Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Can the Word "Slut" Really Be Reclaimed?

Salon.com: What does "slut" mean, anyway?, by Tracy Clark-Flory:

The slur is making headlines, but there's little agreement on its significance. That might be the key to its power.

The word "slut" has been getting around a lot lately. Just this week, MSNBC host Ed Schultz was suspended after calling conservative radio talk show host Laura Ingraham a "right-wing slut." Soon after, he went on TV to express his regret at length and, interestingly, became choked up when he apologized to his wife in particular. This follows the hubbub over emerging global SlutWalks, edgy anti-rape protests staged in response to a Canadian official's remark that women should protect themselves by not dressing like "sluts." The marches have garnered international coverage all month long and revived debate about whether the slur can be reclaimed. . . .

May 31, 2011 in Culture, In the Media, Women, General | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, May 28, 2011

South Dakota's Three-Day Waiting Period Law Challenged in Court

ArgusLeader.com: S.D. sued on abortion law, by John Hult:

Planned Parenthood has followed through on its promise to sue South Dakota over a new law that imposes a three-day waiting period for women seeking an abortion and requires them to seek counseling from a crisis pregnancy center.

Supporters of abortion rights hope the challenge can block the law from taking effect, but the bill's proponents say that the state will win a legal battle and that the law protects women from being coerced into getting abortions. . . .

May 28, 2011 in Abortion, In the Courts, State and Local News | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, May 27, 2011

Police Foil Alleged Plot to Kill Doctor Who Performs Abortions

The Huffington Post: Ralph Lang Arrested For Alleged Abortion Massacre Plot, by Laura Stampler:

Handcuffs A man has been arrested after traveling to Madison, Wis. with the alleged intention of killing abortion doctors.

Ralph Lang, 63, was charged by federal prosecutors Thursday for attempting to injure or intimidate a person who provides reproductive health services. He traveled approximately 100 miles from Marshfield, Wis. to Madison on May 25. He is scheduled to appear in United States District Court on Friday. . . .

May 27, 2011 in Abortion, Anti-Choice Movement, In the Courts | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Emily Bazelon on "The Reincarnation of Pro-Life"

The New York Times Magazine: The Reincarnation of Pro-Life, by Emily Bazelon (Yale Law School):

EmilyBazelon Ever since Republicans took control of half the country’s statehouses this year, the anti-abortion movement has won one victory after another. At least 64 new anti-abortion laws have passed, with more than 30 of them in April alone. The campaign is the largest in history and also the most creative. Virginia started regulating abortion clinics as if they were hospitals. Utah, Nebraska and several other states have stopped private health insurers from covering abortions, with rare exceptions. South Dakota will soon tell women that before they go to an abortion clinic, they must first visit a crisis pregnancy center whose mission is to talk them out of it.

For abortion foes, the state victories are a balm after a long period of frustration. “In eight years of Bush, we saw almost no movement,” one anti-abortion organizer told me. But now? “The way we’re gathering momentum is just amazing,” says Charmaine Yoest, the president of Americans United for Life. Her group offers state lawmakers 32 pieces of model legislation, and its approach is to chip away at the protections of Roe v. Wade rather than challenge it outright. Taken together, these new state laws are hugely effective — incrementalism on steroids. . . .

May 27, 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)

Comedian Chelsea Handler Reveals She Had an Abortion at Age 16

Entertainment Weekly: Chelsea Handler tells 'New York Times' about her abortion, how she really feels about 'Chelsea Lately', by Hillary Busis:

Chelsea Handler isn’t exactly known for being reserved. Still, it was a little surprising to see just how outspoken she got when Cathy Horyn interviewed her for The New York Times. In the piece, Handler doesn’t hold back, especially when railing against every candid comedian’s favorite punching bag: political correctness. . . .

See: NY Times: Comedy With a Side of Disgust, by Cathy Horyn

May 27, 2011 in Abortion, Culture, In the Media, Teenagers and Children, Television | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Jury Acquits New York City Police Officers on Rape Charges

The New York Times: Two New York City Police Officers Acquitted of Rape, by John Eligon:

Courtroom A jury acquitted two New York police officers on Thursday of charges that they raped a drunken woman after helping her into her apartment while on patrol.

The woman had described snippets of a harrowing night in which the officers, called to help her because she was extremely intoxicated, instead abused her. They insisted no rape occurred, with one allowing only that he snuggled with her while she wore nothing but a bra.

The verdict brings to an end a criminal case that drew outrage across the city when the officers were indicted in 2009, and provides some measure of vindication for the officers, Kenneth Moreno and Franklin Mata. . . .

