Saturday, August 21, 2010

Abortion a Possible Explanation for Mystery of "L.A. Basement Babies"

L.A. Now blog (LA Times): In L.A. basement babies case, abortion a possible reason for deaths, by Andrew Blankstein & Kate Linthicum:

Detectives trying to unravel the mystery of two dead babies found wrapped in newspapers from the 1930s in an L.A. basement are trying to determine whether they were the result of an abortion or used as some type of medical specimens.

Sources with knowledge of the investigation stressed to The Times that they won't know anything conclusively until autopsies on the remains are completed. But they said those are two theories being investigated as officials wait to see whether scientific tests show any evidence of trauma or foul play.

"Back alley" abortions were common during this era -- decades before Roe vs. Wade decision legalized abortion in the United States. . . .

August 21, 2010 in Abortion, Abortion Bans, State and Local News | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Examining the Link Between Adultery and Stoning

NY Times: Crime (Sex) and Punishment (Stoning), by Robert F. Worth:

It may be the oldest form of execution in the world, and it is certainly among the most barbaric. In the West, death by stoning is so remote from experience that it is best known through Monty Python skits and lurid fiction like Shirley Jackson’s short story “The Lottery.”

Yet two recent real world cases have struck a nerve: a young couple were stoned to death last week in northern Afghanistan for trying to elope, in a grim sign of the Taliban’s resurgence. And last month, an international campaign rose up in defense of an Iranian woman, Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, who had been sentenced to death by stoning on adultery charges.

Much of the outrage those cases generated — apart from the sheer anachronism of stoning in the 21st century — seems to stem from the gulf between sexual attitudes in the West and parts of the Islamic world, where some radical movements have turned to draconian punishments, and a vision of restoring a long-lost past, in their search for religious authenticity. . . .

August 21, 2010 in International, Women, General | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, August 20, 2010

Federal Judge Ratifies Agreement to Block Portions of Louisiana Pre-Abortion Ultrasound Law

Feminist News (Feminist Majority Foundation): Parts of New Louisiana Ultrasound Law Blocked:

A federal court yesterday ratified an agreement to block two provisions of a new Louisiana state ultrasound law. The Center for Reproductive Rights and six Louisiana abortion clinics filed a lawsuit challenging the law earlier this month. The agreement is between the Center for Reproductive Rights (CRR) and the Louisiana state Department of Health and Hospitals.

The first blocked provision required all women who are seeking an abortion to view a photograph of an ultrasound image prior to the procedure, without exceptions for women who are victims of rape or incest. The CRR had argued that the ultrasound requirement was "unconstitutionally vague" because it did not define whether a doctor must require the patient to view the ultrasound or to accept printed copies, according to the Independent Weekly. In the agreement, the Department of Health and Hospitals said that the woman does not have to see the photograph, but that the new law requires the photograph be offered to the woman, according to theAssociated Press.

The second blocked provision required doctors to provide patients with a list of locations where they can get free ultrasounds. The agreement declares this part of the law "unenforceable" because the state has not yet compiled or distributed this list to the clinics. . . .

August 20, 2010 in Abortion, In the Courts, Mandatory Delay/Biased Information Laws, State and Local News, Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP) | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Mary Anne Case on Same-Sex Marriage and Sex Discrimination

Mary Anne Case (University of Chicago Law School) has posted What Feminists Have to Lose in Same-Sex Marriage Litigation on SSRN. Here is the abstract:

Mary Ann Case This Article highlights both the rewards in accepting and the risks in rejecting a claim of sex discrimination as one constitutional basis for invalidating restrictions on marriage for same-sex couples. It argues that recognition of same-sex marriage and elimination of enforced sex roles are as inextricably intertwined as the duck is with the rabbit in the famous optical illusion. As the Article demonstrates, this has long been clear to opponents, from the pope to David Blankenhorn, but needs to become as clear to proponents and to judges deciding same-sex marriage cases if we are to preserve and extend the liberty and equality of all regardless of sex or orientation.

The Article begins by suggesting some advantages of thin over thick definitions of both sex and marriage in law. Through a review, first of landmark U.S. Supreme Court sex discrimination cases concerning the law of marriage and then of state constitutional same-sex marriage litigation from the 1970s to the present, it goes on to demonstrate, on the bright side, that opening marriage to same-sex couples would eliminate the last vestige of sex stereotyping from the law of marriage and complete the law’s evolution away from legally enforced sex-role differentiated inegalitarian marriage, with a resulting benefit to persons of all orientations. On the dark side, however, it also demonstrates that to insist, as some state judges have done, that denial of marriage licenses to same-sex couples does not discriminate on the basis of sex because neither the class of women nor the class of men is singled out for disadvantageous treatment is a repudiation, not only of the entire body of U.S. Supreme Court sex discrimination law of the last forty years, but of more general fundamental principles of U.S. equal protection law established for a century. Even more ominously, some state judges have justified the exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage by relying on exactly the sort of “fixed notions concerning the roles and abilities of males and females” settled understandings of federal constitutional sex equality mandate they repudiate. Not only gays and lesbians, but heterosexual women from a feminist perspective are the losers when marriage is (p)reserved for heterosexual couples because of and not in spite of its traditions, traditions that include sex-role differentiation and female subordination.

