Sunday, January 22, 2012

Marking Roe v. Wade Anniversary, Obama Promises to Protect Choice

Obama_2008The White House: Statement by the President on Roe v. Wade Anniversary:

As we mark the 39th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, we must remember that this Supreme Court decision not only protects a woman’s health and reproductive freedom, but also affirms a broader principle: that government should not intrude on private family matters.  I remain committed to protecting a woman’s right to choose and this fundamental constitutional right.  While this is a sensitive and often divisive issue- no matter what our views, we must stay united in our determination to prevent unintended pregnancies, support pregnant woman and mothers, reduce the need for abortion, encourage healthy relationships, and promote adoption.  And as we remember this historic anniversary, we must also continue our efforts to ensure that our daughters have the same rights, freedoms, and opportunities as our sons to fulfill their dreams.

January 22, 2012 in Abortion, President/Executive Branch | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Pamela Laufer-Ukeles on Reproductive Choices and Informed Consent

Pamela Laufer-Ukeles (University of Dayton - School of Law) has posted Reproductive Choices and Informed Consent: Fetal Interests, Women's Identity and Relational Autonomy on SSRN. Here is the abstract: Image1

In this Article, I describe and examine the severe shortcomings in women’s autonomy in the context of reproductive choices in the medical arena. The reproductive choices I explore are those choices that involve gestation: abortion, fertility treatments, and interventions during pregnancy. Due to state and medical interests in the fetus, I describe how information conveyed to patients making reproductive choices is biased towards fetal interests, relies on female stereotypes, and is still conveyed with the objective authority of the medical profession. Moreover, reproductive choices implicate women’s values and identity interests that reach beyond medical concerns, which are not part of the informed consent doctrine at all. The narrow, individualistic informed consent torts doctrine intended to protect patient autonomy does not do enough in this context to balance bias nor does it mandate discussion of important identity interests and values. Accordingly, I argue that when faced with reproductive choices, women are not provided the balanced and comprehensive information needed to promote their autonomy.

In response to the breakdown in patient autonomy I describe, instead of leaving women alone to make choices or regulating in order to protect them from their choices, a broader framework for supporting reproductive choices should be established. In light of the interdependence of woman and fetus, as well as the broader social context shaping these decisions, I argue that a more contextual, relational perspective of autonomy should be the goal of informed consent in the context of reproductive choices. I suggest a number of reforms that aim to optimize patient autonomy from a relational perspective. I suggest a broad, deliberative doctor-patient consultation and legal reforms that create more balance between the pull towards intervention and fetal protection on the one hand, and non-intervention and protection of women’s personal identity interests on the other.

January 21, 2012 in Abortion, Assisted Reproduction, Bioethics, Fertility, Mandatory Delay/Biased Information Laws, Pregnancy & Childbirth, Scholarship and Research | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Report Finds Unsafe Abortions Are Increasing Globally and Bans Are Not Reducing Abortions

The Guardian: Unsafe abortions rising globally, by Sarah Boseley:

GuttmacherInstitute1The number of unsafe abortions is rising around the world, while what appeared to be a steady decline in abortion rates in the 1990s has stalled, according to an authoritative new report.

The analysis from the Guttmacher Institute in the US, which looks at trends since other major global analyses in 1995 and 2003, will dismay both campaigners against abortion and those who fight for improved maternal health. . . .

Here is a link to the report.

January 21, 2012 in Abortion, Abortion Bans, International, Medical News, Reproductive Health & Safety, Scholarship and Research | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

NPR Talk of the Nation with Guest Nancy Northup, President and CEO of Center for Reproductive Rights, on Evolution of Abortion Battle

NPR -Talk of the Nation: Abortion Rights Advocates, Opponents' Tactics Evolve: Image1

In recent years abortion rights opponents have stepped up efforts to challenge Roe vs. Wade, the nearly 40-year-old Supreme Court ruling that legalized abortion. Many states have adopted new laws restricting abortion rights since 2010, putting abortion rights supporters on the defensive. . . .

January 21, 2012 in Abortion, Anti-Choice Movement, State Legislatures | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

ACLU on Obama Administration's Contraceptive Coverage Decision

As a defender of both religious liberty and reproductive freedom, the ACLU brings particular credibility and expertise to this issue.

The Washington Post - On Faith Blog: Birth control decision defends religious liberty, by Louise Melling (Director, ACLU Center for Liberty):

Recognizing the importance of birth control to women’s health and lives, the Obama administration stood firm today against the political strong-arming of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and other religious groups that oppose contraception. This is a major victory for women’s health that we should all celebrate. But the path to today’s victory was not a foregone conclusion.

