Friday, October 2, 2015
Daily Camera: Battle for Women's Reproductive Rights Goes on Every Day, by K.C. Becker:
State legislatures across the country have become popular battlegrounds for limiting reproductive freedom for women. Anti-choice activists have been launching well-coordinated assaults in state after state by churning out bills designed to indirectly limit or eliminate a woman's legal right to get an abortion. These new laws shut down clinics by putting new requirements and restrictions on the clinics, doctors, or patients.
Becker predicts that some of these restrictions will eventually be declared unconstitutional. "But rest assured" she warns, "that they will be coming back, across the country, with new variations on an old theme." Becker reminds us that the battle did not end with Roe v. Wade.
Sunday, September 27, 2015
RH Reality Check (9/22): Lawsuit Asks Oklahoma Supreme Court to Block Anti-Choice Omnibus Bill, by Jessica Mason Pieklo:
Continuing its pro-choice advocacy in Oklahoma, the Center for Reproductive Rights has petitioned the Oklahoma Supreme Court to block a TRAP law that is scheduled to come into force on November 1st. Pieklo writes:
SB 642 includes language that advocates claim could be interpreted to bring felony charges for any violation of the more than 140 statutes targeted at physicians and medical facilities providing abortion.
The lawsuit was filed on behalf of one of only two abortion providers in the state.
Friday, September 25, 2015
CNN: Essure Sterilization Method under Fire, by Elizabeth Cohen:
More than 5,000 women have complained to the Food and Drug Administration about Bayer's Essure, a sterilization device, saying it caused problems including unintended pregnancies, stillbirths and debilitating pain and bleeding. The manufacturer placed blame on about 1/3 of the complainants, claiming that "[w]omen are supposed to return to a doctor's office in three months to make sure the device is working and are supposed to use another form of birth control in the meantime." Some commentators believe the FDA rushed the device's approval.
Thursday, September 24, 2015
AL.com with ProPublica: Alabama Leads Nation in Turning Pregnant Women into Felons, by Nina Martin:
This is a comprehensive analysis of Alabama's "chemical endangerment of a child" law, the country's toughest criminal law banning prenatal drug use. In recent years, Alabama authorities have been aggressive about removing newborns from the custody of mothers who abuse drugs,typically placing a baby with a relative or foster family under a safety plan that can continue for months or years.
The law was passed during Alabama's war on methamphetamine and specifically "targeted parents who turned their kitchens and garages into home-based drug labs, putting their children at peril." But now prosecutors and courts are turning the law on women who used controlled substances while pregnant, "even if [the] baby is born perfectly healthy, even if [the mother's] goal was to protect her baby from greater harm. The penalties are exceptionally stiff: one to 10 years in prison if her baby suffers no ill effects, 10 to 20 years if her baby shows signs of exposure or harm and 10 to 99 years if her baby dies."
Friday, May 8, 2015
The Daily Beast: Chile’s Shocking DIY Abortion Ad Campaign, by Nina Strochlic:
“It’s important that you find a long and steep set of stairs,” a young, brunette woman says in Spanish to a hand-held camera. She walks up steps of an anonymous building. “Make sure there’s no security cameras, so no one can see you.” . . .
“In Chile an accidental abortion is the only kind of abortion that is not considered a crime,” the video displays in bold type. The satirical videos are part of a campaign launched last month called Abortion Tutorials. It was conceived for theMiles Organization, a reproductive rights NGO, by advertising agency Grey Chile. The groups are hoping the Chilean government will be shamed into reforming what is the strictest abortion law in the world. . . .
CNN: Survey says teens skip birth control because they fear parental judgment, by Kelly Wallace:
Parents, if the following finding doesn't make you sit up and take notice when it comes to talking to your kids about sex and birth control, I'm not sure what will get your attention.
In a recent survey, 68% of teens said they agreed with this statement: The primary reason why they don't use birth control or protection is because they're afraid their parents will find out. . . .
TIME: How a New Study on Premature Babies Could Influence the Abortion Debate, by Eliza Gray:
A new study showing that a tiny percentage of extremely premature babies born at 22 weeks can survive with extensive medical intervention could change the national conversation about abortion, though the research is unlikely to have a major effect on women’s access to abortions in the short term.
