Monday, May 20, 2013
Federal Judge Temporarily Enjoins Arkansas' 12-Week Abortion Ban
The New York Times: Abortion Law in Arkansas Is Blocked by U.S. Judge, by Erik Eckholm:
A federal judge on Friday temporarily blocked enforcement of one of the country’s most stringent abortion laws, an Arkansas ban on the procedure at the 12th week of pregnancy, saying the law was likely to be declared unconstitutional. . . .
In Midst of Plan B Uproar, Availability of Condoms Isn't Questioned
The Los Angeles Times - op-ed: A birth control double standard, by Meg Waite Clayton:
Condoms are readily available without identification. Why not Plan B?
In the uproar about making the morning-after contraceptive known as Plan B available to our daughters, there has been no similar outcry about condoms and our sons. Anyone of any age can walk into a drugstore — as well as most grocery and big-box stores — and buy condoms. . . .
Democrats in Congress Seek to Stop Deceptive Advertising by "Crisis Pregnancy Centers"
The Hill - Floor Action Blog: Dems look to crack down on anti-abortion 'crisis pregnancy centers', by Peter Kasperowicz:
Democrats in the House and Senate are looking to stop what they say are deceptive advertising practices by anti-abortion health clinics that imply they offer abortion services, but instead encourage birth and promote adoption.
The legislation is aimed at crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs), which are clinics often set up by a church or other anti-abortion groups. Democrats in Congress and other pro-abortion groups say these clinics are known to indicate they can perform abortions in order to attract pregnant women patients, and then try to convince them to carry their babies to term. . . .
The text of the bill is available here.
Tuesday, May 14, 2013
Martha Fineman on Masculinities Scholarship and Feminist Legal Theory
Masculinities scholarship could be seen as distinct from and complementary to feminist theory — an independent and parallel companion theory, developed by men. In this regard, from a feminist’s perspective masculinities scholarship might be thought of as ethnography, helpfully providing insights into the operations and assumptions of a distinct masculine culture. This approach would seem to validate the notion that there are significant differences between men’s and women’s experiences and perspectives, and consideration of both is necessary to form a complete legal theory picture. Feminist legal theory and masculinities theory are thus seen as both contrasting and complementary in nature.
On the other hand, masculinities scholarship can be understood as providing the basis for a critique of feminist legal theory. This approach begins with the allegation that feminist legal theory generally and incorrectly treats men as a monolithic group when there is in fact a multiplicity of male identities. Masculinities scholarship, in this framing, could be categorized as the male-focused companion to critiques that have been made over the past thirty years that feminist legal theory is excluding and essentializing. It is this understanding of the significance of masculinities to feminist legal theory that prompted this Essay.
Catholic/Secular Hospital Mergers Threaten Access to Reproductive Health Care
The New York Times: Hospital Mergers Reset Abortion-Access Battle, by Kirk Johnson:
Politicians seeking to restrict access to abortion, a marked trend this year from North Dakota to Arkansas, tend not to get much traction in this part of the country.
Washington is heavily Democratic, leaning left especially on social issues. A majority of voters even put into law a statutory right to abortion in 1970 — the only state ever to do that. The governor, Jay Inslee, a Democrat, is pushing the Legislature even now to pass a law at a special session on Monday requiring health insurers to pay for elective abortions, another first for the state if it makes it to Mr. Inslee’s desk.
But now a wave of proposed and completed mergers between secular and Roman Catholic hospitals, which are barred by church doctrine from performing procedures that could harm the unborn, is raising the prospect that unelected health care administrators could go where politicians could not. . . .
H/T: Grayson Barber
In addition to prohibiting abortions and certain kinds of end-of-life care, Catholic hospitals also refuse to provide contraception (often including emergency contraception for rape survivors), sterilizations, and infertility services. For more about the threats posed by these mergers, see the MergerWatch website.
Abortion Protest Case Pits Free Speech Rights Against Protection of Children
The New York Times: In Abortion Protests, Which to Protect, Children or Speech?, by Adam Liptak:
Kenneth T. Scott opposes abortion, and he says so in public. Sometimes he holds up large pictures of aborted fetuses. Sometimes he makes his points near churches that he believes are not doing enough to combat abortion.
A couple of years ago, the Supreme Court ruled that hateful antigay protests at military funerals deserved First Amendment protection. It will soon decide whether to hear a sequel, this one involving Mr. Scott. . . .
Eugene Volokh, who is representing Kenneth Scott, has posted links to the court papers here.
Monday, May 13, 2013
Kara Swanson on the "End of Men"
The current attention to the “end of men” is occurring as men’s role as biological fathers is becoming radically deemphasized through assisted reproductive technologies and alternative family formation. As other historians have noted, since the nineteenth century, there have been serial crises of masculinity in the United States, in which the perceived loss of power by white middle-class heterosexual men has been decried. This essay, written for an on-line forum considering Hanna Rosin's The End of Men, analyzes the current crisis in the context of earlier explorations of the biological end of men, from early twentieth century feminist utopian fiction to lesbian dreams of virgin birth in the 1970s.
