Reproductive Rights Prof Blog

Editor: Caitlin E. Borgmann
CUNY School of Law

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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)

Anti-Choice Activists Plan 2015 Legislative Agenda for Already Beleaguered Ohio

The Columbus Dispatch: Abortion Battles May Increase in Ohio, by Kristen Mitchell:

Anti-abortion-rights activists in Ohio are working on a legislative agenda for 2015 that could continue to chip away at access to abortion.

Already this year, one clinic is in danger of closing because of a provision in last year’s budget and three others face the same outcome. In addition, legislation regulating how abortions are paid for has been introduced. . . .

June 23, 2014 in Anti-Choice Movement, State Legislatures, Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP) | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Louisiana Law Would Force Brain Dead Pregnant Women to Incubate Fetuses

Jezebel: Awful Law Would Force Brain Dead Pregnant Women to Incubate Fetuses, by Erin Gloria Ryan:

A new law waiting to be signed into law by Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal would require that pregnant and brain dead women be kept on life support, regardless of the stated wishes of her family. If the pro-life crowd is trying to disprove accusations that they only care about women to the extent that they are incubators for fetuses, they're not doing a great job. . . .

According to MSNBC's Clare Kim, the HR 1274, which easily sailed through Louisiana's conservative state legislature last week, would require that pregnant women who become mentally incapacitated remain attached to life support, even if her husband or family members would like her to be unplugged and allowed to die. The only exceptions to this rule are if a woman explicitly wrote in her legal will that she doesn't wish to be artificially kept alive if pregnant and incapacitated, or if she's less than 20 weeks pregnant. Conservative governor and IRL Kenneth the Page Bobby Jindal is likely to sign the bill into law; yesterday, he decided that a Baptist church was an appropriate setting in which to sign a law that will close many of the state's abortion clinics. . . .

June 23, 2014 in Fetal Rights, Pregnancy & Childbirth, State Legislatures | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

No Abortion Laws Passed in South Carolina in 2014

Think Progress: South Carolina Law Makers Buck the Trend and Give up on Attacking Abortion Rights, by Tara Culp-Ressler:

As harsh abortion clinic restrictions spread across the South, threatening to leave a large swath of the country without access to reproductive health services, one state is bucking the trend. Lawmakers in South Carolina concluded their legislative session this week without passing measures to further restrict abortion rights. . . .

This year, the South Carolina legislature was considering two of the most popular pieces of legislation to limit access to abortion: a bill to criminalize the procedure after 20 weeks and a bill to require abortion providers to have admitting privileges form local hospitals. On top of that, some lawmakers were pushing extreme measures that could have defined life as beginning at conception. But none of those bills made it to the governor’s desk — giving women’s health groups cause for celebration. . . .

June 11, 2014 in Abortion Bans, State Legislatures, Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP) | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Louisiana Legislature Passes Admitting Privileges Requirement for Abortion Providers

The Advocate: New restrictions planned for La. abortion clinics, by Melinda Deslatte:

Doctors who perform abortions in Louisiana will be required to have the ability to admit patients to a nearby hospital, a restriction that abortion-rights groups say will shutter three of the state’s five clinics.

With no debate Wednesday, the House voted 88-5 to send House Bill 388 by state Rep. Katrina Jackson to the desk of Gov. Bobby Jindal. The Republican governor supports the proposal and intends to sign it into law. . . .

May 21, 2014 in State Legislatures, Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP) | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Missouri Legislature Sends 72-Hour Waiting Period Bill to Governor

CNN: Missouri lawmakers approve three-day abortion waiting period, by Faith Karimi & Jennifer Feldman:

Missouri lawmakers gave final approval to a measure that requires a woman to wait 72 hours from her initial doctor's visit before she gets an abortion.

The Republican-controlled House voted 111-39 in favor of the legislation late Wednesday.

Gov. Jay Nixon, a Democrat, has not said whether he'll sign it. . . .

May 17, 2014 in Mandatory Delay/Biased Information Laws, State Legislatures | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Missouri Senate Passes 72-Hour Waiting Period for Abortions

ACLU news release:  Ignoring Women’s Protest, Missouri Senate Passes Bill Tripling Time Women Must Delay their Abortions:

Jefferson City, Mo. –In the face of a substantial overnight protest on the capitol steps, early this morning the Missouri Senate passed a bill that forces a woman who has already met with her health care professional and decided to have an abortion to delay getting the medical care she needs for at least 3 days.   Missouri law had already required women to delay their abortions for 24 hours. The bill now goes back to the House, which has already passed a similar bill.

