Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Era of "Warm and Fuzzy-Sounding Abortion Laws" May Be Over

New Republic: Pro-Lifers Aren't Even Trying to Make Abortion Restrictions Sound Nice Anymore, by Molly Redden:

The year 2011 was “The Year of Abortion Restrictions,” when states enacted more new laws narrowing abortion rights than in any other year since Roe v. Wade. Part of this was the record number of statehouses captured by conservatives in the midterms. But in hindsight another reason for abortion foes’ success is clear: On their surface, many of them hardly seemed like abortion restrictions at all. . . .

The era of warm and fuzzy-sounding abortion laws, though, may be behind us. . . .

August 27, 2013 in Abortion Bans, Anti-Choice Movement, Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP) | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Dozens of Clinics Across the U.S. Have Closed in Wake of New Anti-Choice Laws

The Huffington Post: Anti-Abortion Laws Take Dramatic Toll on Clinics Nationwide, by Laura Bassett:

More than 50 abortion clinics across the country have closed or stopped offering the procedure since a heavy wave of legislative attacks on providers began in 2010, according to The Huffington Post's nationwide survey of state health departments, abortion clinics and local abortion-focused advocacy groups.

At least 54 abortion providers across 27 states have shut down or ended their abortion services in the past three years, and several more clinics are only still open because judges have temporarily blocked legislation that would make it difficult for them to continue to operate. . . .

August 27, 2013 in Anti-Choice Movement, State and Local News, State Legislatures, Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP) | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Ohio Law May Signal New Trend in Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers

Reuters: Possible closure of Ohio clinic shows new tactic in U.S. abortion clash, by George Tanber:

. . . Toledo's Capital Care abortion clinic, the only one in this rust belt city of 285,000, has become the latest front in the national battle over abortion rights, this one centering on a new state law that bars agreements to move women needing emergency care to public hospitals.

Toledo's clinic may have to close because its transfer agreement with a public hospital expired last month and under the new law it cannot renew it. . . .

August 25, 2013 in Abortion, State and Local News, Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP) | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Safety Trials in Australia Test New Contraceptive for Women

The Age (Australia): Experts hope new contraceptive will cut abortion rates, by Natasha Wallace:

A radical female contraception that simultaneously paralyses sperm and protects from sexually transmitted diseases aims to stem abortion rates in Australia among the next generation of young women.

The compound, which may eventually take the form of a sponge or vaginal ring to be inserted two or three days before sexual intercourse, is unique in that it is activated only on contact with semen, said University of Newcastle professor John Aitken said. . . .


Here's Professor Aitken attempting to explain how the contraceptive works: "Like the Sleeping Beauty, it [the contraceptive] only becomes woken at the moment of insemination."  And you thought she was awakened by a kiss.


August 25, 2013 in Contraception, International, Science | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Federal Judge Will Hear Arguments on North Carolina's Ultrasound Mandate

News & Observer: Case involving NC's abortion ultrasounds to be heard in Greensboro, by Ann Blythe:

Lawyers will be in federal court on Friday to argue for and against a 2011 North Carolina law that requires physicians to perform an ultrasound four hours before providing an abortion and to place the screen in the woman’s view while describing the images in detail.

U.S. District Judge Catherine Eagles will hear arguments in a federal courtroom in Greensboro. . . .

August 22, 2013 in In the Courts, Mandatory Delay/Biased Information Laws, State and Local News, Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP) | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Radical New Abortion Measures, Drawn from Anti-Choice Group's Playbook, Not Faring Well in Court

Bloomberg: New Abortion Restrictions in States Are 0 for 8 in Courts, by Andrew Harris:

State legislatures trying to curtail abortions have suffered a 0-for-8 losing streak after court challenges to their new laws this year.

The laws, all but one signed by Republican governors, drew on ideas from a playbook created by an anti-abortion group. Democrats plan to use the attempted curbs to boost 2014 congressional fundraising and increase voter support, calling the laws part of a “War on Women.” . . .

