Reproductive Rights Prof Blog

Editor: Caitlin E. Borgmann
CUNY School of Law

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Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Scott Walker Now Supports 20-Week Abortion Ban

The Huffington Post: Scott Walker Pumps Up Anti-Abortion Cred By Backing 20-Week Ban, by Lydia O'Connor:

Days after coming under conservative fire for making vaguely pro-choice comments, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) released a letter reaffirming his anti-abortion bona fides and endorsing a ban on the procedure after 20 weeks of pregnancy. . . .

The letter takes a much more vigorously conservative tone than Walker did on “Fox News Sunday” this past weekend. . . .

March 4, 2015 in 2016 Presidential Campaign, Abortion Bans, Politics | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Multiple Abortion Restrictions in Ohio Reduce Access

NPR - blog: Abortion Restrictions Complicate Access For Ohio Women, by Jennifer Ludden:

Ohio may not have gotten the national attention of say, Texas, but a steady stream of abortion restrictions over the past four years has helped close nearly half the state's clinics that perform the procedure.

"We are more fully booked, and I think we have a harder time squeezing patients in if they're earlier in the pregnancy," says Chrisse France, executive director of Preterm. It's one of just two clinics still operating in Cleveland, and its caseload is up 10 percent. . . .

March 4, 2015 in Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP) | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Obama's Tenure a Disappointment on Reproductive Health and Rights

The Hill - Congress Blog: The hard truth about reproductive health under Obama, by Jon O'Brien: 

There’s no doubt that the election and reelection of Barack Obama will always and rightfully be remembered as groundbreaking, historical wins. However, for those who support women’s sexual and reproductive health and rights, his presidency has also been a profoundly disappointing one. . . . 

March 4, 2015 in Politics, President/Executive Branch | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Britain Becomes First Country to Allow So-Called "Three-Person Babies"

The Guardian: Britain's House of Lords approves conception of three person babies, by Hannah Devlin:

Britain has become the first country in the world to permit the use of “three-person IVF” to prevent incurable genetic diseases.

The House of Lords voted by 280 votes to 48 on Tuesday evening to approve changes to the law allowing fertility clinics to carry out mitochondrial donation. Babies conceived through this IVF technique would have biological material from three different people – a mother, father and a female donor. . . . 

Technically the baby would have three biological parents, with 99.8% of genetic material coming from the mother and father and 0.2% coming from the mitochondrial donor. . . .

PBS: Why the term 'three-person baby' makes doctors wince, by Rebecca Johnson: 

MELAS is one of about 200 known mitochondrial diseases, a subject that has featured prominently in the news since the British Parliament’s House of Commons on Feb. 3 approved further testing and research on mitochondrial replacement IVF. The procedure has beencommonly referred to in news stories as “three-person babies” or “three-parent babies.”

But it’s a term that makes doctors wince. . . .

March 4, 2015 in Bioethics, Fertility, International | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

An Expert Answers the Question: How Safe is Abortion?

The Huffington Post: How Safe Is Abortion?, by Dr. David A. Grimes:

The safety of abortion depends on whom one asks. National data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicate that induced abortion and miscarriage are the safest outcomes of pregnancy. In contrast, abortion opponents routinely claim that abortion is unsafe. They do this by cherry-picking studies, citing obsolete literature, extrapolating inappropriately and misinterpreting results. Moreover, some abortion opponents have double standards: what they report in the medical literatureis not what they claim in the newspaper or testify under oath. As a gynecologist, I have had to spend considerable time over the years disabusing patients of these false claims. Here is a sampling of what can be found on the Internet . . . .

______________________________

Dr. Grimes is the former Chief of the Abortion Surveillance Branch at the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the author of Every Third Woman in America: How Legal Abortion Transformed Our Nation.

March 4, 2015 in Abortion | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Virginia Legislature Approves Restitution to Victims of Forced Sterilization

The Roanoke Times: Forced sterilization victims in Virginia awarded compensation:

Rose Brooks would have loved to have children and a family of her own one day.

“But they said, no, no, no, you can’t,” she said.

Brooks, 73, of Lynchburg, was one of thousands affected by Virginia’s decades-long policy of involuntary sterilization of those deemed mentally unfit or inferior.

The eugenics-based practice, now renounced, was in effect from the 1920s to 1970s. . . .

March 1, 2015 in State Legislatures, Sterilization | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Women Increasingly Embrace Long-Acting, Reversible Contraceptives

The Los Angeles Times: For contraception, U.S. women increasingly turn to IUDs and implants, by Karen Kaplan:

IUDs and implants are safe, reliable, long-acting and reversible forms of birth control. Now there’s a new attribute to add to this list: increasingly popular.

new report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that American women are embracing these contraceptive devices. In the last decade, their use has increased nearly five-fold, with 7.2% of women ages 15 to 44 now relying on them to prevent pregnancy. . . .

