Category Archives: Abortion

It’s A Girl – Gendercide in India and China

The film, It’s A Girl (available now on Netflix watch instantly), casts a light on the way girls in India and China are discriminated against because of their sex. According to the film’s website, the UN estimates as many as 200 million girls are missing because of female infanticide. The film also explores dowry and domestic violence, sex trafficking, issues of reproductive health and control, female suicide, and forced abortions. The film presents some interesting statistics about men and women, including the estimate that there are 37 million more men than women in China today.

Before posting, I wanted to look up some of the statistics. I found an interesting and thought provoking article that looks at the funding and perspective of the film (you can read the Slate article here). The writer found that the film was actually funded and produced by pro-life ministries, yet is being shown and recommended by many pro-choice groups. The article also accuses the film of looking at the people of China and India as being savages, the girls as being victims, and Americans as the saviors.

This critical perspective is a useful lens for viewing the film. The director interviewed social worker, activists, and mothers to get a picture of the cultural issues that allow such discrimination against women to continue. The stories are powerful and the issues compelling. The film ends by stressing the importance of the changes that must be made both within the minds of the individuals and the culture as a whole in order to end the violence. Still, the film fails to give a tangible solution for how this should happen.

Have you seen the film? What do you think? Pro-choice or pro-life? Does it matter? Is it another product of the “white-savior complex?” What could be done to change cultural ideas that devalue girls, causing violence and discrimination?

– Lindsay Cortright

Roe At Risk: Fighting for Reproductive Justice Review

When I began to think of topics that would interest our entire class, I immediately thought of this video. Compiled by the Alliance 4 Justice, this video address the issue of Reproductive Justice. Many think of FGM or other extremes when you hear anything referring to injustices against women and control over their reproduction on a global perspective. But this is the tip of the iceberg and seems to paint a scene outside of the United States. But today, right here in our backyard, women are being stripped of the rights, their mothers and grandmothers fought for in the 20’s and 60’s. Whether you are pro-choice or pro-life, this video should impact your understanding of  the rights you are entitled to as a human being. Take a look at the video and feel free to comment. Thanks in advance. Pay close attention to the elected officials and decide for yourself. Do they attempt to refute the reproductive rights of women?     Ellen Branch

Kansas bill heats debate over rights of Mothers to be

What happens if the ultrasound technician see something wrong and decides NOT to tell you: 

As someone who has felt that nervous glide of the ultrasound many times–wondering if all was OK, I understand the ramifications of this bill.

Indiana Cuts Funds to Planned Parenthood

Indiana Gov. Daniels said that he is going to sign a bill that would cut funds to Planned Parenthood, PP will attempt to file an injuction to appeal.  What this bill will do is cut $2 million of its Medicad funding.  Indiana says that MEdicad funding cannot be used for abortion at any place, but PP says that the Medicad funding is used for other things such as birth control and breast cancer screenings.  Speculations state that Daniels wants to run for president and this is his way of attracting social conservatives.  The this story is still developing but here is the link to this article:

Who Needs Girls?

–Jessica Wagoner

Females are worth less then males so what do we want to do? Take them out! Although this idea is over embellished, there are many people throughout the world that believe this idea and carry out the practice of female infanticide. Female infanticide occurs all over the world today. Female infanticide is the “deliberate and initial act of killing a female child within one year of its birth either by directly using poisonous organic and inorganic chemicals or indirectly by deliberate neglect to feed the infant by either one of the parents or other family members or neighbors or by the midwife.”[1] To get a better understanding of the severity of this practice we can look at both India and China. In the year 1990, “40-50 million girls have gone ‘missing’ in India”[2]  and “around 50 million girls were reported to have “gone missing” in china in 1997.”[3]

            So why does this occur? One explanation is males are favored more than females, and that there is very low value associated with the birth of a girl. This means that boys are seen as more useful in a society than girls. One example of this can be seen in India, where boys are seen as more useful because they can participate in politics and religious ceremonies whereas girls can not. Poverty, pressure on mothers from the family, educational level, standard of living, ratio of health facilities to population, couple’s tendency to cohabit with an elderly parent, and strict family planning rules can all affect a family’s decision to practice female infanticide.

            There are many organizations and efforts being put into place to stop female infanticide. The National Plan of action (exclusively for female children), was created in 1992, to help ensure the survival of female children and recognized the rights of the girl child to equal opportunity. The National Plan of Action for the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) decade of the girl child looks to ensure the equality of status for the girl child as well as lay specific goals for her survival without discrimination. Other efforts working toward eliminating female infanticide are more localized efforts such as recording the accurately births and deaths of babies in the community, which would get the attention of state officials, committees at village level to keep track of any demographic changes that may be occurring, and welfare programs directed at female infants. These are only a handful of the many organizations and efforts put into place to protect female children. Knowledge and involvement can make all the difference in a cause such as this. It is important for the world to know there is still hope out there for the female children of the world.

[1]  Tandon, Sneh Lata, Renu Sharma.


*word count 417

Pakistan: Death of Unwanted Babies on the Rise

This article is about the Karachi-based Edhi Foundation, which provides burials for dead and abandoned babies.  The rise of infant death is on the rise because women who get pregnant out or wedlock abandoned their child, or have to kill it for religious purposes.  The babies are mostly girls or sick.  The foundation has even tried to provide places for mothers to drop off their unwanted babies alive so that the Foundation can find a home for them.  The interesting thing about Pakistan is that abortion is technically legal but the stigma that goes along with the act is too much for most people and most doctors will not perform them.  Here is the link to the article:

Kelly Thompson

Pense Amendment (Abortion Bill)

We have all obviously heard about the threat of Planned Parenthood losing its government funding.  But just in case some might not know the many issues that are involved this article can help fill in the blanks.  Jonathan Alter gives a great commentary about how this bill is not actually going to do what it says, save taxpayers $360 million dollars.  And how this bill would prevent Planned Parenthood from more than just giving advise on abortions.  The government funds around one-third of Planned Parenthood’s budget and cutting it that much would stop it from providing birth control, condoms, pap smear, among others.  Read this article to fund out more facts and how this bill will only hurt women in the future.

