Monday, March 6, 2023

Greer Donley and Rachel Sachs Publish Wash. Post Op-Ed on the stakes of the Texas abortion medication suit

Greer Donley and Rachel Sachs have published an Op. Ed. in the Washington Post titled "The stakes in the Texas abortion medication suit are broader than just one pill."

If successful, this case could invite copycat lawsuits to limit other forms of politicized health care. Potentially at risk would be medications for a much larger range of indications, including contraception, HIV prevention and treatment, vaccines in general (as well as those specifically for covid-19), substance use disorder, gender-affirming care, and others. The sudden loss of needed medications could be particularly harmful on short notice. * * * It could chill innovation nationwide if political actors could circumvent the agency’s data-driven process by engaging the courts. Manufacturers might become wary of investing time and money into products for a wide range of conditions which may — decades down the line — be the subject of nuisance litigation. The pharmaceutical industry has grown increasingly risk averse in recent years. 

* * * 

Companies who have learned to navigate FDA requirements could no longer rely on one, predictable regulator but would be subject to conflicting judgments from around the country. Indeed, the industry has argued in favor of regulatory harmonization globally to ensure that the trials they conduct to demonstrate safety and efficacy are accepted by a broad range of national regulators, not just one. Lawsuits such as this reduce the predictability of the regulatory process within the United States.

These concerns could exacerbate existing health disparities. The products most likely to be at risk are disproportionately used by women, LGBTQ people, those with substance use disorders, and other marginalized groups. These populations are already underrepresented in drug discovery.

* * * 

[T]he stakes in this lawsuit are broader than just one pill and one medical indication. Mifepristone’s safety and efficacy record is outstanding. The FDA followed sound procedures in approving it. If a judge can remove mifepristone from the market with such little notice, all drugs are vulnerable — those on the shelf, and those yet to be.

March 6, 2023 in Abortion, Healthcare, Reproductive Rights, Science | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, February 27, 2023

New Abortion-Related Legal Defense Services Launched

The Center for Reproductive Rights announced that it has collaborated with partners to launch a new nationwide effort to provide abortion-related legal defense services. Its partners include the ACLU, If/When/How, the National Women's Law Center, and Resources for Abortion Delivery. "Designed for both abortion providers and those seeking abortion care or who recently had an abortion, the Abortion Defense Network aims to ensure that people have access to the legal resources they need to navigate the confusing and hostile post-Roe legal landscape." The announcement provides a scope of coverage: 

Users will get answers to questions about legal rights, locating abortion care, and finding funds for legal and other expenses, including:

  • Legal rights pertaining to providing or supporting abortion care.
  • Threats of arrest, prosecution, or other legal action related to abortion.
  • How to access organizations that provide funding to cover attorney’s fees, bail and bond fees, and other legal expenses.

The link is here: 

February 27, 2023 in Abortion, Healthcare, Pregnancy, Reproductive Rights | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, February 24, 2023

Conference, Mainstreaming Reproductive Health

To celebrate the publication of Feminist Judgments: Health Law Rewritten, edited by Seema Mohapatra and Lindsay F. Wiley, UCLA School of Law hosted an in-person conference on “Mainstreaming Reproductive Health in Health Law, Policy and Ethics” on February 10, 2023.

This national conference brought together health law, food and drug law, employee benefits, health information privacy, bioethics, and medical experts from across the country to share insights on how and why government and institutional leaders have traditionally siloed off reproductive and sexual health from other health care needs. We focused on the implications of this exceptionalism for efforts to secure access to reproductive and sexual health care in the aftermath of the Supreme Court’s decision overturning Roe v. Wade. We identified strategies for mainstreaming reproductive and sexual health within efforts aimed at securing equity, patient safety, and patient autonomy in health care financing and delivery.

This event was co-sponsored by UCLA Law’s Center on Reproductive Health, Law, and Policy, UCLA Law’s Health Law and Policy Program, and SMU Dedman School of Law's Tsai Center for Law, Science and Innovation.