Boston Cardinal Refuses to Attend Boston College Graduation in Protest Over Honorary Degree for Ireland Prime Minister
Prime Minister Kenny is supporting a life exception to Ireland's complete ban on abortions after a woman died when she was denied a life-saving abortion. But that's apparently going too far for Cardinal O'Malley.
The Washington Post - On Faith blog: Boston cardinal withdraws from Boston College graduation after abortion controversy:
QUOTE OF THE DAY | Boston Cardinal Sean O’Malley:
. . . Recently I learned that the Prime Minister of Ireland, the Hon. Mr. Enda Kenny was slated to receive an honorary degree at Boston College’s graduation this year. I am sure that the invitation was made in good faith, long before it came to the attention of the leadership of Boston College that Mr. Kenny is aggressively promoting abortion legislation. The Irish Bishops have responded to that development by affirming the Church’s teaching that “the deliberate decision to deprive an innocent human being of life is always morally wrong” and expressed serious concern that the proposed legislation “represents a dramatic and morally unacceptable change to Irish law.”
Since the university has not withdrawn the invitation and because the Taoiseach has not seen fit to decline, I shall not attend the graduation. . . .
Vicki Saporta on Abortion Stigma and Gosnell
USA Today op-ed: Abortion stigma created Gosnell, by Vicki Saporta (National Abortion Federation):
Regardless of a woman's income or where she lives, she deserves access to quality care.
The National Abortion Federation (NAF), along with the rest of the pro-choice community has unequivocally and repeatedly denounced the practices at Gosnell's facility. Gosnell was a substandard provider who preyed on vulnerable women, and fortunately he will not be able to do so again. Although this case has made national headlines, the important thing to remember is that Gosnell's practices are not representative of the quality abortion care available from the vast majority of abortion providers in the United States.
Abortion is one of the safest medical procedures provided in this country, due in large part to the skill and expertise of abortion providers who offer high-quality care. However, abortion and abortion providers are marginalized and politically demonized in our society. This stigma around abortion — combined with unnecessary restrictions on women's access to care—helps create opportunities for substandard providers like Gosnell to prey on vulnerable women. . . .
Gosnell Found Guilty of Three Counts of Murder
The New York Times: Philadelphia Abortion Doctor Guilty of Murder in Late-Term Procedures, by Jon Hurdle & Trip Gabriel:
A doctor who was responsible for cutting the spines of babies after botched abortions was convicted Monday of three counts of first-degree murder in a case that became a sharp rallying cry for anti-abortion activists.
The doctor, Kermit Gosnell, 72, operated a clinic in West Philadelphia catering to poor women that prosecutors called a “house of horrors.”
The case turned on whether the late-term pregnancies Dr. Gosnell terminated resulted in live births. . . .
Friday, May 10, 2013
Federal Judge Rejects as "Frivolous" Government's Request to Delay Order on "Morning After Pill"
Bloomberg: 'Morning-After' Pill Judge Won't Delay Ruling for Appeal, by Christie Smythe:
A federal judge rejected as “frivolous” a government request to delay the effect of his order giving girls of all ages access to the so-called morning after-pill.
U.S. District Judge Edward R. Korman in Brooklyn, New York, refused today to put the ruling on hold while the government appeals his decision that the contraceptive doesn’t require a prescription. He gave officials until May 13 to seek a delay from the U.S. Court of Appeals in New York. . . .
Caroline Corbin on Compelled Disclosures
Courts have faced a wave of compelled disclosure cases recently. By government mandate, tobacco manufacturers must include graphic warnings on their cigarette packages, doctors must show and describe ultrasound images of fetuses to women seeking to abort them, and crisis pregnancy centers must disclose that they do not provide contraception or abortion services. Although applying the same compelled speech doctrine to similar issues, appeals courts have reached very different results in challenges to these laws. Drawing from First Amendment theory, this Article first identifies why compelled disclosures undermine free speech values. It then applies those insights to the specific examples above. In doing so, it examines not only compelled text but the new phenomenon of compelled images, particularly compelled images designed to provoke an emotional response. The Article concludes that recent appeals court decisions have it backwards: It is mandatory abortion counseling laws that offend free speech principles, not laws requiring cigarette warnings or crisis pregnancy center disclosures.
Thursday, May 9, 2013
Federal Judge Admonishes Obama Administration for Its Insistence on Limiting Access to Emergency Contraceptive Pill
The New York Times - The Caucus blog: Judge Criticizes Obama Administration as It Appeals Contraception Decision, by Michael D. Shear:
A federal judge on Tuesday angrily accused the Obama administration of hurting poor and minority women by seeking to restrict their access to morning-after contraceptive pills. . . .
Judge Korman, of United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York, said he would decide this week whether to freeze implementation of his order while the appeal proceeds. But for the second time in a month, he used his perch on the bench to lecture the Food and Drug Administration and President Obama for their efforts to restrict access to the drug by very young women. . . .