Pro-life advocates said the study—which was published by theNew England Journal of Medicine on Wednesday and found that 3.5% percent of 357 infants born at 22 weeks could survive without severe health problems if hospitals treated them—could benefit the pro-life movement by sparking discussion about the viability of premature babies. . . .
This article correctly points out that the study in no way contradicts or forces reconsideration of Supreme Court precedent governing pre- and post-viability abortions. Unlike what some articles suggest, the Supreme Court has never set viability at a specific point in pregnancy (even in Roe), but rather has left the determination of viability to the provider to determine based on the individual facts surrounding each pregnancy. Viability depends on many factors, including the type of medical facilities available.
The New York Times: State Legislatures Put Up Flurry of Roadblocks to Abortion, by Frances Robles:
Oklahoma’s governor this week approved a law extending to 72 hours the mandatory waiting period before a woman can have an abortion. Here in Florida, lawmakers enacted a 24-hour waiting period that requires two separate appointments — one for anultrasound and information about fetal development and another for the actual procedure.
These are just two laws in a surge of bills passed by Republican-controlled state legislatures this year that make it harder for women to have abortions. . . .
Dov Fox (University of San Diego Law) has posted new scholarship on SSRN. Below are the abstracts:
This Symposium Essay provides a conceptual framework to govern the use of race in decisions about family formation. This spectrum of salience-varying ways to manage racial information ranges from those that lay the greatest emphasis on race to those that soften or altogether exclude its expression.
The Essay locates the operation of these different approaches in the law and practice of adoption and assisted reproduction. That race tends to reproduce itself within the family makes these unique contexts from which to ask what sort of racial self-understandings our multiracial democracy should seek to embody.
Thursday, April 30, 2015
Jessica Ettinger (Notre Dame) has posted Seeking Common Ground in the Abortion Regulation Debate on SSRN. Here is the abstract:
This Note argues that requiring abortion clinics to adhere to the same standards as ambulatory surgical centers is unconstitutional, at least in the context of those clinics that provide only medication abortion, because it unduly burdens a woman’s right to choose whether to obtain an abortion. Although there may be a rational basis to require abortion clinics offering surgical abortion procedures to meet surgical facility standards, no such basis attends the imposition of those requirements on clinics that provide nonsurgical services. Given the number of clinics that continue to close in the face of this new regulatory legislation — which significantly reduces access to abortion services, increases their cost, and makes them logistically more difficult to procure due to increased geographic travel — it is arguable that even requiring surgical abortion clinics to meet ambulatory surgical center standards will result in an undue burden.
At the same time, however, state legislators have a valid interest in ensuring that abortion procedures are conducted in a safe manner. Although abortion clinics currently are subject to regulatory oversight outside the realm of state-specific statutes, the requirements currently in place govern the privacy of patients’ health records, laboratory testing practices, and workplace health and safety, but do not address directly the regulation of surgical procedures.
In light of the constitutional problems embedded in current state efforts to regulate abortion clinic facilities and the shortcomings of federal regulatory efforts, it may be time to entertain a different approach to abortion clinic regulation. Part I presents the legal framework and standards currently governing abortion legislation. Part II utilizes this foundation to evaluate current problems in state regulatory practices, spotlighting two pieces of recent state legislation that seek to impose ambulatory surgical center standards on all abortion clinic facilities within their borders. Lastly, Part III introduces and outlines an alternate means of regulation — accreditation — that offers common ground in the abortion debate by serving everyone’s interest in providing safe, accessible medical services to women.
ThinkProgress: Polls Have Been Misleading You About What Americans Actually Believe About Abortion, by Tara Culp-Ressler:
Do you know where most Americans stand on abortion? Thanks to the way that we’ve been polling on the issue for the past several decades, probably not.
Most media coverage on the subject would lead you to believe that abortion evenly splits the nation. According to pollsters, the country has barely budged on this issue since the procedure was first legalized in 1973. The leading polling organizations often refer to Americans’ views on abortion as “closely divided” and say this finding has been “stable” for decades. “The trend lines look about as flat as they can be,” Daniel Cox, the research director at the nonpartisan Public Religion Research Institute, said on the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade.
