3-15-19 Planned Parenthood
The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals this week upheld an Ohio law that defunds Planned Parenthood because it provides abortions. An 11-6 decision allowed the state to strip $1.5 million of annual support for Planned Parenthood’s more than two dozen clinics in Ohio. Just three of those provide abortions, but Ohio passed a law in 2016 preventing organizations that perform or promote abortions from receiving government funds. The 11-judge majority, four of them appointed by President Trump, ruled that providers “do not have a due process right to perform abortions.” The case, one of several nationwide concerning efforts to defund Planned Parenthood, likely will be appealed to the Supreme Court. While the high court has recently avoided similar cases, conservative justices Neil Gorsuch, Samuel Alito, and Clarence Thomas have pushed for it to issue a definitive ruling.
3-1-19 New rule blocks Planned Parenthood funds
The Trump administration issued a rule last week barring federally funded family planning organizations from providing abortion referrals. The change could cost Planned Parenthood about $60 million a year in funds. The money, from the federal government’s $286 million family-planning program, would most likely be redirected to religion-based anti-abortion groups. The rule was celebrated by social conservatives, although critics—including the American Medical Association and 15 governors—promised to sue to block the rule from taking effect. Planned Parenthood president Leana Wen called it “unconscionable.” The change would not, however, totally defund Planned Parenthood, which gets the bulk of its government dollars from state Medicaid programs. (Webmaster's comment: The assaults on women just never stop!)
2-28-19 Argentine 11-year-old's C-section sparks abortion debate
News that doctors performed a caesarean section on an 11-year-old rape victim has reignited a debate on Argentina's abortion rules. The girl became pregnant after being raped by her grandmother's 65-year-old partner and had requested an abortion. However, her request was delayed by almost five weeks, and some doctors refused to carry out the procedure. Eventually doctors carried out a C-section instead, arguing it would have been too risky to perform the abortion. The baby is alive but doctors say it has little chance of surviving. The girl was 23 weeks pregnant when - after several delays - she was to have the abortion. Local media report that the girl had been clear from the beginning that she wanted to terminate her pregnancy, telling officials: "I want this thing the old man put inside me taken out." Abortion is legal in Argentina in cases of rape or if the mother's health is in danger, but in the case of the 11-year-old girl uncertainty about who her legal guardian was caused delays. The girl's mother agreed with her daughter's wishes but because the girl had been placed in the grandmother's care some time earlier, the mother's consent was at first deemed not enough. However, because the grandmother had been stripped of her guardianship for co-habiting with the rapist, she could not provide the necessary consent either. By the time the issue had been settled, the girl was in the 23rd week of her pregnancy. Further problems surfaced when a number of doctors at the local hospital refused to carry out the procedure, citing their personal beliefs. On Tuesday, the health authorities in the northern state of Tucuman instructed the hospital director to follow a family judge's decision and to carry out the "necessary procedures to attempt to save both lives". The family court which the statement quoted has since come forward to say it had made no mention of saving two lives. The doctors who performed the C-section said they did so not because of the instruction to "save both lives" but because the abortion would have been too risky. (Webmaster's comment: Think of the victim in this case. 11 years old, raped, and then brutalized by all those around her all becasue of some EVIL religious beliefs. She will NEVER mentally recover!)
2-22-19 Teen rape victim freed
El Salvador’s supreme court has overturned a 30-year prison sentence for a teenage rape victim who was accused of murder after a 2016 stillbirth. Evelyn Beatríz Hernández Cruz, then 18, said she had been repeatedly raped by a gang member but didn’t realize she was pregnant until she gave birth into a toilet. Medical experts couldn’t determine whether the baby died in her womb or after being born, but prosecutors said she was guilty of murder because she did not seek prenatal care. Hernández was released this week after serving nearly three years of her sentence; she faces a new trial in April. Human rights activists are asking that at least 20 women in jail for abortion also be released. Abortion is illegal in all circumstances in El Salvador, and women who have stillborn babies can be convicted of murder.
