Roundup: Eight States, Fifteen Bills, One Big Pea

Robin Marty

Much like a marathon, this roundup covers 20% of the states in the country, then rewards you with a giant pea suit.  Ok, not so much like a marathon...

Arizona, Utah, Colorado, Nebraska, Missouri, Oklahoma, Florida, Michigan.  So many states with so many stories this week.  I’ll try to round them all up for you here in case you missed any of them. 

Then, I will amuse you with giant vegetables.  You have been warned…

In Colorado, as we reported yesterday, the latest “Personhood Amendment” push is woefully behind. In order to be successful, they need to come up with 1000 valid signatures a day for the next 14 days.

Utah, reeling from the publicity they received over their “miscarriage ban,” is now pulling the bill for tweaking.  They will eliminate the “reckless act” portion that literally made any woman who suffered a miscarriage a potential suspect. 

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Of course, if Utah is overstepping its bounds by legislating pregnancy, Florida is only a few steps behind with its proposed bill to outlaw all abortions in the state except when a mother’s life is in danger.   And mother’s physical health is the only exemption for the new Nebraska bill that bans all abortions after 20 weeks, which had a public hearing this week as well.

Oklahoma has been nearly impossible to keep up with this week, as nearly every day a new anti-choice bill goes through committee, House or Senate, as the legislature attempts to break up their “unconstitutional” multi-topic bills into single topic, bite-size versions.  An ultrasound bill, and the data reporting act have both passed the house, and more came through committee and are waiting to be seen.  As Amie asked, how much money is the state willing to spend on all of these reruns and court challenges?

Missouri anti-choice advocates and doing a major push to try and get more funding for the “Abortion Alternatives Act.”  I wonder if any lawmakers will feel the need to ask them if they’ve ever had an abortion.

Meanwhile, two commissioners in Kalamazoo, Michigan are trying to get abortion coverage stripped from county employees.  One attempted this before in 2003.  He admits they expect little in savings by the move, as only four procedures had been covered since 2003.  Two of those four procedures were actually for miscarriages. Needless to say, that makes me feel a little like Cassandra.

Finally, Arizona senate passed three bills this week, one to ban taxpayer abortions, one regarding health risks from donating eggs, and one to regulate use of embryos, which the bill’s sponsor says are “human beings, not tissues.”  The bills barely passed the senate and even were criticized by other Republicans.

Sen. Carolyn Allen, a lawmaker from Scottsdale, was the only Republican who voted against all three bills. She said lawmakers should be working on the budget instead of measures that restrict the reproductive rights of women.

“The calendar today and some that are going to come appears to me to be almost anti-female,” she said.

Mini Roundup – So you made it through all of that doom and gloom and need some cheering up? Welcome to the BEST REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH HEADLINE EVER!!!!

March 4, 2010

Oh, Baby: More Hospitals Asking for Payment Before Childbirth – ParentDish

Without Abortion Changes, Stupak Will Defeat Health Care: ‘We’re Prepared to … – ABC News

House Democrats in dangerous dilemma over abortion language – Kansas City Star

Committee Kills Anti-abortion Bills – WJLA

Wimmer plans fix to controversial abortion bill -Salt Lake Tribune

Abortion and the health care bills: Let’s welcome the debate – Christian Science Monitor

Polish activists use Hitler poster to warn against abortion – Ha’aretz

Abortion laws kill Kenyan schoolgirls – The Guardian

Lawmakers wrestle with pro-life bills – Tulsa Beacon

Contraception, Marketing, and Mommy Bloggers – CurrentMom

Philippines HIV cases spike to record in January – Reuters

It’s official – giant pea outfits are not an effective form of contraception – 3am.co.uk

‘I have a phobia of pregnancy’ – The Guardian

Family planning ‘is central to elections in the Philippines’ – VSO International

Millions to Prevent HIV and AIDS, Reduce Stigma – Media For Freedom

Senators Want End to Ban on Gay Blood Donors – Politics Daily

March 5, 2010

Garrett OB/GYN bills shot down by legislature – Cumberland Times-News

Sexually active women need free contraceptives – Dr Samba – Ghana News

Govt must put in check maternal,infant deaths – The Citizen Daily

DAs expand teen pregnancy campaign – The Tennessean

Reproductive justice for all – The Guardian

HIV/AIDS crisis affects growing number of South Carolinians – WACH

HIP HOP CD ON HIV/AIDS LAUNCHED – The Voice Online

Had Sex? Study Finds It Depends Who You Ask – Huffington Post

UN Report: HIV/Aids Has Become The Major Cause Of Death Among Women – TopNews

CDC’s new tool in HIV prevention: social media and Jamie Foxx – Baltimore Sun

Choices for teens over pregnancy – Swindon Advertiser

Reproductive justice for all – The Guardian

Bali safe from `baby boom’ – Jakarta Post

Mullahs help promote birth control in Afghanistan – USA Today

Hillary Clinton Tells Brazilians to Consider Legalizing Abortion – Lifesite

Oklahoma Supreme Court Rules Abortion Law Unconstitutional – Ms. Magazine

Missouri Budget Committee to Determine Fate of Abortion Alternatives Funding – LifeNews.com

Christine M. Flowers: Not your mother’s back alley – Philadelphia Daily News

Groups protest S.Korea crackdown on abortion – Bangkok Post

Abortion and the health care bills: Let’s welcome the debate – Christian Science Monitor

Abortion And the Health Bill – Wall Street Journal

News Law and Policy

California Lawmakers Take Action Against Rampant Wage Theft

Nicole Knight

A survey of people who work for low wages found that wage theft robbed workers of $26.2 million each week in Los Angeles, making the locale the "wage theft capital of the country."

