Tag Archives: Abortion

Ordering Search for Sponsor, Appeals Court Further Delays Jane Doe’s Fight to Have An Abortion

While the government acknowledges the girl’s constitutional right to an abortion, it’s barring her from the procedure simply because it refuses to “facilitate” an abortion for the 17-year-old

Written by Julia Conley, staff writer for CommonDreams. Published 10-22-2017.

A 17-year-old undocumented immigrant being held in a shelter in Texas is desperately hoping to have an abortion. The government further delayed her in its latest decision. (Photo: Victoria Pickering/Flickr/cc)

The American Civil Liberties Union pushed back against a Washington, D.C. appeals court decision announced Friday in the case of Jane Doe, an undocumented immigrant who is currently in need of abortion care.

In a 2-1 decision, the appeals court gave the government 11 days to find a sponsor for the 17-year-old, such as a family member living in the United States, instead of upholding a lower court’s earlier order to simply allow the girl to have an abortion.

Jane Doe, as she is called in court documents, is 15 weeks pregnant and currently in a shelter in Texas under supervision of the Health and Human Services Department. Texas bans most abortions after 20 weeks.

“She’s already suffered weeks of delays, which the government has no business doing,” said Jennifer Dalven, one of the ACLU lawyers representing the young woman, in an interview with the Washington Post.

The dissenting opinion of Judge Patricia A. Millett did not mince words, calling the majority’s decision “wrong” and “unconstitutional.”

“Forcing her to continue an unwanted pregnancy just in the hopes of finding a sponsor that has not been found in the past six weeks sacrifices J.D.’s constitutional liberty, autonomy, and personal dignity for no justifiable governmental reason,” wrote Judge Millett.

She added that the government has fully acknowledged that Jane Doe does in fact have the constitutional right to an abortion, and is barring access to the procedure for purely ideological reasons:

The government does not dispute—in fact, it has knowingly and deliberately chosen not to challenge—J.D.’s constitutional right to an abortion. The government instead says that it can have its contractor keep J.D. in what the government calls “close” custody—that is, more restrictive conditions than the contractor imposes on the non-pregnant minors in its care—because of the agency’s own supervening judgment that it would be in J.D.’s best interests to carry the pregnancy to term.

The HHS Department amended its mission statement earlier this month to reflect the Trump administration’s official belief that life begins at conception. Lawyers for the department argued in from of the appeals court on Friday that, “We’re not putting an obstacle in her path. We’re declining to facilitate an abortion.”

“Justice is delayed yet again for this courageous and persistent young woman. She continues to be held hostage and prevented from getting an abortion because the Trump administration disagrees with her personal decision,” said Brigitte Amiri, another ACLU attorney, in a statement. “Our client and women across this country should be able to access a safe, legal abortion without federal officials stepping in to interfere.”

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Pro-Choice Groups Raise Alarm Ahead of House Vote to Ban Abortion After 20 Weeks

“Republicans in Congress failed to take healthcare from millions—so they’re trying to ban abortion and take away bodily autonomy”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 10-2-2017

A participant in the Washington, D.C. Women’s March on Jan. 21, 2017 carried a sign promoting reproductive rights. (Photo: John Flores/Flickr/cc)

As the Republican-controlled U.S. House prepares to vote Tuesday on a bill that would ban abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy nationwide, reproductive rights advocates are urging Americans to contact their congressional representatives and pressure them to oppose the measure.

The proposed law, H.R. 36 (pdf), outlaws terminating a pregnancy after 20 weeks unless it is the result of rape or incest, or a doctor determines that because of “a life-endangering physical condition”—but”not including psychological or emotional conditions”—abortion is medically necessary to save the life of the pregnant woman.

If an abortion is performed after 20 weeks because an exception, the bill instructs “the abortion must be performed by the method most likely to allow the child to be born alive unless this would cause significant risk to the mother.”

The House passed versions of this proposal multiple times under former President Barack Obama, who vowed to veto it if the bill made it to his desk.

However, similar measures already have been passed in states across the country. According to the Guttmacher Institute, which tracks restrictions on reproductive rights, 17 states “ban abortion at about 20 weeks post-fertilization or its equivalent of 22 weeks after the woman’s last menstrual period on the grounds that the fetus can feel pain at that point in gestation.”

