Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Jim Hawkins on Fertility Clinic Advertising

Jim Hawkins (University of Houston Law Center) has posted Selling Art: An Empirical Assessment of Advertising on Fertility Clinics' Websites on SSRN. Here is the abstract: Image1

Scholarship on assisted reproductive technologies (ART) has emphasized the commercial nature of the interaction between fertility patients and their physicians, but little attention has been paid to precisely how clinics persuade patients to choose their clinic over their competitors. This Article offers evidence about how clinics sell ART based on clinics’ advertising on their websites. To assess clinics’ marketing efforts, I coded advertising information on 372 fertility clinics’ websites. The results from the study confirm some suspicions of prior ART scholarship, while contradicting others. For instance, in line with scholars who are concerned that racial minorities face barriers to accessing ART, I found that 97.28% of the websites that contain pictures of babies have pictures of White babies, and 62.93% have pictures of only White babies. Similarly, in agreement with prior work that challenges the effectiveness of self-regulation, I find low levels of compliance with industry-sponsored advertising regulations. Contrary to the assumption held almost universally in the literature on ART, however, I found that clinics do not prioritize advertising their success rates. Clinics’ websites are more likely to emphasize several other attributes of care instead of their success rates. In light of the new data uncovered by the study, I conclude by offering new regulatory directions for policymakers to consider as they try to keep up with changes in the fertility business.

October 31, 2012 in Assisted Reproduction, Fertility, Race & Reproduction, Scholarship and Research | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Courtney Cahill on Abortion and Disgust

Courtney M. Cahill (Florida State University – College of Law) has posted Abortion and Disgust on SSRN. Here is the abstract: Image1

This Article uses disgust theory — defined as the insights on disgust by psychologists and social scientists — to critique disgust’s role in abortion lawmaking. Its point of departure is a series of developments that independently highlight and call into question the relationship between abortion and disgust. First, the Supreme Court introduced disgust as a valid basis for abortion regulation in its 2007 case Gonzales v. Carhart. Second, psychologists have recently discovered a strong enough association between individual disgust sensitivity and abortion opposition to suggest that disgust might drive that opposition. They have also discovered that “abortion disgust” appears to be unrelated to the harm concerns — e.g., harm to the fetus — on which oppositional abortion rhetoric and restrictive abortion laws often explicitly rest. Third, legislatures around the country have passed hundreds of restrictive abortion laws in 2010 and 2011. If the moral psychologists are right, then disgust underwrites most, if not all, of those laws.

Taking these developments seriously, this Article synthesizes the key insights of psychology, social science, and sex equality scholarship to make two arguments, one descriptive and the other constitutional. First, abortion disgust is not a reaction to harm/death but rather to perceived gender role violation by women. Second, this genealogy of abortion disgust constitutes the best reason why we ought to reject disgust as a basis for abortion regulation, allied as that emotion is to unconstitutional sex stereotyping — or what the Court has called unconstitutional “role typing.” This Article concludes by suggesting that “rejecting disgust” in abortion lawmaking might mean subjecting all abortion laws to heightened scrutiny under the Equal Protection Clause, given disgust’s likely role in animating all abortion regulation.

October 30, 2012 in Abortion, Gonzales v. Carhart, Scholarship and Research | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

"Choice" Words from Barbara Boxer on Romney's Abortion Stance

The Hill - Healthwatch Blog:  Boxer says Romney doesn't stand with women on abortion rights, by Ramsey Cox:

Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) said Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney is not on the side of women. 

On MSNBC’s “The ED Show” Thursday, Boxer said Romney “has nothing in his heart that indicates ... that he stands with women.” 

Boxer was attacking Romney on his abortion-rights stance, saying he doesn’t trust women to make decisions about their own bodies. . . .

October 30, 2012 in 2012 Presidential Campaign, Abortion, Congress, Politics | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

U.S. Supreme Court Declines to Review Oklahoma Personhood Case

CNN: Supreme Court rejects abortion-related appeal, by Bill Mears:

The U.S. Supreme Court declined on Monday to review an abortion-related appeal, a sign the justices were not eager to jump into the contentious social issue.

The case dealt with the constitutionality of state "personhood" laws that say life begins at conception, and would give human embryos the rights and privileges of citizens. . . . 

