Washington Post (Washington, DC)
Anti-choice business owners are waging a broad rebellion against providing their employees with contraceptive coverage, bringing dozens of lawsuits that seem certain to land the issue before the Supreme Court.
Lincoln Journal-Star (Lincoln, NE)
A ruling this week striking down Arizona’s so-called fetal pain law will have no immediate impact on a similar anti-choice law in Nebraska, which in 2010 became the first state to ban abortions beginning at the 20th week after conception.
Detroit Free Press (Detroit, MI)
Right-to-Life Michigan, stung in December when Republican Gov. Rick Snyder vetoed anti-choice legislation that would have required those buying health insurance to purchase a separate rider to cover abortions, have a new tactic — one that would bypass Snyder’s pen and statewide ballots.
Seattle Times (Seattle, WA)
Anti-choice House Republicans on Wednesday promoted a national version of the DC 20-week abortion ban, despite recent court decisions that have struck down similar state laws. The GOP lawmakers also are taking on their own leadership, which has shown little desire to hold votes on contentious social issues.
Fox News (USA)
A federal court Tuesday struck down Arizona’s anti-choice ban on abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy absent a medical emergency.
Bloomberg News (New York, NY)
The U.S. law requiring employers to provide health insurance coverage for birth control is set to come before an appeals court in cases brought by two businesses whose owners say they operate according to Catholic doctrine.
The Hill (Washington, DC)
Film and television stars hit Republicans on Wednesday for their opposition to abortion rights and free access to birth control.
The Hill (Washington, DC)
Pro-choice advocates in the House and Senate are looking to stop deceptive advertising practices by anti-choice “crisis pregnancy centers” that imply they offer abortion services, but instead encourage birth and often offer misleading information about the procedure.
At any given time, there are 110 million sexually transmitted infections among men and women across the nation, according to the CDC. Tech-savvy young people contract half of all new cases, driving the development of new high-tech STD prevention tools geared toward them.
Huffington Post (USA)
New government figures underscore the staggering long-term consequences of military sexual assaults: More than 85,000 veterans were treated last year for injuries or illness linked to the abuse, and 4,000 sought disability benefits.
Huffington Post (USA)
Using the despicable crimes of Kermit Gosnell as misleading excuse, anti-choice Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ) announced on Friday that he intends to expand his proposed District of Columbia 20-week abortion ban to apply nationwide.
ABC News (USA)
A federal judge on Friday temporarily blocked enforcement of one of the country’s most stringent anti-choice laws, an Arkansas ban on abortion at the 12th week of pregnancy, saying the law was likely to be declared unconstitutional.
The News-Herald (Painesville, OH)
The state budget passed by the Ohio House threatens funding for the Family Planning Association of Northeast Ohio, a provider of reproductive health care to nearly 5,000 low-income, uninsured individuals yearly. For many of its patients the FPA is the only source of health care.
The Rockford Register Star (Rockford, IL)
The extent to which children in public schools are taught about sex, abstinence and contraception could change if Illinois’ comprehensive sex-education bill becomes law.
This week, in response to a Facebook post about the repercussions of Texas’ drastic cuts to family planning funds in 2011, one commenter wrote:
“I respectfully disagree that it is the governments responsibility to provide family planning. Definitely not to fund private organizations. It is the duty of the family to educate and council girls on the consequences of sexual activities – good and not so good.”
In 2011, anti-choice Texas Lawmakers reduced their state budget for the Women’s Health Program (WHP) by nearly two-thirds, from $111 million to $37.9 million yearly, and they were not shy about their political purposes:to starve all funding for Planned Parenthood. This drastic action caused them to also lose their allotted federal funding, another $30 million yearly. Texas has the highest uninsured rate in the country, with 28.8 percent of all residents without insurance, including one quarter of all Texas women. Through public-private partnerships between state and federal governments and private health centers, the WHP had provided both basic and reproductive health care for the most vulnerable women and families in the state since 1999. Through federal block grants, the Texas WHP received approx $9 for every $1 the state spent on preventive care. By utilizing this public-private partnership, Texas women were able to receive the highest quality of care for the lowest possible cost to the state government. Without this funding model, these low-income and uninsured patients would be pushed to emergency rooms and to private physicians at full cost to the state. Planned Parenthood is the most widely accessible and proven quality women’s health care service in the country. Prior to the 2011 cuts, Planned Parenthood clinics provided healthcare services to nearly half of the over 100,000 women enrolled in the Women’s Health Program. In many parts of Texas, Planned Parenthood served as much as 80 percent of the population.
Having rejected federal Medicaid funds, Texas must now try and come up with around $200 million dollars over the next five years, on top of the cuts they made to the state budget. This is already having detrimental effects on women and the state. In the past two years 56 of Texas’ 117 family planning clinics have closed, including 51 Planned Parenthood clinics– none of which provided abortions. These clinic closings have left nearly 50,000 Texas women without access to health care. While officials are claiming the Texas Health and Human Services Commission is capable of making up the difference through existing state-approved health centers, Texas women are largely finding themselves unable to find providers that accept Medicaid. And many of those that do participate in the WHP are not currently accepting new clients. The effects on women and families to date is devastating. From 2010 to 2012 the number of unintended pregnancies has increased by over 30,000, even while rates drop nationwide. During this same time the number of new STI transmissions has also increased significantly.
