Monday, November 25, 2013
The Wall Street Journal: Abortion Fight Hits Tennessee, by Cameron McWhirter:
The battleground over abortion is shifting to Tennessee, where campaigns are heating up on a referendum that is a year away.
The referendum, pushed by anti-abortion groups for years, would add an amendment to the state constitution stating, "Nothing in this Constitution secures or protects a right to abortion or requires the funding of an abortion." The amendment would apply to all abortions, including those stemming from "circumstances of pregnancy resulting from rape or incest or when necessary to save the life of the mother." . . .
Sunday, November 24, 2013
West Virginia Gazette-Mail: Poll: Plurality of W.Va. voters oppose more abortion regulations, by Lori Kersey:
A new poll commissioned by an abortion rights agency suggests that West Virginians do not support more regulations that some say are meant to close abortion clinics.
Planned Parenthood sponsored the poll, which found that 49 percent of voters in West Virginia oppose adding more restrictions to the state's abortion clinics. Twenty-eight percent of people support more restrictions and 23 percent are not sure, according to the poll. . . .
Saturday, November 23, 2013
Reuters: Planned Parenthood clinic in Austin, Texas, resumes abortion services, by Lisa Maria Garza:
A Planned Parenthood clinic in Austin, Texas, resumed abortion services on Friday under strict new state rules, the organization said, but 11 other abortion clinics in the state are still not performing the procedure.
Planned Parenthood said its Austin doctor had received admitting privileges at a nearby hospital, a requirement under the new law. The clinic had closed on October 31 when the law was enacted after a federal appeals court overturned a lower-court ruling that said the law was an undue burden on women seeking abortions. . . .
MSNBC: Female voters defeated Albuquerque abortion ban, by Irin Carmon:
Earlier this week, voters in Albuquerque voted down a city-wide measure that would have banned abortion after 20 weeks, by a ten-point margin. According to voter data analyzed by ProgressNowNM, the pro-choice side has women to thank for it. . . .
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.” . . .
Thursday, November 21, 2013
Arizona Asks Supreme Court to Reinstate Its Law Denying Medicaid Funding To Medical Providers That Offer Abortion
AZcentral.com: Arizona again asks Supreme Court to look at abortion law, by Alia Beard Rau:
For the second time in as many months, an Arizona official has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to reinstate a controversial state abortion law.
Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne on Wednesday asked the nation’s highest court to rule on a law that strips Medicaid funding from doctors and clinics that perform abortions.
House Bill 2800, which the Legislature passed and Gov. Jan Brewer signed in 2012, would have halted Medicaid reimbursements for contraceptives, cancer screenings, treatment for sexually transmitted diseases and annual women’s exams at more than 80 Arizona hospitals and clinics that also perform abortions. . . .
Wednesday, November 20, 2013
Center for Reproductive Rights and the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health: The Fight for Women's Reproductive Health in the Rio Grande Valley:
In late 2012 and early 2013, the Center for Reproductive Rights and the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health documented the impact of state funding cuts to family planning services on women in the Rio Grande Valley. This report draws from their stories to show how funding cuts to women’s preventive services are more than failed policies—they are violations of their human rights. . . .
The New York Times: Albuquerque Voters Defeat Anti-Abortion Referendum, by Fernanda Santos:
Voters here on Tuesday defeated a ballot question that sought to ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, delivering a critical setback to an anti-abortion movement that had sought to use this progressive city to recalibrate the national debate around women’s reproductive rights. . . .
Tuesday, November 19, 2013
The American Prospect: 20-Week Abortion Bans: Coming to a City Near You?, by Amelia Thompson-Deveaux:
If you want to take a plunge into the roiling id of the anti-choice movement, go to Albuquerque, New Mexico. Tomorrow, the half-million residents of the state's most populous city will vote on a ballot measure that would ban abortion after 20 weeks. . . .
If the ballot measure passes on Tuesday, it could go into effect as soon as early December. But it will almost certainly face a legal challenge. Caitlin Borgmann, a professor of law at the City University of New York, says there are a couple of tacks the measure’s opponents, who will likely be led by the ACLU of New Mexico, could take. In addition to arguing that the 20-week ban violates the precedent set by Roe v. Wade, they could contend that the restriction runs afoul of New Mexico’s Equal Rights Amendment. But, she adds, any court would be wading into unchartered waters. “It’s a clever new tactic,” Borgmann says. “It’s a sign that [anti-choice activists] have realized that they may be able to achieve locally what they can’t do statewide, particularly when you’re talking about something like later abortions when you have so few providers.”
TIME: Vote Lands Albuquerque at Center of Abortion Battle, by Grace Wyler:
National groups collide in New Mexico's largest city as residents weigh the first municipal ban of late-term abortions in the U.S.
Students leaving afternoon classes at the University of New Mexico last Thursday were greeted with a raucous spectacle: abortion protesters had flooded the campus, passing out flyers and occasionally yelling slurs from across the quad. . . .
