Monday, July 30, 2012
It's very hard to see how this decision can be squared with existing Supreme Court precedents, given that the ban clearly reaches pre-viability abortions.
Reuters: Judge clears Arizona's late-term abortion ban to take effect, by David Schwartz:
A federal judge refused on Monday to block an Arizona law banning most abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, clearing the way for the statute to take effect this week.
District Judge James Teilborg ruled that the measure, passed by the Republican-controlled state legislature and signed into law in April by Republican Governor Jan Brewer, is in keeping with standards that federal courts have set on limits to late-term abortions.
The new statute, due to take effect on Thursday, bars healthcare professionals from performing abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, except in the case of a medical emergency. Only a small number of such abortions are performed in the state each year. . . .
Washington Post - WonkBlog: Federal court upholds Arizona’s late-term abortion law, by Sarah Kliff:
A federal court in Arizona has upheld the state’s ban on abortions after 20 weeks, allowing it to come into effect on August 1. The ruling has already set off further legal challenges that are likely to center on one question: Where does the line get drawn between an abortion restriction and an all-out ban?
Ever since Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court has allowed states to ban abortions after the fetus is viable – usually thought to be around 23 or 24 weeks – as long as such restrictions have an exception for the health or life of the mother. The Supreme Court has not allowed bans prior to that point in pregnancy. . . .
ACLU press release: Court Upholds Most Extreme and Dangerous Abortion Ban in the Nation:
A federal court in Arizona today upheld the most extreme abortion ban in the country.
The Arizona law, which criminalizes virtually all abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, contains only the narrowest possible exception for medical emergencies. The ban would force a physician caring for a woman with a high-risk pregnancy to wait until her condition imposes an immediate threat of death or major medical damage before offering her the care she needs. The ban also contains no exceptions for a woman who receives the devastating diagnosis that the fetus will not survive after birth. . . .
Friday, July 13, 2012
Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon vetoed legislation Thursday that would have expanded religious and moral exemptions from insurance policies covering birth control, thus avoiding a potential conflict with a new contraception policy put forth by President Barack Obama's administration.
Nixon said he supports religious and ethical exemptions from contraception coverage that already exist in Missouri law. But he said the new bill could have extended those exemptions to insurance companies, allowing them to deny birth control coverage to women who want it. . . .
The Washington Post - She the People blog: Condoleezza Rice: Let the abortion backlash begin, by Suzi Parker:
The rumors about Condoleezza Rice as Mitt Romney’s possible vice presidential pick are in overdrive.
A brilliant, black woman from the South with a solid record as secretary of state who has worked in two presidential administrations – what’s not to like? Well, there is one thing, if you’re a die-hard conservative: Rice’s pro-choice stance. . . .
The Associated Press reports that Bei Bei Shuai, the Chinese immigrant who was prosecuted in the U.S. for trying to commit suicide while pregnant, has rejected a plea deal pursuant to which prosecutors would have dropped the murder charge. The AP story is available here.
Read more about the case via National Advocates for Pregnant Women here.
The New York Times: Lawsuit Tries to Block New Arizona Abortion Law, by Erik Eckholm:
A group of doctors and women’s rights advocates challenged Arizona’s new abortion limits in a federal lawsuit on Thursday, claiming that they violate the Constitution and pose a threat to women’s health.
The law, set to take effect on Aug. 2, prohibits abortions once 20 weeks have passed since a woman’s last menstrual period, which is about 18 weeks after fertilization. This is the earliest deadline set by any state and is weeks earlier than the threshold set by the Supreme Court. . . .
Doctors at Mississippi's sole abortion clinic are allowed to continue performing the procedure, even if they do not have admitting and staff privileges at an area hospital, as required by state law, a federal judge ruled Friday.
But state officials can begin an administrative process that could ultimately lead to the closing of the clinic, said U.S. District Judge Daniel P. Jordan III. . . .
Thursday, July 12, 2012
The Huffington Post: Planned Parenthood's Anti-Romney Ads Swaying Women in Swing States, by Laura Bassett:
Planned Parenthood Action Fund's $1.4 million ad campaign spotlighting Mitt Romney's positions on women's issues is making an impression on the opinions of female voters in key swing states, according to post-run ad testing commissioned by the group.
