Tuesday, January 22, 2013
Controversy over the clinic in Wichita, Kansas is building as the country observes the 40th anniversary of Roe vs. Wade
Closed since 2009 after its doctor was murdered, one of the country's most embattled abortion clinics is scheduled to reopen this spring over renewed objections of abortion opponents. . . .
The Atlantic: Will Mississippi Close Its Last Abortion Clinic?, by Alissa Quart:
Forty years after the Supreme Court decided Roe v. Wade, one state may be on the verge of becoming abortion-free.
. . . [Dr. Willie] Parker is an abortion provider. But he is also the plaintiff in a case that may have extreme political consequences. Jackson Women's Health Organization is the last abortion clinic in Mississippi, and state legislators are trying to shut it down: The next court date is at the end of January. Republican Governor Phil Bryant has called it "the first step in a movement, I believe, to do what we campaigned on: to say that we're going to try to end abortion in Mississippi." . . .
Caitlin Borgmann (CUNY Law School) has posted Roe v. Wade's 40th Anniversary: A Moment of Truth for the Anti-Abortion-Rights Movement? on SSRN. Here is the abstract:
In the forty years since the Supreme Court decided Roe v. Wade, the anti-abortion-rights movement has pursued a strategy of incrementally whittling away at the right to abortion. Until the Court’s 1992 decision in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, which reaffirmed the right to abortion, the movement still harbored hopes of overturning Roe and passing a federal “Human Life Amendment” that would treat embryos and fetuses as constitutional persons. But alongside these efforts, and single-mindedly once Casey was decided, the mainstream anti-abortion-rights movement has sought to change “hearts and minds” about abortion by giving it disfavored treatment in the law through as many channels as possible. Advocates have pushed a steady stream of abortion restrictions through state legislatures, and sometimes Congress. They believe that this strategy has served to keep the issue alive in the public consciousness and will gradually turn the tide of public opinion against the procedure.
But restrictions short of a ban are not the end game for abortion-rights opponents. The incremental approach has left the movement in a sort of Zeno’s paradox, perpetually pursuing restrictions that get them only halfway from the political present to their goal, and thus never reaching it. Sooner or later, the movement will reach a moment of truth, when it must put aside the incrementalist strategy and openly pursue its goal of banning abortion altogether. Now, forty years after the Supreme Court recognized a constitutional right to abortion, that moment may have arrived. Recent state legislative sessions have suggested that the incremental approach is reaching its limits. Radicals impatient with the strategy have stepped up their fight for laws that directly challenge Roe v. Wade. For example, proposals for “personhood” measures, which would grant the full legal rights of persons to human life from the moment of fertilization, have proliferated in state legislatures and appeared on state ballots. In addition, several states have considered bills that would ban abortion from the moment the embryonic heartbeat becomes audible. Many states have enacted some or all of the Casey-approved restrictions, and advocates are running out of new incremental measures that the public is likely to accept. Roe v. Wade’s fortieth anniversary should push the incrementalists to consider whether their strategy has truly changed hearts and minds about abortion, or whether the movement has labored in vain for four decades, pointlessly layering on onerous restrictions that the public accepts, but that leave abortion still widely available in the United States.
Justicia: Marking the Fortieth Anniversary of Roe v. Wade, Part One: Where Three Common Criticisms Go Wrong, by Michael C. Dorf:
Tuesday, January 22, 2013, will mark the fortieth anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court ruling that recognized a constitutional right of a woman to have an abortion. What lessons can we learn from the case and the ensuing years?
In this, the first of a two-part series on Roe, I consider three common criticisms of the ruling: (1) that the constitutional text nowhere mentions abortion; (2) that the original meaning of the Fourteenth Amendment did not encompass a right to abortion; and (3) that the courts ought to stay out of socially divisive issues. . . .
