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The Imperative to Challenge Public Policies that Criminalize Pregnancy Outcomes

FarahDiazTelloRHW5-27By Farah Diaz-Tello, Senior Staff Attorney, National Advocates for Pregnant Women

By now, most reproductive rights, health and justice activists have heard of Purvi Patel, the Indiana woman sentenced to decades behind bars after what she maintains was a miscarriage. Her case is still being fought in the courts, but supporters have recognized it as a wake-up call about what a post-Roe America might look like, with bedside interrogations and trials that pry into emotional responses to pregnancy loss.
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Lawmakers Should Take a Walk in Her Shoes

Chavi6-17.RHWBy Chavi Koneru, Policy Director, NARAL Pro-Choice North Carolina

On June 5th, with the stroke of a pen, Governor Pat McCrory restricted the rights of North Carolina women by signing a bill imposing a 72-hour mandatory delay on abortions.
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August 28, 2015

FEATURED BLOG

"Lawmakers Are Convinced That Women Are Having Abortions For The Wrong Reasons," Tara Culp-Ressler, Center for American Progress' "ThinkProgress": Lawmakers who oppose abortion rights "seek to restrict abortion from all angles" and "[n]ow, a new battleground is emerging: Anticipating why a woman may choose to have an abortion, and then outlawing ending a pregnancy for this particular reason," Culp-Ressler writes. For example, "first-of-its-kind legislation [HB 135] currently up for debate in Ohio would prohibit a woman from having an abortion because she found out her fetus has a Down syndrome diagnosis," she writes, adding that the measure likely will be approved this fall. According to Culp-Ressler, the bill -- like restrictions in other states "that prohibit women from ending a pregnancy based [on] the characteristics of her fetus," such as race or sex -- come from Americans United for Life, a group that writes antiabortion-rights model legislation and "shops [it] around to conservative lawmakers." Meanwhile, "[o]pponents of Ohio's proposed bill are expressing concern that it would position abortion doctors as gatekeepers, requiring them to determine whether their patient is seeking an abortion for a reason deemed acceptable by the state legislature," Culp-Ressler writes, noting that physicians who break the proposed law "could face felony charges, possible jail time, and the loss of their medical license." She adds that, according to abortion-rights supporters, such bills aim to "ultimately play into larger narratives about who is allowed to have an abortion" (Culp-Ressler, "ThinkProgress," Center for American Progress, 8/25).

What others are saying about the antiabortion-rights movement:

~ "Anti-Choice Group's Latest Video Misleads on 'Intact' Fetuses," Teddy Wilson, RH Reality Check.

~ "Planned Parenthood Fights to Keep Medicaid Funding in Louisiana," Jessica Mason Pieklo, RH Reality Check.

~ "How Anti-Abortion Activists Uncover Details About Women's Personal Medical Procedures," Culp-Ressler, Center for American Progress' "ThinkProgress."

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"Catholic Hospital Caves Under Threat of Lawsuit and Approves Woman's Procedure," Elizabeth Gill, American Civil Liberties Union's "Speak Freely": "Under the threat of a potential lawsuit, a Catholic-affiliated hospital in California's largest hospital network made an unexpected move," authorizing "a previously denied doctor's request to perform a post-partum tubal ligation," Gill writes. Gill explains that Rachel Miller, a patient at Mercy Medical Center, decided she would like to have a tubal ligation "after she gives birth ... in late September." However, the hospital denied a request from Miller's physician to perform the procedure, noting that the hospital "operates under binding 'ethical and religious directives' issued by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops," which prohibits "sterilization for the purpose of contraception." According to Gill, the hospital "agreed to grant an exception" for Miller after ACLU submitted a letter warning of a possible lawsuit, but "there remains a clear conflict between the best interests of patients and the directives of the Catholic hospital system." Catholic hospitals in the U.S. "are increasingly ubiquitous ... and they are often the only health care option for women," Gill writes, adding, "[A]s long as Catholic hospitals are allowed to apply the ethical and religious directives, many women will be denied care because Catholic bishops are telling medical professionals how to operate" (Gill, "Speak Freely," American Civil Liberties Union, 8/25).

