Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Federal District Judge Halts Arizona Law that Cuts Planned Parenthood's Medicaid Funding

Reuters: Judge blocks Arizona law that bars funding to Planned Parenthood, by Tim Gaynor:

Image1 (Reuters) - A federal judge blocked Arizona on Friday from applying a new law that bars Planned Parenthood clinics from receiving money through the state to provide medical care because the women's health organization also performs abortions. . . .

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

Ethical Questions Raised About Fertility Clinic Raffles

The New York Times: Clinic Raffles Could Make You a Winner, and Maybe a Mother, by Douglas Quenqua:


“That’s right, one lucky woman will win the ultimate chance at starting or building her family,” said a contest announcement issued in April by Long Island I.V.F., a clinic in Melville that offers in vitro fertilization to women who are having difficulty conceiving. . . .

October 23, 2012 in Assisted Reproduction, Bioethics, Fertility, State and Local News | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Rep. Joe Walsh Tempers Controversial Remark About Life-Saving Abortions

The Hill - Healthwatch Blog: Rep. Joe Walsh: Abortion never necessary to save women's lives, by Elise Viebeck:

Joe WalshRepublican Rep. Joe Walsh (Ill.) said Thursday that abortions are "absolutely" never necessary to save the lives of pregnant women. 

"With modern technology and science, you can't find one instance," Walsh said. "There is no such exception as life of the mother, and as far as health of the mother, same thing.". . . 

The Congressman later modified his position:

The Hill - Healthwatch Blog:  Rep. Joe Walsh edges away from controversial remark about abortion, by Elise Viebeck:

Republican Rep. Joe Walsh (Ill.) on Friday tempered his remark that abortions are never necessary to save the lives of pregnant women, saying such a situation might arise in "very rare circumstances." 

The freshman congressman stoked controversy Thursday when he said that medicine has advanced to the point that abortions are never necessary. . . . 

October 23, 2012 in Abortion, Congress, Politics | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

NYT Editorial on Global Harm for Women if Romney Wins

The New York Times – editorial: A World of  Harm for Women:

If Mitt Romney and his vice-presidential running mate, Representative Paul Ryan, were to win next month’s election, the harm to women’s reproductive rights would extend far beyond the borders of the United States. . . .

October 23, 2012 in 2012 Presidential Campaign, Abortion Bans, Contraception, International, Reproductive Health & Safety | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Emily Bazelon Asks Justice Ginsburg To Clarify Her Views on Abortion

Justice GinsburgSlate: Talking to Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, by Emily Bazelon:

And clearing up a point of confusion--about her views on abortion--that I caused three years ago.

Three years ago, I interviewed Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg for the New York Times Magazine. At one point, we talked about the lack of Medicaid funding for abortions for poor women, because of a 1980 Supreme Court decision called Harris v. McRae. She said then:

The ruling surprised me. Frankly I had thought that at the time Roe was decided, there was concern about population growth and particularly growth in populations that we don’t want to have too many of. So that Roe was going to be then set up for Medicaid funding for abortion.

I didn’t ask the follow up question that would have given Ginsburg the chance to clarify what she meant—to explain who was concerned about population growth at the time, and in what context. Because I didn’t do that, some conservatives pounced. . . .

October 23, 2012 in Abortion, Supreme Court | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Poll Shows Americans Overwhelmingly Support Access to Contraception

The Hill - Healthwatch Blog: Poll finds broad support for contraception access, by Sam Baker:

Vast majorities of Americans support access to contraception, according to a new poll commissioned by the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy.

The survey found widespread support for the thrust of President Obama's contraception mandate, which a recent Gallup poll indicated is a winning issue with female voters. American adults also overwhelmingly believe that lawmakers who oppose abortion should support contraception, according to Monday's poll. . . . 

October 23, 2012 in Contraception, Politics, President/Executive Branch, Public Opinion | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Restaurateur Charged with Murder for Attempting to Cause Girlfriend's Miscarriage by Poisoning Her

The Los Angeles Times: Restaurateur accused of poisoning girlfriend to cause miscarriage, by Andrew Blankstein:

Joshua Woodward, an investor in Los Angeles and Miami restaurants, pleads not guilty to four counts of attempted murder.