This circus has become familiar in Albuquerque, where city residents will vote Tuesday on the nation’s first-ever municipal referendum to ban abortions after 20 weeks. The vote — which would effectively end late-term abortions in New Mexico — has turned this low-key, progressive city of a half million people into the latest flash point in the abortion culture wars. . . .
Wednesday, November 13, 2013
20-Week Abortion Ban May Be Languishing in U.S. Senate, but Anti-Choice Advocates Pursue Same Measure Locally Via Albuquerque Ballot Initiative
The Washington Post: Albuquerque’s considering the abortion ban languishing in the Senate, by Niraj Chokshi:
In a week and a day, voters in Albuquerque, N.M., may succeed where Congress is stalled: They could ban abortions at or after 20 weeks of pregnancy.
Last week, a measure to ban the practice was introduced in the Senate after a similar bill passed the House in June. But even the bill’s sponsor, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), doesn’t expect it to garner enough votes to pass. Its fate may be at best uncertain and at worst doomed federally, but voters in Albuquerque will have a chance to weigh in on what could be the nation’s first such ban at the city level next Tuesday. And proponents see it as part of a new strategy that involves pushing abortion restrictions at the local — rather than state or federal — level. . . .
Sunday, November 10, 2013
Al Jazeera America: Texas abortion ban forces sick woman out of state, by Carolyn Jones:
As access dwindles because of anti-abortion laws, low-income women must rely on volunteer aid for travel
. . . as a recent wave of anti-abortion legislation has swept the nation and forced abortion clinics to close, paying for an abortion isn’t the only problem. Physical access is a real and growing barrier. The Huffington Post reported this summer that more than 50 abortion clinics have closed in the last three years. In Texas last week, another 15 clinics shut their doors overnight after a law went into effect requiring doctors to have local hospital admitting privileges . . . .
Sunday, November 3, 2013
Bloomberg.com editorial: Don’t Let Texas Restrict Abortion Again:
You can’t fault Texas for inconsistency. It first criminalized abortion in 1854, and Roe v. Wadearose from a lawsuit in Dallas County. That 1973 Supreme Court ruling, which protects a woman’s right to have an abortion, is still the law of the land.
It’s a point worth keeping mind in view of last week’s legal roller coaster in Texas. . . .
Saturday, November 2, 2013
MSNBC: 'I'm showing my son mercy', by Irin Carmon:
. . . Oklahomans brag that theirs has become the reddest state. Republicans hold super majorities in both chambers and every single seat in the U.S. Congress. Republican Mary Fallin is governor. Every single Oklahoma county rejected Barack Obama–twice. The changed political landscape allowed Oklahoma to become a staging ground for the anti-choice movement’s strategy to undermine Roe v. Wade, one seemingly narrow restriction at a time.
“We are the guinea pigs,” said Ryan Kiesel, a former state lawmaker who is executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Oklahoma. . . .
Thursday, October 31, 2013
Fifth Circuit Grants Texas Emergency Stay of Trial Court's Injunction: Onerous Admitting Privileges Law Will Go Into Effect, Eliminating Abortion Services At Many Clinics
CNN: Federal court reinstates key part of Texas abortion law, by Dana Ford:
A federal appeals court Thursday reinstated a key part of a new Texas abortion law, considered to be among the most restrictive in the country.
The decision came three days after a federal judge struck down the provision, which requires doctors to obtain admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of the clinic at which they're providing abortion services. . . .
ACLU press release: Appeals Court Allows Unconstitutional Texas Abortion Restrictions to Take Effect While Legal Challenge Proceeds:
Providers Pledge to Continue to Fight for their Patients
AUSTIN - A federal appeals court ruled today that part of a Texas anti-abortion law that was struck down Monday by a district court will be allowed to take effect while legal challenges proceed. The provisions will cause at least one-third of the state's licensed health centers that currently provide abortion to stop offering the service immediately.
The law was initially challenged by more than a dozen women's health care providers represented by the American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of Texas, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, the Center for Reproductive Rights, and the law firm of George Brothers Kincaid & Horton. The district court ruled Monday that a provision that requires doctors to have admitting privileges at a local hospital is not rationally related to ensuring patient safety, and that the requirement would place a substantial obstacle in the path of women seeking abortion. Following the state's emergency request, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled today that the provisions can take effect while the case moves forward.
"We will continue to fight to preserve access to abortion services in Texas," said Brigitte Amiri, senior staff attorney with the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project. "This law is unconscionable. As the district court found, it does not further patient safety, and it will shut down many clinics across the state."
"The result of this ruling is not academic," said Terri Burke, executive director of the ACLU of Texas. "Women in many parts of the state will lose access to care they count on because clinics will close. If the State of Texas cares about women's health and safety, as it claims, it should take steps to reduce the need for abortion rather than closing clinics in already underserved parts of the state."
