October 11, 2006
Supreme Court rejects review of Doe v. Bolton
The Supreme Court on Tuesday turned aside the case of Sandra Cano, one of the women behind the 1973 high court decision legalizing abortion, who had sought to reverse the ruling. Cano said she never wanted an abortion and that her difficult early life resulted in her becoming the anonymous plaintiff in Doe v. Bolton, the lesser-known case that the justices ruled on the same day as the landmark Roe v. Wade.
Read news reports on the court's decision from Fox News (last visited October 11, 2006 bgf)
September 27, 2006
House Passes Legislation on Interstate Abortion Notification
Yesterday the House of Representatives passed the Child Custody Protection Act (S. 403) by a margin of 264-153. Last year the House passed a version of this bill called the Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act (H.R. 748). The Senate passed the Child Custody Protection Act (S. 403) in July, but Senate Democrat leadership blocked it from moving to conference.
For dueling press releases on the legislation from the US Newswire see the statement of Family Research Council President Tony Perkins and that of the National Abortion Federation (last visited September 27, 2006 bgf)
August 30, 2006
Case Law Development: 10th Circuit Court Rejects Challenge to Oklahoma Parental Notification Statute
In an action by medical providers to enjoin the state attorney general and others from enforcing an Oklahoma statute requiring parental notification before a minor could receive an abortion, the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the district court's denial of the motion for the preliminary injunctive relief. Plaintiff had argued that the judicial bypass provision of the statute could not be decided with sufficient expedition. However, the court rejected this argument because the statute expressly requires prompt and expedited decisions and because plaintiff did not prove that state courts were unable to meet this requirement.
In most actions for interlocutory injunctions, the 10th circuit applies a liberal standard on the likelihood of success standard in most instances, allowing for injunctions were serious harm is threatened so long as there is a "fair ground for litigation." However, when injunctions are sought against the goverment, the plaintiff must prove the more stringent standard of a probability of success on the merits. Here, the court concluded the plaintiff was unable to meet that burden.
The court did comment that if there were evidence of the delay alleged by plaintiff, the court would have "serious concerns about the constitutionality of the bypass procedures." However, absent proof of delay, the court concluded that
in the absence of evidence to the contrary, we must presume that courts will follow the law. ...The Oklahoma Act, on its face, complies with Bellotti in that it requires Oklahoma courts to issue prompt decisions and provide for expeditious appeals, all in accordance with the best interests of the pregnant unemancipated minor. We presume they will do just that.
Nova Health Sys. v. Edmondson, 2006 U.S. App. LEXIS 21706 (10th Cir. Ct. App. August 25, 2006)
Opinion on web (last visited August 29, 2006 bgf)
June 25, 2006
Chinese Lawyers Attempting to Aid Anti-Abortion Activist Roughed Up and Harassed
It is reported that Chinese lawyers attempting to help a detained anti-abortion activist were roughed up and harassed when they travelled to the coastal provice of Shandong to visit him. One lawyer was detained by the police when he tried to visit the activist. When a second group of three lawyers attempted to visit the activist, they were reportedly beaten by men who emerged from an unmarked car. The lawyers called emergency numbers hoping for help, but instead the police took them in for questioning. They were later released, however, when two of them attempted to visit the activist’s village, they were again harrassed and forced to retreat. Source. Thepeninsularqatar.com. For the complete story, please click here (last visited June 25, 2006, reo).
English Doctors May Call for Early-Stage Abortion to Require only One Medical Opinion
This week English Doctors will most likely vote on two motions being made at the Medical Association’s annual representative meeting that would make it simpler for women in early stages of pregnancy to seek an abortion. Current UK law requires that two doctors must agree before termination can take place, except in emergencies. It is being proposed that doctors support a new law that would require only one doctor’s signature in the first trimester of pregnancy. Source. Judith Duffy, Sunday Herald, sundayherald.com. For the complete story, please click here (last visited June 25, 2006, reo).
June 21, 2006
Supreme Court Agrees to Hear Second Abortion Case
On Monday the Supreme Court agreed to hear a government appeal that seeks to reinstate a federal ban on what opponents call partial-birth abortion in the case of Gonzales v. Planned Parenthood. The Court is now set to hear two partial birth abortion decisions this term: Gonzales v. Panned Parenthood, et. al. 05-1382, and Gonzales v. Carhart, 05-380, respectively decided by the 9th and 8th Circuit Courts of Appeal. The 8th Circuit partial-birth abortion ruling can be found by clicking here (last visited June 21, 2006 reo).
