Friday, February 26, 2010

David Cohen on Sex Segregation

David S. Cohen (Drexel University - Earle Mack School of Law) has posted Keeping Men Men and Women Down: Sex Segregation, Anti-Essentialism, and Masculinity on SSRN.  Here is the abstract:

Cohen Current-day sex segregation is one of the central ways that law and society define and construct who is a man and what it means to be a man. When law or society tells people that a place or activity is reserved for men alone, or in the converse, that men are excluded from a particular place or activity, two important messages are sent: one, that there are distinct categories of people based on reproductive anatomy and that these anatomical distinctions are a legitimate way of organizing and sorting people; and two, that people with the reproductive anatomy labeled “male” are supposed to behave in a certain way. As I have argued in the past, these messages produce distinct harms for women, who are often subordinated to men based on these differences and characteristics, as well as men, both men who conform and do not conform to the expected notions of masculine behavior.

In looking at sex segregation and masculinity, I focus in this article on two separate theoretical concepts – hegemonic masculinity and the hegemony of men. Ultimately, I argue here that the various forms of sex segregation still existing in the United States help create and perpetuate a particular form of dominant masculinity, what theorists call hegemonic masculinity. They also substantially contribute to the dominance of men over women and non-hegemonically masculine men, what other theorists call the hegemony of men. In both ways, sex segregation contributes to an essentialized view of what it means to be a man – both in the attributes associated with an idealized manhood and the power ascribed and available to men.

This article is the second in a project examining still-existing forms of sex segregation. The first part of the project (not yet available on SSRN) introduces the empirical and theoretical basis for understanding sex segregation.

February 26, 2010 in Scholarship and Research, Women, General | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Minnesota Abortion Provider Helps Meet South Dakota Women's Needs

Wash. Post: Minnesota abortion provider helps meet need in South Dakota, by Peter Slevin:

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. -- Carol Ball's day begins in the dark, in another state. By the time she arrives at work, crosses a snowy parking lot and enters the austere one-story Planned Parenthood clinic here, she has flown 200 miles to do something no South Dakota doctor will do.

Ball performs elective abortions. She is one of four doctors who travel anonymously, for security reasons, to the lone clinic in a state that has seen some of the nation's fiercest battles over reproductive rights. The work is framed by worry and frustration -- and the knowledge that the politics remain as unsettled as ever.

February 26, 2010 in Abortion, Anti-Choice Movement, Mandatory Delay/Biased Information Laws | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

More on Nebraska "Fetal Pain" Abortion Ban Hearing

At the hearing yesterday, the proponents of Nebraska's bill to ban abortions starting at 20 weeks of pregnancy were asked about the lack of a mental health exception.  In response to questions about a woman who is suicidal, they suggested she be treated with electroconvulsive therapy and be confined and restrained for the duration of her pregnancy, rather than be allowed access to abortion.  While the hearing on LB 1103 was in progress, a committee in a nearby hearing room debated a prenatal care bill. Supposedly "pro-life" Governor Heineman has expressed his opposition to this legislation "because it would provide taxpayer-funded benefits to illegal immigrants."  Fetuses of "illegal immigrants" with wanted pregnancies don't count as "unborn babies" that deserve protection? Legal scholars, pain experts debate abortion bill, by JoAnne Young:

NE flag 

A committee of the Nebraska Legislature heard from experts on constitutional law and pain management Thursday as it sifted through the question of whether the state should ban abortions as early as the 20th week of pregnancy.

Supporters and opponents of the bill (LB1103) introduced by Speaker Mike Flood filled the hearing room. For the first time, those attending had to pass through a metal detector at the door. . . .

ABC News: Proposed Abortion Bill Focused on When Fetus Feels Pain, by Emily Ingram:

 Nebraska legislators are proposing a bill on abortion that, if passed, would be the strictest in the nation and would ban most abortions after 20 weeks into a pregnancy.

The first public hearing on the so-called Abortion Pain Prevention Act today drew a crowd of 100, and medical and legal experts from as far away as New York City, Alaska and Boston.

