February 8, 2013
Catholic Bishops Reject White House Compromise on Contraceptive Coverage Mandate
The New York Times: Bishops Reject Birth Control Compromise, by Robert Pear:
The nation’s Roman Catholic bishops on Thursday rejected the latest White House proposal on health insurance coverage of contraceptives, saying it did not offer enough safeguards for religious hospitals, colleges and charities that objected to providing such coverage for their employees.
The bishops said they would continue fighting the federal mandate in court. . . .
Call for Submissions: NAWL Law Student Writing Competition
National Association of Women Lawyers: 2012-13 Selma Moidel Smith Law Student Writing Competition:
The National Association of Women Lawyers (NAWL) is a national voluntary legal professional organization whose mission is the advancement of women in the legal profession and women’s rights. Since 1899, NAWL has served as an educational forum and active voice for the concerns of women lawyers in this country and abroad. NAWL continues to support and advance the interests of women in and under the law, and in so doing, supports and advances the social, political, and professional empowerment of women. Through its programs and networks, NAWL provides the tools for women in the profession to advance, prosper and enrich the profession. NAWL has established the annual Selma Moidel Smith Law Student Writing Competition to encourage and reward original law student writing on issues concerning women and the law. The rules for the competition are as follows:
Entrants should submit a paper on an issue concerning women’s rights or the status of women in the law. The most recent winning paper was “All Things Being Equal, Women Lose. Investigating the Lack of Diversity Among the Recent Appointments to the Iowa Supreme Court” written by Abigail Rury, Michigan State University School of Law.
Essays will be accepted from students enrolled at any law school during the 2012-13 school year. The essays must be the law student author’s own work and must not have been submitted for publication elsewhere. Papers written by students for coursework or independent study during the Summer, Fall or Spring semesters are eligible for submission. Notwithstanding the foregoing, students may incorporate professorial feedback as part of a course requirement or supervised writing project.
FORMAT: Essays must be double-spaced in 12-point font, Times New Roman font type. All margins must be at least one inch. Entries must not exceed fifteen (15) pages of text, excluding notes, with footnotes placed as endnotes. Citation style should conform to The Bluebook – A Uniform System of Citation. Essays longer than 15 pages of text, excluding notes, or which are not in the required format may not be read.
JUDGING: NAWL Women Lawyers Journal® designees will judge the competition. Essays will be judged based upon content, exhaustiveness of research, originality, writing style, and timeliness.
QUESTIONS: Questions regarding this competition should be addressed to the chair of the Writing Competition, Professor Jennifer Martin email@example.com.
SUBMISSION AND DEADLINE: Entries must be received by May 1, 2013. Entries received after the deadline will be considered only at the discretion of NAWL. Entries must provide a cover letter providing the title of your essay, school affiliation, email address, phone number and mailing address. Entries must be submitted in the following format: email an electronic version (in Microsoft Word or PDF format) firstname.lastname@example.org.
AWARD: The author of the winning essay will receive a cash prize of $500. NAWL will also publish the winning essay in NAWL’s Women Lawyers Journal in the summer of 2013.
President Obama Sends Video Message of Support to NARAL Dinner
Politico: President Obama sends support to abortion rights group, by Kathryn Smith:
Days after proposing a compromise on his contraceptive coverage policy, President Barack Obama sent a strong video message of support for women's right to make their own reproductive choices at a NARAL Pro-Choice America annual dinner Tuesday night.
"Tonight we celebrate the historic Roe v. Wade decision handed down 40 years ago, but we also gather to recommit ourselves to the decision's guiding principle: that women should be able to make their own choices about their bodies and their health care," the president said in a video at an anniversary celebration that also welcomed NARAL's new president, Ilyse Hogue. . . .
Scott Gaylord and Thomas Molony on Casey and Ultrasound Mandates
Scott W. Gaylord & Thomas J. Molony (both of Elon Law) have published Casey and a Woman's Right to Know: Ultrasounds, Informed Consent, and the First Amendment in the Connecticut Law Review. Here is the abstract:
Twenty years after Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey was decided, courts across the country are being called on to apply the Court’s undue burden test to novel abortion regulations. The most recent wave of regulation involves the use of ultrasound technology. Twenty-three states currently require physicians to perform, offer to perform, or follow specific protocols when performing an ultrasound prior to any abortion procedure. National attention, however, has focused on the growing number of states that require physicians to display and describe the ultrasound images to a woman seeking an abortion. Four states—Texas, North Carolina, Oklahoma, and Louisiana—have already passed such legislation, and several other states currently are considering similar bills.
The ultrasound statutes in Texas, North Carolina, and Oklahoma were immediately challenged in state and federal courts. Instead of focusing on the woman’s Fourteenth Amendment due process rights, the central issue in the federal cases has been whether physicians have a First Amendment right to be free from compelled disclosures relating to the ultrasounds. The federal courts have struggled with how to resolve these First Amendment claims within the abortion context. While the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the Texas speech-and-display statute, a North Carolina federal District Court enjoined a similar North Carolina statute.