Women have been gathering in front of the capitol since 2 p.m. Monday for an ongoing filibuster in protest of the bill. They stayed throughout the night and have vowed to continue their protest for 72 hours.

“Once again, legislators are interfering with a personal, private decision made by a woman with her family and her doctor,” said Jennifer Dalven, director of the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project. “It’s time for all of us to take out our pink Wendy Davis sneakers and let our elected representatives know that we won’t stand by while they play politics with women’s health.”  

This legislative session alone, Missouri has considered more than two dozen bills designed to prevent a woman from getting an abortion. Earlier this year, Missouri Rep. Chuck Gatschenberger compared a woman’s decision about whether to continue a pregnancy to buying a new car or carpet. 

In fact, women who decide to have an abortion have already carefully considered their decision. There is only one health center in Missouri that provides abortions. This law forces women to make additional trips to the clinic which makes it more costly for women and forces them to find additional child care and take additional days off of work. 

This is especially burdensome for low-income women and rural women, who often can’t take extra days off work or travel long distances.

If this bill becomes law, Missouri will join South Dakota and Utah as the only states with a 72-hour forced waiting period. 

May 14, 2014 in Mandatory Delay/Biased Information Laws, State Legislatures | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, May 12, 2014

Missouri Activists Stage 72-Hour "Women's Filibuster" To Protest 72-Hour Waiting Period Bill

MSNBC: LIVE NOW: 72-hour Missouri abortion filibuster, by Irin Carmon:

Missouri progressive activists are staging a nonstop, 72-hour “women’s filibuster” on the steps of the Missouri State Capitol building today to protest an abortion bill that would force a woman to wait three days between two clinic visits before having an abortion.

The activists’ hope is to prevent Republicans in the state Senate from breaking a Democratic filibuster on the bill, which already passed the House. The legislative session ends Friday. . . .

May 12, 2014 in Mandatory Delay/Biased Information Laws, Pro-Choice Movement, State Legislatures | 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)

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Alabama House Passes 4 Abortion Measures, Including 6-week Abortion Ban

Incredibly, the 6-week ban passed the house 73-29:

WSFA:  Alabama House passes 4 abortion bills:

Four abortion bills are headed to the Alabama Senate after being approved by the Alabama House of Representatives Tuesday.

House representatives voted to ban abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected. A fetal heartbeat can be detected as early as six weeks into a pregnancy. Both sides of the abortion debate agree the proposal could end up banning most abortions. . . .

March 4, 2014 in Abortion Bans, State Legislatures | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Gov. Brewer Vetoes Offensive Arizona Bill Sanctioning Discrimination Against Gays and Lesbians, But Abortion Seen as Fair Game

The New York Times: Day After Governor’s Veto, Arizona Takes Up Abortion Clinics, by Fernanda Santos:

A day after being reprimanded by Gov. Jan Brewer, a Republican, for failing to heed her call for action on the budget and the state’s child welfare agency, Arizona’s Republican-led House of Representatives promptly took up a new piece of social legislation on Thursday that would permit the surprise inspection of abortion clinics in the state.

The measure, which would also require the clinics to report “whenever an infant is born alive after a botched abortion,” was championed by the Center for Arizona Policy, the same powerful Evangelical Christian group that pushed a bill Ms. Brewer vetoed on Wednesday  that would have made it easier for businesses to refuse service to gay men, lesbians and other people on religious grounds. . . . 

The New York Times -- opinion column: Arizona Sort of Helps Out, by Gail Collins: 

It’s been quite a week in Arizona. First, the Legislature passed a bill that, in effect, gave businesses the right to discriminate against gay couples. The state’s actual business community was horrified. Everybody from Mitt Romney to Newt Gingrich was ticked off.

Gov. Jan Brewer vetoed the bill, pointing out acerbically that the lawmakers had not managed to send her anything whatsoever on critical issues — like, say, the budget — while they labored with remarkable efficiency on behalf of theologically troubled wedding photographers.

Chastened, the very same elected officials trotted back to their posts and immediately took up the subject of surprise inspections of abortion clinics. . . .

