Monday, January 30, 2012
The Washington Post - PostPolitics: Gingrich vows to ban embryonic stem-cell research, questions in vitro practice, by Karen Tumulty:
As former House speaker Newt Gingrich courts evangelical voters in advance of Tuesday’s Florida primary, he is drawing an increasingly hard line against the use of embryonic stem-cell research — a position that contrasts not only with that of former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, but also with statements that Gingrich himself has made on the subject in the past.
Speaking at a Baptist church in Winter Park on Saturday, the former speaker received a standing ovation when he declared that embryonic stem-cell research amounts to “the use of science to desensitize society over the killing of babies.” . . .
Huffington Post: It's Up to Women to Elect Pro-Choice Candidates in 2012, by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand:
Last year, as a result of the 2010 midterm elections, the 112th Congress became the first in a generation to start out with fewer women in its ranks than the Congress before it. After decades of slow incremental growth in the number of women serving in Congress, last year we actually lost ground, dropping from 93 to 92 women (thankfully Kathy Hochul's victory last summer returned us to the previous level.)
But 2011 also saw the House of Representatives engage in an unprecedented assault on women's reproductive rights. Whether it was their passage of a bill to defund Planned Parenthood or their legislation that would allow hospitals receiving federal funds to refuse reproductive care to women even if their life was in danger, time and again, the House of Representatives proved it was hostile toward women's rights. . . .
Politics on the Hudson blog: Gillibrand accuses state Senate GOP of "outright censorship", by Cara Matthews:
U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand penned a letter today asking for public support against what she describes as a “vicious, sustained attack against reproductive rights and equal access to healthcare for women of all ages.” The Democratic senator gives as an example what happened last week when three state senators pushed for a resolution that would designate this week as Reproductive Rights and Justice Week.
“As 3 of only 8 female Senators, they hoped this resolution would encourage public awareness of the challenges all women face when making personal, private health decisions,” Gillibrand wrote in the letter, which was sent out by state Senate Democrats just after the Assembly passed the resolution. “In what can only be characterized as outright censorship, the GOP Majority not only refused to accept the resolution but returned it to the Senators with more than 90 percent of the language crossed out. They should be ashamed!”. . .
BBC News: Testicular zap 'may stop sperm':
A dose of ultrasound to the testicles can stop the production of sperm, according to researchers investigating a new form of contraception.
A study on rats published in Reproductive Biology and Endocrinology showed that sound waves could be used to reduce sperm counts to levels that would cause infertility in humans.
Researchers described ultrasound as a "promising candidate" in contraception. . . .
The New York Times: Ruling on Contraception Draws Battle Lines at Catholic Colleges, by Denise Grady:
Bridgette Dunlap, a Fordham University law student, knew that the school’s health plan had to pay for birth control pills, in keeping with New York state law. What she did not find out until she was in an examining room, “in the paper dress,” was that the student health service — in keeping with Roman Catholic tenets — would simply refuse to prescribe them.
As a result, students have had to go to Planned Parenthood or private doctors to get prescriptions. Some, unable to afford the doctor visits, gave up birth control pills entirely. . . .
MediaMatters: Fox Breathlessly Attempts To Smear Obama As Anti-Catholic:
Fox figures have suggested that President Obama is anti-Catholic or anti-religion following the administration's recent decision requiring church-affiliated organizations to provide health insurance plans that cover contraceptives for women. But polling has shown that a majority of Catholics have said that insurance policies should cover contraceptives; moreover, the Obama administration has repeatedly engaged the faith-based community -- including Catholic leaders -- and has directed millions in funding to religious groups. This follow's Fox's long history of portraying Obama as hostile toward religion. . . .
Friday, January 27, 2012
RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) - The Virginia Board of Health will host a public hearing to discuss the future of regulations at Virginia abortion clinics Friday.
The state board will hear testimony from women's health advocates, medical experts, and legal experts as it looks to implement the second phase of the regulation process.
The board already approved far-reaching regulations last year on an emergency basis, but now will consider permanent regulations.
The Washington Post: Trent Franks leading effort to restrain abortion in D.C., by Mike DeBonis:
Franks, with the backing of the activist group, is leading an effort to put new restrictions on abortions performed in the city via the “District of Columbia Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act.” The bill, which Franks introduced Monday, would prohibit abortions 20 weeks post-fertilization.
It represents, as Franks put it, “a different angle of view” on the abortion issue as it relates to the District. Until now, Congress has generally limited its intervention to preventing the D.C. government from funding abortions with public money. The Franks bill goes further, seeking to ban some abortions regardless of who pays for them. . . .
