Saturday, June 24, 2017

4 Ways the Senate Health Care Bill Would Hurt Women

TIME (Jun. 22, 2017): 4 Ways the Senate Health Care Bill Would Hurt Women, by Amanda MacMillan

The newly unveiled Senate health care bill intended to repeal the Affordable Care Act has a name: the Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017. The Senate bill looks very similar to the American Health Care Act passed by the House of Representatives earlier this year, with a few changes. What hasn't changed much is the debilitating effects the legislation could have on women and families, and especially low-income Americans and those with pre-existing conditions.

Under the Senate plan, women could lose essential benefits like cervical cancer screenings, breast pumps, contraception, and domestic violence screening and counseling, and prescription drug coverage could be severely limited. The bill also slashes Medicaid, which currently funds half of all childbirths in the United States, and includes language that allows states to impose employment requirements for Medicaid eligibility.

The Senate plan eliminates Medicaid reimbursements to Planned Parenthood for one year, which would further limit access to essential services like well-woman visits, cancer screenings, and STI testing. Finally, the Republican plan repeals the individual mandate and the requirement that employers with 50 or more employees provide health coverage. Without these requirements, many women will lose their health insurance and face unique challenges, particularly regarding childbirth. With the U.S.'s maternal mortality rate already the highest among the developed world, both the House and Senate bills are likely to make a bad problem worse.


June 24, 2017 in Congress, Contraception, Current Affairs, Politics, President/Executive Branch | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, June 22, 2017

How Anti-Abortion Lawmakers Win Even While Losing in Court

Texas Observer (Jun. 20, 2017): How Texas' Anti-Abortion Lawmakers Win Even While Losing in Court, by Sophie Novack:

Earlier this month, Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed Senate Bill 8 into law, "an omnibus measure that mandates burdensome clinic regulations and outlaws a safe, common abortion procedure" known as dilation & evacuation, or D&E. SB 8 is the most sweeping set of restrictions on abortion care signed into law in Texas since House Bill 2 in 2013, culminating in last year's Whole Woman's Health v. Hellerstedt ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court that struck down two of the bill's major provisions. A lawsuit against SB 8 is expected later this summer.

Novack argues that while abortion-rights advocates ultimately claimed victory in the courts over HB 2, the law "forced the closure of more than half the state’s abortion clinics, and only three have reopened since." The main issue for abortion-rights advocates, Novack says is that "legislation often moves faster than the courts, and SB 8 could wreak similar havoc on the abortion provider community in Texas.

“We’re looking at again the possibility of clinic closures and other restrictions that force women to leave the state if they need abortion care,' said Amanda Allen, senior state legislative counsel at the Center for Reproductive Rights, which filed the lawsuit against HB 2 and has pledged to fight SB 8. 'In terms of access on the ground, this presents a huge threat to Texas.”

The major provisions at issue in SB 8 are a requirement that fetal remains be buried or cremated, and a ban on D&E, the most common form of second-trimester procedure. Abortion-rights advocates take some comfort in knowing that both of these provisions have been successfully challenged in court, but if either provision goes into effect, clinics could face closure for failure to comply with the law.

Texas Right to Life pushed the D&E ban, while Texas Alliance for Life championed the fetal burial/cremation requirement. Each group has a different strategy: Texas Right to Life favors pushing the D&E ban to the Supreme Court, while Texas Alliance for Life favors "a more incremental approach" that chips away at access until the Supreme Court becomes less favorable to abortion rights. Said Joe Pojman, executive director of Texas Alliance for Life: "it’s very clear now that [Justice Kennedy] will not uphold any state or federal provision that makes abortion less accessible, that’s the unfortunate reality."

In January, a federal judge blocked new Texas regulations that would’ve required burials for fetal remains. Courts have blocked D&E abortion bans in four other states. While it remains to be seen how courts will decide on SB 8, the battle will be long, and if it plays out like HB 2, there could be lasting consequences.

