Reproductive Rights Prof Blog

Editor: Caitlin E. Borgmann
CUNY School of Law

A Member of the Law Professor Blogs Network

Monday, September 8, 2014

Eighth Circuit Hears Arguments in Missouri State Legislator's Challenge to Contraception Rule

St. Louis Public Radio: Legislator Tells Federal Appeals Court Why He Objects To Birth-Control Coverage, by Jo Mannies:

The lawyer for state Rep. Paul Wieland, R-Imperial, predicts that his suit against mandated contraceptive coverage will help launch an avalanche of court challenges to the Affordable Care Act’s provision requiring insurance companies to offer such benefits.

But first Wieland needs to persuade a federal appeals court to reinstate his case. A lower court had tossed it out. . . .

September 8, 2014 in Contraception, In the Courts, Religion and Reproductive Rights | 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)

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Updated Regs Governing Exemptions to Contraceptive Rule May Not Satisfy All Religious Objectors

The New HHS Regulations Can’t Win A Zero-Sum Game
The New HHS Regulations Can’t Win A Zero-Sum Game
The New HHS Regulations Can’t Win A Zero-Sum Game

Gender & Sexuality Law Blog, The New HHS Regulations Can’t Win A Zero-Sum Game, by Kara Loewentheil:

Yesterday the Obama Administration released the long-awaited updates to the regulations that govern the availability of an accommodation for religious objectors to the Affordable Care Act’s contraceptive coverage requirement. They came in two parts:

1. A final interim regulation that allows objecting religiously-affiliated organizations who decline to fill out the original form required for an exemption to instead notify the government in writing that they object and to provide the government the contact information for their insurance company or third-party insurer. . . .

What I want to draw attention to in this post is the fact that none of these accommodations will satisfy the objectors who seem to believe that any type of notification to the government makes them impermissibly complicit in what they believe to be a sin. . . .

What I want to draw attention to in this post is the fact that none of these accommodations will satisfy the objectors who seem to believe that any type of notification to the government makes them impermissibly complicit in what they believe to be a sin. - See more at: http://blogs.law.columbia.edu/genderandsexualitylawblog/2014/08/23/the-new-hhs-regulations-cant-win-in-a-zero-sum-game/#sthash.HUe39HE8.dpuf

Yesterday the Obama Administration released the long-awaited updates to the regulations that govern the availability of an accommodation for religious objectors to the Affordable Care Act’s contraceptive coverage requirement. They came in two parts:

1. A final interim regulation that allows objecting religiously-affiliated organizations who decline to fill out the original form required for an exemption to instead notify the government in writing that they object and to provide the government the contact information for their insurance company or third-party insurer.

- See more at: http://blogs.law.columbia.edu/genderandsexualitylawblog/2014/08/23/the-new-hhs-regulations-cant-win-in-a-zero-sum-game/#sthash.HUe39HE8.dpuf

Yesterday the Obama Administration released the long-awaited updates to the regulations that govern the availability of an accommodation for religious objectors to the Affordable Care Act’s contraceptive coverage requirement. They came in two parts:

1. A final interim regulation that allows objecting religiously-affiliated organizations who decline to fill out the original form required for an exemption to instead notify the government in writing that they object and to provide the government the contact information for their insurance company or third-party insurer.

- See more at: http://blogs.law.columbia.edu/genderandsexualitylawblog/2014/08/23/the-new-hhs-regulations-cant-win-in-a-zero-sum-game/#sthash.HUe39HE8.dpuf

Yesterday the Obama Administration released the long-awaited updates to the regulations that govern the availability of an accommodation for religious objectors to the Affordable Care Act’s contraceptive coverage requirement. They came in two parts:

1. A final interim regulation that allows objecting religiously-affiliated organizations who decline to fill out the original form required for an exemption to instead notify the government in writing that they object and to provide the government the contact information for their insurance company or third-party insurer.

- See more at: http://blogs.law.columbia.edu/genderandsexualitylawblog/2014/08/23/the-new-hhs-regulations-cant-win-in-a-zero-sum-game/#sthash.HUe39HE8.dpuf

August 26, 2014 in Contraception, President/Executive Branch, Religion and Reproductive Rights | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, August 11, 2014

Iran's Parliament Votes to Ban Permanent Forms of Contraception

The Guardian: Iran bans permanent contraception to boost population growth

Parliament prohibits vasectomies and other lasting birth control measures after Ayatollah Ali Khamenei calls for more babies

Iran's parliament has voted to ban permanent forms of contraception, the state news agency IRNA reported, endorsing the supreme leaderAyatollah Ali Khamenei's call for more babies to be born.

The bill, banning vasectomies and similar procedures in women, is parliament's response to a decree Khamenei issued in May to increase the population to "strengthen national identity" and counter "undesirable aspects of western lifestyles".

Doctors who violate the ban will be punished, the IRNA reported. . . .