The Article ends with an examination of the many opportunities Ted Olson and David Boies missed to highlight the sex discrimination argument in the trial of Perry v. Schwarzenegger and with some speculation as to why the two have so far failed to make the strong case they could have in support of the proposition that denial of marriage to same-sex couples is unconstitutional discrimination on the basis of sex.

August 20, 2010 in Scholarship and Research, Sexuality, Women, General | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, August 19, 2010

UNC Student Health Insurance Plans Now Allow Students to Opt Out of Abortion Coverage

New Students can reject abortion coverage, by Eric Ferreri:

Public university students enrolled in a new UNC system health insurance plan can opt out of abortion coverage.

Though the plan covers the procedure, UNC system officials said Thursday that it can be removed from student plans on request. The decision followed complaints from followers of a national anti-abortion organization that didn't want students forced to fund them.

"No student will be required to have this coverage as part of their health care plan, nor will they be paying for anybody else," UNC President Erskine Bowles said Thursday.

Students who choose not to have the abortion coverage won't save any money. The coverage wasn't a factor in the cost of the health care premiums, which are about $350 to $375 per semester, depending on the campus. . . .

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

Lack of Federal Funding Means Poor, Uninsured Women Often Turn to Do-It Yourself Abortion

ABC News: Immigrants Lured to Cheap, Do-It-Yourself Abortion, by Susan Donaldson James:

Ban on Federal Funds in Obama Health Care Law Means Poor, Uninsured Women are Marginalized, According to Experts

Kelly, a part-time hairdresser from Atlanta, took five little white pills at 7 a.m. and will take five more before her 6-week-old fetus is completely aborted.

"I am going through this as we speak," said Kelly, who did not want her last name used. "What I read about it was really scary. I didn't sleep at all last night, I was so anxious."

At first, the cramping pain and bleeding was "like a bad period" -- but later "it got worse" and even the painkiller hydrocodone didn't help. But Kelly could deal with the emotional event in the privacy of her own home and at about half the cost of a surgical abortion.

Kelly induced a miscarriage with misoprostol, sold under the brand name Cytotec, an FDA-approved drug for treating stomach ulcers. But it also has an off-label use that is a both a blessing and a curse.

Safe and effective, the drug is used globally to prevent women from post-partum hemorrhaging and is widely prescribed in combination with RU-486 in the United States to induce miscarriage.

But for some low-income women, misoprostol has become a do-it-yourself abortion tool. . . .

August 19, 2010 in Abortion, Poverty, Reproductive Health & Safety | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Kansas Board Admonishes Former Prosecutor for Actions in Abortion Investigation

Feminist Wire Newsbriefs (Ms. Magazine): KS Official Admonished for Abortion Investigation Misconduct:

The Kansas Board for Discipline of Attorneys has administered an informal admonition of former Deputy Attorney General Eric Rucker because of allegations of misconduct in an abortion investigation. The board had been considering allegations that Rucker made false statements to the Kansas Supreme Court about an investigation of abortion providers in Overland Park and Wichita, Kansas, while he served as Chief Deputy to then Attorney General Phil Kline from 2003 to 2007, according to WIBW

Kline is also accused of violating professional ethics during his offices' investigation of abortion providers as Kansas Attorney General and as Johnson County District Attorney, according to the Associated Press. A disciplinary hearing for Kline is scheduled for November to address allegations that he lied before the Kansas Supreme Court, misled a Johnson County grand jury, and discussed an ongoing case on "The O'Rielly Factor". . . .

August 19, 2010 in Abortion, State and Local News | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

South Carolina Governor Signs Bill Requiring 24-Hour Delay Prior to Abortion Sanford signs abortion delay bill, gives pro-lifers a win, by Dudley Brown:

Proponents hope changes help lower SC's abortion rate: More than 12,000 annually

Sanford signed the bill Wednesday morning in Spartanburg at the Carolina Pregnancy Center amid at least 60 people, including state legislators and those active in the anti-abortion movement. . . .