If you were unable to join the event in person, you may view the panel recordings here

February 24, 2023 in Abortion, Conferences, Healthcare, Reproductive Rights | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, February 20, 2023

Marcy Karin on "Addressing Periods at Work"

Marcy Karin has published Addressing Periods at Work in volume 16 of the Harvard Law and Policy Review (2022). The abstract reads: 

Structural workplace changes are needed to acknowledge, anticipate, and accommodate menstruation, without harming equity or economic security for current and former menstruators. The biological process of menstruation does not stop at work, but workplaces are not designed to support needs related to periods, perimenopause, or menopause. Specifically, some workers who menstruate have needs related to menstrual accommodations like time away from work or access to menstrual products and private and sanitary spaces to dispose of menstrual discharge and the products that absorb them. Workers also have needs related to working free from indignities and harassment because of menstruation. Yet, periods and blood are stigmatized, gendered, and subject to taboos. The corresponding shame, lack of menstrual education, gender composition and power dynamics of workplaces, and overall structural mismatch makes some menstruators susceptible to discrimination and harassment at work.

This article explores this landscape of menstruation, menopause, and work. After identifying and categorizing menstrual needs at work, it analyzes employer-provided policies and existing legal requirements that offer some protections and supports to current and former menstruators at work. It then explores how these existing policies and law fail to comprehensively address menstrual needs or corresponding problems such as absenteeism, lost wages, privacy violations, health implications, harassment, and other menstrual indignities. Building on available menstrual experiences, voluntary employer policies, international models, and analysis of applicable federal law and related litigation, the article recommends public policy interventions to minimize menstrual injustices and acknowledge that menstruation and menopause at work matter.

February 20, 2023 in Healthcare, Workplace | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, February 13, 2023

Center for Reproductive Rights Publishes 2022 State Legislative Wrap-Up

The Center for Reproductive Rights has published its 2022 legislative report providing a comprehensive summary of state legislative efforts both to restrict and support all aspects of reproductive healthcare. Here are a few excerpted highlights. The full report is deeply informative. 

  • "During 2022, the Center for Reproductive Rights tracked almost 700 abortion bills. States introduced more than 430 restrictive bills and more than 230 proactive abortion bills expanding protection for abortion."

  • "In 2022, eight states (Iowa, Louisiana, Missouri, Ohio, Oklahoma, Nebraska, South Carolina, and Wyoming) introduced 12 trigger bans. Three states enacted or amended existing trigger bans including Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Wyoming.

  • "In 2022, 20 states (Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, New Hampshire, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, and West Virginia) introduced 42 complete bans in the form of granting fetal personhood or just outright banning all abortions. Three states (West Virginia, Oklahoma, and Indiana) enacted complete bans."  
  • "In 2022, 28 states introduced 50 restrictive medication abortion bills, five of which were enacted. The bills included total medication abortion bans, medication abortion “reversal” requirements, medication abortion regulation schemes, telemedicine bans, and other medication abortion bans." 
  • "In 2022, 17 states (Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, Nebraska, North Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, and West Virginia) introduced 25 telemedicine bans. Of those, seven were enacted in Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, South Dakota, Tennessee and West Virginia. These bans built upon existing telemedicine bans in these states."
  • "Thirty-seven states introduced 109 bills with restrictions on abortion providers. States enacted 13 laws with those restrictions. For example, Tennessee enacted legislation that (1) requires medication abortion to be performed by a “qualified physician,” (2) creates onerous reporting requirements for medication abortion providers, and (3) requires admitting privileges for medication abortion providers."
  • "Sixteen states introduced 28 bills to create new crimes in the criminal code or add additional criminal penalties to existing restrictions. These bills aimed to criminalize research on fetal tissue, self-managed abortions and feticide, medication abortion restrictions, and more. Two such bills were enacted." 

