Roundup: Last One to The Supreme Court Is a Rotten Egg

Robin Marty

It's a race to see who can get in front of the Supreme Court first. Plus, parallel realities in the mini roundup.

In case there were any doubts, the past few weeks seems to have settled it: anti-choice activists have one goal this year, and it’s to try and get in front of the Supreme Court.  Thanks to the legacy of President George W. Bush, the court is at perhaps its most conservative level ever, and the activists can’t wait to test it out.
Nowhere is this more obvious than in Nebraska, where anti-choice advocates are pushing hard to get what they know is a federally unconstitutional new law passed by the legislature.
[A]bortion opponents are looking for opportunities to push the court even further in restricting abortion.

think National Right to Life wants to see something go to the Supreme
Court that would provide more protection to the unborn child,” said
Mary Spaulding Balch, a lobbyist for the organization.

A new Nebraska legislative proposal could provide that opportunity.

Bill 1103 would ban abortions after 20 weeks unless the procedure would
save a woman’s life or “avert serious risk of substantial and
irreversible physical impairment of a major bodily function.”

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of the Legislature Mike Flood of Norfolk said he didn’t introduce the
bill with the goal of having it wind up before the Supreme Court.

Rather, he wants to stop Dr. LeRoy Carhart of Bellevue from becoming the region’s main provider of late-term abortions.

Opponents as well as supporters of abortion rights agree the proposal would go beyond what current high court rulings allow.

“This bill is unconstitutional as it’s drafted,” said Janet Crepps, of the New York-based Center for Reproductive Rights.

who supports the bill should be clear that this is just a vehicle for
them to go back to the Supreme Court and take rights away from women,”
she said.

But Nebraska may have to get in line, as Florida sees their overly restrictive unconstitutional potential law, and one ups it with an outright ban.
A legislator who has travelled the world as a Baptist minister wants
Florida to ban abortion — inviting a U.S. Supreme Court rematch over
law, morality and medicine.
Rep. Charles Van Zant, R-Keystone Heights, cites the state and federal
Constitutions, as well as the Declaration of Independence, in asserting
that all people are "endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable
rights, and that the first among these rights is the right to life."
Nearly one-third of his "Florida for Life Act" is devoted to
legislative "findings," including statements that life begins at
conception and that the high court’s 1973 and 1992 rulings legalizing
abortion were wrong.

Stephanie Kunkel, state director of Planned Parenthood, called the
bill "totally unconstitutional." She said polls and experience in other
states show the public to be pro-choice, although the Republican-run
Legislature leans the other way to varying degrees.

is the most rigid and inflexible ban on abortion in the United States,"
said Kunkel. "Not only does it ban abortion, it also has absolutely no
exceptions for rape or incest."

She said abortion
opponents tried a similar plan in South Dakota with a ballot initiative
that lost by 56-44 percent in 2006. Two years later, she said, another
abortion ban was voted down in that state.

"His ultimate
goal here is to challenge the Supreme Court’s decision, Roe v. Wade, by
passing an unconstitutional bill," she said. "This fight would have to
end up in the U.S. Supreme Court."

The conservative Roberts Court might reverse the Roe ruling, she said. That’s about the only thing Kunkel and Van Zant agree on. 

Ohio is also taking a swing at federal abortion laws,  although in their case it is seen as largely symbolic, rather than a potential Supreme Court challenge.
The Republican-majority Ohio Senate approved a resolution Feb. 17
urging federal officials to refrain from allowing public funding of
abortions or establishing national laws that usurp states’ regulation
of the procedure.
The resolution, passed on a party-line vote
with Republicans supporting and Democrats opposing, is a preemptive
strike against the national Freedom of Choice Act — legislation that
has not been introduced in Congress this session.

Sens. Tim
Grendell (R-Chesterland) and Steve Buehrer (R-Delta) said the federal
act would create the right to an abortion and prevent states from
regulating abortion procedures.

The Senate resolution urges President Barack Obama and members of Congress to oppose the act, should it be introduced.

Still not every state has made it their sole mission to either challenge Roe V. Wade or current abortion rights.  Hawaii, instead, is going in the opposite direction.

