May 14, 2013
Catholic/Secular Hospital Mergers Threaten Access to Reproductive Health Care
The New York Times: Hospital Mergers Reset Abortion-Access Battle, by Kirk Johnson:
Politicians seeking to restrict access to abortion, a marked trend this year from North Dakota to Arkansas, tend not to get much traction in this part of the country.
Washington is heavily Democratic, leaning left especially on social issues. A majority of voters even put into law a statutory right to abortion in 1970 — the only state ever to do that. The governor, Jay Inslee, a Democrat, is pushing the Legislature even now to pass a law at a special session on Monday requiring health insurers to pay for elective abortions, another first for the state if it makes it to Mr. Inslee’s desk.
But now a wave of proposed and completed mergers between secular and Roman Catholic hospitals, which are barred by church doctrine from performing procedures that could harm the unborn, is raising the prospect that unelected health care administrators could go where politicians could not. . . .
H/T: Grayson Barber
In addition to prohibiting abortions and certain kinds of end-of-life care, Catholic hospitals also refuse to provide contraception (often including emergency contraception for rape survivors), sterilizations, and infertility services. For more about the threats posed by these mergers, see the MergerWatch website.
May 13, 2013
Boston Cardinal Refuses to Attend Boston College Graduation in Protest Over Honorary Degree for Ireland Prime Minister
Prime Minister Kenny is supporting a life exception to Ireland's complete ban on abortions after a woman died when she was denied a life-saving abortion. But that's apparently going too far for Cardinal O'Malley.
The Washington Post - On Faith blog: Boston cardinal withdraws from Boston College graduation after abortion controversy:
QUOTE OF THE DAY | Boston Cardinal Sean O’Malley:
. . . Recently I learned that the Prime Minister of Ireland, the Hon. Mr. Enda Kenny was slated to receive an honorary degree at Boston College’s graduation this year. I am sure that the invitation was made in good faith, long before it came to the attention of the leadership of Boston College that Mr. Kenny is aggressively promoting abortion legislation. The Irish Bishops have responded to that development by affirming the Church’s teaching that “the deliberate decision to deprive an innocent human being of life is always morally wrong” and expressed serious concern that the proposed legislation “represents a dramatic and morally unacceptable change to Irish law.”
Since the university has not withdrawn the invitation and because the Taoiseach has not seen fit to decline, I shall not attend the graduation. . . .
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. . . .
April 24, 2013
Kansas Governor Scrawls "JESUS + Mary" On Sweeping Anti-Choice Bill As He Signs It Into Law
Feministing: Kansas Gov signs massive anti-choice law, writes "JESUS + Mary" in notes, by Maya Dusenbery:
Last Friday, Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback signed a sweeping anti-choice [bill] into law. Among other things, the bill requires doctors to lie and tell patients that abortion is linked to breast cancer, and defines life as beginning at conception in the state constitution.
Before the signing ceremony, Gov. Brownback added a few hand-written notes to his remarks. According to a photo snapped by the AP, the words “JESUS + Mary” are scrawled front and center across the top. . . .
The text of the law is available here.
April 09, 2013
Boston College Cracks Down on Safe Sex Group's Distribution of Condoms
The New York Times: Ban on Free Condoms Jeopardizes Group’s Work With Catholic College, by Jess Bidgood:
Chelsea Lennox, a junior at Boston College, the Gothic university overlooking this natty Boston suburb, picked up a bouquet of brightly colored condom packages and put them into the envelope that she views as a tiny beacon of sexual health resources at the deeply Catholic institution.
“We have S.T.I. facts, birth control choices, how to choose one, and then Planned Parenthood locations and resources,” Ms. Lennox said of the contents, ready for distribution. . . .
April 04, 2013
Steven Resnicoff on Abortion, Assisted Reproductive Technologies, and Jewish Law
Steven H. Resnicoff (DePaul University College of Law) has posted Family Planning and Government Regulation - Jewish Law Perspectives on SSRN. Here is the abstract:
Jewish law highly
prizes human life. It strongly promotes human reproduction and the protection
of human health. For these reasons, Jewish law generally opposes abortion.
Governmental measures that would require Jews or Jewish organizations to assist
or enable conduct that violates Jewish law, such as religiously impermissible
abortions, would impinge on their religious freedom. In addition Jewish law
usually encourages humankind’s creative use of intellect and technology to
accomplish desired objectives, such as curing and preventing physical
infirmities and even more so with respect to saving human life.
Jewish law authorities have manifested a much more ambivalent attitude regarding the use of modern reproductive technologies. There is a consensus that Jewish law does not require extraordinary measures be used to create human life. However, authorities are acutely sensitive to the fact that many people unable to reproduce in the traditional manner yearn to have children. Moreover, some Jewish law authorities believe that by using certain modern reproductive technologies, a person may fulfill a religious duty to procreate. Nevertheless, other authorities argue that some such technologies actually violate Jewish law. Furthermore, even if the use of particular technologies is permitted, their use, or their possible misuse, could cause considerable societal harm.
