Saturday, December 27, 2014
4th Circuit Panel Unanimously Rules NC Pre-Abortion Ultrasound Law Unconstitutional; State Vows to Seek Supreme Court Review
Slate: North Carolina’s Outrageous Abortion Requirement Is Struck Down, by Dahlia Lithwick:
A conservative judge sticks up for medical ethics and the First Amendment.
A panel of the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals voted today to strike down a highly controversial North Carolina law requiring doctors and ultrasound technicians to perform an ultrasound, display the image of the sonogram, and specifically describe the fetus to any pregnant woman seeking an abortion, even if the woman actively “averts her eyes” and “refuses to hear.” The American Civil Liberties Union, the Center for Reproductive Rights, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, and others challenged the law, which was enjoined last year by a lower federal court.
Today, in a unanimous decision authored by Judge J. Harvie Wilkinson III, a three-judge panel affirmed a lower court’s determination that the law is a compelled speech provision that violates the First Amendment rights of providers. . . .
The Washington Post: N.C. abortion restriction violates free speech, judges rule, by Sandhya Somashekhar:
. . . Several other states, including Virginia, have ultrasound requirements, with some requiring women to undergo internal “transvaginal” ultrasounds before obtaining an abortion. Only a handful, however, have gone so far as North Carolina, and courts have had mixed opinions about such laws,upholding them in Texas and striking them down in Oklahoma.
On Monday, the North Carolina attorney general’s office said they would ask the Supreme Court to take up the matter to resolve the conflicting opinions in Texas and Richmond. . . .
The opinion is available here.
Friday, September 12, 2014
Kansas City Star - The Buzz blog: Missouri Republicans override Gov. Jay Nixon’s veto of 72-hour abortion waiting period, by Jason Hancock:
Missouri Republicans made history late Wednesday night, turning to a rarely-used procedural move to kill a filibuster and force into law a bill tripling the waiting period to have an abortion.
Senate Minority Leader Jolie Justus, a Kansas City Democrat, led a filibuster of the bill that requires women to wait 72-hours after consulting a doctor before having an abortion. The current waiting period is 24 hours. There is no exception for victims of rape or incest. . . .
Wednesday, July 9, 2014
Jefferson City, Mo. – Hearing the voices of Missouri women, Governor Jay Nixon has vetoed a bill that would have forced a woman who has already met with her health care professional and decided to have an abortion to delay getting the medical care she needs for at least 3 days. Last month, women and men gathered in front of the capitol for 72 hours in protest of the bill.
"Missouri women have been clear: They are beyond fed up with legislators playing politics with their health," said Jennifer Dalven, director of the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project. "Governor Nixon has shown that he understands that extreme politicians can’t be allowed to interfere with a woman’s ability to get an abortion just because they disagree with her decision."
A woman who decides to have an abortion has already carefully considered her decision. Bills that create additional wait times force a woman to make an extra trip to the state’s only clinic. This is especially burdensome for low-income women and rural women, who often can’t take extra days off work or travel long distances.
Extremist politicians in Missouri, who are already criticizing Gov. Nixon for standing up for women’s health, continue to show they care more about politics than women. This legislative session alone, Missouri politicians introduced more than two dozen bills designed to restrict access to abortion. Earlier this year, Missouri Rep. Chuck Gatschenberger compared a woman’s decision about whether to continue a pregnancy to buying a new car or carpet.
Talking Points Memo: Why Gov. Jay Nixon’s Anti-Abortion Bill Veto Matters, by Robin Marty:
Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon (D) has vetoed a 72-hour waiting period between an initial consultation and an abortion, stopping the state from becoming the third to implement a three-day waiting period for a pregnancy termination. While the veto is fantastic news for women who are pregnant and wants to obtain an abortion in Missouri or the surrounding area, it is even better news for reproductive rights activists overall, as it signals a noticeable shift in the political waters when it comes to opposing abortion. . . .
Saturday, May 17, 2014
CNN: Missouri lawmakers approve three-day abortion waiting period, by Faith Karimi & Jennifer Feldman:
Missouri lawmakers gave final approval to a measure that requires a woman to wait 72 hours from her initial doctor's visit before she gets an abortion.
