Tuesday, December 10, 2013
The Washington Post: As the world mourns Nelson Mandela, abortion foes protest, by David Gibson:
As world leaders and ordinary citizens gathered in a South African sports stadium on Tuesday (Dec. 10) to remember Nelson Mandela, abortion foes pushed a message that went against the global outpouring of praise: The anti-apartheid leader, they argued, backed a sweeping abortion rights law that negates any good he achieved. . . .
Abortion opponents began blogging and tweeting their objections, often in blistering tones, almost as soon as Mandela died on Dec. 5. . . . But the anti-abortion objections grew when Catholic leaders joined in the chorus of praise for Mandela. Pope Francis lauded Mandela for “promoting the human dignity of all the nation’s citizens and for forging a new South Africa built on the firm foundations of non-violence, reconciliation and truth.” . . .
Monday, December 9, 2013
ThinkProgress: Don’t Fall For The GOP’s Fake Controversy Over Obamacare’s Expansion Of Abortion Coverage, by Tara Culp-Ressler:
On Thursday, the Associated Press reported that under the health reform law, most of the plans offered to congressional staff now include abortion coverage. “Lawmakers and their staffs now appear to be the only federal employees with access to abortion coverage through their government-supported health insurance plans,” the AP notes.
Predictably, the news is making the rounds on right-wing outlets, sparking controversy among abortion opponents who say it proves Obamacare is allowing federal funding to finance this type of reproductive care. “This is just another example of how Obamacare expands taxpayer funding of abortion,” the president of the Susan B. Anthony List said in a statement.
In fact, the AP’s story is misleading. Although this issue has surfaced several times over the last few months, it’s an entirely manufactured controversy — largely stoked by Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ), whose allegations form the basis of the AP’s new coverage, and furthered by the conservative media. Here’s what you need to know about how abortion coverage actually factors into Obamacare: . . .
Friday, December 6, 2013
Al Jazeera America - op-ed: The French Abortion Compromise, by Jill Filipovic:
I could live with stronger restrictions on abortion, if the U.S. improved reproductive and maternity benefits for women
Is an abortion compromise possible? After decades of political fighting between pro-choicers and pro-lifers, most Americans would surely like to see the issue laid to rest. And yet, all signs point to there being no end in sight. . . .
Thursday, December 5, 2013
ThinkProgress: Pregnancy, Birth, And Abortion Rates For U.S. Teens Have All Hit A Record Low, by Tara Culp-Ressler:
There’s some encouraging news in the Centers for Disease Control’s latest report about pregnancy rates among U.S. women. According to the agency, teen pregnancies have been steadily declining over the past two decades — hitting a new historic low in 2009, the most recent year with data on the subject. That’s led to new lows for the rates of teen births and abortions, too. . . .
Tuesday, December 3, 2013
The New York Times: Bishops Sued Over Policies on Abortion at Hospitals, by Erik Eckholm:
The American Civil Liberties Union announced on Monday that it had filed a lawsuit against the nation’s Roman Catholic bishops, arguing that their anti-abortion directives to Catholic hospitals hamper proper care of pregnant women in medical distress, leading to medical negligence.
The suit was filed in federal court in Michigan on Friday on behalf of a woman who says she did not receive accurate information or care at a Catholic hospital there, exposing her to dangerous infections after her water broke at 18 weeks of pregnancy. . . .
Saturday, November 30, 2013
The New York Times: Abortion Cases in Court Helped Tilt Democrats Against the Filibuster, by Jeremy W. Peters:
Within hours of each other, two federal appeals courts handed down separate decisions that affirmed sharp new limits on abortion and birth control. One on Oct. 31 forced abortion clinics across Texas to close. The other, on Nov. 1, compared contraception to “a grave moral wrong” and sided with businesses that refused to provide it in health care coverage.
“These are the kinds of decisions we are going to have to live with,” a blunt Senator Harry Reid, the Democratic majority leader, warned his caucus later as it weighed whether to make historic changes to Senate rules. . . .
