Thursday, December 16, 2010

Republicans in Montana Legislature Hope to Restrict or Ban Abortion

The Missoulian: 2011 Legislature: GOP lawmakers to introduce anti-abortion bills, by Charles S. Johnson:

Montana With Republicans controlling both chambers in the 2011 Legislature, some GOP lawmakers are proposing a broad collection of bills to restrict or possibly ban legalized abortion in Montana.

One Republican legislator is proposing a state constitutional amendment that says human life begins when an egg is fertilized, a move that ultimately could lead to a ban on abortion in Montana. A similar effort failed in the 2009 Legislature and backers were unable to collect enough signatures to put it on the ballot this year as an initiative.

Other draft proposals in the works are reprisals of bills that failed to pass in previous sessions.

December 16, 2010 in Abortion, Abortion Bans, Anti-Choice Movement, Fetal Rights, State Legislatures, Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP) | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Iowa Republicans Draft Legislation To Mirror Nebraska's 20-Week Abortion Ban

Des Moines Register: Iowa faces new abortion battle, by Jason Clayworth:

Iowa Key Iowa Republicans are drafting legislation mirroring a new, more restrictive Nebraska abortion law in an attempt to derail plans of a Nebraska doctor to open a Council Bluffs clinic where late-term abortions would be performed.

A new law took effect Oct. 15 in Nebraska that bans abortions after 20 weeks of gestation, or roughly five months, except in cases in which the mother's life is in jeopardy.

The law led Dr. LeRoy Carhart, a Nebraska abortion provider, to announce last month that he plans to open the Iowa clinic. . . .

December 9, 2010 in Abortion, Abortion Bans, Anti-Choice Movement, Fetal Rights, State and Local News, State Legislatures | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Senate Blocks Repeal of Ban on Privately Funded Abortions on Military Bases

ACLU press release: Senate Blocks Repeals Of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” And Ban On Privately Funded Abortion On Military Bases:

WASHINGTON– The Senate voted today to block consideration of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), a bill that included two key civil liberties provisions: repeal of the discriminatory "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy and repeal of the current ban on privately funded abortion care on military bases. The American Civil Liberties Union expressed deep disappointment that the bill including these repeals will not be considered for a vote.

Following the vote, however, Senator Joseph Lieberman (I-CT) announced he and Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) intend to introduce a stand-alone bill later today that would repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” The ACLU encourages the introduction of such legislation and urged the Senate to commit to passing the bill before the end of the legislative session.

"Congress has missed an historic opportunity to overturn these unjust and unfair policies,” said Laura W. Murphy, Director of the ACLU Washington Legislative Office. “Because of today's vote, policies that infringe upon our service members’ constitutional rights will remain intact at a time when they are willingly putting their lives at risk to serve our country.”

The current abortion policy bans servicewomen from using private funds to exercise their constitutional right to abortion except in the case of rape or incest. Additionally, servicewomen who are forced by the ban to seek proper medical care at civilian facilities are required to request a leave of military duty, which can only be granted after they disclose their private medical decisions to their superiors. The current ban means that servicewomen are denied the same reproductive rights as their civilian counterparts, who are guaranteed access to safe, legal abortion care.

"Our women in uniform are living under a different set of rules than other Americans when it comes to reproductive health care, and that is unacceptable. Congress, unfortunately, has just allowed that to continue,” said Murphy. “All women have the right to safe reproductive health care and the women and families serving our country today deserve better.” . . .

December 9, 2010 in Abortion, Congress | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Women on Active Duty in U.S. Military Need Access to Safe Abortion

RH Reality Check: Study: Female Active Duty Soldiers Face Many Barriers to Care, by Dan Grossman:

Much of the discussion surrounding the yet-unapproved National Defense Authorization Act for 2011 has focused on the future of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”  But the Senate version of this bill contains another controversial provision that would reverse the prohibition on use of military facilities for elective abortions, though women would have to pay for the services themselves.  Although a small step, this would be an important advance toward recognizing the significant contribution that women bring to our armed forces.

Women make up approximately 14 percent of active duty forces, and 97 percent are of reproductive age.  Like the general U.S. population, unintended pregnancy is common among women in the military, despite policies aimed at restricting sexual contact.  The unfortunate reality is that not all sexual activity is consensual, with as many as one-third of female soldiers reporting being a victim of sexual assault. . . .

