Wednesday, August 17, 2011

U.N. Decision Establishes Governments’ Human Rights Obligation Guaranteeing Access to Maternal Health Services

Center for Reproductive Rights: Historic U.N. Ruling Finds Brazil Violates Woman's Human Rights in Maternal Death Case:

In the first-ever maternal death case to be decided by an international human rights body, the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women established that governments have a human rights obligation to guarantee that all women in their countries—regardless of income or racial background—have access to timely, non-discriminatory, and appropriate maternal health services.

Even when governments outsource health services to private institutions, the committee found, they remain directly responsible for their actions and have a duty to regulate and monitor said institutions.  
Today’s decision is a groundbreaking victory that will benefit women worldwide, says Center for Reproductive Rights, a global legal advocacy organization that filed the case with the United Nations. . . .

August 17, 2011 in International, Parenthood, Poverty, Pregnancy & Childbirth, Reproductive Health & Safety | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, August 15, 2011

Analyzing Republicans’ Silence on Birth Control Mandate

Swampland (TIME): Articles of Faith: Why Republicans Don't Want to Debate Birth Control, by Amy Sullivan: Image1

In the midst of what has already been a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad summer, the Obama administration last week appeared to stumble into the kind of culture war skirmish that nearly shut down the government earlier this year. The Department of Health and Human Services announced that under the new health care law, insurance companies will be required to cover birth control without the co-pays that most women currently fork over on a monthly basis. Any new health mandate would be sufficient to draw ire from Republicans committed to opposing the implementation of “ObamaCare.” But this one came with a religious exemption that was immediately blasted by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops as “so narrow as to exclude most Catholic social service agencies and health care providers.”

Even the Catholic Health Association, which broke with the bishops conference to support health reform last year and was a key Catholic ally of the White House, expressed its disappointment and opposition to the rule. And yet what was the response from congressional Republicans? Silence. So, what could possibly cause Republicans to clam up when handed an opportunity to bash Democrats for mandating birth control coverage? . . .

August 15, 2011 in Contraception, Politics, Religion and Reproductive Rights | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Judge's Decision Expected Soon on Whether to Uphold $36.7 Million Verdict in Abortion Malpractice Case

Orlando Sentinel: Will judge reverse $36M verdict in abortion case?, by Anthony Colarossi:

Image1 An Orange Circuit judge is likely to decide soon whether to reverse a $36.7 million jury award in a medical-malpractice case decided last month against a suspended Orlando-area abortion doctor and his clinic, the Orlando Women's Center.

An Orange County jury awarded $18.7 million in compensatory damages and a total $18 million in punitive damages against James Scott Pendergraft IV and the Orlando Women's Center, where he was listed in court papers as one-time medical director.

Pendergraft's attorney, Robert Nesmith, filed a post-trial motion early this month to set aside the verdict for the monetary damages. He also requested a new trial. Nesmith would not comment with the case still pending. . . .

August 15, 2011 in Abortion, In the Courts, Reproductive Health & Safety, State and Local News | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Libertarian Ron Paul Says Liberty Should Take a Back Seat When It Comes to Abortion

The Hill: Ron Paul stresses opposition to abortion rights in Iowa speech, by Michael O'Brien:

RonPaul Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) strongly stressed his opposition to abortion rights in his speech to prospective voters in the Ames straw poll this evening.

Paul made a play for social conservative voters in the bulk of his speaking slot Saturday afternoon in Ames; the libertarian-minded congressman is gunning for a top-tier finish in the straw poll, where social issues have an emphasized importance.

"There is something that precedes liberty, and that is life," Paul said. "If we are to defend liberty … you have to understand where that liberty, and where that life comes from. It does not come from the government, it comes from our creator.". . .

August 15, 2011 in 2012 Presidential Campaign, Abortion, Politics | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Director of African-American Media for Planned Parenthood Federation of America Voices on African Americans' Support for Abortion Rights

Huffington Post: Why African Americans Support Abortion Rights, by Veronica Byrd:

I'm constantly frustrated by the heated discussions I hear about abortion and African-American women. My friends and family members are never short on strong opinions -- nor, it seems, is anyone else. In my work at Planned Parenthood, I rarely survive a week without getting pulled into a debate about the high rates of abortion among black women and what it reveals about the state of black America. Most of the noise comes from the religious right and small enclaves of the far left, where zealots portray us as unwitting dupes of a racist "abortion industry" that wants to keep us childless -- or perpetrators of a "black genocide" attempting to obliterate our race. Thankfully, most African Americans know that is nonsense, and most support a woman's right to control her own body. According to a recent survey by the Public Religion Research Institute, some 64 percent of us believe "abortion should be legal in all or most cases.". . .