Dorf on Law: Roe v. Wade at 40: Acts, Omissions, and Abortion, by Michael C. Dorf:
On Justia's Verdict, my column today--part 1 of a 2-part series--marks the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade. Part 2 will appear next Wednesday, Jan. 23, one day after the actual 40th anniversary. In today's column, I explain why three common criticisms of Roe are either mistaken or, if credited, are not really arguments against Roe but much broader arguments against unenumerated rights and perhaps against all of judicial review. Here I want to expand a bit on one point I make in passing in the column. . . .
Saturday, January 19, 2013
USA Today: Protracted fight over abortion rights comes due, by Richard Wolf:
As Roe v. Wade ruling turns 40, the latest restrictions passed by states range from required ultrasound tests before abortions to waiting periods.
Forty years after the Supreme Court legalized abortion, the constitutional right many Americans take for granted is coming under increased scrutiny.
State legislatures are passing limits on abortion-related services. More abortion providers face stepped-up regulations, and more patients face strictly worded counseling sessions or ultrasound tests. At least four states have just one clinic performing abortions. . . .
Even with the limitations, an average of 3,300 abortions are performed daily in the USA, according to the Guttmacher Institute.
"Abortions are still constitutionally protected," says Caitlin Borgmann, a City University of New York law professor who maintains a blog on reproductive rights. "They're still widely available in the U.S., and the polling has not changed." . . .
Friday, January 18, 2013
Maya Manian (University of San Francisco School of Law) has posted Personhood Legislation, Abortion Regulation, and Side Effects on Women's Health on SSRN. Here is the abstract:
State personhood laws pose a puzzle. These laws would establish fertilized eggs as persons and, by doing so, would ban all abortions. Many states have consistently supported laws restricting abortion care. Yet, thus far no personhood laws have passed. Why? This Article offers a possible explanation. I suggest that voters’ recognition of the implications of personhood legislation for health issues other than abortion has led to personhood’s defeat. In other words, opponents of personhood proposals appear to have successfully reconnected abortion to pregnancy care, contraception, fertility, and women’s health in general. Public concern over the “side effects” of personhood laws seems to have persuaded even those opposed to abortion to reject personhood legislation. If this is so, personhood opponents may have struck on a strategy that could apply more broadly. As this Article explains, various anti-abortion regulations — not just personhood laws — have deleterious “side effects” on women’s health. Focusing the public’s attention on these spillover effects could create stronger support for access to abortion care and thereby better promote women’s health across the full spectrum of women’s healthcare needs.
Thursday, January 17, 2013
MSNBC - The Maddow Blog: Cuccinelli to allies: 'Go to jail' over contraception access, by Steve Benen:
Former Rep. Joe Walsh (R-Ill.) told supporters this week that they should "defy and or break the law" in order to resist the Affordable Care Act. Of course, the opinions of some strange former congressman, booted out of Congress after one term, probably don't carry much weight.
How about a man who may be elected governor of Virginia later this year?. . .
The Hill - Healthwatch Blog: Planned Parenthood slams Cucinelli for protest call for protest call against birth-control mandate, by Elise Viebeck:
Planned Parenthood Virginia PAC slammed the state's attorney general Friday after he said going to jail would be an effective way to protest President Obama's birth-control mandate.
Ken Cuccinelli, a conservative Catholic who opposes the mandate, made the remark late Wednesday on an Iowa radio program. . . .
The Hill - Healtwatch Blog: Rep. Black vows to defund Planned Parenthood after latest abortion report, by Pete Kasperowicz:
Rep. Diane Black (R-Tenn.) this week vowed to continue trying to starve Planned Parenthood of federal funds after the group's latest report showed it performed a record number of abortions in its latest fiscal year.
According to Black, Planned Parenthood's latest report says the group received $542 million in taxpayer funding, nearly half of the group's revenue. She said the group performed nearly 334,000 abortions in the last fiscal year. . . .
