Reproductive Rights Prof Blog

Editor: Caitlin E. Borgmann
CUNY School of Law

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Thursday, February 26, 2015

Women Increasingly Embrace Long-Acting, Reversible Contraceptives

The Los Angeles Times: For contraception, U.S. women increasingly turn to IUDs and implants, by Karen Kaplan:

IUDs and implants are safe, reliable, long-acting and reversible forms of birth control. Now there’s a new attribute to add to this list: increasingly popular.

new report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that American women are embracing these contraceptive devices. In the last decade, their use has increased nearly five-fold, with 7.2% of women ages 15 to 44 now relying on them to prevent pregnancy. . . .

February 26, 2015 in Contraception | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

House Republicans Attach Anti-Choice Provision to Education Bill

The Huffington Post: House Republicans Slip Anti-Abortion Language Into Education Bill, by Laura Bassett:

House Republicans attached language to a major education bill Wednesday night that would financially penalize school districts that allow school-based health centers to provide information about abortion to pregnant high school students. . . .

February 26, 2015 in Abortion, Congress, Teenagers and Children | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Review of Mo Yan's "Frog" -- A Novel About China's One-Child Policy

The New York Times: Review: In Mo Yan’s ‘Frog,’ a Chinese Abortionist Embodies State Power, by Janet Maslin:

When the Chinese writer Mo Yan won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2012 and was warmly lauded by the Communist government, he became one of the most reviled winners in the history of that great honor. Among the more benign accusations lobbed at him was that he was undeserving. . . .

Too easily lost in all this howling was Mr. Mo’s writing. His latest novel, “Frog,” gracefully and colloquially translated by Howard Goldblatt, is not the work of a hack or an ideologue. It is a rich and troubling epic — and a very human story — about China’s one-child policy, and Western readers who think they understand how this works have another think coming. . . .

February 26, 2015 in Abortion, Books, International | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

West Virginia Legislature Passes 20-Week Abortion Ban

MetroNews: Fetal pain abortion bill heads to Governor, by Hoppy Kercheval:

The state Senate Wednesday passed 29-5 legislation banning abortions after 20 weeks. The bill has already cleared the House and will next go to Governor Tomblin, who vetoed a similar bill last year. . . .

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

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Colorado Bill Would Provide $5 Million to Continue Free Contraception for Teenagers

The Denver Post: Colorado House committee passes bill providing state money for contraception, by Joey Bunch:

A House committee gave its approval Tuesday to a bill to put state money behind a contraception program that supporters say has been a major contributor to reducing teen pregnancies in Colorado.

The bill would provide $5 million next year to continue to provide free or low-cost intrauterine contraceptive devices, called IUDs, to women ages 15 to 19 years at clinics across the state. . . .

February 24, 2015 in Contraception, Teenagers and Children | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Man Sues Vermont Claiming Insurance Plans' Abortion Coverage Violates His Religious Beliefs

Vermont Free Press: Lawsuit targets Vermont over abortion, by Elizabeth Murray:

Alan Lyle Howe says his opposition to abortion is more than just a moral belief — it's a religious conviction.

But Vermont's state-offered health plans force Howe to choose between his pro-life beliefs and insurance coverage, because all plans offered through Vermont Health Connect include a fee for elective abortion coverage, said his lawyer, Casey Mattox. . . .

February 24, 2015 in Abortion, In the Courts, Religion and Reproductive Rights | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

More Reaction to "Abortion Episode" on Girls

The Washington Post: TV gets smart — and sensitive — about abortion, by Alyssa Rosenberg:

For all Lena Dunham’s indie comedy “Girls” has been lauded for its bravery, back in 2012 during its first season, the show took what felt like an early punt. On her way to have an abortion, Jessa (Jemima Kirke) had one of pop culture’s infamous spontaneous miscarriages, saving her — and the show — from making a decision that Hollywood still treats as controversial. Last night, the show finally circled back around to the subject, when Adam’s (Adam Driver) new girlfriend, Mimi-Rose (Gillian Jacobs), revealed that she’d had an abortion without consulting him. . . .

Jezebel: While You Watched the Oscars, Girls Did a Super Chill Abortion Episode, by Anna Merlan:

Here it is, because we have to talk about it: a character on Girls had an abortion, and it was very chill. Adam's new girlfriend Mimi-Rose politely declined his request to go for a jog, telling him, "I can't go for a run because I had an abortion yesterday." The scene that followed was both laudable in its matter-of-fact depiction of abortion and bizarre in just about every other way. Does no one on this show ever think about money? Ever? . . .

