Thursday, May 31, 2012
The Atlantic: Sex Selection in America: Why It Persists and How We Can Change It, by Sujatha Jesudason & Anat Shenker-Osorio:
Son preference, missing girls, sex selection: We may seek to label these Chinese or Indian issues, but they exist here in America. And with anti-choice crusaders desperate to destroy the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, America's leading provider of affordable reproductive health care for women, the purportedly spreading practice of sex-selective abortion is back in the news. With the Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act up for a vote in the House Thursday, it's also back in full force on the legislative agenda.
The extent of sex-selective practices in the U.S. is hard to assess, since it's rarely something people will admit to doing. But we can make an educated guess by observing alterations in expected sex ratios. If nature has its way, women will likely give birth to 100 girls for every 102 to 106 boys (for a ratio of 1.02 to 1.06 boys per girl). And among first-time parents in the U.S., that's exactly what we see. . . .
The Christian Science Monitor: House rejects ban on sex-selection abortion, but GOP makes its point (+video), by David Grant:
For a day, at least, the roles in the "war on women" were reversed.
Republicans, for once, backed Democrats into a politically tenuous corner over a hot-button social issue – abortion – while Democrats cried foul, arguing that legislation before the US House was more political ploy than policy change.
The House rejected a measure Thursday that would explicitly ban abortions undertaken on the basis of the fetus's gender, by a vote of 168 against to 246 in favor. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Trent Franks (R) ofArizona, did not carry because it was subject to a legislative rule that required approval of 60 percent of House members to pass. . . .
Wednesday, May 30, 2012
Mississippi Rethinks Abstinence-Only Approach in Light of State's Top Ranking in Teen Pregnancy Rate
The Huffington Post: Teen Pregnancy Rate In Mississippi The Worst In America, Sex Education Curriculum Aims To Fight Trend, by Laura Tillman:
. . . The Delta Initiative, run through Tougaloo College since 1999, is a forerunner in the state's changing attitude toward teen pregnancy. Next year, a new state law will require schools to teach sex education, and they'll have more leeway in how much information they can incorporate about birth control. Schools previously had to get special permission to teach anything but abstinence. . . .
Tuesday, May 29, 2012
The New York Times: For Canada, U.S. Debates Are Old News, by Luisita Lopez Torregrosa:
Those Americans embroiled in combustible debates over abortion, birth control, same-sex marriage and other social issues this electoral season might look north of the border to find North Americans who are not riven by such heated disputes. . . .
To many Americans, and particularly American women, who are wondering why some of the issues listed above still stir controversy decades after apparent resolution, Canada appears to have it all over the United States. . . .
Anti-Abortion Group's Video Showing Planned Parenthood Sting Prompts House GOP Vote on "Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act"
The Huffington Post: Planned Parenthood Sting Caught On Video, Released By Anti-Abortion Activists (VIDEO), by Laura Bassett:
A group of anti-abortion activists that Planned Parenthood has suspected is targeting it in a hoax investigation released the first of a series of videos on Tuesday that purportedly shows Planned Parenthood encouraging the selective abortions of girls in the United States.
The activist group, Live Action, sent pregnant actors posing as patients to Planned Parenthood clinics across the country and had them ask a certain pattern of questions about sex-selective abortions. . . .
ThinkProgress.org: House GOP Pushes Ban On Non-Existing Sex-Selective Abortion Problem, by Amanda Peterson Beadle:
House Republicans will force a vote tomorrow on acontroversial abortion ban that would prevent sex-selective abortions. The bill seeks to somehow protect the “civil rights” of fetuses by banning physicians from performing abortions based on the fetus’ sex. While the woman would be exempt from prosecution, physicians who perform the procedure can be sued for damages. . . .
On the woman being exempt from prosecution, see this post.
The Wall Street Journal: Hungary Reopens Abortion Controversy with Pill Debate, by Veronika Gulyas:
Hungary won’t allow abortion pills because they pose health risks, the country’s senior official responsible for healthcare issues said this week, sparking a new debate among the public, politicians and NGOs, some of who voiced concerns that the Hungarian government could go further and restrict or ban abortion.
“There are great risks that we must protect girls and women from,” the official, Miklos Szocska said. . . .
BloombergBusinessWeek: Turkey May Ban Abortion as Erdogan Won’t Allow ‘Murder’, by Emre Peker:
Turkey’s Cabinet will debate a Health Ministry report on abortion that may include a ban, less than a week after Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan likened the procedure to murder. . . .
