Reproductive Rights Prof Blog

Editor: Caitlin E. Borgmann
CUNY School of Law

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Thursday, September 4, 2014

The Mindy Project Won't Address Abortion -- But Shouldn't It?

Slate -- The XX Factor blog:  The Mindy Project Really Needs an Abortion Storyline, by Amanda Marcotte:

Dr. Mindy Lahiri, the loveable lead played by Mindy Kaling in the sitcom The Mindy Project, is an OB-GYN. Her job functions as more than background decoration, as Jessica Goldstein of ThinkProgress notes. “One of the most standout things about The Mindy Project is the way its setting has allowed for stories that explicitly deal with women’s health,” she writes, citing storylines about birth control, condom distribution, and even The Talk.

But there's one aspect of reproductive health care that Kaling has no intention of touching on in the sitcom: abortion. “It would be demeaning to the topic to talk about it in a half-hour sitcom,” she recently said in the October issue of Flare

Sorry, but that's total nonsense. . . .

September 4, 2014 in Abortion, Culture, Television | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, September 1, 2014

For Now, Federal Courts Are Protecting Abortion Access, But Will It Last?

MSNBC: Fragile victories for abortion access in the South, by Irin Carmon:

In a single weekend, with temporary wins for abortion providers in Louisiana and Texas, one fact became ever clearer: The federal courts are the only thing standing between conservative lawmakers and a woman’s right to an abortion. For now, the news is good for abortion access in the region, but it is a fragile shield – one that may be breached in a matter of days. . . .

September 1, 2014 in In the Courts, Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP) | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Federal Judge Blocks Enforcement of Louisiana Admitting Privileges Law

The Wall Street Journal: Judge Blocks Enforcement of New Louisiana Abortion Law, by Cameron McWhirter:

Restrictive New Law Goes Into Effect Monday, But Doctors, Clinics Can't Be Penalized for Not Complying

A federal judge in Baton Rouge, La., on Sunday night issued a temporary restraining order blocking the enforcement of a Louisiana abortion law just hours before it was to take effect.

The law, passed overwhelmingly this year by the state Legislature, requires all abortion doctors in the state to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of the clinic where they work. If doctors at clinics don't comply, the clinic can be closed. . . .

September 1, 2014 in In the Courts, Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP) | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Call for Applications: Feminist Judgments: Rewritten Opinions of the United States Supreme Court

 U.S. Feminist Judgments Project -- Call for Applications:

The U.S. Feminist Judgments Project seeks contributors of revised opinions and commentary for an edited collection entitled Feminist Judgments: Rewritten Opinions of the United States Supreme Court. This edited volume is a collaborative project among feminist law professors and others to rewrite, from a feminist perspective, key Supreme Court decisions relevant to gender issues. Editors Kathy Stanchi, Linda Berger, and Bridget Crawford seek prospective authors for 20 to 25 rewritten Supreme Court opinions covering a range of topics including reproductive rights, equal protection, the state’s use of criminal power, privacy, the family, women’s political participation, Title IX, employment discrimination and substantive due process. The editors also seek authors for commentaries of 1,500 to 2,500 words to put into context each of the rewritten cases.

The U.S. Feminist Judgments project was inspired by the successful collection and publication in Britain of Feminist Judgments: From Theory to Practice, edited by Rosemary Hunter, Clare McGlynn, and Erika Rackley. This volume, which included feminist versions of twenty-three key British decisions from the Court of Appeal and House of Lords, was published in 2010 and has been very well received. Like the sister project in Britain, the U.S. Feminist Judgments Project endeavors to pioneer “a new form of critical socio-legal scholarship” that illustrates how cases could have been decided differently had a feminist method been employed. We believe that U.S. Supreme Court law is ripe for this kind of scholarly treatment.

Those who are interested in rewriting an opinion or providing the commentary on one of the rewritten opinions must apply by September 15, 2014 at 5:00 p.m. eastern. Click here for the application.

