It was a day when most of the major races featured female candidates, and all the major female candidates won. They won in South Dakota and Arkansas, California and Nevada. They won as business-friendly moderates (the Golden State’s Meg Whitman); as embattled incumbents (Arkansas’s Blanche Lincoln); as Tea Party insurgents (Sharron Angle in Nevada). South Carolina gubernatorial hopeful Nikki Haley even came in first despite multiple allegations of adultery.
But mostly, they won as Republicans. Conservative Republicans, in fact. Conservative Republicans endorsed by Sarah Palin, in many cases. Which generated a certain amount of angst in the liberal commentariat about What It All Meant For Feminism. . . .
April 24, 2013
The Legacy of the Gosnell Case: Unnecessary, Burdensome Regulation of Abortion Providers
RH Reality Check: While We're Debating the Gosnell Case, Anti-Choicers Are Getting to Work, by Gwen Emmons:
. . . Major news outlets have only recently begun to cover Kermit Gosnell’s murder trial, but coverage has focused on the sordid details of Gosnell’s clinic. What’s missing from the headlines is the legacy of the Gosnell case. In Pennsylvania, abortion providers and the women they serve are already feeling the sting of anti-choice legislators all too eager to use the Gosnell case as a flimsy excuse for rolling back reproductive rights and access even further in the state. And it’s only a matter of time until another state invokes Kermit Gosnell’s name in defense of yet another piece of anti-choice legislation. . . .
April 12, 2013
Why Is Trend on Abortion Regulation Counter to That of Gay Rights and Marijuana Use?
The Washington Post - The Fix blog: If gay marriage and pot are now OK, why isn’t abortion?, by Juliet Eilperin & Scott Clement:
As abortion opponents are scoring a string of victories in the states, it raises a question: why are conservatives gaining ground in this one arena, even if they’re losing in the battle over gay marriage and marijuana?
A few factors help explain this contradiction. . . .
February 25, 2013
Former Surgeon General C. Everett Koop Dies at 96
In the 1980s, President Reagan -- under pressure from anti-choice activists -- directed C. Everett Koop to review the research on abortion and report back about the health effects of the procedure. Although personally opposed to abortion, Koop refused to issue the report, finding that there was no credible evidence that abortion caused women either physical or mental harm. Unfortunately, anti-choice activists continue to perpetuate the myth that abortion causes lasting emotional trauma and to push for laws that require doctors to pass along this misinformation to women.
See: The Guttmacher Institute: Abortion and Mental Health: Myths and Realities
The New York Times: C. Everett Koop, Forceful U.S. Surgeon General, Dies at 96, by Holcomb B. Noble:
Dr. C. Everett Koop, who was widely regarded as the most influential surgeon general in American history and played a crucial role in changing public attitudes about smoking, died on Monday at his home in Hanover, N.H. He was 96. . . .
Dr. Koop was completing a successful career as a pioneer in pediatric surgery when he was nominated for surgeon general, having caught the attention of conservatives with a series of seminars, films and books in collaboration with the theologian Francis Schaeffer that expressed anti-abortion views. . . .
March 02, 2012
Advertisers Pull Commercials in Wake of Rush Limbaugh's Sexist Attack on Law Student Sandra Fluke
The Huffington Post: Rush Limbaugh Advertiser Sleep Train Pulls Commercials In Wake Of Sandra Fluke 'Slut' Firestorm (UPDATE: More Companies Join), by Jack Mirkinson:
One of Rush Limbaugh's advertisers announced Friday that it was pulling all of its commercials from his radio show in the wake of Limbaugh's incendiary comments about a female law student and contraception. (UPDATE: Another advertiser announced it was also ending its commercials later on Friday. Scroll to the bottom to see.)
After being bombarded on Twitter, mattress store Sleep Train said that it would no longer advertise during Limbaugh's top-rated show following days of outrage over Limbaugh's statements about Sandra Fluke, a Georgetown student who was denied a chance to speak at a Congressional hearing about birth control. . . .
July 26, 2011
Right-Wingers Blame Pro-Choice Movement and Multiculturalism for Norway Massacre
Salon.com: Right-wingers blame multiculturalism, abortion for Norway massacre, by Alex Pareene:
Anders Breivik's favorite American pundits show no shame in blaming liberals, Muslims for right-wing terror
After just about every professional conservative chatterer with a blog or a Twitter account rushed to blame Islamic jihadists for the bombing and gun massacre in Norway last Friday, it was revealed that the actual killer was, in fact, a white, Christian, Norwegian-born man, named Anders Breivik. It was further revealed that Breivik is, politically, more or less a Scandinavian Tea Partyer, obsessed with the imagined threat of the Islamification of Europe, and an avowed opponent of "multiculturalism."
