Reproductive Rights Prof Blog

Editor: Caitlin E. Borgmann
CUNY School of Law

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Sunday, February 2, 2014

Abortion a Divisive Issue in North Carolina Race for U.S. Senate Abortion question divides North Carolina’s U.S. Senate candidates, by Renee Schoof & John Frank:

North Carolina’s fiercely competitive U.S. Senate race could turn on one of the most divisive issues in politics.

The abortion question shows up the stark contrast between incumbent Democrat Kay Hagan and her GOP challengers. . . .

February 2, 2014 in Abortion, Congress, Politics | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Lone Republican to Vote Against House Anti-Abortion Bill Explains His Vote

Richard Why Rep. Richard Hanna stood alone on House Republican abortion bill, by Mark Weiner:

U.S. Rep. Richard Hanna explained today why he voted against his House Republican colleagues on a bill that bans federal payments for abortions.

Hanna, R-Barneveld, was the only Republican to vote against the legislation, which passed the House Tuesday night by a vote of 227-188. . . .

January 29, 2014 in Abortion, Congress | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

House Republicans Pass Multi-Pronged Anti-Abortion Bill

The Huffington Post: House Republicans Pass Sweeping Anti-Abortion Bill, by Laura Bassett:

The House of Representatives passed a bundle of abortion restrictions Tuesday that would dramatically reduce the number of health insurance plans that cover the procedure. The vote was 227 to 188, with one lawmaker voting present

The No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act (H.R. 7), sponsored by Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.), would prohibit insurance plans sold in the new health care exchanges from covering abortion, and it would eliminate tax benefits for small businesses that purchase insurance plans covering abortion. The bill would also prevent the District of Columbia from using its own locally raised funds to subsidize abortion care for low-income women. . . .

January 29, 2014 in Abortion, Congress | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, January 27, 2014

Republican Leaders Persist in Attacks on Women's Rights

Repub elephantThe New York Times editorial: A Formula for Repelling Women Voters:

Republican leaders have chosen an odd way to try to win back female voters alienated by relentless G.O.P. attacks on women’s health care and freedoms. Instead of backing off, they’re digging in, clinging to an approach that gave President Obama a 12-point advantage among women in the 2012 election and provided the slim margin of victory for Terry McAuliffe, the Democratic candidate for governor in Virginia, in 2013. On the national level and even in some red states, the party’s stance on women’s rights is plainly not helping it.

Yet the ideological tide rolls on. States dominated by Republicans continue to enact new abortion restriction. The Republican National Committee last week heard Mike Huckabee, the former governor of Arkansas, suggest that Democrats favor universal access to free contraception because they think women “cannot control their libido” without the help of “Uncle Sugar.” And this week, the Republican-led House is expected to pass the deceptively named No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act. . . .

January 27, 2014 in Abortion, Congress, Contraception | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Abortion Is "Animating Issue" in 2014 Midterm Elections

The New York Times: Parties Seize on Abortion Issues in Midterm Race, by Jeremy W. Peters:

 . . . Abortion is becoming an unexpectedly animating issue in the 2014 midterm elections. Republicans, through state ballot initiatives and legislation in Congress, are using it to stoke enthusiasm among core supporters. Democrats, mindful of how potent the subject has been in recent campaigns like last year’s governor’s race in Virginia, are looking to rally female voters by portraying their conservative opponents as callous on women’s issues. . . .


I found this passage interesting:

Coupling the issue of abortion with a subject important to Republicans’ Tea Party followers — government spending — is one way the party is recalibrating its election-year message. Republicans say that by framing the abortion debate in terms of fiscal conservatism, they can make a connection to the issue they believe will ultimately decide who controls Congress next year — the Affordable Care Act.

The GOP apparently doesn't feel confident that it can afford to address abortion head-on.  Republicans are on the defensive, because they know they don't have public support for direct assaults on abortion.  But as the GOP continues its stealth attacks on abortion, the struggle for pro-choice advocates and politicians will continue to be how to expose the Republicans' true agenda to voters.


January 22, 2014 in Abortion, Congress, Politics | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, January 20, 2014

Congressman Promotes Abortion Restrictions As Job Creation

Feministing: Running out of Ideas, Congressman Suggests Abortion Restrictions as Job Creation, by Veronica Bayetti Flores:

Remember HR7, that awful bill that would restrict federal insurance coverage of abortion and add sundry fun new restrictions on abortion coverage in DC and nationwide? Well, nobody knew this before, but it turns out it is also a job growth bill! Let Congressman Bob Goodlatte, creative outside-the-box thinker and Republican representative for Virginia’s 5th Congressional District, explain it to you . . . .

January 20, 2014 in Abortion, Congress, Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP) | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, December 9, 2013

The Real Story Behind the Expansion of Abortion Coverage for Congressional Staff

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: . . .

