Monday, November 11, 2013

Public Service Campaign Uses Humor To Educate About Contraception

The New York Times: Using Humor to Talk About Birth Control, by Tanzina Vega:

FEW things may be less comfortable to talk about with one’s parents than sex and birth control, and with that in mind, a new public service campaign hopes to offer guidance through a series of ads and online videos. . . .

November 11, 2013 in Contraception, Culture, In the Media | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Women Feeling Effects of Texas's New Abortion Restrictions

Al Jazeera America: Texas abortion ban forces sick woman out of state, by Carolyn Jones:

As access dwindles because of anti-abortion laws, low-income women must rely on volunteer aid for travel

. . . as a recent wave of anti-abortion legislation has swept the nation and forced abortion clinics to close, paying for an abortion isn’t the only problem. Physical access is a real and growing barrier. The Huffington Post reported this summer that more than 50 abortion clinics have closed in the last three years. In Texas last week, another 15 clinics shut their doors overnight after a law went into effect requiring doctors to have local hospital admitting privileges . . . .

November 10, 2013 in State and Local News, Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP) | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

New Documentary Addresses Lack of Abortion Access on a South Dakota Reservation

Feministing: New Documentary Young Lakota About Lack of Abortion Access on a Reservation, by Juliana Brittos:

In 2006, Cecilia Fire Thunder, Tribal Leader of the Ogala Sioux, threatened to build a women’s health clinic on tribal land in response to a proposed South Dakota no-exceptions abortion ban. This ban meant that the 1 in 3 Native American women who would or had been raped in the state would have to carry any ensuing pregnancies to term. “Young Lakota” follows the story of three young people living on a reservation in South Dakota in the political aftermath of Fire Thunder’s action. Ms. Magazine described the film as, “a story of self-discovery in the midst of political and personal upheaval.” . . .

November 10, 2013 in Abortion, Abortion Bans, Film, Pregnancy & Childbirth | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

The Deep Pockets Behind the Anti-Choice Movement

RH Reality Check: Anatomy of the War on Women: How the Koch Brothers Are Funding the Anti-Choice Agenda, by Adele M. Stan:

In the dog days of summer, the “war on women” erupted into a full-fledged conflagration, as heated battles to roll back reproductive rights in the U.S. Congress and in state legislatures across the nation were met with protests from women’s rights groups and grassroots uprisings. While the religious right had, over the years, used its influence to restrict access to abortion and contraception and push for feticide and personhood laws, nothing quite like the anti-choice legislative frenzy seen this past summer had taken place before the Koch brothers entered the war, bringing reinforcements from their legion of wealthy associates. . . .

November 10, 2013 in Abortion, Anti-Choice Movement | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Pope's Popularity Does Not Extend to Conservative U.S. Catholics

The New York Times: Conservative U.S. Catholics Feel Left Out of the Pope’s Embrace, Laurie Goodstein:

. . . In the eight months since he became pope, Francis has won affection worldwide for his humble mien and common touch. His approval numbers are skyrocketing. Even atheists are applauding.

But not everyone is so enchanted. Some Catholics in the church’s conservative wing in the United States say Francis has left them feeling abandoned and deeply unsettled. On the Internet and in conversations among themselves, they despair that after 35 years in which the previous popes, John Paul II and Benedict XVI, drew clear boundaries between right and wrong, Francis is muddying Catholic doctrine to appeal to the broadest possible audience. . . .

November 10, 2013 in Religion | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Seventh Circuit Decision Temporarily Blocks Enforcement of Contraception Mandate, Broadly Construing Rights of Both For-Profit Companies and Their Owners

SCOTUS blog: Broad bar to birth-control mandates, by Lyle Denniston:

In the broadest ruling so far by a federal appeals court barring enforcement of the birth-control mandate in the new federal health care law, a divided Seventh Circuit Court panel decided on Friday that two profit-making companies and their Roman Catholic owners are likely to win their constitutional challenges.  The decision temporarily blocking the mandate is here: sixty-four pages in the majority ruling, ninety pages in the dissent. . . .

