Thursday, June 16, 2016

Anti-Choice Groups Use Smartphone Surveillance to Target ‘Abortion-Minded Women’ During Clinic Visits

Rewire (May 29, 2016): Anti-Choice Groups Use Smartphone Surveillance to Target ‘Abortion-Minded Women’ During Clinic Visits, by Sharona Coutts

In the digital age of tracked advertising, we are constantly bombarded with ads that companies choose for us based on our technological imprint and history. Now, these ads are getting personal. The newly re-branded Rewire writes about John Flynn, CEO of Copley Advertising, who decided to use technology for targeted ads within the anti-choice movement; specifically, against women inside the safety of abortion clinics encouraging them to change their mind about their personal and (not-so) private choice to terminate a pregnancy. Because  laws on data collection and tech privacy are still catching up with the speed at which the sector is progressing, this is all, as of now, legal.  

    "Women who have visited almost any abortion clinic in the United States have seen anti-choice protesters outside, wielding placards and chanting abuse. A Boston advertiser's technology, when deployed by anti-choice groups, allows those groups to     send propaganda directly to a woman’s phone while she is in a clinic waiting room."

June 16, 2016 in Abortion, Anti-Choice Movement | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Sam Bee destroys the religious right’s abortion obsession

Salon (May 24, 2016): Sam Bee destroys the religious right’s abortion obsession, by Brendan Gauthier

   "The "Full Frontal" host takes aim at the "feverish anti-abortion rhetoric" that has taken over the right."

In typical Sam Bee fashion, humor is used to expose the hypocrisy of the religious right and their take on abortion. Bee also speaks to one of the "founders" of the "pro-life" movement who explains that the help he offered on the film that started the crusade, entitled "Whatever Happened to the Human Race" is the "single greatest regret" of his life. 


June 15, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

How Clergy Set the Standard for Abortion Care

The Atlantic (May 29, 2016): How Clergy Set the Standard for Abortion Care, by Bridgette Dunlap

The Atlantic explores the somewhat counter-intuitive notion that clergy of the past used to actively support a woman's right to an abortion in a space that was safe, personal and welcoming. Tracing back the work of the Clergy Consultation Service on Abortion in New York, it's almost surprising to read that the group once facilitated access to clinics, championed the idea that abortion should not have been overly medicalized, and even opened a clinic to pave the way for the care they deem dignified and necessary for the women seeking services. 

    "Fifty years ago, a network of religious leaders helped thousands of women find safe, comfortable ways of having the procedure.

    Judson Memorial Church—joined by the CCS’s successor organization, the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, and a slew of other religious     groups—filed an amicus brief with the Supreme Court opposing Texas’s abortion regulations. They argue the measures will injure the health and     dignity of women by driving up costs and decreasing access to safe abortion. Unlike the Texas legislators purporting to protect women seeking     abortions, they know whereof they speak."

June 15, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, June 13, 2016

UN Human Rights Committee Rules Ireland's Restrictions on Abortion Violate Human Rights

Buzzfeed (June 10, 2016): Ireland's Abortion Laws Breach Women's Human Rights, UN Rules, by Rose Troup Buchanan and Jina Moore: 

Last week, the UN Human Rights Committee, found that Irish laws criminalizing abortion violate the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.  The case was brought by a woman who could not get a legal abortion in Ireland after she discovered she was carrying a fetus with fatal congenital defects.  As a result, she was forced to travel the the United Kingdom to terminate her pregnancy.  The Committee found that because Irish law does not permit an abortion in such cases, the woman was forced to choose "between continuing her non-viable pregnancy or traveling to another country while carrying a dying fetus, at personal expense and separated from the support of her family, and to return while not fully recovered."  The Human Rights Committee found that denial of an abortion under such circumstances constituted cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment and violated the right to non-discrimination and right to privacy and autonomy.

Although, Ireland has an international legal obligation to comply with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the Committee's decision is not directly enforceable by Irish courts.  Instead, it will be up to the Irish government to change its laws.  This may require amendment of the Irish Constitution, which currently limits abortion to cases where the mother's life is in danger.  The Committee has given the Irish government four months to report back on its progress complying with the committee's decision.