October 30, 2012 in Abortion, Abortion Bans, Assisted Reproduction, Contraception, Fetal Rights, In the Courts, Supreme Court | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Opinion Piece Challenging Purported Appeals to Science in Support of "Fetal Pain" Abortion Bans

The New York Times - Opinionator:  Can Neuroscience Challenge Roe v. Wade?, by William Egginton:

When I was asked this summer to serve as an expert witness in an appellate case that some think could lead to the next Supreme Court test of Roe v. Wade, I was surprised.

Rick Hearn is the attorney representing Jennie McCormack, an Idaho woman who was arrested for allegedly inducing her own abortion using mifepristone and misoprostol — two F.D.A.-approved drugs, also known as RU-486 — and for obtaining the drugs from another state over the Internet. While the case against Ms. McCormack has been dropped for lack of evidence, Mr. Hearn, who is also a doctor, is pursuing a related suit against an Idaho statute, the “Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act” (Idaho Code, Section 18-501 through 18-510), and others like it that cite neuroscientific findings of pain sentience on the part of fetuses as a basis for prohibiting abortions even prior to viability. . . . 

October 30, 2012 in Abortion, Abortion Bans, Bioethics, Fetal Rights, Science | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Policy Analysis of Governmental Coercion in Reproductive Decision Making

Guttmacher Institute – news release: Coercion in Reproductive Decision Making Occurs in Many Settings - And In Both Directions, by Joerg Dreweke:

Image1 Coercive Practices Range from Forced Abortion and Sterilization in China To Laws Impeding Women from Obtaining Abortion Services in the United States

Forcing a woman to terminate a pregnancy she wants is wrong, and so is forcing her to continue a pregnancy that she does not want, concludes a new Guttmacher Institute policy analysis. Each case violates women's basic human rights: the right to decide freely whether and when to bear a child and the right to have that decision respected by the government. . . .

October 30, 2012 in Abortion, International, Scholarship and Research | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

British Conservatives Support Reducing Abortion Availability

The New York Times: British Conservatives Play the Abortion Card, by Amelia Gentleman: Image1

LONDON — With hindsight, perhaps the most surprising thing is how long abortion has been off the political agenda in Britain. An intensely divisive political issue elsewhere, the subject rarely makes the front pages here.

All that changed this month, as a series of senior Conservative members of Parliament, from the prime minister down, indicated that they supported reducing the period in which abortions are permitted. . . .

October 30, 2012 in Abortion, International, Politics | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Serious Birth Complications on the Rise for U.S. Women

Reuters: Serious birth complications rising in the U.S., by Amy Norton:

Between 1998 and 2009, the rate of serious complications like heart attack, stroke, severe bleeding and kidney failure during or after childbirth roughly doubled among U.S. women, according to researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). . . .

October 30, 2012 in Medical News, Pregnancy & Childbirth, Reproductive Health & Safety | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, October 26, 2012

How Mourdock Is Helping To Give Romney A Free Pass on Abortion

Senate hopeful Richard Mourdock is only the latest of an alarming number of GOP candidates and current members of Congress who favor forcing rape survivors to carry resulting pregnancies to term.  But all the attention riveted on this extreme view is distracting us from the only slightly less extreme position that abortion should be banned, except when pregnancy results from rape and incest. That is the position held by Mitt Romney (at the moment, anyway) and many "moderate" Republicans. It's a position that would take us back to pre-Roe days, when panels of male doctors passed judgment on whether a woman had a good enough reason to deserve an abortion.  

It is also ideologically inconsistent: if conception marks the beginning of personhood, then Mourdock's position actually makes sense.  The fact that most of us, including many "pro-life" politicians, find Mourdock's statement abhorrent shows that, while many or most of us believe that abortion is a morally weighty decision, we aren’t prepared to treat an embryo as a person.  That recognition has enormous significance for the policy debate over abortion.  But no one seems to want to touch it with a ten-foot pole.  Harold Pollack, writing for the Nation, details the radical nature of Romney's view but oddly refuses to question it, adding that "[l]iberals such as myself should respect the moral depth and sincerity of the pro-life position."

It is not disrespectful to demand that a presidential candidate explain how his official position on abortion comports with public reason. Romney should be questioned closely: Is abortion murder?  If so, then why does he disagree with Mourdock?  And does he think the woman should be punished?  If abortion is not murder, why does Romney limit his exceptions to rape and incest?  How would he police these exceptions?  Does he think women have no other compelling reasons to seek abortion?  Is he comfortable with the government substituting its own moral judgment for the woman's?  Instead of seeking clarification on these critical questions, reporters and debate moderators give Romney a free pass because he seems reasonable when compared with GOP colleagues like Mourdock.  

