December 28, 2012
After Supreme Court Denies Emergency Relief, Hobby Lobby Faces Fines for Refusing to Comply with Contraceptive Mandate
The Hill - Healthwatch blog: Supreme Court won't block Obama health law's contraception mandate, by Sam Baker:
The Supreme Court on Wednesday refused to block the Obama administration's contraception mandate from taking effect.
Justice Sonia Sotomayor rejected a request for an emergency injunction that would have shielded employers from the mandate. . . .
CNN - Belief blog: Hobby Lobby faces millions in fines for bucking Obamacare, by Eric Marrapodi:
Craft store giant Hobby Lobby is bracing for a $1.3 million a day fine beginning January 1 for noncompliance with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, dubbed Obamacare.
The company opposes providing some contraceptives to employees through its company health care plan on religious grounds, saying some contraceptive products, like the morning after pill, equate to abortion.
After failing to receive temporary relief from the fines from the Supreme Court, Hobby Lobby announced late Thursday through its attorneys that it "will continue to provide health insurance to all qualified employees. To remain true to their faith, it is not their intention, as a company, to pay for abortion-inducing drugs." . . .
Increased Availability of Abortion Drugs May Mean More Home Abortions
The New Republic: The Rise of DIY Abortions, by Ada Calhoun:
Jennie Linn McCormack took pills to end her pregnancy and hid the fetus under her bed. Her case could change the course of abortion law in America.
. . . Determining how many American women have had home abortions is exceedingly difficult: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention does not track illegal abortions. There is no blood test for drugs like Cytotec, and so such an abortion is indistinguishable from a natural miscarriage, even to a doctor. However, the proliferation of online dispensers suggests a rising demand. . . .
Stem Cell Research Produces Small But Steady Gains
The Atlantic: 2013: Year of the Stem Cell, by Lindsay Abrams:
Researchers have already safely injected stem cells into patients with neurodegenerative diseases and spinal cord injuries -- and they've seen the potential to vastly improve lives.
. . . In 1998, when human embryonic stem cells were first isolated, we anticipated a "rush of medical advances," as The New York Times put it. That promise -- along with all of the ensuing controversy -- is still alive, has already become reality in select cases -- for example, with bone marrow transplantations -- and still has plans to live up to all of the expectations that have been set for it.
"The question now," the Times wrote then, "is what use can be made of the potentially awesome power to rejuvenate human cells." After 15 years, there are a lot of people waiting for a miracle, for the day cell-based therapy gives back what's been taken from them.
Anti-Choice Protestor Causes Disturbance in Senate
The Wall Street Journal: Anti-Abortion Protester Carried Out of Senate, by Michael R. Crittenden:
An anti-abortion protester was carried shirtless from the U.S. Senate chamber early Friday afternoon after causing a disturbance just after lawmakers adjourned for lunch. . . .
Michigan Governor Signs New Abortion Restrictions Into Law
Reuters: Governor signs new law for abortion clinics in Michigan, by James B. Kelleher:
Michigan's Republican governor on Friday signed into law new rules for abortion providers that supporters say will protect the health of pregnant women but critics say will shutter clinics and restrict access. . . .
December 23, 2012
Andrew Koppelman on Abortion and the Thirteenth Amendment
Andrew Koppelman (Northwestern University School of Law) has posted Originalism, Abortion, and the Thirteenth Amendment on SSRN. Here is the abstract:
Does an originalist reading of the Thirteenth Amendment support a right to abortion? Not long ago a negative answer seemed obvious enough to make the question silly. Since then, however, originalism has become more sophisticated. It is now understood that original meaning, not original intent, is the most appropriate originalist source of constitutional law. The original meaning of constitutional language sometimes focuses on paradigm cases: specific evils that the Constitution aims to keep from recurring. The Thirteenth Amendment’s purpose is to end the specific institution of antebellum slavery. A ban on abortion would do to women what slavery did to the women who were enslaved: compel them to bear children against their will.