Thursday, April 25, 2013

Proposed Rules Would Drop Contraception Training Rule for Family Practice Doctors

NPR: Family Doctors Consider Dropping Birth Control Training Rule, by Julie Rovner:

One of the more popular provisions of the federal health law requires that women be given much freer access to prescription methods of birth control. That includes not only the pill, but implants and IUDs as well.

But what happens if there are not enough doctors to prescribe those contraceptives?

That's exactly what worries some reproductive health advocates, as efforts are underway to rewrite rules governing the training of the nation's family doctors. . . .


Listen to the story here.


April 25, 2013 in Contraception | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Senate Bill Would Cover Some Abortions for Peace Corps Volunteers

The Washington Post:  Women’s health groups want Peace Corps volunteers to have insurance coverage for abortions, by Lisa Rein:

If a Peace Corps volunteer is raped and becomes pregnant as a result, she has to pay for an abortion herself, because the federal government refuses to cover the cost.

Yet women on the paid Peace Corps staff, along with other federal employees, federal prisoners, women on Medicaid and Native Americans, have long received insurance coverage for abortions in cases of rape or incest or if their health is in danger. In January, women in the military got the same access. . . . 

April 25, 2013 in Abortion, Congress, Sexual Assault | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Judge Announces He Will Permanently Enjoin North Dakota Medication Abortion Ban

RH Reality Check:  Judge To Permanently Block North Dakota Abortion Ban, by Jessica Mason Pielko:

Women in North Dakota got good news Thursday when District Court Judge Wickham Corwin announced at the conclusion of a three-day trial over the constitutionality of North Dakota’s medication abortion ban that he plans to issue a ruling permanently blocking the state’s onerous restrictions on medication abortion as unconstitutional. . . .

April 24, 2013 in Abortion, Abortion Bans, In the Courts, State and Local News, Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP) | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Gosnell Case Highlights Differing Views Over the Effects of TRAP Laws

NPR: Philadelphia Case Exposes Deep Rift In Abortion Debate, by Julie Rovner:

This is the sixth week of the trial of Dr. Kermit Gosnell, the physician charged with five counts of murder in the deaths of a woman and infants at the Philadelphia abortion clinic he owned and operated.

The case and its grisly details have prompted considerable debate about a variety of issues, including whether the media has covered it sufficiently.

But it has also laid bare some of the very issues at the heart of the still-simmering debate over abortion 40 years after the Supreme Court made it legal. Most directly, it raises the question of whether increasing regulation on abortion clinics make places like Gosnell's clinic more or less likely to exist. . . .


Listen to the story here.

April 24, 2013 in Abortion, Anti-Choice Movement, Poverty, Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP) | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Kansas Governor Scrawls "JESUS + Mary" On Sweeping Anti-Choice Bill As He Signs It Into Law

Feministing:  Kansas Gov signs massive anti-choice law, writes "JESUS + Mary" in notes, by Maya Dusenbery:

Last Friday, Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback signed a sweeping anti-choice [bill] into law. Among other things, the bill requires doctors to lie and tell patients that abortion is linked to breast cancer, and defines life as beginning at conception in the state constitution.

Before the signing ceremony, Gov. Brownback added a few hand-written notes to his remarks. According to a photo snapped by the AP, the words “JESUS + Mary” are scrawled front and center across the top. . . .


The text of the law is available here.


April 24, 2013 in Abortion, Abortion Bans, Mandatory Delay/Biased Information Laws, Religion and Reproductive Rights, State and Local News, State Legislatures | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

The Legacy of the Gosnell Case: Unnecessary, Burdensome Regulation of Abortion Providers

RH Reality Check:  While We're Debating the Gosnell Case, Anti-Choicers Are Getting to Work, by Gwen Emmons:

. . . Major news outlets have only recently begun to cover Kermit Gosnell’s murder trial, but coverage has focused on the sordid details of Gosnell’s clinic. What’s missing from the headlines is the legacy of the Gosnell case. In Pennsylvania, abortion providers and the women they serve are already feeling the sting of anti-choice legislators all too eager to use the Gosnell case as a flimsy excuse for rolling back reproductive rights and access even further in the state. And it’s only a matter of time until another state invokes Kermit Gosnell’s name in defense of yet another piece of anti-choice legislation. . . .