The media focus on Mourdock and his bedfellows is not unlike the recent flurry of indignation over state-mandated transvaginal ultrasounds, which seemingly made everyone forget the offensiveness of "regular" pre-abortion ultrasound mandates.  The disturbing views of Akin, Mourdock, and other Republican politicians ought to be occasion to open up an honest public debate about the moral status of developing human life.  The hard question for Romney shouldn't be whether he still supports these candidates.  It should be how he can defend his own extreme and ideologically inconsistent position on abortion.


October 26, 2012 in 2012 Presidential Campaign, Abortion Bans, Congress, Fetal Rights, Politics | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Robin Wilson on Religious Exemptions from Contraceptive and Other Mandates

Robin Fretwell Wilson (Washington & Lee University School of Law) has published The Calculus of Accommodation: Contraception, Abortion, Same-Sex Marriage, and Other Clashes Between Religion and the State in the Boston College Law Review. Here is the abstract: Image1

This Article examines, and responds to, a number of “sticking points” voiced by legislators about a qualified exemption for religious objectors that would permit them to step aside from facilitating same-sex marriages so long as no hardship will result. These concerns bear an uncanny resemblance to reasons why some believe the Obama administration should not yield further on the coverage mandate. This Article maintains that religious accommodations qualified by hardship to others can transform what could be a zero-sum proposition into one in which access and religious freedom can both be affirmed.

October 26, 2012 in Abortion, Contraception, Religion and Reproductive Rights, Scholarship and Research, Sexuality | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, October 25, 2012

When Did Banning Abortion With Rape and Incest Exceptions Become Moderate?

Mitt-RomneyThe Nation: Romney's So-Called 'Moderate' Stance Would Outlaw 90 Percent of Abortions, by Harold Pollack:

Mitt Romney is blanketing swing states with commercials embracing a more moderate stance on reproductive health issues than we’ve come to expect from the governor in the months since his Republican primary campaign. His central argument for “moderation” is that he would not support banning all abortions—instead, he would make an exception for cases of rape, incest or abortions necessary to save the life of the woman. He has also floated the idea of permitting abortions in the case of a threat to the health of the woman, but has since walked this back.

If Todd Akin and Rick Santorum set the standards for Republican discourse, then indeed Romney holds a more moderate and civil stance. But the contrast here merely indicates how far the legal and culture-war goalposts have moved. . . .

October 25, 2012 in 2012 Presidential Campaign, Abortion Bans, Politics | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Mourdock and Akin Have Plenty of Company Within the GOP

Slate: No Exception, by William Saletan: 

Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock aren’t outliers. Banning abortion for rape victims is the new Republican mainstream.

First it was Todd Akin. Then Steve King. Then Joe Walsh. Then Richard Mourdock. One after another, Republican congressional nominees opened their mouths, inserted their feet, and embarrassed their party. Akin, a congressman running for U.S. Senate in Missouri, said rape survivors don’t need abortions because “if it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.” . . .

October 25, 2012 in Abortion Bans, Congress, Politics | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Republicans React to Mourdock's Comments on Rape and Abortion

Repub elephantUSA Today:  Aide:  McCain stands by Mourdock, by Catalina Camia:

Sen. John McCain said through an aide that he stands by Richard Mourdock for the Indiana Senate.

In a CNN interview on Wednesday, the Arizona senator said he would not continue to support Mourdock unless he apologized for saying that when a woman becomes pregnant from rape, "it is something that God intended.". . .

The Hill - Healthwatch Blog:  Scott Brown rejects Mourdock's abortion view, by Elise Viebeck:

Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) on Wednesday distanced himself from Indiana Senate candidate Richard Mourdock (R) and his view that "even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something God intended.". . . 

October 25, 2012 in Abortion Bans, Congress, Politics, Sexual Assault | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Reproductive Justice for Women of Color Depends on Their Right to Vote

Center for American Progress: A Dual Disenfranchisement: How Voter Suppression Denies Reproductive Justice to Women of Color, by Liz Chen:

A slew of recent voter identification laws are increasingly threatening the voting rights of people of color. This erosion of our most basic civil right comes alongside historic levels of attacks on reproductive health services. The two are not unrelated. Women of color stand at the crossroads of what is in essence a double disenfranchisement. When they are denied the opportunity to participate in civic life, they also lose the ability to voice their opinions and hold lawmakers accountable on the reproductive health issues that directly affect them. . . .

