Reproductive Rights Prof Blog

Editor: Caitlin E. Borgmann
CUNY School of Law

A Member of the Law Professor Blogs Network

Saturday, November 29, 2014

In Wake of Forced Clinic Closures, Activists Raise Funds to Help Low-Income Women Travel for Abortions

The New York Times: Activists Help Pay for Patients’ Travel to Shrinking Number of Abortion Clinics, by Jackie Calmes:

The young woman lived in Dallas, 650 miles from Albuquerque, but that was where she would have to go for an abortion, she was told. New state regulations had forced several of Dallas’s six abortion clinics to close, creating weekslong waiting lists. By the time the woman could get in, she would be up against the Texas ban on abortions after 20 weeks’ gestation.

But she could not afford the trip to New Mexico.

So it was that she had left a phone message with a hotline in Austin and, on a recent evening, heard back from Lenzi Sheible, the 20-year-old founder of a fund to help low-income women pay the unexpected costs of traveling for abortions in Texas — or to states beyond. . . .

November 29, 2014 in Abortion, Poverty, Pro-Choice Movement | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, June 23, 2014

Louisiana Faces Reproductive Health Care Crisis Even As It Continues Continues To Enact Anti-Choice Laws

RH Reality Check: In Louisiana, a New Law, and a Worsening Reproductive Health-Care Crisis, by Teddy Wilson:

It’s a muggy late May morning in New Orleans’ Broadmoor neighborhood, and dozens of area residents are lined up in the rain for a health-care fair at the Rosa Keller Library and Community Center. For many of the people who live in Broadmoor—a predominantly low-income community of color—this is their only access to health care. . . .

June 23, 2014 in Poverty, State and Local News, State Legislatures, Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP) | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, April 7, 2014

With Loss of Abortion Clinics, Women Resort to Self-Induced Abortions

The Huffington Post:  The Return Of The Back-Alley Abortion, by Laura Bassett:

. . . The proliferation of well-trained, regulated, legal abortion doctors in the last 40 years has led to "dramatic decreases in pregnancy-related injury and death," according to the National Abortion Federation.

Now, however, Texas and other states are reversing course. State lawmakers enacted more abortion restrictions between 2011 and 2013 than they had in the previous decade, a trend that appears likely to continue in 2014. The Guttmacher Institute estimates that nearly 300 anti-abortion bills are currently pending in state legislatures.

The new restrictions have had a significant impact on women's access to abortion. . . .

. . .  The poorest area of Texas, the Rio Grande Valley near the Mexican border, has no remaining abortion clinics. Women who live there have to drive roughly 240 miles to San Antonio for the nearest clinic, but many of them are Mexican immigrants with restrictions on their work visas that prevent them from traveling that far.

In addition, the state has slashed funding for family planning, forcing 76 clinics that offer birth control and other reproductive health services but do not perform abortions to shut down.

"It's a horrible natural experiment that is taking place in Texas, where we are going to see what happens in 2014 when U.S. women don't have access to legal, safe abortion," said Dan Grossman, vice president of research for Ibis Reproductive Health, an international nonprofit. . . .

April 7, 2014 in Abortion, Poverty, Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP) | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Senegal Is Denying an Abortion to a 10-Year-Old Rape Victim

ThinkProgress:  A 10-Year-Old Rape Victim Who’s Pregnant With Twins Is Being Denied An Abortion In Senegal, by Tara Culp-Ressler:

A 10-year old Senegalese girl who became pregnant with twins after being raped by a neighbor is being forced to continue with her pregnancy, thanks to her country’s stringent restrictions on abortion. Human rights advocates have been trying to pressure the government to allow the girl to seek abortion care, but they’ve been unsuccessful so far. . . . 

Fatou Kiné Camara, the president of the Senegalese women lawyers’ association, . . . explained that under Senegal’s current abortion law, which is one of the harshest among African nations, requires three doctors to certify that a woman will die immediately unless she ends her pregnancy. But poor women in the country are hardly ever able to visit a doctor, let alone three in quick succession. . . .