June 13, 2016 in Abortion Bans, International | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sterilized Peruvian Woman Seeks Justice from Inter-American Court of Human Rights

Rewire (June 3, 2016): A Sterilized Peruvian Woman Seeks Justice From Americas' Highest Human Rights Court, by Cynthia Soohoo and Suzannah Phillips:

The Inter-American Court of Human Rights recently heard argument in a case filed by a Peruvian refugee against Bolivia after she was sterilized after undergoing a cesarian section at public hospital.  The case illustrates the all-too-common scenario of medical providers making decisions on behalf of women who are deemed "unfit or unable" to make their own choices.  In a region where there are widespread reports of forced sterilization, the case is the first time the court will consider whether nonconsensual sterilization is a human rights violation.  The case provides an important opportunity for the IA Court to condemn forced sterilization and to adopt clear standards concerning informed consent. 

June 13, 2016 in International, Sterilization | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, June 10, 2016

Pro-Choice Activists Ask to Be Prosecuted to Prove a Point About Abortion Laws

New York Magazine: Pro-Choice Activists Ask to Be Prosecuted to Prove a Point About Abortion Laws, by Sarah Spellings:

Northern Ireland, the "Oklahoma (and Texas, Utah, Florida) of the U.K.," has a 155-year-old law criminalizing abortion.  Now, three women there are fighting the stigma and harshness of the country's abortion laws by distributing abortion drugs in spite of (or, rather, to incite) criminal prosecution in their country in the hope of helping young women with a lack of access to this basic healthcare right. 

While in the U.S. pro-choice advocates fight felony charges and fake abortion centers, three women from Derry, Northern Ireland, have turned themselves in for procuring pills to induce abortion and distributing them to young women. They hope to trigger a trial following two high-profile cases prosecuting young women who used this method of abortion.

The three women and 197 others signed an open letter last year revealing that they had procured the drugs for themselves or others and were willing to be arrested.  To the women's chagrin, the authorities took no action to arrest them. 

June 10, 2016 in Abortion, International | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Closing the Gender Data Gap

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation via the New York Times: Closing the Gender Data Gap:

In a posting to the New York Times website, the Foundation reports that "[d]ata powers today’s world, informing decisions about everything from business and government to health care and education. For women and girls, however, basic information about their lives—the work they do, the challenges they face, even the very fact of their existence—is lacking. “When we don’t count women or girls, they literally become invisible,” says Sarah Hendriks, director of gender equality at the Foundation.

The implications of this gender-based data gap and the attendant invisibility of women are grave. Without accurate data on women and girls, governments and organizations are stymied in their efforts to empower women and improve lives, and there is no way to measure progress toward global gender equality goals. Moreover, in the specific context of birth registration, barriers can impede mobility and access to health care and other essential services for mothers and children.    

The data gap often starts early, driven by information collection methods that are controlled by men.  One example is designating the “head of household,” usually a man, as the provider of information about the family. Another is defining “work” as the typical 9-5 job outside the home. These male-biased surveys fail to capture women’s perspectives, needs and economic value.

The good news is that organizations are testing new ways to gather and analyze data in order to spur politicians to design programs that will improve the political participation and security of women around the world.

June 9, 2016 in International, Women, General | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Woman Faces Fight to Use Dead Partner's Sperm

The Chronicle (May 30, 2016): Woman Faces Fight to Use Dead Partner's Sperm, by Andrew Backhouse:

A Queensland woman, granted judicial permission to extract sperm from her deceased fiance will likely face a legal challenge to her use of the sperm to have a child with the aid of in vitro fertilization.  The partner's family has returned to New Zealand with his body and may well oppose her use of the extracted sperm.  The family gave permission for the extraction on an emergency basis because sperm is rendered useless for fertilization within twenty-four hours of a man's death.  The couple had been trying to conceive a child before the man's untimely death.  Friends of the couple appeared in court to testify about the couple's commitment and desire to have a family.  The presiding judged urged "mature reflection . . . whether to proceed with the use of any extracted material." 

June 8, 2016 in Assisted Reproduction | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Abortion on the Test in Utah

Salt Lake Tribune (June 3, 2016): Online Utah High School’s Biology Test Asked Students If a Woman Should Have an Abortion, Benjamin Wood:

A question on a final biology tests administered to high school students in Utah has raised the ire of some parents in that state.  The question, since removed from the state's electronic testing database, concerned a 40-year-old woman who was considering an abortion after having been told that the fetus she was carrying had Down's syndrome. 

