Tag Archives: NARAL

‘Dystopian’: Reproductive Rights Advocates Decry California Woman’s Murder Charge Over Her Stillborn Baby

“Pregnant people being criminalized and thrown in jail because of their pregnancy outcomes is not just a warning for the future: It’s already here.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 11-7-2019

A woman in California was charged Wednesday with first-degree murder in the death of her stillborn baby, who had toxic levels of methamphetamine in his system. Experts caution against the criminalization of women who use drugs during pregnancy. (Photo: Mikasi/cc/flickr)

Reproductive and human rights advocates on Thursday warned that first-degree murder charges against a woman in California for the death of her stillborn baby is “the direct result” of the anti-choice movement’s push for extreme laws pitting the rights of women against those of unborn children.

Chelsea Cheyenne Becker was arrested and charged on Wednesday with murder in Hanford, California and held on $5 million bail, several weeks after giving birth to a stillborn baby. The baby was found to have toxic levels of methamphetamine in his system, suggesting to investigators that Becker had used the drug throughout her pregnancy. Continue reading

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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 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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With Women’s Rights on the Line, Groups Demand Supreme Court #StoptheSham

Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt is widely believed to be the most consequential abortion rights case since Roe v. Wade

By Lauren McCauley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 3-2-2016

Women protest outside the U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday against "sham" abortion laws that have threatened their health and autonomy. (Photo: NARAL Pro-choice NC/Twitter)

Women protest outside the U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday against “sham” abortion laws that have threatened their health and autonomy. (Photo: NARAL Pro-choice NC/Twitter)

The U.S. Supreme Court, with one vacant seat, heard oral arguments on Wednesday in what is widely believed to be the most consequential reproductive rights case since Roe v. Wade, one which observers warn could dramatically alter abortion access for women across the country.

The case, Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, questions whether a Texas law that set stringent requirements for abortion clinics, with the intention of forcing the shutdown of women’s health providers, is actually legal. Observers say that a high court ruling on the law could set a binding precedent as similar Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers, or TRAP, laws have been implemented by Republican governments in a number of states. Continue reading

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‘Foolish and Mean-Spirited’: US House Votes to Defund Planned Parenthood

‘The ultimate goal of anti-abortion extremists in Congress is to promote their political agenda of banning safe, legal abortion in this country.’

By Deirdre Fulton, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 9-18-2015

An ideological and at times sorely misinformed debate—one catalyzed by the right-wing’s latest “underhanded smear campaign” targeting women’s health—gripped the U.S. House of Representatives on Friday, as the chamber approved two anti-choice bills, one of which strips Planned Parenthood of all its federal funding for one year.

The Republican-majority House passed both the Defund Planned Parenthood Act of 2015 (roll call here), which cuts off federal funding to the critical healthcare provider for one year unless it stops providing abortions, and the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act (roll call here), which would impose criminal penalties on doctors who do not try to save a fetus that “survives an abortion.” Continue reading

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