Thursday, April 30, 2015

New Book Highlights How Anti-Abortion Terrorism Affects Abortion Providers' Daily Lives

ThinkProgress: How Anyone Who Works At An Abortion Clinic Becomes A Target For Violence And Harassment, by Tara Culp-Ressler: 

Joan, the president of a network of women’s health clinics in the Rocky Mountain region of the United States, isn’t comfortable using her real name in this story because her private residence was vandalized last year. Someone threw a bucket of red paint all over her house. . . .

Joan is just one of the dozens of people who’s featured in a new book that attempts to detail the scope of anti-abortion harassment present in clinic staffers’ everyday lives. Living in the Crosshairs: The Untold Stories of Anti-Abortion Terrorism argues that, although most Americans don’t realize it, many of the people who work in the field of abortion are living in a state of heightened fear and anxiety because targeted harassment follows them everywhere.

The book’s authors, law professor David Cohen and practicing attorney Krysten Connon, once worked together to represent abortion providers in Philadelphia and were struck by the stories of stalking and intimidation they heard in court. . . . 

April 30, 2015 in Anti-Choice Movement, Books | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Kansas and Oklahoma Pass Bans on Safe and Common Method of Second-Trimester Abortion

U.S. News & World Report: Oklahoma Approves Ban on Second-Trimester Abortion Method, by Sean Murphy:

Oklahoma would ban a common second-trimester abortion procedure that critics describe as dismembering a fetus under a measure that lawmakers overwhelmingly approved Wednesday, a day after Kansas became the first state to prohibit the same procedure.

The Senate voted 37-4 for the bill, which now goes to Republican Gov. Mary Fallin. She has not said whether she will sign it, but she has previously signed other anti-abortion measures. . . .

The New York Times: Kansas Limits Abortion Method, Opening a New Line of Attack, by Erik Eckholm & Frances Robles:

Kansas on Tuesday became the first state to sharply restrict or alter the most common technique used for second-trimester abortions, opening a new, emotionally charged line of attack by anti-abortion forces who hope to take it swiftly to other states. . . .

The New York Times (editorial): Kansas Tries to Stamp Out Abortion:

During the past four years, the state of Kansas has become ground zero in the war to criminalize all abortions, and in the process to remove a woman’s ability to control what happens in her own body.

Under Gov. Sam Brownback, a staunch foe of a woman’s right to choose, Kansas’s increasingly hard-line conservative lawmakershave enacted more than two dozen restrictions curtailing women’s reproductive freedom. . . .

On Tuesday the state went still further, becoming the first to ban the safest and by far the most common method of ending a second-trimester pregnancy, dilation and evacuation, which involves dilating the cervix and removing the fetus, often in parts. (On Wednesday, a similar bill passed the Oklahoma Legislature, and awaits the governor’s signature. Bills are also pending in Missouri and South Carolina.) . . .

April 9, 2015 in Abortion Bans, State Legislatures | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Arkansas Joins Arizona with New Law Requiring Information About Unproven "Abortion Reversal" Procedure

The Washington Post: In Arizona, Arkansas, women must be told that abortion can be ‘reversed’, by Sandhya Somashekhar:

New laws in Arkansas and Arizona require doctors to inform women that drug-induced abortions can be “reversed” mid-procedure, a claim that quickly drew charges of “junk science” from abortion-rights groups and many doctors.

The Arkansas law took effect late Monday, after Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) signed it. Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R) signed his state’s bill into law earlier this month. . . .

April 9, 2015 in Mandatory Delay/Biased Information Laws, State Legislatures | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Alyson Zureick on Denial of Abortion as a Form of Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment

Alyson Zureick (J.D. 2014, NYU Law) has posted (En)Gendering Suffering: Denial of Abortion as a Form of Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment on SSRN. Here is the abstract: 

The regulation of abortion has long been considered a prerogative of the state. In recent years, however, international human rights bodies have begun to consider the conformity of domestic abortion regulations with a state’s human rights obligations. This paper examines a notable trend among human rights bodies: namely, finding that denying or obstructing a woman’s access to abortion can amount to cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment under multiple human rights treaties. First, human rights bodies have found that states can be responsible for CIDT inflicted on women who are harassed and denied services that are legally available to them under the state’s laws. Second, human rights bodies have found that the application of restrictive abortion laws themselves may inflict CIDT by depriving women of an abortion in particularly serious cases, such as rape or when the woman’s life is threatened. I argue that these findings reflect an understanding that certain restrictions on abortion — or the state’s failure to act to prevent de facto restrictions from arising — are unjustifiable and disproportionate to lawful state aims. They also demonstrate a limited but important recognition that deprivations of autonomy in the reproductive rights context can lead to the kind of pain and suffering that is unacceptable in modern societies. At the same time, I argue that human rights bodies should further strengthen their understanding of women’s autonomy interests in this context, particularly the ways in which the frustration of their reproductive autonomy can inflict severe and unacceptable pain or suffering tantamount to CIDT.