August 25, 2015

FEATURED BLOG

"Michigan Republican: Ban Common Second-Trimester Abortion Procedure," Teddy Wilson, RH Reality Check: Michigan Rep. Laura Cox (R) "introduced two bills [HB 4833, HB 4834] that would criminalize a medical procedure used after a miscarriage and during second-trimester abortions," Wilson writes. The bills "would target the dilation and evacuation (D and E) procedure, commonly used in second-trimester abortion care," he notes, adding that similar measures have been proposed in six other states and signed into law in Oklahoma (HB 1721) and Kansas (SB 95). Wilson discusses the imprecise and contradictory language in one of the Michigan bills, HB 4833, noting that the measure's "broad and vague language and lack of medical terminology makes the possible implications on abortion care unclear." Meanwhile, "HB 4834 would change the state's criminal code; violation of the law would constitute a class G felony punishable by a maximum of two years in prison or a maximum fine of $50,000," Wilson writes. According to Wilson, the "bills have been referred to the Committee on Criminal Justice for further consideration" (Wilson, RH Reality Check, 8/21).

What others are saying about abortion restrictions:

~ "Republicans Find Their Next Anti-Choice Innovation," Paul Waldman, American Prospect.

FEATURED BLOG

"Federal Appeals Courts Unanimous in Support of Obamacare's Birth Control Accommodation," Jessica Mason Pieklo, RH Reality Check: "A federal appeals court on Friday reaffirmed a ruling that the accommodation process to the birth control benefit in the Affordable Care Act [PL 111-148] does not violate the Religious Freedom Restoration Act [PL 103-141]," Mason Pieklo writes. According to Mason Pieklo, "The decision came from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit in a challenge brought by six Catholic groups in Tennessee and Michigan, which argued the process of completing the paperwork to receive the accommodation unduly burdened their religious rights." She writes, "The plaintiffs in Michigan Catholic Conference argued that completing the form to qualify for the exemption violates RFRA because the act of completing the form 'triggers' or 'facilitates' the ability of their employees to get contraceptive coverage elsewhere, which the plaintiffs claim makes them 'complicit' in the sin of facilitating contraception ... But a three-judge panel from the Sixth Circuit rejected these arguments and unanimously affirmed its earlier ruling that completing the paperwork is not a RFRA violation." Mason Pieklo notes, "Meanwhile, the Tenth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals issued another ruling in the nonprofit contraception challenges, granting a request by the Little Sisters of the Poor to put on hold its earlier decision that the accommodation process does not burden the organization's religious rights while the Little Sisters asks the U.S. Supreme Court to step in" (Mason Pieklo, RH Reality Check, 8/24).

FEATURED BLOG

"No, Defunding Planned Parenthood Wouldn't Make Colorado Better," Jason Salzman, Huffington Post  blogs: While "there are many more community health centers than Planned Parenthood" facilities in Colorado, defunding Planned Parenthood and redistributing the money to community health centers "doesn't mean ... the community health clinics would provide equal or greater access to healthcare than what's available now," Salzman writes. He notes that studies have found "the community health center (CHC) network and federally qualified health center (FQHCs) network don't offer all types of birth control and reproductive health care," adding that "many large community health centers actually ... refer patients to Planned Parenthood." Further, Medicaid beneficiaries "go disproportionately to Planned Parenthood for these services," Salzman notes, adding that as a result, "defunding Planned Parenthood would weaken our country's already weak safety net." Moreover, although the law prohibits both Planned Parenthood and community health centers from using federal funding for most abortion services, "Planned Parenthood offers this option through other funding sources, while the community health clinics do not," Salzman states (Salzman, Huffington Post blog, 8/21).

What others are saying about the antiabortion-rights movement:

~ "Crime-Tracking Service Wrongly Calls Abortion 'Murder,'" Hans Johnson, Huffington Post blogs.


August 21 2015

FEATURED BLOG

SEXUALITY EDUCATION: "Arizona School District Adds Abstinence-Only, Anti-Choice Sticker to Science Textbook," Maya Dusenbery, Feministing: "Last year, the conservative Gilbert School District decided that ... they should probably censor the parts of the high school honors biology textbook that mention contraception and abortion" to comply with state laws requiring schools that teach sexuality education "to stress abstinence" and to "'present childbirth and adoption as preferred options to ... abortion,'" Dusenbery writes. According to Dusenbery, school officials "dropped their original plan to literally just rip out those pages, and instead are handing out ... stickers and requiring students to put them on the inside cover of their book as a little reminder of the state's values." Dusenbery includes an image of the sticker, which reads, in part, "'The Gilbert Public School District supports the state of Arizona's strong interest in promoting childbirth and adoption over elective abortion. The District is also in support of promoting abstinence as the most effective way to eliminate the potential for unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted [infections].'" Dusenbery writes, "Translation: 'We believe in withholding information on how to prevent unintended pregnancies from you ... Though we are educators charged with giving you the information you need to succeed in life, we wash our hands of this matter'" (Dusenbery, Feministing, 8/20).