June 22, 2017 in Abortion, Abortion Bans, Anti-Choice Movement, Current Affairs, In the Courts, Pro-Choice Movement, State Legislatures | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Anti-choice activists attempt to hijack Black Lives Matter to shame women for abortion

Salon (July 11, 2016): Anti-choice activists attempt to hijack Black Lives Matter to shame women for abortion, by Amanda Marcotte 

Coming off of a week of violent murders, racism, and police violence, many in America believe that coming together as a community is the way to rise above violence. Still, in the wake of tragedy, some conservative activists have hijacked the importance of the Black Lives Matter movement for their own gain - shaming women for abortions. "Conservative Twitter" has erupted with hashtags that proclaim "Unborn Lives Matter," with anti-choice accounts like that of the Radiance Foundation and Students for Life adding the hashtag to anti-choice ads and tweets on their pages.  Amanda Marcotte calls out conservative activists for the campaign: 

 But the eagerness of the anti-choice movement to hijack, undermine, or even demonize the Black Lives Matter movement exposes the “well-meaning people” belief as the myth it is. Anti-choice is about the same politics of resentment, bigotry, and cruelty as the rest of the conservative movement, and this behavior simply proves that fact once again.



July 16, 2016 in Abortion, Anti-Choice Movement, Current Affairs, Race & Reproduction | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Here’s What You Need to Know About Your Birth Control Access

Rewire, June 9, 2016, Here’s What You Need to Know About Your Birth Control Access Post-Supreme Court Ruling, by Bridgette Dunlap 

In a well-thought-out and organized article, Bridgette Dunlap looks at the impact the Supreme Court’s “non-decision” in Zubik v. Burwell will actually have on women’s access to contraceptives. Quelling what she assumes to be a reader's ever present worry, Dunlap discusses the current legal mandates in place for employers of all kinds and emphasizes that “the vast majority of people with insurance are currently entitled to contraption without a co-payment – that includes people for the most part, who work for religiously affiliated organizations.” Dunlap emphasizes the importance that coverage of the Supreme Court's ruling in Zubik not not overstate the impact of the non-decision:      

    The fact that equitable coverage of women’s health care is the new status quo is a very big deal that can be lost in the news     about the unprecedented litigation campaign to block access to birth control and attacks on Obamacare more generally.     Seriously, tell your friends.

June 18, 2016 in Contraception, Current Affairs, In the Courts, Supreme Court | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

The Legacy of the Gosnell Case: Unnecessary, Burdensome Regulation of Abortion Providers

RH Reality Check:  While We're Debating the Gosnell Case, Anti-Choicers Are Getting to Work, by Gwen Emmons:

. . . Major news outlets have only recently begun to cover Kermit Gosnell’s murder trial, but coverage has focused on the sordid details of Gosnell’s clinic. What’s missing from the headlines is the legacy of the Gosnell case. In Pennsylvania, abortion providers and the women they serve are already feeling the sting of anti-choice legislators all too eager to use the Gosnell case as a flimsy excuse for rolling back reproductive rights and access even further in the state. And it’s only a matter of time until another state invokes Kermit Gosnell’s name in defense of yet another piece of anti-choice legislation. . . .

April 24, 2013 in Abortion, Anti-Choice Movement, Current Affairs, Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP) | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, April 12, 2013

Why Is Trend on Abortion Regulation Counter to That of Gay Rights and Marijuana Use?

The Washington Post - The Fix blog: If gay marriage and pot are now OK, why isn’t abortion?, by Juliet Eilperin & Scott Clement:

As abortion opponents are scoring a string of victories in the states, it raises a question: why are conservatives gaining ground in this one arena, even if they’re losing in the battle over gay marriage and marijuana?

A few factors help explain this contradiction. . . .

April 12, 2013 in Abortion, Current Affairs, Public Opinion | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, February 25, 2013

Former Surgeon General C. Everett Koop Dies at 96

In the 1980s, President Reagan -- under pressure from anti-choice activists -- directed C. Everett Koop to review the research on abortion and report back about the health effects of the procedure.  Although personally opposed to abortion, Koop refused to issue the report, finding that there was no credible evidence that abortion caused women either physical or mental harm.  Unfortunately, anti-choice activists continue to perpetuate the myth that abortion causes lasting emotional trauma and to push for laws that require doctors to pass along this misinformation to women.

See: The Guttmacher Institute: Abortion and Mental Health: Myths and Realities

The New York Times: C. Everett Koop, Forceful U.S. Surgeon General, Dies at 96, by Holcomb B. Noble:

Dr. C. Everett Koop, who was widely regarded as the most influential surgeon general in American history and played a crucial role in changing public attitudes about smoking, died on Monday at his home in Hanover, N.H. He was 96. . . .

Dr. Koop was completing a successful career as a pioneer in pediatric surgery when he was nominated for surgeon general, having caught the attention of conservatives with a series of seminars, films and books in collaboration with the theologian Francis Schaeffer that expressed anti-abortion views. . . .