The Daily Beast: The GOP’s Late-Term Abortion Strategy Is Backfiring, by Sally Kohn:
Right wing politicians who are push laws to restrict a woman’s access to later-term abortions presumably do so because they don’t want women having abortion after 20 weeks. But new research from medical school-based scholars finds that other policies that conservative Republicans are pushing, including restrictions on access to clinics as well as constrained access to health insurance, actually result in more women seeking later-term abortions. In other words, not only are Republicans hypocrites—but their hypocrisy is backfiring.
Diana Greene Foster and Katrina Kimport are professors in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences in the School of Medicine at the University of California in San Francisco. Between 2008 and 2010, Foster and Kimport studied the cases of 272 women who had received an abortion at or after 20 weeks of gestation, as well as of 169 women who received first-trimester abortions. These women were interviewed just one week after their abortions and asked a variety of questions including what led to the delay in their medical care. The results are striking and profoundly important for those who seek to promote—or constrict—the rights of women to access and exercise their own reproductive freedom. . . .
Monday, November 25, 2013
NBCNews.com/Reuters: Putin signs law banning advertisements for abortion in Russia, by Ian Bateson:
Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a law banning advertisements for abortion, the Kremlin said on Monday, a step activists said would infringe on the reproductive rights of women.
Putin has made stemming a post-Soviet population decline a priority during 14 years in power and struck a conservative tone in his new term, praising what he calls traditional values and holding up the Russian Orthodox Church as a moral guide. . . .
The Wall Street Journal: Abortion Fight Hits Tennessee, by Cameron McWhirter:
The battleground over abortion is shifting to Tennessee, where campaigns are heating up on a referendum that is a year away.
The referendum, pushed by anti-abortion groups for years, would add an amendment to the state constitution stating, "Nothing in this Constitution secures or protects a right to abortion or requires the funding of an abortion." The amendment would apply to all abortions, including those stemming from "circumstances of pregnancy resulting from rape or incest or when necessary to save the life of the mother." . . .
Sunday, November 24, 2013
news.com.au: Tas abortion reform removes stigma: govt:
TASMANIA'S new abortion laws will help remove the stigma around the procedure, the state's health minister says.
Minister Michelle O'Byrne's private members bill to remove abortion from Tasmania's criminal code has resulted in the state becoming the third jurisdiction in Australia to do so, joining Victoria and the ACT.
Ms O'Byrne said abortion should be dealt with as a health matter, not a criminal matter. . . .
The Guardian (opinion column): Abortion in Tasmania is decriminalised, but it wasn't an easy battle, by Briony Kidd:
Tasmania has removed abortion from its criminal laws after seven months of deliberations in parliament – but politicians have had to face a barrage of anti-choice tactics in the process
In the last days of her prime ministership this June, Julia Gillard attempted to warn of "abortion [becoming] the political plaything of men who think they know better” and was smacked down hard, first by the media and then her own party, for "cynically" raising the issue.
That same month in Tasmania, Labor health minister Michelle O'Byrne and pro-choicers were facing fierce opposition as they spearheaded a bill decriminalising abortion. The bill, which had passed through the lower house in April, was now debated by the largely conservative upper house. It finally passed this week. . . .
Friday, November 22, 2013
Arizona Willing to Sacrifice Pregnancy Prevention and Other Women's Health Services in Zeal to Attack Abortion
The American Prospect: Razing Arizona Women's Health Care, by Amelia Thomson-Deveaux:
Like Napoleon forging into the Russian winter, anti-choice politicians are loath to give up on abortion restrictions, however minor, until the Supreme Court forces them to. On Wednesday, Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne asked the Supreme Court to reinstate a law that would strip Medicaid funding from doctors and clinics who perform abortions. Poor women already can’t use federal dollars to cover abortion procedures—that’s been illegal since the late 1970s. The law, which was struck down by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in August, instead would prevent the state’s abortion providers from being reimbursed by Medicaid for providing any kind of care to low-income women, whether it’s breast exams, cervical cancer screenings, or contraceptive services. . . .