August 18, 2015

FEATURED BLOG

"A Judge Just Handed Abortion Supporters a Huge Win in the Deep South," Becca Andrews, Mother Jones: "Last week, a federal judge in Alabama blocked a regulation [HB 57] that might have closed the state's largest abortion clinic for good," Andrews writes. Andrews explains that the clinic, West Alabama Women's Center in Tuscaloosa, closed in January because it could not get admitting privileges or contract with a physician who had admitting privileges. According to Andrews, "The American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit on the clinic's behalf challenging the requirement, and on August 13, US District Judge Myron Thompson issued a temporary restraining order putting the clinic back in business," ruling that " the closure of the clinic put an 'undue burden' on women who were forced to travel longer distances to obtain abortions." The Tuscaloosa clinic was one of two clinics in the state "to provide second-trimester abortions up to the state's 20-week legal limit," Andrews notes, adding that "it performed 40 percent of the state's abortions" in 2013, and, after its closure, "the closest clinic in Huntsville saw a 57 percent increase in women seeking abortions." Andrews cites evidence Thompson used in his decision, including how "the increased distances and the additional strain on the state's remaining clinics forced women to delay abortions until their pregnancies were past the 20-week limit"; concern "'that women will take their abortion into their own hands'"; and a "'severe scarcity of abortion doctors ... nationwide and particularly in the South'" (Andrews, Mother Jones, 8/18).

What others are saying about abortion restrictions:

~ "Draconian Abortion Laws Kill Women and Girls," Erika Guevara Rosas, Huffington Post blogs.

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"GOP Lawmakers Cut Planned Parenthood's Medicaid Funds, Despite Federal Warning," Teddy Wilson, RH Reality Check: Conservative "lawmakers in five states have now moved to defund Planned Parenthood by banning the organization from receiving payments from the Medicaid program, despite warnings from the federal government that doing so is against the law," Wilson writes. According to Wilson, the "governors in Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana and Utah cancelled Medicaid contracts with Planned Parenthood," while lawmakers in New Hampshire "recently voted to end a $640,000 contract with Planned Parenthood of Northern New England." However, Wilson notes that HHS last week "issued a warning ... that efforts to defund Planned Parenthood by cutting the reproductive health-care provider from the Medicaid program likely violat[e] federal law," because according to HHS spokesperson Ben Wakana, "'[l]ongstanding Medicaid laws prohibit states from restricting individuals who have coverage through Medicaid from receiving care from a qualified provider.'" Wilson cites Wakana further, noting, "'By restricting which provider a woman could choose to receive care from, women could lose access to critical preventive care, such as cancer screenings.'" Meanwhile, "[i]nvestigations in Georgia, Florida, Indiana, Massachusetts, and South Dakota have found no evidence of wrongdoing on the part of Planned Parenthood," Wilson writes (Wilson, RH Reality Check, 8/17).

What others are saying about the antiabortion-rights movement:

~ "Investigations Into Planned Parenthood Are Falling Totally Flat," Tara Culp-Ressler, Center for American Progress' "ThinkProgress."


August 14, 2015

FEATURED BLOG

"Is Defunding Planned Parenthood Against The Law? These States Better Watch Out," Lauren Barbato, Bustle: The U.S. government on Wednesday warned several states working to eliminate Medicaid funding for Planned Parenthood "that defunding Planned Parenthood may be a federal violation that comes some with some mighty consequences," Barbato writes. She notes that while New Hampshire's decision to strip state funding for Planned Parenthood "is excused from federal oversight," because its measure does not block Medicaid funding, HHS has "contacted officials in Alabama and Louisiana over the loss of Medicaid funding, noting that canceling their state contracts with Planned Parenthood is a major federal violation." According to Barbato, a CMS "spokesperson said these two states -- and others who are currently thinking about eliminating funding to the family-planning organization -- would be restricting access to much-needed health services provided under Medicaid." She notes, "While New Hampshire may be off the hook (for now), there are several other states ... that need to proceed with caution in the following weeks," including Georgia, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. "If states do go ahead and eliminate Medicaid funding to Planned Parenthood, they would need to hold a federal hearing, which may not bode well for Planned Parenthood foes," she writes, adding that "federal courts have sided with the Obama administration in the past in the cases of Arizona and Indiana, which both failed to strip total funding from Planned Parenthood centers" (Barbato, Bustle, 8/13).

