Monday, April 30, 2012
ACLU press release: Unanimous Oklahoma Supreme Court Blocks Dangerous “Personhood” Initiative:
The Oklahoma Supreme Court unanimously struck down a proposed ballot initiative that would have banned vital health services by granting fertilized eggs and embryos the same constitutional rights as people. The justices ruled that the initiative was unconstitutional in light of the previous U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, which upheld the right to have an abortion.
The American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of Oklahoma and the Center for Reproductive Rights filed a lawsuit last month on behalf of six Oklahoma voters. If passed, the initiative would have outlawed many critical reproductive health services, including all abortion care, commonly used forms of birth control, in vitro fertilization and treatment for ectopic pregnancies and miscarriages. . . .
Guttmacher Institute: Young Adulthood is a Period of High Risk for Unintended Pregnancy and Birth, by Lauren Carmin:
Increased Use of Highly Effective Contraceptive Methods Can Have a Real Impact in Reducing Risk
More than two-thirds of pregnancies among unmarried women aged 20–29 were unintended in 2008, according to "Unintended Pregnancy: Incidence and Outcomes Among Young Adult Unmarried Women in the United States, 2001 and 2008," by Mia Zolna and Laura Duberstein Lindberg of the Guttmacher Institute. By comparison, only half of pregnancies among all women of reproductive age were unintended. In 2008, nearly 10% of unmarried women aged 20-29 (95 per 1,000) experienced an unintended pregnancy. Moreover, this represents a slight increase since 2001, when it stood at 92 per 1,000. . . .
Romney’s Selection of Robert Bork as Constitutional Advisor May Hamper Effort to Capture Women's Vote
Huffington Post: Mitt Romney's Constitutional Advisor, Robert Bork, Continues the War on Women's Rights, by Jamin Raskin:
Mitt Romney is eager these days to change the subject from what the public sees as his party's "war on women." He seeks to close the huge gender gap that has opened up as women flee the party of Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich and Rush Limbaugh in search of something a little less patriarchal and misogynistic.
But Romney's problems with America's women may be just beginning. He can distance himself from the theocratic musings of other Republicans and the macho bullying of Fox News talking heads, but he cannot run away from his own selection of former Judge Robert Bork, in August of last year, to become his principal advisor on the Supreme Court and the Constitution. . . .
Sunday, April 29, 2012
Minneapolis Star Tribune: Dayton vetoes abortion bill, by Jennifer Brooks:
A House bill targeting abortion pill also faces a likely veto.
Gov. Mark Dayton vetoed a bill Thursday that would have required licensing of abortion clinics. He's also expected to veto another bill that would require a doctor to be present whenever an abortion pill is prescribed or swallowed.
The abortion pill measure won final approval from the Republican-led Minnesota House on Thursday, just hours before Dayton rejected the licensure bill. Dayton said in a statement that the proposed law would have forced "inappropriate and unworkable" new requirements on the few facilities that offer abortions. The bill's language, he said, was so vague -- it said clinics could be monitored for "conduct or practices detrimental to the welfare of the patient" -- that complaints could have been filed for almost any reason. . . .
Los Angeles Times: Activists: Abuses exposed by escaped Chinese dissident continue, by Emily Alpert:
Blind human rights activist and attorney Chen Guangcheng, who fellow activists say escaped from house arrest last weekend, had worked to expose forced sterilization and other abuses by Chinese authorities charged with family planning until he was arrested and confined in 2005.
Sophie Richardson, Human Rights Watch China director, said the abuses that Chen revealed have continued, even though the Chinese law requiring families to have only one child is enforced unevenly. Forced abortions, sterilizations, detentions, beatings and firings for those who violate the rules have been reported, activists say. . . .
The Spectator: Abortion will always be ‘part of society,’ Tory MP says, by Bruce Campion-Smith:
Abortion will never be eliminated and anti-abortion activists should stop trying to impose their will on others by making it illegal, a senior Conservative MP says.
Government whip Gordon O’Connor delivered a pro-choice message Thursday night in response to a private member’s bill from a Tory MP seen by many as an effort to reopen the abortion debate. . . .
The Toronto Star (op-ed column): Conservative anti-abortion debate ends in shock, awe, giggles, by Heather Mallick:
When does human life begin? When strangers’ eyes meet across a crowded room, obviously. It’s romantic, it’s wild, it’s out of control and kind of sticky.
