Reproductive Rights Prof Blog

Editor: Caitlin E. Borgmann
CUNY School of Law

A Member of the Law Professor Blogs Network

Monday, January 20, 2014

America Gets C- In Women's Reproductive Health

Jezebel: American Gets and Embarassing C- in Women's Reproductive Health, by Erin Gloria Ryan:

The Population Institute has released its annual State of Reproductive Health And Rights report card, and it seems that in the opinion of the massive educational nonprofit, America isn't doing so hot. If America were a high schooler, America would be grounded until America gets its grades up, otherwise America won't be getting into any colleges.

The report consolidates information most people who have been paying attention to the news probably suspected: as the federal government attempts to expand access to reproductive health care, right wing ideologues at the state level are working busily to ensure that women can't physically access the care the federal government is trying to expand. . . .

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The fifty-state report is available here.

January 20, 2014 in Reproductive Health & Safety | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, December 30, 2013

Pro-Choice Activists Aim for New Legislative Strategy

NPR: Abortion Rights Groups Say It's Time To Stop Playing Defense, by Kathy Lohr:

Abortion rights activists are working on a counterattack to the 200 bills that have passed in states across the U.S. since 2010.

In the past three years, Republican-led legislatures have backed bills to regulate abortions and the doctors and clinics that perform them.

. . .So abortion rights activists say they're pushing a new legislative strategy. . . .

December 30, 2013 in Abortion, Reproductive Health & Safety, State Legislatures | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

ACLU Sues Catholic Bishops Over Abortion Directives to Hospitals

The New York Times: Bishops Sued Over Policies on Abortion at Hospitals, by Erik Eckholm:

The American Civil Liberties Union announced on Monday that it had filed a lawsuit against the nation’s Roman Catholic bishops, arguing that their anti-abortion directives to Catholic hospitals hamper proper care of pregnant women in medical distress, leading to medical negligence.

The suit was filed in federal court in Michigan on Friday on behalf of a woman who says she did not receive accurate information or care at a Catholic hospital there, exposing her to dangerous infections after her water broke at 18 weeks of pregnancy. . . .

December 3, 2013 in Abortion, In the Courts, Religion and Reproductive Rights, Reproductive Health & Safety | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Unsafe Abortions Create Public Health Crisis in Haiti

Miami Herald: Unsafe abortions: Haiti’s abortion crisis, by Jacqueline Charles:

 . . .Abortion is illegal in Haiti but women and girls are losing their uteruses and their lives as they turn to clandestine, increasingly deadly ways to terminate their pregnancies. These unsafe abortions are leading to a public health crisis in a region with one of the world’s highest rates of unintended pregnancies, experts say. . . .

November 24, 2013 in Abortion Bans, International, Reproductive Health & Safety | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, November 22, 2013

Arizona Willing to Sacrifice Pregnancy Prevention and Other Women's Health Services in Zeal to Attack Abortion

The American Prospect: Razing Arizona Women's Health Care, by Amelia Thomson-Deveaux:

Like Napoleon forging into the Russian winter, anti-choice politicians are loath to give up on abortion restrictions, however minor, until the Supreme Court forces them to. On Wednesday, Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne asked the Supreme Court to reinstate a law that would strip Medicaid funding from doctors and clinics who perform abortions. Poor women already can’t use federal dollars to cover abortion procedures—that’s been illegal since the late 1970s. The law, which was struck down by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in August, instead would prevent the state’s abortion providers from being reimbursed by Medicaid for providing any kind of care to low-income women, whether it’s breast exams, cervical cancer screenings, or contraceptive services. . . .

Indiana made a similar bid for the Supreme Court’s attention after the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals struck down its law, which prohibited Planned Parenthood from receiving state or federal funds. But the justices refused to hear the case. Caitlin Borgmann, a professor of law at the City University of New York, says it’s unlikely, given the justices’ unwillingness to hear Indiana’s appeal, that Arizona’s petition will be successful. “To read the statute as broadly as Arizona wants would allow the state to exclude providers for any reason,” says Borgmann. “Such a precedent ought to give the Supreme Court pause too, because its implications extend far beyond abortion.” . . .

It’s undeniable that without programs like Medicaid, which help low-income women afford contraception, the abortion rate in the country would be much higher. . . . “Laws like these reveal the anti-abortion rights movement for what it is,” Borgmann says. “Their goal is to be punitive and prevent access to abortion, not come up with solutions to help women make autonomous decisions about their health.” . . .

November 22, 2013 in Abortion, Contraception, Reproductive Health & Safety, Sexually Transmitted Disease, State and Local News | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

New California Law Allows Non-Physician Clinicians to Perform 1st-Trimester Abortions

Calif flagThe Huffington Post: California Abortion Law Allows Non-Physician Clinicians To Perform First-Term Procedures, by Anna Almendrala:

Californians seeking an abortion have more access to care under a new law signed by Gov. Jerry Brown (D) Wednesday.

