Friday, March 25, 2016

"Michigan Satanists Defend Planned Parenthood on Good Friday"

The Daily Beast's Samantha Allen shares this story about The Satanic Temple's (TST) efforts to combat anti-abortion legislation around the country. Recently, several members of Detroit's local chapter travelled to Ann Arbor, Michigan to stage a "Sanctions of the Cross" procession, a Imagesperformance meant to satirize an anti-abortion group's "Ways of the Cross" protest in which members "kneel outside abortion clinics...and pray for 'victims' of abortion, moving through the twelve stations of the cross." Allen writes:

At the counter-protest, Satanic Temple members walked behind the cross-bearing [chapter director] wearing suits bearing the names of the Michigan legislators who sponsored the recent anti-abortion bills. Behind them, an activist wore a leather jacket emblazoned with a middle finger and held up a grayscale American flag.


The Satanic Temple—especially the Detroit Chapter—has a history of counter-protesting religious displays and anti-abortion protests. In 2014, for example, they displayed a “Snaketivity” on the lawn of the Michigan Capitol building in response to the nativity scene being permitted on government property.


In 2015, they counter-protested anti-abortion Planned Parenthood picketers in Ferndale[, Mich.] with a theatrical display in which men dressed as priests poured milk over bound women kneeling in front of the clinic, resulting in the extraordinary Michigan Live headline: “Detroit-area Satanists doused with milk at Planned Parenthood protest.”

Last May, the group also filed lawsuits challenging anti-abortion legislation in Missouri.

The religious organization filed state and federal lawsuits over Missouri’s mandatory 72-hour pre-abortion waiting period, which is one of the longest in the country. Their legal argument, as Vice reported, borrowed heavily from the Hobby Lobby decision by claiming that they should be permitted to claim a religious exemption from the abortion restriction. The move sparked outrage among anti-abortion activists.

In case you're wondering what TST's all about, here's a brief description from the group's website:

It is the position of The Satanic Temple that religion can, and should, be divorced from superstition. As such, we do not promote a belief in a personal Satan. To embrace the name Satan is to embrace rational inquiry removed from supernaturalism and archaic tradition-based superstitions. The Satanist should actively work to hone critical thinking and exercise reasonable agnosticism in all things. Our beliefs must be malleable to the best current scientific understandings of the material world — never the reverse...


Satan is symbolic of the Eternal Rebel in opposition to arbitrary authority, forever defending personal sovereignty even in the face of insurmountable odds. Satan is an icon for the unbowed will of the unsilenced inquirer… the heretic who questions sacred laws and rejects all tyrannical impositions. Ours is the literary Satan best exemplified by Milton and the Romantic Satanists, from Blake to Shelley, to Anatole France.

The protesting appears to have been entirely peaceful on both sides. 

March 25, 2016 in Abortion | Permalink | Comments (0)

Federal judge strikes down Alabama's anti-abortion restrictions

This local article reports:

A federal judge has permanently struck down an Alabama law that required abortion doctors to obtain admitting privileges at a local hospital.


U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson entered the order Friday declaring the state abortion law, which had previously blocked the state from enforcing, as unconstitutional. Thompson says the law would make it impossible for a woman to obtain an abortion in much of the state.


State abortion clinics had filed a lawsuit in 2013 challenging the requirement as unnecessary and an undue burden on women's right to access abortion services.


Alexa Kolbi-Molinas, an American Civil Liberties Union, says the ruling protects women's access to legal abortion.


The decision comes as the U.S. Supreme Court considers whether a similar Texas law is constitutional.

March 25, 2016 in Abortion | Permalink | Comments (149)

Sunday, December 21, 2014

"Abortion and the Constitutional Right (Not) to Procreate"

The title of this post comes from this paper by Professor Mary Ziegler, the abstract of which states:

With the growing use of assisted reproductive technology (“ART”), courts have to reconcile competing rights to seek and avoid procreation. Often, in imagining the boundaries of these rights, judges turn to abortion jurisprudence for guidance.

This move sparks controversy. On the one hand, abortion case law may provide the strongest constitutional foundation for scholars and advocates seeking rights to access ART or avoid unwanted parenthood. On the other hand, abortion jurisprudence carries normative and political baggage: a privacy framework that disadvantages poor women and a history of intense polarization.

