Roundup: Women Line Up to Donate Eggs; Kansas Supreme Court Slams Phill Kline

Emily Douglas

Women line up to donate eggs; more on what FOCA would do; Kansas Supreme Court finds Phill Kline in contempt of court; after vetoing abortion legalization, Uruguayan President offers to resign as head of his party; Obama can be "feminist-in-chief."

Women Line Up to Donate Eggs

In hard economic times, women are lining up to donate eggs, which can fetch
anywhere from $3,000 to $25,000, reports the Wall
Street Journal
.  The Journal profiles a clinic near Chicago which has seen a 30% increase in "inquiries from would-be egg donors." Writing of potential
risks to donor women, the Journal reports:

There are some risks to the donor
— including possible bleeding and infection at the injection sites, and, in
rare cases, ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome, in which several dozen eggs
ripen at once and the ovaries become dangerously swollen. But careful monitoring
can avoid that. "If egg donation is done in an experienced clinic, that
complication rate is very, very low and the success rates are quite high,"
says Zev Rosenwaks, director of reproductive medicine at New
York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center, which performs about 200 egg
transfers per year, more than half of which result in live births.

What Would FOCA Do?

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What effect would the Freedom of Choice Act have? asks
Deborah Kotz, women’s health blogger for US News & World Report
.  Kotz writes that while on the campaign trail,
President-Elect Obama pledged to support FOCA, which would codify Roe in
statutory law.  Kotz talks to constitutional law scholar William Eskridge about whether FOCA would force doctors to perform
abortions (no), whether it might block public funding for hospitals that don’t
provide abortions (maybe, although other legal experts I’ve spoken to say no), and
whether FOCA would strengthen abortion access for women in the military (yes).

Kansas Supreme Court Finds Phill Kline in Contempt of Court

Phill Kline, Kansas district attorney who collected women’s
medical records in an effort to prove that a local Planned Parenthood was providing
illegal late-term abortions, was "slammed" by the Kansas Supreme Court for his
handling of an ongoing abortion case, report McClatchy
.  The Court wrote that Kline’s
"attitude and behavior are inexcusable, particularly for someone who
purports to be a professional prosecutor…It is plain that he is interested in
the pursuit of justice only as he chooses to define it." However, though Kline
was sanctioned, he gets to keep the records he collected, and is required only
to hand over copies to the court.

Wrote Planned Parenthood in a statement,

"We are very pleased by the Court’s decision," said Peter
Brownlie, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Kansas
and Mid-Missouri. "The Court confirms what Planned Parenthood has said all
along: Phill Kline is a zealot pursuing a lawless prosecution and misusing the
people’s trust to advance a radical anti-choice political agenda…." 

For more than four years, Planned Parenthood has fended off legal assaults
by Phill Kline, which began when he was Kansas
Attorney General.  Mr. Kline continued his witch hunt after the voters
threw him out of the Attorney General’s office, when he was appointed Johnson
County District Attorney.  The reasons Kline cited for
"investigating" Planned Parenthood never masked his true intent-to
wage an ideological battle from his elected position of power at the expense of

After Vetoing Abortion Legalization Bill, Uruguayan President Offers to Resign as Head of His Party

Reuters reports
that just weeks after vetoing a law that would have legalized abortion in Uruguay
through 12 weeks of pregnancy, Uruguayan President Tabare Vazquez has offered
to resign as head of the ruling Socialist Party.  The Uruguayan Congress, which is under Socialist
Party rule, "denounced his veto and vowed to present another bill in next
year’s session."

Obama: "Feminist-in-Chief?"

Obama could make "gender equality a keystone of his administration," writes
Katha Pollitt in a column for The Nation.  Women have made progress over the past 30 years, writes Pollitt, but a lingering frustration with the speed remains. 

Obama needs to meet that longing for a big
leap forward. He needs to become a truly feminist president. That means more
than protecting reproductive rights and appointing lots of women to significant
positions in his administration, important as those things are…If women are to move forward, we need to move beyond a
piecemeal approach.

There are plenty of pieces of legislation Obama can support, writes Pollitt, but even better would be a comprehensive approach that examined existing public support structures that disadvantage women:

For example, he can set up a task force to review law and policy on welfare,
Social Security, unemployment and tax policy to rectify outmoded assumptions
that disadvantage women. Did you know, for example, that most working wives do
better if they take their husbands’ Social Security benefit over their own, so
in effect they pay into the system and get nothing back? That a stay-home wife
whose husband made $50,000 a year gets more in Social Security benefits than a
working wife in a couple where each made $25,000? That welfare reform keeps
low-income single mothers from getting an education?


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