Saturday, March 16, 2013

North Dakota Legislature Approves 6-Week Abortion Ban

Not to be outdone by Arkansas. . . .

The New York Times: Bill in North Dakota Bans Abortion After Heartbeat Is Found, by Erik Eckholm:

Little more than a week after Arkansas adopted the country’s most stringent abortion limits, banning the procedure at 12 weeks ofpregnancy, the North Dakota Legislature on Friday passed a more restrictive bill that would ban most abortions as early as 6 weeks into pregnancy.

The Legislature, which is dominated by Republicans, also passed a second measure that would ban abortions sought because of a genetic abnormality or to select the sex of the child. . . .


For my take on how bans like this reflect a divide within the movement, see: Roe v. Wade's 40th Anniversary: A Moment of Truth for the Anti-Abortion-Rights Movement?

March 16, 2013 in Abortion Bans, State Legislatures | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Rep. Gingrey Backpedals on Rape Comments

The Hill - Healthwatch:  Rep. Gingrey, mulling Senate bid, regrets defending Todd Akin, by Cameron Joseph:

Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-Ga.), who is weighing a campaign for Senate, said he regrets defending former Rep. Todd Akin's (R-Mo.) infamous "legitimate rape" remarks.

Gingrey, an obstetrician, told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that he had made "a very awkward attempt to explain the unexplainable" when he backed Akin in January. He disavowed his earlier remarks, calling them "stupid.". . . 

March 16, 2013 in Congress, In the Media, Politics, Sexual Assault | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, March 8, 2013

Maryland Health Officials Suspend Surgical Abortions at Three Clinics

The Baltimore Sun: Maryland suspends licenses of 3 abortion clinics, by Andrea K. Walker:

State health officials have suspended surgical abortion procedures at three clinics, including one in Baltimore where a patient suffered cardiac arrest and died.

The physician who performed the abortion at Associates in OB/GYN Care LLC on North Calvert Street wasn't certified in CPR and a defibrillator at the facility did not work, state officials said in a letter Friday to the General Assembly.

Although the cardiac arrest was caused by underlying health conditions and not the abortion, investigators found that it raised questions whether doctors at the clinic can handle an abortion that goes wrong. . . .

The clinics will be able to perform abortions again once they correct the problems. . . .

March 8, 2013 in Abortion, Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP) | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

South Dakota Governor Signs Extended Abortion Waiting Period into Law

Reuters: South Dakota governor signs extended abortion wait period law, by David Bailey:

South Dakota Republican Governor Dennis Daugaard on Friday signed into law a measure that excludes weekends and holidays from the state's 72-hour waiting period for abortions, potentially making the wait the longest in the nation. . . .

March 8, 2013 in Abortion, Mandatory Delay/Biased Information Laws, State and Local News, State Legislatures | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Does Arkansas's 12-Week Abortion Ban Resemble European Regulation of Abortion?

The Atlantic: Arkansas Just Adopted a French-Style Abortion Policy, by Garance Franke-Ruta:

The state's new law restricting abortions to the first 12 weeks is blatantly unconstitutional -- and not that different from what a lot of European nations have in place.

One of the great ironies of American abortion-rights law is that it is one of the few areas of social regulation where America is to the left of Europe. The latest explosion in one of the laboratories of democracy is a piece of legislation in Arkansas outlawing abortion after 12 weeks of pregnancy, which passed this week when the Republican legislature overruled the gubernatorial veto of Democrat Mike Beebe. . . .

March 7, 2013 in Abortion Bans, International, State and Local News | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

International Women's Day: Women's Global Health Still at Risk

GlobeThe Huffington Post: International Women's Day 2013: 7 Sadly Disturbing Truths About Women's Bodies (HOW YOU CAN HELP), by Eleanor Goldberg:

On International Women’s Day, we have a number of groundbreaking accomplishments to celebrate. This year alone, women in the U.S. won the right to serve on the front lines in combat and President Obama inched closer to pushing for equal pay for men and women.

Global health for women has also seen some major boons, too. The number of mothers who die during childbirth has been reduced by almost 50 percent and HIV drug prices have fallen by more than 99 percent since 2000.

But we’re not done fighting yet. . . .

March 7, 2013 in International, Poverty, Pregnancy & Childbirth, Reproductive Health & Safety, Sexual Assault, Women, General | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

NYC Stirs Controversy with Posters on Teen Pregnancy

The New York Times: Posters on Teenage Pregnancy Draw Fire, by Kate Taylor:

The curly-haired baby looks out from the poster with sad eyes and tears dripping down his tawny cheeks.