Erdogan sparked the row last week when he told the women’s arm of the governing Justice and Development Party that abortion is murder and its proponents are trying to cripple Turkey’s economic success by curbing population growth. . . .
The Washington Post: Pro-choice and pro-life? On abortion, Americans say ‘it’s complicated.’, by Robert P. Jones:
Last week, Gallup released new data that, at first glance, appeared to show a significant change in Americans’ perspectives on abortion. The number of Americans who identify as “pro-choice” has dropped six points since last July, from 47 percent to 41 percent, while half (50 percent) of Americans identify as “pro-life.” Given the charged election year atmosphere, it is not surprising that some have leapt to the conclusion that this shift represents a dramatic sea change in support for the legality of abortion.
But such interpretations raise the question of whether these binary, politicized labels accurately capture Americans’ nuanced views on abortion. . . .
Los Angeles Times: Analysis: Are the new Gallup numbers on abortion meaningful?, by David Lauter:
Gallup received considerable attention Wednesday for new poll numbers showing that the share of Americans who call themselves “pro-choice” on the abortion issue has hit a record low of 41% while 50% now call themselves “pro-life.”
Attention-getting for sure, but what, if anything, does it mean? . . .
Slate Magazine: The Problem With Polling About Moral Beliefs, by Amanda Marcotte:
Another year, another Gallup poll on abortion for anti-choicers to misleadingly represent in a bid to deceive the country into believing they're winning in the court of public opinion. Of course, Gallup shares the blame for this travesty, since it publishes its polling results with a lead about the poll that asks if people identify as pro-choice or pro-life. Inevitably, "pro-life" polls well, much better than it would if it were more accurately phrased as "anti-choice" or "anti-abortion," because it's a fuzzy-wuzzy term that deliberately distracts from the legal and sexual freedom issues at the heart of the abortion debate. This year, the poll found that 50 percent of Americans relate to the empty term "pro-life," and only 41 percent to the term "pro-choice.". . .
The Washington Post (op-ed contributor): Why Americans are becoming more pro-life, by Ashley McGuire:
For decades, abortion was thought of as an issue that riled up religious zealots in the Bible Belt. “Enlightened” Americans, however, saw abortion as the key to women’s liberation and a more egalitarian society.
Their notions about history and progress assured them that abortion was an essential part of the path forward, for women and for society more broadly.
Wednesday’s news that Gallup is now recording the lowest level of self-described pro-choicers in its history of tracking the abortion issue is no doubt an unwelcome hiccup in their vision for America. . . .
The Huffington Post: Georgia Abortion Clinic Fires Investigated By FBI, by Laura Bassett:
Two OB/GYN clinics in Georgia that suspiciously caught fire this week appear to have been the victims of arson, the Federal Bureau of Investigations said in a statement Wednesday night.
On Wednesday morning, firefighters were called to Alpha OB/GYN in Marietta, Ga. after smoke began billowing out of the building. The firefighters cleared the fire in about 20 minutes and nobody was hurt, but a spokesperson for Cobb County Fire and Emergency Services told The Huffington Post that the building had been badly damaged. . . .
Thursday, May 24, 2012
Slate Magazine: Do Abortions Cause Breast Cancer?, by Elanie Schattner:
In Kansas, legislators recently passed the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act. If enacted into law, the bill would require doctors to tell pregnant women of a relationship between abortion and breast cancer. This news follows passage by the New Hampshire State House of the Women’s Right To Know Act Regarding Abortion Information. These related laws are unlikely to gain approval by the state senates. But there’s a trend: A similar measure took effect in Texas in February. Now, providers there must inform pregnant women about “the possibility of increased risk of breast cancer following an induced abortion,” the so-called ABC link. . . .
Wednesday, May 23, 2012
International Business Times: House Republicans In GOP Women's Caucus Consistently Vote Against Women's Equality, Health, by Ashley Portero:
In an attempt to quell accusations that the Republican Party is waging a "war on women," all of the Republican congresswomen serving in the U.S. House of Representatives on Monday announced they are forming a GOP women's caucus to provide a "unified" voice on a wide range of critically important issues.
But it turns out by that they didn't mean actual women's issues. . . .
The Washington Post: Analysis: Catholic bishops divided in legal battle against Obama birth control mandate, by David Gibson:
The wave of lawsuits filed this week by more than 40 Catholic groups against the Obama administration’s birth control mandate was meant as a demonstration of church unity and influence in the face of what some bishops see as a grave threat to the church’s very existence.
