December 1, 2012
ACLU Files Lawsuit Challenging Georgia Abortion Ban
ACLU press release: ACLU Files Lawsuit Challenging Georgia Abortion Ban:
ATLANTA – The American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Georgia filed a lawsuit today challenging a Georgia law banning pre-viability abortions. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of three Georgia obstetrician-gynecologists whose patients include women in need of this essential medical care. The doctors are suing so that they can continue to keep their patients safe.
The law criminalizes virtually all abortions starting at 20 weeks of pregnancy, and contains only the narrowest exception for medical emergencies.
“Politicians should have no say in a woman’s most private medical decisions,” said Alexa Kolbi-Molinas, staff attorney with the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project. “A woman should have the peace of mind of knowing that no matter what unanticipated problems arise during pregnancy, she’ll be able to make the best decision for herself and her family.”
The ban would force a physician caring for a woman with a high-risk pregnancy to wait for her condition to deteriorate until she was in a medical emergency before offering her abortion care to protect her health.
“Our elected officials should be more interested in passing laws that ensure women have access to necessary medical services, not blocking access to them,” said Chad Brock, staff attorney with the ACLU of Georgia. “This law places a woman in danger by limiting her ability to receive urgent care.”
Although very few abortions occur after 20 weeks, a woman who has an abortion at this point does so for a variety of reasons, including the fact that continuing the pregnancy poses a threat to her health, that the fetus has been diagnosed with a medical condition or anomaly, or that the pregnancy has failed, and miscarriage is inevitable.
Sherry Colb on Analogizing Abortion to the Holocaust
Dorf on Law: The Limits of Analogies, by Sherry F. Colb:
In my Verdict column for this week, I discuss a European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) decision upholding a German court's injunction against the publication by PETA (the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) - Deutschland (PETA-D) of a series of posters that compare the animal cruelty and slaughter of the animal-based food industry to the Holocaust. In my column, I take up three questions: (1) Was the PETA campaign strategically wise?, (2) Does comparing nonhuman animal victims to human victims necessarily insult or degrade the status of the humans?, and (3) Might the offense that people take reflect something less noble than an identification with human victims of the Holocaust?
November 29, 2012
Mississippi's Lone Abortion Clinic Renews Challenge to Restrictive State Law
The Clarion Ledger: Mississippi abortion clinic fights to stay open, by Emily Le Coz:
After failing to obtain hospital admitting privileges for its abortion providers despite a months-long effort, the Jackson Women's Health Organization on Wednesday renewed its request for a federal judge to block enforcement of a new state law. . . .
OB-GYNs Announce Support for Sale of Oral Contraceptives Over the Counter
Slate: OB-GYNs Back Over-the-Counter Birth Control, but Hurdles Remain, by Abby Ohlheiser:
The nation's largest group of obstetricians and gynecologists announced yesterday that oral contraceptives are safe to sell without a prescription, a huge boon for advocates of increasing contraceptive accessibility. . . .
Center for Reproductive Rights: Director of Government Relations Search
Center for Reproductive Rights:
Director of Government Relations, Washington, DC
11.28.12 - Job Title: Director of Government Relations
Department: Government Relations (based in Washington, DC)
Job Posted On: Wednesday, November 28, 2012
A Rundown of Court Challenges to the Federal Contraception Mandate
Politico: Obamacare's many contraception lawsuits, by Kathryn Smith:
War on women — meet war on religious employers.
The first battle played out in the voting booth.
The second is unfolding in the courts — and the Supreme Court may eventually weigh in on questions about constitutionally protected religious freedom, the public good and whether secular corporations can be, as one judge put it, the “alter ego” of their religious owners.
Dozens of lawsuits have been filed in protest of the Obama administration’s policy that most employers include no-cost coverage of FDA-approved prescription contraceptives in health plans. . . .
China Reconsiders One-Child Policy
Reuters: China considers easing family planning rules, by Michael Martina:
China is considering changes to its one-child policy, a former family planning official said, with government advisory bodies drafting proposals in the face of a rapidly ageing society in the world's most populous nation. . . .
State Laws Are Calling for Anti-Abortion Material to be Showcased on State Websites
Lincoln Journal Star: Anti-abortion group wants ultrasound images on state website, by Kevin O’Hanlon:
An anti-abortion group wants Nebraska lawmakers to pass legislation that requires four-dimensional ultrasound images of human fetuses to be posted on a state website.
So-called 4-D ultrasounds take images of the fetus from several angles, showing such things as facial features and capturing movement.
Nebraska Right to Life said Tuesday it has been in contact with Kansans for Life about legislation passed in Kansas that resulted in such images being shown on that state's Department of Health and Environment website as part of its "informed consent on abortion" statute. . . .
Arizona Daily Sun: Website details abortion risks, by Howard Fischer:
PHOENIX -- State health officials are implementing parts of a controversial abortion law even as one section is being challenged in court.
The Department of Health Services this past week erected a website designed to give those considering an abortion a list of things that can go wrong. The site, mandated by lawmakers and the governor earlier this year, also has an ever-developing list of services available to women who decide to keep their babies, from adoption services to diaper banks. . . .
McCain Says GOP Should Leave Abortion Alone
Slate Magazine – blog: McCain on Abortion: "Leave the Issue Alone", by Slate V Staff:
After a series of ham-fisted, politically damaging comments about abortion ensnared Republicans running for Congress, John McCain has perhaps stated the obvious: The GOP should “leave the issue alone.” . . .
