Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Doctor at Center of Landmark Abortion Case Dies at 74

The New York Times: Kenneth C. Edelin, Doctor at Center of Landmark Abortion Case, Dies at 74, by Robert D. McFadden:

Dr. Kenneth C. Edelin, a Boston physician whose 1975 manslaughter conviction for performing a legal abortion was overturned on appeal in a landmark test of medical, legal, religious and political questions surrounding abortion in America, died on Monday in Sarasota, Fla. He was 74. . . .

December 31, 2013 in Abortion | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, December 30, 2013

Texas Department of State Health Services Finalizes Abortion Regulations, Including Ambulatory Surgical Center Requirement

Texas flagThe Texas Tribune: State Agency Finalizes Abortion Regulations, by Becca Aaronson:

The Texas Department of State Health Services finalized strict new abortion regulations on Friday, claiming that none of the 19,000 public comments on the rules provided evidence that they are unconstitutional.

“The department is aware of no comments that explain how particular abortion-seeking patients will face unconstitutionally long travel distances, unconstitutionally long wait times or unconstitutionally high costs for abortion services in any particular part of the state,” according to the department’s background and justification for the rules, published in the Texas Register. . . .

December 30, 2013 in State and Local News, Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP) | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Argentinian Court Allows 14-Year-Old Rape Victim to Have an Abortion

The Times of India: Argentina Court Grants Abortion for Teen Rape Victim:

BUENOS AIRES: A court in Argentina ruled on Friday that a 14-year old rape victim could have an abortion, overturning a judge's earlier decision barring the girl from seeking the procedure. 

The teenage girl discovered early last month that she was pregnant after being raped by her mother's partner. . . .

December 30, 2013 in Abortion Bans, International, Sexual Assault, Teenagers and Children | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Marty Lederman on Hobby Lobby Case

Marty Lederman has been writing a lot on the Hobby Lobby/Conestoga Wood challenges to the ACA contraceptive rule.  Here is his latest post.

Balkinization: Hobby Lobby Part III-A—Does federal law substantially pressure employers to offer health insurance coverage in violation of religious obligations, even though there is no “Employer Mandate”?, by Marty Lederman:

The plaintiffs in Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood argue that federal law compels them to act contrary to their religious obligations, by requiring them to offer (and pay for and administer) employee health insurance plans that include contraception coverage. As I explained in my most recent post, that turns out to be a simple misreading of the law:  Although employee plans must include contraception coverage, the Affordable Care Act does not require that employers offer such plans to their employees, nor even impose substantial pressure upon them to do so. . . .


Earlier posts are here, here, and here.

December 30, 2013 in Contraception, In the Courts, Religion and Reproductive Rights, Supreme Court, Weblogs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

New Abortion Ban in Spain Doesn't Go Far Enough for Some

The News International: Huge crowds hold Madrid mass after new abortion law:

Spain flagMADRID: Tens of thousands of Roman Catholics joined in an open-air mass in central Madrid on Sunday to celebrate the Holy Family, just days after the Spanish government agreed to tighten the abortion law.

As large crowds of believers packed the central Plaza de Colon square, many of them urged the government to go even further and implement an outright abortion ban without exceptions. . . .


Spain had only just liberalized its abortion laws in 2010.

December 30, 2013 in Abortion Bans, International, Religion and Reproductive Rights | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Pro-Choice Activists Aim for New Legislative Strategy

NPR: Abortion Rights Groups Say It's Time To Stop Playing Defense, by Kathy Lohr:

Abortion rights activists are working on a counterattack to the 200 bills that have passed in states across the U.S. since 2010.

In the past three years, Republican-led legislatures have backed bills to regulate abortions and the doctors and clinics that perform them.

. . .So abortion rights activists say they're pushing a new legislative strategy. . . .

December 30, 2013 in Abortion, Reproductive Health & Safety, State Legislatures | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Grand Jury Clears Texas Abortion Provider

The New York Times: Texas: Grand Jury Clears Abortion Provider, by Erik Eckholm:

A grand jury in Harris County found no evidence of criminal behavior by a Houston doctor who performs late-term abortions and was accused by anti-abortion groups of killing live-born babies. . . .

December 26, 2013 in Anti-Choice Movement, In the Courts | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Federal Judge Rules Notre Dame Unlikely To Prevail In Challenge to Contraception Rule

The Huffington Post: Notre Dame Dealt Big Rejection In Challenge Against Birth Control Coverage, by Tom Coyne:

A federal judge said he doesn't think the University of Notre Dame will succeed in its challenge to a federal health care law requirement that it provide students and employee health plans that cover birth control.

U.S. District Judge Philip Simon on Friday rejected the Catholic school's request for an injunction, prompting Notre Dame to file an appeal Monday to the U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago. . . .


The ACLU provides a summary of the challenges to the ACA contraceptive rule and the status of each case here.