MSNBC: How technology can protect a woman’s right to choose, by Geoffrey Cowley:
Forty years after Roe v. Wade, the decision itself is intact, but in wide swaths of the country, safe, legal abortion looks more like a privilege than a right. Some 87% of U.S. counties lack a single abortion provider. As state legislators devise new ways to restrict women’s access, and physicians eschew the procedure to avoid threats and intimidation, the prospects for reproductive freedom can start to look bleak. But technology may yet hold a trump card. . . .
The American Journal of Public Health article is available here.
It depends on whom you ask:
The New Yorker: Political Scene: Abortion Rights Forty Years After Roe v. Wade (podcast featuring Jeffrey Toobin):
Forty years after the Supreme Court’s decision in Roe v. Wade—the anniversary is on January 22nd—the debate over the case, and abortion, hasn’t cooled off. If anything, it has only become more controversial. . . .
Slate: Most Americans No Longer Think the Abortion Debate is All That Important, by Abby Ohlheiser:
Here's the main takeaway from a new Pew study on abortion: Most Americans have more important things to care about than the abortion debate. That being said, a majority are against overturning Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court's landmark decision that turns 40 this month. . . .
The Washington Post: 40 years after Roe v. Wade, abortion foes are winning -- and losing, by David Gibson:
Four decades after Roe v. Wade, the landmark Supreme Court ruling that legalized abortion, many opponents of the decision are in a celebratory mood while those backing abortion rights are glum, feeling that momentum is turning decisively against them.
Yet in reality, little has changed in the fiercest and most protracted battle of the nation’s bitter culture war. . . .
Reuters: As "Roe v. Wade" turns 40, most oppose reversing abortion ruling, by Mary Wisniewski:
Most Americans remain opposed to overturning the controversial Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade, which 40 years ago legalized abortion at least in the first three months of pregnancy, according to a poll released Wednesday.
The poll by the Pew Research Center found that 63 percent of Americans believe that Roe v. Wade should not be completely overturned, compared to 29 percent who believe it should be. . . .
The Pew report is available here.
Bloomberg Businessweek: How State Governments Are Regulating Away Abortion, by Esmé E. Deprez:
Intimidation, harassment, and the threat of violence used to be [abortion providers'] biggest preoccupations. . . . In recent years, however, the main threats to abortion providers have come not from noisy picketers and protests but from regulations passed in statehouses across the U.S. . . .
The Washington Post - Wonkblog: Roe at 40: 'It's never been this frightening before.', by Sarah Kliff:
On a cold morning before dawn, one of the nation’s oldest abortion clinics is getting ready for its newest patients.
Nurses lay out sterilized equipment. An assistant pulls warm blankets from the dryer. A counselor gives directions to a woman who is lost. By sunrise, patients begin arriving. One gets off a city bus with her brother. A 36-year-old mother comes with a friend. . . .
Wednesday, January 16, 2013
Lorana Bartels (University of Canberra – School of Law and Justice) has posted Safe Haven Laws, Baby Hatches and Anonymous Hospital Birth: Examining Infant Abandonment, Neonaticide and Infanticide in Australia on SSRN. Here is the abstract:
This article considers international responses to infant abandonment, neonaticide and infanticide in the context of the recent conviction of Keli Lane for the murder of her newborn daughter and the Children’s Protection (Lawful Surrender of Newborn Child) Amendment Bill 2011 (SA). The article considers three responses currently in operation internationally: safe haven laws, baby hatches, and anonymous birth. Arguments about these models, including effectiveness, whether they target the “wrong” women, and the rights of children to know their genetic origins, are examined.
The Hill - Healthwatch Blog: OVERNIGHT HEALTH: NARAL gets a new president, by Sam Baker & Elise Viebeck:
One of the most prominent abortion-rights groups in the United States, NARAL Pro-Choice America, hired a new president Monday. NARAL announced that Ilyse Hogue will be taking over the reins of the organization once Nancy Keenan steps down after the upcoming 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade.
