States Enact Record Number of Abortion Restrictions in First Half of 2011

July 13, 2011

In the first six months of 2011, states enacted 162 new provisions related to reproductive health and rights. Fully 49% of these new laws seek to restrict access to abortion services, a sharp increase from 2010, when 26% of new laws restricted abortion. The 80 abortion restrictions enacted this year are more than double the previous record of 34 abortion restrictions enacted in 2005—and more than triple the 23 enacted in 2010. All of these new provisions were enacted in just 19 states.


In the US, women are being regulated -- to death.  Are we going back to hangers and back streets?

Read the article at the Guttmacher Institute media center: States Enact Record Number of Abortion Restrictions in First Half of 2011.


More Proposed Legislation busying our Representatives

Selected from, Browse the House Bills.

Latest Title: Life at Conception Act
Sponsor: Rep Hunter, Duncan D. [CA-52] (introduced 1/20/2011) Cosponsors (52)
Related Bills: S.91
Latest Major Action: 1/20/2011 Referred to House committee. Status: Referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary.
Life at Conception Act – Declares that the right to life guaranteed by the Constitution is vested in each human being beginning at the moment of fertilization, cloning, or other moment at which an individual comes into being. Prohibits construing this Act to require the prosecution of any woman for the death of her unborn child.

Latest Title: Title X Abortion Provider Prohibition Act
Sponsor: Rep Pence, Mike [IN-6] (introduced 1/7/2011) Cosponsors (154)
Latest Major Action: 1/7/2011 Referred to House committee. Status: Referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.
Title X Abortion Provider Prohibition Act – Amends the Public Health Service Act to prohibit the Secretary of Health and Human Service (HHS) from providing any federal family planning assistance to an entity unless the entity certifies that, during the period of such assistance, the entity will not perform, and will not provide any funds to any other entity that performs, an abortion. Excludes an abortion where: (1) the pregnancy is the result of an act of rape or an act of incest against a minor; or (2) a physician certifies that the woman suffered from a physical disorder, injury, or illness that would place the woman in danger of death unless an abortion is performed, including a condition caused by or arising from the pregnancy. Excludes hospitals from such requirement so long as the hospital does not provide funds to any non-hospital entity that performs an abortion.

Requires the Secretary to annually provide Congress: (1) information on grantees who performed abortions under the exceptions; and (2) a list of entities to which grant funds are made available.

Latest Title: To deauthorize appropriation of funds to carry out the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010.
Sponsor: Rep Graves, Tom [GA-9] (introduced 1/5/2011) Cosponsors (59)
Latest Major Action: 1/5/2011 Referred to House committee. Status: Referred to the Committee on Energy and Commerce, and in addition to the Committees on Ways and Means, Education and the Workforce, the Judiciary, Natural Resources, and House Administration, for a period to be subsequently determined by the Speaker, in each case for consideration of such provisions as fall within the jurisdiction of the committee concerned.
Declares that no funds are authorized to be appropriated to carry out the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010, and any amendments made by either such Act.

Latest Title: Birthright Citizenship Act of 2011
Sponsor: Rep King, Steve [IA-5] (introduced 1/5/2011) Cosponsors (45)
Latest Major Action: 1/24/2011 Referred to House subcommittee. Status: Referred to the Subcommittee on Immigration Policy and Enforcement.
Birthright Citizenship Act of 2011 – Amends the Immigration and Nationality Act to consider a person born in the United States “subject to the jurisdiction” of the United States for citizenship at birth purposes if the person is born in the United States of parents, one of whom is: (1) a U.S. citizen or national; (2) a lawful permanent resident alien whose residence is in the United States; or (3) an alien performing active service in the U.S. Armed Forces.

One never expects the Spanish Inquisition.

Protecting Life? New Bill Says Its OK to Let Women Die |

Protecting Life? New Bill Says Its OK to Let Women Die |

One hundred members of Congress (so far) have cosponsored a bill introduced by far right Congressman Joe Pitts (R-PA) called the “Protect Life Act.”