  • "In 2022, the Center tracked over 230 proactive abortion bills to expand or protect access to abortion care. Of these, 42 were enacted, including interstate shield protections, insurance coverage, and expanded provider scope of practice. Additional proactive bills included those that repeal restrictive laws, expand minors’ access to abortion, expand medication abortion care, protect self-managed abortions, include crisis pregnancy center consumer protections, and expand clinic access protections and statutory protections for abortions. Whereas 2021 brought bills that repealed abortion restrictions, expanded scope of practice, and expanded insurance coverage for abortion care were popular, this year, legislators focused on protecting abortion providers and individuals seeking access outside their home state in anticipation of a negative Dobbs decision. Proactive trends discussed include: 1) interstate shield bills, 2) scope of practice expansion, 3) statutory fundamental right to abortion, 4) expanded insurance coverage, and 5) other proactive measures."

  • "In 2022, 10 states (California, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania) and the District of Columbia introduced interstate shield bills. California,  Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York enacted their bills."
  • "In 2022, 13 states (California, Colorado, Missouri, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, Florida, Maryland, North Carolina, New Jersey, and Vermont) introduced 19 bills to make abortion a fundamental right through statute. Two of these types of bills were enacted in Colorado and New Jersey."

February 13, 2023 in Abortion, Healthcare, Legislation, Pregnancy, Reproductive Rights | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, February 1, 2023

NY Shield Law Could Become Second State to Protect Clinicians Providing Telemedicine Abortion Services

Carrie Baker, NY Shield Law Would Protect Clinicians Mailing Abortion Pills to Patients in Red States, Ms.

Update Jan. 24, 8:56 p.m. PT: The New York Senate passed the telemedicine abortion provider shield bill on Jan. 24, sending the legislation to the Assembly, the lower house of the state legislature. After it passes through this chamber, it heads to Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) for her signature.

On Jan. 9, New York state Senator Shelly B. Mayer (D) introduced legislation that would allow licensed clinicians in New York to provide telemedicine abortion services to patients located in states banning or severely restricting medication abortion. The bill passed out of committee on Jan. 17 and will soon be introduced in the Assembly by Member Karina Reyes (D). If passed, New York would become the second state after Massachusetts to pass a shield law extending to telemedicine abortion providers serving out-of-state patients. 

“S1066 makes it clear that New York State will not be complicit in other states’ reckless attempts to punish providing, receiving, and helping others get the abortion care they need,” said Donna Lieberman, executive director of the New York Civil Liberties Union. “As forced pregnancy states attempt to criminalize pregnant people across the country, New York must find every legal pathway possible to protect those who provide and seek care from retribution and expand abortion access for all.”

February 1, 2023 in Abortion, Healthcare, Reproductive Rights | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, January 30, 2023

FDA Draft Guidance Seeks to Lift Historic Gender-Based Exclusions on Blood Donations After Years of Advocacy

The FDA published a draft guidance proposing revisions to its blood donation requirements, materials, questionnaires, and procedures to eliminate categorical exclusions against men who have had sex with men in the past three months, instead moving to gender-neutral individual assessments.

NPR reported on the history of this prohibition.  

The restrictions on donating blood date back to the early days of the AIDS epidemic and were designed to protect the blood supply from HIV. Originally, gay and bisexual men were completely prohibited from donating blood. Over time, the FDA relaxed the lifetime ban, but still kept in place some limits.

* * *   

The new proposed policy would eliminate the time-based restrictions on men who have sex with men (and their female partners) and instead screen potential donors' eligibility based on a series of questions that assess their HIV risk, regardless of gender. Anyone taking medications to treat or prevent HIV, including PrEP, would not be eligible.

The FDA stated the following: 

We, FDA, are issuing this draft guidance to receive comments on revised recommendations for evaluating donor eligibility using individual risk-based questions.  This draft guidance, when finalized will provide you, blood establishments that collect blood or blood components, including Source Plasma, with FDA’s revised donor deferral recommendations for individuals with increased risk for transmitting human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection.  We are also recommending that you make corresponding revisions to your donor educational materials, donor history questionnaires and accompanying materials, along with revisions to your donor requalification and product management procedures.  This guidance, when finalized, will supersede the guidance entitled, “Revised Recommendations for Reducing the Risk of Human Immunodeficiency Virus Transmission by Blood and Blood Products” dated April 2020, updated August 2020 (April 2020 guidance).  The recommendations contained in this draft guidance, when finalized, will apply to the collection of blood and blood components, including Source Plasma.

