Thursday, February 28, 2013

Arkansas 20-Week Abortion Ban Becomes Law Following Legislature's Veto Override

The Washington Post - Post Politics blog: Arkansas legislature overturns veto of late-term abortion ban, by Aaron Blake:

The Republican-controlled Arkansas state legislature has overturned Democratic Gov. Mike Beebe’s veto of a bill that would prohibit abortions after the 20th week of pregnancy, according to AP.

The chamber also passed a more restrictive abortion bill that would ban most abortions after the 12th week, which Beebe will have to decide whether to veto.

Beebe vetoed the 20-week bill on Tuesday, saying that he thought it violated the law under Roe v. Wade. The landmark Supreme Court case set the cutoff at 24 weeks, while Casey v. Planned Parenthood in 1992 changed it to 22 weeks. . . .

February 28, 2013 in Abortion Bans, State Legislatures | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

House Approves Expanded Violence Against Women Act

CapitolThe New York Times: House Renews Violence Against Women Measure, by Ashley Parker:

The House on Thursday gave final approval to a renewal of the Violence Against Women Act, sending a bipartisan Senate measure to President Obama after a House plan endorsed by conservatives was defeated. . . .

The legislation’s approval underscored the divide in the Republican party as it struggles to regain its footing with women after its 2012 electoral drubbing among female voters. . . .

February 28, 2013 in Congress, Politics, Sexual Assault, Women, General | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Arkansas House Votes to Override Governor's Veto of 20-Week Abortion Ban

Reuters: Arkansas House overrides veto of late-term abortion ban, by Suzi Parker:

The Republican-controlled Arkansas House of Representatives on Wednesday overrode a veto by Democratic Governor Mike Beebe of a bill to ban most late-term abortions in the state at 20 weeks into pregnancy.

The House voted 53-28 to override the veto, and the Republican-dominated state Senate was expected to vote on Thursday to override the veto as well. If that happens, Arkansas would join seven other U.S. states that restrict or ban abortions after the 20-week mark. . . .

February 27, 2013 in Abortion Bans, State Legislatures | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Pregnant Texas Teen Sues Parents to Avoid Abortion

TIME: In Texas, a Pregnant Teen Sues Her Parents to Avoid an Abortion, by Bonnie Rochman:

Image1 Earlier this month, Jaime Burnside called an attorney in Texas to help her teen-age son. His girlfriend was pregnant and wanted to have the baby, but her parents wanted her to have an abortion.

It’s the kind of case that invigorates the Texas Center for Defense of Life, which has handled three similar situations in the two years since it was founded. “Parents think they’re making a decision for their daughters like pulling a tooth or getting their tonsils out,” says Stephen Casey, who spoke to the boy’s mother and agreed to file suit against the girl’s parents. “But now that the girl is pregnant, the parents become grandparents and they can’t make a decision for the girl about her unborn child.”. . .

February 27, 2013 in Abortion, In the Courts, Pregnancy & Childbirth, State and Local News, Teenagers and Children | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Atli Stannard on Criminalization of Failure to Disclose HIV-Positive Status in Canada

Atli Stannard has posted When Failure to Disclose HIV-Positive Status Vitiates Consent to Sex in Canada on SSRN. Here is the abstract:

A number of jurisdictions have grappled with a particularly difficult question in respect of the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV): when does failure to disclose that one is HIV-positive, combined with engaging in otherwise consensual sexual relations, make that act of engagement in sex a criminal offence?

In two recent cases, the Supreme Court of Canada examined this question. The cases ultimately turned on rather different matters, but were heard in tandem. This case note focuses first on Mabior, then outlines its “sister case” of D.C. Together, they provide a good understanding of the current Canadian approach to the criminalisation of exposure to HIV without disclosure – treating it as a sexual offence, rather than an offence against the person. The case note draws out the "Williams Paradox" and the use of statistics in the cases. It compares the Canadian approach to that in England and Wales, Australia, and New Zealand. . . .

February 27, 2013 in International, Scholarship and Research, Sexually Transmitted Disease | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Arkansas Governor Vetoes 20-week Abortion Ban, But Legislature Likely to Override

Feminist Majority:  AR Governor Vetoes Bill that Would Ban Abortion at 20 Weeks:

On Tuesday Governor Mike Beebe (D) vetoed a bill that would have banned abortions in Arkansas after 20 weeks. The bill passed in the state Senate on a vote of 25 to 7 and passed the state House on a vote of 80 to 10 before reaching Governor Beebe's desk.