Breivik is a psychopath, but he is a psychopath whose politics are indistinguishable from Pamela Geller's, to name one American right-winger whose work was approvingly cited by Breivik in his extensive writing. . . .
July 22, 2011
NPR Hosts Conversation About Racially Targeted Anti-Abortion Billboards
NPR “Tell Me More”: Debate Boils Over African-American Abortions:
As part of its "Too Many Aborted" campaign, the Radiance Foundation created many controversial racially-targeted billboards that were taken down on July 10. Today they're releasing videos calling out black leaders for not supporting the pro-life movement. To discuss both sides of the abortion debate, host Michel Martin speaks with Radiance Foundation co-founder Ryan Bomberger and Religious Coalition of Reproductive Choice president and CEO Reverend Carlton Veazey. . . .
May 24, 2011
Why Sex Scandals Are Rarer Among Female Politicians
The Atlantic: The Sex Difference in Sex Scandals, by Lane Wallace:
Why do these kinds of scandals so rarely happen with female politicians?
Nearly two years ago, when South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford admitted (finally, in a spectacularly embarrassing press conference) to having an extra-marital affair with an Argentine woman, a lot of questions were raised about why this kind of scandal so rarely happens with women politicians. One answer offered was simply that there aren't that many women politicians in office.
It's true, of course. Women only make up 16.4% of the current Congress, and 12% of the nation's governors. But in a 2009 Newsweek tally of political sex scandals since 1976, only one out of 53 instances involved a woman politician (former Idaho Congresswoman Helen Chenoweth, who admitted to having an eight-year affair with a married rancher in the 1980s). So women aren't even holding up their fair percentage of the scandals. . . .
June 23, 2010
Op-Ed Urges Approval of Pill for Over-the-Counter Use
NY Times (Op-Ed): Let the Pill Go Free, by Kelly Blanchard:
LAST month, the 50th anniversary of the Food and Drug Administration’s approval of the birth control pill was marked by a lot of discussion about the ways in which the pill has failed to deliver on its promises. It did not solve women’s problems juggling work and family life — nor did it end gender discrimination or eliminate unintended pregnancies. Clearly, approving the use of the pill was only the beginning of the effort to meet women’s contraception needs. . . .
June 14, 2010
Officials Warn that World Cup Puts Women at Risk of Violence
Salon.com: The World Cup of domestic abuse, by Tracy Clark-Flory:
Officials warn women that the games put them at risk for violence
As the World Cup kicks off, and booze and emotions begin to flow freely, U.K. officials are worried that women are at serious risk. Make all the jokes you want about men and their sports, especially English men and their football, but the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) has launched an awareness-raising campaign to prevent domestic violence during the games.
In 2006, there was a 25 percent average increase in domestic violence reports when England had matches; and the day England was eliminated, that number rose to 30 percent, according to the U.K.'s Home Office. . . .
Reflections on the Role of Women in the 2010 PrimariesU.S. World & News Report: Women Flex Their Political Muscle in 2010 Primaries, by Jessica Rettig:
Carly Fiorina, Nikki Haley, Meg Whitman, and others are making waves this cycle
Eleanor Roosevelt famously said, "A woman is like a tea bag—you never know how strong she is until she gets into hot water." Given the results of last week's primaries, in which both women and the Tea Party movement had big wins in heated races, one must wonder whether the former first lady could somehow foresee the politics of 2010. . . .
NY Times (Op-Ed): No Mystique About Feminism, by Ross Douthat:
May 20, 2010
Life-Saving Abortions and Catholic Doctrine
USA Today: Faith and Reason: Can abortion be life-saving? Does mother's life count?:
Now, make that question tougher: You're a Catholic sister charged with standing for the teachings of the Church in the administration of the biggest hospital in town, one that adheres to Catholic teachings forbidding any cooperation with the intrinsic evil of abortion.
And the woman, mother of four, is in crisis. She can't be moved to another hospital. Now what?
What happened at St. Joseph's Hospital in Phoenix, according to the Arizona Republic's Mike Clancy, is that Sister of Mercy Margaret McBride interpreted the bishops' health care directives to permit a life saving procedure when doctors said there was no other choice. The directives include a provision for procedures that could kill a fetus if essential to save the life of the mother. For someone with pulmonary hypertension, the only treatment is to take the strain of pregnancy off her heart.
Wrong answer, ruled the diocese. . . .
April 30, 2010
The Rise of the Abortion Doula
Slate Magazine: What's an Abortion Doula?, by Marisa Meltzer:
They're strangers who will hold your hand while you go under the knife.