This article uses the legal history of struggle over spousal consent abortion restrictions as a new way into the debate about the relationship between ART and existing reproductive rights. Such laws would require women to notify or obtain consent from their husbands before a doctor can perform an abortion. Scholars use spousal-consultation laws to illustrate the sex stereotypes supposedly underlying all abortion restrictions. This article tells a far more complex story. When feminists and pro-lifers battled about spousal consent in the 1970s, they wrestled with many of the questions motivating current battles about ART: Do women enjoy a unique role in child-rearing and childbearing? Does gestation, caretaking, or a genetic connection explain the decision-making power conferred on women in the context of reproduction? How could feminists reconcile demands that men perform a greater share of child-rearing with arguments that women should have the final decision on reproductive matters? By reexamining the history of the consent wars, we can gain valuable perspective on what can go right -- and wrong -- when we forge a jurisprudence based on the relationship between genetic, gestational, and functional parenthood.

The consent wars helped drive a wedge between feminist sex-equality arguments -- which challenged sex stereotypes and reproductive rights law -- which partly relied on similar generalizations about sex roles. Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, legal feminists pushed new laws on publicly funded child care and pregnancy discrimination in a quest to assign more caretaking responsibility to men and to the State. Feminists believed that separating women's gestational and functional parenthood would help root out damaging sex stereotypes and dramatically expand women's role in the political, economic, and social spheres.

The consent wars flipped this project on its head: for both strategic and ideological reasons, feminists assumed a more traditional vision of the roles, rights, and responsibilities of both mothers and fathers. Feminists argued that women had a unique role not only in the context of gestation but also in the context of child-rearing. While these contentions strengthened the constitutional case against spousal consent laws, they were unnecessary. Without contradicting their support for equal parenting responsibilities, feminists could have stressed that the law did not treat the fetus as a child. Consequently, a man's interest in equal parenting might have looked quite different before, rather than after, viability. Moreover, conflating gestational and functional parenthood had damaging, unintended consequences, entrenching sex stereotypes about gender roles at the heart of abortion jurisprudence.

In chronicling the consent wars, we can gain a better understanding of the proper relationship between ART and the existing constitutional framework governing reproduction. As feminists recognized in the 1960s and 1970s, pregnancy -- not the burdens of caretaking or genetic parenthood -- puts women in a unique biological and social position. In the 1970s, by reading a broader understanding of women's disproportionate share of parenting into Roe v. Wade, feminists inadvertently created an opening for courts to fall back on deeply rooted stereotypes about women's role in the home. To avoid this trap in ART cases, we should read abortion jurisprudence as standing for the connection between sex equality and women's gestational role. The consent wars powerfully demonstrate the costs feminists can face when they fail to unbundle women's genetic, gestational, and functional parenthood.

Conversely, ART jurisprudence spotlights the path not taken by feminists during the consent wars. Separating the strands of parental rights allows us to define women's equal citizenship concerns in abortion with greater precision. Because only women can carry pregnancies to term, abortion bans necessarily implicate women's interest in equal treatment, regardless of who takes on caretaking responsibilities after childbirth. Equally important, the injuries associated with unwanted pregnancy itself -- to bodily integrity, dignity, and autonomy -- can justify a woman's right to abortion regardless of who assumes caretaking responsibilities later in life.

December 21, 2014 in Abortion | Permalink | Comments (1)

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

"The Supreme Court Decision in the Hobby Lobby Case: Conscience, Complicity, and Contraception"

The title of this post comes from this recent paper by Professor R. Alta Charo, the abstract of which states:

This publication examines the broad implications the United States Supreme Court's holding in Burwell vs. Hobby Lobby et al. could have on medical care. The Court in Hobby Lobby held the company could sue for an exemption from the contraceptive mandate of the Affordable Care Act on grounds that it was a substantial burden on the company's exercise of religious freedom. The reasoning in Hobby Lobby could extend beyond insurance and parallels to debates over "conscience-based" refusals to prescribe or dispense contraceptives. There is concern that companies may use this same logic to discriminate in the name of religion against same-sex spouses with regard to benefit packages; employers may object to state-mandated coverage of in vitro fertilization; and physicians may be able to withhold information from a patient under a religion based moral objection. Evidence shows the most effective methods of contraception that will lead to fewer unintended pregnancies, and thus, fewer abortions is access to the most effective methods of contraception. Hobby Lobby may well be driving its female employees to less effective methods of contraception, leading to more unintended pregnancies and pregnancy terminations. By its own logic, Hobby Lobby may now become complicit in those additional abortions.