August 11, 2014 in Contraception, International, Sterilization | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Colorado Free Birth Control Program Dramatically Reduces Teen Pregnancy Rates

BBC News: Colorado birth control scheme causes drop in teen pregnancy, by Aleem Maqbool:

A Colorado programme that offers free birth control to teenagers has dramatically reduced the rate of teenage pregnancy. But the nature of the scheme's funding - a large anonymous donation - leaves it unclear whether it could work on a broader scale.

Dianzu Mosqueda Salinas is a young woman working at a family planning centre in the Colorado town of Boulder.

In 2010, she had walked into the very same centre as a nervous teenager, curious about birth control options. . . .

August 10, 2014 in Contraception, State and Local News, Teenagers and Children | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, August 7, 2014

The Importance of Contraception to Women's Equality

Cornerstone:  Contraception: A Prescription for Women's Equality, by Kara Loewentheil:

One of the few mercies of the Supreme Court's opinion in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Inc. last month was its acceptance of the Government's argument that access to contraception is indeed a compelling governmental interest (see pages 39-40 of the majority opinion). Justice Kennedy's concurrence (see pages 2-3), in particular, stressed that this vote for the majority's holding hinged on his belief that the government could achieve its compelling interest in a different manner without burdening the rights of the women whose contraceptive access would be affected. But we should not be too sanguine about this aspect of the holding, because it too is under attack. . . .

August 7, 2014 in Contraception, Supreme Court | 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

Anti-Family Planning Nurse Sues Family Planning Clinic for Refusing To Hire Her

Gender & Sexuality Law Blog: When Reality Becomes Satire: Anti-Contraception Nurse Sues Family Planning Clinic For Not Hiring Her, by Kara Loewentheil:

And now for an exercise in absurdity: a nurse who refuses to prescribe contraception is suing a family planning clinic because it refused to hire her. It refused to hire her for a very simple reason, which probably seems obvious: It’s a family planning clinic, and she refused to perform family planning services. Rather than take that as a fairly reasonable basis for rejection, and conclude that perhaps she would be happier and of more use in a different context (a crisis pregnancy center, perhaps), the nurse decided to sue the clinic, claiming that it discriminated against her on the basis of her religion. . . .

July 26, 2014 in Contraception, Religion and Reproductive Rights, Weblogs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

"Catholic Sistas" Explain Why They Don't Use Contraception

Salon:  Women who don’t use birth control explain why not, slut-shame those who do, by Jenny Kutner:

Hint: It's because they don't understand how birth control works

In the aftermath of the Hobby Lobby ruling that will effectively allow corporations to prevent their female employees from accessing certain forms of contraception, BuzzFeed posted explanations from 22 of its own female employees about why they use birth control. The responses ranged from medical — “for my endometriosis” — to ethical — “because it’s none of your business” — to practical — “because condoms break sometimes.” All were different, but each reflected some of the most common reasons that more than 99 percent of sexually active adult women use some form of contraception.

Well, the <1 percent of women who don’t use birth control took it upon themselves to respond to BuzzFeed by explaining their own reproductive choices, listing the reasons theydon’t use birth control on the faith-centered blog Catholic Sistas (not a spelling error). But instead of simply offering up their “logical” (read: totally putative) justifications, the women also illustrated a general lack of understanding of how birth control works, as well as what it means not to try to “force others to follow what we believe” by sending preachy messages about the virtue of sexing to make babies. . . .

July 23, 2014 in Contraception, Culture, Religion and Reproductive Rights | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Eden Foods Implores Grocers Not To Boycott Its Products Over Its Contraception Objection

Forbes: Eden Foods To Grocers: Stick With Us Despite Birth Control 'Attack', by Claire O'Connor:

In the weeks since Eden Foods first hit headlines in the wake of the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision, the natural foods company has faced unprecedented scrutiny.

Like craft chain Hobby Lobby, Eden Foods sued the Department of Health and Human Services in a bid to reverse what its devoutly Catholic founder calls “unconstitutional government overreach.”

Michael Potter, who started the Michigan-based former co-op in the 1960s, doesn’t believe he should have to cover certain types of birth control as part of his company’s health insurance plan as required by the Affordable Care Act.

In recent days a handful of regional grocery co-ops have threatened to boycott, with activists advising those concerned about women’s health to return the company’s products to Whole Foods and its ilk. . . .

July 23, 2014 in Contraception, Religion and Reproductive Rights | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Obama Administration To Revise Accommodation for Certain Religious Non-Profits That Object to Contraception Rule

The Wall Street Journal: Obama Administration to Revise Part of Contraception Rule, by Louise Radnofsky:

Wheaton College Objected to Allowing Contraceptive Coverage to Be Provided by an Insurance Company

The Obama administration said Tuesday it will revise a compromise arrangement for religiously affiliated universities and charities that object to providing contraception in workers' health insurance plans, in response to a Supreme Court order earlier this month.

A majority of Supreme Court justices granted Wheaton College, an Illinois Christian school, a temporary reprieve from contraception coverage requirements in the Affordable Care Act on July 3. That was days after the high court ruled that closely held for-profit companies such as arts-and-crafts chain Hobby Lobby should be allowed to opt out of the provision if their owners have religious objections to certain forms of birth control. . . .