This paper, which emerged from a conference held by the DePaul University Health Law Institute, examines these complicated issues in a way that makes the relevant Jewish precepts readily accessible.
March 25, 2013
Rulings on Contraceptive Mandate Reflect Differing Views of Corporations' Rights
The Washington Times: Corporation rights drive divergent rulings on contraception, by Tom Howell Jr.:
A federal judge has rejected a Michigan company’s urgent plea for protection from the contraception mandate in President Obama’s health-care law, noting that a corporation’s rights are not always the same as an individual’s.
Yet a different judge in the same U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan took a starkly different approach less than two weeks ago in granting a similar request — although not on an emergency basis — from another corporation. In that ruling, the judge evoked the 2010 Citizens United Supreme Court decision that reiterated that corporations have First Amendment speech rights. . . .
March 22, 2013
Pope of 1276 Promoted Contraception
The Huffington Post - The Blog: Pope Promotes Birth Control, by Michael Zimmerman:
Recent media coverage of the papal transition has focused heavily on the past.
For example, when Pope Benedict XVI announced his resignation, one of the points the media highlighted was the fact that he was the first pope to resign in 600 years.
Similarly, when Jorge Mario Bergoglio was elected the 266th pontiff of the Roman Catholic Church, the media promoted the fact that he was the first non-European pope in 1,272 years.
Given the long history of the Roman Catholic Church and the rarity of both of these events, it isn't surprising that such stories would predominate. There is another papal anomaly, however, that also deserves our attention. This story, one which has largely been overlooked in all current reporting, also stretches back well into the past. Indeed, we need to reach back 737 years, to 1276, for the events in question. . . .
March 18, 2013
Federal Judge Blocks Contraception Mandate in Suit Brought by Tom Monaghan and Domino's
Bloomberg News: Michigan Judge Blocks Health-Care Birth-Control Mandate, by Margaret Cronin Fisk:
The U.S. health-care reform’s mandate requiring employee insurance plans to provide coverage of contraception was blocked by a federal judge in Michigan.
Tom Monaghan and his property-management company, Domino’s Farms Corp., sued the U.S. government in December, contending that complying with the mandate would require him to violate his religious beliefs as a member of the Catholic Church. Domino’s Farms would have to provide contraceptive products, including an abortion-inducing drug, or be forced to pay $200,000 a year as a tax or penalty, the plaintiffs said. . . .
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 05, 2013
The Guardian Offers Timeline of "2012 War on Women"
The Guardian: The War on Women, by Heather Long:
2012 was a tough year for American females as various aspects of female health and reproduction repeatedly took center stage. Politicians and pundits, mainly Republican, made degrading and factually incorrect remarks about rape and contraception. But Democrats also left their mark with an ill-timed snipe at stay-at-home mom Ann Romney, reinvigorating the "mommy wars".
Here are the key moments in the 2012 War on Women . . . .
March 5, 2013 in 2012 Presidential Campaign, Abortion, Abortion Bans, Anti-Choice Movement, Congress, Contraception, Fetal Rights, In the Media, Mandatory Delay/Biased Information Laws, Parenthood, Politics, Pregnancy & Childbirth, Religion and Reproductive Rights, Reproductive Health & Safety, Sexual Assault, Sexuality, Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP) | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack
February 13, 2013
Obama Administration's Contraceptive Mandate Compromise Gets Warmer Reception from Catholic Health Association
The Wall Street Journal - Washington Wire blog: Catholic Health Assn. Sees ‘Progress’ in Contraception Proposal, by Louise Radnofsky:
The Catholic Health Association said Wednesday that the Obama administration’s latest proposal on how employees of religiously affiliated institutions would get contraception under the 2010 health law represents “substantial progress.”
The response from the group’s president, Sister Carol Keehan, was considerably warmer than the one issued last week by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, who said the new rules “fall short.” . . .
February 11, 2013
Abortion Rights Opponents Praise Departing Pope for Anti-Abortion Stance
The Hill: Tributes to pope highlight abortion stance, by Elise Viebeck:
The outgoing pope won praise Monday for his outspoken teachings against abortion, an issue that has divided U.S. Catholics for decades.
The deeply conservative Pope Benedict XVI "unified Catholics," said Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York in a statement Monday. . . .
Bill Keller on Corporations' Attempts to Impose Religious Views Against Contraception on Their Employees
The New York Times (opinion column): The Conscience of a Corporation, by Bill Keller:
DAVID GREEN, who built a family picture-framing business into a 42-state chain of arts and crafts stores, prides himself on being the model of a conscientious Christian capitalist. His 525 Hobby Lobby stores forsake Sunday profits to give employees their biblical day of rest. The company donates to Christian counseling services and buys holiday ads that promote the faith in all its markets. Hobby Lobby has been known to stick decals over Botticelli’s naked Venus in art books it sells.