April 9, 2015 in Abortion, Scholarship and Research | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, April 3, 2015

New Arizona Law Would Require Providers to Tell Patients About Unproven "Abortion Reversal" Process

U.S. News & World Report: Arizona Abortion Law Pushes Boundaries of What Providers Must Tell Patients, by Tierney Sneed:

An unprecedented abortion law signed by Arizona's governor this week would require providers to inform patients that a drug treatment to end pregnancy may be reversed midway through – a mandate pro-abortion rights activists are denouncing as the latest effort by a state to employ questionable science in a politically motivated effort to discourage women from undergoing the procedure. . . .

By and large, the medical community has lined up against the Arizona law.

“Claims of medication abortion reversal are not supported by the body of scientific evidence,” the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has said. . . .

April 3, 2015 in Mandatory Delay/Biased Information Laws, State Legislatures | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Indiana Court Applies Fetal Homicide Law to Pregnant Woman, Sentencing Her to 20 Years

Vox: An Indiana woman is facing 20 years in prison for "feticide", by Christophe Haubursin: 

Indiana did something unprecedented this week: it sentenced a woman to a 20-year prison sentence for violating a decades-old feticide law.

Purvi Patel's conviction, announced on Monday, is the first American case in which a court has found a pregnant woman guilty of violating a fetal homicide law. . . .

April 3, 2015 in Fetal Rights, Incarcerated Women, Pregnancy & Childbirth | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Some Colorado Legislators Aim to Exploit Brutal Attack on Pregnant Woman to Promote Fetal Personhood

The Daily Beast: Colorado Seeks Fetal Murder Law After Attack On Pregnant Woman, by Brandy Zadrozny:

Abortion advocates fear a gruesome attack on a pregnant woman in Colorado will be used to push through strict ‘personhood’ laws that could be used to prosecute women terminating their pregnancies.

Energized by national outrage over a grisly attack on a pregnant woman whose unborn baby died after being cut from her womb, a Colorado lawmaker is poised to push a new fetal homicide law in the state, leading to concern that Republicans might be turning a tragedy into a talking point for anti-abortion legislation. . . .


Anyone who believes these laws don't pose a threat to pregnant women need look no further than Indiana.


April 3, 2015 in Fetal Rights, Pregnancy & Childbirth, State Legislatures | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Ohio House Passes Ban on Abortions as Early as Six Weeks

The Blade: Ohio House votes across party lines for 'heartbeat' abortion bill, by Jim Provance:

The Ohio House today for the second time voted across party lines for a bill that would all but ban an abortion as soon as a fetal heartbeat is detectable, as early as six weeks. . . .

March 25, 2015 in Abortion Bans, State Legislatures | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Kansas Legislature Passes Ban on Common Second-Trimester Abortion Procedure

The Wichita Eagle: Kansas lawmakers pass nation’s first ban on abortion procedure, by Brad Cooper:

The Kansas Legislature on Wednesday became the first in the country to pass a ban on a procedure often used in the second trimester of pregnancy. . . .

The Kansas House approved SB 95 on a 98-26 vote. The act now goes to Republican Gov. Sam Brownback, who has promised to sign it into law. . . .

While the bill targets a procedure, abortion-rights supporters believe it aims to limit second-trimester abortions with a long-term goal of banning all abortion.

The legislation isn’t “meant to correspond to medical reality,” said Caitlin Borgmann, a constitutional law professor at the City University of New York. . . .

March 25, 2015 in Abortion Bans, State Legislatures | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, March 23, 2015

New Abortion Language in Medicare Bill Seems to Satisfy House Democrats

The Washington Post/AP: House Dems say new abortion language helps Medicare doc deal, by Alan Fram:

Language has been added to an emerging bipartisan deal on Medicare clarifying that the agreement’s abortion restrictions on community health centers are temporary and won’t be inscribed into permanent law, House Democrats said Monday.

The Democrats said they believe the new provisions will ease concerns that have threatened Democratic support for the overall package, which is mostly aimed at protecting doctors who treat Medicare patients from imminent, deep cuts. . . .

