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Canadian Mother Gives Birth While in the U.S. & Gets $1 Million Hospital Bill

This is just another example of the enormous financial burden that uninsured pregnant women and their families face in the United States.

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Jennifer Huculak, who lives in the Canadian province Saskatchewan, was six months pregnant when she flew to Hawaii to go on a vacation with her husband. But two days into her 2013 trip, her water unexpectedly broke; she spent the next six weeks on bed rest, and her daughter was delivered prematurely via an emergency C-section.

A year later, the Huculaks and their daughter are healthy and back at home. But they’re now facing medical bills that total $950,000 for the hospital care they received in the United States last fall. “It makes you sick to your stomach,” Huculak told CTV News. “Who can pay a million-dollar medical bill? Who can afford that?”

Although the couple purchased travel insurance from Blue Cross before their vacation, the insurance company says that Huculak’s previous pregnancy complications — she had a bladder infection when she was four months pregnant — amounted to a pre-existing condition, so her medical expenses won’t be covered. Blue Cross also maintains that the Huculaks’ plan expired while they were still in Hawaii.

Jennifer Huculak told CBC News that she’s frustrated with Blue Cross because she thought she did everything right. She had approval from her doctor to travel, and after her water broke, she tried to figure out how to return to Canada. But she couldn’t find a medical evacuation company that was willing to transport her home in her condition.

It’s not entirely uncommon for visitors to the U.S. to accrue big medical bills if they suffer from a health condition while they’re here. Travel insurance isn’t currently subject to all of the regulations under the Affordable Care Act — and the health reform law doesn’t apply to people who aren’t U.S. residents — so there can be confusion about how exactly these plans will work in practice. Other Canadian travelers have been stuck with hefty bills after unexpectedly suffering from kidney failure and struggling with high blood pressure while in the United States.

But bills for childbirth are particularly exorbitant. Giving birth in the United States costs more than anywhere else in the world, even when the procedure doesn’t involve the serious complications that Jennifer Huculak experienced. The price tag for this type of care varies widely — by up to tens of thousands of dollars — depending on which hospital you decide to go to. But the cost fluctuations are seemingly random, since high prices for childbirth services don’t correlate with a higher quality of care for American mothers.

Ironically, the Huculaks hail from the Canadian province that was the first region of their country to implement universal, publicly-funded health care. They say they’re now trying to decide if they should fight Blue Cross over their bill or declare bankruptcy.

Surrogate Mother Gives Cousin Two Special Gifts

surrogate mother in Pennsylvania gives her breast cancer survivor cousin the best gifts possible.

Candice Ismirle holds newborn son Ryder, who was delivered to her through a surrogate, her cousin, Erin McKenney. (Julia Wilkinson/Delco Times)

Just minutes after Rafe and Ryder Ismirle entered the world Tuesday morning at Crozer-Chester Medical Center, their father, Ryan, held each one closely to his cheek and whispered, “I’m your daddy and I love you.”
“There were a lot of times we never thought we would have kids. Erin made that happen,” said the 37-year-old Air Force pilot on Thursday afternoon.

The lieutenant colonel select was referring to his wife’s cousin, Erin McKenney of Aston, a registered nurse in Crozer’s interventional radiology department, who was their “gestational surrogate.” She was successfully implanted with two embryos preserved from him and his wife, Air Force Major Candice Ismirle, on Feb. 28. The twins were delivered Tuesday via Cesarean section performed by Dr. David Ginsburg, with Rafe Michael arriving at 7 pounds, 15 ounces at 10:39 a.m., followed a minute later by Ryder Craig at 7 pounds, 4 ounces.

McKenney made the offer of surrogacy to her cousin, a cancer survivor who is still undergoing treatment, in the summer of 2013 when she learned Mrs. Ismirle was having difficulty getting pregnant. They are both 33.

“I was a military brat. I moved around, but every time I came home we were like two peas in a pod. She is more like a sister,” said Mrs. Ismirle, who has a brother, Michael, an Air Force captain stationed in Guantanamo Bay.

She was sitting next to her cousin, holding her hand when the twins were born.

“It was a beautiful moment. Rafe came out and cried right away. Erin and I looked at each other and started to cry and then we heard another cry a minute later and we knew right away that everyone was OK,” said Mrs. Ismirle who cut Rafe’s umbilical cord.

