News and information useful to Cleveland-Marshall College of Law students, faculty and staff.


GAO Recommends CMS Action to Ensure Medicaid Abortion Coverage

GAO LogoThe U.S. General Accounting Office (GAO) recently released the CMS Action Needed to Ensure Compliance with Abortion Coverage Requirements report.  Federal law prohibits federal funding for abortions in most circumstances, but state Medicaid programs are required to cover abortions if the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest, or the life of the pregnant woman is physically endangered by the pregnancy.  [See Pub. L. No. 115-245, §§ 506-7, 132 Stat. 2981, 9/28/18.]  The GAO report documents “state variation in Medicaid abortion coverage and payment requirements,” including South Dakota’s Medicaid state plan not covering abortions in cases of rape or incest, and 14 states not covering Mifeprex, a drug used in non-surgical abortions.  The GAO report also identifies “seven key factors that could pose challenges to women accessing abortions…:  gestational limits, mandatory counseling, out-of-pocket costs, parental involvement requirements, provider availability, stigma and harassment, and waiting period requirements.”  As the federal agency that oversees Medicaid, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) monitors state compliance with federal requirements.  The GAO report recommends CMS action to ensure South Dakota’s compliance with federal law, as well as to determine state Medicaid program coverage of Mifeprex and accurate reporting of fee-for-service abortions.

Ohio “Heartbeat Bill” Sent to Governor Kasich

photo of Ohio StatehouseThe Ohio General Assembly recently passed HB258, a bill “to generally prohibit an abortion of an unborn human individual with a detectable heartbeat and to create the Joint Legislative Committee on Adoption Promotion and Support.”  The bill provides exceptions to prevent the death or “serious risk of the substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function” of a pregnant woman, but no exceptions for pregnant women who are victims of rape or incest.  The bill also states the Director of the Ohio Department of Health may adopt rules “specifying the appropriate methods of performing an examination for the purpose of determining the presence of a fetal heartbeat of an unborn individual based on standard medical practice,” and specifies “the rules shall require only that an examination shall be performed externally.”  HB258 was sent to Governor John Kasich on 12/14/18.  Per the Ohio legislative process, if the Governor does not sign or veto the act after 10 days (excluding Sundays), it becomes law without the Governor’s signature.  Kasich vetoed a similar act in December 2016, and says he will veto this new act after waiting 10 days. [See 12/14/18 Columbus Dispatch post.]  The Ohio Senate and House have scheduled sessions on 12/27/18, but it is unlikely there are sufficient votes for a 3/5 veto override.

ORC 3701.034 Ruled Unconstitutional

Planned Parenthood LogoThe U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit has affirmed that ORC 3701.034 is unconstitutional.  [See Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio v. Lance Himes, 6th Cir., No. 16-4027, 4/18/18.]  The court said the law violates the “unconstitutional conditions doctrine,” which forbids the government from placing conditions on a recipient of federal funds that would infringe on the recipient’s constitutional rights. While the government has no obligation to fund abortion activities, it may not use its control over federal funds to stop Planned Parenthood from exercising its constitutionally protected right to advocate for legal abortion.  ORC 3701.034 was codified by House Bill 294, and was to become effective May 23, 2016.  It would have prevented Planned Parenthood’s 28 Ohio-based affiliates – only 3 of which provide abortion services – from receiving federal money to pay for programs under the Violence Against Women Act, the Breast and Cervical Cancer Mortality Prevention Act, an infertility prevention project, the Minority HIV/AIDS Initiative, and a personal responsibility education program.  On 5/23/26, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio issued a temporary restraining order, blocking enforcement of the law.  [See Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio v. Hodges, 201 F. Supp. 3d 898 (S.D. Ohio 2016).]

Law & Gender, Journals & Databases

If you’re writing a seminar paper, independent study requirement, or note on a gender-related topic, we have plenty of resources for you. Secondary sources like journal articles are a great way to start your research, see what has and hasn’t been written, and get ideas for your own paper. Here is a list of some of the law and gender journals available to you. Check  Scholar, the library catalog, to find out how to access each journal.

  • Berkeley Journal of Gender, Law and Justice
  • Cardozo Journal of Law & Gender
  • Columbia Journal of Gender and Law
  • Duke Journal of Gender, Law and Policy
  • Gender Issues
  • Harvard Journal of Law and Gender (formerly Harvard Women’s Law Journal)
  • Journal of Gender, Social Policy and the Law (formerly American University Journal of Gender and the Law)
  • Michigan Journal of Gender and Law
  • The Georgetown Journal of Gender and the Law
  • Yale Journal of Law and Feminism

Law and gender topics lend themselves to interdisciplinary research, so don’t limit yourself to the familiar law databases. The Michael Schwarz Library lists several core databases for women’s studies:

  • Gender Studies Database
  • GenderWatch
  • LGBT Life with Full Text
  • Viva Database
  • Women’s Studies International

Harvard Study Examines Women’s Experience in Legal Careers

A recently published study, The Women and Men of Harvard Law School: Preliminary Results from the HLS Career Study, examines the career status and choices of four cohorts of Harvard Law School graduates. While noting the increased number of women in the profession, the study highlights the choices women make, especially relating to family life, that affect the percentage of women in top positions.

Some findings from the study include:

  • In law firms, men are significantly more likely to be in leadership positions than women.
  • On average, women work more hours than men in law firms.
  • Twice as many women partners as men partners do not have children.
  • Women are much more likely than men to go part-time after the birth of a child.
  • Less than 50% of women with two or more children still work full time.
  • Women report facing gender discrimination at a higher rate than men.

See David B. Wilkins, Bryon Fong, and Ronit Dinovitzer, The Women and Men of Harvard Law School: Preliminary Results from the HLS Career Study (May 22, 2015) [Full text available through SSRN]