Reproductive Rights Prof Blog

Editor: Caitlin E. Borgmann
CUNY School of Law

A Member of the Law Professor Blogs Network

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)

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Michigan Law Takes Effect Requiring Women To Purchase Separate Insurance for Abortions -- Even for Rape and Incest

The Huffington Post: Michigan's 'Rape Insurance' Abortion Rider Law Goes Into Effect Today, by Ashley Young: 

Starting Thursday in Michigan, a woman must purchase an additional insurance policy if she wants reimbursement for an abortion, unless her life is at stake.

The new law drops coverage of most abortions from existing policies -- even to terminate a pregnancy resulting from rape or incest. Women who buy their own individual policies, rather than getting coverage through an employer-based plan, won't be able to purchase the additional coverage, called an abortion rider, from Michigan insurers. . . . 

March 15, 2014 in Abortion, Sexual Assault, State Legislatures | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, February 6, 2014

U.N. Committee Report Blasts Vatican for Policies on Sexual Abuse and Attitudes on Sexuality, Contraception, and Abortion

VaticanThe Huffington Post/AP: UN Report Denounces Vatican For Sex Abuse And Stands On Contraception, Abortion And Homosexuality, by Nicole Winfield:

The Vatican "systematically" adopted policies that allowed priests to rape and molest tens of thousands of children over decades, a U.N. human rights committee said Wednesday, urging the Holy See to open its files on pedophiles and bishops who concealed their crimes.

In a devastating report hailed by abuse victims, the U.N. committee severely criticized the Holy See for its attitudes toward homosexuality, contraception and abortion and said it should change its own canon law to ensure children's rights and their access to health care are guaranteed. . . .

February 6, 2014 in Abortion, Contraception, Religion, Religion and Reproductive Rights, Sexual Assault, Sexuality | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, December 30, 2013

Argentinian Court Allows 14-Year-Old Rape Victim to Have an Abortion

The Times of India: Argentina Court Grants Abortion for Teen Rape Victim:

BUENOS AIRES: A court in Argentina ruled on Friday that a 14-year old rape victim could have an abortion, overturning a judge's earlier decision barring the girl from seeking the procedure. 

The teenage girl discovered early last month that she was pregnant after being raped by her mother's partner. . . .

December 30, 2013 in Abortion Bans, International, Sexual Assault, Teenagers and Children | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Woodhull Sexual Freedom Alliance Announces 2013 Honorees

Woodhull Sexual Freedom Alliance announces:

The 2013 Honorees

Mandy Carter is one of the leading African-American lesbian activists in the country. She has a 45-year movement history of social, racial and lesbigaytrans justice organizing since 1968 and was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. She helped co-found two ground breaking organizations. Southerners On New Ground (SONG) and the National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC). Read more here.

Heather Corinna is the founder ofScarleteen.com, the inclusive and progressive online resource for teen and young adult sexuality education and information founded in 1998.  An author, educator and activist, Heather is considered one of the pioneers of positive human sexuality on the internet. Read more here.

Matt Foreman has been a leader in the LGBT rights movement for over 25 years.  Matt has served as Executive Director of the NYC Gay & Lesbian Anti-Violence Project, the Empire State Pride Agenda, the nation’s then-largest statewide LGBT political advocacy organization, and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force (The Task Force), the nation’s oldest and second-largest national LGBT rights organization.Read more here.

The Vicki Sexual Freedom Award, established in 2010, is named after Victoria Woodhull, the namesake of the Woodhull Sexual Freedom Alliance. Ms. Woodhull was an American suffragist born on September 23, 1838, who was described by Gilded Age newspapers as a leader of the American women's suffrage movement in the 19th century. She became a colorful and notorious symbol for women's rights, free love, and spiritualism as she fought against corruption and for labor reforms.  A strong advocate for collaboration and for full equality rather than "just" individual rights, Woodhull was generations ahead of her time.

May 23, 2013 in Sexual Assault, Sexuality | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, 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 14, 2013 in Abortion, Contraception, Fertility, Religion and Reproductive Rights, Sexual Assault, State and Local News, Sterilization | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Proving Fetal Homicide in Cleveland Kidnapping Case Could Be Difficult

TIME: The Challenge of Proving Fetal Homicide in the Cleveland Kidnapping Case, by Kate Pickert:

If the man accused of imprisoning three women for a decade inside his Cleveland home is convicted of the charges filed against him, it seems unlikely he will ever be released from prison. This week, prosecutors charged Ariel Castro with four counts of kidnapping and three counts of rape. . . .

Some may be wondering why Castro wasn’t also charged with homicide. One of his victims, Michelle Knight, reportedly told investigators she became pregnant five times while in captivity and that Castro beat and starved her each  time until she miscarried. . . .

May 9, 2013 in Fetal Rights, Sexual Assault | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Senate Bill Would Cover Some Abortions for Peace Corps Volunteers

The Washington Post:  Women’s health groups want Peace Corps volunteers to have insurance coverage for abortions, by Lisa Rein:

If a Peace Corps volunteer is raped and becomes pregnant as a result, she has to pay for an abortion herself, because the federal government refuses to cover the cost.

