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December 1, 2015

FEATURED BLOG

"Anti-Abortion Terrorism Must Be Stopped," Jennifer Conti, Slate 's "Medical Examiner": "As news continues to unfold about Friday's Planned Parenthood shooting in Colorado Springs, one thing is clear: Domestic terrorism remains unchecked," Conti, a physician, writes. She notes, "In 2015 alone, there has been unprecedented harassment from anti-choice extremists, including most recently, a series of slanderous manipulated videos used to attack Planned Parenthood's fetal tissue donation programs." She notes, "When women are too scared to seek medical care for fear of being shot on the way to clinic, we are in crisis mode. This is beyond bullying and this is no longer simply a politicizing issue ... How far does this have to play out before we can stop pretending that abortion care is not real health care?" According to Conti, "Since 1977, there have been eight murders, 17 attempted murders, 42 bombings, 186 arsons, and thousands of incidents of criminal activity associated with U.S. abortion clinics ... not includ[ing] what happened in Colorado Springs." She continues, "As a physician, I worry about patients. I worry that women will be too scared or intimidated to seek the medical care they deserve and need. I also worry about the men and women who work daily to maintain access to reproductive health care: clinic staff, legislators, advocates." Noting that "the point of terrorism" is "to incite fear and paralysis," she writes that the "solution is strength and bravery in numbers, and it's a more accurate depiction of abortion in the media," as well as "government accountability." Conti concludes, "Anti-choice terrorism can be stopped. When it's recognized for what it truly is, and when preventing it is given enough support on both sides of the aisle, this can be stopped" (Conti, "Medical Examiner," Slate, 11/28).

What others are saying about clinic violence:

~ "Sorry, Conservatives, but There Is Nothing Surprising About Anti-Choice Terrorism," Amanda Marcotte, Salon.

~ "None of This Is Normal," Maya Dusenbery, Feministing.

~ "Candidates Finally Comment On Shooting, Continue False Attacks on Planned Parenthood," Katie Valentine, Center for American Progress' ThinkProgress.

~ "The Link Between Anti-Abortion Rhetoric and the Planned Parenthood Attack," Michelle Goldberg, Slates' "DoubleX."

~ "How the Phony Planned Parenthood Videos Degraded the Abortion Debate," Joan Walsh, The Nation.

FEATURED BLOG

"Whole Woman's Health v. Cole and the Future of Abortion Rights," B. Jessie Hill, American Constitution Society blog: The case "Whole Woman's Health v. Cole, which will be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court this [t]erm ... may well be the most significant abortion case in 24 years," Hill writes. She explains that since "establish[ing] the 'undue burden' standard for evaluating the constitutionality of abortion restrictions in 1992 in Planned Parenthood v. Casey ... the Supreme Court has largely declined to speak further on the meaning or scope of the undue burden standard." Hill notes that the "vagueness of that standard ... opened the door for states to continually pass new and ever more restrictive regulations on abortion," including "a new kind of restriction -- restrictions adopted in the name of protecting women's health but really aimed at reducing access to abortion." According to Hill, the Supreme Court in Whole Women's Health "will decide the constitutionality of a Texas law [HB 2] that imposes onerous requirements on abortion providers -- namely, that doctors providing abortions have admitting privileges at a local hospital and that abortion clinics conform to the requirements for 'ambulatory surgical centers.'" Hill writes that the legal challenge "presents essentially two fundamental questions regarding the 'undue burden' standard. First, is the sweeping impact on abortion access in Texas itself enough to constitute an 'undue burden,'" and "second, if the impact of the law alone is not enough, does the law constitute an undue burden because it imposes obstacles to obtaining an abortion without serving any real or legitimate state interest?" She concludes, "If the undue burden standard is to mean anything, surely it means the state cannot shut down clinics for essentially no reason at all," adding, "If the Casey standard is going to stay around for another couple of decades, the Court must vindicate it in this case" (Hill, American Constitution Society blog, 11/25).

What others are saying about abortion restrictions:

~ "Will Pseudoscience Undo Roe v. Wade?" Jay Michaelson, Daily Beast.

~ "As SCOTUS Steps Into Fight Over Clinic Closure Laws, Another Appeals Court Rules They Should Be Blocked," Jessica Mason Pieklo, RH Reality Check.