Tresa Undem, who has more than a decade of experience conducting public opinion research for nonprofits, doesn’t think that’s true. . . .
Vox: What Americans Think of Abortion: It's Not So Black and White, by Sarah Kliff:
"Abortion is killing a baby. But I'm not saying it's always wrong."
This was the first thing David King told me when I called him in late March and asked him talk to me about his views on abortion.
King and I didn’t know each other when I called. He’s a former dairy farmer who now works at a Walmart in rural Ohio. A few weeks earlier, he’d been among the 1,067 adults randomly selected for a Vox poll on abortion policy. He gave our pollsters, communications and strategy firm PerryUndem, an answer that interested me. When asked whether he identified as pro-life or pro-choice, he didn’t pick one. He picked both. . . .
RH Reality Check (4/17): Laws Banning Abortion Procedure ‘Substituting Political Decisions for Medical Decisions’, by Teddy Wilson:
Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin (R) signed a bill into law Monday that criminalizes a medical procedure used during second-trimester abortions and for miscarriage management.
That came weeks after Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback (R) signed similar legislation, and now reproductive rights advocates are raising serious concerns about the lasting implications of these new, radically anti-choice laws.
“With this law, Oklahoma has joined Kansas in an alarming trend toward substituting politicians’ agendas for the judgment and expertise of doctors, and then threatening those doctors with criminal charges if they disagree,” Nancy Northup, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights, said in a statement. . . .
The Hill - Congress blog (4/17): Political attacks on abortion legislate bad medicine, by Vanessa Cullins, M.D., M.P.H., M.B.A.:
The latest wave of state legislation to restrict abortion access is based on bad medicine and would prevent doctors from providing medical care based on their judgment of what’s best for each patient. . . .
It is unacceptable for politicians to force doctors, under penalty of law, to go against our training and expertise. . . .
The New York Times: Insurers Flout Rule Covering Birth Control, Studies Find, by Robert Pear:
Health insurance companies often flout a federal requirement that they cover all approved methods of birth control for women without co-payments or other charges, a major benefit of the Affordable Care Act, two new studies have found.
Responding to the reports, senior Democratic members of Congress prodded the White House on Wednesday to step up enforcement of the requirement. . . .
Metro.co.uk: Pregnant girl, 10, ‘denied life-saving abortion after being raped by stepfather’, by Harry Readhead:
A 10-year-old girl who was raped by her stepfather has allegedly been denied the abortion she desperately needs.
The child was found to be 21 weeks pregnant after arriving at hospital in Asunción, Paraguay, this month complaining of stomach pains.
Amnesty International reports that the girl’s pregnancy came as a result of being raped by her stepfather, but she has allegedly been denied a life-saving abortion and sent to a centre for young mothers instead. . . .
TIME - Ideas: We Need to Talk—Really Talk—About Abortion, by Cecile Richards:
America has an urgent need for authentic public dialogue about abortion
When Jemima Kirke, an artist and star of HBO’s Girls, recently talked openly about her personal experience with abortion, media took notice. Her story made it plain that, too often, women’s access to abortion and other reproductive health care is seriously limited due to their economic circumstances and because of the part of the country where they live. Jemima’s story was also a reminder that the ability to decide when or whether to have children is key to women’s opportunity to be financially secure and pursue their dreams. In recent years, spurred on by the reproductive justice movement, young people are refusing to be shamed or silenced about their personal decisions around abortion. . . .
ThinkProgress: In Bizarre Stunt, Governor Pretends To Sign Extreme Abortion Ban For Group Of Teenagers, by Tara Culp-Ressler:
Three weeks ago, Kansas became the first state in the country to ban a specific type of second-trimester abortion procedure, after Gov. Sam Brownback (R) signed a so-called “dismemberment” ban in a closed-door ceremony. But Brownback isn’t stopping there.
According to a photo tweeted out by Brownback’s office, the governor was flanked by large photos of fetuses as he approved Senate Bill 95 at the beginning of April. A few days later, Oklahoma followed in Kansas’ footsteps and approved an identical measure. Perhaps seeking to solidify Kansas’ status as the first state to venture into this area, Brownback is now taking it a step further.