Editors will notify accepted authors and commentators by October 7, 2014. First drafts of rewritten opinions will be due on February 1, 2015. First drafts of comments on the rewritten opinions will be due on March 15, 2015. The editors are in the process of identifying a publisher; publication of the final volume is anticipated for late 2015.

Applicants may indicate their preferences among the list of cases posted here.  Applicants also may suggest other cases for rewriting. The tentative cases were chosen with the input and advice of an Advisory Panel of distinguished U.S. scholars including Kathryn Abrams, Katharine Bartlett,Devon Carbado, Mary Anne Case, Erwin Chemerinsky, April Cherry, Kimberlé Crenshaw, Martha Fineman, Margaret Johnson, Sonia Katyal, Nancy Leong, Catharine MacKinnon, Rachel Moran, Melissa Murray, Angela Onwuachi-Willig, Nancy Polikoff, Dorothy Roberts, Dan Rodriguez, Susan Ross, Vicki Schultz, Dean Spade, Robin West, and Verna Williams.

August 30, 2014 in Books | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Call for Participation: LatCrit-SALT Junior Faculty Development Workshop

Call for Participation
Twelfth Annual LatCrit-SALT
Junior Faculty Development Workshop
University of Nevada-Las Vegas, Las Vegas, NV

October 9, 2014

LatCrit, Inc. and the Society of American Law Teachers (SALT) are pleased to invite interested participants to the Twelfth Annual Junior Faculty Development Workshop (FDW), immediately preceding the SALT Teaching Conference.  This annual workshop is designed for critical, progressive, and social justice oriented pre-tenure professors, including clinicians and legal writing professors, as well as those who may be contemplating a teaching career.  However, we also encourage more senior members of the profession to attend, share their experience, and serve as resources and mentors.

The FDW is designed to familiarize critical, progressive, and social justice oriented junior faculty with LatCrit and SALT principles and values and support them in the scholarship, teaching, and service aspects of professional success.  In addition, the FDW seeks to foster scholarship in progressive, social justice, and critical outsider jurisprudence, including LatCrit theory, among new and junior faculty, students, and practitioners.  Finally, the FDW aims to cultivate a community of scholars interested in the continuation of this and similar projects over the years.

To facilitate community building through shared experiences and the exchange of ideas, we strongly encourage all participants to attend the entire workshop.

If you have questions about the workshop or would like to attend, please email SALTLatCritFDW@gmail.com.  Although we will make efforts to accommodate all interested participants, RSVPs are strongly suggested by September 30, 2014.  The registration for both events is open on the SALT website:  http://www.saltlaw.org/conference_registration/.

August 30, 2014 in Conferences and Symposia | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

NYT Magazine Examines Rise of Medication Abortion Via the Internet

The New York Times Magazine: The Dawn of the Post-Clinic Abortion, by Emily Bazelon:

In June 2001, under a cloud-streaked sky, Rebecca Gomperts set out from the Dutch port of Scheveningen in a rented 110-foot ship bound for Ireland. Lashed to the deck was a shipping container, freshly painted light blue and stocked with packets of mifepristone (which used to be called RU-486) and misoprostol. The pills are given to women in the first trimester to induce a miscarriage. Medical abortion, as this procedure is called, had recently become available in the Netherlands. But use of misoprostol and mifepristone to end a pregnancy was illegal in Ireland, where abortion by any means remains against the law, with few exceptions. . . .

August 30, 2014 in Abortion, International | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

The Difficulty of Measuring the Effects of Abortion Restrictions

FiveThirtyEight: It’s Really Hard To Measure The Effects Of Abortion Restrictions In Texas, by Amelia Thomson Deveaux:

Last summer, after Wendy Davis had come and gone, the Texas legislature passed a package of abortion bills that has effectively forced most of the state’s clinics to close. The bills didn’t ban abortion outright, but instead placed new restrictions on abortion providers, such as a mandate for expensive structural changes (e.g. wider hallways and new ventilation systems) for clinics. Proponents said that more rigorous standards would protect women’s health, but obstetricians and pro-choice advocates warned that the law would serve a pro-life agenda, and that its consequences could radically alter options for women in the state. Left with only a handful of clinics in large cities at the center of Texas, women outside urban areas might take matters into their own hands and begin inducing abortions themselves. . . . 