According to Hart Research surveys conducted in West Palm Beach, Fla., and Des Moines, Iowa, before and after PPFA's ads ran, women who definitely recalled seeing the ads (half of women in Florida, 55 percent in Iowa) said that they were far less likely to vote for Romney than women who did not recall seeing the ads. The number of women in both states who responded that Mitt Romney is "out of step with my opinions on issues affecting women" increased by 11 percent after the PPAF ad campaign ran. . . .
Wednesday, July 11, 2012
Cheryl Hanna (Vermont Law School) has posted Gender as a Core Value in Teaching Constitutional Law on SSRN. Here is the abstract:
This essay was part of a symposium sponsored by the AALS Section on Women, entitled Gender as a Core Teaching Value. In this piece, Professor Hanna discusses the importance of highlighting gender in Constitutional Law courses, not just on 'equal protection day" but throughout the curriculum. To that end, she provides concrete ideas and examples about how to help students discuss issues of gender in a variety of cases and contexts.
The New York Times: China to Pay Family in a Case of Forced Abortion, by Ian Johnson:
The woman who was forced to undergo a grisly late-term abortion in northwest China, an action that prompted a broad public outcry over family planning policy, will receive a cash settlement from the local government, her husband said Wednesday. . . .
Reuters: Melinda Gates pledges $560 million for contraception, by Chris Wickham:
Melinda Gates has pledged $560 million as part of a campaign to expand access to contraception for women in some of the poorest countries in the world.
The funding commitment was unveiled on Wednesday at the London Summit on Family Planning alongside pledges totaling $4.3 billion from the British government and leaders from African nations wrestling with the health and social problems brought on by high rates of unplanned pregnancy. . . .
Federal Judge Extends Injunction Against Mississippi Abortion Regs, Allowing Sole Clinic To Remain Open Pending Further Review
CNN: Judge lets Mississippi's only abortion clinic stay open -- for now, by Rich Phillips:
A federal judge in Mississippi on Wednesday ordered an extension of his temporary order to allow the state's only abortion clinic to stay open.
The order will be in place until U.S. District Judge Daniel Jordan can review newly drafted rules on how the Mississippi Department of Health will administer a new abortion law.
He then plans to rule on whether the temporary order will become permanent, or whether the clinic must shut its doors. . . .
The New York Times: Pregnancy Rates Sank Over Last 20 Years, by Nicholas Bakalar:
Pregnancy rates have decreased over the past two decades among all races, ethnicities and age groups — except for women in their 30s and early 40s.
A report issued in June by the National Center for Health Statistics says there were 4,248,000 live births in 2008, a rate of 68.1 per 1,000 women of childbearing age, down from 70.9 in 1990.
Pregnancy rates for teenagers (ages 15 to 19) fell 40 percent from 1990 to 2008, and rates for black and Hispanic adolescents also fell substantially, even though their rates are still two to three times that of white teenagers. Rates among 18- and 19-year-olds were 19 percent lower than among the 30-34 age group in 2008; in 1990 they were 41 percent higher. . . .
ThinkProgress: Florida Rape Victim Sues County Jail After Being Denied Emergency Contraception, by Annie-Rose Strasser:
A Florida rape victim is suing her county jail and its medical contractor after one employee allegedly refused to give her emergency contraception, citing religious reasons.
After the woman — identified as R.W. — was raped, she went to the jail to identify her assailant. While there, the victim was placed under arrest for an outstanding warrant. It was during this arrest that the incident occurred. . . .
Balkinization blog: Abortion, the First Amendment, and the Fourth Circuit's "Kangaroo Court", by Jennifer Keighley:
Crisis Pregnancy Centers (CPCs) do not provide or refer for abortion or birth control services. Baltimore passed a law requiring such centers to post a sign stating that they do not provide or refer for these services. Pretty straightforward stuff, especially given the evidence that women visiting the centers often erroneously believe that they do provide such services. Last week, however, the Fourth Circuit affirmed the district court’s permanent injunction of Baltimore’s law, holding that Baltimore’s law violates the centers’ First Amendment rights. This case raises novel and complex questions about the First Amendment, and in particular, about the definition of commercial speech: if the court had held that the disclosure applied to commercial speech, it almost certainly would have withstood review. . . .