October 25, 2012 in 2012 Presidential Campaign, Politics, Race & Reproduction | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Another Male Senate Candidate Thinks Rape Survivors Should Be Forced to Carry Pregnancies to Term

The Huffington Post: Richard Mourdock On Abortion: Pregnancy From Rape Is 'Something God Intended', by Michael McAuliff:

WASHINGTON -- Indiana GOP U.S. Senate candidate Richard Mourdock declared Tuesday night he opposes aborting pregnancies conceived in rape because "it is something that God intended to happen."

Debating Rep. Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.) in their final Senate race showdown, a questioner asked them and Libertarian candidate Andrew Horning to explain their views on abortion.

All three said they were anti-abortion. But Mourdock went the further, putting himself in territory near Missouri GOP Senate candidate Rep. Todd Akin, the anti-abortion congressman who infamously asserted that women don't get pregnant from "legitimate rape." . . .


Democratic candidate Rep. Donnelly's statement was less extreme but more inconsistent: he "believes life begins at conception," yet would allow abortions in cases of rape and incest.

October 24, 2012 in Abortion Bans, Congress, Politics | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Congressman Todd Akin Arrested Multiple Times in 1980s for Abortion Protests

St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Todd Akin was arrested at least three times during '80s abortion protests, by Kevin McDermott:

Congressman Todd Akin was arrested at least three times in the 1980s during anti-abortion protests, not just the one time he has publicly acknowledged.

Akin's previously undisclosed arrests, in 1985, were for criminal trespass and resisting arrest at abortion clinic protests in St. Louis and Illinois. . . .

October 24, 2012 in Abortion, Anti-Choice Movement, Congress | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

A Voice Against Florida’s Amendment 6, Which Would Ban Publicly Funded Abortions

RH Reality Check – blog: "No on Anti-Choice Amendment 6:" The Right Move for Florida, by Samantha Daley: Image1 

As a young woman of Color residing in Florida, I’m very interested in and affected by the anti-choice antics in Tallahassee. When I heard about Amendment 6, I just had to tell the world about the next attack on reproductive rights. This attempt directly affects me as a young Black woman. I’m constantly facing stereotypes and attacks on my rights, and this I will not accept. I will not allow politicians to infringe upon my rights, and I will do everything in my power to keep politicians out of my doctor’s office! . . .

October 24, 2012 in Abortion, Poverty, State and Local News | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Conservative Institute Launches Campaign to Block Access to Contraception, Abortion, and Same-Sex Marriage

Hunter of Justice: Conservatives launch "religious liberty" state lobbying network, by Nan Hunter:

The Center for Ethics and Public Policy has announced a new project that will establish bipartisan "religious liberty" legislative caucuses in every state by the end of 2013. Their goal will be blocking access to contraceptives, abortion and same-sex marriage. The campaign is starting with Arizona, ColoradoFlorida, Idaho, Kansas, MissouriNew Hampshire, Oklahoma, and Tennessee. The network is designed to produce an on-the-ground capacity for lobbying in every state legislature, as well as more efficient coordination of national strategies. . . . 

October 23, 2012 in Abortion, Anti-Choice Movement, Contraception, Religion and Reproductive Rights, Sexuality, State Legislatures | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Virginia Health Commissioner Resigns Over TRAP Laws

Feminist Majority Foundation - VA Health Commissioner Resigns Over Trap Laws:

Karen RemleyVirginia Health Commissioner Dr. Karen Remley resigned from her position on Thursday, citing targeted regulation of abortion providers (TRAP) laws approved in late September as the primary reason for her resignation. . . .





October 23, 2012 in Abortion, State and Local News, Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP) | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Seventh Circuit Enjoins Indiana From Cutting Planned Parenthood's Medicaid Funding

Bloomberg:  Indiana Planned Parenthood Wins Ruling on Medicaid Funds, by Andrew Harris:

Planned Parenthood of Indiana Inc. won a U.S. appeals court decision that prevents the state from cutting its Medicaid funding.

The Chicago-based court, upholding a lower court injunction, said the group was likely to prevail on its claim that the state can’t cut off funding it’s otherwise entitled to solely because the organization provides abortions. . . . 

October 23, 2012 in Abortion, In the Courts, State and Local News | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)