Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Economy Takes Toll on State Social Programs for New Mothers

NY Times: States Slashing Social Programs for Vulnerable, by Erik Eckholm:

Battered by the recession and the deepest and most widespread budget deficits in several decades, a large majority of states are slicing into their social safety nets — often crippling preventive efforts that officials say would save money over time....

The Illinois governor’s budget proposal would scale back home visits to ill-equipped first-time mothers, who are given advice over 18 months that experts say is repaid many times over in reduced child abuse and better school preparation....

New York State is using stimulus money and a tax increase to avoid most of the large cuts in child care, nurse visits to inexperienced mothers and other services that were originally proposed. But if revenues keep falling by the billions, “all bets are off,” said Karen Schimke, president of the Schuyler Center for Analysis and Advocacy in Albany, which studies child and family issues.

April 14, 2009 in Parenthood, Pregnancy & Childbirth, President/Executive Branch, State and Local News | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, April 13, 2009

Vatican Objects to Caroline Kennedy As Ambassador Due to Abortion Stance

The Women on the Web: Vatican Rebuffs Caroline Kennedy Ambassador Seat Over Abortion, Say Sources:

Caroline Kennedy Just when Caroline Kennedy was recovering from the political mess over her bid for Hillary Clinton’s Senate seat, she now has hit some more political roadblocks. And these are coming from a holier land: the Vatican.

The Massachusetts Catholic Action League and sources within the Vatican itself are protesting the idea President Obama may appoint JFK’s daugher as an ambassador to the Vatican. Why are they so angry? Because Ms. Kennedy, a Catholic, supports abortion rights.

April 13, 2009 in President/Executive Branch, Religion and Reproductive Rights | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Support the NY Reproductive Health Act

Via the NYCLU:

The Reproductive Health Act:
  • Guarantees a woman’s right to control her reproductive health;
  • Ensures that a woman will be able to have an abortion if her health is endangered;
  • Treats the regulation of abortion as an issue of public health and medical practice, rather than as a potential crime; and
  • Guarantees everyone the right to use or refuse contraception.

I was honored to be interviewed in this video about the Act, produced by the NYCLU:

April 13, 2009 in Reproductive Health & Safety, State Legislatures | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

VT Legislature Legalizes Same-Sex Marriage

NY Times: Vermont Legislature Makes Same-Sex Marriage Legal, by Abby Goodnough & Anahad O'Connor:

The Vermont Legislature on Tuesday overrode Gov. Jim Douglas’s veto of a bill allowing gay couples to marry, mustering one more vote than needed to preserve the measure.

The step makes Vermont the first state to allow same-sex marriage through legislative action instead of a court ruling. The law goes into effect Sept. 1.

Approval had been expected in the Senate, where the vote was 23 to 5.

But the outcome in the House of Representatives was not clear until the final moments of a long roll call, when Rep. Jeff Young, a Democrat who voted against the bill last week, reversed his position. In the end the vote was 100 to 49, just slightly more than the required two-thirds majority of members present.

April 7, 2009 in Sexuality, State Legislatures | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, April 6, 2009

NY Times on the Obama/Notre Dame Controversy

NY Times: Invitation to Obama Stirs Up Notre Dame, by Dirk Johnson:

As church bells pealed, Claire Gillen, a Notre Dame freshman, stood on the stone steps of the Basilica of the Sacred Heart, accusing this fabled Roman Catholic institution of sin and sacrilege.

“It’s a scandal,” said Ms. Gillen, voicing outrage over the university’s invitation to President Obama, a supporter of abortion rights, to deliver the commencement address here on May 17.

Some alumni have called the campus saying they have thrown away their Fighting Irish sweatshirts in disgust. The local bishop, John D’Arcy, has vowed to boycott the graduation ceremony. A visiting high school senior, Halley Chavey, who said she was thrilled just weeks ago to be accepted here, said she might reject the offer because the college was hosting “the most pro-abortion president we’ve ever had.”

But for all the high-pitched indignation, the talk among students and faculty on this gothic campus of towering oaks and sculpted saints seems to reveal a strikingly upbeat mood about Mr. Obama’s visit.

