Reproductive Rights Prof Blog

Editor: Caitlin E. Borgmann
CUNY School of Law

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Monday, March 23, 2015

New Abortion Language in Medicare Bill Seems to Satisfy House Democrats

The Washington Post/AP: House Dems say new abortion language helps Medicare doc deal, by Alan Fram:

Language has been added to an emerging bipartisan deal on Medicare clarifying that the agreement’s abortion restrictions on community health centers are temporary and won’t be inscribed into permanent law, House Democrats said Monday.

The Democrats said they believe the new provisions will ease concerns that have threatened Democratic support for the overall package, which is mostly aimed at protecting doctors who treat Medicare patients from imminent, deep cuts. . . .

March 23, 2015 in Abortion, Congress | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, March 21, 2015

ACLU Challenges Alabama Law that Puts Teens Seeking Abortions on Trial

Associated Press: Ala. Abortion Law Lets Judges Appoint Lawyers for Fetuses, by Kim Chandler: 

The American Civil Liberties Union on Wednesday asked a federal judge to block an Alabama law that allows a fetus to be represented in court when a minor is seeking judicial permission for an abortion.

While abortion opponents have rolled out a variety of new restrictions on abortion in recent years - including new requirements on clinics and doctors - ACLU staff attorney Andrew Beck said the Alabama law was unique. . . .

 Here's the Daily Show's take on it (from January):

March 21, 2015 in Abortion, Fetal Rights, In the Courts, State Legislatures, Teenagers and Children | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, March 15, 2015

GOP Holds Loretta Lynch Confirmation Vote Hostage over Unrelated Abortion Flap

The Christian Science Monitor: McConnell vows: no vote on attorney general until abortion flap solved, by Mark Sappenfield:

Mitch McConnell said Sunday that the Senate would not vote on attorney general nominee Loretta Lynch until another bill has been dealt with first. But that bill appears to have hit an impasse over abortion.

President Obama’s nominee to be the next United States attorney general apparently will have to wait until Senate Democrats and Republicans can figure out abortion.

That could be a long wait.

It’s not that she said something controversial about abortion at confirmation hearings. In fact, the abortion issue has nothing at all to do with Loretta Lynch. . . .

March 15, 2015 in Abortion, Congress | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Senate Republicans Jeopardize Human Trafficking Bill with Anti-Abortion Provision

Politico: How abortion politics scuttled a human-trafficking bill, by Burgess Everett & Seung Min Kim:

It’s a cause any politician would have a hard time opposing: cracking down on human trafficking.

Instead, in a breakdown sensational even by Senate standards, a bill to address the issue is set to go down in a partisan firefight. The cause of the row? Democrats didn’t read the 68-page bill to discover its provisions dealing with abortion, and Republicans didn’t disclose the abortion language when Democratic staffers asked them for a summary of the legislation.

The spectacle has infuriated groups that advocate for cracking down on sex trafficking and left Democrats and Republicans even more skeptical of whether they can trust each other. . . .

March 14, 2015 in Abortion, Congress | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Anti-Choice Legislators Oppose Successful Colorado Contraception Program by Conflating Birth Control and Abortion

NPR: Colorado Debates Whether IUDs Are Contraception Or Abortion, by Megan Verlee:

A popular contraception program in Colorado is receiving criticism from conservative lawmakers who say that the program's use of intrauterine devices, or IUDs, qualify as abortions.

More than 30,000 women in Colorado have gotten a device because of the state program, the Colorado Family Planning Initiative. An IUD normally costs between $500 and several thousand dollars. Through the program women could receive one for free. . . .

State health director Larry Wolk says that the program has largely been a success. "Our teen birth rate has dropped 40 percent over the last four years," says Wolk. "The decline in teen births has been accompanied by a 34 percent drop in abortions among teens." . . .

_________________________________

Oh dear.  Contraception/abortion conflation strikes again.  Recent research shows that IUDs' primary mechanism is pre-fertilization.  For example, this article from American Family Physician advises:

. . . When discussing the mechanism of IUDs as part of the informed consent process, patients may be told that although prefertilization and postfertilization mechanisms may both contribute to the contraceptive effectiveness of IUDs, research suggests that the majority of effects occur prefertilization. . . .