2-16-19 El Salvador: Woman jailed over stillbirth is freed from 30-year sentence
A court in El Salvador has freed a woman who was sentenced to 30 years in prison after she gave birth to a stillborn baby in a toilet. Evelyn Beatríz Hernández Cruz, 20, had served nearly three years of her sentence for aggravated homicide. Following an appeal a court ordered she be re-tried, but she will be able to live at home during the process. She and her lawyers have always maintained she was unaware she was pregnant and no crime had occurred. But prosecutors said she was guilty of murder because she had had not sought out antenatal care. Activists greeted her at the jail gates, chanting "Evelyn, you are not alone". The Central American country bans abortion in all circumstances, and dozens of women have been imprisoned for the deaths of their foetuses in cases where they said they had suffered miscarriages or stillbirths. In April 2016, Ms Hernández gave birth in the latrine of her home in a small rural community. She lost consciousness after losing large amounts of blood. Her mother told the BBC that police arrived at a hospital after the pair went there for emergency care. Ms Hernández said she did not know whether her baby had been born alive or dead, and that she would have gone to see a doctor if she had known she was pregnant. During her original trial she said she had been repeatedly raped. Her lawyers said she was too frightened to report the rapes, and some reports said the man who raped her was a gang member. Medical experts could not determine whether the foetus had died in her womb or just after being born. Although she was in the third trimester, Ms Hernández said she had confused the symptoms of pregnancy with stomach ache because she had experienced intermittent bleeding, which she thought was her menstrual period. (Webmaster's comment: Brute males always want to find some excuse to punish a woman!)
2-15-19 Supreme Court: Is Roe v. Wade on the way out?
Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh “is already done pretending to care about abortion rights,” said Elie Mystal in The Nation. Last week, Kavanaugh dissented when the Supreme Court voted 5-4 to temporarily block a strict new Louisiana law that would shut down all but one of the state’s abortion clinics. The law, which would require providers to get admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of their clinic, is almost identical to a Texas law that the court struck down in 2016 for putting an “undue burden” on women seeking an abortion. The “undue burden” standard is a key Supreme Court precedent. This is what the pro-choice movement feared, said Mark Joseph Stern in Slate.com. By writing a dissent that argues in favor of ignoring the Texas precedent, Kavanaugh “just declared war on Roe v. Wade.” Roberts isn’t a “traitor” to the conservative cause, said Paul Waldman in The Washington Post. It’s likely that the solidly conservative chief justice will ultimately uphold the Louisiana law, after making it look as if he and the other conservatives carefully weighed its merits during the stay. After all, Roberts originally voted with other conservatives to uphold the Texas law when the liberal faction still had Justice Anthony Kennedy as a swing vote. Roberts knows that polls show nearly two-thirds of Americans oppose overturning Roe, and that doing so would spark a massive backlash against Republicans. “To save the GOP from itself,” Roberts instead will now join the four other conservatives in ruling in favor of most state abortion restrictions—effectively making it illegal in red states, and legal in blue states. “If your goal was to destroy Roe and to minimize the backlash Republicans will suffer at the polls, that’s how you’d do it.”
2-15-19 GERMANY The ban on abortion information
If you need an abortion in Germany, you won’t find any information on your doctor’s website, said Margarete Stokowski. Activists campaigned for months to overturn the law that bans all “advertising” of abortion services—which effectively prohibits doctors from releasing any information at all about the procedure. And after a long parliamentary debate on women’s rights and self-determination, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cabinet last week offered a miserly compromise. Under the proposal, doctors and hospitals will be able to add the word “abortion” to the list of services they provide. But they will not be allowed to give any more information than that—not how long the procedure will last, for example, or what to expect in recovery. The legislature will now vote on the measure. It is yet another reflection of the hypocrisy surrounding abortion in Germany. Terminating a pregnancy here is technically still “a criminal offense,” but it is tacitly allowed in the first trimester if the patient gets mandatory counseling. Yet the number of clinics that provide abortions has been steadily falling across the country, and German medical schools teach the procedure only perfunctorily or not at all. In some areas, women have to travel 100 miles to reach a provider and then brave a gaggle of protesters. At this rate, we’ll soon be as restrictive as the U.S.