August 30, 2014 in Abortion Bans, Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP) | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, August 29, 2014

Federal District Judge Strikes Down Onerous Texas Abortion Facilities Regulation

The New York Times: Federal Judge Strikes Down Restrictive Texas Abortion Law, by Erik Eckholm & Manny Fernandez:

A federal judge in Austin, Tex., blocked a stringent new rule on Friday that would have forced more than half of the state’s remaining abortion clinics to close, the latest in a string of court decisions that have at least temporarily kept abortion clinics across the South from being shuttered.

The Texas rule, requiring all abortion clinics to meet the building, equipment and staffing standards of hospital-style surgery centers, had been set to take effect on Monday. But in his opinion, Judge Lee Yeakel of the United States District Court in Austin said that the mandate placed unjustified obstacles on women’s access to abortion without providing significant medical benefits. . . .

August 29, 2014 in In the Courts, Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP) | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

California Health Officials Quash Catholic Employers' Efforts to Deprive Employees of Abortion Coverage

The Los Angeles Times: A women's rights victory as California nixes an attack on abortion coverage, by Michael Hiltzik:

With minimal fanfare, California state officials have nixed an underhanded effort by two Catholic-affiliated universities and their insurers to deprive the universities' employees of insurance coverage for abortions. 

The move by the Department of Managed Health Care is one of the strongest statements in favor of women's reproductive health rights you're likely to hear from officials of any state, at a time when those rights are under systematic attack. So it's proper to pay attention. . . .

August 27, 2014 in Abortion, Religion and Reproductive Rights, State and Local News | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

GOP Senate Candidates Reluctant to Weigh in on Latest Changes to ACA Contraception Rule

Repub elephantThe Hill: GOP Senate candidates mum on birth control mandate change, by Elise Viebeck:

Republican Senate candidates are staying silent on President Obama's latest changes to the birth control coverage mandate, even as the policy catches flak from the religious right.  

Top GOP hopefuls haven’t weighed in on the issue since Friday, when the administration announced new measures meant to accommodate religious groups and businesses owners who object to their insurance covering birth control. . . . 

August 27, 2014 in Congress, Contraception, Politics, Religion and Reproductive Rights | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

States Use "Feticide" Laws to Punish Pregnant Women

The Daily Beast: Indiana 'Feticide' Charge Is the Latest Fallout From States' Strict Anti-Abortion Laws, by Sally Kohn:

An Indiana woman has been charged with feticide—and faces decades in jail—for aborting an unwanted fetus, the latest in a string of cases that come close to criminalizing pregnancy itself.

Anyone who doubts that laws restricting abortion rights actually restrict the freedom of women to fundamentally control their bodies and health should look at Indiana. In that state, a 33-year-old woman has been charged with “feticide” after suffering premature delivery and seeking hospital treatment. She becomes the second woman to recently be charged with “feticide” in Indiana. Nationwide, at least 37 other states have similar laws that have restricted the rights of pregnant women under the guise of supposedly protecting fetuses. . . .

August 27, 2014 in Abortion, Fetal Rights, In the Courts, State and Local News | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Alba Ruibal on Mexico's Abortion Law

Alba Ruibal (CONICET Argentina; European University Institute - Department of Law) has posted Reform and Backlash in Mexico's Abortion Law: Political and Legal Opportunities for Mobilization and Countermobilization on SSRN.  Here is the abstract:

