Roundup: One Star Is For Alaska, One Star Is For Nebraska

Robin Marty

Nebraska thinks women who get abortions are CRAZY and other state news.  Plus a mini roundup of "I told you so!"

Why yes!  It’s another “Round the Country” roundup, followed by a healthy dose of “I told you so’s!”

Alaska is in the process of putting a parental notification law on the ballot for the next election.  A court order challenging it was a right to privacy violation was overruled, although the ballot initiative summary will state that it is a limitation of current freedoms.

Nebraska made big headlines yesterday for passing the Abortion Fetal Pain Act through judiciary committee, despite the possible unconstitutional nature of the act.  Less noticed was the other bill passed, stating that a woman must undergo a mental health evaluation before having an abortion. Interestingly enough, it appears that the evaluator gets to decide if the woman should have the abortion or not.

LB594 would require that women seeking abortions be screened for factors that could increase the risk of a negative reaction to the procedure. Those would include a perception the mother was coerced to have an abortion or that she has negative moral beliefs about abortion.

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I can’t help but wonder who is doing the evaluations, what their perceptions on abortion are, and how they get to determine “risk factors,” especially the “negative moral beliefs about abortion.”  Many women are pro-life until they are faced with her own unintended or non-viable pregnancy.

In Kentucky, anti-choice politicians have now killed three bills that would have provided additional healthcare or financial support for the poor, elderly, sick, or children.  Each bill was voted down because anti-choice legislators attached a mandatory ultrasound bill onto it.  Once again, politicians put their desire to control women’s bodies over the need to care for real people. 

South Carolina faces the same issue, where zealous politicians are have actually held up the state budget to try to remove funds for abortion in the case of incest, rape or mother’s health.  There were six abortions that fell into that category last year.

Finally, Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey will likely learn what the phrase “pennywise, pound foolish” means, as he dramatically reduces the budget for family planning services in his state.

In this instance, it seems Christie’s socially and fiscally conservative views may have come together as the governor, who opposes abortion, cut state expenses and eliminated a program long criticized by antiabortion groups.

Michele Jaker, executive director of the Family Planning Association of New Jersey, said the cut could cost clinics federal dollars and would result in more unwanted pregnancies. She said studies had shown that every $1 spent on family planning saved taxpayers $4 in other costs.

“It makes absolutely no sense fiscally,” Jaker said. “Because of that, I can only think that it’s a social-policy decision, and it’s clearly out of line with what most New Jerseyans want or expect.”

The family-planning agencies provide gynecological care, screenings for breast and cervical cancer, contraception, care for sexually transmitted infections, and HIV tests, sometimes at no cost to needy patients, Jaker said. Some provide abortions, but he said state and federal funding had not been used for that procedure.

Mini Roundup:  Go figure!  Universal healthcare DOES reduce abortions, and having available access to contraception does NOT make you more likely to get pregnant, have STI’s, etc (although you’d never know it from the article’s headline).

March 17, 2010

Driver pleads guilty in crash that killed twin fetuses – Brattleboro Reformer

California candidate for governor aims to reduce abortions, thinks Prop. 8 … – Catholic News Agency

Scientologists reject claims they forced abortions – Sydney Morning Herald

abortion a racist plot? -Atlanta Journal Constitution

SC legislators reject rape, incest abortion ban – BusinessWeek

Abortion ballot initiative survives challenge – Alaska Dispatch

Pro-Choice Caucus Pretending To Study Senate Bill – Firedoglake

Stupak Ally in House Approves Senate Abortion Restrictions – New York Times

SKorean women caught in abortion limbo – The Associated Press

Don’t Be Fooled — Senate Health Bill Includes Taxpayer Funding of Abortion – FOXNews

SC Legislature Overturns Proposed Abortion Coverage Ban – Ms. Magazine

Pro-Life Catholics For Health Insurance Reform – Atlantic Online

Democrats Cite 2 New Pledges as They Press Health Bill – New York Times

Fr. Pavone Mobilizes Clergy to Oppose Obamacare – DFW Catholic

Senators will debate abortion bill – Lincoln Journal Star

SC Legislature Overturns Proposed Abortion Coverage Ban -Ms. Magazine

NJ Governor Chris Christie Proposes Elimination of Funding for Family Planning– Christian News Wire

