Monday, April 18, 2011

Active Sex Lives for Seniors Means Higher Risk for STDs

Chicago Tribune: Seniors' sex lives are up — and so are STDs, by Marni Jameson:

Across the nation, and especially in the Sunshine State, the free-love generation is continuing to enjoy an active — if not always healthy — sex life.

At a stage in life when many would expect sexually transmitted diseases to be waning, seniors are noticeably ahead of the national curve.

In the five years from 2005 to 2009, the number of reported cases of syphilis and chlamydia among those 55 and older increased 43 percent, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In Central Florida, the rise is even more dramatic. Among those 55 and older, the reported cases of syphilis and chlamydia increased 71 percent in that same five-year period. . . .

April 18, 2011 in Sexuality, Sexually Transmitted Disease | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Anti-Abortion Activists Conspicously Silent on Contraception

Time Magazine: Why Anti-Abortion Activists Leave Birth Control Out of the Debate, by Meredith Melnick:

In case you missed Senator Jon Kyl's recent, nonsensical argument for defunding Planned Parenthood, the New York Times' Gail Collins had an incisive take on it last week. Much of the debate over the value of Planned Parenthood — a proxy for abortion in many opponents' minds — veered away from, the realm of the factual long ago, Collins argues, and there may be a strategic reason for that. . . .

April 18, 2011 in Abortion, Anti-Choice Movement, Contraception | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Planned Parenthood - Separating Fact from Fiction

The Washington Post: In Montana and elsewhere, Planned Parenthood serves broad function, by Sandhya Somashekhar:

PP logo On Friday, the staff of a Planned Parenthood clinic in a quiet residential neighborhood here conducted four Pap smears, nine contraceptive appointments, two screenings for sexually transmitted diseases and three pregnancy tests. Of the 24 patients seen that day, two had abortions.

It was a typical workload for this health center and for Planned Parenthood, the organization that emerged as the final sticking point in the budget talks that nearly led to a government shutdown.

House Republicans were eager to cut off money to the organization, which is the nation’s largest abortion provider and a political force in Washington. President Obama blocked the effort, but groups that oppose abortion rights have vowed to raise the issue again and, in the meantime, are pushing for congressional hearings.

Planned Parenthood and its backers say that it serves a broader function than performing abortions, particularly in rural and medically underserved communities where the group has most of its clinics. . . .

April 18, 2011 in Abortion, Anti-Choice Movement, Congress, Contraception, Sexually Transmitted Disease | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Naomi Mezey and Cornelia Nina Pillard on Sex Inequality and the "New Maternalism"

Naomi Mezey (Georgetown University Law Center) & Cornelia Nina Pillard (Georgetown University Law Center) have posted Against the New Maternalism on SSRN. Here is the abstract:

The biggest challenge for sex equality in the 21st Century is to dismantle inequality between women and men’s family care responsibilities. American law has largely accomplished formal equality in parenting by doing away with explicit gender classifications, along with many of the assumptions that fostered them. In a dramatic change from the mid-20th Century, law relating to family, work, civic participation and their various intersections is now virtually all sex-neutral. As the Supreme Court’s 2003 decision in Nevada Department of Social Services v. Hibbs demonstrates, both Congress and the Court have accepted the feminist critique of sex roles and stereotyping as engines of discrimination and inequality. But the resultant legal reforms address only formal inequality; the challenge of lived inequality remains. Changes in legal norms must be embraced throughout the culture before their promise will be made real. The most influential and resistant obstacle to actualizing gender equality is the continuing cultural practice of romanticizing the mother as the best possible caretaker. As the Court has recognized, we cannot simply accept existing gendered family patterns as results of freely made individual choices. Persistently gendered family care becomes self-fulfilling, and solidifies the very inequalities - economic, political and social - that the law strives to dislodge. Given that mothers’ unequal burden in the home is a fulcrum of broader sex discrimination, it is particularly disturbing that one of the most persistent strains in contemporary culture is a celebration of mothers’ domesticity and their role as the default parent, and that women’s rights organizations are buying in. The “new maternalism,” as we call it, is evident along the political spectrum and across popular culture, from Sarah Palin’s Mama Grizzlies to the internet advocacy group Moms Rising, and from movies, television and advertising to countless “mommy blogs.” This phenomenon amounts to a distinctive, post-feminist understanding of motherhood that studiously avoids engaging with the gendered division of parenting and refuses to make any demands on men. By appealing to mothers, and not fathers, new maternalism risks reinforcing mothers’ second shift and the countless inequalities that flow from it. The sophisticated policy advocates who participate in the promotion of new maternalism have made a strategic choice to tap a culturally potent, contemporary form of gender identity politics. But they jeopardize their own advocacy goals when parenting and care work are cast in exclusively female terms, as a new - but fundamentally retro and feminine - maternalism. Our analysis of the culture of new maternalism and its legal consequences comes from a deep appreciation of the enormous value and satisfactions of parenting; new maternalism has such appeal precisely because it correctly embraces what is meaningful about family care. Its error, we contend, lies in the tacit exclusion of men, whether willing or reluctant, from engaged parenting’s benefits and responsibilities. We conclude that equality outside the home requires equality inside it, which is why we come out against the new maternalism.

