Legal Wrap: Are Admitting Privileges the Next Front in Fight Over Religious Liberties?


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

Hospital admitting privileges regulations swept through states like Alabama and Wisconsin this legislative session, making them among the most popular in a new wave of state-level attacks on abortion rights. So far, federal courts have blocked the admitting privileges requirements from taking effect. But in Wisconsin, the legal challenge has taken an usual twist, with the state both defending the admitting privileges law and arguing that Catholic hospitals will have to grant admitting privileges to doctors who perform abortions despite the fact that Catholic hospitals in the area have indicated they will not. The confusion, coupled with some untested law, leads to the question of whether or not the state is setting up a test case on religious liberty and admitting privileges.

It’s not just admitting privileges restrictions sweeping the states either. A new report by the National Women’s Law Center surveys the landscape of abortion restrictions a year after former Rep. Todd Akin’s infamous “legitimate rape” comment and concludes that the landscape is only getting worse.

A federal court of appeals took a look at whether or not schools could constitutionally enforce a ban on “I Love Boobies! Save a Breast!” bracelets. Annamarya Scaccia has this great look at the legal opinion, as well as the court of public opinion, as to whether these types of campaigns help or harm the breast cancer cause.

A Missouri lawmaker is asking a federal court to grant him an individual exemption from the contraception benefit in the Affordable Care Act. The lawsuit is the first of its kind and if successful would pave the way for other similar claims.

An Illinois zoning dispute over ultrasound buses may actually be about advancing fetal “personhood.”

Congressional Republicans have been playing games with federal court funding for years, but the combined impact of those prior cuts and sequester have left our federal courts in a state of critical disrepair. They’re so bad, federal judges have been reduced to pleading with Congress for more money.

There’s been a lot of attention recently to the widespread surveillance program developed and implemented by the National Security Agency, but Sheila Bapat takes a look at a far more pernicious problem: Federal Bureau of Investigation background checks and how uncorrected errors are getting in the way of economic advancement of many women and people of color.

Finally, two pieces of good news from the states: First, the Tennessee Supreme Court overturned an arcane and offensive precedent and ruled that minors cannot be considered accomplices in their own statutory rapes, while in Mississippi the state supreme court dismissed the manslaughter indictment in a stillbirth case that had garnered national attention as another example of criminalizing pregnant people for failed pregnancies.

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