Last summer, following the recommendation of a non-partisan panel of medical experts, the Department of Health and Human Services issued guidelines requiring new insurance plans to cover contraceptives. The bishops, the political arm of the Catholic Church, immediately cried foul, claiming a right to use their religious beliefs to discriminate against millions of women of all faiths who use contraception. . . .

January 21, 2012 in Contraception, President/Executive Branch, Religion and Reproductive Rights | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Obama Administration Refuses to Broaden Exemption to Contraceptive Coverage Rules

The Washington Post: Obama holds firm on contraception coverage, by David Gibson:

The Obama administration said Friday (Jan. 20) that it will not broaden the religious exemption in new rules that require employers to provide contraception coverage to employees, a move that angered religious groups and opened a high stakes election-year fight.

Instead, the White House will give faith groups a one-year extension to find a way to comply with the mandate without compromising their beliefs. . . .

RH Reality Check: Obama Administration Does the Right Thing, Finally, on Contraceptive Coverage, by Jodi Jacobson: Image1

Today, the Obama Administration took a long-overdue stand on women's rights to basic reproductive and sexual health care by making a final ruling on contraceptive coverage under health reform. The decision requires that the vast majority of employer-based health insurance plans must cover preventive services for women including contraception without charging a co-pay, co-insurance or a deductible. This means all women with health insurance coverage will have access to the full range of preventive services originally recommended by the Institute of Medicine (IOM), including all FDA-approved forms of contraception.

“All women should have access to contraceptive coverage, regardless of where they work,” said Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America. “The administration stood firm against intensive lobbying efforts from anti-birth-control organizations trying to expand the refusal option even further to allow organizations and corporations to deny their employees contraceptive coverage. As a result, millions will get access to contraception—and they will not have to ask their bosses for permission.” . . .

January 21, 2012 in Contraception, President/Executive Branch | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Personhood USA Hosts Forum for Republican Presidential Candidates in SC

NPR: Front-Runner Romney Skips Personhood Forum, by Don Gonyea:

A candidate forum was held in Greenville, S.C., Wednesday night, sponsored by the anti-abortion rights group Personhood USA. Participating in the event were Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum, Ron Paul, and Rick Perry. Front-runner Mitt Romney did not attend. South Carolina holds its primary on Saturday. . . .

January 19, 2012 in 2012 Presidential Campaign, Abortion, Abortion Bans, Anti-Choice Movement, Fetal Rights, Politics | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Rachel Maddow on Anti-Abortion Intimidation Tactics and Abortion Politics in Presidential Race

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

CUNY Law Clinic Submits Report to UN Human Rights Committee on Reproductive Rights in Philippines

CUNY School of Law: New IWHR Reports on Reproductive Rights in Philippines and Sexual Exploitation in Haiti:

CUNYLawThe International Women’s Human Rights Clinic and the Center for Reproductive Rights jointly submitted a report to the United Nations Human Rights Committee on issues related to the status of women’s reproductive rights in the Philippines. The paper reports on the efforts of the Philippine Government to adopt public health laws that ensure women’s rights. It finds that some specific laws, including a nationwide criminal ban on abortion without any clear exceptions and restrictions on contraceptive information, “constitute an ongoing and immediate threat to women’s life, reproductive health, and rights.” . . .

January 17, 2012 in Abortion Bans, Contraception, International, Law School, Reproductive Health & Safety, Scholarship and Research | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, January 16, 2012

Dreaming of An End to Racial Disparities in Reproductive Health

As we celebrate the life of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and advances in racial equality in the United States, it is important to remember that reproductive health is just one of the many areas in which satisfactory progress remains elusive. In the face of persisting (and indeed rising) racial economic disparities...


The New York Times op-ed column: How Fares the Dream?, by Paul Krugman:

“I have a dream,” declared Martin Luther King, in a speech that has lost none of its power to inspire. And some of that dream has come true. When King spoke in the summer of 1963, America was a nation that denied basic rights to millions of its citizens, simply because their skin was the wrong color. Today racism is no longer embedded in law. And while it has by no means been banished from the hearts of men, its grip is far weaker than once it was. . . .

Yet if King could see America now, I believe that he would be disappointed, and feel that his work was nowhere near done. He dreamed of a nation in which his children “will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” But what we actually became is a nation that judges people not by the color of their skin — or at least not as much as in the past — but by the size of their paychecks. And in America, more than in most other wealthy nations, the size of your paycheck is strongly correlated with the size of your father’s paycheck.

Goodbye Jim Crow, hello class system. . . .