The House of Representatives yesterday paved the
way for Hawaii to become the first state in the nation to repeal its
abortion law.

The repeal bill passed by a 31-20 vote and is expected to breeze through the Senate on Tuesday.

Every member voted on the measure.

Barring major defects in the bill, Gov. John A. Burns is expected to let the bill become law without his signature.

It will automatically become law 10 days after he receives it.

The Governor has stated in the past that he supports repeal.

Although the measure is laced with amendments, it still retains its basic intent—to repeal Hawaii’s 101-year-old abortion law.

"I am glad that it is all over," Rep. George W.T. Loo said.

"I feel this is something we all can live by, and I hope it is not abused."

co-chairman of the joint conference committee that worked out the
compromise bill, originally brought the issue to legislative attention
several years ago.

The current law says a woman may get an abortion only when her life is in danger.

The bill would repeal this and make abortion a matter of conscience between a woman and her physician 

Mini Roundup:  On Friday, the mini roundup had a newspaper article about a doctor fighting the medical board to keep his license. Now, here’s the Lifenews version of the story. No wonder it often seems like anti-choice activists are working with different "facts" than the rest of the population.
February 22, 2010

for NC bishops as state abandons plan to compare
pro-life laws
Catholic Culture

‘accounting trick,’ taxpayers foot
abortion bills

clinics fear state budget cuts
Santa Rosa Press Democrat

for Katine men to take more interest in
family planning
The Guardian

theology professor advises student to work with Planned Parenthood


February 21, 2010

Pill and Breast Cancer
American Thinker

who assaulted a
pro-life protester cancels abortion and
thanks protester

Ultrasound Bill Should Be Passed
Wheeling Intelligencer

blurs ethical lines
News Star

Senate proposes opposition to ‘Freedom of Choice Act’
Stow Sentry

Abortion Law
Repeal Now Appears to be Certainty

Honolulu Star-Bulletin

laws may start in Nebraska
Omaha World-Herald

Parenthood Employee Resigns, Exposes Undesirable Aspect of Legal
Associated Content

