What We're Reading - July 19
Good morning, everyone! It’s a busy day here so we’ll head straight to the highlights. Here’s what we’re reading this morning….
The widespread attacks on women’s health continue in states across the country. “The war on abortion rights” — “In California, where limiting access to abortion and other reproductive services would be practically unthinkable, it can be easy to ignore the ceaseless attacks on women's reproductive rights elsewhere. But an aggressive campaign to curtail those rights is being waged across the country as opponents seize every opportunity to deny women long-established constitutional protections. In Mississippi, the hostile attitude toward abortion has left the state with only one abortion clinic. The procedures are reportedly performed by out-of-state physicians who have not been able to obtain practicing privileges at local hospitals. But the Republican-controlled legislature passed a law that requires abortion doctors to have such privileges, a backdoor way of closing the clinic; last week, a judge upheld the law but gave the clinic permission to stay open for now. The stated reason for the law was to protect women's health, but that is transparently a pretext. The clinic has an agreement with a local hospital to provide emergency care if it should ever be needed…. These efforts come on the heels of similar moves in Arizona, Texas and other states — as well as the Republican-led vote last year in the House of Representatives to defund Planned Parenthood, which was blocked in the Senate. Abortion rights may be secure in California, but outside this state's boundaries, they require vigilant defense from these continuing attacks.”
They’re at it again! Opponents of women’s health push for a new proposal that includes provisions to restrict women’s access to birth control. “GOP Revives Efforts To Let Employers Deny Birth Control To Women” — “In House Republicans’ latest attack on women, Rep. Denny Rehberg (R-MT) released a labor, health, and education spending bill on Tuesday that would allow employers to deny contraception coverage for ‘moral reasons.’ And the bill goes further. It would stop Planned Parenthood clinics from receiving federal funding until the health organization certifies that it no longer offers abortions, despite the fact that Planned Parenthood does not use federal funds on abortion services, and it attempts to halt Obamacare funding: The legislation also states that none of its funds can be used to carry out the Title X family planning program or be used to ‘implement, administer, enforce, or further the provisions’ of the Affordable Care Act. The bill scraps the provision in Obamacare that requires insurance plans to cover birth control and other preventative health services, allowing any issuer or sponsor of a group health insurance plan to refuse to cover any health care service ‘on the basis of religious beliefs or moral convictions.’ It also increases restrictions on educating abortion physicians beyond current law and allocates $20 million for ‘competitive grants to provide abstinence education to adolescents.’ House Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers (R-KY) said the bill ‘reflects our strong commitment to reduce over-regulation and unnecessary, ineffective spending that feeds the nation’s deficits and hampers economic growth.’”
Women in the military deserve the same rights as the people they are working to protect. “Jeanne Shaheen: Expand military abortion rights” — “A renewed push to expand abortion coverage to military women who have been raped threatens upcoming defense spending and programmatic negotiations in Congress. An amendment sponsored by Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) would allow the federal health care plans of servicewomen to cover abortions if they have been raped or are the victims of incest. It’s included in the Senate defense authorization bill, now awaiting Senate floor debate. But the House-passed bill doesn’t include a similar provision, setting up the contentious abortion issue as a potential sticking point when the two measures reach a joint House-Senate conference committee for reconciliation. For abortion rights activists, the issue is equality. ‘It’s a real injustice to the more than 200,000 women who are serving on active duty in our military,’ Shaheen said in an interview. ‘They should have the same rights to affordable reproductive health services as the people they’re protecting. This is about equality for these women.’ Under current military policy, the Defense Department provides health care coverage of abortions to servicewomen only if their lives are in danger. In other federal health care programs such as Medicaid, however, the Hyde Amendment also allows for coverage of abortions in cases of rape or incest.”