Sunday, October 19, 2008
Notre Dame Event Addresses When "Pro-Life" Voters Have "A Sufficient 'Proportionate' Reason to Justify a Vote for a Pro-Choice Candidate"
On Wednesday, October 8, the Notre Dame Center for Ethics & Culture sponsored a conversation between Gerard Bradley, Notre Dame Professor of Law and member of the Catholics for McCain National Steering Committee, and Vincent Rougeau, Notre Dame Associate Professor of Law and member of the steering committee for Obama's Catholic National Advisory Council. In particular, these participants were asked to address the question: "What constitutes, for an otherwise pro-life voter, a sufficient 'proportunate' reason to justify a vote for a pro-choice candidate?" It is the Center's hope that this event will provide a meaningful opportunity for students and the larger University community to focus on how Catholics should think abou the upcoming election, particularly in terms of life issues. The video of this event is now available....
This event was funded by the Notre Dame Fund to Protect Human Life.
A video of the conversation is available here.
Charles P. Kindregan, Jr. (Suffolk University Law School) and Steven Snyder have posted Clarifying the Law of ART: The New American Bar Association Model Act Governing Assisted Reproductive Technology on SSRN. Here is the abstract:
This article examines the new Model Act on Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART), which was approved by the American Bar Association in February, 2008. The authors were the chairs of the A.B.A Family Law Section Committee on Genetics and Reproductive Technologies during the years in which the Act was being drafted leading up to its approval by the Family Law Section, its review by other A.B.A. Sections and its final approval by the House of Delegates. The Article explains the meanings of technical ART terms used in the Act, and provides an analysis of issues such as informed consent, counseling and consultation, privacy, the status of children of ART, payments to donors, heath insurance and professional liability. On the important issue of parentage the Act substantially tracks the Uniform Parentage Act (U.P.A.), but the authors also discuss an alternative proposal embodied in the Model Act which in place of the U.P.A. court-approval model suggests that a legislature could consider enacting a contract-based model for determination of parentage issues. This article is the first publication examining the Model Act.
NY Times: Infant Deaths Decline in U.S., by Gardiner Harris:
Infant deaths in the United States declined 2 percent in 2006, government researchers reported Wednesday, but the rate still remains well above that of most industrialized countries and is one of many indicators suggesting that Americans pay more but get less from their health care system.
Infant mortality has long been considered one of the most important indicators of the health of a nation and the quality of its medical system. In 1960, the United States ranked 12th lowest in the world, but by 2004, the latest year for which comparisons were issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, that ranking had dropped to 29th lowest.
This international gap has widened even though the United States devotes a far greater share of its national wealth to health care than other countries. In 2006, Americans spent $6,714 per capita on health — more than twice the average of other industrialized countries.
Friday, October 17, 2008
ABC News: Dutch 'Abortion Boat' Docks in Spain, by Christine Brouwer:
A Dutch nonprofit organization is offering Spanish women free abortions on a boat anchored in international waters off Spain's coast.
The boat, operated by the abortion-rights group Women on Waves, arrived at the port of Valencia Thursday and began carrying out its first abortion procedures today.
Women who are less than 6½ weeks pregnant can board the boat, where they will be provided with free abortion pills under the supervision of a licensed gynecologist, said Rebecca Gomperts, Women on Waves' founder and director.
No surgery will be performed on the yacht.
Supreme Court Case Brought by Anti-Choice Group Paved Way for Corporate- and Union-Sponsored Political Ads
PaperTrail (Center for Public Integrity): ELECTION ’08: Supreme Court Ruling Looms Large in ’08 Political Ads, by Marianne Lavelle:
Wonder why you’re seeing so much corporate- and union-sponsored political advertising this election cycle? You have the anti-abortion movement to thank for it.
The group Wisconsin Right to Life paved the way last year when it won a Supreme Court challenge striking down a key provision of the 2002 McCain-Feingold campaign finance law on First Amendment grounds. Under that law, corporations and labor unions were barred from running so-called issue ads on television or radio within 60 days of a general election if the spots mentioned a candidate’s name. But on June 25, 2007, Chief Justice John Roberts, writing for a 5-4 majority, agreed with the anti-abortion group that this portion of the law represented an unconstitutional restriction on free speech. As long as the ads in question don’t explicitly urge voters how to vote, they should be allowed, he wrote.
Thursday, October 16, 2008
The CUNY chapter of Law Students for Reproductive Justice is hosting a panel tonight entitled, "Pro-Choice Politics: Where Are They?" Participating on the panel are Vanessa Valenti of Feministing and Sabrina Shulman of NARAL Pro-Choice New York. I will be moderating and speaking on the panel as well.
Do you have an LSRJ chapter event planned at your law school that you'd like to announce on this blog? Please let me know about it!
Beliefnet: How Obama Won the Abortion Part of the Debate: Common Ground and Sacred Sex, by Steven Waldman:
...The discussion began with McCain on the offense, painting Obama as the extremist. McCain focused on the two issues in which Obama seems most out of the mainstream -- the "born alive" bill, involving babies born during abortions and late term abortions. Obama did an adequate job defending himself but still let McCain define the terms of the debate at that point.
