Reproductive Rights Prof Blog

Editor: Caitlin E. Borgmann
CUNY School of Law

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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Comic Relief on TRAP Laws, Courtesy of The Onion

The Onion: New Anti-Abortion Legislation Requires Doctors To Scale 18-Foot Wall Surrounding Clinic:

In an effort to make certain that physicians who perform the procedure are fully qualified to do so, a new state law passed Tuesday will require Mississippi doctors to climb an 18-foot wall before entering any medical facility providing abortions.

The Clinic Fortification and Physician Excellence Act calls for the construction of concrete barriers nearly two stories tall and 4 feet thick around all clinics offering abortion services, and for physicians working at these sites to scale such barricades unassisted, a landmark piece of legislation that supporters hailed as a victory for women’s health.

“No woman, in this state or any other, should ever receive care from a medical professional incapable of climbing an 18-foot wall,” said Governor Phil Bryant . . . .

July 22, 2014 in Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP) | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, July 18, 2014

Half of Texas Abortion Clinics Have Closed in Wake of Restrictions

NPR - Shots blog: Half Of Texas Abortion Clinics Close After Restrictions Enacted, by Carrie Feibel:

In a little over a year, the number of clinics that provide abortions in Texas fell to 20 from 41, and watchdogs say that as few as six may be left by September.

Many clinics closed because of a requirement that doctors at those clinics obtain hospital admitting privileges within a certain radius of the clinic, and many doctors couldn't comply. The requirement took effect last November. This week marks the first anniversary of the state law that started it all. . . .

July 18, 2014 in State and Local News, Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP) | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Senate Judiciary Committee Holds Hearing on Women's Health Protection Act

View the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing held today, July 15, on the Women's Health Protection Act on C-Span here.

Slate - The XX Factor blog: The Democrats’ Brilliant Idea for How to Stop Unnecessary Abortion Clinic Regulations, by Amanda Marcotte:

Democrats in the Senate on Tuesday took a major step in pushing back against the growing trend of regulations that are designed to shut down safe abortion clinics. The Senate Judiciary Committee is hearing testimony on a bill introduced by Sens. Richard Blumenthal and Tammy Baldwin, a bill that would do significant damage to anti-choice efforts to go around Roe v. Wade by regulating abortion clinics out of existence. It's called the Women's Health Protection Act, and it would end the attacks on abortion clinics through one simple measure: requiring states to regulate abortion providers in exactly the same way they do other clinics and doctors who provide comparable services. No more singling out abortion providers. . . .

The New York Times - editorial:  A Defense of Reproductive Rights:

Facing a torrent of state laws restricting access to safe and legal abortions, supporters of a woman’s right to make her own childbearing decisions have been forced to play a defensive game — trying to block enactment of the laws, and, when that doesn’t work, challenging them in court. An important hearing of the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday could begin to move the dynamics of the fight in a positive direction. . . .

July 15, 2014 in Abortion, Congress, Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP) | 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)

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Senate Judiciary Committee To Hold Hearing on Women's Health Protection Act

The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing on S.1696, The Women’s Health Protection Act: Removing Barriers to Constitutionally Protected Reproductive Rights on July 15.  The hearing will be live streamed on the Committee's website.

Via the Center for Reproductive Rights:

The Women's Health Protection Act would prohibit laws and regulations that single out the provision of abortion services for restrictions that are more burdensome than those imposed on medically comparable procedures, do not significantly advance women's health or the safety of abortion services, and make abortion services more difficult to access. The bill currently has 34 co-sponsors in the Senate and 121 in the House.  It includes a list of regulations that are per se violations, which you can read here. . . .

July 9, 2014 in Congress, 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)

U.S. Supreme Court Declines To Review Preliminary Injunction of Wisconsin Admitting Privileges Law

The Huffington Post/Reuters: U.S. Supreme Court Rejects Wisconsin Abortion Case, by Lawrence Hurley:

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday declined to intervene in the legal fight over a new Wisconsin law that requires any doctor performing an abortion to have privileges to admit patients to a nearby hospital.

The justices turned away the state's appeal of a December 2013 ruling by the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that upheld a federal judge's decision to block the law temporarily. . . .

June 23, 2014 in In the Courts, Supreme Court, Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP) | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Ohio Exemplifies Incremental Strategy to Ban Abortion

ThinkProgress:  Want To Understand Why Abortion Clinics Are Disappearing? Look No Further Than Ohio, by Tara Culp-Ressler:

This week, Ohio moved closer to shutting down the last abortion clinic in Toledo, the latest installment in a yearlong battle over a harsh new law that’s threatening clinics across the state. If state officials are eventually successful in what anti-choice activists refer to as an “incremental strategy” to end women’s access to legal abortion, the women who live in the northwestern area of Ohio will quickly run out of options. . . .

June 17, 2014 in Anti-Choice Movement, Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP) | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Texas Abortion Doctors Get Admitting Privileges Reinstated

The Texas Tribune: 2 Abortion Doctors Settle Suit Over Revoked Privileges, by Becca Aaronson & Alexa Ura:

Two Texas abortion doctors who filed a lawsuit against a Dallas hospital after losing their admitting privileges have settled their case with the hospital, which will reinstate their privileges. . . .

In April, Lamar Robinson, owner of Abortion Advantage, and Jasbir Ahluwalia, the medical director of Routh Street Women’s Clinic, said they received letters from University General Hospital in Dallas revoking their admitting privileges at the hospital after anti-abortion protesters targeted the hospital. . . .