But the strategy has also exposed serious fault lines within the U.S. hierarchy, as some leaders are privately and even openly questioning the legal and political ramifications of the bishops’ latest battle with the White House. . . .
The Wall Street Journal: Long-Lasting Birth Control Cuts Pregnancy Rate, by Jennifer Corbett Dooren:
A new study confirms that long-acting forms of contraception such as intrauterine devices and implants are better than birth control pills and patches at preventing pregnancies, giving doctors new ammunition to recommend these methods. . . .
Paula L. Abrams (Lewis & Clark Law School) has posted The Scarlet Letter: The Supreme Court and the Language of Abortion Stigma on SSRN. Here is the abstract:
This article examines how the Supreme Court’s abortion jurisprudence depicts abortion and the woman who seeks an abortion. It analyzes how narratives drawn from the Court’s abortion opinions attribute negative characteristics to women who decide to terminate their pregnancies. These narratives serve both expressive and normative functions, acting to re-enforce abortion stigma and narrow the constitutional legitimacy of reproductive freedom. Abortion stigma should be a concern for the Court, for its engendered judgment of women and for the burden it places on women who seek to exercise their constitutional rights.
Tuesday, May 22, 2012
The Huffington Post: Catherine Furey, Mother Of Five, Died After Drinking Vinegar In 'Home Abortion', by Laura Hibbard:
Catherine Furey, a 38-year-old mother of five from Salford, UK died after drinking industrial-strength vinegar in an attempted at-home abortion, the Manchester Evening News reports.
Furey's sister-in-law, 33-year-old Dawn Chadwick, was charged with manslaughter for supplying the concentrated substance, but has now been cleared of any charges 18 months after the incident, which occurred on Dec. 1, 2010. . . .
Bei Bei Shuai Released from Jail; Still Faces Trial for Baby's Death Following Her Suicide Attempt While Pregnant
WISHTV: Bei Bei Shuai 'happy' for release from jail, by AJ Colley:
The woman accused of killing her baby by ingesting rat poison while pregnant left the Marion County Jail on Tuesday with a smile.
Bei Bei Shuai is facing murder and feticide charges in connection with the incident. She gave birth to the baby, but the child later died. . . .
Boston Globe: A voice of change on abortion, by Joanna Weiss:
Todd Stave did not set out to be an activist. But because he is the son of an abortion provider, activists have thrust themselves upon him.
When he was 16, his father’s office was firebombed in the middle of the night. When he was in college, his father called and asked if his roommate could bring him a welder: Some protesters had broken through security and chained themselves to his operating table.
And though Stave, now 44, grew up to become an airplane salesman and an energy entrepreneur, he inherited his father’s reproductive-health clinic in suburban Maryland. So when LeRoy Carhart — one of the few doctors in America who admits to performing late-term abortions — started working there, the protesters found Stave. . . .
Monday, May 21, 2012
The Washington Post: Catholic groups file suit over HHS birth control mandate, by David Gibson:
Dozens of Catholic universities, dioceses and other institutions filed lawsuits in courts around the country on Monday (May 21) in a coordinated effort, spearheaded by the U.S. hierarchy and Catholic conservatives, to overturn the Obama administration’s contraception mandate plan.
The 43 plaintiffs, which include 13 dioceses and the University of Notre Dame, say the mandate forces religious employers to provide contraceptive and sterilization services to employees that violate their beliefs. They say that infringes on First Amendment religious freedom protections, and charge that the federal government’s exemption for religious organizations is too narrow. . . .
Martin Hevia (Universidad Torcuato Di Tella School of Law) has posted The Legal Status of Emergency Contraception in Latin America on SSRN. Here is the abstract:
Timely access to emergency contraception (EC) can contribute to reducing the number of unwanted pregnancies, and ultimately, the number of unsafe abortions and maternal fatalities. In Latin America, where all countries are parties to international human rights treaties that recognize the rights to autonomy, privacy, and health, and recognize sexual and reproductive rights including the right to family planning, the legal status of EC has been discussed in the courts. This article focuses on the analysis of the principal arguments voiced in the courts: the difference between contraceptives and abortifacients, the scientific status of available research on EC, and the age at which people develop a legal right to make decisions about their personal health. The conclusion is that Latin American countries whose laws or regulations ban access to EC in the public and/or the private sector fail to fulfill their obligations under international human rights law.