The Republican-controlled House voted 111-39 in favor of the legislation late Wednesday.
Gov. Jay Nixon, a Democrat, has not said whether he'll sign it. . . .
Thursday, May 15, 2014
A map of seven abortion restrictions on abortion access as of May 14, 2014, is available at:
FiveThirtyEight: Maps of Access to Abortion by State, by Allison McCann.
Wednesday, May 14, 2014
ACLU news release: Ignoring Women’s Protest, Missouri Senate Passes Bill Tripling Time Women Must Delay their Abortions:
Jefferson City, Mo. –In the face of a substantial overnight protest on the capitol steps, early this morning the Missouri Senate passed a bill that forces a woman who has already met with her health care professional and decided to have an abortion to delay getting the medical care she needs for at least 3 days. Missouri law had already required women to delay their abortions for 24 hours. The bill now goes back to the House, which has already passed a similar bill.
Women have been gathering in front of the capitol since 2 p.m. Monday for an ongoing filibuster in protest of the bill. They stayed throughout the night and have vowed to continue their protest for 72 hours.
“Once again, legislators are interfering with a personal, private decision made by a woman with her family and her doctor,” said Jennifer Dalven, director of the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project. “It’s time for all of us to take out our pink Wendy Davis sneakers and let our elected representatives know that we won’t stand by while they play politics with women’s health.”
This legislative session alone, Missouri has considered more than two dozen bills designed to prevent a woman from getting an abortion. Earlier this year, Missouri Rep. Chuck Gatschenberger compared a woman’s decision about whether to continue a pregnancy to buying a new car or carpet.
In fact, women who decide to have an abortion have already carefully considered their decision. There is only one health center in Missouri that provides abortions. This law forces women to make additional trips to the clinic which makes it more costly for women and forces them to find additional child care and take additional days off of work.
This is especially burdensome for low-income women and rural women, who often can’t take extra days off work or travel long distances.
If this bill becomes law, Missouri will join South Dakota and Utah as the only states with a 72-hour forced waiting period.
Monday, May 12, 2014
MSNBC: LIVE NOW: 72-hour Missouri abortion filibuster, by Irin Carmon:
Missouri progressive activists are staging a nonstop, 72-hour “women’s filibuster” on the steps of the Missouri State Capitol building today to protest an abortion bill that would force a woman to wait three days between two clinic visits before having an abortion.
The activists’ hope is to prevent Republicans in the state Senate from breaking a Democratic filibuster on the bill, which already passed the House. The legislative session ends Friday. . . .
Friday, February 7, 2014
News & Observer: Attorney general says North Carolina will appeal abortion ultrasound ruling, by Craig Jarvis:
Attorney General Roy Cooper said Friday that the state will appeal a federal judge’s ruling that strikes down the narrated ultrasound provision of an abortion-regulation bill.
“While I oppose laws like this that force the state into women’s medical decisions, the state will appeal this ruling because legitimate constitutional questions remain that should be decided by a higher court,” Cooper said in a statement his office released. “It is the duty of the Office of Attorney General to defend state laws regardless of whether I agree with them.” . . .
North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory recently expressed his opposition to an appeal.
Saturday, February 1, 2014
abcNEWS.com: Viewing Ultrasound Unlikely to Deter Women from Abortion, Study Finds, by Gillian Mohney:
A new study has found that pregnant women who plan on having an abortion are not often dissuaded by viewing an ultrasound.
The study, designed to find out if pregnant women who view their ultrasounds are significantly less likely to go through with a planned abortion, was published this month in the Obstetrics and Gynecology Journal. It looked at the cases of more than 15,000 women, the total number of pregnant women who went to a Planned Parenthood clinic in Los Angeles in 2011 and were planning to have an abortion. . . .
Sunday, January 26, 2014
wsoctv.com: Gov. McCrory against appealing NC abortion speech case, by Emery P. Dalesio:
North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory opposes a court fight to reverse a federal judge's ruling invalidating part of a state law that would have required abortion providers to describe a pre-procedure ultrasound's image to every patient, the Republican governor's office said Saturday. . . .