May 27, 2011 in In the Courts, Sexual Assault | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

House Committee Refuses to End Ban on Abortion Coverage for Military Women Who Are Raped

ACLU press release: House Fails to Reverse Ban on Abortion Coverage for Military Women Who are Raped:

WASHINGTON – The House Committee on Rules today rejected an important amendment to the FY12 National Defense Authorization Act (H.R. 1540) that would have ended an unconscionable ban on insurance coverage of abortion care for military women and dependents in cases of rape and incest. The amendment was introduced by Rep. Susan Davis (D-Calif.), Robert D. Andrews (D-N.J.), Diane DeGette (D-Colo.), Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.), Loretta Sanchez (D-Calif.) and Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.).

The United States provides health insurance for members of the armed forces and their families through the Department of Defense’s Military Health System. By federal statute, the department is barred from covering abortion care except when a pregnant woman’s life is endangered. Unlike the other federal bans on abortion coverage, the military ban provides no exception for cases of rape and incest.

More than 400,000 women currently serve in the armed forces in some capacity. After joining the military, a woman’s risk of being sexually assaulted doubles and the likelihood that a woman will be assaulted more than once is particularly high. A study from the American Journal of Industrial Medicine found that 37 percent of military rape victims experience multiple rapes and 14 percent experience gang rape. . . .

See also: ACLU Blog of Rights: Unequal Sacrifice: U.S. Servicewomen Denied Equal Health Coverage, by Mike Pheneger:

Michael E. Pheneger, Colonel, U.S. Army (Ret.), is the President of the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida. He frequently serves as a spokesperson on civil liberties issues — particularly those involving the nexus between civil liberties and national security. He has spoken widely on the USA Patriot Act, torture, Guantanamo, and warrantless wiretapping, among other issues. Col. Pheneger spent 30 years on active duty as a US Army Intelligence Officer, retiring in 1993.

As Memorial Day approaches, it is a perfect time to reflect on what we owe the members of our Armed Forces and things we can do to improve their lot.

As a retired Army colonel with 30 years on active duty, I keep a close eye on issues that relate to military readiness and support for our men and women in uniform. It is for that reason that the Davis-Andrews-DeGette-Maloney-Sanchez-Slaughter Amendment, which would reinstate coverage for abortion for military women who have been victimized by rape, is of particular interest.

This is not a radical amendment; it ensures that we take care of military women who have been impregnated through rape by providing them with the same medical support already available to many civilians. . . .

May 24, 2011 in Abortion, Congress, Sexual Assault | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Rachel Maddow Discusses the Hypocrisy in GOP's Support of Government Intervention in the Abortion Decision

New Texas Law: Women Must Wait 24 Hours After Required Sonogram Before Abortion

Reuters: New Texas law mandates sonograms before abortion, by Corrie MacLaggan:

Women must wait a day after sonogram to have abortion

Republicans at state level push abortion restrictions

AUSTIN, Texas, May 19 (Reuters) - Texas Governor Rick Perry on Thursday signed into law a measure requiring women seeking an abortion in the state to first get a sonogram.

Texas is one of several U.S. states with strong Republican legislative majorities proposing new restrictions on abortion this year. The Republican governor had designated the bill as an emergency legislative priority, putting it on a fast track.

Under the law, women will have to wait 24 hours after the sonogram before having an abortion, though the waiting time is two hours for those who live more than 100 miles (160 km) from an abortion provider. . . .

May 24, 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)

Why Sex Scandals Are Rarer Among Female Politicians

The Atlantic: The Sex Difference in Sex Scandals, by Lane Wallace:

Why do these kinds of scandals so rarely happen with female politicians?

Nearly two years ago, when South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford admitted (finally, in a spectacularly embarrassing press conference) to having an extra-marital affair with an Argentine woman, a lot of questions were raised about why this kind of scandal so rarely happens with women politicians. One answer offered was simply that there aren't that many women politicians in office. 

It's true, of course. Women only make up 16.4% of the current Congress, and 12% of the nation's governors. But in a 2009 Newsweek tally of political sex scandals since 1976, only one out of 53 instances involved a woman politician (former Idaho Congresswoman Helen Chenoweth, who admitted to having an eight-year affair with a married rancher in the 1980s). So women aren't even holding up their fair percentage of the scandals. . . .

