Reproductive Rights Prof Blog

Editor: Caitlin E. Borgmann
CUNY School of Law

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Thursday, January 22, 2015

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)

Did GOP Trade "Short-Term Pain" for "Long-Term Gain" by Foregoing Vote on Abortion Ban?

The Washington Post - The Fix (blog): How Republicans won by losing on an abortion vote, by Chris Cillizza:

For the last several years, congressional Republicans have pursued what can be described as a short-term gain, long-term pain strategy. That is, the GOP-led House has championed, passed or, just as often, not passed legislation that pleases its base and the group of three dozen or so of its members who stake out the furthest territory on the right of ideological spectrum. That's been a fine thing for those members, most of whom sit in districts in which the only threat of losing comes in a primary, but it has been far more problematic for the overall brand of the party as it tries to recapture the White House in 2016. Think immigration reform.

On Wednesday, House Republicans -- whether purposely or by accident -- reversed that strategy, choosing some short-term pain in exchange for at least the possibility of long-term gain. . . .

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

House GOP Leaders Drop Planned Vote on 20-Week Ban After Controversy Within Party

The Washington Post:  Abortion bill dropped amid concerns of female GOP lawmakers, by Ed O'Keefe:

House Republican leaders abruptly dropped plans late Wednesday to vote on an anti-abortion bill amid a revolt by female GOP lawmakers concerned that the legislation's restrictive language would once again spoil the party's chances of broadening its appeal to women and younger voters.

In recent days, as many as two dozen Republicans had raised concerns with the "Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act" that would ban abortions after the 20th week of a pregnancy. Sponsors said that exceptions would be allowed for a woman who is raped, but she could only get the abortion after reporting the rape to law enforcement.

A vote had been scheduled for Thursday to coincide with the annual March for Life, a gathering that brings hundreds of thousands of anti-abortion activists to Washington to mark the anniversary of the Supreme Court's 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion. . . .

CNN: House GOP leaders cave on abortion bill, by Deirdre Walsh:

Mark it down as a rare win for House GOP moderates. After scrambling into the evening on Wednesday, House Republican leaders decided to scrap a vote on a controversial anti-abortion measure scheduled to coincide with an annual gathering of anti-abortion advocates on Thursday because they couldn't round up enough support. . . .

The "Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act," is a bill banning so called "late-term abortions" -- those involving procedures for women who are beyond 20 weeks into their pregnancy. Several House GOP women protested language in the bill that requires those women who seek an exception to the ban because they were raped have to back up their claim with a police report. A similar measure has passed the House in 2013, but this time some female members -- including some who voted for it last time -- are pushing for that requirement to be stripped out. . . .

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This is what happens when opponents of abortion stray from a simplistic but consistent position that all abortion is murder.  They wade into a messy quagmire of exceptions -- which women "deserve" to have an abortion? -- a discussion that only serves to highlight that they do not, in fact, hold a consistent position that an embryo or fetus is a person.  (The discredited claim that a fetus can perceive pain at 20 weeks indeed was supposed to cement the fetus's status as a person and justify the ban in question.) I've written more about this in the following articles: The Meaning of 'Life': Belief and Reason in the Abortion Debate and  Roe v. Wade's 40th Anniversary: A Moment of Truth for the Anti-Abortion-Rights Movement?

-CEB

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

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

House Plans to Vote on 20-Week Abortion Ban on Roe Anniversary; Obama Threatens Veto

The Hill: Obama threatens to veto abortion bill, by Sarah Ferris:

The Obama administration on Tuesday threatened to veto the GOP-backed bill to ban abortions after 20 weeks, calling it a “direct challenge” to a court-protected right for women.

The House is planning to vote on the bill Thursday, the anniversary of the landmark Supreme Court abortion case, Roe v. Wade, and the same day that thousands of anti-abortion advocates will participate in the March for Life. . . .

January 20, 2015 in Abortion Bans, Congress, President/Executive Branch | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Will 20-Week Abortion Ban Advance in the New Congress?

MSNBC: The GOP wants to take the abortion wars national again, by Irin Carmon:

The new Congress had barely blinked awake when Republicans got back to their usual business – an abortion ban.

The Hill reports that on Monday, the first day of the new session, Rep. Trent Franks and Rep. Marsha Blackburn reintroduced the tendentiously named “Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act.” It bans abortion after 20 weeks on the medically-disputed theory that fetuses can feel pain at that point. . . .

