February 1, 2013
Call for Submissions: Sarah Weddington Prize for Student Scholarship in Reproductive Rights
Law Students for Reproductive Justice and the Center for Reproductive Rights:
Law Students for Reproductive Justice (LSRJ) and the Center for Reproductive Rights (CRR) invite submissions for the eighth annual Sarah Weddington Writing Prize for New Student Scholarship in Reproductive Rights.
The 1st place winning submission will have a presumption of publishability and will receive expedited review by New York University School of Law’s Review of Law and Social Change. Winning authors will also receive cash prizes: $750 (1st place), $500 (2nd place), or $250 (3rd place).
This year’s theme: “Economic (In)Justice of Reproductive Regulation”
LSRJ & CRR seek student scholarship exploring the economic justice implications of laws and regulations that affect reproductive health and rights in the U.S. Papers may explore a range of issues, such as: tensions between affirmative state obligations and individual rights; consequences of health insurance regulation and the needs of individuals seeking preventative and/or “elective” reproductive care (e.g. should reproductive technologies and contraception be covered, and if so, how?); the impact of state support for specific practices (e.g. breastfeeding, vaccinations, birthing options) on the ability of women and families to make decisions about their care; and the role of the state in health care regulation and funding (e.g. how will Medicaid expansion affect reproductive health access? Who is most benefitted and/or who is left out of the Affordable Care Act?). These ideas are examples of topics that would fit the theme; however, many more issues could be fruitfully explored through the lens of economic justice.
Papers should have a domestic focus, but may draw on international and comparative materials. Authors are asked to apply a reproductive justice lens and/or human rights framework to their analyses of the issues. We encourage writing that amplifies lesser heard voices, applies an intersectional approach to legal thinking, suggests innovative solutions, and/or takes into account the practical realities and the lived experiences of the people affected.
Papers must be at least 20 pages in length (not including footnotes), double-spaced in 12-point font with footnotes in 10-point font, conforming to Bluebook citation format. Only original scholarship by current law students or 2012 graduates will be accepted. Papers being considered for publication elsewhere are ineligible for the first place prize but will be considered for second and third place. Papers already contracted for publication as of March 2013 will not be accepted. Winners will be selected by an outside panel of legal and academic judges.
Can Notre Dame Challenge Federal Contraception Mandate as a "Person" Under RFRA?
The Huffington Post blog: Who Is Notre Dame?, by Kathryn Pogin & Bridgette Dunlap:
In its lawsuit challenging the federal contraceptive coverage rule, which requires most health plans to cover contraception without a co-pay, the University of Notre Dame claims to have rights under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. RFRA protects "[a] person whose religious exercise has been burdened" by the government. Such a person can seek an exemption from a law the general population must obey if she has a sincere religious belief that will be substantially burdened. The assertion that Notre Dame can sue under RFRA raises the question: Who is Notre Dame? . . .
Landmark Decision Establishing Right to Abortion in Canada Marks 25th Anniversary
The Torontoist: R v. Morgentaler, 25 Years Later, by Todd Aalgaard:
Key figures in the trial of Henry Morgentaler reflect on the evolution of social justice in Canada.
When police raided Henry Morgentaler’s Harbord Street clinic in July, 1983, no doors were kicked in. “There was a policewoman and a policeman undercover who had booked an appointment,” Dr. Robert Scott recalls, addressing a packed hall at the University of Toronto Tuesday night, at an event marking the 25th anniversary of the Supreme Court decision decriminalizing abortion. . . .
Michelle Kinsey Bruns Talks About Abortion to Catholic Teens Aboard Amtrak
Feministing: Pro-choice on Amtrak: The time I told a group of anti-choice teenagers about my abortion, by Michelle Kinsey Bruns:
The recording on my iPhone begins with ten seconds of ambient mechanical noise: the sound of an Amtrak train crossing the Potomac River, as heard from an empty, rattling vestibule between two of its cars. Then comes the click-whoosh of a door opening to one of those cars, and the rising voices of excited teenagers, arranging their luggage and settling into the seats they have just claimed. Twenty-one seconds in, very close to the microphone, there is an audible swallow. At forty-four seconds, one voice rises over the chatter: “Excuse me, please…?”
