February 16, 2013
Maneesha Deckha on Legislating Respect for the Embryo in Canada
Maneesha Deckha (University of Victoria – Faculty of Law) has posted Legislating Respect: A Pro-Choice Feminist Analysis of Embryo Research Restrictions in Canada on SSRN. Here is the abstract:
This article investigates the impact of legislating respect and dignity for the embryo in vitro on the legal and cultural status of the embryo in utero. It evaluates the restrictions on embryo re-search in Canada’s Assisted Human Reproduction Act (AHRA) to consider whether they should receive pro-choice feminist support. Specifically, the article explores whether it is possible for feminists to accord respect to the in vitro embryo, as the AHRA attempts to do, without jeopardizing sup-port for abortion. The article canvasses the theoretical possibilities of this position by comparing the compatibility of feminist articulations of a right to abortion (bodily integrity and equality) with feminist arguments against the expansive use of embryos in research (commodification and exploitation). The article argues that it is logically compatible for feminists to promote “respect” and “dignity” for in vitro embryos while maintaining a pro-choice position on abortion. The article nevertheless cautions against feminist support for AHRA as it currently stands given that, on a practical basis, a feminist understanding of the AHRA’s restricted embryo research regime is difficult to achieve in the public sphere. The article explains why the more likely result for the public sphere will be an unqualified discourse of respect and dignity for embryos in general, which could then problematically revive the abortion debate and destabilize the non-personhood status of the in utero embryo. As a remedy, the article provides recommendations for how AHRA should be amended so as to better ensure that legislative restrictions on embryo research signal a legislative intent that respects women’s reproductive autonomy.
Dr. Tiller's Colleague Prepares to Reopen Wichita Clinic in Face of Great Opposition
The New York Times: Four Years Later, Slain Abortion Doctor’s Aide Steps Into the Void, by John Eligon:
For nearly four years the site has been abandoned, a low-slung, windowless, beige building just off a highway on the east side of town. But the overpowering smell of fresh paint inside hints of activity soon to come.
This spring, Julie Burkhart, an abortion-rights advocate who lives in Wichita, is planning to reopen the abortion clinic that occupied this space for decades, setting the stage for a re-emergence of the fiery passions that once made this conservative manufacturing town the center of the abortion battle in the United States. . . .
Alabama House to Vote on Law Attempting to Close State's Last 5 Abortion Clinics
ThinkProgress: Alabama Republicans Advance Bill to Close Last Five Abortion Clinics In The State, by Adam Peck:
Republican lawmakers in Alabama took a crucial step on Wednesday towards their goal of shuttering the state’s last five abortion clinics, advancing a bill to the full house that would impose strict requirements on abortion providers. . . .
Federal Judge Rejects Arizona's Attempt to Cut Medicaid Funds to Planned Parenthood
The Hill - Healthwatch: Judge tosses Arizona's anti-Planned Parenthood program, by Sam Baker:
A federal judge on Monday overturned Arizona's attempt to cut off federal funding to Planned Parenthood.
Arizona's law, like similar statutes in other GOP-led states, sought to cut off Planned Parenthood's access to state and federal Medicaid funds. The law instead gave a preference to clinics and providers that do not also provide abortion.
Judge Neil Wake overturned the program Monday, after issuing an injunction last year that prevented the new law from taking effect while it was being challenged in court. . . .
Record Low for U.S. Teen Births
The Hill - Healthwatch Blog: Teen births hit new low, by Elise Viebeck:
The number of teen births has continued to decline in the United States, hitting a record low between 2010 and 2011.
The new figures from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) show an 8 percent drop in teen births during that period. Just over three percent of 15- to 19-year-olds gave birth in that span. The teen birthrate peaked in 1991, researchers said. . . .
