Reproductive Rights Prof Blog

Editor: Caitlin E. Borgmann
CUNY School of Law

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Saturday, September 22, 2012

Anna Carpenter on Women and HIV/AIDS Prevention

Anna E. Carpenter (Georgetown University Law Center) has posted Women and HIV/AIDS: Towards a Jurisprudence of Social and Economic Rights on SSRN. Here is the abstract: Image1

This article argues that traditional HIV/AIDS prevention efforts focused on addressing individual risk factors are not sufficient to end the spread of the disease among women. Rather, systemic factors rooted in economic and gender inequality are the primary drivers of the HIV epidemic among women. As a result, the U.S. response to HIV/AIDS must address these factors, namely poverty and violence. The article then argues for a commitment to a social and economic rights framework as a key part of efforts to end the HIV epidemic. The social and economic rights critical to ending the HIV epidemic are those that would lift women and their families out of poverty, help them secure stable housing, give them the economic means to leave violent relationships, and give them access to health care. These rights include a right to a minimum level of economic support, a right to housing, and a right to health. The article finally articulates how a positive rights framework would offer descriptive, practical, and aspirational benefits necessary to eradicate the HIV epidemic among U.S. women.

September 22, 2012 in Poverty, Scholarship and Research, Sexually Transmitted Disease | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Calif. Gov. Jerry Brown Signs Law Allowing Nurse Practitioners and Other Clinicians to Perform Abortions

The Sacramento Bee: Jerry Brown signs abortion, mammogram bills:

Gov. Jerry Brown has signed legislation extending an ongoing pilot program allowing nurse practitioners and other clinicians to perform non-surgical abortions, his office announced this afternoon.

Senate Bill 623, by Sen. Christine Kehoe, D-San Diego, was supported by Planned Parenthood and opposed by abortion rights opponents. . . .

September 22, 2012 in Abortion, State and Local News, State Legislatures | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

In Orlando, Paul Ryan Denounces Contraceptive Mandate

The Huffington Post: Paul Ryan: Contraception Mandate 'Will Be Gone' On 'Day 1', by Chris Gentilviso:

GOP vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan sees no place for the Obama Administration's contraception mandate.

At a Saturday campaign event in Orlando, Fla., the Associated Press reports that Ryan was asked about whether he would press Vice President and fellow Catholic Joe Biden on his views in relation to the 2012 Democratic Party platform. . . .

September 22, 2012 in 2012 Presidential Campaign, Contraception, Politics | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

ACOG Recommends IUDs and Implants as Best Contraceptive Methods for Teen Girls

WebMD: Which Birth Control Methods Are Best for Teens?, by Daniel J. DeNoon:

Sexually active teen girls' best bet for birth controlis either an IUD or a birth-control implant, say new guidelines from a leading doctors' group.

More than 40% of teens are sexually active. Nearly all of them use some kind of birth control. But fewer than 1 in 20 uses the most effective contraceptives. . . .

September 22, 2012 in Contraception, Medical News, Teenagers and Children | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Mary Ziegler on the Racial Politics of Abortion

Mary Ziegler (Saint Louis University School of Law) has posted Roe's Race: The Supreme Court, Population Control, and Reproductive Justice on SSRN. Here is the abstract: Image1

Questions of race and abortion have shaped current legal debates about defunding Planned Parenthood and banning race-selection abortion. In these discussions, abortion opponents draw a close connection between the eugenic or population control movements of the twentieth century and the contemporary abortion-rights movement. In challenging legal restrictions on abortion, abortion-rights activists generally insist that their movement and its predecessors have primarily privileged reproductive choice.

Notwithstanding the centrality of race to abortion politics, there has been no meaningful history of the racial politics of abortion that produced or followed Roe v. Wade. This article closes this gap in the abortion discussion by focusing on the racial politics of abortion in the 1970s. In the 1970s, some population controllers did have ties to the eugenic legal reform movement or a particular interest in limiting the growth of poor, non-white populations. Those groups most closely involved with the abortion-rights movement, however, primarily focused on family planning for white, middle-class families, emphasizing the importance of environmental stewardship and sexual liberation. Arguments treating the abortion-rights, population control, and eugenics movements as indistinguishable from one another are flawed.