A recent Bust magazine article on the pregnancy assistants known as doulas contained this description of their duties: "Sometimes the doula will hold a woman's hand or rub her scalp to calm her; other times, she may crack corny jokes or trade dating stories." Except the article wasn't about a doula entertaining a woman in labor—it was about a doula helping a woman during her abortion.
Assisting a woman during her vacuum aspiration was not always part of a doula's job description. Most doulas serve pregnant women in the last few months before and during her delivery. (Doula comes from a Greek term meaning "woman of service" or "caregiver." Some translations say it comes from "female slave.") They've become more popular in the United States over the last few decades as interest in individualized birth plans has increased. They're not the same as midwives, who have medical training, or social workers, who have advanced degrees. Doulas are meant to be a reassuring presence during labor—an ally whose sole interest is in the happiness of the mom-to-be. They have evolved as jack-of-all trades, on call for hand-holding, massage, acupressure, breathing techniques, or pain management. Some postpartum doulas will even do housework and run errands. They can cost anywhere from $300 to a few thousand dollars. . . .
April 07, 2010
San Francisco Endorses New Policy for the Treatment of HIV
NY Times: City Endorses New Policy for Treatment of H.I.V., by Sabin Russell:
In a major shift of H.I.V. treatment policy, San Francisco public health doctors have begun to advise patients to start taking antiviral medicines as soon as they are found to be infected, rather than waiting — sometimes years — for signs that their immune systems have started to fail.
The new, controversial city guidelines, to be announced next week by the Department of Public Health, may be the most forceful anywhere in their endorsement of early treatment against H.I.V., the virus that causes AIDS.
Ever since combinations of antiviral drugs were found to slow progression of the disease in the mid-1990s, doctors and patients have wrestled with the question of when to begin a lifetime regimen of costly and sometimes toxic medicines. The answer remains in dispute, but public health leaders here are now making a case for a change. . . .
January 24, 2010
Thousands March in Annual "March for Life" Abortion Protest
Wash. Post: Thousands march in D.C. demonstration against abortion, by William Wan:
Chanting, yelling and singing their way down Constitution Avenue, tens of thousands of abortion opponents marched through the cold Friday in the annual March for Life , marking the 37th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion.
This year, organizers from the Americans United for Life group also added a "Virtual March for Life," where online users unable to attend in person could create avatars and march along a Google Maps version of the Mall. Or, as their ad on YouTube put it: "Click and be heard."
But those who braved the cold and overcast weather to make it to the event heard a message that centered on fighting the now-stalled health-care reform package and ensuring that any future health-care plans would prohibit the use of federal funding for abortions.
Many at the rally cited the election of Republican Scott Brown to the U.S. Senate in Massachusetts as a sign of a shifting momentum to conservative causes such as theirs. . . .
December 28, 2009
Defense of Oklahoma Anti-Abortion Laws Adds to State Spending
Tulsa World: State's bills stack up in fight over anti-abortion laws, by Barbara Hoberock:
In August, an Oklahoma County district judge tossed out Senate Bill 1878, which would have required a woman seeking an abortion to have an ultrasound within an hour of the abortion and have the details explained to her.
Oklahoma County District Judge Vicki Robertson said the measure violated a provision of the Oklahoma Constitution that requires a law to deal with a single subject. The bill also covered the posting of signs in clinics, administration of the "abortion pill" RU-486 and lawsuits.
Her ruling has been appealed to the Oklahoma Supreme Court.
The state spent $97,000 to hire an abortion law expert to defend the law, said Charlie Price, a spokesman for Oklahoma Attorney General Drew Edmondson.
Adding to the cost is the staff time of an assistant attorney general who worked on the case. His salary is $62,000 a year, but he works on other cases as well, Price said.
"It is our responsibility to defend these statutes," he said.
The state is also defending House Bill 1595 . . . .
November 30, 2009
Moms Increasingly Rely on iPhoneSlate Magazine: Mother's Little Helper, by Michael Agger:
The iPhone is the ultimate kid-pacification device
Move over, patio man. My new favorite demographic is the iPhone mom. A recent survey from a mobile-advertising company says that iPhone moms make up 25 percent of iPhone users and rely on their phone for such things as: scheduling! Store locating! Downloading coupons! All very nice, but the key stat is that 59 percent of these moms let their children use the phone. That leaves me wondering what's up with the other 41 percent. The iPhone is the ultimate kid-pacification device.
The iPhone moms (and dads) walk a fine line when they hand over their phone. (In mobile-scholarship circles, this behavior is known as the "pass-back.") Typically, iPhone parents are the kind who limit TV and "screen time" and would cringe at buying a Nintendo DS for a 4-year-old. This is the wooden-toy crowd, who plan to sign up Sophie for Suzuki any day now. Yet, they—OK, me—really love their iPhones. So sleek, so intuitive—and isn't it incredible that even a 1-year-old can figure out how to use it? . . . .