On Tuesday, the governor traveled to four different cities across Kansas to reenact the signing of SB 95 in public ceremonies that teenagers could attend. The events took place at a Catholic church education building and three Catholic high schools. . . .
The New York Times op-ed: Sofía Vergara’s Ex-Fiancé: Our Frozen Embryos Have a Right to Live, by Nick Loeb:
LAST August, I filed a complaint in Santa Monica, Calif., using pseudonyms, to protect two frozen embryos I created with my former fiancée. I wanted to keep this private, but recently the story broke to the world. It has gotten attention not only because of the people involved — my ex is Sofía Vergara, who stars in the ABC series “Modern Family” — but also because embryonic custody disputes raise important questions about life, religion and parenthood.
When we create embryos for the purpose of life, should we not define them as life, rather than as property? Does one person’s desire to avoid biological parenthood (free of any legal obligations) outweigh another’s religious beliefs in the sanctity of life and desire to be a parent? . . .
The New York Times - Public Editor's Journal: Frozen Embryos Article Was Intended to Spark Debate: Mission Accomplished, by Margaret Sullivan:
An Op-Ed essay titled “Sofía Vergara’s Ex-Fiancé: Our Frozen Embryos Have a Right to Live” started to draw fire almost immediately after its publication Wednesday night.
The vehemence of reader criticism prompted me to ask Andrew Rosenthal, the editorial page editor who supervises the opinion-side sections of The Times, for response. . . .
ThinkProgress: How Anyone Who Works At An Abortion Clinic Becomes A Target For Violence And Harassment, by Tara Culp-Ressler:
Joan, the president of a network of women’s health clinics in the Rocky Mountain region of the United States, isn’t comfortable using her real name in this story because her private residence was vandalized last year. Someone threw a bucket of red paint all over her house. . . .
Joan is just one of the dozens of people who’s featured in a new book that attempts to detail the scope of anti-abortion harassment present in clinic staffers’ everyday lives. Living in the Crosshairs: The Untold Stories of Anti-Abortion Terrorism argues that, although most Americans don’t realize it, many of the people who work in the field of abortion are living in a state of heightened fear and anxiety because targeted harassment follows them everywhere.
The book’s authors, law professor David Cohen and practicing attorney Krysten Connon, once worked together to represent abortion providers in Philadelphia and were struck by the stories of stalking and intimidation they heard in court. . . .
Thursday, April 9, 2015
U.S. News & World Report: Oklahoma Approves Ban on Second-Trimester Abortion Method, by Sean Murphy:
Oklahoma would ban a common second-trimester abortion procedure that critics describe as dismembering a fetus under a measure that lawmakers overwhelmingly approved Wednesday, a day after Kansas became the first state to prohibit the same procedure.
The Senate voted 37-4 for the bill, which now goes to Republican Gov. Mary Fallin. She has not said whether she will sign it, but she has previously signed other anti-abortion measures. . . .
The New York Times: Kansas Limits Abortion Method, Opening a New Line of Attack, by Erik Eckholm & Frances Robles:
Kansas on Tuesday became the first state to sharply restrict or alter the most common technique used for second-trimester abortions, opening a new, emotionally charged line of attack by anti-abortion forces who hope to take it swiftly to other states. . . .
The New York Times (editorial): Kansas Tries to Stamp Out Abortion:
During the past four years, the state of Kansas has become ground zero in the war to criminalize all abortions, and in the process to remove a woman’s ability to control what happens in her own body.
Under Gov. Sam Brownback, a staunch foe of a woman’s right to choose, Kansas’s increasingly hard-line conservative lawmakershave enacted more than two dozen restrictions curtailing women’s reproductive freedom. . . .
On Tuesday the state went still further, becoming the first to ban the safest and by far the most common method of ending a second-trimester pregnancy, dilation and evacuation, which involves dilating the cervix and removing the fetus, often in parts. (On Wednesday, a similar bill passed the Oklahoma Legislature, and awaits the governor’s signature. Bills are also pending in Missouri and South Carolina.) . . .