Because only one parent could be in surgery with McKenney, Mr. Ismirle was in the waiting room with the rest of the family, including his twin brother, Chris Ismirle of Washington, D.C., his parents, Craig and Valoree Ismirle of Battle Creek, Mich., his wife’s parents, Mike and Sandy Adams of Alexandria, Va., and McKenney’s mother, Jane Clancy of Aston. Mr. Ismirle also has a younger brother and sister, Aaron and Andrea. The new father finally got to hold his sons when they were transferred to the hospital nursery.

“I’m the first to have children and to have my parents and in-laws looking at me holding twin boys is incredible,” said Mr. Ismirle, who noted the moment was sweetened by the fact that he has a twin brother.

Each baby has the middle name of one of his grandfathers.

Four years ago, the prospect of the Ismirles becoming parents seemed slim. Candice was diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer for which the only known treatment is chemotherapy, which can cause infertility. Before she underwent a double mastectomy and commenced chemotherapy at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., the couple had embryos frozen, then were married in a private ceremony on Nov. 5, 2010, nearly four years to the day before their twins were born.

After Candice was declared cancer-free, they had a wedding ceremony for family members and friends on June 2, 2012, only to learn in September 2013 that her cancer had spread to her brain. She underwent full brain radiation and resumed aggressive chemotherapy, including a treatment the day before the birth of her sons.

“We’re in a good spot. I’ve been stabilized with the cancer for about three months. We have the right ‘chemo cocktail’ and I will undergo chemo maintenance for a few years to come, once every three weeks,” said Candice.

The Ismirles met in 2008 at Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery, Ala. He entered the Air Force in April 2000 and has flown 128 combat missions in Afghanistan and Iraq. She entered May 2003 and is a public affairs officer. After six weeks together in Alabama, they were assigned to opposite ends of the earth, she to Anchorage, Alaska. and he to Cambridge, England.

“I was flying halfway around the world and we fell in love, married, and the next thing you know we’re having babies,” said Mrs. Ismirle.

McKenney said she is humbled when Mr. Ismirle calls her his “hero.”

“Coming from two people who have given themselves to their country, this is the best compliment,” said McKenney, who noted her surrogacy gave hope to some of the oncology patients for whom she cares.

Having given birth to her daughter, Molly, four years ago, McKenney knew the strong bond that develops while a mother is carrying her child, so she practiced “loving detachment” while carrying her cousin’s twins.

“From the beginning I called them my ‘little buddies,’” said McKenney, who is pumping breast milk for the twins for as long as she can before returning to work Dec. 30.

She said the hardest part was not being able to hold her daughter or bend down to bathe her while she was pregnant with the twins, bonding experiences she is anxious to resume.

During McKenney’s pregnancy, her daughter was known to explain to people: “There are two boys in there, but we’re not keeping them. We’re giving them to Aunt Candice and Uncle Ryan.”

“The biggest reward was just seeing them become parents,” said McKenney, who noted it is second only to the birth of her daughter. “It’s a ‘biggest reward’ that I will have the rest of my life.”

Supreme Court: Only Birth Mother, Not Genetic Mother, Can Be on Birth Cert

In a complicated case, the Supreme Court ruled only the birth mother, not the genetic mother, can appear on the birth certificate.
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 The supreme court has ruled that only the birth mother can appear as the legal mother of a child.

Despite being critical of the lack of legislation around surrogacy, the top court sided with the State in its appeal in a complicated case this morning.

The case was brought by the genetic mother of twins whose sister gave birth to them as a surrogate. She sought to be named as mother on the children’s birth certs but the State has insisted that only the woman who gives birth to a child can be recognised.

In a landmark ruling last year, the High Court had decided that genetics can indeed be used to determine maternity just as it can paternity. But the State appealed that decision to the Supreme Court where the seven judge panel delivered their verdict this morning.

The case was fought between the family and the state registrar.

The outcome has major implications for the family, as the mother recognised on a birth certificate is legally viewed as a child’s mother – and is therefore given legal standing in matters including inheritance, while the genetic mother will be given no legal recognition.

In this case the woman who gave birth to the children is the sister of their genetic mother – and both consent to having the genetic mother recognised on the children’s birth certificate.

Which Matters More to Donor-Egg Recipients: Looks or IQ?

A new study reports which matters more to those looking for egg donors: Looks or IQ?

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So you’re going shopping for a donor egg. What traits of the donor would be most important to you?

A new study in the Journal of Women’s Health reveals some fascinating changes in trends among those using donor eggs to become pregnant. The researchers, from the Mt. Sinai School of Medicine, studied which donor characteristics more than 400 would-become-moms at the Reproductive Medical Associates of New York fertility clinic said mattered most to them.