Indiana made a similar bid for the Supreme Court’s attention after the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals struck down its law, which prohibited Planned Parenthood from receiving state or federal funds. But the justices refused to hear the case. Caitlin Borgmann, a professor of law at the City University of New York, says it’s unlikely, given the justices’ unwillingness to hear Indiana’s appeal, that Arizona’s petition will be successful. “To read the statute as broadly as Arizona wants would allow the state to exclude providers for any reason,” says Borgmann. “Such a precedent ought to give the Supreme Court pause too, because its implications extend far beyond abortion.” . . .
It’s undeniable that without programs like Medicaid, which help low-income women afford contraception, the abortion rate in the country would be much higher. . . . “Laws like these reveal the anti-abortion rights movement for what it is,” Borgmann says. “Their goal is to be punitive and prevent access to abortion, not come up with solutions to help women make autonomous decisions about their health.” . . .
Thursday, November 21, 2013
Arizona Asks Supreme Court to Reinstate Its Law Denying Medicaid Funding To Medical Providers That Offer Abortion
AZcentral.com: Arizona again asks Supreme Court to look at abortion law, by Alia Beard Rau:
For the second time in as many months, an Arizona official has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to reinstate a controversial state abortion law.
Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne on Wednesday asked the nation’s highest court to rule on a law that strips Medicaid funding from doctors and clinics that perform abortions.
House Bill 2800, which the Legislature passed and Gov. Jan Brewer signed in 2012, would have halted Medicaid reimbursements for contraceptives, cancer screenings, treatment for sexually transmitted diseases and annual women’s exams at more than 80 Arizona hospitals and clinics that also perform abortions. . . .
Concurring Opinions: Why is Reproductive Technology a Battleground in the Abortion Debate?, by Richard Storrow (CUNY Law School):
Caitlin Borgmann has made the convincing argument that incrementalism in the anti-abortion movement developed from the failure of the movement’s initial post-Roe strategy to win the hearts and minds of the undecided. The strategy of equating abortion with murder and vilifying women who have abortions was far too strident to be persuasive and too off-putting to have emotional appeal. The strategy was eventually abandoned in favor of chipping away at Roe by degrees. Incrementalism takes the long view toward outlawing abortion in any form, but its progress, ironically, is asymptotic, tending toward prohibition without ever achieving it. This is because incrementalism’s objective is to render access to abortion illusory. Even if Roe remains in place, rendering abortion inaccessible will mean that it is legal in theory but not in practice. Although alternatives to incrementalism have appeared in recent years as certain factions within the movement have grown restive, incrementalism remains the primary strategy of the anti-abortion movement today.
The incrementalist strategy now includes arguments for limiting assisted reproduction by raising concerns about its use at all four stages of the cycle of human reproduction: pre-conception, pre-implantation, post-implantation, and even post-birth. Although seemingly an odd direction for the anti-abortion movement to take, it should not come as a complete surprise; after all, the moral status of the embryo has played a major role in the development of the legal regimes that regulate assisted reproduction in other countries, particularly those with strong commitments to Roman Catholicism. . . .
Tuesday, November 19, 2013
New York Magazine: Why the Abortion Pill Didn't Change Everything, by Ann Friedman:
In 1993, Time magazine declared mifepristone — the abortion pill that’s often called RU-486 — “The Pill that Changes Everything.” In 1999, The New York Times Magazine called it a “little white bombshell” with “enormous political consequences.” On a political level, activists hoped that it would allow women to sidestep clinic protests and make abortion less controversial. Advocates hoped — and anti-abortion groups feared — that the abortion pill would be prescribed by regular doctors, family practitioners and OB/GYNs, allowing women to have an abortion in the privacy of their home, far from the picket lines. It would move abortion toward the mainstream realm of routine health care. And on a medical level, women were curious about the method: taking a pill seemed to promise a more convenient, less invasive experience.