February 26, 2010 in Abortion, Abortion Bans, Anti-Choice Movement, Pregnancy & Childbirth, State Legislatures | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Woman Live-Tweets Her Abortion

ABC News: Angie Jackson Live-Tweets Her Abortion on Twitter, by Emily Friedman:

Angie Jackson says nothing is off-limits on Twitter, not even the details of her abortion.

The 27-year-old has turned to the micro blogging site, and to her blog and YouTube videos, to chronicle her experience taking RU-486, commonly known as the abortion pill, in an attempt to "demystify" abortion for other women. . . .

Jackson told that she's always turned to her online friends for support, and that her unwanted pregnancy left her needing it more than ever. . . .

February 25, 2010 in Abortion, Culture | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Nebraska Holds Hearing on "Fetal Pain" Measure Banning Later Pre-Viability Abortions

I testified today in opposition to Nebraska LB 1103, which would ban abortions starting at 20 weeks after fertilization, and which contains only a very narrow health exception.  The ban is unconstitutional because, as the sponsor readily admits, it prohibits abortions before the fetus is viable.  Moreover, its extremely narrow  exception unconstitutionally endangers women's health.  Leslie Griffin (University of Houston Law Center) also testified against the bill, while Teresa Stanton Collett (University of St. Thomas Law School) testified in support.  Nebraska has the country's only unicameral legislature, so this will be the only hearing on the bill.

Here is AP coverage of the hearing.

The bill's history and text is available here (click on "Introduced Copy" for text).


February 25, 2010 in Abortion, Abortion Bans, State Legislatures | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Stupak Amendment's Return to Health Care Debate is Featured on Rachel Maddow

Rachel Maddow summed up Stupak's return to the spotlight: "Abortion rights ONLY for women rich enough to pay for it out of pocket."

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

February 25, 2010 in Abortion, Congress, Politics, President/Executive Branch | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Two Studies Address Pregnancy-Related Depression

NY Times: Pregnancy, Depression and Acupuncture, by Lisa Belkin:

Two studies released in the past few days address the the prevalence and treatment of depression during and after pregnancy.

The first, published online by the journal Pediatrics, finds that a startling percentage of low-income, urban mothers show symptoms of post-partum depression. Researchers at the University of Rochester Medical Center screened 198 mothers of children between the ages of two weeks and 14 months who brought their children for check-ups at the center’s outpatient pediatric clinic. More than half of those mothers — 56 percent — met the clinical criteria for a diagnosis of some degree of depression. . . .

February 24, 2010 in Medical News, Pregnancy & Childbirth | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Woman Bears Two Children Following Ovarian Transplant

Reuters: Woman has 2 babies in first for ovarian transplant:

Caduceus LONDON (Reuters) - A woman has given birth to two children after her fertility was restored using transplants of ovarian tissue, the first time the complex treatment has produced two babies from separate pregnancies.

Claus Yding Andersen, the Danish doctor who treated the woman, said the case showed how this method of storing ovarian tissue was a valid way of preserving fertility and should encourage the technique to be used more in girls and young women facing treatment that may damage their ovaries. . . .

February 24, 2010 in Fertility, Medical News, Pregnancy & Childbirth | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Jury Selection Begins in Trial for Murder of Anti-Abortion-Rights Activist Jury selection begins for man accused of killing anti-abortion activist:

Jury selection is underway in Shiawassee County for the man accused of shooting and killing an anti-abortion activist.

Police say Harlan Drake shot and killed James Pouillon while he protested abortion outside of a clinic in Owosso. Police say Drake then killed a local business owner.

The court started its search for an impartial jury Tuesday morning, a search that expected to be very difficult. . . .

February 23, 2010 in Abortion, Anti-Choice Movement, In the Courts, State and Local News | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Abortion a Persistent Issue in Health Care Debate

Wall St. Journal: Perennial Feud Remains on Abortion, by Laura Meckler:

Capitol Rotunda Many obstacles need to be cleared if the Democrats are to pass their health-care legislation, but one of the toughest will be the persistent issue of abortion.