Moreover, regardless of the mechanism, IUDs don't cause "abortions."  Doctors define pregnancy as beginning at implantation, not before.  That makes sense, especially given that about half of all fertilized eggs never successfully implant.  (You don't see anti-choice advocates lamenting the loss of all of these "persons.")  

-CEB

March 8, 2015 in Abortion, Contraception, State and Local News | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

An Expert Answers the Question: How Safe is Abortion?

The Huffington Post: How Safe Is Abortion?, by Dr. David A. Grimes:

The safety of abortion depends on whom one asks. National data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicate that induced abortion and miscarriage are the safest outcomes of pregnancy. In contrast, abortion opponents routinely claim that abortion is unsafe. They do this by cherry-picking studies, citing obsolete literature, extrapolating inappropriately and misinterpreting results. Moreover, some abortion opponents have double standards: what they report in the medical literatureis not what they claim in the newspaper or testify under oath. As a gynecologist, I have had to spend considerable time over the years disabusing patients of these false claims. Here is a sampling of what can be found on the Internet . . . .

______________________________

Dr. Grimes is the former Chief of the Abortion Surveillance Branch at the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the author of Every Third Woman in America: How Legal Abortion Transformed Our Nation.

March 4, 2015 in Abortion | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, February 26, 2015

House Republicans Attach Anti-Choice Provision to Education Bill

The Huffington Post: House Republicans Slip Anti-Abortion Language Into Education Bill, by Laura Bassett:

House Republicans attached language to a major education bill Wednesday night that would financially penalize school districts that allow school-based health centers to provide information about abortion to pregnant high school students. . . .

February 26, 2015 in Abortion, Congress, Teenagers and Children | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Review of Mo Yan's "Frog" -- A Novel About China's One-Child Policy

The New York Times: Review: In Mo Yan’s ‘Frog,’ a Chinese Abortionist Embodies State Power, by Janet Maslin:

When the Chinese writer Mo Yan won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2012 and was warmly lauded by the Communist government, he became one of the most reviled winners in the history of that great honor. Among the more benign accusations lobbed at him was that he was undeserving. . . .

Too easily lost in all this howling was Mr. Mo’s writing. His latest novel, “Frog,” gracefully and colloquially translated by Howard Goldblatt, is not the work of a hack or an ideologue. It is a rich and troubling epic — and a very human story — about China’s one-child policy, and Western readers who think they understand how this works have another think coming. . . .

February 26, 2015 in Abortion, Books, International | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Man Sues Vermont Claiming Insurance Plans' Abortion Coverage Violates His Religious Beliefs

Vermont Free Press: Lawsuit targets Vermont over abortion, by Elizabeth Murray:

Alan Lyle Howe says his opposition to abortion is more than just a moral belief — it's a religious conviction.

But Vermont's state-offered health plans force Howe to choose between his pro-life beliefs and insurance coverage, because all plans offered through Vermont Health Connect include a fee for elective abortion coverage, said his lawyer, Casey Mattox. . . .

February 24, 2015 in Abortion, In the Courts, Religion and Reproductive Rights | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

More Reaction to "Abortion Episode" on Girls

The Washington Post: TV gets smart — and sensitive — about abortion, by Alyssa Rosenberg:

For all Lena Dunham’s indie comedy “Girls” has been lauded for its bravery, back in 2012 during its first season, the show took what felt like an early punt. On her way to have an abortion, Jessa (Jemima Kirke) had one of pop culture’s infamous spontaneous miscarriages, saving her — and the show — from making a decision that Hollywood still treats as controversial. Last night, the show finally circled back around to the subject, when Adam’s (Adam Driver) new girlfriend, Mimi-Rose (Gillian Jacobs), revealed that she’d had an abortion without consulting him. . . .

Jezebel: While You Watched the Oscars, Girls Did a Super Chill Abortion Episode, by Anna Merlan:

Here it is, because we have to talk about it: a character on Girls had an abortion, and it was very chill. Adam's new girlfriend Mimi-Rose politely declined his request to go for a jog, telling him, "I can't go for a run because I had an abortion yesterday." The scene that followed was both laudable in its matter-of-fact depiction of abortion and bizarre in just about every other way. Does no one on this show ever think about money? Ever? . . .

