National Partnership for Women & Families

Around the Blogosphere

July 25, 2014


 "Anti-Choice Protests Target New Orleans Clinics, Homes, Churches," Teddy Wilson, RH Reality Check: "In the first few days of planned protests in New Orleans, anti-choice activists have disrupted the community by targeting reproductive health-care clinics, personal residences, and even houses of worship in the hopes of intimidating abortion providers and reproductive rights supporters," Wilson writes. Wilson explains that the protests, organized through Operation Save America, target "two New Orleans clinics that provide abortion care, a construction site where a Planned Parenthood facility is being built, and the home of a physician who is an abortion provider," among other locations. The protests "have focused primarily on harassing the staff, volunteers, and patients of reproductive health-care clinics," Wilson writes, adding that the protests "come in the wake of legislative efforts to reduce access to reproductive health care in Louisiana" (Wilson, RH Reality Check, 7/24).

What others are saying about the antiabortion-rights movement:

~ "Anti-Choice Groups Seek to Stack State Courts," Zoe Greenberg, RH Reality Check.

~ "I Scream, You Scream, the Anti-Choice Crowd Is Mad About Ice Cream," Madeleine Davies, Jezebel.


 "Number of Texas Women Living 200 Miles From an Abortion Clinic Has Jumped by 2,800 Percent," Tara Culp-Ressler, Center for American Progress' "ThinkProgress": The omnibus antiabortion-rights package (HB 2) approved in Texas a "year ago this month" has "wreaked havoc on reproductive health access in the state, and half of Texas' clinics have been forced to shut down," writes Culp-Ressler, citing research from the Texas Policy Evaluation Project. According to TPEP's research, "the new abortion law is compromising women's ability to exercise their right to choose," as demonstrated by a "13 percent decline in the legal abortion rate in the Lone Star State," Culp-Ressler writes. She adds that because the rate is "steeper than the recent declines in the number of abortions observed across other states," it suggests that "the decreased access to clinics is preventing some Texas women from being able to have the medical procedure," an unsurprising finding given that "the number of women of reproductive age who live at least 200 miles away from an abortion clinic has skyrocketed by 2,800 percent -- jumping from 10,000 women in 2013 to 290,000 women in 2014." Culp-Ressler adds, "[I]t's important to remember that the new report focuses solely on legal abortions obtained in clinics, and doesn't reflect the number of women who may be resorting to illegal means of ending a pregnancy" (Culp-Ressler, "ThinkProgress," Center for American Progress, 7/23).

What others are saying about abortion restrictions:

~ "The Onion's Brilliant Take on Abortion Restrictions Will Make You Laugh/Sob," Katie McDonough, Salon.

~ "Super-Restrictive Ireland Abortion Laws Are Violating Women's Rights, and the UN Knows It," Lauren Barbato, Bustle.

July 22, 2014


 "Half of Texas' Abortion Clinics Are Gone," Tara Culp-Ressler, Center for American Progress' "ThinkProgress": The number of abortion clinics in Texas "has been cut in half over the past year, dropping from 41 to just 20" under a "stringent package [HB 2] of abortion restrictions" that was approved in 2013, according to a report from Houston Public Media, Culp-Ressler writes. She writes that many of those clinics "were forced out of business because they can't comply with the new law, which requires doctors to obtain admitting privileges from local hospitals" and that just six clinics are expected to be able to comply with a provision of the law that takes effect in September, requiring clinics "to bring their facilities in line with the building codes for ambulatory surgical centers." The "crisis won't be contained within Texas' borders," Culp-Ressler writes, noting that "[o]ther anti-choice lawmakers have followed in Texas' footsteps and proposed the exact same type of laws in their own states" (Culp-Ressler, "ThinkProgress," Center for American Progress, 7/18).

What others are saying about abortion restrictions:

~ "The People of Color Activists Whose Voices Are Too Often Missing From Stories Abortion Texas' 'Orange Army,'" Shailey Gupta-Brietzke, RH Reality Check.