That is my voice (and my swallow). The other voices are those of fifty-five Catholic high-school students from Louisiana and their chaperones beginning their trip home from the 2013 “March for Life” in Washington. I am standing in the middle of their reserved car. I am about to tell them that I had an abortion, and I am about to tell them why. . . .
FDA Approves Plan B Vending Machine
The Hill - Healthwatch: FDA OKs Plan B vending machine, by Sam Baker:
Federal regulators will let a Pennsylvania university continue to dispense Plan B — also known as the morning-after pill — through a vending machine. . . .
January 31, 2013
Even Limited Easing of Ireland's Abortion Ban Meets Resistance
The Economist: Still restrictive:
A limited plan to ease Ireland’s laws against abortion provokes sharp debate
THE Irish Supreme Court ruled 21 years ago that abortion was legal if the risk that pregnancy might prompt suicide put the life of a woman in grave danger. The case involved a sexually abused and suicidal teenager whom the lower courts stopped from travelling to England for an abortion, a decision the Supreme Court reversed. Yet successive governments ignored the court’s decision. Ireland still has one of the rich world’s most restrictive abortion regimes. . . .
Three years ago, however, the European Court of Human Rights embarrassed the politicians into taking action by calling on Ireland to clarify its abortion law. . . .
Oregon Stands Alone Among States in Lacking Abortion Restrictions
The Washington Post - Wonkblog: All states except Oregon now limit abortion access, by Sarah Kliff:
Roe v. Wade guaranteed abortion as a legal right across the country. A separate decision two decades later, Planned Parenthood v. Casey, guaranteed states’ rights to limit access to abortion, so long as it did not pose an “undue burden” on the woman.
States have, over the past four decades, made no short use of that latter right. Only one state, Oregon, has not layered additional restrictions on top of the Roe decision. . . .
Faith and Abortion Providers
MSNBC - Melissa Harris-Perry: Faith’s role in the fight for abortion access, by Rev. Matthew Westfox:
As both a person of faith and an advocate for reproductive freedoms, I often find myself talking about the connection between religion, spirituality, and reproductive justice. We talk about religious questions raised by patients and clients, and we talk about how to use religious language in reproductive justice activism.
Yet one group seems to be left almost completely out of these conversations—abortion providers . . . .
Video available here.
Senator Coburn Seeks to Ban Abortion Coverage in All State Health Insurance Plans
The Hill - Healthwatch Blog: Coburn bill would restrict abortion in plans created by healthcare law, by Sam Baker:
Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) introduced a bill Friday to ban abortion coverage in new healthcare plans created by President Obama's reform law.
The bill would restrict multistate plans selected by the Office of Personnel Management. Two multi-state policies would be available through each state's insurance exchanges, to ensure a certain level of competition among private insurers. . . .
Linda Greenhouse on Roe's Legacy
Roe v. Wade, which legalized abortion, just turned 40. Host Neal Conan speaks with Linda Greenhouse, who covered the Supreme Court and writes in a New York Times opinion piece that it was about "the rights of doctors...acting in what they considered to be the best interest of their patients." . . .
The New York Times: Misconceptions, by Linda Greenhouse:
Francis Lorson, the longtime chief deputy clerk of the Supreme Court, once told me the following story. On a January day in the mid-1970s, he and Justice Potter Stewart were in an official car traveling from the court to the White House, where the justice was to preside at a swearing-in ceremony. As they rode along Pennsylvania Avenue, they saw a crowd heading in the opposite direction, up Capitol Hill toward the court. . . .
Ethiopian Women in Israel Were Coerced into Receiving Birth Control Shots
Feministing: Birth Control Shots Were Forced on Ethiopian Immigrants to Israel, by Alexandra Zbrodsky:
Five years after allegations were first levied, and over a month after the issue again attracted mainstream attention through the Israel Educational Television documentary “Vacuum,” the Israeli government has admitted that Ethiopian women were coerced into accepting long-acting birth control shots, likely Depo-Provera. . . .