Abortion was one of the final matters to be resolved in December when the Senate created its version of the health-care bill, with a carefully crafted compromise that left neither side in the debate happy. If a final bill is to clear the House, Democrats will have to find a way to finesse the problem again. One idea being floated involves inserting more-restrictive language later into a spending bill. . . .

The path toward passing the bill, given united Republican opposition, goes this way: The House passes the Senate bill, and both sides then approve alterations using a process known as reconciliation, which requires a simple majority in the Senate. Reconciliation can only be used for matters that relate to the federal budget, and abortion doesn't qualify. Thus, the Senate version would stand. . . .

February 23, 2010 in Abortion, Congress, Politics | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Bristol Palin to Play Teenage Mother on TV Series

Z on TV (Baltimore Sun): 'Family' values: Bristol Palin to 'play' teen mom on TV, by David Zurawik:

I have long complained about films like "Juno" and TV series like "The Secret Life of the American Teenager" sending a message to teen girls that a fast route to love and popularity is getting pregnant. Since such media depictions are very popular, the culture seems not to want to think about that negative critique too much.

But now comes some art-meets-reality news that takes the issue to another level: Bristol Palin, oldest daughter of former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, will make her acting debut on "The Secret Life of the American Teeanger," which airs on the ABC Family Channel owned by Disney. Way to go with those family values, Disney. . . .

I am sorry, but  everything I learned in media and popular cultural studies while earning a Ph.D. says that in putting teenage mothers at the heart of films and TV series and on magazine covers, you are at least indirectly celebrating girls getting pregnant. You can talk all you want about "educating teens" and "bringing attention to important issues connected with teen pregnancy and parenting," but one of the messages that some teens are decoding from such productions is that getting pregnant will make them "stars" -- or at least the center of their universe of family and friends.

And by the way, this really cuts hard against Sarah Palin's claims, which I have supported, that a politicians' kids should be off limits -- that the kids should have a right to as much privacy as possible. . . .

February 23, 2010 in Politics, Pregnancy & Childbirth, Teenagers and Children, Television | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Lady Gaga Promotes Designer Condoms Gaga for designer condoms, by Tracy Clark-Flory:

ProperAttireCondoms The quirky pop star endorses a line of fashionable prophylactics

My excitement over Lady Gaga and Cyndi Lauper promoting HIV/AIDS awareness has barely subsided and now there comes news that the "Pokerface" singer is promoting designer condoms. Jeremy Scott, who has dressed the songstress in the past, has created three styles -- studded, ribbed and sheer -- that come in Gaga-esque bold, neon-bright packaging. "It's not complicated, just a fashion statement," she said in a press release endorsing the line. "Everybody wrap it up with Jeremy Scott for Proper Attire condoms." OK, so that quote came as pre-packaged as one of these condoms, but we can forgive her for that -- after all, the proceeds benefit Planned Parenthood. So, you go, Gaga, keep expanding your safe-sex empire.

February 23, 2010 in Contraception, In the Media, Sexually Transmitted Disease | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Does MTV's "16 and Pregnant" Prevent Teen Pregnancy or Just Exploit Teen Mothers?

Slate Magazine (Double X): Does MTV's 16 and Pregnant Keep Girls From Getting Pregnant?, by Jessica Grose:

Or does it just exploit the teen moms on the show?

Jenelle, the young subject of the latest episode of the MTV reality show 16 and Pregnant, which aired on Feb. 16, is a spectacularly surly new mother. Before she gives birth to son Jace, Jenelle says in her thick North Carolinian accent that she imagines motherhood will be like "dressin' up a doll every day." But when the baby comes, it's not like her fantasy at all. Jenelle's "alcoholic," ex-model boyfriend refuses to visit and calls her a "piece of crap" repeatedly, and her mother is constantly haranguing her for going out clubbing and leaving the baby at home. Toward the end of the hourlong episode, Jenelle openly regrets having a baby while still in high school. She says to a friend, "Imagine bein' in prison. That's what [motherhood is] like, bein' in prison."

