Roundup: Damned If You Do, Damned If You Don’t

Robin Marty

What's worse:  having parents involved in reproductive health or NOT having parents involved in reproductive health?  I guess it depends which state you live in.

Still reacting to the story of the teenager in Seattle who didn’t inform her mother before she received an abortion, columnists are beginning to hit other non-parental consent states in the west coast to rally support for new restrictive laws on teenagers seeking the procedure.  California radio personality Alana Burke opines in a column that abortions without parental permission “undermine the family” and must be ended.

In California, legislation to require even parental notification has been repeatedly defeated. The only requirement is that a licensed physician performs the abortion, generally paid for with public funds. It’s 11:30 a.m. on a school day. Do you know where your daughter is?

At one point, Planned Parenthood sold “I had an abortion” T-shirts on its Web page, and in 2008 the Planned Parenthood in Indiana sold “gift certificates” that could, in addition to other services, be used for abortions. What’s next? Buy one, get one free?

The Oregonian’s “just right of center” columnist, Elizabeth Hodve, states that these types of decisions are why people don’t want their children in public schools anymore.

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If you ever wonder why some parents — especially non-religious or middle- and lower-income types — choose private school over a fully funded public education, I offer up the story of an old problem made fresh again at Seattle’s Ballard High School.

In late March, news broke that the mother of a 15-year-old student at Ballard was irate after discovering that the school-based health clinic helped her daughter obtain an abortion. The procedure was performed during the school day without the parent’s knowledge. Workers arranged a taxi to take the girl to an abortion provider for the procedure and bring her back to school. The mom found out about the incident some months later and has since gone public with her complaint that she was kept out of the loop when it came to her child’s health care.

The old problem isn’t that schools or health clinics in schools are forcing kids into abortions. While that’s a concern, the old problem we have yet to resolve is that some schools and health providers, bolstered by state law, usurp parents’ rights and responsibilities. Shutting non-abusive parents out when it comes to something as serious as an abortion bothers some families. It should. As should the fact that a Seattle school student was allowed to leave campus without parent permission.

Meanwhile, in Utah, parents who attempted to get involved in reducing teen pregnancy are still reeling from the abuse and misinformation that was launched at them by anti-choice, anti-sex ed advocates.  The Utah Parent Teacher Association endorsed a bill that would allow information on contraception to disbursed in classrooms, although teachers would still not be allowed to advocate for or encourage students to use them.  The materials, which would be provided in part by the School Board, could then be brought home to parents who may choose to discuss them with their children.

Of course, that is not what anti-choice groups claimed the bill was about.  Instead, it would teach sexuality and educate them on homosexuality.

Leaders of several groups, including Utah Eagle Forum, United Families Utah and Standard of Liberty, maintain the information they provided about the bill was accurate. But Liz Zentner, state PTA health commissioner, and bill sponsor Sen. Stephen Urquhart, said some confused the issue with inaccuracies.

“It should not have given the PTA a black eye, but through the erroneous information that went out from some groups, it made us look really bad,” Zentner said.

For example, Standard of Liberty, a Pleasant Grove-based group that aims to raise awareness about “radical sexual movements,” wrote in an e-mail to its 8,000 members that the bill would have required all districts to offer broader sex education, including instruction about homosexuality. In reality, the bill would have kept the current law’s language prohibiting teachers from advocating homosexuality and would not have meant more comprehensive sex education in schools.

Stephen Graham, Standard of Liberty president, said he stands by the statement that the bill could have led to more discussions about homosexuality had students raised questions about the issue.

But Urquhart said such misinformation led to the bill’s demise. It died after the Senate Education Committee refused to let Urquhart present an updated version for hearing.

“If someone is out there saying the bill presented homosexuality, then I think I need to run a bill on reading lessons or honesty,” Urquhart said. “What do you do in a situation like that where someone either can’t understand simple English or is willing to fabricate a story?”

Urquhart’s final version of the bill would have added language to current law clarifying that although teachers are prohibited from advocating contraception, that doesn’t mean they can’t discuss it at all. The bill also would have encouraged parental involvement and made instructional materials on contraception, including those to be prepared by the State Board of Education, available to parents.

It seems the biggest problem with reproductive health in schools is that you’re attacked for getting parents involved, and equally attacked if you don’t.

Mini Roundup – Looks like we may need to rethink the idea of the “Victorian prude.”  And this woman appears to have gotten the wrong message from the “fertility rite” side of Easter.

