Sunday, January 24, 2010

Thousands March in Annual "March for Life" Abortion Protest

Wash. Post: Thousands march in D.C. demonstration against abortion, by William Wan:

Megaphone Chanting, yelling and singing their way down Constitution Avenue, tens of thousands of abortion opponents marched through the cold Friday in the annual March for Life , marking the 37th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion.

This year, organizers from the Americans United for Life group also added a "Virtual March for Life," where online users unable to attend in person could create avatars and march along a Google Maps version of the Mall. Or, as their ad on YouTube put it: "Click and be heard."

But those who braved the cold and overcast weather to make it to the event heard a message that centered on fighting the now-stalled health-care reform package and ensuring that any future health-care plans would prohibit the use of federal funding for abortions.

Many at the rally cited the election of Republican Scott Brown to the U.S. Senate in Massachusetts as a sign of a shifting momentum to conservative causes such as theirs. . . .

January 24, 2010 in Abortion, Anti-Choice Movement, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Pondering Why Pregnant Woman's Bodies Are Treated As Public Property

Newsweek Magazine: Until We Have Better Science, Please Shut Up About My Pregnancy Pinot Grigio, by Mary Carmichael:

Pregnancy (2) When I decided to have my first child, my friends who were already parents warned me that I’d soon have someone constantly making demands of me, someone who didn’t care about my autonomy, dignity, or privacy. Sadly, they didn’t mean the baby. As soon as I began showing, my health was no longer solely my business. Strangers looked askance at my Starbucks cup (no matter that it was filled with decaf) and my plate of sushi (never mind that I had the OK from my OB, the chief of maternal-fetal medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital). When they weren’t criticizing me for gaining too much weight, they were carping that I hadn’t gained enough. I met a brand-new acquaintance for dinner at an upscale Cambridge, Mass., restaurant. Halfway through the meal, he looked at me and said, “So, have you started lactating?”

Why do we treat women’s bodies as public property when they’re pregnant? The question has been debated (and debated and debated) in the context of abortion; the ACLU and the state of Vermont are currently parsing its subtler legal implications. But when it comes to issues of etiquette, few people even bother to think about why it’s so common for strangers to pile on pregnant women and ask alarmingly personal questions, lecturing about health-related matters of opinion and treating the women not as the bearers of children but as children themselves. . . .

January 23, 2010 in Culture, Pregnancy & Childbirth | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

National Advocates for Pregnant Women: Writing Competition

NAPW Law Student Writing Competition 2010:

Napw logo NAPW is a non-profit organization dedicated to securing the human and civil rights, health and welfare of pregnant and parenting women, and furthering the interests of their families.

This year's writing contest is “Birthing Rights as a Matter of Gender Equality" . The full description of the contest is available here: Birthing Rights Prompt.  The flyer for it is here: Writing Contest Flyer.  The first prize entry will receive $1000. The second prize is $500 and third prize is $250. The deadline has been extended to December 15, 2010 to encourage involvement from law schools all across the country but 2010 graduates will still retain eligibility.

We hope that you will encourage your students to participate in the contest.  You can also let them know that the top three prize winners for last year's contest are all getting their articles published.

Please e-mail any questions to 

January 23, 2010 in Law School, Pregnancy & Childbirth, Scholarship and Research | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, January 22, 2010

Blogging for Choice in Honor of Dr. Tiller

Blog 4 Choice 2010 In honor of the 37th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, I am once again blogging for choice.  This year, the theme of Blogging for Choice is "Trust Women."  This slogan is one that Dr. George Tiller, murdered last year while attending church, was fond of.  His clinic used to distribute large purple buttons emblazoned with the phrase, "Trust Women." I had one affixed to my bag for a long time.  When Dr. Tiller was killed, I searched high and low for the button and was sad not to find it.   Dr. Tiller's practice was the embodiment of compassionate abortion care.  It is a sad irony that, as we celebrate Roe's anniversary, the judge presiding over the trial for Dr. Tiller's murder appears open to entertaining a defense that his cold-blooded murderer, Scott Roeder, should be punished less severely due to the political beliefs that motivated him. Without the many brave and compassionate abortion providers like Dr. Tiller, who are willing to lay their lives on the line to help women, the "right to choose" guaranteed by Roe v. Wade would be a hollow promise.