demands on health care reform are wrong
The Hudson Reporter

posters to stay: candidate
ABC Online

doctors challenge proposed New Zealand
abortion guidelines
Catholic News Agency

family planning
services can save taxpayers millions

Spartanburg Herald Journal

groups that help families
The Coloradoan

27 family planning
projects given to NGOs
Daily Times


February 20, 2010

Abortion Law
York Times

decision not up to the government
Allentown Morning Call

drugs warning
Daily News

group rallies against clinic in East Knoxville

County couple deceived in
adoption scam

Harper, ‘maternal health’ isn’t very healthy without a choice
Globe and Mail

Look: Across the Aisle,
Pro-Life Bond Strong in Health Care Fight

Palin as Inspiration, More Conservative Women Making Voices Heard

take for granted reproductive rights

Ottawa Citizen

recruiting couples for study of natural
family planning
Georgia Bulletin

tells commission about opposition to Planned Parenthood
Sturgis Journal

monitors sex scenes on television


February 19, 2010

Tim Pawlenty Promotes
Pro-Life, Opposes Obama Health Care at CPAC

Women Leaders Address CPAC Conference: We’re Winning on Abortion

Advocates to Rally Next Week as Legislature Hears Abortion Bills

Judge Rules Comprehensive
Pro-Life Law on Abortion Unconstitutional

To Decide Constitutionality Of Oklahoma
Abortion Law
News On 6

morality matters, it’s Catholic v. Catholic on line
USA Today

Health Care Reconciliation Bill Expected Monday, Then Summit

Bill Filed in Legislature
The Jacksonville Observer

wants Florida to ban
Tallahassee Democrat

doctor accused of
abortion on 13-year-old
Washington Post

Abortion and
black children
Star-Ledger –

Court Calls 2009
Abortion Restriction Law Unconstitutional
ABC News

Care Reform: How Democrats Might Deal With
Abortion Language

bill would make
abortion punishable by life in prison

Billboards: Strong Words Spark Debate in Atlanta’s Black Neighborhoods
ABC News

Practitioner Keeps License Despite Violating Court Order, Medical Board

Forced to Side with Same-Sex Couple in
Adoption Case

Bishops hold fast in rejecting fertility technology
Washington Post

DIGEST: Planned Parenthood flourishes

BP News

woman is more than a baby machine
Ottawa Citizen

to Provide Emergency
Contraception on US Bases

pregnancy rate up for 1st time in more than 10 years
American Medical News

Chronicle: Pregnancy drastically alters teen life

the Myths

version of sex education bill to get hearing
Salt Lake Tribune

Analysis Politics

The 2016 Republican Platform Is Riddled With Conservative Abortion Myths

Ally Boguhn

Anti-choice activists and leaders have embraced the Republican platform, which relies on a series of falsehoods about reproductive health care.

Republicans voted to ratify their 2016 platform this week, codifying what many deem one of the most extreme platforms ever accepted by the party.

“Platforms are traditionally written by and for the party faithful and largely ignored by everyone else,” wrote the New York Times‘ editorial board Monday. “But this year, the Republicans are putting out an agenda that demands notice.”

“It is as though, rather than trying to reconcile Mr. Trump’s heretical views with conservative orthodoxy, the writers of the platform simply opted to go with the most extreme version of every position,” it continued. “Tailored to Mr. Trump’s impulsive bluster, this document lays bare just how much the G.O.P. is driven by a regressive, extremist inner core.”

Tucked away in the 66-page document accepted by Republicans as their official guide to “the Party’s principles and policies” are countless resolutions that seem to back up the Times‘ assertion that the platform is “the most extreme” ever put forth by the party, including: rolling back marriage equalitydeclaring pornography a “public health crisis”; and codifying the Hyde Amendment to permanently block federal funding for abortion.

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Anti-choice activists and leaders have embraced the platform, which the Susan B. Anthony List deemed the “Most Pro-life Platform Ever” in a press release upon the GOP’s Monday vote at the convention. “The Republican platform has always been strong when it comes to protecting unborn children, their mothers, and the conscience rights of pro-life Americans,” said the organization’s president, Marjorie Dannenfelser, in a statement. “The platform ratified today takes that stand from good to great.”  

Operation Rescue, an organization known for its radical tactics and links to violence, similarly declared the platform a “victory,” noting its inclusion of so-called personhood language, which could ban abortion and many forms of contraception. “We are celebrating today on the streets of Cleveland. We got everything we have asked for in the party platform,” said Troy Newman, president of Operation Rescue, in a statement posted to the group’s website.

But what stands out most in the Republicans’ document is the series of falsehoods and myths relied upon to push their conservative agenda. Here are just a few of the most egregious pieces of misinformation about abortion to be found within the pages of the 2016 platform:

Myth #1: Planned Parenthood Profits From Fetal Tissue Donations

Featured in multiple sections of the Republican platform is the tired and repeatedly debunked claim that Planned Parenthood profits from fetal tissue donations. In the subsection on “protecting human life,” the platform says:

We oppose the use of public funds to perform or promote abortion or to fund organizations, like Planned Parenthood, so long as they provide or refer for elective abortions or sell fetal body parts rather than provide healthcare. We urge all states and Congress to make it a crime to acquire, transfer, or sell fetal tissues from elective abortions for research, and we call on Congress to enact a ban on any sale of fetal body parts. In the meantime, we call on Congress to ban the practice of misleading women on so-called fetal harvesting consent forms, a fact revealed by a 2015 investigation. We will not fund or subsidize healthcare that includes abortion coverage.

Later in the document, under a section titled “Preserving Medicare and Medicaid,” the platform again asserts that abortion providers are selling “the body parts of aborted children”—presumably again referring to the controversy surrounding Planned Parenthood:

We respect the states’ authority and flexibility to exclude abortion providers from federal programs such as Medicaid and other healthcare and family planning programs so long as they continue to perform or refer for elective abortions or sell the body parts of aborted children.

The platform appears to reference the widely discredited videos produced by anti-choice organization Center for Medical Progress (CMP) as part of its smear campaign against Planned Parenthood. The videos were deceptively edited, as Rewire has extensively reported. CMP’s leader David Daleiden is currently under federal indictment for tampering with government documents in connection with obtaining the footage. Republicans have nonetheless steadfastly clung to the group’s claims in an effort to block access to reproductive health care.