With their admitting privileges to the hospital in place, the two doctors will be able to continue providing abortion services at clinics within 30 miles of the hospital in compliance with new abortion regulations passed last summer by the Republican-led Texas Legislature. . . .

June 17, 2014 in In the Courts, Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP) | 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)

Federal Trial on Alabama TRAP Law Ends

WSFA.com:  Abortion law trial ends, ruling to come next month, by Max Reiss:

Attorneys for three abortion clinics in Alabama and the state of Alabama wrapped up their arguments in a federal trial challenging one of the state's abortion laws Monday.

Judge Myron Thompson told attorneys that they could expect his ruling on the Women's Health and Safety Act of 2013 by the end of July. . . .

June 11, 2014 in In the Courts, Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP) | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, June 9, 2014

Wisconsin Department of Justice to Pay Anti-Choice Advocate Thousands for Work as "Expert Consultant" in Trial over Admitting-Privileges Law

The Daily Page: Pro-life advocate Vincent Rue assists state in Wisconsin abortion law defense, by Judith Davidoff:

State Department of Justice lawyers were in court last week defending a 2013 Wisconsin law that requires abortion providers to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of their clinic. During the four-day bench trial before U.S. Circuit Judge William Conley, one name came up during the cross-examination of each expert witness for the state: Vincent Rue. . . .

June 9, 2014 in Anti-Choice Movement, In the Courts, Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP) | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Federal Trial on Alabama TRAP Law Opens Window on Abortion Practice in the State

Montgomery Advertiser:  5 things learned in the Alabama abortion trial, by Brian Lyman:

A trial over an Alabama law requiring abortion doctors to have hospital admitting privileges is scheduled to conclude Monday. But the closing arguments may just be the start of a lengthy appeals process, regardless of how U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson rules. . . .

The strategies of both plaintiffs and the state suggest possible issues that may come up on appeal. But testimony has also opened a window on the practice of abortion in the state, and who seeks it. . . .

June 8, 2014 in In the Courts, Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP) | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Federal Judge in Wisconsin TRAP Trial Tells Plaintiff To Make Further Efforts To Seek Admitting Privileges

ABC News:  Judge: Abortion Doctor Must Research Privileges, by Todd Richmond:

A federal judge told a Milwaukee abortion doctor Thursday to renew his efforts to obtain hospital admitting privileges, hinting that it could resolve a lawsuit alleging a Wisconsin law requiring such privileges is unconstitutional.

U.S. District Judge William Conley said he was "bewildered" that Affiliated Medical Services abortion provider Dr. Dennis Christensen and his attorneys haven't received definitive responses from any Milwaukee hospitals. He told them to demand better answers from two facilities where Christensen is seeking admitting privileges. . . .

May 29, 2014 in In the Courts, Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP) | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

What's at Stake in the Trials on Admitting Privileges Laws

Slate: Caught in a TRAP, by Emily Bazelon:

If an Alabama law and others like it stick, abortion clinics will disappear from swaths of the U.S. map.

Abortion is on trial this week in Alabama. Technically speaking, the witnesses are appearing before federal District Judge Myron Thompson to discuss a new state law that requires doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at local hospitals. That sounds reasonable, I know, but it isn’t, and it’s also not what’s at stake. This trial is about whether poor women in red (and even purple) states will continue to have access to abortion, or whether some states will succeed in shutting down every clinic within driving distance, all in the name of protecting women (from themselves). . . .

May 28, 2014 in In the Courts, Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP) | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, May 26, 2014

Watch Abortion Access in the South Disappear on this Map

Planned Parenthood: Map: Abortion in the South: Using Admitting Priveleges Laws to Restrict Safe and Legal Access, by Sasha Collins:

Since the original ruling more than 40 years ago, Americans consistently have opposed overturning Roe v. Wade.  As a result, the strategy that abortion opponents turn to is restricting and eliminating safe and legal abortion access via technicality and needless regulation.  And in several states, they’re finding success. One of the most popular tactics is called “admitted privileges.” It requires physicians who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at a local hospital. In the last year, admitting privilege requirements have passed in several states, with two more (Oklahoma and Louisiana) poised to move in the next several weeks. . . .

May 26, 2014 in Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP) | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Witnesses Testify on Abortion Safety in Third Day of Trial on Alabama Admitting Privileges Law

The Montgomery Advertiser: Doctor: Abortion safer than getting shot of penicillin, by Brian Lyman:

A Texas doctor Wednesday said a state law requiring doctors performing abortions to have admitting privileges at local hospitals was medically unnecessary and might end up harming women.

"The risk of death from live childbirth is about 8.8 per 100,000," Dr. Paul Fine, an OB-GYN and medical director of a Planned Parenthood affiliate serving Texas and Louisiana. "The risk of death from abortion is about six per 1 million. The risk of death from childbirth is about 14 times high than that of abortion." . . .

May 21, 2014 in In the Courts, Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP) | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

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)

Monday, May 19, 2014

Texas Admitting Privileges Law Burdens Women in Rio Grande Valley

USA Today: Texas abortion law creates obstacles for Valley women, by Rick Jervis:

The women who visit Lucy Felix at her advocacy center are lately faced with a slate of difficult choices: risk deportation to drive to a clinic, cross the nearby border into Mexico for a risky abortion or keep an unwanted, unplanned pregnancy to term.

Since Texas lawmakers passed new restrictions on abortion clinics last year, the number of clinics in the Rio Grande Valley that perform the service has dropped from two to zero, forcing women to drive more than 300 miles roundtrip to other cities for services or attempt riskier procedures across the border. . . .

May 19, 2014 in State and Local News, Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP) | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)