But Kitchener MP Stephen Woodworth thinks it’s less fun than that. On Thursday in the House of Commons, he raised the magic moment of conception and its progress, defying Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s wish not to reopen the abortion debate.
For Harper does realize that ending abortion rights is a giant Wildrose-lake-of-fire loser of votes for him. . . .
Relatedly, see my article, "The Meaning of 'Life': Belief and Reason in the Abortion Debate"
Saturday, April 28, 2012
bgdailynews.com: Some people of faith support right to abortion, by Jenna Mink:
At the Rev. Kara Hildebrant's church, the abortion issue rarely comes up. Instead, The Presbyterian Church on State Street focuses on other life problems, such as homelessness and child abuse.
The Presbyterian Church USA supports women's right to health care, including contraception and abortion, and believes in the ability of women to make their own moral choices when dealing with problem pregnancies, according to the organization's website. . . .
Friday, April 27, 2012
The full state senate Tuesday approved a bill that would require women seeking an abortion to first listen to the fetus' heartbeat. Senator Sharon Weston Broome (D-Baton Rouge) says the bill passes constitutional muster. . . .
TulsaWorld: Fallin signs fetal heartbeat bill, by Barbara Hoberock:
Gov. Mary Fallin on Friday signed a measure that requires abortion providers to give women the opportunity to hear the fetal heartbeat prior to ending a pregnancy.Senate Bill 1274 by Sen. Dan Newberry, R-Tulsa, was amended on the Senate floor to require that it be offered rather than mandated. . . .
San Francisco Chronicle: State bill would let non-doctors perform abortions, by Wyatt Buchanan:
Under a bill that passed its first committee hearing Tuesday, nurse practitioners, nurse midwives and physician assistants would be able to perform what is known as an "aspiration" abortion, which is the most common abortion procedure and takes place in the first trimester of a pregnancy. . . .
Thursday, April 26, 2012
ABC News: Teacher Fired After Receiving Fertility Treatments, by Russell Goldman:
A Catholic school teacher in Indiana is suing a diocese there, claiming that she was unlawfully terminated after school officials learned she was undergoing fertility treatments to become pregnant.
In a federal lawsuit filed in a Fort Wayne, Ind., teacher Emily Herx claimed that she was fired and told by a senior church official that her attempt to become pregnant through in-vitro fertilization made her a "grave, immoral sinner." . . .
New York Daily News: Phil Bryant, GOP Mississippi governor: Democrats 'one mission in life is to abort children', by Aliyah Shahid:
The governor went on the rant while discussing a new law that would effectively close his state's last remaining abortion-performing clinic.
"The hypocrisy of the left that now tried to kill this bill, that says that I should have never signed it, the true hypocrisy is that their one mission in life is to abort children — is to kill children in the womb," Bryant told conservative radio host Tony Perkins on Tuesday. . . .
Huffington Post: Planned Parenthood Worried It's The Target of New Undercover Sting, by Laura Bassett:
A string of suspicious incidents at Planned Parenthood clinics across the country has given the organization reason to believe that anti-abortion activists are targeting it in a new organized sting operation.
According to Planned Parenthood spokesperson Chloe Cooney, clinics in at least 11 states have reported two dozen or more "hoax visits" over the past several weeks, in which a woman walks into a clinic, claims to be pregnant and asks a particular pattern of provocative questions about sex-selective abortions, such as how soon she can find out the gender of the fetus, by what means and whether she can schedule an abortion if she's having a girl. . . .
Wednesday, April 25, 2012
The Empire: Abortion Rights Groups Seek Cuomo's Support, by Karen DeWitt:
Abortion rights advocates promoting the Reproductive Health Act say they are counting on Governor Andrew Cuomo to help the bill become law this year.
The Reproductive Health Act, first introduced by former Governor Eliot Spitzer, would set in state law the right to accept or refuse contraception and the right to have a late-term abortion, if a doctor determines that the health of the mother is at risk. It was originally proposed as a clean up and expansion of New York’s original, first-in-the-nation 1970 law legalizing abortion. Supporters say it would guarantee a number of reproductive rights for women in New York should the U.S. Supreme Court ever overturn Roe v. Wade. . . .
The Legislative Gazette: NARAL, Clergy for Choice continue push for action on the Reproductive Health Act, by Alli Sofer:
The Reproductive Health Act received a push from supporters last week, with pro-choice advocates lobbying their legislators to back the bill.
