Hot News Stories (8/12/15)

IB Times (USA)
Three Christian universities have garnered support from 16 states in their fight against the Affordable Care Act’s mandate that requires for-profit companies to cover birth control in their health insurance offerings.

Los Angeles Times (Los Angeles, CA)
Last week the 2nd Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in New York knocked down an assertion by two Roman Catholic high schools and two Catholic healthcare systems that their religious rights are violated by even the requirement that they put their objections to contraception on the record so the government, their insurers, and their employees can make other arrangements.

Houston Chronicle (Houston, TX)
Defunding Planned Parenthood would in essence defund women’s health services, principally access to birth control. Furthermore, any cuts to its services would fall most heavily on lower-income patients – 79 percent of people receiving services from Planned Parenthood in 2012 were at or below 150 percent of the poverty level, or about $18,500 for a single adult.


Anti-Choice Legislators Get Between Doctors and Patients

Tennessee family planning clinics face an uncertain future. A new anti-choice law that went into effect July 1st, 2015 requires all clinics that provide over 50 abortion services annually to become licensed as ambulatory surgical treatment centers and require patients to undergo a 48-hour waiting period after already receiving an in-person counseling by a physician. Two clinics in the state claimed that they were unable to obtain licenses in time to comply with the law, resulting in a temporary restraining order on the state by Judge Kevin Sharp.

The order was lifted on Monday by Sharp who observed that the clinics and licensing officials were working toward resolving the issue. However, the judge may revisit the order on account of concerns by the clinics’ attorneys. Physicians at the clinics feel uncomfortable practicing under these targeted regulations, as they fear prosecution from the state, which is known for its strong anti-choice stance.

Situations like these highlight the government overreach associated with anti-choice restrictions, also known as TRAP laws or Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers. Taxpayer dollars are wasted in legal battles and in regulation over a safe and legal medical procedure that is already subject to more intense scrutiny than any other area of medicine. Health care decisions should remain between the doctor and the patient. When laws force the government’s hand into these personal health care relationships they usurp the power from licensed medical professionals, and interfere with a doctor’s ability to provide their best medical judgment. In addition, arbitrary waiting periods place women in tough financial and transport situations in which they often cannot afford the time or the money to make two clinic visits. Some have to travel hundreds of miles just to meet for the consultation.

Tennessee is the only state advancing such anti-choice legislation. It’s no secret that these laws unduly target family planning facilities and associated entities while average hospitals and clinics are allowed to continue on without interference. Millions of taxpayer dollars are wasted defending anti-choice laws in the courts each year while millions of private, hard-earned dollars are wasted following them.


First Republican Debates

Tonight we will see the first Republican debates for candidates seeking the Republican nomination in the 2016 Presidential Election. Hosted by Fox News, the main debate begins tonight at 9PM ET with the ten poll-leading candidates. The top polling candidates were recently determined by Fox to include Donald Trump, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, Wisconsin Governot Scott Walker, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, neurosurgeon Ben Carson, Texas Senator Ted Cruz, Florida Senator Marco Rubio, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, and Ohio Governor John Kasich.

The remaining seven Republicans running for the nomination will be a part of a separate debate known as the “Happy Hour” debate, also hosted by Fox News, at 5PM ET. These candidates include former Texas Governor Rick Perry, former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, former HP head Carly Fiorina, South Carolina Sentor Lindsey Graham, former New York Governor George Patacki, and former Virginia Governor Jim Gilmore. These debates will be the public’s first opportunity to see firsthand how these candidates differ in their stances and plans. With a pool as large as this, each Republican must make a strong case for his or her campaign if they hope to receive the nomination next year.


RMC Remembers Founder and Friend, Elsie Hillman, 1925-2015

Republican Majority for Choice joins our members and friends across the country in mourning the loss of our dear friend and RMC Board member Elsie Hillman. Philanthropist and political activist, Elsie devoted her life to others. From her early years as a volunteer with HIV/AIDS patients in Pittsburgh to her time as the Chairwoman of the Pennsylvania state GOP and a member of the Republican National Committee, her influence was felt in her community and across the nation.  

In 1989, Elsie Hillman was a founding member of Republican Majority for Choice (formerly Republican Pro-Choice Coalition). Over the course of her life she supported numerous mainstream Republican leaders and in 1975 she was elected by her peers to the position of Republican national committeewoman, a position she would hold for 21 years. Throughout her life she took on causes she cared about and never shied away from controversy or hard work.  From her work in the 1970s to advance the Equal Rights Amendment, to her life-long pro-choice activism, she championed many social causes and fought to grow and support the political participation of women.  Elsie was also an influential player in national Republican politics, often fondly referred to as a “kingmaker.” 

Elsie passed away on August 4th, 2015.  She is best remembered in her own words, “It is possible to see something good and to work for it and even dare to achieve it. Don’t be a spectator. You are needed in every corner of the community.” 

RMC extends our condolences to her family, and take this time to remember a devoted friend and a great pro-choice ally. A community memorial service to celebrate her life is being planned for Sept. 19 at 10:30 a.m. at Calvary Episcopal Church in Pittsburgh.

Read Mrs. Hillman’s obituary in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette here, and a statement from the Hillman family here


Hot News Stories (8/5/15)

Washington Times (Washington, DC)

Anti-choice members of the U.S. Senate announced new legislation Tuesday to bar the government from forcing business to provide insurance for drugs and services, namely contraception, that violate their moral beliefs, tapping into renewed debates over religious liberty, abortion and the persistent legal fight over Obamacare’s birth control mandate.

CBS News (USA)

A federal judge in San Francisco has extended a restraining order that blocks an anti-choice group from releasing any recordings that it secretly gathered at annual meetings of an abortion providers’ association.

Yahoo News (USA)

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal has pulled Planned Parenthood from Medicaid funding in his state — meaning the more than 4,000 Medicaid patients who received services from the organization last year can no longer be treated there. None of the Planned Parenthood clinics in Louisiana offer abortion services.


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