November 03, 2009
Center for Reproductive Rights To Host Webinar on Teaching Reproductive RightsThe Center for Reproductive Rights is hosting a webinar on Teaching Reproductive Rights – What is the Role for Transnational Law? on Friday, November 13th, from 3 - 4 pm (Eastern):
The webinar will focus on an important new article by Professor Martha Davis of Northeastern - “Reproductive Rights in the Legal Academy: A New Role for Transnational Law,” which was published in the American Journal of Legal Education in September. The article can be found on SSRN. As you will see, the article summarizes Professor Davis’ research and findings about how reproductive rights are currently being taught in US law schools and opens the conversation about the value of bringing in comparative and international law.
Responding to Professor Davis will be Professor Erika George from the University of Utah.
After hearing from the presenters and responders, we will open up the call for conversation. We hope to both discuss Martha’s findings, and hear some personal experiences with teaching reproductive rights and using (or not using) non-U.S. materials. The call is intended to be collegial and informal and to promote reflection and exchange about current teaching approaches.
This webinar is part of the CRR’s wider Law School Initiative which, as you may know, has undertaken a range of activities to encourage teaching and scholarship around reproductive rights. For teaching, we are focusing on the value of bringing in comparative and international law. To that end, we have produced supplemental course modules for law teachers who would like to integrate transnational materials into their teaching of Family Law, Reproductive Rights, and Reproductive Technology and Bioethics. More about what the Law School Initiative has been up to can be found here: http://reproductiverights.org/en/our-work/law-school-initiative.
If you are interested in taking part in this webinar, please contact Diana Hortsch and she will forward you the call-in number on November 12th, the day before the event.
Diana Hortsch (Director of the Law School Initiative at the Center for Reproductive Rights)
Phone: (917) 637-3669
October 27, 2009
For Children Who Flee or Are Kicked out of their Homes, Sex Is Often the Cost of Survival
NY Times: For Runaways, Sex Buys Survival, by Ian Urbina:
Running in the Shadows
. . . Most of the estimated 1.6 million children who run away each year return home within a week. But for those who do not, the desperate struggle to survive often means selling their bodies.
Nearly a third of the children who flee or are kicked out of their homes each year engage in sex for food, drugs or a place to stay, according to a variety of studies published in academic and public health journals. But this kind of dangerous barter system can quickly escalate into more formalized prostitution, when money changes hands. . . .
August 26, 2009
Public Caning of Malaysian Woman is Delayed
NY Times: Malaysian Authorities Postpone Whipping of Malaysian Woman, by Thomas Fuller:
Malaysian authorities gave a last-minute, temporary reprieve on Monday to a Muslim woman sentenced to whipping for drinking alcohol in a case that has stirred passions over the increasingly strict enforcement of Islamic law in recent years in the multicultural country. Kartika Sari Dewi Shukarno, a 32-year-old nurse who confessed to violating Islamic laws by drinking beer in a hotel lobby last year, was picked up by prison authorities on Monday but was then quickly released. The authorities said Ms. Kartika’s punishment — which would be the first whipping for a woman under the country’s Islamic laws — would be carried out in September, after the Muslim holy month of Ramdan was over...
On paper, Islamic laws are strict in Malaysia: Muslims can be arrested and punished for snacking during the daylight hours of fasting during Ramadan, being in “close proximity” to someone from the opposite sex who is not their spouse, and drinking alcohol. But enforcement of Islamic law has been haphazard and many Muslims flout the laws with impunity...
Malaysia’s Islamic laws, which cover marriage, divorce and a specific range of issues related to religious customs, only apply to Muslims. Non-Muslims are subject to the country’s civil laws, which Malaysia inherited from Britain. Foreign Muslim tourists visiting the country, however, are subject to Islamic laws, according to Pawancheek Marican, partner at the law firm Wan Marican, Hamzah & Shaik and a part-time professor of Islamic studies.
July 28, 2009
Sotomayor is Endorsed by Senate Judiciary Committee
NY Times: Senate Panel Endorses Sotomayor in 13-6 Vote, by David Stout:
WASHINGTON — The Senate Judiciary Committee voted, 13 to 6, on Tuesday to endorse the Supreme Court nomination of Judge Sonia Sotomayor, easing her path to likely confirmation as the first Hispanic member of the tribunal.
As expected, all 12 Democrats on the judiciary panel voted for Judge Sotomayor. But among the seven Republicans on the committee, only Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina voted in favor.
“She is a restrained, fair and impartial judge,” said Senator Patrick J. Leahy, the Vermont Democrat who heads the committee.
The action sends the nomination to the full Senate, where her confirmation by a comfortable margin seems to be assured. . . .