Comments may be submitted online regarding the draft guidance.  

January 30, 2023 in Healthcare, LGBT, Science | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, January 25, 2023

New Lawsuit by Pill Manufacturer Challenges State Bans on Abortion Pills

NYT, New Lawsuit Challenges State Bans on Abortion Pills

A company that makes an abortion pill filed a lawsuit Wednesday morning challenging the constitutionality of a state ban on the medication, one in what is expected to be a wave of cases arguing that the federal Food and Drug Administration’s approval of the pill takes precedence over such restrictive state laws.

The case was filed in federal court in West Virginia by GenBioPro, one of two American manufacturers of mifepristone, the first pill used in the two-drug medication abortion regimen. A ruling in favor of the company could compel other states that have banned abortion to allow the pills to be prescribed, dispensed and sold, according to legal experts. If the courts reject the company’s arguments, some legal scholars say the decision could open the door for states to ban or restrict other approved drugs, such as Covid vaccines or morning-after pills.

The case is one of a number of lawsuits testing legal arguments in the aftermath of the Supreme Court’s ruling last June overturning the federal right to abortion. Also on Wednesday, an obstetrician-gynecologist sued officials in North Carolina, which still allows abortion, challenging the state’s requirements for using mifepristone because they go beyond F.D.A. regulations on the drug. In November, abortion opponents filed a lawsuit challenging the F.D.A.’s approval of mifepristone nearly 23 years ago and asked that the courts order the agency to stop allowing the use of the drug and the second drug, misoprostol, for abortion.

Taken together, the cases underscore how pivotal medication abortion has become in legal and political battles. With pills now being used in more than half of abortions in America, and with recent F.D.A. decisions allowing patients to have pills prescribed by telemedicine and obtained by mail or from retail pharmacies, states that ban or restrict abortion are increasingly targeting the medication method.

January 25, 2023 in Abortion, Constitutional, Healthcare, Reproductive Rights, Science | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, January 23, 2023

New Study on "The Impact of Legal Abortion on Maternal Mortality"

A new study analyzing The Impact of Legal Abortion on Maternal Mortality was posted to SSRN by scholars Sherajum Farin, Lauren Hoehn-Velasco, and Michael Pesko. The conclusion describes the results of their study: 

In this study, we consider whether the 1960s and 1970s legalization of abortion in the United States led to improvements in maternal health. Our findings suggest that legal abortion reduced non-white abortion-related mortality by 30-60% and non-white maternal mortality by 30-40%. In the first year after the passage of legal abortion, this percentage decline translates into 41 non-white maternal deaths averted in early-legal states and 113 non-white maternal deaths averted nationally. To ground the magnitude of the deaths averted in present-day maternal deaths, a total of 299 non-white women died from maternal causes of death in 2019, despite a broader classification of maternal deaths today. * * * [T]he estimated decline in maternal mortality represents the "tip of the iceberg" in terms of the health effects of legal abortion * * *.


In an era where Roe v. Wade no longer determines abortion laws in the United States, we conclude with two facts worth considering for policy today. First, during the period of our study, legal abortion acts primarily through lower abortion-related deaths, rather than a change in pregnancy-related risk factors. The importance of abortion-related maternal mortality indicates that eliminating unsafe and illegal abortion was likely the main driver of mortality declines discovered in this study. Second, legal abortion appears most important for non-white women, and also has the largest impact in counties with lower levels of income, educational attainment, and healthcare resources. Put together, the impact of legal abortion shows marked heterogeneous impacts by race and socioeconomic status, where legal abortion appears most important for less advantaged groups.