ACLU could sue Virginia over Pro-choice license plate –

Dems Move Forward With ‘Deem And Pass’ Strategy; Some Dem. Holdouts Express … – Kaiser Health News

NOW backs Stupak challenger – Politico

Why is Senate hiding from Hyde? – Washington Post

A Second-Rate Health Care Bill –

GOP still pushing anti-abortion efforts – Louisville Courier-Journal

Pregnant male fish can choose abortion –

Missing abortion services causes Columbia controversy – KRCG

Anti-abortion Democrat Kildee says he will vote yes on health care bill – Washington Post

Nuns, pro-life congressman come out for health care – Seattle Post Intelligencer

Harper’s G8 “maternal health” plan: 0 for 3 and counting –

Is Stupak Backing Off of ‘Abortion Economics-Eugenics’ Charge? – Politics Daily

State Budget Could Be Held Up Over Abortion Amendment – WOLO

A Broader View of Health Care – New York Times

March 18, 2010

Anti-abortion Rep. Kildee backs health bill – The Detroit News

FRCA Asks: ‘What did Representatives Perriello, Kildee and Oberstar Receive in … -PR Newswire

New sex-ed bill in England draws ire of Catholic leader– Catholic News Agency

Lipinski says he’ll flip health vote over abortion – Southtown Star

Massachusetts Study: Health Care Reform Reduced Abortions – Politics Daily

Lawmakers return to abortion debate – Jacksonville Daily News

Facebook Is the Best Thing to Happen to Marriage Since Birth Control – Gawker

Put family planning on agenda – Edmonton Journal

Family planning a big loser in N.J. budget | Philadelphia Inquirer | 03/18/2010 – Philadelphia Inquirer

Easy supply of “morning-after pill” does not cut pregnancy rate–study – TheMedGuru

Every 9½ minutes, someone in the US is infected with HIV – The Xavier Herald

U of M researchers zero in on HIV vaccine – Winnipeg Free Press

HIV Infections on a Rampant Rise While Fresh AIDS Cases Decline – TopNews United States

Midwives, doctors achieve same results – Sioux Falls Argus Leader

Prenatal care for some in Neb. nixed – North Platte Telegraph

Liberty Times: Can a slogan boost childbirth? – Focus Taiwan News Channel

News Abortion

Study: United States a ‘Stark Outlier’ in Countries With Legal Abortion, Thanks to Hyde Amendment

Nicole Knight Shine

The study's lead author said the United States' public-funding restriction makes it a "stark outlier among countries where abortion is legal—especially among high-income nations."

The vast majority of countries pay for abortion care, making the United States a global outlier and putting it on par with the former Soviet republic of Kyrgyzstan and a handful of Balkan States, a new study in the journal Contraception finds.

A team of researchers conducted two rounds of surveys between 2011 and 2014 in 80 countries where abortion care is legal. They found that 59 countries, or 74 percent of those surveyed, either fully or partially cover terminations using public funding. The United States was one of only ten countries that limits federal funding for abortion care to exceptional cases, such as rape, incest, or life endangerment.

Among the 40 “high-income” countries included in the survey, 31 provided full or partial funding for abortion care—something the United States does not do.

Dr. Daniel Grossman, lead author and director of Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health (ANSIRH) at the University of California (UC) San Francisco, said in a statement announcing the findings that this country’s public-funding restriction makes it a “stark outlier among countries where abortion is legal—especially among high-income nations.”

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The researchers call on policymakers to make affordable health care a priority.

The federal Hyde Amendment (first passed in 1976 and reauthorized every year thereafter) bans the use of federal dollars for abortion care, except for cases of rape, incest, or life endangerment. Seventeen states, as the researchers note, bridge this gap by spending state money on terminations for low-income residents. Of the 14.1 million women enrolled in Medicaid, fewer than half, or 6.7 million, live in states that cover abortion services with state funds.

