Reproductive Rights Prof Blog

Editor: Caitlin E. Borgmann
CUNY School of Law

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Saturday, November 17, 2012

Do "Pro-Life" Legislators and Advocates Really Want to Ban Abortion?

Slate - XX Factor: "Pro-Life" GOP Congressman Scott DesJarlais Sure Likes Abortion, by Amanda Marcotte:

It doesn't quite seem right to call Republican Rep. Scott DesJarlais a hypocrite. Yes, the anti-abortion congressman pressured one of his multitudes of mistresses to have an abortion and,as has now been reported, supported his then-wife in having two more, and then turned around and ran for office while portraying himself as a "pro-life" family man. But the "pro-life family man" motif has always been just a genteel cover for base sexism, a way of putting a positive spin on the belief that women are a second class of human, put on earth to serve men—making DesJarlais simply an enthusiastic advocate of his own worldview. . . .

November 17, 2012 in Abortion, Abortion Bans, Anti-Choice Movement, Congress | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, November 16, 2012

Indians Express Outrage Over Death of Woman Denied Abortion in Ireland

The Los Angeles Times: Outrage in India over death of woman denied an abortion in Ireland, by Emily Alpert:

Outrage over the death of an Indian woman denied an abortion in Ireland resounded in her home country this week, as politicians and her grieving parents demanded changes in Irish laws. 

"We should lodge a very strong protest with the Irish authorities as they are responsible for committing a crime which resulted in loss of a human life," politician Brinda Karat told the Press Trust of India. “They preferred to sacrifice the young woman's life rather than to do something which [would] have gone against their religious belief." . . .

November 16, 2012 in Abortion, Abortion Bans, International, Religion and Reproductive Rights, Reproductive Health & Safety | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Rasmussen Post-Election Survey Shows More People Identifying as Pro-Choice

Rasmussen Reports: 54% Are Pro-Choice, 38% Pro-Life:

More voters than ever now identify themselves as pro-choice when it comes to abortion, and most rate the issue as important to how they vote.

The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey of Likely U.S. Voters shows that 54% describe themselves as pro-choice on the issue of abortion, while 38% say they are pro-life. (To see survey question wording, click here.) . . .

November 16, 2012 in 2012 Presidential Campaign, Abortion, Anti-Choice Movement | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Study Examines What Happens When Women Are Denied Abortions

care2 blog: Women Denied Abortion More Likely To End Up On Welfare, by Jessica Pieklo:

As abortion access has grown increasingly more restricted across the country a new report has, for the first time, quantified what happens when women who need abortions are denied them. The answers are grim.

Researchers from the University of San Francisco, California launched the Global Turnaway Study that documented the experiences of women who were seeking to terminate a pregnancy but were turned away from abortion services. The study found these women were three times more likely than women who successfully obtained abortions to fall below the poverty live within the next two years. Other take-aways from the study include the findings that 76 percent of those who were turned away already received some form of public assistance and 67 percent of those turned away were below the poverty line. . . .

November 16, 2012 in Abortion, Abortion Bans, Poverty, Scholarship and Research | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Contraception is a Human Right, Not a "Gift"

Slate - XX Factor blog: Romney Calls Contraception a "Gift" Just As the U.N. Declares It a Right, by Amanda Marcotte:

Will Saletan here at Slate wrote an excellent piece recapping Romney's latest encounter with his mortal enemy, the recording device. Romney, while speaking to his disappointed donors yesterday, was recorded blaming his loss on the teeming masses with all their incessant demands for wanting extravagant luxuries that can only be properly handled by their social betters, such as health care and the right to live in the same country they grew up in. . . .

November 15, 2012 in 2012 Presidential Campaign, Contraception, Politics | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Irish Government Pledges to "Clarify" Abortion Laws Following Woman's Death

Reuters: Ireland to clarify abortion rules after woman's death, by Conor Humphries & Lorraine Turner:

Ireland's government pledged on Thursday to clarify its abortion laws after an Indian woman who was refused a termination died from blood poisoning in an Irish hospital.

Thousands took to the streets to protest on Wednesday after news broke of the death of Savita Halappanavar of septicemia following a miscarriage 17 weeks into her pregnancy. . . .

November 15, 2012 in Abortion Bans, International, Reproductive Health & Safety | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

"On Having Fun and Raising Hell" - A Symposium Honoring Ann Scales

Via Feminist Law Professors:  

“On Having Fun & Raising Hell” *
Symposium honoring the work of Professor Ann Scales
Saturday, March 30, 2013
Join the University of Denver Sturm College of Law to honor the life and work of Professor Ann Scales (1952-2012), author of many influential works including “Towards a Feminist Jurisprudence,” “The Emergence of Feminist Jurisprudence” and Legal Feminism: Activism, Lawyering and Legal Theory.

