IFLG-New-York-Defies-Texas-Attack-on-Womens-Right-to-Choose-Rich-Vaughn

New York Defies Texas Attack on Women’s Right to Choose

As an onslaught of state anti-abortion legislation threatens U.S. women’s rights, including an onerous new Texas law that effectively bans all abortions even in cases of rape or incest, New York’s new governor has vowed to make her state a “safe harbor” where women’s health and wellbeing are protected.

Last month, as women across the United States gathered in protest of Texas’s SB 8 and a storm of other state laws aimed at overturning the landmark 1973 case, Roe v. Wade, that established a woman’s constitutional right to choose, New York Governor Kathy Hochul stood with them.

“Abortion access is safe in New York; the rights of those who are seeking abortion services will always be protected here…,” Governor Hochul said at a pro-choice rally in Brooklyn on September 9, as reported by New York Daily News. “To the women of Texas, I want to say I am with you. Lady Liberty is here to welcome you with open arms.

“This is a fight I thought ended when my mother was starting out as a parent, as a young person,” Hochul continued. “I had no idea that all these years later we’d be fighting the same fight that grandma and my mom fought, and my own daughter has her own rights threatened by crazy people in places like Texas.”

Hochul, who succeeded former Governor Andrew Cuomo following his resignation in August amid sexual harassment charges, outlined a series of steps the state will take to protect women’s reproductive rights, including:

  • A statewide public information campaign, including the development and publicization of a “patients’ bill of rights,” outlining women’s guaranteed rights and legal protections, in multiple languages, to be distributed in New York doctor’s offices and clinics;
  • Updated, comprehensive guidance for providers of reproductive health services on their rights to provide abortion care;
  • Updated regulations to make medication abortion accessible via telehealth visits.

Hochul was joined by scores of activists and New York elected officials, including New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio and Brooklyn Borough President and Democratic New York City Mayor candidate Eric Adams.

Adams said anti-abortion activists have falsely laid claim to the term “pro-life,” when their actions are anything but, Daily News reported. “They put a bounty—$10,000—a bounty on someone who tries to get an abortion or goes to an abortion clinic but won’t give $10,000 to a single mother trying to survive right now, a single mother being evicted,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court has agreed to hear another Roe v. Wade challenge, a Mississippi law that would ban abortion after 15 weeks—well before the 20- to 24-week guideline for fetal viability outside the womb that has been legal precedent since 1973. The court is expected to hear oral arguments in December, with a possible decision in April 2022. However, historically, the court has announced rulings in abortion cases in June.

Not Just Abortion: Fertility Treatment at Risk

My colleagues and associates in the assisted reproduction field are concerned.

Many Americans assume the fight over women’s right to choose is one-dimensional issue: Should a woman have the right to choose an abortion or not? Many people, who already have families or who are past reproductive age, assume the outcome will have little impact on them personally.

But the barrage of state abortion bans and the threats to U.S. constitutional protections for women also threaten individuals’ rights to many types of fertility treatment, including assisted reproduction technologies such as in vitro fertilization, fertility preservation, and surrogacy.

Many of the recent state laws restricting abortion, most of which have been prevented from taking effect because they are unconstitutional under Roe, are based in the argument that life and even legal personhood begins at conception. If such laws are enacted, and that legal precedent established, many fertility treatment procedures, such the harvesting and fertilization of eggs, selection of the strongest embryos for implantation, cryopreservation or disposal of unused embryos, and possibly egg and sperm donation could become illegal in those states.

ART professionals are working together now to prepare for future legal obstacles and to determine how best to support our clients—the countless couples and single people who hope to realize their dreams of parenthood through these miraculous, life-giving technologies.

I recently helped organize an expert panel, “Abortion and the New Supreme Court,” for the American Bar Association Family Law Section continuing legal education conference, where we had the privilege of hearing from Liz Wagner, an attorney with the Center for Reproductive Rights, which has joined the ACLU and Planned Parenthood in challenging the Mississippi and Texas abortion laws.

The presentation of challenges and existential questions raised by the ongoing attack on abortion rights was eye-opening. Is the right to have a child using assisted reproduction protected under the U.S. Constitution? When does the government’s right to regulate or prohibit assisted reproduction outweigh the individual’s right to use the technology to have a child? Is an embryo a legal person? If so, when does it become a person?

Procreation and fertility are deeply personal and emotional issues, while opposition to legal abortion has been politicized for decades, cynically used as a wedge issue to mobilize socially conservative voters. Our nation struggles with these questions during a time when Americans are pitted against one another over politics and public health. Do those determined to ban abortion understand the underlying impact on infertile couples seeking treatment or young people seeking to preserve their future ability to procreate in the face of invasive cancer treatment? Do ordinary Americans understand that the promise of parenthood offered by increasingly effective assisted reproductive technologies may be denied them or their children if laws such as SB 8 are allowed to stand?