August 15, 2011 in Abortion, Culture, Poverty, Pregnancy & Childbirth, Public Opinion, Race & Reproduction, Reproductive Health & Safety | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Rick Perry Flip-Flops on Whether Abortion Should be a States’ or Federal Right

Rick-Perry The hypocrisy of "state's rights" conservatives, by Ed Kilgore:

The 10th Amendment is sacred to the right -- except when it comes to fighting abortion and gay rights

During the last two weeks, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, by most accounts on the brink of a presidential candidacy, has reversed himself on the question of the proper venue for dealing with the two of the hoariest cultural issues in American politics, same-sex marriage and abortion. . . .

August 15, 2011 in 2012 Presidential Campaign, Abortion, Abortion Bans, Politics | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Mississippi Voter Initiative to Redefine Personhood

U.S. Election News: Mississippi Initiative To Outsmart Roe v. Wade, Prohibit Abortion:

Image1 This year, the Mississippi ballot will include a voter initiative (26) to amend the state constitution:
SECTION 33.  Person defined.  As used in this Article III of the state constitution, “The term ‘person’ or ‘persons’ shall include every human being from the moment of fertilization, cloning or the functional equivalent thereof.

The measure would formally add unborn fetuses to the list of civil right-bearers, thereby making abortion illegal in the state of Mississippi. . . .

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

Arizona Appeals Court Upholds Abortion Restrictions

Arizona Daily Star: Appeals Court: New Arizona abortion restrictions legal, by Howard Fischer:

ArizonaFlag State lawmakers have broad authority to impose new restrictions on abortion and who can perform the procedure, the Arizona Court of Appeals ruled Thursday.

The judges said that prohibiting anyone but a licensed physician from surgically terminating a pregnancy does not impose undue restrictions on a woman’s constitutional right to choose. Judge Peter Swann, writing for the unanimous court, said the fact that nurse practitioners are specifically trained to do the procedure and have a comparable safety record is legally irrelevant. . . .

August 14, 2011 in Abortion, In the Courts, State and Local News, State Legislatures, Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP) | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Selective Reduction of Twin Pregnancies Raises Ethical Questions

New York Times Magazine: The Two-Minus-One Pregnancy, by Ruth Padawer:

As Jenny lay on the obstetrician’s examination table, she was grateful that the ultrasound tech had turned off the overhead screen. She didn’t want to see the two shadows floating inside her. Since making her decision, she had tried hard not to think about them, though she could often think of little else. She was 45 and pregnant after six years of fertility bills, ovulation injections, donor eggs and disappointment — and yet here she was, 14 weeks into her pregnancy, choosing to extinguish one of two healthy fetuses, almost as if having half an abortion. As the doctor inserted the needle into Jenny’s abdomen, aiming at one of the fetuses, Jenny tried not to flinch, caught between intense relief and intense guilt. . . .

The Washington Post: Be fruitful and subtract?, by Frances Kissling:

“Be fruitful and multiply,” the first commandment God gave to Adam and Eve, is a frequent subject of interpretation by Christians as our understanding of the world and the conditions that face humanity have changed over time.

Modern technology --safe, reliable birth control and safe and legal abortion--has made it possible to multiply judiciously and create new persons thoughtfully. Additionally, those who want to have children but are not ‘fruitful” are now able, through a range of modern and not so modern methods from surrogacy to ART (assisted reproductive technologies), to have children.

Single people, gay couples; almost all can now become parents. But new ethical dilemmas arise daily. Remember Octomom -Nadya Suleman who gave birth to a set of octuplets in January 2009 and conceived through in vitro fertilization from a donor? Suleman became one of the most reviled women in America with popular reaction condemning her as irresponsible. Not only did she have eight kids at once, but also she already had six and was experiencing financial hardship. Professional ethicists and policy makers called for limits on the number of embryos that could be implanted during ART to prevent future extreme multiple births. . . .

