Legal Wrap: New Year, Same Old Anti-Abortion Tricks From the GOP

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Roundups Law and Policy

Legal Wrap: New Year, Same Old Anti-Abortion Tricks From the GOP

Jessica Mason Pieklo

January started off with conservatives across the country focusing legislative efforts on—what else—curbing abortion rights.

Legal Wrap is a weekly round-up of key legal reproductive rights and justice news.

It’s the start of new legislative sessions in many states, which means it’s time for anti-choice lawmakers to roll out a series of copycat bills essentially written for them by Americans United for Life and other anti-choice advocacy organizations. Sofia Resnick and Imani Gandy have this must-read piece previewing the shenanigans ahead.

It’s also the start of a new Congressional session, which means a flurry of new anti-abortion laws, naturally!

When they’re not focused on legislation curtailing reproductive freedom, the House GOP is focused on pushing legislation deporting as many DREAMers as they can.

Sex. Abortion. Parenthood. Power.

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Meanwhile, President Obama continues to troll conservatives in Congress by expanding paid family leave for federal employees. (Gotta say, I like lame-duck Obama.)

Grumpy neighbors file a lawsuit to try and stop construction of a new Planned Parenthood facility in South Texas that complies with every one of the state’s draconian anti-abortion regulations.

The retailer Saks told a federal court that an ex-employee’s discrimination lawsuit should be dismissed because no matter what the Obama administration says, “transsexuals are not a protected class” under the law.

The Affordable Care Act should probably be re-named the Conservative Litigator’s Full Employment Act given the number of lawsuits filed challenging the law’s reproductive health-related provisions. The latest challenge involves an anonymous Rhode Island man who has alleged that his religious rights are violated by the state offering insurance plans that go beyond federal requirements.

An order temporarily blocking a Louisiana admitting privileges law will remain in place until at least March when a trial on the constitutionality of the anti-abortion law will start.

This is a fascinating look inside The Farm, a midwifery clinic at a commune in the Tennessee woods.

A class action lawsuit filed by women’s health groups and a Pennsylvania resident alleges that the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services is systematically delaying enrolling as many as 85,000 low-income women for comprehensive health coverage.

Andrea Grimes was in New Orleans to report on arguments at the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals on both the Texas anti-abortion omnibus law, HB 2, and a series of challenges to marriage equality bans in the South.

Meanwhile, attorneys defending pre-viability abortion bans in Arkansas and North Dakota told a federal appeals court in Missouri that because most states have “safe-haven” laws that allow women to abandon newborns without legal charge, the undue burdens associated with caring for a child from an unwanted pregnancy no longer exist. They also argued that because a fertilized egg can exist outside a womb for a couple of days during in-vitro fertilization, that conception should be the definition of “viability” for purposes of banning abortion.

It’s not just North Dakota and Arkansas either: Here’s one law professor calling for “fetal rescue programs” that would “extract” the developing pregnancy and incubate the zygote, embryo, or fetus in an artificial womb.

It’s gonna be a long year.