Roundup: Women’s Health Groups Disappointed by Obama on Stimulus

Emily Douglas

Women's health groups disappointed by Obama on the stimulus; National Right to Life Committee decries Newsweek story on "abortion reduction" strategies; Virginia bill to regulate pharmacies that refuse to dispense birth control tabled; Ellen Goodman on the stimulus.

Women’s Health Groups Disappointed by, But Not Cursing, Obama

From Planned Parenthood to NOW to National Family Planning and
Reproductive Health Association, women’s health and rights groups
expressed frustration and disappointment that Obama publicly pushed for
family planning provisions to be cut from the stimulus while making it
clear that they still expect him to ensure the same Medicaid family
planning expansion in the coming weeks, reports Politico. For example:

Jane Gallagher, president and CEO of the National Family Planning and
Reproductive Health Association, said she was “devastated” by Obama’s
decision. But she added, “He’s made commitments to fund family
planning and do it quickly. … The president had a tough choice, and
he told us he was going to make them and we have to stick with him, and
I’m sticking with him because I fully expect really quick action on
this,” said Gallagher.

Anti-Choicers Decry Newsweek Story on "Abortion Reduction" Focus
The National Right to Life Committee has "put a hit out on Sarah
Kliff," Newsweek reporter, for a recent story that examined the
emergence of new political strategies in the anti-choice movement that
don’t focus on overturning Roe v. Wade and instead attempt to "reduce
the need" for abortion, writes Kurt Soller.  Soller adds,

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their long essay, they accuse our piece of, essentially, making up a
pro-life strategy that they say doesn’t exist, squaring the blame on
Sarah for saying that groups of people are working together when they
actually aren’t. Click above to read their essay, which ends with this
line: "There will be no end to stories [like Newsweek’s].Their
objective is to convince us that people and organizations, whose entire
reason for existence is to multiply the number of abortions, have
suddenly seen the bipartisan/compromise/common ground light."

Kliff herself responded:

As I write in my story, even when
you arrive at the “common ground” of abortion politics, there are
complex fault lines to navigate. The pro-life movement is not giving up
their fight to overturn Roe v. Wade – nor does my story suggest that
they should. There are, however, some activists and legislators
pursuing additional strategies, including the abortion reduction
legislation that I explore in this story. One of the complexities to
navigate here is language: what defines an ‘abortion reduction’
strategy? Restricting access to clinics that provide abortion has been
one way the pro-life movement has attempted to reduce abortion in the
United States.

Now, some pro-life legislators and activists
are considering a different definition: reducing the need for abortion
through socioeconomic supports. The Support Pregnant Women Act is a
good example of this. The legislation aims to reduce abortion through,
among other provisions, better Medicaid assistance and more resources
for parenting students. It has received support from many legislators
with strong pro-life records, including Chris Smith (R-NJ) who spoke at
the March for Life I attended. The pro-life leaders I spoke with didn’t
see these strategies as forcing activists to ‘give up the fight to pass
legislation,’ but another way to pursue a pro-life agenda.

Bill to Compel Regulate Pharmacies That Refuse to Dispense Birth Control Tabled
A Virginia bill which would have regulated pharmacies, including
self-identified "pro-life pharmacies," that refuse to fill birth control
prescriptions will not come up for a vote this year, claims Bob Laird, Executive Director of Divine Mercy Care. The bill read: “Any pharmacist who refuses to fill a
prescription for contraception shall ensure that the patient seeking
such contraception is treated in a nonjudgmental manner and is not
subjected to indignity, humiliation, or breeches in confidentiality.
The pharmacist shall not confiscate a prescription for contraception
that he refuses to fill.”  Catholic News Agency reports:

The bill also required licensed
pharmacies which do not prescribe contraceptives to place a
“conspicuous notice” in at least 30-point boldface type in both English

Ellen Goodman on the Stimulus
When family planning was dropped out of the stimulus, "Score one for the ideologues," writes Ellen Goodman in the Seattle Times.

Goodman observes, 

I’m not sure if family-planning expansion would stimulate the economy any more or less than the rest of $87 billion for Medicaid in the plan. I’m not sure if it would jump-start the recovery more or less than, say, arts funding. But I am sure why it was targeted. The right wing was back at the game.

Other News to Note

Jan 29: Life News: Mexico Supreme Court Will Hear Abortion Case on
Pro-Life Baja Amendment

CBS News: CBS News Learns Mother of California Octuplets Has Six Older Children Already

Missouri Life News: Anesthesia For Dying Babies

Jan 29: MSNBC: State Funding For Family Planning Nurse Program Gets
Extended Until June 2009

Jan 29: Nonpareil Online: Christie Vilsack targets unintended pregnancies

Jan 29: The State: S.C. Politics today: Panel oks 24-hour wait on abortions

Jan 29: Newspaper Tree: El Paso billboards for ProLife Across America

Jan 29: The Earth Times: NBC Sacks Pro-Life Super Bowl Ad

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