April 24, 2013 in Abortion, Anti-Choice Movement, Current Affairs, Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP) | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, April 22, 2013

Kansas Governor Signs Omnibus Abortion Legislation

ACLU press release: Kansas Governor Signs Law As Part of Political Push to Eliminate Access to Abortion:

TOPEKA, Kan. – Gov. Sam Brownback of Kansas signed an anti-abortion omnibus bill today that imposes a series of medically unnecessary measures designed to interfere with abortion care in the state. The new law could impose new taxes on a woman who obtains an abortion and forces doctors to tell patients about a supposed link between abortion and breast cancer — a risk that the National Cancer Institute, the American Cancer Society, and other medical experts roundly reject. The law also includes language about the legal rights of fertilized eggs, which lays the groundwork for even more extreme measures blocking access to abortion care.

"This sweeping anti-abortion measure is part of a larger effort by politicians throughout the country to try to eliminate access to abortion, one law at a time, one state at a time," said Jennifer Dalven, director of ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project. "Make no mistake, this is yet another line of attack in the War on Women and should be a wake-up call to anyone who believes that our politicians should not interfere in private decision-making."

April 22, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Should All Birth Control Pills - Not Just Emergency Contraception - Be Available Without a Prescription?

The New York Times: Is It Time for Off-the-Shelf Birth-Control Pills?, by Elizabeth Rosenthal:

WHEN a federal judge recently ordered the Food and Drug Administration to make the morning-after pill available to women of all ages without a prescription, the ruling was a political embarrassment for the Obama administration and unleashed protests from abortion foes and abstinence advocates. But that controversy may look like a tempest in a teapot compared with a broader and no less heated discussion that is roiling the medical community: should birth-control pills of any type require a doctor’s prescription? Or should they be available, like Tylenol, on pharmacy shelves? . . .

April 21, 2013 in Contraception | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

North Dakota Governor Signs 20-Week Abortion Ban

ACLU press release: North Dakota Governor Signs Another Law Restricting Access to Abortion:

BISMARCK, N.D. – The governor of North Dakota yesterday signed a bill that would ban abortions beginning at 20 weeks of pregnancy. This follows on the heels of the state passing other extreme measures, including a law that already bans most abortions in the state.  

“While North Dakota leads the pack of states seeking to outlaw abortion, extreme politicians around the country are trying to catch up,” said Jennifer Dalven, director of the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project. “Now is the time to tell our elected officials enough is enough. Politicians must stop interfering in personal and private decisions that should be made by a woman and her family.”


The bill is SB2368 and the text is available here.  Of course, North Dakota has also passed a much earlier ban that prohibits abortions starting around six weeks of pregnancy.  That ban is certain to be struck down.  This latest ban, too, is unconstitutional because it prohibits some abortions before fetal viability.


April 17, 2013 in Abortion Bans, State and Local News, State Legislatures | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Khiara M. Bridges on Pregnancy as Injury

Khiara M. Bridges (Boston University School of Law) has posted When Pregnancy Is an Injury: Rape, Law, and Culture on SSRN. Here is the abstract:     


This Article examines criminal statutes that grade more severely sexual assaults that result in pregnancy. These laws, which define pregnancy as a “substantial bodily injury,” run directly counter to positive constructions of pregnancy within culture. The fact that the criminal law, in this instance, reflects this negative, subversive understanding of pregnancy creates the possibility that this idea may be received within culture as a construction of pregnancy that is as legitimate as positive understandings. In this way, these laws create possibilities for the reimagining of pregnancy within law and society. Moreover, these laws recall the argumentation that proponents of abortion rights once made – argumentation that one no longer hears and sees in the debates surrounding abortion. However, recent developments in antiabortion argumentation – namely the notion accepted in Carhart II that it is abortion that injures women – counsel the retrieval of the argument that unwanted pregnancies are injuries to women. Thus, the sexual assault laws are means to legitimatize a claim that may serve as an effective counterdiscourse to prevailing antiabortion argumentation. 