“I’m twice as likely not to graduate high school because you had me as a teen,” the text next to his head reads.

In another poster, a dark-skinned little girl casts her eyes to the sky and says, “Honestly Mom ... chances are he won’t stay with you. What happens to me?”

These images, part of a public education campaign targeting teenage pregnancy that the city unveiled this week, are drawing mounting criticism from reproductive health advocates, women who had children as teenagers, and others . . . .


The two ads described here, in addition to stigmatizing pregnant teens and reinforcing stereotypes, are disturbing in the way they target teen mothers through the fictional accusations of their own babies.  Did the mayor's office forget that it takes two to create a pregnancy?  Blaming "bad mothers" is a time-worn, punitive, and utterly unproductive way to try to address the social realities of poverty and sex and race discrimination.  Read PPNYC's response to the ads here.


March 7, 2013 in Poverty, Pregnancy & Childbirth, State and Local News, Teenagers and Children | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Arkansas 12-Week Ban Reflects Schism Within Anti-Choice Movement

The New York Times: Arkansas Adopts a Ban on Abortions After 12 Weeks, by Erik Eckholm:

Arkansas adopted what is by far the country’s most restrictive ban on abortion on Wednesday — at 12 weeks of pregnancy, when a fetal heartbeat can typically be detected by abdominal ultrasound. . . .

Adoption of the law, called the Human Heartbeat Protection Act, is the first statewide victory for a restless emerging faction within the anti-abortion movement that has lost patience with the incremental whittling away at abortion rights — a strategy used by groups like National Right to Life and the Catholic Church while they wait for a more sympathetic Supreme Court.

“When is enough enough?” asked the bill’s sponsor in the legislature, Senator Jason Rapert . . . .


For more on this divide in the movement, see my article, Roe v. Wade's 40th Anniversary: A Moment of Truth for the Anti-Abortion-Rights Movement?


March 7, 2013 in Abortion Bans, Anti-Choice Movement, State and Local News, State Legislatures | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Israeli Health Official Calls for Investigation into Reported Forced Contraception on Ethiopian Immigrant Women

TIME: Did Israeli Doctors Force Contraception on Ethiopian Immigrants?, by Sorcha Pollak:

Israeli Deputy Health Minister Yaakov Litzman has called for an investigation into the reported administering of Depo-Provera contraceptive shots to Ethiopian immigrant women without consent. . . 

March 6, 2013 in Contraception, International, Race & Reproduction | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Surrogate Refuses Biological Family's Monetary Offer to Have Abortion

NBC Connecticut: Surrogate Gives Birth Against Biological Family's Wishes, by Josh Chapin:

The couple offered her $10,000 to have an abortion, but she refused.

When a Vernon woman was hired to be a surrogate in 2011, she never expected that the decision would lead to a more agonizing decision about the fate of a little girl, a battle in the courts and a move out of state so she had the power to make choices about the child's welfare. . . .

See also: - Vitals: $10,000 to abort? Surrogacy case reveals moral holes bioethicist says, by Arthur Caplan:

Crystal Kelley got paid $22,000 to have a baby. But that wasn’t the only offer the 29-year-old Connecticut mother of two received. After an utrasound at 21-weeks revealed significant medical issues, the parents offered her $10,000 more if she agreed to an abortion.

The gross immorality of that second offer tells us that there is a lot wrong with the first arrangement. It is intolerable that our society continues to put up with an unregulated, free market in hiring cash-starved women to make babies.  . . .

Washington Post - She The People blog: Surrogate mother refused abortion: Right? Wrong? Damned to hell?, by Aly Neel:

A surrogate mother and the couple that hired her make a painful discovery after an ultrasound: Their unborn child will have serious health problems and will possibly never have a “normal” life.

The biological parents, who say they cannot bring a child into the world to endure so much suffering, offer the surrogate, who is struggling to make ends meet, $10,000 to abort the baby. . . .

March 6, 2013 in Abortion, Assisted Reproduction, Bioethics | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Oklahoma Files Cert. Petition Seeking to Revive Law Imposing Conditions on Medication Abortions

SCOTUSblog: Oklahoma appeals on abortion, by Lyle Denniston:

Oklahoma officials, arguing that their state supreme court is repeatedly blocking state laws that restrict access to abortions, have asked the Supreme Court to revive a law that confined the use of any drug that induces a medical abortion.  The officials filed a petition Monday in the case of Cline v. Oklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Justice. (A docket number has not yet been assigned.) . . .