Th Guardian:  Senegalese law bans raped 10-year-old from aborting twins, by Alex Duval Smith:

. . . "Senegal's abortion law is one of the harshest and deadliest in Africa. A doctor or pharmacist found guilty of having a role in a termination faces being struck off. A woman found guilty of abortion can be jailed for up to 10 years."

Forty women were held in custody in Senegal on charges linked to the crimes of abortion or infanticide in the first six months of last year, official figures show. According to estimates, hundreds of women die every year from botched illegal terminations. . . .

"We had a previous case of a raped nine-year-old who had to go through with her pregnancy. We paid for her caesarean but she died a few months after the baby was born, presumably because the physical trauma of childbirth was too great." . . .

April 6, 2014 in Abortion Bans, International, Poverty, Sexual Assault, Teenagers and Children | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, March 24, 2014

Mexican Healthcare System Fails Pregnant Indigenous Women

Feministing: No Reproductive Justice for Pregnant Indigenous Women in Mexico, by Juliana:

In October of last year, Irma Lopez Aurelio arrived at a state health clinic in Oaxaca, Mexico, in labor with her third child. The doctors at the clinic told her to come back, that her labor was not advanced enough and no doctor was available to help her. Irma, who is Indigenous, spoke little Spanish and was unable to communicate how advanced her labor was to the monolingual doctors. After hours of waiting, Irma gave birth on the lawn outside of the clinic.

In the past nine months, seven Indigenous women in Mexico have been documented having their babies in the yard, waiting rooms, or front steps of state clinics. . . .

March 24, 2014 in International, Poverty, Pregnancy & Childbirth, Race & Reproduction | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, February 6, 2014

State Court Judge Temporarily Blocks New Alaska Rules on Medicaid Funding for Abortions

Anchorage Daily News/AP: Judge grants restraining order against state in abortion rules case:

An Anchorage judge has approved a temporary restraining order on the state’s new rules further defining a medically necessary abortion for purposes of Medicaid funding.

Judge John Suddock approved the order Tuesday at the request of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, which has sued the state. . . .

February 6, 2014 in Abortion, In the Courts, Poverty, State and Local News | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Report on Effect of Texas Legislature's Family Planning Funding Cuts on Women in Rio Grande Valley

Center for Reproductive Rights and the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health:  The Fight for Women's Reproductive Health in the Rio Grande Valley:

In late 2012 and early 2013, the Center for Reproductive Rights and the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health documented the impact of state funding cuts to family planning services on women in the Rio Grande Valley. This report draws from their stories to show how funding cuts to women’s preventive services are more than failed policies—they are violations of their human rights. . . .

November 20, 2013 in Contraception, Poverty, State and Local News | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, November 1, 2013

Anti-Choice Organizations Disagree on Medicaid Expansion

Feministing: Quick hit: Anti-choicers split on Medicaid expansion, by Veronica Bayetti Flores:

Anti-choice organizations seem to be split on their support of the Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act, which expands access to health care for the poorest Americans. Putting aside that abortion care actually is health care (despite the highly unjust restriction on federal funding of abortion care), it seems that the more extreme anti-choice organizations in particular are not very excited about expanding general access to health care for the poor. . . .

November 1, 2013 in Anti-Choice Movement, Poverty | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, September 5, 2013

CDC Survey Reveals New Data About Use of and Counseling for Emergency Contraception

The New York Times - Motherlode blog: Poor, Black and Hispanic Women Are More Often Counseled on Emergency Contraception, by Hope Reeves:

The number of women using emergency contraceptives — commonly known as the morning-after pill or Plan B — has increased significantly in the last decade, according to the results of a new survey released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. From 2002 to 2006-10, the percentage of women who reported using an emergency contraceptive in the last 12 months rose to 2.2 percent from 0.9 percent, a 144 percent change. . . .

September 5, 2013 in Contraception, Poverty, Race & Reproduction | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Study Shows Poverty is the Real Danger to Children Exposed to Cocaine In Utero

Salon: Long Term Study Debunks Myth of the "Crack Baby", by Katie McDonough:

After nearly 25 years of research, one of the nation’s largest long-term studies on the so-called “crack baby” epidemic of the 1980s has concluded that there are no statistically significant differences in the long-term health and life outcomes between full-term babies exposed to cocaine in-utero and those who were not.

