January 19, 2013
No End in Sight to Battle over Abortion
USA Today: Protracted fight over abortion rights comes due, by Richard Wolf:
As Roe v. Wade ruling turns 40, the latest restrictions passed by states range from required ultrasound tests before abortions to waiting periods.
Forty years after the Supreme Court legalized abortion, the constitutional right many Americans take for granted is coming under increased scrutiny.
State legislatures are passing limits on abortion-related services. More abortion providers face stepped-up regulations, and more patients face strictly worded counseling sessions or ultrasound tests. At least four states have just one clinic performing abortions. . . .
Even with the limitations, an average of 3,300 abortions are performed daily in the USA, according to the Guttmacher Institute.
"Abortions are still constitutionally protected," says Caitlin Borgmann, a City University of New York law professor who maintains a blog on reproductive rights. "They're still widely available in the U.S., and the polling has not changed." . . .
January 18, 2013
Maya Manian on Personhood Legislation
Maya Manian (University of San Francisco School of Law) has posted Personhood Legislation, Abortion Regulation, and Side Effects on Women's Health on SSRN. Here is the abstract:
State personhood laws pose a puzzle. These laws would establish fertilized eggs as persons and, by doing so, would ban all abortions. Many states have consistently supported laws restricting abortion care. Yet, thus far no personhood laws have passed. Why? This Article offers a possible explanation. I suggest that voters’ recognition of the implications of personhood legislation for health issues other than abortion has led to personhood’s defeat. In other words, opponents of personhood proposals appear to have successfully reconnected abortion to pregnancy care, contraception, fertility, and women’s health in general. Public concern over the “side effects” of personhood laws seems to have persuaded even those opposed to abortion to reject personhood legislation. If this is so, personhood opponents may have struck on a strategy that could apply more broadly. As this Article explains, various anti-abortion regulations — not just personhood laws — have deleterious “side effects” on women’s health. Focusing the public’s attention on these spillover effects could create stronger support for access to abortion care and thereby better promote women’s health across the full spectrum of women’s healthcare needs.
January 17, 2013
Virginia AG Urges People to "Go to Jail" to Protest Federal Contraception Mandate
MSNBC - The Maddow Blog: Cuccinelli to allies: 'Go to jail' over contraception access, by Steve Benen:
Former Rep. Joe Walsh (R-Ill.) told supporters this week that they should "defy and or break the law" in order to resist the Affordable Care Act. Of course, the opinions of some strange former congressman, booted out of Congress after one term, probably don't carry much weight.
How about a man who may be elected governor of Virginia later this year?. . .
The Hill - Healthwatch Blog: Planned Parenthood slams Cucinelli for protest call for protest call against birth-control mandate, by Elise Viebeck:
Planned Parenthood Virginia PAC slammed the state's attorney general Friday after he said going to jail would be an effective way to protest President Obama's birth-control mandate.
Ken Cuccinelli, a conservative Catholic who opposes the mandate, made the remark late Wednesday on an Iowa radio program. . . .
Representative Diane Black Vows to Defund Planned Parenthood
The Hill - Healtwatch Blog: Rep. Black vows to defund Planned Parenthood after latest abortion report, by Pete Kasperowicz:
Rep. Diane Black (R-Tenn.) this week vowed to continue trying to starve Planned Parenthood of federal funds after the group's latest report showed it performed a record number of abortions in its latest fiscal year.
According to Black, Planned Parenthood's latest report says the group received $542 million in taxpayer funding, nearly half of the group's revenue. She said the group performed nearly 334,000 abortions in the last fiscal year. . . .
Study Highlights Still-Untapped Promise of Medication Abortion
MSNBC: How technology can protect a woman’s right to choose, by Geoffrey Cowley:
Forty years after Roe v. Wade, the decision itself is intact, but in wide swaths of the country, safe, legal abortion looks more like a privilege than a right. Some 87% of U.S. counties lack a single abortion provider. As state legislators devise new ways to restrict women’s access, and physicians eschew the procedure to avoid threats and intimidation, the prospects for reproductive freedom can start to look bleak. But technology may yet hold a trump card. . . .
The American Journal of Public Health article is available here.
Roe at 40: Still Controversial, Or Not That Important?
It depends on whom you ask:
The New Yorker: Political Scene: Abortion Rights Forty Years After Roe v. Wade (podcast featuring Jeffrey Toobin):
Forty years after the Supreme Court’s decision in Roe v. Wade—the anniversary is on January 22nd—the debate over the case, and abortion, hasn’t cooled off. If anything, it has only become more controversial. . . .