The law authorizes nurse practitioners, physicians’ assistants, and certified nurse midwives to perform aspirations, a type of first-trimester abortion that involves inserting a small tube through the cervix to remove the fetus. Before the bill was passed, only doctors could perform such procedures. . . .

See also: The Los Angeles Times: New California abortion law: More dangerous than skydiving?, by Robin Abcarian:

. . . The low complication rate, of course, did not stop antiabortion groups from rallying against the bill, including some who used breathtakingly disingenuous arguments.

Last May, for instance, Steve Macias, a California Republican Party officer and executive director of the antiabortion group Cherish California’s Children, said the new law would legalize back-alley abortions. He also claimed that first-trimester abortions are more dangerous than skydiving. . . .

October 9, 2013 in Abortion, Reproductive Health & Safety, State and Local News, State Legislatures | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Ramya Kumar on Misoprostol and Abortion Politics in Sri Lanka

Ramya Kumar (Dalla Lana School of Public Health) has posted Misoprostol and the Politics of Abortion in Sri Lanka on SSRN. Here is the abstract:

Misoprostol, a WHO essential medicine indicated for labour induction, management of miscarriage and post-partum hemorrhage, as well as for induced abortion and treatment of post-abortion complications, came up for registration in Sri Lanka in December 2010. The decision on registration was postponed, indefinitely. This has wide-ranging implications, as misoprostol is widely available and used, including by health professionals in Sri Lanka, without guidance or training in its use. This paper attempts to situate the failure to register misoprostol within the broader context of unsafe abortion, drawing on data from interviews with physicians and health policymakers in Sri Lanka. It demonstrates how personal opposition to abortion infiltrates policy decisions and prevents the issue of unsafe abortion being resolved. Any move to reform abortion law and policy in Sri Lanka will require a concerted effort, spearheaded by civil society. Women and communities affected by the consequences of unsafe abortion need to be involved in these efforts. Regardless of the law, women will access abortion services if they need them, and providers will provide them. Decriminalizing abortion and registering abortion medications will make provision of abortion services safer, less expensive and more equitable.

September 29, 2013 in Abortion Bans, International, Reproductive Health & Safety, Scholarship and Research | 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)

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

HPV Vaccination Rate Among Teenage Girls Remains Low

The New York Times: HPV Vaccine Not Reaching Enough Girls, C.D.C. Says, by Sabrina Tavernise:

The very low vaccination rate for teenage girls against the human papillomavirus — the most common sexually transmitted infection and a principal cause of cervical cancer — did not improve at all from 2011 to 2012, and health officials on Thursday said a survey found that doctors were often failing to bring it up or recommend it when girls came in for other reasons. . . .

July 31, 2013 in Medical News, Reproductive Health & Safety, Sexually Transmitted Disease, Teenagers and Children | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Report Finds Significant Decline in Female Genital Cutting in Africa

The New York Times: Report Finds Gradual Fall in Female Genital Cutting in Africa, by Celia W. Dugger:

comprehensive new assessment of the ancient practice of female genital cutting has found a gradual but significant decline in many countries, even in some where it remains deeply entrenched.

Teenage girls are now less likely to have been cut than older women in more than half of the 29 countries in Africa and the Middle East where the practice is concentrated, according to the assessment by the United Nations Children’s Fund. . . .

July 23, 2013 in Culture, International, Reproductive Health & Safety, Teenagers and Children | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, July 15, 2013

Stringent New Abortion Law in Texas May Lead Women to Self-Abortion

The New York Times: A Pill Available in Mexico Is a Texas Option for Abortion, by Eric Eckholm:

At the Whole Woman’s Health center here, a young woman predicted what others would do if the state’s stringent new abortion bill approved late Friday forces clinics like this one to close: cross the border to Mexico to seek an “abortion pill.” . . .

July 15, 2013 in Abortion, Reproductive Health & Safety, State and Local News, Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP) | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, June 29, 2013

"Blame Game" Follows New York Legislature's Failure to Pass Women's Equality Agenda

YNN.com: Fallout from failure to pass Women's Equality Agenda, by Zack Fink:

The Legislature failed to pass Governor Andrew Cuomo's Women's Equality Agenda before last week's end of session. Zack Fink has more on the fallout and the blame game that's being played out between the Assembly and the State Senate.When Governor Cuomo's ten point women's equality agenda failed in the legislature, there was plenty of blame to go around. The Assembly majority blamed the State Senate for passing only nine of ten points and the Senate majority blamed the Assembly for passing all ten, including a controversial abortion provision that was dead on arrival in the Senate. . . .