Yahoo Health: What Makes The Portrayal Of Abortion On 'GIRLS' Different Than The Rest, by Jennifer Gerson Uffalussy:

Last night, the most shocking thing on the Lena Dunham-helmed HBO show GIRLS wasn’t a graphic sex act (as has become the series’ calling card). It was the straightforward and non-sensationalized way in which one of the show’s characters discussed her decision to have an abortion. . . .

February 24, 2015 in Abortion, Culture, Television | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, February 22, 2015

"Girls" Introduces Abortion Plotline

The Huffington Post: 'Girls' Finally Went There With An Abortion Storyline, by Laura Duca & Emma Gray:

“I can’t go for a run because I had an abortion yesterday,” announces Adam Sackler’s new girlfriend, Mimi-Rose Howard. With that statement, “Girls” joined the (limited) ranks of TV shows that a) have a character follow through with an abortion and b) deal with the subject in a way that is both interesting and adds positively to the dialogue about reproductive choice. . . .

February 22, 2015 in Abortion, Culture, Television | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, February 16, 2015

Justice Ginsburg on MSNBC: Overturning Roe v. Wade "Not a Likely Scenario"

MSNBC: Ruth Bader Ginsburg on abortion, race and the broken Congress, by Irin Carmon:

The Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion isn’t in danger of being overturned anytime soon, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg told msnbc in a wide-ranging, exclusive interview. But Ginsburg warned that the abortion restrictions being enacted by states around the country are having an outsize impact on low-income women. . . .

February 16, 2015 in Abortion, Supreme Court | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Comparing States' Unintended Pregnancy Rates Based on Abortion Stance

The Washington Post (The Fix blog): States that are more opposed to abortion rights have fewer abortions — but not fewer unintended pregnancies, by Aaron Blake:

Abortion in America is an extremely divisive issue, splitting Republicans and Democrats with often very strong feelings.

It also divides the states. In 2010, according to a new study from the Guttmacher Institute, an abortion rights group, an estimated 11 percent of all unintended pregnancies in South Dakota were aborted. In New York, it was 54 percent.

In general, Guttmacher's numbers show that states with more people who oppose abortion rights tend to have lower abortion rates. But views on abortion tend to have much less impact on something else related to all this: unintended pregnancies. . . .

______________________________

The piece includes charts and interactive maps.

January 29, 2015 in Abortion, Pregnancy & Childbirth | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Rep. Tim Ryan Switches to Pro-Choice Camp

The New York Times (Taking Note blog): Tim Ryan’s Switch on Abortion Rights, by Dorothy Samuels:

Representative Tim Ryan, an Ohio Democrat who previously opposed abortion rights, has officially changed sides. He’s very welcome in the pro-choice camp. With reproductive freedom under attack in the Republican-led Congress and in G.O.P.-controlled state legislatures around the country, the embattled cause needs all the new supporters it can get. . . .

January 29, 2015 in Abortion, Congress, Politics | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, January 22, 2015

6 Facts About Abortion

Vox: 6 very basic facts about abortion in America, by Sarah Kliff:

Forty-two years ago today, the Supreme Court issued its landmark Roe v. Wade decision, which legalized a woman's right to abortion. Ever since, America has debated and grappled with how to regulate a woman's right to choose. These graphs and charts help provide some context of how abortion access has changed in the United States since Roe, and how America's position on the issue has evolved over four decades. . . .

January 22, 2015 in Abortion | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

House Passes Bill Banning Federal Funding for Abortions

The Wall Street Journal: House Passes Bill Prohibiting Federal Funds Being Used for Abortions, by Kristina Peterson & Louise Radnofsky:

Some female Republican and centrist lawmakers helped scuttle a vote on a controversial measure to ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, prompting the House on Thursday to pass a separate, largely symbolic bill that would further restrict federal funding to pay for abortions. . . .

The bill approved Thursday, which would ban the use of federal funds to pay for abortions or health-insurance plans that cover abortion, passed 242-179. There are already bans in place on using most federal funds for abortion. One Republican, Rep. Richard Hanna of New York, voted against the bill.

The White House said President Barack Obama would likely veto it. . . .