...we will continue to see racial disparities in reproductive and sexual health:


Center for Reproductive Rights: Addressing Disparities in Reproductive and Sexual Health Care in the U.S.:

The U.S. spends at least twice as much per capita on healthcare than almost every other western industrialized country, but has some of the widest disparities in health outcomes.  Racial disparities are particularly pronounced in reproductive and sexual health. Women of color fare worse than white women in every aspect of reproductive health. . . .

January 16, 2012 in Race & Reproduction, Reproductive Health & Safety | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Martin Luther King, Jr., and Abortion

In the apparent absence of definitive evidence regarding Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s views on abortion (his support for contraception is clear), he is being portrayed as both pro and con.

Rev. King's niece, Alveda King, asserts on Fox News that he was anti-choice:

Others claim the opposite:

Jezebel: No, Fox News, Martin Luther King Jr Wasn’t Anti-Abortion, by Erin Gloria Ryan:

Fox News is commemorating this Martin Luther King, Jr day by inviting his niece, Dr. Alveda King, to come and speak about his legacy. He was a conservative, she explained, who hated abortion. Except that isn't even close to true, not even the tiniest bit. . . .

January 16, 2012 in Abortion, In the Media, Race & Reproduction | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Anti-Choice Protestors Hold Rally at MLK's Grave

The Huffington Post: Anti-Abortion Rally At MLK's Grave Held By Catholic Pro-Life Group, by Hunter Stuart:

A Catholic anti-abortion group used the site of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s grave on Saturday for a large rally to protest against legalized abortion. The group, Priests for Life, gathered together with dozens of supporters early Saturday morning at a Planned Parenthood facility in Birmingham, AL. . . .

January 16, 2012 in Abortion, Anti-Choice Movement | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Randall Terry Hopes to Bring Aborted Fetus Ads to Super Bowl

Huffington Post: Randall Terry Bringing Aborted Fetus Ads to Super Bowl

FootballRandall Terry, the anti-abortion activist who announced last year that he would challenge Obama for the Democratic presidential nomination, has resurfaced with a bigger platform to get his message out.

Terry is known for his gruesome ads featuring what look to be aborted fetuses, which have already hit the air in Iowa, and now they are coming to the Super Bowl if he can raise the funds. Television stations and affiliates are normally allowed to block indecent content, but Terry is exploiting an FCC loophole that prevents censorship of political ads within 45 days of a presidential primary or caucus. Christian News Wire reports that the ads will air in 40 markets whose primaries fall in that window after Super Bowl Sunday, Feb. 5--should Terry get sufficient response from his fund-raising appeals. . . .

January 16, 2012 in 2012 Presidential Campaign, Abortion, Anti-Choice Movement, In the Media, Sports, Television | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Opinions on the Republican Presidential Field and Reproductive Freedom

Chicago Tribune op-ed column: Reproductive freedom?, by Clarence Page:

Caution: This presidential campaign endangers reproductive health. Women's rights to contraception and other reproductive health services seem to face even more than the usual threats from the 2012 Republican presidential candidates. All of which raises new questions about whose freedoms today's conservatives really want to defend.

And that ratchets up pressure on President Barack Obama at a time when his administration is expected to announce soon how a "conscience clause" might apply to the Affordable Care Act. Such a provision would allow religious organizations to deny insurance coverage for employees' contraceptive and other reproductive health needs. . . .

The New York Times editorial (1/8): Republicans Versus Reproductive Rights: Image1


In Iowa, the Republican presidential contenders tried to outdo one another in attacking reproductive rights as they sought the support of caucusgoers from the religious right. In New Hampshire, where voters are less socially conservative, the candidates have focused more on economic issues.

But the message from Iowa was crystal clear: Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum, Ron Paul, Jon Huntsman Jr., Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry all stand ready to restrict a woman’s right to make her own childbearing decisions and deny essential health care to millions of women.


The Republican field is united in its determination to overturn Roe v. Wade; to appoint Supreme Court justices supportive of that goal; and to end government payments to Planned Parenthood for family planning services, cancer screening and other vital health services provided to low-income women. The candidates also want to reinstate the global gag rule that barred family planning groups abroad receiving federal money from even talking about abortion. . . .

January 16, 2012 in 2012 Presidential Campaign, Abortion, Abortion Bans, Contraception, Fetal Rights, International, Mandatory Delay/Biased Information Laws, Politics, Supreme Court, Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP) | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Florida Bill Would Ban Abortions Based on Race or Gender of Fetus

The Florida Independent: New bill would outlaw gender- and race-based abortions, by Ashley Lopez: Image1


With the beginning of session only days away, Florida legislators have been busy filing a slew of anti-abortion bills. Add yet another to the list: a measure outlawing race- and gender-based abortions. The bill was filed by state Rep. Scott Plakon, R-Longwood.