April 18, 2011 in Parenthood, Scholarship and Research, Women, General | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, April 15, 2011

CNN Examines the Explosion in State Anti-Choice Legislation

CNN: Abortion battle rages in state legislatures, by Michael Martinez & Moni Basu:

USMAP The battle over a hot-button issue has been raging in state legislatures across the country this year with an unprecedented number of bills aimed at restricting abortions.

An advocacy group published a study this week contending that "hostility" toward abortion rights is on the rise.

"It's pretty much an all-out, anti-abortion free-for-all out there," said Elizabeth Nash, public policy associate at the Guttmacher Institute.

"I've been doing this for almost 12 years now, so I feel like I have some historical sense. This year is just unlike any other year we've seen before."

Anti-abortion activists took issue with the term "hostility." Nonetheless, they hailed the rising tide in their favor as a necessary correction in the nation's moral barometer.

Consider that 374 anti-abortion bills were introduced in state legislatures this year, 200 more than last year, said Ted Miller, spokesman for NARAL Pro-Choice America. . . .

April 15, 2011 in Abortion, Anti-Choice Movement, State and Local News, State Legislatures | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Guttmacher Report Finds that Contraceptive Use is the Norm for Religious Women


Policies that Make Contraceptives More Affordable and Easier to Use Reflect the Needs of All Women, Including Catholics and Evangelical Protestants

Contraceptive use by Catholics and Evangelicals—including those who attend religious services Birth Control   most frequently—is the norm, according to a new Guttmacher report. This finding confirms that policies making contraceptives more affordable and easier to use reflect the needs and desires of the vast majority of U.S. women and their partners, regardless of their religious beliefs.

“In real-life America, contraceptive use and strong religious beliefs are highly compatible,” says Rachel K. Jones, the report’s lead author. “Most sexually active women who do not want to become pregnant practice contraception, and most use highly effective methods like sterilization, the pill, or the IUD. This is true for Evangelicals and Mainline Protestants, and it is true for Catholics, despite the Catholic hierarchy’s strenuous opposition to contraception.”

The analysis, based on a nationally representative U.S. government survey, has important implications for health policy, which is still at times shaped by the mistaken belief that contraceptive use runs counter to strongly held religious beliefs. . . .

April 15, 2011 in Contraception, Religion, Religion and Reproductive Rights, Scholarship and Research | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Jon Kyl Says He "Misspoke" About Planned Parenthood

Jon Kyl Huff. Post: Jon Kyl Now Says He 'Misspoke' On Planned Parenthood So Everyone Should Please Stop Making Fun Of Him, by Jason Linkins:

Last week, Senator Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) received a fusillade of criticism when he took to the Senate floor to declare that abortion was "well over 90 percent of what Planned Parenthood does." That criticism soon turned to ridicule after his office responded by releasing a statement that said that "his remark was not intended to be a factual statement." Everyone has been making fun of him on Twitter and on late night comedy shows, and it really hurt his feelings. So now, Kyl is "clarifying" himself once again.
Asked if he regretted the flap, Kyl said Thursday: "I misspoke when I said what I said on the floor - and I said so."

