Reproductive Rights Prof Blog

Editor: Caitlin E. Borgmann
CUNY School of Law

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Thursday, July 31, 2014

Does Hobby Lobby Open Door To Renewed Conscience-Based Claims for Exemptions from Abortion Restrictions?

MSNBC: Satanists Aren't the Only Ones Following Hobby Lobby's Lead, by Irin Carmon:

On Monday, the Satanic Temple drew headlines for declaring that, in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, it was “asserting a religious exemption from the burden of state mandated ‘informational’ abortion materials for those who share their deeply held beliefs.”

In other words, they wanted a conscience clause from laws intended to dissuade women from having abortions by mandating an ultrasound or that a doctor impart biased or medically-inaccurate information about abortion. . . .

But the Satanists are hardly the first to use religion to make an affirmative argument for reproductive rights. For decades, pro-choice activists have been trying to make a religious claim for their view – and generally failing. . . .

But now that the Supreme Court has opened the door to more robust religious exemptions under RFRA, there might be a new opportunity for supporters of abortion rights to try their luck. . . .

July 31, 2014 in Abortion, Religion, Religion and Reproductive Rights, Supreme Court | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

UN Human Rights Report Criticizes Countries With Draconian Abortion Laws

ThinkProgress:  UN Warns Countries With Draconian Abortion Bans That They’re Violating Human Rights, by Tara Culp-Ressler:

United Nations officials are urging several countries with particularly harsh abortion bans to increase legalization of the medical procedure, pointing out their current laws could be in breach of international human rights treaties.

In its periodic reviews of member countries’ policies to ensure they’re compliant with the Geneva Conventions, the UN Human Rights Committee is recommending that Ireland and Chile update their abortion laws to ensure access for more women. Those two countries have some of the most restrictive abortion policies in the world; Chile imposes a total ban on the procedure, while Ireland has a nearly total ban with an extremely narrow exception. . . .

July 30, 2014 in Abortion, International | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Gov. Christie Urges Republicans To Soften Rhetoric, But Not Position, on Abortion

Bloomberg Business Week: Christie Call to Cool Abortion Talk Follows Curbs in N.J., by Elise Young:

Chris Christie, who last week prodded Republicans to drop anti-abortion rhetoric to appeal to more voters, has steadily weakened access to the procedure in New Jersey.

Even with a Democratic-controlled legislature committed to reproductive rights, the second-term governor’s annual funding cuts for women’s health services have prompted at least six clinics to close since 2010, according to lawmakers. . . .

July 27, 2014 in 2016 Presidential Campaign, Abortion, Politics | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Testimony Against Women's Health Protection Act Replete With Bad Science

The Hill - Contributors blog: Debunking the bad science on abortion and women's health, by Andrea Flynn:

Last week, the Senate Judiciary Committee heard testimony on the Women's Health Protection Act (WHPA), a bill that would prevent unnecessary restrictions on abortions and abortion providers. The opposition used overblown and often incorrect claims to drive home the familiar message that abortion is dangerous, bad for women and shouldn't be considered part of women's healthcare.

In the face of tireless attacks on reproductive rights, it is important to revisit those claims, set the record straight and remind the opposition of the real health threats facing too many U.S. families. . . .

July 26, 2014 in Abortion, Congress, Reproductive Health & Safety | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Conservatives Hone Anti-Abortion Messaging

The New York Times:  Conservatives Hone Script to Light a Fire Over Abortion, by Jeremy W. Peters:

It was not on the public schedule for the Republican National Committee’s spring meeting at the stately Peabody Hotel in downtown Memphis. But inside a conference room, a group of conservative women held a boot camp to strengthen an unlikely set of skills: how to talk about abortion. . . .

July 24, 2014 in Abortion, Politics | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Massachusetts Senate Passes New Abortion Clinic Protection Legislation

Reuters: Massachusetts lawmakers take up bill on abortion clinic buffer zones, by Elizabeth Barber:

Massachusetts lawmakers took up consideration on Wednesday of a bill to limit protests around abortion clinics after the U.S. Supreme Court last month struck down an earlier law that kept demonstrators at least 35 feet (9 meters) from clinic entrances.

The new bill would allow police to issue a dispersal order if at least two demonstrators are found to be blocking patient or staff access to abortion clinics. Such an order would bar protesters from coming within 25 feet (7.6 meters) of the clinic's entrance for a maximum of eight hours. . . .