NARAL Pro-Choice New York held its annual lobby day April 17, hoping to sway legislators and Gov. Andrew Cuomo to prioritize the Reproductive Health Act in the remaining time of this legislative session.
The Reproductive Health Act, sponsored by Sen. Andrea Stewart-Cousins, D-Yonkers, and Assemblywoman Deborah Glick, D-Greenwich Village, would guarantee women the ability to make personal, private health care decisions, including the right to choose or refuse contraception and access to abortion care. The bill also treats regulation of abortion as a public health and medical issue instead of a criminal issue in state laws. . . .
Salon.com: Is this man a terrorist?, by Matthew Harwood:
Francis Grady is accused of trying to burn down an abortion clinic, but the feds haven't charged him with terrorism
On Tuesday, 50-year-old Francis Grady pleaded not guilty to trying to burn down a Planned Parenthood in Grand Chute, Wis., on April 1. Earlier this month, however, during his first court appearance, Grady sang a different tune, telling the U.S. district judge he did it because “they’re killing babies there.”
An open and shut case of domestic terrorism for the state, it would seem. But curiously Grady is not facing any domestic terrorism charges, once again raising the question of whether the FBI and U.S. Attorneys’ Offices apply terrorism laws equally when prosecuting ideologically motivated crimes. While Islamists and animal rights and environmental activists regularly spend years behind bars under terrorism sentences, antiabortion criminals are seldom punished as severely. Grady, it would seem, is the latest antiabortion activist accused of a crime that would be harshly punished if, say, he had done it in the name of Allah or Mother Earth. . . .
Pioneer Press: Wisconsin Planned Parenthood, reacting to new law, halts drug-induced abortions, by Sharif Durhams & Karen Herzog:
Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin announced Friday, April 20, that it will stop providing drugs to women for abortions in the first nine weeks of pregnancy - a method used in about a quarter of the provider's abortions in Wisconsin - citing a new state law that criminalizes a physician's failure to follow a protocol laid out by the law. . . .
The Washington Post: McDonnell statements on abortion draw scrutiny, by Anita Kumar:
RICHMOND — As a legislator, attorney general and governor, Robert F. McDonnell has said he opposes abortion in all but one instance: if continuing the pregnancy would put the mother’s life in danger.
But McDonnell, a likely Republican vice presidential contender, recently said through his spokesman that he would also allow it in cases of rape and incest.
The statement has prompted many supporters and opponents to believe that he has modified one of his core political stances. Some suspect he has done so to improve his chances of being picked as a running mate for presumed Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, whose own position on abortion has shifted over time but currently makes exceptions for rape, incest and the life of the mother. . . .
Politico: HHS hires former Planned Parenthood spokesman, by J. Lester Feder:
If the Obama administration was already on bad terms with abortion opponents, it’s not going to improve relations by hiring Planned Parenthood’s former spokesman for a job at the Department of Health and Human Services.
Tait Sye, Planned Parenthood’s former media director, has joined HHS as deputy assistant secretary for public affairs, HHS made public Friday. He’ll have the public health portfolio — an area where you can be pretty sure abortion and contraception issues will come up. . . .
The New York Times Magazine: The Criminalization of Bad Mothers, by Ada Calhoun:
On a rainy day just after Thanksgiving, Amanda Kimbrough played with her 2-year-old daughter in her raw-wood-paneled living room, petting her terriers and half-watching TV. Kimbrough, who is 32, lives a few miles outside Russellville, a town of fewer than 10,000 in rural northwestern Alabama, near the border of Franklin and Colbert Counties. Textiles were the economic engine of the area until the 1990s, when the industry went into decline and mills shut down. Now one of the region’s leading employers is Pilgrim’s, a chicken supplier. The median household income is $31,213, and more than a third of children live below the poverty line.
As family members came in and out of the room and one daytime show slid into another — “The People’s Court,” “Intervention,” “Jerry Springer,” “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” — Kimbrough talked about her arrest following the death of her third child, Timmy Jr. . . .
The Miami Herald - Steve Rothaus' Gay South Florida: EEOC: Transgender workers protected by Title VII, the federal law that covers sex discrimination:
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has ruled that Title VII, the federal law that protects employees from sex discrimination, also includes workers who are transgender. . . .