What We're Reading This Morning -- April 5
Good morning everyone and happy Thursday! The Republican presidential primary takes a breather before the next set of primaries on April 24, but the debate over women’s health continues in the states. While women in South Carolina respond to Governor Nikki Haley’s comments on ABC’s The View, a new bill in Mississippi designed to shut down the state’s only provider of abortion care is expected to head to Governor Phil Bryant's desk.
Here’s what we’re reading this morning…
After South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley said that women don’t care about contraception, women in the Palmetto State speak out. “Charleston women disagree with Haley's comments on contraception” – “Melissa Reed, vice president for public policy at Planned Parenthood, said the debate has everything to do with health care. The typical client at her organization is a 24-year-old woman without health insurance who wants to get a birth control prescription that day, according to Reed. ‘Governor Haley is just flat-out wrong,’ she said. ‘Ninety-nine percent of women in the U.S. use contraceptives at some point in their lives. ... It is a benefit that women absolutely must have access to.’ More than 600 patients seek birth control every year at Planned Parenthood's Charleston location, where they can pay a flat rate of $71 for an office visit without health insurance, according to Reed. But even women with health insurance face tough decisions when it comes to affording contraception, according to Angela Dempsey, an obstetrician/gynecologist at the Medical University of South Carolina. She treated a patient this week, a 26-year-old graduate student, who uses a birth control pill that causes side effects, because the woman can't afford the pill that best suits her body.”
Democracy at work? A new ballot initiative in Montana would legislate against those who can’t even vote. “Teen Moms Can’t Vote On Abortion Bill That Targets Them” – “Montana plans to join the long list of states with an anti-abortion initiative on its November ballot, but unlike many of the others proposals, Montana’s targets a population that can’t even vote on it: teen moms. Montana wants voters to decide whether or not a girl 16 or younger needs to have her parents meet with the doctor before she can get an abortion. It’s an aggressive version of parental consent and notification and one that doesn’t even seek the input of those most affected by the decision. The measure is sponsored by Jerry Bennett (R-Libby) and was approved for public vote by the Montana Legislature last session. Bennett frames the issue strategically but entirely dodges the issue of legislating against a minority unable to vote themselves. ‘It’s not an abortion issue for me, it’s the right to be a parent,’ he said. ‘Voters in Montana should have that right to at least be notified before their child has a major surgery.’… The main problem with all of these consent and notification bills is they presume teen girls live in a safe, loving and supportive home environment. If only that were true.”
A new bill in Mississippi is not about medicine, it’s about politics. “Mississippi legislature tightens restrictions on abortion providers” – “Mississippi lawmakers passed a bill Wednesday that would require any physician performing abortions in the state to be a board-certified obstetrician-gynecologist and to have admitting privileges at an area hospital. The bill ‘should effectively close the only abortion clinic in Mississippi,’ said Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves in a statement. ‘This is a strong bill that will effectively end abortion in Mississippi.’ If the state's only abortion facility, Jackson Women's Health Organization, closes, Mississippi women seeking abortions would have to leave the state. The clinic's owner, Diane Derzis, said in a telephone interview that all her doctors are obstetrician-gynecologists, but only one has admitting privileges at an area hospital. She vowed to fight to remain open. ‘We are going to do everything we can to remain there ... we are not going to let the women of Mississippi down,’ said Derzis.”