April 2, 2010

Democrats, For Life? – Death + Taxes Magazine

Abortion opponents protest at Aurora clinic – Chicago Daily Herald

Anti-abortion Terrorists and the Absurdity of the Roeder Argument – AlterNet

SD Unified Schools Change Pregnancy Policy – KPBS

Bill would alert prosecutors to teen abortions – Kansas City Star

‘Family planning, access to safe, legal abortion key to maternal, child health’ – The Punch

Row rages in Italy over abortion pill – Independent

Latest News: Abortion Doctor’s Killer Uses Sentencing as Forum – Daily Break News

Pregnancy crisis centers may have to post disclaimers – Austin American-Statesman

Some anti-abortion activists see racial conspiracy – Richmond Times Dispatch

Carly Fiorina outlines her anti-abortion stance – San Francisco Chronicle

Archbishop Nichols is saving the Catholic Church from the condom trap – Telegraph.co.uk

Victorian-era women enjoyed making love, according to earliest sex survey – Telegraph.co.uk

One waste of government money that conservatives love – Chicago Tribune

Losing My Religion: One Catholic’s Crisis of Faith – Huffington Post

Maternal care should be priority – Coast Reporter

Focus on mothers, not on abortion – Toronto Sun

Women on pill ‘may live longer’ – BBC News

The Catholic Church’s Blind Spot? – CBS News

iPod-Sized HIV Detector to Bring Affordable Testing to Rural Communities – Inhabitat

Canada Cuts Off Funding to International AIDS Vaccine Project – TheBody.com

April 3, 2010

Illinois judge lifts abortion notification order – The Associated Press

Roeder Gets Life; Canada Stints on Minority’s Care – Women’s eNews

Pro-Choice, Capitals License Plates Remain in Limbo – Sun Gazette

US abortion doctor’s killer gets 50 years – Irish Independent

Is abortion your moral bottom line on health reform? – USA Today

Scott Roeder Sentenced to “Hard 50” for Tiller Murder – Ms. Magazine

Fact Check: The abortion issue – Traverse City Record Eagle

Abortions during the school day? Parents must be told – OregonLive.com

After years as justice, John Paul Stevens wants what’s ‘best for the court’ – Washington Post

Allen County board approves ordinance requiring info from out-of-town abortion … – Fox 59

Reproductive Fraud? Sham Pregnancy Centers Face Pushback – Huffington Post

Killer of Abortion Doctor Gets Life – FOXNews

Alana Burke: Easy teen abortions undermine the family – Record-Searchlight

Lack of sex ed would mean more abortions – Chicago Daily Herald

PTA says its sex ed stance was misunderstood – Salt Lake Tribune

April 4, 2010

Rage against Rep. Stupak is misdirected – Asheville Citizen-Times

People weigh in on anti-abortion amendment – WLOX

Blacks and abortion – Sunday Paper

Church a factor in sentencing – Topeka Capital Journal

Conflict between 2 Neb. abortion bills?  – NTV

Levy’s stance on abortion riles Conservative Party chief  – Newsday

Legislature: Some work done – Topeka Capital Journal

Editorial, 4/4: Senators redirect abortion debate – Lincoln Journal Star

How to talk to your kids about sex – Mirror.co.uk

Cannon backs maternal health initiative – Globe and Mail

Syphilis rates triple in city – Cincinnati.com

HIV infections up in Wisconsin, officials say trend disturbing – BusinessNorth.com

Number of HIV cases increasing throughout state – Wisconsin Rapids Tribune

With help, Minnesota moms keep babies HIV-free – Pioneer Press

Hope for shot? Structure of HIV protein unveiled – Times of India

April 5, 2010

As GOP’er, Levy ‘evolves’ on abortion rights – Newsday

With ‘Social Justice’ You Don’t Get Egg Roll – American Thinker

Allen County OKs ordinance on out-of-town doctors – News Sentinel

UK program helps cut teen pregnancy rate – Louisville Courier-Journal

New Male Birth Control Option – The Stir

$300 Offer to Drug Addicts/Alcoholics to Use Birth Control Going GLOBAL April … – PR Newswire

Mobile people more vulnerable to HIV: UN report – Jakarta Post

Vanderbilt HIV clinical trial shows promise – The Tennessean

Methadone ‘cuts HIV and death rate’ – The Press Association

Tenn. Lawmakers Advance Bills On Abortion Clinic Anti-Coercion Signs, Abortion … – Medical News Today

Miss. ‘Personhood’ Measure Set For 2011 Ballot; Neb. Considers ‘Watered-Down … – Medical News Today

UK program helps cut teen pregnancy rate – Louisville Courier-Journal

Nevada’s High Court to Hear ‘Personhood’ Appeal – Women’s eNews

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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