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Entries in women of Texas (11)


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.


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:

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:

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


New Texas Abortion Law Limits Contraception For Poor Women By Closing Majority Of Planned Parenthood Centers

Debate — and we use the term loosely — on proposed changes to Texas abortion law resumes tomorrow in the second special session called by Gov. Rick Perry, who insists that the law be passed. The first special session ended in chaos, after an 11-hour filibuster by Sen. Wendy David, D-Fort Worth.

Hanging in wait are three dozen licensed health centers in the state, where women can obtain an abortion, along with other medical services including family planning and screenings for cancer and sexually transmitted diseases. The majority of those centers will close, leaving facilities only in Austin, Dallas, For Worth, Houston and San Antonio, writes the Star-Telegram.

“The Texas bills are a compilation of overreaching measures to control when, where and how a woman has an abortion,” said Dr. Lisa M. Hollier, Texas district chairwoman of the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. “The bills would erode women’s health by denying the women of Texas the benefits of well-researched, safe and proven protocols.”

Both supporters and opponents of the new law will be in Austin tomorrow, the opposition wearing orange, with supporters in blue.

Those opposed to the new abortion restrictions are planning a march beginning tomorrow evening in Austin, at 8pm. Called Stand and March with Texas Women - Round 2, the official route for the march is Congress to Cesar Chavez, Cesar Chavez to Lavaca, Lavaca to 11th, and 11th back to the Capitol.

The Facebook event page — on which I have been a very active member this weekend — advises via march organizer Kristian Caballero:

… there will be a designated area for volunteer pedicabs to pickup people who are not mobile enough to physically endure the march (i.e. pregnant women, handicapped, and elderly). Please be sure to gather near the front gate of the Capitol, close to 11th Street and Congress Avenue.

Once again, I’ve been coordinating with APD and they will provide police escort to keep us safe from traffic. They have been incredibly cooperative and supportive, and they vow to protect our constitutional right to assemble and have this march; but they strongly advise each individual to avoid any violent or destructive action, otherwise they will be forced to make arrests. So please keep the safety of yourself and others in consideration.

Texas and Teen Pregnancy

AOC has followed the onslaught against women’s rights in Texas for several years now. When any accommodation is made to meet the health care needs of poor women in the state, abortion opponents led by Gov. Rick Perry go after Planned Parenthood in another way.

Access to contraception for poor women in Texas — the #5 state in teen pregnancy rates in 2011 and #1 state in repeat teen pregnancies — will again be decimated with the closing of so many Planned Parenthood facilities.

Click to read more ...