January 22, 2010 in Abortion, Anti-Choice Movement | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Interview with Author of "Dispatches from the Abortion Wars" Can we ever win the abortion wars?, by Lynn Harris:

The fanatical fringe has hijacked medicine and wrought terror. But there is hope, says the author of a new book

Book As jury selection continues in the Wichita, KS trial of Scott Roeder -- whose alleged murder of late-term abortion provider Dr. George Tiller was lauded by the extreme anti-abortion group Army of God -- the title of sociologist and reproductive rights historian Carol Joffe's new book becomes all the more chillingly apt. In "Dispatches from the Abortion Wars," Joffe shows that the battles over abortion rights in the United States are being "fought on numerous fronts": not only with guns, bombs and fire, and not only in foreign relations, national politics and state legislatures.

Anti-abortion forces, Joffe writes, also deploy the psychological weapon of anti-abortion stigma, a potent contaminant of conscience and community that has led to, among other things, "a chronic shortage of [abortion] providers" and even anti-abortion hospital practices "that put women's health at unacceptable risk." . . . .

January 22, 2010 in Abortion, Anti-Choice Movement, Books | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Reflecting on Black Women's Abortion Experience on the Anniversary of Roe

the Root: Blacks and Roe v. Wade, by Latoya Peterson (Racialicious):


African-American women get a disproportionate number of abortions. Yet when it comes to the debate on abortion rights, we keep our lips zipped. Here’s why, on the anniversary of the landmark Supreme Court decision, we can’t afford to keep quiet any longer.

To the untrained eye, it would appear that African Americans are not concerned with abortion rights, one way or another. But that perception could not be further from reality....

Against this backdrop, it can be difficult to look at reproductive rights through the lens of racial history and not be wary of contemporary initiatives that are in support of abortion. However, the sheer number of women of color opting for abortion services speaks broadly to our continued need to ensure that all women have the right to choose....

Those against the struggle for reproductive rights point to the erosion of the black family and black population growth as reasons to curtail abortion rights. However, women around the world have fought for the right to choose how to raise their families and how best to provide for their children while scraping by on subpar resources. This is why, for many young black women, there is a necessary shift that must occur in our conversations. We must stop focusing solely on abortion and critically engage with the issues that contribute to abortion....

On this day, let us break this wall of silence. Let's talk about abortion, choice and access. Let's talk about what our community can do to better support mothers and children. Because we cannot continue to ignore this issue.

January 22, 2010 in Abortion, Race & Reproduction | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Co-Founder of NARAL Passes Away at 102

The Huffington Post: Ruth Proskauer Smith, 1908-2010, by Kelli Conlin:

Ruth Proskauer Smith Ruth Proskauer Smith, a founding hero of the reproductive rights movement, died last night at 102 years of age.

As we celebrate today the anniversary of Roe v. Wade - an historic decision of which Ruth was part - we mourn the loss of this remarkable woman.

Ruth Proskauer Smith's history on behalf of reproductive freedom spans back to the 1940's, when she began advocating to give women access to birth control. In 1969, she co-founded NARAL with the goal of litigating against state abortion prohibitions, a life mission that led us directly to the steps of the United States Supreme Court and Roe v. Wade...

We honor Ruth as a founder and are reminded of all the young women activists today who will be the next leaders of our movement. On this 37th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, we send out thanks to the women who came before and all those who will come after.

January 22, 2010 in Abortion | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Critics Question Vetting of Organizations Receiving VA "Choose Life" License Plate Fee

Wash. Post: Questions raised about anti-abortion groups getting Va. license plate fee, by Derek Kravitz:

VA Choose life plate When a Virginia driver purchases a specialty "Choose Life" anti-abortion license plate, $15 of the $25 processing fee goes to Heartbeat International, a Christian group that distributes the money to pregnancy resource centers located across the state.