Julie A. Greenberg (Thomas Jefferson Law School) has posted Health Care Issues Affecting People with an Intersex Condition or DSD: Sex or Disability Discrimination? on SSRN. Here is the abstract:
People with an intersex condition or a Difference of Sex Development (DSD) depend on health care professionals for critical medical treatment. Many intersex activists assert that some current medical practices are not in the best interests of patients with an intersex condition. They contend that greater safeguards should be adopted to ensure that the rights to liberty and autonomy of people with a DSD are respected. Thus far, intersex advocacy has focused on extralegal strategies. The movement is at a point, however, where legal challenges to current medical protocols could provide an additional tool to improve life altering health care practices.
This Article examines whether the intersex movement could effectively use legal frameworks developed by feminists, the LGBT movement, and disability activists to advance its goal of modifying current medical procedures that are based on sex, gender, sexual orientation, and disability stereotypes.
Wednesday, July 4, 2012
Jezebel: Joan Dunlop, Women's Health Advocate, Passes Away at 78, by Anna Breslaw:
Joan Dunlop, who had an integral part in convincing the United Nations that a woman's right to say no to sex was an essential human right, has died at 78 of lung cancer. Her interest in reproductive rights began as a young woman in London when she had an illegal abortion, something she would later confide in a job interview as an advisor to John D. Rockefeller III (she got the job). Dunlop also served as president of the International Women's Health Coalition from 1984 to 1996 and vice president of public affairs for Planned Parenthood in New York later in life.
Another interest was population control; if women across the globe had more autonomy and a better standard of living, asserted Dunlop, they themselves would be able to decide how many children they wanted to bear. For her part, she was "never faintly interested" in having children. . . .
The Daily Beast: Ohio ‘Personhood’ Amendment Fails:
An anti-abortion group failed Tuesday to collect enough signatures before the deadline to put a so-called “personhood” amendment on the ballot. The group wanted to alter to the state’s constitution to declare that life begins when a human egg is fertilized. . . .
House Democrats Challenge GOP's Female Lawmakers Over Affordable Care Act's Benefits For Women's Health
The Hill: Dem memo to GOP women highlights benefits preserved in court's ruling, by Mike Lillis:
House Democratic leaders are challenging the GOP's female lawmakers over women's benefits preserved by last week's Supreme Court decision to uphold President Obama's signature healthcare law.
In a mock memo addressing every member of the GOP Women's Policy Committee, the office of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is highlighting the provisions benefiting women, while suggesting the Republicans' female constituents will embrace the changes even if the lawmakers don't. . . .
The Wall Street Journal: Breakthrough: Mother's Blood Reveals Fetal DNA, by Amy Dockser Marcus:
Researchers said Wednesday they were able to sequence the entire genome of a fetus using only a blood sample from the mother, an advance in the effort to find non-invasive ways for expectant parents to determine if their babies will be born with genetic conditions.
The findings, from researchers at Stanford University School of Medicine, reflect intense interest in finding fast, relatively inexpensive and accurate ways to predict genetic conditions without the risks associated with currently available tests. . . .
The Huffington Post blog: Women Leaving Rio+20 Motivated to Galvanize Sustainability Around Family Planning and Reproductive Rights, by Diane MacEachern:
There is a direct correlation between access to voluntary family planning, women's empowerment and environmental sustainability. And though the official delegates to last week's "Earth Summit" tried to water it down, thousands of grassroots activists made it one of the biggest issues to rock Rio+20, as the event was also called.
Why? Because ensuring that women have full reproductive rights creates one of the most desirable "two-fers" on the planet. Complete access to voluntary family planning is among the quickest, simplest, and most affordable ways to improve women's quality of life. It is also one of the most direct, immediate and cost-effective ways to reduce climate change. In fact, studies show that slowing population growth by giving women access to the contraception they already want could reduce greenhouse gas emissions by between 8 and 15 percent -- roughly equivalent to ending all tropical deforestation. . . .