Wednesday, July 31, 2013
. . . It seemed like a typical day at the Jackson Women's Health Organization in Jackson, Miss., the only place in the entire state where women can get a legal abortion. For more than a decade, the clinic has been the lone abortion provider in Mississippi, a state that has some of the strictest abortion laws in the country.
But this day was different. Everybody on both sides of the fence expected the clinic to be shut down by the state within a few days. . . .
Watch the full story on "Nightline" TONIGHT at 12:35 a.m. ET. . . .
NPR News: Survey Shows Regional Divide On Abortion:
Trancript available here.
NPR - It's All Politics blog: Abortion Drives Bigger Wedge Between Red And Blue States, by Frank James:
Regional disparities over the abortion issue have grown during the past two decades, leading to an ever widening gulf between the nation's most conservative and most liberal regions.
A new Pew Research Center survey reports that an eight-state region — Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas, Texas and Oklahoma — has grown significantly more conservative when it comes to abortion, with opposition to legal abortion increasing by 12 percentage points since 1995-96. That's the biggest jump of any region in the nation over that period. . . .
The Washington Post - The Fix blog: When it comes to abortion restrictions, geography matters, by Scott Clement & Julia Eilperin:
As the push to impose new abortion restrictions gains momentum across the country, it’s worth keeping this key fact in mind: geography matters.
Both polling and moves by legislatures across the country have made it clear that sharp regional differences, as well as partisan ones, help determine which states are rewriting their abortion laws and which ones aren’t. . . .
The Columbus Dispatch: Restrictions Forcing a Few Abortion Clinics to Close, by Catherine Candisky:
Ohio women have fewer places to go for an abortion, and access is expected to become more limited with newly passed state regulations that reduce access to the procedure.
Two of Ohio’s 13 licensed abortion clinics have closed in recent months, and a third is expected to shut down in the coming weeks. More closings are possible. . . .
The New York Times: HPV Vaccine Not Reaching Enough Girls, C.D.C. Says, by Sabrina Tavernise:
The very low vaccination rate for teenage girls against the human papillomavirus — the most common sexually transmitted infection and a principal cause of cervical cancer — did not improve at all from 2011 to 2012, and health officials on Thursday said a survey found that doctors were often failing to bring it up or recommend it when girls came in for other reasons. . . .
Sunday, July 28, 2013
Fox News/The Wall Street Journal: North Carolina offers $10 million for victims of forced-sterilization program:
North Carolina will spend $10 million to compensate men and women who were sterilized in the state's eugenics program, which was among the most extensive and long-running of its kind.
North Carolina sterilized 7,600 people from 1929 to 1974 who were deemed socially or mentally unfit. Victims were as young as 10 years old and nearly all were sterilized forcibly or with inadequate consent, according to the state. . . .
Saturday, July 27, 2013
The Catholic cathedral in the Chilean capital Santiago is to remain closed for five days after it was vandalised by pro-abortion activists on Thursday.
About 5,000 protesters marched through Santiago in support of an 11-year-old girl who was raped, fell pregnant and is not allowed to have an abortion.
Some 100 demonstrators entered the cathedral, wrecking confessional booths and shouting insults at worshippers. . . .
CHICAGO – The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit today ruled against a Pennsylvania company that makes wooden cabinets and furniture and its owners that wished to avoid compliance with the federal rule requiring employers to provide insurance coverage for contraception. The court upheld a lower court's denial of a preliminary injunction.
This case is one of more than 60 across the country addressing the rule mandating contraception coverage. The American Civil Liberties Union filed a friend-of-the-court brief in the case, as well as in similar cases recently heard by three other courts of appeals. The ACLU's brief in support of the federal rule urged the court to require Conestoga Wood Specialties Corporation to comply with the requirement to provide employees with health insurance coverage for all preventive services, including contraceptive care. With this decision, there is now a split in the circuits.
"While the Constitution ensures that we are entitled to our religious beliefs, it also safeguards against having someone else's beliefs imposed upon us," said Louise Melling, deputy legal director of the ACLU. "Businesses cannot deny women coverage for something as fundamental as contraception by using the owners' personal beliefs as an excuse for discrimination."
For more information on the cases challenging the federal contraceptive coverage mandate, go to:
The decision can be found here:
Thursday, July 25, 2013
North Carolina's Senate passed a restrictive abortion bill Thursday, and it now heads to Gov. Pat McCrory, who is expected to sign it.
The bill was passed by North Carolina's House of Representatives this month.
The bill would place requirements on clinics that family planning advocates say would make it hard for them to stay in business. Among the requirements is the presence of a doctor when an abortion is being performed.
I was interviewed for a story about this bill in the Daily Tar Heel: Abortion bill battles heat up nationwide, by Tara Jeffries.