Still, based on these observed facts, the maternal mortality impacts of a post-Roe v. Wade legal landscape are unclear. A number of factors are different today than in the 1970s. Most notably, the availability of medical abortion, which can be prescribed through telemedicine appointments, sent through the mail, and safely administered at home * * * Instead, we conclude by emphasizing the importance of legal abortion for non-white maternal health during the period of initial legalization. Today, in the U.S., non-Hispanic black women already suffer three times the maternal mortality of white women * * * , and if there is a health impact of legal abortion restrictions, it will likely be for this group.

January 23, 2023 in Abortion, Healthcare, Race, Reproductive Rights | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Consequences of Misgendering After Death

Orion Rummler writing for The 19th documents the harms that trans people face when misgendered after death. 

Without updated identity documents, such as a driver’s license or other government-issued I.D., trans people are likely to be misgendered and have the wrong name on their death certificates — in spite of their lived experience, gender expression or physical transition. That acute loss of self weighs heavily on the minds of many trans people, especially those with unsupportive families or those without resources to change their documentation.

* * * 

The paperwork, policies and software used to record death vary from state to state. Without state or federal requirements to gather LGBTQ+ data after death, crucial choices on the remembrance of deceased transgender people are left in the hands of individual funeral directors, medical examiners and death investigators working within a convoluted and underfunded system. 

The article profiles a recent study out of Portland concluding: 

Of the 47 trans and nonbinary people who died from 2011 to 2021 that researchers could find, more than half had their genders marked incorrectly on their death certificates. That number was small — 29 trans people over that 10-year period were misgendered on their death certificates.But the time-consuming manner that researchers had to use to prove even that sliver of information underlines the key problem: For Oregon and most other states, there is no formal record of someone’s gender identity after death at all. 

The article recommends legal changes to avoid what the Portland study co-authors described powerfully as the "nonconsensual detransitioning after death.” "Lawmakers should create policy to ensure transgender people can be recognized as their true selves after death if they lack updated identity documents, * * * especially since the process of obtaining those documents can be difficult in some states."  

Read the full article here

January 23, 2023 in Gender, Healthcare, Legislation | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, January 16, 2023

Conference on Health, Equity, and Law after Dobbs

American University Washington College of Law's Health Law and Policy Program has opened registration for an inter-disciplinary conference on "Health, Equity, and Law after Dobbs" scheduled for February 24th and 25th in Washington, D.C. The event will take a distinctly inter-disciplinary approach bringing together scholars with legal, medical, public health, and sociological perspectives on the aftermath of the Dobbs decision. The conference also brings together four academic programs collaboratively planning the event: American University Washington College of Law, American University Department of Sociology, The George Washington Law School, and The George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health. The event is also hosted in partnership with the American Society of Law, Medicine & Ethics. The conference goals are described here:  

By assembling an interdisciplinary group of researchers, practitioners, and advocates, the conference will provide a fuller picture of both the impact of the law on the books and the realities of the law on the ground. The goal of the conference is to help scholars, practitioners, advocates, and students understand current policy and practice related to abortion, as well as the reverberating effects of the Dobbs decision on the delivery of health care and society more broadly. It also aims to develop a research agenda and a broader strategic focus for advancing more equitable access to reproductive health care in the long term.

Register for the free event here. Check out the agenda for the program here

January 16, 2023 in Abortion, Conferences, Healthcare, Pregnancy, Reproductive Rights | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, January 10, 2023

DOJ Legal Opinion Clarifies that Post Office May Send Abortion Pills in Mail, Even in States that Ban Abortion

Carrie Baker, Ms. The Postal Service Can Deliver Abortion Pills by Mail--Even in States Banning Abortion

Last November, conservative legal group Alliance Defending Freedom filed a federal lawsuit asking a Texas court to ban abortion pills from the U.S. mail. The suit cited an archaic 19th-century anti-obscenity law: the 1873 Comstock Law. Promoted by anti-vice crusader Anthony Comstock and described as a “chastity” law, it banned sending obscene literature, contraceptives, abortifacients or any sexual information through U.S. mail.

