May 30, 2013
Civil Rights Groups Challenge Racially Biased Arizona Abortion Law
PHOENIX – The American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Arizona filed a lawsuit today on behalf of the NAACP of Maricopa County and the National Asian Pacific American Women's Forum (NAPAWF) challenging a state law that relies on harmful racial stereotypes to shame and discriminate against Black women and Asian and Pacific Islander (API) women who decide to end their pregnancies.
The law, HB 2443, is based on stereotypes that Black and API women cannot be trusted to make personal health care decisions without scrutiny by the state.
"This law takes the personal and private health care decisions of women of color and exploits them for political gain," said Alexa Kolbi-Molinas, staff attorney with the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project and lead counsel in the lawsuit. "But our Constitution flatly prohibits states from passing laws based on racist stereotypes."
During the law's passage, supporters cited higher rates of abortion among Black women as evidence that Black women either were motivated by a discriminatory intent to prevent the birth of Black children, or were being duped into having abortions as part of a racist plot. Both claims are baseless and offensive.
"Every woman, regardless of her race, should be able to make the best decision for her circumstances, whether that decision is to continue the pregnancy and parent, place the child for adoption, or terminate the pregnancy," said the Rev. Oscar Tillman, president of the NAACP of Maricopa County. "We trust Black women to make important health care decisions for themselves and their families and vigorously object to the idea that they do not do so thoughtfully, or that they do so out of animus to their own communities."
Supporters also cited reports of sex-selection abortions in parts of Asia as reason for including that provision in the law. Even though the state's own statistics show no difference in birth ratio of boys and girls to Asian women as compared to other women, supporters of the law repeatedly made the claim that API women could not be trusted and would engage in these practices simply by virtue of their race.
"Far from preventing bias against women and girls, this law serves only to fuel suspicion and stereotypes about Asian women, their communities, and their culture," said Miriam Yeung, executive director of NAPAWF. "The politicians behind this law do not care about gender justice here or abroad, and are instead using a racist and anti-immigrant law to demean women making serious medical decisions for themselves and their families."
The law, which contains criminal penalties, requires every physician providing abortion care to certify that the reason the woman is seeking that care has nothing to do with the race or sex of the embryo or fetus.
"Recent court decisions in ACLU cases have found that the sheriff of Maricopa County engaged in systematic racial profiling, and that state legislators and the governor have supported a law that resulted in widespread constitutional harms to Latinos in Arizona," said Dan Pochoda, legal director of the ACLU of Arizona. "It is thus not surprising that the Arizona legislature and governor passed this law based on personal and inaccurate racial stereotypes that demonize women of color."
More information, including the complaint, can be found at:
May 09, 2013
Akiba Solomon on Evangelical "Crisis Pregnancy Centers" Targeting Black Women
Colorlines: The Missionary Movement to 'Save' Black Babies, by Akiba Solomon:
Last December, Care Net—the nation’s largest network of evangelical Christian crisis pregnancy centers—featured a birth announcement of sorts on the website of its 10-year-old Urban Initiative. Under the headline, “Plans Underway for Care Net’s Newest Center in Kansas City, Mo.!” a block of upbeat text described how a predominantly white, suburban nonprofit called Rachel House had “made contact” with “various African American pastors and community leaders,” who helped them “plant” a “pregnancy resource center” in a predominantly black, poor section of downtown Kansas City. . . .
May 01, 2013
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. . . .
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
March 06, 2013
Israeli Health Official Calls for Investigation into Reported Forced Contraception on Ethiopian Immigrant Women
TIME: Did Israeli Doctors Force Contraception on Ethiopian Immigrants?, by Sorcha Pollak:
Israeli Deputy Health Minister Yaakov Litzman has called for an investigation into the reported administering of Depo-Provera contraceptive shots to Ethiopian immigrant women without consent. . .
February 05, 2013
CDC Data Show Latino Teens Practicing Safer Sex
Fox News Latino: Latino Youth Less Sexually Active, Using More Birth Control, by Kacy Capobres:
Latino youth in the U.S. are learning to practice safe sex. And they're also having less of it.
The latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows Latino high school students are getting smarter when it comes to sexual intercourse. . . .
November 01, 2012
Michele Bratcher Goodwin at the University of Utah: The New Reproductive Battlefront
Monday November 5, 12:15 p.m. MST
(2:15 p.m. EST, 11:15 a.m. PST)
Michele Bratcher Goodwin, the 47th Annual Leary Lecturer, is the Everett Fraser Professor in Law at the University of Minnesota. She holds joint appointments at the University of Minnesota Medical School and the University of Minnesota School of Public Health.
