The Real Challenges of Exercising the Right to an Abortion—and What You Can Do About It

For almost half a century, every American woman has had the constitutional right to an abortion. But—as UCSF sociologist Carole Joffe and Drexel law professor David S. Cohen show in their new book, “Obstacle Course: The Everyday Struggle to Get an Abortion in America”—the reality of exercising one’s reproductive rights is riddled with hurdles designed by anti-abortion activists and politicians.

Carrying on for Dr. Tiller

One of the most remarkable things about the superb new documentary film After Tiller, from directors Martha Shane and Lana Wilson, is that it was made at all. Given the violence and harassment that abortion providers have endured for years, this group has, quite understandably, been very concerned with security issues and has been highly […]

Contemporary Abortion Politics: Good for the Jews?

This title is, admittedly, at least partially tongue in cheek. It refers to an old Jewish joke from my childhood, where any topic, no matter how seemingly unrelated, always came back to this question. But on a more serious note, the centrality of the abortion issue in this presidential election season has led me to […]

We’re Winning One War on Women—But Losing Another

In the last ten days or so we have seen Republicans and their religious allies wage a war against contraception–and bungle it badly. With poll after poll showing that a majority of Americans support contraceptive coverage in health reform, and with the 98 percent statistic (the proportion of sexually experienced American Catholic women who have […]

When “Just Ask Your Doctor” Doesn’t Work

For a woman to ‘ask her physician’ for a safe and effective contraceptive presupposed that she had a physician, that she could afford a contraceptive, and that the physician would be willing to give it to her, regardless of her marital status. These are the words of the historian Sheila Rothman, writing about the setbacks […]

Will Obama Betray the Other 99 Percent?

There is another 99 percent group in our country, distinct from but inextricably entwined with the now more familiar #99Percent, those everyday Americans, who–in such a brilliant framing by the Occupy Wall Street movement–are to varying degrees affected by the vast economic inequality that characterizes American society. I refer to the 99 percent of American […]

Nebraska Abortion Law Has Chilling Effect

What does “informed consent” from a patient mean to an abortion provider? The following passage comes from the chapter on “Informed consent, patient education and counseling” which appears in a recent edition of the leading textbook on abortion care in the United States, Management of Unintended and Abnormal Pregnancy: Comprehensive Abortion Care: Informed consent is […]

Update on the Abortion Wars

The abortion wars rage relentlessly on, in the United States and elsewhere. Consider these abortion-related items in the headlines the first days of March: After months of wrangling and immense concessions from abortion rights supporters, abortion still has the capacity to derail Congressional passage of a health-reform bill, as some House anti-abortion legislators remain dissatisfied […]