Roundup: Debunking Health Care Myths

Emily Douglas

Read this first: CBS and Salon debunk health care myths; Dr. LeRoy Carhart plans to open Kansas abortion clinic; Esquire profiles Dr. Warren Hern.

Read This First: CBS and Salon Debunk Health Care Myths
CBS News
offers a critically important debunking of ten health care reform
myths, including that the "House health care bill mandates or
encourages euthanasia" and that "health care legislation mandates
taxpayer dollars pay for abortions."  Instead, CBS explains,

In fact, the House Energy and Commerce Committee on Thursday adopted an amendment,
proposed by Rep. Lois Capps (D-Calif.), that would prohibit taxpayer
dollars from funding abortions. The amendment would not allow the
federal government to either require or prohibit abortion coverage by
private insurers. It requires at least one plan from the federal health
insurance exchange in each region of the country to cover abortion, and
at least one of the plans to not cover abortion.

"Private health care providers are free to cover abortion, but not with federal funds," reports
Dan Gilgoff of U.S. News and World Report. "The public plan would cover
abortion, but not with federal funds; a Capitol Hill aide tells me
money for abortions would come from what participants pay into the
public plan."

On euthanasia, CBS explains,

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There is nothing in any health care reform bill before Congress that
would require people to "decide how they wish to die." Conservative
talking points from activists and legislators, however, would suggest
otherwise…In fact, section 1233 of the House bill
would allow Medicare for the first time to cover patient-doctor
consultations about end-of-life planning, including discussions about
drawing up a living will or planning hospice treatment. Patients would,
of course, seek out such advice on their own — they would not be
required to. The provision would limit Medicare coverage to one
consultation every five years.

Salon offers
its own list of health care myths, and again, explains that on coverage
for abortion,

Pro-choice lawmakers are trying to craft a compromise
that would
require insurance companies to pay for abortions out of premiums paid
by patients, not out of tax dollars. Pro-choice Rep. Lois Capps,
D-Calif., amended the House version of the legislation to state that abortion is not part of an "essential benefits package"
that all insurance plans must provide — meaning someone could offer a
special "pro-life health insurance" plan that doesn’t cover abortions,
even under the reforms.

Dr. LeRoy Carhart Plans to Open Open Kansas Clinic
The Wichita Eagle
reports that Dr. LeRoy Carhart, and women’s health and abortion
provider, plans to open a "late-term abortion practice" in Wichita, the
home of late Dr. George Tiller’s clinic.  Carhart’s plans aren’t
without controversy: "The anti-abortion group Operation Rescue this
week announced a "Keep It
Closed" campaign targeting Carhart. The group said it would protest at
his Nebraska clinic Aug. 28-29."

Esquire Profiles Dr. Warren Hern
Esquire profiles Boulder-based women’s health and abortion provider Dr. Warren Hern.  A brief excerpt:

The patients can be upsetting too. They’re under terrible stress, of
course, but sometimes they come in very angry. One had conjoined twins
and would have died giving birth, but she exploded when he told her she
couldn’t smoke in the office. And some treat him with contempt and disgust, usually
the ones who have been directly involved in antiabortion activities.
They hate all abortion except for their special case. One even said
they should all be killed. Only fourteen, she came with her mother.
What brings you here? he asked. I have to have an abortion. Why? I’m not old enough to have a baby. But you told the counselor we should all be killed? Yes, you should all be killed. Why? Because you do abortions.Yes, you should be killed too. Do you want me killed before or after I do your abortion? Before.

Me too?

Other News to Note
August 6: WaPo: Morning Fix: As California Goes. . .


August 6: MovieWeb: Family Guy Cast to Perform a Live Table Reading of Their Abortion Episode

August 6: LA Times: Arlen Specter’s challenge

August 5: LifeNews: Obama Vows to Pass Pro-Abortion Health Care Bill, Poll Shows Americans Opposed

August 5: Christian Post: Proportion of ‘Pro-Life’ Americans Up This Year

August 5: News On 6: Local Lawmakers Against Abortion Provision in Health Care Bill

August 5: Calgary Herald: Teens understand emergency-contraception labels

August 5: AP: Colo. Abortion Doctor Links ‘Hate Speech,’ Killing

August 6: Healthcare Republic: Lack of contraceptive choice

August 5: LifeNews: Pro-Life Advocates: UN Treaty on Disabled Doesn’t Promote Abortion

August 5: NRO: Saletan’s Baby, Ctd.

