Abortion

RealTime: Tancredo Wants Taxpayers to Fund CPC

Amie Newman

Tom Tancredo says no to money for contraception, STI testing or preventive health services and yes to anti-choice propaganda.

While Rudy Giuliani, a semi-supporter of reproductive rights, racks up the endorsements and leads in the polls, Tom Tancredo (not to mention Mitt Romney and Ron Paul) continues to sound his anti-choice siren.

On Friday, October 12th, after visiting the Women’s Choice Center in Bettendorf, Colorado, Tom Tancredo told reporters at a news conference that he would de-fund Planned Parenthood health centers around the country if he became President.

The Women’s Choice Center is what is known as a crisis pregnancy center (or “CPC”) – anti-choice agencies that attempt to steer women away from abortions through tactics that have been called “deceitful” and “deceptive” inspiring legislation by Rep. Carolyn Maloney to bar those tactics and a report by Rep. Henry Waxman to analyze the centers’ methods.

But Tancredo had a different take on the center. Because the center offers free sonograms and “other health services to discourage pregnant women from considering abortions”, Tancredo promised to provide support to groups like the Women’s Choice Center.

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“As president, I will do everything in my power to support and promote the use of sonograms so that women are informed about their unborn child before making the decision to abort,” he said in a statement.

It is unclear why the use of sonograms or ultrasounds by this particular center seems unique to Tancredo. One would be hard-pressed to find a medical center catering to pregnant women or women who believe they are pregnant without an ultrasound machine. After a positive pregnancy test, a pregnant woman needs an ultrasound not only to help determine how far along she may be but also to ensure the safety and viability of the pregnancy.

A quick look at the Women’s Choice Center’s web site (the facility is located at 2711 Happy Joe Drive – really) tells you that their medical director “will support Level 1 imaging from the 8th thru 18th week of gestation.” But when I called pretending to be pregnant and asking to make an appointment to see a doctor, the woman on the other end of the line seemed incredibly nervous and couldn’t tell me whether or not I’d actually see a physician. She said she’d prefer to schedule me for a pregnancy test first and then she’d refer me to a doctor. When I tried to press on to ask if they had doctors at their center, she evaded the question and said she’d rather take it one step at a time.

Tancredo believes that centers like this one should receive taxpayer funds and not full-fledged health centers like Planned Parenthood that provide medial care to both women and men in the form of: contraception, sexually transmitted infection testing and treatment, pap smears, annual exams, HIV/AIDS tests, pregnancy testing, extensive referrals, education and yes, abortion care. Via The Des Moines Register, Tancredo is reported as saying:

“I think it’s a travesty, the amount of taxpayer money Planned Parenthood gets,” he said. “I would try to stop any type of federal funding for Planned Parenthood.”

News Abortion

Alabama GOP Makes Another Push to Regulate Abortion Clinics Like Sex Offenders

Teddy Wilson

Republican legislators are also backing a law that would require abortion providers to disclose their personal finances.

Two anti-choice bills have gained traction in the Alabama state legislature this month. One seeks to regulate abortion clinics in the same manner as sex offenders, and the other would require physicians who provide abortion care to disclose information about their personal finances to patients.

SB 205, sponsored by state Sen. Paul Sanford (R-Huntsville), would prohibit the Alabama Department of Public Health from issuing or renewing a health center license to an abortion clinic or reproductive health center located within 2,000 feet of a public school, regulating abortion clinics in the same manner as registered sex offenders.

Mia Raven, director of the Montgomery Area Reproductive Justice Coalition, previously told Rewire that “it’s insulting to women to compare a reproductive health-care center to sex offenders.”

Sanford told the Times Daily that he didn’t want a repeat of last year, when similar legislation passed in the house but stalled in the state senate.

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Lawmakers passed that anti-choice measure in the GOP-controlled house in a 79-15 vote. It then passed through a senate committee with three days left in the legislative session. However, the bill failed to reach the senate floor for a vote, despite Republicans holding a 26-8 majority in that chamber.

Sanford told the Times Daily that the legislation is not intended to limit the number of clinics that provide abortion services in the state, but he does not think clinics should be located across the street from a school “because they do tend to cause a certain amount of commotion on a regular basis.”

The bill specifically targeted a Huntsville-area abortion clinic that was forced by state legislators three years ago to relocate across the street from a school. The Alabama Women’s Center, one of five clinics in the state providing abortion care, reportedly spent $550,000 on relocating to comply with a targeted regulation of abortion providers (TRAP) law Republican Gov. Robert Bentley signed in 2013. 

“We can put a restriction on whether a liquor store opens up across the street and make sure pedophiles stay away from schools,” Sanford said. “I just think having an abortion clinic that close to elementary-age school children that actually have to walk on the sidewalk past it is not the best thing.”

Rep. Ed Henry (R-Hartselle), who sponsored similar legislation in 2015, told the Times Daily that he will again sponsor the legislation in the house but has yet to file the measure.

SB 205 has been referred to the senate Health and Human Services Committee, where it awaits further action.