Monday, January 20, 2014
JURIST: Federal judge rules North Carolina abortion ultrasound law is unconstitutional, by Bradley McAllister:
A judge for the US District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina[official website] on Friday ruled [opinion, PDF] that a North Carolina state law requiring women seeking an abortion to undergo an ultrasound procedure is unconstitutional because it violates the First Amendment rights [LII backgrounder] of physicians and patients. The lawsuit was brought by several North Carolina physicians and health care providers on behalf of themselves and their patients as a challenge to the constitutionality of a state law passed in 2011. The Woman's Right to Know Act [materials] required women to have an ultrasound administered and explained by a medical professional at least four hours before she would be permitted to undergo an abortion. Also, the law mandated that images of the ultrasound be displayed so the woman could view them and a medical professional must offer the woman the opportunity to hear the fetal heart tone. . . .
If the Fourth Circuit affirms this ruling, there will be a Circuit split on the issue. In January 2012, the Fifth Circuit ruled in Texas Medical Providers Performing Abortion Servs. v. Lakey that plaintiffs were unlikely to prevail in their First Amendment challenge to a similar law, vacating a preliminary injunction granted by the district court. On remand, the district court granted summary judgment in favor of the state based on the Fifth Circuit's ruling. The Supreme Court declined an opportunity to consider the constitutionality of pre-abortion ultrasound requirements when Oklahoma appealed a state supreme court ruling striking down its law. An affirmance by the Fourth Circuit, paired with the Fifth Circuit's contrary ruling, may prompt the Court to take up the issue.
Thursday, August 22, 2013
News & Observer: Case involving NC's abortion ultrasounds to be heard in Greensboro, by Ann Blythe:
Lawyers will be in federal court on Friday to argue for and against a 2011 North Carolina law that requires physicians to perform an ultrasound four hours before providing an abortion and to place the screen in the woman’s view while describing the images in detail.
U.S. District Judge Catherine Eagles will hear arguments in a federal courtroom in Greensboro. . . .
Saturday, July 6, 2013
NPR: Abortion Providers Sue As Wisconsin Governor Signs Bill, by Dana Farrington:
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has signed a bill that would require women seeking an abortion to get an ultrasound. The bill also puts restrictions on doctors who perform abortions, reports Marti Mikkelson of member station WUWM in Milwaukee.
Mikkelson tells our Newscast Desk that the bill, passed by the Republican-controlled Legislature in June, would "prohibit doctors from performing abortions unless they have admitting privileges at a local hospital." . . .
July 6, 2013 in Abortion, In the Courts, Mandatory Delay/Biased Information Laws, State and Local News, State Legislatures, Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP) | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
Friday, May 10, 2013
Courts have faced a wave of compelled disclosure cases recently. By government mandate, tobacco manufacturers must include graphic warnings on their cigarette packages, doctors must show and describe ultrasound images of fetuses to women seeking to abort them, and crisis pregnancy centers must disclose that they do not provide contraception or abortion services. Although applying the same compelled speech doctrine to similar issues, appeals courts have reached very different results in challenges to these laws. Drawing from First Amendment theory, this Article first identifies why compelled disclosures undermine free speech values. It then applies those insights to the specific examples above. In doing so, it examines not only compelled text but the new phenomenon of compelled images, particularly compelled images designed to provoke an emotional response. The Article concludes that recent appeals court decisions have it backwards: It is mandatory abortion counseling laws that offend free speech principles, not laws requiring cigarette warnings or crisis pregnancy center disclosures.
Wednesday, April 24, 2013
Feministing: Kansas Gov signs massive anti-choice law, writes "JESUS + Mary" in notes, by Maya Dusenbery:
Last Friday, Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback signed a sweeping anti-choice [bill] into law. Among other things, the bill requires doctors to lie and tell patients that abortion is linked to breast cancer, and defines life as beginning at conception in the state constitution.
Before the signing ceremony, Gov. Brownback added a few hand-written notes to his remarks. According to a photo snapped by the AP, the words “JESUS + Mary” are scrawled front and center across the top. . . .
The text of the law is available here.
April 24, 2013 in Abortion, Abortion Bans, Mandatory Delay/Biased Information Laws, Religion and Reproductive Rights, State and Local News, State Legislatures | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
Friday, March 8, 2013
Reuters: South Dakota governor signs extended abortion wait period law, by David Bailey:
South Dakota Republican Governor Dennis Daugaard on Friday signed into law a measure that excludes weekends and holidays from the state's 72-hour waiting period for abortions, potentially making the wait the longest in the nation. . . .
