Friday, April 12, 2013

Virginia Board of Health Passes Onerous TRAP Rules That Could Force Clinics to Close

Reuters: Virginia becomes latest state to tighten abortion rules, by Gary Robertson:

Virginia on Friday required abortion clinics to meet stricter hospital-style standards that could force some go out of business, making it the latest state to tighten rules on the procedure.

The rules, passed overwhelmingly by the Virginia Board of Health, could force abortion providers to undertake costly renovations, widening hallways and installing new ventilation system and awnings. Opponents of the move said it could force some to close, while supporters contended it would improve safety.

Supporters of the new rules burst into applause after the panel's 11-2 vote, while opponents erupted in shouts of "shame." Board Chairman Bruce Edwards ordered police to clear the hearing room to end the tumult. . . .

April 12, 2013 in Abortion, State and Local News, Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP) | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Neil S. Siegel and Reva B. Siegel on Equality Arguments for Abortion Rights

UCLA Law Review Discourse has published Equality Arguments for Abortion Rights, by Neil S. Siegel (Duke University School of Law) & Reva B. Siegel (Yale Law School).  Here is the abstract:

Roe v. Wade grounds constitutional protections for women’s decision whether to end a pregnancy in the Due Process Clauses. But in the forty years since Roe, the U.S. Supreme Court has come to understand the abortion right as an equality right, as well as a liberty right. In this Essay, we describe some distinctive features of equality arguments for abortion rights. We then show how, over time, equality arguments have appeared in the opinions of the Court and of the justices. Finally, we explain why there may be independent political significance in grounding abortion rights in equality values.

April 12, 2013 in Abortion, Scholarship and Research, Supreme Court | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Boston College Cracks Down on Safe Sex Group's Distribution of Condoms

The New York Times: Ban on Free Condoms Jeopardizes Group’s Work With Catholic College, by Jess Bidgood:

Chelsea Lennox, a junior at Boston College, the Gothic university overlooking this natty Boston suburb, picked up a bouquet of brightly colored condom packages and put them into the envelope that she views as a tiny beacon of sexual health resources at the deeply Catholic institution.

“We have S.T.I. facts, birth control choices, how to choose one, and then Planned Parenthood locations and resources,” Ms. Lennox said of the contents, ready for distribution. . . .

April 9, 2013 in Contraception, Religion and Reproductive Rights, Sexuality Education, Sexually Transmitted Disease | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Alabama Governor Signs Burdensome TRAP Law

The Raw Story: Alabama governor signs bill that may close state’s few remaining abortion clinics, by Stephen C. Webster:

Alabama on Tuesday became the latest state to tightly regulate facilities where abortions are performed, placing onerous new requirements on doctors that could force the state’s five remaining abortion clinics to shut down.

“As a physician, and as a governor, I am proud to sign this legislation,” Governor Robert Bentley (R)said in an advisory. “This bill provides appropriate standards of care. It has been endorsed by pro-life groups across Alabama. This is a key piece of legislation in the House Republican Agenda, and I am honored to stand with legislative leaders and sign this bill.” . . .

April 9, 2013 in Abortion, State and Local News, Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP) | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Arizona Governor Refuses Anti-Abortion Provision in State Medicaid Program Brewer omits anti-abortion provision in Medicaid plan, by Howard Fischer:  Image1

PHOENIX -- Saying the move would make no sense, Gov. Jan Brewer on Friday refused to insert an anti-abortion provision into her plan to expand the state's Medicaid program.

Brewer noted she signed legislation last year to preclude funds from the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System from being used to pay for services provided by Planned Parenthood.

State and federal laws already preclude public funds from paying for elective abortions. But proponents said they feared that these family planning dollars would end up underwriting the organization's abortion costs. . . .

April 9, 2013 in Abortion, Poverty, State and Local News, Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP) | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, April 5, 2013

Federal Court Rules Government Must Remove Restrictions on Emergency Contraception

The New York Times: Judge Orders Morning-After Pill Available for All Ages, by Pam Belluck:

A federal judge ruled Friday that the government must make the most common morning-after pill available over the counter for all ages, instead of requiring a prescription for girls 16 and younger. In his ruling, he also accused the federal government of “bad faith” in dealing with the requests to make the pill universally available. . . .

