A court hearing has not been scheduled yet in the case of the Center for Reproductive Law and Policy (CRLP) v. George W. Bush, but Janet Benshoof, president of the CRLP says, "Oh, we’re gonna win." The CRLP filed suit against Bush on June 6, 2001, for censoring the speech of U.S. citizens with the Global Gag Rule. Many people know that this policy restricts the rights of foreign nongovernmental organizations that receive U.S. aid by forbidding them to use their own money to speak about abortion law reform. But what many people do not realize is that it also restricts the rights of U.S. organizations like the CRLP. Before the gag rule was put into effect, the CRLP was able to freely distribute and exchange information with foreign partners that supported abortion rights. But because of Bush’s policy, their partners who receive U.S. aid are gagged, and the work of the U.S.-based, nongovernment funded CRLP has effectively ended.
"Bush took away my right to speak because I support a position with which he disagrees: that access to safe and legal abortion is a human right of women worldwide," said Benshoof. "The Global Gag Rule is global censorship that violates fairness, freedom, and democracy."
The gag rule is not new news. President Ronald Reagan imposed the order in 1984, keeping people in countries like Mexico, Nepal, and Zimbabwe in their place by not allowing U.S. funded organizations to openly discuss or support abortion, even in countries where the procedure is legal. President Clinton’s 1999 version of the rule, which gagged both pro-choice and pro-life viewpoints, seems almost democratic in the face of Bush’s reincarnation of the Reagan original that just says no to choice.
The CRLP cannot organize conferences and rallies, disseminate factual information, or engage in public discussions about abortion in foreign countries, and that silence increases the risks to women’s health. About 78,000 women die every year from unsafe abortions, and without access to information, that number may never decrease. Gagged organizations often are not even comfortable providing services like life-saving abortions and post-abortion care (permitted under the terms of the gag rule) because of the fear of being associated with abortion and losing U.S. aid.
Unlike past cases, which have focused on the free speech claims of foreign organizations, the CRLP lawsuit has standing in the U.S. court system. The reproductive rights organization is currently in the briefing stage with the Southern District of New York in the U.S. District Court, and hopes to file the lawsuit soon.
Laura Katzive, staff attorney for CRLP argues, "With the Global Gag Rule, the U.S. Government is imposing laws on people who are not constituents and who cannot hold President Bush accountable politically. The Bush administration also assumes that American women and advocates will remain silent because they think the Global Gag Rule doesn’t affect them. They’re wrong."
10/30/2014 Medication Abortion Access Threatened by Oklahoma Court Ruling - An Oklahoma state district court judge has refused to block a state law restricting medication abortion, clearing the way for the law to go into affect on November 1.
The Oklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Justice, together with a local abortion clinic in Tulsa, challenged HB 2684 in September, arguing that the law was an unconstitutional restriction on non-surgical abortion in the earliest weeks of pregnancy. . . .
10/30/2014 UPS Switches Pregnant Worker Policy Ahead of Supreme Court Case - The United Parcel Service (UPS) is changing its policy on light duty assignments for pregnant workers, even though the company will stand by its refusal to extend accommodations to a former employee in an upcoming Supreme Court case.
UPS announced on Monday in a memo to employees, and in a brief filed with the US Supreme Court, that the company will begin offering temporary, light-duty positions to pregnant workers on January 1, 2015. . . .
10/30/2014 North Dakota Medical Students Speak Out Against Measure 1 - Medical students at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences are asking North Dakotans to vote no on Measure 1, a personhood measure on the state ballot this fall.
The students issued published a letter in the Grand Forks Herald stating that they opposed Measure 1 in part because they are against "the government's taking control of the personal health care decisions of its citizens." Nearly 60 UND School of Medicine students signed the letter, citing concerns over the "very broad and ambiguous language" used in the proposed amendment, which has no regard for serious and life-threatening medical situations such as ectopic pregnancies.
Measure 1 would change the North Dakota state constitution to create an "inalienable right to life" for humans "at any stage of development" - including the moment of fertilization and conception. . . .