Reproductive Rights Prof Blog

Editor: Caitlin E. Borgmann
CUNY School of Law

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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)

Monday, May 26, 2014

Protestors Greet Wendy Davis in LA with "Abortion Barbie" Posters

The Huffington Post:  Wendy Davis Greeted By 'Abortion Barbie' Posters In Los Angeles, by Laura Bassett:

Texas gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis received a hostile greeting in Los Angeles Thursday morning, when life-sized posters depicting her as "Abortion Barbie" began popping up throughout the city ahead of her fundraiser there.

The posters say "Hollywood welcomes Abortion Barbie Wendy Davis," and they show Davis' face on a mostly-naked barbie doll with a plastic baby in her belly. Conservative pundit Erick Erickson nicknamed Davis "Abortion Barbie" earlier this year because when she was a state senator, she stood on her feet and spoke for 11 hours straight to filibuster a draconian package of anti-abortion bills. . . .

May 26, 2014 in Abortion, Politics | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Marco Rubio Responds to Criticism Over Ill-Advised Climate Change Comments by Dubiously Claiming Scientific High Ground on Abortion

ThinkProgress: Marco Rubio’s scientific blunder on abortion, by Tara Culp-Ressler:

Rubio_MarcoSen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), who has recently come under fire for failing to name a single source to justify his assertion that “there’s no scientific evidence” to prove humans are contributing to climate change, is defending his comments by claiming that at least he knows the science about abortion.

In an interview with Sean Hannity on Wednesday, the senator said that liberals who criticize him for ignoring climate science are revealing their “hypocrisy” because they ignore the science supporting the idea that life begins at conception. Rubio claimed this concept is a “proven fact” that people on the left are ignoring. . . .

If Rubio is trying to use abortion politics to prove that he and his Republican colleagues have a clear grasp of science, though, he waded into the wrong issue area. . . . 

___________________________________________

I've written about the anti-choice movement's deliberate exploitation of the ambiguity of the term "life" here.

-CEB

May 15, 2014 in Abortion, Anti-Choice Movement, Politics, Science | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, May 11, 2014

U.S. Teen Pregnancy, Birth, And Abortion Rates Reach Historic Lows

The Guttmacher Institute news release:  U.S. TEEN PREGNANCY, BIRTH AND ABORTION RATES REACH HISTORIC LOWS:

Teen Pregnancy Rates Declined in Every State and Among All Racial and Ethnic Groups

Rates of teen pregnancy, birth and abortion have declined dramatically in the United States since their peak in the early 1990s. In 2010, some 614,000 pregnancies occurred among teenage women aged 15–19, for a rate of 57.4 pregnancies per 1,000 women that age. This marks a 51% decline from the 1990 peak, and a 15% decline in just two years, from 67.8 in 2008, according to “U.S. Teenage Pregnancies, Births and Abortions, 2010: National and State Trends by Age, Race and Ethnicity,” a new study by the Guttmacher Institute. Similarly, the teen birthrate declined 44% from the peak in 1991 (from 61.8 births per 1,000 to 34.4 per 1,000); and the teen abortion rate declined 66% between its 1988 peak and 2010 (from 43.5 abortions per 1,000 to 14.7 per 1,000). . . .

May 11, 2014 in Abortion, Pregnancy & Childbirth, Scholarship and Research, Teenagers and Children | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Emily Letts Explains Why She Filmed Her Own Abortion

The link to Letts's essay is here:

Cosmopolitan:  Why I Filmed My Own Abortion, by Emily Letts

TIME: Here's Why This Woman Filmed Her Own Abortion, by Charlotte Alter:

Emily Letts works as an abortion counselor at Cherry Hill Women’s Center in New Jersey, so when she herself got unexpectedly pregnant, she didn’t take long to decide she would terminate the pregnancy.

It wasn’t a difficult decision for her, she wrote in a Cosmopolitanessay, because she knew she wasn’t ready to have kids. But Letts took it one step further– she decided to film the abortion to show other women that it wasn’t scary. . . .

The Huffington Post:  Emily Letts' Abortion Video Garners Angry Reaction From Right-Wing Media, by Emily Thomas:

When Emily Letts found out she was pregnant last November she knew she would get an abortion. In an effort to help inform women facing a similar situation, the 25-year-old abortion counselor decided to film herself undergoing the procedure. Reactions to the award-winning clip, however, have been quite mixed. . . .

May 11, 2014 in Abortion, Culture, In the Media | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Boxer Floyd Mayweather Publicly Shames Ex-Fiance for her Alleged Abortion

Jezebel: Floyd Mayweather Posts Ex's Sonogram, Accuses Her of 'Killing Babies', by Erin Gloria Ryan: 

Earlier this year, boxer Floyd Mayweather got dumped by his fiancee Shantel Jackson after he allegedly cheated on her. But Mayweather has since apparently gone batshit insane, insisting that it was he who dumped her, and that he did it because she had "a abortion." To support this accusation, he posted what he claims are images from a sonogram Jackson had in December. Holy shit.

Mayweather posted the images — complete with identifying details and measurements, which we've blurred out — to Facebook this morning . . . .

