Monday, May 2, 2011

Federal Appeals Court Rules Federally Funded Stem Cell Research May Proceed

Reuters: Court backs federal embryonic stem cells funds, by Jeremy Pelofsky:

An appeals court ruled on Friday the Obama administration can continue using federal money to fund human embryonic stem cell research, a possible avenue toward new treatments for many medical conditions.

The appeals court overturned a ruling by a federal judge who found that the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) guidelines on such research violated the law because embryos were destroyed and it put other researchers working with adult stem cells at a disadvantage to win federal grants. . . .

May 2, 2011 in In the Courts, President/Executive Branch, Stem Cell Research | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Steph Sterling & Jessica Waters on Protecting Conscience-Based Provision of Abortion Care

Steph Sterling (National Women's Law Center) & Jessica L. Waters (American University School of Public Affairs) have posted Beyond Religious Refusals: The Case for Protecting Health Care Workers’ Provision of Abortion Care on SSRN.  Here is the abstract:

This article seeks to explore the question of whether and to what extent conscience-based employment protections available to those medical professionals opposed to the provision of abortion care should also be available to health care professionals who seek, based on their religious or moral beliefs, to affirmatively provide abortion care at religiously affiliated medical facilities. Part I examines the prevalence of religiously affiliated medical institutions that refuse to provide abortion care and the ways in which these prohibitions violate the consciences of some health care professionals who seek, as a matter of religious or moral conviction, to provide abortion care to their patients. Part II examines whether existing employee legal protections such as Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act or the Church Amendment, both of which prohibit various forms of employment "discrimination" based on moral, ethical, or religious beliefs, can be used to protect health care providers’ affirmative right to provide, as a matter of conscience, abortion care. While both laws have been used to protect employees’ conscience-based refusals to provide reproductive health care, Part II explores whether and to what extent these same laws could also provide meaningful remedies for medical professionals who seek to provide conscience-based abortion care. Recognizing that existing employment conscience protections for employees seeking to provide abortion care are in some ways limited, Part III briefly concludes that policymakers and courts must begin to recognize that the conscience-based provision of abortion care can be rooted in beliefs held with a strength equal to the beliefs underlying the conscience-based refusal of such care, and as such must craft and enforce existing laws to provide parallel protection for both.

May 2, 2011 in Abortion, Scholarship and Research | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Op-Ed Describes Author's Complicated Emotions Following Her Abortion

NY Daily News op-ed: Get your politics off my grief: After my abortion, neither pro-life nor pro-choice forces helped, by Kassi Underwood:

In a boldly improvised speech on the House floor in February, Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) admitted she had "lost a baby." Markai Durham, star of MTV's "16 and Pregnant" abortion special, feels "sad from time to time," and on NBC's "Friday Night Lights," Becky still dwells on her termination.

As a 26-year-old New Yorker who has no problem telling a stranger about the abortion I had at 19, I have found that people make two assumptions: that I am pro-choice and that simply being pro-choice would resolve any difficult emotions I have encountered.

Identifying with political ideology does not jibe with my more complicated experience. Grief might be normal, but dogmatic agendas have hijacked outlets for healing. . . .

May 2, 2011 in Abortion, Anti-Choice Movement | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Recent Scholarship on Global Reproductive Health

Daniel Grossman, et al., on Self-Induced Abortion in the U.S.

Daniel Grossman, et al., have posted Self-Induction of Abortion Among Women in the United States on SSRN. Here is the abstract:

Recent media coverage and case reports have highlighted women's attempts to end their pregnancies by self-inducing abortions in the United States. This study explored women's motivations for attempting self-induction of abortion. We surveyed women in clinic waiting rooms in Boston, San Francisco, New York, and a city in Texas to identify women who had attempted self-induction. We conducted 30 in-depth interviews and inductively analyzed the data. Median age at time of self-induction attempt was 19 years. Between 1979 and 2008, the women used a variety of methods, including medications, malta beverage, herbs, physical manipulation and, increasingly, misoprostol. Reasons to self-induce included a desire to avoid abortion clinics, obstacles to accessing clinical services, especially due to young age and financial barriers, and a preference for self-induction. The methods used were generally readily accessible but mostly ineffective and occasionally unsafe. Of the 23 with confirmed pregnancies, three reported a successful abortion not requiring clinical care. Only one reported medical complications in the United States. Most would not self-induce again and recommended clinic-based services. Efforts should be made to inform women about and improve access to clinic-based abortion services, particularly for medical abortion, which may appeal to women who are drawn to self-induction because it is natural, non-invasive and private.

May 2, 2011 in Abortion, Scholarship and Research | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Mother Sues Anti-Choice Groups for Using Her Daughter's Image on Racist Billboard Ad

Mother Jones: Mother Sues Anti-Choice Groups Behind Billboards, by Titania Kumeh:

Gavel On Tuesday, New Jersey mother Trisha Fraser announced she's suing anti-choice groups that used images of her 6-year-old daughter for a race-baiting ad campaign. "The most dangerous place for an African American is in the womb" proclaimed billboards in New York and Florida that featured a then-4-year-old Anissa Fraser. Controversy over the ad erupted late last year when a billboard first went up near Manhattan's high-traffic Holland Tunnel. The ad was by the Holland Tunnel for four months before it was taken down following complaints by city officials, Al Sharpton, and Trisha Fraser. But in February 2011, the billboard went up again, this time near a busy intersection in Jacksonville, Florida. . . .

May 2, 2011 in Abortion, Anti-Choice Movement, In the Courts, In the Media, Race & Reproduction | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Federal Judge Rules Shackling Pregnant Woman During Labor and Birth Violated her Rights

The Tennessean: Shackled mom wins case, by Chris Echegaray:

A federal judge has ruled in favor of a Nashville mother who triggered a national outcry after she was shackled during labor and after giving birth while in custody of the Davidson County Sheriff’s Office.

U.S District Court Judge William Haynes Jr. will set a hearing for damages against Metro government and the sheriff’s office in the Juana Villegas case, which grew out of a July 3, 2008, traffic stop in Berry Hill. . . .

May 2, 2011 in In the Courts, Incarcerated Women, Pregnancy & Childbirth | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Eduardo Diaz, et al., on the Partial Decriminalization of Abortion in Colombia

Eduardo Diaz, et al., have posted Obstacles and Challenges Following the Partial Decriminalisation of Abortion in Colombia on SSRN. Here is the abstract:

Colombia Flag During a highly contested process, abortion was partially decriminalised in Colombia in 2006 by the Constitutional Court: when the pregnancy threatens a woman's life or health, in cases of severe fetal malformations incompatible with life, and in cases of rape, incest or unwanted insemination. However, Colombian women still face obstacles to accessing abortion services. This is illustrated by 36 cases of women who in 2006-08 were denied the right to a lawful termination of pregnancy, or had unjustified obstacles put in their path which delayed the termination, which are analysed in this article. We argue that the obstacles resulted from fundamental disagreements about abortion and misunderstandings regarding the ethical, legal and medical requirements arising from the Court's decision. In order to avoid obstacles such as demands for a judge's authorisation, institutional claims of conscientious objection, rejection of a claim of rape, or refusal of health insurance coverage for a legal termination, which constitute discrimination against women, three main strategies are suggested: public ownership of the Court's decision by all Colombian citizens, a professional approach by those involved in the provision of services in line with the law, and monitoring of its implementation by governmental and non-governmental organisations.

May 2, 2011 in Abortion, Abortion Bans, International, Scholarship and Research | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)