April 6, 2009 in Religion and Reproductive Rights | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Second Circuit Affirms Life Sentence of Abortion Provider's Killer

The Second Circuit has affirmed the federal convictions and life sentence of James C. Kopp for the murder of Dr. Barnett Slepian, a Buffalo area abortion provider.  See How Appealing for links to the per curiam ruling, prior NY Times coverage of the case, and an AP story on the Second Circuit's ruling.

April 6, 2009 in In the Courts | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Scranton Diocese Cracks Down on Colleges and Universities' Provision of Contraceptives to Students

republicanherald.com: Scranton Diocese asks to see Catholic colleges’ info on health services, by Shari Sanger:

Diocese of Scranton leaders have asked the presidents of the four area Catholic colleges and universities for “assurance” that they are not providing or encouraging the use of contraceptives among students, which is against the doctrine of the Catholic Church.

In a Wednesday letter, Bishop Joseph F. Martino and Auxiliary Bishop John M. Dougherty asked the presidents of King’s College, Misericordia University, Marywood University and the University of Scranton to provide information about their student health services. The intent is to “have assurance that no practice is occurring which would be in violation of Catholic teaching,” according to a press release issued Friday by the diocese.

The bishops’ letter was prompted by an article in the March 25 edition of “The Hawk” — the student newspaper at St. Joseph University in Philadelphia — which described how the university, in its words, finds the “middle ground between Church doctrine and student healthcare,” according to the diocesan press release.

April 5, 2009 in Religion and Reproductive Rights | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sebelius Confirmation Vote Will Likely Be Delayed

NY Times: Fast Vote Is Unlikely on Health Dept. Pick, by Robert Pear:

Gov. Kathleen Sebelius of Kansas appeared Thursday to be headed for confirmation as health and human services secretary, but several Republican senators objected to an immediate vote, so the Senate is unlikely to take up the nomination until later this month.

Ms. Sebelius sailed through a hearing of the Senate Finance Committee on Thursday without encountering any difficult questions about her income taxes or her views on abortion.

The committee chairman, Senator Max Baucus, Democrat of Montana, said he looked forward to swift approval of Ms. Sebelius. But Republicans later asked that the committee defer action, meaning that the full Senate would probably not vote before lawmakers leave town on Friday for a two-week spring break.

Wash. Post: Sebelius Appears Unhurt by Tax Error, by Ceci Connolly:

An $8,000 tax error does not appear to be jeopardizing the confirmation of Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius (D) as secretary of health and human services.

In a Senate Finance Committee hearing Thursday, no mention was made of Sebelius's payment of back taxes, even though a similar problem scuttled the nomination of President Obama's first choice for the job, former senator Thomas A. Daschle (D-S.D.)...

The potentially contentious subject of abortion also did not arise, despite complaints from the religious right that Sebelius has an "egregious record" on the issue.

Committee Chairman  Max Baucus (D-Mont.) was hoping for a vote by the Senate before lawmakers leave this weekend for a two-week recess, but some Republicans suggested they may demand more time.

April 5, 2009 in Congress | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, April 4, 2009

ND Senate Rejects Embryonic Personhood Bill, Passes Other Abortion Measures

KFYT-TV: Abortion Bill Defeated, by Amanda Tetlak:

...The bill that establishes that human life begins at conception with the intent to challenge Roe Versus Wade failed by a final vote of 29-16....

Senators voted in favor of a bill that would require abortion clinics to offer a woman an ultrasound of their baby before they have an abortion.

They also passed a bill that would require a clinic to tell a woman that she is killing a human being before having an abortion.

April 4, 2009 in State Legislatures | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, April 3, 2009

Call for Papers: Fourteenth Annual LatCrit Conference

LatCrit - Outsiders Inside: Critical Outsider Theory and Praxis in the Policymaking of the New Regime

Please join us at LatCrit XIV, the Fourteenth Annual LatCrit

(Latina and LatinoCritical Legal Theory, Inc.)

American University - Washington College of Law

Washington, D.C.