March 6, 2013 in Abortion, In the Courts, State and Local News, Supreme Court, Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP) | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Idaho Twenty-Week Ban Struck Down in Federal Court

The Associated Press is reporting that a federal judge in Idaho has struck down that state's 20-week abortion ban, which like other such bans is premised on the dubious theory that fetuses can perceive pain at this stage of pregnancy.  I have not yet seen the opinion, but it appears based on the AP story that the judge included among his grounds that the legislature was motivated by an improper purpose in passing the law.  If so, this would be a rare but welcome application of the largely dormant "purpose" prong of the Planned Parenthood v. Casey undue burden test, which provides that abortion restrictions are unconstitutional if they have the purpose or effect of placing an undue burden in the path of women seeking abortions.


March 5, 2013 in Abortion Bans, In the Courts, State and Local News | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

The Guardian Offers Timeline of "2012 War on Women"

The Guardian: The War on Women, by Heather Long:

2012 was a tough year for American females as various aspects of female health and reproduction repeatedly took center stage. Politicians and pundits, mainly Republican, made degrading and factually incorrect remarks about rape and contraception. But Democrats also left their mark with an ill-timed snipe at stay-at-home mom Ann Romney, reinvigorating the "mommy wars".

Here are the key moments in the 2012 War on Women . . . .

March 5, 2013 in 2012 Presidential Campaign, Abortion, Abortion Bans, Anti-Choice Movement, Congress, Contraception, Fetal Rights, In the Media, Mandatory Delay/Biased Information Laws, Parenthood, Politics, Pregnancy & Childbirth, Religion and Reproductive Rights, Reproductive Health & Safety, Sexual Assault, Sexuality, Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP) | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Overriding Governor's Veto, Arkansas Legislators Ban Abortion at 12 Weeks

NPR - The Two-Way blog: Arkansas Legislature Embraces Strictest U.S. Abortion Law, by Bill Chappell:

Arkansas has approved a law banning most abortions after 12 weeks of gestation, as both houses of the state's legislature vote to override a veto by Democratic Gov. Mike Beebe. The Republican-backed Human Heartbeat Protection Act will become the nation's most restrictive law. . . .

March 5, 2013 in Abortion Bans, State and Local News, State Legislatures | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

No End in Sight to GOP Ignorance and Insensitivity on Pregnancy Resulting from Rape

Huffington Post:  Celeste Greig, California Republican, Claims Pregnancy From Rape Is Rare:

Celeste greigThe president of California's oldest and largest GOP volunteer group took a wrong turn while trying to criticize GOP candidates' missteps on women's reproductive rights when she argued that pregnancies resulting from rape are rare "because the body is traumatized."

Celeste Greig leads the California Republican Assembly, which former President Ronald Reagan once called "the conscience of the Republican Party." It works to elect conservative Republicans to public office. . . . 

There is already a petition asking for Greig's resignation here.  

March 5, 2013 in Politics, Pregnancy & Childbirth, Sexual Assault | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, March 4, 2013

GOP Utah Lawmaker Compares Abortion to Cockfighting

The Salt Lake Tribune: Senator raises abortion issue in cock fighting debate, by David Montero:

A bill seeking to turn cock fighting into a felony took a detour during floor comments in the Utah Senate Monday when a Republican expressed dismay that the Legislature was looking to elevate the penalty for rooster fighting while abortion remained legal. . . .

"In a state where we can still allow people to kill their babies, we want to make it a felony to let chickens fight — the purpose for which they were raised," Christensen said. . . .

March 4, 2013 in Abortion, Politics, State Legislatures | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Arkansas Governor Vetoes 12-Week Abortion Ban

The Huffington Post: Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe Vetoes 12-Week Abortion Ban, by Laura Bassett:

Arkansas Governor Mike Beebe (D) vetoed a controversial bill on Monday that would ban abortions after just 12 weeks of pregnancy. If enacted, the bill would be the most extreme abortion restriction in the country.

Arkansas' newly GOP-led Senate gave final approval to the 12-week ban last week by a vote of 26-8. The bill includes exceptions for rape, incest, life of the mother and highly lethal fetal disorders. . . .


The Governor's veto of a 20-week abortion ban was overridden by the Arkansas legislature.