February 25, 2013 in Abortion, Current Affairs, Miscellaneous, President/Executive Branch | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, March 2, 2012

Advertisers Pull Commercials in Wake of Rush Limbaugh's Sexist Attack on Law Student Sandra Fluke

The Huffington Post: Rush Limbaugh Advertiser Sleep Train Pulls Commercials In Wake Of Sandra Fluke 'Slut' Firestorm (UPDATE: More Companies Join), by Jack Mirkinson:

One of Rush Limbaugh's advertisers announced Friday that it was pulling all of its commercials from his radio show in the wake of Limbaugh's incendiary comments about a female law student and contraception. (UPDATE: Another advertiser announced it was also ending its commercials later on Friday. Scroll to the bottom to see.)

After being bombarded on Twitter, mattress store Sleep Train said that it would no longer advertise during Limbaugh's top-rated show following days of outrage over Limbaugh's statements about Sandra Fluke, a Georgetown student who was denied a chance to speak at a Congressional hearing about birth control. . . .

MSNBC covered the story:


March 2, 2012 in Congress, Contraception, Current Affairs, In the Media, Law School, Religion and Reproductive Rights | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Right-Wingers Blame Pro-Choice Movement and Multiculturalism for Norway Massacre Right-wingers blame multiculturalism, abortion for Norway massacre, by Alex Pareene:

Anders Breivik's favorite American pundits show no shame in blaming liberals, Muslims for right-wing terror 

After just about every professional conservative chatterer with a blog or a Twitter account rushed to blame Islamic jihadists for the bombing and gun massacre in Norway last Friday, it was revealed that the actual killer was, in fact, a white, Christian, Norwegian-born man, named Anders Breivik. It was further revealed that Breivik is, politically, more or less a Scandinavian Tea Partyer, obsessed with the imagined threat of the Islamification of Europe, and an avowed opponent of "multiculturalism."

Breivik is a psychopath, but he is a psychopath whose politics are indistinguishable from Pamela Geller's, to name one American right-winger whose work was approvingly cited by Breivik in his extensive writing. . . .

July 26, 2011 in Abortion, Culture, Current Affairs, International | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, July 22, 2011

NPR Hosts Conversation About Racially Targeted Anti-Abortion Billboards

NPR “Tell Me More”: Debate Boils Over African-American Abortions:  

Image1 As part of its "Too Many Aborted" campaign, the Radiance Foundation created many controversial racially-targeted billboards that were taken down on July 10. Today they're releasing videos calling out black leaders for not supporting the pro-life movement. To discuss both sides of the abortion debate, host Michel Martin speaks with Radiance Foundation co-founder Ryan Bomberger and Religious Coalition of Reproductive Choice president and CEO Reverend Carlton Veazey. . . .

July 22, 2011 in Abortion, Anti-Choice Movement, Current Affairs, In the Media, Race & Reproduction | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Why Sex Scandals Are Rarer Among Female Politicians

The Atlantic: The Sex Difference in Sex Scandals, by Lane Wallace:

Why do these kinds of scandals so rarely happen with female politicians?

Nearly two years ago, when South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford admitted (finally, in a spectacularly embarrassing press conference) to having an extra-marital affair with an Argentine woman, a lot of questions were raised about why this kind of scandal so rarely happens with women politicians. One answer offered was simply that there aren't that many women politicians in office. 

It's true, of course. Women only make up 16.4% of the current Congress, and 12% of the nation's governors. But in a 2009 Newsweek tally of political sex scandals since 1976, only one out of 53 instances involved a woman politician (former Idaho Congresswoman Helen Chenoweth, who admitted to having an eight-year affair with a married rancher in the 1980s). So women aren't even holding up their fair percentage of the scandals. . . .

May 24, 2011 in Current Affairs, In the Media | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Op-Ed Urges Approval of Pill for Over-the-Counter Use

NY Times (Op-Ed): Let the Pill Go Free, by Kelly Blanchard:

LAST month, the 50th anniversary of the Food and Drug Administration’s approval of the birth control pill was marked by a lot of discussion about the ways in which the pill has failed to deliver on its promises. It did not solve women’s problems juggling work and family life — nor did it end gender discrimination or eliminate unintended pregnancies. Clearly, approving the use of the pill was only the beginning of the effort to meet women’s contraception needs. . . .

