Focus 54: A Republican Conference on Women

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Hot News Stories (7/31/14)

Politico (Boston, MA)
Massachusetts has now replaced its 35-foot family planning clinic buffer zone with a new dispersal zone law intended to withstand Supreme Court scrutiny, but elsewhere, state and local officials are still trying to determine the effectiveness and constitutionality of their own buffer zones.

Military Times News (Washington, DC)
Legislation mandating that military servicewomen and Tricare beneficiaries are able to receive FDA-approved contraception at retail pharmacies and through the mail without co-payment was introduced in the Senate Wednesday. Currently, the rate of unplanned pregnancies in the military is 50 percent higher than among civilian women and the Defense Department is not required to provide active-duty female troops family planning counseling.

ABC Local (Albany, GA)
Family planning services across the state of Georgia have been awarded a $23.4 million Title X grant for family planning services, a preventive healthcare program first signed into law by Republican president Richard Nixon.

MS Last Remaining Family Planning Clinic To Remain Open

A federal appeals court ruled on Tuesday against an anti-choice Mississippi law requiring doctors at reproductive health clinics that provide abortions to obtain admitting privileges at a local hospital, something the doctors of Mississippi’s only remaining family planning clinic attempted to obtain at seven different hospitals and were denied at all of them.

When the Governor signed the anti-choice bill into law in 2012, he said he hoped it would end abortion in the state. In defending the law, state attorneys even depended on the concept that women could and should travel outside of their own state for their reproductive healthcare needs. However, Judge E. Grady Jolly, a Ronald Reagan appointee, countered this reasoning by citing the principles of federalism and state sovereignty, writing “a state cannot lean on its sovereign neighbors to provide protection of its citizens’ federal constitutional rights.”

The court made the ruling on a state-by-state basis, stating that the narrow ruling deemed the law unconstitutional only in Mississippi because it would close the state’s last family planning clinic. Judge Jolly specifically wrote that Mississippi may not shift its constitutional obligations to respect its citizens’ constitutional right to reproductive healthcare to another state.

Missouri, Tennessee, Texas, Utah and North Dakota currently have laws requiring admitting privileges that have shut down or are threatening to shut down clinics, and four of those states have had the law blocked by courts. Unfortunately, the same appeals court that ruled in favor of women’s reproductive rights on Tuesday upheld an identical law that closed over half of family planning clinics in Texas leaving a stretch of land without a reproductive healthcare provider that is more miles than the distance Mississippians would have to travel to go out of state.

Though the ruling is a victory for Mississippi women, it does not address the unconstitutional undue burden that all admitting privileges laws put on women seeking abortions. RMC addressed the truth about hospital admitting privileges, their anti-choice purpose and harmful consequences, in a recent blog, emphasizing that both the American Medical Association and the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists oppose the measure.

Hot News Stories (7/30/14)

Jackson Free Press (Jackson, MS)
A federal appeals court ruled against a Mississippi law that would have closed its remaining family planning clinic on Tuesday. Judge E. Grady Jolly, a Ronald Reagan appointee, wrote in the majority opinion that Mississippi may not shift its constitutional obligations to respect its citizens’ constitutional right to reproductive healthcare to another state.

Boston Globe (Boston, MA)
The Massachusetts state legislature sent a bi-partisan bill aimed at curbing harassment and obstruction outside family planning clinics to Governor Deval Patrick on Tuesday. He is expected to sign it into law soon.

The Gainesville Sun (Gainesville, FL)
“Sex education and access to reliable, long-term birth control should be a priority in our community and beyond. Prevention of pregnancy requires knowledge, commitment and resources, but the outcome for society in general is tremendous. The outcome for each child born into a secure, nurturing environment is wonderful and predictably positive.”

Hot News Stories (7/29/14)

Arizona Daily Star (Phoenix, AZ)
Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne got permission Monday to ask the Supreme Court to void a federal appellate court ruling blocking the state from limiting the use of medications for drug-induced abortions.

US News (Denver, CO)
“Changes in contraceptive policy simulating the Contraceptive Choice Project would prevent as many as 41% to 71% of abortions performed annually in the United States,” according to a study done at Washington University in St. Louis in 2012. 

WAPT Local News (Jackson, MS)
A court hearing was held Monday in which a judge found two anti-choice protesters guilty of obstructing a public sidewalk during recent protests.

Hot News Stories (7/28/14)

Washington Times (Washington, DC)
Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel is continuing to defend the state’s anti-choice 12-week abortion ban to a federal appeals court, arguing the state has a legitimate interest in barring the procedure at that point in a woman’s pregnancy, even though such a ban violates Supreme Court precedents.

KSN News (Kansas City, KS) 
One of four remaining clinics in Kansas that provide abortions has closed because its doctor and manager have retired. The clinic manager says former patients need to fight for reproductive rights instead of relying on clinic workers to wage that battle.

WRCB News (Nashville, TN)
If the  proposed anti-choice amendment to the Tennessee’s state constitution succeeds in this fall, the state would have “unlimited constitutional authority to pass any regulation or restriction on abortion that they like, including banning abortion with no exceptions for rape or incest.”

Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel (Milwaukee, WI)
Despite a recent court decision, Wisconsin workers of private businesses that have religious objections to birth control can still obtain contraceptives as part of their health coverage at no cost, a state official said.


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