Senate Appropriations Committee Votes to Expand Abortion Coverage for Women of D.C. and the Peace Corps
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 25, 2013
CONTACT: Meghan Groob, 202-417-7547, [email protected]
WASHINGTON – The Senate Appropriations Committee voted today to expand abortion coverage by lifting two separate coverage bans for D.C. residents and Peace Corps volunteers. The State and Foreign Operations Appropriations bill includes a provision to bring the same coverage for abortion care to Peace Corps volunteers and trainees as available in other areas of federal law. The committee also effectively voted to end the D.C. abortion ban – which prevents Washington, D.C., from using its own locally raised funds to pay for abortion care for low-income women – by excluding the ban from any of appropriations bills.
"As many of the states continue their march to outlaw abortion, it's encouraging to see the Senate vote to restore equity and fairness to two groups of women who have been unfairly targeted in the past," said Vania Leveille, American Civil Liberties Union senior legislative council. "With these votes, we are one step closer to the day when all women have access to the reproductive health care coverage they need, whatever their situation."
Under current policy, the Peace Corps is prohibited from providing abortion coverage for volunteers with no exceptions – unlike other federal abortion coverage restrictions, which have exceptions for when a woman's life is endangered, or if she is the survivor of rape or incest. The Peace Corps equity provision in the State and Foreign Operations bill would end the practice of singling out Peace Corps volunteers by ensuring abortion coverage in cases of life endangerment, rape, and incest. Earlier this year, the late Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) introduced the Peace Corps Equity Act, which puts forward the same equity provisions.
The D.C. abortion ban was reinstated in 2011 after being reversed in 2009. The ACLU has long sought an end to the ban, arguing that Congress should respect the District of Columbia's autonomy and allow it to use, like other states, its own local, non-federal revenue to provide abortion care to women enrolled in Medicaid.
Tuesday, July 23, 2013
Roger Magnusson (University of Sydney) has posted Law's Role in Promoting Sexual Health in Australia on SSRN. Here is the abstract:
This paper explains some of the principle ways in which public health laws seek to influence sexual behaviour and rates of transmission of STIs (sexually transmissible infections), with particular reference to HIV. It then presents two competing models for identifying, evaluating and debating the values inherent in legal and policy responses to STIs in Australia. These are, firstly, the “contain and control” model inherited from historical responses to contagious diseases, and secondly, a “human rights” model, which seeks to implement a harm minimization approach to STIs and assumes a happy alignment, in most circumstances, between the public health interest and individual rights and interests. Elements of both approaches are evident in Australian laws responding to HIV and other STIs. Despite the acknowledged success of Australia’s response to HIV, the rate of new infections is rising, contributing to debate about the appropriate limits of a human rights-focused approach. The paper evaluates, in particular, debates about the persistent criminalization of HIV and STI transmission as a public health tool; the policy challenges posed by risk-seeking behavior; and the challenge to “HIV exceptionalism” posed by the “test and treat” strategy in the United States, which emphasizes opt-out HIV testing and wider use of HIV test data.
The New York Times: Report Finds Gradual Fall in Female Genital Cutting in Africa, by Celia W. Dugger:
A comprehensive new assessment of the ancient practice of female genital cutting has found a gradual but significant decline in many countries, even in some where it remains deeply entrenched.
Teenage girls are now less likely to have been cut than older women in more than half of the 29 countries in Africa and the Middle East where the practice is concentrated, according to the assessment by the United Nations Children’s Fund. . . .
The Boston Globe: Plan B One-Step gets exclusive rights, by Deborah Kotz:
The US Food and Drug Administration decided late Monday night to grant exclusive rights to Teva Pharmaceuticals to put its brand name form of emergency contraception on drugstore shelves without any age restrictions for the next three years. Plan B One-Step, Teva’s product, has started to appear in some drugstores this week on shelves next to spermicides and pregnancy tests. . . .
Center for Reproductive Rights press release: Federal Judge in ND Blocks the Nation's Earliest and Most Extreme Abortion Ban:
. . . According to U.S. District Judge Daniel L. Hovland's ruling today:
"The State has extended an invitation to an expensive court battle over a law restricting abortions that is a blatant violation of the constitutional guarantees afforded to all women. The United States Supreme Court has unequivocally said that no state may deprive a woman of the choice to terminate her pregnancy at a point prior to viability. North Dakota House Bill 1456 is clearly unconstitutional under an unbroken stream of United States Supreme Court authority." . . .
New York Times: Judge Blocks North Dakota Abortion Restrictions, by Erik Eckholm:
A federal judge on Monday blocked enforcement of North Dakota’s recently enacted ban on most abortions, calling it “invalid and unconstitutional.” . . .
The law under challenge, which was set to take effect Aug. 1, would have imposed by far the country’s most stringent limit on abortions. With few exceptions, it would bar the procedure once a fetal heartbeat is detected, often about six weeks into pregnancy — a point when many women are not aware they are pregnant. . . .