Hogue's background is in politics, not specifically the abortion-tights movement — she's worked at MoveOn.Org and Media Matters for America, and came to NARAL after helping to start an organization that supports campaign finance reform. . . .
The Susan B. Anthony List will train Republicans on how to discuss rape:
Feministing: Susan B. Anthony List to create training programs to help Republicans talk about rape, by Samhita Mukhopadhyay:
The only instruction that Republicans need about talking about rape these days is to…stop. Or, well, keep talking–so we can continue to learn about their curious and frightening logix about pregnancy, sex, consent, and magic uteri. I imagine Susan B. Anthony list’s training is going to be some form of–”doh, just stop talking about it!” But these fine men just can’t help themselves, because they actually believe what is coming out of their mouths. . . .
And they seem to need it:
The Hill - Healthwatch Blog: Rep. Gingrey: Todd Akin 'partly right' about rape and pregnancy, by Sam Baker:
Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-Ga.) said former Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo.) was "partly right" when he made controversial comments that women cannot become pregnant from a rape.
Akin, then the Republican Senate nominee in Missouri, said a woman cannot become pregnant from a "legitimate rape" because the female body can "shut that whole thing down."
Gingrey, who is an OB-GYN, said in a town-hall meeting that Akin was partially correct, according to a report in the Marietta (Ga.) Daily Journal. . . .
Wednesday, January 9, 2013
Salon: “Parenthood” bravely tackles abortion, by Willa Paskin:
Because they happen with such rarity, I feel obliged to take note when they do: There was an abortion on prime-time television last night. On “Parenthood,” shy, quiet high-schooler Drew and his increasingly manly eyebrows found out that his girlfriend Amy was pregnant. Amy decided to have an abortion . . . .
Huffington Post: Paul Ryan Cosponsors New Fetal Personhood Bill, by Laura Bassett:
Despite the deep unpopularity of fetal personhood bills in 2012, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) has again decided to cosponsor the Sanctity of Human Life Act, a bill that gives full legal rights to human zygotes from the moment of fertilization. . . .
The Hill - Healthwatch: Judge boots Notre Dame's case against birth-control mandate, by Elise Viebeck:
A federal judge has dismissed the University of Notre Dame's suit against the Obama administration's birth-control coverage policy.
U.S. District Judge Robert L. Miller wrote Monday that Notre Dame's claims of injury are not ripe and that the school does not have standing to bring them.
Miller cited the Obama administration's promise to accommodate religious institutions like Notre Dame that insure themselves. . . .
Tuesday, January 8, 2013
The Boston Globe: Federal appeals court again upholds Mass. abortion clinic buffer zone law, by Martin Finucane:
A federal appeals court has again upheld the buffer zone law for Massachusetts abortion clinics, saying that the regulation protects the rights of patients while, at the same time, allowing others to express their opinions.
“Few subjects have proven more controversial in modern times than the issue of abortion,” the US Court of Appeals for the First Circuit said in its ruling today. “The nation is sharply divided about the morality of the practice and its place in a caring society. But the right of the state to take reasonable steps to ensure the safe passage of persons wishing to enter health care facilities cannot seriously be questioned. . . .
The New York Times op-ed column: The Woes of Roe, by Gail Collins:
Forty years ago this month, the Supreme Court handed down the great abortion rights decision Roe v. Wade. To be honest, you’re not going to be seeing a whole lot of cake and Champagne. Time magazine recognized the occasion with a downbeat cover story. (“They’ve Been Losing Ever Since.”) Gallup polls suggest support for abortion rights is fading, particularly among young Americans, and that more people now regard themselves as “pro-life” than “pro-choice.”
On the other hand — I know you had faith that eventually we’d get to the other hand — the polls depend on the question. According to the Quinnipiac poll, if you ask Americans whether they agree with the Roe decision, nearly two-thirds say yes. . . .