Once upon a time—in fact, as recently as when the study began, in 2008—40 percent of women cared about finding a donor who was “from a similar gene pool”—i.e., one whose hair and eye colors resembled their own. In 2012, when the five-year study ended, only 25 percent did. The editor-in-chief of the Journal, Susan Kornstein, believes this change reflects increasing sophistication on the part of the women: As egg donation becomes more common and socially acceptable, they’re no longer as concerned with how to explain babies who don’t look like them to family and friends (and overcurious strangers at the playground, too).

What became more important to prospective mothers over the five years? Intelligence! (Perhaps there is hope for society!) In 2008, only 18 percent of women cared about a donor’s brainpower; in 2012, 55 percent said they did.

In a story on the study on NPR, reporter Robin Marantz Henig noted that sperm banks are showing the same shift in priorities, with preferences trending away from a baby’s looks and toward a baby’s brain. Hard to believe, in the era when Kardashians remain king. The overriding concern for women seeking eggs remained the same over the course of the study: It was the donor’s health, with 75 percent of all prospective moms declaring that a crucial factor in their choice.

Alas, the study results aren’t completely sunny. While the emphasis on looks has decreased, athletic skill has become a much greater concern, jumping from a deciding factor for one percent of the would-be moms to 17 percent in five years. The tyranny of the super-hot may be fading, but that of the gym class seems destined to remain.

Epic $800K Custody Battle Highlights Sperm-Donor Rights

This article highlights some of the current cases concerning sperm donor rights.

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Photo by SCIEPRO/Science Photo Library/Getty Images

Following a six-year, $800,000 custody battle between a U.K. lesbian couple and gay couple — who had arranged a casual sperm-donation deal to bring two daughters into the world — a High Court judge has ruled that the girls will remain living with their mothers. But with his decision came harsh words about the fallout of the foursome’s arrangement.

“The case illustrates all too clearly the immense difficulties which can be unleashed when families are created by known-donor fertilization,” warned Justice Stephen Cobb, according to the Telegraph. “Thoughtful and sophisticated people find themselves experiencing remarkable, unprecedented, emotional difficulty, with no easy way of out of it.” He added, “A very high psychological price can be paid, and I believe has been paid in this case, by all concerned.”

The court has protected the identities of the adults involved, as well as those of the girls — who are ages 10 and “early teens,” and who are the “biological children” of one of the mothers and one of the fathers. But the years spent in court, begun when the two men applied to have more contact with the girls, have “marred” the girls’ childhoods “irredeemably,” Cobb said. “Friends and collaborators in this wonderful endeavor of creating a family have become to some extent strangers, harboring strong feelings of mutual distrust and reciprocal aversion.”

It’s just the latest high-profile case involving alternative-family creation gone awry: This week, actor Jason Patric reportedly won his two-year battle to be declared the legal father of his 4-year-old son Gus. Patric had entered into an agreement with ex-lover Danielle Schreiber to donate sperm to her so that she could become a single mom through IVF. But being legally recognized as the child’s father now gives Patric the right to pursue custody and visitation rights — despite Schreiber’s claim that he offered to donate sperm after the two broke up “under the express condition” that “he would not be a father to or have any obligations, rights or responsibilities for my child.”

A well-publicized case in Kansas, meanwhile, has further highlighted legal issues for sperm donors. It concerns William Marotta, who answered a Craigslist ad placed by a lesbian couple seeking a sperm donor in 2009, and now, following the women’s breakup, is being pursued by the state to pay child support.

“We’re hearing more about these types of cases now because more people are becoming aware of alternate ways of creating families — and many are doing it without the consultation of medical or legal professionals, so problems arise,” Bill Singer, a New Jersey-based family law attorney specializing in family formation and protection for non-traditional families, tells Yahoo Parenting. Singer, who cofounded the American Academy of Assisted Reproductive Technology Attorneys, is also legal advisor for the recently formed Family by Design, a support and educational community for forming “parental partnerships.” That organization’s founder, Darren Spedale, has researched the topic of alternative-family formation, and says there’s been a shifting social landscape regarding family creation.

“Generation X and, even more so, Generation Y recognize that being good parents can come in many different forms and don’t see the traditional married family as the only option,” Spedale tells Yahoo Parenting. “There are other ways to have wonderful, healthy families.”

While the vast majority of these agreements do lead to happy families and leave relationships with donors unscathed — such as in a remarkable Brooklyn-based story, in which a woman and her friend were simultaneously pregnant with the sperm of the same man (said friend’s husband) — many aren’t so lucky. Experts in the field point to well-meaning, eager people who simply jump too quickly into their plan. Which raises the question: How can folks be so cavalier when it comes to baby making?