Since CMP began releasing its videos last year, 13 state and three congressional inquiries into allegations based on the videos have turned up no evidence of wrongdoing on behalf of Planned Parenthood.

Dawn Laguens, executive vice president of Planned Parenthood Action Fund—which has endorsed Hillary Clinton—called the Republicans’ inclusion of CMP’s allegation in their platform “despicable” in a statement to the Huffington Post. “This isn’t just an attack on Planned Parenthood health centers,” said Laguens. “It’s an attack on the millions of patients who rely on Planned Parenthood each year for basic health care. It’s an attack on the brave doctors and nurses who have been facing down violent rhetoric and threats just to provide people with cancer screenings, birth control, and well-woman exams.”

Myth #2: The Supreme Court Struck Down “Commonsense” Laws About “Basic Health and Safety” in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt

In the section focusing on the party’s opposition to abortion, the GOP’s platform also reaffirms their commitment to targeted regulation of abortion providers (TRAP) laws. According to the platform:

We salute the many states that now protect women and girls through laws requiring informed consent, parental consent, waiting periods, and clinic regulation. We condemn the Supreme Court’s activist decision in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt striking down commonsense Texas laws providing for basic health and safety standards in abortion clinics.

The idea that TRAP laws, such as those struck down by the recent Supreme Court decision in Whole Woman’s Health, are solely for protecting women and keeping them safe is just as common among conservatives as it is false. However, as Rewire explained when Paul Ryan agreed with a nearly identical claim last week about Texas’ clinic regulations, “the provisions of the law in question were not about keeping anybody safe”:

As Justice Stephen Breyer noted in the opinion declaring them unconstitutional, “When directly asked at oral argument whether Texas knew of a single instance in which the new requirement would have helped even one woman obtain better treatment, Texas admitted that there was no evidence in the record of such a case.”

All the provisions actually did, according to Breyer on behalf of the Court majority, was put “a substantial obstacle in the path of women seeking a previability abortion,” and “constitute an undue burden on abortion access.”

Myth #3: 20-Week Abortion Bans Are Justified By “Current Medical Research” Suggesting That Is When a Fetus Can Feel Pain

The platform went on to point to Republicans’ Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, a piece of anti-choice legislation already passed in several states that, if approved in Congress, would create a federal ban on abortion after 20 weeks based on junk science claiming fetuses can feel pain at that point in pregnancy:

Over a dozen states have passed Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Acts prohibiting abortion after twenty weeks, the point at which current medical research shows that unborn babies can feel excruciating pain during abortions, and we call on Congress to enact the federal version.

Major medical groups and experts, however, agree that a fetus has not developed to the point where it can feel pain until the third trimester. According to a 2013 letter from the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, “A rigorous 2005 scientific review of evidence published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) concluded that fetal perception of pain is unlikely before the third trimester,” which begins around the 28th week of pregnancy. A 2010 review of the scientific evidence on the issue conducted by the British Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists similarly found “that the fetus cannot experience pain in any sense prior” to 24 weeks’ gestation.

Doctors who testify otherwise often have a history of anti-choice activism. For example, a letter read aloud during a debate over West Virginia’s ultimately failed 20-week abortion ban was drafted by Dr. Byron Calhoun, who was caught lying about the number of abortion-related complications he saw in Charleston.

Myth #4: Abortion “Endangers the Health and Well-being of Women”

In an apparent effort to criticize the Affordable Care Act for promoting “the notion of abortion as healthcare,” the platform baselessly claimed that abortion “endangers the health and well-being” of those who receive care:

Through Obamacare, the current Administration has promoted the notion of abortion as healthcare. We, however, affirm the dignity of women by protecting the sanctity of human life. Numerous studies have shown that abortion endangers the health and well-being of women, and we stand firmly against it.

Scientific evidence overwhelmingly supports the conclusion that abortion is safe. Research shows that a first-trimester abortion carries less than 0.05 percent risk of major complications, according to the Guttmacher Institute, and “pose[s] virtually no long-term risk of problems such as infertility, ectopic pregnancy, spontaneous abortion (miscarriage) or birth defect, and little or no risk of preterm or low-birth-weight deliveries.”