December 9, 2013 in Abortion, Congress | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Abortion Cases Helped Push Democrats To Change Filibuster Rules

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 controlOne 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. . . .

November 30, 2013 in Abortion, Congress, In the Courts | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Sen. Blumenthal and Rep. Chu on Women's Health Protection Act of 2013

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. . . .

November 19, 2013 in Abortion, Congress | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Democratic Senators Introduce Women's Health Protection Act

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:

Anti-choice activists have been gunning hard to outlaw abortion. Today, the Democrats pushed back. . . .

November 16, 2013 in Abortion, Congress | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Lindsey Graham, Not Marco Rubio, Sponsors 20-Week Abortion Ban

The New Republic: Did Lindsey Graham Sponsor the Abortion Ban Because Marco Rubio Wouldn't?, by Nora Caplan-Bricker:

On Thursday, South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham introduced a bill that would outlaw abortion at 20 weeks, a companion to a measure that passed the House of Representatives this June and an echo of laws that have already passed in more than a dozen conservative states.  Anti-abortion activists have been looking for a sponsor the legislation since it passed the lower chamber, and Graham has pro-life bona fides tracing back to his introduction of the Unborn Victims of Violence Act in 1999. And though President Barack Obama has vowed to veto the bill if, by some fluke, it passes the Senate, its appearance in the capital still seems a natural way for the national party to channel the rabid vitality of its state-level cousins. Only one thing seems strange: Wasn’t this bill supposed to be Florida Senator Marco Rubio’s pet project? . . .

November 12, 2013 in Abortion Bans, Congress, Politics | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Senator Graham Prepares to Introduce 20-Week Abortion Ban

Lindsey GrahamThe Hill: Graham readies 20-week abortion ban, by Mario Trujillo:

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said Sunday he is proud to lead the charge in the Senate to ban abortions after 20 weeks of a pregnancy.

Graham is expected to introduce a bill this week. He dismissed the assertion he is leading the effort to shore up his conservative base ahead of the 2014 election. . . .


"When do you become you: At 20 weeks of a pregnancy?" Senator Graham asks.  He then trots out the scientifically dubious claim that fetuses can feel pain at 20 weeks.  "That is what a rational humane society would do — protect a child who can feel pain from an abortion," Graham declares. But for Graham there's a big "unless":  "unless there is the life of the mother, rape or incest involved."  The fetus that is the product or rape or incest can't feel pain?  Or is less of a "child?"


November 3, 2013 in Abortion Bans, Congress | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Conservative GOP House Members Try to Use Shutdown to Force Fight Over Contraception Mandate

The Hill - Healthwatch blog: Conservatives want more time to fight against birth control mandate, by Elise Viebeck:

Conservative House members expressed a desire Tuesday to fund the government only until Dec. 15 in order to force a fight over ObamaCare's birth control mandate. 

Members of the House GOP discussed a proposal that would reopen the government through mid-December, just weeks before a provision of the mandate takes effect on Jan. 1 for religiously affiliated groups.  . . .

The modified policy will allow the employees of religious institutions to obtain free birth control directly from their insurance company. 

The institutions themselves will not have to "contract, arrange, pay or refer for contraceptive coverage," according to the Department of Health and Human Services. 

Critics say the policy still does not go far enough to protect groups that oppose contraception. . . .

October 15, 2013 in Congress, Contraception | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Ted Cruz Misrepresents Contraception Mandate, Saying It Covers "Abortifacients"

Ted CruzThe Huffington Post: Ted Cruz Calls Birth Control 'Abortifacients', by Laura Bassett:

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) on Friday repeated the misguided conservative talking point that the birth control coverage rule included in Obamacare forces employers to cover abortion-inducing pills.

Cruz told the crowd at the 2013 Values Voter Summit that the Obama administration is forcing Christian-owned businesses like Hobby Lobby to provide "abortifacients" or pay millions of dollars in fees. Hobby Lobby is one of several religious-owned businesses currently suing the administration over its requirement that most employers include contraception coverage in their health insurance plans. . . .

October 13, 2013 in Congress, Contraception, Politics | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Vatican Official Says Nancy Pelosi Should Be Denied Communion

Nancy PelosiThe Daily News: Nancy Pelosi should be denied Holy Communion over abortion rights stance: Vatican official, by Leslie Larson:

Raymond Cardinal Leo Burke says the California Democrat has 'obstinately' separated her religious and political lives, which he calls a 'grave error.'

A Vatican official has come out in support of denying communion to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi for her support of abortion rights.

Raymond Cardinal Leo Burke, Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura in Rome — the Vatican's Supreme Court — slammed the California Democrat for "obstinately" persisting in grave sin by supporting the policy, even "after repeated admonitions." . . .