Boston Herald/AP:  Senate approves abortion clinic safety bill:

The Massachusetts Senate scrambled Wednesday to pass a bill designed to tighten security around abortion clinics.

The bill, filed Monday, was the subject of a public hearing Wednesday. Hours later the full Senate approved it on a voice vote, meaning no individual votes were recorded. . . .

July 16, 2014 in Abortion, State Legislatures | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Senate Judiciary Committee Holds Hearing on Women's Health Protection Act

View the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing held today, July 15, on the Women's Health Protection Act on C-Span here.

Slate - The XX Factor blog: The Democrats’ Brilliant Idea for How to Stop Unnecessary Abortion Clinic Regulations, by Amanda Marcotte:

Democrats in the Senate on Tuesday took a major step in pushing back against the growing trend of regulations that are designed to shut down safe abortion clinics. The Senate Judiciary Committee is hearing testimony on a bill introduced by Sens. Richard Blumenthal and Tammy Baldwin, a bill that would do significant damage to anti-choice efforts to go around Roe v. Wade by regulating abortion clinics out of existence. It's called the Women's Health Protection Act, and it would end the attacks on abortion clinics through one simple measure: requiring states to regulate abortion providers in exactly the same way they do other clinics and doctors who provide comparable services. No more singling out abortion providers. . . .

The New York Times - editorial:  A Defense of Reproductive Rights:

Facing a torrent of state laws restricting access to safe and legal abortions, supporters of a woman’s right to make her own childbearing decisions have been forced to play a defensive game — trying to block enactment of the laws, and, when that doesn’t work, challenging them in court. An important hearing of the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday could begin to move the dynamics of the fight in a positive direction. . . .

July 15, 2014 in Abortion, Congress, Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP) | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, July 14, 2014

Fewer Abortion Restrictions Enacted in the First Half of 2014

Guttmacher Institute: States Continue to Enact Abortion Restrictions in First Half of 2014, But at a Lower Level Than in the Previous Years:

So far this year, 13 states have adopted 21 new restrictions designed to limit access to abortion, about half the number (41) of similar restrictions that had been enacted by this point last year. These restrictions range from requirements that abortion providers have admitting privileges at local hospitals to bans on insurance coverage to limitations on medication abortion. At the same time, and building on momentum from last year, three states moved to protect access to abortion services, while four states and the District of Columbia took steps to improve access to other reproductive health services...

Several reasons exist for the drop in abortion restrictions. Some of the decline is the result of cyclical trends, as states historically have shorter sessions in election years and some state legislatures that have been particularly active on abortion issues (Montana, Nevada, North Dakota and Texas) are not in session in even-number years (see A Surge of State Abortion Restrictions Puts Providers—and the Women They Serve—in the Crosshairs). In addition, an array of other issues (responses to the heroin epidemic, the expansion of full-benefit Medicaid as allowed by the Affordable Care Act, the common core educational initiative and minimum wage increases) moved to the front burner in many legislatures, perhaps limiting legislative attention to abortion. . . .

July 14, 2014 in Abortion, State Legislatures, Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP) | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Missouri Governor Vetoes 72-Hour Waiting Period for Abortions

ACLU press release: Nixon Vetoes Bill Forcing Women to Further Delay Abortions, Hearing Outcry from Missouri Women:

Jefferson City, Mo. – Hearing the voices of Missouri women, Governor Jay Nixon has vetoed a bill that would have forced a woman who has already met with her health care professional and decided to have an abortion to delay getting the medical care she needs for at least 3 days. Last month, women and men gathered in front of the capitol for 72 hours in protest of the bill.

"Missouri women have been clear: They are beyond fed up with legislators playing politics with their health," said Jennifer Dalven, director of the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project. "Governor Nixon has shown that he understands that extreme politicians can’t be allowed to interfere with a woman’s ability to get an abortion just because they disagree with her decision."

A woman who decides to have an abortion has already carefully considered her decision. Bills that create additional wait times force a woman to make an extra trip to the state’s only clinic. This is especially burdensome for low-income women and rural women, who often can’t take extra days off work or travel long distances.

Extremist politicians in Missouri, who are already criticizing Gov. Nixon for standing up for women’s health, continue to show they care more about politics than women. This legislative session alone, Missouri politicians introduced more than two dozen bills designed to restrict access to abortion. Earlier this year, Missouri Rep. Chuck Gatschenberger compared a woman’s decision about whether to continue a pregnancy to buying a new car or carpet. 