Keynote Speakers: Kathryn Abrams, UC Berkeley Law School & Katherine Franke, Columbia School of Law

For more information, please contact Stefanie Carroll at scarroll@law.du.edu or 303.871.6076. Registration information coming in December. 

* “Have fun.  Raise hell.  Question everything.  Celebrate difference.”  – Ann Scales

November 15, 2012 in Conferences and Symposia, Law School | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Planned Parenthood Vindicated in November Election

The Washington Post - Election 2012 blog: Revenge of Planned Parenthood, by Rachel Weiner:

Since early last year, Planned Parenthood has been under siege. Republicans in the House attempted to end federal funding for the family planning group; legislators around the country cut funds. Abortion restrictions increased. In the Republican presidential primaries, Mitt Romney promised to defund the group. 

But in the face of increased opposition, Planned Parenthood found newly intense supporters. And the organization succeeded in widening the debate to include not just abortion but cancer screenings and contraceptives. In last week’s election, results and exit polls suggest, the group won. . . .

November 14, 2012 in Abortion, Congress, Contraception, Politics | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Woman Dies in Irish Hospital After Her Request for a Life-Saving Abortion is Denied

BBC News: Woman dies after abortion request 'refused' as Galway hospital, by Shane Harrison:

The husband of a pregnant woman who died in an Irish hospital has said he has no doubt she would be alive if she had been allowed an abortion.

Savita Halappanavar's family said she asked several times for her pregnancy to be terminated because she had severe back pain and was miscarrying. . . .

TIME: Ireland Abortion Scandal: Death of a Pregnant Woman Prompts Soul-Searching, by Sorcha Pollak:

The death of an Indian woman who was allegedly refused an abortion even though her life appeared to her and her husband to be in danger has prompted Irish abortion rights activists to protest in several cities around the predominantly Catholic country. The public announcement on Nov. 14 of the woman’s death, which occurred last month in a hospital in the city of Galway, coincides with the release of a report commissioned by the Irish government into whether Ireland’s strict abortion laws should be liberalized. . . .

November 14, 2012 in Abortion, Abortion Bans, International, Reproductive Health & Safety | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Ireland Feels Pressure for Abortion Reform from a Variety of Fronts

TIME: Ireland's Abortion Debate Heats Up, by Sorcha Pollak:  Image1 

The first clinic offering abortions on the island of Ireland opened its doors in the Northern Irish city of Belfast on Oct. 18, but the 400 pro-life protesters gathered outside were determined that no abortion procedures would happen there that day. Buses full of antiabortion demonstrators stood on the sidewalks carrying banners and placards outside the clinic, which is operated by Marie Stopes International, a U.K.-based organization that works worldwide providing reproductive- and sexual-health care services. “We knew we couldn’t sit back and live in a country where unborn babies were being violently destroyed every day,” says Bernadette Smyth, founder of Precious Life, a Northern Irish pro-life group, speaking after her organization’s participation in the protests. “The question of abortions is not a health issue, it’s a criminal one. Marie Stopes will be carrying out abortions illegally.” . . .

November 13, 2012 in Abortion, Abortion Bans, International, Sexual Assault | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Frederick Gedicks on the ACA’s Contraception Coverage Mandate

Frederick Mark Gedicks (Brigham Young University – J.Reuben Clark Law School) has posted With Religious Liberty for All: A Defense of the Affordable Care Act's Contraception Coverage Mandate on SSRN. Here is the abstract:

Image1 The “contraception mandate” of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 poses a straightforward question for religious liberty jurisprudence: Must government excuse a believer from complying with a religiously burdensome law, when doing so would violate the liberty of others by imposing on them the costs and consequences of religious beliefs that they do not share? To ask this question is to answer it: One's religious liberty does not include the right to interfere with the liberty of others, and thus religious liberty may not be used by a religious employer to force employees to pay the costs of anti-contraception beliefs that they do not share.

That the free exercise of religion is fundamental constitutional right is not in doubt. But access to contraceptives is also fundamental. Such access, moreover, is a critical component of the well-being and advancement of women, enabling them to time and space their pregnancies, thereby enhancing their own health (and that of their new-born children) and facilitating their participation in the workforce on more equal terms with men.

Contraception nevertheless remains a significant expense beyond the reach of many women who lack insurance coverage or whose health insurance plans do not cover contraceptives or do so only with substantial patient cost-sharing. This is a financial obstacle to the use of contraception by working-class and lower-income women, and simple economics suggests that women of all but the highest income levels are likely to use contraceptives more often and more consistently when they can obtain them at no cost.

The rhetoric of those challenging the mandate charges federal violation of the free exercise rights of religious employers, usually without mentioning the substantial federal interests in protecting the religious liberty and enlarging the access to contraceptives of employees who do not share their employer’s religious values. The contraception mandate strikes a sensible balance of these competing liberty interests by generally exempting only religious persons and organizations who do not externalize the costs of their religious beliefs and practices onto others who do not share them.

