Monday, October 31, 2011

World's Population Reaches 7 Billion (or Will, Soon Enough)

NPR: Visualizing How A Population Grows To 7 Billion, by Adam Cole:

BBC: Are there really seven billion of us?, by Rema Rahman:

The United Nations estimates that on Monday 31 October the world's population will reach seven billion. But how accurate is this figure?

Not only is the world's population supposedly reaching seven billion today, the charity Plan International has anointed a girl born in India as the seven billionth.

In reality, things are much less clear. . . .

October 31, 2011 in International, Pregnancy & Childbirth | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Feminist Legal Theory Collaborative Research Network: Invitation and Call for Papers

Feminist Legal Theory Collaborative Research Network: Law and Society Association Annual Meeting, June 5-8, 2011: Invitation and Call for Papers:

Dear friends and colleagues,

 As many of you know, the Feminist Legal Theory Collaborative Research Network (CRN) is a newly-constituted group that seeks to bring together scholars across a range of fields who are interested in feminist legal theory. At our inaugural get-together at the Law and Society Association (LSA) meeting this past June, we decided to organize two events for the coming year.  The first will be in Washington, D.C., in conjunction with the AALS annual meeting in January 2012. We are writing to give you details about the second, which will take place in Honolulu, Hawaii, in conjunction with the LSA annual meeting, June 5-8, 2012.


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October 31, 2011 in Conferences and Symposia, Scholarship and Research, Women, General | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Eighth Annual Wells Conference on Adoption Law: Call for Presentations and Papers

Capital University Law Review: Call for Presentations and Papers Eighth Annual Wells Conference on Adoption Law: Image1

Eighth Annual Wells Conference on Adoption Law 
March 8, 2012
Searching for Family: The Impact of Technology and Social Media on Adoption

Send proposals by Nov. 23, 2011, to Capital University Law Review Symposium Editor Christine Diedrick Mochel at

The conference is still accepting proposals for presentations and papers emphasizing the following themes:

Facilitating Adoptions through the Internet
Suggested topics include, but are not limited to: using the internet to facilitate adoptions, the legal barriers to using the internet to facilitate adoptions, and the ethical implications of using the internet to facilitate adoptions.

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October 31, 2011 in Conferences and Symposia, Law School, Parenthood | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Charles P. Kindregan on the Current State of Assisted Reproduction Law

Charles P. Kindregan, Jr. (Suffolk University Law School) has posted The Current State of Assisted Reproduction Law on SSRN. Here is the abstract:

KindreganThis article by Charles P. Kindregan Jr. of Suffolk University Law School was published in Volume 34 of the American Bar Association Family Advocate, No. 2, Pg. 10 (Fall 2011). It is intended to provide a survey of collaborative reproduction law for the issue of Advocate which features articles on various aspects of this evolving area of family law, including the impact of assisted reproduction on various areas of family law, the potential for conflict of interest in practicing in this field, informed consent issues, surrogacy arrangements, contract issues and disposition of cryopreserved embryos. The article provides an introduction to the field, including commentary on the absence of controlling law, the meaning of collaborative reproduction, intrauterine insemination, use of the technology by same-sex couples, in vitro fertilization, cryopreserved embryos, surrogacy arrangements, prebirth orders, maternity status of carriers, as well as proposed uniform and model laws.

October 31, 2011 in Assisted Reproduction, Bioethics, Fertility, Scholarship and Research | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Mississippi Personhood Initiative Addressed on The Situation Room

Federal Judge Blocks North Carolina Pre-Abortion Ultrasound Law

Center for Reproductive Rights press release: Federal Court Blocks Demeaning North Carolina Ultrasound Law:

U.S. District Judge Catherine Eagles granted in part a preliminary injunction today that will block enforcement of intrusive measures in the new North Carolina law requiring abortion providers to show women an ultrasound and describe the images in detail four hours before having an abortion, even if the woman objects.

Civil liberties advocates, including the ACLU of North Carolina Legal Foundation, the Center for Reproductive Rights, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, and the American Civil Liberties Union, filed a lawsuit in the federal district court for the Middle District of North Carolina on September 29 challenging the constitutionality of the law, arguing that it violates the rights of health care providers and women seeking abortion care. . . .

October 31, 2011 in Abortion, In the Courts, Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP) | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Mississippi’s Proposed Personhood Initiative Is Far-Reaching and Could Pass

Salon: The next front in the abortion wars: Birth control, by Inin Carmon: Image1

Mississippi debates a "Personhood" initiative that could ban the pill -- but ultimately aims at Roe v. Wade

Dr. Freda Bush has a warm, motherly smile. In her office just outside Jackson, Miss., she smiles as she hands me a brochure that calls abortion the genocide of African-Americans, and again, sweetly, as she explains why an abortion ban should not include exceptions for rape or incest victims. The smile turns into a chuckle as she recounts what the daughter of one rape victim told her: “My momma says I’m a blessing. Now, she still don’t care for the guy who raped her! But she’s glad she let me live.”

