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Men & Abortion
Anti-Abortion Group's Bid Fails
Supreme Court rules against abortion clinics
Abortion Law in Your State
Consent by State
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When an unmarried teen is pregnant the situation can be difficult for both the teens and the parents. The young people involved are usually very frightened. They need all the understanding love which parents can provide. Of course, the parents are upset! Letting emotions of anger take over and becoming punishing and demanding with the young people solves no problems. Parents have the responsibility to act in a mature fashion and work with the young people to reach a solution which leads to mutual caring and learning. Some families draw closer during times of trouble. Communication may be reestablished and the young people learn how much the parents really care about them.
There are agencies which can help the family reach decisions about
pregnancy and other family problems. Physicians, clergy and Planned
Parenthood Centers offer sympathetic counseling. When the couple or
the girl decide to continue the pregnancy, agencies such as
Birthright or Support can give needed understanding. Parents should
not try to force a girl or couple to marry or to have an abortion.
Parents can help in the decision-making process, but a forced
abortion or a forced marriage can lead to later unhappiness.
Changes in Abortions and Births and the
Texas Parental Notification Law
Background On January 1, 2000, Texas began enforcement of a law that requires physicians to notify a parent of a minor child seeking an abortion at least 48 hours before the procedure.
We assessed changes in the rates in Texas of abortions and births (events per 1000 age-specific population) before enforcement of the parental notification law (1998 to 1999) and after enforcement (2000 to 2002). We did this by comparing the rate changes among minors 15 to 17 years of age at the time of conception (i.e., those who were subject to the law) with those of teens 18 years of age at the time of conception (i.e., those who were not subject to the law).
After enforcement of the law, abortion rates fell by 11 percent among 15-year-olds (rate ratio, 0.89; 95 percent confidence interval, 0.83 to 0.94), 20 percent among 16-year-olds (rate ratio, 0.80; 95 percent confidence interval, 0.76 to 0.85), and 16 percent among 17-year-olds (rate ratio 0.84; 95 percent confidence interval, 0.80 to 0.87), relative to the rates among 18-year-olds. Among the subgroup of minors 17.50 to 17.74 years of age at the time of conception (who would have been subject to the parental notification law in early pregnancy), birth rates rose by 4 percent relative to those of teens 18.00 to 18.24 years of age (rate ratio, 1.04; 95 percent confidence interval, 1.00 to 1.08). The adjusted odds ratio for having an abortion after 12 weeks' gestation among minors 17.50 to 17.74 years of age as compared with 18-year-olds was 1.34 (95 percent confidence interval, 1.10 to 1.62).
The Texas parental notification law was associated with a decline in abortion rates among minors from 15 to 17 years of age. It was also associated with increased birth rates and rates of abortion during the second trimester among a subgroup of minors who were 17.50 to 17.74 years of age at the time of conception.
From Baruch College (T.J.) and the Graduate Center (S.C.), City
University of New York; and the National Bureau of Economic Research
(T.J., R.K.) both in New York; and the University of Illinois
at Chicago, Chicago (R.K.). Address reprint requests to Dr. Joyce at
the National Bureau of Economic Research, 365 Fifth Ave., 5th Fl.,
New York, NY 10016, or at E-mail
Dispatch From South Dakota: Tribal
President Cecelia Fire Thunder Speaks
Anti-Abortion Group's Bid Fails
Supreme Court rules against abortion
The Supreme Court dealt a setback Tuesday to abortion clinics in a two-decade-old legal fight over anti-abortion protests, ruling that federal extortion and racketeering laws cannot be used to ban demonstrations.
Anti-abortion groups brought the appeal after the 7th Circuit had asked a trial judge to determine whether a nationwide injunction could be supported by charges that protesters had made threats of violence absent a connection with robbery or extortion.
The 8-0 decision ends a case that the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals had kept alive despite a 2003 decision by the high court that lifted a nationwide injunction on anti-abortion groups led by Joseph Scheidler and others.
Writing for the majority, Justice Stephen Breyer said Congress did not intend to create a freestanding physical violence offense in the federal extortion law known as the Hobbs Act.
The Supreme Court's ruling is a setback for abortion groups, taking away a powerful weapon they had used against organized protesters.
There has been a significant development since the National Organization for Women began its legal campaign against abortion protesters years ago: Congress passed the Federal Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) law, which makes it a crime to engage some of the behavior the women's groups originally targeted.
Even so, women's groups are sure to see the ruling as a blow for two reasons. First, it takes away a weapon they used to strike at the finances of abortion protesters, by suing for money damages. And second, many women's groups find FACE unsatisfying, because it depends on the willingness of local prosecutors to invoke it
Social activists and the AFL-CIO had sided with anti-abortion protesters in arguing that similar lawsuits and injunctions could be used to thwart their efforts to change public policy or agitate for better wages and working conditions.
The legal battle began in 1986, when the National Organization for Women filed a class-action suit challenging tactics used by the Pro-Life Action Network to block women from entering abortion clinics.
