January 24, 2013
At Sundance Film Festival, "After Tiller" Features Four Doctors Who Perform Third-Trimester Abortions
The Los Angeles Times: Sundance Film Festival: 'After Tiller' about abortion doctors, patients, by Mark Olsen:
The documentary about four doctors who perform third-trimester abortions was screened at the festival with heavy security. Filmmakers Martha Shane and Lana Wilson wanted to show audiences how much the doctors cared about and for their patients, and talked to the women too.
PARK CITY, Utah – The Sundance Film Festival has a relaxed, down-to-earth vibe, but the atmosphere at the premiere screening of the documentary "After Tiller" was noticeably tense. . . .
In Colorado Med Mal Case, Catholic Hospital Argues Fetuses Are Not Persons
The Colorado Independent: In malpractice case, Catholic hospital argues fetuses are not people, by John Tomasic:
Lori Stodghill was 31-years old, seven-months pregnant with twin boys and feeling sick when she arrived at St. Thomas More hospital in Cañon City on New Year’s Day 2006. She was vomiting and short of breath and she passed out as she was being wheeled into an examination room. Medical staff tried to resuscitate her but, as became clear only later, a main artery feeding her lungs was clogged and the clog led to a massive heart attack. Stodghill’s obstetrician, Dr. Pelham Staples, who also happened to be the obstetrician on call for emergencies that night, never answered a page. His patient died at the hospital less than an hour after she arrived and her twins died in her womb. . . .
New Mexico Bill Would Criminalize as "Tampering with Evidence" Abortions Caused By Rape
In case anyone was under the misconception that male Republicans were getting the message about abortion and rape:
The Huffington Post: New Mexico Bill Would Criminalize Abortions After Rape as 'Tampering With Evidence', by Laura Bassett:
A Republican lawmaker in New Mexico introduced a bill on Wednesday that would legally require victims of rape to carry their pregnancies to term in order to use the fetus as evidence for a sexual assault trial. . . .
Should the Abortion Rights Movement Drop the "Pro-Choice" Label?
The Atlantic: The End of Pro-Choice: Will 'No Labels' Really Help the Abortion Debate, by Lily Rothman:
If someone told you that the director of the Washington office of Planned Parenthood had said that politicians should vote to keep abortion safe and legal, the news would not be particularly surprising. But if you heard that the same woman had referred to that brand of lawmaking as "pro-abortion," the shock factor might change. The phrase "pro-abortion" is taboo. But, in March 1975, when that Planned Parenthood higher-up, Jeannie I. Rosoff, spoke to the Wall Street Journal, her wording would not have seemed so odd—the alternative to "pro-abortion" was not in common usage yet. In fact, elsewhere that WSJ article, an edition of Alan L. Otten's "Politics & People" column, was the very first print appearance of the phrase "pro-choice". . . .
Roe v. Wade 40th Anniversary Round-Up
Adapted from Feministing: Daily Feminist Cheat Sheet: 40 years of "Roe v. Wade" Edition, by Alexandra Zbrodsky (more links provided at Feministing):
Center for Reproductive Rights (video): Happy 40th anniversary, Roe!
Another poll shows seven out of ten Americans oppose overturning Roe.
The Economist: Abortion law: Roe turns 40
Ezekiel Reis Burgin on why abortion rights are critical to him as a trans man.
Jill Filipovic on the broader implications of Roe.
Naomi Cahn and June Carbone ask: Did the pro-life movement lead to more single moms?
Let's not forget about those who risk their lives for women's autonomy.
The Nation reprints a 1973 editorial about Roe.
A New York Times op-ed reminds us of the lengths to which women will go to end untenable pregnancies.
January 22, 2013
Lynn Paltrow and Jeanne Flavin on the Policing of Pregnancy
Lynn M. Paltrow (National Advocates for Pregnant Women) & Jeanne Flavin (Fordham University) have published Arrests of and Forced Interventions on Pregnant Women in the United States, 1973-2005: Implications for Women's Legal Status and Public Health in the Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law. Here is the abstract:
In November 2011, the citizens of Mississippi voted down Proposition 26, a “personhood” measure that sought to establish separate constitutional rights for fertilized eggs, embryos, and fetuses. This proposition raised the question of whether such measures could be used as the basis for depriving pregnant women of their liberty through arrests or forced medical interventions. Over the past four decades, descriptions of selected subsets of arrests and forced interventions on pregnant women have been published. Such cases, however, have never been systematically identified and documented, nor has the basis for their deprivations of liberty been comprehensively examined. In this article we report on 413 cases from 1973 to 2005 in which a woman’s pregnancy was a necessary factor leading to attempted and actual deprivations of a woman’s physical liberty. First, we describe key characteristics of the women and the cases, including socioeconomic status and race. Second, we investigate the legal claims made to justify the arrests, detentions, and forced interventions.