What others are saying about the antiabortion-rights movement:

~ "Why Scientists Are Terrified Of Supporting A Valuable Medical Research Practice," Culp-Ressler, Center for American Progress' "ThinkProgress."

~ "Man Who Allegedly Stole Abortion Clinic Signs Charged with Hate Crime," Anna Merlan, Jezebel.

FEATURED BLOG

"Alabama, Jane Doe, and the Dangers of Fetus-First Laws," Jessica Mason Pieklo, RH Reality Check: "Every part of" an Alabama inmate's recent attempt to obtain an abortion, "from her initial arrest under Alabama's chemical endangerment statute for reportedly using drugs while pregnant, to the state's unrelenting and coercive campaign to force her to continue her pregnancy even while threatening to terminate Doe's parental rights, is illustrative of what happens when the law prioritizes the potential of fetal life over the actual life of the pregnant person," Mason Pieklo writes. According to Mason Pieklo, the chemical endangerment law under which Doe was arrested is "quickly establishing fetal 'personhood' rights in the state" and has been used to prosecute at least 180 pregnant women or new mothers since its enactment in 2006. In Doe's case, the prosecutors "argued that both Doe's pending charges for endangerment and her request in federal court for a furlough for an abortion was evidence enough that the state should step in and retain custody of Doe's developing pregnancy," Mason Pieklo writes, adding, "This takes the campaign for fetal rights to its most terrifying conclusion." Citing similar efforts in other states, as well a proposed fetal-rights measure (SB 26) in Alabama, Mason Pieklo writes that Doe's case shows how, "if given the opportunity, anti-abortion advocates will try and use the power of the state to strip all reproductive agency from pregnant or potentially pregnant people" (Mason Pieklo, RH Reality Check, 8/12).


August 12, 2015

FEATURED BLOG

"Anti-Abortion Activists Trying To Pretend Women in Texas No Longer Have Right To Choose," Tara Culp-Ressler, Center for American Progress' "ThinkProgress": Texas throughout "the past several years ... has made national headlines for passing particularly harsh restrictions on abortion that have shuttered dozens of clinics, sparking a complicated legal battle that threatens to make its way up to the Supreme Court," Culp-Ressler writes. Citing abortion providers and abortion-rights activists in the state, Culp-Ressler writes this "rapidly changing landscape" has "created a serious knowledge gap among the real people who live in" Texas, with some residents unsure about whether clinics are open or whether the procedure is legal. Further, according to NARAL Pro-Choice Texas, "crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs) that work to dissuade women from choosing to end a pregnancy ... now outnumber abortion clinics" in the state, making their "misinformation tactics ... even more effective," Culp-Ressler writes. In response, abortion-rights groups such as the Lilith Fund, NARAL Pro-Choice Texas and Shift have "launched a comprehensive website" that "details everything a pregnant person may need to know about accessing abortion services in" Texas, such as directions to open clinics, resources on funding assistance for abortion care and an outline on Texas' abortion laws (Culp-Ressler, "ThinkProgress," Center for American Progress, 8/9).

What others are saying about abortion restrictions:

~ "Repro Wrap: Alabama Special Session Shows 'Pro-Life' Is Subjective," Robin Marty, Care2.

~ "Judge Blocks Oklahoma Medication Abortion Restriction -- Again," Jessica Mason Pieklo, RH Reality Check.