See also: 

SCOTUS blog: Birth-control mandate: Which case to review?, by Lyle Denniston:

With lawyers in different cases arguing that theirs is the best one for the Supreme Court to use in deciding the legality of the birth-control mandate in the new federal health care law, the Court on Monday indicated that it will examine all four pending cases together later this month.  The Court’s electronic docket said the four will be considered on November 26.  If any are granted then or soon afterward, the Court probably would hear and decide them in the current Term. . . .

November 10, 2013 in Contraception, In the Courts, Religion and Reproductive Rights | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

VA and NJ Governor's Races Carry Lessons for Republicans on Abortion Issue

Repub elephantThe Christian Science Monitor: What close loss in Virginia governor's race tells national Republicans, by Linda Feldmann:

In deep blue New Jersey, Republican Gov. Chris Christie won reelection easily. But in purple Virginia, the tea party-aligned Republican candidate for governor, Ken Cuccinelli, lost to Democratic candidate Terry McAuliffe. . . .

Taken together, New Jersey and Virginia provide lessons for the Republicans nationally, political analysts say.

Take abortion. Governor Christie opposes abortion rights in a state where a majority supports them, but it’s not a defining issue for him. In Virginia, Cuccinelli’s strong opposition to abortion – including support for a failed measure that would have required a vaginal ultrasound before an abortion and a new law putting significant restrictions on abortion clinics – put him out of step with unmarried women in his state, a key voting bloc. . . .

November 6, 2013 in Abortion, Politics | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

New Law in Germany Allows Parents to Select "No Gender" on Birth Certificate

The New Republic: Germany Now Lets Parents Check "No Gender" on a Baby's Birth Certificate, by Nelson Jones:

A new law, which came into force today in Germany, provides that the box on a birth certificate specifying a child's gender should be left blank in cases where the child is neither obviously male nor female. This will, an Interior Ministry spokesman explained, "take the pressure off parents to commit themselves to gender immediately after birth"—thus allowing for greater delay before drastic, life-defining and perhaps mistaken surgery is carried out on an infant too young to decide for itself what it wants to be. . . .

November 6, 2013 in International | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Supreme Court Refusal to Review Oklahoma Case a Set-Back for Anti-Choice Advocates

The Los Angeles Times: High court's refusal to hear Oklahoma appeal is blow to abortion foes, by David Savage & Molly Hennessy-Fiske:

Though abortion rights groups praise the decision, the justices could hear at least two other key cases from Texas and Arizona.

The legal push in some Republican-controlled states to restrict abortion rights suffered a setback Monday when the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear Oklahoma's appeal seeking to reinstate a law that effectively banned the use of abortion-inducing drugs.

The court's decision delivered a surprise victory for abortion rights groups and was seen as a sign that while conservative justices may be open to giving states new powers to restrict abortion, they are not ready to impose sweeping new limits that would significantly interfere with women's constitutionally protected rights. . . .

November 6, 2013 in Abortion Bans, Anti-Choice Movement, Supreme Court | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, November 4, 2013

Supreme Court Decides Not To Review Oklahoma Abortion Case

SCOTUS Blog: Court Won't Rule on RU-486 Abortions, by Lyle Dennison:

The Supreme Court took off of its docket, and thus will not decide, a plea by the state of Oklahoma to revive a law that restricts doctors’ use of drugs rather than surgery to perform an abortion with the medication RU-486 and others.  In a one-sentence order, the Court dismissed as “improvidently granted” the case of Cline, et al., v. Oklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Justice (docket 12-1094). . . .

November 4, 2013 in Abortion Bans, Supreme Court, Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP) | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Texas Health Care Providers File Emergency Appeal with the Supreme Court

Supreme CourtCenter for Reproductive Rights press release: Texas Health Care Providers Take Fight Against Unconstitutional Law to U.S. Supreme Court:

Following a decision from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit that allowed the immediate enforcement of a state law blocking women from getting services from one-third of abortion providers in the state, reproductive health care providers have taken their case to the U.S. Supreme Court. 