"Because it would impose a ban on a woman's right to choose an elective, nontherapeutic abortion before viability, House Bill 1037, if it became law, would squarely contradict Supreme Court precedent," Beebe wrote in the veto letter. "When I was sworn in as governor I took an oath to preserve, protect and defend both the Arkansas Constitution and the Constitution of the United States. I take that oath seriously." Originally, Governor Beebe had agreed to sign the ban into law if it was passed by the state Congress. . . .

February 27, 2013 in Abortion Bans, State and Local News, State Legislatures | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Studies Confirm Emergency Contraception Does Not Cause Abortion

NPR:  Morning-After Pills Don't Cause Abortion, Studies Say, by Julie Rovner:

The most heated part of the fight between the Obama administration and religious groups over new rules that require most health plans to cover contraception actually has nothing to do with birth control. It has to do with abortion.

Specifically, do emergency contraceptives interfere with a fertilized egg and cause what some consider to be abortion? . . .

February 27, 2013 in Abortion, Contraception, Medical News | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Teen Birth Rate Nearly One-Third Higher in Rural Areas of U.S.

The Hill - Healthwatch:  Study: Teen birth rate highest in rural areas, by Elise Viebeck:

The teen birth rate in rural areas of the United States is nearly one-third greater than in other parts of the country, according to a new study. 

The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy found declining teen birth rates across the country have been slower to take effect in rural counties. . . . 

February 27, 2013 in Poverty, Pregnancy & Childbirth, Teenagers and Children | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

U.S. 2008 Teen Pregnancy Data – State Trends by Age, Race and Ethnicity

Guttmacher Institute – News Release: 2008 State-Level Teen Pregnancy Data Now Available, by Rebecca Wind: Image1

Teen pregnancy rates declined steadily in all 50 states between 1988 and 2005. However, between 2005 and 2008, the teen pregnancy rate decreased by 5% or more in 7 states, while increasing by 5% or more in 16 states, according to "U.S. Teenage Pregnancies, Births and Abortions, 2008: State Trends by Age, Race and Ethnicity." While these short-term increases are troubling, recent evidence from the CDC, including further reductions in teen birth rates in nearly all states between 2008 and 2010 and preliminary numbers indicating a decrease in teen abortions in 2009, indicate that teen pregnancy rates will continue their long-term declines. . . .

February 27, 2013 in Pregnancy & Childbirth, Teenagers and Children | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, February 25, 2013

Call for Submissions: Conference on Reproductive Justice in a Changing World

Rutgers School of Law - Camden: Beyond Roe Conference: Call for Papers:

Throughout 2013, five law schools in the Delaware Valley will hold events exploring various aspects of reproductive justice in the 40 years post-Roe v. Wade. The final event in this series is a conference sponsored by the Rutgers School of Law – Camden that will take place on Friday, October 11 on the Rutgers campus in Camden, New Jersey.* You can fine more information about the conference here.

We are now pleased to invite proposals for papers and panels. The conference theme is Beyond Roe: Reproductive Justice in a Changing World. We welcome submissions on any topic related to the law, policy and reproduction, including avoiding reproduction, public policy related to reproduction, and reproductive regulation post-Roe.

Paper abstracts should be no more than 500 words, accompanied by a descriptive title for the paper proposed. Proposed panels should include a description of the overall topic, as well as a panel title and the titles of all the papers and panelists to be included in the panel.  Panels should include no less than 4 proposed panelists. Panel proposals should also be no more than 500 words. All submissions must include the names, e-mail addresses, and full affiliations of all authors.  In the case of panels and co-authored papers, please identify a corresponding author and provide sufficient detail in your abstract or proposal so that reviewers can fully assess your proposal and determine how it will fit with other proposals being reviewed.

There will be two plenary sessions at the conference and some submitted papers might be selected for plenary presentations. If you wish for us to consider your paper for a plenary session, please indicate that desire on your submission.