2-8-19 What US ruling may mean for Roe v Wade
Just a few hours before a temporary stay expired at midnight, the US Supreme Court issued an injunction blocking implementation of new abortion restrictions in Louisiana. The state law, passed in 2014, would have required doctors who provide abortion services to be certified to practise at a nearby hospital. Critics of the law say that the new measure placed an onerous and unnecessary burden on the right to abortion and would have shuttered two of the three clinics that perform the procedure in the state. Louisiana and its supports have countered that it is a phased-in requirement which protects women by ensuring that abortion doctors are capable of handling medical emergencies. The Supreme Court order was issued by the narrowest of margins. Five justices, including the four most liberal members and Chief Justice John Roberts, supported the injunction. The four more conservative justices, including President Donald Trump's two recent appointments to the bench, would have let the law go into effect. Although the court action has been welcomed by abortion rights activists, their enthusiasm is tempered because the victory is only a temporary one. The court will almost certainly agree to give the case a full review in the autumn, and at that point it could issue a formal opinion affirming a lower-court's decision to uphold the law - and opening the door for similar restrictions to be enacted in other states. (Webmaster's comment: A Women's right to decide what happens to her own body is under siege!)
2-8-19 Abortion: Have pro-choicers gone too far?
“No, Democrats aren’t trying to legalize infanticide,” said Michelle Goldberg in The New York Times. The uproar over the Virginia bill began after a Republican legislator floated a hypothetical question: “Could a woman about to go into labor request an abortion if her doctor certified that she needed one for mental health reasons?” Tran responded poorly, but the question itself was ludicrous. No doctor would ever approve an abortion while a woman is in labor. Only about a dozen physicians in the United States even perform late-term abortions, which represent about 1 percent of all terminations. “Nobody gets a third-term abortion for the hell of it,” said Sarah Jones in New York magazine. Not only are they painful and expensive, they often happen under tragic circumstances, involving severe deformities in wanted pregnancies. The real outrage is that conservatives would demand that a woman endure a full pregnancy and labor, knowing the baby would die shortly after birth. (Webmaster's comment: A women must have the right to decide what happens in her own body!)
1-31-19 Virginia late-term abortion bill labelled 'infanticide'
A bill that would have removed restrictions on late-term abortions in Virginia has led to a conservative outcry. The Democrat who sponsored the measure said it would allow abortions at any point in pregnancy up until the point of childbirth in certain cases. Critics said the bill, which failed on Monday to be voted out of subcommittee, would have allowed infanticide. US President Donald Trump predicted the measure would energise his supporters. "This is going to lift up the whole pro-life movement like maybe it's never been lifted up before," he told the Daily Caller in an interview published on Wednesday. Under current Virginia law, third-trimester abortions are only permitted if the risk to the mother's life is "substantial and irremediable" - language that Democrats wanted removed. The Democratic bill sought to allow for late-term abortions if the mother's physical or mental safety were at risk. The procedure would also have required sign-off by only one doctor, rather than the three required under existing law. Virginia's Democratic Governor Ralph Northam defended the bill in an interview to radio station WTOP. The paediatric neurologist said the measure allowed termination "in cases where there may be severe deformities" or when there is a "foetus that's not viable" outside the womb. "So in this particular example, if a mother's in labour, I can tell you exactly what would happen," he told WTOP's Ask the Governor programme Wednesday. "The infant would be delivered, the infant would be kept comfortable, the infant would be resuscitated if that's what the mother and the family desired. And then a discussion would ensue between the physicians and the mother." After Republicans accused him of advocating for infanticide in his remarks, his spokeswoman said that he was only discussing cases of "tragic or difficult circumstances, such as a nonviable pregnancy or in the event of severe foetal abnormalities". "The governor's comments were limited to the actions physicians would take in the event that a woman in those circumstances went into labour."