House Bill 1327, or the “Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass Prenatal Nondiscrimination and Equal Opportunity for Life Act,” would make it a crime to have an abortion “that it is sought based on sex or race of child or race of parent of that child.” A similar bill was filed in the U.S. House by Rep. Trent Franks, R-Ariz., last month and became law in Arizona last year. . . .

January 16, 2012 in Abortion, Abortion Bans, Race & Reproduction, State Legislatures | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Ms. Magazine Roundup of 2012 Anti-Choice State Ballot Initiatives and Referenda

Ms. Magazine: State Ballot Initiative and Referendum Roundup: Image1

In Florida and Montana anti-abortion initiatives or referenda will appear on state ballots in 2012. In nine additional states, initiatives or referenda to restrict women's reproductive rights may appear on the 2012 November ballot. . . .

Although no "personhood" state constitutional amendment has been approved to appear on a 2012 state ballot, such amendments are currently circulating in eight states. Anti-abortion rights groups are divided about proceeding with the personhood amendments because of the recent defeat of a personhood amendment in Mississippi and because they question whether the initiatives and referenda will be upheld in the courts. For example the National Right to Life Committee and Phyllis Schlafly's Eagle Forum appear to be opposed to this effort. . . .

January 16, 2012 in Abortion, Abortion Bans, Anti-Choice Movement, Fertility, Fetal Rights, State and Local News, Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP) | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Will 2012 See Continued Surge in Restrictions on Abortion?

The Economist: Restricting abortion:

Unintended issues

Fiscal conservatism is trumped by the social variety

JANUARY is a busy month in capitals across America. New laws are implemented; Congress and legislatures reconvene, hoping to pass more. If one’s political party is in the minority, this is a terrifying prospect. For opponents of abortion, the outlook could hardly be sunnier. As of January, for example, abortion providers in Arkansas must follow new rules for inspections. Beginning this month, Utah and Nebraska bar private health plans from covering abortion. These laws follow an avalanche of abortion measures, passed last year, that are already in effect. As politicians return to capitals, more restrictions may come.

Last year saw a surge in social conservatism. It has been said that social issues inspire Americans to vote against their economic interests: a factory worker elects an anti-abortion Republican; in return he gets anti-union laws. Last year the adage was reversed. In 2010 Americans voted for economic austerity; in 2011 they got abortion restrictions. For those who oppose abortion, it was the most promising year in decades. For Barack Obama, it was a headache that looks set to grow worse. . . .

January 16, 2012 in Abortion, Congress, Politics, State Legislatures | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

NYC Teen Sex Public Service Announcement Causes Stir

NY1 Online: Clinic CEO Defends Controversial Teen Sex Public Service Announcement:

After a new set of public service announcements from the Community Healthcare Network about sex caused a minor stir, Inside City Hall’s Errol Louis spoke with Catherine Abate, the CEO and president of the clinic, and Anthony Murray, a senior at University Heights High School who co-wrote and co-directed one of the PSAs.

New York Daily News: Safe sex web series launches using city teens speaking in slang using terms like 'Raw Dogging', by Simone Weichselbaum:

A new web series starring city teens talking racy street lingo about safe sex, STDs, and pregnancy will air Thursday.

“More Than Just Sex” features five public service announcement-styled videos on the popular site where baby-faced actors use terms like “raw dogging” to describe not wearing a condom. . . .

January 16, 2012 in Contraception, In the Media, Sexuality Education, Sexually Transmitted Disease, Teenagers and Children | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Fifth Circuit Upholds Texas Pre-Abortion Ultrasound Law

Wall St. Journal: Appellate Ruling Upholds Texas Abortion Law, by Nathan Koppel:

The Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday upheld a Texas law that requires women seeking an abortion to have a sonogram exam and to listen to a physician's detailed description of the fetus, including whether it has developed limbs or internal organs.

Supporters of the law, enacted last year, say it is designed to ensure that women are fully informed about abortions and, ultimately, to discourage them from undergoing the procedure. It requires all women seeking abortions to have a sonogram, also known as an ultrasound scan, but it allows some women—such as those who certify they are rape victims—to avoid hearing a description of the fetus or embryo.

In a constitutional challenge to the law, U.S. District judge Sam Sparks of Austin ruled in August that it violates physicians' free-speech rights by compelling them to "advance an ideological agenda with which they may not agree, regardless of any medical necessity, and irrespective of whether the pregnant women wish to listen." . . .

January 12, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)