, gender or race,” Mike Fichter, president and chief executive ofIndiana Right to Life, said in a statement. “We also believe that the other measures in the bill are positive steps forward for providing dignity and compassion.”

The bill is among several limiting abortion that have passed conservative legislatures in recent years, but the sheer number of restrictions in Indiana’s legislation made it distinct.

In addition to holding doctors liable if a woman has an abortion solely because of objections to the fetus’s race, sex or a disability, like Down syndrome, the law restricts fetal tissue donation and requires doctors performing abortions to have admitting privileges at a hospital or to have an agreement with a doctor who does.

“Seeing them all in one place, that is very striking,” said Dawn Johnsen, an Indiana University law professor who has been an abortion rights advocate. “It’s like the kitchen sink: Everything that isn’t already in the law. And the law is already really restrictive.”

Mr. Pence, a Republican, said he signed the bill because he thinks “that a society can be judged by how it deals with its most vulnerable — the aged, the infirm, the disabled and the unborn.”

The bill, he said in his signing statement, “will ensure the dignified final treatment of the unborn and prohibits abortions that are based only on the unborn child’s sex, race, color, national origin, ancestry or disability, including Down syndrome.”

Read more here.

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

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Brazil Seizes Abortion Drugs Sent to Women Living in Fear of Zika

From Los Angeles Times:

The messages from the expectant mothers in Brazil resonate with desperation.

“I'm thinking of doing the worst,” one woman wrote when her order for abortion medication failed to arrive. “I really need help. I can no longer eat, and I cry all the time.”

The messages were sent to an international advocacy group that had been providing abortion-inducing drugs free of charge to expectant mothers who fear that the Zika virus could cause severe birth defects.

Now, however, the group has temporarily suspended its operations in the country because Brazilian authorities have confiscated the drugs in the mail. Abortion is prohibited in most instances in Brazil, and the drugs are illegal.

“It's not fair to tell women they are going to get a package, and it will not arrive to them,” said Leticia Zenevich, a spokeswoman for the advocacy group, Women on Web. “It's very tragic.”

Even in the face of the Zika virus, providing pregnancy-ending alternatives to women in a country where abortion is in most cases illegal is proving to be nearly impossible, Zenevich said.

Women on Web, a Canadian group that is based in the Netherlands and operates worldwide, said in February that it had sent “dozens of packages” to women in Brazil but only two packages had arrived. The rest were apparently seized. The packages provided by Women on Web contained misoprostol and mifepristone, which can end a pregnancy.

Authorities acknowledge that they are confiscating abortion drugs sent in the mail because the medicines are banned in Brazil.

Read more here.

March 29, 2016 in Abortion | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, March 24, 2016

What Others Are Saying About Indiana's Abortion Bill

From Indianapolis Star:

The Indiana lawmakers voted last week to send Gov. Mike Pence legislation that would ban abortions sought because a fetus is diagnosed with Down syndrome or another disability.

The bill also prohibits abortions when they are sought based on the gender or race of a fetus.

Since, national and local websites have covered this controversial bill. Here are a few headlines from around the country:

Jezebel: Yet another garbage abortion bill has been passed, this time in Indiana

" 'Any other disability' is a broad spectrum that might force a woman to bring a baby to term who won't survive long past birth, potentially in great suffering, even if the pregnancy is high risk for the mother."

The Christian Post: Down syndrome babies will be protected from abortion with new Indiana law, Gov. Pence expected to sign

Pro-life voices, such as Indiana Right to Life President and CEO Mike Fichter, praised the bill.

"We are truly thankful for the passage of this historic legislation by the Indiana House and applaud the new civil rights protections this bill creates for unborn children, as well as the new provisions this bill establishes for the humane final disposition of aborted babies,' Fichter said, according to LifeNews.

Salon: While America is distracted by the Trump freakshow, Indiana just passed one of the most restrictive abortion bills in the nation

"It’s about Republican men asserting control over the bodies of women — scolding and intimidating them by proxy, while also rubbing women’s noses in their own alleged participation in infanticide."

LifeSiteNews: Indiana passes bill banning abortion for Down syndrome, gender, race

Cathie Humbarger of Indiana Right to Life told LifeSiteNews, "We certainly appreciate the action taken by the Indiana legislators, which protects the innocent lives of unborn children that have an adverse diagnosis, or whose lives are threatened because of their race or gender. And for the respectful disposition of the bodies of aborted babies, keeping them out of landfills."

Read more here.