I. Glenn Cohen (Harvard Law School) has posted Rethinking Sperm-Donor Anonymity: Of Changed Selves, Non-Identity, and One-Night Stands on SSRN. Here is the abstract:
In the United States, a movement urging legally prohibiting sperm-donor anonymity is rapidly gaining steam. In her forthcoming article in this journal, The New Kinship, and in her wonderful book, Test Tube Families, Naomi Cahn is among this movement’s most passionate and thoughtful supporters. She argues for mandatory sperm-donor registries of the type in place in Sweden, Austria, Germany, Switzerland, the Australian states of Victoria and Western Australia, the Netherlands, Norway, and, most recently, the United Kingdom and New Zealand. The UK system is typical in requiring new sperm (and egg) donors to put identifying information into a registry and providing that a donor-conceived child “is entitled to request and receive their donor’s name and last known address, once they reach the age of 18.”
In this Article, I explain why the arguments for these registries fail, using Cahn’s Article as my jumping off point.
I demonstrate four problems with the arguments she offers for eliminating anonymous sperm donation: (1) Her argument for harm to sperm donor and recipient parents fails in light of the availability of open-identity programs for those who want them, such that she imposes a one-size-fits-all solution where it would be better to let sperm donor and recipients parents choose for themselves. (2) Her argument for harm to children that result from anonymous sperm donation fails for reasons relating to the Non-Identity Problem. This portion of the Article summarizes work I have done elsewhere, most in-depth in Regulating Reproduction: The Problem With Best Interests, 96 Minn. L. Rev. _ (forthcoming, 2011), http://ssrn.com/abstract=1955292, and Beyond Best Interests, 96 Minn. L. Rev. _ (forthcoming, 2012 and up on SSRN soon). (3) She has sub silentio privileged analogies to adoption over analogies to coital reproduction. When the latter analogy is considered, her argument is weakened. I show this through a Swiftian Modest Proposal of a Misattributed-Paternity and One-Night-Stand Registry paralleling the one she defends for sperm donation. (4) The argument may not go far enough even on its own terms in endorsing only a “passive” registry in which children have to reach out to determine if they were donor conceived, rather than an “active” registry that would reach out to them. If we recoil from such active registries, that is a reason to re-examine the reasons in favor of the less effective passive ones.
For the reasons discussed, despite my admiration for this paper and all of Cahn’s work, I am not persuaded by the argument for adopting a mandatory sperm-donor identification registry of the kind in place elsewhere in the world. Indeed, I think these registries should be eliminated, not replicated. At a moment in which the idea of these registries is rapidly gaining popularity and attention in the United States, I hope my dissenting voice will be heeded.
Thursday, January 26, 2012
Dallas Observer - Legal Battles Blog: Center For Reproductive Rights Wants All Fifth Circuit Judges To Hear Sonogram Law Case, by Anna Merlan:
The saga of Texas's brand-new, Rick-Perry approved sonogram law continues. First, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned a preliminary injunction issued by Judge Sam Sparks and allowed the law to go into effect. (That law, just to refresh, requires women seeking an abortion to look at a sonogram, hear a description of the image and listen to a fetal heartbeat, whether or not she wants to hear or see any of those things or whether her doctor thinks it's necessary or prudent.) Then Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott was so excited about the whole thing he wanted the law to go into effect like immediately, a request the court granted in just one day. . . .
Huffington Post: Chris Smith: Obama Is 'The Enemey Of Life,' Appoints Pro-Abortion 'Death Peddlers' To Cabinet (VIDEO), by Nick Wing:
Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.) launched into an aggressive condemnation of President Barack Obama's stance on abortion this week, calling him the "enemy of life."
Speaking at the Washington, D.C. headquarters of Christian conservative group the Family Research Council on Monday, Smith warned the audience about the importance of defeating Obama in 2012.
. . .
Wednesday, January 25, 2012
MADRID — Spain's conservative government plans to tighten the country's abortion law to oblige girls aged 16 and 17 seeking the procedure to have their parents' consent, its justice minister said Wednesday.
Alberto Ruiz-Gallardon said he was drawing up a bill to change the former Socialist government's 2010 law which fully legalised abortion up to 14 weeks of pregnancy. . . .
TIME - Healthland: Why Abortion Is Less Risky than Childbirth, by Bonnie Rochman:
Abortions are considered high-risk, but a new study finds that the procedure is considerably safer than childbirth.
Abortion has a scary reputation, regardless of whether you’re for or against it. But the perception that it’s a high-risk procedure isn’t rooted in truth, according to new research.
Although more than half of states counsel women on the risks of abortion, a study published online Monday in Obstetrics & Gynecology finds that a legal abortion is actually far safer than giving birth.
The research discovered that women are actually 14 times more likely to die during or after delivery than as a result of complications from abortion. . . .