March 23, 2015 in Abortion, Congress | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Federal Judge Permanently Enjoins Wisconsin Admitting Privileges Law

The Journal Sentinel: Judge rules Wisconsin abortion law unconstitutional, by Daniel Bice & Cary Spivak:

A federal judge on Friday struck down a Wisconsin law requiring doctors performing abortions to get hospital-admitting privileges, concluding that the measure was enacted primarily to provide an obstacle for women seeking abortions.

U.S. District Judge William Conley, who earlier had put the law on hold, ruled that the 2013 law is unconstitutional. He issued a permanent injunction blocking its enforcement. . . .


The opinion is available here.

March 21, 2015 in In the Courts, Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP) | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

ACLU Challenges Alabama Law that Puts Teens Seeking Abortions on Trial

Associated Press: Ala. Abortion Law Lets Judges Appoint Lawyers for Fetuses, by Kim Chandler: 

The American Civil Liberties Union on Wednesday asked a federal judge to block an Alabama law that allows a fetus to be represented in court when a minor is seeking judicial permission for an abortion.

While abortion opponents have rolled out a variety of new restrictions on abortion in recent years - including new requirements on clinics and doctors - ACLU staff attorney Andrew Beck said the Alabama law was unique. . . .

 Here's the Daily Show's take on it (from January):

March 21, 2015 in Abortion, Fetal Rights, In the Courts, State Legislatures, Teenagers and Children | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Iranian Plan to Boost Population Threatens Reproductive Freedom

The Hill: Iran's War on Women, by Soona Samsami: 

March 8 marked International Women’s Day, a day to reflect on the situation of women throughout the world. With all the talk about Iran’s nuclear program, little attention is being paid to the internal situation, particularly Iran’s ongoing war on women. . . .

The bill itself undermines the reproductive rights of women, and limits access to contraception among other restrictions. The law would block employment at certain jobs for Iranian women who choose not to have children, making it clearly discriminatory and unfair. . . .

The Guardian: Iran aims to ban vasectomies and cut access to contraceptives to boost births, by Saeed Kamali Dehghan: 

Iran is seeking to reverse progressive laws on family planning by outlawing voluntary sterilisation and restricting access to contraceptives, in a move human rights groups say would set Iranian women back decades and reduce them to “baby-making machines”.

The Iranian parliament is considering two separate bills aimed at boosting the population. But Amnesty International warned in a report published on Wednesday that the proposals are misguided and, if approved, would “entrench discriminatory practices” and expose women to health risks. . . . 

March 17, 2015 in Contraception, International, Sterilization | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Elton John Boycotts Dolce & Gabbana for Disparaging IVF

The Washington Post: Elton John is boycotting Dolce and Gabbana for calling children conceived with IVF ‘synthetic’, by Soraya Nadia McDonald:

This year, Italian designers Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana unveiled a celebration of motherhood at Milan Fashion Week, sending models down the catwalk who were visibly pregnant or carrying little chubby-cheeked bundles of joy. . . .

Recent statements Dolce and Gabbana made to Panorama, an Italian magazine, have cast their fall-winter 2016 collection, which they named “Viva la mamma,” in an entirely new light.

In the interview, translated by the Telegraph, the couple stated: “We oppose gay adoptions. The only family is the traditional one. … No chemical offsprings and rented uterus: Life has a natural flow, there are things that should not be changed.”

“You are born to a mother and a father — or at least that’s how it should be,” Dolce said. “I call children of chemistry, synthetic children. Rented uterus, semen chosen from a catalog.” . . .

March 17, 2015 in Assisted Reproduction, Culture | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Montana House Bill Would Require 'Fetal Anesthesia' for Abortions Past 20th Week

ThinkProgress: ‘Fetal Anesthesia': The Creative New Way To Limit Abortion Access And Enshrine Bad Science Into Law, by Tara Culp-Ressler: 

Montana lawmakers are preparing to debate a proposed bill that furthers the anti-abortion strategy of emphasizing “fetal pain” — the unscientific theory that fetuses are sentient after about 20 weeks of pregnancy. An increasing number of states are moving to enact 20-week abortion bans under the guise of preventing pain that scientists agree doesn't actually exist. But Montana is taking an even more creative approach.

Under House Bill 479, drafted by State Rep. Albert Olszewski (who is an orthopedic surgeon), abortion doctors would be required to administer anesthesia to fetuses past the 20th week of pregnancy. . . .

The concept of fetal anesthesia for abortion procedures didn’t originate in Montana. It’s the next step in a carefully coordinated strategy being pioneered by pro-life activists who want to narrow the window for legal abortion services by casting the medical procedure as barbaric, and arguing that fetuses are suffering in pain. . . .