Yet women on the paid Peace Corps staff, along with other federal employees, federal prisoners, women on Medicaid and Native Americans, have long received insurance coverage for abortions in cases of rape or incest or if their health is in danger. In January, women in the military got the same access. . . . 

April 25, 2013 in Abortion, Congress, Sexual Assault | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Khiara M. Bridges on Pregnancy as Injury

Khiara M. Bridges (Boston University School of Law) has posted When Pregnancy Is an Injury: Rape, Law, and Culture on SSRN. Here is the abstract:     

Khiara_bridges

This Article examines criminal statutes that grade more severely sexual assaults that result in pregnancy. These laws, which define pregnancy as a “substantial bodily injury,” run directly counter to positive constructions of pregnancy within culture. The fact that the criminal law, in this instance, reflects this negative, subversive understanding of pregnancy creates the possibility that this idea may be received within culture as a construction of pregnancy that is as legitimate as positive understandings. In this way, these laws create possibilities for the reimagining of pregnancy within law and society. Moreover, these laws recall the argumentation that proponents of abortion rights once made – argumentation that one no longer hears and sees in the debates surrounding abortion. However, recent developments in antiabortion argumentation – namely the notion accepted in Carhart II that it is abortion that injures women – counsel the retrieval of the argument that unwanted pregnancies are injuries to women. Thus, the sexual assault laws are means to legitimatize a claim that may serve as an effective counterdiscourse to prevailing antiabortion argumentation. 

April 17, 2013 in Abortion, Gonzales v. Carhart, Pregnancy & Childbirth, Scholarship and Research, Sexual Assault | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Rep. Gingrey Backpedals on Rape Comments

The Hill - Healthwatch:  Rep. Gingrey, mulling Senate bid, regrets defending Todd Akin, by Cameron Joseph:

Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-Ga.), who is weighing a campaign for Senate, said he regrets defending former Rep. Todd Akin's (R-Mo.) infamous "legitimate rape" remarks.

Gingrey, an obstetrician, told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that he had made "a very awkward attempt to explain the unexplainable" when he backed Akin in January. He disavowed his earlier remarks, calling them "stupid.". . . 

March 16, 2013 in Congress, In the Media, Politics, Sexual Assault | 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)

Tuesday, March 5, 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 (0)

No End in Sight to GOP Ignorance and Insensitivity on Pregnancy Resulting from Rape

Huffington Post:  Celeste Greig, California Republican, Claims Pregnancy From Rape Is Rare:

Celeste greigThe president of California's oldest and largest GOP volunteer group took a wrong turn while trying to criticize GOP candidates' missteps on women's reproductive rights when she argued that pregnancies resulting from rape are rare "because the body is traumatized."

Celeste Greig leads the California Republican Assembly, which former President Ronald Reagan once called "the conscience of the Republican Party." It works to elect conservative Republicans to public office. . . . 

There is already a petition asking for Greig's resignation here.  

March 5, 2013 in Politics, Pregnancy & Childbirth, Sexual Assault | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, February 28, 2013

House Approves Expanded Violence Against Women Act

CapitolThe New York Times: House Renews Violence Against Women Measure, by Ashley Parker:

The House on Thursday gave final approval to a renewal of the Violence Against Women Act, sending a bipartisan Senate measure to President Obama after a House plan endorsed by conservatives was defeated. . . .

The legislation’s approval underscored the divide in the Republican party as it struggles to regain its footing with women after its 2012 electoral drubbing among female voters. . . .

February 28, 2013 in Congress, Politics, Sexual Assault, Women, General | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, January 24, 2013

New Mexico Bill Would Criminalize as "Tampering with Evidence" Abortions Caused By Rape

In case anyone was under the misconception that male Republicans were getting the message about abortion and rape:

The Huffington Post: New Mexico Bill Would Criminalize Abortions After Rape as 'Tampering With Evidence', by Laura Bassett:

A Republican lawmaker in New Mexico introduced a bill on Wednesday that would legally require victims of rape to carry their pregnancies to term in order to use the fetus as evidence for a sexual assault trial. . . .

January 24, 2013 in Abortion Bans, Sexual Assault, State Legislatures, Women, General | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Reining in Republicans on the Topic of Rape

The Susan B. Anthony List will train Republicans on how to discuss rape:

Feministing:  Susan B. Anthony List to create training programs to help Republicans talk about rape, by Samhita Mukhopadhyay:

The only instruction that Republicans need about talking about rape these days is to…stop. Or, well, keep talking–so we can continue to learn about their curious and frightening logix about pregnancy, sex, consent, and magic uteri. I imagine Susan B. Anthony list’s training is going to be some form of–”doh, just stop talking about it!” But these fine men just can’t help themselves, because they actually believe what is coming out of their mouths. . . .

And they seem to need it:

The Hill - Healthwatch Blog:  Rep. Gingrey:  Todd Akin 'partly right' about rape and pregnancy, by Sam Baker:

Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-Ga.) said former Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo.) was "partly right" when he made controversial comments that women cannot become pregnant from a rape.