May 24, 2011 in Current Affairs, In the Media | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

New Research Shows Abortion Rates Decreasing But Not Among Poor Women

The Guttmacher Institute: Abortion Rate Increasing Among Poor Women, Even as it Decreases Among Most Other Groups, by Rebecca Wind:

Guttmacher_inst Substantial Decline Seen Among African American Women

New Guttmacher research finds that abortion rates declined among most groups of women between 2000 and 2008. However, one notable exception was poor women (those with family incomes less than 100% of the federal poverty level). Poor women accounted for 42% of all abortions in 2008, and their abortion rate increased 18% between 2000 and 2008, from 44.4 to 52.2 abortions per 1,000 women aged 15–44. In comparison, the national abortion rate for 2008 was 19.6 per 1,000, reflecting an 8% decline from a rate of 21.3 in 2000. Abortion rates decreased 18% among African American women in the same period, the largest decline among the four racial and ethnic groups examined. Notwithstanding this decline, the abortion rate among African American women is higher than the rate for both Hispanic and non-Hispanic white women: 40.2 per 1,000, compared with 28.7 and 11.5, respectively. . . .

May 24, 2011 in Abortion, Contraception, Poverty, Race & Reproduction, Scholarship and Research | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

New Jersey Senate Fighting to Restore Funding for Family Planning

The Star-Ledger: N.J. Senate passes bill to restore $7.45M in funding to family planning centers, by Matt Friedman:

NewJersey The state Senate has passed a bill to restore $7.45 million in funding for family planning centers that Gov. Chris Christie cut last year.

The legislation (S2899) seeks to take advantage of an unexpected state revenue boost estimated between $511 million and $913 million. Introduced last week and put on the fast track to passage, the bill cleared the Senate 26 to 13 – just one vote short of the two-thirds majority necessary to overturn a potential veto by Christie.

“We are in the second decade of the 21st century, and the fight over poor women’s access to birth control I thought was finished,” said state Sen. Loretta Weinberg (D-Bergen). . . .

May 24, 2011 in Contraception, Reproductive Health & Safety, State and Local News, State Legislatures | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Federal Officials Considering “Corrective Action” Against Indiana Planned Parenthood Funding Ban

The New York Times: U.S. Objects to New Law on Clinics in Indiana, by Robert Pear:

Indiana The Obama administration is raising serious objections to a new Indiana law that cuts off state and federal money for Planned Parenthood clinics providing health care to low-income women on Medicaid.

The objections set the stage for a clash between the White House and Gov. Mitch Daniels, a Republican, over an issue that ignites passions in both parties.

The changes in Indiana are subject to federal review and approval, and administration officials have made it clear they will not approve the changes in the form adopted by the state.

Federal officials have 90 days to act but may feel pressure to act sooner because Indiana is already enforcing its law, which took effect on May 10, and because legislators in other states are working on similar measures. . . .

May 24, 2011 in Abortion, Anti-Choice Movement, President/Executive Branch, State and Local News, State Legislatures | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Studies Show Unintended Pregnancy Costs U.S. Taxpayers Roughly $11 Billion Annually


Taxes Two new studies taking different methodological approaches arrive at the same conclusion: Unintended pregnancy costs U.S. taxpayers roughly $11 billion each year. Both estimates are conservative in that they are limited to public insurance costs for pregnancy and first-year infant care, and both studies conclude that the potential public savings from reducing unintended pregnancy in the United States would be huge. A related new study provides first-ever estimates of unintended pregnancy for each state, and a starting point for future efforts to monitor states’ progress toward reducing unintended pregnancy.

“The Public Costs of Births Resulting from Unintended Pregnancies: National and State-Level Estimates,” by Adam Sonfield and colleagues at the Guttmacher Institute, relied on state-level data from 2006 to estimate costs for each state, which were then added together to arrive at a national total. The study found that two-thirds of births resulting from unintended pregnancies—more than one million births—are publicly funded, and the proportion tops 80% in a couple of states. The cost of those births, and the potential gross saving from helping women to avert them, is estimated at $11.1 billion. . . .

May 19, 2011 in Contraception, Pregnancy & Childbirth, Scholarship and Research, State and Local News | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Girl Scouts and Abortion

Salon.com: Are the Girl Scouts pro-abortion?, by Mary Elizabeth Williams:

The group faces accusations about its supposed Planned Parenthood agenda. But would that be so bad?

Do you know what's in your Girl Scout cookies, America? Abortion, that's what. Maybe you don't care if your little girl would like to get a merit badge in disregarding the sanctity of life, but apparently two teenage Texas sisters feel differently. And what began as a blog chronicling how Sydney and Tess Volanski parted ways with the youth organization over its "pro-abortion mindset" has become a full-on propaganda machine, fueled by endorsements from the likes of the Family Research Council and Right to Life organizations. . . .

