Thursday, November 1, 2012

Michele Bratcher Goodwin at the University of Utah: The New Reproductive Battlefront

Monday November 5, 12:15 p.m. MST
(2:15 p.m. EST, 11:15 a.m. PST)


Michele Bratcher Goodwin, the 47th Annual Leary Lecturer, is the Everett Fraser Professor in Law at the University of Minnesota. She holds joint appointments at the University of Minnesota Medical School and the University of Minnesota School of Public Health.

Women's reproduction dominates recent political platforms and debates. However, relatively little attention has focused on the criminal policing targeted at pregnant women across America. Since the late 1980s, state legislatures have enacted punitive feticide laws that ostensibly apply to a broad range of activities, including falling down steps, suffering drug addiction, refusing cesarean sections, and attempting suicide. Legislators and prosecutors from both political parties have decided that a very strong "stick" should be used against pregnant women. Indeed, despite the fact that early feticide laws were intended to protect women from third party harms to their pregnancies, such as domestic violence, because women are more likely to be the targets of domestic violence during their pregnancies, now fetal protection laws—in 38 states—lead to unreasonable arrests and senseless convictions of pregnant women. The scope of the problem is difficult to measure. Yet, what is clear from the legal cases and news reports is that most of the victims are poor and many are women of color. In this year’s Leary Lecture, Professor Goodwin examines the expanded use of criminal laws and civil commitments to shape new reproductive health norms. Watch Live Online >>.

Free and open to the public. No registration required. One hour CLE.
Call 801-585-3479 or visit

November 1, 2012 in Fetal Rights, Law School, Lectures and Workshops, Politics, Poverty, Pregnancy & Childbirth, Race & Reproduction, Scholarship and Research, Women, General | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Jim Hawkins on Fertility Clinic Advertising

Jim Hawkins (University of Houston Law Center) has posted Selling Art: An Empirical Assessment of Advertising on Fertility Clinics' Websites on SSRN. Here is the abstract: Image1

Scholarship on assisted reproductive technologies (ART) has emphasized the commercial nature of the interaction between fertility patients and their physicians, but little attention has been paid to precisely how clinics persuade patients to choose their clinic over their competitors. This Article offers evidence about how clinics sell ART based on clinics’ advertising on their websites. To assess clinics’ marketing efforts, I coded advertising information on 372 fertility clinics’ websites. The results from the study confirm some suspicions of prior ART scholarship, while contradicting others. For instance, in line with scholars who are concerned that racial minorities face barriers to accessing ART, I found that 97.28% of the websites that contain pictures of babies have pictures of White babies, and 62.93% have pictures of only White babies. Similarly, in agreement with prior work that challenges the effectiveness of self-regulation, I find low levels of compliance with industry-sponsored advertising regulations. Contrary to the assumption held almost universally in the literature on ART, however, I found that clinics do not prioritize advertising their success rates. Clinics’ websites are more likely to emphasize several other attributes of care instead of their success rates. In light of the new data uncovered by the study, I conclude by offering new regulatory directions for policymakers to consider as they try to keep up with changes in the fertility business.

October 31, 2012 in Assisted Reproduction, Fertility, Race & Reproduction, Scholarship and Research | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Courtney Cahill on Abortion and Disgust

Courtney M. Cahill (Florida State University – College of Law) has posted Abortion and Disgust on SSRN. Here is the abstract: Image1

This Article uses disgust theory — defined as the insights on disgust by psychologists and social scientists — to critique disgust’s role in abortion lawmaking. Its point of departure is a series of developments that independently highlight and call into question the relationship between abortion and disgust. First, the Supreme Court introduced disgust as a valid basis for abortion regulation in its 2007 case Gonzales v. Carhart. Second, psychologists have recently discovered a strong enough association between individual disgust sensitivity and abortion opposition to suggest that disgust might drive that opposition. They have also discovered that “abortion disgust” appears to be unrelated to the harm concerns — e.g., harm to the fetus — on which oppositional abortion rhetoric and restrictive abortion laws often explicitly rest. Third, legislatures around the country have passed hundreds of restrictive abortion laws in 2010 and 2011. If the moral psychologists are right, then disgust underwrites most, if not all, of those laws.