There is similarly no evidence to back up the GOP’s claim that abortion endangers the well-being of women. A 2008 study from the American Psychological Association’s Task Force on Mental Health and Abortion, an expansive analysis on current research regarding the issue, found that while those who have an abortion may experience a variety of feelings, “no evidence sufficient to support the claim that an observed association between abortion history and mental health was caused by the abortion per se, as opposed to other factors.”

As is the case for many of the anti-abortion myths perpetuated within the platform, many of the so-called experts who claim there is a link between abortion and mental illness are discredited anti-choice activists.

Myth #5: Mifepristone, a Drug Used for Medical Abortions, Is “Dangerous”

Both anti-choice activists and conservative Republicans have been vocal opponents of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA’s) March update to the regulations for mifepristone, a drug also known as Mifeprex and RU-486 that is used in medication abortions. However, in this year’s platform, the GOP goes a step further to claim that both the drug and its general approval by the FDA are “dangerous”:

We believe the FDA’s approval of Mifeprex, a dangerous abortifacient formerly known as RU-486, threatens women’s health, as does the agency’s endorsement of over-the-counter sales of powerful contraceptives without a physician’s recommendation. We support cutting federal and state funding for entities that endanger women’s health by performing abortions in a manner inconsistent with federal or state law.

Studies, however, have overwhelmingly found mifepristone to be safe. In fact, the Association of Reproductive Health Professionals says mifepristone “is safer than acetaminophen,” aspirin, and Viagra. When the FDA conducted a 2011 post-market study of those who have used the drug since it was approved by the agency, they found that more than 1.5 million women in the U.S. had used it to end a pregnancy, only 2,200 of whom had experienced an “adverse event” after.

The platform also appears to reference the FDA’s approval of making emergency contraception such as Plan B available over the counter, claiming that it too is a threat to women’s health. However, studies show that emergency contraception is safe and effective at preventing pregnancy. According to the World Health Organization, side effects are “uncommon and generally mild.”

News Abortion

Pennsylvania’s TRAP Law Could Be the Next to Go Down

Teddy Wilson

The Democrats' bill would repeal language from a measure that targets abortion clinics, forcing them to meet the standards of ambulatory surgical facilities.

A Pennsylvania lawmaker on Wednesday introduced a bill that would repeal a state law requiring abortion clinics to meet the standards of ambulatory surgical facilities (ASF). The bill comes in response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling striking down a similar provision in Texas’ anti-choice omnibus law known as HB 2.

A similar so-called targeted regulation of abortion providers (TRAP) law was passed in Pennsylvania in 2011 with bipartisan majorities in both the house and state senate, and was signed into law by former Gov. Tom Corbett (R).

SB 1350, sponsored by Sen. Daylin Leach (D-Montgomery) would repeal language from Act 122 that requires abortion clinics to meet ASF regulations. The text of the bill has not yet been posted on the state’s legislative website.

The bill is co-sponsored by state Sens. Art Haywood (D-Philadelphia), Larry Farnese (D-Philadelphia), and Judy Schwank (D-Berks).

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Leach said in a statement that there has been a “nationwide attack on patients and their doctors,” but that the Supreme Court’s ruling upholds the constitutionally protected right to terminate a pregnancy.

“Abortion is a legal, Constitutionally-protected right that should be available to all women,” Leach said. “Every member of the Pennsylvania General Assembly swore an oath to support, obey and defend the Constitution of the United States, so we must act swiftly to repeal this unconstitutional requirement.”

TRAP laws, which single out abortion clinics and providers and subject them to regulations that are more stringent than those applied to medical clinics, have been passed in several states in recent years.

However, the Supreme Court’s ruling in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt that struck down two of the provisions in HB 2 has already had ramifications on similar laws passed in other states with GOP-held legislatures.

The Supreme Court blocked similar anti-choice laws in Wisconsin and Mississippi, and Alabama’s attorney general announced he would drop an appeal to a legal challenge of a similar law.