Women's reproduction dominates recent political platforms and debates. However, relatively little attention has focused on the criminal policing targeted at pregnant women across America. Since the late 1980s, state legislatures have enacted punitive feticide laws that ostensibly apply to a broad range of activities, including falling down steps, suffering drug addiction, refusing cesarean sections, and attempting suicide. Legislators and prosecutors from both political parties have decided that a very strong "stick" should be used against pregnant women. Indeed, despite the fact that early feticide laws were intended to protect women from third party harms to their pregnancies, such as domestic violence, because women are more likely to be the targets of domestic violence during their pregnancies, now fetal protection laws—in 38 states—lead to unreasonable arrests and senseless convictions of pregnant women. The scope of the problem is difficult to measure. Yet, what is clear from the legal cases and news reports is that most of the victims are poor and many are women of color. In this year’s Leary Lecture, Professor Goodwin examines the expanded use of criminal laws and civil commitments to shape new reproductive health norms. Watch Live Online >>.
Free and open to the public. No registration required. One hour CLE.
Call 801-585-3479 or visit law.utah.edu.
November 1, 2012 in Fetal Rights, Law School, Lectures and Workshops, Politics, Poverty, Pregnancy & Childbirth, Race & Reproduction, Scholarship and Research, Women, General | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack
October 31, 2012
Jim Hawkins on Fertility Clinic Advertising
Jim Hawkins (University of Houston Law Center) has posted Selling Art: An Empirical Assessment of Advertising on Fertility Clinics' Websites on SSRN. Here is the abstract:
Scholarship on assisted reproductive technologies (ART) has emphasized the commercial nature of the interaction between fertility patients and their physicians, but little attention has been paid to precisely how clinics persuade patients to choose their clinic over their competitors. This Article offers evidence about how clinics sell ART based on clinics’ advertising on their websites. To assess clinics’ marketing efforts, I coded advertising information on 372 fertility clinics’ websites. The results from the study confirm some suspicions of prior ART scholarship, while contradicting others. For instance, in line with scholars who are concerned that racial minorities face barriers to accessing ART, I found that 97.28% of the websites that contain pictures of babies have pictures of White babies, and 62.93% have pictures of only White babies. Similarly, in agreement with prior work that challenges the effectiveness of self-regulation, I find low levels of compliance with industry-sponsored advertising regulations. Contrary to the assumption held almost universally in the literature on ART, however, I found that clinics do not prioritize advertising their success rates. Clinics’ websites are more likely to emphasize several other attributes of care instead of their success rates. In light of the new data uncovered by the study, I conclude by offering new regulatory directions for policymakers to consider as they try to keep up with changes in the fertility business.
October 25, 2012
Reproductive Justice for Women of Color Depends on Their Right to Vote
Center for American Progress: A Dual Disenfranchisement: How Voter Suppression Denies Reproductive Justice to Women of Color, by Liz Chen:
A slew of recent voter identification laws are increasingly threatening the voting rights of people of color. This erosion of our most basic civil right comes alongside historic levels of attacks on reproductive health services. The two are not unrelated. Women of color stand at the crossroads of what is in essence a double disenfranchisement. When they are denied the opportunity to participate in civic life, they also lose the ability to voice their opinions and hold lawmakers accountable on the reproductive health issues that directly affect them. . . .
September 22, 2012
Mary Ziegler on the Racial Politics of Abortion
Mary Ziegler (Saint Louis University School of Law) has posted Roe's Race: The Supreme Court, Population Control, and Reproductive Justice on SSRN. Here is the abstract:
Questions of race and abortion have shaped current legal
debates about defunding Planned Parenthood and banning race-selection abortion.
In these discussions, abortion opponents draw a close connection between the
eugenic or population control movements of the twentieth century and the
contemporary abortion-rights movement. In challenging legal restrictions on
abortion, abortion-rights activists generally insist that their movement and
its predecessors have primarily privileged reproductive choice.
Notwithstanding the centrality of race to abortion politics, there has been no meaningful history of the racial politics of abortion that produced or followed Roe v. Wade. This article closes this gap in the abortion discussion by focusing on the racial politics of abortion in the 1970s. In the 1970s, some population controllers did have ties to the eugenic legal reform movement or a particular interest in limiting the growth of poor, non-white populations. Those groups most closely involved with the abortion-rights movement, however, primarily focused on family planning for white, middle-class families, emphasizing the importance of environmental stewardship and sexual liberation. Arguments treating the abortion-rights, population control, and eugenics movements as indistinguishable from one another are flawed.
