The Supreme Court ruled Thursday that a Massachusetts buffer zone law violates the First Amendment; the justices were unanimous in the ruling. In case you weren’t up to speed on the case, here are the basics: Fourteen years ago, the high court upheld a Colorado law that created an 8-foot “bubble zone” around patients entering or exiting clinics. But Massachusetts’ buffer zone law prohibited demonstrators from standing within 35 feet of the facility, a length the justices seemed dubious of from the start. Walking that length — the size of a school bus — takes approximately seven seconds.
A lot can happen in those seven seconds. A lot can happen when protesters are allowed to enter clinics, physically confront patients or block doors. Massachusetts passed its law in response to aggressive and dangerous conduct from protesters stationed directly outside clinics, including an incident in 1994 where a gunman opened fire at two abortion clinics, killing two people and injuring five others. In its defense of the measure, the state argued before the justices that the buffer law is not a prohibition on speech, but a practical measure to keep access to these facilities “open and clear of all but essential foot traffic, in light of more than two decades of compromised facility access and public safety.”
Like 10 percent of Nepal’s 13 million women, Devi suffers from the painful and debilitating condition of uterine prolapse. The ligaments and muscles in her pelvic floor are too weak to hold the uterus, which slips into the vagina. The condition is often caused by overwork, not enough recovery time between pregnancies or pregnancy at a young age.
Almost 800 babies and children were buried in a mass grave in Ireland near a home for unmarried mothers run by nuns, according to new research Wednesday which throws more light on the Irish Catholic Church’s troubled past.
Death records suggest 796 children, from newborns to eight-year-olds, were deposited in a grave near a Catholic-run home for unmarried mothers during the 35 years it operated from 1925 to 1961.
Historian Catherine Corless, who made the discovery, says her study of death records for the St Mary’s home in Tuam in County Galway suggests that a former septic tank near the home was a mass grave.
Chilean President Michelle Bachelet is fighting fierce conservative opposition to allow abortion for women and girls who are raped, carrying non-viable fetuses or facing life-threatening pregnancy complications.
Last month, a 17-year-old girl turned up at a Santiago public hospital near death from bleeding. A doctor at the hospital called police to report her: she had had a back-alley abortion, which is illegal in Chile. Police searched the girl’s home and reported finding blood-stained underwear. Prosecutors say that she is facing 3.5 to five years in prison. In recent years, cases like hers, or that of Belen, an 11-year-old raped by her stepfather, have rocked Chile’s traditional and overwhelmingly Roman Catholic society.
Others like journalist Monica Perez have to go forward with a pregnancy knowing full well the baby would not live.
House Republicans on Thursday used a procedural motion to block a vote on whether to add an exception for incest to an abortion coverage ban in its criminal justice appropriations bill.
The bill prohibits using federal funds to cover abortion for pregnant women in federal prisons, except if the woman’s life is in danger or if she was raped. Incest is usually mentioned as an exception to other federal abortion funding bans such as the Hyde Amendment, but the criminal justice appropriations bill does not contain such an exception.
Texas gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis received a hostile greeting in Los Angeles Thursday morning, when life-sized posters depicting her as “Abortion Barbie” began popping up throughout the city ahead of her fundraiser there.
In a May 11 Facebook message, Assistant State Attorney of Florida Kenneth Lewis wrote: “Happy Mother’s Day to all the crack hoes out there. It’ never too late to turn it around, tie your tubes, clean up your life and make difference to someone out there that deserves a better mother.”
Tennessee has become the first state in the nation to pass a law criminalizing women for their pregnancy outcomes. Republican Gov. Bill Haslam took the 10 days allotted to him to consider the advice of doctors, addiction experts and reproductive health groups urging him to veto the punitive and dangerous measure that allows prosecutors to charge a woman with criminal assault if she uses illegal drugs during her pregnancy and her fetus or newborn is considered harmed as a result. Haslam ignored these recommendations — and the recommendations of nearly every major medical association, including the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy — and signed the measure anyway.
Texas, like so many other states in the country, is in the middle of a reproductive health crisis. As a result of the state’s sweeping new abortion restrictions (and years of Republican-led assaults on clinics and women’s health programs), 34 clinics have been forced to scale back services or cease providing abortions altogether; 12 clinics have closed outright. Shuttered clinics and reduced services have created access deserts when it comes to abortion, leaving thousands of women across the state — particularly in the Rio Grande Valley region — with no meaningful way to obtain reproductive healthcare.
A barrage of state-level restrictions on abortion clinics — often, unnecessary regulations requiring them to widen their hallways, upgrade their air filtration systems, and form special agreements with hospitals — has forced a wave of clinic closures across the country. Since 2010, more than 50 abortion clinics have been forced to close their doors.
According to a Huffington Post analysis, at least 52 abortion clinics across 26 states have shut down since 2010. The shrinking number of abortion providers in the country is a direct result of harsh state laws that are specifically intended to target clinics. Those type of anti-abortion measures — known as the Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers, or TRAP laws — have dramatically spread over the past three years. According to the Guttmacher Institute, 27 states now have unnecessary TRAP laws on the books.