Bush is smiling, too, in the video she made to support as restrictive an abortion ban as any state has voted on, Initiative 26, or the Personhood Amendment, which faces Mississippi voters on Nov. 8. “It doesn’t matter whether you’re rich or poor, black or white, or even if your father was a rapist!” she trills. But Initiative 26, which would change the definition of “person” in the Mississippi state Constitution to “include every human being from the moment of fertilization, cloning or the equivalent thereof,” is more than just an absolute ban on abortion and a barely veiled shot at Roe v. Wade — although it is both. By its own logic, the initiative would almost certainly ban common forms of birth control like the IUD and the morning-after pill, call into question the legality of the common birth-control pill, and even open the door to investigating women who have suffered miscarriages. . . .

Washington Post - Ezra Klein's WonkBlog: Mississippi, personhood and the future of the anti-abortion movement, by Sarah Kliff:


Earlier this week, Salon’s Irin Carmon generated a lot of conversation with her piece on the “personhood movement”: a burgeoning effort among anti-abortion advocates to amend state constitutions to define life as beginning at conception. Such an amendment could outlaw abortion and may hinder access to birth control or in vitro fertilization.

So far though, no personhood amendment has gotten very close to becoming law. Many don’t get enough signatures to land a ballot initiative, and those that do have failed by double-digit margins. But Carmon thinks that may change when Mississippi votes on a new personhood amendment, Initiative 26, next week. . . .

October 31, 2011 in Abortion Bans, Anti-Choice Movement, Contraception, Fetal Rights, State and Local News | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Bachmann Denies Saying Abortion is State Issue

Huffington Post: Michele Bachmann Denies Abortion Comment: 'I Don't Think I Ever Said That', by Laura Bassett:

WASHINGTON -- Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), who in early October introduced a bill in the House of Representatives that would force women to listen to the fetal heartbeat before having an abortion, made the surprising comment in Iowa recently that abortion bans should be left up to the states.

"I think that's referring to late-term abortion, and I think that's something that most people find anathema, and they would prefer to see it outlawed," she told the Iowa Republican in response to a question about abortion bans. "That's a state issue, and so it's up to the people of Iowa to decide what they want to do."

A week later, she denied having ever had that conversation, despite the video of her comments that was posted online. . . .

October 27, 2011 in 2012 Presidential Campaign, Abortion, In the Media | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

New Research Questions Medical Practice in Determining Miscarriage

CaduceusThe Atlantic: A False Positive for Miscarriage: Terminating Healthy Pregnancies, by Alice G. Walton:

New research suggests that the practices used by doctors to determine whether or not a fetus is growing don't leave enough room for error

Though it would seem obvious when a woman has a miscarriage even early in pregnancy, the truth is that it's not as straightforward as one might think. The guidelines doctors use to determine whether a miscarriage has occurred or not are not as accurate as they should be, according to a recent study. This can mean that perfectly healthy pregnancies may be receiving unnecessary intervention when doctors mistakenly believe they have ended.

When women experience bleeding early in their pregnancy, it's possible that miscarriage has occurred. To find out, doctors use ultrasound to measure the gestational sac and the embryo at one time point, and then follow up with a second measurement one week to 10 days later to see whether growth has occurred. The new studies looked at how -- and how much -- fetuses change over time in the early weeks of pregnancy. . . .

October 27, 2011 in Medical News, Pregnancy & Childbirth | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Television Series on Dr. George Tiller May Influence Perspectives on Abortion

Jezebel: True Blood's Alan Ball Developing Series That Could Change the Way We Talk About Abortion, by Lane Moore:

According to the Hollywood Reporter, True Blood mastermind Alan Ball is currently developing a series called Wichita about "a Kansas surgeon who inadvertently becomes the focal point of a contemporary political, cultural and ethical war."

Ball is also teaming up with Devin Friedman, the writer behind the 2010 GQ article "Savior vs. Savior" about the late doctor Dr. George Tiller, one of the few physicians to provide late-term abortions. . . .

October 27, 2011 in Abortion, Anti-Choice Movement, Culture, Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP), Television | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Republican Presidential Hopefuls Emphasize Stance on Abortion at Iowa G.O.P. Forum

New York Times: Abortion Takes Center Stage at Iowa G.O.P. Forum, by Jeff Zeleny:

DES MOINES — Gov. Rick Perry of Texas sought to win over social conservative voters in Iowa on Saturday night as he drew a distinction between his opposition to abortion with the views of his leading Republican rivals and declared, “Being pro-life is not a matter of campaign convenience; it is a core conviction.”