If Jenelle sounds like a cautionary tale, it's because 16 and Pregnant explicitly intends to portray her as one. The extremely popular show, now in its second season, and its spin-off, Teen Mom, are designed to deter adolescents from becoming mothers—a relevant issue as teen-pregnancy rates are up for the first time in more than a decade. The shows, which follow adolescent mothers as they struggle to raise their children, are produced in partnership with the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy. The organization distributes free copies of the first season of the show along with discussion guides to put the drama in context. . . .

February 23, 2010 in Culture, Pregnancy & Childbirth, Teenagers and Children, Television | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

David Hulme on Reproductive Health and the UN's Millennium Development Goals

David Hulme (University of Manchester) has posted Reproductive Health and the Millennium Development Goals: Politics, Ethics, Evidence and an ‘Unholy Alliance’ on SSRN.  Here is the abstract:

David Hulme This paper provides a chronological account of the evolution of the concept and policy of reproductive health and its initial entry, and subsequent exclusion, from UN declarations. In the 1990s effective lobbying by sexual and reproductive rights activists established reproductive health for all as a UN goal. However, at the Millennium Assembly of 2000 and in the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), an ‘unholy alliance’ of the Holy See and a handful of conservative Muslim governments managed to keep reproductive health off the agenda. This was successful political manoeuvring for the short-term, but the alliance fell apart and the power of the theoretical and empirical case in support of reproductive health saw it return to the MDGs in 2005. The moral standing of religious institutions, such as the Holy See, is undermined by such opportunistic, short-term political behaviour and, in particular, the ambiguous legal status of the Holy See at the UN is called into question.

February 23, 2010 in International, Religion and Reproductive Rights, Reproductive Health & Safety, Scholarship and Research | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Jeannie Suk on the Legal Discourse of Abortion Trauma

Jeannie Suk (Harvard Law School) has posted The Trajectory of Trauma: Bodies and Minds of Abortion Discourse on SSRN.  Here is the abstract:

Suk What is the legal import of emotional pain following a traumatic event? The idea of women traumatized by abortion has recently acquired a constitutional foothold. The present Article is about this new frontier of trauma. I argue that the legal discourse of abortion trauma grows out of ideas about psychological trauma that have become pervasively familiar in the law through the rise of feminism. The Supreme Court’s statement in Gonzales v. Carhart, that some women who have abortions feel “regret” resulting in “severe depression and loss of esteem,” has provoked searing criticism because talk of protecting women from psychological harm caused by their own decisions seems to recapitulate paternalistic stereotypes inconsistent with modern egalitarian ideals. I argue that a significant context for the newly prominent discourse of abortion regret is the legal reception of psychological trauma that has continually gained momentum through feminist legal thought and reform since the 1970s. Rather than representing a stark and unmotivated departure, the notion of abortion trauma continues a legal discourse that grew up in precisely that period: a feminist discourse of trauma around women’s bodies and sexuality. This intellectual context gives meaning to the present discourse of women’s psychological pain in our legal system. The ideas informing abortion regret are utterly familiar once contextualized in modern legal understandings of women that have developed in the period since Roe.

February 23, 2010 in Abortion, Scholarship and Research | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Law, Gender & Citizenship Symposium on March 5, 2010

Wisconsin Journal of Law, Gender & Society Symposium announces:

Law, Gender & Citizenship: Contemporary Issues for American Indians and American Immigrants

March 5, 2010

Pyle Center  •  702 Langdon Street  •  University of Wisconsin-Madison

Click here for the symposium agenda.

February 23, 2010 in Conferences and Symposia, Law School, Sexual Assault, Sexuality, Women, General | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Virginia Delegate Marshall Apologizes for Abortion Comment

Wash. Post: Del. Marshall says abortion remark misconstrued, apologizes, by Fredrick Kunkle:

Virginia Del. Robert G. Marshall apologized Monday to people with disabilities for remarks suggesting that women who have abortions risk having later children with birth defects as a punishment from God.

Marshall (R-Prince William) made the comment Thursday at a news conference calling for an end to state funding to Planned Parenthood. Calling the nonprofit group "Planned Barrenhood," Marshall joined the Virginia Christian Alliance, several African American ministers and others who blamed the abortion provider for a host of social ills.

