Sunday, April 10, 2011

State Legislatures Embroiled In Abortion Battles

USA Today: State legislators battle over abortion rights, by Judy Keen:

USMap3 Rep. Lynn Wachtmann has supported bills that restrict abortion for all of his 26 years in the Ohio General Assembly, but he's never seen anything like this.

"Clearly the atmosphere is different than I've ever seen it," he says. "We have a strong pro-life majority in both the House and the Senate and a strong pro-life governor" —Republican John Kasich, who was elected in 2010. "Certainly," he says, "the time is right now."

Wachtmann, a Republican, is the sponsor of a bill that would ban abortions when a fetal heartbeat is audible. It passed in committee last month and is headed to the House floor. . . .

April 10, 2011 in Abortion, Abortion Bans, Anti-Choice Movement, Politics, State and Local News, State Legislatures, Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP) | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Budget Deal Bars Washington, D.C., From Using Own Money to Fund Abortions for Low-Income Women

D.C. Wire Blog (Wash. Post): Budget deal includes D.C. abortion rider, money for school vouchers, by Ben Pershing:

CapitalDC The spending deal agreed to Friday night to avert a government shutdown includes a provision banning the District from spending its own funds to provide abortions to low-income women as well as funding to continue a controversial school voucher program.

The inclusion of the abortion policy “rider” represents a victory for Republicans, who previously imposed such a ban when they controlled Congress and who included the provision in the version of the continuing resolution passed by the House in February. And it marks a sharp defeat for D.C. leaders, who fought to keep the ban out of a deal. . . .

April 10, 2011 in Abortion, Congress, Politics, Poverty, President/Executive Branch, State and Local News | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Case Settlement Will Ensure Proper Medical Treatment for Pregnant Inmates in Montana Jail

ACLU press release: ACLU Settlement Ensures Proper Medical Treatment For Pregnant Mothers In Montana Jail:

MISSOULA, MT — Officials at a Montana jail will be required to ensure pregnant inmates at risk of opiate withdrawal receive proper medical treatment as part of the settlement of a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Montana.

The ACLU filed a lawsuit in November 2009 after Bethany Cajúne was denied medication essential for preventing the serious medical risks associated with opiate withdrawal, including miscarriage, while four months pregnant and incarcerated at the Lake County Detention Center in Polson, MT.

Continue reading

April 7, 2011 in In the Courts, Pregnancy & Childbirth, State and Local News | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Review of Xinran's "Message from an Unknown Chinese Mother: Stories of Loss and Love"

NY Times: Casualties of China’s One Child Policy, by Lesley Downer:

In 1989, the Chinese writer and broadcaster Xinran was in a remote mountain village in Shandong Province having dinner with the headman when she heard cries from an adjoining room, where his daughter-in-law was giving birth. A while later, as the midwife collected her fee, Xinran noticed a movement in the slops bucket. “To my absolute horror,” she recalls, “I saw a tiny foot poking out of the pail.” But she was the only one who was shocked. “It’s not a child,” the headman’s wife told her. “If it was, we’d be looking after it, wouldn’t we? It’s a girl baby, and we can’t keep it.”. . .

April 7, 2011 in Books, International, Pregnancy & Childbirth | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Recent Oral Arguments Reveal what Chief Justice Roberts and Wal-Mart "Don't Get" About Sex Discrimination

New Republic: What Wal-Mart and Chief Justice John Roberts Don't Seem to Get About Discrimination, by Chloe Schama:

Last week, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments for a class-action case that NPR called “the largest sex discrimination lawsuit in U.S. history.” The description is actually a bit misleading: From a legal standpoint, the issue in  Dukes v. Wal-Mart is standing: whether or not hundreds of thousands of women—upon whose behalf former Wal-Mart employee Betty Dukes had filed the case—could band together and sue for damages. Or, as Richard Thompson Ford put it in Slate, “[W]hat’s at stake in Dukes v. Wal-Mart is whether class-action lawsuits will continue to be a way to address pervasive discrimination.”

But gender discrimination is still the core substantive issue in the case. That became clear during oral arguments, when Wal-Mart’s lawyer, Theodore Boutros, denied claims that pervasive discrimination exist in Wal-Mart’s hiring and employment practices. As proof, he pointed to the company’s explicitly anti-discrimination policies. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg didn’t appear persuaded. . . .

April 6, 2011 in In the Courts, Supreme Court, Women, General | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Indiana Court Urged to Dismiss Prosecution of Woman for Attempting Suicide While Pregnant

Blog of Rights (ACLU): Pregnant Women Need Support, Not Prison, by Alexa Kolbi-Molinas:

Yesterday, the ACLU submitted a friend-of-the-court brief urging the Marion County Superior Court in Indiana to dismiss the prosecution of Ms. Bei Bei Shuai.

The facts of this case are heartbreaking. On December 23, 2010, Shuai, a 34-year-old pregnant woman who was suffering from a major depressive disorder, attempted to take her own life. Friends found her in time and persuaded her to get help. Six days later, Shuai underwent cesarean surgery and delivered a premature newborn girl who, tragically, died four days later.