By 2013, though, it’s become clear that the pill hasn’t revolutionized the way most women get abortions; it’s become just another front in the legislative and legal battles over reproductive rights, one more method pro-choice activists must fight to defend. . . .
Huffington Post: An Historic Push to Protect Reproductive Rights, by: Sen. Richard Blumenthal & Rep. Judy Chu
The antiabortion bill introduced just days ago in the Senate -- mirroring the House's 20 week restrictions -- is a nonsensical, unconstitutional nonstarter. But it is still dangerous -- more for what it reflects in the nation than its chances of passing. . . .
This assault on essential, constitutionally protected rights has gone on too long. We are introducing the Women's Health Protection Act of 2013 this week to end it, once and for all. . . .
Saturday, November 16, 2013
The New Republic: How Blue States Could Push Back For Abortion Rights, by Nora Caplan-Bricker:
Wednesday, a group of legislators introduced a different kind of abortion bill into the U.S. Senate. The Women’s Health Protection Act would outlaw all regulations on abortion that “are more burdensome than those restrictions imposed on medically comparable procedures, … do not significantly advance women’s health or the safety of abortion services, and … make abortion services more difficult to access.” In layman’s terms, it would make all of the nearly 200 laws impeding abortion rights that have been enacted at the state level since 2011 illegal. “Enough is enough,” said Representative Judy Chu at a press conference on Capitol Hill. “We’ve been playing defense far too long. It’s time to stop playing Whac-A-Mole in each state. We need to provide a national response in fighting this.” . . .
Slate: Finally!, by Dahlia Lithwick:
New York Magazine: 26 Women Share Their Abortion Stories, by Meaghan Winter:
Of all the battles in our half-century culture war, perhaps none seems further from being resolved, in our laws and in our consciences, than abortion. It’s a fight now in its fifth decade, yet in the past two years, 26 states have passed over 111 provisions restricting abortion. In Texas, the state where the single, pregnant woman who became Jane Roe sued for access to an abortion 41 years ago, Wendy Davis became a national hero for filibustering abortion legislation, as did her governor for signing it into law. . . .
Tuesday, November 12, 2013
The New York Times: Justices Leave in Place Ruling Against Abortion Ultrasound Requirement, by Adam Liptak:
The Supreme Court on Monday let stand a state court’s decision striking down an Oklahoma law that required women seeking abortions to have an ultrasound image placed in front of them and to listen to a detailed description of the fetus before the procedure. . . .
H/t: Priscilla Smith
Sunday, November 10, 2013
Feministing: New Documentary Young Lakota About Lack of Abortion Access on a Reservation, by Juliana Brittos:
In 2006, Cecilia Fire Thunder, Tribal Leader of the Ogala Sioux, threatened to build a women’s health clinic on tribal land in response to a proposed South Dakota no-exceptions abortion ban. This ban meant that the 1 in 3 Native American women who would or had been raped in the state would have to carry any ensuing pregnancies to term. “Young Lakota” follows the story of three young people living on a reservation in South Dakota in the political aftermath of Fire Thunder’s action. Ms. Magazine described the film as, “a story of self-discovery in the midst of political and personal upheaval.” . . .
RH Reality Check: Anatomy of the War on Women: How the Koch Brothers Are Funding the Anti-Choice Agenda, by Adele M. Stan:
In the dog days of summer, the “war on women” erupted into a full-fledged conflagration, as heated battles to roll back reproductive rights in the U.S. Congress and in state legislatures across the nation were met with protests from women’s rights groups and grassroots uprisings. While the religious right had, over the years, used its influence to restrict access to abortion and contraception and push for feticide and personhood laws, nothing quite like the anti-choice legislative frenzy seen this past summer had taken place before the Koch brothers entered the war, bringing reinforcements from their legion of wealthy associates. . . .