Tuesday, January 8, 2013
Time Magazine: What Choice?, by Kate Pickert:
It's 8 a.m. on a Wednesday, and Tammi Kromenaker is on the phone, trying to untangle an insurance snafu.
After 15 minutes of arguing with a billing operator, the director of the Red River Women's Clinic in Fargo, N.D., begins preparing for the patients who will soon arrive. Staff members trickle in. One puts a DVD of old sitcoms on the waiting-room television. Another straightens a pile of magazines. Someone brews a pot of coffee. By 10 a.m., the clinic is bustling with patients. . . .
Monday, January 7, 2013
The Hill - Healthwatch: Group cheers Obama birth-control mandate, by Elise Viebeck:
The left-leaning National Women's Law Center (NWLC) praised the Obama administration's birth-control coverage mandate as it took effect Jan. 1 for many health plans.
The policy remains controversial among employers who disagree with birth control or consider some forms equal to abortion. It is the subject of more than 40 legal challenges now pending in the courts. . . .
UPI.com: Religious convictions vs. the 'morning-after pill', by Michael Kirkland:
A bitter fight is heading for the U.S. Supreme Court, between employers who say their religious convictions make them abhor contraception -- especially the "morning after pill" seen by many as an abortion-inducing drug -- and the Obama administration, which says contraception is a healthcare right under the law. . . .
The Volokh Conspiracy: Contraception Mandate Faces Justice Sotomayor and the Seventh Circuit, by Jonathan H. Adler:
It’s been a significant week for litigation over the contraception mandate. On December 20, a motions panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit denied employer Hobby Lobby’s motion for an injunction pending appeal. As a private employer, Hobby Lobby is not eligible for the safe harbor from enforcement, and will be subject to the mandate at the start of the new year. As a consequence, Hobby Lobby filed an emergency application for a stay with the Supreme Court, which Justice Sonia Sotomayor denied with a brief four-page opinion. According to Justice Sotomayor, Hobby Lobby could not meet the extraordinarily demanding standard for such an injunction. Lyle Denniston has a brief report on SCOTUSBlog, and Ed Whelan critiques the decision on Bench Memos (see also here). for what it’s worth, I am not as convinced as Whelan that Hobby Lobby’s rights under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act are “indisputably clear.” While I think religious institutions have a strong RFRA-based free exercise claim, and that religious institutions — and not the government — define the contours of what the exercise of a given religious faith requires — I am not sure that private, for-profit corporations can avail themselves of RFRA in the same way as avowedly religious institutions., even when privately held by religiously devout individuals, nor am I aware of any case law that would clearly establish this point (but see below). . . .
Forbes: Police Raid Rio de Janeiro Abortion Clinic, by Kenneth Rapoza:
Police raided an abortion clinic late Saturday in the Rio de Janeiro neighborhood of Bonsucesso following tips that the clinic was also selling drugs. While abortions are tolerated in Brazil by law enforcement, they are illegal except when a woman’s life is in danger, under-aged, or the pregnancy was due to rape. . . .
This type of raid is not new or uncommon. See: International Consortium for Medical Abortion: Abortion persecution in Brazil.
With its glossy pages of pouting models and racy romance tips, Myanmar's first sex education magazine has got the usually demure nation hot under the collar as it cashes in on new-found cultural freedom. "Hyno" has sparked fevered debate since hitting Myanmar's bookstores in November where it has become a must-read among the young and curious, just a few months after the end of direct censorship in the former junta-ruled nation. . . .
Reuters: Supreme Court won't hear challenge over PAC disclosures, by Terry Baynes & Jonathan Stempel:
The Supreme Court on Monday refused to review a challenge to federal regulators' method for determining which political groups need to register as political action committees and reveal their donors.
Without comment, the court declined to hear the appeal of The Real Truth About Abortion, an anti-abortion group that had sued in 2008 to challenge numerous Federal Election Commission rules that govern disclosures of political spending. . . .
The Los Angeles Times: Supreme Court rejects challenge to Obama stem cell policy, by David G. Savage:
The Supreme Court has turned away a challenge to President Obama’s policy of expanding government-funded research using embryonic stem cells that scientists say may offer hope for new treatments for spinal injuries and Parkinson’s disease.