Los Angeles has earned the distinction as the country’s wage theft capital, but a new California law is tackling the rampant problem of wage theft with new enforcement tools.

The law, SB 1342, signed last month by Gov. Jerry Brown (D), gives city and county authorities subpoena powers when investigating wage violations. Until now, the state Division of Labor Standards Enforcement was the primary agency charged with investigating wage theft cases.

State Sen. Tony Mendoza (D-Artesia) authored the legislation to “ensure that our low-wage workers, who already face many challenges, receive the pay that they have earned,” Mendoza wrote in an Orange County Breeze op-ed.

Wage theft is the illegal practice of failing to pay overtime and minimum wages, denying lunch breaks, or forcing employees to work off the clock. A survey of people who work for low wages by the UCLA Institute for Research on Labor and Employment found that wage theft robbed workers of $26.2 million each week in Los Angeles, making the locale the “wage theft capital of the country.”

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Some 654,914 workers in L.A. County are subjected to at least one pay-based violation in any given week, researchers noted.

Most people who work low-wage jobs in L.A. were born outside the United States, and the majority are Latino (73.4 percent), Asian (17.9 percent), or Black (6.3 percent), researchers found.

Wage theft is not only illegal, it contributes to food insecurity and housing instability in low-income families, Mendoza noted.

“This bill protects hard-working Californians by clarifying the ability of cities and counties to investigate non-compliance with local wage laws,” Mendoza said.

A legislative analysis of SB 1342 cited research noting that minimum wage violations are rampant in industries such as garment manufacturing, domestic service, building services, and department stores, where wages are low.

The measure comes as states and cities are increasing minimum wages as lawmakers in Congress have refused to consider raising the federal minimum wage of $7.25.

Brown in April signed a law lifting the statewide minimum pay rate to $15 per hour by 2022. More than a dozen cities, including Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Seattle, have proposed or enacted $15 minimum wage rates, according to the National Employment Law Project.

News Abortion

How Long Does It Take to Receive Abortion Care in the United States?

Nicole Knight

The national findings come amid state-level research in Texas indicating that its abortion restrictions forced patients to drive farther and spend more to end their pregnancies.

The first nationwide study exploring the average wait time between an abortion care appointment and the procedure found most patients are waiting one week.

Seventy-six percent of patients were able to access abortion care within 7.6 days of making an appointment, with 7 percent of patients reporting delays of more than two weeks between setting an appointment and having the procedure.

In cases where care was delayed more than 14 days, patients cited three main factors: personal challenges, such as losing a job or falling behind on rent; needing a second-trimester procedure, which is less available than earlier abortion services; or living in a state with a mandatory waiting period.

The study, “Time to Appointment and Delays in Accessing Care Among U.S. Abortion Patients,” was published online Thursday by the Guttmacher Institute.

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The national findings come amid state-level research in Texas indicating that its abortion restrictions forced patients to drive farther and spend more to end their pregnancies. A recent Rewire analysis found states bordering Texas had reported a surge in the number of out-of-state patients seeking abortion care.

“What we tend to hear about are the two-week or longer cases, or the women who can’t get in [for an appointment] because the wait is long and they’re beyond the gestational stage,” said Rachel K. Jones, lead author and principal research scientist with the Guttmacher Institute.

“So this is a little bit of a reality check,” she told Rewire in a phone interview. “For the women who do make it to a facility, providers are doing a good job of accommodating these women.”

Jones said the survey was the first asking patients about the time lapse between an appointment and procedure, so it’s impossible to gauge whether wait times have risen or fallen. The findings suggest that eliminating state-mandated waiting periods would permit patients to obtain abortion care sooner, Jones said.

Patients in 87 U.S. abortion facilities took the surveys between April 2014 and June 2015. Patients answered various questions, including how far they had traveled, why they chose the facility, and how long ago they’d called to make their appointment.

The study doesn’t capture those who might want abortion care, but didn’t make it to a clinic.

“If women [weren’t] able to get to a facility because there are too few of them or they’re too far way, then they’re not going to be in our study,” Jones said.

Fifty-four percent of respondents came from states without a forced abortion care waiting period. Twenty-two percent were from states with mandatory waits, and 24 percent lived in states with both a mandatory waiting period and forced counseling—common policies pushed by Republican-held state legislatures.

Most respondents lived at or below the poverty level, had experienced at least one personal challenge, such as a job loss in the past year, and had one or more children. Ninety percent were in the first trimester of pregnancy, and 46 percent paid cash for the procedure.

The findings echo research indicating that three quarters of abortion patients live below or around the poverty line, and 53 percent pay out of pocket for abortion care, likely causing further delays.

Jones noted that delays—such as needing to raise money—can push patients later into pregnancy, which further increases the cost and eliminates medication abortion, an early-stage option.

Recent research on Utah’s 72-hour forced waiting period showed the GOP-backed law didn’t dissuade the vast majority of patients, but made abortion care more costly and difficult to obtain.

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