The contraception mandate does not violate the rights of religious employers under either the Religion Clauses of the First Amendment or the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. The mandate is a “religiously neutral, generally applicable” law that does not discriminate against religious employers, does not entangle government in disputes about theology or internal church governance, and does not “substantially” burden the free exercise of religion by nonexempt religious employers. The mandate is additionally justified as the least restrictive means of protecting compelling government interests in public health and gender equity. Finally, while all these conclusions apply fully to religious nonprofit organizations, they apply with special force to religious owners of for-profit businesses operating in commercial markets.

November 13, 2012 in Congress, Contraception, Religion and Reproductive Rights, Scholarship and Research | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, November 12, 2012

Eric Engle on U.S. and German Surrogacy Law

Eric Engle (Humboldt University of Berlin – Faculty of Law) has posted Eizellenspende & Leihmutterschaft: Eine Rechtsvergleichung: Zweisprachig (Egg Donation and Surrogate Mothers: A Legal Comparison: Bi-Lingual) on SSRN. Here is the abstract:

Dieser Aufsatz ist zweisprachig. Er vergleicht U.S. amerikanisches Recht mit dem Deutschen im Bezug auf der Leihmutterschaft und Eizellenspende. Der rechtsvergleichende Wortschatz die ich hier vorstelle ist genau und richtig.

The topic is egg donation and surrogate motherhood. The U.S. and German law in this field are fairly different, so the comparative topic is scientifically useful.

This is a bilingual parallel text: the information is presented in English and German side by side, so that the essay teaches language as well as law. It proposes good equivalent technical terminology in both languages.

November 12, 2012 in Assisted Reproduction, International, Scholarship and Research | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Parental Guardians of Mentally Disabled Pregnant Woman Seek Nevada Supreme Court's Help in Support of Their Decision Against Abortion

The Los Angeles Times: In abortion fight, disabled woman's parents turn to Nevada high court, by John M. Glionna:

Scales of justiceThe parental guardians of a 32-year-old pregnant disabled woman have asked the Nevada Supreme Court to block a judge from holding hearings that antiabortion activists believe could end in the termination of the woman’s pregnancy.

The couple on Friday filed a motion asking the state’s highest court to halt the proceedings by Washoe County District Judge Egan Walker, saying he lacks authority to make such a decision for their mentally impaired daughter, who officials say has the mental capacity of a 6-year-old. . . .

November 12, 2012 in Abortion, In the Courts, Religion and Reproductive Rights, State and Local News | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Christian Conservatives See Need to Regroup Following Election

The New York Times: Christian Right Failed to Sway Voters on Issues, by Laurie Goodstein:

Christian conservatives, for more than two decades a pivotal force in American politics, are grappling with Election Day results that repudiated their influence and suggested that the cultural tide — especially on gay issues — has shifted against them.

They are reeling not only from the loss of the presidency, but from what many of them see as a rejection of their agenda. They lost fights againstsame-sex marriage in all four states where it was on the ballot, and saw anti-abortion-rights Senate candidates defeated and two states vote to legalize marijuana for recreational use. . . .

November 12, 2012 in 2012 Presidential Campaign, Abortion, Congress, Politics, Religion, Sexuality | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Susan B. Anthony List Pres. Says Romney Should Have Been More Aggressive on Abortion

The Hill - Healtwatch Blog:  Social conservatives say Romney should have hit harder on abortion, by Sam Baker:

Mitt Romney should have spent more time debating President Obama on abortion, a leading abortion-rights opponent said Wednesday.

Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List, said Romney took a weak position on abortion that set the tone for Senate candidates. She said Romney was "wobbly" on social issues and called on conservatives to redouble their focus on abortion. . . .

November 12, 2012 in 2012 Presidential Campaign, Abortion, Politics | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Mark Osler on the Legal Significance of Viability in Roe v. Wade

Mark William Osler (University of St. Thomas School of Law) has posted Roe's Ragged Remnant: Viability on SSRN. Here is the abstract: Image1

In "Roe's Ragged Fringe," the consequences of one odd choice made in Roe v. Wade are explored. In Roe, the majority chose viability as the threshold at which the state's interest in the fetus became significant enough to allow abortion to be barred. However, it chose a different threshold, birth, as the point at which the unborn child itself gained any rights. This article assails the illogic of choosing two points in time to describe the same essential event. At the very least, personhood rights should attach to the unborn child at viability, as at that point the pregnancy can be terminated without an abortion -- through a live birth. The essential trade-off changes from being between freedom of the mother versus the life of the child, to the cost of the premature birth versus the life of the child; a very different calculus. This article urges that this oddity be corrected, and viability be seen as a crucial threshold not only for the interests of the state, but the interests of the child.

November 11, 2012 in Abortion, Fetal Rights, Scholarship and Research | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)