Texas Moves Closer to Restrictive Abortion Law

Texas is poised to enforce a new mandatory ultrasound law. Earlier this week, an appeals court overturned a previous court decision that had blocked enforcement of the law, which will require women to have an ultrasound 24 hours before the abortion and requires doctors to display the sonogram, make the fetal heartbeat audible, and describe the fetal development to the woman. Although the woman may choose not to view the image or hear the heartbeat, she must listen to the development description. Women that claim they are victims of reported rape and incest, or can prove that the fetal has a fatal abnormality, would be exempt from the development requirement.

The Center for Reproductive Rights has challenged the constitutionality of the law on behalf of both women and doctors, although it is not yet clear if the Center will challenge the appeals court’s recent decision. The law itself will return to federal district court for further consideration, given that a larger case challenging the law is still pending and that there are additional aspects regarding constitutionality that have not yet been considered.  [Read more...]

North Carolina Republicans Have a Strange Definition of “Respect”

Earlier this week, the North Carolina House of Representatives voted to override Governor Beverly Perdue’s veto of a bill that would require a woman to wait 24 hours to obtain an abortion post-counseling, and receive an ultrasound. This is far from the first time a state has enacted a waiting period or mandatory ultrasound for women seeking abortions, but North Carolina takes the ultrasound requirement a few steps further than we’ve seen before.

If the woman chooses not to see the ultrasound or hear the fetal heartbeat, the doctor is required to note her refusal and keep her name on file for seven years.

(Why seven years? Is it something about that apparently magical number? And what’s the file called, “Women Who Exercised Free Will”?) And while rape and incest survivors are usually exempted from most abortion restrictions, North Carolina’s bill offers no such consideration: no matter the circumstances that caused the pregnancy, all women must hear the description. [Read more...]

Friday News Roundup

Recognizing Fundamental Human Rights for Abortion Clients and Providers. RH Reality Check.

Why These Are Times of Crisis for Global LGBT Equality – And How Activists are Fighting the Hate. AlterNet.

Birther Queen Gets Shot Down…Again. Huffington Post.

Ultrasound before Medical Abortion Might be Unnecessary, Study Finds. Medical News Today.

Friday News Roundup

Men who think they should control their girlfriends’ and wives’ bodies. Alternet.

In Ultrasound, Abortion Fight has a New Front. New York Times.

New arrest of “Gang of Faggots” in Shiraz. IRQR.

Japanese Rape Games…Not Cool. Bust.

Ending Child Marriage: It’s a Smart Investment. RH Reality Check.

The Irony of Ultrasound Legislation

5 states now require providers to perform ultrasounds on women seeking abortions, with several other states encouraging women to do so via counseling/consent provisions.  Pro-life proponents of this expensive, unnecessary, and patronizing requirement hope that viewing a fetal image will dissuade women from choosing their choice.  Au contraire.

The New York Times reports that out of 254 women at 2 British Columbia clinics, none reversed their decisions to terminate as a result of viewing an ultrasound.  Zero.  At an Alabama clinic, patients and providers report that ultrasounds helped ease the decision to abort:

In some instances, the ultrasounds have affected women in ways not intended by anti-abortion strategists. Because human features may barely be detectable during much of the first trimester, when 9 of 10 abortions are performed, some women find viewing the images reassuring.

“It just looked like a little egg, and I couldn’t see arms or legs or a face,” said Tiesha, 27, who chose to view her 8-week-old embryo before aborting it at the Birmingham clinic. “It was really the picture of the ultrasound that made me feel it was O.K.

Remember,  61% of abortions in the U.S. are obtained by women who already have one or more children:

Like other patients, Laura, who has a 17-year-old son, said she took offense at the state’s implicit suggestion that she had not fully considered her choice.

“You don’t just walk into one of these places like you’re getting your nails done,” she said. “I think we’re armed with enough information to make adult decisions without being emotionally tortured.”

Oklahoma Poet: “Pleading for relief from your morality”

Lauren Zuniga performs a poem for Oklahoma legislators.  Get it, girl.

Monday Morning Round Up

Happy Monday, ya’ll. Hope your weekend was a good one. Here are a few articles to help you look busy at your desk on a Monday morning.

Local Florida Media Looks at Costs of Proposed Ultrasound Bill – St. Petersburg Times
New Miss Supports Publicly-Funded Birth Control – Detroit News
Catholic Nun in Phoenix Excommunicated for Supporting Abortion – Arizona Republic
More Women Need Family Planning Services in the Down Economy- Guttmacher Institute
Missouri House Passes Tough Abortion Restrictions – RH Reality Check

Utah Republican Lawmaker Pushing for Invasive Ultrasound Bill in 2010

Rep. Carl Wimmer, Republican lawmaker in Utah, certainly doesn’t want to make the already difficult decision to have an abortion any easier for women. In fact, he is in the midst of pushing through a bill for the 2010 legislative session seeking to amend the state’s informed consent law. In the status quo, Utah abortion law requires that women be told they have the right to view an ultrasound (as if they didn’t already know that).

Unfortunately for women in the state of Utah, Wimmer is pushing for more invasive restrictions that would dramatically challenge a women’s right to choice. Rep. Carl Wimmer’s bill would require that a doctor provide an image of the fetus on an ultrasound along with a detailed description of what is on the screen. [Read more...]

Wednesday News Roundup

mouse_click_270x270Abortion Stories: Many Voices, Many Choices – Feminist Women’s Health Center
Women’s Health is Universal Health Care – Huffington Post
Complaint Filed Against Doctor for Unauthorized Sterilization During C-Section – The Unnecesarean
Family Guy Creator Outs Stewie – Womanist Musings
OK Judge Tosses Law Requiring an Ultrasound to Obtain an Abortion – AP
Detroit Anti-Choicer Hopes to Free Scott Roeder –

Against Compulsory Ultrasound Legislation

I went back and forth on the title of this post, from what it is to, “For Sensible Ultrasound Legislation.” Perhaps that gives some insight into how very prickly this subject can be.

In the past few years, several states have entertained legislation dealing with varying requirements involving ultrasound technology and abortion. These range from offering an ultrasound to mandating both an ultrasound and a discussion of the development of the fetus. Some include funding, some make the woman pay. Some apply to all abortions, some only after the first trimester. These provisions are as different and nuanced as can be, so it would be ill-considered to condemn or celebrate all of them.

Nebraska is the latest state to adopt ultrasound legislation. Ultrasounds are not usually considered medically necessary for first-trimester abortions. Many clinics provide the option already, however.
[Read more...]