Added by LP on 2/14/13
Eoin Carolan on Ireland and Abortion
The recent death of a
woman from septicaemia following a miscarriage has focused attention on the
legal regime regulating the carrying out of abortions within Ireland. The point
of this piece is not to discuss the merits of the current controversy but
instead to provide some brief background to Ireland’s constitutional position
and to identify some of the aspects of the current regime that have given rise
to particular difficulties: an exercise which may have wider significance,
given the recent trend in various American states to follow the Irish approach
of conferring constitutional protection on the unborn.
The piece considers whether the Irish experience suggests that the ‘resolution’ of a controversial issue at the constitutional level may discourage political action by providing sufficient legal authority, however imprecise, to make legislative inaction a viable, if inefficient, option.
The piece was originally posted on the I-Connect blog.
Feminist Legal Theory Conference (March 7-8, 2013)
Join the University of Baltimore School of Law, the University of Baltimore Law Review, and the Center on Applied Feminism for the sixth annual Feminist Legal Theory Conference. There is no charge to attend, but pre-registration is requested as seating is limited.
RSVP here if you are interested in attending the full-day conference on Friday, March 8, 2013. Registrants for the full-day conference will be automatically registered for the keynote presentation.
There is also a workshop session the afternoon of March 7, 2013, which you can register for here. For additional details about the conference, including accommodations and parking information, please visit our website.
Restrictions on Telemedical Abortions: Five Facts to Remember
ThinkProgress: Five Facts to Remember as Anti-Choice Activists Launch Attack Against 'Webcam Abortions', by Tara Culp-Ressler:
Abortion opponents have rushed to introduce a slew of new abortion restrictions in the 2013 legislative session, attacking reproductive rights from all angles. But it’s not just about restricting access to existing medical procedures. Anti-choice activists are also looking ahead to the future, attempting to prevent medical technology from advancing to better accommodate women’s reproductive care. . . .
February 14, 2013
Ronald Dworkin Dies at 81
The New York Times: Ronald Dworkin, Legal Philosopher, Dies at 81, by Adam Liptak:
Ronald Dworkin, a legal philosopher and public intellectual of bracingly liberal views who insisted that morality is the touchstone of constitutional interpretation, died Thursday in London. He was 81. . . .
Professor Dworkin’s most influential book was “Law’s Empire,” on the nature and role of adjudication. It was among the most-cited books on law of the last century. He also wrote “Life’s Dominion,” on abortion, euthanasia and the questions they raise . . . .
February 13, 2013
Abortion Still Criminalized and Unsafe in Most of Latin America
The Guardian: Latin America still a bastion of draconian anti-abortion laws, by Annie Kelly:
The region has the world's highest rate of unsafe abortions, and pro-choice activists are not only up against the law, but also have to convince health professionals
In 2007, a battle was won in the bitter fight to decriminalise abortion in Latin America when Mexico City passed groundbreaking legislation that allowed any woman to access abortion on request up to 12 weeks into pregnancy.
Latin America remains a bastion of draconian anti-abortion legislation, where the termination of a pregnancy is almost universally considered a criminal act. . . .
Obama Administration's Contraceptive Mandate Compromise Gets Warmer Reception from Catholic Health Association
The Wall Street Journal - Washington Wire blog: Catholic Health Assn. Sees ‘Progress’ in Contraception Proposal, by Louise Radnofsky:
The Catholic Health Association said Wednesday that the Obama administration’s latest proposal on how employees of religiously affiliated institutions would get contraception under the 2010 health law represents “substantial progress.”
The response from the group’s president, Sister Carol Keehan, was considerably warmer than the one issued last week by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, who said the new rules “fall short.” . . .
February 11, 2013
Abortion Rights Opponents Praise Departing Pope for Anti-Abortion Stance
The Hill: Tributes to pope highlight abortion stance, by Elise Viebeck:
The outgoing pope won praise Monday for his outspoken teachings against abortion, an issue that has divided U.S. Catholics for decades.
The deeply conservative Pope Benedict XVI "unified Catholics," said Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York in a statement Monday. . . .