November 19, 2014 in Abortion, First Amendment, Freedom of Religion | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, November 14, 2014

"Warning: Contraceptive Drugs May Cause Political Headaches"

The title of this post comes from this paper by Professor R. Alta Charo, the abstract of which states:

The Obama Administration's contraceptive mandate implicates issues of complicity that run through many aspects of civil society, whether it is the police officer told to protect an abortion clinic or the tax exemption granted even to misogynist, homophobic, anti-semitic and racist religious groups such as the Westboro Baptist Church. How should the contraceptive mandate be framed, as a public health measure or as a turf dispute over the public space?

November 14, 2014 in Abortion, First Amendment, Freedom of Religion | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, October 27, 2014

Judges allow Oklahoma's restrictive abortion laws to take effect on Nov. 1

...reports the AP. The law requires doctors at abortion clinics to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals, even though hospitals aren't required to grant them such access. As result, the future of the state's three remaining abortion clinics is uncertain.

Relatedly, a state judge has upheld the state's law banning abortion-inducing drugs. 

October 27, 2014 in Abortion | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

"Supreme Court should put a stop to the relentless attacks on abortion"

LATimes editorial board argues that "the 230 restrictive laws enacted in 30 states since 2011" have undermined women's fundamental rights by creating undue burdens on their access to abortion services. It writes:

Some of those laws require clinics to be equipped to the standards of ambulatory surgical centers, and doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at hospitals, despite the fact that there is no medical reason for either rule. Others require that women submit to counseling, often designed to discourage abortion, then wait a day or longer before undergoing the procedure. Some laws make a woman get an ultrasound of the fetus — and look at it — while others require parental consent before a minor can have an abortion. Often, these laws arrive cloaked in encomiums about protecting women's health, when in fact they are intended to do one thing only: to make it more difficult, and in some cases almost impossible, to get an abortion.

October 15, 2014 in Abortion | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, October 5, 2014

California Catholic Conference claims forced compliance with state's contraception mandate violates civil rights of Catholic institutions

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Missouri legislature overrides governor's veto of restrictive abortion measure


September 11, 2014 in Abortion | Permalink | Comments (1)

Missouri legislature likely to override governor's veto of 72-hour waiting period before an abortion requirement

Earlier this year Missouri Republicans passed a bill that would require any woman seeking an abortion to wait 72-hours before having it. Gov. Jay Nixon, a Democrat, vetoed the bill because it had no exception for rape or incest. But the Republican grip on the state legislature appears to have prevailed. As The Los Angeles Times's Alana Semuels reports:

Legislators in the Republican-dominated legislature say they have enough votes to override Nixon's veto...


If the legislature overrides the veto, Missouri will become the third state, after Utah and South Dakota, to require a 72-hour waiting period. Utah's law, passed in 2012, makes an exception for rape and incest.

September 11, 2014 in Abortion | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Opposing sides pat their own backs as abortion rate reaches 40-year low

Today, Nia-Malika Henderson highlights this recent study finding that the abortion rate has reached its lowest point since 1973. The reason for the decline, however, is not so clear. As Henderson explains at WaPo's She The People:

Abortion opponents are pointing to a slew of measures across the country that have restricted abortion access, including mandating sonograms before the procedure and banning abortions after 20 weeks. Data suggest that abortion rates were actually dropping before some of the restrictions were put in place.


Abortion rights activists say women are taking greater advantage of birth control. They argue it’s important that women still have the rights to make choices about their reproductive health with their doctors and their families.


The study didn’t give reasons for the new finding–17 abortions for every 1,000 women in 2011, a 13 percent drop since 2008–but suggested that the economic downturn and better use of contraception are possible factors.


