Beyond Abortion: Roe v. Wade and the Right to Privacy

January 22, 2013 marks the 40th anniversary of the Roe v. Wadedecision. All month, we’ll be running posts examining various aspects of this landmark ruling. If you’d like to contribute, let us know!

Today’s guest post is by Emily Martin, Vice-President and General Counsel, National Women’s Law Center; and Cortelyou Kenney, a Fellow at the Center.

What most people know about Roe v. Wade is that it is the landmark decision establishing a woman’s right to end a pregnancy. What is less well known is that the decision strengthened the legal foundation on which other protections are based as well. In Roe, the Supreme Court solidified the “right to privacy” as part of the liberty protections under the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments. This protection of liberty and privacy is responsible for certain fundamental guarantees—including the rights to obtain birth control and to procreate, to marry, to develop family relationships, to rear one’s children, and to create intimate relationships. While the concept of a constitutional “right to privacy” predates Roe, Roe is an important affirmation of and foundation for these rights—rights that could be threatened if it were overturned.

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Oklahoma Abortion Law Violates Privacy Statutes

Reyna breaks it down for us about how the new Oklahoma abortion law is a violation of privacy laws.

Full text of the script is available for you after the jump. [Read more...]

Karmic Rewards: Privacy & the Public Figures Behind Oklahoma HB 1595

Senator Todd Lamb
As Kristen reported last week, the Statistical Reporting of Abortions Act, (passed in Oklahoma last spring) is being challenged in court on the grounds that it covers more than one subject and, thus, is a violation of the state constitution. Since Kristin already did such a great job summarizing the bill, I won’t bore you with those details—check out her post if you want to read more!  We at FFC sincerely hope this challenge (as well as any others that come forward) is successful and that this horrible piece of legislation meets its end before it can be implemented.

Given the particularly heinous nature of this bill and the potential it has to do long-term harm to the rights of women all over the country, plus the fact that it is really only one example of the shenanigans state elected officials will pull in order to ensure that I am not the one to control the destiny of my uterus, I think it makes sense to subject it to all sorts of scrutiny, courtesy of the blogosphere.

And since I am all about karmic justice, I decided that the idiots behind this colossal piece of crap should be subject to an equal level of scrutiny as well as varying forms of public ridicule.  Sadly, it isn’t within my power to cart them off to the town square and place them in a pillory everyone to mock.  I will just have to settle for posting their profiles here.  Including their phone numbers and email addresses.  All of this is public information, of course.  But I thought it might be interesting to see how they feel about having the details of their personal lives uploaded to the web for all to see.

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Interview With Gloria Feldt

n688198711_111In case you didn’t know it, I think Gloria Feldt is a rock star. The four-part book review of The War on Choice should have been a giveaway that I really respect all the work that Feldt has done for women’s health. Feldt is the former president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. She is the author of many books, including Behind Every Choice is a Story, and a contributor to Becoming Myself: Reflections on Growing Up Female, and Send Yourself Roses: Thoughts on My Life, Love and Leading Roles. Gloria blogs regularly on her own site, I caught up with her this week to ask her some questions about what the future of the pro-choice movement will look like.

Much of the information in The War on Choice seems specific to the Bush administration. In fact, while I was reading the book I felt I could breath a sigh of relief since Bush is no longer in office. But do you feel that it would be a mistake for pro-choice activists to assume that having Democratic control of the White House and Congress means that reproductive rights are no longer under attack?

It is always the biggest mistake for advocates to celebrate for more than 5 minutes after winning an election. First of all, as I pointed out in Beyond Roe, we have merely lived to fight another day. It’s our job now to keep putting forward the initiatives we need to secure reproductive rights, health care, and justice and to restore the access that has been lost in the past decade. Plus there are always places where opponents of choice will try to do damage.

A good hot topic example is health reform. On the one hand, we have the opportunity to expand access to birth control and to rectify the injustices of the Hyde amendment that outlaws coverage of abortions in government health plans. But we must be both vigilant and proactive. [Read more...]

Oklahoma Abortion ‘Stats’: Bad Bill or Good Government?

On May 21st, Oklahoma Gov. Henry signed HB 1595 into law.  The measure details the following reporting requirements:stats

age of the woman; marital status and education level; number of prior pregnancies; reason for the abortion; method of the abortion; method of payment; type of medical health insurance coverage; cost of the procedure; whether an ultrasound was given; and the nature of the mother’s relationship with the father of the fetus.

The privacy of patient medical records is sacrosanctLocal bloggers protest the hazards of collecting this kind of detailed information on patients in rural areas where they might be identified even without their name.  However, it seems they were referring to an earlier version of the bill which asked for the county in which the abortion was performed and race of the patient. [Read more...]