Today the women’s health care providers who jointly filed suit on behalf of their patients have filed an emergency application with the U.S. Supreme Court to reinstate an injunction granted by U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel on October 28 blocking a Texas provision requiring doctors who provide abortions to obtain admitting privileges at a local hospital—a requirement that leading medical associations oppose and only results in women losing access to safe medical care. . . .

November 4, 2013 in Supreme Court, Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP) | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

A Review of "God's Doodle: The Life and Times of the Penis"

Salon: The 10 strangest facts about penises, by Tracy Clark-Flory:

Simone de Beauvoir called it “a small person … an alter ego usually more sly … and more clever than the individual.” Leonardo da Vinci said it “has dealings with human intelligence and sometimes displays an intelligence of its own.” Sophocles said that having one was to be “chained to a madman.”

These great thinkers were referring so exasperatedly, so powerlessly, to none other than the penis. That’s a lot of hype for a body part that can “be seen as something the Creator doodled in an idle moment,” as Tom Hickman puts it in the new book, “God’s Doodle: The Life and Times of the Penis.”  . . .

November 4, 2013 in Books, Men and Reproduction | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, November 3, 2013

The Importance of Judicial Nominees to the Battle over Abortion

Slate: Dear President Obama, This Is Why Judges Matter, by Emily Bazelon & Dahlia Lithwick:

Two Bush appointees deliver body blows to reproductive rights—and demonstrate the power of the bench.

It’s been a day of body blows for reproductive rights. On Thursday night, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit reversed a lower court’s decision to temporarily block a provision of the omnibus Texas abortion law that requires doctors performing abortions to have admitting privileges at a local hospital. . . . On Friday, morning, it was the turn of another extremely conservative woman chosen for the bench by Bush, Janice Rogers Brown of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. . . .

November 3, 2013 in Contraception, In the Courts, Religion and Reproductive Rights, Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP) | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Bloomberg Editorial on Texas Abortion Restrictions editorial: Don’t Let Texas Restrict Abortion Again:

You can’t fault Texas for inconsistency. It first criminalized abortion in 1854, and Roe v. Wadearose from a lawsuit in Dallas County. That 1973 Supreme Court ruling, which protects a woman’s right to have an abortion, is still the law of the land.

It’s a point worth keeping mind in view of last week’s legal roller coaster in Texas. . . .

November 3, 2013 in In the Courts, State and Local News, Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP) | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Senator Graham Prepares to Introduce 20-Week Abortion Ban

Lindsey GrahamThe Hill: Graham readies 20-week abortion ban, by Mario Trujillo:

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said Sunday he is proud to lead the charge in the Senate to ban abortions after 20 weeks of a pregnancy.

Graham is expected to introduce a bill this week. He dismissed the assertion he is leading the effort to shore up his conservative base ahead of the 2014 election. . . .


"When do you become you: At 20 weeks of a pregnancy?" Senator Graham asks.  He then trots out the scientifically dubious claim that fetuses can feel pain at 20 weeks.  "That is what a rational humane society would do — protect a child who can feel pain from an abortion," Graham declares. But for Graham there's a big "unless":  "unless there is the life of the mother, rape or incest involved."  The fetus that is the product or rape or incest can't feel pain?  Or is less of a "child?"


November 3, 2013 in Abortion Bans, Congress | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Salon on "The Right's War on Pregnant Women"

Salon: The Right's War on Pregnant Women, by Katie McDonough:

It is no secret that this has been a banner year for laws attempting to recriminalize abortion. During the first six months of 2013, states adopted 43 provisions to ban abortion, impose medically unnecessary restrictions on providers or otherwise regulate the procedure into nonexistence.

But framing the current assault on reproductive rights exclusively in terms of abortion rights erases another, equally dangerous reality faced by women who intend to carry their pregnancies to term: laws that establish personhood for fertilized eggs, embryos and fetuses aren’t just a threat to women’s access to abortion — they are also being used to criminalize and incarcerate pregnant women. . . . .