Kelly Thompson

Interesting Perspectives from Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists

According to today’s digital version of The Telegraph newspaper in Great Britain, British doctors and gynecologists are being urged to by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists to warn pregnant women of the potential complications and risks of pregnancy, and frankly discussing the relative safety of abortion.

This is an interesting development in women’s health policy, as the media has nearly always emphasized the potential psychological influence an abortion may have on a woman, though many women report that they experience little or no psychological repercussions from the procedure. Predictably, religious and political conservatives are in an uproar (check the comments section for an example), but it will be interesting to see if the United States follows Great Britain’s lead.


More Info on Abortion in U.S. Prisons

Abortion Rights for Prisoners
Historical Background – – key cases
Griswold v. Connecticut – – 381 US 479 (1965)
Invalidated a law prohibiting contraception by married couples

–Eisenstadt v. Baird – – 405 US 438 (1972)
Extended right to use contraception to unmarried people
–Right to privacy is not a marital right
–Equal protection of the laws – -extends w/out regard to marital status
–Roe v. Wade – – 410 US 413 (1973)
Right to privacy extended to abortion decisions
Limitations (balancing rights of state/mother/fetus)
–right to abortion was not seen as absolute
–1st trimester abortions are “free of interference by state”
–After 1st trimester, states can “regulate the abortion procedure to the extent that regulation reasonably relates to the preservation and protection of maternal health”
–Planned Parenthood v. Casey – – 505 US 833, 873 (1992)
Rejected Trimester Framework – – undue burden standard
Dr. must tell patient about consequences to fetus
Upheld mandatory 24 hour waiting period between decision and abortion procedure
Struck down spousal notification requirement
Upheld parental consent for minors
Upheld record keeping requirement
Women do not need to explain their refusal to inform spouse of abortions
Estelle v. Gamble – – 429 US 97 (1976)
–Case involved J. W. Gamble’s Back injury in TDOC
–He argued that he got inadequate medical treatment
–Supreme Court did not grant relief to Gamble
–Court set two-fold criteria for inadequate medical care
–8th Amendment violations must demonstrate
1. That prisoner has a “serious medical need”
–E.g., severed ear, allergic reaction to penicillin, leg surgery
2. That prison officials acted with “deliberate indifference”
–E.g., no liability if official acted w/out “malice” or if denial of medical treatment was due to a “good faith mistake” (accidents do not count)
Turner v. Safley – – 482 US 78 (1987) – marital case
–A balancing test to determine if prisoner’s rights can be significantly curtailed
–“When a prison regulation impinges on inmates’ constitutional rights, the regulation is valid if it is reasonably related to legitimate penological interests”
1. Valid/rational connection between regulation & government interests to be served
2. Whether prisoner has alternative means to exercise rights
3. Whether accommodating right will have serious consequences on guards, prisoners, or allocation of prison resources in general
4. Whether there are alternative means to accommodate prisoners’ rights
Monmouth County Corr. Institution Inmates v. Lanzaro – – 486 US 1006 (1988)
–This case involves the issue of elective abortion
–Estelle v. Gamble standard applied to elective abortions
Pregnancy seen as serious medical need
Turner v. Safley – – standard applies to elective abortions
Denial or delay of elective abortion is not reasonably related to any legitimate penological interests
–No logical connection between abortion and security
–No alternative means for inmate to obtain abortion
–Providing abortion will not adversely impact prison resources (saves $)
–Thus, this case combined Estelle & Turner to hold that the right to an elective abortion is a constitutional right that may not be impinged upon by prison regulation (County must pay)
More recent issues
–Pregnant inmates are to be counseled on availability of abortions – – required
–Wardens are required to offer medical, religious, and social counseling to aid in prisoner’s decision making
–Prisoners need only to inform unit managers of her desire to seek abortions and arrangements are made (no 24 hr wait period) with a mandate for the state to coordinate all care
–If financially unable or unwilling to pay for abortion, county must still pay as per Monmouth Case
Policy Implications
–1. Administratively, prisons find it easier to deal with prison populations that are uncomplicated by pregnancies
No need for better nutrition, maternal clothing, prenatal care, medical care for labor/delivery
–2. Most prisons do not allow mothers and babies to remain together – – goes against polices that support intact families
–3. There may be an unspoken policy that encourages prisoners to have abortions – – prisoners and their babies may be seen as undesirables
4. Abortions potentially saves $ (no AFDC, Medicaid,…)
Courtesy of the Department of Criminal Justice at East Carolina University
-Lenna Jones

Email from Planned Parenthood on upcoming House Vote

This is an email from Cecile Richards, President of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. She announces once again that the House is voting to end Title X funding and cut off women from “their only source of primary care.” She goes on to explain how this act would impact millions of women, and leave them vulnerable to many health issues such as undiagnosed cancer, unattended pregnancies… She explains that Title X provide funding for birth control, cancer screenings, HIV testing, and other lifesaving care for people who can’t afford it. Be sure to read the comments, especially those posted by Gopher Broke, a passionate conservative to put it lightly. Read full letter from Cecile Richards

-Guillaume Bagal

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