January 3, 2013
VA Governor Certifies TRAP Regulations
Feminist Majority Foundation: VA Trap Law Approved:
Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell certified new abortion regulations known as TRAP (targeted regulations of abortion providers) laws on Friday, December 28th. There will be a 60-day public comment period before a final vote by the Virginia Board of Health, likely in March.
These TRAP laws were designed to force existing abortion clinics to meet the same building codes as new hospitals. If enacted, the new regulations would require existing clinics to come into compliance with the regulations within two years or face closure. In September 2012, the Virginia Board of Health voted 13-2 to reverse their previous decision to grandfather in existing clinics, thus exempting them from new, hospital-like restrictions. . . .
Meanwhile, Virginia Activist Group "Cooch Watch" agitated against this law (and in support of the grandfather clause), including with creative YouTube videos:
Obama Signs Defense Authorization Act Including Health Coverage for Servicewomen and Military Dependents in Cases of Rape and Incest
Stand with Servicewomen press release: President Signs Defense Bill That Includes Shaheen Amendment Providing Equal Health Care for Servicewomen:
Bill Provides Equal Health Care Coverage for Servicewomen and Military Dependents in Cases of Rape and Incest
WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama has signed the FY13 National Defense Authorization Act into law, which includes the Shaheen Amendment, a provision that provides equal health care for servicewomen and military dependents who are survivors of rape and incest by extending to them the same abortion coverage provided to other women enrolled in federal health care.
The amendment repealing the ban was offered by Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) in May and adopted, with bipartisan support, by the Senate Armed Services Committee. House and Senate negotiators agreed to include the provision in the final defense bill and both chambers passed the bill last week.
“From the time I joined the Army in 1971, I was told that my principal job as an officer was to take care of my troops. We are a step closer to accomplishing that goal today,” said Major Gen. Dennis Laich, USAR (Ret.). “Women serve with courage and distinction in every branch of our service. I applaud Senator Shaheen for her tireless work to making sure these women receive the support they deserve.”
Just prior to the bill’s passage, Gen. Colin Powell, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and secretary of state, joined dozens of military leaders in signing a letter urging congressional support for the amendment.
“This isn't about politics or ideology; it's about basic fairness and equity,” said Major General Gale Pollock, USA (Ret.). “The discriminatory policy preventing our women in uniform from receiving equal healthcare has gone on for too long and I am proud that Congress and the president have finally acted to right this wrong. Our servicewomen are fortunate to have a champion like Senator Shaheen, as well as strong supporters on the House and Senate Armed Services Committees, fighting on their behalf.”
For more information, please visit www.standwithservicewomen.org
January 2, 2013
Nancy Keenan to Step Down from NARAL
The Hill - Healthwatch Blog: Abortion-rights champion stepping down, by Sam Baker:
As the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade approaches, a leading abortion-rights advocate is ready to hand over the reins to a new generation.
Nancy Keenan will step down early next year from her post as president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, one of the country’s most prominent and politically powerful abortion-rights groups. . . .
January 1, 2013
State Court Temporarily Blocks Georgia Abortion Ban
ACLU of Georgia press release: STATE COURT TEMPORARILY HALTS GEORGIA ABORTION BAN:
The Superior Court of Fulton County last Friday temporarily suspended a Georgia law banning pre-viability abortions. The law would have criminalized virtually all abortions starting at 20 weeks of pregnancy, with only an extremely narrow exception for the woman's health.
The American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Georgia challenged the law on behalf of three Georgia obstetrician-gynecologists whose patients include women in need of this essential medical care. . . .
Lone Texas Lawmaker Succeeds in Getting State To Collect More Information from Abortion Patients and their Doctors
RH Reality Check: Texas Dept. of Health Goes Big Brother: Extrajudicial and Invasive Collection of Info on Women and Doctors to Begin in 2013, by Andrea Grimes:
In 2013, the state of Texas will begin gathering new and more invasive information on women seeking and doctors providing safe abortion care thanks to new reporting requirements developed extrajudicially at the insistence of an anti-choice Tea Party lawmaker and now being implementedby the Department of Health and Human Services.
Representative Bill Zedler tried, but failed, to get new reporting requirements enacted by law in the 2011 legislative session, so he asked the Health and Human Services Commission to do it for him; now, after months of public hearings and input from doctors and clinicians decrying the new rules, he's succeeded. . . .
Federal Trial Judge Temporarily Blocks Contraceptive Mandate for Domino's Pizza Founder
The Hill - Healthwatch blog: Federal judge halts Obama birth-control policy for Domino's Pizza founder, by Elise Viebeck:
A federal judge has ordered a temporary halt on the Obama administration's birth-control coverage policy for Tom Monaghan, the Catholic billionaire who founded Domino's Pizza.
Federal District Court Judge Lawrence P. Zatkoff issued the decision Sunday, less than two days before the policy would have taken effect and exposed Monaghan to fines for non-compliance. . . .
Seventh Circuit Temporarily Blocks Contraception Mandate for Illinois Construction Company
SCOTUSblog: Religious employer wins big - temporarily, by Lyle Denniston:
In the most significant federal appeals court ruling so far on the new federal health care law’s contraceptives mandate, the Seventh Circuit Court on Friday night temporarily barred the federal government from enforcing that requirement against an Illinois construction company whose Roman Catholic owners see it as a threat to their religious freedom. In a two-to-one ruling, the panel of the Chicago-based court acted two days after Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor had refused– for different reasons — to block enforcement of the mandate against an Oklahoma family and their businesses. . . .