Thursday, June 14, 2012

Sherry Colb on Texas Pre-Abortion Ultrasound Mandate: Part II

Colb SherryVerdict: Some Reflections on the Texas Pre-Abortion Ultrasound Law, a Year After Its Passage:Part Two in a Two-Part Series of Columns, by Sherry F. Colb:

In Part One of this two-part series of columns, I began my analysis of amendments to a Texas law, the so-called “Texas Woman’s Right to Know Act,” that require abortion providers to do the following at least 24 hours prior to an abortion procedure: (1) perform an ultrasound on the patient seeking an abortion; (2) expose the patient to the resulting visual ultrasound image, as well as any extant fetal heart sounds; and (3) provide an explanation of the embryo or fetus as pictured on the screen. I have been referring to these amendments as “the Sonogram Law.” In this column, the second in this two-part series, I will continue my analysis of that law and of how it compares to abortion regulations that the Supreme Court has previously considered. . . . 

Dorf on Law: "Inherently Truthful and Non-Misleading": Ultrasound Images Before An Abortion, by Sherry F. Colb:

In my Verdict column for this week, part 2 of a two-part series, I continue an analysis that I began last week of amendments to the Texas law that require abortion providers to perform an ultrasound on their patients twenty-four hours prior to an abortion, during which the provider must show the patient the embryo or fetus, play any fetal heart sounds audibly, and give a description to the patient of what is on the screen and what she is hearing.  In my column, I consider the burden of such "informed consent" procedures on a woman who will undergo an abortion.  In my blog post last week on the subject, I examine the potentially devastating impact of the procedure on the woman who decides against an abortion because of what she has seen and/or heard. . . .

June 14, 2012 in Abortion, Mandatory Delay/Biased Information Laws, Scholarship and Research | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Study Suggests Birth Control Pills Cause Slightly Increased Risk of Cardiovascular Disease

Birth control Birth control pills raise risk of heart attacks and strokes, but only slightly, by Deborah Kotz:

A large-scale study published Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine brings more clarity to the cardiovascular disease risks caused by birth control pills, adding to previous findings from smaller studies.

Some formulations of oral contraceptives, which contain a mix of estrogen and progesterone, can double a woman’s risk of having a heart attack or stroke, according to the new research, but in absolute terms the risk is very low because young women under age 50 rarely have heart attacks or strokes. . . .

June 13, 2012 in Contraception, Medical News, Reproductive Health & Safety | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Photo of Forced Abortion in China Prompts Anger

China flagBBC News: China 'forced abortion photo' sparks outrage:

A photo purporting to show a baby whose mother was forced to have an abortion has shocked Chinese internet users.

Feng Jiamei, from Zhenping county in Shaanxi, was allegedly made to undergo the procedure by local officials in the seventh month of pregnancy.

Ms Feng was forced into the abortion as she couldn't pay the fine for having a second child, US-based activists said. . . .

June 13, 2012 in Abortion, International | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Michigan House Approves Onerous Abortion Clinic Regulations

The Detroit News: Michigan House OKs new abortion regulations, by Chad Livengood:

A deeply divided Michigan House on Wednesday approved new regulations for abortion providers after passionate floor debate on the issue.

House Republicans will not hold votes on two other abortion bills, including a controversial ban on most abortions after 20 weeks with a narrow exception for the mother's life. . . .

See also: The Huffington Post: Michigan Abortion Bill HB5711 Creates Controversy Before Thursday House Vote, by David Sands:

A massive omnibus abortion bill expected to soon go up for a vote in the Michigan House is stirring up emotions on both sides of the debate.

Backers are portraying the legislation as an effort to protect women, but opponents are saying such language is a smokescreen to pass a law that could effectively ban abortion in the state. . . .

June 13, 2012 in Abortion, Abortion Bans, State Legislatures, Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP) | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

North Dakota Voters Reject Broad Religious Refusal Amendment

Ms. Magazine: VICTORY in North Dakota:

North Dakota voters soundly rejected a proposed state constitutional amendment yesterday that would have granted "the right to act or refuse to act in a manner motivated by a sincerely held religious belief" even if such actions are otherwise illegal. Sixty-four percent of voters rejected the measure and only thirty-six percent voted in favor of it. Measure 3, or the so-called Religious Liberties Restoration State Constitution Amendment, was criticized for being too broad and for potentially permitting North Dakotans to even beat their wives or children if their religions allow it. The Measure would have also potentially given pharmacists and doctors the right to deny women birth control or other reproductive health services due to religious objections. . . .

