Thursday, March 15, 2012

GOP War on Women Health Continues

AZ Birth Control  Law Penalizes Women

Huffington Post Politics reports Arizona legislators have advanced an unprecedented bill that would require women who wish to have their contraception covered by their health insurance plans to prove to their employers that they are taking it to treat medical conditions. The bill also makes it easier for Arizona employers to fire a woman for using birth control to prevent pregnancy despite the employer's moral objection.

Moreover, according to the American Civil Liberties Union, the law would give Arizona employers the green light to fire a woman upon finding out that she took birth control for the purpose of preventing pregnancy.

"The bill goes beyond guaranteeing a person's rights to express and practice their faith," Anjali Abraham, a lobbyist for the ACLU, told the Senate panel, "and instead lets employers prioritize their beliefs over the beliefs, the interests, the needs of their employees, in this case, particularly, female employees."
The sponsor of the bill told the committee that it is intended to protect the First Amendment right to religious liberty.

TX Loses Gov't Funding Over Defunding Planned Parenthood

The Department of Health and Human Services announced on Thursday that it will cut off all Medicaid funding for family planning to the state of Texas, following Gov. Rick Perry's (R) decision to implement a new law that excludes Planned Parenthood from the state's Medicaid Women's Health Program.

The federal government pays for nearly 90 percent of Texas' $40 billion Women's Health Program, and nearly half of the program's providers in Texas are Planned Parenthood clinics. But the new law that went into effect earlier this month disqualified Planned Parenthood from participating in the program because some of its clinics provide abortions, even though no state or federal money can be used to pay for those abortions.
According to Medicaid law, Mann said, a state cannot restrict women's ability to choose a provider simply because that provider offers separate services -- in this case, abortion -- that aren’t even paid for by the Medicaid program.

Gov Tom Corbet (R-PA) Tells Women "Just Close Your Eyes"

During a discussion of a far-reaching mandatory ultrasound bill, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett (R) on Wednesday dismissed off-handedly the insinuation that the measure goes too far, saying, "You just have to close your eyes."

Corbett reaffirmed his support for the "Women's Right to Know" Act, which would require doctors to perform an ultrasound on a patient, offer her two personalized copies of the image and play and describe fetal heartbeat in detail before she can have an abortion -- "as long as it's not obtrusive."

He did not indicate whether or not he considered a transvaginal ultrasound to be an intrusive procedure, which the bill would require doctors to perform on a woman whose fetus is not developed enough to be visible by a regular, "jelly-on-the-belly" ultrasound.
Asked if he thinks the bill goes too far to make a woman look at the ultrasound image, Corbett responded, "You can't make anybody watch, okay? Because you just have to close your eyes. As long as it's on the exterior and not the interior."

Pennsylvania's ultrasound bill, unlike the revised version passed in Virginia, does not specify a type of ultrasound, so the doctor will have to use an "interior" procedure for most first-trimester abortions in order to meet the requirements of the law.
Even if the woman opts to "close [her] eyes," as Corbett suggests, the doctor will have to turn the ultrasound image toward her face, give her two signed copies of the printed image, describe the number of heartbeats per minute and tell her if that's normal or not for a fetus of that age. She then has to wait 24 hours and bring all the signed paperwork and both ultrasound images to her abortion doctor in order to have the procedure legally, and the doctor has to repeat to her the age of the fetus.

Source: Huff Post Politics
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