Proving Fetal Homicide in Cleveland Kidnapping Case Could Be Difficult
TIME: The Challenge of Proving Fetal Homicide in the Cleveland Kidnapping Case, by Kate Pickert:
If the man accused of imprisoning three women for a decade inside his Cleveland home is convicted of the charges filed against him, it seems unlikely he will ever be released from prison. This week, prosecutors charged Ariel Castro with four counts of kidnapping and three counts of rape. . . .
Some may be wondering why Castro wasn’t also charged with homicide. One of his victims, Michelle Knight, reportedly told investigators she became pregnant five times while in captivity and that Castro beat and starved her each time until she miscarried. . . .
Akiba Solomon on Evangelical "Crisis Pregnancy Centers" Targeting Black Women
Colorlines: The Missionary Movement to 'Save' Black Babies, by Akiba Solomon:
Last December, Care Net—the nation’s largest network of evangelical Christian crisis pregnancy centers—featured a birth announcement of sorts on the website of its 10-year-old Urban Initiative. Under the headline, “Plans Underway for Care Net’s Newest Center in Kansas City, Mo.!” a block of upbeat text described how a predominantly white, suburban nonprofit called Rachel House had “made contact” with “various African American pastors and community leaders,” who helped them “plant” a “pregnancy resource center” in a predominantly black, poor section of downtown Kansas City. . . .
Monday, May 6, 2013
Call for Papers: Lavender Law 2013 Junior Scholars Forum
Lavender Law 2013, San Francisco, CA - August 22-24 - Invitation and Call for Papers:
Junior Scholars Forum
Dear Friends and Colleagues,
This year the Lavender Law® Conference & Career Fair will be held August 22-24, 2013 at the Marriott Marquis in San Francisco, CA. Lavender Law brings together the best and brightest legal minds in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community.
To celebrate our community of scholars, Lavender Law® is hosting a Junior Scholars Forum again this year. If you are a junior law professor (teaching 6 years or fewer), or a recent law school graduate or fellow who is writing scholarship focusing on the nexus between the law, gender, and sexuality, we encourage you to submit a proposal for consideration. Proposals can be in the form of a full draft or in the form of an expanded abstract (approximately 1-2 pages in length).
If your proposal is accepted, you will be invited to present your work at the 2013 Lavender Law conference.
The deadline for submissions is June 15, 2013.
Large Majority of Women Favor Over-the-Counter Birth Control Pill
Reuters (Health): Most women back over-the-counter birth control pill, by Genevra Pittman:
Close to two-thirds of women favor making contraceptive pills available over the counter, according to a new nationally-representative survey.
In addition, about 30 percent of women using either no birth control or a less effective method - such as condoms - said they would likely take the Pill if it was sold without a prescription, researchers found. . . .
El Salvadoran Woman Petitions for Right to Life-Saving Abortion
Feministing: We already lost Savita in Ireland. Don't let Beatriz die in El Salvador., by Juliana Britto Schwartz:
You all remember Savita Halappanavar, right? Well, the world is looking at another Savita right now, and the only thing standing between her and life is a group of Salvadoran politicians.
Savita Halappanavar was a pregnant woman living in Ireland who was denied a life-saving abortion because her doctors could still detect a fetal heartbeat and were therefore required by law not to terminate the pregnancy. She died of blood poisoning while her husband watched.
“Beatriz” is 22 years old, 18 weeks pregnant with an anencephalic fetus (meaning that the fetus will not survive outside of the womb), and suffering life-threatening pregnancy complications. However, Beatriz lives in El Salvador, one of the rare countries in which abortion is illegal under all circumstances, including threat to the mother’s life. . . .
Thursday, May 2, 2013
U.S. Will Appeal Federal Court Ruling Invalidating Age Limits on Emergency Contraceptive Pill
The New York Times: U.S. to Defend Age Limits on Morning-After Pill Sales, by Pam Belluck & Michael D. Shear:
The Justice Department said on Wednesday that it would appeal a federal judge’s order to make the most common morning-after contraceptive available without a prescription for girls and women of all ages.
The announcement came a day after the Food and Drug Administration said that one well-known morning-after pill, Plan B One-Step, would be made available without a prescription for girls as young as 15 — instead of only to girls ages 17 and over, as has been the case. . . .
The Los Angeles Times: Government will appeal Plan B emergency birth control ruling, by Monte Morin:
The U.S. attorney's office announced late Wednesday that it would appeal a federal judge's decision to make Plan B One-Step and related emergency birth control pills available to consumers of all ages without a prescription. . . .
Wednesday, May 1, 2013
Anti-Choice Group Releases New Sting Videos of Abortion Clinics
Slate - Weigel blog: New Pro-Life Sting Videos of Abortion Clinics, by David Weigel:
Live Action and Lila Rose pioneered the modern conservative sting video. Like Ryan Grim reported in 2011, the emotional punch of Live Action stings, in which women appeared to be advised on how to terminate pregnancies on the grounds of race or gender, helped motivate Republicans to pass Planned Parenthood defunding bills. And like Grim reported, a key video didn't hold up to scrutiny when you reviewed the full tape. . . .