Saturday, January 22, 2011

Merle Hoffman: Roe v. Wade Anniversary Calls For "Celebration and Commitment"

The Huffington Post: Roe v. Wade 38th Anniversary: A Time for Celebration -- and Commitment, by Merle Hoffman:

SCOTUS1 As we celebrate the 38th anniversary on Jan 22nd of the Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion nationwide, this day must also signal a commitment to the future -- to protect and advance women's reproductive freedom despite the challenges and risks.

This year, 2011, also marks the 40th anniversary of Choices Women's Medical Center, which I founded shortly after New York State legalized abortion in April of 1970. Before there was Roe, there was Choices, and the history of the two are intertwined. I will never forget the first woman who came to Choices. She was from New Jersey, a state where abortion was still illegal. She was young, married with one child, but having another child at that time was financially impossible for her. Since that day so many years ago, Choices has been there for hundreds of thousands of women assisting them in what is one of the most difficult and profound decisions of their lives.

While Roe established abortion as a legal right for women, current laws in many states mean women still have to cross state lines or face other restrictions to secure abortions. . . .

January 22, 2011 in Abortion | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, January 21, 2011

Expert Emphasizes Importance of Adhering to Medical Standards in Providing Abortions

Time Magazine: Philly Abortion Horrors: What Matters is How and Not When an Abortion is Done, Says Expert, by Bonnie Rochman:

Warren Hern, likely the last U.S. doctor to openly specialize in abortions performed late in pregnancy, authored a textbook on how to properly do abortions. In it, he quotes a colleague, Robert Crist, who had experience with abortions late in pregnancy: “Abortion is a simple procedure except for the uterus' complete intolerance for bad technique.”

Bad technique — that's what it comes down to when speaking of what transpired in a filthy Philadelphia abortion clinic where blood-stained blankets and fetal body parts in milk jugs were found. Its proprietor, Dr. Kermit Gosnell, was charged Wednesday with performing illegal late-term abortions. . . . 

January 21, 2011 in Abortion, Reproductive Health & Safety | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

House Speaker Boehner Calls Bar on Federal Funding for Abortions "One of Our Highest Legislative Priorities"

CNN Politics: Boehner: Barring federal funds for abortion one of GOP's 'highest' priorities, by Deirdre Walsh:

John Boehner House Speaker John Boehner announced Thursday that the House of Representatives will consider legislation to permanently bar federal funding for elective abortions, calling the measure "one of our highest legislative priorities.". . .

Politics Daily: House GOP Introduces Bills to Bar Most Taxpayer Funding of Abortion, by David Gibson & Alex Wagner:

House Speaker John Boehner said he wanted to be "the most pro-life speaker ever" and on Thursday the Ohio Republican showed how he plans do that by hailing new bills aimed at barring federal funds from paying for abortions. . . .

CBS News Politics: Health Care Debate Turns to Abortion Funding, by Brian Montopoli:

On the heels of the House vote to repeal the health care reform law, Republicans turned Thursday to the issue of abortion, holding a morning press conference on the planned "No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act.". . .

January 21, 2011 in Abortion, Congress, Politics | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Potential Presidential Contender Rick Santorum Invokes Race in Criticizing Obama's Abortion Stance

The Washington Post: Rick Santorum invokes Obama's race on abortion, by Rachel Weiner:

Republican Potential Republican presidential contender Rick Santorum has once again demonstrated his willingness to push the envelope. In an interview with the conservative CNS News, he linked President Obama's race to his position on abortion.

"The question is, and this is what Barack Obama didn't want to answer -- is that human life a person under the Constitution and Barack Obama says no," Santorum said. "Well if that human life is not a person then I find it almost remarkable for a black man to say 'now we are going to decide who are people and who are not people.'". . .

January 21, 2011 in Abortion, Anti-Choice Movement, Politics, President/Executive Branch | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

New Analysis Rebuts Anti-Abortion Activists' Claim that Most Abortion Clinics Are Located in Black Neighborhoods

Guttmacher News Release: Claim that most abortion clinics are located in black neighborhoods is false:

A new Guttmacher analysis debunks the claim by antiabortion activists that most abortion clinics are located in predominantly black neighborhoods. In fact, fewer than one in 10 abortion clinics are located in neighborhoods where at least half of the population is African-American. . . .

January 21, 2011 in Abortion, Anti-Choice Movement, Race & Reproduction, Scholarship and Research | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

PA Abortion Doctor is Denied Bail and Governor Promises Investigation Into Failed State Oversight

CNN: New governor vows action as abortion doctor arraigned for murder, by the CNN Wire Staff:

Pennsylvania's newly elected governor offered a harsh assessment and vowed decisive action Thursday to determine why authorities took so long to root out an abortion clinic at which at least one mother died and seven viable babies were killed.