“The question can be asked in many situations where the heart reigns,” Corey Whelan, program director at Path 2 Parenthood(formerly the American Fertility Association), tells Yahoo Parenting. “Why do you marry the wrong person?” The valuable takeaway from cases like Patric’s, or those in the U.K. or Kansas, she stresses, is this: “Really make a decision about the relationship you want with your donor. If you want the donor in your life, then really look at every thread that could come out of that over the years.”

She notes possibilities ranging from divorce and friendship fallout to your future child’s unpredictable but strong desire for your out-of-the-picture donor to be her daddy. “Anything that can happen will happen,” Whelan warns. “Because at the end of the day, people are not predictable, and neither are emotions — let alone other people’s emotions.” Bottom line, she advises: Get a lawyer. And if you’re very concerned about possible negative outcomes when it comes to known donors, of either sperm or eggs, then go with anonymity. “The only way to eliminate risk is to go the anonymous route,” she says.

People choose to go with known donors for myriad reasons, notes Singer. “Some are more comfortable knowing who is providing the gametes — either a sister or brother or friend — and knowing the medical history,” he says. Others may want to co-parent with the donor, or at least have him or her involved in some sort of limited but meaningful way. It’s this gray area, Spedale says, that seems to lead to the most problems down the road.

But he’s learned through his research three lessons that seem to make any agreement more prone to harmony: get to know the other person (donor) well before going down the road of pregnancy; talk through all the details of how everyone involved envisions the co-parenting plan; and finally, be prepared for everything to change once the baby is born. “Hopefully,” he says, “you’ve built a flexible, meaningful enough relationship for it to withstand the change.”

Aussies Seeking Indian Surrogacy Need to Fulfill Visa Criteria

India is requiring Aussie citizens to fulfill required visa criteria according to Indian law.

India today said Australian citizens seeking to have surrogate babies in the country would not be granted visa if they fail to fulfill the required criterion as per the Indian law.

It, however, said that the measure was interim and described it as a “transitory phase” till the outcome of the new law pertaining to surrogacy is in place.

“Our view is that anybody who applies for visas under the present system requires to fulfil our criterion for being granted a visa. If in a certain country, the laws do not permit them to fulfil that criterion, obviously visas cannot be issued for people who are not ready to fulfil the criterion that exists,” External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin said.

Responding to a question on whether Australian citizens wanting to come to India for surrogacy are not being granted visas, he said, “This is still an interim and a transitory phase because there is a legislation which is being considered and it is best to wait for the outcome. Until then the law of the land will prevail.”

He said in Australia this is an issue, but “the ball is in the court of the country from which these nationals hail and would require to come and have surrogacy in India.

The spokesperson said surrogacy was a very sensitive issue and the country is in the process of discussing a new legislation and one should wait for the outcome of that.

Do I Wish I Would Have Elected To Have Frozen My Eggs VS Using An Egg Donor?

Denise Steele describes her personal experience with infertility, her choices and whether she regrets not freezing her eggs.

Elective egg freezing is now readily available to women. Women can put their fertility on hold so that they may have their own biological children when they’re ready.

I was unaware of this technology when I was in my 20s. Even if I had been, many OB/GYNs were not promoting the benefits of the procedure nor was it not readily available in the US.

I married later in life, became pregnant in my late 30s and learned when I was 37 that I would not be able to have my own biological children due to my poor egg quality. Ultimately, my husband and I had three boys in one year thanks to an anonymous egg donor cycle and private domestic adoption.

The obvious question is, “Do I wish I would have frozen my eggs when I was younger so that I my children could all share my DNA? The short answer is, “No and Yes.” The yeses may surprise you.

The process of going through an anonymous egg donor cycle, for me, was very difficult and complex. I’m sure everyone else who has had to use a third party feels the same as I. The two main issues that I had with using an anonymous egg donor were: I didn’t want to carry another pregnancy for fear that I would have to suffer another loss, and the anonymous donor and I, and ultimately my potential children, would not have a personal connection or relationship.

In my situation, we used an egg donor bank. We had access to a database of donors who offered data such as their age, weight, blood type, where they resided, ethnic background (as much as they knew or will willing to offer), medical history, educational background, whether they had children or not, marital status, number of siblings, light medical history of their immediate and extended family members and one or two photos. Outside of that, they remained anonymous. During the process, careful measures were taken to assure that we would never come into contact with our chosen donor.