January 8, 2015 in Abortion Bans, Congress | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Embryonic Personhood Movement Hasn't Gone Away

ThinkProgress: North Dakota Is Quietly Preparing To Enact The Most Radical Abortion Measure In The Country, by Tara Culp-Ressler:

EmbryosIn less than two weeks, North Dakota voters will head to the polls and cast their ballots on a radical effort to overhaul the state’s constitutionand redefine legal personhood in a way that includes fertilized eggs. The latest polling indicates that Amendment 1 may have enough support to pass, making North Dakota the first state in the country to enact a radical “personhood” measure — something that abortion opponents have been attempting to do for four decades. But hardly anyone is talking about it. . . .

MSNBC:  This conservative cause is the GOP’s worst nightmare, by Irin Carmon:

There is one word that has defined the Colorado Senate race and it’s a word that Republican Rep. Cory Gardner and other GOP candidates across the country are tired of hearing. The word is “Personhood.”

For months, local reporters have been asking Gardner, who is challenging Democratic Sen. Mark Udall, to explain his contradictory and opaque positions on a Colorado Personhood measure Gardner once supported and a federal bill he still does. Such measures would extend legal protection to fertilized eggs and are intended to ban all abortion as well as common in-vitro fertilization processes and some forms of birth control, including the IUD and emergency contraception. . . .

It was quiet that afternoon on the Personhood terrace, when Keith Mason openly admitted he doesn’t expect Amendment 67 to pass. Then he nodded towards Planned Parenthood and grinned: “We just cost them $4 million.”  . . .

October 23, 2014 in Abortion Bans, Congress, Fetal Rights, Politics, State and Local News | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

GOP Senate Candidates Reluctant to Weigh in on Latest Changes to ACA Contraception Rule

Repub elephantThe Hill: GOP Senate candidates mum on birth control mandate change, by Elise Viebeck:

Republican Senate candidates are staying silent on President Obama's latest changes to the birth control coverage mandate, even as the policy catches flak from the religious right.  

Top GOP hopefuls haven’t weighed in on the issue since Friday, when the administration announced new measures meant to accommodate religious groups and businesses owners who object to their insurance covering birth control. . . . 

August 27, 2014 in Congress, Contraception, Politics, Religion and Reproductive Rights | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Senator Shaheen Introduces Access to Contraception for Women Servicemembers and Dependents Act

InsuranceNewsNet:  Shaheen Introduces Legislation to Expand Access to Contraception for Military Women, Dependents:

Legislation supported by women's health care advocates would also boost access to comprehensive family planning counseling

Today, U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) introduced legislation, the Access to Contraception for Women Servicemembers and Dependents Act of 2014, which would overhaul current Department of Defense'spolicy on contraceptive coverage and family planning counseling. The bill would bring health care provided by the military in line with current law for civilian populations by ensuring that all women who receive health care through the United States military have access to all FDA-approved contraception with nohealth insurance co-pay. The bill would also require the Department of Defense to develop and implement family planning counseling for all servicewoman at specific points during her service. . . .

July 31, 2014 in Congress, Contraception | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Testimony Against Women's Health Protection Act Replete With Bad Science

The Hill - Contributors blog: Debunking the bad science on abortion and women's health, by Andrea Flynn:

Last week, the Senate Judiciary Committee heard testimony on the Women's Health Protection Act (WHPA), a bill that would prevent unnecessary restrictions on abortions and abortion providers. The opposition used overblown and often incorrect claims to drive home the familiar message that abortion is dangerous, bad for women and shouldn't be considered part of women's healthcare.

In the face of tireless attacks on reproductive rights, it is important to revisit those claims, set the record straight and remind the opposition of the real health threats facing too many U.S. families. . . .

July 26, 2014 in Abortion, Congress, Reproductive Health & Safety | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Republicans Block Senate Bill Aimed at Countering Effects of Hobby Lobby Decision

The Hill: Dem birth control bill stalls, by Ramsey Cox:

Senate Republicans on Wednesday blocked legislation that would require companies to provide birth control coverage in their employee healthcare plans.

The bill failed to advance in a 56-43 vote, with Republican Sens. Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), Susan Collins (Maine) and Mark Kirk (Ill.) voting with Democrats. . . .

July 16, 2014 in Congress, Contraception, Religion, Religion and Reproductive Rights | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Senate Judiciary Committee Holds Hearing on Women's Health Protection Act

View the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing held today, July 15, on the Women's Health Protection Act on C-Span here.

