March 21, 2014
"A Mississippi Teen is Facing Life in Prison for Using Cocaine During Her Pregnancy," Maya Dusenbery, Feministing: A wave of "'fetal harm'" cases across the country "has already started working the principal of fetal personhood into the legal system," and "affecting women -- primarily those who ... are young, poor, and Black -- who used illegal drugs during their pregnancies," Dusenbery writes, citing the case of Rennie Gibbs, a black teenager in Mississippi who was charged with causing the death of her fetus after traces of cocaine were found during an autopsy after a stillbirth. Dusenbery notes that "concerns about cocaine exposure in utero -- popularized during widespread panic about 'crack babies' in the '80s and '90s -- have been 'wildly overstated.'" Dusenbery argues that cases like Gibbs' are not "really about protecting fetuses," but are "about asserting a state interest in protecting 'fetal personhood' at the direct cost of actual people's personhood" (Dusenbery, Feministing, 3/19).
"One City's 6 Month Quest To Take Its Sidewalks Back from Anti-Abortion Protesters," Robin Marty, Center for American Progress' "ThinkProgress": The Englewood, N.J., City Council on Tuesday "unanimously passed an ordinance requiring an eight-foot buffer zone around all Englewood health care facilit[ies'] entrances, exits and driveways," Marty writes. She adds that the ordinance was adopted after increasingly aggressive protests outside of an abortion clinic in the city, Metropolitan Medical Associates, which "has been a longtime target for abortion opponents both locally and nationally." Marty writes that the buffer zone "is a much smaller distance than the one in place in Massachusetts, which is currently being reviewed by the Supreme Court -- a factor that buffer [zone] supporters hope might allow an Englewood version to stay intact, even if the Massachusetts one ends up being overturned" (Marty, "ThinkProgress," Center for American Progress, 3/19).
"Louisiana House Committee Passes Admitting Privileges Bill," Teddy Wilson, RH Reality Check: "The Louisiana House Committee on Health and Welfare voted unanimously Wednesday to pass a bill [HB 388] that ... would require abortion providers to gain admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of where they perform abortions," Wilson writes, adding that reproductive health advocates "say it would immediately close three of [the state's] clinics, leaving only the clinics that provide abortions in Shreveport." Wilson writes that the bill also would "impose restrictions on medication abortion, requiring a 24-hour waiting period before an abortion can be induced with medication, and implementing a reporting requirement for providers" that would require "some physicians in private practice to register with the state, making their names, location and status as an abortion provider all publicly available information." Wilson adds that the legislation, which is "reportedly backed by Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal, has now moved to the house for a floor vote," where "it is expect[ed] to pass" (Wilson, RH Reality Check, 3/20).