December 9, 2010 in Abortion, Abortion Bans, Congress | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Campaign Aims to Drive Racial Wedge into Pro-Choice Movement and Gender Wedge into Communities of Color

On the Issues: Fighting the Black Anti-Abortion Campaign: Trusting Black Women, by Loretta Ross:

Sixty-five billboards were quickly erected in predominantly African American neighborhoods in Atlanta on February 5, 2010. Each showed a sorrowful picture of a black male child proclaiming, "Black Children are an Endangered Species."

Georgia Right to Life and the newly-formed Radiance Foundation spent $20,000 to sponsor the billboards that included the address of a previously unknown anti-abortion website.

This was the opening salvo in a campaign to pass new state legislation attempting to criminalize abortions provided to women of color allegedly because of the "race or sex" of the fetus. Doctors would have been subjected to criminal sanctions and civil lawsuits. Central to the argument of our opponents was the false claim that most, if not all, abortions are coerced. . . .

H/T: Frank Deale

December 8, 2010 in Abortion, Anti-Choice Movement, Race & Reproduction | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

"Abortion" as a Catch-All "Scare Word"

On the Issues: 'Abortion' as Right's Multipurpose Scare Word, by Amanda Marcotte:

Abortion: most of us tend to think the word has a fixed meaning, which is: terminating a pregnancy through the use of drugs or surgery. There's also the medical term "spontaneous abortion," used to describe what most people euphemistically call a "miscarriage." Unfortunately, many in the mainstream media don't realize yet that when social conservatives invoke the dreaded A-word, they may not be talking about the termination of a pregnancy. Confusion therefore ensues. That's because, for social conservatives, abortion has now become a catch-all term for anything threatening, particularly if it relates to feminist politics: the list extends to contraception, women's rights in general, even economic and social policies they disapprove of, such as health care reform.

"Abortion" is a great scare term, so reliable both for making mainstream pundits squirm and right wing troops turn out, that social conservatives can't help but give in to the temptation to apply it even in situations where there are no pregnancy terminations in sight. . . .

December 8, 2010 in Abortion, Anti-Choice Movement | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Study Examines Effects of Cell-Phone Use During and After Pregnancy on Children's Behavior

TIME: Study: Could Cell-Phone Use in Pregnancy Affect Kids' Behavior?, by Meredith Melnick:

Cell phone
Children exposed to cell phones before and after birth were 50% more likely to have emotional or behavior problems by the age of 7, compared with kids who were not exposed to the phones, according to a new study of 28,745 children. The same authors of the new study reached similar conclusions in a previous study conducted in 2008.

The children in the current study were all enrolled in the Danish National Birth Cohort, a large-scale study of 100,000 Danish children born between 1996 and 2002. Researchers from the School of Public Health at the University of California, Los Angeles, used data from surveys that the mothers of the children filled out; questionnaires included standard tests for emotional or behavior problems in children, as well with hyperactivity, inattention and inability to get along with other kids. . . .

December 7, 2010 in Medical News, Pregnancy & Childbirth, Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Julian Assange and "Sex by Surprise"

Feministe: Some Thoughts on "Sex by Surprise," by Jill Filipovic:

Commentators are saying Julian Assange didn't rape anyone, and these are trumped-up charges of "sex by surprise," which means that Assange didn't wear a condom and days later the women he slept with are claiming rape. Totally unfair, right?

Well, no, I'm not sure it's that straightforward. The actual details of what happened are hard to come by, and are largely filtered through tabloid sources that are quick to offer crucial facts like the hair color of the women (blonde) and the clothes they wore (pink, tight), but it sounds like the sex was consensual on the condition that a condom was used. . . .

H/T: Allison Lauterbach

December 7, 2010 in Sexual Assault | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Reflecting on 50 Years of "The Pill"

New York Magazine: Waking up from the Pill, by Vanessa Grigoriadis:

Birth control pills On a cold night in mid-October, a couple hundred bejeweled women in gowns file into the Pierre with their dates for a very special 50th-birthday party. . . . In the middle of the room, on a tall pedestal, there’s an enormous cake, with lettering that spells out ONE SMALL PILL. ONE GIANT LEAP FOR WOMANKIND. ONE MONUMENTAL MOMENT IN HISTORY.

Yes, the birth-control pill, approved by the FDA in 1960, is the “birthday girl” at tonight’s gala, which is sponsored by Israeli company Teva Pharmaceutical, the biggest maker of generic drugs in the world. Medications don’t usually have their own black-tie events—there aren’t galas for antibiotics, or chemotherapy, or blood thinners—but the Pill, after all, is so much more than just a pill. It’s magic, a trick of science that managed in one fell swoop to wipe away centuries of female oppression, overly exhausting baby-making, and just marrying the wrong guy way too early. . . .