May 3, 2014 in Abortion, Culture, Men and Reproduction | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, April 7, 2014

With Loss of Abortion Clinics, Women Resort to Self-Induced Abortions

The Huffington Post:  The Return Of The Back-Alley Abortion, by Laura Bassett:

. . . The proliferation of well-trained, regulated, legal abortion doctors in the last 40 years has led to "dramatic decreases in pregnancy-related injury and death," according to the National Abortion Federation.

Now, however, Texas and other states are reversing course. State lawmakers enacted more abortion restrictions between 2011 and 2013 than they had in the previous decade, a trend that appears likely to continue in 2014. The Guttmacher Institute estimates that nearly 300 anti-abortion bills are currently pending in state legislatures.

The new restrictions have had a significant impact on women's access to abortion. . . .

. . .  The poorest area of Texas, the Rio Grande Valley near the Mexican border, has no remaining abortion clinics. Women who live there have to drive roughly 240 miles to San Antonio for the nearest clinic, but many of them are Mexican immigrants with restrictions on their work visas that prevent them from traveling that far.

In addition, the state has slashed funding for family planning, forcing 76 clinics that offer birth control and other reproductive health services but do not perform abortions to shut down.

"It's a horrible natural experiment that is taking place in Texas, where we are going to see what happens in 2014 when U.S. women don't have access to legal, safe abortion," said Dan Grossman, vice president of research for Ibis Reproductive Health, an international nonprofit. . . .

April 7, 2014 in Abortion, Poverty, Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP) | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Hobby Lobby's Retirement Plan Includes Investments in Companies That Make Abortion Drugs

The Washington Post:  Antiabortion company Hobby Lobby reportedly invests retirement funds in abortion drugs, by Gail Sullivan:

“Being Christians, we don’t pay for drugs that might cause abortions … something that is contrary to our most important beliefs. It goes against the biblical principles on which we have run this company since day one,”  Hobby Lobby founder David Green wrote in an article for USA Today.

Hobby Lobby is so committed to those principles that it’s gone to the U.S. Supreme Court to challenge a provision in the Affordable Care Act that it says requires it to provide access to insurance covering birth control for its employees, some forms of which it equates with abortion.

No wonder then, the glee emanating from some quarters Tuesday when Molly Redden of Mother Jones reported that the company’s retirement plan holds $73 million in mutual funds with investments in companies that make abortion drugs. . . .

April 3, 2014 in Abortion, Contraception, Religion and Reproductive Rights | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Joint Birthing Center and Abortion Clinic Opens in Buffalo, New York

Jezebel: New Birthing/Abortion Clinic in New York Could Change Everything, by Hillary Crosley:

Last month, the first ever birthing center that also houses an abortion clinic opened in Buffalo, New York and it’s called Buffalo WomenServices. The space is one of the first where both the pro-choice and birthing communities coexist beneath the same roof, explicitly. Mind Blown. . . .

March 16, 2014 in Abortion, Pregnancy & Childbirth | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Michigan Law Takes Effect Requiring Women To Purchase Separate Insurance for Abortions -- Even for Rape and Incest

The Huffington Post: Michigan's 'Rape Insurance' Abortion Rider Law Goes Into Effect Today, by Ashley Young: 

Starting Thursday in Michigan, a woman must purchase an additional insurance policy if she wants reimbursement for an abortion, unless her life is at stake.

The new law drops coverage of most abortions from existing policies -- even to terminate a pregnancy resulting from rape or incest. Women who buy their own individual policies, rather than getting coverage through an employer-based plan, won't be able to purchase the additional coverage, called an abortion rider, from Michigan insurers. . . . 

March 15, 2014 in Abortion, Sexual Assault, State Legislatures | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Gov. Brewer Vetoes Offensive Arizona Bill Sanctioning Discrimination Against Gays and Lesbians, But Abortion Seen as Fair Game

The New York Times: Day After Governor’s Veto, Arizona Takes Up Abortion Clinics, by Fernanda Santos:

A day after being reprimanded by Gov. Jan Brewer, a Republican, for failing to heed her call for action on the budget and the state’s child welfare agency, Arizona’s Republican-led House of Representatives promptly took up a new piece of social legislation on Thursday that would permit the surprise inspection of abortion clinics in the state.

The measure, which would also require the clinics to report “whenever an infant is born alive after a botched abortion,” was championed by the Center for Arizona Policy, the same powerful Evangelical Christian group that pushed a bill Ms. Brewer vetoed on Wednesday  that would have made it easier for businesses to refuse service to gay men, lesbians and other people on religious grounds. . . . 

The New York Times -- opinion column: Arizona Sort of Helps Out, by Gail Collins: 

It’s been quite a week in Arizona. First, the Legislature passed a bill that, in effect, gave businesses the right to discriminate against gay couples. The state’s actual business community was horrified. Everybody from Mitt Romney to Newt Gingrich was ticked off.

Gov. Jan Brewer vetoed the bill, pointing out acerbically that the lawmakers had not managed to send her anything whatsoever on critical issues — like, say, the budget — while they labored with remarkable efficiency on behalf of theologically troubled wedding photographers.

Chastened, the very same elected officials trotted back to their posts and immediately took up the subject of surprise inspections of abortion clinics. . . .

March 1, 2014 in Abortion, State Legislatures | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)