April 17, 2013 in Abortion, Gonzales v. Carhart, Pregnancy & Childbirth, Scholarship and Research, Sexual Assault | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Federal Judge Temporarily Blocks Closure of Mississippi's Only Abortion Clinic

The New York Times:  Ruling Prevents Closing of Mississippi's Sole Abortion Clinic, by Campbell Robertson:

A federal judge in Mississippi on Monday blocked part of a state law that would have forced the closing of the state’s only abortion clinic. The ruling is not final, but it did keep the law from going into effect while a decision on its constitutionality is made, keeping Mississippi, at least temporarily, from becoming the first state in the country without an abortion clinic. . . .

April 16, 2013 in Abortion, In the Courts, State and Local News, Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP) | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Arkansas 12-Week Abortion Ban Challenged in Federal Court

The New York Times: Suit Seeks to Block Arkansas Abortion Law, by Erik Eckholm:

Supporters of abortion rights on Tuesday filed a challenge to the new Arkansas law banning most abortions at the 12th week of pregnancy, calling it a “violation of over 40 years of settled United States Supreme Court precedent” and a threat to “the rights, liberty and well-being of Arkansas women and their families.” . . .

April 16, 2013 in Abortion Bans, In the Courts, State and Local News | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Roundup of Media Analysis of Gosnell Case, its Significance, and the Purported Media "Blackout"

Feministing:  Quick Hit: Gosnell's clinic and the cost of dignity in health care, by Maya Dusenbery:

As we’ve already mentioned, the conservative claims of a liberal media “blackout” surrounding the trial of Kermit Gosnell are totally ridiculous. Feminist bloggers and journalists, including us, have been covering this terrible story from the beginning. Our own Lori wrote an article in the Grio two years ago on the racial segregation of Gosnell’s clinic and what this story says about safe abortion access for low-income women of color. . . .

The Atlantic: 14 Theories for Why Kermit Gosnell's Case Didn't Get More Media Attention, by Conor Friedersdorf

The New York Times - Public Editor's Journal: Politics Aside, the Gosnell Trial Deserves — and Is Getting — More Coverage, by Margaret Sullivan

Slate: Kermit Gosnell: The Alleged Mass-Murderer and the Bored Media, by David Weigel

The Atlantic: If More Funding Went to Safe, Legal Abortions, Would Kermit Gosnell Have Happened?, by Jeff Deeney

April 16, 2013 in Abortion, In the Courts, In the Media, Poverty, Race & Reproduction | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, April 15, 2013

Shakira Maxwell on Reproductive Rights in Jamaica

Shakira Maxwell (The University of the West Indies) has posted Fighting a Losing Battle? Defending Women's Reproductive Rights in Twenty-First Century Jamaica on SSRN. Here is the abstract:

Since 1975, the Government of Jamaica has acknowledged that the practice of unsafe abortions and high rates of maternal mortality in the island are a significant public health problem affecting women. Unfortunately, any attempt to focus on this issue through legal reform has often been sidelined by both religious and moral groups. In 2008 the issue came back on the Government’s agenda, however once more, the public discourse has been sidelined away from the main issues concerns women’s health. As a result, many women in the island continue to face health complications as a result of unsafe abortions which are practiced under unhealthy and unsanitary conditions. 

This paper will examine the most recent aspects of the debate on the legalization of abortion in Jamaica. It will also highlight the recommendations of the Abortion Policy Review (APR) Group which reviewed health implications in Jamaica and assessed existing laws in the wider Caribbean on abortion and conditions thereof. Using feminist analysis it will also explore the challenges faced by those arguing for legislative reform on abortion services in Jamaica within the larger framework of reproductive health and rights.

