Wednesday, March 25, 2015
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. . . .
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. . . .
Monday, March 23, 2015
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. . . .
Saturday, March 21, 2015
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.
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):
Tuesday, March 17, 2015
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. . . .
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.” . . .
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. . . .
Sunday, March 15, 2015
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. . . .
Saturday, March 14, 2015
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. . . .
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.")
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. . . .
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. . . .
ThinkProgress: West Virginia Republicans Override Their Governor To Pass 20-Week Abortion Ban, by Tara Culp-Ressler:
On Friday, the West Virginia legislature voted to override their governor’s recent veto of a 20-week abortion ban, ensuring that the restriction will become law. Cloaked in the language of “fetal pain,” this particular policy continues to gain momentum; West Virginia will join the 10 other states that currently ban abortions after this point. . . .
Wednesday, March 4, 2015
The Huffington Post: Scott Walker Pumps Up Anti-Abortion Cred By Backing 20-Week Ban, by Lydia O'Connor:
Days after coming under conservative fire for making vaguely pro-choice comments, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) released a letter reaffirming his anti-abortion bona fides and endorsing a ban on the procedure after 20 weeks of pregnancy. . . .
The letter takes a much more vigorously conservative tone than Walker did on “Fox News Sunday” this past weekend. . . .
NPR - blog: Abortion Restrictions Complicate Access For Ohio Women, by Jennifer Ludden:
Ohio may not have gotten the national attention of say, Texas, but a steady stream of abortion restrictions over the past four years has helped close nearly half the state's clinics that perform the procedure.
"We are more fully booked, and I think we have a harder time squeezing patients in if they're earlier in the pregnancy," says Chrisse France, executive director of Preterm. It's one of just two clinics still operating in Cleveland, and its caseload is up 10 percent. . . .
The Hill - Congress Blog: The hard truth about reproductive health under Obama, by Jon O'Brien:
There’s no doubt that the election and reelection of Barack Obama will always and rightfully be remembered as groundbreaking, historical wins. However, for those who support women’s sexual and reproductive health and rights, his presidency has also been a profoundly disappointing one. . . .
The Guardian: Britain's House of Lords approves conception of three person babies, by Hannah Devlin:
Britain has become the first country in the world to permit the use of “three-person IVF” to prevent incurable genetic diseases.
The House of Lords voted by 280 votes to 48 on Tuesday evening to approve changes to the law allowing fertility clinics to carry out mitochondrial donation. Babies conceived through this IVF technique would have biological material from three different people – a mother, father and a female donor. . . .
Technically the baby would have three biological parents, with 99.8% of genetic material coming from the mother and father and 0.2% coming from the mitochondrial donor. . . .
PBS: Why the term 'three-person baby' makes doctors wince, by Rebecca Johnson:
MELAS is one of about 200 known mitochondrial diseases, a subject that has featured prominently in the news since the British Parliament’s House of Commons on Feb. 3 approved further testing and research on mitochondrial replacement IVF. The procedure has beencommonly referred to in news stories as “three-person babies” or “three-parent babies.”
But it’s a term that makes doctors wince. . . .
The Huffington Post: How Safe Is Abortion?, by Dr. David A. Grimes:
The safety of abortion depends on whom one asks. National data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicate that induced abortion and miscarriage are the safest outcomes of pregnancy. In contrast, abortion opponents routinely claim that abortion is unsafe. They do this by cherry-picking studies, citing obsolete literature, extrapolating inappropriately and misinterpreting results. Moreover, some abortion opponents have double standards: what they report in the medical literatureis not what they claim in the newspaper or testify under oath. As a gynecologist, I have had to spend considerable time over the years disabusing patients of these false claims. Here is a sampling of what can be found on the Internet . . . .
Dr. Grimes is the former Chief of the Abortion Surveillance Branch at the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the author of Every Third Woman in America: How Legal Abortion Transformed Our Nation.
Sunday, March 1, 2015
The Roanoke Times: Forced sterilization victims in Virginia awarded compensation:
Rose Brooks would have loved to have children and a family of her own one day.
“But they said, no, no, no, you can’t,” she said.
Brooks, 73, of Lynchburg, was one of thousands affected by Virginia’s decades-long policy of involuntary sterilization of those deemed mentally unfit or inferior.
The eugenics-based practice, now renounced, was in effect from the 1920s to 1970s. . . .