Instead, researchers found poverty to be a key determining factor in how well children performed later in life. As Hallam Hurt, the former chair of neonatology at Albert Einstein Medical Center and the study’s lead researcher, told the Philadelphia Inquirer: “Poverty is a more powerful influence on the outcome of inner-city children than gestational exposure to cocaine.” . . .

August 4, 2013 in Poverty, Pregnancy & Childbirth, Reproductive Health & Safety | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Department of Educ. Office for Civil Rights Urges Greater Support for Pregnant and Parenting Students

U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights: Dear Colleague Letter:

Dear Colleague:

We as a nation need to do more to help the hundreds of thousands of young people who become mothers and fathers each year graduate from high school ready for college and successful careers. According to studies cited in the attached pamphlet, Supporting the Academic Success of Pregnant and Parenting Students Under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, 26 percent of young men and young women combined who had dropped out of public high schools — and one-third of young women — said that becoming a parent was a major factor in their decision to leave school. And, only 51 percent of young women who had a child before age 20 earned their high school diploma by age 22. The educational prospects are worse at the higher-education level. Only 2 percent of young women who had a child before age 18 earned a college degree by age 30. This low education attainment means that young parents are more likely than their peers to be unemployed or underemployed, and the ones who do find jobs will, on average, earn significantly less than their peers.

To help improve the high school and college graduation rates of young parents, we must support pregnant and parenting students so that they can stay in school and complete their education, and thereby build better lives for themselves and their children. . . .

July 9, 2013 in Parenthood, Poverty, Pregnancy & Childbirth, President/Executive Branch, Teenagers and Children | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Rebecca Cook on Brazilian Maternal Mortality Case

Rebecca CookRebecca J. Cook (University of Toronto Faculty of Law) has published Human Rights and Maternal Health: Exploring the Effectiveness of the Alyne Decision. The article is available on readcube.  Here is the abstract:

This article explores the effectiveness of the decision of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women in the case of Alyne da Silva Pimentel Teixeira (deceased) v. Brazil, concerning a poor, Afro-Brazilian woman. This is the first decision of an international human rights treaty body to hold a state accountable for its failure to prevent an avoidable death in childbirth. Assessing the future effectiveness of this decision might be undertaken concretely by determining the degree of Brazil’s actual compliance with the Committee’s recommendations, and how this decision influences pending domestic litigation arising from the maternal death. Alternative approaches include: determining whether, over time, the decision leads to the elimination of discrimination against women of poor, minority racial status in the health sector, and if it narrows the wide gap between rates of maternal mortality of poor, Afro-Brazilian women and the country’s general female population. Determining the effectiveness of this decision will guide whether to pursue a more general strategy of judicializing maternal mortality.

May 23, 2013 in International, Poverty, Pregnancy & Childbirth, Scholarship and Research | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

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.

April 24, 2013 in Abortion, Anti-Choice Movement, Poverty, Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP) | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

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

April 16, 2013 in Abortion, In the Courts, In the Media, Poverty, Race & Reproduction | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, April 15, 2013

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. . . .

April 15, 2013 in Abortion, Congress, Poverty, President/Executive Branch, Reproductive Health & Safety, Sexuality Education | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Arizona Governor Refuses Anti-Abortion Provision in State Medicaid Program

azdailysun.com: Brewer omits anti-abortion provision in Medicaid plan, by Howard Fischer:  Image1

PHOENIX -- Saying the move would make no sense, Gov. Jan Brewer on Friday refused to insert an anti-abortion provision into her plan to expand the state's Medicaid program.

Brewer noted she signed legislation last year to preclude funds from the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System from being used to pay for services provided by Planned Parenthood.

State and federal laws already preclude public funds from paying for elective abortions. But proponents said they feared that these family planning dollars would end up underwriting the organization's abortion costs. . . .