At the same time, by reinterpreting Roe, feminists created new opportunities to reshape the racial politics of abortion. By defending their own understanding of the opinion against antiabortion attack, feminists were able to redefine abortion as a right that belonged to women irrespective of its political consequences.

The article shows that, by grounding the discussion in proper historical context, discussion of race and abortion will be more principled and productive. Abortion opponents can fairly discuss the history of the family planning movement, but blurring any distinction between the abortion-rights movement and its predecessors is problematic and misleading. In turn, abortion-rights activists should address the past relevance of population-based claims, acknowledging the contributions of those who worked to redefine abortion as a woman’s right.

September 22, 2012 in Abortion, Poverty, Race & Reproduction, Scholarship and Research, Supreme Court, Women, General | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Scott Burris and Matthew Weait on Criminalization and Moral Responsibility for Knowing Sexual Transmission of HIV

Scott Burris (Temple University – James E. Beasley School of Law) and Matthew Weait (University of London – Birkbeck College, School of Law) have posted Criminalisation and Moral Responsibility for the Sexual Transmission of HIV on SSRN. Here is the abstract:

The essay that follows is an effort to take on a narrow but important question in a serious, though limited, way. The question is whether there is a MORAL case for lifting primary responsibility for Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) prevention from the shoulders of those who know they are infected. The question is important because, for many people, it feels so obviously right to require those with HIV to accept this responsibility that punishing them as criminals if they fail to do so seems a natural, logical and entirely fair next step. As far as we can tell, objections to HIV exposure or transmission laws to date have rested on practical, rather than moral concerns. We will ask whether there is a good moral case to be made against criminalisation.

There are two important things we will not do. We will not address the use of criminal law to deter or punish people who deliberately expose others to HIV with the aim of causing harm or with callous disregard of a significant risk of transmission. Like other commentators, we regard trying to harm others as wrongful and subject to prosecution regardless of the weapon used; our only concern in such a case, from the HIV perspective, is that a defendant not be punished more harshly only because the chosen weapon was the virus3 The second thing we will not do is attempt a moral analysis that is culturally comprehensive. The people of the world have developed many powerful systems of moral thought. We investigate our moral question within just one, the Western tradition of deontological ethics and liberal political philosophy. Our purpose is not, ultimately, to define for all people and all places a morality of HIV exposure, but to test whether the case for assigning primary moral responsibility for HIV to the person infected is as strong as it is assumed to be.

September 22, 2012 in Bioethics, Scholarship and Research, Sexually Transmitted Disease | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Illinois Supreme Court To Decide Whether Challenge to State's 17-Year-Old Parental Notice Law May Proceed

Gavel & scalesThe Chicago Sun-Times: State attorney general argues for law requiring parental notification when minors get abortions, by Dave McKinney:

Attorney General Lisa Madigan and the American Civil Liberties Union both support abortion rights, but they faced off in the state’s highest court Thursday over an unenforced 1995 state law requiring that parents be notified before their minor children obtain abortions.

In the latest wrinkle in a 17-year legal battle, the ACLU of Illinois asked the state Supreme Court Thursday to uphold a June 2011 appeals court ruling tossing out a Cook County judge’s decision to dismiss a challenge to Illinois’ long-dormant parental notification law. . . .

September 20, 2012 in Abortion, In the Courts, State and Local News, Teenagers and Children | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

NARAL Tries to Woo Small Number of Potentially Defecting Women Back to Obama Camp

Reuters: This election, abortion rights activists are looking for just a few good women, by Patricia Zengerle:

This fall, there is going to be a relatively small group of women voters who may be very, very sick of hearing from NARAL Pro-Choice America by Election Day on Nov. 6.

Like most of those involved in politics this election year, the abortion rights advocacy group says that women will determine the outcome of the contest on Nov. 6 between Democratic President Barack Obama and his Republican challenger, Mitt Romney.

But unlike most, the group has identified, by name and address, the thousands of women across the country that it thinks might make the difference – and it plans to go after their votes,  and in a big way, but in small numbers – in many cases as few as 1,000 or 2,000 in an individual county. . . .

September 18, 2012 in 2012 Presidential Campaign, Abortion, Politics | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

British Woman Sentenced to 8 Years For Self-Induced Abortion at 39 Weeks

BBC News: Sarah Catt jailed for full-term abortion of baby:

A woman who aborted her own baby in the final phase of her pregnancy has been jailed for eight years.

