Sunday, June 8, 2014
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
Friday, June 6, 2014
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. . . .
Thursday, June 5, 2014
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. . . .
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. . . .
Sunday, June 1, 2014
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. . . .
Monday, May 26, 2014
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. . . .
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:
Sen. 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.
Sunday, May 11, 2014
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). . . .
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. . . .
Saturday, May 3, 2014
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 . . . .
Monday, April 7, 2014
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. . . .
Thursday, April 3, 2014
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. . . .
Sunday, March 16, 2014
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. . . .
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. . . .
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. . . .
Thursday, February 27, 2014
Rolling Stone: The Seven Most Common Lies About Abortion, by Lauren Rankin:
Debunking anti-choice misinformation about women's health
Chances are, you know someone who has had an abortion. Statistically, it's a near-certainty: In the U.S., one in three women will have an abortion by the age of 45. But despite how incredibly common abortion is, it remains mired in stigma and misinformation. Much of what we may think we know about this subject is actually outright lies told by abortion opponents to dissuade women out of seeking safe and legal abortion care. . . .
Wednesday, February 26, 2014
Feministing: Mother Charged With a Felony for Helping her Daughter Order Illegal Abortion Drugs Online, by Maya Dusenbery:
Well well well. The anti-choice claim that criminalizing abortion won’t lead to people being thrown in jail for ending their pregnancies is becoming harder to sustain. These days, even mothers who help their daughters get the abortions they want can be charged. . . .
Friday, February 7, 2014
MotherJones: MAP: The Republican Crusade to End Insurance Coverage of Abortion, by Molly Redden:
Lawmakers have tried to eliminate private insurance coverage for abortion in 20 states.
Last week, the GOP-led House of Representatives passed the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act, a bill that would radically limit Americans' ability to buy private-sector health insurance that covers abortion. With the Senate under Democratic control and Barack Obama in the White House, the bill is doomed to fail. But abortion foes can rest easy. Although their momentum has stalled on Capitol Hill, there is a quiet campaign underway in states across the country to outlaw private-insurance coverage of abortion—and it's working. . . .
Thursday, February 6, 2014
My commentary, In Abortion Litigation, It's the Facts that Matter, has been published by the Harvard Law Review Forum. Here is a summary:
This brief commentary argues that courts need to do a better job of closely examining the facts underlying abortion legislation. Courts applying the undue burden standard generally demand from the plaintiffs fact-intensive proof that an abortion law will cause harm. At the same time, courts are highly deferential to the states’ own fact-based assertions about why these laws are needed. Although the “purpose prong” of the undue burden standard has largely been written off as toothless, courts can smoke out illegitimate purposes indirectly by looking more skeptically at the factual foundations supposedly necessitating abortion laws. Recent challenges to virtually identical abortion restrictions have turned on judges’ willingness or refusal to examine more closely the governments’ factual assumptions. This explains the opposite (preliminary) conclusions reached by the Fifth and Seventh Circuits, respectively, on the constitutionality of laws requiring abortion providers to obtain admitting privileges at nearby hospitals, an issue the Supreme Court appears likely to consider.
Anchorage Daily News/AP: Judge grants restraining order against state in abortion rules case:
Judge John Suddock approved the order Tuesday at the request of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, which has sued the state. . . .