March 24, 2016 in Abortion | Permalink | Comments (1)

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Texas Abortion Law has Women Waiting Longer, and Paying More

From The New York Times:

When Amy found out around Christmas that she was pregnant, she wasted no time seeking an abortion. Her husband had just lost his job and the couple had been kicked out of their house, forcing their family of five to move in with his parents.

“It would have been the absolute wrong thing to do, to have another baby right now,” said Amy, who is 32. “So I started calling around pretty quickly.”

But she found that getting an appointment for an abortion, even in one of the country’s largest metropolitan areas, proved almost as stressful as the unwanted pregnancy. The number of abortion clinics in Texas has shrunk by half since a 2013 state law imposed new regulations that many said they found impossible to meet. When Amy called the two clinics here just after New Year’s, and a third in Dallas, the earliest available appointment was on Jan. 22.

The United States Supreme Court, in one of the most closely watched cases of the year, is considering the constitutionality of that law and whether it creates too much of a burden on women seeking an abortion.

With the judges apparently deeply splintered, the decision, expected in June, could affect millions of women, though the court might send the case back to lower courts to further study the impact of the clinics’ closings. Similar laws are being challenged in other states.

With no possibility that President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee, Judge Merrick B. Garland, will be confirmed anytime soon, the court might also split 4 to 4, which would let stand an appeals court ruling largely upholding the Texas law but would set no national precedent.

Here in Texas, women are experiencing what it means to navigate the landscape created when roughly half of the state’s 41 abortion clinics closed, with some facing an unnervingly long wait and others traveling hundreds of miles, sometimes leaving the state, for the procedure.

When Amy, who like several others interviewed asked that her last name not be used to protect her privacy, went to Whole Woman’s Health here for her sonogram and abortion over two days in January, she was shocked by how crowded the waiting room was and by how long she had to wait for the procedure: about five hours.

But mostly, she said, she was relieved to have gotten in at all. Her cellphone had broken a few days earlier, causing her to miss a few calls from a clinic employee trying to confirm her appointment. When Amy realized that she had missed the calls, she broke into sobs as she frantically called back.

Read more here.

March 23, 2016 in Abortion | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Women Tell Supreme Court Why Abortion Was Right For Them

From The New York Times:

Amy Brenneman, an actress, wants Justice Anthony M. Kennedy to know about the abortion she had when she was a 21-year-old college junior.

Taking a page from the movement for same-sex marriage, Ms. Brenneman and more than 100 other women have filed several supporting briefs in a major Supreme Court abortion case to be argued on Wednesday. The briefs tell the stories of women who say their abortions allowed them to control their bodies, plan for the future and welcome children into their lives when their careers were established and their personal lives were on solid ground.

The briefs are aimed largely at Justice Kennedy, who holds the crucial vote in abortion cases. They use language and concepts from his four major gay rights decisions, notably his invocation of “equal dignity” in June’s ruling establishing a constitutional right to same-sex marriage.

“Why has marriage equality gained so much ground, and reproductive justice seems to be losing so much ground?” Ms. Brenneman, known for her roles on “NYPD Blue” and “Judging Amy,” said in an interview. Partly, she said, because gay couples have come out of the shadows but many women still believe abortions to be shameful secrets.

The briefs seek to counter that, as well as what some people saw as a streak of uninformed paternalism in a 2007 majority opinion in which Justice Kennedy said many women regretted their decisions to have abortions and experienced depression and plunging self-esteem

But Allan E. Parker Jr., a lawyer with the anti-abortion group the Justice Foundation, said the women’s briefs may only alienate Justice Kennedy.

“The abortion industry is trying to make it sound like abortion is a joyful experience,” he said. “But even women who say it was necessary say it was not joyful. It is a grief and a blackness, and it changes you.”

 

Read more here.

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

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Supreme Court Abortion Case Seen As A Turning Point for Clinics

From The New York Times:

About 20 women came to the abortion clinic here on a recent morning, hurrying past the shouting protesters as volunteer escorts held up umbrellas to shield their faces.

Inside the Reproductive Health Services clinic was Dr. Willie Parker, an Alabama native and one of a few physicians willing to face the professional shunning and the personal threats that come with being an abortion doctor in the conservative Deep South. He travels constantly among three different cities, two in Alabama and one in Mississippi, to provide a service that no local doctors will.

Despite being an experienced, board-certified physician, Dr. Parker, 53, said he had been unable to get the admitting privileges to local hospitals that Alabama and Mississippi have tried to require of abortion doctors. Because federal courts have temporarily blocked those requirements here and across the state line in Mississippi, Dr. Parker continues to practice, and the clinics that rely on him are still open.

