Tuesday, June 28, 2011
guardian.co.uk: Outcry in America as pregnant women who lose babies face murder charges, by Ed Pilkington:
Women's rights campaigners see the creeping criminalisation of pregnant women as a new front in the culture wars over abortion
Rennie Gibbs is accused of murder, but the crime she is alleged to have committed does not sound like an ordinary killing. Yet she faces life in prison in Mississippi over the death of her unborn child.
Gibbs became pregnant aged 15, but lost the baby in December 2006 in a stillbirth when she was 36 weeks into the pregnancy. When prosecutors discovered that she had a cocaine habit – though there is no evidence that drug abuse had anything to do with the baby's death – they charged her with the "depraved-heart murder" of her child, which carries a mandatory life sentence.
Gibbs is the first woman in Mississippi to be charged with murder relating to the loss of her unborn baby. But her case is by no means isolated. Across the US more and more prosecutions are being brought that seek to turn pregnant women into criminals. . . .
H/T: Linda Hutjens
The New York Times: G.O.P Hopefuls Press Romney on Abortion Rights, by Trip Gabriel:
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Seeking to distinguish themselves from Mitt Romney, the presumed Republican front-runner in the 2012 presidential race, challengers exploited a bit of daylight that opened between him and other candidates this week over abortion.
“This is not the time for the Republican Party to put up a candidate who is weak on the pro-life issue or has a history of flip-flopping over it,” Representative Michele Bachmann of Minnesota told the National Right to Life convention here on Friday.
She pressed the attack after another primary contender, Rick Santorum, declared last weekend that he was “stunned” by Mr. Romney’s refusal to sign a sweeping anti-abortion pledge. . . .
Wisconsin State Journal: UW Hospital: Abortion language inserted into state budget could jeopardize OB/GYN accreditation, by Deborah Ziff:
A provision inserted in the state budget would prohibit UW Hospital and Clinics from funding abortions, but it's unclear whether that will stop the hospital from offering required abortion experience to doctors-in-training.
Abortions are not performed at UW Hospital and Clinics, but obstetrics and gynecology residents train at Planned Parenthood to learn about family planning, which includes the opportunity to perform abortions.
State law currently prohibits the use of public funds to pay physicians to perform abortions with few exceptions, but the new legislation specifically targets UW Hospital and Clinics. UW Hospital and Clinics is a public authority and does not receive state funding. . . .
Monday, June 27, 2011
ABC/KSFY.com: Judge hears arguments against new South Dakota Abortion Law:
Planned Parenthood has a federal lawsuit pending that challenges the constitutionality of a new South Dakota abortion law. The law requires a three day waiting period and that a woman seek counseling at a pregnancy help center.
Monday the organization asked a judge for a preliminary injunction to prevent the law from taking effect while it's being challenged in court.
We got a look at both sides of the argument in the courtroom. . . .
USA Today: Defunding efforts cause cuts at Planned Parenthood, by Heather Gillers & Andrew Scoggin:
In Indiana, Planned Parenthood will stop treating Medicaid patients and lay off two of three specialists after $100,000 in donations it had been using to replace state money ran out this week.
A state law cutting off Medicaid funding to Planned Parenthood of Indiana took effect May 10. . . .
The New York Times: Planned Parenthood Fights Kansas' Move to Cut Off Funds, by Timothy Williams:
Planned Parenthood filed a federal lawsuit in Kansas on Monday that said the state budget had violated its free speech and due process rights by preventing it from receiving federal family planning money. . . .
See also: The American Independent: Operation Rescue smears doctor who wants to open abortion clinic in Kansas, by Sofia Resnick:
In about six days, the number of operating abortion clinics in Kansas might shrink from three to zero, due to a recently passed law (PDF) relating to the licensure of abortion clinics. But just as anti-abortion-rights groups have been rejoicing, a family physician from Wichita is moving forward with her plans to try to open an abortion clinic in Wichita — possibly within the next 12 t0 18 months.
On Thursday, the Wichita Eagle ran a cover story about Dr. Mila Means, 54, who told the paper she plans to form a nonprofit andt raise around $1 million to open a clinic that will provide “early-term abortions.” . . .
