Reproductive Rights Prof Blog

Editor: Caitlin E. Borgmann
CUNY School of Law

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Thursday, April 9, 2015

Kansas and Oklahoma Pass Bans on Safe and Common Method of Second-Trimester Abortion

U.S. News & World Report: Oklahoma Approves Ban on Second-Trimester Abortion Method, by Sean Murphy:

Oklahoma would ban a common second-trimester abortion procedure that critics describe as dismembering a fetus under a measure that lawmakers overwhelmingly approved Wednesday, a day after Kansas became the first state to prohibit the same procedure.

The Senate voted 37-4 for the bill, which now goes to Republican Gov. Mary Fallin. She has not said whether she will sign it, but she has previously signed other anti-abortion measures. . . .

The New York Times: Kansas Limits Abortion Method, Opening a New Line of Attack, by Erik Eckholm & Frances Robles:

Kansas on Tuesday became the first state to sharply restrict or alter the most common technique used for second-trimester abortions, opening a new, emotionally charged line of attack by anti-abortion forces who hope to take it swiftly to other states. . . .

The New York Times (editorial): Kansas Tries to Stamp Out Abortion:

During the past four years, the state of Kansas has become ground zero in the war to criminalize all abortions, and in the process to remove a woman’s ability to control what happens in her own body.

Under Gov. Sam Brownback, a staunch foe of a woman’s right to choose, Kansas’s increasingly hard-line conservative lawmakershave enacted more than two dozen restrictions curtailing women’s reproductive freedom. . . .

On Tuesday the state went still further, becoming the first to ban the safest and by far the most common method of ending a second-trimester pregnancy, dilation and evacuation, which involves dilating the cervix and removing the fetus, often in parts. (On Wednesday, a similar bill passed the Oklahoma Legislature, and awaits the governor’s signature. Bills are also pending in Missouri and South Carolina.) . . .

April 9, 2015 in Abortion Bans, State Legislatures | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Arkansas Joins Arizona with New Law Requiring Information About Unproven "Abortion Reversal" Procedure

The Washington Post: In Arizona, Arkansas, women must be told that abortion can be ‘reversed’, by Sandhya Somashekhar:

New laws in Arkansas and Arizona require doctors to inform women that drug-induced abortions can be “reversed” mid-procedure, a claim that quickly drew charges of “junk science” from abortion-rights groups and many doctors.

The Arkansas law took effect late Monday, after Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) signed it. Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R) signed his state’s bill into law earlier this month. . . .

April 9, 2015 in Mandatory Delay/Biased Information Laws, State Legislatures | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, April 3, 2015

New Arizona Law Would Require Providers to Tell Patients About Unproven "Abortion Reversal" Process

U.S. News & World Report: Arizona Abortion Law Pushes Boundaries of What Providers Must Tell Patients, by Tierney Sneed:

An unprecedented abortion law signed by Arizona's governor this week would require providers to inform patients that a drug treatment to end pregnancy may be reversed midway through – a mandate pro-abortion rights activists are denouncing as the latest effort by a state to employ questionable science in a politically motivated effort to discourage women from undergoing the procedure. . . .

By and large, the medical community has lined up against the Arizona law.

“Claims of medication abortion reversal are not supported by the body of scientific evidence,” the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has said. . . .

April 3, 2015 in Mandatory Delay/Biased Information Laws, State Legislatures | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Some Colorado Legislators Aim to Exploit Brutal Attack on Pregnant Woman to Promote Fetal Personhood

The Daily Beast: Colorado Seeks Fetal Murder Law After Attack On Pregnant Woman, by Brandy Zadrozny:

Abortion advocates fear a gruesome attack on a pregnant woman in Colorado will be used to push through strict ‘personhood’ laws that could be used to prosecute women terminating their pregnancies.

Energized by national outrage over a grisly attack on a pregnant woman whose unborn baby died after being cut from her womb, a Colorado lawmaker is poised to push a new fetal homicide law in the state, leading to concern that Republicans might be turning a tragedy into a talking point for anti-abortion legislation. . . .

__________________________________

Anyone who believes these laws don't pose a threat to pregnant women need look no further than Indiana.