Yahoo Health: What Makes The Portrayal Of Abortion On 'GIRLS' Different Than The Rest, by Jennifer Gerson Uffalussy:

Last night, the most shocking thing on the Lena Dunham-helmed HBO show GIRLS wasn’t a graphic sex act (as has become the series’ calling card). It was the straightforward and non-sensationalized way in which one of the show’s characters discussed her decision to have an abortion. . . .

February 24, 2015 in Abortion, Culture, Television | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Mississippi Files Cert Petition in TRAP Law Challenge

ThinkProgress: The Nation’s Most Restrictive Anti-Abortion Law Just Reached The Supreme Court, by Ian Millheiser:

Supreme CourtA Mississippi law that would eliminate access to abortion within that state — a law so restrictive that it was halted by one of the most conservative federal appeals courts in the nation — arrived in the Supreme Court on Wednesday after the state filed a petition asking the justices to hear the case. Should the Court agree to do so, Mississippi could win the right to close down its only abortion clinic. . . .

February 24, 2015 in Supreme Court, Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP) | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, February 22, 2015

"Girls" Introduces Abortion Plotline

The Huffington Post: 'Girls' Finally Went There With An Abortion Storyline, by Laura Duca & Emma Gray:

“I can’t go for a run because I had an abortion yesterday,” announces Adam Sackler’s new girlfriend, Mimi-Rose Howard. With that statement, “Girls” joined the (limited) ranks of TV shows that a) have a character follow through with an abortion and b) deal with the subject in a way that is both interesting and adds positively to the dialogue about reproductive choice. . . .

February 22, 2015 in Abortion, Culture, Television | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Kansas Senate Passes Ban on Common Second-Trimester Abortion Procedure

PBS: Kansas may be the first state to ban common abortion procedure, by Marina Lopes:

Kansas’ state senate on Friday approved a bill banning an abortion procedure commonly used to terminate pregnancies in the second trimester, a victory for anti-abortion activists in what could become the United States’ first ban of this method.

The procedure, known as dilation and evacuation, involves dilating the woman’s cervix and using tools to remove the fetus and any remaining tissue from the uterus. Abortion rights activists say that the procedure, which is used in about 8 percent of abortions in Kansas, is the safest and cheapest option for women looking to terminate pregnancies in the second trimester. . . .

__________________________________

When the Supreme Court upheld the federal "Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act" in Gonzales v. Carhart, the majority opinion emphasized that "[a]lternatives are available to the prohibited procedure. As we have noted, the Act does not proscribe [non-intact] D&E."  Justice Ginsburg, however, pointed out the disingenuousness of banning intact D&E on the grounds of its supposed relative gruesomeness.  She wrote in her powerful dissent:

As another reason for upholding the ban, the Court emphasizes that the Act does not proscribe the nonintact D&E procedure. But why not, one might ask. Nonintact D&E could equally be characterized as "brutal" . . . . "[T]he notion that either of these two equally gruesome procedures . . . is more akin to infanticide than the other, or that the State furthers any legitimate interest by banning one but not the other, is simply irrational."

As Justice Ginsburg recognized, allowing bans on abortion procedures because they are "gruesome" is a slippery slope with no clear end.  Kansas's proposed ban isn't about the gruesomeness of a particular procedure.  It's about banning abortions, period.

-CEB

February 22, 2015 in Abortion Bans, State Legislatures | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Scott Walker Shifts to Right on Abortion

The New York Times: In Pre-Primary Pivot to Right, Walker Shifts Tone on Abortion, by Trip Gabriel:

It was a memorable political ad: Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin spoke directly into the camera in a 30-second spot last fall and called abortion an “agonizing” decision. He described himself as pro-life but, borrowing the language of the abortion rights movement, pointed to legislation he signed that leaves “the final decision to a woman and her doctor.”

That language was gone when Mr. Walker met privately with Iowa Republicans in a hotel conference room last month, according to a person who attended the meeting. There, he highlighted his early support for a “personhood amendment,” which defines life as beginning at conception and would effectively prohibit all abortions and some methods of birth control. . . .