At the same time, by reinterpreting Roe, feminists created new opportunities to reshape the racial politics of abortion. By defending their own understanding of the opinion against antiabortion attack, feminists were able to redefine abortion as a right that belonged to women irrespective of its political consequences.
The article shows that, by grounding the discussion in proper historical context, discussion of race and abortion will be more principled and productive. Abortion opponents can fairly discuss the history of the family planning movement, but blurring any distinction between the abortion-rights movement and its predecessors is problematic and misleading. In turn, abortion-rights activists should address the past relevance of population-based claims, acknowledging the contributions of those who worked to redefine abortion as a woman’s right.
August 03, 2012
Women of Color in U.S. More Likely Than White Women To Die In Childbirth
Reuters: More minority women die in childbirth, by Genevra Pittman:
Minority women in the United States are more likely to die during or soon after childbirth than white women, according to a new study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Black, Hispanic and Asian women - and a handful of white women not born in the U.S. - accounted for 41 percent of all births nationwide between 1993 and 2006, but for 62 percent of pregnancy-related deaths, researchers found. . . .
July 11, 2012
Report Reveals U.S. Pregnancy Rates Have Decreased Over Past Two Decades
The New York Times: Pregnancy Rates Sank Over Last 20 Years, by Nicholas Bakalar:
Pregnancy rates have decreased over the past two decades among all races, ethnicities and age groups — except for women in their 30s and early 40s.
A report issued in June by the National Center for Health Statistics says there were 4,248,000 live births in 2008, a rate of 68.1 per 1,000 women of childbearing age, down from 70.9 in 1990.
Pregnancy rates for teenagers (ages 15 to 19) fell 40 percent from 1990 to 2008, and rates for black and Hispanic adolescents also fell substantially, even though their rates are still two to three times that of white teenagers. Rates among 18- and 19-year-olds were 19 percent lower than among the 30-34 age group in 2008; in 1990 they were 41 percent higher. . . .
June 24, 2012
North Carolina Senate Rejects Funds for Forced Sterilization Victims
ShelbyStar.com: State: No compensation for sterilization victims, by Leo Hohmann:
A dark chapter in North Carolina’s history in which the state forcibly sterilized 7,600 of its own citizens ended in 1974, but the push to compen-sate the victims will apparently drag on into the next budget year.
Legislators did not include any money in a state budget deal for living victims of the North Carolina “eugenics” program, carried out by a state-sanctioned board from 1929 through 1974. . . .
House leaders passed a compensation plan two weeks ago to pay $50,000 to living victims. But the deal fell apart in the Senate. . . .
February 11, 2012
U.S. Teen Pregnancy Rate at Lowest Level Since 1972
Guttmacher Institute: U.S. Teen Pregnancy Rate at Lowest Level in Nearly 40 Years, by Rebecca Wind:
Rates Down Among All Racial and Ethnic Groups;
Teen pregnancies have declined dramatically in the United States since their peak in the early 1990s, as have the births and abortions that result; in 2008, teen pregnancies reached their lowest level in nearly 40 years, according to “U.S. Teenage Pregnancies, Births and Abortions, 2008: National Trends by Age, Race and Ethnicity,” by Kathryn Kost and Stanley Henshaw of the Guttmacher Institute. In 2008, the teen pregnancy rate was 67.8 pregnancies per 1,000 women aged 15–19, which means that about 7% of U.S. teens became pregnant that year. This rate represents a 42% decline from the peak in 1990 (116.9 per 1,000). Similarly, the birthrate declined 35% between 1991 and 2008, from 61.8 to 40.2 births per 1,000 teens; the abortion rate declined 59% from its 1988 peak of 43.5 abortions per 1,000 teens to its 2008 level of 17.8 per 1,000. . . .
January 16, 2012
Dreaming of An End to Racial Disparities in Reproductive Health
As we celebrate the life of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and advances in racial equality in the United States, it is important to remember that reproductive health is just one of the many areas in which satisfactory progress remains elusive. In the face of persisting (and indeed rising) racial economic disparities...
The New York Times op-ed column: How Fares the Dream?, by Paul Krugman:
“I have a dream,” declared Martin Luther King, in a speech that has lost none of its power to inspire. And some of that dream has come true. When King spoke in the summer of 1963, America was a nation that denied basic rights to millions of its citizens, simply because their skin was the wrong color. Today racism is no longer embedded in law. And while it has by no means been banished from the hearts of men, its grip is far weaker than once it was. . . .
