Thursday, May 2, 2013
U.S. Will Appeal Federal Court Ruling Invalidating Age Limits on Emergency Contraceptive Pill
The New York Times: U.S. to Defend Age Limits on Morning-After Pill Sales, by Pam Belluck & Michael D. Shear:
The Justice Department said on Wednesday that it would appeal a federal judge’s order to make the most common morning-after contraceptive available without a prescription for girls and women of all ages.
The announcement came a day after the Food and Drug Administration said that one well-known morning-after pill, Plan B One-Step, would be made available without a prescription for girls as young as 15 — instead of only to girls ages 17 and over, as has been the case. . . .
The Los Angeles Times: Government will appeal Plan B emergency birth control ruling, by Monte Morin:
The U.S. attorney's office announced late Wednesday that it would appeal a federal judge's decision to make Plan B One-Step and related emergency birth control pills available to consumers of all ages without a prescription. . . .
Wednesday, May 1, 2013
Anti-Choice Group Releases New Sting Videos of Abortion Clinics
Slate - Weigel blog: New Pro-Life Sting Videos of Abortion Clinics, by David Weigel:
Live Action and Lila Rose pioneered the modern conservative sting video. Like Ryan Grim reported in 2011, the emotional punch of Live Action stings, in which women appeared to be advised on how to terminate pregnancies on the grounds of race or gender, helped motivate Republicans to pass Planned Parenthood defunding bills. And like Grim reported, a key video didn't hold up to scrutiny when you reviewed the full tape. . . .
Irish Government Proposes Measure to Allow Life-Saving Abortions
The New York Times: Irish Proposal Would Allow Abortions in Emergencies, by Douglas Dalby:
The Irish government proposed legislation late Tuesday night that, if approved as expected, would allow abortions in cases where a threat existed to a woman’s life, including from suicide. . . .
CNN: Ireland's government puts forward draft abortion bill, by Laura Smith-Spark & Peter Taggart:
Proposed new legislation won't change Ireland's general ban on abortion, Prime Minister Enda Kenny said Wednesday, but is about "saving lives" when pregnant women are in danger.
Ireland's government published the controversial draft measure late Tuesday to clarify what happens when there's a threat to the mother's life, including a risk of suicide. . . .
Racial Arguments for Florida Abortion Restriction Provoke Walk-Out
The Grio: Black female lawmakers walk out of Florida House over racial arguments made for abortion bill, by Alexis Garrett Stodghill:
A group of black female lawmakers walked out of a fiery debate in the Florida House on Thursday over the state’s latest bill focusing on abortion. House Bill 845, which passed the Florida House of Representatives by a margin of 71-44 that day, stipulates that a doctor performing an abortion must sign an affidavit confirming it was not performed based on the race or gender of the fetus. . . .
FDA Announces It Will Make Plan B Available OTC to Women 15 and Older
The Hill - Healthwatch Blog: FDA approves 'morning-after pill' for women 15 and up, by Sam Baker:
The Food and Drug Administration said Tuesday that the contraceptive known as Plan B should be available without a prescription for all women 15 and older.
The move is sure to stir controversy among social conservatives, some of whom view Plan B as a form of abortion. Unlike other forms of birth control, Plan B is intended for use after sex, rather than before. . . .
The Hill - Healthwatch Blog: FDA pressed to go further on Plan B, by Sam Baker:
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is under pressure from political activists — and some doctors — to remove all age restrictions on the over-the-counter sale of Plan B.
The FDA made waves Tuesday by allowing the sale of Plan B without a prescription to women 15 and older. Its previous policy had restricted the drug to patients 17 and older.
Women's-health advocates said the move from 17 to 15 was a good first step, but doesn't go far enough. . . .
RH Reality Check: Administration Again Fails on Over-the-Counter Emergency Contraception, by Jodi Jacobson:
Today, in a proposal that can best be described as adding insult to injury, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved making emergency contraception (EC) available over-the-counter for teens and women ages 15 and up. This convoluted proposal from the Obama administration comes despite a court order in early April by U.S. District Court Judge Edward R. Korman to make EC available over-the-counter to all ages within 30 days of his decision. It comes from an administration which pledged to make science the cornerstone of public policy and instead has consistently flouted a wealth of accumulated evidence on emergency contraception. It also comes after several studies showing that current policy requiring prescriptions for some groups and not others has confused so many pharmacists that access to EC has been denied to many who were in fact legally eligible to obtain it quickly. In practice, the new policy will almost certainly perpetuate, not resolve, that confusion. . . .
The Nation: Hey, FDA: Drop the Plan B Restriction, by Jessica Valenti:
Yesterday, the FDA announced that it will make Plan B—also known as emergency contraception (EC) or the morning after pill—available over the counter to women older than 15 years old who can prove their age. This decision comes less than a week before the end of a thirty-day deadline imposed by a federal judge mandating EC be available without a prescription to women of all ages. So despite the FDA’s announcement, the Obama administration still needs to appeal the judge’s decision or request a stay by Monday. . . .
