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Moyers on Today’s Abortion Debate

January 28, 2013 By: seeta Category: Anti-Racism, Civil Rights, Intersectionality, Poverty

(h/t: Farah Diaz-Tello)

Roe v. Wade at 40

January 22, 2013 By: nancy a heitzeg Category: Civil Rights, Intersectionality, Poverty

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Guttmacher Institute

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 By the Numbers (ThinkProgress):

  • 70: Percentage of Americans who now oppose overturning Roe, the highest number since 1989. Most religious groups also want to leave Roe in place
  • 135: Number of new state-level abortion restrictions enacted over the past two years. 2011 and 2012 represented the worst years for reproductive freedom since the 1973 Supreme Court decision. 87: Percentage of U.S. counties that don’t have an abortion clinic. At least four states — North Dakota, South Dakota, Arkansas, Mississippi — only have a single abortion clinic left.
  • 45: By the time American women reach this age, nearly half of them will have had an unintended pregnancy at some point in their lives. About one in three will have had an abortion.
  • 20: Number of states that allow insurers or employers to deny women affordable contraception by refusing to comply with Obamacare’s birth control mandate. Studies have shown that Obamacare’s contraception provision will help reduce the national abortion rate.
  • $470: Average cost of a first-trimester abortion. Even though most of the women who have abortions have health insurance, the majority of women pay out of pocket to have an abortion.
  • 42: Percentage of women who have abortions whose income levels fall below the federal poverty line. Seven out of ten women who have had an abortion would have preferred to have the procedure sooner, but many of them were forced to delay because they needed more time to raise the money for it.
  • 0.3: Even fewer than this percentage of abortion patients experience complications from their procedure that require hospitalization. Some studies have suggested that having an abortion is actually safer than giving birth.

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Roe v Wade and the New Jane Crow: Reproductive Rights in the Age of Mass Incarceration

January 16, 2013 By: seeta Category: Anti-Racism, Civil Rights, Intersectionality, Poverty, Prison Industrial Complex, Prisoner Rights, White Privilege

Excellent article in the American Journal of Public Health by Lynn M. Paltrow:

IN HER BOOK THE NEW JIM Crow, Michelle Alexander argues that the system of mass incarceration in the United States, fueled by the war on drugs, operates in a seemingly color-blind, race-neutral way to create a new Jim Crow system that forces African Americans, especially African American men, into a permanent underclass. I believe that attacks on Roe v Wade and efforts to treat fertilized eggs, embryos, and fetuses as separate legal persons will establish a system of law in which women who have abortions will go to jail. Furthermore, all pregnant women are at risk of being assigned to a second-class status that will not only deprive them of their reproductive rights and physical liberty through arrests, but also effectively strip them of their status as full constitutional persons.

Here I address major changes in US law enforcement since Roe v Wade was decided in 1973 that make it likely that if Roe is over-turned women who have abortions will be arrested and sentenced to incarceration. I discuss how efforts to undermine Roe and to establish separate legal personhood for fertilized eggs, embryos, and fetuses are already providing the basis for the arrests and detentions of and forced interventions on pregnant women. I conclude that these efforts, if unchecked, not only will result in massive deprivations of pregnant women’s liberty, but also will create a basis for ensuring a permanent underclass for preg- nant women or, for lack of a better term, a new Jane Crow.

Today’s criminal justice system, however, is radically different from the one that existed when Roe was decided. In the 1970s, the United States had approximately 300000 prisoners, and relatively few women were prosecuted for any crime, including abortion. Between 1970 and 2000, the US population rose by less than 40%, yet the number of people in prisons and jails rose by more than 500%. The United States now has a prison industrial complex that includes a for-profit prison industry that reaps enormous financial gain from building prisons, providing ongoing services to those prisons, and ensuring that those prisons remain filled.

Currently, US prisons and jails hold more than 1.5 million people, and 4.8 million more are under some form of criminal justice supervision in the community, such as probation and parole. In 1977, the number of women in prison was 11212 and in 2009, it was 105197—an increase of 938%. Today, more than 200000 women are behind bars, and more than one million women are on probation or parole. The fact that a woman is also a mother caring for one or more children is no deterrent to incarceration. Two thirds of the incarcerated women in the United States have at least one minor child, and approximately five percent of women are pregnant when they begin their incarceration.

This new era of mass incarceration—which is largely accepted by the public, defended by an army of lobbyists, and justified by a war on drugs deeply rooted in America’s history of slavery and racism makes it far more likely today than in 1973 that if Roe is overturned women will themselves be arrested and jailed. It is also likely that women having or considering having abortions will be subject to far more government surveillance than in the past.

Full article here.

Four Ways A Romney Supreme Court Would Change The Constitution Without Amending It

October 11, 2012 By: seeta Category: 2012 Election, Anti-Racism, Civil Rights, Corrupt Judiciary, Economic Terrorism, Intersectionality, LGBTQ, Poverty

From ThinkProgress:

Here are just four ways that Romney’s appointees would vote to effectively rewrite the Constitution if given the chance to do so:

  • Eliminating The Right To An Abortion: Roe v. Wade is already on life support. The Court’s current majority weakened the longstanding rule ensuring that women may terminate pregnancies that threaten their health, claiming instead that a federal abortion restriction should be allowed in part because “some women come to regret” their own reproductive choices. If Romney were able to add an additional conservative to the Supreme Court, Roe would likely be forfeit.
  • Judges For Sale: Romney named Chief Justice Roberts and Justices Scalia, Thomas and Alito as his models should he be allowed to pick new judges. All four said the Supreme Court should have done nothing when a wealthy coal baron payed $3 million to place a sympathetic justice on the West Virginia Supreme Court. That justice then cast the key vote to overrule a $50 million verdict against the coal baron’s company. Romney may even want his justices to go much further in permitting the very wealthy to buy elections — he previously endorsed allowing billionaires to give unlimited sums of money directly to his campaign.
  • Government In The Bedroom: Only five of the Supreme Court’s current justices joined the landmark Lawrence v. Texas decision, which struck down Texas’ “sodomy” laws and held that the government cannot “demean” a couple by “making their private sexual conduct a crime.” An additional conservative justice would place Lawrence in jeopardy.
  • Tossing Out The Constitution’s Text: As a top conservative judge who received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from George W. Bush once explained, the legal case against the Affordable Care Act has no basis “in either the text of the U.S. Constitution or Supreme Court precedent.” Romney would appoint more justices who embrace this lawless legal theory.