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"Planned Parenthood Investigations Uncovering No Wrongdoing," Teddy Wilson, RH Reality Check: Investigations into Planned Parenthood sparked by a series of misleading, secretly filmed videos that depict organization officials discussing fetal tissue donation "have shown Planned Parenthood didn't violate any laws," Wilson writes. Specifically, he notes that conservative "lawmakers in states around the country have called for investigations and hearings, and inquiries have been announced in Arizona, Indiana, Florida, Kansas, Georgia, Louisiana, Ohio, and Texas," as well as South Carolina and Tennessee. However, he notes that some lawmakers -- Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) and Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon (D) -- have pushed back or refused to investigate the organization. Meanwhile, Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey (D) "last week announced that her office found no evidence that the Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts is operating a fetal tissue donation program," while "[a]n Indiana State Department of Health investigation into Planned Parenthood-affiliated reproductive health-care clinics in the state found them in compliance with the state's fetal tissue regulations" and an investigation in Florida "did not find any evidence that fetal tissue was being sold illegally" at clinics in the state, Wilson writes. Separately, he cites concerns expressed over the group behind the videos, the Center for Medical Progress, whose "deceptive tactics, ideological agenda, and connections to radical and violent anti-choice activists" have been questioned and notes that the group "is also the subject of two lawsuits" (Wilson, RH Reality Check, 8/6).

What others are saying about the antiabortion-rights movement:

~ "University Caves to Anti-Choice Pressure, Suspends Fetal Tissue Acquisition From Some Vendors," Jason Salzman, RH Reality Check.

 

FEATURED BLOG

"I Had an Abortion at Planned Parenthood -- and I'm Not Ashamed," Alexis Rhiannon, Salon: Rhiannon writes about her experience obtaining an abortion at Planned Parenthood -- a decision she has "never regretted ... for a second since" -- noting that the organization "supported [her] at a time when [she] desperately needed it, and [she] want[s] to support them now." Rhiannon notes that when she had her abortion in 2012, she "didn't have to convince" Planned Parenthood that she "deserved their respect and kindness," nor did she have to apologize. She adds that while she "was sure of [her] decision" to have an abortion, she felt scared immediately prior to the procedure. Rhiannon noted that while she expected her "feelings to be dismissed ... instead, the doctor who'd introduced herself as the woman completing the surgery ... told [Rhiannon] it was OK and reached her hand up to hold [Rhiannon's] as [Rhiannon] went under." Rhiannon concludes by thanking Planned Parenthood for her abortion, adding that she "stand[s] with" Planned Parenthood because Planned Parenthood "stood with" her (Rhiannon, Salon, 8/10).

August 4, 2015

FEATURED BLOG

"Texas Pro-Choice Groups Help Navigate an Anti-Choice Landscape," Andrea Grimes, RH Reality Check: "A coalition of Texas groups have come together this summer to launch two new efforts intended to help residents access legal abortion care and to communicate more broadly about Texans' families, their lives, and their reproductive decisions," Grimes writes. According to Grimes, the "pro-choice efforts come as state lawmakers conduct politically motivated 'investigations' into fetal tissue donation programs and Texas abortion providers look to the Supreme Court for relief from the state's omnibus anti-choice law." One effort, "[a] joint effort between NARAL Pro-Choice Texas and the Lilith Fund, NeedAbortion.org," is "a one-stop clearinghouse for facts about where to get an abortion in a tumultuous legal landscape" as well as "information about how Texas' growing web of anti-choice laws affect people who need the procedure." Meanwhile, another effort called Illuminate RJ -- a collaboration between NARAL, the Texas Freedom Network and Shift -- is "an art and activist project meant to tackle abortion stigma and reproductive justice issues." Citing Heather Busby, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Texas, Grimes writes that the initiative is "a creative -- rather than expressly political -- approach" to the topics. According to Grimes, Illuminate RJ will serve as "a way for Texans to talk about a full spectrum of experiences with reproductive issues with personal, artistic expressions 'instead of chants and slogans and protest signs'" (Grimes, RH Reality Check, 7/31).