Swedish Court Overturns Law Forcing Sterilization On Transgender People Seeking a Legal Change of Sex
Time: Transgender People in Sweden No Longer Face Forced Sterilization, by Rebecca Nelson:
Until late last week one of Europe’s most progressive nations had one of the continent’s most repressive policies on transgender people. Swedish law had required all transgender people to undergo sterilization if they want to legally change their sex. In a Dec. 19 decision, the Stockholm Administrative Court of Appeal overturned the law, declaring it unconstitutional. . . .
January 30, 2013
Arkansas Bill To Ban Insurance Coverage for Abortion Fails To Advance
Arkansas News: Bill to ban abortion coverage through insurance exchange stalls, by John Lyon & Bob Moritz:
LITTLE ROCK — A bill that would prohibit insurers from offering coverage for abortion through Arkansas’ health insurance exchange failed to clear a House committee Tuesday. . . .
New York Republicans Won't Support Governor Cuomo's Proposal to Expand Abortion Rights
The Huffington Post: New York Abortion Rights: Dean Skelos Says GOP Won't Compromise On Part of Cuomo's 'Women's Agenda', by Yancey Roy:
Sen. Dean Skelos says Republicans won't go along with a Cuomo administration proposal to expand abortion rights -- signaling that the GOP won't compromise on every high-profile issue in 2013 despite having to share Senate power with Democrats. . . .
January 28, 2013
Challenges to Contraception Mandate Likely to Reach Supreme Court
The New York Times: A Flood of Suits Fights Coverage of Birth Control, by Ethan Bronner:
In a flood of lawsuits, Roman Catholics, evangelicals and Mennonites are challenging a provision in the new health care law that requires employers to cover birth control in employee health plans — a high-stakes clash between religious freedom and health care access that appears headed to the Supreme Court. . . .
January 27, 2013
Ross Douthat on Feminism and the Anti-Abortion-Rights Movement
The New York Times (op-ed column): Divided by Abortion, United by Feminism, by Ross Douthat:
IN 1942, 71 years before last week’s Pentagon decision allowing women on the front lines of combat, the United States government established the Women’s Army Corps, with Athena as its insignia, and welcomed our country’s first female military recruits.
One of these pioneering women was a corporal from Big Spring, Tex., named Nellie Gray. . . . [T]he soldier-turned-bureaucrat-turned-lawyer helped found one of America’s most enduring mass movements, establishing an annual protest march that continues to the present day.
That protest is the March for Life, the annual rally against Roe v. Wade. . . .
Some Catholic Leaders Challenge Anti-Choice Advocates' Silence on Gun Deaths
The New York Times: In Fight Over Life, A New Call by Catholics, by Laurie Goodstein:
The March for Life in Washington on Friday renewed the annual impassioned call to end legalized abortion, 40 years after the Roe v. Wade decision. But this year, some Roman Catholic leaders and theologians are asking why so many of those who call themselves “pro-life” have been silent, or even opposed, when it comes to controlling the guns that have been used to kill and injure millions of Americans. . . .
Abortion Opponents March in Washington to Protest Roe's 40 Year Legacy
Reuters - FaithWorld blog: Washington anti-abortion marchers protest 40 years of legal abortion in the U.S.:
Anti-abortion activists marched in Washington on Friday to protest the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that made abortion legal in the United States 40 years ago.
Condemning abortion as an abuse of human rights, people from across the country participated in the March for Life that takes place annually in the nation’s capital. . . .
Medical Groups Encourage Screening for Reproductive Coercion
Medical News Today: Reproductive Coercion Common in Abusive Relationships, by Kelly Fitzgerald:
Adolescent girls and women should now be screened for reproductive coercion, a form of abuse that occurs when male partners sabotage their contraception intentionally.
This form of abuse, known as reproductive coercion, can manifest in several ways, such as deliberately giving a partner a sexually transmitted disease (STIs), forcing a partner to have an undesired abortion or pregnancy, or seizing control of a woman's contraceptive pills. . . .