They want to “protect life” so much that they have written into the bill a new amendment that would override the requirement that emergency room doctors save every patient, regardless of status or ability to pay.  The law would carve out an exception for pregnant women; doctors and hospitalswill be allowed to let pregnant women die if interventions to save them will kill the fetus.

Yesterday, according to a report by NARAL Pro-Choice America, lawmakers inserted the  new provision onto page six of H.R.358, a bill that is already jam-packed with misogynistic anti-choice and anti-woman provisions.

According to the Congressional Research Service, HR 358:

  1. Amends the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) to prohibit federal funds from being to used to cover any part of the costs of any health plan that includes coverage of abortion services. (Currently, federal funds cannot be used for abortion services and plans receiving federal funds must keep federal funds segregated from any funds for abortion services.)

I’m so disheartened by this and the previous post. Can we ride out this wave of insanity? You can read much more detail at Protecting Life? New Bill Says Its OK to Let Women Die.

“No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act” H.R. 3

Don’t our House of Representatives have critically important issues about the economy and deficit and education and national safety to work on? Why this? Why not assistance to working mothers for childcare? Plans to educate a new work force? They are getting paid WAY TOO MUCH to be spending so much time on an issue that hinders instead of helps the country move forward.

Take Action with NOW.

Beyond Extreme: Defeat the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act


H.R. 3, the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act, represents a grave threat to safe, legal and accessible abortion. In addition to restricting the use of private funds paying for private health insurance plans that cover abortion care, it would permanently write into law an extremist approach to banning federal funding for abortion. Adding dangerous insult to injury, H.R. 3 would narrow rape and incest exceptions.


The No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act would codify a collection of federal abortion funding restrictions referred to as the Hyde Amendment. Under the Hyde Amendment, federal funding for abortion care is segregated from all other forms of health care and severely restricted. This grave injustice puts women’s health and lives at risk and disproportionately harms women of color. Currently, these restrictions must be re-approved annually through the appropriations process. But H.R. 3 would establish Hyde as the law of the land. While groups like NOW campaign to repeal Hyde, leave it to the conservatives to try to make it permanent.

The No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act would also restrict coverage of abortion care more radically than the new health insurance reform law does. If H.R. 3 passes, employers would incur tax penalties for providing health insurance that offers abortion coverage. In addition, individuals would incur tax penalties for carrying private insurance that includes abortion coverage.

Cruelly, H.R. 3 narrows rape exceptions currently present in the Hyde Amendment to only “forcible” rapes. Does the radical right believe “forcible” rape includes date rape, rape occurring as a result of being drugged by a perpetrator, while a woman is intoxicated or asleep, after consent has been withdrawn or while a woman does her best not to get further injured or killed? No, they don’t — and now they want to further attack women who have been sexually assaulted.

Update: Thanks to feminist outrage, sponsors of this legislation removed the word “forcible” from the rape exception. While we congratulate our activists for winning this initial victory, the remaining bill continues to pose an unacceptable threat to women’s ability to access abortion care and must be defeated.

Write your Representative!

More on parental rights in surrogacy cases (Raftopol)

This decision has some pretty far reaching implications.  In the article quoted below from the Connecticut Law Tribune, there is a great statement:

The court applied the rule that the legislature is presumed not to draft statutes creating absurd results.

In this situation, the surrogacy contract plainly stated that the birth mother would relinquish all parental rights to the child(ren) but the law still stated that the biological parents must be listed on the birth certificate. This, of course, goes against the contract. That has now, or is in the process of, being corrected.

Here’s a bit more explication:

That’s the ruling in Raftopol v. Ramey, a watershed decision that creates a new fourth way to legally become a parent, in addition to conception, adoption or artificial insemination. Victoria Ferrara, the Fairfield surrogacy lawyer who represented the fathers in this case, said: “It’s a tremendous benefit to any couple who have to use donated genetic material – egg donor or sperm donor. So whether it’s a gay male couple or a straight couple, that couple can now establish legal parental rights ahead of the birth of the child, so the child is then born with two legal parents. That’s crucial. It’s crucial to the child, and it’s crucial to the couple having the baby.”