Slate: Most Americans No Longer Think the Abortion Debate is All That Important, by Abby Ohlheiser:
Here's the main takeaway from a new Pew study on abortion: Most Americans have more important things to care about than the abortion debate. That being said, a majority are against overturning Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court's landmark decision that turns 40 this month. . . .
The Washington Post: 40 years after Roe v. Wade, abortion foes are winning -- and losing, by David Gibson:
Four decades after Roe v. Wade, the landmark Supreme Court ruling that legalized abortion, many opponents of the decision are in a celebratory mood while those backing abortion rights are glum, feeling that momentum is turning decisively against them.
Yet in reality, little has changed in the fiercest and most protracted battle of the nation’s bitter culture war. . . .
Majority of Americans Oppose Overturning Roe v. Wade
Reuters: As "Roe v. Wade" turns 40, most oppose reversing abortion ruling, by Mary Wisniewski:
Most Americans remain opposed to overturning the controversial Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade, which 40 years ago legalized abortion at least in the first three months of pregnancy, according to a poll released Wednesday.
The poll by the Pew Research Center found that 63 percent of Americans believe that Roe v. Wade should not be completely overturned, compared to 29 percent who believe it should be. . . .
The Pew report is available here.
Approaching Roe's Anniversary, Providers More Beleaguered Than Ever
Bloomberg Businessweek: How State Governments Are Regulating Away Abortion, by Esmé E. Deprez:
Intimidation, harassment, and the threat of violence used to be [abortion providers'] biggest preoccupations. . . . In recent years, however, the main threats to abortion providers have come not from noisy picketers and protests but from regulations passed in statehouses across the U.S. . . .
The Washington Post - Wonkblog: Roe at 40: 'It's never been this frightening before.', by Sarah Kliff:
On a cold morning before dawn, one of the nation’s oldest abortion clinics is getting ready for its newest patients.
Nurses lay out sterilized equipment. An assistant pulls warm blankets from the dryer. A counselor gives directions to a woman who is lost. By sunrise, patients begin arriving. One gets off a city bus with her brother. A 36-year-old mother comes with a friend. . . .
January 16, 2013
Lorana Bartels on Infant Abandonment, Neonaticide and Infanticide
Lorana Bartels (University of Canberra – School of Law and Justice) has posted Safe Haven Laws, Baby Hatches and Anonymous Hospital Birth: Examining Infant Abandonment, Neonaticide and Infanticide in Australia on SSRN. Here is the abstract:
This article considers international responses to infant abandonment, neonaticide and infanticide in the context of the recent conviction of Keli Lane for the murder of her newborn daughter and the Children’s Protection (Lawful Surrender of Newborn Child) Amendment Bill 2011 (SA). The article considers three responses currently in operation internationally: safe haven laws, baby hatches, and anonymous birth. Arguments about these models, including effectiveness, whether they target the “wrong” women, and the rights of children to know their genetic origins, are examined.
NARAL Names Ilyse Hogue as President
The Hill - Healthwatch Blog: OVERNIGHT HEALTH: NARAL gets a new president, by Sam Baker & Elise Viebeck:
One of the most prominent abortion-rights groups in the United States, NARAL Pro-Choice America, hired a new president Monday. NARAL announced that Ilyse Hogue will be taking over the reins of the organization once Nancy Keenan steps down after the upcoming 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade.
Hogue's background is in politics, not specifically the abortion-tights movement — she's worked at MoveOn.Org and Media Matters for America, and came to NARAL after helping to start an organization that supports campaign finance reform. . . .
Reining in Republicans on the Topic of Rape
The Susan B. Anthony List will train Republicans on how to discuss rape:
Feministing: Susan B. Anthony List to create training programs to help Republicans talk about rape, by Samhita Mukhopadhyay:
The only instruction that Republicans need about talking about rape these days is to…stop. Or, well, keep talking–so we can continue to learn about their curious and frightening logix about pregnancy, sex, consent, and magic uteri. I imagine Susan B. Anthony list’s training is going to be some form of–”doh, just stop talking about it!” But these fine men just can’t help themselves, because they actually believe what is coming out of their mouths. . . .
And they seem to need it:
The Hill - Healthwatch Blog: Rep. Gingrey: Todd Akin 'partly right' about rape and pregnancy, by Sam Baker:
Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-Ga.) said former Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo.) was "partly right" when he made controversial comments that women cannot become pregnant from a rape.
Akin, then the Republican Senate nominee in Missouri, said a woman cannot become pregnant from a "legitimate rape" because the female body can "shut that whole thing down."
Gingrey, who is an OB-GYN, said in a town-hall meeting that Akin was partially correct, according to a report in the Marietta (Ga.) Daily Journal. . . .