Champ and Chump: Mayors Stand Up for Birth Control and Governor Haley Makes the Wrong Call on the HPV Vaccine
There may not have been any huge fights this week on women’s health (although the Michigan situation continues), but there were definitely a few gems and one significant negative development worth calling out.
Last weekend, the U.S. Conference of Mayors passed a resolution supporting Planned Parenthood, family planning, and reproductive rights. This after 42 percent of women have taken action in response to the contraception debates. Led by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and including the leadership of Mayors Sam Adams of Portland, Oregon., Ed Lee of San Francisco, Mike McGinn of Seattle, Pedro E. Segarra of Hartford, and Antonio Villaraigosa of Los Angeles, mayors representing more than 1,300 communities stood up for women’s health.
Here are our favorite few passages:
WHEREAS, Americans believe that women should be able to consult with their doctor, family, and faith about personal, private medical decisions; and
WHEREAS, states enacted twice as many anti-choice laws in 2011 as they did in the previous year, including laws that force women who choose abortion care to undergo a forced ultrasound procedure against their will and even if their doctors do not recommend one; and …..
WHEREAS, the debate around women’s access to reproductive-health services, like contraception, has drawn offensive rhetoric; and
WHEREAS, reproductive-health care and the overwhelming majority of services provided by Planned Parenthood health centers is basic health care for women, including cancer screenings and breast exams; and
WHEREAS, for many women with limited incomes, Planned Parenthood clinics are their point of entry into the health care system and their ongoing source of primary care services; ….
NOW THEREFORE BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the U.S. Conference of Mayors affirms the importance of women’s reproductive rights; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the U.S. Conference of Mayors urges Congress and the states to pursue a positive agenda that reaffirms fundamental rights and improves women’s access to safe and comprehensive reproductive-health care.
As Mayor Bloomberg said, “When it comes to reproductive health decisions, nobody knows better than an individual woman what is best for herself and her family.” Amen. And congrats to all the members of the U.S. Conference of Mayors — our Champs of the week!
In contrast, South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley doesn’t seem to get it. The same governor who earned Chump of the week a few months ago for saying “women don’t care about contraception,” she vetoed a bipartisan bill that would have made the HPV vaccine available free to middle school students. (The HPV virus is known to cause cervical cancer in about 12,000 American women annually.)
Haley explained her veto by saying the bill was unnecessary because it was voluntary, which is the opposite of her explanation for why she opposed a similar bill in 2007 as a state legislator. Though she initially co-sponsored the bill that would have mandated the HPV vaccine for all seventh-grade girls, she ended up voting against it because it didn’t have an opt-out provision. And this week, she vetoed a bill that made it available voluntarily.
We’re not sure at what point it becomes fair to say that Governor Haley simply doesn’t want girls receiving the potentially lifesaving vaccine, but we do feel comfortable saying that her veto of this voluntary program earns her our Chump of the week title.