January 22, 2015 in Abortion, Congress | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, December 15, 2014

Supreme Court Declines to Review Decision Blocking Arizona Medication Abortion Restriction

The New York Times: Justices Let Abortion Decision Stand, by Adam Liptak:

The Supreme Court on Monday let stand a decision temporarily blocking an Arizona law that limits the availability of medicinal, nonsurgical abortions. As is its custom when it denies review, the court gave no reasons for its action.

The law, enacted in 2012, requires abortion providers to comply with a 2000 protocol from the Food and Drug Administration for mifepristone, anabortion-inducing drug that is sometimes called RU-486. . . .

The 2000 protocol calls for the drug to be given in higher doses than is customary today, and only in the first seven weeks of pregnancy. . . .

___________________________________

This denial is interesting in part because the Supreme Court had previously agreed to review a similar law from Oklahoma, which had been struck down by the Oklahoma Supreme Court.  The U.S. Supreme Court had then certified questions to the Oklahoma Supreme Court regarding the law's interpretation.  The Oklahoma Supreme Court read the law broadly, in a way that would have prohibited all medication abortions, including to treat ectopic pregnancies.  After receiving the Oklahoma Supreme Court's interpretation, the U.S. Supreme Court in November 2013 dismissed the writ of certiorari as improvidently granted.  It seemed possible that the U.S. Supreme Court would still be interested in reviewing a medication abortion restriction that was interpreted more narrowly as requiring adherence to the FDA-approved protocol.  The Ninth Circuit decision on the preliminary injunction assumed for purposes of the opinion that the Arizona law only reached this far, but still found it to constitute an undue burden.

-CEB

December 15, 2014 in Abortion, Supreme Court, Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP) | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, December 8, 2014

Abortion Care Providers Burdened by Fear of Sting Operations

Medscape: Nearly Half of Abortion Care Providers Fear Sting Operations, by Caroline Helwick:

Concerns about encountering "fake" patients and being threatened by "sting" operations are pervasive among abortion providers and their clinic staff, somewhat out of proportion to their actual risks, according to research conducted at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

Lead author Emily J. Youatt, MPH, a doctoral candidate at the university, said this fear "introduces a new stress to an already burdened workforce" and can "negatively influence the patient–provider relationship."

At the American Public Health Association (APHA) 142nd Annual Meeting here, Youatt presented the results of a survey that explored stigma and fears among abortion care providers. . . .

December 8, 2014 in Abortion, Anti-Choice Movement | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Anti-Choice Group Offers Experimental "Abortion Reversal" Treatment

Bustle: An Anti-Choice Group Is Pushing "Abortion Reversal" Treatment, And It's Alarming To Say The Least, by Jessica Blankenship:

In Bettendorf, Iowa, an anti-choice advocacy group is offering women an “abortion reversal” using an experimental treatment about which little is known, and it’s all decidedly suspect and troubling. The Women’s Choice Center (which is, to reiterate, is run by a pro-life/anti-choice group) is now promoting what they’re touting as a chance for women who are in the middle of a medical abortion the chance to “unabort” their pregnancies. The major problem with this is that the therapy hasn’t really been tested, and the entire procedure just generally feels problematic all around: imploring women to undergo experimental-at-best, hormone-altering treatments, underscored, obviously, by an anti-choice agenda. 

Here’s how this whole thing, more or less, supposedly works . . . .

December 8, 2014 in Abortion, Anti-Choice Movement, Medical News | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Some Good News on Reproductive Freedom You May Have Missed

ThinkProgress: 7 Victories For Reproductive Freedom You May Not Realize Happened This Year, by Tara Culp-Ressler:

There’s no question that 2014 has been a difficult year for the reproductive rights community. The Supreme Court ruled against pro-choice groups in the Hobby Lobby and abortion clinic buffer zone cases, and the midterm elections brought a wave of GOP victories at the state and national level that will surely result in even more anti-choice legislation next session.

It’s easy to feel like everything is hopeless. But there were also a few bright spots this year. 2014 brought several examples of progress when it comes to protecting and upholding reproductive rights, and pro-choice groups say they’ve been laying important groundwork for a new, proactive approach in this area moving forward.

Here are some pieces of good news you may have missed . . . .

December 8, 2014 in Abortion, Pro-Choice Movement | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)