Thursday, April 25, 2013
Proposed Rules Would Drop Contraception Training Rule for Family Practice Doctors
NPR: Family Doctors Consider Dropping Birth Control Training Rule, by Julie Rovner:
One of the more popular provisions of the federal health law requires that women be given much freer access to prescription methods of birth control. That includes not only the pill, but implants and IUDs as well.
But what happens if there are not enough doctors to prescribe those contraceptives?
That's exactly what worries some reproductive health advocates, as efforts are underway to rewrite rules governing the training of the nation's family doctors. . . .
Listen to the story here.
Senate Bill Would Cover Some Abortions for Peace Corps Volunteers
The Washington Post: Women’s health groups want Peace Corps volunteers to have insurance coverage for abortions, by Lisa Rein:
Yet women on the paid Peace Corps staff, along with other federal employees, federal prisoners, women on Medicaid and Native Americans, have long received insurance coverage for abortions in cases of rape or incest or if their health is in danger. In January, women in the military got the same access. . . .
Wednesday, April 24, 2013
Judge Announces He Will Permanently Enjoin North Dakota Medication Abortion Ban
RH Reality Check: Judge To Permanently Block North Dakota Abortion Ban, by Jessica Mason Pielko:
Women in North Dakota got good news Thursday when District Court Judge Wickham Corwin announced at the conclusion of a three-day trial over the constitutionality of North Dakota’s medication abortion ban that he plans to issue a ruling permanently blocking the state’s onerous restrictions on medication abortion as unconstitutional. . . .
Gosnell Case Highlights Differing Views Over the Effects of TRAP Laws
NPR: Philadelphia Case Exposes Deep Rift In Abortion Debate, by Julie Rovner:
This is the sixth week of the trial of Dr. Kermit Gosnell, the physician charged with five counts of murder in the deaths of a woman and infants at the Philadelphia abortion clinic he owned and operated.
The case and its grisly details have prompted considerable debate about a variety of issues, including whether the media has covered it sufficiently.
But it has also laid bare some of the very issues at the heart of the still-simmering debate over abortion 40 years after the Supreme Court made it legal. Most directly, it raises the question of whether increasing regulation on abortion clinics make places like Gosnell's clinic more or less likely to exist. . . .
Listen to the story here.
Kansas Governor Scrawls "JESUS + Mary" On Sweeping Anti-Choice Bill As He Signs It Into Law
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)
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. . . .
Monday, April 22, 2013
Kansas Governor Signs Omnibus Abortion LegislationACLU press release: Kansas Governor Signs Law As Part of Political Push to Eliminate Access to Abortion:
TOPEKA, Kan. – Gov. Sam Brownback of Kansas signed an anti-abortion omnibus bill today that imposes a series of medically unnecessary measures designed to interfere with abortion care in the state. The new law could impose new taxes on a woman who obtains an abortion and forces doctors to tell patients about a supposed link between abortion and breast cancer — a risk that the National Cancer Institute, the American Cancer Society, and other medical experts roundly reject. The law also includes language about the legal rights of fertilized eggs, which lays the groundwork for even more extreme measures blocking access to abortion care.
"This sweeping anti-abortion measure is part of a larger effort by politicians throughout the country to try to eliminate access to abortion, one law at a time, one state at a time," said Jennifer Dalven, director of ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project. "Make no mistake, this is yet another line of attack in the War on Women and should be a wake-up call to anyone who believes that our politicians should not interfere in private decision-making."
Sunday, April 21, 2013
Should All Birth Control Pills - Not Just Emergency Contraception - Be Available Without a Prescription?
The New York Times: Is It Time for Off-the-Shelf Birth-Control Pills?, by Elizabeth Rosenthal:
WHEN a federal judge recently ordered the Food and Drug Administration to make the morning-after pill available to women of all ages without a prescription, the ruling was a political embarrassment for the Obama administration and unleashed protests from abortion foes and abstinence advocates. But that controversy may look like a tempest in a teapot compared with a broader and no less heated discussion that is roiling the medical community: should birth-control pills of any type require a doctor’s prescription? Or should they be available, like Tylenol, on pharmacy shelves? . . .
Wednesday, April 17, 2013
North Dakota Governor Signs 20-Week Abortion Ban
ACLU press release: North Dakota Governor Signs Another Law Restricting Access to Abortion:
BISMARCK, N.D. – The governor of North Dakota yesterday signed a bill that would ban abortions beginning at 20 weeks of pregnancy. This follows on the heels of the state passing other extreme measures, including a law that already bans most abortions in the state.
“While North Dakota leads the pack of states seeking to outlaw abortion, extreme politicians around the country are trying to catch up,” said Jennifer Dalven, director of the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project. “Now is the time to tell our elected officials enough is enough. Politicians must stop interfering in personal and private decisions that should be made by a woman and her family.”
The bill is SB2368 and the text is available here. Of course, North Dakota has also passed a much earlier ban that prohibits abortions starting around six weeks of pregnancy. That ban is certain to be struck down. This latest ban, too, is unconstitutional because it prohibits some abortions before fetal viability.