Earlier in the day, a Pennsylvania district court judge ordered the head of the West Philadelphia office, Dr. Kermit Gosnell, be held in jail without bail after he was arraigned on eight murder counts and a host of other charges. Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams earlier called the facility "a house of horrors" that performed "botched and illegal abortions" and was full of containers of fetuses' body parts.

January 21, 2011 in Abortion, In the Courts, Reproductive Health & Safety, State and Local News | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, January 20, 2011

New Studies Suggest Self-Induced Abortions May Be Increasing

Slate Magazine: The DIY Abortion, by Sharon Lerner:

Two new studies on how American women end their own pregnancies.

Back in 1971, Carol Downer helped pioneer a method of early abortion known as "menstrual extraction." With abortion still illegal in most states, she and other self-helpers became underground feminist heroes by teaching women how to use a little plastic contraption to suction each other's uteruses. (And for the most part, they managed to avoid punishment—though Downer was arrested for practicing medicine without a license by treating another woman's yeast infection, a charge she beat with what was dubbed the "yogurt defense.")

After Roe v. Wade, interest in self-help abortion methods inevitably faded, and Downer became a lawyer. But lately, at age 77, she has found herself pulled back into the world of do-it-yourself reproductive care. "There is a new surge of interest," says Downer, who serves on the board of the Feminist Women's Health Centers of California and was recently visited by a carful of women driving around the country giving out hundreds of speculums.

News reports offer sadder evidence that self-induced abortions continue and may even be on the rise. . . .

January 20, 2011 in Abortion, Medical News, Scholarship and Research | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Contraception as Prevention Remains a Debate Under Health Care Law

The Nation: Does Contraception Count as Prevention?, by Sharon Lerner:

Birth Control Pills Dozens crowded into the National Academies building in a snow-blanketed Washington last Wednesday morning to attend a meeting of the committee charged with making recommendations as to whether birth control and other women's health services will be considered preventive healthcare—and thus available without a co-pay to enrollees in health insurance plans, including those offered through the Affordable Care Act. Among committee members—respected physicians and public health experts appointed by the Institute of Medicine—there seems to be little doubt about the preventive benefits of contraception, which is used by more than 38 million American women to avert countless unwanted pregnancies and abortions.

Yet, in this uncertain moment when the health reform law itself is under attack, the political question of whether contraception counts as prevention remains open—and subject to potentially long and fiery debate. While birth control has always been somewhat contentious, it has long been the more politically palatable cousin of abortion. . . .

January 20, 2011 in Congress, Contraception | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Randall Terry Launches Bid for Presidency and Vows to Run Graphic Anti-Abortion Ads During Super Bowl

ABC News: Activist Vows Graphic Anti-Abortion Ads During Super Bowl, by Devin Dwyer:

Randall Terry Launches Bid for President to Secure Ad Time During Super Bowl

Veteran anti-abortion activist Randall Terry says he's mounting a Democratic primary challenge to President Obama in 2012, in part to be able to run graphic TV ads showing aborted fetuses during next year's Super Bowl.

Terry, who founded Operation Rescue, unveiled a campaign Web site this week, including three prototype 30-second videos he wants to air during the 2012 NFL football championships and throughout the Democratic primary next year. The videos, narrated by Terry, show bloody and dismembered fetuses following abortions. . . .

"I want to pummel Obama. I despise this presidency. He is the arch child killer of the Western Hemisphere, so I'm going to go head-to-head with him," Terry said in a phone interview. . . .

January 19, 2011 in Abortion, Anti-Choice Movement, Politics, President/Executive Branch, Television | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Susanna Mancini and Michel Rosenfeld on Judges as Moral Arbiters in the Abortion Context

Susanna Mancini (University of Bologna; Johns Hopkins University, Bologna Center) & Michel Rosenfeld (Cardozo Law School) have posted The Judge as Moral Arbiter? The Case of Abortion on SSRN. Here is the abstract:

The purpose of this essay is to determine whether judges can avoid being moral arbiters; whether they ought to be moral arbiters; or whether inevitable questions of morality tied to the grant and protection of constitutional) rights ought to be entrusted to others, such as the constituent power, legislators, etc. The paper will test these issues in relation to the existing constitutional jurisprudence relating to abortion gauged from a comparative perspective. Part I will provide a critical assessment of the theoretical debate; Part II, an examination of insights stemming from relevant constitutional jurisprudences on abortion, and, Part III a theory about the optimal apportionment of responsibility for determining the moral issues that arise in the context of the recognition, interpretation and implementation of constitutionalized fundamental rights.

January 19, 2011 in Abortion, Scholarship and Research | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Bill Introduced in House Would Prevent Abortion Providers From Receiving Family Planning Grants

Feminist Daily News: Abortion Provider Prohibition Act Introduced in the House (1/13):

Capitol Rotunda Late last week, Representative Mike Pence (R-IN) introduced the Title X Abortion Provider Prohibition Act in the House. If passed, the bill would amend Title X of the Public Health Services Act and ban any organization that performs abortions, except in cases or rape, incest, or if the woman's life is endangered, from receiving family planning grants.

Under the current Public Services Act, Title X money is allocated to grantees to fund family planning services and preventive health services and may not be used on abortion services.

Betty Cockrum, President of Planned Parenthood of Indiana, pointed out that the cuts in family planning grants would have harmful consequences for public health. She clarified, "The more we do to educate people and provide birth control, the fewer...unintended pregnancies there are and the fewer abortions there are."

January 19, 2011 in Abortion, Congress, Contraception | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Broad Religious Refusal Bill Introduced in Nebraska

Journal Omaha senator introduces Freedom of Conscience Act, by JoAnne Young & Kevin O'Hanlon:

Nebraska Sign Omaha Sen. Pete Pirsch wants to ensure no employee of a health care facility or medical student is forced to do something they are opposed to on moral or religious grounds.

On Friday, he introduced the Freedom of Conscience Act (LB461), which says a hospital or clinic must accommodate an employee's religious or moral beliefs and practices related to abortion, except in cases in which the patient would be in danger of dying or being injured without it, or to experiments or procedures that destroy a human embryo, cells or tissue.

The bill covers employees such as physician's assistants, nurses and pharmacists. . . .

January 19, 2011 in Abortion, Politics, Religion and Reproductive Rights, State and Local News, State Legislatures, Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP) | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Philadelphia Doctor Who Provided Abortions Under Horrific Conditions Faces 8 Counts of Murder

CBS News - Philly Doctor Facing 8 Counts Of Murder, by Walt Hunter:

Philly Eyewitness News has learned that a West Philadelphia doctor, his wife and eight other suspects are now under arrest following a grand jury Investigation.

Sources say Dr. Kermit Gosnell faces eight counts of murder in the death of a woman following a botched abortion at his office at 38th and Lancaster Avenues, along with the deaths of seven other babies who, prosecutors allege, were born alive following illegal late-term abortions.

Four of the suspects, some improperly licensed, also face multiple counts of murder for allegedly killing the newborns.

All of the suspects are now behind bars after warrants were served overnight. . . .

January 19, 2011 in Abortion, State and Local News | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Ohio Bill Seeks to Ban Post-Viability Abortions

The Columbus Dispatch: Ohio bill would ban late-term abortions, by Jim Siegel:

Ohio As a new report shows abortion rates in the United States leveling off after years of decline, Ohio appears set to make a new attempt at joining many states in banning late-term abortions.

Legislation that would ban late-term abortions is among the priority bills rolled out last week by the Ohio House Republican leadership. The measure is the only bill among the initial offerings sponsored by a Democrat: Rep. Lorraine Fende of Willowick.

House Bill 7 would ban abortions after 24 weeks of pregnancy, or past 22 weeks if a test determines a fetus is "viable" and can live outside the womb. It contains an exception if the physical health of the woman is at serious risk but specifies that "does not include a condition related to the woman's mental health.". . .

January 18, 2011 in Abortion, Abortion Bans, State and Local News, State Legislatures | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, January 17, 2011

Oprah Winfrey Recalls Suicidal Thoughts Upon Becoming Pregnant at 14

CNN - This Just In blog: Winfrey: Losing baby as a teen was 'my second chance', by Jason Hanna:

In the inaugural interview on "Piers Morgan Tonight," talk show queen Oprah Winfrey recalled contemplating suicide at 14 because she was pregnant, and how she feels she was given a second chance when she lost the baby.

"I thought, 'Before the baby was born, I’m going to have to kill myself,' " she told Piers Morgan during the interview, which aired on CNN Monday night, citing the stigma of being an unwed mother at the time, and her father's view of unwed mothers. . . .

January 17, 2011 in In the Media, Pregnancy & Childbirth, Teenagers and Children, Television | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

A Reaction to Data Showing Stall in Decline of U.S. Abortion Rate

Politics Daily: Economics of Abortion: Recession and Contraception Among Key Factors, by Delia Lloyd:

For the first time since 1981, the long-term decline in U.S. abortions has stalled. And experts are pinning the blame on the recession. In other words, when it comes to abortions, American consumers behave much as they do when buying cars: when they have less money, they are more likely to opt for a used car, rather than splurging on the latest model. . . .

If that all sounds like a very rational and clinical account of an issue that is usually portrayed in red-hot, polarizing terms, that's a good thing, at least as far as I'm concerned. Because if, like me, you'd like to envision a country where -- in the immortal words of Bill Clinton, abortion is "safe, legal and rare" -- then we need to start looking at the cold, hard facts around abortion rather than crafting policy based on our emotions.

So, while we're at it, let's look at some other numbers that ought to impinge upon this debate: . . .

January 17, 2011 in Abortion, In the Media | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

NYC Schools Chancellor Apologizes for Birth Control Remark

NY Post: Black apologizes for birth control quip, by Yoav Gonen:

Schools Chancellor Cathie Black apologized yesterday for her off-color quip that birth control could help solve school overcrowding and for comparing her decisions on how to deal with limited resources to a mother deciding which of her children will live.

Julie Menin, chair of Community Board 1, told The Post that Black called her during halftime of yesterday's Jet game to say how much she regretted the remarks. . . .

January 17, 2011 in Contraception, State and Local News | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Legal Scholars Testify in Hearing Addressing Canada's Laws Against Polygamy

Vancouver Sun: Tradition of monogamous marriage traced in polygamy hearing, by Daphne Bramham:

Canada flag There is a consistent, 2,500-year tradition of marriage as the monogamous union of two people and a 750-year tradition of polygamy as a crime, an expert testified in a case that could influence the rewriting of Canada’s laws against polygamy.

At times, polygamy was a crime punishable by death, said John Witte, Jr., the director of the Law and Religion Center at Emory University.

Witte is testifying in the constitutional reference case in B.C. Supreme Court that will determine the validity of Canada’s polygamy law. . . .

The Province: Polygamy subject to rights law: Prof, by Keith Fraser:

Canada has international obligations

Canada has obligations under international human rights law to uphold its law prohibiting polygamy, a University of Toronto law professor argued Thursday.

Dr. Rebecca Cook told the polygamy trial being heard in B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver that the trend among nations around the world is to ban the practice of multiple marriages. . . .

January 17, 2011 in International, Religion, Women, General | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

MTV's "Skins": "Most Dangerous Show" for Teens?

Newsweek: The Most Dangerous Show on Television, by Jessica Bennett:

MTV's controversial new series, Skins, portrays teens as experimental and sex-obsessed, lying to their parents and sneaking out at night. In other words, it shows them as they really are.

TV (2) Here's a quick taste of what you'll get in the first few minutes of MTV's new teen drama, Skins: Masturbation. Porn. References to "girl-on-girl." Parties, vomit, and a whole lot of prescription drugs. The plot of the first episode? Figure out how to get Stanley, a quirky, shy 16-year-old who's in love with his best friend's girlfriend, laid before his 17th birthday. How to do it? "We go to a party and get some girl'recaucusly spliffed," his friend tells him. "In her confused state, she comes to believe--momentarily, of course--that you're attractive. And then she bangs your brains out."

Sex, drugs, borderline date rape--it's no surprise Skins is pissing people off before it even premieres on Monday. It's a remake of the hit U.K. series of the same name (now in its fifth season), and MTV decided to bleep out swearing and take out the nudity that's rampant in the original. But it wasn't enough to strip the show of its MA rating, and on Thursday, the Parents Television Council condemned the series for its parental mockery, sexual objectification and overall "harmful, irresponsible, illegal, and adult-themed behavior." "Skins," the president of the council proclaimed, "may well be the the most dangerous show for children that we have ever seen." . . .

January 17, 2011 in Culture, In the Media, Sexuality, Teenagers and Children, Television | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, January 16, 2011

David Orentlicher on Multiple Embryo Transfers

David Orentlicher (University of Iowa College of Law; Indiana University School of Law) has posted Multiple Embryo Transfers: Time for Policy on SSRN. Here is the abstract:

Orentlicher The birth of eight children to Nadya Suleman led to an outcry over the common practice in assisted reproduction of transferring multiple embryos to a woman during in vitro fertilization (IVF). The practice can increase the chances of a live birth, but greatly raises the likelihood of multiple births, with their substantial health risks to mother and children and substantial health care costs to society. Professional guidelines, as well as laws in other countries, place limits on the acceptable number of embryos transferred in IVF.

This paper considers the problems with multiple embryo transfers and the experience in other countries with statutory limits. After reviewing the reasons why women might prefer multiple embryo transfers, including the desire to maximize their likelihood of having a child and the desire to minimize their costs for IVF, this paper recommends legal restrictions on multiple embryo transfers in the United States, together with insurance coverage for the costs of IVF.

January 16, 2011 in Assisted Reproduction, Bioethics, Fertility, Pregnancy & Childbirth, Scholarship and Research | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)