Reproductive Rights Prof Blog

Editor: Caitlin E. Borgmann
CUNY School of Law

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Saturday, November 29, 2014

Republican Gains in November Elections Portend More Abortion Restrictions

Politico: The coming wave of anti-abortion laws, by Paige Winfield Cunningham:

New GOP state legislatures will make access to abortion harder than ever.

The big Republican gains in the November elections strengthened and enlarged the anti-abortion forces in the House and the Senate. But it’s the GOP victories in the statehouses and governor’s mansions that are priming the ground for another round of legal restrictions on abortion. . . .

November 29, 2014 in Abortion, Politics, State Legislatures, Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP) | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Assessing the Impact of the November Elections on Reproductive Rights

NPR: Two Of Three States Reject Ballot Measures Restricting Abortion, by Jennifer Ludden:

Amid all the shakeout from this week's midterm elections, many are trying to assess the impact on abortion.

Two abortion-related ballot measures were soundly defeated. A third passed easily. And those favoring restrictions on abortion will have a much bigger voice in the new Congress. . . .

The Los Angeles Times: On abortion, election delivered mixed messages, by Maria La Ganga:

The 2014 midterm election was a mixed bag for abortion rights supporters: Two out of three state ballot measures that would have regulated the procedure went down to defeat, but control of the U.S. Senate swung to the Republican Party, with its antiabortion candidates claiming victory.

"It is a happy day for us, a great day for pro-lifers," said Marilyn Musgrave, vice president for government affairs with the Susan B. Anthony List, which advocates for female antiabortion candidates. "The life issue won." . . .

Mother Jones: The Fight for Abortion Rights Just Got a Whole Lot Harder, by Molly Redden:

Activists thought they had a chance to expand reproductive rights. The Red Wave put an end to that

The GOP wave didn't just crash into the US Senate. It flooded state legislatures, as well. By Wednesday evening, Republicans were in control of 67 of the nation's 99 state legislative chambers—up from 57 before the election. It's still unclear which party will control two other chambers.

Already, anti-abortion advocates are calling it a big win. Hundreds of the country'smost extreme anti-abortion bills pop up in these statehouses every year, and Tuesday's results won't do anything to put a stop to that. But reproductive rights advocates also suffered big setbacks Tuesday in places where they had actually been playing offense. Now, Democratic losses in states like Colorado, Nevada, New York, and Washington could torpedo their efforts to expand reproductive rights. . . . 

November 9, 2014 in Abortion, Fetal Rights, Politics, State and Local News, Supreme Court | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Embryonic Personhood Movement Hasn't Gone Away

ThinkProgress: North Dakota Is Quietly Preparing To Enact The Most Radical Abortion Measure In The Country, by Tara Culp-Ressler:

EmbryosIn less than two weeks, North Dakota voters will head to the polls and cast their ballots on a radical effort to overhaul the state’s constitutionand redefine legal personhood in a way that includes fertilized eggs. The latest polling indicates that Amendment 1 may have enough support to pass, making North Dakota the first state in the country to enact a radical “personhood” measure — something that abortion opponents have been attempting to do for four decades. But hardly anyone is talking about it. . . .

MSNBC:  This conservative cause is the GOP’s worst nightmare, by Irin Carmon:

There is one word that has defined the Colorado Senate race and it’s a word that Republican Rep. Cory Gardner and other GOP candidates across the country are tired of hearing. The word is “Personhood.”

For months, local reporters have been asking Gardner, who is challenging Democratic Sen. Mark Udall, to explain his contradictory and opaque positions on a Colorado Personhood measure Gardner once supported and a federal bill he still does. Such measures would extend legal protection to fertilized eggs and are intended to ban all abortion as well as common in-vitro fertilization processes and some forms of birth control, including the IUD and emergency contraception. . . .

It was quiet that afternoon on the Personhood terrace, when Keith Mason openly admitted he doesn’t expect Amendment 67 to pass. Then he nodded towards Planned Parenthood and grinned: “We just cost them $4 million.”  . . .

October 23, 2014 in Abortion Bans, Congress, Fetal Rights, Politics, State and Local News | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, September 29, 2014

NYT Editorial on Democrats' Increasing Willingness to Challenge Conservative Positions on Abortion

The New York Times editorial: The Tide of the Culture War Shifts:

Not long ago, it would have been unusual for a Democratic senatorial candidate in Iowa to run a powerful abortion-rights television ad like the one recently broadcast by Representative Bruce Braley.