Young Montana Voters, Including Republicans, Lean Left on Social Issues
The New York Times: Young, Liberal and Open to Big Government, by Sheryl Gay Stolberg:
MISSOULA, Mont. — This funky college town, nestled along two rivers where five mountain ranges converge, has long been a liberal pocket, an isolated speck of blue in a deeply red state. Now Montana is electing more politicians who lean that way, thanks to a different-minded generation of young voters animated by the recession and social issues. . . .
Here in Missoula, young people who voted for Mr. Obama last year said in interviews that they would be open to voting Republican, particularly if a candidate supports same-sex marriage. Young Republicans, too, hope their party will shift on that issue.
“The social issues are hard,” said Ashley Nerbovig, a 19-year-old who backed Mr. Romney. “It’s not realistic that you can be against gay marriage and abortion.” . . .
Anti-Abortion Sentiment Declines in BritainThe Guardian: Anti-abortion feelings declining – poll, by Ben Quinn:
Survey finds that percentage of population wanting ban on abortion has fallen from 12% in 2005 to 7% today
Anti-abortion sentiment in Britain is declining, according to a YouGov poll which also found that support for keeping or even relaxing the current 24-week limit on terminations is on the rise. . . .
Bill Keller on Corporations' Attempts to Impose Religious Views Against Contraception on Their Employees
The New York Times (opinion column): The Conscience of a Corporation, by Bill Keller:
DAVID GREEN, who built a family picture-framing business into a 42-state chain of arts and crafts stores, prides himself on being the model of a conscientious Christian capitalist. His 525 Hobby Lobby stores forsake Sunday profits to give employees their biblical day of rest. The company donates to Christian counseling services and buys holiday ads that promote the faith in all its markets. Hobby Lobby has been known to stick decals over Botticelli’s naked Venus in art books it sells.
And the company’s in-house health insurance does not cover morning-after contraceptives, which Green, like many of his fellow evangelical Christians, regards as chemical abortions. . . .
This has put Hobby Lobby at the leading edge of a legal battle that poses the intriguing question: Can a corporation have a conscience? And if so, is it protected by the First Amendment. . . .
February 10, 2013
Telemedicine Embraced as "Incredible Opportunity," Except When Abortions Are Involved
Bloomberg: `Webcam Abortion’ Laws Would Ban Practice Where It Doesn’t Exist, by Esmé E. Deprez:
Almost five years ago, Amy Hagstrom Miller, the founder of Whole Woman’s Health LLC, became one of the first U.S. abortion providers to use video technology allowing doctors to prescribe drugs to end unwanted pregnancies.
Doctors at Miller’s clinic in Austin, Texas, could consult and prescribe the pills to women in McAllen, about 300 miles (483 kilometers) away on the Mexican border, via phone and videoconference. The so-called telemedicine eliminated drive time for physicians and doubled to 24 the number of days per month the service was offered. . . .
Malawi's New President Committed to Reducing Maternal Mortality
The New York Times - Opinionator: Malawi's Leader Makes Safe Childbirth Her Mission, by Courtney E. Martin:
Malawi is a country of rolling hills and marshy flatlands, where 85 percent of the population live in the countryside, most subsisting on less than $2 per person per day, typically from corn and tobacco farming. It is also a country with extremely high maternal mortality. In the U.S., 1 in 2,400 women are at risk of dying while giving birth over the course of their lives; in Malawi, it is 1 out of 36. If the country’s new president, Joyce Banda, has her way, that will soon change. . . .
Infographic on Contraceptive Coverage Under the Affordable Care Act
The Nation: Who's Paying for Your Birth Control?, by Emily Douglas:
Last week, the Obama administration updated its proposed regulations regarding birth control coverage under the Affordable Care Act. It refused to create an exemption for for-profit employers who object to provide contraceptive coverage on religious grounds, but it left a lot of people, reporters included, confused about how religiously affiliated employers would be accommodated, and who—the insurer, a third-party provider, or the federal government—would be left footing the bill for the coverage. . . .
The infographic is available here.