“The bill, misleadingly labeled as the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, is premised at least in part on the assertion that fetuses can experience pain starting at 20 weeks post-fertilization. However, that claim is not supported by the preponderance of scientific evidence,” the Guttmacher Institute’s director of public policy, Heather Boonstra, wrote for The Hill.

Boonstra denounced the bill’s “particularly callous and cruel rape and incest exceptions” that require a waiting period and consultations with additional providers, and outlines how “Congress and the Trump administration are moving in the wrong direction on contraceptive access” more broadly, concluding that “it’s clearer than ever that purported anti-abortion policies only serve an ideological agenda, but do not advance women’s health or public health more broadly.”

The bill is just the latest attack on women’s reproductive rights under the Trump administration. Several advocacy organizations have turned to social media in recent days to raise awareness about the House’s plan to vote on the measure Tuesday, and warn about the potential consequences of the proposed ban.

As Boonstra explained in her Hill op-ed: “Although the vast majority of abortions take place early in pregnancy, slightly more than one percent of abortions are performed at 21 weeks or later. A 20-week abortion ban would fall hardest on low-income women and women of color,” in part because “these are the very groups bearing a disproportionate burden of unintended pregnancies.”

Some have drawn connections between this revived proposal and congressional Republicans’ recent failed attempts to dismantle the Affordable Care Act and strip basic healthcare from millions of Americans with a healthcare bill that experts also warned would have been especially damaging for women.

Others have been quick to argue that the ban would be unconstitutional.

Ultimately, opponents of the bill agree that it would unfairly and unnecessarily harm women.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License

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Texas Study Shows How Defunding Planned Parenthood Actually Increased Abortion Rates

State’s teen abortion rate and teen birth rate both spiked after lawmakers cut funding and closed more than 80 family planning clinics

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 7-14-2017

Texas lawmakers’ attacks on reproductive rights have closed more than 80 of the states family planning clinics, including 11 Planned Parenthood clinics. Photo: The Trott Line

Illustrating the potential consequences if Republicans fulfill their threat to defund Planned Parenthood nationwide, a new study shows that when Texas slashed state funding for family planning clinics in 2011, the abortion rate among teenagers in the state actually increased.

The Texas state legislature launched a series of attacks on reproductive rights, beginning in 2011, when it cut funding for family planning services by 67 percent and restructured the way it allocates the remaining funds. These measures closed more than 80 clinics, including 11 Planned Parenthood clinics. One of the purported goals, said Republican backers, was to decrease abortion rates. As then-governor Rick Perry said: “We will continue to pass laws to ensure abortions are as rare as possible under existing law.” Continue reading

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Rights Groups Prepare for Fight Against Arkansas’ Man-Approved Abortion Law

Law would require any woman seeking an abortion to get permission from the man who impregnated her

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 7-11-2017

Arkansas legislators have drawn harsh criticism from women’s rights groups after passing four new laws that would severely restrict abortion access. (Photo: Steve Rhodes/Flickr/cc)

A hearing is scheduled for Thursday in the American Civil Liberties Union’s suit to block several new anti-reproductive rights laws that have passed in Arkansas, which would impose severe restrictions on women’s abortion access in the state.

The group has joined with the Center for Reproductive Rights to keep the laws from going into effect, starting at the end of July. Continue reading

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To Defend Against Trump, Delaware Just Preemptively Enshrined Abortion Rights

Even if the U.S. Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade, the state’s new law ensures right to choose is law of state

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 6-9-2017

“This new law is important because it says to women that you are important, that you have the ability to decide when to have a child and the state supports you in making the decision that is best for you and your family,” said Elizabeth Nash of the Guttmacher Institute. (Photo: Shane Conneely/flickr/cc)

As the Trump administration ramps up its war on women, Delaware just took a step in the opposite direction, passing a law to shield abortion rights from Republican attacks.

Senate Bill 5 passed the state House on Tuesday, and was signed into law Thursday by Democratic Gov. John Carney. It takes effect immediately. Continue reading

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‘Worst Bill for Women’ Could Get Worse as 13 Men Tackle Trumpcare in Senate

“When women aren’t at the table, they’re on the menu,” says Planned Parenthood president

By Deirdre Fulton and Andrea Germanos, staff writers for Common Dreams. Published 5-5-2017

Photo: Screenshot Fox News

With House Republicans having voted to pass the “astonishingly evil” American Healthcare Act (AHCA), the Senate GOP has assembled a group to craft that chamber’s version of the bill known as Trumpcare—and its made up of all men.