Yet if King could see America now, I believe that he would be disappointed, and feel that his work was nowhere near done. He dreamed of a nation in which his children “will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” But what we actually became is a nation that judges people not by the color of their skin — or at least not as much as in the past — but by the size of their paychecks. And in America, more than in most other wealthy nations, the size of your paycheck is strongly correlated with the size of your father’s paycheck.
Goodbye Jim Crow, hello class system. . . .
...we will continue to see racial disparities in reproductive and sexual health:
Center for Reproductive Rights: Addressing Disparities in Reproductive and Sexual Health Care in the U.S.:
The U.S. spends at least twice as much per capita on healthcare than almost every other western industrialized country, but has some of the widest disparities in health outcomes. Racial disparities are particularly pronounced in reproductive and sexual health. Women of color fare worse than white women in every aspect of reproductive health. . . .
Martin Luther King, Jr., and Abortion
In the apparent absence of definitive evidence regarding Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s views on abortion (his support for contraception is clear), he is being portrayed as both pro and con.
Rev. King's niece, Alveda King, asserts on Fox News that he was anti-choice:
Others claim the opposite:
Jezebel: No, Fox News, Martin Luther King Jr Wasn’t Anti-Abortion, by Erin Gloria Ryan:
Fox News is commemorating this Martin Luther King, Jr day by inviting his niece, Dr. Alveda King, to come and speak about his legacy. He was a conservative, she explained, who hated abortion. Except that isn't even close to true, not even the tiniest bit. . . .
Florida Bill Would Ban Abortions Based on Race or Gender of Fetus
The Florida Independent: New bill would outlaw gender- and race-based abortions, by Ashley Lopez:
With the beginning of session only days away, Florida legislators have been busy filing a slew of anti-abortion bills. Add yet another to the list: a measure outlawing race- and gender-based abortions. The bill was filed by state Rep. Scott Plakon, R-Longwood.
House Bill 1327, or the “Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass Prenatal Nondiscrimination and Equal Opportunity for Life Act,” would make it a crime to have an abortion “that it is sought based on sex or race of child or race of parent of that child.” A similar bill was filed in the U.S. House by Rep. Trent Franks, R-Ariz., last month and became law in Arizona last year. . . .
August 15, 2011
Director of African-American Media for Planned Parenthood Federation of America Voices on African Americans' Support for Abortion Rights
Huffington Post: Why African Americans Support Abortion Rights, by Veronica Byrd:
I'm constantly frustrated by the heated discussions I hear about abortion and African-American women. My friends and family members are never short on strong opinions -- nor, it seems, is anyone else. In my work at Planned Parenthood, I rarely survive a week without getting pulled into a debate about the high rates of abortion among black women and what it reveals about the state of black America. Most of the noise comes from the religious right and small enclaves of the far left, where zealots portray us as unwitting dupes of a racist "abortion industry" that wants to keep us childless -- or perpetrators of a "black genocide" attempting to obliterate our race. Thankfully, most African Americans know that is nonsense, and most support a woman's right to control her own body. According to a recent survey by the Public Religion Research Institute, some 64 percent of us believe "abortion should be legal in all or most cases.". . .
July 22, 2011
NPR Hosts Conversation About Racially Targeted Anti-Abortion Billboards
NPR “Tell Me More”: Debate Boils Over African-American Abortions:
As part of its "Too Many Aborted" campaign, the Radiance Foundation created many controversial racially-targeted billboards that were taken down on July 10. Today they're releasing videos calling out black leaders for not supporting the pro-life movement. To discuss both sides of the abortion debate, host Michel Martin speaks with Radiance Foundation co-founder Ryan Bomberger and Religious Coalition of Reproductive Choice president and CEO Reverend Carlton Veazey. . . .
July 11, 2011
Racially Charged Anti-Choice Billboards Ignore Underlying Issue of Health Disparities
Mercury News/Oakland Tribune: Health care disparities at issue in abortion rates among black Americans, by Scott Johnson:
The abortion rate in the African-American community is several times higher than any other group, but community members and health providers say a recent anti-abortion billboard campaign in Oakland is misguided and simplistic.
The billboards, financed and distributed by the anti-abortion organization Issues4Life have prompted outrage among abortion rights groups and women's health care organizations who say the ads are inflammatory, racist and demeaning. But Walter Hoye, who directs the group, says the billboards are a way of bringing attention to what he has described as an abortion-created "genocide" in the African-American community. . . .