But what exactly do these numbers mean for the political conversation around abortion?

CRL&P related posts:

February 4, 2014 in Abortion | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, January 13, 2014

Where Free Speech Collides With Abortion Rights

The New York Times's Adam Liptak reports today on McCullen v. Coakley, on which the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments this Wednesday. The Court is tasked with determining the Abortion-6constitutionality of Massachusetts's law prohibiting anti-abortion protesters from entering a 35-foot buffer zone around abortion clinics--a challenge to the Court's 2000 decision in Hill v. Colorado. The title of this post comes from Liptak's article, which begins:

A couple of mornings a week, Eleanor McCullen stakes out a spot outside the Planned Parenthood clinic here and tries to persuade women on their way in to think twice before having an abortion.


But she has to watch her step. If she crosses a painted yellow semicircle outside the clinic’s entrance, she commits a crime under a 2007 Massachusetts law.


Early last Wednesday, bundled up against the 7-degree cold, Ms. McCullen said she found the line to be intimidating, frustrating and a violation of her First Amendment rights. The Supreme Court will hear arguments on Wednesday in her challenge to the law.


The state’s attorney general, Martha Coakley, who is the lead defendant in the suit, said the 35-foot buffer zone created by the 2007 law was a necessary response to an ugly history of harassment and violence at abortion clinics in Massachusetts, including a shooting rampage at two facilities in 1994.


“This law is access balanced with speech balanced with public safety,” Ms. Coakley said. “It has worked extremely well.”

Last week, CRL&P commented on Floyd Abrams's related op-ed in The Wall Street Journal.

January 13, 2014 in Abortion, First Amendment, Freedom of Speech | Permalink | Comments (1)

Monday, January 6, 2014

Abrams's unsatisfying WSJ column on the 'most indefensible First Amendment ruling' this century

On January 15, SCOTUS will hear oral argument in  McCullen v. Coakley--the challenge to Massachusetts' law prohibiting anti-abortion protesters from coming within 35 feet of an abortion clinic. The case calls into question the Court's 2000 decision in Hill v. Colorado, in which it upheld a Colorado statute that banned protesters from coming within 100 feet of abortion clinics--or from coming within eight feet of persons approaching the facility. Yesterday, in The Wall Street Journal,  renowned litigator Floyd Abrams called Hill the Court's "most indefensible First Amendment ruling so far this century."  Abrams writes:

According to the state, the 2007 legislation was enacted in response to antiabortion protesters blocking entrances to abortion clinics, harassing women who were seeking abortions, and otherwise impeding their efforts to do so. Both federal and state legislatures had previously sought to deal with such misbehavior. Federal law punishes as a crime those who "by physical obstruction" attempt to "intimidate or interfere" with any person "obtaining or providing reproductive health services." A pre-existing Massachusetts law, passed in 2000, makes it criminal to "knowingly obstruct, detain, hinder, impede, or block another person's entry to or exit from a reproductive health facility." These statutes are narrowly drafted and do not raise any plausible First Amendment objections.


In contrast, the 2007 Massachusetts law, with its 35-foot exclusion zone, is anything but narrow in its impact. It effectively prevents Eleanor McCullen and her colleagues from engaging in entirely peaceful, nondisruptive antiabortion advocacy via the distribution of leaflets and oral advocacy at the very places it is most likely to be effective. This is what First Amendment law refers to as "overbreadth"—laws that in the course of criminalizing constitutionally unprotected speech or activities limit or impair speech that is fully protected.

Sadly, Abrams failed even to acknowledge perhaps the most relevant precedent in this case: Burson v. Freeman.  In Burson, the Court considered a challenge to a Tennessee statute that prohibited among other things "the display of campaign posters, signs or other campaign materials, [or the] distribution of campaign materials" within 100 feet of a polling place. The Court concluded that the exercise of First Amendment rights at the polling place "[conflicted] with another fundamental right, the right to cast a ballot in an election free from the taint of intimidation and fraud." Thus, the statute was constitutional.