February 26, 2015 in Contraception | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

House Republicans Attach Anti-Choice Provision to Education Bill

The Huffington Post: House Republicans Slip Anti-Abortion Language Into Education Bill, by Laura Bassett:

House Republicans attached language to a major education bill Wednesday night that would financially penalize school districts that allow school-based health centers to provide information about abortion to pregnant high school students. . . .

February 26, 2015 in Abortion, Congress, Teenagers and Children | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Review of Mo Yan's "Frog" -- A Novel About China's One-Child Policy

The New York Times: Review: In Mo Yan’s ‘Frog,’ a Chinese Abortionist Embodies State Power, by Janet Maslin:

When the Chinese writer Mo Yan won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2012 and was warmly lauded by the Communist government, he became one of the most reviled winners in the history of that great honor. Among the more benign accusations lobbed at him was that he was undeserving. . . .

Too easily lost in all this howling was Mr. Mo’s writing. His latest novel, “Frog,” gracefully and colloquially translated by Howard Goldblatt, is not the work of a hack or an ideologue. It is a rich and troubling epic — and a very human story — about China’s one-child policy, and Western readers who think they understand how this works have another think coming. . . .

February 26, 2015 in Abortion, Books, International | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

West Virginia Legislature Passes 20-Week Abortion Ban

MetroNews: Fetal pain abortion bill heads to Governor, by Hoppy Kercheval:

The state Senate Wednesday passed 29-5 legislation banning abortions after 20 weeks. The bill has already cleared the House and will next go to Governor Tomblin, who vetoed a similar bill last year. . . .

February 25, 2015 in Abortion Bans, State Legislatures | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Colorado Bill Would Provide $5 Million to Continue Free Contraception for Teenagers

The Denver Post: Colorado House committee passes bill providing state money for contraception, by Joey Bunch:

A House committee gave its approval Tuesday to a bill to put state money behind a contraception program that supporters say has been a major contributor to reducing teen pregnancies in Colorado.

The bill would provide $5 million next year to continue to provide free or low-cost intrauterine contraceptive devices, called IUDs, to women ages 15 to 19 years at clinics across the state. . . .

February 24, 2015 in Contraception, Teenagers and Children | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Man Sues Vermont Claiming Insurance Plans' Abortion Coverage Violates His Religious Beliefs

Vermont Free Press: Lawsuit targets Vermont over abortion, by Elizabeth Murray:

Alan Lyle Howe says his opposition to abortion is more than just a moral belief — it's a religious conviction.

But Vermont's state-offered health plans force Howe to choose between his pro-life beliefs and insurance coverage, because all plans offered through Vermont Health Connect include a fee for elective abortion coverage, said his lawyer, Casey Mattox. . . .

February 24, 2015 in Abortion, In the Courts, Religion and Reproductive Rights | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

More Reaction to "Abortion Episode" on Girls

The Washington Post: TV gets smart — and sensitive — about abortion, by Alyssa Rosenberg:

For all Lena Dunham’s indie comedy “Girls” has been lauded for its bravery, back in 2012 during its first season, the show took what felt like an early punt. On her way to have an abortion, Jessa (Jemima Kirke) had one of pop culture’s infamous spontaneous miscarriages, saving her — and the show — from making a decision that Hollywood still treats as controversial. Last night, the show finally circled back around to the subject, when Adam’s (Adam Driver) new girlfriend, Mimi-Rose (Gillian Jacobs), revealed that she’d had an abortion without consulting him. . . .

Jezebel: While You Watched the Oscars, Girls Did a Super Chill Abortion Episode, by Anna Merlan:

Here it is, because we have to talk about it: a character on Girls had an abortion, and it was very chill. Adam's new girlfriend Mimi-Rose politely declined his request to go for a jog, telling him, "I can't go for a run because I had an abortion yesterday." The scene that followed was both laudable in its matter-of-fact depiction of abortion and bizarre in just about every other way. Does no one on this show ever think about money? Ever? . . .

Yahoo Health: What Makes The Portrayal Of Abortion On 'GIRLS' Different Than The Rest, by Jennifer Gerson Uffalussy:

Last night, the most shocking thing on the Lena Dunham-helmed HBO show GIRLS wasn’t a graphic sex act (as has become the series’ calling card). It was the straightforward and non-sensationalized way in which one of the show’s characters discussed her decision to have an abortion. . . .

February 24, 2015 in Abortion, Culture, Television | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Mississippi Files Cert Petition in TRAP Law Challenge

ThinkProgress: The Nation’s Most Restrictive Anti-Abortion Law Just Reached The Supreme Court, by Ian Millheiser:

Supreme CourtA Mississippi law that would eliminate access to abortion within that state — a law so restrictive that it was halted by one of the most conservative federal appeals courts in the nation — arrived in the Supreme Court on Wednesday after the state filed a petition asking the justices to hear the case. Should the Court agree to do so, Mississippi could win the right to close down its only abortion clinic. . . .