August 20, 2013 in Abortion Bans, Anti-Choice Movement, In the Courts, State Legislatures, Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP) | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, August 19, 2013

At Pro-Choice Rally in Mississippi, Mark Ruffalo Invokes His Mother's Illegal Abortion

Bustle: Mark Ruffalo Gives Pro-Choice Speech, Talks About Mother's Illegal Abortion, by Rachel Krantz: 

You can add this to your weird The Kids Are All Right sperm-donor-dad fantasy: Mark Ruffalo is also apparently a pro-choice activist. The 45-year-old actor gave a moving speech at a rally for abortion rights in Jackson, Mississippi this weekend, opening up about his mother's own illegal abortion.

"My mother’s illegal abortion marked a time in America that we have worked long and hard to leave behind. It was a time when women were seen as second rate citizens who were not smart enough, nor responsible enough, nor capable enough to make decisions about their lives," Ruffalo said. . . .

August 19, 2013 in Abortion, Culture | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Race- and Sex-Selective Abortion Bans in the U.S. Are a "Solution without a Problem"

Salon: Sex-selective abortion bans: Just another right-wing ruse, by Katie McDonough:

A lawsuit says sex-selection bans like the one Trent Franks proposed are just another way to limit women's rights

In May of this year, Miriam Yeung, the executive director of the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum, joined with other groups to file a legal challenge against an Arizona law banning race- and sex-selective abortions. But it wasn’t the first time she’d heard about a law like this. Five years earlier, Republicans were pushing a near-identical bill — and they thought Yeung might just be its biggest fan. . . .

August 19, 2013 in Abortion Bans, Anti-Choice Movement | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Germany Will Legally Recognize Gender "Undetermined" Babies

The Raw Story/The Guardian: Germany will be first European country to recognize babies as gender ‘undetermined’ come November:

German flagFrom 1 November babies born in Germany without clear gender-determining characteristics will be able to be registered

Germany will become the first country in Europe to join a small group of nations which recognise a third or “undetermined” sex when registering births, according to a report in the Sueddeutsche Zeitung.

From November 1, babies born in Germany without clear gender-determining physical characteristics will be able to be registered without gender on their birth certificates, according to the report. . . .

August 18, 2013 in International, Sexuality, Teenagers and Children | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Pew Poll Compares Public's Views on Morality of Abortion vs. Other Embryo-Destroying Procedures

Pew Research - Religion & Public Life Project: Abortion Viewed in Moral Terms: Fewer See Stem Cell Research and IVF as Moral Issues:

Regardless of their views about the legality of abortion, most Americans think that having an abortion is a moral issue. By contrast, the public is much less likely to see other issues involving human embryos – such as stem cell research or in vitro fertilization – as a matter of morality. . . .


Lifenews seems somewhat puzzled by the discrepancy:

A new Pew research poll finds Americans say abortion is morally wrong by a 3-1 margin. However, Americas are still divided on the issue of embryonic stem cell research — even though it destroys human life and still has not helped any patients. . . .

But perhaps anti-choice groups themselves are partly to blame:

The Atlantic Wire: Americans See Abortion, But Not Stem Cell Research, as a Moral Issue, by Abby Ohl Heiser:

. . . While the issue is currently framed in "momentum" language familiar to any election horse race aficionado, our views on its legalization overall have stayed pretty steady since Roe v. Wade. . . . So what's momentum got to do with it?

For starters, the far-right legislative push to pass a series of abortion-restricting laws is bringing a cornucopia of moral associations with it, ones that resonate with conservative-leaning politics. . . .


For scholarly analysis of this issue, see my articles The Meaning of 'Life': Belief and Reason in the Abortion Debate and Roe v. Wade's 40th Anniversary: A Moment of Truth for the Anti-Abortion-Rights Movement?


August 17, 2013 in Abortion, Bioethics, Public Opinion, Stem Cell Research | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Book Review of "Sweetening the Pill: Or How We Got Hooked on Hormonal Birth Control"

MotherBoard: Should We All Stop Taking Birth Control?, by Kelly Bourdet:

Birth control pillsWhat is our obsession with the “natural” state of humanity? As if that is a thing, a truer state—a toolless, techless, laudable past we ought to revere. We’re urged to unplug; every time I use the internet I’m accosted with the warnings of a generation, endless articles shrilly decrying how this technology or that one is hastening the end of human connection or communication or authenticity. Inherent in this worldview is the idea that the tools created by humanity are somehow so “other,” so opposed to the natural world, that they manifestly alter our relationship with ourselves and with our destiny.