The ad lists in detail the anti-abortion positions taken by Mr. Braley’s Republican opponent, Joni Ernst. In the State Senate, the ad says, she sponsored a “personhood” amendment (declaring a fertilized egg to be a person) that would have the effect of outlawing abortion even in cases of rape or incest, and would also ban many common forms of birth control. Ms. Ernst is even shown saying at a debate that she favors criminal punishment for doctors who perform abortions; the ad describes her position as “radical.”

Ms. Ernst’s personhood ideas, shared by at least five other Republican candidates for United States Senate this year, have been radical for years. What’s new is that Democrats are increasingly willing to say so. . . .

September 29, 2014 in Abortion, Politics | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

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)

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Gov. Christie Urges Republicans To Soften Rhetoric, But Not Position, on Abortion

Bloomberg Business Week: Christie Call to Cool Abortion Talk Follows Curbs in N.J., by Elise Young:

Chris Christie, who last week prodded Republicans to drop anti-abortion rhetoric to appeal to more voters, has steadily weakened access to the procedure in New Jersey.

Even with a Democratic-controlled legislature committed to reproductive rights, the second-term governor’s annual funding cuts for women’s health services have prompted at least six clinics to close since 2010, according to lawmakers. . . .

July 27, 2014 in 2016 Presidential Campaign, Abortion, Politics | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Conservatives Hone Anti-Abortion Messaging

The New York Times:  Conservatives Hone Script to Light a Fire Over Abortion, by Jeremy W. Peters:

It was not on the public schedule for the Republican National Committee’s spring meeting at the stately Peabody Hotel in downtown Memphis. But inside a conference room, a group of conservative women held a boot camp to strengthen an unlikely set of skills: how to talk about abortion. . . .

July 24, 2014 in Abortion, Politics | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Missouri Governor Vetoes 72-Hour Waiting Period for Abortions

ACLU press release: Nixon Vetoes Bill Forcing Women to Further Delay Abortions, Hearing Outcry from Missouri Women:

Jefferson City, Mo. – Hearing the voices of Missouri women, Governor Jay Nixon has vetoed a bill that would have forced a woman who has already met with her health care professional and decided to have an abortion to delay getting the medical care she needs for at least 3 days. Last month, women and men gathered in front of the capitol for 72 hours in protest of the bill.

"Missouri women have been clear: They are beyond fed up with legislators playing politics with their health," said Jennifer Dalven, director of the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project. "Governor Nixon has shown that he understands that extreme politicians can’t be allowed to interfere with a woman’s ability to get an abortion just because they disagree with her decision."

A woman who decides to have an abortion has already carefully considered her decision. Bills that create additional wait times force a woman to make an extra trip to the state’s only clinic. This is especially burdensome for low-income women and rural women, who often can’t take extra days off work or travel long distances.

Extremist politicians in Missouri, who are already criticizing Gov. Nixon for standing up for women’s health, continue to show they care more about politics than women. This legislative session alone, Missouri politicians introduced more than two dozen bills designed to restrict access to abortion. Earlier this year, Missouri Rep. Chuck Gatschenberger compared a woman’s decision about whether to continue a pregnancy to buying a new car or carpet. 

Talking Points Memo:  Why Gov. Jay Nixon’s Anti-Abortion Bill Veto Matters, by Robin Marty:

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon (D) has vetoed a 72-hour waiting period between an initial consultation and an abortion, stopping the state from becoming the third to implement a three-day waiting period for a pregnancy termination. While the veto is fantastic news for women who are pregnant and wants to obtain an abortion in Missouri or the surrounding area, it is even better news for reproductive rights activists overall, as it signals a noticeable shift in the political waters when it comes to opposing abortion. . . .

July 9, 2014 in Abortion, Mandatory Delay/Biased Information Laws, Politics, State and Local News | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Canadian Liberal Leader Says All Liberal MPs Must Vote Pro-Choice

Canada flagThe Globe and Mail: Trudeau now says all Liberal MPs must vote pro-choice, by Daniel LeBlanc:

Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau has clarified his party’s pro-choice policy after at least one sitting MP felt he was “grand-fathered” and could continue to vote against abortion rights in Canada. . . .

June 18, 2014 in Abortion, International, Politics | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, May 26, 2014

Protestors Greet Wendy Davis in LA with "Abortion Barbie" Posters

The Huffington Post:  Wendy Davis Greeted By 'Abortion Barbie' Posters In Los Angeles, by Laura Bassett:

Texas gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis received a hostile greeting in Los Angeles Thursday morning, when life-sized posters depicting her as "Abortion Barbie" began popping up throughout the city ahead of her fundraiser there.

The posters say "Hollywood welcomes Abortion Barbie Wendy Davis," and they show Davis' face on a mostly-naked barbie doll with a plastic baby in her belly. Conservative pundit Erick Erickson nicknamed Davis "Abortion Barbie" earlier this year because when she was a state senator, she stood on her feet and spoke for 11 hours straight to filibuster a draconian package of anti-abortion bills. . . .

