Reproductive Rights

  • Virginia Almost Mandates Sexual Assault to Restrict Abortion Access

    By Nitzan Weizmann, Reproductive Rights March 14, 2012 at 7:21 pm 1 comment

    What is truly frightening about this story is that Virginia legislators thought that restricting women’s access to abortion was important enough to force almost every woman seeking the procedure in the Commonwealth to become a victim of sexual assault, and force doctors to become perpetrators.

  • Women's Access to Contraception Does Not Violate Employers' Religious Freedom

    The Obama administration’s regulations concerning access to oral contraception through employer-provided health insurance allow each person to follow the precepts of his or her religion within the confines of one’s home and body – and protects those of us who choose to follow different precepts than those of religious Conservatives

  • The Fifth Circuit's Troubling Abortion Ruling

    Amicus, Issue Areas, Reproductive Rights February 20, 2012 at 1:31 pm 0 comments

    The United States Circuit Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit on January 10 upheld a Texas law requiring doctors to show sonograms to patients seeking abortions. The decision functions as an unfortunate emblem of the court’s tendency to treat abortions as quasi-criminal acts rather than a legal medical procedures and improperly infringes upon the privacy and autonomy of patients’ and doctors’. Two key ideas underlie the court’s reasoning in this case: 1) the unborn are citizens of the state, and 2) legislation of this kind is reasonably calculated and reasonably necessary to ensure mature and informed decisions by would-be mothers.

  • The Susan G. Komen Foundation's Planned Parenthood Debacle

    By Nitzan Weizmann, Reproductive Rights February 19, 2012 at 6:33 pm 0 comments

    The rule, which the foundation enacted “to fulfill [its] fiduciary duty” to donors, stipulates that it will not give funds to an organization under investigation. However, this particular decision to stop funding seems so closely connected to the political situation and to the perception of Planned Parenthood as a provider of abortion services, that it was almost divorced from public health considerations.

  • North Carolina Responds to its History of Forced Sterilizations

    In the upcoming weeks, the legislators of my home state of North Carolina will be faced with a dilemma: how does a government compensate victims of a historical atrocity that was deemed legal at the time?  At the national level, this question is often asked in the context of slavery […]

  • The Many Problems of Personhood

    On Tuesday, Mississippi voters will decide whether to amend their state constitution to define a person as “every human being from the moment of fertilization, cloning, or the functional equivalent thereof.”  The ballot initiative is the result of efforts by the anti-choice movement to ban abortion in the state and […]

  • Women on the rise?

    Many studies have demonstrated a strong correlation between the number of women in any given legislature or policy-making body and the extent to which that body takes up issues deemed important for women. On Sunday, the newly-formed United Nations entity, UN Women, announced that it was accepting applications for grants, with a focus on projects seeking to empower women in Arab countries transitioning to democracy. It’s only where real action occurs that women start to be empowered and involved in a way that strengthens a country’s democracy, making it responsive to the needs of all its population, not just the men.

  • Abortion Battle Not Over in Kansas

    Last Thursday, a federal judge in Kansas denied the ACLU’s motion for a preliminary injunction against the enforcement of a state law that bars insurance plans from covering elective abortions unless women or their employers purchase a separate rider calculated to cover all associated costs. The law is a clear step in the wrong direction for ensuring that a woman’s choice is protected. In spite of the courts denial, however, all is not lost.

  • New San Francisco Bill Takes on Crisis Pregnancy Centers

    Issue Areas, Reproductive Rights August 8, 2011 at 5:24 pm 0 comments

    In a bill introduced to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors on Tuesday, city officials have proposed making it illegal for “crisis pregnancy centers” to advertise falsely about the pregnancy-related services they provide. As the New York Times reported, the bill’s author, Malia Cohen, argues that the centers push “anti-abortion […]

  • S.D.N.Y. Enjoins “Crisis Pregnancy Center” Disclosure Law Under First Amendment

    To combat deceptive practices, a New York City law required pregnancy services centers to disclose certain information: Medical provider on staff? Referrals for abortions and emergency contraception? And lastly, the “New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene encourages women who are or may be pregnant to consult with a licensed medical provider.” The court found that the centers’ religiously motivated services could not be “commercial speech.” The court then found that the law was likely to crumble under strict scrutiny for “compel[ling] [the centers] to speak certain messages” and failing to meet the First Amendment’s narrow tailoring requirement for burdens on speech.