October 1 - 4, 2009

The LatCrit XIV Host Committee invites the submission of proposals for panels and papers related to this open-textured theme and encompassing the fullest array of theoretical and doctrinal topics and approaches.  Because we will be in Washington, DC, we encourage the submission of paper and panel proposals propounding prescriptive critiques of discrete areas of law, policy and regulation of specific relevance to outsider communities, including (but by no means limited to) economic justice, international and comparative law, criminal law and the death penalty, civil rights and constitutional law (including gender and LGBT equality, reproductive and disability rights), feminist legal theory, immigration, political and electoral (dis)enfranchisement, communications policy and intellectual property, healthcare, education, employment, tax policy, and the environment.

Please submit your panel and paper proposals through the online process at the LatCrit website (www.law.du.edu/latcrit/index.htm) no later than MONDAY, APRIL 27, 2009.

April 3, 2009 in Conferences and Symposia, Culture, Scholarship and Research | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Iowa Supreme Court Strikes Down Opposite-Sex Only Marriage Law

The New York Times: Iowa Court Says Gay Marriage Ban Is Unconstitutional, by Monica Davey and Liz Robbins:

Iowa Iowa became the first state in the Midwest to approve same-sex marriage on Friday, after the Iowa Supreme Court unanimously decided that a 1998 law limiting marriage to a man and a woman was unconstitutional.

The decision was the culmination of a four-year legal battle that began in the lower courts. The Supreme Court said same-sex marriages could begin in Iowa in as soon as 21 days...

“The Iowa statute limiting civil marriage to a union between a man and a woman violates the equal protection clause of the Iowa Constitution,” the justices said in a summary of their decision...

Advocates of same-sex marriage said they did not believe opponents had any immediate way to overturn the decision. A constitutional amendment would require the state legislature to approve a ban on same-sex marriage in two consecutive sessions after which voters would have a chance to weigh in.

Iowa has no residency requirement for getting a marriage license, which some suggest may mean a flurry of people from other states.

The opinion is available here.

April 3, 2009 in Current Affairs, In the Courts, Politics, State and Local News | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, April 2, 2009

US at the UN: Strong Support for Family Planning

Via RH Reality Check, by Ariana Childs Graham:

This week is the 42nd session of the Commission on Population and Development (CPD) at the United Nations headquarters in New York.  It is taking place fifteen years into the Programme of Action (PoA), adopted at the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) in Cairo, and government officials, representatives from international organizations, advocates, and program implementers are taking stock of our progress.  The theme for the CPD this year is "The contribution of the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development to the internationally agreed development goals, including the Millennium Development Goals."  

...The last eight years have been marked by a U.S. presence at the United Nations that was mostly unfavorable to SRHR, often aligning with some of the most conservative governments on SRHR related issues.  The new Administration, however, has demonstrated a renewed commitment to upholding many of the goals expressed in the ICPD Program of Action.  Margaret Pollock, Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for Population, Refugees and Migration, Department of State and head of the U.S. delegation, delivered the much anticipated U.S. statement to the Commission on March 31. The statement expressed the commitment of the United States government to "ensuring safe and voluntary family planning," delivering "comprehensive and accurate information on sexuality," linking "HIV/AIDS and voluntary family planning programs," and to moving towards ratification of the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women.

April 2, 2009 in Abortion, Contraception, International, President/Executive Branch, Sexuality Education, Sexually Transmitted Disease | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Study: Girls As Young As 12 Understand Emergency Contraceptive Labeling As Well As Adults Do

Reuters: Teens understand emergency-contraception labels, by Amy Norton:

Plan B NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Teenagers do just as well as adults when it comes to understanding the information on emergency-contraception labels, a new study suggests.

The findings, say researchers, argue for making emergency contraception available to minors over-the-counter, as it already is for adults.

The emergency contraceptive Plan B can prevent pregnancy if it is taken within 72 hours of having unprotected sex. However, the sooner it is taken, the better - after the first 12 hours the risk of pregnancy increases by 50 percent. Since 2006, adults in the U.S. have been able to get the contraceptive without a prescription.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) still requires minors to get a prescription, and this delay, critics say, lowers the chances of preventing pregnancy. They also charge that the regulation has more to do with politics than health.

See also: Judge Rules FDA Must Make Emergency Contraception Available to 17-Year-Olds

April 1, 2009 in Teenagers and Children | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)