Anti-Abortion Crisis Pregnancy Centers Must Reveal If They Have Doctors On Staff, Appeals Court Confirms

Categories: Abortion, Legal

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Photo by Caleb Ferguson
Chris Slatter, Expectant Mother Care founder and president, pictured in his office chapel
New York City has been fighting a long-running battle with anti-abortion crisis pregnancy centers, and today that fight advanced forward another inch. The city wants those CPCs to disclose to their clients that they're not medical facilities, that they don't have doctors on staff, that they don't offer abortions or abortion referrals, and that the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene suggests that if you're pregnant, or think you might be, you should really see a licensed healthcare provider. In 2011, the New York City Council passed a law requiring CPCs to do all those things. As you might expect, it quickly got messy, legally speaking.

Expectant Mother Care, the crisis pregnancy center chain with 12 locations across New York City, joined by two other crisis pregnancy centers, argued the city's law violated their rights to freedom of speech and religion. A federal judge agreed and struck down that law, and so the case proceeded to an appeals court.

Today, the United States 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed that yes, crisis pregnancy centers in New York do need to clarify that if they have an actual medical doctor on staff. But they also ruled in the CPCs' favor on two other things, namely that forcing CPCs to tell their clients that they don't provide abortions, abortion referrals, or emergency contraceptions and that the city health department recommends they see a real doctor, would "impermissibly compel speech."

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Feminist Comedians Raised $50,000 During an Abortion Access Telethon, and Conservative Twitter's Heads Exploded

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Screenshot via Ladyparts Justice
Lizz Winstead, Sarah Silverman, and a giant stuffed vulva raise money for Texas abortion access.
As you may have heard, there's a public health emergency going down in Texas, where a far-reaching abortion ban has made the procedure virtually impossible for many women to obtain. The law in question, HB 2, went into effect on November 1. It shuttered about one-third of the abortion clinics in the state, and created a new requirement that physicians who perform abortions must have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles, an impossibility for many rural doctors.

The remaining clinics are now stretched to the breaking point, and the nonprofit foundations that help women pay for abortions are quickly running out of money. The Supreme Court is now deciding whether to block the law's implementation while it's being appealed in a lower court; in a brief to the Supremes, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott argued that the law wasn't hurting anyone. No one he cares about, anyway.

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Satan Is Messing With the Plumbing at Anti-Abortion Group Expectant Mother Care's Offices

Categories: Abortion, Satan

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Photo by Caleb Ferguson
Slattery in the chapel of his Bronx office.
Fall is typically a busy time for anti-abortion groups. That's because of 40 Days for Life, a yearly protest in front of abortion clinics that goes on for, you guessed it, 40 days. There are typically 40 Days protesters here in New York, which they refer to as the "abortion capital of America." Those protesters are led by Chris Slattery, who runs Expectant Mother Care (EMC), a group of 12 anti-abortion crisis pregnancy centers throughout the city. They're the ones that have the "Free Abortion Alternatives" ads on the subways, and give counseling designed to steer women away from having abortions.

Slattery and his interns tend to protest year-round outside of Dr. Emily's, an abortion clinic in the Bronx that provides late-term procedures. They usually ramp up their efforts during 40 Days. This year, though, the staff at Dr. Emily's reports that they haven't yet seen Slattery and his crew, although the 40 Days campaign began on September 25. There's a reason for his absence, and that reason is Satan. According to Slattery, the Devil is behind a series of "floods, explosions, evacuations, break-ins, nearby murders, illnesses, and set backs" at EMC.

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New Yorkers Still Want the Women's Equality Act. But Will It Hurt Sex Workers?

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Image via Flickr user Todd Mecklem
In the last legislative session, as you might recall if you could stay awake for it, Governor Andrew Cuomo introduced something seemingly everyone should have been in favor of: the Women's Equality Act (WEA), a 10-point plan to strengthen women's rights in the state. The omnibus bill, which was ultimately split into 10 individual bills, focused on everything from preventing pay and pregnancy discrimination to strengthening laws against human trafficking to protecting abortion rights. But in the end, the whole WEA failed, after a group of Democrats in the Senate sided with Republican lawmakers to block the abortion rights measure, and the Assembly and Senate couldn't agree on whether to proceed without it. The fight to pass it will be back on next session; groups like the New York Women's Equality Coalition have made it clear that isn't over, not by a long shot.

