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Entries in abortion politics (68)

Thursday
Nov142013

Abortion Rights News: USSC Let's Stand Oklahoma State Court Ban On Mandatory Ultrasounds & Abortion Pills

1. After many years playing defense on abortion rights, advocates seeking to protect women’s health options launched a new offensive strategy on Capitol Hill. The first initiative is the Women’s Health Protection Act (WHPA), sponsored in the Senate by Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT)  and in the House by Rep. Judy Chu (D-CA).

WHPA is designed “to protect a woman’s right to determine whether and when to bear a child or end a pregnancy by limiting restrictions on the provision of abortion services.

If passed, the WHPA would pit the federal government against states rights advocates and new laws “that fail to protect women’s health and intrude upon personal decision-making,” according to its sponsors. Asserting that “a woman’s constitutional rights should not depend on her zip code,” the bill “promotes and protects a woman’s individual constitutional rights, no matter where she lives.”

2. In a second action, women’s reproductive health professionals around the country have launched All Above All, dedicated to educating members of Congress and their staff on the importance of public funding of abortion care for low-income women.

All Above All is supported by 28 organizations throughout America and intends to lift bans on public funding for abortion as blocked by the Hyde Amendment.

Organizers describe the campaign as a “bold, national, multi-year effort to bring together Millennials, people of color and groups from around the progressive universe to build the political power and will to lift these bans on coverage.”

WPHA does not address funding bans, writes RH Reality Check. The reality is that passing WHPA tomorrow would still leave the option unavailable to America’s poorest women. Removing the Hyde Amendment is a long-term goal that will take persistence and countless hours of dedicated efforts.

3. This week’s New York Magazine profiles the real life stories of 26 women — in honor of 26 Republican legislature states that have passed over 111 provisions that restrict abortion access. Of all the battles in our half-century culture war, “perhaps none seems further from being resolves, in our laws and in our consciences, than abortion” writes Meaghan Winter.

The article points out what we all know: the experience of abortion in America is increasingly based on one’s zip code. Not only does it vary by state but also by culture, race, income, age, family — and by the response of a boyfriend.

Also in NYM Why the Abortion Pill Didn’t Change Everything.

In 1993, Time magazine declared mifepristone — the abortion pill that’s often called RU-486 — “The Pill that Changes Everything.” In 1999, The New York Times Magazine called it a “little white bombshell” with “enormous political consequences.”  Think again.

4. The state of Oklahoma lost another round in its battle to restrict abortion access in the state when the US Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal in which a lower state court found HB 2789 requiring women to have an unnecessary and expensive ultrasound scan to be unconstitutional.

The new law mandated that the pregnant woman be given the chance to view the ultrasound image and be given a medical description, including “the dimensions of the embryo or fetus, the presence of cardiac activity, if present and viewable, and the presence of external members and internal organs, if present and viewable.”

Last week, the USSC dismissed an Oklahoma appeal on the permissibility of limiting abortions based on RU-486. The Oklahoma laws are important because they are among the earliest enacted after the Tea Party came to power in 2010, launching the Republican War on Women and women’s health as its top priority. via CNN

5. A major decision due any minute from the USSC will send the clearest signal yet of the court’s view on all the challenges to women’s abortion rights. The state of Texas filed a defense of the state’s new abortion restrictions, after Planned Parenthood and others appealed directly to the Supreme Court to reinstate an injunction blocking portions of the new law that introduce doctors’ hospital admitting privileges requirements.

The emergency appeal and Texas response was filed with Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia who can rule on the injunction himself, or present the case to the full court.

Access to contraception is also under assault in Texas. A new report confirms that more than a quarter of the family planning clinics are shuttered in the Rio Grande Valley, leaving Texas’ poorest women without access to cancer screening and birth control — previously provided by Planned Parenthood. 9 of 32 family planning clinics in the area — most not providing abortion services — have closed.

Thursday
Jul182013

As Texas Governor Rick Perry Signs New Abortion Bill, Three Republicans Introduce Fetal Heartbeat Law In Texas

French Roast News

Anne is reading …

The 10 most imporgant legal fights on abortion in the U.S, via Washington Post

1. Wisconsin: “The American Civil Liberties Union and Planned Parenthood have challenged a law requiring every physician who performs an abortion at a clinic to have staff privileges at a local hospital, arguing that the measure would force two of the state’s four abortion clinics to close.