The court’s action brings a quiet end to a lawsuit that briefly threatened to derail all funding for such research. . . .
Sunday, January 6, 2013
Guttmacher Institute: Laws Affecting Reproductive Health and Rights: 2012 State Policy Review:
Reproductive health and rights was once again the subject of extensive debate in state capitols in 2012. Over the course of the year, 42 states and the District of Columbia enacted 122 provisions related to reproductive health and rights. One-third of these new provisions, 43 in 19 states, sought to restrict access to abortion services. Although this is a sharp decrease from the record-breaking 92 abortion restrictions enacted in 2011, it is the second highest annual number of new abortion restrictions. . . .
January 6, 2013 in Abortion, Contraception, Fetal Rights, Mandatory Delay/Biased Information Laws, Pregnancy & Childbirth, Scholarship and Research, Sexuality Education, Sexually Transmitted Disease, State Legislatures, Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP), Teenagers and Children | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
Politico: Paul Ryan to raise profile at anti-abortion event, by Kathryn Smith:
Paul Ryan has kept a low profile since Election Day — but he’ll retake the spotlight again soon as the headliner at an anti-abortion organization’s fundraiser.
The Susan B. Anthony List announced Friday that the House Budget Committee chairman and former vice presidential nominee will be the keynote speaker at its annual gala in April. . . .
The New York Times: Taking Calls on Abortion, and Risks, in Chile, by Aaron Nelsen:
SANTIAGO, Chile — Every time the phone rings, Angela Erpel feels her nerves swell. Sometimes it is a scared teenager on the other end, or a desperate mother of three. There are the angry ones, too, with callers playing the sounds of crying babies or sending text messages with pictures of aborted fetuses.
Then Ms. Erpel, 38, a sociologist who volunteers at Chile’s Safe Abortion Hot Line, gathers herself and settles into a familiar dialogue on the use of misoprostol, a drug that will induce a medical abortion. . . .
Sen. Patty Murray on House Republicans' Failure To Take Up Bill Reauthorizing Violence Against Women Act
CNN opinion: House GOP failed women on Violence Against Women Act, by Patty Murray:
(CNN) -- This week, just over 250 days since the U.S. Senate passed a bipartisan and inclusive bill to extend the landmark Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), the Republican leadership in the House of Representatives allowed the clock to run out on protections that bill would have provided to millions of women across our country. . . .
The New York Times: Pregnancy Centers Gain Influence in Anti-Abortion Arena, by Pam Belluck:
WACO, Tex. — With free pregnancy tests and ultrasounds, along with diapers, parenting classes and even temporary housing, pregnancy centers are playing an increasingly influential role in the anti-abortion movement. While most attention has focused on scores of new state laws restricting abortion, the centers have been growing in numbers and gaining state financing and support. . . .
Thursday, January 3, 2013
Feminist Majority Foundation: VA Trap Law Approved:
Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell certified new abortion regulations known as TRAP (targeted regulations of abortion providers) laws on Friday, December 28th. There will be a 60-day public comment period before a final vote by the Virginia Board of Health, likely in March.
These TRAP laws were designed to force existing abortion clinics to meet the same building codes as new hospitals. If enacted, the new regulations would require existing clinics to come into compliance with the regulations within two years or face closure. In September 2012, the Virginia Board of Health voted 13-2 to reverse their previous decision to grandfather in existing clinics, thus exempting them from new, hospital-like restrictions. . . .
Meanwhile, Virginia Activist Group "Cooch Watch" agitated against this law (and in support of the grandfather clause), including with creative YouTube videos:
Obama Signs Defense Authorization Act Including Health Coverage for Servicewomen and Military Dependents in Cases of Rape and Incest
Stand with Servicewomen press release: President Signs Defense Bill That Includes Shaheen Amendment Providing Equal Health Care for Servicewomen:
Bill Provides Equal Health Care Coverage for Servicewomen and Military Dependents in Cases of Rape and Incest
WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama has signed the FY13 National Defense Authorization Act into law, which includes the Shaheen Amendment, a provision that provides equal health care for servicewomen and military dependents who are survivors of rape and incest by extending to them the same abortion coverage provided to other women enrolled in federal health care.
