What We're Reading This Morning -- June 12
Good morning, everyone! Seven states head to the polls today including Arizona, where they’ll be voting in a special election for Gabby Giffords’ congressional seat. Meanwhile, Mitt Romney heads to Washington, D.C. for a business roundtable today.
Here’s what we’re reading this morning…
It’s time to protect the women who work to protect our rights abroad. “The U.S. Military’s Abortion Policy: Neither Fair Nor Equitable” – “Over the past couple of months, the military has upped the ante in its fight to reduce sexual harassment and assault through education and prevention programs. This is all good, but it will take time to see whether or not these initiatives actually work. In the short run, women are still being assaulted, and some of those assaults result in pregnancy. A pregnancy that cannot be aborted at a military facility because the military healthcare system denies coverage of abortion care, even in cases of rape or incest. This is grossly unfair. True, abortion becomes an option if the mother’s life is endangered, she foots the bill herself, or seeks care outside the military system. But U.S. servicewomen remain the only federal workers denied coverage in cases of rape. Even federal inmates can get abortions. It is horrible enough to be sexually assaulted; when that assault results in an unwanted pregnancy, it begins the trauma anew…. There may be hope. At the end of May, the Senate Armed Services Committee, with the endorsement of Senator John McCain, R-Ariz. passed an amendment from Senator Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., that would end this policy and let military women (and dependents) receive insurance coverage of abortion in cases of rape or incest. The amendment was adopted by a bipartisan vote of 16-10.”
How much money are opponents of women’s health spending to defend laws that restrict women’s access to health care? In Kansas, it’s not chump change. “Kansas AG pays $644K to defend state abortion laws” – “TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas attorney general's office paid outside lawyers more than $644,000 to defend anti-abortion laws enacted last year. The office says it paid more than $328,000 as of Friday to Foulston Siefken, a Wichita firm helping defend a budget provision denying federal dollars for non-abortion services to Planned Parenthood. Planned Parenthood has filed a federal lawsuit against the measure. The attorney general's office paid more than $200,000 to Thompson, Ramsdell & Qualseth, of Lawrence, to help defend health and safety regulations for abortion providers. Kansas City-area physicians challenged the rules in federal court and then in state court.”
In Michigan, an omnibus anti-women’s health bill heads to the House for a vote. “Democrats and Planned Parenthood Leaders Respond to Michigan's Anti-Choice ‘Super-Bill’” – “Michigan House Democratic floor leader Kate Segal issued a statement Friday in response to the anti-choice ‘super-bill,’ HB 5711, quickly becoming known as one of the most extreme pieces of anti-choice legislation in the country. In her statement, Segal, who is also a member of the committee on health policy, took a firm stance against the bills: ‘This is just another example of how out-of-touch and extremist politicians are declaring a War on Women in order to appease their special interest donors. I will fight this unconscionable attempt to criminalize doctors, restrict women's rights, and turn a legal and safe medical procedure into one that is difficult to provide, difficult to obtain and dangerous to women.’”