Talking Points Memo:  Why Gov. Jay Nixon’s Anti-Abortion Bill Veto Matters, by Robin Marty:

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon (D) has vetoed a 72-hour waiting period between an initial consultation and an abortion, stopping the state from becoming the third to implement a three-day waiting period for a pregnancy termination. While the veto is fantastic news for women who are pregnant and wants to obtain an abortion in Missouri or the surrounding area, it is even better news for reproductive rights activists overall, as it signals a noticeable shift in the political waters when it comes to opposing abortion. . . .

July 9, 2014 in Abortion, Mandatory Delay/Biased Information Laws, Politics, State and Local News | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, June 30, 2014

Concurring Opinions Offers a Round-Up of Comments on McCullen

Concurring Opinions: Nine Comments on McCullen, the Abortion Buffer Zone Case, by Ronald K.L. Collins:

I thought it might be interesting to share excerpts from some of the commentary on McCullen v. Coakley. Here are 9 views on the case. . . .

June 30, 2014 in Abortion, Anti-Choice Movement, Supreme Court | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Gail Collins on Embryonic Personhood

The New York Times - opinion column: The Eggs and Us, by Gail Collins:

The Abortion Wars Rage On

Let’s talk personhood, people.

Personhood is an anti-abortion movement that holds that life begins at conception, giving fertilized eggs all the rights of a human being. It might make it impossible to kidnap them for in-vitro fertilization. It could outlaw some forms of contraception.

Senator Rand Paul claims every fertilized egg is protected by the 14th Amendment. Many current Senate candidates are personhood supporters, including Cory Gardner, who is running a very close race in Colorado against Mark Udall.

No! Wait! Wait! Cory Gardner just changed his mind. Obviously, this is going to take a little unraveling. Give me a minute. . . .

June 28, 2014 in Abortion, Anti-Choice Movement, Contraception, In the Media | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Supreme Court Reverses First Circuit in McCullen v. Coakley

Massachusetts buffer zone is invalid.  SCOTUSblog is live-blogging the decision here.  The opinion is available here.

June 26, 2014 in Abortion, Supreme Court | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Planned Parenthood Fights NBC's Refusal to Air "Obvious Child" Trailer

The Wrap: Planned Parenthood Jumps Into ‘Obvious Child’ and NBC Abortion Flap, by Eric Czuleger:

Planned Parenthood is lashing out at NBC for refusing to air the trailer for Jenny Slate's new film,”Obvious Child.” The organization has launched an online petition to pressure the network into reversing its decision. . . .

June 24, 2014 in Abortion, Culture, Film, In the Media | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Canadian Liberal Leader Says All Liberal MPs Must Vote Pro-Choice

Canada flagThe Globe and Mail: Trudeau now says all Liberal MPs must vote pro-choice, by Daniel LeBlanc:

Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau has clarified his party’s pro-choice policy after at least one sitting MP felt he was “grand-fathered” and could continue to vote against abortion rights in Canada. . . .

June 18, 2014 in Abortion, International, Politics | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Wall Street Journal Perpetuates Myth that ACA Contraception Mandate Covers Abortions

Media Matters:  For The Wall Street Journal, It's About Abortion Even When It Isn't, by Meagan Hatcher Mays:

The Wall Street Journal is celebrating a recent Supreme Court ruling that will allow an anti-choice activist group to challenge the constitutionality of an Ohio law that bans false statements in election campaigns, a state statute that is opposed by free speech advocates across the political spectrum. But the WSJ went on to erroneously argue that the false statement at issue in the case -- that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) funds abortions -- is actually true, because contraceptives are actually "abortifacients." . . .

June 17, 2014 in Abortion, Contraception, In the Media | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, June 8, 2014

More Reviews of "Abortion Rom-Com" Obvious Child

NPR: 'Obvious Child' Tells An Abortion Story With Rom-Com Heart:

Obvious Child's story goes like this: Boy dumps girl; girl is sad; girl rebounds with nice guy she meets at a bar, and then things get complicated. Comedian Jenny Slate plays Donna, the main character:

"Donna's in her late 20s. She's a comedian in Brooklyn. ... It's going pretty well for her at the start of the film. [But then] she ends up getting dumped and fired and then pregnant all in time for Valentine's Day. ... It all really starts to circle the drain a little bit."

Slate and director Gillian Robespierre join NPR's Rachel Martin to talk about the challenges of making a romantic comedy about abortion.