June 23, 2010 in Contraception, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, June 14, 2010

Officials Warn that World Cup Puts Women at Risk of Violence The World Cup of domestic abuse, by Tracy Clark-Flory:

Officials warn women that the games put them at risk for violence
Soccer Ball As the World Cup kicks off, and booze and emotions begin to flow freely, U.K. officials are worried that women are at serious risk. Make all the jokes you want about men and their sports, especially English men and their football, but the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) has launched an awareness-raising campaign to prevent domestic violence during the games. 

In 2006, there was a 25 percent average increase in domestic violence reports when England had matches; and the day England was eliminated, that number rose to 30 percent, according to the U.K.'s Home Office. . . .

June 14, 2010 in Current Affairs, Miscellaneous, Women, General | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Reflections on the Role of Women in the 2010 Primaries

U.S. World & News Report: Women Flex Their Political Muscle in 2010 Primaries, by Jessica Rettig:

Carly Fiorina, Nikki Haley, Meg Whitman, and others are making waves this cycle

Eleanor Roosevelt famously said, "A woman is like a tea bag—you never know how strong she is until she gets into hot water." Given the results of last week's primaries, in which both women and the Tea Party movement had big wins in heated races, one must wonder whether the former first lady could somehow foresee the politics of 2010. . . .

NY Times (Op-Ed): No Mystique About Feminism, by Ross Douthat:

Politics When historians set out to date the moment when the women’s movement of the 1970s officially consolidated its gains, they could do worse than settle on last Tuesday’s primaries.

It was a day when most of the major races featured female candidates, and all the major female candidates won. They won in South Dakota and Arkansas, California and Nevada. They won as business-friendly moderates (the Golden State’s Meg Whitman); as embattled incumbents (Arkansas’s Blanche Lincoln); as Tea Party insurgents (Sharron Angle in Nevada). South Carolina gubernatorial hopeful Nikki Haley even came in first despite multiple allegations of adultery.

But mostly, they won as Republicans. Conservative Republicans, in fact. Conservative Republicans endorsed by Sarah Palin, in many cases. Which generated a certain amount of angst in the liberal commentariat about What It All Meant For Feminism. . . .

June 14, 2010 in Current Affairs, Women, General | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Life-Saving Abortions and Catholic Doctrine

USA Today: Faith and Reason: Can abortion be life-saving? Does mother's life count?:

Rosary Here's a horrific choice: OK an abortion for a pregnant woman facing heart failure or let her die?

Now, make that question tougher: You're a Catholic sister charged with standing for the teachings of the Church in the administration of the biggest hospital in town, one that adheres to Catholic teachings forbidding any cooperation with the intrinsic evil of abortion.

And the woman, mother of four, is in crisis. She can't be moved to another hospital. Now what?

What happened at St. Joseph's Hospital in Phoenix, according to the Arizona Republic's Mike Clancy, is that Sister of Mercy Margaret McBride interpreted the bishops' health care directives to permit a life saving procedure when doctors said there was no other choice. The directives include a provision for procedures that could kill a fetus if essential to save the life of the mother. For someone with pulmonary hypertension, the only treatment is to take the strain of pregnancy off her heart.

Wrong answer, ruled the diocese. . . . 

May 20, 2010 in Abortion, Current Affairs, Religion and Reproductive Rights | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, April 30, 2010

The Rise of the Abortion Doula

Slate Magazine: What's an Abortion Doula?, by Marisa Meltzer:

They're strangers who will hold your hand while you go under the knife.

A recent Bust magazine article on the pregnancy assistants known as doulas contained this description of their duties: "Sometimes the doula will hold a woman's hand or rub her scalp to calm her; other times, she may crack corny jokes or trade dating stories." Except the article wasn't about a doula entertaining a woman in labor—it was about a doula helping a woman during her abortion.

Assisting a woman during her vacuum aspiration was not always part of a doula's job description. Most doulas serve pregnant women in the last few months before and during her delivery. (Doula comes from a Greek term meaning "woman of service" or "caregiver." Some translations say it comes from "female slave.") They've become more popular in the United States over the last few decades as interest in individualized birth plans has increased. They're not the same as midwives, who have medical training, or social workers, who have advanced degrees. Doulas are meant to be a reassuring presence during labor—an ally whose sole interest is in the happiness of the mom-to-be. They have evolved as jack-of-all trades, on call for hand-holding, massage, acupressure, breathing techniques, or pain management. Some postpartum doulas will even do housework and run errands. They can cost anywhere from $300 to a few thousand dollars. . . .

