Roundup: Republicans, Independents Endorse Contraception and Sexuality Education

Emily Douglas

Republicans, independent favor a reproductive health agenda; New York Times calls jettisoning of family planning provision "distressing;"more Catholic hospitals make noise on FOCA; Wisconsin clinic plans to offer second-trimester abortion and protests escalate; Erykah Badu twitters her home birth.

Republicans, Independents Favor Reproductive Health Agenda
On US News & World Report, Bonnie Erbe takes note
of a new survey conducted by the National Women’s Law Center, finding
even Republican and independent voters in favor of access to
contraception and sex education:

Nearly three-quarters (72%) of Republicans and
Independents favor legislation that would make it easier for people at
all income levels to obtain contraception, and 70 percent favor
legislation that would help make birth control more affordable. More
than 60 percent of fundamentalist/evangelical Protestants favor these

Only 8 percent of Republicans and Independents think the government
should support abstinence-only education. A strong majority of
Independents (76%) and Republicans (62%) believe the government should
support comprehensive sex education programs that include information
about abstinence, as well as information about contraception and
sexually transmitted diseases.


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New York Times Calls Jettisoning of Family Planning Provision "Distressing"

It was "distressing to see President Obama strip Medicaid coverage of family planning
services out of the House economic package at the last minute in what
turned out to be a futile effort to secure Republican support for the
huge recovery bill," wrote the New York Times in an editorial.  The Times offered a straightforward explanation of the "modest" provision:

Under current law, states wanting to use Medicaid money for family
planning services, including cancer screenings, must obtain a waiver
from Washington, as some 27 states have done. The modest provision that
was cut would have done away with the cumbersome process. The
Congressional Budget Office has estimated that the measure would
provide coverage to 2.3 million women by 2014 and save $200 million
over five years.

And the clear conclusion: "The knee-jerk opposition of House Republicans was but the latest sign
of G.O.P. insensitivity to women’s rights and health. President Obama
should no longer placate it."

More Catholic Hospitals Make Noise on FOCA
The Beacon
, of Illinois, examines whether Catholic hospitals would close if
the Freedom of Choice Act is passed (setting aside the question of
whether the Freedom of Choice Act would ever pass). 

"We’re not going to know what it’s specifically going to do until
the time it’s passed," said Patricia Pitkus Bainbridge, director of the
Rockford Diocese’s Respect Life Office.

The News reports:


Staff of the bill’s original sponsor, Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer
of California, did not return calls about how Catholic hospitals would
be affected should the bill be approved.

Boxer originally sponsored the bill in 2004, calling it new federal legislation that will protect a woman’s right to choose.

The act states that every woman has the "fundamental right" to
choose to bear a child; terminate a pregnancy prior to fetal viability;
or terminate it after fetal viability when necessary to protect her
life or her health.

The legislation also would prohibit governmental entities from "discriminating" against these rights.

Opponents point to this as proof that Catholic hospitals will be legally obliged to perform abortions.

Wisconsin Clinic Plans to Offer Second-Trimester Abortion; Anti-Choice Protests Escalate

a nearby health clinic that provided second-trimester abortions closed,
a University of Wisconsin-affiliated surgery center planned to begin
offering them.  Significant anti-choice opposition has greeted the
plan.  Catholic Exchange reports that 200,000 petitions were delivered to the hospital in protest. 

Erykah Badu Twitters Home Birth

More to come on this story: Erykah Badu twittered her home birth!  Reports Huffington Post, "The couple blogged about the birth on the Twitter Web site. Badu said
she had a home birth that lasted about five hours and that she didn’t
use painkillers."

Straight Talk about IVF

Confused about IVF and fertility treatment in the wake of hearing about the California woman who gave birth to octuplets?  TIME magazine has clear information about the standards of the medical specialty.

Alaskans Call for "New Kind of Conversation"
Jeffrey Mittman and Geran Tarr call for a "new kind of conversation" on reproductive health in the Anchorage Daily Herald.  Traditional divides over reproductive rights have not served the state well, they argue:

What has been the effect on sexual health in Alaska?

We have some of the highest chlamydia rates in the nation. Teen birth
rates increased in 2006, after a steady decline. Abortion rates have
held steady. Many women across the state lack access to family planning

We know that women have
abortions for many reasons. Even if we disagree on abortion, we should
agree that providing reproductive health care and prevention education
to all Alaskans is a priority.

A new conversation can begin from a place of respect, they write:

Or we can begin a new
conversation, one that recognizes that both the decision to have a
child and the decision to have an abortion come from a place of
profound respect for the value of life and a strong commitment to
ensuring a better life for all.

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