August 5: AM Litigation Daily: Federal Circuit Affirms Invalidity of Bayer Patent on Birth Control Pill

August 4: Kansas City Star: (Letter) Sanger helped women plan families

August 5: Lawyers and Settlements: Oh Yaz, There May be a Problem

August 5: LifeSiteNews: International Groups Pressure Dominican Government to Remove Pro-Life Constitutional Provisions as Final Vote Approaches

August 5: HuffPo: Abortion Coverage Allowed In Health Care Legislation

August 5: LifeNews: Federal Court OKs Law Stopping Pro-Life Pastor Outside Oakland Abortion Center

August 5: Mail Online: Obama’s healthcare reforms could result in ‘abortion on demand’

August 4: Opposing Views: Pro-Life Groups Must End Abortion Health Care Propaganda

August 5: Times of Malta: Malta’s MEPs should defend pro-life values – GOL

August 5: MetroCatholic: Plan B Pill Dangers Further Highlight Safety of NFP

August 5: SFGate: Attitudes shift on abortion, same-sex marriage

August 5: Patriot Ledger: YOUR OPINION: Health reform offensive to abortion foes

August 4: Republican American: Permanent control New birth control gaining popularity

August 4: LifeSiteNews: "Safe Sex" with Condoms Bad for Mental Health, Psych Researcher Finds

August 5: Courier News: Stricter abortion rules in place

News Sexual Health

State with Nation’s Highest Chlamydia Rate Enacts New Restrictions on Sex Ed

Nicole Knight Shine

By requiring sexual education instructors to be certified teachers, the Alaska legislature is targeting Planned Parenthood, which is the largest nonprofit provider of such educational services in the state.

Alaska is imposing a new hurdle on comprehensive sexual health education with a law restricting schools to only hiring certificated school teachers to teach or supervise sex ed classes.

The broad and controversial education bill, HB 156, became law Thursday night without the signature of Gov. Bill Walker, a former Republican who switched his party affiliation to Independent in 2014. HB 156 requires school boards to vet and approve sex ed materials and instructors, making sex ed the “most scrutinized subject in the state,” according to reproductive health advocates.

Republicans hold large majorities in both chambers of Alaska’s legislature.

Championing the restrictions was state Sen. Mike Dunleavy (R-Wasilla), who called sexuality a “new concept” during a Senate Education Committee meeting in April. Dunleavy added the restrictions to HB 156 after the failure of an earlier measure that barred abortion providers—meaning Planned Parenthood—from teaching sex ed.

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Dunleavy has long targeted Planned Parenthood, the state’s largest nonprofit provider of sexual health education, calling its instruction “indoctrination.”

Meanwhile, advocates argue that evidence-based health education is sorely needed in a state that reported 787.5 cases of chlamydia per 100,000 people in 2014—the nation’s highest rate, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Surveillance Survey for that year.

Alaska’s teen pregnancy rate is higher than the national average.

The governor in a statement described his decision as a “very close call.”

“Given that this bill will have a broad and wide-ranging effect on education statewide, I have decided to allow HB 156 to become law without my signature,” Walker said.

Teachers, parents, and advocates had urged Walker to veto HB 156. Alaska’s 2016 Teacher of the Year, Amy Jo Meiners, took to Twitter following Walker’s announcement, writing, as reported by Juneau Empire, “This will cause such a burden on teachers [and] our partners in health education, including parents [and] health [professionals].”

An Anchorage parent and grandparent described her opposition to the bill in an op-ed, writing, “There is no doubt that HB 156 is designed to make it harder to access real sexual health education …. Although our state faces its largest budget crisis in history, certain members of the Legislature spent a lot of time worrying that teenagers are receiving information about their own bodies.”

Jessica Cler, Alaska public affairs manager with Planned Parenthood Votes Northwest and Hawaii, called Walker’s decision a “crushing blow for comprehensive and medically accurate sexual health education” in a statement.

She added that Walker’s “lack of action today has put the education of thousands of teens in Alaska at risk. This is designed to do one thing: Block students from accessing the sex education they need on safe sex and healthy relationships.”

The law follows the 2016 Legislative Round-up released this week by advocacy group Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States. The report found that 63 percent of bills this year sought to improve sex ed, but more than a quarter undermined student rights or the quality of instruction by various means, including “promoting misinformation and an anti-abortion agenda.”

Roundups Politics

Campaign Week in Review: ‘If You Don’t Vote … You Are Trifling’

Ally Boguhn

The chair of the Democratic National Convention (DNC) this week blasted those who sit out on Election Day, and mothers who lost children to gun violence were given a platform at the party's convention.

The chair of the Democratic National Convention (DNC) this week blasted those who sit out on Election Day, and mothers who lost children to gun violence were given a platform at the party’s convention.

DNC Chair Marcia Fudge: “If You Don’t Vote, You Are Ungrateful, You Are Lazy, and You Are Trifling”

The chair of the 2016 Democratic National Convention, Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-OH), criticized those who choose to sit out the election while speaking on the final day of the convention.