Reuters: North Carolina governor vetoes abortion bill, by Ned Barnett:
The legislation also required medical personnel to present to patients an ultrasound image of the fetus along with information about possible risks.
"This bill is a dangerous intrusion into the confidential relationship that exists between women and their doctors," the Democratic governor said in a statement. . . .
House Committee Approves Measure to Prohibit DC From Spending Own Funds on Low-Income Women's Abortions
The Washington Post: House panel approves D.C. funds, defeats effort to remove abortion ban, by Ben Pershing:
A House panel on Thursday approved a bill that would cut federal spending for the District by 10 percent, while rejecting an attempt to remove a ban on local government-funded abortions.
The spending measure, which the House Appropriations Committee approved along party lines, would reduce the federal government’s payment to the District by $62 million compared with 2011, with the D.C. courts, school construction and the D.C. Tuition Assistance Grant Program among those items targeted for cuts. Federal funds comprise roughly 2 percent of the city’s operating budget . . .
New York Times op-ed column: 160 Million and Counting, by Ross Douthat:
In 1990, the economist Amartya Sen published an essay in The New York Review of Books with a bombshell title: “More Than 100 Million Women Are Missing.” His subject was the wildly off-kilter sex ratios in India, China and elsewhere in the developing world. To explain the numbers, Sen invoked the “neglect” of third-world women, citing disparities in health care, nutrition and education. He also noted that under China’s one-child policy, “some evidence exists of female infanticide.”
The essay did not mention abortion. . . .
New York Times: Several States Forbid Abortion After 20 Weeks, by Erik Eckholm:
Dozens of new restrictions passed by states this year have chipped away at the right to abortion by requiring women to view ultrasounds, imposing waiting periods or cutting funds for clinics. But a new kind of law has gone beyond such restrictions, striking at the foundation of the abortion rules set out by the Supreme Court over the last four decades.
These laws, passed in six states in little more than a year, ban abortions at the 20th week after conception, based on the theory that the fetus can feel pain at that point — a notion disputed by mainstream medical organizations in the United States and Britain. . . .
Caitlin Borgmann, a law professor at City University of New York School of Law and an advocate for abortion rights, said that it was frustrating to see “clearly unconstitutional” laws on the books in several states, so far without challenge.
But she defended the decision of legal groups to proceed cautiously, saying that “it’s better to wait for a good opportunity than to act too quickly,” with a chance of a disastrous loss.
“It has to be a very careful balancing,” she said.
Sunday, June 26, 2011
Huffington Post: The Real Costs of Politicians' Obsession With Reproductive Rights, by Toni Panetta:
From Rick Santorum's claim to "take the bullets" as proof of his pro-life credentials to Michele Bachmann's, Newt Gingrich's, Ron Paul's, Tim Pawlenty's and Santorum's signing Marilyn Musgrave's Susan B. Anthony List pledge to systemically strip away a woman's ability to access safe, legal abortion if elected president, the GOP's anti-abortion, anti-birth control contingent is all too willing to sell out America's women and their families in their quest to out-pro-life each other. . . .
And, speaking of Santorum's sanctimonious and inappropriate reference to "taking bullets" for opposing abortion rights, when many abortion providers have been murdered by real bullets fired by anti-choice zealots, see here.
MSNBC - The Rachel Maddow Show: GOP fights abortion rights with red tape:
See also: NY Times: New Law in Kansas Seen as a Threat to Abortions
Reuters: Judge stops Indiana from ending Planned Parenthood funding, by Susan Guyett:
A judge on Friday granted a preliminary injunction preventing the state of Indiana from enforcing a law that eliminated funding to Planned Parenthood because it performs abortions. . . .
Bloomberg: Indiana Abortion Law Defunding Planned Parenthood is Blocked by U.S. Judge, by Joel Rosenblatt:
An Indiana law defunding Planned Parenthood was blocked by a federal judge who said opponents of the statute showed a likelihood of success in the lawsuit. . . .