December 24, 2013 in Contraception, In the Courts, Religion and Reproductive Rights | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Americans United for Life Promotes Private Lawsuits Against Abortion Clinics to Enforce Anti-Choice Laws

Feministing: The Latest Anti-Choice Trick: Letting "Ordinary Americans" Sue Clinics to Enforce Abortion Restrictions, by Maya Dusenbery:

Americans United for Life is the ALEC of the anti-choice movement.

Every year, the DC-based group releases a handbook filled with model legislation that abortion foes in state legislatures across the country can use to draft their own bills. It’s no coincidence that so many of the hundreds of anti-choice state laws passed in recent years–from ultrasound bills to telemedicine abortion bans–have been so similar. Often they were inspired by AUL’s models–sometimes even copied verbatim. In 2011, for example, AUL could take credit for 24 of the 92 anti-abortion restrictions passed in the states. . . . .

December 24, 2013 in Anti-Choice Movement, Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP) | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, December 20, 2013

Plan to Reinstate Abortion Ban in Spain Sparks Fury

The Guardian: Spain's plan to reform abortion laws attacked as 'serious step backwards', by Ashifa Kassam:

People's party sparks fury with plan to tighten laws by allowing abortion only in cases of rape or risk to mother's health

The Spanish government is expected to present sweeping reforms to the country's liberal abortion laws this Friday, ushering in changes that women's groups are already calling a "serious step backwards".

While the full draft of the reforms has yet to be tabled, the ruling People's party has said it favours returning to a system where abortion will only be allowed in the case of rape or when there is a risk to the physical or mental health of the mother. . . .

December 20, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, December 19, 2013

North Dakota's Flurry of Abortion Restrictions Leaves Some Women Believing Abortion is Banned

ThinkProgress: There Have Been So Many Attacks On Abortion In North Dakota, Some Women Assume It’s Now Illegal, by Tara Culp-Ressler:

This year, lawmakers in North Dakota approved the harshest abortion ban this country has seen since Roe v. Wade — cutting off access to legal abortion at just six weeks, before many women even realize they’re pregnant. And that’s not all. Lawmakers have also tried their best to shut down the last abortion clinic in the state, enacting sweeping new regulations that are specifically designed to force it out of business.

So far, both restrictive laws are being blocked from taking effect while legal challenges against them proceed. But the damage has already been done for many of the women who used to rely on their state’s only abortion facility, the Red River Women’s Clinic. The environment surrounding reproductive rights has become so hostile that many of them simply assume the procedure has been outlawed. . . .

December 19, 2013 in Abortion, Abortion Bans, State and Local News | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Eugene Volokh and Marty Lederman on Hobby Lobby

The Volokh Conspiracy: My Hobby Lobby Posts, In a Single Word Document, by Eugene Volokh:

Here are my Hobby Lobby posts in a single Word document, in case some of you might find them helpful.

Balkinization: Hobby Lobby Part One--Framing the Issues, by Marty Lederman:

Earlier this month, the Supreme Court announced that it will consider two related cases involving claims for religious exemptions to what has commonly (but inaccurately) been called the “contraception mandate” under the Affordable Care Act—Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. and Conestoga Wood Specialty Corp. v. Sebelius.  The cases will be consolidated for oral argument, which the Court will almost certainly hear between March 24 and April 2.  The first briefs in the cases will be filed on January 10.  Amicus briefs on both sides are due January 28.

Balkinization: Hobby Lobby Part Two--What's it all About?, by Marty Lederman:

Are the Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood cases about employee health insurance plan coverage of contraception, writ large, or—as the plaintiffs in those two cases would have it—“only” about coverage of “abortifacients,” or about four discrete forms of birth control?  Something less?  Something more?
As I'll try to explain in this post, the cases do not, in truth, have anything to do with abortion or “abortifacients” as those terms are generally understood under federal law or in the medical and scientific communities.  Beyond that, however, it is hard to know for certain exactly which forms of birth control are specifically challenged in these two cases.  Nevertheless, what is clear is that the Supreme Court’s decision in these casescould implicate legal requirements imposed upon for-profit employers that reach well beyond any particular birth-control methods—indeed, beyond contraception itself.

December 19, 2013 in Contraception, Supreme Court, Weblogs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Michigan Democrats Vow Abortion Insurance Restriction Will Cost GOP in 2014

Detroit Free Press: Michigan's controversial abortion law to be targeted by opponents in 2014, by Dave Eggert:

Incensed Democrats and abortion rights advocates are vowing that Republican lawmakers overreached so much with new restrictions on abortion coverage in Michigan’s public and private health insurance plans that it will cost them in the 2014 elections.

A ballot drive to repeal or override the law is being considered. If enough signatures are collected, the statewide vote would coincide with November legislative races and keep the issue fresh in the minds of voters in 11 months. . . .

December 15, 2013 in Abortion, Politics, State and Local News | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, December 14, 2013

A Bangkok Restaurant's Theme Is Contraception

Slate - Atlas Obscura blog: Cabbages and Condoms: The Restaurant That Serves Green Curry and Birth Control, by Ella Morton: 

"Our food is guaranteed not to cause pregnancy," boasts the slogan of Cabbages and Condoms, a Bangkok restaurant with a focus on family planning.

