Family Law Prof Blog

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

Sunday, April 8, 2018

U.S. Government Ordered To Allow Abortion Access To Detained Immigrant Teens

From The Washington Post:

A federal judge issued a nationwide order temporarily preventing the government from blocking access to abortion services and counseling for teens detained in immigration custody, saying current administration policy and practices probably are unconstitutional.

The order came in a case brought last fall on behalf of a Central American girl in a ­government-funded shelter that set off a national debate over the constitutional rights of such undocumented teens to terminate their pregnancies.

The late Friday ruling, by U.S. District Judge Tanya S. Chutkan of Washington, allowed the case to proceed as a class action on behalf of any other teens who have crossed the border illegally and while in federal custody may want to seek abortion services. In filings, the U.S. government acknowledged there were at least 420 pregnant unaccompanied minors in custody in 2017, including 18 who requested abortions.

Read more here.

April 8, 2018 in Abortion, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, March 19, 2018

Restrictive US Health Funding Rule Threatens Lives

From Human Rights Watch:

Before embarking on a five-nation tour of Africa this week, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson acknowledged the link between women’s health and economic and social development as he lauded Washington’s massive global health fund, PEPFAR, for how it had “transformed the global HIV/AIDS response,” saying that “ … nowhere is this more evident than in Africa.”

As the largest global donor on global health, the US has supported many programs that help people get healthcare in some of Africa’s poorest countries. But President Donald Trump has also expanded the “Global Gag Rule” beyond any previous US administration – which threatens to undermine decades of progress on women’s health and undermine gender equality.

On his first working day in office, Trump reinstated and dramatically expanded the Mexico City Policy – also known as the “Global Gag Rule,” which conditions US funding for global health programs on a commitment from foreign nongovernmental organizations that they will not promote or provide abortions, even with non-US funds, except in cases of rape, incest or to save a woman’s life.

Read more here.

March 19, 2018 in Abortion, Current Affairs, International | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, March 9, 2018

State Dept Erases Reproductive Rights Section From Annual Report

From The Huffington Post:

 

President Donald Trump's State Department has been ordered to strip language about women’s reproductive rights from its annual global human rights report, Politico reported on Thursday.

The report, compiled each year with information from U.S. embassies around the world, typically details the lack of contraception and abortion access in various countries and sheds light on racial and sexual discrimination.

This year, a senior aide to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has reportedly directed the department to remove much of that information from the document. The new report will focus instead on forced sterilization and abortions, and the “Reproductive Rights” subsection in the report will be renamed “Coercion in Population Control.”

Read more here

March 9, 2018 in Abortion, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, February 23, 2018

El Salvador's Strict Abortion Ban Too Severe

From Amnesty International:

The release of a woman forced to spend a decade behind bars in El Salvador after having pregnancy-related complications resulting in stillbirth must open the door for an end to the country’s extreme anti-abortion law, said Amnesty International.

Teodora del Carmen Vásquez was freed on Thursday after a court reduced her sentence, but at least 27 women remain imprisoned under the total abortion ban, according to women’s human rights organizations in the country.

“It’s encouraging to see Teodora stepping out of jail, where she should have never been in the first place, but El Salvador is still far from fully ensuring the rights of women and girls in the country,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International.

Read more here.

February 23, 2018 in Abortion, International | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, February 9, 2018

Mississippi Pushes Abortion Ban to 15 Weeks

From NBC News:

JACKSON, Miss. — Mississippi lawmakers pushed ahead Friday with a bill to ban most abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, which would be the earliest ban nationwide and create a possible court challenge.

Mississippi already bans most abortions after 20 weeks. It's tied with North Carolina for the nation's earliest ban.

Members of the Republican-controlled House on Friday passed House Bill 1510 by a vote of 79-31, with Republicans and some Democrats supporting it. The measure would allow exceptions if a woman's life is endangered or a fetus has a severe abnormality. The bill goes to the state Senate for more debate.

Read more here.

 

February 9, 2018 in Abortion | Permalink | Comments (0)

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)