But what about the claim that it was "not intended to be a factual statement" when Kyl said 90 percent of Planned Parenthood's services were abortion related?

"That was not me - that was my press person," he said. . . .

April 15, 2011 in Abortion, Congress, In the Media, Politics | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Oklahoma Legislature Sends Abortion Bills, Including Post-20-Week Ban, to Governor

Tulsa World: Oklahoma House OKs additional restrictions on abortion, by Randy Krehbiel:

Oklahoma The Oklahoma Legislature continued its attack on abortion rights Wednesday by passing and sending to Gov. Mary Fallin two bills intended to further limit access to the procedure.

House Bill 1888, which prohibits most abortions after 20 weeks, and Senate Bill 547, which bans elective abortion coverage from insurance plans offered through a state health insurance exchange, passed the House with little discussion or opposition.

HB 1888, titled the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, states that a 20-week-old fetus is capable of feeling pain, a claim disputed by the measure's opponents. It is expected to have its greatest impact on pregnancies involving adverse medical conditions or abnormal fetuses. . . .

April 15, 2011 in Abortion, Abortion Bans, Anti-Choice Movement, Fetal Rights, State and Local News, State Legislatures, Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP) | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Senate Blocks House Measure to Defund Planned Parenthood

Bloomberg: Senate Blocks Defunding of Health Law, Planned Parenthood, by James Rowley:

Capitol The Democratic-run U.S. Senate defeated measures passed by the Republican-run House to ban spending government funds to implement the health-care overhaul law and for Planned Parenthood.

The House voted 241-185 to defund Planned Parenthood, which provides contraception and abortion services. The legislation was voted down in the Senate, 42-58, with five Republicans joining the 53 members of the chamber’s Democratic caucus to oppose it. . . .

April 15, 2011 in Abortion, Anti-Choice Movement, Congress, Politics, Reproductive Health & Safety | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Courtney Joslin on Same-Sex Marriage Bans and the Questionable Rationale of Harm to Children

Courtney G. Joslin (University of California, Davis - School of Law) has posted Searching for Harm: Same-Sex Marriage and the Well-Being of Children on SSRN. Here is the abstract:

Joslin For the past two decades, claims related to the welfare and well-being of children have been invoked by those defending same-sex marriage bans. This Article offers a new and fruitful perspective on why courts should seriously question the credibility of these asserted child welfare claims. Many assume that these repeated invocations of child welfare related concerns have remained constant, or at least consistent, over time. A closer examination, however, reveals that while children have remained front and center, the particular proffered interests have continued to mutate over time and that more recent claims are inconsistent or at least in tension with earlier arguments. Drawing upon employment discrimination law, this Article argues that this historical perspective should cause courts to be suspicious of these ever changing rationales for same-sex marriage bans.

April 15, 2011 in Parenthood, Scholarship and Research, Sexuality | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Fiona Kelly on Legal Parentage and Lesbian Motherhood

Fiona Kelly (University of British Columbia) has posted Transforming Law's Family: The Legal Recognition of Planned Lesbian Families on SSRN. Here is the abstract:

Kelly Lesbian families with children are greater in number and more visible today than ever before. In fact, social scientists have suggested that we may be in the midst of a lesbian "baby boom". Canada's Census figures support this assertion. Between 2001 and 2006 there was a forty-seven per cent increase in households made up of two lesbian mothers and their children. This dissertation addresses the legal issues raised by lesbian motherhood, focusing primarily on legal parentage. It considers the terms upon which parental recognition has been achieved thus far, and evaluates the efficacy of a reform agenda focused exclusively on gaining access to the existing legal framework. To explore the legal and social dynamics of planned lesbian families, interviews were conducted with forty-nine lesbian mothers living in British Columbia and Alberta who conceived using assisted reproduction. Mothers were asked about the structure of their families, how they defined terms such as "parent" and "family", the extent to which they had engaged with law, and their recommendations for law reform. The interviews revealed that lesbian mothers define family and parenthood broadly, emphasizing intention and caregiving over a purely biological model of kinship. All of the mothers defined a "parent" as someone who intends to parent and, once a child is born, performs that intention through caregiving. Parental status was thus not limited to those who shared a biological relationship with a child, or even to two individuals. The research suggests that lesbian mothers have little interest in being subsumed into the existing legal framework which tends to prioritize dyadic and biological parenting. In fact, only a tiny portion of the mothers felt that identical treatment would adequately respond to their needs. The vast majority supported law reform that would extend to them the benefits of the current system, while simultaneously expanding the existing framework to include a wider variety of parental and family configurations within it. The reform model chosen to achieve this aim combined parental presumptions in favour of the lesbian couple or a single lesbian mother, with opt-in mechanisms that allowed the family to extend beyond the two parent unit.