But the future of this clinic and many others, across the South and much of the country, could be at stake this spring as the Supreme Court takes up what both sides in the abortion debate describe as a landmark case. While the death of Justice Antonin Scalia has added new considerations, the court’s decision in the case, which involves a Texas law, could shape abortion rules for years to come.

Highlighting the wider stakes, on Wednesday the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, overruling a lower court, said a Texas-style admitting-privileges law in Louisiana that is currently blocked should take immediate effect — which is likely to force three of the state’s four abortion clinics to close. Lawyers for the clinics said they would file an emergency appeal to the Supreme Court within days, arguing that the law should continue to be blocked while the justices consider whether such laws are constitutional.

On March 2, the Supreme Court is scheduled to hear arguments on the challenge to the Texas law, which requires abortion doctors to be affiliated with nearby hospitals and also limits abortion to ambulatory surgical centers. Abortion opponents say such measures are needed to protect women, but major medical groups say they will not enhance patient safety and will only reduce women’s access to abortion.

Overruling a lower court’s injunction, the Fifth Circuit appeals court allowed the Texas admitting-privilege rule to take effect throughout the state in 2013, immediately shuttering about half of what had been more than 40 abortion clinics, although exceptions were later granted for geographically isolated clinics in McAllen and El Paso. The second requirement, mandating costly surgical center facilities, has been temporarily stayed by the Supreme Court, but it would force still more reductions if upheld.

At stake in the case, Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, is not only the future of abortion access in Texas and in the nine other states that, like Alabama and Louisiana, have adopted similar physician rules. It could also affect dozens of other regulations of disputed medical value that have been adopted by numerous states, including limits on nonsurgical drug-induced abortions, mandated building standards for clinics and two-day or three-day waiting periods.

Read more here.

February 27, 2016 in Abortion | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Virginia Bill to Restrict Abortion Fizzled

From The Washington Post:

This session, Virginia House Republicans failed to pass a ban on abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, a top priority. But they are surprisingly upbeat, encouraged by signs in Virginia and across the country that their long-term strategy for restricting access to the procedure is picking up steam.

About a quarter of the legislature signed on to this year’s bill, including 10 from the Senate — historically the more moderate chamber. National public opinion appears to favor a 20-week ban. And Republicans are looking at 2018, when they hope to trade Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) — a self-professed “brick wall” against limits on abortion — for an antiabortion Republican.

But they still have an uphill climb in Virginia, where Republicans running on social issues have consistently lost statewide races. The most recent example was Ken Cuccinelli II, an ardent abortion foe who lost the governor’s race to McAuliffe in 2013.

That hasn’t stopped Del. David A. LaRock (R-Loudoun) from trying to persuade the General Assembly to ban certain late-term abortions for the second year in a row.

“I really believe when people on either side of the aisle realize what this bill is about, we’ll come together and just say this can’t be done in a society that has regard for human life,” said LaRock, who teared up during an interview as he spoke of his 15 children and grandchildren. “So that’s why I’m passionate about it.”

He ultimately agreed to put the bill on hold for a year, but the effort proves that Republicans’ commitment to the issue has not waned since their failed 2012 attempt to require vaginal ultrasounds made Virginia a national punch line.

Read more here.

February 24, 2016 in Abortion | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, February 22, 2016

Scalia's Death May Mean Texas Abortion Case Won't Set U.S. Precedent

From NPR:

The U.S. Supreme Court next month is scheduled to hear its biggest abortion case in at least a decade, and the reach of that decision will likely be impacted by the absence of Justice Antonin Scalia, who died over the weekend.

A Texas law requires that doctors have local admitting privileges, and that clinics make costly building upgrades to operate like out-patient surgical centers. Numerous other states have passed similar laws, and Scalia was widely expected to provide a fifth vote to uphold such restrictions.

Without him, it may not change much for Texas. A 4-4 split in the court would leave in place the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that upheld these provisions. Ilyse Hogue of NARAL Pro-Choice America says that would shut down a number of clinics that perform abortion. And she says that would come in addition to other Texas restrictions that have already closed about half the state's clinics, leaving some women to travel hundreds of miles to obtain an abortion.

"We would be looking at an even greater health care crisis in Texas than we're already facing," Hogue says.

 

But a split decision in the Supreme Court would have no national precedent. That means other appeals court rulings striking down similar laws would also stand. And Hogue says there are more cases to come.