~ "A New Abortion Rights Bill Could Help Decide the Midterms," Robin Marty, Care2.

~ "The Women's Health Protection Act: Protecting Women's Right to Choose," Ashley Bender, NWLC blog.

~ "What The Abortion Fight Unfolding in Tennessee Means for the Rest of the Country," Culp-Ressler, Center for American Progress' "ThinkProgress."


 "Repro Wrap: Massachusetts Gets Harsh With Abortion Protesters and Other News," Marty, Care2: "Massachusetts may have lost its buffer zone law thanks to a 9-0 decision by the Supreme Court, but the state, its governor, and its attorney general aren't willing to let that loss go quietly," writes Marty. She adds that the governor has proposed a new bill "to combat harassment at clinics" by "allowing police to have more power to disperse groups impeding an entrance way and forcing protesters to stay away longer once they have been accused of blocking a patient or a vehicle." Marty writes that while abortion-rights opponents might try to bring the proposed law to court if enacted, doing so will "make it clear that their intention was never about 'counseling'" but instead "to block the entry way and harass patients and staff." Marty also touches on similar legislative efforts in New York and New Hampshire, among other measures related to abortion rights (Marty, Care2, 7/18).

July 18, 2014


"Massachusetts is Rushing Through Legislation To Fix the Supreme Court's Ruling on Buffer Zones," Culp-Ressler, Center for American Progress' "ThinkProgress": After the Supreme Court's decision to strike down Massachusetts' "buffer zone" law, "state lawmakers are rushing through new legislation to ensure that patients will still be able to safely enter clinics," Culp-Ressler writes. If signed into law, the new bill (S 2281) "would strengthen criminal penalties for certain disruptive behavior outside of abortion clinics," she explains. "Lawmakers are hoping the new legislation will strike the appropriate balance between patient safety and protesters' First Amendment rights," but "it's unlikely to please the individuals who brought down buffer zones," she adds (Culp-Ressler, "ThinkProgress," Center for American Progress, 7/17).


 "States Prescribe Bad Medicine for Women Seeking Abortions," Emily Shugerman, Ms. Magazine  blog: The day "before senators testified on behalf of a bill to protect women's health services, the National Partnership for Women & Families released a report detailing just how threatened these services are," Shugerman writes. Thirty-three states have at least one of the four types of abortion restrictions mentioned in the report -- biased counseling, mandatory delays, medication abortion restrictions and ultrasound requirements -- while 16 states have all four, she notes. "These laws require physicians to act according to state ideologies, not scientific evidence," Shugerman explains, concluding, "More importantly, they obscure the fact that reproductive health care should be treated like any other form of health care: an issue for the patient and her doctor, not for politicians" (Shugerman, Ms. Magazine blog, 7/16).

What others are saying about abortion restrictions:

~ "A Federal Pro-Choice Bill That Would Stem the Anti-Choice Tide in the States," Maya Dusenbery, Feministing.

~ "How To Get an Abortion in Texas," Jenny Kutner, Salon.

July 15, 2014


"How Bad Medicine is Sweeping the Country, One State at a Time," Tara Culp-Ressler, Center for American Progress' "ThinkProgress": "[A] wave of anti-choice legislation has completely reoriented the women's health landscape, ensuring that medical professionals are forced to ignore their best judgment in order to remain compliant with the law, according to a new report from the National Partnership for Women & Families," Culp-Ressler writes. The report focuses on four types of laws that have no scientific justification, including "unnecessary ultrasound requirements, biased counseling sessions, mandatory waiting periods, and regulations on the abortion pill," Culp-Ressler explains. According to the report, 33 states have adopted at least one of these laws, while 16 have passed all four types (Culp-Ressler, "ThinkProgress," Center for American Progress, 7/14).

What others are saying about protecting reproductive rights:

~ "An Opportunity for Congress To Stand Up for Women," Nancy Northup, MSNBC.

~ "Map of the Day: 'Bad Medicine' Laws Undermine Reproductive Health Care Across the Country," Maya Dusenbery, Feministing.