August 19, 2010 in Abortion, Anti-Choice Movement, Mandatory Delay/Biased Information Laws, State and Local News, State Legislatures, Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP) | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Nebraska AG Declines to Defend State's New Abortion Screening Law

Feminist Wire Newsbriefs (Ms. Magazine): NE Attorney General Accepts Permanent Stay on Abortion Screening Law:

Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning announced yesterday that he will not attempt to defend the state's new abortion screening law. Bruning has accepted a permanent federal injunction on enforcement of the law, which required women to submit to a full medical screening before seeking an abortion, according to the Associated Press. Brunings's office announced that the court proceedings would be too costly for a case that they believed they are unlikely to win.

Planned Parenthood of the Heartland filed a lawsuit against the Nebraska law in late June, arguing that it was unconstitutionally vague, violated a physician's right to free speech, and created insurmountable barriers for women seeking abortions. Nebraska Judge Laurie Smith Camp ruled in favor of Planned Parenthood in July. The law (see PDF), was signed by Nebraska Governor Dave Heineman in April. . . .

August 19, 2010 in Abortion, In the Courts, Mandatory Delay/Biased Information Laws, State and Local News, Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP) | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

A Conference on Life and Choice in the Abortion Debate: Oct. 15 & 16, 2010

Registration Open!

Open Hearts, Open Minds and Fair Minded Words

A Conference on Life and Choice in the Abortion Debate
Princeton University - October 15 & 16, 2010

  • Do you find most public discourse on abortion painful?
  • Worried conflict over abortion policy threatens progress on other justice issues?
  • Long for a conversation about abortion in which people who disagree discuss their beliefs humbly, are open to change, speak respectfully, and actually listen and learn from those who have a different view?

Register now to join our speakers and be part of the conversation

Issues to be explored:

  • Emerging opportunities to bridge the abortion divide
  • Moral status of the fetus
  • Whether some reasons for abortion exacerbate discrimination against persons
  • When might a fetus feel pain and what should we do about it
  • How far the right of conscientious refusal extends
  • Should abortion be a matter for the courts or the legislatures

Visit website for conference information.

To see the Flyer, Click Here: Download OHM-Princeton-Flyer.

August 19, 2010 in Abortion, Conferences and Symposia | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Ninth Circuit Panel Stays Trial Court Ruling on California Same-Sex Marriage Ban

Bloomberg/Businessweek: California Gay Marriage Ban Will Continue During Court Appeal, by Joel Rosenblatt & Edvard Pettersson:

Aug. 17 (Bloomberg) -- Marriages of same-sex couples in California won’t be allowed while supporters of a state law outlawing the practice challenge a lower-court ruling declaring the ban unconstitutional, a federal appeals court said.

The U.S. Court of Appeals in San Francisco granted a request yesterday by proponents of the state constitutional amendment, Proposition 8, to delay enforcement of the Aug. 4 court order voiding the voter-approved measure. The three-judge appeals panel set an expedited hearing schedule for the challenge with arguments scheduled for the week of Dec. 6. . . .

August 17, 2010 in In the Courts, Sexuality, State and Local News | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, August 16, 2010

In Memoriam: Mary Anne Warren

Via Leiter Reports: A Philosophy Blog:

In Memorian: Mary Anne Warren (1946-2010)

A feminist philosopher, Professor Warren taught for many years at San Francisco State University, and was especially well-known for widely anthologized and discussed work in bioethics, especially on abortion.

See also: What Sorts of People: David Lee Hull and Mary Anne Warren

August 16, 2010 in Abortion, Miscellaneous | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Study Finds School Grades Do Not Suffer When Teens Are Sexually Active Within Committed Relationships Study: Sex won't hurt your teens' grades, by Mary Elizabeth Williams:

New findings about high school students should spur a new attitude towards youngsters and intercourse

Teen sex might lead to pregnancy and terrible poetry, but at least it won't keep kids out of the honor society. A new long-term study from University of California, Davis sociologist Bill McCarthy and University of Minnesota sociologist Eric Grodsky found that adults who'd been sexually active as teens have fared just as well in grades, attendance, and higher education as their abstinent counterparts. Kind of makes some of us kick ourselves for ever believing it was our brains that were holding us back from getting laid in high school.

August 16, 2010 in Scholarship and Research, Sexuality, Teenagers and Children | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

FDA May Revoke Approval of Breast Cancer Drug, Avastin

Wash. Post: FDA considers revoking approval of Avastin for advanced breast cancer, by Rob Stein:

FDA Federal regulators are considering taking the highly unusual step of rescinding approval of a drug that patients with advanced breast cancer turn to as a last-ditch hope.

The debate over Avastin, prescribed to about 17,500 women with breast cancer a year, has become entangled in the politically explosive struggle over medical spending and effectiveness that flared during the battle over health-care reform: How should the government balance protecting patients and controlling costs without restricting access to cutting-edge, and often costly, treatments?