Unintended pregnancies have long-term negative effects for individuals and the government. The additional cost to taxpayers is estimated to be as much as $273 million– approx. $110 million to the state’s general revenue budget alone, most of this due to the cost of caring for infants under Medicaid. Low-income women with unintended pregnancies are more likely to remain dependent on government programs for extended periods of time, further increasing the cost to taxpayers. The sharp rise in unintended pregnancies will also dramatically increase the number of abortions statewide.
Finding the most cost-effective means to provide quality care and decrease the number of unintended pregnancies is a goal that both sides of the ‘choice’ debate can support. Increasing access to contraception, and providing comprehensive sex-education, that stresses abstinence, but includes factual information about prevention, is a smart place to start. While some may believe it is the purview of the family to educate their children about sex, Texas has been using federal dollars to fund proven ineffective abstinence-only-until-marriage education for decades. In fact, an analysis of abstinence only education in Texas revealed that the percentage of students who reported having engaged in sexual intercourse increased for nearly all ages. Abstinence plus comprehensive sex education programs promote healthy families, have broad support from the American public, and do not sacrifice a commitment to traditional values. And studies have shown that for every $1 million spent on such programs would save $2.5 million of tax-payers money. Increasing access to preventive care and choosing abstinence plus comprehensive sex-ed over abstinence-only is both the right thing to do for our families and our pocketbooks.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 1 so far )
Bangor Daily News (Bangor, ME)
The top general in the U.S. Armed Forces warned of a crisis of confidence in the growing ranks of women soldiers after a rash of sexual assault cases, which has prompted lawmakers, including mainsream Republican Senator Susan Collins (ME), to act.
CBS News (USA)
President Obama, meeting with Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel and top military leaders on Thursday, pledged a “sustained effort” to combat the problem of sexual assaults in the military.
San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco, CA)
North Carolina representatives passed new anti-choice abortion restrictions, including a measure to prohibit insurers joining a future health care exchange from providing abortion coverage, as they pressed against a Thursday deadline to keep bills alive through the end of the session in 2014.
Last week the Pentagon released a new report on sexual assault in the military showing a dramatic increase (35 percent) in the number of sexual assaults over the past two years. Based on confidential polling of active-duty troops conducted first in 2006, then 2010 and most recently in 2012. This report showed the number of sexual assaults increased from 19,000 to 26,000. In contrast to these numbers, the annual number of actual reported assaults only rose 13 percent from 2010 to 2012, revealing that there is still a significant disparity between the number of assaults and victims willingness to report. This report has drawn outrage from Capitol Hill. On Thursday, May 16, President Obama met with the joint chiefs to discuss the report as well as a series of sexual assault scandals that have recently been reported.
Also on Thursday, a bipartisan group of lawmakers announced legislation that would overhaul the military justice system by taking the response to sexual assault charges out of the chain of command and to an independent judicial authority. Taking the responsibility for prosecution of felony-level cases away from the military chain of command would make it easier for victims to seek justice, and make it less likely that the victim would be reporting to their perpetrator. Mainstream Republican and RMC ally Senator Susan Collins of Maine has been an advocate of this issue for years, and this week has taken the lead pushing new legislation. In a press conference Thursday morning she had this to say, “This epidemic of sexual abuse cannot stand. We must take these allegations seriously and, most of all, we must ensure that justice is swift and certain for the criminals who have perpetrated these crimes.” We applaud Senator Collins for being an outspoken and reliable advocate for America’s servicewomen.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
New York Times (New York, NY)
ABC News (USA)
Virginia-Pilot (Richmond, VA)
Kansas City Star (Kansas City, MO)
Doctors in Missouri would need to be in the room for the initial dose of the drug used in medical abortions under a measure given final legislative approval Monday, restricting the availability of these services.
Philadelphia News (Philadelphia, PA)
“Broadening access to birth control among low-income women reduces abortion rates. So if we want fewer Gosnells, we can put them out of business tomorrow by helping low-income women find the birth-control method that works best for them and then giving it to them for free.”
The Huffington Post (USA)
The truth is too many women do not have access to abortion care because of costs, and the need for abortion funds is crucial. The D.C. Abortion Fund is just one of the many funds across the country that has become even more critical to the lives of women as anti-choice legislation is increasingly restricting women’s access.
Washington Times (Washington, DC)
The Obama administration on Monday asked an appeals panel to delay the enforcement of a federal judge’s order to make emergency contraceptive available to women of all ages without a prescription.
A new report finds the US has the highest infant death rate in the industrialized world. The alarming report has clear implications for U.S. policy, particularly the importance of investing in and expanding the reach of programs like Medicaid and Title X that make affordable pregnancy-related care and family planning services available to millions of women otherwise unable to obtain such care.
Chicago Tribune (Chicago, IL)
For decades, some public schools in Illinois have taught only abstinence in sex education classes. Now a commonsense proposal one step from the governor’s desk would require that birth control information be included by schools that choose to teach about sexual activity.
News Observer (Raleigh, NC)
GOP Senators in North Carolina are pushing an anti-choice bill requiring health instructors to teach students that abortions can cause premature births in later pregnancies, even though the World Health Organization, American Academy of Pediatrics, American Public Health Association and others don’t support the science behind this claim.
Politico (Washington, DC)
Forty years after the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark Roe v. Wade case legalized abortion, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said the case is not her “ideal picture” for resolving the controversial issue of abortion.
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