Voice of America: Thousands of AIDS Victims Face Death in Congo:
A medical aid group has warned that up to 15,000 AIDS victims in Democratic Republic of Congo could die in the next three years because of difficulty getting life-saving drugs.
The warning comes from Doctors Without Borders, which says access to health care for HIV and AIDS patients in Congo is “horrific.” It says 85 percent of an estimated 350,000 people who could benefit from antiretroviral drugs are not receiving them. . . .
GA Voice: HIV-positive man not hired by Atlanta Police Department to have case heard in federal appeals court, by Dyana Bagby:
The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday will hear the case of of a 37-year-old man who says the city of Atlanta called him a "direct threat" to others and he was denied a job with the Atlanta Police Department because he is HIV-positive.
Lambda Legal is representing the man, identified as "Richard Roe" in court documents to protect his identity.
A U.S. District Court ruled in favor of the city of Atlanta, saying the city did not discriminate against the HIV-positive man. Lambda Legal states that by calling Roe a "direct threat" the city did break federal law. . . .
The Florida Independent: New poll: Majority of Latina/o population supports reproductive rights, by Ashley Lopez:
A new survey released from the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health found that “strong majorities” of Latina/os registered to vote support “access to legal abortion, affirm that they would offer support to a close friend or family member who had an abortion, and oppose politicians interfering in personal, private decisions about abortion,” the group reports.
The research, which was conducted by Lake Research Partners, was part of a national survey of 600 registered Latina/o voters. The survey asked nuanced questions regarding abortion rights, questions were asked in English and Spanish and it included about 200 surveys conducted via cell phone. . . .
Wanda Nowicka (Polish Federation for Women and Family Planning) has posted Sexual and Reproductive Rights and the Human Rights Agenda: Controversial and Contested on SSRN. Here is the abstract:
In this paper I share some of my experience and observations, as an advocate for women's rights, of the last 20 years of struggles for sexual and reproductive health and rights, carried out in many key places where these issues have been debated and decided. I do not aspire to be comprehensive about the current status of human rights related to sexuality and reproduction. Given that my expertise is of a practical (rather than theoretical) nature, the complexity of the topic and contradictory events with regard to it, which take place almost everyday, I will highlight some selected achievements and setbacks in this area, particularly regarding abortion rights. I will provide examples of how human rights related to sexual and reproductive health have been addressed in UN policy-setting bodies, such as the Commission on the Status of Women and Commission on Population and Development, as well as in the UN human rights system such as Treaty Monitoring Bodies and Human Rights Council. Given my work with European institutions, I provide examples of important decisions by the Council of Europe and the European Court of Human Rights. Lastly, I discuss growing opposition to a progressive human rights agenda and the universality of human rights. Despite significant successes, sexual and reproductive rights will long remain controversial and contested. Hence, it is crucial to try to find new ways to engage and new partners to work with.
Massachusetts Appeals Court Overturns Order Requiring Forced Abortion and Sterilization of Mentally Ill Woman
MSNBC.com: Forced abortion for a mentally ill woman? No way, says Mass. appeals court, by Jame Eng:
A Massachusetts appeals court has verbally skewered a judge who ordered that a mentally ill woman have an abortion against her will even if it meant she had to be “coaxed, bribed, or even enticed” into a hospital.
The Massachusetts Appeals Court this week overturned the ruling by Norfolk Probate Judge Christina L. Harms, who had also ordered that the 32-year-old woman, known as “Mary Moe,” be sterilized. . . .
This article sketches the evolving interaction between human rights case law and HIV/AIDS policy. To clarify the need for such analysis, this article discusses the promise of human rights litigation in providing accountability for state public health commitments. Given the promise of this litigation in realizing public health outcomes, this article reviews the origins and development of human rights jurisprudence for HIV/AIDS. With this enforcement movement facing increasing criticism for distorting the global health governance agenda, the authors examine the backlash against this human rights jurisprudence in setting HIV/AIDS policy. This article concludes that scholars and practitioners must engage in comparative analyses of these rights-based litigation strategies and empirical research on their public health impacts. . . .
Sunday, January 22, 2012
The Huffington Post: Women Are Watching On Anniversary of Roe, by Cecile Richards (President, Planned Parenthood Action Fund):
On the 39th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, women are watching, and they are angry at what they see.
On January 22, 1973, the U.S. Supreme Court confirmed every woman's right to make her own medical decisions without government interference. At the time, the Supreme Court recognized the inherent right to privacy for women, an urgent issue given that women were dying in emergency rooms across the country from self-induced abortions.
But today, women across the nation are disturbed to see a set of politicians doing everything they can to undermine this landmark decision that has stood as a critical safeguard for women's health for four decades. . . .