Tuesday, June 18, 2013
The Atlantic: The Point Michael Burgess Was Trying to Make About Fetal Masturbation, by David A. Graham:
The Texas lawmaker's comments are really just another way to talk about the doggedly debated topic of whether fetuses feel pain.
Another week, another awkward remark about pregnancy from a Republican lawmaker.
Last week, it was Rep. Trent Franks' comments about the frequency of pregnancy from rape, the validity and meaning of which have been subject to a tediously hair-spliting debate. This week, it's Rep. Michael Burgess, a Texan, with this:
Watch a sonogram of a 15-week baby, and they have movements that are purposeful. They stroke their face. If they're a male baby, they may have their hand between their legs. If they feel pleasure, why is it so hard to believe that they could feel pain? . . .
Time - Swampland blog: House Passes 20-Week Abortion Ban, by Kate Pickert:
In what some conservatives are calling the most important abortion measure to be considered by Congress since 2003’s partial birth abortion ban, the House today passed a bill that would make it illegal to terminate pregnancies after 20 weeks. The bill, which passed 228-196, is not expected to have an impact on federal abortion law. The Senate is unlikely to take up the bill and the White House has already threatened to veto such legislation if it ever lands on President Obama’s desk. . . .
The Washington Post - The House abortion bill likely won’t make it into law. But it still matters., by Juliet Eilperin:
The House bill that would ban abortions starting at 20 weeks, which passed Tuesday night 228 to 196, presents a clear challenge to federal law. But the White House has issued a veto threat, and the measure lacks the votes right now to pass the Senate.
Does it matter?
From a political standpoint, the answer is yes. . . .
Before passing the ban, GOP leaders added an exception for cases of rape, undermining all the moving rhetoric about "welcom[ing] young children who can feel pain into the human family." "Young children" who are the product of rape don't get welcomed into the human family?
CNN: House GOP leaders add rape exception to abortion bill, by Deirdre Walsh:
House Republican leaders are hoping to head off a repeat of last week's controversy over the issue of whether there should be an exception for cases of rape and incest in a GOP sponsored bill banning late term abortions by adding that exception before the House debates the measure on Tuesday. . . .
Sunday, June 16, 2013
Newsday (editorial): GOP in Albany should allow a vote on abortion bill:
The Republican lawmakers of New York once understood that leadership meant facing the most controversial, emotional issues of the times. The issues that so directly affect individual lives. The issues that the majority of the public cared about above the narrow narrative of routine politics.
These lawmakers understood that more than four decades ago, when state GOP leaders made key decisions which led to the liberalization of abortion laws in New York. It was a time when lawmakers of both parties put principle ahead of their careers. . . .
Politico: Evangelicals to GOP: Don't betray us on abortion, by James Hohmann:
After Todd Akin last year and Trent Franks last week, abortion is the last topic many national Republicans want the political conversation to focus on.
Yet social conservatives in town this weekend for the Faith & Freedom Coalition conference said the GOP would be making a grave mistake to ignore the hot-button culture-war issue. To the contrary, they believe it’s key to the party’s fortunes in the 2014 midterms and beyond. . . .
The New York Times - Well blog: A Different Kind of Fatherhood, by David Tuller:
I came out long before gay men yearned for weddings, much less baby showers. In 1979, when I was 22, New York offered young men like me many freedoms, including the freedom to not have to propagate. Like many other gay men — and like many straight men — I had not been close to my own father. I could not imagine wiping runny noses, attending parent-teacher conferences or playing Candy Land.
In my 30s I moved to San Francisco and, to my surprise, found myself contemplating parenthood. . . .
The New York Times: Behind Scolding of the F.D.A., a Complex and Gentle Judge, by Pam Belluck:
The judge whose vehement ruling ordered the Obama administration to surrender and make the morning-after pill available to all ages without a prescription is strikingly soft-spoken, so much so that to hear him in chambers, a visitor must sometimes lean forward from the raspberry-and-chartreuse striped sofa that is a legacy from his parents’ 1940s Brooklyn living room.
And for a man who berated the government for acting in “bad faith” and placing politics over science, Judge Edward R. Korman’s own politics are hard to pigeonhole. . . .
Thursday, June 13, 2013
The New York Times: Federal Plan for ‘Morning After’ Pill’s Sale Is Approved, by Pam Belluck:
The long-running lawsuit over emergency contraception finally ended Wednesday evening when a federal judge granted the Obama administration’s proposal to make the best-known morning-after pillavailable to all ages without a prescription. . . .