1-28-19 New York abortion law: Why are so many people talking about it?
On the 46th anniversary of the landmark US ruling that made abortion legal, New York state signed into law a new abortion rights bill. Why is it so controversial? The Reproductive Health Act (RHA) has been seen by some as a necessary move to safeguard abortion rights should the Supreme Court overturn the ruling, known as Roe v Wade. And it comes at a time when states such as Mississippi, Iowa and Ohio are rolling back abortion provisions. While others see it as an "extreme" and "inhumane" expansion of abortion access. The act removes the need for a doctor to perform some abortions and takes abortion out of the criminal code, making it a public health issue. However, the most controversial aspect of the RHA is the provision allowing abortions after 24 weeks in cases where there is an "absence of foetal viability, or the abortion is necessary to protect the patient's life or health". The RHA has caused an intense and heated debate about how abortion is regulated in New York, with impassioned arguments made on each side.
1-26-19 Italy's shortage of abortions
Italy legalized abortion 40 years ago. But according to a group of Italian gynecologists, access to the procedure has been declining for years now. The main reason is that fewer doctors who work in Italy's public health facilities are willing to perform abortions. Italy's abortion law requires all hospitals to provide access to the procedure. But the law also gives gynecologists the option to declare themselves "conscientious objectors." "For example, in the public University of Rome, we have more than 60 doctors but only two provide abortions, only two," said Silvana Agatone, a gynecologist in Rome. Agatone is the president of a group of gynecologists that wants to make it easier for Italian women to get an abortion. She says that conscientious objections are happening more often even when women’s lives are in danger. So, in practice, when women show up at a public hospital in Italy seeking an abortion, many of them end up being turned away. "In 2005, the percentage of gynecologists that didn't provide abortion was about 59 percent," she said. "Now [it's] 70 percent. And it's growing every year." In some parts of the country, the percentage of doctors who refuse to perform abortions is as high as 90 percent. And it's not just gynecologists who can refuse to carry out an abortion. Nurses and anesthesiologists can refuse to perform the procedure on moral grounds. An unintended consequence is that those doctors who are still willing to perform an abortion are starting to feel pretty isolated, Agatone says. "Because [people] around you look at you like you are a criminal and then don't help you in your work, you have more risk if you have a complication." Agatone says it's all about politics. Far-right and populist parties in Italy are on the rise, and their members tend to be more socially conservative. Some conservative groups, like the League and the populist party known as the Five Star Movement, have called on the Italian government to criminalize abortion once again.
1-2-19 Surrogacy should be a relationship, not a transaction
UK surrogates are speaking out against a move to pay women a fee for carrying someone else's child, says Natalie Smith. SURROGACY law in the UK is in dire need of an overhaul. So it was no surprise when, last year, the body that oversees legal reform, the Law Commission, announced a project to make surrogacy rules “fit for the modern world”. A consultation paper is due in May. I am a mother to two wonderful daughters born by surrogacy, who are now nearly 8 years old. For the past four years, I have been pushing for new legislation. The most hotly debated issue is whether surrogates in the UK should be paid. Former president of the Family Division of the High Court, James Munby, has said that serious consideration should be given to abolishing the UK’s ban on commercial surrogacy. Yet the largest UK survey on attitudes to this, published last month, shows that surrogates don’t support a move towards commercialisation. Over 70 per cent of surrogates agreed that they should only receive “reasonable expenses”. They are motivated by making families, not money. The existing surrogacy culture in the UK, based on trust, mutual respect and partnership, has grown because the law as it is puts altruism at the heart of surrogacy. That must stay. Making it commercial would create problems. For example, in California payments to surrogates are typically equivalent to around £35,000. In total, surrogacy there can cost parents upwards of £100,000. We cannot be flippant about such sums. They are beyond most people. The real winners of a commercial model are surrogacy agencies and lawyers.