May 26, 2014 in Abortion, Politics | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Campaign Ad for Sen. John Walsh Criticizes Opponent Rep. Steve Daines on Abortion Record

The Washington Post - Post Politics blog: Sen. Walsh hits Daines on abortion in ad featuring woman who says she was raped, by Sean Sullivan:

Sen. John Walsh (D-Mont.) is taking to the airwaves Wednesday with a new TV ad in which a woman who says she was raped criticizes Rep. Steve Daines (R) for sponsoring a restrictive legislation on abortion. . . .

Daines's campaign declined to comment on the ad. The congressman is also going up with a deeply personal statewide spot featuring a woman. In the ad, Rebekah Uzenski of Bozeman details how her ex-husband would physically abuse her before she thanks Daines for supporting the Violence Against Women Act. . . .

View the ads here and here.

May 21, 2014 in Abortion Bans, Congress, Politics | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Marco Rubio Responds to Criticism Over Ill-Advised Climate Change Comments by Dubiously Claiming Scientific High Ground on Abortion

ThinkProgress: Marco Rubio’s scientific blunder on abortion, by Tara Culp-Ressler:

Rubio_MarcoSen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), who has recently come under fire for failing to name a single source to justify his assertion that “there’s no scientific evidence” to prove humans are contributing to climate change, is defending his comments by claiming that at least he knows the science about abortion.

In an interview with Sean Hannity on Wednesday, the senator said that liberals who criticize him for ignoring climate science are revealing their “hypocrisy” because they ignore the science supporting the idea that life begins at conception. Rubio claimed this concept is a “proven fact” that people on the left are ignoring. . . .

If Rubio is trying to use abortion politics to prove that he and his Republican colleagues have a clear grasp of science, though, he waded into the wrong issue area. . . . 

___________________________________________

I've written about the anti-choice movement's deliberate exploitation of the ambiguity of the term "life" here.

-CEB

May 15, 2014 in Abortion, Anti-Choice Movement, Politics, Science | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Abortion a Divisive Issue in North Carolina Race for U.S. Senate

CharlotteObserver.com: Abortion question divides North Carolina’s U.S. Senate candidates, by Renee Schoof & John Frank:

North Carolina’s fiercely competitive U.S. Senate race could turn on one of the most divisive issues in politics.

The abortion question shows up the stark contrast between incumbent Democrat Kay Hagan and her GOP challengers. . . .

February 2, 2014 in Abortion, Congress, Politics | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Abortion Is "Animating Issue" in 2014 Midterm Elections

The New York Times: Parties Seize on Abortion Issues in Midterm Race, by Jeremy W. Peters:

 . . . Abortion is becoming an unexpectedly animating issue in the 2014 midterm elections. Republicans, through state ballot initiatives and legislation in Congress, are using it to stoke enthusiasm among core supporters. Democrats, mindful of how potent the subject has been in recent campaigns like last year’s governor’s race in Virginia, are looking to rally female voters by portraying their conservative opponents as callous on women’s issues. . . .

__________________________________

I found this passage interesting:

Coupling the issue of abortion with a subject important to Republicans’ Tea Party followers — government spending — is one way the party is recalibrating its election-year message. Republicans say that by framing the abortion debate in terms of fiscal conservatism, they can make a connection to the issue they believe will ultimately decide who controls Congress next year — the Affordable Care Act.

The GOP apparently doesn't feel confident that it can afford to address abortion head-on.  Republicans are on the defensive, because they know they don't have public support for direct assaults on abortion.  But as the GOP continues its stealth attacks on abortion, the struggle for pro-choice advocates and politicians will continue to be how to expose the Republicans' true agenda to voters.

-CEB

January 22, 2014 in Abortion, Congress, Politics | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Michigan Democrats Vow Abortion Insurance Restriction Will Cost GOP in 2014

Detroit Free Press: Michigan's controversial abortion law to be targeted by opponents in 2014, by Dave Eggert:

Incensed Democrats and abortion rights advocates are vowing that Republican lawmakers overreached so much with new restrictions on abortion coverage in Michigan’s public and private health insurance plans that it will cost them in the 2014 elections.

A ballot drive to repeal or override the law is being considered. If enough signatures are collected, the statewide vote would coincide with November legislative races and keep the issue fresh in the minds of voters in 11 months. . . .