-CEB

April 3, 2015 in Fetal Rights, Pregnancy & Childbirth, State Legislatures | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Ohio House Passes Ban on Abortions as Early as Six Weeks

The Blade: Ohio House votes across party lines for 'heartbeat' abortion bill, by Jim Provance:

The Ohio House today for the second time voted across party lines for a bill that would all but ban an abortion as soon as a fetal heartbeat is detectable, as early as six weeks. . . .

March 25, 2015 in Abortion Bans, State Legislatures | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Kansas Legislature Passes Ban on Common Second-Trimester Abortion Procedure

The Wichita Eagle: Kansas lawmakers pass nation’s first ban on abortion procedure, by Brad Cooper:

The Kansas Legislature on Wednesday became the first in the country to pass a ban on a procedure often used in the second trimester of pregnancy. . . .

The Kansas House approved SB 95 on a 98-26 vote. The act now goes to Republican Gov. Sam Brownback, who has promised to sign it into law. . . .

While the bill targets a procedure, abortion-rights supporters believe it aims to limit second-trimester abortions with a long-term goal of banning all abortion.

The legislation isn’t “meant to correspond to medical reality,” said Caitlin Borgmann, a constitutional law professor at the City University of New York. . . .

March 25, 2015 in Abortion Bans, State Legislatures | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, March 21, 2015

ACLU Challenges Alabama Law that Puts Teens Seeking Abortions on Trial

Associated Press: Ala. Abortion Law Lets Judges Appoint Lawyers for Fetuses, by Kim Chandler: 

The American Civil Liberties Union on Wednesday asked a federal judge to block an Alabama law that allows a fetus to be represented in court when a minor is seeking judicial permission for an abortion.

While abortion opponents have rolled out a variety of new restrictions on abortion in recent years - including new requirements on clinics and doctors - ACLU staff attorney Andrew Beck said the Alabama law was unique. . . .

 Here's the Daily Show's take on it (from January):

March 21, 2015 in Abortion, Fetal Rights, In the Courts, State Legislatures, Teenagers and Children | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Montana House Bill Would Require 'Fetal Anesthesia' for Abortions Past 20th Week

ThinkProgress: ‘Fetal Anesthesia': The Creative New Way To Limit Abortion Access And Enshrine Bad Science Into Law, by Tara Culp-Ressler: 

Montana lawmakers are preparing to debate a proposed bill that furthers the anti-abortion strategy of emphasizing “fetal pain” — the unscientific theory that fetuses are sentient after about 20 weeks of pregnancy. An increasing number of states are moving to enact 20-week abortion bans under the guise of preventing pain that scientists agree doesn't actually exist. But Montana is taking an even more creative approach.

Under House Bill 479, drafted by State Rep. Albert Olszewski (who is an orthopedic surgeon), abortion doctors would be required to administer anesthesia to fetuses past the 20th week of pregnancy. . . .

The concept of fetal anesthesia for abortion procedures didn’t originate in Montana. It’s the next step in a carefully coordinated strategy being pioneered by pro-life activists who want to narrow the window for legal abortion services by casting the medical procedure as barbaric, and arguing that fetuses are suffering in pain. . . .

March 17, 2015 in Fetal Rights, State Legislatures | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, March 8, 2015

West Virginia Legislature Overrides Governor's Veto of 20-Week Ban

ThinkProgress: West Virginia Republicans Override Their Governor To Pass 20-Week Abortion Ban, by Tara Culp-Ressler:

On Friday, the West Virginia legislature voted to override their governor’s recent veto of a 20-week abortion ban, ensuring that the restriction will become law. Cloaked in the language of “fetal pain,” this particular policy continues to gain momentum; West Virginia will join the 10 other states that currently ban abortions after this point. . . .

March 8, 2015 in Abortion Bans, State Legislatures | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Virginia Legislature Approves Restitution to Victims of Forced Sterilization

The Roanoke Times: Forced sterilization victims in Virginia awarded compensation:

Rose Brooks would have loved to have children and a family of her own one day.

“But they said, no, no, no, you can’t,” she said.

Brooks, 73, of Lynchburg, was one of thousands affected by Virginia’s decades-long policy of involuntary sterilization of those deemed mentally unfit or inferior.

The eugenics-based practice, now renounced, was in effect from the 1920s to 1970s. . . .