And the company’s in-house health insurance does not cover morning-after contraceptives, which Green, like many of his fellow evangelical Christians, regards as chemical abortions. . . .
This has put Hobby Lobby at the leading edge of a legal battle that poses the intriguing question: Can a corporation have a conscience? And if so, is it protected by the First Amendment. . . .
February 10, 2013
Infographic on Contraceptive Coverage Under the Affordable Care Act
The Nation: Who's Paying for Your Birth Control?, by Emily Douglas:
Last week, the Obama administration updated its proposed regulations regarding birth control coverage under the Affordable Care Act. It refused to create an exemption for for-profit employers who object to provide contraceptive coverage on religious grounds, but it left a lot of people, reporters included, confused about how religiously affiliated employers would be accommodated, and who—the insurer, a third-party provider, or the federal government—would be left footing the bill for the coverage. . . .
The infographic is available here.
February 08, 2013
Catholic Bishops Reject White House Compromise on Contraceptive Coverage Mandate
The New York Times: Bishops Reject Birth Control Compromise, by Robert Pear:
The nation’s Roman Catholic bishops on Thursday rejected the latest White House proposal on health insurance coverage of contraceptives, saying it did not offer enough safeguards for religious hospitals, colleges and charities that objected to providing such coverage for their employees.
The bishops said they would continue fighting the federal mandate in court. . . .
February 05, 2013
Obama Administration Proposes Compromise on Contraceptive Coverage in Attempt to Appease Objectors
The New York Times: White House Proposes Compromise on Contraception Coverage, by Robert Pear:
The Obama administration proposed yet another compromise on Friday in an effort to address the concerns of religious organizations that object to its policy requiring health insurance plans to cover contraceptives for women at no charge. . . .
See also: Feminist Majority Foundation: Statement of Eleanor Smeal, President of the Feminist Majority Foundation, on Proposed Policies for Contraceptive Coverage and Religious Organizations:
The Feminist Majority Foundation applauds the Obama Administration's continued commitment to women's access to contraceptive coverage under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The proposed rules released today by Health and Human Services operationalize the Obama Administration's commitment to requiring health insurance coverage under the ACA to provide birth control without co-pays or deductibles. Employees who work at religiously affiliated institutions such as hospitals and universities/colleges will be covered seamlessly by the insurance provider or plan administrator. The sole exception is narrowly construed to only houses of worship that object and can deny coverage to their employees. . . .
February 01, 2013
Can Notre Dame Challenge Federal Contraception Mandate as a "Person" Under RFRA?
The Huffington Post blog: Who Is Notre Dame?, by Kathryn Pogin & Bridgette Dunlap:
In its lawsuit challenging the federal contraceptive coverage rule, which requires most health plans to cover contraception without a co-pay, the University of Notre Dame claims to have rights under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. RFRA protects "[a] person whose religious exercise has been burdened" by the government. Such a person can seek an exemption from a law the general population must obey if she has a sincere religious belief that will be substantially burdened. The assertion that Notre Dame can sue under RFRA raises the question: Who is Notre Dame? . . .
Michelle Kinsey Bruns Talks About Abortion to Catholic Teens Aboard Amtrak
Feministing: Pro-choice on Amtrak: The time I told a group of anti-choice teenagers about my abortion, by Michelle Kinsey Bruns:
The recording on my iPhone begins with ten seconds of ambient mechanical noise: the sound of an Amtrak train crossing the Potomac River, as heard from an empty, rattling vestibule between two of its cars. Then comes the click-whoosh of a door opening to one of those cars, and the rising voices of excited teenagers, arranging their luggage and settling into the seats they have just claimed. Twenty-one seconds in, very close to the microphone, there is an audible swallow. At forty-four seconds, one voice rises over the chatter: “Excuse me, please…?”
That is my voice (and my swallow). The other voices are those of fifty-five Catholic high-school students from Louisiana and their chaperones beginning their trip home from the 2013 “March for Life” in Washington. I am standing in the middle of their reserved car. I am about to tell them that I had an abortion, and I am about to tell them why. . . .
January 31, 2013
Faith and Abortion Providers
MSNBC - Melissa Harris-Perry: Faith’s role in the fight for abortion access, by Rev. Matthew Westfox:
As both a person of faith and an advocate for reproductive freedoms, I often find myself talking about the connection between religion, spirituality, and reproductive justice. We talk about religious questions raised by patients and clients, and we talk about how to use religious language in reproductive justice activism.
Yet one group seems to be left almost completely out of these conversations—abortion providers . . . .
Video available here.