Khiara M. Bridges on Pregnancy as Injury
Khiara M. Bridges (Boston University School of Law) has posted When Pregnancy Is an Injury: Rape, Law, and Culture on SSRN. Here is the abstract:
This Article examines criminal statutes that grade more severely sexual assaults that result in pregnancy. These laws, which define pregnancy as a “substantial bodily injury,” run directly counter to positive constructions of pregnancy within culture. The fact that the criminal law, in this instance, reflects this negative, subversive understanding of pregnancy creates the possibility that this idea may be received within culture as a construction of pregnancy that is as legitimate as positive understandings. In this way, these laws create possibilities for the reimagining of pregnancy within law and society. Moreover, these laws recall the argumentation that proponents of abortion rights once made – argumentation that one no longer hears and sees in the debates surrounding abortion. However, recent developments in antiabortion argumentation – namely the notion accepted in Carhart II that it is abortion that injures women – counsel the retrieval of the argument that unwanted pregnancies are injuries to women. Thus, the sexual assault laws are means to legitimatize a claim that may serve as an effective counterdiscourse to prevailing antiabortion argumentation.
Tuesday, April 16, 2013
Federal Judge Temporarily Blocks Closure of Mississippi's Only Abortion Clinic
The New York Times: Ruling Prevents Closing of Mississippi's Sole Abortion Clinic, by Campbell Robertson:
A federal judge in Mississippi on Monday blocked part of a state law that would have forced the closing of the state’s only abortion clinic. The ruling is not final, but it did keep the law from going into effect while a decision on its constitutionality is made, keeping Mississippi, at least temporarily, from becoming the first state in the country without an abortion clinic. . . .
Arkansas 12-Week Abortion Ban Challenged in Federal Court
The New York Times: Suit Seeks to Block Arkansas Abortion Law, by Erik Eckholm:
Supporters of abortion rights on Tuesday filed a challenge to the new Arkansas law banning most abortions at the 12th week of pregnancy, calling it a “violation of over 40 years of settled United States Supreme Court precedent” and a threat to “the rights, liberty and well-being of Arkansas women and their families.” . . .
Roundup of Media Analysis of Gosnell Case, its Significance, and the Purported Media "Blackout"
Feministing: Quick Hit: Gosnell's clinic and the cost of dignity in health care, by Maya Dusenbery:
As we’ve already mentioned, the conservative claims of a liberal media “blackout” surrounding the trial of Kermit Gosnell are totally ridiculous. Feminist bloggers and journalists, including us, have been covering this terrible story from the beginning. Our own Lori wrote an article in the Grio two years ago on the racial segregation of Gosnell’s clinic and what this story says about safe abortion access for low-income women of color. . . .
The Atlantic: 14 Theories for Why Kermit Gosnell's Case Didn't Get More Media Attention, by Conor Friedersdorf
The New York Times - Public Editor's Journal: Politics Aside, the Gosnell Trial Deserves — and Is Getting — More Coverage, by Margaret Sullivan
Slate: Kermit Gosnell: The Alleged Mass-Murderer and the Bored Media, by David Weigel
The Atlantic: If More Funding Went to Safe, Legal Abortions, Would Kermit Gosnell Have Happened?, by Jeff Deeney
Monday, April 15, 2013
Shakira Maxwell on Reproductive Rights in Jamaica
Shakira Maxwell (The University of the West Indies) has posted Fighting a Losing Battle? Defending Women's Reproductive Rights in Twenty-First Century Jamaica on SSRN. Here is the abstract:
Since 1975, the
Government of Jamaica has acknowledged that the practice of unsafe abortions
and high rates of maternal mortality in the island are a significant public
health problem affecting women. Unfortunately, any attempt to focus on this
issue through legal reform has often been sidelined by both religious and moral
groups. In 2008 the issue came back on the Government’s agenda, however once
more, the public discourse has been sidelined away from the main issues
concerns women’s health. As a result, many women in the island continue to face
health complications as a result of unsafe abortions which are practiced under
unhealthy and unsanitary conditions.
This paper will examine the most recent aspects of the debate on the legalization of abortion in Jamaica. It will also highlight the recommendations of the Abortion Policy Review (APR) Group which reviewed health implications in Jamaica and assessed existing laws in the wider Caribbean on abortion and conditions thereof. Using feminist analysis it will also explore the challenges faced by those arguing for legislative reform on abortion services in Jamaica within the larger framework of reproductive health and rights.
How Obama’s Proposed Budget Affects Reproductive Rights
ACLU (blog): Reproductive Rights and Yesterday's Budget Release, by Sarah Lipton-Lubet:
President Obama yesterday released his proposed budget for fiscal year 2014. Here are five things you should know about how it affects reproductive rights:
Home Rule for the District of Columbia
As he has each year of his presidency, President Obama removed the D.C. abortion ban from his budget proposal. That ban prohibits the District of Columbia from using its own locally raised funds to pay for abortion care for low-income D.C. residents. By contrast, all other states are permitted to use non-federal revenues to pay for abortion care if they so choose. . . .