This funding gap delays abortion care for some people with limited means, who need time to raise money for the procedure, researchers note.

As Jamila Taylor and Yamani Hernandez wrote last year for Rewire, “We have heard first-person accounts of low-income women selling their belongings, going hungry for weeks as they save up their grocery money, or risking eviction by using their rent money to pay for an abortion, because of the Hyde Amendment.”

Public insurance coverage of abortion remains controversial in the United States despite “evidence that cost may create a barrier to access,” the authors observe.

“Women in the US, including those with low incomes, should have access to the highest quality of care, including the full range of reproductive health services,” Grossman said in the statement. “This research indicates there is a global consensus that abortion care should be covered like other health care.”

Earlier research indicated that U.S. women attempting to self-induce abortion cited high cost as a reason.

The team of ANSIRH researchers and Ibis Reproductive Health uncovered a bit of good news, finding that some countries are loosening abortion laws and paying for the procedures.

“Uruguay, as well as Mexico City,” as co-author Kate Grindlay from Ibis Reproductive Health noted in a press release, “legalized abortion in the first trimester in the past decade, and in both cases the service is available free of charge in public hospitals or covered by national insurance.”

News Family Planning

Lawsuit Challenges Arizona’s Attempt to Defund Planned Parenthood

Nicole Knight Shine

The Republican-backed law specifically targets abortion providers, excluding any facility from Medicaid that fails "to segregate taxpayer dollars from abortions, including the use of taxpayer dollars for any overhead expenses attributable to abortions.”

Planned Parenthood and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) asked a federal court to block an Arizona law defunding Planned Parenthood, arguing in a legal challenge filed Thursday that the Arizona measure is “illegal.”

The GOP-backed law, signed by Republican Gov. Doug Ducey in May, specifically targets abortion providers, excluding any facility from Medicaid that fails “to segregate taxpayer dollars from abortions, including the use of taxpayer dollars for any overhead expenses attributable to abortions.”

Federal law already bars health-care providers from using Medicaid dollars for abortion care, except in cases of rape, incest, or life endangerment.

In an 18-page complaint, the plaintiffs argue that the restriction is impermissible under Medicaid statutes, and they ask for an injunction on the law, which goes into effect August 6. Planned Parenthood said in an emailed statement that the law could slash funding for birth control, cancer screenings, and preventive care, affecting more than 2,500 Medicaid patients in the state.

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The Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System, the state Medicaid agency, did not respond to a request for comment.

Jennifer Lee, staff attorney at the ACLU, called the Arizona law “another attempt to intimidate doctors who provide abortion and to punish low-income women in particular,” in a statement announcing the lawsuit. Planned Parenthood operates 11 medical centers in the state, including three in underserved and impoverished communities with high rates of infant mortality, according to the court filing.

At least ten states, including Arizona, have attempted to strip Planned Parenthood of funding—the fallout from a string of deceptive smear videos masterminded by David Daleiden, the head of the anti-choice front group the Center for Medical Progress, who now faces a felony record-tampering charge.

“This case is about the people who rely on us for basic care every day,” said Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, in an announcement of the Arizona suit. “We’ll continue fighting in Arizona, and anywhere else there are efforts to block our patients from the care they need.”

The Arizona law represents the state’s second attempt to defund Planned Parenthood. In 2014, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a lower court decision finding a similar defunding measure, HB 2800, violated federal Medicaid law.

In April, the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services sent a letter to all 50 states saying that cutting funding to qualified providers solely because they provide abortion care violates federal law.

Independent analysis suggests gutting Planned Parenthood funding exacts a toll on health care.

2015 report from the Congressional Budget Office indicated that health-care access would suffer under Planned Parenthood funding cuts, with the potential for $650 million in additional Medicaid spending over a decade and thousands of more births.

In Texas, births surged 27 percent among low-income women who were using injectable birth control but lost access to the service when the state cut Medicaid funding to Planned Parenthood, according to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine.