Friday, April 29, 2011

Indiana Set to Defund Planned Parenthood and Tighten Its Abortion Restrictions

 Ms. Magazine: Newsflash: Indiana Votes To Defund Planned Parenthood, by Dahlia Grossman-Heinze: 

Indiana The state’s House voted 66-32 yesterday to cut the $3 million in federal money the state distributes to Planned Parenthood’s family planning and health programs. The Senate voted to approve the measure earlier this month, and the bill now hits Gov. Mitch Daniels’ desk, where most expect that he’ll sign it.

HB 1210 is extremely restrictive. Aside from defunding Planned Parenthood, it would also:

Ban abortions after the 20th week of pregnancy–even though the Supreme Court has ruled abortions are allowed until fetal viability, which is generally at 24 weeks.

 Indy Governor weighs signing abortion bill, by Mary Beth Schneider & Heather Gillers:

Legislation would take away $2 million of $3 million that Planned Parenthood receives

Gov. Mitch Daniels said this morning he does not know yet if he will sign House Bill 1210, which makes Indiana’s abortion restrictions among the tightest in the nation while also defunding Planned Parenthood. . . .

Among those closely watching Daniels’ decision will be those handicapping his presidential prospects. . . .

April 29, 2011 in 2012 Presidential Campaign, Abortion, Abortion Bans, Politics, State and Local News, State Legislatures, Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP) | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Florida House Passes Several Restrictive Abortion Measures

Los Angeles Times/Orlando Sentinel: Florida House passes anti-abortion legislation, by Kathleen Haughney:

Florida After hours of emotionally fraught debate, the Florida House overwhelmingly approved a range of new abortion measures that would restrict health-insurance coverage of the procedure, ban most abortions after a fetus is "viable," and require women seeking an abortion to first review an ultrasound in hopes that they would reverse their decision after seeing the images.

The focus of the debate was the "ultrasound" bill, passed last year but vetoed by then-Gov. Charlie Crist. Rep. James Grant revealed that his parents were told that he was going to be born severely disabled, and he said they decided to go through with the pregnancy because "they believed in life." There was no reason, he said, for women not to understand the status of the fetus when they seek an abortion. . . .

April 29, 2011 in Abortion, Abortion Bans, 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)

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Pregnancy and "Folic Acid Follies"

Slate Magazine: Folic Acid Follies, by Amanda Schaffer:

Pregnant women should stop popping these pills like candy.

Vitamin Pill No woman who's expecting, or expecting to expect, can avoid the advice, from any doctor or health site worth its salt: Take folic acid. The vitamin deserves its exalted status. When women take it before and during pregnancy, it reduces the risk of devastating neural-tube defects in the fetus. It's one of the only things we can do to improve fetal health that is supported by rigorous evidence.

But these days millions of women (and men) are getting high doses of the vitamin—and not because we're piling our plates with natural sources like spinach and collard greens. Since the late 1990s, the United States has fortified many breads, cereals, and pastas with folic acid. And then there are the supplements: both in regular multivitamins and freestanding folic acid pills. . . .

April 27, 2011 in Medical News, Pregnancy & Childbirth | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Pregnancy-Related Deaths Associated with Increase in Caesarean Sections

Chicago Tribune: Caesarean sections are a major factor in pregnancy-related deaths, report finds, by Shari Roan:

Deaths from pregnancy-related causes, which usually occur around the time of childbirth, have risen dramatically in the United States in the last decade. In a report released Tuesday, a committee investigating such deaths in California cited an increase in caesarean-section births as a major contributor to the disturbing trend.

The report was issued by the California Pregnancy-Related and Pregnancy-Associated Mortality Review, a committee of experts who investigated the increase in maternal mortality. Deaths related to pregnancy in California have risen from 8.0 deaths per 100,000 live births in 1999 to 14.0 deaths per 100,000 births in 2008. The report reflects only data from 2002 to 2003 but shows a marked change in the safety of giving birth in California, especially for black women and poor women. . . .

April 27, 2011 in Medical News, Poverty, Pregnancy & Childbirth, Race & Reproduction | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Multiple Abortion Restrictions Poised to Become Law in Florida

Sarasota Herald-Tribune: Bills to limit abortions advance in Legislature, by Zac Anderson:

The first major abortion restrictions in Florida since former Gov. Jeb Bush's administration are poised for adoption, marking 2011 as a watershed year for the issue.

House members debated six abortion bills for four hours Tuesday and will formally approve the legislation today. At least four of the bills are still moving forward in the Senate in the final two weeks of the legislative session and are expected to pass that chamber as well, with Gov. Rick Scott voicing strong support.

Under the bills still advancing in both chambers, women seeking an abortion would be forced to have an ultrasound test and banned from using publicly subsidized insurance for the procedure. Lawmakers are also looking to tighten existing rules that require minors to notify their parents before seeking an abortion. . . .

April 27, 2011 in Abortion, Anti-Choice Movement, Mandatory Delay/Biased Information Laws, State and Local News, State Legislatures, Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP), Teenagers and Children | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, April 25, 2011

For Senior Project, Teen Fakes Pregnancy and Notes Responses

Motherlode (NY Times blog): 17 and (Not) Pregnant, by Lisa Belkin:

To learn about teen parenting, students in health classes across the country carry around eggs, or water bottles topped with tennis balls, and pretend these are babies. As we have discussed before on Motherlode, they don’t always learn what you might expect.

To learn about teen pregnancy, 17-year-old Gaby Rodriguez wore a fake pregnancy belly that she’d fashioned out of wire mesh, cotton batting and clay. She — and her classmates — seem to have learned a lot. . . .

April 25, 2011 in Culture, Pregnancy & Childbirth, Teenagers and Children | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Planned Parenthood Ads Target Eight Members of Congress Who Voted to Defund It

The Hill - Healthwatch Blog (4/19): Planned Parenthood ads target lawmakers over defunding votes, by Julian Pecquet:

CapitalReg The Planned Parenthood Action Fund on Tuesday launched radio ads targeting eight members of Congress who voted to cut federal funding for the organization.

The ads target seven Republicans in competitive districts and one Democrat, Rep. Mark Critz (Pa.). The House voted 241-185 last week to cut federal preventive healthcare funding for the nation's largest abortion provider, but the bill died in the Senate. . . .

April 25, 2011 in Congress, Politics | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Commentary on the Right to Choose and Abortions Based on Gender Selection

Dorf on Law: The Clash Between Women's Right to Choose and Gender Selection, by Ori Herstein:

FemaleSign According to The Economist (here), in India approximately 600,000 Indian girls are never born every year due to abortions performed for reason of gender selection. According to The Economist, upon performing an ultrasound test, many parents preferring to have a male child choose to abort female pregnancies. Reflecting on this phenomenon potentially brings one’s feminist values into conflict.

This apparently growing trend in India is problematic for several reasons. In addition to the fact that a gender imbalance in society will potentially have severe social implications for both younger and future generations, gender selection as a reason for abortion offends women as women. There is something wrong in these abortions that derives from the reason for undergoing them. And, there is a strong sense that – for feminist reasons – such abortions should be discouraged and even prohibited. In fact, India has done just that. . . .

April 25, 2011 in Abortion, Abortion Bans, Bioethics, International | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Study Finds Sexually Active Jamaican Adolescents Report No Use or Inconsistent Use of Condoms


Jamaica Flag Nearly half of sexually active Jamaican adolescents report using condoms inconsistently or not at all in the last year, according to a new study by Kanako Ishida, of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, et al., published in International Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health. Given that the Caribbean region has the second highest HIV prevalence in the world, the authors believe that it is critically important for Jamaican reproductive health education programs and interventions to address this behavior.

Ishida et al. note that despite past research documenting Jamaica’s high levels of adolescent sexual activity, there are few recent reliable estimates on the national prevalence of risk behaviors and associated factors. In their analysis of data from a 2008–2009 nationally representative survey, among 15–19-year-olds who were neither married nor had a child, 54% of the males and 32% of the females had had sex in the previous year. Among the sexually active adolescents, 46% of males and 49% of females had used condoms inconsistently or never during that period, and 52% and 12%, respectively, had had more than one partner. . . .

April 25, 2011 in Contraception, International, Sexually Transmitted Disease, Teenagers and Children | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Nicholas Kristof on Sex Trafficking in the United States

NY Times: What About American Girls Sold on the Streets?, by Nicholas D. Kristof:

When we hear about human trafficking in India or Cambodia, our hearts melt. The victim has sometimes been kidnapped and imprisoned, even caged, in a way that conjures our images of slavery.

But in the United States we see girls all the time who have been trafficked — and our hearts harden. The problem is that these girls aren’t locked in cages. Rather, they’re often runaways out on the street wearing short skirts or busting out of low-cut tops, and many Americans perceive them not as trafficking victims but as miscreants who have chosen their way of life. So even when they’re 14 years old, we often arrest and prosecute them — even as the trafficker goes free.

In fact, human trafficking is more similar in America and Cambodia than we would like to admit. . . .

April 25, 2011 in Sexual Assault, Teenagers and Children | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Reed Boland on Legality of Second-Trimester Abortions Worldwide

Reed Boland (Harvard School of Public Health) has posted Second Trimester Abortion Laws Globally: Actuality, Trends and Recommendations on SSRN. Here is the abstract:

There are important and compelling reasons why women have second trimester abortions, which constitute a significant percentage of all abortions performed. Laws vary widely around the world on the legality of these abortions. In many cases, they are quite restrictive. Indeed, the later in pregnancy an abortion is sought, the more restrictive the law tends to be. However, many laws say little about second trimester or later abortions. This article reviews the laws of the 191 countries around the world for which information is available and categorizes them by legal indications, which include preservation of the woman's life, health reasons, pregnancy due to sex offences, fetal impairment, socio-economic reasons and on request. Given that there are serious reasons why women have second trimester abortions, and that the laws in many countries do not make these abortions legally available, this paper makes recommendations on how laws and regulations can be changed in order better to respond to women's needs. While most countries may not decriminalise all abortions in the near future, especially second trimester abortions, less comprehensive legislative and regulatory reforms are possible. These include recommendations aimed at ensuring that abortions are carried out safely and as early as possible in pregnancy, and improving access to safe abortions by removing unnecessary legal and regulatory restrictions.

April 23, 2011 in Abortion, Abortion Bans, International, Scholarship and Research | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Feticide Bills Used to Prosecute Women Who Induce Miscarriage

The Nation: Policing Pregnancy, by Michelle Goldberg:

Pregnant Inmate Utah prosecutors and conservative politicians are determined to lock up the young woman known in court filings as J.M.S. for the crime of trying to end her pregnancy. Her grim journey through the legal system began in 2009, when she was 17 and pregnant by a convicted felon named Brandon Gale, who is currently facing charges of using her and another underage girl to make pornography. J.M.S. lived in a house without electricity or running water in a remote part of Utah. Even if she could have obtained the required parental consent and scraped together money for an abortion and a couple of nights in a hotel to comply with Utah’s twenty-four-hour waiting period, simply getting to the nearest clinic posed an enormous challenge. Salt Lake City is more than a three-hour drive from her town, twice that in bad weather, when snow makes the mountain passes treacherous. There is no public transportation, and she didn’t have a driver’s license. . . .

In recent years, women in several states have faced arrest and imprisonment for the crime of ending their pregnancies, or merely attempting to do so. For decades now, feminists have warned about a post–Roe v. Wade world in which women are locked up for having abortions. Antiabortion activists dismiss such fears as propaganda. . . .

April 23, 2011 in Abortion, Anti-Choice Movement, Incarcerated Women, State and Local News, State Legislatures | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Unchallenged Abortion Restrictions Spell "Death of Roe v. Wade"

Slate Magazine: The Death of Roe v. Wade, by Dahlia Lithwick:

Supporters and opponents of abortion seem to agree: It's no longer the law of the land.

Supporters and opponents of abortion agree on nothing. One side says this is a conversation about fertilized eggs; the other says it's about fetuses. One side says the debate is about personal autonomy; the other says it's about murder. One side sees exceptions to abortion restrictions for reasons of maternal life or health as necessary to protect life; the other sees them as cunning "loopholes."

Increasingly, however, there is a fundamental assumption both sides seem to share, even if they don't say so, and it may well shape the future of abortion rights in America: Opponents and supporters of abortion appear to have taken the position that Roe v. Wade is no longer the law of the land. . . .

April 23, 2011 in Abortion, Abortion Bans, Anti-Choice Movement, State Legislatures, Supreme Court | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, April 22, 2011

Oklahoma 4th State to Adopt Post-20-Week "Fetal Pain" Abortion Ban

Reuters: Oklahoma 4th state to ban abortions after 20 weeks, by Steve Olafson:

OKLAHOMA CITY (Reuters) - Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin on Wednesday signed into law a prohibition on abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy, making it the fourth state to ban such late term abortions.

She also signed a law preventing health insurers from covering elective abortions. . . .

April 22, 2011 in Abortion, Abortion Bans, Anti-Choice Movement, State and Local News, State Legislatures | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Iowa Governor Promotes Myth of "Post-Abortion Stress Syndrome" by Declaring April "Abortion Recovery Month"

Feminist Majority Foundation, Feminist News: Iowa Governor Declares April "Abortion Recovery Month":

Iowa Iowa Republican Governor Terry Branstad declared the month of April "Abortion Recovery Month" yesterday to "promote abortion recovery programs and awareness of post-abortion stress syndrome." Minnesota and Texas governors have made similar proclamations in their states in the last year.

Branstad was joined at the signing ceremony by representatives from anti-choice organizations and crisis pregnancy centers (CPC). CPCs often post as comprehensive health centers, while coercing and intimidating women out of considering abortion as an option, and preventing women from receiving neutral and comprehensive medical advice.

April 22, 2011 in Abortion, Anti-Choice Movement, State and Local News | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Seven Anti-Choice Bills Pending in Ohio Legislature

Dayton Daily News: Abortion battle heats up in Ohio, nation, by Mary McCarty:

Ohio Timing could be the key factor as to whether Ohio’s “fetal heartbeat bill” eventually presents a Supreme Court challenge to Roe v. Wade.

House Bill 125 is one of the most controversial of the flood of 374 anti-abortion bills pending in state legislatures across the country.

“Any of these new efforts to restrict abortion is likely to be challenged in the Supreme Court,” noted Susan Low Bloch, professor of criminal law at Georgetown University Law Center in Washington, D.C. “It’s mainly a question of which are decided and when.”

What isn’t in question is that anti-abortion activists are working harder than ever to overthrow Roe v. Wade. HB 125 would require a doctor to check if the fetus has a heartbeat before performing an abortion. If a heartbeat is detected, an abortion would be prohibited, except to preserve the life or health of the mother. . . .

April 22, 2011 in Abortion, Abortion Bans, Anti-Choice Movement, State and Local News, State Legislatures, Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP) | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Study Finds that Teens Often Underestimate Risks of Oral Sex

Huff. Post: HPV From Oral Sex? Young People Often Underestimate The Risk, by Leigh Vinocur:

Ironically, April is both Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD) Awareness month as well as Oral, Head and Neck Cancer Awareness month. Many people don't even realize how these two diseases are linked and how they both pose a serious health risk, especially for our adolescent boys.

As far as STDs, according to the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), even though only a quarter of the sexually active population is made up of people age 15 to 24, this group comprises almost half of the newly diagnosed 19 million STD cases each year.

A recent study looked at sexual activity in the high school population. Published in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, this study found that for high school students, oral sex was most commonly their first sexual experience when they were beginning experimentation with sexual activity. It was twice as likely to precede vaginal intercourse than the other way around. Teens who engaged in oral sex by 9th grade were more likely to eventually have had vaginal intercourse by the end of 11th grade. In fact, often experimentation with oral sex led to riskier sexual activity within six months. . . .

April 22, 2011 in Medical News, Sexuality, Sexually Transmitted Disease, Teenagers and Children | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Joanna Mishtal on Reproductive Health Care in Post-Socialist Poland

Joanna Mishtal (University of Central Florida) has posted Neoliberal Reforms and Privatisation of Reproductive Health Services in Post-Socialist Poland on SSRN. Here is the abstract:

Joanna Mishtal The fall of state socialism in Poland in 1989 constituted a critical moment which redefined policies on reproductive health care and access to family planning, influenced by the renewed power of the Catholic church. Poland also embarked on neoliberal economic reforms that resulted in major cutbacks in social services and state health care coverage. The confluence of the elimination of contraceptive subsidies, privatisation of health care, and the intensification of bribes to underpaid health care providers created new challenges for women in accessing services. Furthermore, the 1993 ban on abortion resulted in a nearly total privatisation of this service, which is currently available clandestinely at a high price. Drawing on anthropological research in the Gdańsk metropolitan region in 2007, this paper examines the restrictions on access to family planning, abortion, maternity care, assisted reproduction and other gynaecological services. It draws attention to the urgent need for state-subsidised family planning and other reproductive health services, the reform of abortion law, and regulation of privatised services. Higher wages for public sector health professionals and better public health provision would curb informal payments. The state should support the legitimacy of women's health needs and reproductive and sexual autonomy. . . .

April 19, 2011 in Abortion, Abortion Bans, Contraception, International, Religion and Reproductive Rights, Reproductive Health & Safety, Scholarship and Research | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, April 18, 2011

Delaware Abortion Clinics Unlikely to Reopen

delaware online: Attorney says two abortion clinics in Delaware unlikely to reopen, by Sean O'Sullivan:

Two embattled abortion clinics that were associated with a notorious Philadelphia abortion doctor -- and which have been closed since March -- are not likely to reopen, according to an attorney representing the owner.

James Liguori, who is representing Panzy Myrie -- the owner and sole shareholder of Atlantic Women’s Medical Services -- said today that the clinic’s Wilmington location has been put up for sale and the owner and operators of the clinics, “want to move on.” . . .

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

Tennessee Anti-Abortion Constitutional Amendment Surmounts First Hurdle

Nashville Public Radio: Abortion Amendment up to the State House, by Joe White:

Eleven years ago the Tennessee Supreme Court found that the state constitution protects a woman’s right to an abortion. But Monday the state Senate approved a measure to allow voters to overturn that decision.

With an anti-abortion majority in both houses last year, the legislature passed Senate Joint Resulution 127, asking voters to un-do the state Supreme Court’s decision.

Now SJR 127 is in the second step – it has to pass by two-thirds, in both chambers. . . .

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