"I think this vacancy is far, far greater in terms of its implication than this one case in Texas," she says. "There are so many laws looking to restrict not only abortion access and abortion rights, but a broader set of reproductive rights in front of the court right now."

One of them also comes up next month, when the court hears a challenge to the Affordable Care Act's mandate on covering birth control for female employees.

Read more here.

February 22, 2016 in Abortion | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Zika, Disease of the Poor, May Not Change Abortion in Brazil

From Reuters:

Six months pregnant with her first child, Eritania Maria has a rash and a mild fever, symptoms of the Zika virus linked to brain deformities in newborn children in Brazil.

But the 17-year-old is too scared to take a test to confirm if she has Zika.

Like other women in the slums of Recife, which squat on stilts over mosquito-ridden marshland in northeast Brazil, Maria has few options if her child develops microcephaly, the condition marked by an abnormally small head and underdeveloped brain that has been linked to Zika.

Brazil has amongst the toughest abortion laws in the world and is culturally conservative. Even if she wanted an illegal abortion and could afford one, Maria is too heavily pregnant for a doctor to risk it. So she prefers not to know.

"I'm too scared of finding out my baby will be sick," she told Reuters, her belly poking out from beneath a yellow top.

The Zika outbreak has revived the debate about easing abortion laws but Maria's case highlights a gap between campaigners and U.N. officials calling for change and Brazil's poor, who are worst affected by the mosquito-borne virus yet tend to be anti-abortion.

Add a conservative Congress packed with Evangelical Christians staunchly opposed to easing restrictions, plus the difficulty of identifying microcephaly early enough to safely abort, and hopes for change seem likely to be frustrated.

As with many countries in mostly Roman Catholic Latin America, Brazil has outlawed abortion except in cases of rape, when the mother's life is at risk or the child is too sick to survive.

An estimated 850,000 women in Brazil have illegal abortions every year, many under dangerous conditions. They can face up to 3 years in prison although in practice, jail terms are extremely rare.

With two-thirds of the population Catholic and support for Evangelicals growing fast, polls show Brazilians oppose changing the law. A survey by pollster VoxPopuli in 2010 showed that 82 percent reject decriminalization, while a Datafolha poll the same year put the figure at 72 percent.

Read more here.

February 14, 2016 in Abortion | Permalink | Comments (1)

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Judge Issues New Order Against Enforcing Louisiana Abortion Law

From ABC News:

A federal judge in Louisiana has issued a new order blocking the state from enforcing a law that he says would keep most women from getting abortions.

Attorneys for the state immediately asked Judge John deGravelles to stay Wednesday's order while they appeal it and his Jan. 26 finding that the law is unconstitutional.

The law requires doctors who perform abortions to be able to admit patients to a hospital within 30 miles. Supporters say that would protect women's health. Opponents say it would make it impossible to get abortions.

DeGravelles said in January that of six doctors performing abortions in Louisiana, only two meet the requirement, and one of them has said he would quit if the law is enforced.

The remaining doctor performed nearly 30 percent of all abortions in the state, deGravelles said. He said forcing the other five doctors out of their clinics would therefore leave about 70 percent of the women who want abortions unable to get one.

Even if the second doctor who has admitting privileges continued to perform abortions, about 55 percent of the women who want the procedure would be unable to get one, deGravelles wrote.

Read more here.

February 13, 2016 in Abortion | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, February 12, 2016

Pregnancy Clinics Fight for Right to Deny Abortion Information

From The New York Times:

“Free Pregnancy Testing,” reads the large sign in front of the East County Pregnancy Care Clinic, on a busy intersection of this impoverished city east of San Diego.

Inside the clinic, a woman will not only get a free pregnancy test, but she will also see a counselor to discuss her options. She will see models of fetuses at early stages of development, which show that “at week 12, you see a recognizable human,” said Josh McClure, the executive director of the clinic. If she is pregnant, she can get a free ultrasound and attend childbirth classes. If she gives birth, she may receive help with diapers and a car seat.

What she will not get from this center is advice on where to obtain an abortion.

The clinic is one of more than 3,000 crisis pregnancy centers around the country that are operated by religious opponents of abortion, with the heartfelt aim of persuading women to choose parenting or adoption. Now it and others in California are in a First Amendment battle with the state over a new law that requires them to post a notice that free or low-cost abortion, contraception and prenatal care are available to low-income women through public programs, and to provide the phone number to call.

The clinics argue that the law, which took effect in January, flagrantly violates their rights of free speech, and it appears that many of the dozens of licensed pregnancy centers in California are not yet complying.

Read more here.