Slate - The XX Factor blog: The Democrats’ Brilliant Idea for How to Stop Unnecessary Abortion Clinic Regulations, by Amanda Marcotte:

Democrats in the Senate on Tuesday took a major step in pushing back against the growing trend of regulations that are designed to shut down safe abortion clinics. The Senate Judiciary Committee is hearing testimony on a bill introduced by Sens. Richard Blumenthal and Tammy Baldwin, a bill that would do significant damage to anti-choice efforts to go around Roe v. Wade by regulating abortion clinics out of existence. It's called the Women's Health Protection Act, and it would end the attacks on abortion clinics through one simple measure: requiring states to regulate abortion providers in exactly the same way they do other clinics and doctors who provide comparable services. No more singling out abortion providers. . . .

The New York Times - editorial:  A Defense of Reproductive Rights:

Facing a torrent of state laws restricting access to safe and legal abortions, supporters of a woman’s right to make her own childbearing decisions have been forced to play a defensive game — trying to block enactment of the laws, and, when that doesn’t work, challenging them in court. An important hearing of the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday could begin to move the dynamics of the fight in a positive direction. . . .

July 15, 2014 in Abortion, Congress, Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP) | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, July 14, 2014

Lyle Denniston on Proposed Legislation To Undo Hobby Lobby

SCOTUS blog: A Bill to Undo Hobby Lobby, by Lyle Denniston:

With fewer than a dozen crucial words, a group of U.S. senators and representatives this week proposed what they have called a “legislative fix” to undo the Supreme Court’s June 30 decision inBurwell v. Hobby Lobby.  Here is the key language in the Senate version, bill number S. 2578:  ”Application: Subsection (a) shall apply notwithstanding any other provision of federal law, including Public Law 103-141.”. . . 

The bill would modify — but without directly amending — the federal law that was the basis of the Supreme Court’s ruling — that is, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (officially enacted as Public Law 103-141).  The new measure would have the effect of simply overruling the Hobby Lobby decision.  Identical versions were introduced in the Senate and House on Wednesday. . . .

July 14, 2014 in Congress, Contraception, Religion and Reproductive Rights | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Senate Judiciary Committee To Hold Hearing on Women's Health Protection Act

The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing on S.1696, The Women’s Health Protection Act: Removing Barriers to Constitutionally Protected Reproductive Rights on July 15.  The hearing will be live streamed on the Committee's website.

Via the Center for Reproductive Rights:

The Women's Health Protection Act would prohibit laws and regulations that single out the provision of abortion services for restrictions that are more burdensome than those 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. The bill currently has 34 co-sponsors in the Senate and 121 in the House.  It includes a list of regulations that are per se violations, which you can read here. . . .

July 9, 2014 in Congress, Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP) | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Campaign Ad for Sen. John Walsh Criticizes Opponent Rep. Steve Daines on Abortion Record

The Washington Post - Post Politics blog: Sen. Walsh hits Daines on abortion in ad featuring woman who says she was raped, by Sean Sullivan:

Sen. John Walsh (D-Mont.) is taking to the airwaves Wednesday with a new TV ad in which a woman who says she was raped criticizes Rep. Steve Daines (R) for sponsoring a restrictive legislation on abortion. . . .

Daines's campaign declined to comment on the ad. The congressman is also going up with a deeply personal statewide spot featuring a woman. In the ad, Rebekah Uzenski of Bozeman details how her ex-husband would physically abuse her before she thanks Daines for supporting the Violence Against Women Act. . . .

View the ads here and here.

May 21, 2014 in Abortion Bans, Congress, Politics | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Sen. Lindsey Graham Plans To Link Push for 20-Week Abortion Ban to Anniversary of Gosnell Conviction

Politico: Graham plans push on abortion bill, by Burgess Everett:

Senate Republicans, led by Lindsey Graham, are planning to ramp up their advocacy for an abortion bill around the high-profile anniversary of a former abortion provider’s murder conviction.

The South Carolina Republican is organizing a group of his colleagues to speak in support of a bill that would federally ban abortions after more than 20 weeks of pregnancy, legislation that has the support of 41 Senate Republicans and has already passed the House. Graham is centering this legislative push on the May 13 anniversary of Kermit Gosnell’s conviction for killing infants that were born alive. . . .

May 11, 2014 in Abortion Bans, Congress | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Abortion a Divisive Issue in North Carolina Race for U.S. Senate

CharlotteObserver.com: 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 Hannasyracuse.com: 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.

-CEB

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