Update: A federal judge issued a temporary restraining order on July 8 against the law that was challenged by the national and Wisconsin-based American Civil Liberties Union and Planned Parenthood.

U.S. District Judge William Conley granted the order saying: “there is a troubling lack of justification for the hospital admitting privileges requirement.” He said the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that states must prove that restrictions on abortion rights must be reasonably aimed at preserving the mother’s health.

“Moreover, the record to date strongly supports a finding that no medical purpose is served by this requirement,” the judge said.

Parties met in court again yesterday, where Judge Conley left the stay in place, while scheduling a trial date of November 25. The judge said he will decide in two weeks whether to issue a permanent injunction blocking implementation of the law.

The judge told the parties: “I think the toughest burden the state has to meet is that this is a legitimate state interest.

2. North Dakota: The state’s Gov. Jack Dalrymple (R) garnered national attention in late March when he signed into law a bill restricting abortions as soon as a heartbeat is detectable, which can be as early as six weeks. But he has also signed off on bills prohibiting abortion based on sex selection and genetic abnormalities, barring non-surgical abortions and requiring hospital admitting privileges for abortion doctors. The Center for Reproductive Rights is challenging all of these bills, some in state court and some in federal court. The fetal heartbeat bill takes effect on Aug. 1.

Update: On July 16th, after a three-day trial in April, East Central Judge Wickham Corwin ruled that an earlier 2011 North Dakota law that outlaws one of two drugs used in nonsurgical abortions violates the state and US constitutions.

“No compelling state interest justifies this infringement …” Corwin wrote in his 58-page ruling. He already had granted an injunction preventing the law from taking effect.

Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem said Monday he will appeal to the North Dakota Supreme Court.

On the subject of the current lawsuit on the fetal heartbeat bill, the Supreme Court hasn’t specifically addressed that question. The Supreme Court ruling stated women have the right to an abortion until the fetus is viable outside the womb, which is typically around 24 weeks. This is far later than when a heartbeat can first be detected, often before a woman knows she is pregnant.

At six weeks, many women only know they are late on their periods, not that they are pregnant.

3. Virginia. NOVA Women’s Healthcare, the state’s busiest abortion clinic, has closed with its operators saying it could not afford to comply with new regulations requiring costly upgrades in order to meet strict, hospital-like standards. It’s possible that the center also closed due to a landlord dispute.

Update: A separate clinic, the Falls Church Healthcare Center, filed an administrative appeal petition in the Arlington Circuit Court in June challenging the new rules imposed by the Virginia State Board of Health. The Commonwealth has responded, so the case is going forward. It’s unclear if the other 17 clinics in the state will be able to meet the new regulations.

4. Arkansas: The ACLU, the Arkansas ACLU and the Center for Reproductive Rights are challenging a law barring abortions starting 12 weeks after fertilization, which was adopted after the Arkansas legislature overrode Democratic Gov. Mike Beebe’s veto of the law.

Update: On May 17, federal US District Judge Susan Webber Wright barred Arkansas from implementing its new law, calling it “more than likely unconstitutional. the judge overseeing the case temporarily blocked the law, which was set to take effect in July.

Wright said the 12-week standard criminalizes some abortions before the generally accepted medical standard of viability for a fetus, which is 24 weeks.

“The Supreme Court has consistently used viability as a standard with respect to any law that regulates abortion,” Wright said. “This act defines viability as something viability is not.”

5. Kansas: The Center for Reproductive Rights has challenged a sweeping anti-abortion bill. Last month the center got a preliminary injunction blocking two provisions of the measure, ones requiring providers to endorse specific literature on abortion provided to patients and redefining what constitutes a medical emergency for a woman seeking an abortion.

Specifically the provisions enjoined by the judge’s order include one that callously redefines what constitutes a medical emergency in a way that would require many pregnant women in life-threatening situations to wait at least 24 hours before obtaining emergency abortion care—including women who are hemorrhaging, suffering from a serious infection, or facing an ectopic pregnancy about to rupture … ”

In Kansas if you are pregnant and in a life-threatening situation in ANY hospital, not just a Catholic hospital where you can’t be treated at all, you must wait 24 hours to be treated. NOTE, you are hemorrhaging, and Kansas says you can bleed to death rather than be treated with an abortion. 