July 24, 2015

FEATURED BLOG

"Federal Court Blocks North Dakota Heartbeat Ban, Calls on the Supreme Court To Overturn 'Roe,'" Jessica Mason Pieklo, RH Reality Check: "The decision on Wednesday by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit permanently blocking North Dakota's so-called heartbeat ban [HB 1456], a law that would ban abortion as early as six weeks post-fertilization, is a win," Mason Pieklo writes. However, she notes that "Wednesday's decision is the second from the Eighth Circuit to ... urge the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade and re-empower states to ban abortions outright." Specifically, the 8th Circuit in its latest ruling incorporated state lawmakers' "willing[ness] to manipulate biomedical science" to restrict abortion, concluding "that states need more power to regulate pregnancies -- and even ban abortions pre-viability -- while also critiquing [Planned Parenthood v. Casey's] re-affirmation of fetal viability as a point the Supreme Court must re-evaluate," Mason Pieklo writes. Yet Mason Pieklo points out that "as problematic as Roe and Casey both are in terms of not clearly and firmly articulating a patient's right to terminate pregnancies as they need, they do fundamentally underscore that science, especially obstetrics, should drive any state regulation of pregnancy. In other words, the decisions set a distinctive point obstetrically at which the state's interest should never override the interest of the pregnant patient." Mason Pieklo calls out how the 8th Circuit "use[s] advances in medicine as a grounds for denying pregnant patients medical care" and asks whether the appeals court's "willing[ness] to get in on the attacks on patients and their access to health care" will "prod the [Supreme] Court to jump in, or if, for now at least, Roe and Casey still provide some level of protection for abortion rights that patients and providers can rely on" (Mason Pieklo, RH Reality Check, 7/22).

FEATURED BLOG

"Women's Law Project Files Amicus Brief in Pittsburgh Buffer Zone 3[r]d Circuit Appeal," Tara Murtha, Women's Law Project blog: "After federal courts repeatedly upheld Pittsburgh's 15-foot clinic buffer zone ordinance, opponents of legal abortion are still fighting to knock it down," in a challenge that has "implications for the safety of patients and providers across the country," Murtha writes. She notes that the Pittsburgh ruling was appealed to the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which has been asked to consider whether the Supreme Court's McCullen v. Coakley ruling "prohibits even very small local buffer zones around women's health clinics with a history of obstructive and confrontational protest." According to Murtha, the Women's Law Project and Thomas Zemaitis, a partner at Pepper Hamilton, on Thursday filed an amicus brief defending the Pittsburgh ordinance, stating that it is "'a narrowly-tailored measure that resembles the kinds of alternative measures suggested in McCullen," and "'has achieved its purpose of creating a safer, less hostile environment for patients ... while "leav(ing) open ample alternative channels of communication" for plaintiffs to convey their message.'" Murtha writes that if buffer zone is upheld, "it could become a model for other jurisdictions with similar problems," but if it is struck down, "women's health providers will be deprived of one of the most effective tools for ensuring that patients can access reproductive health care safely and with dignity" (Murtha, Women's Law Project blog, 7/22).

July 21, 2015

FEATURED BLOG

"Oregon's Over-the-Counter Birth Control Legislation Is Missing One Critical Component," Josephine Yurcaba, Bustle: Under laws enacted in both California (SB 493) and Oregon (HB 2879), women "can now buy hormonal birth control at the pharmacy without a doctor's prescription, which is a pretty big deal for women's health," Yurcaba writes. However, while "California's law has no age restrictions for who can get birth control, Oregon's over-the-counter birth control legislation has one big problem: Pharmacists can only provide birth control without a prescription to women over 18 years old." According to Yurcaba, the age restriction "is a huge problem for a few reasons," including how "teens are one of the populations with the most barriers standing between them and contraception access"; they "are often the least fit to deal with unplanned pregnancies"; and they "have the most to gain from free, uninhibited access to birth control." Yurcaba cites research that has shown access to contraception helps lower teen abortion rates and notes that "the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has endorsed over-the-counter access to birth control since 2012." She concludes, "To actually help all at-risk populations, Oregon should expand the legislation to include teens" (Yurcaba, Bustle, 7/19).

What others are saying about contraception:

~ "Why the IUD Could Be Your Perfect Birth Control Method," Vanessa Marin, "Life Hacker After Hours."