Michigan Legislature Considers Measure to Allow Fetuses to be Claimed as Dependents for Tax Purposes
Feminist Majority Foundation - Feminist Daily News: Michigan Considering Fetus to Qualify as a Dependent:
Lawmakers in Michigan are considering allowing fetuses that are at least 12 weeks in gestation to qualify as a dependent under the state's tax law. Two House Bills, HB 5684 and HB 5685, have been proposed in the Michigan House Tax Policy committee and were debated last week. The measures were originally scheduled to be discussed further today, however several committee members are not ready to vote on them, according toMLive. . . .
Courtney Joslin on Marriage, Biology, and Federal Benefits
This Article approaches the
topic of same-sex marriage from a novel perspective by scrutinizing the
historical accuracy of primary defense proffered by same-sex marriage opponents
– “responsible procreation.” In the context of challenges to Section 3 of DOMA,
responsible procreation posits that the federal government’s historic purpose
in extending marital benefits is to single out and specially support families
with biologically-related children. Because same-sex couples cannot fulfill
this long-standing purpose, it is permissible to deny them all federal marital
rights and obligations. While advocates disagree about whether and to what
extent DOMA furthers this alleged federal interest, to date, all sides have
accepted this historical account.
This Article is the first to interrogate the accuracy of this account. To do so, the Article examines two of the largest and most important federal benefits programs – Social Security benefits and benefits for active and retired members of the U.S. military. This analysis demonstrates that Congress has not and does not condition the receipt of federal family-based benefits on biological parent-child relationships. To the contrary, Congress long has implicitly and explicitly extended such benefits to families with children known to be biologically unrelated to one or both of their parents. This Article thus reveals that responsible procreation is based on myth, not history and tradition.
Professor of Religious Studies Reflects Upon Personal Experiences and Abortion Debate in Ireland
The Huffington Post (Blog): My Two Abortions, by Kate Blanchard:
I read the news of the death of 31-year-old Savita Halappanavar with horror and grief. She died because she had the misfortune of having an incomplete miscarriage in Ireland, where -- as good Catholics -- they prioritized the dying fetus's heartbeat over the living, breathing, walking, working, loving, would-be mother's suffering, and ultimately, over her life. . . .
Detailed Florida Department of Health Sex Survey Raises Concerns
HuffPost Miami: Florida Mails 'Offensive' Sex Survey to Young Women, by Brittany Wallman:
If you thought your friends were nosy about your sex life, wait until you see what the state wants to know.
Florida's Department of Health is asking for intimate details of the sex lives of 4,100 young women, and offering $10 gift cards in return.
State officials said the unprecedented $45,000 survey will help them understand women's need for and approach to family-planning services. . . .
American Academy of Pediatrics Supports Increased Access to Plan B for Teens
Feminist Majority Foundation - Feminist Daily News: AAP Advocates Plan B Access for Teens:
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) released new policy guidelines today in support of increasing access to emergency contraception among teenage girls.
Currently young women under the age of 17 must have a prescription in order to get emergency contraception such as Plan B. This restricts access to young women and girls who can't get a prescription after unprotected sex in time to use emergency contraception effectively or are afraid that a doctor will tell their parents. The new AAP policy encourages that pediatricians write a prescription for young women of reproductive age in advance of any sexual activity, along with educating pediatricians about various emergency contraceptive methods including "off-label" combinations of oral contraceptives. . . .
November 27, 2012
NY Archbishop Promotes Sainthood for Social Activist Who Received Abortion, But Later Adopted Church's Position
The New York Times: In Hero of the Catholic Left, a Conservative Cardinal Sees a Saint, by Sharon Otterman:
Dorothy Day is a hero of the Catholic left, a fiery 20th-century social activist who protested war, supported labor strikes and lived voluntarily in poverty as she cared for the needy.
But Day has found a seemingly unlikely champion in New York’s conservative archbishop, CardinalTimothy M. Dolan, who has breathed new life into an effort to declare the Brooklyn native a saint. . . .
Courts Address Gay "Conversion Therapy"
The New York Times: Gay ‘Conversion Therapy’ Faces Test in Courts, by Eric Eckholm:
Gay “conversion therapy,” which claims to help men overcome unwanted same-sex attractions but has been widely attacked as unscientific and harmful, is facing its first tests in the courtroom.
In New Jersey on Tuesday, four gay men who tried the therapy filed a civil suit against a prominent counseling group, charging it with deceptive practices under the state’s Consumer Fraud Act. . . .
Virginia State GOP Leaders Poised To Drop Fetal Personhood Effort
The Examiner: Virginia Republicans to let 'personhood' bill die this week, by Steve Contorno:
A late effort to bring new life to a bill which would grant a fetus the same rights as an everyday citizen has likely failed, an early sign that Virginia Republicans may be less inclined to press forward on controversial social issues that overshadowed this year's session when they return to Richmond in January. . . .
The Huffington Post: Bob Marshall: Virginia GOP Pressures Me '7 Days A Week' To Drop Anti-Abortion Agenda, by Laura Bassett:
Virginia Del. Bob Marshall (R-Prince William), the author of the state's fetal personhood bill, says he has always been a bit of a thorn in the side of the mainstream Republican Party. But since the 2012 election, he said, the party is "more overtly gun-shy" about dealing with abortion, and the pressure from GOP leadership to back off of his socially conservative agenda is constant. . . .