Critics say the license plate program doesn't do enough to determine whether a clinic is qualified for the money. One pregnancy center listed by several anti-abortion groups as a certified clinic -- the Mattingly Test Center in Loudoun County -- is a two-story brick house owned by Linda Mattingly, a former director at Care Net, a Leesburg-based pregnancy network. There are no signs in front indicating it is a clinic, the Internal Revenue Service has no record of it as a 503(c) nonprofit, and it is not registered as a corporation with the Virginia secretary of state.

January 20, 2010 in Abortion, Anti-Choice Movement, State and Local News | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Newsweek Examines Continuing Legal Battles over Fetal Rights

Newsweek: The Prenatal Problem - recent court cases revisit questions about a fetus' rights - and the rights of a pregnant woman, by Sarah Kliff:

Preg ...[W]hat rights, if any, does a fetus have? The answer is a complicated one that has evolved over the past 40 years. The fact that we still struggle with it today underscores a national schizophrenia in our thinking about pregnant women, how they ought to act, and whose interests they must consider. "When you see these cases, to this extent," says Lynn Paltrow, executive director of the National Alliance of Pregnant Women, "It makes me think we're still engaged with a fundamental question of whether, upon becoming pregnant, women are still full citizens..."

Attempts to protect fetuses via the courts have appeared steadily, albeit infrequently, through the courts for the past 30 years. "Since the 1980s, you've seen cases involving forced medical interventions, as well as attempted prosecutions of women for conduct during pregnancy, like using drugs or drinking alcohol," says Rachel Roth, author of Making Women Pay: The Hidden Costs of Fetal Rights. "If you look back as far as the 1970s, you see companies not allowing women certain jobs unless they could prove they were sterilized, out of fear that there would be toxins harmful to the fetus...."

January 20, 2010 in Fetal Rights, Pregnancy & Childbirth | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Newly Released Video Clips Show Dr. Tiller Discussing Abortion and His Career Dr. Tiller: The lost tapes, by Tracy Clark-Flory:

Tiller Just days before Roe v. Wade's 37th anniversary, and as anti-choice activists flock to Wichita, Kan, for Dr. George Tiller's murder trial, Physicians for Reproductive Choice has released two "never-before-seen" video clips of the slain abortion provider talking about why he chose his line of work. His father's sudden death, and the shocking discovery that the physician had provided illegal abortions, was a major impetus. In the first video clip, he explains:

The women in my father's practice for whom he did abortions educated me and taught me that abortion is not about babies, it's not about families. Abortion is about women's hopes, dreams, potential, the rest of their lives. Abortion is a matter of survival for women. . . .

January 20, 2010 in Abortion, Anti-Choice Movement, Men and Reproduction | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Anti-Choice Group Purchases Super Bowl Ad Focus on the Family buys Super Bowl ad, by Aaron Smith:

Football Focus on the Family, a Christian non-profit group, said it will air its first Super Bowl spot during the upcoming game.

The 30-second ad will feature Tim Tebow, a former quarterback with the University of Florida's Gators and 2007 winner of the Heisman Trophy, along with his mother Pam. . . .

Focus on the Family is opposed to abortion "under all circumstances, except in the rare instance when the mother's life is threatened by continuing the pregnancy," according to the organization's web site.

The Web site for the Bob Tebow Evangelistic Association, which is run by Tim Tebow's father, said that Pam has "a national platform to encourage the pro-life message," noting that she refused to abort Tim more than 20 years ago when she was advised to do so . . .

January 19, 2010 in Abortion, Anti-Choice Movement, Culture, Television | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

New TX Law Requires Health Care Providers to Test Pregnant Women for HIV New HIV-testing law focuses on pregnant women, by Mary Ann Roser:

Texas A gap in the way Texas cared for pregnant women sometimes cost some of the state's most innocent residents - newborn babies - their lives.

