What We're Reading This Morning - July 3
Good morning everyone! We hope you’re avoiding the heat and getting ready to celebrate Independence Day tomorrow. In the meantime, here’s what we’re reading this morning….
A dangerous law in the Magnolia State. “Mississippi’s Abortion Ban” — “In November, voters in Mississippi soundly rejected a ’personhood’ amendment to the State Constitution that would have outlawed all abortions and the most widely used forms of contraception by defining life as beginning at the moment of fertilization. Undeterred, state lawmakers came up with another unconstitutional scheme to eliminate abortions by requiring doctors performing the procedure to be obstetrician-gynecologists who have privileges to admit patients to a hospital. Under the new law, the Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the state’s sole remaining abortion clinic, would have to close because its doctors have not been able to obtain privileges — an unsurprising predicament given the hostile political atmosphere…. Forcing women in Mississippi who want abortions to travel long distances to out-of-state clinics will impose heavy costs and could create serious health risks caused by delays. The fight will resume on July 11, when the judge has scheduled a hearing on the matter. He should extend the temporary injunction and then rule to permanently block the campaign to deny women in Mississippi reproductive freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution.”
Conservative states are already deciding not to participate in Medicaid expansion. “The backlash begins: States start opting out of Medicaid expansion” — “The Supreme Court decided last week that the federal government could not penalize states for not participating in the Medicaid expansion, set to begin in 2014. Florida and South Carolina have decided since then that they will opt out of the program. Republican legislators elsewhere are also mulling the idea. ‘Florida will opt out of spending approximately $1.9 billion more taxpayer dollars required to implement a massive entitlement expansion of the Medicaid program,’ Florida Gov. Rick Scott’s office said in a Sunday evening statement. The consequences of that decision would be pretty huge for the health law’s insurance expansion. Take Florida: Right now, it has a relatively bare bones Medicaid program. It does not cover childless adults. If you’re a parent, you can only get on the program if you earn less than $6,478. The Affordable Care Act would have extended Medicaid to cover everyone who earns less than $14,500, regardless of whether they have children or not. That expansion, to cover higher earners, would have covered 951,622 Floridians, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation report.”
Birth control seen as major factor in decreasing abortions. “Pregnancy Rates Sank Over Last 20 Years” — “Pregnancy rates have decreased over the past two decades among all races, ethnicities and age groups — except for women in their 30s and early 40s. A report issued in June by the National Center for Health Statistics says there were 4,248,000 live births in 2008, a rate of 68.1 per 1,000 women of childbearing age, down from 70.9 in 1990…. Over the 19 years, pregnancy rates for women in their early 20s declined 18 percent, while the rates for women 35 to 39 rose 38 percent, and rates among women 40 to 44 went up 65 percent.
Abortions declined sharply, to 19.4 per 1,000 in 2008 from 27.4 in 1990 — about 400,000 fewer abortions. There were declines in abortions in all age groups except the oldest women, with the sharpest reductions in teenagers. Abortion rates among African-Americans were almost five times the rate of whites and more than twice that of Hispanics…. The report’s lead author, Stephanie J. Ventura, a demographer with the health statistics center, said the declining numbers were largely a result of birth control. ‘It’s not that the birthrate is going up and the abortion rate down, which has happened in the past,’ she said. ‘Now everything is changing in the same direction, suggesting that more effective birth control is at work here.’”