"The number of children who are born subsequent to a first abortion who have handicaps has increased dramatically. Why? Because when you abort the firstborn of any, nature takes its vengeance on the subsequent children," Marshall said. . . .

February 23, 2010 in Abortion, Anti-Choice Movement, Religion and Reproductive Rights, State and Local News, State Legislatures | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, February 19, 2010

The Cost of Teen Pregnancy A baby changes everything: The true cost of teen pregnancy’s uptick, by Kari Huus:

Nate Howell has approximately 76 days to adjust to his new reality. That is when he is due to become a parent with his girlfriend, Samantha Keith, who just turned 17.

"It scares the living hell out of me,” says Nate, 19, who is working at a pork-packing plant in his hometown, Elkhart, Ind. “I thought I’d be in college right now playing football.”

Nate is one of five members of the class of 2009 whom has been following as part of The Elkhart Project. After high school, Nate had hoped to go to college and play football but didn't get a financial scholarship.

Now, facing parenthood, he and Samantha are in a tough spot — one that tends to come with a high price. Research shows that people who have children in their teens are less likely to get a high school diploma or go on to college. They tend to earn less in the working world, and children born to these teens struggle to keep up with their peers. For many, beating back poverty becomes the overriding concern. . . .

February 19, 2010 in Poverty, Pregnancy & Childbirth, Teenagers and Children | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Why Women Blame Sexual Assault Survivors Why women blame rape victims, by Tracy Clark-Flory:

A new survey showing female finger-pointing over sexual assaults should come as no surprise

When it comes to rape, women may not be a girl's best friend. That's according to a new survey finding that more than half of women think sexual assault victims should take some responsibility for their own attack. By the speed at which this news is whipping around the Web, you might think it came as a shock -- but there's no surprise here.

The online survey, creepily titled "Wake Up To Rape," of 1,061 Londoners between the ages of 18 and 50 also found that a fifth of women believed the victim was responsible "if they went back to the assailant's house" and one in eight said "that dancing provocatively, flirtatious behaviour, or wearing revealing clothing made them partly to blame," according to Reuters UK. Another behavior meriting culpability, according to nearly three quarters of lady respondents, is willingly climbing into bed with the eventual attacker. In other words: Personal rights are forfeited at the bedroom door. . . .

February 19, 2010 in Public Opinion, Sexual Assault, Women, General | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Guttmacher Institute Discusses the Health Disparities Between Black and White Americans

Guttmacher Institute news release: Black History Month: Addressing Health Disparities:

Guttmacher As the United States celebrates Black History Month, one enduring challenge we face as a nation is the persistent health disparities between black and white Americans. The area of sexual and reproductive health, in particular, is riddled with inequities, including differences in contraceptive failure rates, unintended pregnancy and abortion among teen and adult women, and rates of infection with HIV and other STIs among both men and women. While much progress has been made, our efforts and attention need to be directed toward equalizing health outcomes for all Americans.

Teen pregnancy rates have dropped significantly among African Americans over the past decade but remain much higher than those among white teens. Among black teens, the pregnancy rate fell by 45% between 1990 and 2005 (from 224 to 123 pregnancies per 1,000 women aged 15–19). Rates among non-Hispanic white teens also fell by 50% in the same time period, but starting at a much lower rate of 87 per 1,000 in 1990 and falling to 43 per 1,000 in 2005. Alarmingly, teen pregnancy rates went up among all racial and ethnic groups in 2006.

Among women of all ages, black Americans are almost four times as likely as whites to have an abortion. Antiabortion activists use this statistic to make the groundless argument that the “abortion industry” is targeting and marketing aggressively to African-American communities. What proponents of this argument fail to recognize is that black women’s higher abortion rates are directly related to their higher rates of unintended pregnancy. Disproportionately high rates of both unintended pregnancy and abortion are symptoms of the broader health disparities faced by the black community. . . .

February 19, 2010 in Race & Reproduction, Scholarship and Research | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)