Family Law Prof Blog

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

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)

Friday, January 22, 2016

Thousands Brave Cold to Attend Chicago Anti-Abortion March

From Yahoo News:

Thousands braved bitter cold temperatures for a "March for Life" in downtown Chicago on Sunday, five days before the 43rd anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion nationwide.

Demonstrators held yellow balloons with "life" printed on them as organizers passed around rosary beads and others danced to music to keep warm in temperatures that hovered just above 0 degrees Fahrenheit (-18 Celsius).

"This is about the soul of our nation that we gathered here today," Archbishop Blase Cupich of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago, told a crowd that organizers said numbered about 5,000. "As we bundle up in the cold today, we want to make sure the children are also born into a world that warmly welcomes them."

Many states have imposed new restrictions on abortion in recent years, some of which have been challenged in court.

In its first abortion case since 2007, the U.S. Supreme Court is expected to rule by late June on a Texas abortion law imposing restrictions on clinics and physicians that conduct abortions, which critics say is intended to limit abortion access.

The Chicago march, now in its third year, offers a Midwest alternative for those unable to attend the larger march held in Washington, D.C. every Jan. 22, said Emily Zender, president of March for Life Chicago.

Read more here.

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

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Planned Parenthood Files Suit Against Anti-Abortion Videos Group

From CNN:

Planned Parenthood filed a lawsuit Thursday against the anti-abortion activists who secretly taped the group's officials talking about the sale of fetal tissue and released the heavily edited videos last year.

The videos sparked a political firestorm in Washington, with Republican lawmakers accusing Planned Parenthood of profiting from the sale and trying unsuccessfully to strip the group of federal funding.

Since the videos began surfacing in July, Planned Parenthood officials have maintained that the group does not profit from its sale of tissue donations to medical research and uses any money received to cover its costs.

And on Thursday, the group said it was going on the offensive against the group who produced the videos, The Center for Medical Progress.

"We are filing this lawsuit to hold accountable the people behind this reckless and malicious smear campaign that was designed only to spread lies about Planned Parenthood," Kathy Kneer, the chief executive of Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California told reporters in a conference call.

The lawsuit, filed in federal district court in San Francisco, alleges that the defendants set up a bogus tissue procurement company and used fake corporate and personal identities to lie their way into private meetings that they illegally taped.

Read more here.

January 17, 2016 in Abortion | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, January 4, 2016

Federal Judge Blocks Arkansas Abortion Law for 2 Weeks

From ABC News:

A federal judge issued a temporary restraining order late Thursday preventing Arkansas from enforcing new limits on how the abortion pill is administered.

U.S. District Judge Kristine Baker issued a 14-day delay in enforcing two sections of the law, which was scheduled to go into effect Friday. Baker wrote in her ruling that "for now" she found enforcing those sections would cause a greater threat of irreparable harm to Planned Parenthood's two Arkansas clinics and the patients than the potential injuries to the state by maintaining the status quo.

Planned Parenthood of the Heartland filed a lawsuit Monday challenging one portion of the law requiring doctors administering abortion pills to contract with a physician who has admitting privileges at a hospital and agrees to handle any complications. It also challenged another portion requiring providers to follow guidelines set by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration when administering the pills.

Baker wrote that for now, she believed Planned Parenthood had a substantial chance of succeeding in its argument that the requirement to contract with a physician, "would result in an undue burden and have the effect of placing a substantial obstacle in the path of a woman's right to choose to have an abortion of a nonviable fetus."

The judge also wrote that the FDA-approved regimen for administering the pill "does not appear to be the current standard of care."

Susan Allen, a spokeswoman for Planned Parenthood of the Heartland, said she had confidence in the merits of the case against the law passed in March by the majority-Republican Legislature.

Read more here.

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

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Judge Stops Missouri From Revoking Abortion License

From ABC News:

A federal judge on Monday blocked the state of Missouri from revoking the abortion license of a Planned Parenthood Clinic in Columbia, saying the state had treated the clinic more harshly than similar institutions and had moved to withdraw the license because of political pressure from some state lawmakers.