A prominent restaurateur pleaded not guilty Wednesday to multiple counts of attempted murder after prosecutors said he tried to cause his pregnant girlfriend to miscarry by poisoning her with a substance known to induce labor. . . .

H/T: Amanda Zoda & Carol Sanger

October 18, 2012 in Abortion, In the Courts, Men and Reproduction, State and Local News | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Obama Used Issues of Contraception and Planned Parenthood Funding as Weapons Against Romney in Debate

The Hill - Healthwatch blog: Obama slams Romney over birth control issue, by Elise Viebeck:

The president touts healthcare law provisions requiring most employers to provide coverage for birth control.

President Obama touted his healthcare law's birth control coverage mandate and criticized Mitt Romney for supporting a bill that would allow any employer not to follow it, prompting a tart response from the Republican nominee. . . .

Healthwatch:  Obama brought up Planned Parenthood four times in debate, by Elise Viebeck:

President Obama brought up federal funding for Planned Parenthood four times in Tuesday's debate, perhaps in a sign that he believes the issue can help him with female voters.   

Mitt Romney has been gaining ground with that crucial demographic since his much-touted performance in the first presidential debate on Oct 3. . . . 

October 18, 2012 in 2012 Presidential Campaign, Contraception, Politics | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Caroline Corbin on the Contraception Mandate

Caroline Mala Corbin (University of Miami Law School) has posted The Contraception Mandate on SSRN. Caroline CorbinHere is the abstract:

Under the new health care regime, health insurance plans must cover contraception. While religious employers are exempt from this requirement, religiously affiliated employers are not. Several have sued, claiming that the “contraception mandate” violates the Free Exercise Clause, the Free Speech Clause, and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. This essay explains why the contraception mandate violates none of them.

October 18, 2012 in Contraception, Religion and Reproductive Rights, Scholarship and Research | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Contraception Mandate and Religiously Affiliated Employers

The Volokh Conspiracy:  Repeating "That Is A Fact" Does Not Make It So, by Jonathan Adler:

Near the end of Thursday night’s vice-presidential debate, Vice President Joe Biden said the following:

With regard to the assault on the Catholic Church, let me make it absolutely clear. No religious institution, Catholic or otherwise, including Catholic Social Services, Georgetown Hospital, Mercy — any hospital — none has to either refer contraception. None has to pay for contraception. None has to be a vehicle to get contraception in any insurance policy they provide. That is a fact. That is a fact.

VP Biden may well believe this, but it is not true. In February HHS finalized the regulations mandating the inclusion of contraception in employer-provided health plans and exempting houses of worship, but not religious universities, hospitals and charities. At the time the Administration announced its intent to accommodate other religious employers, but no such accommodation has been forthcoming. This is because creating such an accommodation is difficult. Some religious institutions self-insure, so shifting the obligation to insurers would not do the trick (and it’s not clear HHS has the authority to impose such a requirement anyway). In March, HHS issued an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and postpone enforcement of the existing rules against religious employers, but did not detail any regulatory change that would effectively relieve objecting religious institutions from paying for contraception. This is one reason why there are over two-dozen lawsuits against the contraception mandate pending in federal court. . . .

October 18, 2012 in 2012 Presidential Campaign, Contraception, Religion and Reproductive Rights | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Pro- and Anti-Choice Advocacy Groups' TV Ads Target Swing States

The Hill – Healthwatch blog: Abortion groups target swing-state voters, by Elise Viebeck:

Groups on both sides of the abortion debate are focusing their advertising on swing-state voters in the closing weeks of the presidential campaign.

As Mitt Romney nabbed headlines with his comment that abortion bills would not be part of his agenda, voters in four swing states were already viewing a slew of ads from Planned Parenthood's political wing, on the left, and the Susan B. Anthony (SBA) List, on the right.

The two groups have spoken loudest for their sides of the abortion debate this presidential election, particularly through television spots aimed at convincing undecided voters of the dangers of the opposing candidate. . . .

October 18, 2012 in 2012 Presidential Campaign, Abortion, Anti-Choice Movement, Politics, Television | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Abortion Not a Decisive Issue for Many Catholics Voters

RosaryThe New York Times – The Caucus blog: An Abortion Question Shows Divide Among Catholics, by Laurie Goodstein:  


In a historic first, both candidates for vice president are practicing Roman Catholics, and late in their debate on Thursday night, they fielded the abortion question asked through the prism of religion.