Mother Jones: New Act Prohibits Minors Traveling for Abortions, Jen Phillips:
Teens crossing state lines to get an abortion are the target of a new bill introduced today. The Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act (CIANA) looks fairly comprehensive and serious so far, though full text of the bill (S.1241) has not yet been released. Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), however, did provide a joint press release that outlined the bill's main points. . . .
The article describes this as a "new bill," but Congress has seen numerous versions of this legislation over many years. Read more about the "Teen Endangerment Act" here.
The Boston Globe: NH abortion notification bill to become law, by Norma Love:
Republican lawmakers flexed their conservative might Wednesday, overrode Democratic Gov. John Lynch's objections and reinstated a requirement for pregnant girls seeking abortions to tell their parents or a judge first.
Lynch had vetoed the bill as unclear and too narrow. The House voted 266-102 to override followed by a 17-7 vote in the Senate. The bill becomes law Jan. 1. . . .
Thursday, June 23, 2011
NPR: N.C. Considers Paying Forced Sterilization Victims, by Julie Rose:
Barely 40 years ago, it wasn't uncommon for a single mother on welfare, or a patient in a mental hospital in North Carolina, to be sterilized against her will.
But North Carolina wasn't alone: More than half of states in the U.S. had eugenics laws, some of which persisted into the 1970s.
North Carolina is now considering compensating its sterilization victims. A state panel heard from some of them Wednesday. They were mostly poor and uneducated — both black and white — and often just girls when it happened. . . .
Wednesday, June 22, 2011
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: No debate on Pennsylvania abortion bills' effects, by Brad Bumsted:
HARRISBURG — Anti-abortion and abortion rights advocates don't often agree. But they do on what will be the effects of bills approved by the state House and Senate to place tighter restrictions on abortion clinics in the aftermath of what prosecutors called a "house of horrors" at a Philadelphia clinic.
There are differences to be sure in H.B. 574, approved by the House in May, and S.B. 732, which won Senate approval on Tuesday. As for the standards imposed on clinics, they are fundamentally the same even though the House bill at first blush seems to go a bit further, both sides say.
Anti-abortion lobbyists like both bills. Abortion rights advocates oppose them. . . .
Chicago Tribune: State abortion records full of gaps, by Megan Twohey:
Health care providers are failing to detail abortion complications to the state as required by law, one of many gaps in a surveillance system viewed as crucial to protecting patients, a Tribune review has found.
The state's system for tracking abortions is so broken that regulators also may be missing more than 7,000 of the procedures per year.
The Illinois Department of Public Health must collect details about every abortion performed in the state, including whether the patient is injured or dies. . . .
The New York-based Guttmacher Institute, an abortion rights research organization, conducts its own accounting across the country. Its information is widely viewed as more accurate than what is collected by state regulators because the organization makes extensive efforts to identify abortion doctors and follow up with them.
It was Guttmacher that located 37 providers in Illinois in 2008, and it is Guttmacher that has consistently counted thousands more abortions per year than the number recorded by state regulators. . . .
The Hill - Blog Briefing Room: Huntsman won't sign taxes, abortion pledges, by Michael O'Brien:
Republican presidential candidate Jon Huntsman said Tuesday he wouldn't sign pledges meant for candidates having to do with taxes and abortion rights.
Huntsman said that he would sign neither the "Taxpayer Protection Pledge," the manifesto crafted by Americans for Tax Reform President Grover Norquist pledge of no new taxes, nor the document crafted by the Susan B. Anthony List intended to limit abortion rights. . . .
Across the street from the West Oakland Bart Station, there's a billboard with a picture of an infant profile, the title reads, "Black is Beautiful."
Walter Hoye III is the man behind the billboards and is the founder of an Oakland-based non-profit group called issues for life foundation.
"I'm looking to raise awareness and I'm looking to create an environment for dialogue," Hoye said.
Since the billboards are in Congresswoman Barbara Lee's district, she's not happy about them.
"They stigmatize African-American women, they're not a positive message," Lee said. "All women should have a right to make their own decisions without anyone interfering with those personal decisions." . . .