To remedy that, part of a law that took effect this month requires health care providers to test pregnant women for HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, at some point during the last three months of pregnancy unless the woman objects.

Mothers-to-be generally will be billed for the test, the cost of which varies depending on who does it. The cost is expected to be covered by insurance or Medicaid, said Allison Lowery, a spokeswoman for the Department of State Health Services. . . .

January 19, 2010 in Pregnancy & Childbirth, State and Local News | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Developments in the Trial of Dr. Tiller's Murder

RH Reality Check: Roundup: A Roeder Roundup, by Robin Marty:

Just because we are still in the midst of jury selection doesn't mean that there aren't developments in the Scott Roeder case.  Roeder, who is on trial for the murder of Kansas doctor George Tiller, has been filling the media with his attempt to defend his actions as justifiable homicide.  

However, it's the judge in the case who is making the most recent news. . . .

January 19, 2010 in Abortion, Anti-Choice Movement, In the Courts, State and Local News | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Marriage Increasingly an Economic Benefit to Men

NY Times: More Men Marrying Wealthier Women, by Sam Roberts:

Wedding Cake Beagy Zielinski is a German-born 28-year-old stylist who moved to New York to study fashion in 1995 and stayed. Just before Christmas, she broke up with her blue-collar boyfriend, who repaired Navy ships.

“He was extremely insecure about my career and how successful I am,” Ms. Zielinski said.

An analysis of census data to be released Tuesday by the Pew Research Center found that she and countless women like her are victims of a role reversal that is profoundly affecting the pool of potential marriage partners. . . .

The analysis examines Americans 30 to 44 years old, the first generation in which more women than men have college degrees. Women’s earnings have been increasing faster than men’s since the 1970s. . . .

January 19, 2010 in Culture, Miscellaneous, Women, General | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, January 18, 2010

Increasing Numbers of Pregnant Women in Workforce Challenge Employers

Wall St. Journal: Handling the Office Baby Boom, by Sue Shellenbarger:

Pregnant Woman When Michael Belenky, president of Zutano, an apparel company, lined up five members of his office staff for an on-the-job photo, one thing stood out: All were visibly pregnant, except one woman who was holding her own recent new arrival.

With six employees, or one-third of his office staff, giving birth in 2008 and early 2009, working around a half-dozen pregnant employees' obstetrician appointments and maternity leaves "was definitely a challenge" at Zutano's Cabot, Vt., headquarters office, he says, where 18 of the company's 33 employees work. To aid planning, the company even started posting the women's due dates on its production calendar.

A growing number of employers are facing boomlets in office fertility. The proportion of pregnant women who are in the labor force has been edging higher for most of the past three decades, and trend may be accelerating: 61% of expectant or new mothers were in the labor force in 2008, up from 56% to 57% in the preceding three years, according to the Census Bureau's American Community Survey. For employers, that brings an array of challenges—from scheduling and planning around doctor appointments, childbirth and parental leave, to enlisting co-workers to step up and fill in for new parents. . . .

January 18, 2010 in Parenthood, Pregnancy & Childbirth, Women, General | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Harold Ford Jr., Weighing Run for NY Senate Seat, Explains Views on Abortion

NY Times: Senate Hopeful in New State Airs Evolving Views, by Michael Barbaro:

In his first extensive interview since he began weighing a run for United States Senate from New York, Harold E. Ford Jr. distanced himself from his previous opposition to same-sex marriage, his description of himself as “pro-life” and his push to permit local police officers to enforce federal immigration law, and said he would be a fiercer advocate for New York than Senator Kirsten E. Gillibrand. . . .

Mr. Ford has repeatedly described himself as “pro-life,” and has voted to ban a procedure opponents call partial-birth abortions and to require that minors receive parental consent before receiving an abortion.

In the interview, however, he said: “To describe me as pro-life is just wrong. I am personally pro-choice and legislatively pro-choice.”