On March 14, 2011, Shuai was arrested, jailed, and charged with murder and attempted feticide. Had Shuai, who is being represented by National Advocates for Pregnant Women and local attorneys, not been pregnant when she attempted suicide, she would not have been charged with any crime at all.

Of course, no one would deny that what happened in this case is terrible and tragic, and probably no one feels that more than Shuai herself. But this case is about so much more than whether attempted suicide should be a crime — in Indiana it is not — and the death of her daughter; its implications go much further. . . .

April 6, 2011 in In the Courts, Pregnancy & Childbirth | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Controversy Surrounds "Fetal Pain" Abortion Laws

Reuters: "Fetal pain" anti-abortion laws spur fierce debate, by Mary Wisniewski:

Danielle Deaver says she did not want a late-term abortion -- she wanted a baby.

But when the Nebraska woman lost most of her amniotic fluid at 22 weeks last November, she was told the baby girl would likely die outside the womb with undeveloped lungs, and that the fetus could be slowly crushed by the uterine walls.

Deaver asked that labor be induced, so that whatever happened would happen quickly. But doctors could not do it because of a new law that bans abortions after 20 weeks. . . .

April 6, 2011 in Abortion, Abortion Bans, Anti-Choice Movement, Fetal Rights, Pregnancy & Childbirth, State and Local News, State Legislatures | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

"Fetal Pain" Abortion Bill Poised to Become Law in Idaho

Reuters: Idaho lawmakers vote to ban abortion after 20 weeks, by Laura Zuckerman:

The Idaho legislature on Tuesday gave final approval to a measure that would outlaw abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy and subject abortion providers to criminal prosecution and civil lawsuits.

The Senate-backed bill cleared the House in a 54-14 vote and now heads to Governor Butch Otter, who is expected to sign it.

The legislation is linked to disputed medical research suggesting the unborn feel pain at 20 weeks and is modeled on a 2010 Nebraska law that has yet to face a legal challenge. . . .

April 6, 2011 in Abortion, Anti-Choice Movement, State and Local News, State Legislatures, Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP) | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Op-Ed Criticizes New Abortion Bills for Painting "Disturbing Portrait" of Women

The Oregonian: Behind the abortion laws: From bills, a disturbing portrait of women emerges, by Susan Nielsen:

Female Women sure are impulsive, lying, vulnerable and childlike creatures, aren't they? That's the conclusion I'd draw, if my understanding of women were based solely on anti-abortion bills.

These bills are pending and passing at a disturbing pace in multiple states. They don't just reflect the nation's chronic and understandable ambivalence about abortion. They also paint a shockingly negative portrait of women. . . .

April 6, 2011 in Abortion, State Legislatures, Women, General | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Rick Santorum's Statement on U.S. "Abortion Culture" and Social Security Gets the Facts Wrong

Guttmacher News Release: Rick Santorum Misses the Point on Abortion and Social Security:

Former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) asserted earlier this week that Social Security’s future solvency is in jeopardy because of what he termed the U.S. “abortion culture.” Santorum is quoted by the Los Angeles Times as saying, “Well, a third of all the young people in America are not in America today because of abortion." Leaving aside questions about whether Social Security is indeed facing insolvency, and, if it is, whether the major problem is that there are too few people to support it, there are a number of serious problems with Santorum’s statement.

First of all, he got the facts wrong. One-third of pregnancies do not end in abortion, as Santorum claims. In 2008, the most recent year for which data are available, 22.4% of pregnancies (excluding those that result in miscarriages) ended in abortion. . . .

April 6, 2011 in Abortion, Congress, Politics | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Aziza Ahmed on Feminism and Approaches to Sex Work in the Context of HIV/AIDS

Aziza Ahmed (Northeastern University School of Law) has posted Feminism, Power, and Sex Work in the Context of HIV/AIDS: Consequences for Women's Health on SSRN. Here is the link:

This paper examines the involvement of feminists in approaches to sex work in the context of HIV/AIDS. The paper focuses on two moments where feminist disagreement produced results in favor of an "anti-trafficking" approach to addressing the vulnerability of sex workers in the context of HIV. The first is the UNAIDS Guidance Note on Sex Work and the second is the "anti-prostitution pledge" found in the Presidents Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief. This article also examines the anti-sex work position articulated by abolitionist feminists and demonstrates the unintended consequences of the abolitionist position on women's health. By examining the actual impact of abolitionist positions, in favor of the anti-prostitution pledge and the criminalization of clients, we see that there are negative consequences for women despite the desire by abolitionists to improve women's health.