Catholics for Choice press release: A Victory for Common Sense, the Common Good and Real Religious Freedom:

Catholic Leader Hails Defeat of Measure 3 in North Dakota

“The electorate in North Dakota saw though the smokescreen of Orwellian newspeak that the USCCB’s public relations machine manufactured in the last few weeks to roundly defeat a measure that would have imposed the bishops’ failed ideology on the electorate with no regard for their freedom of conscience or religion. A large majority, 64 percent of those voting, overturned an attempt to redefine religious liberty in a manner that would allow conservatives to impose their religious beliefs on others,” said Jon O’Brien, president of Catholics for Choice. “The electorate judged that the move would have a detrimental impact on existing laws and allow some crimes to become protected under the redefined religious freedom arguments. . . .

June 13, 2012 in Religion, Religion and Reproductive Rights, State and Local News | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

FBI Releases Sketch of Potential Witness to Georgia Abortion Clinic Arson

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution: FBI releases sketch of witness to abortion clinic arson, by Andria Simmons:

The FBI has released a sketch of a potential witness in last month’s arson fire at a Marietta abortion clinic, which is under investigation as a possible domestic terrorism incident.

Investigators hope to generate more leads with the drawing, as well as surveillance photos already released to the media of the same man and a vehicle he was seen driving in the area around the time of the May 23 fire. . . .

June 12, 2012 in Abortion, Anti-Choice Movement, State and Local News | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Religious Leaders Petition HHS for Broader Exemption to Contraception Coverage Mandate

The Washington Post: Religious leaders ask HHS to broaden birth control exemption, by David Gibson:

A coalition of nearly 150 religious leaders, led by conservative Protestants, have petitioned the Obama administration to broaden the exemption that allows churches and some religious organizations to avoid a controversial new mandate that all health care insurers provide free contraception coverage.

In a letter sent Monday (June 11) to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, the 149 religious leaders note that they hold differing views on “the moral acceptability” of birth control and on the viability of various administration proposals to allow faith-based groups to bypass the mandate for contraception and sterilization coverage. . . .

June 12, 2012 in Contraception, President/Executive Branch, Religion, Religion and Reproductive Rights | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, June 11, 2012

Popularity of "Pro-Life" Label Belies Complexity of Public Opinion on Abortion

Deseret News: Pro-life advocates gain label support, but abortion remains complicated, divided issue, by Sara Israelsen-Hartley & Lois M. Collins:

A historic low 41 percent of Americans consider themselves pro-choice, while 50 percent of Americans say they're pro-life, a new Gallup poll shows.

Pro-lifers are celebrating, but the other side counters that a single statistic can't paint a realistic picture of the divided and nuanced feelings that Americans have about abortion. . . .

June 11, 2012 in Abortion, Abortion Bans, Anti-Choice Movement, Public Opinion | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Louisiana Joins States Banning Abortions at 20 Weeks After Fertilization Gov. Bobby Jindal signs 20-week abortion ban into law, by the Times-Picayune:

BATON ROUGE -- Doctors will be barred from performing abortions 20 weeks after conception under a bill signed into law Monday by Gov. Bobby Jindal.

Senate Bill 766 by Senate President John Alario, R-Westwego, prohibits all abortions after 20 weeks, about 22 weeks on the typical 40-week gestational calendar. The previous state law prohibited the procedure after the fetus was viable. . . .

June 11, 2012 in Abortion Bans, State and Local News, State Legislatures | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

WHO and CDC Warn Gonorrhea Could Become Uncurable

U.S. News and World Report: World Health Organization warns Gonorrhea Could Join HIV as 'Uncurable', by Jason Koebler:

Both the WHO and the CDC say it's time to "sound the alarm" on the increase in drug-resistant gonorrhea

First, it was the Centers for Disease Control—now, the World Health Organization is warning that Gonorrhea could join herpes and HIV/AIDS as "uncurable" sexually-transmitted diseases.

"We're sitting on the edge of a worldwide crisis," says Manjula Lusti-Narasimhan, of WHO's department of reproductive health and research. "There's a general complacency around sexually transmitted infections in general, and this doesn't have the same political or social pressure as HIV. That's because gonorrhea has been so easily curable so far, but in the future, that won't be the case.". . .