Sarah Louise Catt, 35, of Sherburn-in-Elmet, North Yorkshire, took a drug when she was full term, 39 weeks pregnant, to cause an early delivery. . . .

September 18, 2012 in Abortion, In the Courts, Incarcerated Women, International | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Debate Over Why Arizona Abortion Rates Show Increase Despite Tough Laws

New York Daily News: Abortion count jumps by 26% in Arizona: report, by Charlie Wells:

The state’s new abortion tracking has increased reporting accuracy, says Arizona Health Director Will Humble.

A new report shows a 26 percent jump in the number of abortions in Arizona, a state where lawmakers just approved some of the toughest abortion rules in the country.

Despite the spike, people on both sides of the issue aren’t exactly sure what is responsible for the state’s highest abortion rate in the past decade. . . .

September 18, 2012 in Abortion, State and Local News | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, September 17, 2012

More Republican Insensitivity and Ignorance About Pregnancy and Abortion

The Los Angeles Times - Commentary: Another Republican invokes fantasy science on abortion, by James Rainey:

Another Republican has introduced fantasy science to bolster his opposition to abortion rights funding — saying that disabled children are God’s punishment against women who abort their first pregnancies.

Bob Marshall of the Virginia House of Delegates made that statement at a press conference last week with otherRepublicans who hope to kill state funding for Planned Parenthood. . . .

September 17, 2012 in Abortion, Politics, Pregnancy & Childbirth, State Legislatures | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Book Review of Naomi Wolf's "Vagina, A New Biography"

The New York Times:  Upstairs, Downstairs (book review of ‘Vagina: A New Biography,’ by Naomi Wolf), by Toni Bentley:

Sit back and relax, will you? Naomi Wolf has got her orgasm back. Yep. I know you were worried. We were all worried. I mean, to lose one’s orgasm at a time like this, what with Syria undergoing mass civilian murder and Romney closing in on Obama, it is really enough to put a liberated gal’s thong in a knot.

But Wolf didn’t just get back one of those little clitoral thingamajigs that Masters and Johnson so laboriously put back on the map after Freud had brushed them aside. Or rather inside, where he felt they belonged. She has reclaimed the Great Big Cosmic I-Am-a-Gorgeous-Goddess (Feminist-Goddess, that is) kind. Phew!

“Vagina: A New Biography” should have been an important book. A very important book. . . .

September 16, 2012 in Books, Culture, Sexuality | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

VA Board of Health Reverses Prior Decision That Allowed Existing Abortion Clinics To Avoid Compliance with Onerous New Regs

The Washington Post: Existing Va. abortion clinics lose exemption from strict building rules, by Laura Vozzella:

Virginia’s Board of Health did an about-face on abortion regulations Friday, voting to impose strict, hospital-style building standards even on existing clinics and reversing its June decision.

The reversal came two days after the office of Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli II (R) sent a letter to board members advising them against grandfathering clinics — and warning that they could be personally liable for legal fees if they were sued after ignoring his legal advice. . . .

September 16, 2012 in Abortion, State and Local News, Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP) | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Reva Siegel on Dignity and Sexuality

Reva Siegel (Yale Law School) has posted Dignity and Sexuality: Claims on Dignity in Transnational Debates Over Abortion and Same-Sex Marriage on SSRN. Here is the abstract: Image1

Dignity’s meaning is famously contested. This essay explores competing claims on dignity in late twentieth-century debates over abortion and in the first decisions on the constitutionality of abortion legislation that these debates prompted. Advocates and judges appealed to dignity to vindicate autonomy, to vindicate equality, and to express respect for the value of life itself. Appeals to these distinct conceptions of dignity are now appearing in debates over the regulation of same-sex relations. Analyzed with attention to competing claims on dignity, we can see that in the debate over same-sex relations, as in the debate over abortion, a crucial question recurs: Do laws that restrict non-procreative sexuality violate or vindicate human dignity? Agonists who hold fundamentally different views about sexuality share an allegiance to dignity, enough to fight for the authority to establish dignity’s meaning in debates over sexual freedom. Today, as in the 1970s, dignity’s meaning is being forged in cross-borders conflict over dignity’s sex.

September 16, 2012 in Abortion, Scholarship and Research, Sexuality | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)