April 6, 2011 in Scholarship and Research, Sexually Transmitted Disease | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Linda Greenhouse and Reva Siegel on Abortion Conflict and the Supreme Court's Role

Linda Greenhouse (Yale Law School) & Reva Siegel (Yale Law School) have posted Before (and after) Roe v. Wade: New Questions About Backlash on SSRN. Here is the abstract:

 Today, many Americans blame polarizing conflict over abortion on the Supreme Court. If only the Court had stayed its hand or decided Roe v. Wade on narrower grounds, they argue, the nation would have reached a political settlement and avoided backlash. We question this court-centered backlash narrative. Where others have deplored the abortion conflict as resulting from courts “shutting down” politics, we approach the abortion conflict as an expression of politics - a conflict in which the Supreme Court was not the only or even the most important actor.

In this essay, we ask what escalation of the abortion conflict in the decade before the Supreme Court decided Roe might teach about the logic of conflict in the decades after Roe. To do so, we draw on sources we collected for our recently published documentary history, Before Roe v. Wade: Voices That Shaped the Abortion Debate Before the Supreme Court’s Ruling (2010). We begin our story at a time when more Republicans than Democrats supported abortion’s decriminalization, when Catholics mobilized against abortion reform but evangelical Protestants did not, when feminists were only beginning to claim access to abortion as a right. We show how Republicans campaigning for Richard Nixon in 1972 took new positions on abortion to draw Catholics and social conservatives away from the Democratic Party. Evidence from the post-Roe period suggests that it was party realignment that helped escalate and shape conflict over Roe in the ensuing decades.

The backlash narrative suggests that turning to courts to vindicate rights is too often counter-productive, and that adjudication is to be avoided at all costs. We are not ready to accept this grim diagnosis at face value, and we urge further research into the dynamics of conflict in the decades after Roe. The stakes in understanding this history are high.

April 5, 2011 in Abortion, Scholarship and Research, Supreme Court | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Another Controversial Arizona Abortion Bill Becomes Law

Arizona Republic: Brewer signs Arizona bill on abortion clinics, by Connie Cone Sexton:

Gov. Jan Brewer signed into law Saturday a measure that expands abortion-clinic licensing statues to include those abortions initiated with medication. The measure also guarantees every woman considering an abortion is provided with an ultrasound, sees the results and hears the heartbeat, if audible. . . .

April 5, 2011 in Abortion, Mandatory Delay/Biased Information Laws, State and Local News, State Legislatures, Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP) | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Lawrence O'Donnell Discusses Race-Related Tactics in the Anti-Choice Movement

NPR Reports on Political Fate of Title X Family Planning Program

NPR: At-Risk Federal Funds Cover Far More Than The Pill, by Julie Rovner:

Listen to the Story

On Capitol Hill, lawmakers are arguing over budget line items and billions of dollars as they try to strike a deal to keep the government running for the rest of the fiscal year. The latest in a string of short-term funding bills expires in early April.

But in places like Unity Health Care's Upper Cardozo clinic in the Columbia Heights neighborhood of Washington, D.C., doctors, nurses and other health care providers are too busy treating patients to focus on the fights happening across town.

They're just hoping that a final deal does not eliminate all funding for the Title X Family Planning Program (known in the business as "Title Ten"). The bill passed by the House in February would do exactly that. It marked the first time either chamber has voted to cancel funding for the program since it was signed into law by President Richard Nixon in 1970 as Title X of the Public Health Service Act. . . .

April 5, 2011 in Abortion, Anti-Choice Movement, Congress, Contraception, Politics | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Republican Presidential Hopefuls Support Defunding Planned Parenthood

The Huffington Post: Potential GOP Presidential Contenders: Defund Planned Parenthood, by Laura Bassett:

Republican presidential hopefuls Gov. Haley Barbour (Miss.), former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, 2008 VP candidate Sarah Palin, Rep. Ron Paul (Tex.) and former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty told the anti-abortion rights group Susan B. Anthony List in the past week that they support efforts in Congress to strip federal funding from Planned Parenthood.

"I join Rep. Mike Pence [Ind.] and others of conscience and common sense who are leading the charge to end the taxpayer funding of the nation's largest abortion provider," Palin said in a statement.

Other potential big-name presidential contenders, including former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (Ga.), have also expressed their support for defunding Planned Parenthood in recent months.

Funding for Planned Parenthood, a reproductive health services provider for low-income patients, remains a major sticking point in ongoing negotiations over the federal budget. The House passed a budget bill in February that included an amendment to prevent Planned Parenthood and 102 affiliated organizations from receiving any federal subsidies -- including money for STD testing, pregnancy testing and cancer screenings -- but the measure failed in the Senate. . . .

April 5, 2011 in 2012 Presidential Campaign, Abortion, Anti-Choice Movement, Congress, Contraception, Reproductive Health & Safety, Sexually Transmitted Disease | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Jennifer Hendricks et al. on Strategies for Teaching Reproductive Rights and Other "Controversial Topics"

Jennifer S. Hendricks, et al., have posted Teaching Controversial Topics on SSRN. Here is the abstract:

This essay, based on a presentation at the 2009 Future of Family Law Education conference at the William Mitchell School of Law, discusses strategies for teaching controversial topics, focused on reproductive rights and related gender issues.

April 5, 2011 in Abortion, Law School, Scholarship and Research | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)