April 5, 2013 in Contraception, In the Courts, President/Executive Branch, Teenagers and Children | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Constant Litigation Over Abortion Restrictions Does Harm Even When The Measures Are Blocked

The New Republic: Fetal Heartbeat Abortion Laws Are Dangerous Even If Judges Reject Them, by Molly Redden:  

On March 6, the Arkansas legislature enacted the toughest abortion law in the nation, banning the procedure after 12 weeks of pregnancy. The accomplishment stood for all of 20 days before North Dakota, with a law Gov. Jack Dalrymple signed on Tuesday, banned abortion at about six weeks. Both laws prohibit abortions once providers can detect a fetal heartbeat, a milestone with no meaning to the federal laws governing abortion. (The Arkansas law requires providers to do so with an abdominal ultrasound, and the North Dakota one by any technology available, including a transvaginal probe, which can detect a heartbeat weeks earlier than an abdominal ultrasound.) The North Dakota law, by requiring that providers try to detect a heartbeat so early, effectively bans abortions for women who might not even realize they are pregnant. In practice, it might make transvaginal ultrasounds mandatory for women seeking abortions early in their pregnancies.1 But the effects of these laws are not intended to be felt only by women living in Arkansas and North Dakota. The people who support these laws dream that they will provide a legal basis for overturning Roe v. Wade. . . .

April 4, 2013 in Abortion, Abortion Bans, Anti-Choice Movement, In the Courts, Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP) | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

NGOs Challenge Speech-Related Conditions Placed on Federal Funds for Global HIV/AIDS Prevention

SCOTUSblog - SCOTUS for law students: SCOTUS for law students: Prostitution and Free Speech, by Stephen Wermiel:

Prostitution seems like an unlikely topic for a battle over freedom of speech, but that is precisely the focus of an important case to be argued in late April that tests the limits of the federal government’s ability to attach conditions to federal spending.

The case is Agency for International Development v. Alliance for Open Society International, Inc., to be argued on April 22.

The dispute involves a challenge by nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) to regulations implementing a federal law that provides funds to help combat the spread of HIV and AIDS throughout the world. . . .

April 4, 2013 in Congress, International, Sexually Transmitted Disease, Supreme Court | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Washington State House Passes Bill Requiring Health Insurers to Cover Abortions

Jezebel: Washington State Bill Would Require All Health Insurers to Cover Abortion, by Katie J.M. Baker: Image1

A reproductive rights-related bill that wouldn't shut down every Planned Parenthood clinic in the state, make women wait approximately 10,000 years to get an abortion or otherwise effectively overturn Roe v. Wade miraculously passed the Washington State House and might very well pass the Senate. It's almost as if the state's politicians actually believe ladies should have control over their own uteri! . . .

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

Indiana House Passes Bill Targeting Providers of Medication Abortion

Reuters: Indiana House passes bill aimed at limiting use of abortion pill, by Susan Guyett:

The Indiana House on Tuesday approved a bill requiring clinics that administer the so-called abortion pill to also have full surgical facilities, a move that would force Planned Parenthood to halt all abortion services at a central Indiana clinic. . . .

April 4, 2013 in Abortion, State Legislatures, Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP) | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

North Dakota's Sole Abortion Clinic Vows to Stay Open

The Washington Post - WonkBlog: North Dakota's only abortion clinic isn't going anywhere, by Sarah Kliff:

Tammi Kromenaker directs the Red River Women’s Clinic, the only abortion clinic in North Dakota. With three full-time staffers, it serves women in North Dakota, South Dakota and parts of Minnesota. The clinic, in Fargo, N.D., has been open for 15 years now, since 1998. . . . 

April 4, 2013 in Abortion, Abortion Bans, State and Local News, Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP) | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

North Carolina Sterilizations Reexamined

Charlotte Observer: Legacy of N.C. sterilization scrutinized, by Ann Doss Helms:

As N.C. lawmakers revive the question of victim compensation, students and professors gathered at Wake Forest University on Thursday for a two-day conference on the impact of the state’s eugenic sterilization program.

From 1929 to 1974, long after most states abandoned similar efforts, the Eugenics Board of North Carolina authorized sterilization of roughly 7,600 women, men and children who were deemed unfit for parenthood. Mental illness, epilepsy and “feeble-mindedness” – often gauged by low scores on now-discredited IQ tests – were grounds for sterilization, with or without the patient’s consent. . . .

April 4, 2013 in Conferences and Symposia, Sterilization | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Dr. Tiller's Clinic Reopens

Yahoo! News/Reuters: Kansas abortion clinic reopens four years after doctor's murder, by Kevin Murphy:

A Kansas abortion clinic closed since the 2009 murder of its doctor, one of the few physicians in the country who performed late-term abortions, reopened on Wednesday in Wichita, the owner of the clinic said.

The clinic has been closed since Dr. George Tiller was slain in a Wichita church in May 2009. Scott Roeder is serving a life sentence over the slaying after testifying that he killed Tiller, 67, to stop abortions. . . .

April 4, 2013 in Abortion, Anti-Choice Movement, State and Local News | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Alabama Passes Burdensome TRAP Law

It seems as if the press is starting to understand and describe incremental restrictions as part of a broader movement to dismantle abortion rights:

The Christian Science Monitor - DC Decoder: Alabama joins flood of states restricting abortion. What's behind this?, by Linda Feldmann:

The Alabama and Virginia legislatures just passed new measures, following stricter actions in North Dakota and Arkansas. To understand this latest wave, look to the tea party.