The restrictive legal framework of abortion in Latin America has started to change during the past decade, as legislative reforms and high court decisions have liberalized, to different extents, the abortion laws in Colombia, Mexico City, Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay. Feminist mobilization has been the crucial factor of change in this area of rights, and conservative religious actors have been the main opponents of reform. Political and legal factors contribute to understand the timing and outcomes of legal changes, as well as the capacity of movement and counter-movement to influence reform processes. Based on field work carried out in Mexico, this paper analyzes the main components of the legal and political opportunities that have been relevant in abortion legal reform in that country, which offer important points of reference for other Latin American cases. Drawing on social movement theory and legal studies literature, this paper highlights the importance of relatively stable components of political opportunities such as the type of institutional organization of federalism, which determines the location of abortion policy - and the possibilities of social movements to influence it, as well as of institutional arrangements and cultural understandings regarding the relationship between State and Church. Regarding more contingent political factors, the analysis of this case confirms that divisions among elites, and in particular post-electoral conflict, may create conditions for rights advocacy actors, whereas politicians’ search for legitimacy and short-term electoral incentives may favor counter-reformers, especially at the local level - where there may be greater Church’s influence and less accountability mechanisms. With regards to the legal opportunity, the paper highlights the role of the rules of access to courts and legal standing in constitutional review proceedings, as determinants of the types of actors and claims that reach the courts. The analysis of the Mexican case shows how constitutional courts, in their quest for institutional legitimacy, may expand the legal opportunity for the participation of social actors at judicial proceedings, when facing decisions that involve highly controversial issues and social conflicts. Finally, the paper shows how rules of opinion formation at courts may affect final judicial outcomes and the influence of social actors in them.

August 26, 2014 in Abortion, Abortion Bans, International, Religion and Reproductive Rights | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Updated Regs Governing Exemptions to Contraceptive Rule May Not Satisfy All Religious Objectors

The New HHS Regulations Can’t Win A Zero-Sum Game
The New HHS Regulations Can’t Win A Zero-Sum Game
The New HHS Regulations Can’t Win A Zero-Sum Game

Gender & Sexuality Law Blog, The New HHS Regulations Can’t Win A Zero-Sum Game, by Kara Loewentheil:

Yesterday the Obama Administration released the long-awaited updates to the regulations that govern the availability of an accommodation for religious objectors to the Affordable Care Act’s contraceptive coverage requirement. They came in two parts:

1. A final interim regulation that allows objecting religiously-affiliated organizations who decline to fill out the original form required for an exemption to instead notify the government in writing that they object and to provide the government the contact information for their insurance company or third-party insurer. . . .

What I want to draw attention to in this post is the fact that none of these accommodations will satisfy the objectors who seem to believe that any type of notification to the government makes them impermissibly complicit in what they believe to be a sin. . . .

What I want to draw attention to in this post is the fact that none of these accommodations will satisfy the objectors who seem to believe that any type of notification to the government makes them impermissibly complicit in what they believe to be a sin. - See more at: http://blogs.law.columbia.edu/genderandsexualitylawblog/2014/08/23/the-new-hhs-regulations-cant-win-in-a-zero-sum-game/#sthash.HUe39HE8.dpuf

Yesterday the Obama Administration released the long-awaited updates to the regulations that govern the availability of an accommodation for religious objectors to the Affordable Care Act’s contraceptive coverage requirement. They came in two parts:

1. A final interim regulation that allows objecting religiously-affiliated organizations who decline to fill out the original form required for an exemption to instead notify the government in writing that they object and to provide the government the contact information for their insurance company or third-party insurer.

- See more at: http://blogs.law.columbia.edu/genderandsexualitylawblog/2014/08/23/the-new-hhs-regulations-cant-win-in-a-zero-sum-game/#sthash.HUe39HE8.dpuf

Yesterday the Obama Administration released the long-awaited updates to the regulations that govern the availability of an accommodation for religious objectors to the Affordable Care Act’s contraceptive coverage requirement. They came in two parts:

1. A final interim regulation that allows objecting religiously-affiliated organizations who decline to fill out the original form required for an exemption to instead notify the government in writing that they object and to provide the government the contact information for their insurance company or third-party insurer.