The amendment repealing the ban was offered by Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) in May and adopted, with bipartisan support, by the Senate Armed Services Committee. House and Senate negotiators agreed to include the provision in the final defense bill and both chambers passed the bill last week.
“From the time I joined the Army in 1971, I was told that my principal job as an officer was to take care of my troops. We are a step closer to accomplishing that goal today,” said Major Gen. Dennis Laich, USAR (Ret.). “Women serve with courage and distinction in every branch of our service. I applaud Senator Shaheen for her tireless work to making sure these women receive the support they deserve.”
Just prior to the bill’s passage, Gen. Colin Powell, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and secretary of state, joined dozens of military leaders in signing a letter urging congressional support for the amendment.
“This isn't about politics or ideology; it's about basic fairness and equity,” said Major General Gale Pollock, USA (Ret.). “The discriminatory policy preventing our women in uniform from receiving equal healthcare has gone on for too long and I am proud that Congress and the president have finally acted to right this wrong. Our servicewomen are fortunate to have a champion like Senator Shaheen, as well as strong supporters on the House and Senate Armed Services Committees, fighting on their behalf.”
For more information, please visit www.standwithservicewomen.org
Wednesday, January 2, 2013
The Hill - Healthwatch Blog: Abortion-rights champion stepping down, by Sam Baker:
As the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade approaches, a leading abortion-rights advocate is ready to hand over the reins to a new generation.
Nancy Keenan will step down early next year from her post as president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, one of the country’s most prominent and politically powerful abortion-rights groups. . . .
Tuesday, January 1, 2013
ACLU of Georgia press release: STATE COURT TEMPORARILY HALTS GEORGIA ABORTION BAN:
The Superior Court of Fulton County last Friday temporarily suspended a Georgia law banning pre-viability abortions. The law would have criminalized virtually all abortions starting at 20 weeks of pregnancy, with only an extremely narrow exception for the woman's health.
The American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Georgia challenged the law on behalf of three Georgia obstetrician-gynecologists whose patients include women in need of this essential medical care. . . .
Lone Texas Lawmaker Succeeds in Getting State To Collect More Information from Abortion Patients and their Doctors
RH Reality Check: Texas Dept. of Health Goes Big Brother: Extrajudicial and Invasive Collection of Info on Women and Doctors to Begin in 2013, by Andrea Grimes:
In 2013, the state of Texas will begin gathering new and more invasive information on women seeking and doctors providing safe abortion care thanks to new reporting requirements developed extrajudicially at the insistence of an anti-choice Tea Party lawmaker and now being implementedby the Department of Health and Human Services.
Representative Bill Zedler tried, but failed, to get new reporting requirements enacted by law in the 2011 legislative session, so he asked the Health and Human Services Commission to do it for him; now, after months of public hearings and input from doctors and clinicians decrying the new rules, he's succeeded. . . .
The Hill - Healthwatch blog: Federal judge halts Obama birth-control policy for Domino's Pizza founder, by Elise Viebeck:
A federal judge has ordered a temporary halt on the Obama administration's birth-control coverage policy for Tom Monaghan, the Catholic billionaire who founded Domino's Pizza.
Federal District Court Judge Lawrence P. Zatkoff issued the decision Sunday, less than two days before the policy would have taken effect and exposed Monaghan to fines for non-compliance. . . .
SCOTUSblog: Religious employer wins big - temporarily, by Lyle Denniston:
In the most significant federal appeals court ruling so far on the new federal health care law’s contraceptives mandate, the Seventh Circuit Court on Friday night temporarily barred the federal government from enforcing that requirement against an Illinois construction company whose Roman Catholic owners see it as a threat to their religious freedom. In a two-to-one ruling, the panel of the Chicago-based court acted two days after Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor had refused– for different reasons — to block enforcement of the mandate against an Oklahoma family and their businesses. . . .