McCain meanwhile headed toward the middle by emphasizing not that he opposes abortion but rather that he wants the states to decide the issue. No extremism there.
But for the rest of the abortion discussion, Obama outflanked McCain. It was Obama who made the call for finding common ground by reducing the number of unintended pregnancies and sent the dial-meters soaring by saying children should be taught that "sexuality is sacred." That one phrase probably did more to cast Obama as a cultural moderate than anything he's said in all the debates.
Slate: Safe, Legal, and Boring: Can Obama Take the Politics out of Abortion?, by William Saletan:
McCain has been trying to make the election a referendum on character: Country first, Obama pals around with terrorists, yada yada yada. How does abortion fit that mold? By exposing Obama as an extremist. ...Bad. Terrible. Extreme. Clear-cut. Feelings. Mainstream America. This is the way McCain, Sarah Palin, and George W. Bush talk: There's honor and evil, good guys and bad guys. We fight for the good side. Our opponents don't. They're extreme.
Obama argued that "women, in consultation with their families, their doctors, their religious advisers, are in the best position to make this decision." ...Common ground. Prevent. Options. Help. Reduce. These are defusing and calming words. They fit Obama's personality. But more than that, they're pragmatic. They convey action, progress, solution.
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
A panel discussion will take place on Monday, October 20, 2008, at Columbia Law School to celebrate the new partnership. Nancy Northup, president of the Center for Reproductive Rights will moderate. The panel will take place in Jerome Green Hall, 435 W. 116th Street (between Amsterdam and Morningside) from 4:15-6.
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
The right to health under the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights, to which Canada is a signatory, entitles women to available, accessible, and acceptable abortion care.
Abortion care in Canada currently fails this standard. Medication abortion (the use of drugs to terminate a pregnancy) could improve abortion care in Canada, but its potential remains unrealized. This is in part attributable to the unavailability of mifepristone, the safest and most effective pharmaceutical for medication abortion. Given that it could improve abortion care, we investigated why mifepristone remains unapproved in Canada, whether its unavailability is attributable to government inaction, and whether Canada is therefore failing to fulfill its obligations under the right to health.
Time: How Valid is Palin's Abortion Attack on Obama?, by Michael Scherer:
With less than 23 days to go before Election Day, John McCain and Sarah Palin are launching a range of attacks on their Democratic opponent that revolve around one central question: Who is Barack Obama? ...
The McCain campaign's latest salvo centers around perhaps the hottest issue of all, abortion, which up till now hasn't dominated much of the campaign conversation.
Late last week, and with little fanfare, Palin began claiming at rallies and in a radio interview that Obama had once opposed providing medical care for certain newborn babies, who later died. Without any clear context, Palin's statements seemed to suggest that Obama supported a form of infanticide.
Monday, October 13, 2008
NYT Editorial: Abortion Rights on the Ballot, Again:
Once again this year, opponents of women’s reproductive rights have managed to get initiatives aimed at ending or limiting abortion rights on ballots — in South Dakota, Colorado and California. These measures, which violate women’s privacy and threaten their health, have implications far beyond those states. If voters approve them, they will become a weapon in the right-wing campaign to overturn Roe v Wade.
Kay Steiger has also written an article for RH Reality Check on the ballot proposals: Next Stop, Supreme Court: What Happens If Anti-Choice Ballot Initiatives In South Dakota and Colorado Pass?
Sunday, October 12, 2008
U.S. News & World Report/HealthDay: New Ultrasound Mandate Law Challenged in Oklahoma Abortion Case:
An Oklahoma law forbidding a woman from having an abortion until she has an ultrasound and has a physician give her a description of the fetus is being challenged in court.
According to the Associated Press, the law, which goes into effect Nov. 1, is being contested on grounds that it violates a woman's privacy, endangers health and assaults dignity. Oklahoma joins Mississippi, Alabama and Louisiana as the states having a mandatory ultrasound and consultation law, the wire service reports.
See also Associated Press: Okla. abortion ultrasound requirement challenged
Friday, October 10, 2008
Via How Appealing:
"High Court Grants Gay Marriage Rights": The Hartford Courant provides a news update that begins, "Same-sex couples won the right to marry in Connecticut in an historic ruling by the Supreme Court today. Citing the equal protection clause of the state constitution, the justices ruled that civil unions were discriminatory. In a 4-3 decision released at 11:30 a.m., the majority wrote that the state's 'understanding of marriage must yield to a more contemporary appreciation of the rights entitled to constitutional protection.'"
And The Associated Press reports that "Conn. high court rules same-sex couples can marry."
NY Times Op-Ed Column: Can This Be Pro-Life?, by Nicholas Kristof:
The Bush administration this month is quietly cutting off birth control supplies to some of the world’s poorest women in Africa.
Thus the paradox of a “pro-life” administration adopting a policy whose result will be tens of thousands of additional abortions each year — along with more women dying in childbirth.