March 1, 2014 in Abortion, State Legislatures | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Alabama Lawmaker Defends Her Anti-Choice Efforts with Comparison to Civil Rights Movement

ThinkProgress: Meet The Lawmaker Who’s Trying To End Abortion In Alabama, by Tara Culp-Ressler:

On Tuesday, a panel of Alabama lawmakers advanced four stringent anti-abortion bills that would prevent women in the state from exercising their reproductive rights. The proposed legislation would ban abortions after just six weeks; force women to wait 48 hours before getting an abortion; make it more difficult for minors to end an unwanted pregnancy; and impose more emotional trauma on women who choose to have an abortion after discovering lethal fetal abnormalities. . . .

State officials are already warning that the heartbeat bill will provoke an immediate legal challenge. But the lawmaker who proposed the six-week abortion ban, Rep. Mary Sue McClurkin (R), is unperturbed. “I’m not really concerned about the challenges. We’ve had challenges before. We wouldn’t have some of the things we have now if it hadn’t been for Brown versus Board of Education,” McClurkin told a local ABC News affiliate, referring to the landmark court ruling that desegregated schools. . . .

February 27, 2014 in Abortion Bans, Anti-Choice Movement, State Legislatures | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

South Dakota House Passes Sex Selection Abortion Ban

MSNBC.com: Gender-based abortion ban gets green light, by Traci G. Lee:

The South Dakota House approved a bill last week that would make gender-based abortions illegal in response to concerns that families around the world value males over females.

House Bill 1162 would “prohibit the practice of sex-selective abortions” in South Dakota, adding further restrictions to the state’s restrictive abortion laws. As Mother Jones reported Tuesday, HB 1162 passed the Republican-controlled House by a vote of 60 to 10, paving the way for South Dakota to become the eighth state in the country to ban sex-selective abortions. . . .

February 26, 2014 in Abortion Bans, State Legislatures | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

West Virginia House Passes 20-Week Abortion Ban

The Charleston Gazette: House passes 20-week abortion ban, by Phil Kabler:

Legislation that would make it a felony to perform abortions on fetuses after 20 weeks' gestation passed an emotionally charged House of Delegates late Tuesday evening on a 79-17 vote. . . .

February 26, 2014 in Abortion Bans, State Legislatures | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

More on Legislative and Litigation Outlook for Abortion in 2014

Politico: Shifting strategies for state abortion battles in 2014, by Natalie Villacorta:

Conservative states that ran into legal trouble passing some of the most restrictive abortion laws in the nation last year have shifted their approach for 2014: smaller instead of sweeping.

Rather than bans that directly challenge Roe v. Wade, many states are again going for more incremental measures that address the physical space requirements of clinics, physicians’ qualifications and the use of certain procedures. The move is hardly a retreat, abortion opponents say, but rather a strategic decision that they expect could be nearly as effective in less time. . . .

Texas may continue to be a key test case in 2014. About a dozen clinics have shut since a law took effect there in October requiring abortion providers to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles. . . .

The 5th Circuit heard the case Monday, and it’s likely to uphold the statute, said law professor Caitlin Borgmann of City University of New York. Borgmann, who has worked extensively on reproductive rights, expects the case ultimately to go before the Supreme Court. . . .

January 7, 2014 in Abortion, Anti-Choice Movement, In the Courts, State Legislatures | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Outlook for Abortion Legislation and Litigation in 2014

The New York Times: Access to Abortion Falling as States Pass Restrictions, by Erik Eckholm:

A three-year surge in anti-abortion measures in more than half the states has altered the landscape for abortion access, with supporters and opponents agreeing that the new restrictions are shutting some clinics, threatening others and making it far more difficult in many regions to obtain the procedure.

Advocates for both sides are preparing for new political campaigns and court battles that could redefine the constitutional limits for curbing the right to abortion set by the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision and later modifications by the Supreme Court.

. . . A partial test is expected this month, when the Supreme Court announces whether it will hear Arizona’s appeal to reinstate its 20-week ban, which was overturned by federal courts. . . .

“If they take the Arizona case, it seems like at least four of the justices are willing to reconsider the viability line as the point at which states can ban abortions,” said Caitlin Borgmann, an expert on reproductive rights at the City University of New York School of Law. . . .

January 4, 2014 in Abortion Bans, In the Courts, State Legislatures, Supreme Court, Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP) | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)