Personally, I wanted the donor to bear a resemblance to me, share my blood type, and have a similar ethnic background. We chose an egg donor that met those criteria but were told that she had been reserved the day before by another client. Frankly, that has happened to so many other people I know who have used a donor and it is SUPER frustrating once you feel that you have found the right one. Our other choice was someone who was attractive but didn’t look much like me, did not share my blood type but did have a similar ethnic background.

The donor we chose only produced one egg during her cycle. As an aside, we also were pursuing adoption at the same time. The week we chose and contracted with our donor, we matched with our oldest son’s birthmother and ultimately put the egg donor cycle on hold. Our same donor worked with another family and produced 20 eggs. That cycle did produce a pregnancy. When she worked with us, our Reproductive Endocrinologist felt it was a failure and would not result in a pregnancy. That was not the case, however. When the egg was transferred, it split and I had identical twins.

When I compare and contrast the experience we had with our oldest son’s adoption, I was so thankful that we were able to get to know and build a relationship with his birth mother and meet members of her immediate family. She was able to provide us with so many answers to the questions we knew he would ask later in his life. I loved being able to study her face and hear her voice. Our son’s birth mother shared stories and tales that we have and will continue to pass onto him.

Now that we have our three healthy sons, I don’t ever wish that they shared my genetic background. I love them with all of my heart.

What bothers me is that I will never be able to answer questions that my twins may have about the other half of their genetic makeup. As an example, my twins run so fast that they could beat the Road Runner in a race. My husband played sports but he is not a runner. I wonder if that trait came from our/their donor. Maybe not but maybe. I also feel a sense of inequity for them because I don’t have any tales or experiences to share like I do with their older brother. They haven’t begun to ask yet but I know that they will some day.

In closing, had I frozen my eggs, I wouldn’t be the mother to my three amazing boys. I’m perfectly happy about that. Sadly, I do harbor some guilt about not being able to have the answers to so many questions that I know our boys will have one day.

I am a proponent of elective egg freezing, however. To all the future moms who wish to establish themselves in a career path or haven’t met “the one” yet, the biggest benefit I see for you and your family is that your children will have access to their full lineage. In my opinion, it’s less about genetics but rather the family histories and stories that may be passed down from generation to generation.

Jason Patric Declared Legal Parent of His Son

After a long legal battle, Jason Patric is now declared the legal father of his son.

Jason Patric Declared Legal Parent of His Son: Report
Jason Patric‘s years-long fight to see his son will have a happy ending.A judge declared him the legal father of Gus, 4, on Thursday, meaning he will be able to ask a court for custody and visitation rights, according to TMZ.

Patric, 48, won the appeal after his ex-girlfriend Danielle Schreiber claimed he had no legal right to their child, who was conceived through artificial insemination in 2009.

Once the couple broke up in 2012 after 10 years of dating off and on, Schreiber forbid the Lost Boys actor from contact with Gus.

A judge sided with her in February 2013, but Patric scored a victory this May when a California Appellate Court reversed the ruling, saying he does have parental rights as a sperm donor.

Woman Met Her Anonymous Sperm Donor & Fell in Love

In this “feel-good” story from Buzzfeed, a woman meets her anonymous sperm donor and they fall in love. See the original video from ABC here.

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Aminah Hart and Scott Anderson are both parents to Leila, but they didn’t meet until well after she was born.

ABC’s Australian Story last night reported on Australian advertising executive Aminah Hart, who sought out and fell in love with the anonymous sperm donor who fathered her baby.

Hart had previously lost two baby boys to two separate fathers because of a hereditary genetic disorder.

In 2012, she was finally able to give birth to a baby girl, Leila, through the use of a sperm donation.

Scott Andersen, a cattle breeder from Phillip Island, was the mystery donator. Aminah was curious who the father of her daughter was, but was hesitant to investigate.

It was actually Hart’s mother who tracked down Andersen with only three pieces of information:

At the time of donation, Scott had agreed that any recipients of his sperm would be able to contact him — so Aminah made a formal request for contact.

The two decided to meet — at first once a month, and then more often.

Andersen and Hart began meeting more often and doing things with their daughter.

After a while, Scott introduced Aminah to his four children from two other relationships, and from there the pair began a serious relationship.

Reproductive Rights Are on the Ballot

There are so many reasons to vote, including reproductive rights that are on the ballot which are summarized in the article below. Make sure to vote tomorrow!