April 15, 2011 in Parenthood, Scholarship and Research, Sexuality | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Prohibition on DC's Use of Own Funds to Pay for Poor Women's Abortions Angers District Residents

NPR: Budget Deal Stymies Rights Of Washingtonians, by Michel Martin:

I have one more thought about the budget deal agreed to over the weekend.

If you tuned in earlier in the program, you heard from Congress' representative from the District of Columbia, the nation's capital, about specific steps taken by budget negotiators that will deny the District the right to use its own tax dollars to fund abortions for poor women and require the District to continue picking up the tab for private school tuitions for a small group of poor kids whose neighborhood schools are deemed to be failing. . . .

NY Times: Abortion Limit Is Renewed, as Is Washington Anger, by Sabrina Tavernise:

The sound and fury of last week’s budget debate came down to a dollar figure that some members of Congress could have covered by writing a personal check.

Elective abortions for poor women in the District of Columbia — a central bargaining chip in the deal — have cost the city $62,300 since August, city officials say.

In a national budget that is measured in trillions of dollars, that might not seem like much. But for this city, which raises $5 billion in tax revenue each year but does not have the final say over how to spend it, the compromise — which restores a ban on the use of local taxpayer money for abortions — served as a bitter reminder of its powerlessness. . . .

See also: care2: 28 Women Forced To Find Funds Overnight for Abortions Due To D.C. Funding Ban, by Robin Marty

April 14, 2011 in Abortion, Congress, Politics, Poverty, State and Local News | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Idaho's Governor Signs "Fetal Pain" Abortion Ban into Law

Reuters: Idaho governor signs abortion ban after 20 weeks, by Laura Zuckerman:

Idaho's governor said on Thursday he signed into law a measure banning abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, making Idaho the third state to enact such a late term abortion prohibition. . . .

The bill, which easily cleared the Republican-dominated Idaho legislature earlier this month, is linked to controversial medical research suggesting the unborn feel pain starting at 20 weeks of fetal development. . . .

April 14, 2011 in Abortion, Abortion Bans, Fetal Rights, State and Local News, State Legislatures | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Daily Show on Sen. Jon Kyl's Planned Parenthood Blooper

Gail Collins on the "Abortion War" and Attacks on Planned Parenthood

NY Times: Behind the Abortion War, by Gail Collins:

Part of the price of keeping the government operating this week is another debate over the financing of Planned Parenthood. Whoopee.

At least it’ll give us a chance to reminisce about Senator Jon Kyl, who gave that speech against federal support for Planned Parenthood last week that was noted for: A) its wild inaccuracy; and B) his staff’s explanation that the remarks were “not intended to be a factual statement.”

This is the most memorable statement to come out of politics since Newt Gingrich told the world that he was driven to commit serial adultery by excessive patriotism. . . .

April 14, 2011 in Abortion, Anti-Choice Movement, Congress, Politics | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

A Look at Whether the Prison Rape Elimination Act Will Protect Incarcerated Women

The Nation: Will the Justice Department Stand Up for Women Raped in Prison?, by Rachel Roth:

Prison Eight years ago, Congress acknowledged the brutal fact of systemic sexual assault behind bars by unanimously passing the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA). The Justice Department is now poised to issue final rules to implement the law, which makes federal funding to prisons and jails contingent on improved staff training, availability of medical and psychological services for people who suffer sexual assault, investigations and publicly available data about reported assaults.