April 15, 2013 in Abortion, International, Reproductive Health & Safety, Scholarship and Research | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

How Obama’s Proposed Budget Affects Reproductive Rights

ACLU (blog): Reproductive Rights and Yesterday's Budget Release, by Sarah Lipton-Lubet:

President Obama yesterday released his proposed budget for fiscal year 2014. Here are five things you should know about how it affects reproductive rights:

Home Rule for the District of Columbia

As he has each year of his presidency, President Obama removed the D.C. abortion ban from his budget proposal. That ban prohibits the District of Columbia from using its own locally raised funds to pay for abortion care for low-income D.C. residents. By contrast, all other states are permitted to use non-federal revenues to pay for abortion care if they so choose. . . .

April 15, 2013 in Abortion, Congress, Poverty, President/Executive Branch, Reproductive Health & Safety, Sexuality Education | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Missouri Bill Could Affect Availability of Contraception

Branson Tri-Lakes News: Birth control availability may decrease, by Kris Collins:  Image1

Missouri legislators are in the process of passing a bill that could affect the availability of birth control in Missouri.

Senate Bill 126, filed by Sen. David Sater, states, “no pharmacy licensed in this state shall be required to carry or maintain in inventory any specific prescription or nonprescription drug or device.”

“This is a pro-business bill,” Sater said. “I just want to make sure businesses have freedoms. This is a pro-life bill, also.”. . .

April 15, 2013 in Contraception, State Legislatures | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

NYC Launches Sex Education iPhone App for Teens

Fox News Latino: New York City Launches Teen Sex Education iPhone App: Image1

New York City has pulled out all the stops in recent months to make sure the city’s teens are informed when it comes to their sexual health.

Most recently, the city’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene has launched the “Teens in NYC Protection +” app.

The app helps teens find clinics throughout the New York City area that offer everything from condoms to STD, HIV, and pregnancy tests. . . .

April 15, 2013 in Contraception, Reproductive Health & Safety, Sexuality Education, State and Local News, Teenagers and Children | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, April 12, 2013

College Students Can Glean Lessons from State Activity on Abortion

USA Today: Lessons for students from recent abortion cases, by Rebecca Wickel:

5 lessons that college students can takeaway from recent, high profile abortion cases: Know your representatives, read the fine print, go off campus, take a stand and stay informed.

New laws enacted in Arkansas and North Dakota represent some of the country's most extreme legislation against abortion. Now, both states will go head-to-head in court with abortion-rights advocates who insist the bills violate the Supreme Court's 1973 Roe v. Wade decision.

The debate and the controversy surrounding it have many consequences in both Arkansas and North Dakota, yet they can teach college students anywhere how to get involved, take a stance and become educated. 

April 12, 2013 in Abortion, Abortion Bans, Politics, State Legislatures | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Husband of Indian Woman Who Died After Being Denied an Abortion in Ireland Comments on Inquest

The Guardian: Praveen Halappanavar: abortion inquest is tough but I feel vindicated, by Henry McDonald:

Husband of Indian dentist who died after being refused an abortion says he looks forward to 'bright days ahead'

After a week listening to often harrowing testimony about how his wife pleaded with doctors for an emergency abortion, Praveen Halappanavar has said the inquest into her death has vindicated his version of events surrounding her final moments last autumn. . . .

April 12, 2013 in Abortion Bans, In the Courts, International | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Why Is Trend on Abortion Regulation Counter to That of Gay Rights and Marijuana Use?

The Washington Post - The Fix blog: If gay marriage and pot are now OK, why isn’t abortion?, by Juliet Eilperin & Scott Clement:

As abortion opponents are scoring a string of victories in the states, it raises a question: why are conservatives gaining ground in this one arena, even if they’re losing in the battle over gay marriage and marijuana?

A few factors help explain this contradiction. . . .

April 12, 2013 in Abortion, Current Affairs, Public Opinion | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)