March 4, 2013 in Abortion Bans, State and Local News, State Legislatures | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

WNYC's Brian Lehrer Show Addresses Bioethical Questions Surrounding Reproductive Technology

WNYC - The Brian Lehrer Show: Ask a Bioethicist: Reproductive Technology:

We begin a series about medical ethics with Duke University bioethicist Nita Farahany, who sits on the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues. Each week, she'll discuss some of the thorniest bioethical conundrums of our day.

Today's topic: Reproductive technology. We want your suggestions of bioethical questions we should discuss. Should parents be able to choose the sex of their baby? Should there be age limitations on people who undergo in vitro fertilization? That kind of thing. Ask your question below and we'll tackle as many as we can.

The show airs on Tuesday, March 5.  Submit your question here.

March 4, 2013 in Assisted Reproduction, Bioethics, In the Media | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, March 2, 2013

What Will the Sequester Mean for Reproductive Health and Access?

Center for American Progress: Cutting Title X Family Planning in the Sequester Hurts Women’s Reproductive Health, by Lindsay Rosenthal:

If the automatic across-the-board budget cuts known as the sequester are allowed to take effect tomorrow, Title X—our nation’s family-planning program—could be cut by $15 million in fiscal year 2013.* The cut would be a significant blow to Title X, which has already been cut by more than $23 million over the past two fiscal years—limiting access to family-planning services and causing clinics to cut back on staff and hours.

For more than 40 years, Title X has served primarily low-income women, who rely heavily on community health centers for their reproductive health care. . . .

ThinkProgress: Five Ways The Sequester Will Harm Women, by Lindsay Rosenthal:

If sequestration is allowed to take effect as scheduled on March 1, $1.2 trillion will be automatically removed from the federal budget in across-the-board spending cuts that would potentially reverse our economic recovery. These cuts — which take money out of critical investments in education, public health services and research, disaster preparedness, and national security — would have devastating consequences in communities around the country and would harm all Americans in a number of ways.

Sequestration also institutes several cuts to key public investments that would disproportionately harm women. Low-income women and women of color will be hit hardest by the sequestration. Here are the top five ways in which the sequestration harms women . . . .

March 2, 2013 in Congress, Poverty, President/Executive Branch, Reproductive Health & Safety | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, March 1, 2013

What Continues to Motivate the Anti-Abortion-Rights Movement 40 Years After Roe?

The Washington Post (op-ed): Why pro-lifers keep fighting abortion, by Helen Alvaré & Meg T. McDonnell:

Pro-choice Americans must wonder from time to time what keeps pro-lifers going. Why don’t we lay down our signs, cease our marching and admit that we’ve been good and beaten for these 40 years since Roe v. Wade? One of us is a baby boomer, the other a millennial; our views may help others understand these things and, along the way, think about some rarely considered aspects of the U.S. experience with legal abortion. . . .


Two points in particular jumped out at me upon reading this op-ed.  First, Alvaré and McDonnell describe abortion as "the destruction of a human life, at its most vulnerable stage, with the consent of the mother."  Seeing the pregnant woman as complicit in "the destruction of human life" (although it is interesting that they shy from the word "murder") is certainly consistent with seeing a fertilized human egg as morally equivalent to a fully developed person.  However, the anti-choice movement typically disavows any desire to punish women for abortions, despite this complicity, preferring to cast women as helpless victims of predatory abortion doctors. This undermines any claim that embryos are persons, for it is highly doubtful that they would view with compassion mothers who "consent" to the "destruction" of their children once they are born. It would be enlightening to know how Alvaré and McDonnell feel about this issue.  

Second, Alvaré and McDonnell rightly point out that "poor and minority women and girls get the short end of the stick" when it comes to governmental support for child-rearing. To their credit, the authors blame Republicans as well as Democrats for this.  But the fact is, Republican policies are particularly hostile to mothers who struggle financially.  Yet the anti-choice movement chooses to direct its fervor toward preventing abortion rather than promoting policies to help low-income mothers.  Indeed, the states that enforce the most vehemently anti-abortion policies spend the least to educate children, facilitate adoption, and provide assistance to poor children.  

For more on the inconsistencies between the anti-abortion-rights movement's rhetoric and its positions, see my article, The Meaning of 'Life': Belief and Reason in the Abortion Debate.  For my assessment of the anti-abortion-rights movement forty years after Roe, see Roe v. Wade's 40th Anniversary: A Moment of Truth for the Anti-Abortion-Rights Movement?


March 1, 2013 in Abortion, Anti-Choice Movement | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)