June 29, 2013 in Abortion, Reproductive Health & Safety, State Legislatures, Women, General | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, May 30, 2013

El Salvador's Highest Court Denies Abortion to Gravely Ill Woman With Anencephalic Fetus

The New York Times: Salvadoran Court Denies Abortion to Ailing Woman

 El Salvador’s highest court on Wednesday denied an appeal from a woman with a high-risk pregnancy to be allowed to undergo an abortion, upholding the country’s strict law banning abortion under any circumstances. . . .

May 30, 2013 in Abortion Bans, In the Courts, International, Reproductive Health & Safety | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, May 6, 2013

Large Majority of Women Favor Over-the-Counter Birth Control Pill

Reuters (Health):  Most women back over-the-counter birth control pill, by Genevra Pittman:

Close to two-thirds of women favor making contraceptive pills available over the counter, according to a new nationally-representative survey.

In addition, about 30 percent of women using either no birth control or a less effective method - such as condoms - said they would likely take the Pill if it was sold without a prescription, researchers found. . . . 

May 6, 2013 in Contraception, Public Opinion, Reproductive Health & Safety, Scholarship and Research, Women, General | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

El Salvadoran Woman Petitions for Right to Life-Saving Abortion

Feministing:  We already lost Savita in Ireland.  Don't let Beatriz die in El Salvador., by Juliana Britto Schwartz:

You all remember Savita Halappanavar, right? Well, the world is looking at another Savita right now, and the only thing standing between her and life is a group of Salvadoran politicians.

Savita Halappanavar was a pregnant woman living in Ireland who was denied a life-saving abortion because her doctors could still detect a fetal heartbeat and were therefore required by law not to terminate the pregnancy. She died of blood poisoning while her husband watched.

“Beatriz” is 22 years old, 18 weeks pregnant with an anencephalic fetus (meaning that the fetus will not survive outside of the womb), and suffering life-threatening pregnancy complications. However, Beatriz lives in El Salvador, one of the rare countries in which abortion is illegal under all circumstances, including threat to the mother’s life. . . . 

May 6, 2013 in Abortion, Abortion Bans, International, Reproductive Health & Safety | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Irish Government Proposes Measure to Allow Life-Saving Abortions

Irish flagScary to think this is "controversial"....

The New York Times: Irish Proposal Would Allow Abortions in Emergencies, by Douglas Dalby:

The Irish government proposed legislation late Tuesday night that, if approved as expected, would allow abortions in cases where a threat existed to a woman’s life, including from suicide. . . .

CNN: Ireland's government puts forward draft abortion bill, by Laura Smith-Spark & Peter Taggart:

Proposed new legislation won't change Ireland's general ban on abortion, Prime Minister Enda Kenny said Wednesday, but is about "saving lives" when pregnant women are in danger.

Ireland's government published the controversial draft measure late Tuesday to clarify what happens when there's a threat to the mother's life, including a risk of suicide. . . .

May 1, 2013 in Abortion Bans, International, Reproductive Health & Safety | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, April 15, 2013

Shakira Maxwell on Reproductive Rights in Jamaica

Shakira Maxwell (The University of the West Indies) has posted Fighting a Losing Battle? Defending Women's Reproductive Rights in Twenty-First Century Jamaica on SSRN. Here is the abstract:

Since 1975, the Government of Jamaica has acknowledged that the practice of unsafe abortions and high rates of maternal mortality in the island are a significant public health problem affecting women. Unfortunately, any attempt to focus on this issue through legal reform has often been sidelined by both religious and moral groups. In 2008 the issue came back on the Government’s agenda, however once more, the public discourse has been sidelined away from the main issues concerns women’s health. As a result, many women in the island continue to face health complications as a result of unsafe abortions which are practiced under unhealthy and unsanitary conditions. 

This paper will examine the most recent aspects of the debate on the legalization of abortion in Jamaica. It will also highlight the recommendations of the Abortion Policy Review (APR) Group which reviewed health implications in Jamaica and assessed existing laws in the wider Caribbean on abortion and conditions thereof. Using feminist analysis it will also explore the challenges faced by those arguing for legislative reform on abortion services in Jamaica within the larger framework of reproductive health and rights.

April 15, 2013 in Abortion, International, Reproductive Health & Safety, Scholarship and Research | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

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)

NYC Launches Sex Education iPhone App for Teens

Fox News Latino: New York City Launches Teen Sex Education iPhone App: Image1

New York City has pulled out all the stops in recent months to make sure the city’s teens are informed when it comes to their sexual health.

Most recently, the city’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene has launched the “Teens in NYC Protection +” app.

The app helps teens find clinics throughout the New York City area that offer everything from condoms to STD, HIV, and pregnancy tests. . . .

April 15, 2013 in Contraception, Reproductive Health & Safety, Sexuality Education, State and Local News, Teenagers and Children | 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)