The fact is that the Pill, while giving women control of their bodies for the first time in history, allowed them to forget about the biological realities of being female until it was, in some cases, too late. It changed the narrative of women’s lives, so that it was much easier to put off having children until all the fun had been had (or financial pressures lessened). . . .

December 7, 2010 in Contraception, Culture, Fertility, Women, General | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, December 6, 2010

Protests Planned as Dr. Carhart Begins Performing Later Abortions in Maryland

Wash. Post: Protests planned for doctor performing late-term abortions at Md. clinic, by Lena H. Sun:

Antiabortion groups plan to protest a Nebraska doctor who will start working and performing late-term abortions Monday at a Germantown clinic.

Security is expected to be tight, and demonstrators will not be allowed into the private business park where the clinic is located or the parking lot in front of it, Montgomery County police officials said.

LeRoy Carhart is one of the few doctors in the country to perform the controversial procedure. He will be working at Germantown Reproductive Health Services, which already performs abortions earlier in a pregnancy. Only a handful of doctors publicly acknowledge that they perform abortions late in a pregnancy, and Carhart has been the target of abortion protests."We don't want Maryland to become the late-term abortion capital of America," said the Rev. Patrick Mahoney, director of the Christian Defense Coalition. . . .

December 6, 2010 in Abortion, Anti-Choice Movement, State and Local News | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

States Restrict Health Insurance Coverage of Abortion

Guttmacher Institute: State Policies in Brief: Restricting Insurance Coverage of Abortion:

In 2010, President Obama signed into law the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which, among many other things, provides for the establishment of state-level health care exchanges to assist individuals and small businesses in purchasing a private health insurance plan. Despite the fact that these exchanges will not be operational until 2014, some states have already enacted laws restricting the abortion coverage that will be available in plans purchased through the exchanges. But although federal health care reform may have renewed the debate around restricting insurance coverage of abortion, restrictive state abortion insurance policies are not a new phenomenon. Several states already restrict private insurance coverage of abortion; these restrictions will also apply to plans sold on the exchanges. More often, states have banned abortion coverage in public employees’ insurance policies or in other cases where public funds are used to insure employees. . . .

December 6, 2010 in Abortion, Congress, State and Local News, State Legislatures | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Poll Shows Most American Women Don't Trust Palin on Reproductive Health Issues

Politico: Poll: Palin not trusted on abortion, by Sarah Kliff:

Most American women don't trust Mama Grizzly on abortion, birth control and sex ed, a new poll obtained by POLITICO shows.

The survey, conducted for Planned Parenthood by Democratic pollster Hart Research Associates, found that just 24 percent of registered voters choose Sarah Palin as trustworthy on women’s health issues, versus 54 percent who consider Planned Parenthood trustworthy.

Forty-three percent of all registered voters polled described Palin as “out of step” with their views on the issues; 31 percent say she is in line with their beliefs.

The poll reached 802 voters split evenly across party lines in early November and has a margin of error of 3.5 percent. . . .

December 6, 2010 in Abortion, Contraception, Politics, Public Opinion, Sexuality Education | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Jessica Waters on Court-Controlled Pregnancies

Jessica L. Waters (American University School of Public Affairs) has posted In Whose Best Interest? New Jersey Division of Youth and Family Services v. V.M. and B.G. and the Next Wave of Court-Controlled Pregnancies on SSRN. Here is the abstract:

Jessica Waters On April 16, 2006, V.M., a forty-two-year-old married woman in her thirty-fifth week of pregnancy, voluntarily checked into St. Barnabas Hospital in Livingston, New Jersey. During active labor, V.M. consented to multiple medical interventions, but refused to sign a form consenting to a c-section. V.M. ultimately did not have a c-section, and V.M.’s child, J.M.G., was safely born through a vaginal birth. However, during a subsequent child welfare determination, V.M.’s “failure to cooperate with medical personnel” during labor and delivery, and specifically her refusal to consent to a c-section, factored into the trial judge’s decision that J.M.G. was an abused and neglected child under a New Jersey child welfare statute. As a result of this finding, the state removed J.M.G. from her parents’ custody and placed her in the custody of the New Jersey Division of Youth and Family Services. After an appellate court upheld the trial court’s abuse and neglect finding, but did not explicitly address the lower court’s reliance on the refusal to consent to a c-section, the New Jersey Supreme Court and the United States Supreme Court respectively denied certification and certiorari. Accordingly, the New Jersey trial court’s explicit reliance on a woman’s refusal to consent to a c-section as a basis for a child neglect finding was never directly addressed by a higher court, leaving other trial courts in a position to make the same finding in the future.