February 22, 2015 in 2016 Presidential Campaign, Fetal Rights, Politics | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, February 16, 2015

Justice Ginsburg on MSNBC: Overturning Roe v. Wade "Not a Likely Scenario"

MSNBC: Ruth Bader Ginsburg on abortion, race and the broken Congress, by Irin Carmon:

The Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion isn’t in danger of being overturned anytime soon, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg told msnbc in a wide-ranging, exclusive interview. But Ginsburg warned that the abortion restrictions being enacted by states around the country are having an outsize impact on low-income women. . . .

February 16, 2015 in Abortion, Supreme Court | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Third Circuit Court of Appeals Rejects Challenge by Several Religious Groups to Federal Contraception Rule

Lancaster Online/AP: Court nixes faith-based birth control mandate challenge:

An appeals court has ruled that the birth control coverage required by federal health care reforms does not violate the rights of several religious groups because they can seek reasonable accommodations.

Two western Pennsylvania Catholic dioceses and a private Christian college had challenged the birth control coverage mandates and won lower-court decisions. However, the U.S. 3rd Circuit Court ruling Wednesday said the reforms place "no substantial burden" on the religious groups and therefore don't violate their First Amendment rights. . . .

______________________________

The opinion is available here.

February 12, 2015 in Contraception, In the Courts, Religion and Reproductive Rights | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Authors of Forthcoming Book Suggest Ways to Protect Clinic Workers from Anti-Abortion Terrorism

Slate: Anti-Abortion Terrorism, by David S. Cohen & Krysten Connon:

Ten ways that laws and law enforcement should protect clinic workers.

. . . According to a recent Feminist Majority Foundation report, personal targeting of abortion providers is rising precipitously. The 2014 National Clinic Violence Survey tallied the responses of 242 abortion providers from around the country. Providers were asked about their experiences with violence, harassment, and intimidation directed at clinics generally and patients. They were also asked about being targeted individually, which is our concern here. . . .

For the past four years, we have been doing our own study of targeted harassment of abortion providers. . . . These interviews form the basis of a book,Living in the Crosshairs: The Untold Stories of Anti-Abortion Terrorism, which will be released in May. . . .

February 12, 2015 in Anti-Choice Movement, Books | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Cook and Dickens on Types of Consent in Reproductive Health Care

Rebecca J. Cook (University of Toronto) and Bernard M. Dickens (University of Toronto) have posted Types of Consent in Reproductive Health Care on SSRN. Here is the abstract:

Healthcare providers require prior consent to treat patients. Consent can be different for legal purposes, and be expressed in different ways. Simple consent affords providers protection from liability for assault, but negligence can arise if the consent is inadequately informed. 

Bernard Dickens Rebecca CookProviders cannot coerce or improperly induce consent; patients’ agreement that a provider wrongly influences is compliance, not true consent. Attempts to rescue patients in peril may be lawful on the presumption of their implied consent, unless patients negate the presumption. In special cases, laws may require that consent be written, but generally consent can be given by speech or conduct. Informed consent depends on patients’ comprehension, but consent for treatment of uncomprehending patients may come from third parties, including legally recognized substitutes or judges. There may be legal limits to reproductive procedures to which patients may consent, under laws that can be respectfully tested, but have to be obeyed.

February 12, 2015 in Scholarship and Research | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

2015 Offers No Reprieve From Efforts to Restrict Abortion

ThinkProgress: The Massive Push To Restrict Abortion In 2015, by Tara Culp-Ressler:

On the heels of a record-breaking number of new abortion restrictions that have been enacted over the past four years, state lawmakers are continuing to push forward with a stringent anti-abortion agenda in 2015.

By last week, states had already introduced more than 100 bills intended to regulate access to abortion, according to researchers at the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Lawmakers are working to restrict the procedure in more than half the states in the country . . . .

February 11, 2015 in Abortion Bans, State Legislatures, Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP) | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Ciara O'Connell on Reproductive Rights Cases in the Inter-American System of Human Rights

Ciara O'ConnellCiara O'Connell (University of Sussex) has posted Women's Reproductive Rights in the Inter-American System of Human Rights: Conclusions from the Field, June - September 2014 on SSRN.  Here is the abstract: 

The Inter-American System of Human Rights has proven to be a forum for the advancement of women’s reproductive rights in the Inter-American region. However, the Inter-American System faces significant challenges in promoting structural transformative change that enables women’s enjoyment of their reproductive health rights. This report examines three reproductive rights cases from the Inter- American Commission on Human Rights and the Inter-American Court of Human Rights: María Mamerita Mestanza Chávez v. Peru; Paulina Ramirez Jacinto v. Mexico; and Artavia Murillo et al. v. Costa Rica. In the summer of 2014, interviews were conducted with representatives in each of the case study countries, with the objective of the research being two-fold: (1) to understand how each of the cases developed, and the subsequent challenges and advancements; and (2) to learn from these cases in order to suggest recommendations for how actors can make better use of the Inter-American System as one of several avenues for protecting, promoting and fulfilling women’s reproductive rights. The report first discusses challenges in implementing women’s reproductive health rights, and then explores how the Inter-American System can strengthen its work on women’s reproductive health rights.