February 24, 2015 in Supreme Court, Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP) | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, February 22, 2015

"Girls" Introduces Abortion Plotline

The Huffington Post: 'Girls' Finally Went There With An Abortion Storyline, by Laura Duca & Emma Gray:

“I can’t go for a run because I had an abortion yesterday,” announces Adam Sackler’s new girlfriend, Mimi-Rose Howard. With that statement, “Girls” joined the (limited) ranks of TV shows that a) have a character follow through with an abortion and b) deal with the subject in a way that is both interesting and adds positively to the dialogue about reproductive choice. . . .

February 22, 2015 in Abortion, Culture, Television | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Kansas Senate Passes Ban on Common Second-Trimester Abortion Procedure

PBS: Kansas may be the first state to ban common abortion procedure, by Marina Lopes:

Kansas’ state senate on Friday approved a bill banning an abortion procedure commonly used to terminate pregnancies in the second trimester, a victory for anti-abortion activists in what could become the United States’ first ban of this method.

The procedure, known as dilation and evacuation, involves dilating the woman’s cervix and using tools to remove the fetus and any remaining tissue from the uterus. Abortion rights activists say that the procedure, which is used in about 8 percent of abortions in Kansas, is the safest and cheapest option for women looking to terminate pregnancies in the second trimester. . . .

__________________________________

When the Supreme Court upheld the federal "Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act" in Gonzales v. Carhart, the majority opinion emphasized that "[a]lternatives are available to the prohibited procedure. As we have noted, the Act does not proscribe [non-intact] D&E."  Justice Ginsburg, however, pointed out the disingenuousness of banning intact D&E on the grounds of its supposed relative gruesomeness.  She wrote in her powerful dissent:

As another reason for upholding the ban, the Court emphasizes that the Act does not proscribe the nonintact D&E procedure. But why not, one might ask. Nonintact D&E could equally be characterized as "brutal" . . . . "[T]he notion that either of these two equally gruesome procedures . . . is more akin to infanticide than the other, or that the State furthers any legitimate interest by banning one but not the other, is simply irrational."

As Justice Ginsburg recognized, allowing bans on abortion procedures because they are "gruesome" is a slippery slope with no clear end.  Kansas's proposed ban isn't about the gruesomeness of a particular procedure.  It's about banning abortions, period.

-CEB

February 22, 2015 in Abortion Bans, State Legislatures | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Scott Walker Shifts to Right on Abortion

The New York Times: In Pre-Primary Pivot to Right, Walker Shifts Tone on Abortion, by Trip Gabriel:

It was a memorable political ad: Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin spoke directly into the camera in a 30-second spot last fall and called abortion an “agonizing” decision. He described himself as pro-life but, borrowing the language of the abortion rights movement, pointed to legislation he signed that leaves “the final decision to a woman and her doctor.”

That language was gone when Mr. Walker met privately with Iowa Republicans in a hotel conference room last month, according to a person who attended the meeting. There, he highlighted his early support for a “personhood amendment,” which defines life as beginning at conception and would effectively prohibit all abortions and some methods of birth control. . . .

February 22, 2015 in 2016 Presidential Campaign, Fetal Rights, Politics | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, February 16, 2015

Justice Ginsburg on MSNBC: Overturning Roe v. Wade "Not a Likely Scenario"

MSNBC: Ruth Bader Ginsburg on abortion, race and the broken Congress, by Irin Carmon:

The Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion isn’t in danger of being overturned anytime soon, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg told msnbc in a wide-ranging, exclusive interview. But Ginsburg warned that the abortion restrictions being enacted by states around the country are having an outsize impact on low-income women. . . .

February 16, 2015 in Abortion, Supreme Court | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Third Circuit Court of Appeals Rejects Challenge by Several Religious Groups to Federal Contraception Rule

Lancaster Online/AP: Court nixes faith-based birth control mandate challenge:

An appeals court has ruled that the birth control coverage required by federal health care reforms does not violate the rights of several religious groups because they can seek reasonable accommodations.

Two western Pennsylvania Catholic dioceses and a private Christian college had challenged the birth control coverage mandates and won lower-court decisions. However, the U.S. 3rd Circuit Court ruling Wednesday said the reforms place "no substantial burden" on the religious groups and therefore don't violate their First Amendment rights. . . .

______________________________

The opinion is available here.

February 12, 2015 in Contraception, In the Courts, Religion and Reproductive Rights | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Authors of Forthcoming Book Suggest Ways to Protect Clinic Workers from Anti-Abortion Terrorism

Slate: Anti-Abortion Terrorism, by David S. Cohen & Krysten Connon:

Ten ways that laws and law enforcement should protect clinic workers.

. . . According to a recent Feminist Majority Foundation report, personal targeting of abortion providers is rising precipitously. The 2014 National Clinic Violence Survey tallied the responses of 242 abortion providers from around the country. Providers were asked about their experiences with violence, harassment, and intimidation directed at clinics generally and patients. They were also asked about being targeted individually, which is our concern here. . . .

For the past four years, we have been doing our own study of targeted harassment of abortion providers. . . . These interviews form the basis of a book,Living in the Crosshairs: The Untold Stories of Anti-Abortion Terrorism, which will be released in May. . . .

February 12, 2015 in Anti-Choice Movement, Books | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)