But now there's a new concern from sex workers and their advocates: in trying to prevent human trafficking, would the WEA really just hurt prostitutes? And is the anti-trafficking provision why Assembly Republicans are suddenly so enthusiastic about the bill?

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Protesters From New York and D.C. Were Bused In to Support Texas' Anti-Abortion Bills

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As you've no doubt heard by now, a set of draconian anti-abortion measures have been winding their way through the Texas Legislature for the past couple weeks. (Last week we explained why you, sitting here in New York, should give a shit about that.) If they pass (and oh, they will), the twin bills in the state legislature would dramatically curtail abortion access, shutting down most of the clinics in the state.

As the bills continue to get more and more national attention, the protests outside the Capitol building have become, in technical terms, a complete shitshow.


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Why New Yorkers Should Care About the Insane Anti-Abortion Laws Being Passed in Texas Right Now

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Don't get smug. We have anti-abortion activists here too.
I just got back to New York after a couple years abroad in Texas, and I'll be damned if some stupid, awful bullshit didn't trail home with me. As you've no doubt heard by now, the Texas Legislature is on the verge of passing some incredibly broad anti-abortion legislation , designed to ban abortions after 20 weeks, shut down most clinics in the state under the guise of "improved" safety standards, and make it much harder for women to obtain medication abortions (RU-486, aka the "abortion pill").

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Three Strikes, You're Out: Albany Flops on Abortion Rights, Campaign Finance, and Medical Marijuana Bills

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Remember the provision in the Women's Equality Act that would solidify abortion rights here in New York in the face of anti-abortion bills popping up in state legislatures across the country? Remember Cuomo's call for campaign finance regulation in a state electoral system that is drastically outdated and loophole-heavy? Remember the legislative push for medical marijuana in New York in a state with a record high number of weed arrests? Yeah? Well, none of them are happening anymore.

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Obviously Cardinal Dolan Is Really Pissed About Cuomo's Abortion Bill

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Wikimedia Commons
A few weeks ago, we wrote a post entitled "Cuomo's Women's Equality Act Brings The A-Word To New York State Politics." The headline basically tells the whole story.

It focused on the brewing controversy evoked by a tiny stipulation in Cuomo's new bill that calls for writing Roe v. Wade protections into state law - an immediate reaction to anti-abortion provisions being enacted in statehouses across the country. It's the only part of a ten-point bill that's aroused widespread opposition, led by Senate GOP leader Dean Skelos of Long Island. Because, duh, it's abortion.

In New York, Republicans' frustration on social issues is only surpassed by the Catholic Church, which holds a firm stance against abortion. So this should be no surprise: Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the man who informed his followers in 2009 to totally disregard federal and state abortion laws, is not a fan of the Women's Equality Act.

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Cuomo's Women's Equality Act Brings The A-Word To New York State Politics

Categories: Abortion

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Patja via Compfight cc
In the video below, Governor Cuomo lays out his intentions for the Women's Equality Act - a plan that would focus on erasing specific gender biases in New York State law. Akin to the gun control bill passed in December, it's a landmark piece of legislation for the Cuomo administration and, per usual, many speculators see its possible passage as a platform jump for the Governor's presidential aspirations.

And it's shaping into one of the more controversial pieces this side of Albany.

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Man Who Threatens Life of Two Pro-Life Advocates Sentenced to 41 Months in Prison

Categories: Abortion

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Priests for Life
Father Frank Pavone and Robert George
Yesterday, 51-year-old New York native Theodore Shulman was sentenced by Manhattan federal court to 41 months in prison for threatening the lives of two pro-life advocates online after pleading guilty in May.

It all started in January 2010, when Shulman, the son of feminist political activist Alix Kates Shulman, took to FirstThings.com, the religious conservative magazine's website. At the time, Scott Roeder was standing trial for the 2009 murder of George Tiller, a Kansas physician who was one of only three late-term abortion doctors in the country. Since Tiller's death, he has been seen as a martyr for pro-choice advocates. In April of 2010, Roeder was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to 50 years in prison without parole.

That January, though, Roeder was still standing trial, so Shulman posted on FirstThings.com's SecondHandSmoke blog, threatening vengeance if Roeder was found acquitted of killing Tiller. He called out two pro-life advocates by name saying, "If Roeder is acquitted, someone will respond by killing Robert George of Princeton University and Frank Pavone of PRIESTS FOR LIFE."

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