March 17, 2015 in Fetal Rights, State Legislatures | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, March 15, 2015

GOP Holds Loretta Lynch Confirmation Vote Hostage over Unrelated Abortion Flap

The Christian Science Monitor: McConnell vows: no vote on attorney general until abortion flap solved, by Mark Sappenfield:

Mitch McConnell said Sunday that the Senate would not vote on attorney general nominee Loretta Lynch until another bill has been dealt with first. But that bill appears to have hit an impasse over abortion.

President Obama’s nominee to be the next United States attorney general apparently will have to wait until Senate Democrats and Republicans can figure out abortion.

That could be a long wait.

It’s not that she said something controversial about abortion at confirmation hearings. In fact, the abortion issue has nothing at all to do with Loretta Lynch. . . .

March 15, 2015 in Abortion, Congress | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Senate Republicans Jeopardize Human Trafficking Bill with Anti-Abortion Provision

Politico: How abortion politics scuttled a human-trafficking bill, by Burgess Everett & Seung Min Kim:

It’s a cause any politician would have a hard time opposing: cracking down on human trafficking.

Instead, in a breakdown sensational even by Senate standards, a bill to address the issue is set to go down in a partisan firefight. The cause of the row? Democrats didn’t read the 68-page bill to discover its provisions dealing with abortion, and Republicans didn’t disclose the abortion language when Democratic staffers asked them for a summary of the legislation.

The spectacle has infuriated groups that advocate for cracking down on sex trafficking and left Democrats and Republicans even more skeptical of whether they can trust each other. . . .

March 14, 2015 in Abortion, Congress | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Anti-Choice Legislators Oppose Successful Colorado Contraception Program by Conflating Birth Control and Abortion

NPR: Colorado Debates Whether IUDs Are Contraception Or Abortion, by Megan Verlee:

A popular contraception program in Colorado is receiving criticism from conservative lawmakers who say that the program's use of intrauterine devices, or IUDs, qualify as abortions.

More than 30,000 women in Colorado have gotten a device because of the state program, the Colorado Family Planning Initiative. An IUD normally costs between $500 and several thousand dollars. Through the program women could receive one for free. . . .

State health director Larry Wolk says that the program has largely been a success. "Our teen birth rate has dropped 40 percent over the last four years," says Wolk. "The decline in teen births has been accompanied by a 34 percent drop in abortions among teens." . . .


Oh dear.  Contraception/abortion conflation strikes again.  Recent research shows that IUDs' primary mechanism is pre-fertilization.  For example, this article from American Family Physician advises:

. . . When discussing the mechanism of IUDs as part of the informed consent process, patients may be told that although prefertilization and postfertilization mechanisms may both contribute to the contraceptive effectiveness of IUDs, research suggests that the majority of effects occur prefertilization. . . .

Moreover, regardless of the mechanism, IUDs don't cause "abortions."  Doctors define pregnancy as beginning at implantation, not before.  That makes sense, especially given that about half of all fertilized eggs never successfully implant.  (You don't see anti-choice advocates lamenting the loss of all of these "persons.")  


March 8, 2015 in Abortion, Contraception, State and Local News | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

LGBTQ-Inclusive Sex Education Still Rare in U.S.

The Huffington Post: Why Is LGBT-Inclusive Sex Education Still So Taboo?, by Alexandra Temblador:

Only 22 states plus the District of Columbia requires sex education in schools. Twelve of those states require sex education teachers to discuss sexual orientation. Three of those 12 states require teachers to impart only negative information on sexual orientation to students. Yes, three states in the United States make LGBTQ youth listen to discriminatory information directed at them by their own teachers. Take Alabama, whose sex education instructors are required to teach that homosexuality “is an unacceptable, criminal lifestyle.”

Out of 50 states and one district, only nine states have any form of positive LGBT-inclusive sexual education, a number that is very disheartening for the overall well-being of many youth in the United States. . . .

March 8, 2015 in Sexuality, Sexuality Education, Teenagers and Children | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sinn Féin Drops Opposition to Abortion in Very Limited Cases

Sinn Féin drops opposition to abortion at Derry congress

The Guardian: Sinn Féin has dropped its historic opposition to abortion at its annual congress held in Derry, by Henry McDonald:

The party voted this weekend to support terminations in limited cases, such as pregnant women with fatal foetal abnormalities. This involves women whose babies will be born dead and who have to either go full term in Ireland or seek abortions across the Irish sea in Britain. . . .

March 8, 2015 in Abortion Bans, International, Politics | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)