Rep. Kerry Rich (R-Guntersville) introduced HB 183, which would require physicians to provide a pregnant person seeking abortion with information, including a sonogram, showing the entire fetus and specific information regarding the fetus.

Under state law, a physician must provide a pregnant person with an ultrasound before performing an abortion, and give the patient the option of viewing the ultrasound image.

Susan Watson, executive director of the ACLU of Alabama, told AL.com that a similar bill in North Carolina has been blocked by federal courts. “This battle has already been fought,” Watson said. “The judges said that women should not have to listen to the description of the fetus by the doctor. That was a million-dollar lawsuit.”

HB 183 would require that the physician provide the patient with a conflict of interest disclaimer that would disclose the physician’s personal financial information.

Among the financial information the physician would be required to disclose: gross income from the previous fiscal year, percentage of income obtained from providing abortion services, and a statement “concerning the monetary loss to the abortion provider which would result from the woman’s decision to carry the pregnancy to term.”

Rich told AL.com that his goal is to provide pregnant people with more information about abortion.

“Some people have this idea that this is just a gob of mass and that’s all it is,” Rich said. “I personally have the belief that it’s a living human being, not a future living human being. If people have a better understanding, if they are educated about what they are doing, they might make a different choice.”

Watson said that she’s not aware of any other legislation requiring abortion providers to disclose financial information. “Abortion opponents often try things in Alabama first to see if they can get them passed here,” Watson said.

HB 183 has been referred to the house Health Committee, where it awaits further action.

News Abortion

Kansas Planned Parenthood Investigation Found No Wrongdoing, Governor Still Wants to Cut Funding

Jenn Stanley

Like many across the country, an investigation in Kansas found that Planned Parenthood was not involved with the illegal sale of fetal tissue.

Kansas’ medical board found no wrongdoing in yet another state investigation into whether Planned Parenthood engaged in the illegal sale of fetal tissue; the results of that investigation were released last week. Even so, Gov. Sam Brownback (R) announced his plans Tuesday to cut all Medicaid funding for the health-care organization.

“After careful review of the investigative materials, the Panel determined no further action would be taken at this time; however the materials will be kept on file and reviewed again in the event future issues arise,” Dan Riley, State Board of Healing Arts disciplinary attorney, wrote in a letter to Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri.

“We absolutely feel vindicated by this,” Laura McQuade, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri, said in a press statement regarding the findings.

Brownback joined many lawmakers last year when he launched the investigation to find out whether the state’s Planned Parenthood was illegally selling donated fetal tissue, after the Center for Medical Progress (CMP), an anti-choice front group, released secretly recorded, highly edited videos making the widely discredited allegations.

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All of these investigations have turned up no wrongdoing, but that hasn’t stopped GOP-dominated legislatures around the country from trying to defund Planned Parenthood.

In Kansas, many anti-choice lawmakers refuse to accept the findings.

“I think the Board of Healing Arts should take another look,” state Sen. Jake LaTurner (R-Pittsburg) told the Associated Press.

McQuade told Rewire that the governor knew that the medical board had cleared Planned Parenthood’s Overland Park clinic of wrongdoing in its letter, dated January 7. Yet during his State of the State address earlier this week, Brownback still cited the organization’s alleged “trafficking of baby body parts.”

McQuade told Rewire that she worries that these statements by the governor are misleading to Kansans.

“I have deep concerns that a governor would knowingly continue to use false information,” McQuade told Rewire. “The defamation piece is bad in and of itself, but to use that as the basis to make a dramatic policy to cut Planned Parenthood from the Medicaid program in Kansas is outrageous.”

Officials from Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri and other abortion providers in the state have said that they don’t even have programs that allow legal donations of fetal tissue. Earlier this week, Planned Parenthood Federation of America filed a lawsuit against CMP, charging that along with multiple co-conspirators, CMP and its leaders engaged in illegal conduct including racketeering, fraud, invasion of privacy, illegal secret recording, and trespassing.

“CMP fabricated a story about Planned Parenthood’s practices, which fueled a toxic environment across the country and right here at home in Kansas and Missouri,” McQuade said in a statement regarding the lawsuit. “Emboldened by CMP’s fabrication, Governor Sam Brownback, in his 2016 State of the State address knowingly made false statements against Planned Parenthood and used those false statements to justify defunding the organization in the state of Kansas.”

Planned Parenthood only operates one of Kansas’ three abortion clinics, which is located in Overland Park. There is one other abortion clinic in Overland Park and one in Wichita. McQuade told Rewire that the GOP-dominated legislature’s extreme conservative social agenda has made the state hostile territory for those seeking and providing abortion services. She added that Brownback’s attack on Medicaid funding for Planned Parenthood goes beyond women’s access to reproductive health care.

“It’s also a vehicle to push his agenda of limiting health access,” McQuade said. “Other health outcomes in the state are significantly lower than in other parts of the country because of this hostility toward the government’s role in ensuring that people in this state, regardless of income level, have access to the health care they need.”