September 24, 2013 in Abortion, Congress, Religion and Reproductive Rights | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Senate Committee Votes to Expand Abortion Coverage

ACLU press release: Senate Takes Important Step to Expand Abortion Coverage:

Senate Appropriations Committee Votes to Expand Abortion Coverage for Women of D.C. and the Peace Corps

July 25, 2013

CONTACT: Meghan Groob, 202-417-7547,

WASHINGTON – The Senate Appropriations Committee voted today to expand abortion coverage by lifting two separate coverage bans for D.C. residents and Peace Corps volunteers. The State and Foreign Operations Appropriations bill includes a provision to bring the same coverage for abortion care to Peace Corps volunteers and trainees as available in other areas of federal law. The committee also effectively voted to end the D.C. abortion ban – which prevents Washington, D.C., from using its own locally raised funds to pay for abortion care for low-income women – by excluding the ban from any of appropriations bills.

"As many of the states continue their march to outlaw abortion, it's encouraging to see the Senate vote to restore equity and fairness to two groups of women who have been unfairly targeted in the past," said Vania Leveille, American Civil Liberties Union senior legislative council. "With these votes, we are one step closer to the day when all women have access to the reproductive health care coverage they need, whatever their situation."

Under current policy, the Peace Corps is prohibited from providing abortion coverage for volunteers with no exceptions – unlike other federal abortion coverage restrictions, which have exceptions for when a woman's life is endangered, or if she is the survivor of rape or incest. The Peace Corps equity provision in the State and Foreign Operations bill would end the practice of singling out Peace Corps volunteers by ensuring abortion coverage in cases of life endangerment, rape, and incest. Earlier this year, the late Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) introduced the Peace Corps Equity Act, which puts forward the same equity provisions.

The D.C. abortion ban was reinstated in 2011 after being reversed in 2009. The ACLU has long sought an end to the ban, arguing that Congress should respect the District of Columbia's autonomy and allow it to use, like other states, its own local, non-federal revenue to provide abortion care to women enrolled in Medicaid.

July 25, 2013 in Abortion, Congress | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Federal 20-week Abortion Ban Could Raise Medicaid Costs Up to $400 Million

Politico: CBO: Abortion Ban Would Raise Deficit, by Jake Sherman:

Nearly every single House Republican voted last week to increase government spending and push the nation further into debt — all to limit abortion access for some women.

The official budget scorekeeper of Congress says the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which would ban abortions after 20 weeks, would increase Medicaid costs by as much as $400 million. . . .

July 2, 2013 in Abortion Bans, Congress | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Rep. Carolyn Maloney Pushes for Federal Legislation to Regulate Advertisements of "Crisis Pregnancy Centers"

Metro US: Maloney, Quinn fight for truth in advertising for 'crisis pregnancy centers', by Danielle Tcholakian:

Recent support from Rep. Carolyn Maloney has invigorated New York City Council. Rep. Maloney is pushing Congress to pass a new federal bill, stating, "No woman deserves to be misled or lied to about legal medical family planning services." . . .

June 29, 2013 in Abortion, Anti-Choice Movement, Congress, State and Local News | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

A Look at the Science Behind Claims About Fetal Pain

The Daily Beast: The Uncertain Science of Fetal Pain, by Michelle Goldberg:

As the Republican-led House of Representatives passes a far-reaching bill that would ban most abortions after 20 weeks based on the science of ‘fetal pain,’ Michelle Goldberg reports on whether the unborn can feel hurt.

Despite being passed by the House of Representatives, the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which bans abortion after 20 weeks, has no chance of becoming law as long as Democrats control the Senate and the White House. It’s significant, though, as evidence of a broad new legislative assault on Roe v. Wade, one that aims to use the uncertain science of fetal pain to ban abortion before viability. . . .

June 19, 2013 in Abortion Bans, Congress, Fetal Rights, Science | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Texas GOP Lawmaker Tries To Bolster Fetal Pain Argument By Asserting that (Male) Fetuses Masturbate

The Atlantic: The Point Michael Burgess Was Trying to Make About Fetal Masturbation, by David A. Graham:

The Texas lawmaker's comments are really just another way to talk about the doggedly debated topic of whether fetuses feel pain.

Another week, another awkward remark about pregnancy from a Republican lawmaker.

Last week, it was Rep. Trent Franks' comments about the frequency of pregnancy from rape, the validity and meaning of which have been subject to a tediously hair-spliting debate. This week, it's Rep. Michael Burgess, a Texan, with this:

Watch a sonogram of a 15-week baby, and they have movements that are purposeful. They stroke their face. If they're a male baby, they may have their hand between their legs. If they feel pleasure, why is it so hard to believe that they could feel pain? . . .

June 18, 2013 in Abortion Bans, Congress, Fetal Rights, State Legislatures | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)