While Trumpcare would take health insurance away from tens of millions of Americans and raises costs for people nationwide, it has become clear that the Republican healthcare bill passed in the U.S. House Thursday is nothing less than what one advocacy group explicitly called “a declaration of war on women.” Continue reading

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8 Things Congress Has Done While Everyone was Distracted by Trump

By . Published 2-14-2017 by The Anti-Media

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

While we were distracted by the onslaught of executive orders President Trump pushed through during his first two weeks in office, legislators in Congress were busy quietly introducing legislation to bolster his top-down moves.

Here’s what you missed:

1. A House Panel Voted to Terminate the Election Assistance Commission

The House Administration Committee voted 6-3 in favor Republican Congressman Gregg Harper’s bill to terminate the Election Assistance Commission. The EAC, which was created in response to the contentious 2000 Florida election results as part of the Help America Vote Act, is a bipartisan commission that certifies voting machines and is responsible for making sure they cannot be hacked. Continue reading

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Anti-Choice GOP Doubles Budget for ‘Witch-Hunt’ Panel

‘It is appalling that the House of Representatives just gave the dangerous Select Investigative Panel an $800,000 pat on the back for its work to peddle lies’

By Deirdre Fulton, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 12-2-2016

Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) is chair of the anti-choice select panel and a member of Donald Trump's transition team. (Photo: Gage Skidmore/flickr/cc)

Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) is chair of the anti-choice select panel and a member of Donald Trump’s transition team. (Photo: Gage Skidmore/flickr/cc)

In yet another sign that the war on women will ramp up under a Republican-controlled Congress and Trump administration, the U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday doubled the budget for an anti-choice subcommittee that reproductive rights advocates have denounced as a “taxpayer-funded witch hunt.”

With a vote largely along party lines, the House approved an additional $800,000 for the so-called “Select Investigative Panel on Infant Lives,” created last October to look into fetal tissue research in the wake of 2015’s video smear campaign by anti-abortion activists that purported to show Planned Parenthood officials admitting to selling fetal body parts. In January, a grand jury empaneled to investigate those charges indicted the anti-abortion activists for fraud instead. Continue reading

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Texas Finalizes ‘Callous’ Rule on Burial or Cremation of Fetal Remains

‘Forcing a woman to pay for a burial after she ends a pregnancy or experiences a miscarriage is not just absurd—it is an unnecessary burden and an intrusion on her personal beliefs’

By Deirdre Fulton, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 11-29-2016

"The state agency has once again ignored the concerns of the medical community and thousands of Texans by playing politics with people's private healthcare decisions," said Heather Busby, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Texas. (Photo: Do512/flickr/cc)

“The state agency has once again ignored the concerns of the medical community and thousands of Texans by playing politics with people’s private healthcare decisions,” said Heather Busby, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Texas. (Photo: Do512/flickr/cc)

As of December 19, Texas healthcare providers will be required to bury or cremate embryonic and fetal tissue that results from abortions or miscarriages at their facilities.

The Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) finalized the new regulation on Monday, inviting a legal challenge from reproductive rights advocates, who strongly oppose the rule on the grounds that it has no medical or safety benefits, would be costly to implement, and could exacerbate what for some women is already a difficult experience. Continue reading

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‘Hoop After Hoop’: How Gulf Coast States Are Playing Politics with Women’s Health

“It’s just plain irresponsible for politicians to keep forcing doctors to go court just to ensure that they can provide the care that women need.”

By Deirdre Fulton, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 6-3-2016

John Bel Edwards

John Bel Edwards. Photo:YouTube

Women on the Gulf Coast continue to face concerted attacks on their right to healthcare, as Louisiana passed new abortion restrictions this week and the ACLU sued Alabama over several recently enacted, draconian laws.

On Tuesday, Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) signed into law a bill banning the abortion procedure known as “dilation and evacuation” or D&E—which women’s health experts say is the safest and most common method of abortion for women in their second trimester of pregnancy. Continue reading

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