Read more here: http://www.kansas.com/2013/07/12/2885073/judge-warns-of-lengthy-delay-in.html#storylink=cpy

Update: Chief Judge Kathryn Vratil’s canceled a July 29 hearing in U.S. District Court in Kansas City on behalf of Planned Parenthood. Instead, she’ll have a telephone conference call that day to set a new schedule, advising the parties that her docket is full potentially until December.

Planned Parenthood is seeking to overturn the provision requiring patients seeking an abortion to be told that it ends the life of a “whole, separate, unique, living human being.”


Read more here: http://www.kansas.com/2013/07/12/2885073/judge-warns-of-lengthy-delay-in.html#storylink=cpy

One of three abortion providers in Kansas was denied a license to operate this week. Planned Parenthood Kansas City will be certified. A third locations expects to fail the new requirements which are far more specific than anything the state requires for hospitals and ambulatory surgical centers, and are much more detailed “than the rules for most clinics and offices in which doctors perform many surgical procedures” writes Think Progress.

6. Arizona. The ACLU, the NAACP and the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum filed suit in May against an Arizona law that bans abortion on the basis of gender and race selection, arguing that it is based on stereotypes about Asian Americans and African Americans.

7. Oklahoma. The Center for Reproductive Rights has challenged both a law restricting non-surgical abortions and one requiring an ultrasound before a woman has an abortion. In both cases, the state supreme court has permanently blocked them.

Update: The U.S. Supreme Court has asked questions for clarification in Cline v. Oklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Justice, focused on the use of FDA-approved drugs that induce abortions. It’s anticipated that the SC will take the case. Similar laws prohibiting departures from the 2000 labeling have been adopted in Ohio and Arizona, and restricting medicinal abortions — currently about one-fifth of abortions in America — has become a goal of anti-abortion forces.

8. North Carolina. The Center for Reproductive Rights, the ACLU and Planned Parenthood have challenged a 2011 measure requiring abortion providers to show an ultrasound image to a pregnant woman, describe the features of the fetus and offer her a chance to listen to its heartbeat. A federal judge issued a preliminary injunction in the case in October 2011, and the case is still pending.

Both the House and Senate in North Carolina have both recently passed more sweeping anti-abortion bills. Governor McCrory signed into legislation today a law requiring that public school children be taught there’s a medical link between abortion and pre-term births later in life. and the governor has said he would sign the House version of that legislation.

Update: Two coalitions of doctors — the North Carolina Obstetrical and Gynecological Society (NCOGS) and the North Carolina Section of The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (NC ACOG) — point out that the legislation represents a sweeping overreach into their day-to-day work.

“Scientific evidence should be central to the legislature’s deliberations on any women’s health care policy, especially when the measures would severely restrict access to necessary women’s health care and related lawful medical services,” the two groups’ statement reads. “Passage of these bills, which are not based on science, will have a detrimental effect on the health of women in North Carolina. We strongly urge lawmakers to reject these measures.”

9. Alabama: The ACLU, the ACLU of Alabama, Planned Parenthood Federation of America and Planned Parenthood Southeast are challenging a law requiring abortion providers to obtain admitting privileges at nearby hospitals. The judge in that case issued a temporary restraining order late last month against the measure, just as a federal judge had blocked a 2012 Mississippi law challenged by the Center for Reproductive Rights that requires any physician performing abortions in the state be a board certified or eligible obstetrician-gynecologist with admitting privileges at an area hospital.

10 Texas. Texas governor Rick Perry signed today the Texas abortion bill, which would not only bar abortions starting 20 weeks after fertilization but would impose an admitting privileges requirement and other operating requirements for abortion rules.

Update: Planned Parenthood Texas says it will close three clinics in Bryan, Huntsville and Lufkin, Texas as a result of the new abortion law and also prior cuts to the Texas Women’s Health Program. Abortions were only performed at the Bryan clinic.