“If you want a decent education for your children, you had better vote,” Fudge told the party’s women’s caucus, which had convened to discuss what is at stake for women and reproductive health and rights this election season.

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“If you want to make sure that hungry children are fed, you had better vote,” said Fudge. “If you want to be sure that all the women who survive solely on Social Security will not go into poverty immediately, you had better vote.”

“And if you don’t vote, let me tell you something, there is no excuse for you. If you don’t vote, you don’t count,” she said.

“So as I leave, I’m just going to say this to you. You tell them I said it, and I’m not hesitant about it. If you don’t vote, you are ungrateful, you are lazy, and you are trifling.”

The congresswoman’s website notes that she represents a state where some legislators have “attempted to suppress voting by certain populations” by pushing voting restrictions that “hit vulnerable communities the hardest.”

Ohio has recently made headlines for enacting changes that would make it harder to vote, including rolling back the state’s early voting period and purging its voter rolls of those who have not voted for six years.

Fudge, however, has worked to expand access to voting by co-sponsoring the federal Voting Rights Amendment Act, which would restore the protections of the Voting Rights Act that were stripped by the Supreme Court in Shelby County v. Holder.

“Mothers of the Movement” Take the National Spotlight

In July 2015, the Waller County Sheriff’s Office released a statement that 28-year-old Sandra Bland had been found dead in her jail cell that morning due to “what appears to be self-asphyxiation.” Though police attempted to paint the death a suicide, Bland’s family has denied that she would have ended her own life given that she had just secured a new job and had not displayed any suicidal tendencies.

Bland’s death sparked national outcry from activists who demanded an investigation, and inspired the hashtag #SayHerName to draw attention to the deaths of Black women who died at the hands of police.

Tuesday night at the DNC, Bland’s mother, Geneva Reed-Veal, and a group of other Black women who have lost children to gun violence, in police custody, or at the hands of police—the “Mothers of the Movement”—told the country why the deaths of their children should matter to voters. They offered their support to Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton during a speech at the convention.

“One year ago yesterday, I lived the worst nightmare anyone could imagine. I watched as my daughter was lowered into the ground in a coffin,” said Geneva Reed-Veal.

“Six other women have died in custody that same month: Kindra Chapman, Alexis McGovern, Sarah Lee Circle Bear, Raynette Turner, Ralkina Jones, and Joyce Curnell. So many of our children are gone, but they are not forgotten,” she continued. 

“You don’t stop being a mom when your child dies,” said Lucia McBath, the mother of Jordan Davis. “His life ended the day that he was shot and killed for playing loud music. But my job as his mother didn’t.” 

McBath said that though she had lost her son, she continued to work to protect his legacy. “We’re going to keep telling our children’s stories and we’re urging you to say their names,” she said. “And we’re also going to keep using our voices and our votes to support leaders, like Hillary Clinton, who will help us protect one another so that this club of heartbroken mothers stops growing.” 

Sybrina Fulton, the mother of Trayvon Martin, called herself “an unwilling participant in this movement,” noting that she “would not have signed up for this, [nor would] any other mother that’s standing here with me today.” 

“But I am here today for my son, Trayvon Martin, who is in heaven, and … his brother, Jahvaris Fulton, who is still here on Earth,” Fulton said. “I did not want this spotlight. But I will do everything I can to focus some of this light on the pain of a path out of the darkness.”

What Else We’re Reading

Renee Bracey Sherman explained in Glamour why Democratic vice presidential nominee Tim Kaine’s position on abortion scares her.

NARAL’s Ilyse Hogue told Cosmopolitan why she shared her abortion story on stage at the DNC.

Lilly Workneh, the Huffington Post’s Black Voices senior editor, explained how the DNC was “powered by a bevy of remarkable black women.”

Rebecca Traister wrote about how Clinton’s historic nomination puts the Democratic nominee “one step closer to making the impossible possible.”

Rewire attended a Democrats for Life of America event while in Philadelphia for the convention and fact-checked the group’s executive director.

A woman may have finally clinched the nomination for a major political party, but Judith Warner in Politico Magazine took on whether the “glass ceiling” has really been cracked for women in politics.

With Clinton’s nomination, “Dozens of other women across the country, in interviews at their offices or alongside their children, also said they felt on the cusp of a major, collective step forward,” reported Jodi Kantor for the New York Times.

According to, Philadelphia’s Maternity Care Coalition staffed “eight curtained breast-feeding stalls on site [at the DNC], complete with comfy chairs, side tables, and electrical outlets.” Republicans reportedly offered similar accommodations at their convention the week before.