December 15, 2013 in Abortion, Politics, State and Local News | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, November 30, 2013

GOP's Own Policies Lead to the Later Abortions It Laments

The Daily Beast: The GOP’s Late-Term Abortion Strategy Is Backfiring, by Sally Kohn:

Right wing politicians who are push laws to restrict a woman’s access to later-term abortions presumably do so because they don’t want women having abortion after 20 weeks. But new research from medical school-based scholars finds that other policies that conservative Republicans are pushing, including restrictions on access to clinics as well as constrained access to health insurance, actually result in more women seeking later-term abortions. In other words, not only are Republicans hypocrites—but their hypocrisy is backfiring.

Diana Greene Foster and Katrina Kimport are professors in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences in the School of Medicine at the University of California in San Francisco. Between 2008 and 2010, Foster and Kimport studied the cases of 272 women who had received an abortion at or after 20 weeks of gestation, as well as of 169 women who received first-trimester abortions. These women were interviewed just one week after their abortions and asked a variety of questions including what led to the delay in their medical care. The results are striking and profoundly important for those who seek to promote—or constrict—the rights of women to access and exercise their own reproductive freedom. . . .

November 30, 2013 in Abortion, Anti-Choice Movement, Politics | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Lindsey Graham, Not Marco Rubio, Sponsors 20-Week Abortion Ban

The New Republic: Did Lindsey Graham Sponsor the Abortion Ban Because Marco Rubio Wouldn't?, by Nora Caplan-Bricker:

On Thursday, South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham introduced a bill that would outlaw abortion at 20 weeks, a companion to a measure that passed the House of Representatives this June and an echo of laws that have already passed in more than a dozen conservative states.  Anti-abortion activists have been looking for a sponsor the legislation since it passed the lower chamber, and Graham has pro-life bona fides tracing back to his introduction of the Unborn Victims of Violence Act in 1999. And though President Barack Obama has vowed to veto the bill if, by some fluke, it passes the Senate, its appearance in the capital still seems a natural way for the national party to channel the rabid vitality of its state-level cousins. Only one thing seems strange: Wasn’t this bill supposed to be Florida Senator Marco Rubio’s pet project? . . .

November 12, 2013 in Abortion Bans, Congress, Politics | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

VA and NJ Governor's Races Carry Lessons for Republicans on Abortion Issue

Repub elephantThe Christian Science Monitor: What close loss in Virginia governor's race tells national Republicans, by Linda Feldmann:

In deep blue New Jersey, Republican Gov. Chris Christie won reelection easily. But in purple Virginia, the tea party-aligned Republican candidate for governor, Ken Cuccinelli, lost to Democratic candidate Terry McAuliffe. . . .

Taken together, New Jersey and Virginia provide lessons for the Republicans nationally, political analysts say.

Take abortion. Governor Christie opposes abortion rights in a state where a majority supports them, but it’s not a defining issue for him. In Virginia, Cuccinelli’s strong opposition to abortion – including support for a failed measure that would have required a vaginal ultrasound before an abortion and a new law putting significant restrictions on abortion clinics – put him out of step with unmarried women in his state, a key voting bloc. . . .

November 6, 2013 in Abortion, Politics | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, November 2, 2013

MSNBC Examines Dominance of Anti-Choice Politics in Oklahoma

MSNBC: 'I'm showing my son mercy', by Irin Carmon:

. . . Oklahomans brag that theirs has become the reddest state. Republicans hold super majorities in both chambers and every single seat in the U.S. Congress. Republican Mary Fallin is governor. Every single Oklahoma county rejected Barack Obama–twice. The changed political landscape allowed Oklahoma to become a staging ground for the anti-choice movement’s strategy to undermine Roe v. Wade, one seemingly narrow restriction at a time.

“We are the guinea pigs,” said Ryan Kiesel, a former state lawmaker who is executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Oklahoma. . . .

November 2, 2013 in Abortion Bans, Anti-Choice Movement, Politics, State and Local News, Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP) | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Rolling Stone on Why Right-Wing Legislators and Businesses Want to Curb Access to Contraception

Rolling Stone: Why the Right Wing Is Targeting Birth Control Again, by Erika L. Sanchez:

What does birth control have to do with the congressional budget? Not much – unless you're a House Republican. In their latest effort to thwart Obamacare during the recent budget negotiations, several right-wing legislators attempted to tack a so-called "conscience clause" onto the law. The idea, which dates back several years, is to give employers who cite religious objections a way to block their employees from getting contraception covered by their health insurance.

Under the Affordable Care Act, preventative services, which include birth control, must be covered by health plans with no copayment, coinsurance or deductible. Even so, some top GOP leaders, most notably Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin), are still demanding restrictions on contraception. As a result, many women's rights advocates are now on high alert. . . .

October 27, 2013 in Contraception, Politics, Religion and Reproductive Rights | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)