What We're Reading - June 21
Good morning everyone! It’s a busy day today, so here’s what we’re reading this morning….
Opponents of women’s health push for abortion restrictions in the new health care law. “House panel votes to limit abortion under Obama's healthcare law” — “House Republicans on the Appropriations Committee voted Wednesday to place new restrictions on access to abortion under President Obama’s healthcare reform law. The amendment, sponsored by Rep. Alan Nunnelee (R-Miss.), extends an existing ban on federal funds being used to pay for abortions and on federal employee health plans that cover abortion. The provision would have the effect of preventing the government’s Office of Personnel Management (OPM) from negotiating and setting up a multi-state health insurance plan that covers abortion in the healthcare exchanges set up by the Affordable Care Act. The law specified already that one of the two multi-state plans set up by OPM must not offer abortion. The amendment was approved in a party line vote of 28 to 20. Democrats said the prohibition will limit the access of women, especially poor women, to private health insurance that covers abortions.”
The attacks continue, this time in Iowa. “Anti-Abortion Grandstanding” — “Republican lawmakers are tireless in their protection of gun ownership. Their argument is that states and localities have no right to play around with Americans’ constitutional rights and, anyway, the Supreme Court has spoken on this. They are equally tireless in their effort to deny another constitutional right – to privacy. The Supreme Court has also spoken on a woman’s right to decide when and whether to have a child. But it seems like a week doesn’t go by without news of some group of Republican officials trying to deny those rights to women, especially poor women. Yesterday, the Des Moines Register reported that 41 Republican lawmakers in Iowa are demanding that the state Department of Human Services stop paying for any abortions, even in cases of rape or incest, or severe physical or mental deformities. Under federal law, federal money is available for abortions in those cases, and only those cases. Republican lawmakers in Iowa tried to get a law passed negating the federal law, and failed. So they are trying this new approach.”
Women across the world fear what would happen to their health under a Romney presidency. “Why Kenyan women fear Romney” — “As much as reproductive rights were catapulted into major campaign issues this cycle – in the Republican primaries and beyond – one political football has remained unaddressed. That would be the global gag rule, which bars international organizations receiving U.S. funding from providing, referring for or even discussing abortion. It’s been implemented by every Republican president since Reagan and promptly lifted by Clinton and Obama. But reproductive health advocates here in Kenya haven’t stopped worrying. Rosemarie Muganda-Onyando, a longtime women and adolescent health advocate who now works with the group PATH, put it pretty bluntly. ‘We’re not sleeping at night.’ She added, ‘If Mitt Romney did win – oh please do not talk about it.’ During the most recent round of the gag rule, lack of clarity even among advocates created a chilling effect. (Abortion is legal in Kenya in cases of risk to health and life, as well as in cases of sexual violence, though the constitutional provision is still poorly understood.)”