June 18, 2006
Legislative Development: Louisiana Governor Signs Abortion Ban Legislation
As expected, Louisiana Governor. Kathleen Blanco signed into law a ban on most abortions. The ban applies to all abortions, even in cases of rape or incest, except when the mother's life is threatened. However, the law would only take effect if the United States Supreme Court's 1973 ruling in Roe v. Wade is overturned. Source. Reuters, reuters.com. For the complete story, please click here (last visited June 18, 2006, reo).
June 14, 2006
Ohio Abortion Proposal Unlikely to Become Law
After a full day’s hearing and with 60 people yet to testify, the chairman of the Ohio House Health Committee ended debate on a proposed abortion ban bill and said that he does not expect to hold a second hearing this year. According to its supporters, the proposal would have given the Supreme Court the chance to overturn Rode v. Wade. Source. Jim Siegel, The Columbus Dispatch, columbusdispatch.com. For the complete story, please click here (last visited June 14, 2006, reo).
June 11, 2006
Ohio Committee to Hear Proposed Legislation that Would Criminalize All Abortions
On Tuesday, a committee of the Ohio House of Representatives is to hear a proposed bill that would criminalize all abortion -- whether to save the life of the woman or to end pregnancies resulting from rape or incest. The bill would also make it a felony for anyone to take a woman across the state line to obtain an abortion elsewhere. Source. Carl Chancellor, Beacon Journal, ohio.com.mld/beaconjournal. For the complete story, please click here (last visited June 11, 2006, reo).
June 10, 2006
Case Law Development: Federal Third Circuit Court of Appeals Oks Firing of Teacher at Catholic School who Publicly Advocated Abortion Rights
The United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit ruled this week against a teacher who was fired from a private Catholic school after she had signed her name to a newspaper advertisement celebrating the 30th anniversary of Roe v. Wade. She had argued that signing the advertisement was conduct protected by 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-3(a) and that she was fired for conduct less egregious under Catholic doctrine than conduct of male employees who were treated less harshly. The lower court had ruled that a 1978 law that forbids employers from discriminating against employees who support abortion rights does not apply to disputes involving a religious school The Court of Appeals agreed.
On the day the advertisement appeared, the woman was called into the office of the President of the private school and informed that the school was deeply troubled by her public support of a position inimical to accepted Catholic doctrine and was considering terminating her employment. A few days later she was fired. In her lawsuit, the woman claimed that a provision in Title VII protected her from being fired. That provision reads that “It shall be an unlawful employment practice for an employer to discriminate against any of his employees . . . because he has opposed any practice made an unlawful employment practice by this subchapter . . ..” 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-3(a).2
The Third Circuit rejected her argument saying that the provision was aimed at preventing illegal employment practices but that “basic pro-choice advocacy does not constitute opposition to an illegal employment practice.”
It said that “we are not aware of any court that has found public protests or expressions of belief to be protected conduct absent some perceptible connection to the employer’s alleged illegal employment practice.” An example of protected conduct, according to the court, would be an employee’s appearance on the news magazine “60 Minutes” where the entire show was about allegations of sexual harassment and discrimination within the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. Hoffman v. Rubin, 193 F.3d 959, 963 (8th Cir. 1999). However, in this case, the court concluded that the advocacy was simply not connected to employment practices. It also dismissed her gender argument saying that “Congress has not clearly expressed an affirmative intention to apply Title VII to a claim, as asserted here, against a religious employer in the present context.” The Third Circuit Court of Appeals opinion, Curay-Cramer v. Ursuline Academy of Wilmington, may be found by clicking here (last visited June 10, 2006, reo).
Oglala Sioux Ban Abortion on Reservation—Suspend Tribal President
The Oglala Sioux tribe in South Dakota has voted to ban abortion on the Pine Ridge Reservation and has suspend tribal president Cecelia Fire Thunder for 20 days after she announced her intention to build a women’s health clinic on the reservation. Source. Ms. Magazine, msmagazine.com. The complete story may be found by clicking here (last visited June 10, 2006, reo).