Like the right to vote, the Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade confirms that abortion is a fundamental right.* In both cases, the law restricts First Amendment speech in places where illegal activity has been shown to disrupt the exercise of another fundamental right; the Court's decision in Burson also "effectively prevents...entirely peaceful, nondisruptive [political] advocacy via the distribution of leaflets and oral advocacy at the very places it is most likely to be effective." 

Perhaps Abrams opposes Burson, too. Perhaps not. Or, perhaps he would distinguish the two cases. We don't know, because he didn't say. It would have been helpful for "[t]he dean of the First Amendment bar" to clarify his position.

* Although calling the right to vote fundamental, the Court's jurisprudence makes clear either 1) it is not fundamental; or 2) the Court is confused as to what the right's fundamental status means. But more on this later.

(h/t WSJ's Law Blog)

January 6, 2014 in Abortion, First Amendment, Freedom of Speech | Permalink | Comments (1)

Thursday, December 12, 2013

CRL&P Daily Reads: Dec. 12, 2013

How gun control is losing, badly; gun control groups focus on states; report says reducing gun violence requires early intervention for troubled youth; Ana Marie Cox claims Congress is scared of the gun lobby; but, gun control activists are staying positive.

Operator of revenge porn site says it's 'ruining my life', and his court date is scheduled.

Former contractor files a civil rights suit alleging the federal goverment harassed him because of an auto-complete error in Google search; and, Miami Gardens police chief resigns following allegations of racial profiling.

North Dakota Supreme Court weighs arguments in abortion case challenging ban on drugs to terminate pregnancies; and, legislators share personal stories about abortion.

No agreement on court date for North Carolina's voter ID case.

NSA chairman says mass surveillance is the best way to protect U.S.; Judge Napolitano warns about NSA mass surveillance; and, 'The Raven' Revisited.


December 12, 2013 in Abortion, Civil Rights Litigation, Election Law, Fourth Amendment, Gun Policy, Revenge Porn, Right to Vote, Voter ID, Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, December 6, 2013

CRL&P Daily Reads: Dec. 6, 2013

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

CRL&P Daily Reads: Dec. 4, 2013

Saturday, November 30, 2013

CRL&P Daily Reads: Nov. 30, 2013

Three-judge panel reverses dismissal favoring City of Chicago in case alleging it responds more slowly to 911 calls made by Blacks and Hispanics.

WaPo explains how recent abortion decisions affected the Senate's debate over the filibuster.

Columbus Dispatch explores Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles panel criteria for reviewing vanity plates.

Voting rights activists claim Los Angeles County redistricting discriminates against Latinos; and, Cleveland Plain Dealer editorial board says pending voting bills restricting early voting and mandating ballot uniformity are voter suppression measures.

French parliament wants to impose new fines on solicitors of prostitution services.


November 30, 2013 in Abortion, Election Law, First Amendment, Freedom of Speech, Right to Vote | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

CRL&P Daily Reads: Nov. 26, 2013

African American judge alleges that UCLA police used excessive force when they stopped him ostensibly for not wearing his seat belt.

NSA likely accessed Google and Yahoo user data through fiber-optic cables used to connect data centers; Guardian columnist says NSA's surveillance program demonstrates hypocrisy of 'Five Eyes' countries; U.S. officials worry that Snowden might still have a large cache of intelligence data; and, Jeff Jarvis wades through more hero/villain-talk regarding Snowden.

The Week examines the recent difficulties of anti-abortion groups at the polls.

Mississippi Democrats say new voter ID law will hurt both parties, but the state is ready to start issuing voter ID cards.

Civil rights group updates its app for reporting TSA complaints.


November 26, 2013 in Abortion, Election Law, Excessive Force, Fourth Amendment, Right to Vote, Voter ID | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, November 24, 2013

CRL&P Daily Reads: Nov. 24, 2013

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

CRL&P Daily Reads: Nov. 20, 2013

NSA ignored courts on conduct of domestic surveillance; Supreme Court won't hear challenge to NSA domestic surveillance; and, Rep. Sensenbrenner claims NSA's surveillance program threatens America's economy.

Albuquerque voters reject ban on abortions after 20 weeks; and, Supreme Court won't block Texas abortion law that has caused some clinics to close.