The Food and Drug Administration is reviewing the recommendation of influential scientific advisers to revoke authorization of the drug to treat metastatic breast cancer. Contrary to initial research, new studies indicate that the benefits of the drug, which costs $8,000 a month, do not outweigh its risks, the advisory panel concluded. . . . 

August 16, 2010 in Medical News, President/Executive Branch, Women, General | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Argentina's President Has Reversed Steps Toward Protecting Women's Reproductive Rights

NY Times: Argentina Faulted for Reproductive Policies, by Alexei Barrionuevo (8/10):
Argentina RIO DE JANEIRO — The government of Argentina’s president,Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, has reversed steps toward protecting women’s health and reproductive rights, and backtracked on its intention to guarantee access to legal abortions, according to aHuman Rights Watch report released Tuesday.

Despite what seems to be a liberal social wave sweeping through Argentina — including Congress’s approval last month of a national law authorizing same-sex marriages, the first in Latin America — the Human Rights Watch report offered a scathing assessment of the reproductive rights policies under Mrs. Kirchner, who took over from her husband, Néstor Kirchner, as president in late 2007.

Women continue to struggle to obtain birth control, despite a 2002 law ensuring access to it, and doctors shy away from offering legal abortions in the predominantly Roman Catholic country, the report said. Argentine law strictly limits abortions, with exceptions that include physical or mental risk to the patient and pregnancies resulting from rape. . . .

August 16, 2010 in Abortion, Contraception, International, Reproductive Health & Safety | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Gov. Paterson Signs No-Fault Divorce Bill for New York

NY Times: Paterson Signs No-Fault Divorce Bill:

Gov. David A. Paterson signed into law a package of bills on divorce on Sunday, including one making New York one of the last states to allow couples to dissolve marriages by mutual consent.

The no-fault divorce bill allows a couple to dissolve the marriage by mutual consent and without requiring one spouse to accuse the other of adultery, cruelty, imprisonment or abandonment. It also allows one spouse to divorce the other unilaterally.

Supporters said the bill would end an epidemic of institutionalized perjury in divorce courts, with some spouses said to falsely testify to wrongdoing to get a divorce. Opponents, including the Roman Catholic Church, said the no-fault measure would lead to higher divorce rates. . . .

August 16, 2010 in Miscellaneous, State and Local News, State Legislatures | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Prompted by Federal Funding, Arkansas Considers Teaching About Contraception to Sex Ed Courses State Considers Sex Ed Courses Including Contraceptives:

State officials said Arkansas sex education courses funded with state and federal money may soon include teaching about the use of contraceptives and abstinence as ways to prevent teenage pregnancies. . . .

August 15, 2010 in Congress, Contraception, State and Local News | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Mass. Supreme Court Rules Women Entitled to Only Eight Weeks' Unpaid Maternity Leave Massachusetts' strict maternity leave ruling, by Tracy Clark-Flory:

The state supreme court says moms get eight weeks off without pay, and women are angry

Moms in Massachusetts get eight weeks of secure, unpaid maternity leave -- and beyond that, good luck. The state supreme court asserted yesterday that the 1972 Maternity Leave Act -- which applies to women "who work at smaller companies but with at least six employees," according to The Boston Globe -- provides new mothers protection for only two months. Women who work for larger companies, however, can lean on federal law, which guarantees 12 weeks of unpaid maternity leave and a job to come back to.A whole month is no small difference, especially when talking about a baby in the first months of its life, and the ruling has local moms riled up. . . .

See also: Boston Herald: Motherlode of all insults, by Margery Eagan.

August 15, 2010 in In the Courts, Parenthood, Pregnancy & Childbirth, State and Local News, Women, General | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Research Suggests Menstrual Cramps May Alter Women's Brains

USA Today: Menstrual cramps may alter women's brains, by Jennifer Goodwin:

Menstrual cramps are often dismissed as a mere nuisance, but new research suggests the monthly misery may be altering women's brains.

Researchers in Taiwan used a type of brain scan known as optimized voxel-based morphometry to analyze the anatomy of the brains of 32 young women who reported experiencing moderate to severe menstrual cramps on a regular basis for several years, and 32 young women who did not experience much menstrual pain.

Even when they weren't experiencing pain, women who had reported having bad cramps had abnormalities in their gray matter (a type of brain tissue), said study author Dr. Jen-Chuen Hsieh, a professor of neuroscience at the Institute of Brain Science at National Yang-Ming University in Taipei, Taiwan. . . .

August 15, 2010 in Medical News, Science, Women, General | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Cartoonist Mark Fiore's Satirical Movie Trailer on "Activist Judges"

Newsweek Magazine: "This Film Is Not Yet Rated: 'Activist Judges'", by Mark Fiore:

August 15, 2010 in In the Courts, In the Media, Supreme Court | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)