For more information on this case, please visit: www.aclu.org/reproductive-freedom/planned-parenthood-v-abbott
Monday, October 28, 2013
Center for Reproductive Rights: Court Decision Protects Abortion Access for Most Women in Texas, But Upholds Restrictions on Medication Abortion:
Ruling blocks provision that would have made safe, legal abortion non-existent for one in three Texas women
After a three day trial, a federal court today permanently struck down one provision of a recently enacted, deeply unpopular law—a measure that would have made safe and legal abortion services for one-third of women in Texas virtually impossible to access.
While U.S. District Court Judge Lee Yeakel blocked implementation of a requirement that all abortion providers obtain admitting privileges at a local hospital, today’s ruling has allowed another harmful measure to take effect on October 29—one that severely restricts the use of medication abortion, a safe and effective method to end an early pregnancy. . . .
ACLU Blog of Rights: Court to Texas: Abortion Law Serves No Valid Purpose, by Brigitte Amiri:
In a crucial victory for Texas women and families, a federal district court held unconstitutional a law requiring physicians who provide abortions to have admitting privileges at a local hospital. The Texas court based its decision on evidence showing that the law would not protect women in any way, and would have a devastating effect on women in the state. Indeed, the court expressly found that the law has “no rational relationship to improved patient care” and serves no “valid purpose.” That is why leading medical experts, including the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the Texas Hospital Association, all opposed the law.
The importance of today’s ruling cannot be overstated. . . .
Saturday, October 26, 2013
The fight over abortion in Texas is being played out in federal court, where abortion rights activists are challenging a new state law.
The measure bans abortions at 20 weeks, adds building requirements for clinics and places more rules on doctors who perform abortions. Some clinics have shut down, saying they can't comply with the law set to go into effect Oct. 29. . . .
Listen to the story here.
Tuesday, October 22, 2013
ACLU, Planned Parenthood, and Center for Reproductive Rights in Court to Block Law That Would Prevent Thousands of Women from Obtaining Abortion Care
AUSTIN, Texas – A federal district court today is holding a trial in a case filed last month against a state law that would prevent more than 22,000 women each year from obtaining safe and legal abortion care. The lawsuit was filed by the American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of Texas, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, and the Center for Reproductive Rights on behalf of more than a dozen women’s health care providers.
“If this law is allowed to take effect it will have a devastating effect on women throughout the state. In Texas and across the country politicians are trying to prevent women from accessing safe and legal abortion, and it must stop,” said Brigitte Amiri, senior staff attorney with the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project.
The provisions being challenged in court today require abortion providers to unnecessarily obtain admitting privileges at a local hospital, and they severely restrict the use of medication abortion. The admitting privileges requirement could force at least one-third of the state’s licensed health centers that provide abortion to stop providing that service. No other medical professionals are required to have admitting privileges.
“This bill was intended from the start to limit women’s medical options rather than promote women’s health,” said Terri Burke, executive director of the ACLU of Texas. “The people of Texas opposed this law as a political tool that insulted the intelligence and undermined the well-being of women and their families, and the courts should make sure that the law is never allowed to take effect.”
For more information on this case, please visit: www.aclu.org/reproductive-freedom/planned-parenthood-v-abbott
Dallas News - Trailblazers blog: Court takes on state’s new sweeping abortion law, by Christy Hoppe:
Abortion providers sought to derail a new Texas law before it goes into effect next week, telling a federal court on Monday that it could harm women’s health by shuttering clinics and forcing women to take abortion pills in outmoded ways with greater risks.
“It turns back the clock two decades,” testified Dr. Paul Fine, chief medical officer for Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast.
But Texas Solicitor General Jonathan Mitchell said the law does not place undue burdens on abortion patients. And in a change from supporters who have always said the law is about protecting the health of women, Mitchell said that is only part of the equation. . . .
A Sedgwick County judge said Tuesday he will decide in five to 10 days whether to dismiss a protection from stalking order against a Wichita pastor accused of harassing the director of a Wichita clinic that provides abortions. . . .
Sunday, October 20, 2013
NBC Washington: Va. Gov. Candidates Battle over Abortion:
In the Virginia governor's race, the perennial hot-button issue of abortion keeps creeping into the dialogue.
Each candidate portrays the other as an extremist, although on opposite ends of the spectrum, on an issue that could have an impact in a state where 54 percent of the approximately 4.8 million voters are women. Polls have shown Democrat Terry McAuliffe with a wide lead over Republican Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli among female voters. . . .
Wednesday, October 16, 2013
The Columbus Dispatch: More Ohio Abortion Clinics Closing, by Darrel Rowland & Alex Felser:
With the closure of two more abortion clinics and a third on the brink of shutting down, Ohio women will have fewer places to terminate pregnancies than perhaps anytime since the years after the Roe v. Wade ruling in 1973. . . .