Divided Ohio Supreme Court upholds school district's firing of teacher who refused to remove religious materials from his classroom.

Ohio House committee approves new 'stand your ground' law; gun owners in San Fancisco claim city's large-capacity magazine ban violates the Second Amendment; and, Ohio city looks to repeal several gun laws after legal challenge by gun-rights advocates.

Christian Science Monitor explains how voter ID laws affected 2013 elections; PolitiFact Texas labels claims that no problems resulted from state's new voter ID law 'mostly false'; and women are more likely to be disenfranchised under North Carolina's new voter ID law.

Iowa city required to release records from closed meetings.

Juveniles file a federal lawsuit against Florida county and private prison contractor alleging extremely harsh conditions and overuse of pepper spray.

Governor expected to sign Illinois's law legalizing same-sex marriage later today.

Iowa woman wrongfully terminated for alleging workplace discrimination wants her job back.


November 20, 2013 in Abortion, Election Law, First Amendment, Freedom of Religion, Freedom of Speech, Gun Policy, Right to Vote, Same-sex marriage, Science, Voter ID | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

CRL&P Daily Reads: Nov. 19, 2013

Sunday, November 17, 2013

CRL&P Daily Reads: Nov. 17, 2013

Friday, November 8, 2013

CRL&P Daily Reads: Nov. 8, 2013

Thursday, November 7, 2013

CRL&P Daily Reads: Nov. 7, 2013

WaPo breaks down Senate votes for and against Employment Non-Discrimination Act.

Florida Supreme Court rules that the woman who donated her egg to her partner has equal rights to the child after the relationship later dissolved.

Supreme Court hears "unusually testy oral-argument session" over right of a town council to pray before meetings.

Iowa State Bar Assocation president defends judge currently under fire for a recent ruling blocking ban on Planned Parenthood's use of teleconferences to administer abortion pills.

Brown University may punish students who booed NYPD commissioner.

Case Western Law School dean embroiled in scandal over allegations that he sexually harrassed faculty has taken a leave of absence.


November 7, 2013 in Abortion, First Amendment, Freedom of Religion, Freedom of Speech | Permalink | Comments (0)

CRL&P Morning Reads: Nov. 7, 2013

Sen. Portman supports ENDA after the addition of an amendment strengthening the religious exemption.

Judge removed from stop-and-frisk case claims the Second Circuit's actions violated the Fifth Amendment.

Senate prepares to fight over bill banning abortions after five months.

WaPo's Eilperin says passing gay marriage legislation is going to get more difficult.

Asians and Latinos lagging in voter registration numbers.


November 7, 2013 in Abortion, Election Law, Right to Vote, Same-sex marriage, Stop-and-frisk | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, November 1, 2013

Abortion clinic noise law survives challenge

The title of this post comes from this article reporting that a federal judge has rejected the challenge by anti-abortion protesters to a noise zoning ordiance. The article begins:

Anti-abortion protesters cannot enjoin a law that regulates noise around health care facilities, a federal judge ruled.

In response to public comments regarding the effects of amplified sounds on patients, West Palm Beach has a law that creates a quiet zone around health care facilities.

The ordinance bans shouting and use of a loud speaker among other loud noises within 100 feet of the property line, including private property within that distance.

Mary Susan Pine and Marilyn Blackburn are a part of group that assembles outside the Presidential Women's Center in West Palm Beach to protest against abortions and educate women about other alternatives.

Under an older version of the ordinance, Pine was fined $250 for using a bull horn in the quiet zone.

They sought an injunction, but U.S. District Judge Donald Middlebrooks shot them down Tuesday.


November 1, 2013 in Abortion, First Amendment, Freedom of Speech | Permalink | Comments (1)

CRL&P Daily Reads: Nov. 1, 2013

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

CRL&P Daily Reads: Oct. 30, 2013

Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio wants to employ 'one or two' drones in surveillance of Pheonix area.

NPR says Texas voter-ID law is unexpectedly making voting difficult for some women.

Support growing in the Senate for Employment Anti-Discrimination Act (ENDA) banning workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, and an Ohio funeral home wants gay marriages recognized on death certificates.