U.S. District Judge Nanette Laughrey's ruling came in a lawsuit filed by Planned Parenthood of Kansas and mid-Missouri after the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services said in September it would revoke the clinic's abortion license Dec. 1. Laughrey had issued a temporary restraining order, which was scheduled to expire Monday.

The judge's ruling doesn't allow the clinic to immediately resume abortions because it still needs to find a physician who meets state requirement that a doctor must have local hospital admitting privileges to perform abortions there.

Planned Parenthood of Kansas and mid-Missouri President and CEO Laura McQuade said the ruling was a "huge victory" for the organization and women seeking abortions, particularly those who do not live near St. Louis, where the only Missouri clinic currently able to provide abortions is located.

"The ruling makes clear that the judicial branch sees this for the political gamesmanship that it is," she said. "We are not talking about health and safety issues, we are talking about making safe and legal abortions a thing of the past ... That's what this always was."

 

Read more here.

December 29, 2015 in Abortion | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Support for Legal Abortion at Highest Level in Two Years

From US News and World Report:

Support for legal abortion in the U.S. has edged up to its highest level in the past two years, with an Associated Press-GfK poll showing an apparent increase in support among Democrats and Republicans alike over the last year.

Nearly six in 10 Americans — 58 percent — now think abortion should be legal in most or all cases, up from 51 percent who said so at the beginning of the year, according to the AP-GfK survey. It was conducted after three people were killed last month in a shooting at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado.

While support for legal abortion edged up to 40 percent among Republicans in this month's poll, from 35 percent in January, the survey found that the GOP remains deeply divided on the issue: Seven in 10 conservative Republicans said they want abortion to be illegal in most or all cases; six in 10 moderate and liberal Republicans said the opposite.

Read more here.

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

Monday, December 14, 2015

Abortion "Dismemberment" Ban Set For Unusual Court Hearing

From The Washington Times:

A first-in-the-nation Kansas abortion law is scheduled to go before all 14 state appellate judges Wednesday — an unusual step that reflects the gravity of the lawsuit, the state says.

The Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act was enacted in Kansas in April. It prohibits, in most cases, use of a certain abortion method — dilation and evacuation, or D&E — that is commonly used between 12 and 22 weeks gestation.

In a D&E, abortion doctors use specific instruments to slice, crush and pull apart a living fetus so that it can be extracted from the woman’s womb.

Lawmakers took action against the “brutal” D&E procedure, saying the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2007 Gonzales v. Carhart ruling says states have a legitimate interest in regulating the medical profession to promote respect for life, including the life of the unborn.

The Kansas dismemberment law has several exemptions: It does not affect abortions that are performed only with suction, cases in which cutting tools are needed to remove a dead fetus from the womb or cases in which continuing the pregnancy could severely injure or kill the pregnant woman.

Read more here.

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

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

$300,000 Allocated to House Panel Investigating Abortion Providers

From USA Today:

A special congressional investigation into how abortion providers handle fetal tissue will start off with a $300,000 budget that Republicans are diverting from a $1 million reserve fund.

The Select Investigative Panel on Infant Lives, chaired by Republican Rep. Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee, was created in October after an uproar over Planned Parenthood’s role in providing researchers with tissue from aborted fetuses.

Republicans have named eight members to the panel, a new House Energy and Commerce subcommittee. Democrats, who oppose the investigation, appointed six members.

A staff director for the investigation was recently hired, indicating the probe will require additional resources not already allocated to the full committee.

The House Administration Committee last week moved $300,000 to Energy and Commerce to cover expenses for the special investigation through Jan. 2. The money came from a House Administration Committee reserve fund that pays for unanticipated expenses during the 2015-16 term of the 114th Congress.

Democrats opposed the transfer because there was no public debate and because they believe taxpayer money should not be used for the investigation.

Read more here.

December 2, 2015 in Abortion | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, November 27, 2015

Abortion Rates in the U.S. Continue to Decline

From CBS News:

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

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

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

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

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

Read more here.

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

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Supreme Court to Hear Major Abortion Case

From CNN:

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

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

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

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

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

Read more here.

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