The saga also spotlights a clear difference between Barack Obama and John McCain. Senator Obama supports U.N.-led efforts to promote family planning; Senator McCain stands with President Bush in opposing certain crucial efforts to help women reduce unwanted pregnancies in Africa and Asia.
Wall St. Journal: Barack Obama: The Present Is Prologue, by Jess Bravin:
...On legal matters, including Supreme Court appointments, an Obama administration would likely be shaped by its leader's strong convictions on constitutional law. As in other areas, Sen. Obama's jurisprudence points to a change from the "strict constructionist" philosophy advocated by Republican presidential contenders from Richard Nixon to John McCain.
Precedents, text and other legal tools can provide a just outcome in "95% of the cases," Sen. Obama said before voting against confirming chief-justice nominee John Roberts. But for the "truly difficult" cases that remain, the "last mile can only be determined on the basis of one's deepest values, one's core concerns, one's broader perspectives on how the world works, and the depth and breadth of one's empathy."
Wall St. Journal: John McCain: Looking to the Framers, by Jess Bravin:
Until he delivered a fiery speech attacking the federal judiciary in May, Sen. John McCain had never made the Supreme Court a focus of his political agenda.
Even in recommending candidates for home-state judgeships, a prized senatorial prerogative, Sen. McCain has deferred to Arizona's junior senator, fellow Republican Jon Kyl...
In judicial nominations, Sen. McCain is likely to rely on advice from the Republican legal establishment, which has helped pull the court firmly to the right in recent years. Backers say that as president, Sen. McCain would use his "gut instinct" to make the final cut among qualified candidates.
Today through Sunday, Yale Law School hosts a conference on "The Future of Sexual and Reproductive Rights.":
Constitutional law and politics have changed greatly since the last outpouring of legal scholarship on questions of reproductive rights in the 1980s and 1990s. That wave of scholarship anticipated and responded to the Court’s decision in Planned Parenthood v. Casey. Today we are once again at a crossroads. The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision last term in Gonzales v. Carhart and the Court’s 2003 decision in Lawrence v. Texas have signaled the possibility of dramatic changes in the near future. They are fueling a call for a renewed conversation about the law and politics of this contentious field.
The Yale Law School Conference will assemble leading thinkers, cultural observers and journalists who focus on these subjects. They will offer and test a range of cutting-edge insights about what could and should develop in these critical areas. Part of their work will be an examination of the pressures that are brought to bear on news media when covering abortion or same-sex marriage, the attempt to require that both points of view are given equal weight and whether journalists have a duty to test conflicting claims. The Conference is co-sponsored by the Law School’s Law and Media Program (LAMP). It will begin long before anyone arrives in New Haven, with thought-pieces posted by panelists in September on the well-known legal blog, Balkinization.
Click here for the conference program.
Thursday, October 9, 2008
LA Times Op-Ed: The Candidates and the Supreme Court, by Erwin Chemerinsky:
Why are the two major presidential candidates virtually ignoring the importance of this election in determining the composition of the Supreme Court and the future of constitutional law? One of a president's most long-lasting legacies is in the judges he places on the bench. Justice John Paul Stevens, now 88 years old, was appointed by President Ford in 1975. If John G. Roberts Jr. remains on the court until he is 88, he would be chief justice until 2043...
If McCain gets to replace any of these justices, let alone more than one, there likely will be dramatic changes in many areas of constitutional law. There are almost certainly four votes on the current court -- Roberts, Scalia, Thomas and Alito -- to overrule Roe vs. Wade and allow the government to prohibit abortion. In light of McCain's emphatic opposition to abortion rights, he likely would appoint the decisive fifth vote to end constitutional protection of those rights. Obama, by contrast, would almost certainly appoint individuals who would reaffirm Roe.
Wall St. Journal: When Justices Prefer Not to Judge: Court May Pass on Abortion Again, by Paula Park:
The European Court of Human Rights was established to uphold rights to life, privacy, freedom of speech, religion and the like. The court has one justice from each of the 47 nations that signed the European Convention on Human Rights. It rules on cases that applicants bring when they feel they cannot get adequate legal redress in their home countries.
But for years the court has essentially turned a blind eye to Ireland's abortion laws, considered among the most restrictive in Europe. Critics say that helps perpetuate an inequitable patchwork of rules across the region.
RH Reality Check: Supreme Court Will Not Hear Case Limiting Abortion Rights, by Amy Roth:
The Supreme Court opened its new term with some good news for women: it rejected an appeal from the state of Missouri, which had hoped for one more chance to defend its unconstitutional policy banning abortions for women in the prison system.
The case, Crawford v. Roe, originated in 2005, when a young woman refused to take no for an answer and eventually enlisted the ACLU in helping her to exercise her right to make her own reproductive decisions. "Jane Roe," as she is called in court documents, spent seven weeks trying to work with the prison system to obtain an abortion, something the prison had previously accommodated by bringing women to a clinic if they could afford to pay for an abortion with their own money. A change in the governor's office led to a change in that policy.
Here's the Eighth Circuit's decision.