Please e-mail submissions (in .doc, .docx, or .pdf format) to by April 1, 2013. If you have any questions about the conference, please direct them to Kimberly Mutcherson at

Continue reading

February 25, 2013 in Conferences and Symposia, Law School | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

More of the Same - GOP Continues to Push Aggressive Abortion Bills

MSNBC: GOP ignores 2012 lessons, pushes harsh anti-abortion bills, by Aliyah Frumin:

Republican lawmakers are pushing abortion-restricting bills in both Indiana and Arkansas, suggesting the GOP did not learn from the national backlash to super aggressive abortion rhetoric in the 2012 elections. (See: Akin, Todd and Mourdock, Richard.)

Old habits, it seem, die hard. . . .

February 25, 2013 in Abortion, Abortion Bans, Mandatory Delay/Biased Information Laws, Politics, State Legislatures, Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP) | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Martin Hevia and Carlos Vacaflor on In Vitro Fertilization in Latin America and the American Convention on Human Rights

Martin Hevia (Universidad Torcuato Di Tella – School of Law) and Carlos Herrara Vacaflor have posted The Legal Status of In Vitro Fertilization in Latin America and the American Convention on Human Rights on SSRN. Here is the abstract:

In Latin America, Costa Rica is the only country in the region that absolutely bans access to In Vitro Fertilization (IVF). In 2000, the Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court of Costa Rica, invoking article 4.1 of the American Convention on Human Rights, the fundamental legal document of the Inter-American system of human rights recognized the embryos’ right to life. The Constitutional Chamber held that given the great possibility that the embryos would be discarded, IVF should be completely prohibited insofar as it violates the right to life.

Recently, in the 2010 report “Gretel Artavia Murillo and others v. Costa Rica,” the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights (IACHR) concluded that completely prohibiting access to IVF in Costa Rica is incompatible with the ACHR. The commission ruled that the Costa Rica Constitutional Chamber’s decision to establish a total ban on access to IVF constitutes an arbitrary interference and is a restriction incompatible with the exercise of the rights of private and family life and the right to form a family — enshrined in articles 11 and 17 of the ACHR. It also held that impeding access to IVF is discriminatory since it constitutes a burden for a specific societal group: infertile women. Because Costa Rica had not complied with the IACHR recommendation to lift the ban on access to IVF, the Commission brought the case before the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, which is now ready to listen to the parties and resolve the controversy.

A propos the Commission’s report and as a prelude to the debate that will take place before the IACtHR, this paper analyzes the legal regimen on the process of IVF. In order to do so, it will critically evaluate the core of the IACHR report, and from this, determine the extent of the right to privacy and the right to life in these Latin American countries. This task is indispensable to observing whether the current legal status of IVF, in Costa Rica and other countries in the region, is consistent with the ACHR.

February 25, 2013 in Assisted Reproduction, Fetal Rights, International, Scholarship and Research | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Former Surgeon General C. Everett Koop Dies at 96

In the 1980s, President Reagan -- under pressure from anti-choice activists -- directed C. Everett Koop to review the research on abortion and report back about the health effects of the procedure.  Although personally opposed to abortion, Koop refused to issue the report, finding that there was no credible evidence that abortion caused women either physical or mental harm.  Unfortunately, anti-choice activists continue to perpetuate the myth that abortion causes lasting emotional trauma and to push for laws that require doctors to pass along this misinformation to women.

See: The Guttmacher Institute: Abortion and Mental Health: Myths and Realities

The New York Times: C. Everett Koop, Forceful U.S. Surgeon General, Dies at 96, by Holcomb B. Noble:

Dr. C. Everett Koop, who was widely regarded as the most influential surgeon general in American history and played a crucial role in changing public attitudes about smoking, died on Monday at his home in Hanover, N.H. He was 96. . . .

Dr. Koop was completing a successful career as a pioneer in pediatric surgery when he was nominated for surgeon general, having caught the attention of conservatives with a series of seminars, films and books in collaboration with the theologian Francis Schaeffer that expressed anti-abortion views. . . .

February 25, 2013 in Abortion, Current Affairs, Miscellaneous, President/Executive Branch | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Funding Cuts in Wisconsin Mean Closing of Planned Parenthood Clinics

Huffington Post - Politics Blog:  Planned Parenthood Wisconsin Closes Four Clinics Due to State Funding Cuts, by Laura Bassett:

Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin announced the closure of four family planning health centers on Monday as a result of the state legislature's elimination of funding to the health care provider.