April 30, 2010 in Abortion, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

San Francisco Endorses New Policy for the Treatment of HIV

NY Times: City Endorses New Policy for Treatment of H.I.V., by Sabin Russell:

AIDS_ribbon In a major shift of H.I.V. treatment policy, San Francisco public health doctors have begun to advise patients to start taking antiviral medicines as soon as they are found to be infected, rather than waiting — sometimes years — for signs that their immune systems have started to fail.

The new, controversial city guidelines, to be announced next week by the Department of Public Health, may be the most forceful anywhere in their endorsement of early treatment against H.I.V., the virus that causes AIDS.

Ever since combinations of antiviral drugs were found to slow progression of the disease in the mid-1990s, doctors and patients have wrestled with the question of when to begin a lifetime regimen of costly and sometimes toxic medicines. The answer remains in dispute, but public health leaders here are now making a case for a change. . . . 

April 7, 2010 in Current Affairs, Medical News, Sexually Transmitted Disease | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Thousands March in Annual "March for Life" Abortion Protest

Wash. Post: Thousands march in D.C. demonstration against abortion, by William Wan:

Megaphone Chanting, yelling and singing their way down Constitution Avenue, tens of thousands of abortion opponents marched through the cold Friday in the annual March for Life , marking the 37th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion.

This year, organizers from the Americans United for Life group also added a "Virtual March for Life," where online users unable to attend in person could create avatars and march along a Google Maps version of the Mall. Or, as their ad on YouTube put it: "Click and be heard."

But those who braved the cold and overcast weather to make it to the event heard a message that centered on fighting the now-stalled health-care reform package and ensuring that any future health-care plans would prohibit the use of federal funding for abortions.

Many at the rally cited the election of Republican Scott Brown to the U.S. Senate in Massachusetts as a sign of a shifting momentum to conservative causes such as theirs. . . .

January 24, 2010 in Abortion, Anti-Choice Movement, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, December 28, 2009

Defense of Oklahoma Anti-Abortion Laws Adds to State Spending

Tulsa World: State's bills stack up in fight over anti-abortion laws, by Barbara Hoberock:

OK State Flag OKLAHOMA CITY — The costs of defending two controversial abortion measures continue to rise.

In August, an Oklahoma County district judge tossed out Senate Bill 1878, which would have required a woman seeking an abortion to have an ultrasound within an hour of the abortion and have the details explained to her.

Oklahoma County District Judge Vicki Robertson said the measure violated a provision of the Oklahoma Constitution that requires a law to deal with a single subject. The bill also covered the posting of signs in clinics, administration of the "abortion pill" RU-486 and lawsuits.

Her ruling has been appealed to the Oklahoma Supreme Court.

The state spent $97,000 to hire an abortion law expert to defend the law, said Charlie Price, a spokesman for Oklahoma Attorney General Drew Edmondson.

Adding to the cost is the staff time of an assistant attorney general who worked on the case. His salary is $62,000 a year, but he works on other cases as well, Price said.

"It is our responsibility to defend these statutes," he said.

The state is also defending House Bill 1595 . . . .

December 28, 2009 in Abortion, Current Affairs, In the Courts, State and Local News, State Legislatures | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, November 30, 2009

Moms Increasingly Rely on iPhone

Slate Magazine: Mother's Little Helper, by Michael Agger:

The iPhone is the ultimate kid-pacification device

Iphone Move over, patio man. My new favorite demographic is the iPhone mom. A recent survey from a mobile-advertising company says that iPhone moms make up 25 percent of iPhone users and rely on their phone for such things as: scheduling! Store locating! Downloading coupons! All very nice, but the key stat is that 59 percent of these moms let their children use the phone. That leaves me wondering what's up with the other 41 percent. The iPhone is the ultimate kid-pacification device.

The iPhone moms (and dads) walk a fine line when they hand over their phone. (In mobile-scholarship circles, this behavior is known as the "pass-back.") Typically, iPhone parents are the kind who limit TV and "screen time" and would cringe at buying a Nintendo DS for a 4-year-old. This is the wooden-toy crowd, who plan to sign up Sophie for Suzuki any day now. Yet, they—OK, me—really love their iPhones. So sleek, so intuitive—and isn't it incredible that even a 1-year-old can figure out how to use it? . . . .

November 30, 2009 in Current Affairs, Parenthood, Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)