But because violence is endemic to imprisonment, some level of sexual violence will persist. And for women, one consequence of sexual violence is pregnancy, especially for those who are forced to endure repeated rapes. More than 200,000 women are imprisoned right now, and many more pass through prisons and jails over the course of a year—each one vulnerable to sexual assault, and to pregnancy resulting from it. Despite the years of hearings, testimony and research, the Justice Department’s PREA rules still fail to protect the reproductive rights and health of women in this situation. . . .

April 14, 2011 in Abortion, Incarcerated Women, Sexual Assault | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

ACLU: Mothers Shouldn't Have to Disclose Private Information to Obtain Birth Certificates

ACLU News Release: ACLU Asks Louisiana To Clarify That New Mothers Do Not Need To Sacrifice Privacy To Obtain Birth Certificates:

Health Department Told Mother No Birth Certificate For Newborn Unless She Divulged Private Medical Information

The American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Louisiana called on the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals (DHH) today to clarify that new mothers do not have to disclose private medical information before a birth certificates are issued for their newborns. Earlier this year, a Shreveport mother was told she would not be given a birth certificate for her newborn after she refused to answer intrusive questions about her private medical history, including alcohol and tobacco use during pregnancy, whether she had ever had an abortion and other medical information.

“Every single child born in this state is entitled to a birth certificate,” said Marjorie Esman, Executive Director of the ACLU of Louisiana. “The state cannot leverage the child’s birth certificate to extract information from a mother. That kind of coercive conduct by health officials has no place in a free society.”. . .


April 13, 2011 in Parenthood, Pregnancy & Childbirth, State and Local News | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Glenn Cohen and Sadath Sayeed on State "Fetal Pain" Abortion Bans

I. Glenn Cohen (Harvard Law School) & Sadath Sayeed (Harvard Medical School) have posted Fetal Pain, Abortion, Viability and the Constitution on SSRN. Here is the abstract:

Can a U.S. state prohibit pre-viability abortions based on concerns about fetal pain?

Given that recent legislation in Nebraska purports to do so, and the fact that similar efforts are now working through the legislative process in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Oklahoma, and other states, the question is a pressing one.

In this short paper for the leading peer-reviewed law and medicine journal, we are the first to comprehensively examine from a constitutional, medical, and bioethical perspective these efforts to prohibit early abortion based on concerns about fetal pain.

April 13, 2011 in Abortion, Bioethics, Fetal Rights, Scholarship and Research | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

NPR Station Suspends Planned Parenthood Radio Spots

LA Times:  NPR Station in LA Suspends Planned Parenthood Spots, by Jon Wiener:

Radio One of two NPR stations in the Los Angeles area, KPCC-FM, suspended its regularly-scheduled Planned Parenthood spots on Friday, in response to Republican demands that Congress eliminate federal funding for the family planning group.

Program Director Craig Curtis explained in a Friday memo to staff members, “given that the budget debate in congress is focusing today on abortion in general and Planned Parenthood by extension,” running the spots “might raise questions in the mind of the “reasonable listener” regarding our editorial and sales practices.”

A “reasonable listener” might now have questions about the journalistic integrity of the station. . . .

April 13, 2011 in Congress, In the Media, Politics | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Rosalind Dixon and Martha Nussbaum on a "Capabilities Approach" to the Regulation of Abortion

Rosalind Dixon (University of Chicago Law School) & Martha C. Nussbaum (University of Chicago Law School) have posted Abortion, Dignity and a Capabilities Approach on SSRN. Here is the abstract:

The right to "dignity" has played a central role in grounding constitutional rights of access to abortion, yet the concept itself remains under-theorized. This is particularly so when it comes to the relationship between human dignity and women's physical and psychological health or integrity. This essay addresses this gap in the constitutional literature by drawing on the account of human dignity provided by a "capabilities approach"; and by explaining for the first time in detail the logical implications of such an approach for the constitutional regulation of abortion. . . .

April 10, 2011 in Abortion, Scholarship and Research | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)