- See more at: http://blogs.law.columbia.edu/genderandsexualitylawblog/2014/08/23/the-new-hhs-regulations-cant-win-in-a-zero-sum-game/#sthash.HUe39HE8.dpuf

Yesterday the Obama Administration released the long-awaited updates to the regulations that govern the availability of an accommodation for religious objectors to the Affordable Care Act’s contraceptive coverage requirement. They came in two parts:

1. A final interim regulation that allows objecting religiously-affiliated organizations who decline to fill out the original form required for an exemption to instead notify the government in writing that they object and to provide the government the contact information for their insurance company or third-party insurer.

- See more at: http://blogs.law.columbia.edu/genderandsexualitylawblog/2014/08/23/the-new-hhs-regulations-cant-win-in-a-zero-sum-game/#sthash.HUe39HE8.dpuf

August 26, 2014 in Contraception, President/Executive Branch, Religion and Reproductive Rights | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Call for Papers: "Applied Feminism and Work"

The University of Baltimore School of Law Center on Applied Feminism:

The University of Baltimore School of Law’s Center on Applied Feminism seeks submissions for its Eighth Annual Feminist Legal Theory Conference.  This year’s theme is “Applied Feminism and Work.”  The conference will be held on March 5 and 6, 2015.  For more information about the conference, please visit law.ubalt.edu/caf<http://www.law.ubalt.edu/caf>.

As the nation emerges from the recession, work and economic security are front and center in our national policy debates.  Women earn less than men, and the new economic landscape impacts men and women differently.  At the same time, women are questioning whether to Lean In or Lean Out, and what it means to “have it all.”  The conference will build on these discussions. As always, the Center’s conference will serve as a forum for scholars, practitioners and activists to share ideas about applied feminism, focusing on the intersection of theory and practice to effectuate social change. The conference seeks papers that discuss this year’s theme through the lens of an intersectional approach to feminist legal theory, addressing not only the premise of seeking justice for all people on behalf of their gender but also the interlinked systems of oppression based on race, sexual orientation, gender identity, class, immigration status, disability, and geographical and historical context.

Continue reading

August 26, 2014 in Conferences and Symposia | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Feminist Legal Theory CRN Call for Papers for LSA 2015

From the Feminist Legal Theory Collaborative Research Network LSA planning committee:

Feminist Legal Theory Collaborative Research Network at the Law and Society Association Annual Meeting

Seattle, May 28 - 31, 2015

Dear friends and colleagues,
We write to invite you to participate in panels sponsored by the Feminist Legal Theory Collaborative Research Network at the Law and Society Annual Meeting in 2015.

Information about the Law and Society meeting (including registration and hotel information) is at: http://www.lawandsociety.org/Seattle2015/seattle2015.html

Within Law & Society, the Feminist Legal Theory CRN seeks to bring together scholars across a range of fields who are interested in feminist legal theory. There is no pre-set theme to which papers must conform. We would be especially happy to see proposals that fit in with the LSA conference theme, which is the role of law and legal institutions in sustaining, creating, interrogating, and ameliorating inequalities. We welcome proposals that would permit us to collaborate with other CRNs, such as the Critical Research on Race and the Law CRN or the Gender, Sexuality and the Law CRN. Also, because the LSA meeting attracts scholars from other disciplines, we welcome multidisciplinary proposals.

Our goal is to stimulate focused discussion of papers on which scholars are currently working. Thus, while proposals may reference work that is well on the way to publication, we are particularly eager to solicit proposals for works-in-progress that are at an earlier stage and will benefit from the discussion that the panels will provide.

Continue reading

August 26, 2014 in Conferences and Symposia | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Anti-Choice Advocates Track License Plates of Cars Parked at Clinics

Houston Chronicle: Anti-abortion activists adopt a new tactic: tracking license plates, by Brian M. Rosenthal:

Advocates say tactic is legitimate; critics contend that it is intimidation

On nearly every weekday morning between late 2010 and this spring, Eileen Romano stood outside a Beaumont abortion clinic to do what she could to fight a procedure she saw as morally wrong.