Listen to the story here.  See also:

TIME:  The Obvious Question About Obvious Child: How Do You Make a Rom-Com With an Abortion?, by Lily Rothman

The Huffington Post:  'Obvious Child' Is An Abortion Rom-Com -- And The Year's Most Revolutionary Film, by Emma Gray

June 8, 2014 in Abortion, Culture, Film | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, June 6, 2014

New Report on Sex-Selective Abortions

The University of Chicago Law School International Human Rights Clinic, National Asian Pacific Women's Forum, and Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health: Replacing Myths With Facts: Sex-Selective Abortions In the United States:

Sex selection is the practice of attempting to control the sex of one’s offspring in order to achieve a desired sex. One method of sex selection is sex-selective abortion. Laws banning sex-selective abortion are proliferating in the United States. Eight states have enacted laws prohibiting sex- selective abortion. Twenty-one states and the federal government have considered such laws since 2009. Those laws prohibit the performance of an abortion if sought based on the sex of the fetus and provide for both criminal and civil penalties in most cases...

A great deal of misinformation exists regarding sex selection in the United States. We have identified six inaccuracies commonly associated with sex-selective abortion and laws prohibiting it. They appear, among other places, in statements made by legislators, testimony submitted to legislatures, and reports issued by legislative committees that have considered or adopted laws banning sex- selective abortion. We present each piece of inaccurate information as a “myth.” This Report draws on legal research, empirical analysis of U.S. birth data, field-work, and an extensive review of scholarly publications in social sciences, law and other disciplines to replace these myths with facts. . . .

June 6, 2014 in Abortion, Scholarship and Research | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, June 5, 2014

9th Circuit Panel Blocks Arizona Law Limiting Medication Abortions

Bloomberg Businessweek: Arizona Drug-Induced Abortion Limits Blocked by Court, by Karen Gulion:

Arizona’s law limiting drug-induced abortions was blocked by a federal appeals court, handing a victory to Planned Parenthood as it seeks to roll back a restriction it calls among the most stringent in the nation. . . .

A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals in San Francisco today ruled unanimously that the law places an undue burden on women’s access to abortions. The statute, while allowing surgical abortions, prohibits medicinal abortions including the use of the drug RU-486 after the seventh week of pregnancy. . . .

CharismaNews/Reuters:  Arizona Abortion-Drug Restrictions to Stay Blocked Pending Appeal, by David Schwartz:

Enforcement of Arizona regulations curbing access to abortion-inducing drugs by prohibiting off-label uses of the medication will remain on hold while a legal challenge to those rules proceeds under judicial review, a federal appeals court ruled on Tuesday. . . .

June 5, 2014 in Abortion | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Obvious Child a Rare Movie that Doesn't Avoid or Demonize Abortion

Slate - DoubleX blog: No More Shmashmortion, by Amanda Hess:

Obvious Child is the most honest abortion movie I’ve ever seen. It’s about time.

In the new movie Obvious Child, twentysomething stand-up comic Donna gets pregnant after a drunken one-night stand, loses her job, attempts to schedule an abortion at her local Planned Parenthood clinic, and—cherry on top—discovers that the only available appointment is on Feb. 14. Turns out, it’s the perfect day: This is a romantic comedy where the girl gets an abortion and gets the guy. Along the way, she doesn’t even have a change of heart, contract a nasty infection, or succumb to a tragic death. That makes Obvious Child a run-of-the-mill story for a woman in America but an exceedingly rare tale for a woman on film. . . .

June 5, 2014 in Abortion, Culture, Film | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, June 1, 2014

5 Years After Dr. Tiller's Murder, Abortion Services Have Returned to Wichita

NPR:  Abortion Services Return To Town Where George Tiller Was Murdered, by Aileen LeBlanc:

Five years ago, Dr. George Tiller was shot and killed at the Wichita, Kans., church where he was an usher. Tiller was widely known for performing abortions in late pregnancy and had become a target for protests. . . .

After Tiller's murder, his clinic — the last place in the city providing abortion services — closed. Since 2009, Kansas has also banned post-viability abortions and tightened the laws regulating procedures.

But in April of last year, South Wind Women's Center opened in the very same building where Tiller's clinic was. Executive Director Julie Burkhart worked for Tiller for seven years. Her clinic now offers abortion care for pregnancies less than 22 weeks along. . . .

June 1, 2014 in Abortion, State and Local News | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)