South Dakota Primary Election Finds Abortion Bill Opponents Losing
Although it is not immediately clear how much their opposition to a Sourth Dakota abortion bill may have cost their reelection effort, four Republican state senators who voted against a bill that would ban abortions in South Dakota were all defeated in Tuesday’s primary election. Apparently, several candidates who supported the ban were successful in the primary. Source. Joe Kafka, AP, The Mercury News, mercurynews.com. The complete story may be found by clicking here (last visited June 10, 2006, reo).
June 03, 2006
Louisiana Legislature Passes Strict Abortion Bill
By an 85-17 vote, the Louisiana Legislature passed a bill that is worded to allow abortions only to save the life of the mother or “to prevent serious, permanent health problems for the mother.” Legislators rejected a provision that would allow an abortion for pregnancies resulting from rape or incest. The bill has been forwarded to Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco, who is expected to sign it. Source. Will Tubbs, lessvilledailyleader.com. For the complete news story, please click here (last visited June 3, 2006, reo).
May 27, 2006
Connecticut’s Motor Vehicle Department Says it Will Stop Issuing “Choose Life” License Plates
On Thursday the Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles said it will stop issuing special “Choose Life” license plates for The Children First Foundation -- a New York-based pro-adoption group opposed to abortion - while it investigates, along with the attorney general, whether the foundation qualifies for the plates.-The decision is expected to spark a first amendment lawsuit over the issue. Source. Jon Lender, Hartford Courant, courant.com. For the complete story, please click here (last visited May 27, 2006, reo).
Legislative Development: Oklahoma Governor Signs Bill that Restricts Teenagers’ Access to Abortions
Oklahoma Governor Brad Henry signed a bill this week that restricts teenagers’access to abortions in that state. The bill requires the consent of one parent before a minor can receive an abortion and allows public funds to be sent to agencies that help pregnant women with anti-abortion counseling and support services. Source. KOTV-TV, Kotv.com. For the complete story, please click here (last visited May 27, 2006, reo).
Legislative Development: Kansas Legislators Fail to Override Veto of Abortion Reporting Measure
Kansas legislators failed by four votes in the state senate in their effort to override Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius’s veto of an abortion bill that that would have required the state to collect more information about late term abortions, such as the woman’s health, fetal abnormalities, and the physician who authorized the abortion. Source. David Klepper And Jim Sullinger, The Wichita Eagle, Kansas.com. For the complete story, please click here (last visited May 27, 2006, reo).
Argentina Considering Legalizing First-Trimester Abortion
The Catholic News Service reported this week that Argentina is considering a revision of the penal code involving abortion. Under the new code, the section addressing abortion would read, "The woman is not punishable when the abortion is practiced with her consent and within three months of conception, provided circumstance made it excusable." Source. Gudrun Schultz, lifesite.net. For the complete story, please click here (last visited May 27, 2006, reo).
May 24, 2006
Case Law Development: Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals Affirms Ban on Aerial Abortion Ads
A panel of the Federal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has affirmed Honolulu, Hawaii's ban on aerial advertising of abortion ads. Abortion opponents had planned to tow aerial banners protesting abortion over the beaches of Honolulu.The court said that the city’s ban on such advertising, which is based on a 1978 ordinance, did not violate the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.
The court found that airspace is not a public forum and that other means were available for the group to campaign against abortion. It also said that the city's longstanding efforts at beautification through strict regulation of all kinds of outdoor advertising -- commercial and political -- were even-handed and consistent and did not constitute discrimination against the protestors. A copy of the Ninth Circuit decision can be obtained by clicking here (last visited May 24, 2006, reo).
Abortion Level at All-Time High in Scotland
According to a report issued by the government, the number of abortions carried out in Scotland reached an all-time high in 2005. The report claims that 12,603 pregnancies were terminated, the highest level since abortion was made legal in 1967. Source. BBCNews, news.bbc.uk. For the complete story, please click here (last visited May 24, 2006, reo).
Kansas Legislators Supporting Abortion Reporting Bill Unsure of Override
Supporters of a bill that would require Kansas doctors to report more information to the state about abortions they perform were unsure Monday if they would try to override Governor Kathleen Sebelius' veto of the proposal. It is reported that the bill’s backers will wait until Thursday to decide whether to try and override the veto. Source. John Hanna, AP, kansascity.com. For the complete story, please click here (last visited May 24, 2006, reo).