June 11, 2012 in International, Medical News, Reproductive Health & Safety, Sexually Transmitted Disease | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Claims that "Morning-After Pill" Causes Abortion Appear Unsupported by Science

The New York Times: Abortion Qualms on Morning-After Pill May Be Unfounded, by Pam Belluck:

Labels inside every box of morning-after pills, drugs widely used to prevent pregnancy after sex, say they may work by blocking fertilized eggs from implanting in a woman’s uterus. Respected medical authorities, including the National Institutes of Health and the Mayo Clinic, have said the same thing on their Web sites.

Such descriptions have become kindling in the fiery debate over abortion and contraception. . . .

But an examination by The New York Times has found that the federally approved labels and medical Web sites do not reflect what the science shows. Studies have not established that emergency contraceptive pills prevent fertilized eggs from implanting in the womb, leading scientists say. . . .

The New York Times: Drug's Nickname May Have Aided Politicization, by Pam Belluck:

Scientists say that one reason emergency contraceptives have become so politicized is that their nickname, “morning-after pills,” has given rise to misconceptions about how the drugs help preventpregnancy after sex.

“It’s not the morning after fertilization — it’s the morning after intercourse,” said Diana Blithe, program director for contraceptive development for the National Institute on Child Health and Human Development, part of the National Institutes of Health. “People think that the act of intercourse results in pregnancy immediately, within a minute after you have sex. They don’t understand how long it takes sperm to get ready to fertilize.” . . . Emergency Contraception Is Not Abortion, by Amanda Marcotte:

No one is happier than I am to see the New York Times do an extensive piece debunking the myth that emergency contraception works, either primarily or secondarily, by killing fertilized eggs. The actual scientific evidence plus pre-existing knowledge of how hormones affect the body has long pointed to ovulation suppression as the only possible way that emergency contraception could work. Despite this, anti-choice activists and politicians have gone out of their way to confuse people about the difference between emergency contraception and abortion. Their excuse for why they "get" to lie to the public about this has been the packaging that states that hormonal contraception might also work by preventing the implantation of a fertilized egg. Even though that's not abortion—abortion terminates pregnancy, which begins at implantation—for the anti-choice crew, that was good enough to justify the lie. . . .

June 11, 2012 in Abortion, Contraception, Science | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Turkish Women Protest Proposed Abortion Ban

Reuters: Thousands protest at Turkey anti-abortion law plan:

Thousands of people took to the streets of Istanbul on Sunday to protest against plans by Turkey's prime minister to bring in a new law on abortion, a practice he has called "murder".

Women of all ages held aloft banners with slogans including "My body, my choice" and "I am a woman not a mother, don't touch my body" as they marched to the city's Kadikoy Square. . . .

June 3, 2012 in Abortion, Abortion Bans, International | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sherry Colb on Texas Pre-Abortion Ultrasound Mandate Some Reflections on the Texas Pre-Abortion Ultrasound Law, a Year After Its Passage: Part One in a Two-Part Series of Columns, by Sherry F. Colb:

A little over a year ago, Texas Governor Rick Perry signed into law a set of abortion regulations requiring pre-procedure ultrasounds.  To simplify a bit, the law—which took the form of amendments to the so-called “Texas Woman’s Right to Know Act”—requires abortion providers to do the following at least 24 hours prior to the procedure: (1) perform an ultrasound on the patient seeking an abortion; (2) expose the patient to the resulting visual ultrasound image, as well as any extant fetal heart sounds; and (3) provide an explanation of the embryo or fetus as pictured on the screen.

In response to the passage of this law (“the Sonogram Law”), a group of abortion providers brought suit, in Texas Medical Providers Performing Abortion Services v. Lakey. . . . 

Dorf on Law: Mandatory Ultrasounds and the Adoption Alternative, by Sherry F. Colb:

In my Verdict column for this week -- Part 1 of a 2-part series -- I discuss the set of Texas amendments to the state's Woman's Right to Know Act, a group of amendments that I call "the Sonogram Law."  The Sonogram Law, passed approximately one year ago, requires abortion providers to give women an ultrasound at least 24 hours prior to her abortion (or 2 hours prior, if she certifies that she lives at least 100 miles from a provider) and display the ultrasound image for the woman, explaining in detail the contents of the image, playing any audible fetal heart sounds, and explaining those sounds to the woman as well.  A group of Texas providers challenged the constitutionality of the Sonogram law as it affects physicians, but my column focuses on the constitutionality of the law as it affects women seeking an abortion.  I examine how the Sonogram law resembles and differs from abortion regulations that the Supreme Court has considered in the past. . . .

June 3, 2012 in Abortion, In the Courts, Mandatory Delay/Biased Information Laws, Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP) | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)