Mechai Viravaidya, a safe-sex activist and founder of Thailand's Population and Community Development Association (PDA), established the eatery with the philosophy that birth control should be as accessible and mundane as cabbages.

Visit the Cabbages and Condoms website here.

December 14, 2013 in Contraception, Food and Drink, International | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, December 13, 2013

North Carolina TRAP Rules Still a "Long Way Off"

CharlotteObserver.com: New abortion clinic rules long way off, by Craig Jarvis:

More than four months after a sweeping abortion-regulation bill was signed into law, the new rules it requires for certifying clinics are still a long way from being written.

Anticipated with dread by abortion-rights groups and with optimism by anti-abortion advocates, the rules could put some clinics out of business if they are written stringently enough. Most likely, the struggle to balance opposition to abortion with legitimate medical concerns will return to the General Assembly for a final decision. . . .

December 13, 2013 in State and Local News, Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP) | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

The Implications of Regarding Abortion as Murder

On November 7-8, Washington and Lee Law School held a symposium, Roe at 40 - The Controversy Continues.  Videos of the symposium panels and two keynote addresses -- one on each side of the issue -- are available here.  I delivered the pro-choice keynote, and Michael Paulsen (University of St. Thomas Law School) delivered the pro-life keynote.  Professor Paulsen argued that an embryo is a person from fertilization onward, and therefore that abortion is equivalent to murder.  During the Q&A following the keynotes, I elaborated on the implications of Paulsen's position, using as illustrations cases from countries in which abortion is banned at all stages of pregnancy.  Under these repressive laws, women are imprisoned and women die.  El Salvador provides another such window into a world in which abortion is treated as murder.  PBS reports on the consequences of El Salvador's abortion ban for women in that country.  People who casually refer to abortion as "murder" need to be reminded of these women.  Are they prepared to live with -- and to own up to -- these consequences?


December 13, 2013 in Abortion Bans, Conferences and Symposia | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

PBS Explores The Consequences of El Salvador's Complete Ban on Abortions

PBS - Religion & Ethics Newsweekly:  El Salvador Abortion Ban:

Strongly influenced by Catholic teachings, the country of El Salvador now forbids all abortions. Fred de Sam Lazaro reports from San Salvador on the consequences for many women when abortion is considered murder, regardless of the circumstances.

December 13, 2013 in Abortion Bans, International, Religion and Reproductive Rights | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Michigan Joins 8 Other States In Requiring Abortion Insurance To Be Purchased Separately

The Huffington Post: New Michigan Law Requires Separate Insurance for Abortions, by Niraj Chokshi:

In a few months, Michigan residents who want abortion insurance will have to pay extra to get it. Lawmakers on Wednesday passed the requirement into law, which the state’s Republican Gov. Rick Snyder vetoed about a year ago.

“This bill came back to the legislature by kind of a unique process called a citizen’s initiative,” Jonathan Oosting, MLive.com’s state Capitol reporter, told Post TV’s Chris Cillizza. Pro-life groups were able to collect enough signatures to send the bill back to state lawmakers, he said. . . .

ABC News: 9 States Where You Might Need 'Abortion Insurance', by Nicki Rossoll:

Michigan Wednesday became the ninth state to restrict private and public insurance plans from offering abortion coverage, with some of them requiring employers and individuals who want abortion coverage to purchase an additional supplemental policy, even in the case of rape or incest. . . . 

December 13, 2013 in Abortion, State Legislatures | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Anti-Choice Advocates Refuse to Join Global Celebration of Mandela's Life

The Washington Post: As the world mourns Nelson Mandela, abortion foes protest, by David Gibson:

As world leaders and ordinary citizens gathered in a South African sports stadium on Tuesday (Dec. 10) to remember Nelson Mandela, abortion foes pushed a message that went against the global outpouring of praise: The anti-apartheid leader, they argued, backed a sweeping abortion rights law that negates any good he achieved. . . .

Abortion opponents began blogging and tweeting their objections, often in blistering tones, almost as soon as Mandela died on Dec. 5. . . . But the anti-abortion objections grew when Catholic leaders joined in the chorus of praise for Mandela. Pope Francis lauded Mandela for “promoting the human dignity of all the nation’s citizens and for forging a new South Africa built on the firm foundations of non-violence, reconciliation and truth.” . . .

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

Monday, December 9, 2013

NYT Editorial on ACLU's Suit Against Catholic Bishops

BishopThe New York Times editorial: When Bishops Direct Medical Care:

Beyond new state efforts to restrict women’s access to proper reproductive health care, another, if quieter, threat is posed by mergers between secular hospitals and Catholic hospitals operating under religious directives from the nation’s Roman Catholic bishops. These directives, which oppose abortions, inevitably collide with a hospital’s duty to provide care to pregnant women in medical distress. This tension lies at the heart of a federal lawsuit filed last week by the American Civil Liberties Union. . . . 

December 9, 2013 in In the Courts, In the Media, Religion and Reproductive Rights | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)