November 10, 2012
Jaime King on Prenatal Genetic Testing and Abortion Politics
Jaime Staples King (Hastings College of the Law) has published Not This Child: Constitutional Questions in Regulating Non-Invasive Prenatal Genetic Diagnosis and Selective Abortion in the UCLA Law Review. Here is the abstract:
Recent developments in abortion politics and prenatal genetic testing are currently on a collision course that has the potential to change the way we think about reproduction and reproductive rights. In the fall of 2011, the first noninvasive prenatal genetic test for Down syndrome entered the commercial market, offering highly accurate prenatal genetic tests from a sample of a pregnant woman’s blood without posing a risk to the fetus or the mother. In the last five years, over fifty biotechnology start-ups have been created to offer noninvasive prenatal diagnosis (NIPD) for an ever-widening range of genetic and chromosomal conditions. Because of its noninvasive nature, relatively low cost, and early timing, NIPD has the potential to become standard prenatal care for all pregnant women, providing them information on hundreds of genetic and chromosomal characteristics of their prospective offspring soon after they discover the pregnancy. Moreover, the technological development of NIPD has occurred alongside a significant political development: A handful of states have passed or attempted to pass legislation that restricts abortion based on the reasons for which it was sought. These laws have mainly prohibited abortions sought for sex- or race-based reasons, but proposed legislation would also restrict abortions sought for a wider range of genetic conditions.
The collision of these political and technological developments raises two questions regarding reproductive autonomy: (1) whether the Fourteenth Amendment protects a woman’s right to abort a fetus for any reason; and (2) whether that protection includes the right to access genetic tests that could inform the abortion decision. This Article argues for the reaffirmation of a woman’s right to choose to abort for any reason and grounds that right in strong principles of liberty and autonomy, rather than sex equality. In the context of reproductive genetic testing, the Article identifies a legitimate state interest, previously unrecognized in abortion jurisprudence, in avoiding significant harm to society based on widespread discriminatory selective abortion. The Article then proposes a new framework for examining the regulation of reproductive genetic testing that balances the relevant state and individual interests in a novel manner.
Supreme Court Rules on Attorneys' Fees in Anti-Abortion Protestor Case
Thomson Reuters: Top court: Abortion protestor may deserve lawyer fees, by Jonathan Stempel:
The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday said anti-abortion protesters may be entitled to recover attorneys' fees from a South Carolina sheriff's office that had stopped them from displaying graphic signs showing aborted fetuses at demonstrations.
In its first decision since the 2012-2013 term officially began last month, the court reversed a ruling by the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals against Steven Lefemine and Columbia Christians for Life, which had sought to recover the fees. . . .
Summary of Ballot Results on Health Care Issues
Kaiser Health News: Health Care Issues On The Ballot: The Final Tally, by Jenny Gold:
The rich variety of health issues at stake in Tuesday’s elections included the federal health law, abortion, medical marijuana and more. Here’s a round-up of state health initiatives and the results . . .
Florida Voters Defeat Anti-Choice Initiative To Amend State Constitution
The Hill - Healthwatch Blog: Florida voters reject measure limiting abortion rights, by Elise Viebeck:
Voters in Florida defeated a measure that would amend the state
constitution to limit abortion rights and bar public funds from
supporting the procedure.
Forty-four percent of voters backed Amendment 6, according to The Associated Press — far less than the 60 percent needed for its enactment. . . .
Montana Voters Approve Initiative Requiring Parental Involvement for Abortion
Montana Kaimin: Ballot initiatives pass by wide margin, by Heather Jurva:
Montana voters approved all five ballot initiatives Tuesday, showing largely unified opinion despite controversy in the months leading to the election.
One of the measures that passed, LR120, restricts the ability of minors under the age of 16 to receive a confidential abortion. In the past, girls as young as 13 could end their pregnancies without parental involvement. For organizations such as Planned Parenthood of Montana, it is seen as a blow to the safety of young women in abusive situations. . . .
NYT Editorial on Pending Federal Appeals Court Cases Addressing Reproductive Rights
New York Times editorial: Bad Medicine for Women:
No one should expect a postelection letup in the continuing courtroom fights over state efforts to restrict women’s access to safe and legal abortions. Two important cases — one in the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, in San Francisco, the other in the Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, in Cincinnati — show how intense these battles have become and how important it is for basic women’s rights to prevail. . . .
2013 Sarah Weddington Writing Student Scholarship Prize: Call for Submissions
Law Students for Reproductive Justice (LSRJ) and the Center for Reproductive Rights (CRR): Invite Submissions for Eighth Annual Sarah Weddington Writing Prize – “Economic (In)Justice of Reproductive Regulation”:
The 1st place winning submission will have a presumption of publishability and will receive expedited review by New York University School of Law's Review of Law and Social Change. Winning authors will also receive cash prizes: $750 (1st place), $500 (2nd place), or $250 (3rd place).
LSRJ & CRR seek student scholarship exploring the economic justice implications of laws and regulations that affect reproductive health and rights in the U.S. Papers may explore a range of issues, such as: tensions between affirmative state obligations and individual rights; consequences of health insurance regulation and the needs of individuals seeking preventative and/or “elective” reproductive care (e.g. should reproductive technologies and contraception be covered, and if so, how?); the impact of state support for specific practices (e.g. breastfeeding, vaccinations, birthing options) on the ability of women and families to make decisions about their care; and the role of the state in health care regulation and funding (e.g. how will Medicaid expansion affect reproductive health access? Who is most benefitted and/or who is left out of the Affordable Care Act?). These ideas are examples of topics that would fit the theme; however, many more issues could be fruitfully explored through the lens of economic justice. . . .
(Submissions due March 4, 2013)