Planned Parenthood says Iowa ban on telemedicine system used for dispensing abortion pills prevents rural access to needed medical services and asks judge to suspend the ban.

Egyptian military tribunal sentences a journalist to one year in prison for allegedly impersonating a military officer.

October 30, 2013 in Abortion, Election Law, First Amendment, Fourth Amendment, Freedom of Press, Right to Vote, Search, Voter ID | Permalink | Comments (0)

How birth control became everybody's business

The title of this post comes from this fascinating article from The Week looking at the origins of birth control and the early obstacles to its development. The article begins:

This October marks the 97th anniversary of the opening of the first Birth Control Clinic, in Brooklyn, New York. It was opened by Margaret Sanger, who founded the American Birth Control League (which would later become Planned Parenthood). The clinic remained open for nine days before police shut it down and arrested Margaret for distributing obscene materials.

Before the mid-19th century, birth control was the unspoken, private concern of women and their sexual partners. But in the 1800s, American society changed, and what was once a personal choice became an issue of public decency. The run-up to the opening of Sanger's birth control clinic is a fascinating — and troubling — story of tumultuous change and social engineering.


October 30, 2013 in Abortion | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Texas AG seeks quick ruling on abortion law appeal

Via AP:

A federal appeals court judge is considering whether to grant an emergency appeal that would allow the state to enforce a law that could shut down a dozen abortion clinics in Texas.

In court papers filed with the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott asked the judge to make a decision by the end of the day Tuesday. Clinic operators have said a third of their facilities will have to stop providing abortions if the law takes effect.

District Judge Lee Yeakel ruled Monday that a requirement that doctors have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of an abortion clinic does nothing to protect women's health.

Abortion doctors have had difficulty getting such privileges since hospitals have different standards.


October 29, 2013 in Abortion | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, October 28, 2013

CRL&P Daily Read: Oct. 28, 2013

Sen. Paul believes abortion and scientific research might lead to eugenics, and a Texas judge finds certain limitations on abortion unconstitutional.

Sen. Reid says Senate will vote on bill to ban workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity by Thanksgiving.

DOJ will not prosecute guards from private prison for alleged criminal civil rights violations.

J. Posner: "The point I was making in my book in mentioning the Crawford case was not that the decision was right or wrong[.]"

All new FBI agents ordered to visit the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial to remind them of past abuses by the FBI and of their commitment to better practices in the present and future.


October 28, 2013 in 14th Amendment, Abortion, Civil Rights Litigation, Department of Justice, Election Law, Religion, Right to Vote, Science, Voter ID | Permalink | Comments (0)

Judge rules against Texas abortion limits

Per CNN:

Parts of a new Texas abortion law, considered among the most restrictive in the country, are unconstitutional, a federal judge ruled Monday, one day before they were scheduled to take effect.

The lawsuit -- filed in U.S. District Court in Austin by Planned Parenthood on behalf of more than a dozen women's health care providers across Texas -- alleged the law violates the constitutional rights of women and puts unreasonable demands on doctors who perform abortions.

The lawsuit specifically targets requirements under the new law that doctors obtain admitting privileges at a local hospital, and usage controls on RU486 -- the so-called "morning after" pill.

U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel struck down both provisions, handing abortion-rights groups a clear win.


October 28, 2013 in 14th Amendment, Abortion, Religion | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, October 25, 2013

CRL&P Morning Reads: Oct. 25, 2013

Wisconsin woman held in drug treatment center under fetal protection law challenges the law's constitutionality.

NRO's Reihan Salam says political reformers should focus on increasing party power.

Time raises questions about online reporting of sexual abuse.

Ohio Secretary of State says there's a need to cut down early voting hours.

Ohioans could be turning to Michigan abortion clinics as local ones close.

Columnist rejects argument for arming teachers and says its time to start holding partents of schoolhouse killers responsible as well.

And, a North Carolina Republican official resigns following racially-charged comments on Wednesday's The Daily Show.


October 25, 2013 in 14th Amendment, Abortion, Election Law, Equal Protection Clause, Fourth Amendment, Gun Policy, Reasonableness, Schools, Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (0)