Family Law Prof Blog

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

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 (0)

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)

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)