Alabama has joined North Dakota and Arkansas in taking steps to enact tough new restrictions on abortion.

The Alabama bill, passed by the state Legislature late Tuesday, includes a requirement that an abortion provider have admitting rights at a local hospital – a rule that may sound minor, but could prove challenging to achieve in a state with strong opposition to abortion. Supporters say it is aimed at protecting women’s health, while opponents say it is medically unnecessary and aimed at denying women access to abortion. . . .

The New York Times: Alabama Legislature Passes New Limits on Abortion Clinics, by Erik Eckholm:

The Alabama Legislature late Tuesday adopted stringent new regulations for abortion clinics that supporters called a step to protect women but that others called medically unnecessary and a disguised effort to force the closing of the state’s five abortion clinics. . . .

April 4, 2013 in Abortion, In the Media, State and Local News, State Legislatures, Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP) | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Steven Resnicoff on Abortion, Assisted Reproductive Technologies, and Jewish Law

Steven H. Resnicoff (DePaul University College of Law) has posted Family Planning and Government Regulation - Jewish Law Perspectives on SSRN. Here is the abstract:  Image1

Jewish law highly prizes human life. It strongly promotes human reproduction and the protection of human health. For these reasons, Jewish law generally opposes abortion. Governmental measures that would require Jews or Jewish organizations to assist or enable conduct that violates Jewish law, such as religiously impermissible abortions, would impinge on their religious freedom. In addition Jewish law usually encourages humankind’s creative use of intellect and technology to accomplish desired objectives, such as curing and preventing physical infirmities and even more so with respect to saving human life.

Jewish law authorities have manifested a much more ambivalent attitude regarding the use of modern reproductive technologies. There is a consensus that Jewish law does not require extraordinary measures be used to create human life. However, authorities are acutely sensitive to the fact that many people unable to reproduce in the traditional manner yearn to have children. Moreover, some Jewish law authorities believe that by using certain modern reproductive technologies, a person may fulfill a religious duty to procreate. Nevertheless, other authorities argue that some such technologies actually violate Jewish law. Furthermore, even if the use of particular technologies is permitted, their use, or their possible misuse, could cause considerable societal harm. 

This paper, which emerged from a conference held by the DePaul University Health Law Institute, examines these complicated issues in a way that makes the relevant Jewish precepts readily accessible.

April 4, 2013 in Abortion, Assisted Reproduction, Religion and Reproductive Rights, Scholarship and Research | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

North Dakota Legislature Shifts Focus from Banning Abortion to Blocking Sex Ed

Healthwatch: North Dakota lawmakers push new attack on Planned Parenthood, by Sam Baker:

Planned Parenthood is fighting to save a sex-education program in North Dakota that is under attack just as the state has passed the most restrictive abortion law in the country.

The North Dakota Legislature is considering a measure that would likely cut off state funding for a comprehensive sex-ed program supported by Planned Parenthood and North Dakota State University.

"This is incredibly unusual. No state has tried to block a comprehensive sex education program like this, ever," Elizabeth Nash, state issues manager for the Guttmacher Institute, told reporters Monday. . . .

April 3, 2013 in Abortion Bans, Sexuality Education, State Legislatures, Teenagers and Children | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Linda Greenhouse and Reva Siegel on Roe, Perry, and Court-Caused Backlash

Linda Greenhouse (Yale Law School) and Reva Siegel (Yale Law School) have posted Backlash to the Future? From Roe to Perry on SSRN. Here is the abstract:

Does a judicial decision that vindicates minority rights inevitably give birth to a special kind of backlash, a more virulent reaction than legislation achieving the same result would produce? We examine this question with respect to Roe v. Wade, so often invoked as the paradigmatic case of court-caused backlash, and with the pending marriage cases in mind. As we have shown, conflict over abortion escalated before the Supreme Court ever ruled in Roe, driven by movements struggling over legislative reform and Republican Party efforts to recruit voters historically aligned with the Democratic Party. These and other features of the abortion conflict suggest that the Court's decision in Roe was not the abortion conflict's sole or even its principal cause.

When change through adjudication or legislation threatens the status quo, it can prompt counter-mobilization and "backlash." We do not doubt that adjudication can prompt backlash. But we do doubt that adjudication is distinctively more likely than legislation to prompt backlash and that the abortion conflict illustrates this supposed property of adjudication. Advocates concerned about these questions have to make in-context and on-balance judgments that consider not only the costs but also the benefits of engagement.

April 3, 2013 in Abortion, Scholarship and Research, Sexuality, Supreme Court | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)