~ "Should Abortion Be 'Rare'?'" Fran Moreland Johns, Huffington Post blogs.


"Tennessee Arrests First Mother Under Its New Pregnancy Criminalization Law," Culp-Ressler, Center for American Progress' "ThinkProgress": Culp-Ressler discusses the case of 26-year-old Mallory Loyola who is "the first woman to be arrested under a new law [SB 1391] in Tennessee that allows the state to criminally charge mothers for potentially causing harm to their fetuses by using drugs." The measure took effect this month and "stipulates that 'a woman may be prosecuted for assault for the illegal use of a narcotic drug while pregnant, if her child is born addicted to or harmed by the narcotic drug.'" However, Culp-Ressler explains that "this may not actually apply to Loyola's case" because there is no evidence that Loyola "either used a narcotic drug or caused harm to her newborn child" (Culp-Ressler, "ThinkProgress," Center for American Progress, 7/11).

What others are saying about criminalizing pregnancy:

~ "Rick Perry’s 'Pro-Life' Hypocrisy: How Texas Puts Pregnant Women at Risk," Katie McDonough, Salon.

~ "Pregnant Texas Woman Denied Methadone Treatment in Jail Released to Home Monitoring," Andrea Grimes, RH Reality Check.

July 11, 2014


"Minnesota Law Protects Incarcerated Pregnant Women From Shackling, Provides Doulas," Nina Liss-Schultz, RH Reality Check: Liss-Schultz comments on a Minnesota law (SF 2423) that took effect last week and "will protect incarcerated pregnant women in the state" by "set[ting] new requirements for the state's prisons relating to the treatment of prisoners during pregnancy and childbirth." Among the law's provisions are the requirements "that inmates have access to mental health assessments and treatment during pregnancy and postpartum" and "that correctional facilities offer pregnancy and sexually transmitted disease tests to inmates, along with prenatal, childbirth, and parenting materials," she explains. Further, the law "bans the use of restraints and shackles on pregnant women in most circumstances, and allows women access to doulas as long as there is no extra cost to the state," she adds (Liss-Schultz, RH Reality Check, 7/8).

What others are saying about pregnant women's rights:

~ "Texas Jailers Deny Pregnant Navy Vet Medication Needed To Continue Her Pregnancy," Andrea Grimes, RH Reality Check.

~ "Texas Loves Babies, So Long as Their Mothers Aren't Former Drug Users," Robin Marty, Care2.

~ "First Woman Arrested Under Tennessee Pregnancy Criminalization Law, For a Drug not Covered Under the Law," Liss-Schultz, RH Reality Check.

July 1, 2014


"Only Abortion Clinic in Western North Carolina Closes," Nina Liss-Schultz, RH Reality Check: "The only abortion clinic in western North Carolina," Femcare, "closed its doors on Saturday," Liss-Schultz writes. The clinic had been up for sale since March and has battled to stay open since last year. Last July, the state suspended the clinic's license days after SB 353 -- which "gave the state health board the power to regulate abortion clinics using the same standards as those used for ambulatory surgical centers" -- took effect, Liss-Schultz writes. It re-opened shortly after, she notes. While Planned Parenthood is opening a new clinic in Asheville, N.C., in December, "The delay means that for six months, women seeking an abortion in western North Carolina will have to travel to find safe, legal abortion care. The closest clinics are now 125 miles away, in Charlotte, and 60 miles away in Greenville, South Carolina," Liss-Schultz concludes (Liss-Schultz, RH Reality Check, 6/30).

June 27, 2014


"What Today's Supreme Court Ruling Means for Other Laws That Protect Clinic Patients," Nicole Flatow, Center for American Progress' "ThinkProgress": Flatow notes that in striking down Massachusetts' "buffer zone" law on Thursday, five of the justices reasoned that the law, "among the nation's broadest," was unconstitutional because the state "could not punish such a broad swath of conduct." Although other buffer zone laws could be challenged in wake of the ruling, it is possible that many of them, especially Colorado's and others that are "more specific about the types of conduct they prohibit," might "very well survive the Supreme Court's new test," she writes (Flatow, "ThinkProgress," Center for American Progress, 6/26).