“Tell me what role your religion has played in your own personal views on abortion,” asked the debate moderator, Martha Raddatz of ABC News.


The candidates’ responses revealed an almost perfect archetypal contrast in how contemporary Catholics these days relate to their faith, and why what some call “the Catholic vote” is a constituency as deeply divided as the rest of the electorate. . . .


Catholics for Choice press release: Abortion in the Vice-Presidential Debate: Catholics Are Still More Concerned about the Economy:

Last night’s vice-presidential debate concluded with a brief, five-minute discussion about abortion and religion. Both candidates expressed their party’s position, their own personal perspective and how it related to their Catholic faith.

Jon O’Brien, president of Catholics for Choice, responded: “The candidates are right that women and men do consider their faith when they are facing a decision about abortion, but neither candidate stood back and looked at the bigger picture.

“In this election, as in previous elections, Catholics are simply not voting on the abortion issue. . . .

October 17, 2012 in 2012 Presidential Campaign, Abortion, Politics, Religion and Reproductive Rights | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Symposium, "In Search of Equality in Family Law": Call for Papers

Michigan State Law Review and Symposium (April 11-12, 2013) – Call for Papers: “In Search of Equality in Family Law”: 

The Michigan State Law Review along with Professors Melanie B. Jacobs and Cynthia Lee Starnes, invite participants for our upcoming symposium, "In Search of Equality in Family Law" to be held April 11-12, 2013. The list of confirmed presenters include keynote speaker, Dean David Meyer, and Professors Susan Appleton, Naomi Cahn, June Carbone, James Dwyer, Theresa Glennon, Leslie Harris, Courtney Joslin, Alicia Kelly, Linda McClain, Raymond O'Brien, Ruthann Robson, Barbara Stark, Richard Storrow, and Lynn Wardle.

The theme of the symposium is the continuing struggle to reform family law to ensure equality. The focus is on relationships within families, on access to the family structure, and on family members’ status in society at large. The topic of equality in family law is also particularly timely: family is at the heart of social debate and the focus on family is magnified as we approach an election year. Daily, news stories highlight issues of equality that arise in many areas of the family -- adult partnerships, including same-sex marriage; parenting responsibilities; divorce and its economics; paternity; the definition of family; same-sex adoptions; and full faith and credit recognition for out-of-state same-sex marriages. A central theme will be the sameness/difference debate in feminism over how equality is best attained: by treating men and women exactly the same, or by recognizing differences in power and circumstance so that different treatment is required to ensure equality. This topic will appeal to family law scholars working on a variety of projects.

In addition to the rich discussion at the Symposium, this dialogue will result in the publication of participant articles in an issue of the Michigan State Law Review. The Law Review is an acclaimed scholarly journal that publishes five issues yearly. Each participant is invited to offer an academic article for publication in the Law Review. Tentatively, final draft papers are due Friday, June 7, 2013.

The goal is to be inclusive and to engage scholars focusing on various reform issues in a conversation about the equality implications of their work. Interested individuals should send a one-page proposal to Professor Melanie Jacobs at mjacobs@law.msu.edu by October 31st.

October 17, 2012 in Conferences and Symposia, Law School, Parenthood, Scholarship and Research | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Benjamin Meier, Kristen Brugh, and Yasmin Halima on Human Rights Based Approach to Global HIV/AIDS Policy

Benjamin Mason Meier (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill), Kristen Nicole Brugh (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill), & Yasmin Halima have posted Conceptualizing a Human Right to Prevention in Global HIV/AIDS Policy on SSRN. Here is the abstract:

AIDS_ribbonGiven current constraints on universal treatment campaigns, recent advances in public health prevention initiatives have revitalized efforts to stem the tide of HIV transmission. Yet despite a growing imperative for prevention — supported by the promise of behavioral, structural, and biomedical approaches to lower the incidence of HIV — human rights frameworks remain limited in addressing collective prevention policy through global health governance. Assessing the evolution of rights-based approaches to global HIV/AIDS policy, this review finds human rights to have shifted from collective public health to individual treatment access. While the advent of the HIV/AIDS pandemic gave meaning to rights in framing global health policy, the application of rights in treatment access litigation came at the expense of public health prevention efforts. Where the human rights framework remains limited to individual rights enforced against a state duty bearer, such rights have faced constrained application in framing population-level policy to realize the public good of HIV prevention. Concluding that human rights frameworks must be developed to reflect the complementarity of individual treatment and collective prevention, this article conceptualizes collective rights to public health, structuring collective combination prevention to alleviate limitations on individual rights frameworks and frame rights-based global HIV/AIDS policy to assure research expansion, prevention access, and health system integration.