This Article will examine New Jersey Division of Youth and Family Services v. V.M. and B.G. (“New Jersey v. V.M.”) to explore the continued regulation and control of women’s reproductive decisions and the startling new reality that women’s practice of protected legal activities during pregnancy may play a role in the loss of child custody. Part I of this Article will detail New Jersey v. V.M.’s factual and procedural history, focusing in particular on the legal ramifications of V.M.’s refusal to consent to a c-section. Part II will briefly summarize the recent history of state regulation of fertility, pregnancy, and childbirth. The section will explore the progression from eugenics-based court-ordered sterilizations in the early part of the twentieth century to the more recent criminal and civil sanctioning of pregnant women for their actions (or failures to act) while pregnant. Finally, Part III will place New Jersey v. V.M. in the context of this history of reproductive regulation and argue that a pregnant woman’s refusal to consent to a c-section should not be a consideration in subsequent child welfare cases. Permitting such a consideration will have wide-ranging consequences for multiple areas of reproductive rights. First, allowing a c-section refusal to factor into child welfare proceedings opens the door to extensive regulation of women’s legal actions while pregnant. Second, the specter of child welfare proceedings looming over the delivery room may have incredibly coercive effects on women making labor and birth decisions, and it increases the already significant power that medical professionals have over women’s medical decision-making. Finally, I will argue that New Jersey v. V.M. extended the protections of the abuse and neglect statute to prenatal conduct without a statutory basis to do so, and, through this creation of fetal personhood, set a dangerous precedent for women’s reproductive autonomy. . . .

December 4, 2010 in Fetal Rights, In the Courts, Pregnancy & Childbirth, Scholarship and Research | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

49 Organizations Form Network to Address Health Risks from Illegal Abortions in Thailand

Bangkok Post: Activists act on resolving abortions:

 A women's network has converged on Government House to present a list of recommendations to help solve the problems of unwanted pregnancies and illegal abortions.

The network, formed by 49 organisations working with women's issues, said yesterday more than 300,000 unwanted pregnancies were reported each year. Among this group, 16% said they chose to have an illegal abortion which put them at risk of health problems or even death.

Each year the government had to spend 300 million baht on medical treatment to help women who had abortions to recover, the group said in a letter. . . .

See also: 2,000 Aborted Fetuses Found In Temple in Bangkok, Where Abortion is Illegal

December 4, 2010 in Abortion, Abortion Bans, International, Reproductive Health & Safety | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, December 3, 2010

Use of Hormonal Implants for Contraception Increasing Among Young Women in England

The Guardian: Hormone implant use rises five-fold, contraception figures show, by Rowenna Davis:

EngThe number of women using hormone implants for contraception has risen five-fold in five years and the popularity of condoms is declining, NHS data shows.

The implants figure has soared from 16,600 in 2005 to almost 82,000 this year in England, with the devices especially popular with younger women and teenagers. Some 10% of girls and women aged 16-19 on some form of contraception say they prefer an implant; five years ago the figure was 1%. . . .

December 3, 2010 in Contraception, International, Medical News, Teenagers and Children | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

JoAnne Sweeny on Sexting Prosecutions and Teenagers' Constitutional Rights

JoAnne Sweeny (Loyola University New Orleans College of Law) has posted Do Sexting Prosecutions Violate Teenagers' Constitutional Rights? on SSRN. Here is the abstract:

JoAnne Sweeny The media has recently been highlighting a rash of prosecutions of teenagers who engage in “sexting” – sending nude or sexually explicit images of themselves or their peers – under child pornography laws. These prosecutions have led to mass criticism for threatening teens with long prison terms and registering as sex offenders for activities that are perceived to be relatively innocent. Many, if not most, of these sexting teens are legally permitted to engage in sexual activities through their states’ statutory rape laws, which leads to an absurd situation where teens are permitted to engage in sex but not photograph it. This mismatch between different ages of consent leaves sexting prosecutions open to a myriad of constitutional challenges. This article examines the four possible constitutional challenges to sexting prosecutions: freedom of expression, equal protection, right to privacy, and due process. Most of these challenges have already been brought with mixed success. Although the Supreme Court has not yet ruled on the issue, as this article shows, teens are likely to succeed on at least some of these claims. For that reason, this article concludes that states should be proactive and create sexting legislation that resolves the conflict between their statutory rape and child pornography laws. These laws should also address non-consensual forwarding of sexually explicit messages.