Taking these developments seriously, this Article synthesizes the key insights of psychology, social science, and sex equality scholarship to make two arguments, one descriptive and the other constitutional. First, abortion disgust is not a reaction to harm/death but rather to perceived gender role violation by women. Second, this genealogy of abortion disgust constitutes the best reason why we ought to reject disgust as a basis for abortion regulation, allied as that emotion is to unconstitutional sex stereotyping — or what the Court has called unconstitutional “role typing.” This Article concludes by suggesting that “rejecting disgust” in abortion lawmaking might mean subjecting all abortion laws to heightened scrutiny under the Equal Protection Clause, given disgust’s likely role in animating all abortion regulation.

October 30, 2012 in Abortion, Gonzales v. Carhart, Scholarship and Research | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

"Choice" Words from Barbara Boxer on Romney's Abortion Stance

The Hill - Healthwatch Blog:  Boxer says Romney doesn't stand with women on abortion rights, by Ramsey Cox:

Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) said Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney is not on the side of women. 

On MSNBC’s “The ED Show” Thursday, Boxer said Romney “has nothing in his heart that indicates ... that he stands with women.” 

Boxer was attacking Romney on his abortion-rights stance, saying he doesn’t trust women to make decisions about their own bodies. . . .

October 30, 2012 in 2012 Presidential Campaign, Abortion, Congress, Politics | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

U.S. Supreme Court Declines to Review Oklahoma Personhood Case

CNN: Supreme Court rejects abortion-related appeal, by Bill Mears:

The U.S. Supreme Court declined on Monday to review an abortion-related appeal, a sign the justices were not eager to jump into the contentious social issue.

The case dealt with the constitutionality of state "personhood" laws that say life begins at conception, and would give human embryos the rights and privileges of citizens. . . . 

October 30, 2012 in Abortion, Abortion Bans, Assisted Reproduction, Contraception, Fetal Rights, In the Courts, Supreme Court | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Opinion Piece Challenging Purported Appeals to Science in Support of "Fetal Pain" Abortion Bans

The New York Times - Opinionator:  Can Neuroscience Challenge Roe v. Wade?, by William Egginton:

When I was asked this summer to serve as an expert witness in an appellate case that some think could lead to the next Supreme Court test of Roe v. Wade, I was surprised.

Rick Hearn is the attorney representing Jennie McCormack, an Idaho woman who was arrested for allegedly inducing her own abortion using mifepristone and misoprostol — two F.D.A.-approved drugs, also known as RU-486 — and for obtaining the drugs from another state over the Internet. While the case against Ms. McCormack has been dropped for lack of evidence, Mr. Hearn, who is also a doctor, is pursuing a related suit against an Idaho statute, the “Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act” (Idaho Code, Section 18-501 through 18-510), and others like it that cite neuroscientific findings of pain sentience on the part of fetuses as a basis for prohibiting abortions even prior to viability. . . . 

October 30, 2012 in Abortion, Abortion Bans, Bioethics, Fetal Rights, Science | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Policy Analysis of Governmental Coercion in Reproductive Decision Making

Guttmacher Institute – news release: Coercion in Reproductive Decision Making Occurs in Many Settings - And In Both Directions, by Joerg Dreweke:

Image1 Coercive Practices Range from Forced Abortion and Sterilization in China To Laws Impeding Women from Obtaining Abortion Services in the United States

Forcing a woman to terminate a pregnancy she wants is wrong, and so is forcing her to continue a pregnancy that she does not want, concludes a new Guttmacher Institute policy analysis. Each case violates women's basic human rights: the right to decide freely whether and when to bear a child and the right to have that decision respected by the government. . . .

October 30, 2012 in Abortion, International, Scholarship and Research | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

British Conservatives Support Reducing Abortion Availability

The New York Times: British Conservatives Play the Abortion Card, by Amelia Gentleman: Image1

LONDON — With hindsight, perhaps the most surprising thing is how long abortion has been off the political agenda in Britain. An intensely divisive political issue elsewhere, the subject rarely makes the front pages here.

All that changed this month, as a series of senior Conservative members of Parliament, from the prime minister down, indicated that they supported reducing the period in which abortions are permitted. . . .

October 30, 2012 in Abortion, International, Politics | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Serious Birth Complications on the Rise for U.S. Women

Reuters: Serious birth complications rising in the U.S., by Amy Norton:

Between 1998 and 2009, the rate of serious complications like heart attack, stroke, severe bleeding and kidney failure during or after childbirth roughly doubled among U.S. women, according to researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). . . .

October 30, 2012 in Medical News, Pregnancy & Childbirth, Reproductive Health & Safety | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)