Holly Grigg-Spall’s new book, Sweetening the Pill: Or How We Got Hooked on Hormonal Birth Control, available in the US on September 7, investigates our complex relationship with human alteration, pharmaceutical interests, and the benefit of a “natural” state of femaleness. . . . 

August 14, 2013 in Books, Contraception | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Center for Reproductive Rights Job Announcement

The Center for Reproductive Rights:  The Center for Reproductive Rights Seeks Special Counsel and Director of Judicial Strategy:

Center Background
The Center for Reproductive Rights (the “Center”), a global human rights organization founded in 1992 with expertise in constitutional and international law, seeks a Special Counsel and Director of Judicial Strategy of the U.S. Legal Program to be based in its New York City headquarters. This new position will lead the Center’s aggressive campaign to restore robust constitutional and legal protection for reproductive rights throughout the U.S.

The Special Counsel and Director of Judicial Strategy will join the team of an innovative and cutting-edge organization committed to promoting the equality, reproductive health, and self-determination of women throughout the world. National-level courts, regional human rights courts, and United Nations bodies have increasingly recognized that a woman’s right to reproductive autonomy and reproductive healthcare are basic human rights that must be protected. The Center for Reproductive Rights has played a key role in these groundbreaking victories and works with attorneys and advocates in the U.S., Latin America, Africa, Asia, and Europe. The Center’s groundbreaking litigation and advocacy has transformed how reproductive rights are understood by courts, governments, and human rights bodies, and its undivided focus on reproductive rights has given it unparalleled expertise in the use of constitutional, international and comparative human rights law to hold governments accountable for failing to ensure women’s access to critical reproductive healthcare services.

Continue reading

August 14, 2013 in Miscellaneous | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, August 12, 2013

California Bill Prompts Question: When Does a Sperm Donor Become a Father?

The Los Angeles Times - op-ed: Assisted reproduction: When does a father become one?, by Naomi Cahn & June Carbone:

A bill in the California Senate would add to uncertainty about parenthood in cases of donated sperm.

When does a man become a father — the legally recognized parent of a child, responsible for support and eligible for custody? Historically, parenthood has involved something more than simply a biological connection. In some eras that meant the law recognized only fathers who married the mothers. Today, recognition extends to unmarried parents who raise a child together.

The new question on the table is whether it extends to a man who donates sperm to a woman and establishes a relationship with the child. . . .

August 12, 2013 in Assisted Reproduction, Men and Reproduction, State Legislatures | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Vast Majority of Students in Ireland Think Abortion Should Be Legal

Irish flag
The Irish Examiner: 83% of students believe abortion should be allowed in Ireland:

Only one-third of Irish students say that they believe in God, with 83.5% saying abortion should be allowed in Ireland.

The research, conducted in the past two weeks by the Student Marketing Network, also found that 66% of those surveyed don’t believe that religion makes the world a better place. 

The survey of 1,146 students showed that 57.8% of respondents considered themselves Catholic, another 20% Atheist. . . .

August 12, 2013 in Abortion Bans, International, Public Opinion, Religion and Reproductive Rights | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Editorial on Contraception Mandate and Religious Objections by Secular Businesses

USA Today editorial: Contraception mandate applies to business: Our view:

If you choose to run a secular moneymaker, you can't claim exemptions unavailable to other businesses.

Controversy over ObamaCare isn't news, but any intrusion into deeply held religious beliefs is particularly contentious, and just such a dispute is underway.

Over the last year, the Affordable Care Act has phased in a requirement that most health insurance plans give women access to FDA-approved contraception methods, including birth control pills and the "morning after pill." The law is right to require this . . . .

August 12, 2013 in Contraception, President/Executive Branch, Religion and Reproductive Rights | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Investigation Documents Deceptive Tactics of State-Funded "Crisis Pregnancy Centers"

The Huffington Post: State-Funded Crisis Pregnancy Centers Talk Women Out Of Birth Control, Condoms: Report, by Laura Bassett:

When a woman walked into a state-funded "crisis pregnancy center" in Manassas, Va., this summer and told the counselor she might be pregnant, she was told that condoms don't actually prevent STDs and that birth control frequently causes hair loss, memory loss, headaches, weight gain, fatal blood clots and breast cancer.