March 1, 2015 in State Legislatures, Sterilization | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

West Virginia Legislature Passes 20-Week Abortion Ban

MetroNews: Fetal pain abortion bill heads to Governor, by Hoppy Kercheval:

The state Senate Wednesday passed 29-5 legislation banning abortions after 20 weeks. The bill has already cleared the House and will next go to Governor Tomblin, who vetoed a similar bill last year. . . .

February 25, 2015 in Abortion Bans, State Legislatures | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Kansas Senate Passes Ban on Common Second-Trimester Abortion Procedure

PBS: Kansas may be the first state to ban common abortion procedure, by Marina Lopes:

Kansas’ state senate on Friday approved a bill banning an abortion procedure commonly used to terminate pregnancies in the second trimester, a victory for anti-abortion activists in what could become the United States’ first ban of this method.

The procedure, known as dilation and evacuation, involves dilating the woman’s cervix and using tools to remove the fetus and any remaining tissue from the uterus. Abortion rights activists say that the procedure, which is used in about 8 percent of abortions in Kansas, is the safest and cheapest option for women looking to terminate pregnancies in the second trimester. . . .

__________________________________

When the Supreme Court upheld the federal "Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act" in Gonzales v. Carhart, the majority opinion emphasized that "[a]lternatives are available to the prohibited procedure. As we have noted, the Act does not proscribe [non-intact] D&E."  Justice Ginsburg, however, pointed out the disingenuousness of banning intact D&E on the grounds of its supposed relative gruesomeness.  She wrote in her powerful dissent:

As another reason for upholding the ban, the Court emphasizes that the Act does not proscribe the nonintact D&E procedure. But why not, one might ask. Nonintact D&E could equally be characterized as "brutal" . . . . "[T]he notion that either of these two equally gruesome procedures . . . is more akin to infanticide than the other, or that the State furthers any legitimate interest by banning one but not the other, is simply irrational."

As Justice Ginsburg recognized, allowing bans on abortion procedures because they are "gruesome" is a slippery slope with no clear end.  Kansas's proposed ban isn't about the gruesomeness of a particular procedure.  It's about banning abortions, period.

-CEB

February 22, 2015 in Abortion Bans, State Legislatures | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

2015 Offers No Reprieve From Efforts to Restrict Abortion

ThinkProgress: The Massive Push To Restrict Abortion In 2015, by Tara Culp-Ressler:

On the heels of a record-breaking number of new abortion restrictions that have been enacted over the past four years, state lawmakers are continuing to push forward with a stringent anti-abortion agenda in 2015.

By last week, states had already introduced more than 100 bills intended to regulate access to abortion, according to researchers at the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Lawmakers are working to restrict the procedure in more than half the states in the country . . . .

February 11, 2015 in Abortion Bans, State Legislatures, Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP) | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, December 5, 2014

ThinkProgress Investigates Influence of Americans United for Life on State Legislatures

ThinkProgress: Inside The Highly Sophisticated Group That’s Quietly Making It Much Harder To Get An Abortion, by Erica Hellerstein:

. . . Not unlike the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), AUL functions as de facto legislation mill for like-minded politicians and on-the-ground anti-abortion activist groups — offering model legislation that, according to itswebsite, “enables legislators to easily introduce bills without needing to research and write the bills themselves.” The organization operates in relative obscurity despite its exceptionally far reach. According to an email obtained by ThinkProgress that was sent to AUL supporters, the group is responsible for one third (74) of the 200-plus anti-abortion laws that have passed since 2010. . . .

December 5, 2014 in Abortion, Anti-Choice Movement, State Legislatures, Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP) | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Republican Gains in November Elections Portend More Abortion Restrictions

Politico: The coming wave of anti-abortion laws, by Paige Winfield Cunningham:

New GOP state legislatures will make access to abortion harder than ever.

The big Republican gains in the November elections strengthened and enlarged the anti-abortion forces in the House and the Senate. But it’s the GOP victories in the statehouses and governor’s mansions that are priming the ground for another round of legal restrictions on abortion. . . .