After the Supreme Court ruled in Roe v. Wade that women have a fundamental right to abortion, the Comstock Law remained on the books but was not enforced. Now that the Supreme Court has reversed Roe, the question was: Does that law now ban mailing abortion pills?

In response to a request for clarification from the U.S. Postal Service, the Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel issued a legal opinion made public on Jan. 3 stating that the Comstock Law does not prohibit mailing abortion pills if the sender does not know that the medications will be used illegally.

The DOJ opinion, authored by Assistant Attorney General Christopher H. Schroeder, argues the law applies only to “unlawful” abortions. Those sending or delivering pills “typically will lack complete knowledge of how the recipients intend to use them and whether that use is unlawful under relevant law.”

Abortion is allowed by federal law, Schroeder wrote, and every state allows abortion in some circumstances, such as to preserve the life of a pregnant woman.

Individuals receiving abortion pills have “a constitutional right to travel to another state that has not prohibited that activity and to ingest the drugs there,” the opinion reads—so “someone sending a woman these drugs is unlikely to know where she will use them, which might be in a state in which such use is lawful.”

The opinion concludes, “therefore, even when a sender or deliverer of mifepristone or misoprostol, including USPS, knows that a package contains such drugs—or indeed that they will be used to facilitate an abortion—such knowledge alone is not a sufficient basis for concluding that [the law] has been violated.”

The decision applies to USPS and other carriers, such as United Parcel Service and FedEx.

January 10, 2023 in Abortion, Healthcare, Reproductive Rights | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, January 6, 2023

FDA Says Retail Pharmacies Can Now Offer Abortion Pills

FDA Says Retail Pharmacies Can Now Offer Abortion Pills

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration finalized a regulatory change on Tuesday that allows retail pharmacies to offer abortion pills.

Before now, patients could only get this two-drug medication through clinics, doctors and a handful of mail-order pharmacies.

Two companies that make the medication, Danco Laboratories and GenBioPro, announced the news after they were notified by the FDA of the change.

"At a time when people across the country are struggling to obtain abortion care services, this modification is critically important to expanding access to medication abortion services and will provide healthcare providers with an additional method for providing their patients with a safe and effective option for ending early pregnancy," Danco said in a statement.***

Patients will still need a doctor’s prescription to access the drugs, and pharmacies must follow certain rules to dispense the medication.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists applauded the move.

January 6, 2023 in Abortion, Healthcare, Reproductive Rights | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, December 19, 2022

Expansions in California's Abundant Birth Project

The United States' first program giving cash to pregnant Black women in San Francisco has expanded to four additional counties. California's Abundant Birth Project is described as: 

The Abundant Birth Project is a simple, yet novel, approach to achieving better maternal health and birthing outcomes: provide pregnant Black and Pacific Islander women a monthly income supplement for the duration of their pregnancy and during the postpartum period as an economic and reproductive health intervention. Prematurity is a leading cause of infant mortality and has been linked to lifelong conditions, such as behavioral development issues, learning difficulties, and chronic disease. In San Francisco, Black infants are almost twice as likely to be born prematurely compared with White infants (13.8% versus 7.3%, from 2012-2016) and Pacific Islander infants have the second-highest preterm birth rate (10.4%). Furthermore, Black families account for half of the maternal deaths and over 15% of infant deaths, despite representing only 4% of all births. Pacific Islander families face similar disparities.

San Francisco Mayor, London N. Breed, celebrated the launch of the program stating:  

“Providing guaranteed income support to mothers during pregnancy is an innovative and equitable approach that will ease some of the financial stress that all too often keeps women from being able to put their health first. The Abundant Birth Project is rooted in racial justice and recognizes that Black and Pacific Islander mothers suffer disparate health impacts, in part because of the persistent wealth and income gap. Thanks to the work of the many partners involved, we are taking real action to end these disparities and are empowering mothers with the resources they need to have healthy pregnancies and births.”