December 3, 2010 in Scholarship and Research, Sexuality, Teenagers and Children, Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Jessie Hill on the Rhetoric of the Body in Abortion Law

B. Jessie Hill (Case Western Reserve University School of Law) has posted Dangerous Terrain: Mapping the Female Body in Gonzales v. Carhart on SSRN. Here is the abstract:

Jessie Hill The body occupies an ambiguous position within the law. It is, in one sense, the quintessential object of state regulatory and police power, the object that the state acts both upon and for. At the same time, the body is often constructed in legal discourse as the site of personhood - our most intimate, sacred, and inviolate possession. The inherent tension between these two concepts of the body permeates the law, but it is perhaps nowhere more prominent than in the constitutional doctrine pertaining to abortion. Abortion is one of the most heavily regulated medical procedures in the United States, and yet it is at the same time the subject of relatively robust constitutional privacy protections - often even treated as synonymous with the word “privacy” itself.

This brief Article focuses on the rhetoric of the body in abortion law - specifically, on how the Supreme Court’s language constructs the female body in Gonzales v. Carhart, which upheld the federal Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act against a constitutional challenge. A number of commentators have remarked upon the troubling rhetoric employed by Justice Kennedy’s majority opinion in that case, primarily because of its paternalistic and sentimental view of motherhood. But the focus of this Article is on the often overlooked, yet equally striking, language of the Court’s opinion that graphically describes and details the regulated abortion procedure itself.

Several themes emerge from this close reading of the Court’s rhetoric: disappearance, dismemberment, and displacement of borders. These themes intertwine to construct the female body as a sort of geographical space, a dangerous terrain that not only permits but also requires regulation. This Article contends that Gonzales represents a uniquely literal and uniquely visual representation of those concepts. Indeed, the notions of disappearance, dismemberment, and displacement of borders are united by their association with this case’s unusually graphic - that is to say visual - approach. The Article then concludes with some brief reflections on the significance of the Court’s language in the context of abortion law in general.

December 3, 2010 in Abortion, Gonzales v. Carhart, Scholarship and Research | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

"Women Veterans Bill of Rights" Does Not Include Abortion Services

Daily Women's Health Policy Report: House Passes 'Women Veterans Bill Of Rights' After Addressing Abortion Concerns:

After addressing Republican claims about access to abortion services, the House on Tuesday passed a bill (HR 5953) by voice vote that would require Department of Veterans Affairs medical facilities to display a "Women Veterans Bill of Rights," CQ Today reports. The bill of rights lists 24 specific rights, including "the right to request and get treatment by clinicians with specific training and experience in women's health issues."

The bill was delayed after several Republicans -- including Veterans' Affairs Committee ranking member Steve Buyer (Ind.) -- expressed concerns that it could establish a legal basis for mandating abortion coverage and require VA to employ abortion providers. The bill was amended before consideration to state that nothing in the act "shall be construed to establish a right to any service excluded" under the current law regarding veterans' health benefits, which do not include abortion services and counseling. . . .

December 3, 2010 in Abortion, Congress, Women, General | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Aristides Hatzis on Surrogate Motherhood in Greece

Aristides N. Hatzis (University of Athens) has posted The Regulation of Surrogate Motherhood in Greece, "a critical presentation of the regulation of gestational surrogacy in Greece," on SSRN.

December 3, 2010 in Assisted Reproduction, International, Scholarship and Research | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Apple Removes Anti-Abortion, Anti-Gay App Apple removes anti-gay app from App Store, by Lance Whitney:

Iphone Apple has removed an iPhone app considered anti-gay following a wave of protests sent through the online petition site

Initially approved and available in the App Store in October, the Manhattan Declaration app was submitted by members of the Manhattan Declaration, a movement launched last year by a number of Christian leaders espousing their condemnation of both gay marriage and abortion rights.

In approving the app, Apple originally gave it a rating of 4+, meaning it had "no objectionable material."

But described by as an application that invites people to join anti-gay and anti-choice campaigns, the Manhattan Declaration app had offered a "survey" with four questions, including "Do you believe in the sanctity of marriage between a man and a woman?" and "Do you support the right of choice regarding abortion?" Users who responded contrary to the beliefs of the group received a message at the end informing them that they answered 0 out of 4 questions correct. . . .

December 2, 2010 in Abortion, Anti-Choice Movement, Culture, Religion, Religion and Reproductive Rights, Sexuality, Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)