May 19, 2011 in Abortion, Culture, Sexuality Education, Teenagers and Children | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Taiwan Warns Doctors to Stop Performing Illegal Sex-Selective Abortions

Yahoo! News/AFP: Taiwan to punish doctors for sex-selective abortions:

TaiwanFlag Taiwanese health authorities investigating illegal gender-selective abortions warned on Tuesday that doctors found guilty of the practice may have their licenses revoked.

The stern warning came Chiu Shu-ti, director-general of the Bureau of the Health Promotion said last week that up to 3,000 female babies were presumed "missing" from Taiwan's population last year due to abortions. . . .

May 18, 2011 in Abortion, International | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Susan Appleton & Robert Pollak on the Connections Between IVF and Adoption

Susan Frelich Appleton (Washington University School of Law) & Robert A. Pollack (Washington University - Olin Business School) have posted Exploring the Connections between Adoption and IVF: Twibling Analyses on SSRN.  Here is the abstract:

This essay responds to Trading-Off Reproductive Technology and Adoption: Does Subsidizing IVF Decrease Adoption Rates and Should It Matter?, in which I. Glenn Cohen and Daniel L. Chen analyze what they describe as an arm-chair principle called “the substitution theory”–the claim that facilitating treatment for infertility, including subsidizing in vitro fertilization (IVF), decreases adoptions. Cohen and Chen venture well beyond the arm chair, closely interrogating the substitution theory both normatively and empirically and concluding, contrary to the substitution theory, that IVF subsidies do not decrease and might actually increase adoptions.

Returning to the arm chair, this Response offers two different perspectives. First, we use a family law lens to focus on important elements of Cohen and Chen’s analysis, both explicit and implicit, including adoption, IVF, genetic connections, reproductive autonomy, and gender. We show how these elements are shaped by the authors’ assumptions, prevailing legal principles, and our culture more generally. Next, we use an economic lens to reveal how mandated subsidies for IVF produce varied conduct, depending on the preferences and resources of those who would consider adoption and IVF. Approaching Cohen and Chen’s analysis from these two different vantage points demonstrates that arm-chair theorizing, properly done, can illuminate the relationship between IVF and adoption.

May 18, 2011 in Assisted Reproduction, Bioethics, Parenthood, Pregnancy & Childbirth, Scholarship and Research | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, May 16, 2011

Guttmacher Institute Releases Video Summarizing U.S. Abortion Facts

Guttmacher News Release: New Guttmacher Video: Abortion in the United States:

The Guttmacher Institute has long worked to ensure that the debate around abortion is based on sound evidence and placed in the proper context of closely related issues like unintended pregnancy, contraceptive use and sex education. We are pleased to announce a new tool that is designed to do just that, as we launch a short animated video that summarizes key facts about abortion in the United States.


May 16, 2011 in Abortion | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Iowa Senate Narrowly Passes Bill Aimed at Preventing Dr. Carhart From Opening Abortion Clinic

Reuters: Iowa Senate passes measure aimed at abortion doctor, by Kay Henderson:

Iowa Dr. Leroy Carhart had been providing late-term abortions in Nebraska. But a measure signed into law in that state last year prohibits abortions after the 20th week of pregnancy. A similar measure has been enacted in Kansas.

In response, Carhart, one of only handful of doctors in the country who perform abortions late in the second-trimester of pregnancy, announced plans to open a clinic just across the border from Nebraska in Council Bluffs, Iowa.

But the measure passed by the Democratic-led Iowa Senate on Monday in a 26-23 vote would require Carhart and others to apply to the state for a "certificate of need" or permit for a "free-standing" abortion clinic. . . .

May 16, 2011 in Abortion, Anti-Choice Movement, State and Local News, State Legislatures, Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP) | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Minnesota Governor May Veto Post-20-Week "Fetal Pain" Abortion Ban

Reuters: Minnesota Senate bans abortions after 20 weeks, veto seen, by David Bailey:

Minnesota Minnesota would join a half dozen other states in restricting abortions based on studies that suggest a fetus begins to feel pain at 20 weeks. The Minnesota law would also open doctors performing abortions to possible felony charges and civil penalties.

State senators including some Democrats, voted 42 to 24 to approve the restrictions. The bill was slightly changed from a version that passed the Republican-led state House earlier in May and requires reconciliation.

The vote in the Senate fell just short of the two-thirds majority, or 45 votes, needed to override Dayton's possible veto. The 82 votes for it in the House also fell short of the two-thirds needed to override. . . .

May 16, 2011 in Abortion, Abortion Bans, Fetal Rights, State and Local News, State Legislatures | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)