Along my colleagues in the field, our experienced team of fertility attorneys and paralegals at IFLG are watching carefully, determined to do our best to guide our client intended parents, surrogates and donors as events unfold. Over the next weeks and months, we will be addressing the attack on reproductive rights and the questions raised about the true impacts on individuals, parents and families. We hope you will keep reading.

 

 

Richard Vaughn
rich@iflg.net

Attorney Rich Vaughn is founder and principal of International Fertility Law Group, one of the world’s largest and best-known law firms focused exclusively on assisted reproductive technology, or ART, including in vitro fertilization (IVF), surrogacy, sperm donation or egg donation. Rich is co-author of the book “Developing A Successful Assisted Reproduction Technology Law Practice,” American Bar Association Publishing, 2017.

Peiya Wang
PEIYA WANG(王培娅)
Paralegal (律师助理)

Peiya Wang joined IFLG as a paralegal in 2015, where she manages surrogacy, egg donation and parental establishment cases and provides translation services for many of IFLG’s international clients. Peiya moved to the United States in 2012 to attend Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts, receiving a Master of Science degree in Global Studies and International Affairs in 2014. Peiya moved to Los Angeles in 2015, received her paralegal certification from UCLA Extension, and obtained her second Master of Science degree in Legal Studies from Loyola Law School. Peiya relocated back to her hometown, Beijing, China in 2019 and works from IFLG’s Beijing office. When away from the office, Peiya is a dragon boat paddler and a ballroom dancer, where she favors Rumbas and Cha-chas. She is fluent in Mandarin and English.

Katie Deaquino
KATIE DEAQUINO
Senior Paralegal

Katie is a Senior Paralegal with IFLG and has dedicated over sixteen years to the areas of surrogacy and reproductive law. She received her Paralegal Certificate from Coastline Community College and has worked with some of the top law firms in the assisted reproduction community. Katie is also a commissioned Notary Public. With IFLG, Katie manages Surrogacy, Egg Donation, and Parental Establishment cases and provides support to other IFLG team members. Katie truly enjoys helping others build their families through assisted reproduction and is thankful she has had the rewarding experience of assisting IFLG clients. Katie often spends her free time with her Husband, four young children and her bulldog “Bella”.

Luis Sosa
LUIS SOSA
Paralegal

Luis R. Sosa joined IFLG as a paralegal in 2016, where he enjoys pursuing his passion for family and reproductive law. While working toward his bachelor’s degree at Florida International University which he received in 2013, Luis worked as a paralegal and legal assistant for family law litigation firms in Miami and Washington, D.C. As a paralegal and case manager for IFLG, Luis, who is bilingual in English and Spanish, manages surrogacy, egg donation and other reproductive law cases. Luis has worked for IFLG in both Los Angeles as well as San Francisco, and is currently based in Dallas, Texas. In addition to spending time with husband Randy and dog Marty, Luis enjoys being outdoors and appreciating the arts.

Alexander Espinoza
ALEXANDER ESPINOZA
Legal Assistant

Alexander joined IFLG as a legal assistant in 2019, where he manages surrogacy, egg donation and parental establishment cases. Alex is bilingual in English and Spanish and has been in the legal field for 23 years. Alex is excited to join the IFLG team and pursuing his will to help others in the reproductive law process. In his spare time he loves spending time with his family and friends, being outdoors, road trips, loves music and dancing.

Toni Hughes
TONI BOONE
Paralegal

After receiving her B.S. in Business Management, Toni joined IFLG to pursue her dream of working in the legal field. As a Paralegal with over 10 years of experience in the assisted reproduction technology field, Toni is our Managing Paralegal, responsible for training and managing our paralegal staff. From drafting legal documents to assisting our clients with post-birth matters, Toni embraces the challenge of learning something new in this field each day. Besides spending time with her son, Jordan, Toni enjoys exploring new things, cooking, spending time with family and friends, and serving as a Youth Advisor for “Next Generation.”

Miesha Cowart
MIESHA COWART
Financial Coordinator

Miesha Cowart joined IFLG as a financial specialist in 2014 following a successful career in development and business finance. Miesha previously worked for 10 years in the construction industry as a controller and for 13 years as Development Coordinator for the non-profit U.S. Fund for UNICEF. In her free time, Miesha works with “Next Generation” at her church. “They are my heartbeats!” she says of the youth in her community.

KIM DEVEREAUX
Paralegal

Kim has over 30 years of experience in the legal field and has worked exclusively in surrogacy and assisted reproduction law since 1999. Kim is a senior case manager responsible for managing parental establishment cases and interacting with IFLG’s Of Counsel attorneys across the country. With three children of her own, Kim understands the importance of family and finds working in this area of law a rewarding experience.