Third, we explore the role played by health care providers. We conclude by discussing the implications of our findings and the likely impact of personhood measures on pregnant women’s liberty and on maternal, fetal, and child health.
Embattled Kansas Abortion Clinic Scheduled To Reopen This Spring
Controversy over the clinic in Wichita, Kansas is building as the country observes the 40th anniversary of Roe vs. Wade
Closed since 2009 after its doctor was murdered, one of the country's most embattled abortion clinics is scheduled to reopen this spring over renewed objections of abortion opponents. . . .
Mississippi Aims to Shut Down Its Last Abortion Clinic
The Atlantic: Will Mississippi Close Its Last Abortion Clinic?, by Alissa Quart:
Forty years after the Supreme Court decided Roe v. Wade, one state may be on the verge of becoming abortion-free.
. . . [Dr. Willie] Parker is an abortion provider. But he is also the plaintiff in a case that may have extreme political consequences. Jackson Women's Health Organization is the last abortion clinic in Mississippi, and state legislators are trying to shut it down: The next court date is at the end of January. Republican Governor Phil Bryant has called it "the first step in a movement, I believe, to do what we campaigned on: to say that we're going to try to end abortion in Mississippi." . . .
Caitlin Borgmann on the Anti-Abortion-Rights Movement Forty Years After Roe
Caitlin Borgmann (CUNY Law School) has posted Roe v. Wade's 40th Anniversary: A Moment of Truth for the Anti-Abortion-Rights Movement? on SSRN. Here is the abstract:
In the forty years since the Supreme Court decided Roe v. Wade, the anti-abortion-rights movement has pursued a strategy of incrementally whittling away at the right to abortion. Until the Court’s 1992 decision in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, which reaffirmed the right to abortion, the movement still harbored hopes of overturning Roe and passing a federal “Human Life Amendment” that would treat embryos and fetuses as constitutional persons. But alongside these efforts, and single-mindedly once Casey was decided, the mainstream anti-abortion-rights movement has sought to change “hearts and minds” about abortion by giving it disfavored treatment in the law through as many channels as possible. Advocates have pushed a steady stream of abortion restrictions through state legislatures, and sometimes Congress. They believe that this strategy has served to keep the issue alive in the public consciousness and will gradually turn the tide of public opinion against the procedure.
But restrictions short of a ban are not the end game for abortion-rights opponents. The incremental approach has left the movement in a sort of Zeno’s paradox, perpetually pursuing restrictions that get them only halfway from the political present to their goal, and thus never reaching it. Sooner or later, the movement will reach a moment of truth, when it must put aside the incrementalist strategy and openly pursue its goal of banning abortion altogether. Now, forty years after the Supreme Court recognized a constitutional right to abortion, that moment may have arrived. Recent state legislative sessions have suggested that the incremental approach is reaching its limits. Radicals impatient with the strategy have stepped up their fight for laws that directly challenge Roe v. Wade. For example, proposals for “personhood” measures, which would grant the full legal rights of persons to human life from the moment of fertilization, have proliferated in state legislatures and appeared on state ballots. In addition, several states have considered bills that would ban abortion from the moment the embryonic heartbeat becomes audible. Many states have enacted some or all of the Casey-approved restrictions, and advocates are running out of new incremental measures that the public is likely to accept. Roe v. Wade’s fortieth anniversary should push the incrementalists to consider whether their strategy has truly changed hearts and minds about abortion, or whether the movement has labored in vain for four decades, pointlessly layering on onerous restrictions that the public accepts, but that leave abortion still widely available in the United States.
Michael Dorf on Criticisms of Roe v. Wade
Justicia: Marking the Fortieth Anniversary of Roe v. Wade, Part One: Where Three Common Criticisms Go Wrong, by Michael C. Dorf:
Tuesday, January 22, 2013, will mark the fortieth anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court ruling that recognized a constitutional right of a woman to have an abortion. What lessons can we learn from the case and the ensuing years?
In this, the first of a two-part series on Roe, I consider three common criticisms of the ruling: (1) that the constitutional text nowhere mentions abortion; (2) that the original meaning of the Fourteenth Amendment did not encompass a right to abortion; and (3) that the courts ought to stay out of socially divisive issues. . . .
Dorf on Law: Roe v. Wade at 40: Acts, Omissions, and Abortion, by Michael C. Dorf:
On Justia's Verdict, my column today--part 1 of a 2-part series--marks the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade. Part 2 will appear next Wednesday, Jan. 23, one day after the actual 40th anniversary. In today's column, I explain why three common criticisms of Roe are either mistaken or, if credited, are not really arguments against Roe but much broader arguments against unenumerated rights and perhaps against all of judicial review. Here I want to expand a bit on one point I make in passing in the column. . . .