Explaining the previous remarks, he said he refused to cede “the language of life” to the political right. Mr. Ford said that he had always supported abortion rights, but that when he campaigned in Tennessee, he used the phrase “pro-life” more broadly to highlight what he saw as the hypocrisy of Republican policies that denied benefits to returning war veterans, or equal pay to National Guardsmen.

He said he would not abandon his opposition to partial-birth abortion and support for parental consent, saying that if a 15-year-old girl cannot see an R-rated movie without an adult, she should not receive an abortion without a parent’s permission. . . .

See also:

January 17, 2010 in Abortion, Congress, Politics | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Health Care Reform and the "Status Quo" on Abortion

RH Reality Check: Senate, House Health Reform Bills Change Abortion Status Quo, by Jessica Arons:

Congress Opponents and supporters of abortion rights agreed early on, in theory, to maintain the "status quo" with "abortion neutral" health care legislation. The idea was that health care reform is not the appropriate place to continue the fight over abortion and neither side should attempt to use health care reform as a vehicle to further expand or restrict access to abortion.

Unfortunately, neither health reform bill preserves the status quo on abortion. The Stupak Amendment in the House bill is more restrictive than the Manager's Amendment to the Senate bill, but both impose new and unprecedented restrictions on abortion coverage in private insurance plans. . . .

The two bills must now be reconciled in order for each chamber of Congress to take a final vote on a merged health reform bill. Simple changes to the Senate version, such as removal of the two-premium requirement, would prevent new restrictions on abortion coverage and preserve the status quo. But whether those changes can and will be made remains to be seen. . . .

January 16, 2010 in Abortion, Congress, Politics | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, January 15, 2010

Not My Tax Dollars: Hyde, Health Care, and Your Money

Via the Center for Reproductive Rights:

January 15, 2010 in Abortion, Congress, Politics | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

James Cleith Phillips and Edward Carter on Gender and Supreme Court Oral Argument

James Cleith Phillips (University of California, Berkeley School of Law) and Edward Carter (Brigham Young University) have posted Gender and U. S. Supreme Court Oral Argument on the Roberts Court: An Empirical Examination of the Sotomayor Hypothesis on SSRN.  Here is the abstract:

The nomination and confirmation of Justice Sonia Sotomayor to the U. S. Supreme Court rekindled the debate surrounding gender and judicial behavior and decision making. While numerous studies have looked at the potential influence of a judge’s gender on voting patterns, there has been no scholarship to date investigating how the interaction of a Justice’s gender and an attorney’s gender, after controlling for other factors, influences judicial behavior during oral argument. This study empirically explores gender and oral argument by content analyzing over 13,000 sentences from 57 oral arguments during 2004-2009, measuring Justices’ levels of information-seeking and word counts. Statistical analysis of the individual Justices showed that having the same gender as the arguing attorney did influence judicial behavior for some of the Court. Furthermore, ideology also interacted with gender matching in a fairly consistent partisan divide.

January 15, 2010 in In the Courts, Scholarship and Research, Supreme Court, Women, General | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

An Overview of Gender and Poverty: Looking at Empirical Evidence

Mayra Buvinic, Monica Das Gupta, and Ursula Casabonne of The World Bank have posted Gender, Poverty and Demography: An Overview on SSRN.  Here is the abstract:

Much has been written on gender inequality and how it affects fertility and mortality outcomes as well as economic outcomes. What is not well understood is the role of gender inequality, embedded in the behavior of the family, the market, and society, in mediating the impact of demographic processes on economic outcomes. This article reviews the empirical evidence on the possible economic impacts of gender inequalities that work by exacerbating demographic stresses associated with different demographic scenarios and reducing the prospects of gains when demographic conditions improve. It defines four demographic scenarios and discusses which public policies are more effective in each scenario in reducing the constraints that gender inequality imposes on poverty reduction.

January 15, 2010 in Poverty, Scholarship and Research, Women, General | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)