NOWs legal strategy was novel at the time, relying on civil provisions of the 1970 Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, which was used predominantly in criminal cases against organized crime. The lawsuit also relied on the Hobbs Act, a 55-year-old law banning extortion.
A federal judge issued a nationwide injunction against the
anti-abortion protesters after a Chicago jury found in 1998 that
demonstrators had engaged in a pattern of racketeering by interfering
with clinic operations, menacing doctors, assaulting patients and
damaging clinic property.
Abortion Law in Your
Abortion laws, as treated here, contain three main parts: a definition of an illegal abortion, a definition of a legal abortion, and a section dealing with consent and/or notice. There are also sections dealing with the penalties for violating the laws, residency requirements, waiting periods, and abortionists licensing requirements. These sections are impossible to compare. Because the Supreme Court through inconsistent rulings has caused the laws regulating abortion to be so unsettled, many state legislatures are not enacting any legislation pending the outcome of various lawsuits and federal legislation. Therefore, waiting periods, spousal notification, and other particulars mentioned below are not separately treated because the Court has virtually preempted the states power to legislate in these areas. However, these sections are ancillary to those questions regarding the legality of the act itself.
In no state is unrestricted abortion legal; indeed, virtually all states begin with the presumption that abortion is a crime, though all state statutes do have definitions of legal abortions. About twenty states define an illegal abortion in terms of the definition of a legal abortion; for example, Hawaii defines an illegal abortion as failure to meet the criterion of a legal abortion. (The definition of a legal abortion, in Hawaii, is simply the destruction of a nonviable fetus.) About fifteen states, however, predominately in the East and the South, do define illegal abortions without reference to legal instances of abortion. A few of these, interestingly, include in their definitions the provision that if the mother dies, then the abortion is illegal. Of these states, only some have specific statutes defining an illegal abortion; others merely define a legal abortion and impose penalties for their violation. The remaining states have definitions that specifically mention the limits of when an abortion is acceptable. For example, West Virginia defines an illegal abortion as any activity with intent to destroy an unborn child or produce abortion [or] if mother dies unless to save the mother.
Legal abortion is universally defined in terms of the mothers convenience or health. Though few definitions mention the life or health of the fetus, many refer to its viability as a standard for when an abortion may be performed with impunity, and without further attempt to define the term. These definitions are objective in that specific time parameters are set, outside of which an abortion cannot legally be done, absent exigent circumstances. The most unrestrictive of all definitions occur in Hawaii and Alaska, where a legal abortion is an abortion on any nonviable fetus. Interestingly, the definition of an illegal abortion in these two states is equally open; they say essentially that any act knowingly found to be contrary to the legal definition is illegal. After viability has been established, most states give additional instances when abortion may be legal: to save the life of the mother or if there are severe defects present in the fetus.
Partial Birth Abortion
The procedure called partial birth abortion has lately become the subject of numerous state statutes in the wake of the controversial vetoing by President Clinton of a federal bill that would have banned the procedure. The term means an abortion in which the person performing the abortion deliberately and intentionally delivers a living fetus or a substantial portion thereof into the vagina for the purpose of performing a procedure the person knows will kill the fetus, performs the procedure, kills the fetus and completes the delivery. In the last two years, twenty-one states have enacted legislation banning or limiting the practice of this procedure. Recently, the Supreme Court held that Nebraskas attempt to ban partial-birth abortion was unconstitutional.
Here's the source for this article and where you can find the
abortion laws governing your state.
North Dakota Senate Passes Two Unprecedented Abortion Bans
House Bill 1456, the heartbeat ban, passed the North Dakota House of Representatives earlier this year and now heads to Gov. Jack Dalrymple's (R) desk to be signed. The law would subject doctors to a $5,000 fine and up to five years in prison if they perform an abortion after the fetal heartbeat can be detected, surpassing Arkansas' new 12-week abortion ban to become the strictest abortion law in the country. The Republican-controlled Senate voted to pass it on Friday without any discussion.
The Senate also passed House Bill 1305, which bans abortions that are performed based on gender selection or a genetic defect. Three other states -- Pennsylvania, Oklahoma and Arizona -- have laws banning abortions based on gender selection, but North Dakota would be the first state to prevent a woman from aborting a fetus diagnosed with Down Syndrome or other fetal anomalies.
Opponents of the heartbeat bill argue that it would ban abortions in some cases before the woman even realizes she is pregnant, which places an undue burden on a woman's constitutionally protected right to abortion. "North Dakota politicians are now leading what appears to be a nationwide competition among anti-choice extremists to see who can do the most to strip women of their dignity and autonomy and endanger their lives," said Nancy Northup, president and CEO at the Center for Reproductive Rights, in a statement on Friday. "The passage of this law is nothing short of a frontal assault on the U.S. Constitution, 40 years of Supreme Court precedent, and the health and fundamental rights of women."