Attorney Karen Loewy filed an amicus curiae brief for Boston-based Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders (GLAD)

“This is really a wonderful precedent,” she said. “When you have a couple who has entered into this agreement, they are the parents. The importance is honoring the intentions of the family, and [legally] protecting the children from the moment of their birth.”

The Jan. 5 decision legally made a father of Shawn Hargon, who is married to Anthony Raftopol. The two men entered into a gestational surrogacy agreement with Karma A. Ramey, of Connecticut. She was then implanted with donated eggs that had been fertilized by Raftopol in vitro and frozen. Ramey carried the fertilized eggs to term, producing twins. In the contract, she agreed to relinquish any parental claims and to support adoption by Hargon.

However, Connecticut’s artificial insemination law, as read by the state Supreme Court, suggests that only “biological or adoptive parents have parental rights with respect to the subject children.”

This meant, that if Raftopol had died before their birth, the twins might have arrived legally parentless, and not entitled to inherit from their biological father, a New York business lawyer who works in Europe. The Raftopol-Hargon family lives in Holland.

In addition, Hargon would have had to go through a time-consuming adoption process to attain parentage of the twins, even though all parties to the agreement already viewed the baby boys as his own. Karma Ramey, who would appear on the original birth certificate as mother, had contractually disclaimed parental rights. Nevertheless, without Raftopol, she might be pressed by the state to act as the boys’ mother, Raftopol explained in an interview with The Law Tribune. “Nobody wanted any of these things to happen,” he said.

The whole article — well worth reading — is at the link below

Lambda Legal: Raftopol, et al. v. Ramey, et al.

I’m proud of Connecticut’s Supreme Court! Bravo for fighting for same sex parents whose child is born via a surrogate. Both fathers’ names will be placed on the birth certificate as parents. It’s about the child and love.  Feeling great about my state at this moment. Thanks.

Lambda Legal: Raftopol, et al. v. Ramey, et al..


Shawn Hargon and Anthony Raftopol have been together for 16 years. With a gestational surrogate—a surrogate who carries a child to whom she is not genetically related—who gave birth in April 2008, they added twin sons to their family, which already include. d their daughter. Shortly thereafter, Connecticut’s Department of Public Health refused to issue birth certificates for the boys listing the names of both fathers. After the trial court ruled in favor of the fathers and ordered the Department to issue corrected birth certificates, the Department appealed, which was transferred to the Supreme Court of Connecticut. Lambda Legal and co-counsel filed an amicus brief on behalf of a group of professional organizations involved with reproductive medicine that argues that the Court can and should confirm the legal relationships between these children and both of their intended parents by issuing pre-birth orders of parentage and by directing the Department of Public Health to issue birth certificates that reflect the joint parentage of these children.


  • March 2010 Our motion to file a brief on behalf of the amici was granted and the Connecticut Supreme Court heard oral argument.
  • January 2011 Supreme Court of Connecticut issued a decision affirming the trial court’s declaration that Raftopol and Hargon are the legal intended parents of the children, and affirming the order directing the Department of Public Health to issue replacement birth certificates listing both fathers as the parents.

Who thinks restricting abortion and sex education protects women?

Jan Brewer, governor or Arizona. Remember her? The one who passed the law that anyone who looks like they may not be a legal resident can be stopped by police and required to show their papers?

Planned Parenthood of Arizona has a great post on their blog:

10 Things Every Woman Should Know About Jan Brewer

1. Jan Brewer opposes responsible sex education, and continues to put students at risk by applying for federal funding to promote ineffective abstinence-only-until-marriage in Arizona schools. Arizona has one of the highest teen pregnancy rates in the country, which makes it very clear that abstinence-only isn’t working.


4. Arizona’s Omnibus Abortion Bill, passed and signed into law by Jan Brewer last year put into place multiple restrictions on a woman’s right to make her own health decisions. Jan Brewer said, “In one swift signature it was all delivered, we protected women.”

Certain political groups love her, of course. Is she a “frontier feminist” like Sarah Palin? At least she hasn’t come out and called herself a feminist. (Or has she — please let me know.)  Her political views are “right” in there with her religious views — sound familiar?  Here’s the full blog post:


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