November 3, 2013 in Anti-Choice Movement, Pregnancy & Childbirth | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Guttmacher Study Suggests Women Often Mistakenly Underestimate Their Risk of Pregnancy

Guttmacher Institute: A Year of Magical Thinking Leads to...Unintended Pregnancy, by Rebecca Wind:

Guttmacher_instQualitative Study Explores Women's Perceptions of Pregnancy Risk

In-depth interviews with 49 women obtaining abortions in the United States found that most of the study participants perceived themselves to be at low risk of becoming pregnant at the time that it happened. According to "Perceptions of Susceptibility to Pregnancy Among U.S. Women Obtaining Abortions," by Lori Frohwirth of the Guttmacher Institute et al., the most common reasons women gave for thinking they were at low risk of pregnancy included a perception of invulnerability, a belief that they were infertile, self-described inattention to the possibility of pregnancy and a belief that they were protected by their (often incorrect) use of a contraceptive method. Most participants gave more than one response. . . .

November 2, 2013 in Contraception, Fertility, Pregnancy & Childbirth, Scholarship and Research | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

MSNBC Examines Dominance of Anti-Choice Politics in Oklahoma

MSNBC: 'I'm showing my son mercy', by Irin Carmon:

. . . Oklahomans brag that theirs has become the reddest state. Republicans hold super majorities in both chambers and every single seat in the U.S. Congress. Republican Mary Fallin is governor. Every single Oklahoma county rejected Barack Obama–twice. The changed political landscape allowed Oklahoma to become a staging ground for the anti-choice movement’s strategy to undermine Roe v. Wade, one seemingly narrow restriction at a time.

“We are the guinea pigs,” said Ryan Kiesel, a former state lawmaker who is executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Oklahoma. . . .

November 2, 2013 in Abortion Bans, Anti-Choice Movement, Politics, State and Local News, Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP) | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, November 1, 2013

Anti-Choice Organizations Disagree on Medicaid Expansion

Feministing: Quick hit: Anti-choicers split on Medicaid expansion, by Veronica Bayetti Flores:

Anti-choice organizations seem to be split on their support of the Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act, which expands access to health care for the poorest Americans. Putting aside that abortion care actually is health care (despite the highly unjust restriction on federal funding of abortion care), it seems that the more extreme anti-choice organizations in particular are not very excited about expanding general access to health care for the poor. . . .

November 1, 2013 in Anti-Choice Movement, Poverty | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

DC Circuit Denies Injunction of Federal Contraceptive Mandate to For-Profit Corporations, but Grants it to the Companies' Individual Owners

SCOTUS Blog: A split ruling on birth-control mandate, by Lyle Dennison:

Taking a split approach, the D.C. Circuit ruled on Friday that profit-making corporations cannot make a religious challenge to the new health care law’s mandate that workers get birth-control and related medical coverage; however, if the firm is owned by only a few individuals, they can challenge it to defend their own religious objections, and they may well win.  The two major parts of the ruling split the three judges in differing ways.

The Supreme Court already has three cases awaiting its attention on the Affordable Care Act’s contraception coverage mandate — with differing outcomes in lower courts — and the somewhat unusual approach taken by the D.C. Circuit on Friday may simply add an additional impetus for the Court to take on the issue in the current Term. . . .


This passage of the court's opinion seems question-begging:

If the companies have no claim to enforce—and as nonreligious corporations, they cannot engage in religious exercise—we are left with the obvious conclusion: the right belongs to the Gilardis, existing independently of any right of the Freshway companies.

The court assumes that there must be a "claim to enforce," but why must that be so?  Why isn't there simply no right, given that the Gilardis chose to incorporate, and it is the corporation that is subject to the mandate?  For more on this, see Caroline Corbin's essay on this issue.


November 1, 2013 in Contraception, In the Courts, Religion and Reproductive Rights, Supreme Court | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)