FEATURED BLOG

"Feminists Fought Back Against Anti-Abortion Extremists in Alabama Last Week," Ms. Magazine 's "Feminist Wire": Operation Save America last week "organized its annual national event of increased harassment and protesting outside targeted clinics in Alabama," according to Ms. Magazine's "Feminist Wire," but "[t]he Feminist Majority Foundation's Clinic Defense Team spent several weeks on the ground ... providing assistance to clinics throughout the state," with support from students, "feminists and activists." According to "Feminist Wire," OSA routinely "use[s] the summer to travel around the nation and protest abortion," but this year marks the first time "OSA invited an advocate of 'justifiable homicide' to be a featured speaker." The speaker, Matthew Trewhella, is "the leader of Missionaries to the Preborn" and a "signatory of the Defensive Action petition in support of the use of lethal force to stop abortion," "Feminist Wire" reports. OSA's protesters also included John Brockhoeft, another "advocate of justifiable homicide" and a "convicted felon who served time for arson attacks on clinics in Ohio" and for "conspiring to bomb a clinic in Pensacola, FL." However, duVergne Gaines, director of FMF's Clinic Defense Team, noted that despite threats, "'all of the abortion clinics in Alabama ... remained open and all patients were seen,'" "Feminist Wire" reports. According to "Feminist Wire," OSA's protest put the state on "high alert," which "is often necessary during extremist protests" because research has found that certain aggressive tactics by abortion-rights opponents "often preceded serious crimes such as violence, arson, bombings, stalking of clinic staff, patients, and doctors, and murder" ("Feminist Wire," Ms. Magazine, 7/20).

What others are saying about the antiabortion-rights movement:

~ "5 Arguments Against Abortion Every Feminist Has Heard -- And How To Respond to Each One," Madhuri Sathish, Bustle.

FEATURED BLOG

"The 4 Best States For Reproductive Rights Are Where We Should All Move, Stat," Lauren Holter, Bustle: "Despite the anti-abortion agenda sweeping much of the nation, four states" -- California, Maryland, Oregon and Vermont --"are keeping abortion clinics open and funded, making birth control more easily attainable, and protecting the rights of female minors," Holter writes. Specifically, she notes that Oregon, where 78% of women live in a county where there is an abortion provider, "doesn't have any restrictive abortion laws on the books," has "public funding for abortions," and recently passed legislation (HB 2879) allowing women "to buy birth control over the counter without a doctor's prescription." According to Holter, California, where 99% of women live in a county where there is an abortion provider, has passed similar legislation and only restricts abortion "at the time of fetal viability." Holter adds that 65% of women in Vermont live in a county where there is an abortion provider, and the state has no restrictions on abortion and "publicly funds medically necessary abortions." Meanwhile, 81% of women in Maryland live in a county where there is an abortion provider, Holter writes, adding that although the state "requires that parents of a minor seeking an abortion be notified beforehand," it "protect[s] women's reproductive rights" by "requir[ing] health insurers to cover infertility treatments for women" and restricting abortion only at the point of fetal viability (Holter, Bustle, 7/20).


July 21, 2015

FEATURED BLOG

"Feminists Fought Back Against Anti-Abortion Extremists in Alabama Last Week," Ms. Magazine 's "Feminist Wire": Operation Save America last week "organized its annual national event of increased harassment and protesting outside targeted clinics in Alabama," according to Ms. Magazine's "Feminist Wire," but "[t]he Feminist Majority Foundation's Clinic Defense Team spent several weeks on the ground ... providing assistance to clinics throughout the state," with support from students, "feminists and activists." According to "Feminist Wire," OSA routinely "use[s] the summer to travel around the nation and protest abortion," but this year marks the first time "OSA invited an advocate of 'justifiable homicide' to be a featured speaker." The speaker, Matthew Trewhella, is "the leader of Missionaries to the Preborn" and a "signatory of the Defensive Action petition in support of the use of lethal force to stop abortion," "Feminist Wire" reports. OSA's protesters also included John Brockhoeft, another "advocate of justifiable homicide" and a "convicted felon who served time for arson attacks on clinics in Ohio" and for "conspiring to bomb a clinic in Pensacola, FL." However, duVergne Gaines, director of FMF's Clinic Defense Team, noted that despite threats, "'all of the abortion clinics in Alabama ... remained open and all patients were seen,'" "Feminist Wire" reports. According to "Feminist Wire," OSA's protest put the state on "high alert," which "is often necessary during extremist protests" because research has found that certain aggressive tactics by abortion-rights opponents "often preceded serious crimes such as violence, arson, bombings, stalking of clinic staff, patients, and doctors, and murder" ("Feminist Wire," Ms. Magazine, 7/20).

What others are saying about the antiabortion-rights movement:

~ "5 Arguments Against Abortion Every Feminist Has Heard -- And How To Respond to Each One," Madhuri Sathish, Bustle.