Rich Vaughn
RICHARD B. VAUGHN
Founder

Attorney Rich Vaughn combined his personal passion as a father of twin boys born via assisted reproductive technology (ART) with more than 20 years of experience in business and technology law to build International Fertility Law Group. Today IFLG is one of the most successful and best-known law firms in the world focused exclusively on fertility law, helping thousands of intended parents through empathetic listening, compassionate guidance, and unmatched legal expertise. As an advocate for reproductive freedom, Rich also contributes his knowledge and time to improving the understanding and practice of ART law, most recently as a founder of and speaker at the first Cambridge University International Surrogacy Symposium held in June 2019, as immediate past chair of the American Bar Association ART Committee, and as a popular presenter to law schools, faculty and advocacy organizations all over the world.

Elizabeth Tamayo
ELIZABETH TAMAYO
Paralegal

Elizabeth received her Bachelors of Science degree in Criminal Justice from California State University of Los Angeles. Shortly after graduating, she continued her education at the University of California, Los Angeles where she obtained her Paralegal certificate. Elizabeth is fluent in Spanish and has been in the legal field since 2009. She is excited to be a part of the IFLG Team helping families realize their dreams.

Sunny Chien
SUNNY CHIEN
Paralegal

Sunny joined IFLG as a paralegal in 2017, where she manages surrogacy, egg donation and parental establishment cases for many of IFLG’s international clients. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Philosophy from California State University of Los Angeles, where she graduated cum laude. Sunny is bilingual in English and Mandarin and has extensive experience as a legal assistant and paralegal at Los Angeles-area law firms. She is excited to be part of the IFLG team. In her spare time, Sunny enjoys spending time with her family and their dog, going to the beach, cooking, and being outdoors.

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OFFICES
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5757 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 645

Los Angeles, CA 90036

Phone:  +1 323 331 9343

Email:  info@iflg.net

Website:  www.iflg.net

New York
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501 Fifth Avenue, Suite 1900

New York, NY 10017

Phone:  +1 844 400 2016

Email:  info@iflg.net

Website:  www.iflg.net

Molly O'Brien
MOLLY O'BRIEN
Partner

Fertility law attorney Molly O’Brien began working in the field of assisted reproduction technology (ART) in 2005, at an egg donation agency and a surrogacy agency where she became familiar with all aspects of in-vitro fertilization, egg donation and the financial aspects of surrogacy. Since becoming an attorney in 2011, Molly has drafted and negotiated surrogacy, egg donation, sperm donation embryo donation agreements for hundreds of her clients all over the world.

Phoebe Sadler
PHOEBE S. SADLER
Associate

Fertility law attorney Phoebe Sadler has a background in family law and has been practicing exclusively in the area of assisted reproduction technology (ART) law since 2018.

Rubina Aslanyan
RUBINA ASLANYAN
Paralegal

Rubina has an extensive background in the legal field as a paralegal in Family Law and has worked in surrogacy and assisted reproduction law since 2012. Her area of focus is in managing and assisting clients with surrogacy, egg donation, and parental establishment cases for many of IFLG’s domestic and international clients. During her spare time, Rubina enjoys spending time with her family and dog Bella, traveling and cooking.

Cara Stecker
CARA STECKER
Senior Paralegal

After receiving her paralegal certificate in 2005, Cara began working in assisted reproductive law. During the fifteen years Cara has worked in this field, she has gained a wide range of experience and knowledge that she uses to help better assist clients and those involved in the assisted reproductive journey. Cara’s primary roles involve managing parental establishment matters and coordination with IFLG’s Of Counsel attorney network, drafting contracts and parental establishment court documents and providing support to other team members. Cara finds great joy in being a small part of a team of caring people who help others achieve their dream of having a family. In her spare time, Cara enjoys spending time with her husband and three children, watching her children play the sports they love, and she enjoys, running, cycling and exploring the outdoors in the sun.

Stephanie Kimble
STEPHANIE KIMBLE
Paralegal

Stephanie received her BS in History and Political Thought from Concordia University Irvine in 2015 and her Paralegal Certificate from University of San Diego later that same year. She has been working as a Paralegal since 2016 in Family and Reproductive Law. She is excited to be part of International Fertility Law Group working on managing Surrogacy, Egg donation and Parental Establishment Cases.

Trish Pittman
TRISH PITTMAN
Assistant Financial Coordinator

With more than 20 years of experience in the field of accounting, Trish joined the IFLG team in 2019 as Assistant Financial Coordinator. Her client-facing focus at IFLG is to assist with all client trust accounting. Trish is the mother of two daughters and enjoys spending time teaching and learning new things from them. In her free time, she loves long walks in the park and reading suspense and mystery novels.

Elsa Jimenez
ELSA JIMENEZ
Legal Assistant

Elsa joined IFLG as a Legal Assistant in 2019, bringing more than 35 years of experience working in the legal profession (concentrating in tort and litigation matters). At IFLG she assists surrogates with their surrogacy and parental matters. The oldest of five siblings, born and raised in East Los Angeles to Mexican immigrant parents, Elsa loves “seeing the beauty of families forming” through assisted reproductive technology. She and her husband Carlos have four children and one grandson. Elsa enjoys jazz and ’80s music, being outdoors in nature, collecting teacups and tea pots, and spending time with her close-knit family.