At a forum for Republican presidential hopefuls, Mr. Perry urged party activists to study the abortion positions of his opponents. He offered veiled criticism of Herman Cain, who told an interviewer last week that he was against abortion, but that the decision to have the procedure was a personal one. . . .

October 27, 2011 in 2012 Presidential Campaign, Abortion, Politics | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Creates Lobbying Group

Hunter of Justice: Conference of Catholic Bishops launches new organization to fight equality, preserve special treatment for religious entities:

CatholicThe U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has created a new DC-based lobbying group to fight what it calls an "unprecedented assault" on the right "to proclaim the truth of religious freedom." Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York, president of the USCCB, announced the new campaign in a letter identifying the perceived threats to religious liberty that justified "a new moment in the history of our Conference."

Most of the declared threats were policies dealing with either lgbt rights or access to abortion and contraception. In addition to the new New York marriage equality law, the letter cites the Justice Department's decision to stop defending the constitutionality of DoMA. . . .

October 27, 2011 in Abortion, Contraception, Politics, Religion, Religion and Reproductive Rights | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Justice Scalia Lumps Roe v. Wade with Dred Scott

ABA Journal: Scalia Lumps Kelo Decision with Dred Scott and Roe v. Wade, by Debra Cassens Weiss:

Justice Antonin Scalia predicted Monday that the Supreme Court’s decision in Kelo v. City of New London will be overturned.

Speaking to students at the Chicago-Kent School of Law, Scalia criticized the decision allowing the city of New London to use eminent domain to seize property for economic development, the Chicago Sun-Times reports. “I do not think that the Kelo opinion is long for this world,” Scalia said. . . .

October 27, 2011 in Abortion, Supreme Court | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Most Law Schools Still Don't Offer Reproductive Rights Courses

XXfactor (Slate Magazine): Why Don't More Law Schools Teach Reproductive Rights Classes?, by Alexandra Harwin:

Most of the politicians and judges responsible for abortion policies in this country are trained as lawyers – among the chief proponents of Mississippi’s infamous personhood amendment is a local business lawyer. However, a new survey shows that most law schools aren’t doing enough to educate future policymakers about reproductive rights issues. . . .

H/T: Robyn Enes Link

October 27, 2011 in Law School | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Panel Recommends Routine HPV Vaccinations for Boys and Young Men

The New York Times: Panel Endorses HPV Vaccine for Boys of 11, by Gardiner Harris:

Boys and young men should be vaccinated against human papillomavirus, or HPV, to protect against anal and throat cancers that can result from sexual activity, a federal advisory committee said Tuesday.

The recommendation by the panel, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is likely to transform the use of the HPV vaccine, since most private insurers pay for vaccines once the committee recommends them for routine use. . . .

October 26, 2011 in Medical News, Men and Reproduction, Sexually Transmitted Disease, Teenagers and Children | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Proposed Mississippi ‘Personhood’ Amendment Has Broad Potential Impact

The New York Times: Push for 'Personhood' Amendments Represents New Tack in Abortion Fight, by Erik Eckholm:

Image1 A constitutional amendment facing voters in Mississippi on Nov. 8, and similar initiatives brewing in half a dozen other states including Florida and Ohio, would declare a fertilized human egg to be a legal person, effectively branding abortion and some forms of birth control as murder.

With this far-reaching anti-abortion strategy, the proponents of what they call personhood amendments hope to reshape the national debate.

“I view it as transformative,” said Brad Prewitt, a lawyer and executive director of the Yes on 26 campaign, which is named for the Mississippi proposition. “Personhood is bigger than just shutting abortion clinics; it’s an opportunity for people to say that we’re made in the image of God.”

Many doctors and women’s health advocates say the proposals would cause a dangerous intrusion of criminal law into medical care, jeopardizing women’s rights and even their lives. . . .

October 26, 2011 in Abortion, Abortion Bans, Anti-Choice Movement, Assisted Reproduction, Fertility, Fetal Rights, Reproductive Health & Safety, State and Local News, Women, General | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Abortion Opponents Condemn Proposed Illinois Sex Ed Bill

The American Independent: Illinois anti-abortion-rights group condemn sex-ed bill, by Sofia Resnick: Image1

The Illinois General Assembly will address a proposed state education bill mandating more comprehensive sex education in its fall veto session, which begins today. Anti-abortion-rights groups, such as the Illinois Family Institute and the Illinois Right to Life, have condemned the bill on morality charges and are trying to thwart its passage.