The potential answers include: waiting and redoing the genetic testing closer to the baby's due date; trusting the scientific knowledge of the doctor and going forward with an abortion; prioritizing the wishes of the mother; and considering aspects like religious beliefs, financial burden and the effect on other family members before making "the best decision for everyone."

Some believe the question unlawfully tests students' religious views.  Others object that the question denies students the option of expressing respect for the unborn. 

June 7, 2016 in Abortion, State and Local News, Teenagers and Children | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, June 6, 2016

Higher-Order Births Decline

New York Times (May 30, 2016): Triplet and Higher-Order Births in U.S. Down 41%, by Nicholas Bakalar:

Women 25 and older and in particular women 45 and older are giving birth to fewer higher-order births, 90 percent of which have been triplets in recent years.   The sharpest drop occurred among non-Hispanic white women, though the rate in this group is still 57 percent higher than for non-Hispanic black women and twice as high as the rate for Hispanic women.  The increase in higher-order births prior to 1998 was attributed to the rising average maternal age.  This average has continued to rise; the decline in higher-order births, then, is thought to be the result of the practices of infertility centers, namely, not implanting multiple embryos in women seeking treatment.

June 6, 2016 in Assisted Reproduction, Medical News | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, June 3, 2016

New Scholarship on Reproductive Justice

Linda Edwards, Catherine Walsh, and Michelle Goodwin have recently published articles on reproductive justice.  The abridged abstracts follow:

Hearing Voices: Non-Party Stories in Abortion and Gay Rights Advocacy, by Linda Edwards:

Among the amicus briefs filed in Thornburgh v. American College of Obstetricians & Gynecologists  (1986) was one submitted by the National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL). Like the famous "Brandeis Brief" in Muller v. Oregon (1908), the NARAL brief relies on sources outside the trial court record. Unlike the Brandeis Brief, however, the NARAL brief does not treat women as the objects of social science research. Instead, living, breathing women, speaking with the first-person pronoun “I,” tell their own abortion stories.  This article tells the story of that first “voices” brief, its young author, and its amazing civil rights legacy.

Inadequate Access: Reforming Reproductive Health Care Policies for Women Incarcerated in New York State Correctional Facilities, by Catherine Walsh:

Women in New York State prisons face poor-quality care and assaults on their basic human dignity and reproductive rights.  Three issues of particular concern are incarcerated women’s access to gynecological examinations, sanitary supplies, and contraception. This article examines New York State policies addressing reproductive health care for incarcerated women, identifies problems with them, and makes recommendations for reform. perspectives. It recommends bringing New York’s policies in line with legal, medical, and international standards and using existing federal and state programs to provide funding for reproductive care both prior to and after release.

The Pregnancy Penalty, by Michelle Goodwin:

A multitude of state actions serve to sanction and punish pregnant women. It is a fallacy that such punitive state actions “advance” women’s best interest while promoting informed consent. Poor women are symbolically and medically trapped civilly and criminally where extended wait periods, targeted regulations of abortion providers (TRAP laws), and other indignities  burden their constitutional rights. These issues take on a new urgency as lawmakers continue to undermine women’s health care rights.

June 3, 2016 in Scholarship and Research | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Santa Claus in the Fertility Clinic

Human Reproduction (May 21, 2016): Santa Claus in the Fertility Clinic, by Hans Evers:

The editor-in-chief of this premier medical journal criticizes infertility physicians for creating therapeutic illusions with misdiagnoses, useless medications, and unnecessary treatment.  Evers is referring specifically to the unnecessary use of intra-cytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) in cases where in vitro fertilization (IVF) by itself would be sufficient to create a viable pregnancy.  ICSI is indicated in cases of male-factor infertility, but such cases do not comprise the majority of infertility cases.  Evers bases his evaluation on data covering 2008 through 2010 and gathered by the International Committee Monitoring Assisted Reproductive Technology (ICMART).  The data show that the ICSI-to-IVF ratio varies from 1.4 in Asia to a staggering 60.3 in the Middle East.  Studies show that the use of ICSI in non-male-factor infertility cases results in fewer lives births than the use of IVF alone.  It does not improve the chances of a successful fertilization in such cases.  Evers calls for the end of this costly and ineffective therapeutic illusion.


June 1, 2016 in Assisted Reproduction, Medical News | Permalink | Comments (0)