February 11, 2015 in International, Scholarship and Research | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Another GOP Legislator Makes Insensitive Rape Comment

The Huffington Post: Another GOP Lawmaker Wades Into Rape Debate, by Laura Bassett:

A Republican state lawmaker said Thursday that women who become pregnant from sexual assault should not be exempt from an anti-abortion measure, because childbirth resulting from rape is "beautiful."

"Obviously rape is awful," West Virginia Del. Brian Kurcaba (R) said during a committee hearing on a new abortion restriction, according to David Gutman, a Charleston Gazette reporter. "What is beautiful is the child that could come from this." . . .

February 7, 2015 in Pregnancy & Childbirth, Sexual Assault | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, February 6, 2015

First Casebook on Reproductive Rights and Justice Is Now Available

The Center for Reproductive Rights and Justice (Berkeley Law): CRRJ Faculty Directors Author Groundbreaking Textbook:

CRRJ textbookThe Center on Reproductive Rights and Justice (CRRJ) celebrates Faculty Directors Melissa Murray and Kristin Luker for co-authoring the first legal textbook to address reproductive rights and justice issues in a comprehensive manner. Cases on Reproductive Rights and Justice marks the contours of the subject and provides a framework for instruction bound to increase the number of related classes offered. The casebook is available now from Foundation Press for a 20% discount with the code:  MURRAY2015.

CRRJ Faculty Director Melissa Murray and Founding Faculty Director Emerita Kristin Luker spent the last two years co-authoring what they call their "best effort to provide structure to an intellectual and legal inquiry about how the law regulates all realms of reproduction, and in so doing, shapes our daily lives." They have also written a Teachers' Manual, which includes background stories to accompany the cases and popular culture references to enliven class discussions.

"We are thrilled to share this long-awaited, in-demand teaching tool with faculty and adjunct practitioners throughout the country who have, thus far, been forced to cobble together their own course materials or forgo offering the course in the absence of a casebook," said the book's Executive Editor and CRRJ Executive Director Jill E. Adams '06. She anticipates an uptick in reproductive rights seminars and reading groups on law school campuses as a result of the book's availability.

Associate Professor Aziza Ahmed '07 has been teaching a course titled "Reproductive and Sexual Health and Rights" since she joined the faculty of Northeastern School of Law in 2010. "The casebook will be a boon to my teaching," she said, "Both as a comprehensive resource for students and as a landmark pronouncement of the legitimacy of this field of study." Ahmed was a student in Luker's first reproductive rights seminar and can appreciate the depth and texture brought to these complex issues by the interlocking disciplinary perspectives of law and sociology.

This unusual pairing of a legal scholar and social scientist did not occur by accident. The authors intentionally seek to "locate reproductive rights and justice issues in the historical and political context in which legal doctrine and discourse have evolved." They believe this grounding will enable students to think rigorously and critically about what motivates certain laws and policies, as well as their impact on real people's lives.

February 6, 2015 in Law School | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Comparing States' Unintended Pregnancy Rates Based on Abortion Stance

The Washington Post (The Fix blog): States that are more opposed to abortion rights have fewer abortions — but not fewer unintended pregnancies, by Aaron Blake:

Abortion in America is an extremely divisive issue, splitting Republicans and Democrats with often very strong feelings.

It also divides the states. In 2010, according to a new study from the Guttmacher Institute, an abortion rights group, an estimated 11 percent of all unintended pregnancies in South Dakota were aborted. In New York, it was 54 percent.

In general, Guttmacher's numbers show that states with more people who oppose abortion rights tend to have lower abortion rates. But views on abortion tend to have much less impact on something else related to all this: unintended pregnancies. . . .

______________________________

The piece includes charts and interactive maps.

January 29, 2015 in Abortion, Pregnancy & Childbirth | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)