The clinics in Beaver Dam, Johnson Creek, Chippewa Falls and Shawano, which serve approximately 2,000 patients, will close between April and July of this year. Planned Parenthood says that it is the only provider of reproductive health care in each of those four communities. . . .

February 20, 2013 in Abortion, Contraception, Poverty, Reproductive Health & Safety, State and Local News, State Legislatures, Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP) | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

NYT Editorial on Strengthening Reproductive Rights in New York

The New York Times editorial: Reproductive Rights in New York:

New York State once led the nation in advancing women’s rights. Gov. Andrew Cuomo wants to re-establish that pre-eminence with an omnibus agenda on women’s equality. The most important piece of that agenda would essentially enshrine in state law existing federal protections for abortion rights. . . .

February 20, 2013 in Abortion, Contraception, Reproductive Health & Safety, State and Local News, State Legislatures | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

GOP Senators (Re)Introduce Parental Involvement for Abortion Bill

The Hill - Healthwatch Blog:  GOP bill would tighten rules on parental consent for abortion, by Ramsey Cox:

A group of GOP senators introduced a bill Thursday that would prohibit minors from crossing state lines to avoid parental involvement in the decision to get an abortion. 

Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) are the lead sponsors of the legislation. Some states don’t require parental consent for minors to get an abortion, causing some to cross state lines in order to avoid telling their parents about the procedure. . . . 


For more on the history of this recurring bill, see:

National Abortion Federation: Teen Endangerment Act Repackaged: A Menacing Maze for Young Women, Their Families, and Their Doctors

February 20, 2013 in Abortion, Congress, Teenagers and Children | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Alabama Houses Passes TRAP Law That Could Force Abortion Clinics To Close

Reuters: Alabama House passes bill tightening restrictions on abortion clinics, by Kaija Wilkinson:

The Alabama House of Representatives passed legislation on Tuesday that would tighten regulations for abortion clinics in a move critics say could force many in the state to close.

The Republican-controlled House approved the bill in a 73-23 vote. The bill now moves to the Senate, which also has a Republican majority, for consideration. . . .

February 19, 2013 in Abortion, State Legislatures, Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP) | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Arkansas Senate Approves Bill to Ban Abortions After 20 Weeks

Reuters:  Arkansas Senate passes bill to ban abortions after 20 weeks, by Suzi Parker, Daniel Trotta & Dale Hudson:

The Republican-controlled Arkansas state Senate approved a measure on Monday to ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy except in the case of rape, incest or to save the mother's life.

The Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act passed the Senate, 25-7, with amendments that allowed for the exemptions in the case of rape or incest. An earlier version of the bill that passed the Republican-controlled House allowed exemptions only for pregnancies that threatened the mother's life. . . .

February 19, 2013 in Abortion, Abortion Bans, Fetal Rights, State Legislatures | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Federal Sex Ed Bill Discourages Gender Stereotyping and Exclusion of LGBT Students

The Hill - Healthwatch Blog: Sex ed bill nixes 'gender stereotypes', by Elise Viebeck:

A new sex education bill would give grants to programs that reject gender stereotypes and embrace LGBT students. 

The legislation from Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) and 32 other Democrats encourages a "comprehensive" approach to sex ed. . . . 

February 19, 2013 in Congress, Sexuality, Sexuality Education, Teenagers and Children | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

UN Report Condemns Surgeries on Intersex Children

Feminist Majority Foundation: UN Condemns "Normalization" Surgeries of Intersex Children:

Last week the United Nations released a report condemning the practice of performing "normalization" surgeries on intersex children.

The Special Rapporteur on Torture (SRT) to the United Nation's Human Rights Council submitted a report to the General Assembly that addressed the practice of surgically altering children born with ambiguous genitalia.According to the report [PDF], "Children who are born with atypical sex characteristics are often subject to irreversible sex assignment, involuntary sterilization, involuntary genital normalizing surgery, performed without their informed consent, or that of their parents, 'in an attempt to fix their sex', leaving them with permanent, irreversible infertility and causing severe mental suffering.". . .

February 19, 2013 in International, Sexuality, Sterilization, Teenagers and Children | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)