Daisy Nguyen, reporter with, reported on the expansion of the program.  

Since June 2021, the Abundant Birth Project has given $1,000 per month to nearly 150 Black residents during a portion of their pregnancies and the first six months of their children’s lives. With the extra funding from the California Department of Social Services and another $1.5 million in city funds, the program aims to reach another 525 people in San Francisco, Alameda, Contra Costa, Los Angeles and Riverside counties.

Learn more about the Abundant Birth Project here.  

December 19, 2022 in Healthcare, Poverty, Pregnancy, Race, Reproductive Rights | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, December 12, 2022

Artist Michelle Browder Honoring the "Mothers of Gynecology" with a New Museum and Clinic

Daja E. Henry with the 19th News has written about how A new museum and clinic will honor the enslaved "Mothers of Gynecology." This site is expected to break ground on Mother's Day 2023. It sits less than a mile away from Alabama's state capitol. The project will convert James Marion Sims' makeshift hospital into a $5.5MM museum that will include a clinic and training facilities for midwives, doulas, and medical students. The site will honor the enslaved women and girls who "shed blood for the creation of American gynecology, despite their inability to consent." The artist is Michelle Browder. Author, Daja Henry, writes the following about the project: 

December 12, 2022 in Healthcare, Pregnancy, Race, Science | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, December 5, 2022

Washington Post on "Pregnant and desperate in post-Roe America"

The Washington Post reports on how three patients are navigating unexpected pregnancies in Pregnant and desperate in post-Roe America.

Over the next decade, if recent trends hold, more than a million people with unwanted pregnancies are likely to run up against an abortion ban. Some will find a way, traveling hundreds of miles or securing illegal pills through the mail. Others will resign themselves to parenthood.

The Washington Post made contact with three pregnant women who were seeking abortions while living in states with strict abortion bans. These women, reached early in their pregnancies, communicated regularly with The Post, sharing their experiences through calls, text messages and other documentation that supported their accounts. They participated on the condition that only their first names be used to protect their privacy.

December 5, 2022 in Abortion, Healthcare, Pregnancy, Reproductive Rights | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, November 11, 2022

Conference: Seeking Reproductive Justice in the Next Fifty Years

After Roe and Dobbs: Seeking Reproductive Justice in the Next Fifty Years, Boston University School of Law, January 26, 2023

It is impossible to overstate the importance of exploring the legacy and future of Roe v. Wade in the wake of the Supreme Court’s watershed decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. The constitutional, political, and policy landscape is changing by the day, with major implications for law, medicine, and public health. This symposium marks what would have been the 50th anniversary of Roe and will evaluate various dimensions of reproductive justice as it existed until Dobbs and into the next 50 years. The symposium has a multi-disciplinary approach, which will include attention to law, history, social movements, health equity, and reproductive health and justice, including the critical role of advocates in Boston and the Northeast region. A related issue of the Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics will be co-edited by Professors Aziza Ahmed, Nicole Huberfeld, and Linda McClain, to be published in the fall of 2023. 

This symposium will occur Thursday, January 26, 2023 at BU School of Law and is co-sponsored by BU Law and BU School of Public Health, and is part of BU Law’s commemoration of its 150th anniversary (For those interested in coming to Boston, our timing coincides with “The Age of Roe” conference at Harvard Radcliffe on Friday, January 27th.)

This symposium is an inaugural event for BU Law’s new program in reproductive justice, which will launch officially in fall 2023.

November 11, 2022 in Abortion, Conferences, Healthcare, Reproductive Rights | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, November 3, 2022

The Private Veto Nondelegation Doctrine and its Potential for Challenging Abortion Restrictions and Religious Exceptions to Contraception and Health Care

Jessie Hill, Due Process, Delegation, and Private Veto Power, Iowa L. Rev. (forthcoming)

Nondelegation doctrine is enjoying a scholarly revival. Some commentators have read the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2019 decision in Gundy v. United States to portend new limitations on Congress’s ability to give away its authority to the executive branch. A recent decision involving Amtrak’s entitlement to exercise regulatory authority raised similar questions about delegation to private entities. Together, these cases may suggest imminent new constraints on the administrative state, generating urgent reconsideration of the purpose and application of the nondelegation doctrine.