The Wall Street Journal: Stores Prepare to Widen Access to Plan B Pill, by Jennifer Corbett Dooren:
Drugstores are preparing to change how they stock and sell a widely used emergency contraceptive after the Obama administration agreed to allow the pill to be sold over the counter to customers of all ages. . . .
The New York Times - Motherlode blog: I Got Pregnant at 14. Ask Me About Plan B., by Liz Henry:
When I was 14, I started having sex. At 15, I became a mother.
Over the past decade, I have watched as two presidents disregarded safety and common sense to impose arbitrary age restrictions on over-the-counter emergency contraception for women and teenagers. I’m delighted by the news that the Obama administration has decided to end its efforts to restrict that access based on age, but I can’t stop thinking about the hypocrisy that has only just come to an end: when I became pregnant as a young teenager, my age would have restricted my access to a morning-after pill. But it didn’t make one iota of difference when it came to agreeing to place my daughter with an adoptive family. . . .
FoxNews.com - op-ed: Plan B for all girls -- science finally trumps politics and emotion, by Cathleen London:
Monday, the FDA issued a statement declaring it would approve Plan B One Step (a form of emergency contraception) for over the counter sale without restriction.
It is about time.
This decision allows science to trump politics and emotion. . . .
The New York Times Magazine: What Happens to Women Who Are Denied Abortions?, by Joshua Lang:
When Diana Greene Foster, a demographer and an associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of California, San Francisco, first began studying women who were turned away from abortion clinics, she was struck by how little data there were. A few clinics kept records, but no one had compiled them nationally. And there was no research on how these women fared over time. What, Foster wondered, were the consequences of having to carry an unwanted pregnancy to term? Did it take a higher psychological or economic toll than having an abortion? Or was the reverse true — did the new baby make up for any social or financial difficulties? . . .
ABC News - The Note blog: Pelosi Slaps Down Reporters Asking Questions on Abortion, by John Parkinson
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi today bickered with a conservative reporter who asked her to explain the moral difference between live-birth murder and abortions executed during the final four months of pregnancy.
Pelosi began her news conference today by criticizing a Republican-sponsored bill to ban abortions after 20 weeks without exceptions for rape and incest. The bill, H.R. 1797, the “Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act,” passed out of the House Judiciary committee Wednesday behind GOP support. . . .
The New York Times: House Panel Advances Bill to Restrict Abortions, by Jeremy W. Peters:
The 20-to-12 vote by the House Judiciary Committee on the Republican-sponsored Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act is the latest instance in which abortion opponents, emboldened by a series of victories in the states, have pursued a new legislative strategy that aims to focus public attention on the disputed theory that fetuses can feel pain. . . .
Tuesday, June 11, 2013
The New York Times: U.S. Drops Bid to Limit Sales of Morning-After Pill, by Michael D. Shear & Pam Belluck:
The Obama administration has decided to stop trying to block over-the-counter availability of the best-known morning-after contraceptive pill for all women and girls, a move fraught with political repercussions for President Obama. . . .
Monday, June 10, 2013
The New York Times: Justices Decline Case on Graphic Abortion Images, by Adam Liptak:
The Supreme Court on Monday let stand a court order barring abortion protesters from displaying images of aborted fetuses in places where they might disturb children. As is their custom, the justices gave no reasons for declining to hear the case. . . .
Friday, June 7, 2013
I. Glenn Cohen and Travis G. Coan (both of Harvard Law School) have posted Can You Buy Sperm Donor Identification? An Experiment. Here is the abstract:
In the United States, most sperm donations are anonymous. By contrast, many developed nations require sperm donors to be identified, typically requiring new sperm (and egg) donors to put identifying information into a registry that is made available to a donor-conceived child once they reach the age of 18. Recently, advocates have pressed U.S. states to adopt these registries as well, and state legislatures have indicated openness to the idea. This study re-lies on a self-selected convenience sample to experimentally examine the economic implications of adopting a mandatory sperm donor identification regime in the U.S. Our results support the hypothesis that subjects in the treatment (non-anonymity) condition need to be paid significantly more, on average, to donate their sperm. When restricting our attention to only those subjects that would ever actually consider donating sperm, we find that individuals in the control condition are willing-to-accept an average of $$43 to donate, while individuals in the treatment group are willing-to-accept an aver-age of $74. These estimates suggest that it would cost roughly $31 per sperm donation, at least in our sample, to require donors to be identified. This price differential roughly corresponds to that of a major U.S. sperm bank that operates both an anonymous and identify release programs in terms of what they pay donors.