Akin, then the Republican Senate nominee in Missouri, said a woman cannot become pregnant from a "legitimate rape" because the female body can "shut that whole thing down."

Gingrey, who is an OB-GYN, said in a town-hall meeting that Akin was partially correct, according to a report in the Marietta (Ga.) Daily Journal. . . .

January 16, 2013 in Abortion, Anti-Choice Movement, Congress, Politics, Sexual Assault | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Sen. Patty Murray on House Republicans' Failure To Take Up Bill Reauthorizing Violence Against Women Act

CNN opinion: House GOP failed women on Violence Against Women Act, by Patty Murray:

(CNN) -- This week, just over 250 days since the U.S. Senate passed a bipartisan and inclusive bill to extend the landmark Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), the Republican leadership in the House of Representatives allowed the clock to run out on protections that bill would have provided to millions of women across our country. . . .

January 6, 2013 in Congress, Politics, Sexual Assault, Women, General | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Obama Signs Defense Authorization Act Including Health Coverage for Servicewomen and Military Dependents in Cases of Rape and Incest

Stand with Servicewomen press release: President Signs Defense Bill That Includes Shaheen Amendment Providing Equal Health Care for Servicewomen:

Bill Provides Equal Health Care Coverage for Servicewomen and Military Dependents in Cases of Rape and Incest

WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama has signed the FY13 National Defense Authorization Act into law, which includes the Shaheen Amendment, a provision that provides equal health care for servicewomen and military dependents who are survivors of rape and incest by extending to them the same abortion coverage provided to other women enrolled in federal health care.

The amendment repealing the ban was offered by Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) in May and adopted, with bipartisan support, by the Senate Armed Services Committee. House and Senate negotiators agreed to include the provision in the final defense bill and both chambers passed the bill last week.

“From the time I joined the Army in 1971, I was told that my principal job as an officer was to take care of my troops. We are a step closer to accomplishing that goal today,” said Major Gen. Dennis Laich, USAR (Ret.). “Women serve with courage and distinction in every branch of our service. I applaud Senator Shaheen for her tireless work to making sure these women receive the support they deserve.”

Just prior to the bill’s passage, Gen. Colin Powell, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and secretary of state, joined dozens of military leaders in signing a letter urging congressional support for the amendment.

“This isn't about politics or ideology; it's about basic fairness and equity,” said Major General Gale Pollock, USA (Ret.). “The discriminatory policy preventing our women in uniform from receiving equal healthcare has gone on for too long and I am proud that Congress and the president have finally acted to right this wrong. Our servicewomen are fortunate to have a champion like Senator Shaheen, as well as strong supporters on the House and Senate Armed Services Committees, fighting on their behalf.”

For more information, please visit www.standwithservicewomen.org

January 3, 2013 in Abortion, Congress, President/Executive Branch, Sexual Assault | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, December 10, 2012

Sarthak Garg and Keshav Gaur on Reproductive Rights of Surrogate Mothers in India

Sarthak Garg & Keshav Gaur (both of Rajiv Gandhi National University of Law) have posted Reproduction Rights of Women: Ethical or Viable Role of Surrogate Mother on SSRN. Here is the abstract:

Reproductive behavior is governed by complex biological, cultural and psychological relations, hence reproductive health and rights must be understood within the context of relationships between men and women, communities and societies. This research encompasses with these problems which concerned about the reproductive health and rights of the women. It furthermore explains the vulnerability of women and gender biased violence against them. This paper also laid stress on the impact of men’s action over the reproductive health and rights of the women and the key initiatives to deliver reproductive rights and services to the women. Though, this paper also focuses on the rights of the surrogates’ mother and the initiatives taken by the government for the enhancement of the surrogacy and their rights in India. In this research we conceptualize the incidents related to the surrogacy and the legal issues in the global scenario. However, we also gestate the landscape of surrogacy in India, as it is new concept for India and not acceptable as well on various portfolios so we also laid focus on the social and economic background for the profound this concept in the grass root level. While construing this research we also analysis the Artificial Reproductive Technology (ART) bill, in that we critically analysis it’s positive and negative aspects for the concept of surrogacy in India. Eventually, this research also laid impact over the commissioning parents and their rights regarding surrogacy. In the conclusion our research concludes procreating a child in surrogate woman’ womb is grateful gift to those mothers who cannot conceive child.

December 10, 2012 in Assisted Reproduction, Bioethics, International, Parenthood, Pregnancy & Childbirth, Scholarship and Research, Sexual Assault | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, December 9, 2012

The Senate Approves Bill To Provide Insurance Coverage for Abortion for Military Rape Victims

The Huffington Post: Abortion for Military Rape Victims Passes Senate, by Laura Bassett:

US SenateIn a historic bipartisan vote on Tuesday, the Senate passed Sen. Jeanne Shaheen's (D-N.H.) amendment to the 2013 National Defense Authorization Act that would extend abortion insurance coverage to victims of rape in the military. If the House of Representatives decides to include the measure in its version of the defense bill, military servicewomen who have become pregnant from rape will no longer have to pay out of pocket for an abortion procedure for the first time since 1981. . . .

December 9, 2012 in Abortion, Congress, Sexual Assault | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)