April 9, 2013 in Abortion, Poverty, State and Local News, Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP) | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, March 16, 2013

The Costs of the Catholic Church's Opposition to Contraception

MSNBC: The Catholic Church’s costly stance on contraception, by Meredith Clark:

The election of Pope Francis on Wednesday has reignited the discussion about the future of the Catholic Church and whether it will address the ever-growing gap between doctrine and modern society. The cost of its intransigence is not simply a moral one; the church’s anti-contraception stance has a major economic impact for its 1.2 billion members, both in the developing world and the U.S. . . .

March 16, 2013 in Contraception, International, Poverty, Religion and Reproductive Rights | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, March 7, 2013

International Women's Day: Women's Global Health Still at Risk

GlobeThe Huffington Post: International Women's Day 2013: 7 Sadly Disturbing Truths About Women's Bodies (HOW YOU CAN HELP), by Eleanor Goldberg:

On International Women’s Day, we have a number of groundbreaking accomplishments to celebrate. This year alone, women in the U.S. won the right to serve on the front lines in combat and President Obama inched closer to pushing for equal pay for men and women.

Global health for women has also seen some major boons, too. The number of mothers who die during childbirth has been reduced by almost 50 percent and HIV drug prices have fallen by more than 99 percent since 2000.

But we’re not done fighting yet. . . .

March 7, 2013 in International, Poverty, Pregnancy & Childbirth, Reproductive Health & Safety, Sexual Assault, Women, General | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

NYC Stirs Controversy with Posters on Teen Pregnancy

The New York Times: Posters on Teenage Pregnancy Draw Fire, by Kate Taylor:

The curly-haired baby looks out from the poster with sad eyes and tears dripping down his tawny cheeks.

“I’m twice as likely not to graduate high school because you had me as a teen,” the text next to his head reads.

In another poster, a dark-skinned little girl casts her eyes to the sky and says, “Honestly Mom ... chances are he won’t stay with you. What happens to me?”

These images, part of a public education campaign targeting teenage pregnancy that the city unveiled this week, are drawing mounting criticism from reproductive health advocates, women who had children as teenagers, and others . . . .

__________________________________________________________

The two ads described here, in addition to stigmatizing pregnant teens and reinforcing stereotypes, are disturbing in the way they target teen mothers through the fictional accusations of their own babies.  Did the mayor's office forget that it takes two to create a pregnancy?  Blaming "bad mothers" is a time-worn, punitive, and utterly unproductive way to try to address the social realities of poverty and sex and race discrimination.  Read PPNYC's response to the ads here.

-CEB

March 7, 2013 in Poverty, Pregnancy & Childbirth, State and Local News, Teenagers and Children | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, March 2, 2013

What Will the Sequester Mean for Reproductive Health and Access?

Center for American Progress: Cutting Title X Family Planning in the Sequester Hurts Women’s Reproductive Health, by Lindsay Rosenthal:

If the automatic across-the-board budget cuts known as the sequester are allowed to take effect tomorrow, Title X—our nation’s family-planning program—could be cut by $15 million in fiscal year 2013.* The cut would be a significant blow to Title X, which has already been cut by more than $23 million over the past two fiscal years—limiting access to family-planning services and causing clinics to cut back on staff and hours.

For more than 40 years, Title X has served primarily low-income women, who rely heavily on community health centers for their reproductive health care. . . .

ThinkProgress: Five Ways The Sequester Will Harm Women, by Lindsay Rosenthal:

If sequestration is allowed to take effect as scheduled on March 1, $1.2 trillion will be automatically removed from the federal budget in across-the-board spending cuts that would potentially reverse our economic recovery. These cuts — which take money out of critical investments in education, public health services and research, disaster preparedness, and national security — would have devastating consequences in communities around the country and would harm all Americans in a number of ways.

Sequestration also institutes several cuts to key public investments that would disproportionately harm women. Low-income women and women of color will be hit hardest by the sequestration. Here are the top five ways in which the sequestration harms women . . . .

March 2, 2013 in Congress, Poverty, President/Executive Branch, Reproductive Health & Safety | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)