This Article explores the split between and among the courts that have addressed the First Amendment challenges to mandatory speech-and-display requirements. In particular, the Article evaluates how Casey’s undue burden test affects the First Amendment speech rights of physicians in the abortion context. Drawing on Casey’s references to Wooley v. Maynard and Whalen v. Roe, the Article concludes that the government has broad authority to mandate disclosures designed to inform a woman’s decision about an abortion. Under Casey, mandatory speech-and-display requirements that do not impose a substantial obstacle to a woman’s exercise of her right to abortion are constitutional if they are reasonable, which Casey defines as being truthful, non-misleading, and relevant. As a result, the Article contends that courts should uphold the Texas, North Carolina, Oklahoma, and Louisiana ultrasound statutes—as well as the similar statutes being considered by state legislatures across the country—against First Amendment challenges of physicians.
February 6, 2013
Family Medical Leave Act Turns 20
Feminist Majority Foundation: Family Medical Leave Act Turns 20:
Today marks the twentieth anniversary of the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), which grants job-protected sick leave to those who are recovering or taking care of someone recovering from an illness or those who have had a new child. . . .
NYC's Teen Pregnancy Rate Has Declined Dramatically Over Past Decade
WNYC - The Brian Lehrer Show: Teen Pregnancy Down
NYC Health Commissioner Thomas Farley talks about why the city’s teen pregnancy rate has been on the decline over the past decade, and why the Bronx still has the highest rate in the country. . . .
Like the CDC data on sex among Latino/a youth, New York City's experience seems to contradict claims that providing teens with contraception will lead to increased sex, since the decline in pregnancy is attributable both to decreased rates of teen sex and increased use of contraception by sexually active teens.
February 5, 2013
CDC Data Show Latino Teens Practicing Safer Sex
Fox News Latino: Latino Youth Less Sexually Active, Using More Birth Control, by Kacy Capobres:
Latino youth in the U.S. are learning to practice safe sex. And they're also having less of it.
The latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows Latino high school students are getting smarter when it comes to sexual intercourse. . . .
Anti-Choice Efforts Have Succeeded in Eroding Abortion Access by Targeting Key States
The American Prospect: The Geography of Abortion Providers, by Clare Malone:
As a collective unit, Americans are pretty keen on the civics-class idea that life in the 6,106,012 square miles of God’s green earth that is the USA is more or less equitable for the 313,847,465 people who have hunkered down to live on the craggy coasts, fruited plains, and purple mountains filled with majesty. We’ve got proportional representation in Congress, a legal system that presumes innocence before guilt, and the ability to walk into any 7-Eleven to get a Slurpee and slice of pizza that will cost you $4 and a year of your life, which has to say something about the level playing field we’ve got going, right? . . .
"Heartbeat" Abortion Ban Rejected in Wyoming but Easily Passes Arkansas Senate
Feminist Majority Foundation: Wyoming House Rejects Heartbeat Bill:
Yesterday a Wyoming state House committee voted 5 to 3 to reject a bill that would have prohibited abortion once a fetal heartbeat can be detected. . . .
Feminist Majority Foundation: "Fetal Heartbeat" Bill Passes in AK Senate:
The Arkansas state Senate passed the Human Heartbeat Protection Act in a 28 to 6 decision Thursday. This act would require women who are seeking to terminate their pregnancies to undergo a vaginal ultrasound, reported Reuters. If the probe is able to detect a fetal heartbeat, the woman would not be allowed to undergo an abortion on the grounds that a fetus with a heartbeat is a human being. . . .
Mississippi's Sole Remaining Abortion Clinic Projects Positive Outlook on its Future
Think Progress: Mississippi's Last Abortion Clinic Sends A Message: 'We're Here, And We're Not Going Anywhere', by Tara Culp-Ressler:
Mississippi’s only remaining abortion clinic, the Jackson Women’s Health Organization, is struggling to stay open as it is faced with unnecessary, complicated restrictions imposed by the state’s Republican lawmakers. But its owners are staying positive — and they hope to send that positive message to the rest of the Jackson community, now that the clinic building has gotten a new, bright pink facelift. . . .
Obama Administration Proposes Compromise on Contraceptive Coverage in Attempt to Appease Objectors
The New York Times: White House Proposes Compromise on Contraception Coverage, by Robert Pear:
The Obama administration proposed yet another compromise on Friday in an effort to address the concerns of religious organizations that object to its policy requiring health insurance plans to cover contraceptives for women at no charge. . . .
See also: Feminist Majority Foundation: Statement of Eleanor Smeal, President of the Feminist Majority Foundation, on Proposed Policies for Contraceptive Coverage and Religious Organizations:
The Feminist Majority Foundation applauds the Obama Administration's continued commitment to women's access to contraceptive coverage under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The proposed rules released today by Health and Human Services operationalize the Obama Administration's commitment to requiring health insurance coverage under the ACA to provide birth control without co-pays or deductibles. Employees who work at religiously affiliated institutions such as hospitals and universities/colleges will be covered seamlessly by the insurance provider or plan administrator. The sole exception is narrowly construed to only houses of worship that object and can deny coverage to their employees. . . .