Estimates are that only six clinics will remain if the new laws aren’t struck down by the court. However, clinics in other states have survived the new laws requiring stricter standards. In Pennsylvania, the majority of clinics remained open but were forced to reallocate precious dollars that would have been used for patient care. Read on at Reuters.

Breaking News:  On Thursday three Texas Republicans filed a measure that would criminalize abortion services after a fetal heartbeat can be detected. This bill is a boilerplate of the North Dakota bill. The bill also requires an invasive ultrasound procedure required to detect the heartbeat. 

Additional reading: Media Ignore Why Women Need Access To Abortion After 20 Weeks  Media Matters

What the hell is going on in Texas? American women are losing the abortion battle London Telegraph

Thursday
Jul112013

Senate Promises New Abortion Bill DOA | Immigration Reform & Taxes | PA's Kane Won't Defend Gay Marriage Ban

1. Republicans around America have made abortion the nation’s biggest political issue. Anticipating that Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla) will sponsor the Senate verson of the House-passed bill that limits abortions at 20 weeks, a key date when a woman first has reliable sonograms about the health of her fetus, Democratic Senators went on the offensive yesterday, portraying the proposed abortion limits as ‘political showboating’.

“I can tell you this: No matter who introduces it, it is not going anywhere in the Senate,” Sen. Patty Murray said. “We are not going to let it come up in the Senate. There is no reason for it. This is settled law. We are not going to be sidetracked by a debate on women’s health yet again.”

Rubio is in a tight spot with social conservatives, who are angry with his support of immigration reform. Sponsoring the bill in the Senate is one way of appeasing those same social conservatives.

2. Immigration reform would boost state and local tax contributions by an estimated $2 billion annually, concludes a new study conducted by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, a nonpartisan research organization. If allowed to work legally, undocumented immigrants would participate fully in all the federal, state and local tax systems. Presently undocumented immigrants contributed $10.6 billion in state and local taxes in 2010.

- The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office concludes the immigration reform bill would shrink the deficit by $197 billion over the next decade.
- Rather than lower wages for US workers, a study by the Brookings Institution’s Hamilton Project that found an increase in immigrant workers may lead to a boost in wages for U.S-born workers.

75 percent of Americans agree that immigration reform will benefit the economy.

3. Pennsylvania attorney general Kathleen Kane (D) says she will not defend the state in a federal lawsuit filed this week by the ACLU that challenges the constitutionality of the state’s ban on same-sex marriage, reports the Washington Post.

“Kane is named as a defendant in the suit, along with the state’s governor Tom Corbett (R-Penn.). Kane is the first woman and the first Democrat ever elected to the position of Pennsylvania state attorney general, which became an elected office in 1980.”

When a similar occurrence happened in Ca. with Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) and then attorney general Jerry Brown (D), a third party stepped in to defend the law.

A new survey focused on the re-election of Gov. Tom Corbett is in serious jeopardy, with only 24 percent of all voters and 43 percent of Republicans believing that he deserves a second term. AOC supports Rep. Allyson Schwartz in her bid for to become the first woman governor of Pa.

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4. Americans are split pretty evenly on whether the decline in religious affiliation in America is a good thing, bad one or generally irrelevant, reports Pew Research. The more religious persons polled in a nationwide survey of 4,006 adults with a margin of error of plus or minus 2.1 percentage points felt the strongest about the trend being a bad one for society.

At a top level analysis, 48 percent of US adults surveyed say that America’s declining religiosity is a bad thing. Eleven percent say it’s a good thing, with 39 percent saying it doesn’t matter.

One segment worth noting is Hispanic Catholics, with only 36% saying the trend is bad for society and 48% saying the trend does not matter.

5. Despite the title of Brian Resnick’s ‘How Power Corrupts the Mind’ and it often does — one shouldn’t conclude that it always does, says Pamela Smith, a power researcher at the University of California San Diego.

“There is a tendency for people to assume power holders are uncaring, they’re cold, they don’t care about the little people,” says Smith. But it depends on who has the power.

“You put someone in an experiment, temporarily, in a high-powered role, and what you find is that people who say they have pro-social values, the more power they have, the more pro-social they are. The people who say they have more self-centered values tend to be more selfish the more power they have.”

Read Smith’s ‘You Focus on the Forest When You’re in Charge of the Trees’.