October 17, 2012 in International, Scholarship and Research, Sexually Transmitted Disease | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Reaction to Governor Romney's "Binder Full of Women"

The New Republic: Mitt the Jerk: a Woman’s View of the Debate, by Amy Sullivan:

BinderAt the risk of going all Maureen Dowd here, I’d like to suggest that in the second presidential debate on Tuesday night, we met Mitt the Man. He’s always been there, surfacing briefly at the Republican National Convention to implausibly claim that he has always believed wife Ann’s job raising their sons “was a lot more important than mine”—as if Romney sincerely believed that for decades he pursued a less important career path. . . .

CNN Opinion: Romney's empty 'binders full of women', by Maria Cardona:

Mitt Romney showed up Tuesday night talking about "binders full of women" being brought to him when he was governor. Sounds kind of kinky and certainly not something you want to be touting. . . . In fairness, "binders" was most likely a slip of the tongue. . . .

Even as a slip of the tongue, this odd phrase betrays Romney's true lack of understanding, knowledge and comfort level on women's equality. And besides the binders comment, there are several problems with the story Romney told Tuesday night.

First of all, it is not true. The "binder" of women's résumés was prepared before the election by the Massachusetts Government Appointments Project, a coalition of nonpartisan women's groups. When Romney won, the women -- not in binders -- gave him the résumés. . . .

The Washington Post (Blog): Why we need feminist theology: Romney and 'binders full of women' by, Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite:

Why did Mitt Romney’s reference to “whole binders full of women” in response to a question from a town hall attendee in Tuesday night’s second presidential debate at Hofstra University simply drive many women up the wall?

Romney’s seemingly off-hand remark sparked outrage. . . .

October 17, 2012 in 2012 Presidential Campaign, In the Media, Politics, Women, General | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Anti-Abortion Leaders Ask Activists to Accept Romney's Ambiguous Statements on Abortion, For Now

Mitt-RomneyThe Washington Post - On Faith blog: Analysis: As Mitt Romney moves to the middle, anti-abortion activists try to cover his right flank, by David Gibson:

As Mitt Romney has moved to the center in an effort to overtake President Barack Obama in the campaign’s homestretch, he has by necessity muted — or even muddied — his previous opposition to abortion rights, a shift that has left some abortion foes aghast.

But veteran anti-abortion leaders say they are confident that Romney remains committed to their agenda and, in the final weeks before the Nov. 6 vote, they are busy trying to keep rank-and-file activists from pouncing on the Republican candidate’s ambiguous statements. Their fear? That going after Romney could prompt defections and cost the GOP a surprisingly strong shot at winning the White House. . . .

October 17, 2012 in 2012 Presidential Campaign, Abortion, Abortion Bans, Anti-Choice Movement, Politics | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Women Favor Obama's Stance on Contraception and Abortion

Obama2The Hill - Healthwatch blog:  Poll:  Female voters give Obama edge on contraception, abortion, by Sam Baker:

President Obama's contraception mandate is helping him enormously with female voters, a new USA Today/Gallup poll says.

The survey found that Mitt Romney has made enormous gains with female voters — the candidates were tied among women who are likely to vote, and Obama had a nine-point lead among registered female voters. Concern over the economy has helped Romney erode what was once a sizable gender gap. . . .