 

February 12, 2016 in Abortion | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, January 30, 2016

2 Abortion Foes Behind Planned Parenthood Videos Are Indicted

From New York Times:

A grand jury here that was investigating accusations of misconduct against Planned Parenthood has instead indicted two abortion opponents who made undercover videos of the organization.

Prosecutors in Harris County said one of the leaders of the Center for Medical Progress — an anti-abortion group that made secretly recorded videos purporting to show Planned Parenthood officials trying to illegally profit from the sale of fetal tissue — had been indicted on a charge of tampering with a governmental record, a felony, and on a misdemeanor charge related to purchasing human organs.

That leader, David R. Daleiden, 27, the director of the center, had posed as a biotechnology representative to infiltrate Planned Parenthood affiliates and surreptitiously record his efforts to procure tissue for research. Another center employee, Sandra S. Merritt, 62, was indicted on a felony charge of tampering with a governmental record.

The record-tampering charges accused Mr. Daleiden and Ms. Merritt of making and presenting fake California driver’s licenses, with the intent to defraud, for their April meeting at Planned Parenthood in Houston.

Abortion opponents claimed that the videos, which were released starting in July, revealed that Planned Parenthood was engaged in the illegal sale of body parts — a charge that the organization has denied and that has not been supported in numerous congressional and state investigations triggered by the release of the videos.

On Monday, the Harris County district attorney, Devon Anderson, said in a statement that grand jurors had cleared Planned Parenthood of any wrongdoing.

Read more here.

 

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

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

What Abortions In India Can Teach Us About American Women's Health

From TIME:

Last fall—before the Center for Medical Progress released its video attack on Planned Parenthood, before Cecile Richards testified before Congress, before Congress voted to defund the health care organization—I was in India, watching a woman have an abortion.

The woman — I’ll call her Meena — was having a safe, legal procedure in a hospital, performed by a trained provider. Even so, this was not what abortion looks like in the United States, where clinics across the country strive to provide environments that are comforting and welcoming while also bright, clean and safe. The room in a public hospital was bare-bones; after the abortion was complete, Meena stood up and walked herself to the recovery room, which contained a thin mattress on a metal bed frame. There was none of what you’d see at American clinics: hand-holding, inspirational feminist quotes painted on the walls, cozy reclining chairs.

Still, Meena was comparatively lucky. Despite the fact that abortion is legal in India, safe and regulated procedures are less common than you might think. According to some studies, a woman dies every two hours here from an unsafe abortion.

“So many women were coming with perforation of the uterus or having incomplete abortion with severe hemorrhage,” Dr. Madhubula Chouhan, a professor and veteran OB/GYN who trains Indian doctors in abortion care, told me. “So many patients died because of unsafe abortion.”

Of all the women injured by clandestine abortions she saw in decades of OB/GYN care, I ask Dr. Chouhan, are there any particular stories that stand out? She pauses.

“So many, so many,” she says. “I’ve seen so many I can’t even remember.”

Read more here.

January 26, 2016 in Abortion | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, January 23, 2016

On Paper, Italy Allows Abortions, But Few Doctors Will Perform Them

From New York Times:

After Benedetta, 35, found out 11 weeks into her pregnancy that the baby she wanted “with all myself” had extremely serious genetic problems, she made a painful decision, and asked her longtime gynecologist for an abortion.

Her doctor’s refusal — she said she was a conscientious objector to Italy’s law that makes abortion legal up to 90 days — set off a desperate scramble to find a doctor who would help her.

At one hospital, doctors advised her to get a psychiatrist’s note saying she had threatened to kill herself, so that she could extend the legal time limit. At another, a doctor suggested that she just wait.

‘The fetus is incompatible with life; you will very likely lose it anyway past the 20th week’ — that’s what this doctor told me,” Benedetta said, still angry and incredulous. She asked that her last name not be used to protect her privacy. “To expect a woman to see her belly growing, to raise a doomed life, is inhumane.”

“I felt like a container, not a human being,” she added.

After a fight that feminists in Italy still consider a signal achievement, abortion within 90 days of pregnancy — and later for women in mental or physical danger, or in cases of serious fetal pathologies — has been legal in this country for over three decades.

But that does not mean that finding a doctor to perform one is easy. Seventy percent of gynecologists — up to 83 percent in some conservative southern regions — are conscientious objectors to the law, and do not perform abortions for religious or personal reasons in a country that remains, culturally at least, overwhelmingly Catholic.

Read more here.

January 23, 2016 in Abortion | Permalink | Comments (0)