What others are saying about buffer zones:

~ "What is Left of Hill v. Colorado?" Kevin Russell, SCOTUSblog.

June 24, 2014


"Democrats Fight To Repeal Michigan's New 'Rape Insurance' Law," Culp-Ressler, Center for American Progress' "ThinkProgress": "A group of Michigan lawmakers have introduced a measure to roll back a controversial abortion restriction that went into effect this past spring" and "has been widely derided as 'rape insurance,' since it essentially forces victims of sexual assault to pay out-of-pocket for an abortion procedure unless they thought ahead and purchased a separate insurance rider," Culp-Ressler writes. She notes that the lawmakers pushing for the law's repeal "acknowledged that it's unlikely they'll succeed in the Michigan legislature," but they are still "hoping to mobilize public opposition to the so-called 'rape insurance' law" (Culp-Ressler, "ThinkProgress," Center for American Progress, 6/20).

What others are saying about abortion restrictions:

~ "Ohio's War On Women Isn't Slowing Down Anytime Soon," Culp-Ressler, Center for American Progress' "ThinkProgress."

~ "Michigan Lawmakers Propose 'Heartbeat' Abortion Ban," Nina Liss-Schultz, RH Reality Check.

June 24, 2014


 "This Week in the Supreme Court Could Be Make it or Break it Time for Women’s Rights," Robin Marty, Care2: "This week at the Supreme Court could truly be a make or break moment for the right to decide when and if a person is ready to have a child," Marty argues, noting that it is the last full week the court is in session and that major decisions involving the federal contraceptive coverage rules and a Massachusetts "buffer zone" are yet to be released. According to Marty, the first case, which involves the retail chain Hobby Lobby, is about whether "freedom of speech trumps the right of a person to obtain a legal medical procedure," while the buffer zone case is about whether "freedom of religion trumps a person's right to access legal, preventative health care. In both cases, those who can get pregnant are the target" (Marty, Care2, 6/23).

What others are saying about the Supreme Court:

~ "Legal Wrap: Supreme Court Gives Susan B. Anthony List Legal Challenge New Life," Jessica Mason Pieklo, RH Reality Check.

~ "Supreme Court Won't Intervene in Wisconsin Admitting Privileges Case," Mason Pieklo, RH Reality Check.

June 17, 2014


 "Louisiana Proposes Using Brain-Dead Women as Incubators," S.E. Smith, Care2: A Louisiana bill (HB 1274) "would mandate that if a fetus is over 20 weeks [of] gestation and a woman's bodily processes can be 'reasonably' maintained," even if she is legally dead, "she must be kept on [medical support] until delivery of the fetus," Smith writes. Smith writes that the bill and others like it deprive women of their bodily autonomy, reducing "women to the status of incubators, instead of treating them as whole human beings." In addition, Smith writes that maintaining medical support after a pregnant woman has died "increases the risk of complications, as it requires a constant balancing act to prevent organ failure, monitor blood chemistry, and provide medications, some of which can cause birth defects of varying degrees of severity," and would not "result in a live delivery in very many cases" (Smith, Care2, 6/16).

June 13, 2014


'BUFFER ZONES': "New Hampshire Approves a Buffer Zone Around Abortion Clinics," Tara Culp-Ressler, Center for American Progress' "ThinkProgress": A new New Hampshire law "to institute a 25-foot buffer zone around reproductive health facilities in the state ... will help prevent women from encountering anti-choice harassment when they're trying to enter an abortion clinic, a persistent issue that can dissuade some patients from visiting clinics altogether," Culp-Ressler writes. Although the New Hampshire bill was prompted by harassment at Planned Parenthood clinics there, "[a]cross the country, anti-choice harassment makes it harder for employees at abortion clinics to do their jobs and often intimidates the women who are looking for medical services," Culp-Ressler explains, adding that "what starts out as picketing can quickly turn violent" (Culp-Ressler, "ThinkProgress," Center for American Progress, 6/10).