August 14, 2011 in Abortion, Assisted Reproduction, Bioethics, Fertility, Pregnancy & Childbirth | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, August 11, 2011

HBO To Air Documentary on Gloria Steinem

CBS News: Gloria Steinem reflects on her Playboy bunny days: Image1 

Gloria Steinem has been described as a feminist, journalist, and social political activist, and recognized around the world as the articulate, outspoken leader of what's known as the women's liberation movement of the late 1960s and 1970s. Monday night, she will be the subject of a documentary on HBO called "Gloria: In Her Own Words.". . .

August 11, 2011 in Film, Reproductive Health & Safety, Television, Women, General | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Simple Blood Test Can Determine Fetal Sex at Seven Weeks

The New York Times: Test Can Tell Fetal Sex at 7 Weeks, Study Says, by Pam Belluck:

Scientists A simple blood test that can determine a baby’s sex as early as seven weeks into pregnancy is highly accurate if used correctly, a finding that experts say is likely to lead to more widespread use by parents concerned about gender-linked diseases and those who are merely curious, as well as people considering the more ethically controversial step of selecting the sex of their children.

The appeal of the test, which analyzes fetal DNA found in the mother’s blood, is that it can establish sex weeks earlier than other options, like ultrasound, and is noninvasive, unlike amniocentesis and other procedures that carry small risks of miscarriage. . . .

August 11, 2011 in Abortion, Bioethics, Medical News, Pregnancy & Childbirth, Scholarship and Research, Science | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Salon Documents Romney’s History of Flip-Flopping on Abortion

Salon: The abortion that Mitt doesn't talk about anymore, by Justin Elliott:

Mitt-Romney In a 1994 Senate debate with Ted Kennedy, Mitt Romney revealed a startling chapter from his past:  A close relative had died many years earlier in a botched illegal abortion, shaping Romney's stance in favor of safe and legal access to abortion for all women. But in the many years since that revelation, even as Romney flipped his position and became an ardent opponent of legal abortion, the details of his young relative's story, including even her name, have never been reported. . . . The definitive abortion history of Mitt Romney, by Steve Kornacki:

His amazingly convenient evolution on the issue is no ordinary tale of flip-floppery

How do you get from establishing your pro-choice bona fides by solemnly invoking the pre-Roe v. Wade story of a "dear, close family relative who was very close to me who passed away from an illegal abortion" to adamantly demanding a return to the legal conditions that contributed to that relative's tragic death?

That's the leap that Mitt Romney made, and -- as Salon's Justin Elliott documented this week in a piece that told the story of Romney's relative for the first time -- he's never really squared the implications of his new position with the searing anecdote he told back in his first Massachusetts campaign, in 1994.

Some suspect Romney has always been pro-life, and that he only pretended to support abortion rights to get ahead in Massachusetts. Others wonder if he might still secretly be pro-choice, and only pretending to be pro-life to succeed in national GOP politics. But a close examination of his evolution on this issue suggests an even more cynical conclusion: that he doesn't believe anything at all. During his 17-year political career, Romney has actually changed his tune on abortion multiple times -- and always in a way that suited his political needs. . . .

August 11, 2011 in 2012 Presidential Campaign, Abortion, Politics | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Groups Plan Lawsuit Against North Carolina Abortion Law

WRAL: Planned Parenthood, others plan lawsuit over new abortion law:

NorthCarolinaFlag A half dozen groups, including Planned Parenthood, are planning to challenge a new state law that requires women to wait 24 hours and undergo counseling before an abortion.

The law, titled the “Woman’s Right to Know Act,” also requires that the woman undergo an ultrasound within four to 72 hours of the abortion and have the images of the fetus within view. Meanwhile, the health care provider must explain the age, size, position and physical features of the fetus.

Sarah Preston, a spokeswoman with the American Civil Liberties Union, said a key problem with the law is access.. . . .

August 11, 2011 in Abortion, In the Courts, Mandatory Delay/Biased Information Laws, State and Local News, State Legislatures, Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP) | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

New York City to Require Public Schools to Teach Sex Education

ABC News: New York City to Mandate Sex Education in Public Schools, by Katie Moisse:

For the first time in nearly 20 years, New York City's public middle and high schools will be required to teach students about sex.