Monday, July 22, 2013
Call for Abstracts for Special Issue of Studies in Law, Politics, and Society: "Problematizing Prostitution: Critical Research and Scholarship":
Deadline August 15, 2013
We invite submissions from scholars contributing to the literature in the field of prostitution or sex work. Please submit your abstract for consideration for a special issue of Studies in Law, Politics, and Society entitled “Problematizing prostitution: Critical research and scholarship.”
For this special edition, we seek research and scholarship that problematizes the prevailing understanding about sex work and prostitution. Ideally, the scholars who contribute to this issue will utilize diverse research methods to examine the lived experiences of people engaged in prostitution and the people and institutions that process them. Such critical research might examine the production of knowledge about prostitution by institutional stakeholders or how legal responses to prostitution and trafficking are affected by class, race, ethnicity, and migration. Other possible topics include critiques of a pathology-based focus in scholarship, policy, and practice; reexamination of the feminist pro-sex/abolition divide; critical reexamination of the historical theories and practices of prostitution; ethical concerns around research with people engaged in prostitution; problematizing victim-framing and conceptions of agency; challenging prostitution typologies; new configurations of sex, gender, and prostitution; and the influence of trafficking discourses on our analysis of prostitution and responses to prostitution.
We seek manuscripts that contribute innovations and challenges to prevailing prostitution theory, research, and ethics. Manuscripts that consider different types of prostitution and sex work as well as geographical variation are encouraged.
Please submit your abstracts to special issue organizers, Corey Shdaimah ([email protected]) and Katie Hail-Jares ([email protected]) by August 15th, 2013. After reviewing the abstracts, selected authors will be invited to submit an article for inclusion in the special edition by September 1st. More information about manuscript submission will be included in that invitation. Final submissions will be due February 1st, 2014. The journal and its editors retain final discretion about editorial and publication decisions.
For more information on Studies in Law, Politics, and Society see the homepage: http://www.emeraldinsight.com/products/books/series.htm?id=1059- 4337&PHPSESSID=vl01h74uvho5teclfslsuujai7
Sunday, July 21, 2013
The Guardian: Embryonic stem cells could help restore sight to blind, by Alok Jha:
Scientists have shown that light-sensitive retinal cells, grown in the lab from stem cells, can successfully integrate into the eye when implanted into blind mice. The technique opens up the possibility that a similar treatment could help people who have become blind through damage to their retinas to regain some of their sight. . . .
The New York Times (opinion column): The Texas Abortion Experiment, by Ross Douthat:
WHAT happens to a modern society when abortion is restricted? This question is at the heart of the debate over Texas’s new abortion law, which bans abortions after 20 weeks and issues health regulations that could thin the ranks of state abortion clinics, making even first-trimester abortions harder to obtain.
The law’s actual impact may be less sweeping than critics argue. But suppose for the sake of argument that they’re right and that the legislation will dramatically curtail legal abortion. Then further suppose that it somehow survives the inevitable court challenge.What consequences are likely to ensue? . . .
Friday, July 19, 2013
Reuters: Hobby Lobby wins a stay against birth control mandate, by Jonathan Stempel:
A federal judge has temporarily exempted Hobby Lobby Stores Inc from a requirement in the 2010 healthcare law that it offer workers insurance coverage for birth control, which the retailer said violated its religious beliefs.
The preliminary injunction issued by U.S. District Judge Joe Heaton in Oklahoma City, where Hobby Lobby is based, covers the arts and crafts chain and its affiliated Mardel Christian bookstore chain. . . .
CBS News: Texas governor Rick Perry signs controversial abortion law, by Jake Miller:
The measure effectively bans all abortions in the state after 20 weeks of pregnancy, it requires abortion clinics to also become ambulatory surgical centers, and it forces doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of the abortion clinic at which they perform the procedure.
MSNBC: Texas Republicans: Why stop at 20-week abortion ban when you can go for 6?, by Emma Margolin:
Are abortion bans the new gateway drug?
Still high off their victory in passing a law that bans the procedure after 20 weeks of pregnancy, Texas Republicans turned to an even harder restriction: banning abortion at the sound of a fetal heartbeat, which usually can be detected at six weeks. . . .
Monday, July 15, 2013
The Washington Post: Texas abortion vote joins growing legal frenzy, by Juliet Eilperin:
A sweeping set of abortion restrictions adopted by the Texas state Senate on Saturday is the latest in a series of state-level political fights triggering a frenzy of legal action that could determine how much access to abortion services American women have in the future.
Abortion opponents hope that eventually some of cases will reach the U.S. Supreme Court. . . .
The Guardian: Ireland passes law allowing limited rights to abortion, by Henry McDonald:
Irish parliamentarians passed a groundbreaking law early on Thursday allowing limited abortion rights in the republic.
Enda Kenny and his coalition government pushed through the protection of life in pregnancy bill, which will allow for abortions only when a woman's life is under threat if her pregnancy continues or if she is suicidal. . . .