There has been no Todd Akin in this election cycle – that is, there are no “gaffes” that have elucidated an extreme position in a particularly meme-friendly way the way the infamous “legitimate rape” comment did – only those same extreme positions cast in soothingly moderate language. But that doesn’t mean that women’s reproductive rights aren’t on the ballot across the country anyway, both implicitly and explicitly. Here’s a guide.

Ballot measures: Both Colorado and North Dakota have Personhood amendments – granting fertilized eggs, embryos and fetuses full citizenship rights – on the ballot in one form or another. As long as Roe v. Wade is the law of the land, a Personhood amendment can’t ban abortion, but there is no current constitutional protection for in-vitro fertilization processes or, for that matter, the IUD and the morning-after pill, which Personhood proponents believe to be abortion, among other contraceptives.

It’s Personhood’s third time on the ballot in Colorado, and it’s gotten savvier about its wording with Amendment 67. The question on the ballot is about “protecting pregnant women and unborn children by defining ‘person’ and ‘child’ in the Colorado criminal code and the Colorado wrongful death act to include unborn human beings.” Left unsaid: That pregnant women themselves could be prosecuted for endangering an embryo or fetus, or even for a suspect miscarriage.

In North Dakota, voters will vote on amending the constitution to include “the inalienable right to life of every human being at any stage of development must be recognized and protected.” Just what “at any stage of development” means has been hotly debated. Some critics contend that in addition to intending to ban abortion, it would also override advanced directives for end-of-life care, forcing the dying to stay on life support against their wishes. Polling conducted in late October found 45% of voters opposed the measure, with 16% undecided.

Tennessee’s ballot measure sounds more obscure but is likely more immediately consequential. It seeks to override a 2000 Tennessee Supreme Court decision that read a strong privacy protection in the state constitution, safeguarding against abortion restrictions the legislature has long clamored to pass. There is some more confusing wording here: The amendment stipulates that the constitution doesn’t require “the funding of an abortion,” but Tennessee already has no Medicaid-funded abortions except in cases of rape and incest. It also mentions “circumstances of pregnancy resulting from rape or incest or when necessary to save the life of the mother” – but what it is actually saying is that these exceptions, popular with voters, won’t necessarily be included in any future law. Abortion opponents’ ads have focused on Tennessee as an “abortion destination” and “abortion tourism,” because Tennessee puts fewer burdens on women seeking abortions than other states – notably neighboring Mississippi, where there is only one clinic left. The recent polling on the amendment indicates that it’s too close to call.

Control of the U.S. Senate: If, as polls suggest, Republicans have a good night on Tuesday, it won’t mean too much for actual legislation in the short term, given that Obama has a veto pen for two more years. But it could have a sweeping impact on the federal courts, whose judges are confirmed by the Senate. These judges are usually the ones interpreting the hundreds of abortion restrictions passed by state legislatures – the judges who oversee Texas, for example, have said the state can do basically anything to stand in an abortion patient’s way, including shutting down dozens of clinics.

University of Chicago law professor Geoffrey Stone estimates that as many 90 judicial appointments will open up in the next two years. “If the Republicans control the Senate,” he wrote, “you can be sure that many fewer Obama nominees will be confirmed, and that those who do win confirmation will be much less progressive than the judges this White House has managed to appoint in its first six years.”

Control of state legislatures: In 2010, Republicans capturing total control of state legislatures helped usher in a record number of restrictions on abortion. A few more closely-divided states are still within Republican sights for Tuesday, Kentucky, Iowa, and New Hampshire among them. Kentucky, where Republicans control the state Senate but not the House, is particularly vulnerable, because a veto from the governor, currently a Democrat, can be overridden by a simple majority.

Governor’s races: Wisconsin governor and presidential hopeful Scott Walker has tried to gloss over his stances and policy moves restricting women’s rights, including abortion access. He’s in a tight race against his pro-choice opponent, Mary Burke. In Colorado, Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob Beauprez has falsely claimed the IUD, a common form of birth control, is abortion. In Georgia, Governor Nathan Deal, who has signed several abortion restrictions into law, is defending his seat against pro-choice Jason Carter. In Pennsylvania, incumbent Governor Tom Corbett, who famously defended a forced-ultrasound-before-abortion law by saying women could just close their eyes, looks likely to fall to pro-choice Democrat Tom Wolf. If Martha Coakley loses her race for governor in Massachusetts, pro-choice voters can console themselves with the fact that Republican Charlie Baker splits with his party on the issue.

Asides

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Welcome to The Spin Doctor

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