Unlike traditional so-called sidewalk advocates, however, Romano did not simply try to talk the arriving women out of having their abortions. She also sought to get the clinic closed with a tactic that is becoming increasingly common in the Texas anti-abortion community: tracking license plates.

Romano wrote down the numbers on the cars that parked outside the facility, checking to ensure the plates showed up twice - for a pre-abortion consultation required by state law and the procedure itself. If a car only came once, she said, it was a sign the doctor had done the abortion without a consultation, and the 63-year-old activist made a note to potentially report to state regulators. . . .

________________________________

I don't think the tactic of tracking license plate numbers can accurately be described as "new," but this purported rationale sounds ridiculously far-fetched: What if the driver was not there to obtain an abortion?  What if a patient came to the clinic a different way the second time?

-CEB

August 14, 2014 in Anti-Choice Movement, Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP) | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Texas Law Could Force Women to Seek Abortions in Mexico

Fox News Latino: Texas Anti-Abortion Law Could Force Women Across The Border For Procedure:

Crossing borders is a part of life in El Paso in far West Texas, where people may walk into Mexico to visit family or commute to New Mexico for work. But getting an abortion doesn't require leaving town.

That could change if a federal judge upholds new Texas rules that would ban abortions at 18 clinics starting Sept. 1, including only one that offers the procedure in El Paso, where one of the toughest anti-abortion laws in the U.S. has come under particular scrutiny at a trial ending Wednesday in Austin. . . .

August 12, 2014 in In the Courts, Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP) | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, August 11, 2014

Iran's Parliament Votes to Ban Permanent Forms of Contraception

The Guardian: Iran bans permanent contraception to boost population growth

Parliament prohibits vasectomies and other lasting birth control measures after Ayatollah Ali Khamenei calls for more babies

Iran's parliament has voted to ban permanent forms of contraception, the state news agency IRNA reported, endorsing the supreme leaderAyatollah Ali Khamenei's call for more babies to be born.

The bill, banning vasectomies and similar procedures in women, is parliament's response to a decree Khamenei issued in May to increase the population to "strengthen national identity" and counter "undesirable aspects of western lifestyles".

Doctors who violate the ban will be punished, the IRNA reported. . . .

August 11, 2014 in Contraception, International, Sterilization | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

New York Times Editorial on Alabama Admitting Privileges Law Ruling

The New York Times editorial:  A Judge Rules for Alabama Women on Abortion:

In large parts of the country, women’s access to safe and legal abortion care is increasingly coming to depend on the willingness of judges to rigorously examine and reject new (and medically unnecessary) restrictions imposed by Republican legislatures.

In just that sort of searching review, a federal judge last week struck down as unconstitutional an Alabama law requiring doctors at abortion clinics to have admitting privileges at a local hospital. The requirement — advertised, falsely, as necessary to protect women’s health — is one of the main strategies being deployed nationally by opponents of abortion rights to shrink the already inadequate number of abortion providers. . . .

__________________________________

See my analysis of Judge Thompson's opinion here.  I also argued for the need for closer scrutiny of states' fact-based justifications for abortion restrictions in this short essay for the Harvard Law Review Forum.

-CEB

August 11, 2014 in In the Courts, Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP) | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Among TRAP Laws, Admitting Privileges Requirements Prove Especially Potent Weapon

The Washington Post: Admitting-privileges laws have created high hurdle for abortion providers to clear, by Sandhya Somashekhar:

Among the raft of abortion restrictions passed by states in the past few years, one did not initially gain much notice — a requirement that doctors performing abortions obtain admitting privileges at a local hospital.

But the measure, which 11 states have passed in some form, has proved an especially high hurdle for abortion providers to clear and a potent tool for antiabortion activists seeking to shut down abortion clinics. . . .

August 11, 2014 in Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP) | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)