This Article is focused on one particular line of nondelegation cases that has received less attention in the nondelegation debate: those involving private vetoes. The private-veto doctrine holds that the government cannot, consistent with the Due Process Clause, grant standardless control to private individuals or entities over the property or liberty of others. Rather than waxing and waning like other forms of nondelegation, the private-veto doctrine has retained vitality for over a century. In fact, it is woven into a variety of constitutional doctrines, and it helps to explain cases like Larkin v. Grendel’s Den and City of Cleburne v. Cleburne Living Center, which embody the principle that due process is infringed when the government enables private individuals to exercise sovereignty over others based on illicit motives.

Yet, joining the private-veto doctrine with other nondelegation doctrines has resulted in courts and scholars both misunderstanding what is unique and important about this line of cases and failing to analyze legal questions properly. This particular delegation doctrine is primarily concerned not with separation of powers, but with arbitrary uses of power, including those motivated by pecuniary bias and by personal prejudices against unpopular groups. Thus, in addition to urging a more clear-eyed reconsideration of the private-veto doctrine, this Article suggests that the doctrine may be relevant to current constitutional controversies in ways that have not be previously recognized. In particular, it may provide a stronger basis for litigating certain kinds of abortion restrictions, as well as a new route for challenging statutes that empower religious individuals to deprive third parties of access to contraception and other forms of health care.

November 3, 2022 in Abortion, Constitutional, Courts, Healthcare, Reproductive Rights | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, October 27, 2022

Center for Constitutional Law Con Law Scholars Forum on "The Future of Reproductive Rights"

Monday, October 24, 2022

Abortion Bans Preventing Access to Cancer Care

During Summer 2022, while I was taking a break from blogging for health reasons, I published this Op. Ed. with NBC News. I cautioned that abortion bans would quickly create a tale of two healthcare systems for pregnant women far beyond abortion access, focusing on my own experiences with breast cancer as I moved employment from Kentucky to Virginia. 

The ACLU of Ohio has now submitted affidavits in court documenting this occurrence along with many other harms to pregnant persons. The filing describes a woman with stage III melanoma who was was forced to suspend cancer care until she terminated her pregnancy, which she could not do legally in Ohio. 

An Article published by Katherine Van Loom, MD, and Jordyn Silverstein, MD, in JAMA Oncology (August 2022) reports that 

Approximately 1 in 1,000 pregnancies are affected by a concurrent cancer diagnosis. The most common cancers include breast cancer, cervical cancer, lymphoma, ovarian cancer, leukemia, colorectal cancer and melanoma. Termination of the pregnancy occurs in 9% to 28% of cases, with many occurring in the first trimester.

The 19th reported on this issue in its article Abortion Bans are Preventing Cancer Patients from Getting Chemotherapy. Shefali Luthra, writing for The 19th on October 7th explained the complexities: 

Those are often emotionally fraught conversations . . .  particularly for patients who intended to become pregnant and did not know about their cancer. If the disease is still in its early stages, some may attempt to surgically remove it, then wait for the pregnancy to reach its second trimester. If needed, they can begin chemotherapy at that point, hoping that the cancer has not progressed too far in the meanwhile. 


But others, particularly those whose cancer is already more advanced, may need to get an abortion, begin chemotherapy and then try to become pregnant after, once they have completed treatment. There are even further complications there since chemotherapy can damage someone’s fertility. 


In those cases, telling patients that they cannot receive an abortion in state becomes even more difficult. * * * “And then you have to say, ‘By the way, the state of Tennessee doesn’t think you’re dying enough, so for you to get the care you need now that you’ve made this tough decision, you have to go to an abortion clinic out of state.”

October 24, 2022 in Abortion, Family, Healthcare, Reproductive Rights | Permalink | Comments (0)