In an email to principals last night, Chancellor Dennis M. Walcott said mandatory sex education will start in the second semester of the 2011-2012 school year. The curriculum will be flexible but will include lessons on how to use condoms, how to avoid unwanted sexual encounters and how to respect relationship partners. . . .

The mandate applies strictly to the New York City public school system. New York State currently requires one semester of health education in both middle and high school, but does not mandate sex education. Only 20 states and the District of Columbia mandate sex education, according to a recent report by the Guttmacher Institute, which studies sexual health. . . .

August 11, 2011 in Contraception, Reproductive Health & Safety, Sexuality Education, Sexually Transmitted Disease, State and Local News, Teenagers and Children | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

San Francisco Considers Regulation of "Crisis Pregnancy Centers"

The New York Times: Politicians Open Front on Abortion in Bay Area, by Jesse McKinley:

Seeking to stem what they call misleading advertising, San Francisco officials on Tuesday began a two-pronged attack on “crisis pregnancy centers,” which are billed as places for pregnant women to get advice, but often use counseling to discourage abortions.

The first element was a bill introduced to the city’s Board of Supervisors that would make it illegal for such centers to advertise falsely about their pregnancy-related services, something already more broadly covered by a state law barring deceptive advertising. But the bill’s author, Malia Cohen, said the law was necessary to protect low-income women who are drawn into the centers, which often offer free services. . . .

August 2, 2011 in Abortion, Anti-Choice Movement, Poverty, State and Local News | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, August 1, 2011

Germantown, Maryland, Attracts Competing Abortion Protests

The Washington Post: Abortion is topic of dueling protests in Md., by Dan Morse:

Protesters About the only thing that competing abortion demonstrators agreed on this weekend was this: A nondescript office park 30 miles north of Washington is becoming a battleground in their nationwide conflict.

“They say no choice! We say pro-choice!” abortion rights demonstrators chanted Sunday in the Germantown office park.

About 180 people walked in support of LeRoy Carhart, a physician who recently started performing late-in-pregnancy abortions in the office park. It was their kickoff to Summer Celebration of Choice, which will include a week of demonstrations outside the clinic to support women going inside. . . .

August 1, 2011 in Abortion, State and Local News | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Maryland Department of Health Proposes New Abortion Regulations

The Baltimore Sun: MD to watch abortion clinics more closely, by Annie Linskey:

MarylandFlag Abortion clinics in Maryland will have to apply for a state license, provide a 24-hour hotline for patients, show that they have qualified anesthesia providers and develop emergency plans should procedures go awry according to new draft regulations the state's Department of Health and Mental Hygiene released Friday.

Clinics failing to comply would face a $1,000 penalty -- or have their license revoked. The department is seeking public comment on the regulations until mid-August. . . .

August 1, 2011 in Abortion, Reproductive Health & Safety, State and Local News, Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP) | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

GOP's Proposed International Family Planning Cuts Risk More Unsafe Abortions, Maternal Deaths, and Orphans

Repub elephant Huffington Post: GOP's Foreign Aid Cuts Could Dramatically Increase Unsafe Abortions, by Laura Bassett:

House Republicans' proposed cuts to international family planning programs could result in 1.3 million more unsafe abortions around the world, 9.4 million people without access to contraceptives, 7,700 maternal deaths and more than 35,000 additional orphans, according to a reproductive health research organization.

A Republican-led subcommittee approved a foreign spending bill on Wednesday that cuts family planning funding overseas by $154 million and codifies the Global Gag Rule, which blocks all U.S. money to foreign aid programs that provide or counsel women on abortions. . . .

August 1, 2011 in Abortion, Congress, Contraception, International, Reproductive Health & Safety | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

U.S. Adopts IOM Recommendation to Require Free Contraception and Other Preventive Health Care Services

Reuters: United States approves free birth control for women, by Alina Selyukh:

U.S. health insurance companies must offer women free birth control and other preventive health care services under Obama administration rules released on Monday, a historic decision supported by family planning groups and opposed by conservative groups.

The rules from the Health and Human Services Department are part of the nation's healthcare overhaul and largely follow recommendations from an advisory group released last month. . . .

August 1, 2011 in Contraception, President/Executive Branch, Reproductive Health & Safety, Women, General | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)