July 22, 2014 in Contraception, In the Courts, President/Executive Branch, Religion and Reproductive Rights | 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)

Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert on Hobby Lobby Decision

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)

Friday, July 4, 2014

Court Issues Order on Contraception Mandate that Reinforces Female Justices' Concerns About Hobby Lobby Ruling's Scope

The New York Times:  Birth Control Order Deepens Divide Among Justices, by Adam Liptak:

In a decision that drew an unusually fierce dissent from the three female justices, the Supreme Court sided Thursday with religiously affiliated nonprofit groups in a clash between religious freedom and women’s rights.

The decision temporarily exempts a Christian college from part of the regulations that provide contraception coverage under the Affordable Care Act. . . .

___________________________________

The reason this order  is so frustrating is that Justice Alito's opinion in Hobby Lobby emphasized that its ruling was justified in large measure because the accommodation already provided to certain non-profits could simply be extended to closely held for-profits.  In relying on the existing accommodation, the Court implied that the accommodation was constitutionally acceptable.  Indeed, the Court dismissed Justice Ginsburg's concerns about the opinion's scope, referring to the existing accommodation for non-profits and saying, "[O]ur holding is very specific."  Justice Kennedy in concurrence even felt obliged to issue a separate reassurance: "[I]t should be said that the Court’s opinion does not have the breadth and sweep ascribed to it by the respectful and powerful dissent."  Justice Kennedy pointed out that "there is an existing, recognized, workable, and already-implemented framework to provide coverage" and "[t]hat accommodation equally furthers the Government’s interest but does not impinge on the plaintiffs’ religious beliefs" (emphasis added).  The majority itself assured that the goverment's accommodation "does not impinge on the plaintiffs’ religious belief that providing insurance coverage for the contraceptives at issue here violates their religion."

There was a clue, however, in the majority's opinion, that left Justice Ginsburg and others concerned as to whether the Court was sincere in suggesting it would ultimately find the existing accommodation adequate.  The Court noted, "We do not decide today whether an approach of this type complies with RFRA for purposes of all religious claims," referring to Little Sisters of the Poor, a case in which the Court  issued a previous order addressing the accommodation as applied to a non-profit entity.  This caveat, buried in an opinion full of reassurances about the decision's narrow scope, coupled with today's order supports Justice Ginsburg's concern that the true implications of Hobby Lobby are broad and as yet unclear.

-CEB

July 4, 2014 in Contraception, Religion, Religion and Reproductive Rights, Supreme Court | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, June 30, 2014

Hobby Lobby Majority, in Contrast to Justice Ginsburg, Largely Ignores Women and Their Well-Being

The Washington Post - WonkBlog: The 49-page Supreme Court Hobby Lobby ruling mentioned women just 13 times, by Emily Badger:

. . . Th[e] idea — that women's reproductive well-being is vital to both their personal prospects and the country's fortunes — runs throughout Ginsburg's dissent. It is notably absent from Justice Samuel Alito's majority opinion. . . .

 

June 30, 2014 in Contraception, Supreme Court, Women, General | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Q&A on Hobby Lobby

Here is the link to UltraViolet's Twitter Q&A  on Hobby Lobby, which I participated in this morning.

The effects of Hobby Lobby decision are already being felt in the non-profit context, with the 11th Circuit enjoining the government, pending appeal, from enforcing the contraception rule against Eternal Word Television Network, a tax-exempt non-profit organization, "[i]n light of the Supreme Court's decision today" in Hobby Lobby.  Also, via Lyle Denniston at SCOTUSblog:  "Over the dissents of two Justices, the Supreme Court on Monday evening temporarily barred enforcement of the birth-control mandate against Wheaton College, a non-profit religious institution in Illinois."

June 30, 2014 in Contraception, Religion and Reproductive Rights, Supreme Court | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Hobby Lobby

Justice Alito wrote the opinion. There are qualifications to the Court's ruling. It appears to be limited to closely held corporations and to contraception, for example. SCOTUSblog is live blogging the decision here. The opinion is available here.  I will be participating in a Twitter chat hosted by UltraViolet to answer questions about the opinion.

June 30, 2014 in Contraception, Religion, Religion and Reproductive Rights, Supreme Court | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

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)

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

The Supreme Court Will Decide Hobby Lobby, but the Public Favors the Contraception Rule

The Washington Post: Awaiting Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby ruling, public favors contraception mandate, by Cathy Lynn Grossman:

The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to finally issue its ruling this week in the highly anticipated case of the craft companies vs. Obamacare. . . .

But to the general public, this is seen as a showdown between employers — the evangelical Green family behind Hobby Lobby and the Mennonite Hahn family that owns the Conestoga cabinet company — and the employees’ personal reproductive choices under their insurance. . . .

June 24, 2014 in Contraception, Public Opinion, Religion and Reproductive Rights, Supreme Court | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)