"The first three ingredients in the birth control pill are carcinogens," the CPC counselor said, adding that she always tries to talk women out of taking it.

The counselor also told the woman that condoms are not effective at preventing pregnancy or sexually transmitted diseases because they are "naturally porous."

"Safe sex is a joke," she said. "There's no such thing."

NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia recorded the exchange, released Wednesday, as part of its undercover investigation into the 58 state-funded "crisis pregnancy centers" in Virginia. . . .

August 7, 2013 in Abortion, Anti-Choice Movement | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Despite Advances, Ethical Problems Continue to Surround Premature Birth

The New York Times - op-ed: End of Life, at Birth, by April R. Dworetz:

FIFTY years ago this Wednesday, Americans were gripped by the fate of a baby — Patrick Bouvier Kennedy, the first child born to a sitting president since the 19th century, and John F. Kennedy’s last. He arrived on Aug. 7, 1963, five and a half weeks premature. Despite medical heroics, including the use of a hyperbaric oxygen chamber, he died 39 hours later.

Neonatal care has improved greatly since then. Were he born today, Patrick, who was delivered at 34 weeks’ gestation, would very likely survive and have a healthy life, too.

For all the biomedical advances, though, the key ethical problems surrounding premature birth remain. . . .


H/T: Carol Sanger

August 7, 2013 in Bioethics, Pregnancy & Childbirth | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, August 5, 2013

Conservatives and Anti-Choice Activists Plot the Dismantling of Roe v. Wade

MSNBC: Reversing Roe: The GOP’s ultimate abortion plan, by Irin Carmon:

It’s been four decades since Roe v. Wade was handed down, and that’s how long the anti-abortion movement has been coming up with strategies to reverse it. They’ve been unsuccessful so far. But they’re getting increasingly creative.

“Fetal pain,” based on shaky medical evidence that the fetus can experience pain after 20 weeks, has become the best-known rationale for banning abortion at that threshold. There are others. Mindful of accusations that they don’t care about women, anti-abortion activists have looked for grounds on which to “protect” them. . . .

August 5, 2013 in Abortion Bans, Anti-Choice Movement, Supreme Court | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Researchers Compare Emotions of Women Who Are Denied Abortions and Women Who Receive Them

Guttmacher Institute Press Release: One Week Later, Women Denied an Abortion Feel More Regret and Less Relief Than Those Who Have One:

Both Groups of Women Experience Mixed Emotions

Women who are denied an abortion feel more regret and less relief one week later than women who undergo the procedure, according to “Women’s Emotions One Week After Receiving or Being Denied an Abortion in the United States,” by Corinne H. Rocca of the University of California, San Francisco, et al. Specifically, while 41% of women who had an abortion near the provider’s gestational age limit reported feeling regret about it, 50% of women turned away because they requested an abortion beyond that limit did so. And while 90% of women who obtained a near-limit abortion reported feeling relief, 49% of those turned away expressed this emotion.

Researchers used data on 843 women seeking abortions at 30 U.S. facilities between 2008 and 2010, who were interviewed as part of a larger, five-year study on the health and socioeconomic consequences of receiving or being denied an abortion in the United States. The women were asked about six emotions: relief, happiness, regret, guilt, sadness and anger. They were questioned separately about their pregnancies and their experiences seeking an abortion, so as not to confuse their emotions about the two.

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August 5, 2013 in Abortion, Culture, Scholarship and Research | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Study Shows Poverty is the Real Danger to Children Exposed to Cocaine In Utero

Salon: Long Term Study Debunks Myth of the "Crack Baby", by Katie McDonough:

After nearly 25 years of research, one of the nation’s largest long-term studies on the so-called “crack baby” epidemic of the 1980s has concluded that there are no statistically significant differences in the long-term health and life outcomes between full-term babies exposed to cocaine in-utero and those who were not.

Instead, researchers found poverty to be a key determining factor in how well children performed later in life. As Hallam Hurt, the former chair of neonatology at Albert Einstein Medical Center and the study’s lead researcher, told the Philadelphia Inquirer: “Poverty is a more powerful influence on the outcome of inner-city children than gestational exposure to cocaine.” . . .

August 4, 2013 in Poverty, Pregnancy & Childbirth, Reproductive Health & Safety | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)