November 29, 2014 in Abortion, Politics, State Legislatures, Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP) | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Shoddy "Factfinding" on Abortion Is Pervasive in State Legislatures, and Often Finds Its Way to the Courts

RH Reality Check: How Shoddy Evidence Finds Its Way From State Legislatures to the U.S. Supreme Court, by Sharona Coutts & Sofia Resnick:

If you were a South Dakota legislator looking for expert evidence on how abortion affects women, the obvious choice would be an electrical engineer based in Illinois.

Right?

It may sound absurd, but that is precisely who lawmakers cited in 2005, when they gathered testimony for a report by the South Dakota Task Force to Study Abortion. . . .

It’s a pattern that is all too familiar in state legislators around the United States, said Caitlin Borgmann, a law professor at the City University of New York who is an expert in the role of courts and legislatures in protecting constitutional rights. . . .

Check out RH Reality Check's False Witnesses Gallery:

Each member of the False Witnesses gallery has pushed false information designed to mislead the public, lawmakers, and the courts about abortion. RH Reality Check analyzed scores of public records, contracts, public statements, and research articles, and identified their key falsehoods in order to set the record straight. . . .

November 20, 2014 in Abortion, In the Courts, State Legislatures | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, September 12, 2014

Missouri Republicans Override Veto to Enact 72-Hour Waiting Period for Abortions

Kansas City Star - The Buzz blog: Missouri Republicans override Gov. Jay Nixon’s veto of 72-hour abortion waiting period, by Jason Hancock:

Missouri Republicans made history late Wednesday night, turning to a rarely-used procedural move to kill a filibuster and force into law a bill tripling the waiting period to have an abortion.

Senate Minority Leader Jolie Justus, a Kansas City Democrat, led a filibuster of the bill that requires women to wait 72-hours after consulting a doctor before having an abortion. The current waiting period is 24 hours. There is no exception for victims of rape or incest. . . .

September 12, 2014 in Mandatory Delay/Biased Information Laws, State Legislatures | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Massachusetts Senate Passes New Abortion Clinic Protection Legislation

Reuters: Massachusetts lawmakers take up bill on abortion clinic buffer zones, by Elizabeth Barber:

Massachusetts lawmakers took up consideration on Wednesday of a bill to limit protests around abortion clinics after the U.S. Supreme Court last month struck down an earlier law that kept demonstrators at least 35 feet (9 meters) from clinic entrances.

The new bill would allow police to issue a dispersal order if at least two demonstrators are found to be blocking patient or staff access to abortion clinics. Such an order would bar protesters from coming within 25 feet (7.6 meters) of the clinic's entrance for a maximum of eight hours. . . .

Boston Herald/AP:  Senate approves abortion clinic safety bill:

The Massachusetts Senate scrambled Wednesday to pass a bill designed to tighten security around abortion clinics.

The bill, filed Monday, was the subject of a public hearing Wednesday. Hours later the full Senate approved it on a voice vote, meaning no individual votes were recorded. . . .

July 16, 2014 in Abortion, State Legislatures | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, July 14, 2014

Fewer Abortion Restrictions Enacted in the First Half of 2014

Guttmacher Institute: States Continue to Enact Abortion Restrictions in First Half of 2014, But at a Lower Level Than in the Previous Years:

So far this year, 13 states have adopted 21 new restrictions designed to limit access to abortion, about half the number (41) of similar restrictions that had been enacted by this point last year. These restrictions range from requirements that abortion providers have admitting privileges at local hospitals to bans on insurance coverage to limitations on medication abortion. At the same time, and building on momentum from last year, three states moved to protect access to abortion services, while four states and the District of Columbia took steps to improve access to other reproductive health services...

Several reasons exist for the drop in abortion restrictions. Some of the decline is the result of cyclical trends, as states historically have shorter sessions in election years and some state legislatures that have been particularly active on abortion issues (Montana, Nevada, North Dakota and Texas) are not in session in even-number years (see A Surge of State Abortion Restrictions Puts Providers—and the Women They Serve—in the Crosshairs). In addition, an array of other issues (responses to the heroin epidemic, the expansion of full-benefit Medicaid as allowed by the Affordable Care Act, the common core educational initiative and minimum wage increases) moved to the front burner in many legislatures, perhaps limiting legislative attention to abortion. . . .

July 14, 2014 in Abortion, State Legislatures, Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP) | 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)