Tuesday, March 5, 2013
The Guardian: The War on Women, by Heather Long:
2012 was a tough year for American females as various aspects of female health and reproduction repeatedly took center stage. Politicians and pundits, mainly Republican, made degrading and factually incorrect remarks about rape and contraception. But Democrats also left their mark with an ill-timed snipe at stay-at-home mom Ann Romney, reinvigorating the "mommy wars".
Here are the key moments in the 2012 War on Women . . . .
March 5, 2013 in 2012 Presidential Campaign, Abortion, Abortion Bans, Anti-Choice Movement, Congress, Contraception, Fetal Rights, In the Media, Mandatory Delay/Biased Information Laws, Parenthood, Politics, Pregnancy & Childbirth, Religion and Reproductive Rights, Reproductive Health & Safety, Sexual Assault, Sexuality, Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP) | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
Monday, February 25, 2013
MSNBC: GOP ignores 2012 lessons, pushes harsh anti-abortion bills, by Aliyah Frumin:
Republican lawmakers are pushing abortion-restricting bills in both Indiana and Arkansas, suggesting the GOP did not learn from the national backlash to super aggressive abortion rhetoric in the 2012 elections. (See: Akin, Todd and Mourdock, Richard.)
Old habits, it seem, die hard. . . .
February 25, 2013 in Abortion, Abortion Bans, Mandatory Delay/Biased Information Laws, Politics, State Legislatures, Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP) | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
Friday, February 8, 2013
Scott W. Gaylord & Thomas J. Molony (both of Elon Law) have published Casey and a Woman's Right to Know: Ultrasounds, Informed Consent, and the First Amendment in the Connecticut Law Review. Here is the abstract:
Twenty years after Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey was decided, courts across the country are being called on to apply the Court’s undue burden test to novel abortion regulations. The most recent wave of regulation involves the use of ultrasound technology. Twenty-three states currently require physicians to perform, offer to perform, or follow specific protocols when performing an ultrasound prior to any abortion procedure. National attention, however, has focused on the growing number of states that require physicians to display and describe the ultrasound images to a woman seeking an abortion. Four states—Texas, North Carolina, Oklahoma, and Louisiana—have already passed such legislation, and several other states currently are considering similar bills.
The ultrasound statutes in Texas, North Carolina, and Oklahoma were immediately challenged in state and federal courts. Instead of focusing on the woman’s Fourteenth Amendment due process rights, the central issue in the federal cases has been whether physicians have a First Amendment right to be free from compelled disclosures relating to the ultrasounds. The federal courts have struggled with how to resolve these First Amendment claims within the abortion context. While the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the Texas speech-and-display statute, a North Carolina federal District Court enjoined a similar North Carolina statute.
This Article explores the split between and among the courts that have addressed the First Amendment challenges to mandatory speech-and-display requirements. In particular, the Article evaluates how Casey’s undue burden test affects the First Amendment speech rights of physicians in the abortion context. Drawing on Casey’s references to Wooley v. Maynard and Whalen v. Roe, the Article concludes that the government has broad authority to mandate disclosures designed to inform a woman’s decision about an abortion. Under Casey, mandatory speech-and-display requirements that do not impose a substantial obstacle to a woman’s exercise of her right to abortion are constitutional if they are reasonable, which Casey defines as being truthful, non-misleading, and relevant. As a result, the Article contends that courts should uphold the Texas, North Carolina, Oklahoma, and Louisiana ultrasound statutes—as well as the similar statutes being considered by state legislatures across the country—against First Amendment challenges of physicians.
Thursday, January 31, 2013
The Washington Post - Wonkblog: All states except Oregon now limit abortion access, by Sarah Kliff:
Roe v. Wade guaranteed abortion as a legal right across the country. A separate decision two decades later, Planned Parenthood v. Casey, guaranteed states’ rights to limit access to abortion, so long as it did not pose an “undue burden” on the woman.
States have, over the past four decades, made no short use of that latter right. Only one state, Oregon, has not layered additional restrictions on top of the Roe decision. . . .