October 17, 2012 in 2012 Presidential Campaign, Abortion, Contraception, Politics, President/Executive Branch, Public Opinion, Women, General | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Paul Ryan on Abortion

The New York Times (op-ed): Paul Ryan, Catholic Dissident, by Michael Peppard:

DURING last week’s vice-presidential debate — the first time two Catholics have shared such a stage — a question about abortion was inevitable. To some viewers, Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s stance — that he personally opposes abortion but does not believe in imposing those beliefs on others — came across as a wishy-washy mélange of moral intuitions. In contrast, Representative Paul D. Ryan, who laid out his ticket’s policy to “oppose abortion with the exceptions for rape, incest and life of the mother,” appeared to represent the principled, Catholic anti-abortion position. . . .

The Washington Post - She the People blog: Paul Ryan’s abortion response reflects the Achilles’ Heel of the GOP, by Rahiel Tesfamariam:

When moderator Martha Raddatz asked Vice President Biden and Republican presidential candidate Paul Ryan about their views on abortion at last week’s debate, she was immediately critiqued for couching the question in religious terms. There were many critics who didn’t think that “a woman’s right to choose” debate should be reduced to the theology of political candidates. I’m in agreement with my Washington Post colleague Sally Quinn who states that “it was the right thing to do.” . . .

The New Yorker:  Of Babies and Beans:  Paul Ryan on Abortion, by Adam Gopnik:

Watching the political debates this season always puts this writer, perhaps irresponsibly, in mind of seventies movie comedies: Romney seems like the smug country clubber in a hundred National Lampoonish movies, the one Chevy Chase takes the girl away from, while Paul Ryan last night seemed exactly like the authority-pleasing, solemn student-body president who either gets pantsed midway by the stars of “Porkys” or else blissfully turned on to grass in the final reel by Bill Murray. Joe Biden watching Ryan, meanwhile, put me in mind of nothing so much as the great, grouchy, aged Eddie Albert in Elaine May’s matchless original, “The Heartbreak Kid,”narrowing his eyes in disbelief as he listens to the slick, oleaginous (and already married!) Charles Grodin courting his beautiful blond daughter: “ I heard everything you said… and I will tell you, quite honestly, I was very impressed. Very impressed. And I think I can also say, quite honestly… I have never heard such a crock of horseshit in my life.”. . .

PrawfsBlawg's Rick Garnett responds to Gopnick's article here.

October 17, 2012 in 2012 Presidential Campaign, Abortion, Politics, Religion and Reproductive Rights | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, October 15, 2012

Rakhal Gaitonde on Pregnancy Registration System in Tamil Nadu, India

Rakhal Gaitonde (Society for Community Health Awareness, Research and Action) has posted Registration and Monitoring of Pregnant Women in Tamil Nadu, India: A Critique on SSRN. Here is the abstract:

In 2008 a pregnancy registration system was introduced in rural Tamil Nadu, India, which is now being scaled up. It will collect data on antenatal, delivery and post-partum care in pregnant women and infant health. This is seen as an important public health intervention, justified for its potential to ensure efficiency in provision and use of maternity services. However, from another perspective, it can be seen as a form of control over women, reducing the experience of safe pregnancy and delivery to a few measurable variables. The burden of implementing this task falls on Village Health Nurses, who are also women, reducing their time for interacting with and educating people and visiting communities, which is their primary task and the basis on which they are evaluated. In addition, they face logistical constraints in rural settings that may affect the quality of data. In a health system with rigid internal hierarchies and power differentials, this system may become more of a supervisory and monitoring tool than a tool for a learning health system. It may also lead to a victim-blaming approach (“you missed two antenatal visits”) rather than health system learning to improve maternal and infant health. The paper concludes by recommending ways to use the system and the data to tackle the broader social determinants of health, with women, health workers and communities as partners in the process.

October 15, 2012 in International, Pregnancy & Childbirth, Reproductive Health & Safety, Scholarship and Research | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Opponents of Contraception Mandate Energized After VP Debate

Politico: Contraception rule opponents feel 'momentum' after VP debate, by Kathryn Smith:

Joe Biden and Paul Ryan tangled over the Obama administration’s contraception coverage requirement Thursday night, but the real fight has headed to the courts — and the rule’s opponents say they’re gaining steam.

They’re certainly piling up lawsuits. But whether that’s real momentum — or just a growing stack of legal briefs — remains to be seen. . . .

October 15, 2012 in 2012 Presidential Campaign, Contraception, In the Courts, Politics, President/Executive Branch, Religion and Reproductive Rights | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)