HB 3027 would amend the state school code and require that each class that teaches sex education and/or discusses sexual intercourse in sixth through 12th grades must include instruction on both abstinence and contraception as preventative methods against pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). Additionally, the sex-ed instruction would need to be evidenced-based and medically accurate; however, school districts that do not currently provide sex education will not be required to teach it.

In districts that do provide classes or courses on sex ed, teachers will have to teach students abstaining from sexual intercourse ”is a responsible and positive decision and is the only protection that is 100% effective against unwanted teenage pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases, and acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) when transmitted sexually.” This is a departure from current sex-ed instruction, which emphasizes that “abstinence until marriage” is the “expected norm” and gives no information on contraception. . . .

October 26, 2011 in Anti-Choice Movement, Contraception, Parenthood, Pregnancy & Childbirth, Reproductive Health & Safety, Sexuality Education, Sexually Transmitted Disease, State and Local News, State Legislatures, Teenagers and Children | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Daily Beast Examines Potential Implications of Mississippi Personhood Amendment for IVF

The Daily Beast: Will Mississippi Ban IVF?, by Michelle Goldberg:

A ballot initiative to define embryos as persons in Mississippi’s state constitution could outlaw some in-vitro practices—and many women with fertility problems are panicking ahead of the November vote.

In September, Mississippi’s Supreme Court ruled that a ballot initiative to amend the state’s constitution to define embryos as persons could go forward in November. Since then, Dr. Randall Hines, one of four physicians in the state who perform in vitro fertilization, has been fielding panicked calls from women with fertility problems. “We have patients calling us who are extremely anxious,” he says. “If they are contemplating IVF, they’re asking, ‘Do I need to go ahead and do it right now, before this becomes law?’” . . .


October 26, 2011 in Anti-Choice Movement, Assisted Reproduction, Fertility, Fetal Rights, State and Local News | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Abortion Opponents Push for ‘Heartbeat Bills'

TIME opinion column: The Next Abortion Battleground: Fetal Heartbeats, by Adam Cohen: Image1

Anti-abortion groups begin a brazen campaign to make women listen to a heartbeat before they end a pregnancy

Abortion opponents have a new weapon of choice: the “heartbeat bill.” A coalition of anti-abortion groups told the Associated Press last week that it was pushing to enact laws in all 50 states that would make women listen to a fetus’s heart beat before they could abort. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) has introduced a similar federal bill, The Heartbeat Informed Consent Act, in Congress.

When the Supreme Court decided Roe, critics of abortion vowed to get it overturned. They have not succeeded in that. But they have managed to pass a wide array of laws — some upheld by the courts, others struck down — making access to abortion more difficult. The Supreme Court has ruled that states can impose some restrictions, such as 24-hour waiting periods and parental consent requirements, but has struck down others, such as laws forcing women to notify their spouses. The heartbeat laws are the latest effort in a decades-long campaign that — as conservatives gain strength at the state level—appears to be gaining ground. . . .

October 22, 2011 in Abortion, Anti-Choice Movement, Congress, State Legislatures, Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP) | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Oklahoma Judge Issues Temporary Injunction Blocking Restriction on Medication Abortion

Reuters: Oklahoma judge halts law barring drug-induced abortions, by Steve Olafson: Image1


(Reuters) - A judge blocked a new Oklahoma law on Wednesday that would have prohibited women in the state from having medication-induced abortions to end unwanted early-term pregnancies.


The law had been scheduled to go into effect on November 1, but state District Judge Dan Owens issued a temporary restraining order in a victory for abortion rights advocates.


Nova Health Systems, which operates a clinic in Tulsa, and the nonprofit Oklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Justice had filed a lawsuit to block the law. . . .


Center for Reproductive Rights - press release: Judge Blocks Oklahoma Law Restricting Medication Abortion:

Center for Reproductive Rights Lawsuit Says Law Sacrifices Women’s Health to Ideological Agenda

10.19.11 - (PRESS RELEASE) The judge overseeing a lawsuit brought by the Center for Reproductive Rights to overturn a law severely restricting the use of medications to terminate pregnancies has granted a temporary injunction blocking the law’s enforcement.

Today’s decision, handed down by Oklahoma County District Judge Daniel Owens, means that women seeking pregnancy terminations in Oklahoma will continue to have access to a medical protocol based on scientific evidence, sound medical judgment, and advances in medicine, and to medication as a non—surgical treatment option for some women with ectopic pregnancy.

The Center for Reproductive Rights filed the lawsuit on October 5 on behalf of the Oklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Justice, a non-profit organization dedicated to ensuring the availability of the full range of reproductive healthcare services to women throughout the state, and Nova Health Systems (d/b/a Reproductive Services), a non-profit reproductive healthcare facility located in Tulsa. . . .

October 22, 2011 in Abortion, Abortion Bans, In the Courts, State and Local News, Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP) | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)