State Rep. Bette Grande (R), the author of both bills, said during her testimony before the Senate this week that she is not concerned with their constitutionality. "Whether this is challenged in court is entirely up to the abortion industry," she told the Associated Press. "Given the lucrative nature of abortion, it is likely that any statute that reduces the number of customers will be challenged by the industry."
The Center for Reproductive Rights is currently representing North Dakota's only abortion clinic, the Red River Womens Clinic, in a case challenging the state's restrictions on medication abortions, which are commonly used for abortions in the first trimester. North Dakota lawmakers also are considering a personhood bill, which would give a fertilized egg legal personhood rights, and a law that would require abortion physicians to be granted admitting privileges at the local hospital
The center called on Dalrymple to veto both of the new restrictions.
This will not stand," Northup said of the heartbeat ban. "We strongly urge Governor Dalrymple to protect the rights and health of the women of North Dakota by vetoing this noxious and dangerous bill.
Dalrymple has three days to veto the bill.
SD governor signs 3-day
wait for abortion into law
Within minutes of Daugaard's announcement that he had signed the measure, abortion rights groups said they plan to file a lawsuit challenging the measure, which one said could create particular hardships for women who live in rural areas hundreds of miles from the state's only abortion clinic in Sioux Falls.
Daugaard, who gave no interviews after signing the bill, said in a written statement that he had conferred with state attorneys who will defend the law in court and a sponsor who has pledged to raise private money to finance the state's court fight. Officials have said estimated the cost of defending the law at $1.7 million to $4.5 million.
"I think everyone agrees with the goal of reducing abortion by encouraging consideration of other alternatives," the Republican governor said the statement. "I hope that women who are considering an abortion will use this three-day period to make good choices."
About half the states, including South Dakota, now have 24-hour waiting periods, but the state's new law is the first of its kind in having a three-day waiting period and requiring women to seek counseling at pregnancy help centers, said Elizabeth Nash of the Guttmacher Institute, a research organization that supports abortion rights.
The law will certainly make it harder for some women to get abortions, said Kathi Di Nicola, a spokeswoman for Planned Parenthood Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota, which runs the clinic in Sioux Falls. Women could have to drive there several times to schedule an abortion, visit a crisis pregnancy center and then get an abortion, she said.
"It would most certainly be a barrier to women who have to travel. South Dakota is a rural state," Di Nicola said. "Many women who are seeking abortion care already have to take time off work, arrange for child care."
Planned Parenthood and the American Civil Liberties Union of South Dakota said they will ask a judge to strike down the measure as unconstitutional.
Supporters of the measure say the Planned Parenthood clinic gives women little information or counseling before they have abortions done by doctors flown in from out of state and the bill will help make sure women are not being coerced into abortions by boyfriends or relatives.
"Women need to just be reminded of the fact there is a natural, legal relationship between them and their child," said Rep. Roger Hunt, R-Brandon, main sponsor of the law.
The law, which takes effect July 1, says an abortion can only be scheduled by a doctor who has personally met with a woman and determined she is voluntarily seeking an abortion. The procedure can't be done until at least 72 hours after that first consultation.
Before getting an abortion, a woman also will have to consult with a pregnancy help center to get information about services available to help her give birth and keep a child. The state will publish a list of pregnancy help centers, all of which seek to persuade women to give birth.
Leslie Unruh, founder of the Alpha Center, a pregnancy help center in Sioux Falls, said many women have said they would never have had abortions if they had first received counseling at such a center.
"If we truly want to have less abortions, let's give these women the 72 hours they need to make this decision on their own without being coerced," Unruh said.
Jan Nicolay, co-chair of the South Dakota Campaign for Healthy Families, which has opposed restrictions on abortion, said the measure would invade women's privacy by forcing them to go to crisis pregnancy centers that are sham clinics set up to dissuade women from getting abortions. The law could violate federal requirements that protect the privacy of medical records, and it assumes that women cannot make decisions about abortions after talking with their families and pastors, she said.
"Now, despite the fact that South Dakotans have repeatedly spoken on issues of government interference in private decisions, we will once more be pulled into a protracted legal battle that will potentially cost the state millions in tax dollars," Nicolay said in a written statement.
Hunt said the state would only have to pay legal costs if it lost the lawsuit, and the money would be well spent to try to prevent the 800 or so abortions done each year in South Dakota. But, he said, donations are already coming into to defend the law. Some people have pledged large sums, while others are giving $25 or $50, he said.
"They want to put their money where their mouth is in the sense of protecting unborn children," Hunt said.
The South Dakota Legislature has passed several other measures restricting abortions in the past decade.
Voters rejected statewide ballot measures in 2006 and 2008 that would have banned most abortions in the state. Those measures sought to provoke a court challenge to the U.S. Supreme Court's 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling that legalized abortion in the United States.
A 2005 law requiring that women be told that an abortion will end
the life of a human being has yet to be fully implemented because it
remains tied up in a court fight.