Category Archives: Women’s Health

Bad News For Planned Parenthood In Texas

Remember a couple of days ago when Planned Parenthood of Texas was handed a favorable ruling saying that preventing them from receiving state funds was unconstitutional? Remember how Mad Kane said those rulings are usually overturned?

Well, it’s not quite that bad, but it’s bad enough. Here’s the word, from Melaney A. Linton, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast, in an email:

The good news we received on Monday afternoon was short-lived.  Judge Lee Yeakel agreed with Planned Parenthood and stopped the state’s unconstitutional rule that excluded Planned Parenthood health centers from providing care to women enrolled in the WHP.

Then the bad news was delivered at the stroke of midnight when Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Jerry Smith granted the state their request for an emergency hold on the injunction.  This “emergency” hold meant that the state’s unconstitutional rule could go into effect and Planned Parenthood health centers would be excluded from the WHP. 

Just when we thought the political games couldn’t get any worse for low-income Texas women, they did.

I wish I believed in a Hell for the bastards to rot in.

Breaking From Juanita Jean: Texas Cannot Exclude Planned Parenthood – It’s Unconstitutional

I’ll just quote this wonderful woman’s post up to a point. It’s hard to know when to stop, because Juanita Jean is so wonderful…

Holy Writ Writer! God Loves Planned Parenthood.

April 30, 2012

Breaking News. Good news. Texas cannot exclude Planned Parenthood from the Women’s Health Program. It’s un-freekin-constitutional.

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — A federal judge on Monday stopped Texas from preventing Planned Parenthood from getting state funds through the Women’s Health Program.

U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel in Austin ruled there is sufficient evidence that a law banning Planned Parenthood from the program is unconstitutional. He imposed an injunction against enforcing it until he can hear full arguments.

This surprises exactly no one, outside of the fundamentalist-evangelical-plus-Catholic right wing of the GOP. Then again, those folks are surprised when they wake up in the morning and find that the rest of us have not been transported bodily to Hell overnight for our wicked ways…

The Old Days, When Women’s Rights Were Not Under Full‑Scale Assault

Susan Heath, for NYT, tells of her own experience in 1978, in an op-ed titled No One Called Me a Slut. Yes, those were the days: women had constitutionally protected rights to manage their own bodies, rights that were legally safeguarded by a Supreme Court decision. Please read Ms. Heath’s op-ed; it is worth your time more than the usual personal story.

Today we have a GOP War on Women… too fucking bad if they don’t like my calling it what it is. Planned Parenthood, still the primary health care provider for many women, is being systematically defunded at the behest of the radical Right. Women are being rudely demeaned by Republican politicians… Virginia’s Speaker of the House William Howell, recently arguing with a woman, said in so many words that he would try to use simple words so she would understand him. Arizona’s new abortion law is the most extreme ever in America, but it is far from the only extreme one, and the battle continues in other states. The GOP War on Women is being fought primarily on the state level.

There is only one way to fight back: pitch the bastards out of office in 2012. Do it. If you always vote with an eye toward women’s rights, please enlist your friends of similar outlook in the effort to flush the crap that has accumulated in our legislatures. Now is the time.

(H/T Mustang Bobby.)

The Literal War On Women

Lindsay Beyerstein reminds me of an event I meant to mention yesterday: the bombing of a Planned Parenthood clinic in Grand Chute, Wisconsin. No injuries were reported, and a small fire caused minor damage to the clinic.

Some man… I’ll bet you two dollars it was a man… who probably thinks of himself as upholding a great American tradition… the tradition of self-help, the tradition of acting as judge, jury and executioner… decided that neither providers nor recipients of women’s health care were worthy of life. So he attempted to kill them.

It’s all happened before. Self-appointed anti-abortion executioners are the last vestige of the worst of the Wild West, where the only law was some device that went BANG. That was justice. BANG! Women seeking, not abortions, but pregnancy tests… dead. BANG! Women being tested for cervical cancer… dead. BANG! A doctor and a nurse, representing together possibly forty years’ training and experience in medical care… dead.

Both the tragedy of it all and the sheer wrongness of it all offend me. But what offends me most of all is the self-righteousness of people who make things that go BANG! and set them off, or carry things that go BANG! and pull the trigger. Who taught them about morality? Why do they believe it’s wrong to kill a fetus but just fine to kill an adult human being or two, or ten?

I hope law enforcement makes a serious effort to catch the bomber and that a jury sends him (see above) up the river for a long, long stay. (Sometimes law enforcement doesn’t do that; take my word for it.) It’s not about punishment, or at least not primarily so. It’s about protecting society from individuals who decide they know best, and they have a right to execute someone. Put them somewhere where they will have no access to things that go BANG! for 40 years or so, no parole. Of course it won’t solve the problem, but at least one fewer person will act as a law unto himself.

FULL DISCLOSURE: about 25 years ago, my first contract programming job was for the Planned Parenthood clinic that is now Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast. It was a labor of love as well as of livelihood, and the worst I suffered were occasional bloody-fetus posters shoved in my face and the rotten-eggs smell of a stink bomb tossed through a clinic window. But the look in the eyes of the people waving those signs and assaulting (yes, that’s the word) people approaching the clinic told me a lot of what I needed to know about them. To my regret, apparently, none of them have changed… except for their increased propensity to use deadly violence. Only assiduous law enforcement and prosecution can turn aside people Hell-bent on violence against women. Enough is enough.

UPDATE: a suspect has been arrested and charged.

Dammit, Barry, Couldn’t You At Least Stand Behind Your Own Health Care Law?

Peterr on FDL:

The Obama administration continues its caving to the US Conference of Catholic Bishops on the requirements of the Affordable Care Act, and seeks input on ways in which to continue its spelunking in the future. From the National Catholic Reporter:

Coming after a month of continued opposition from the U.S. bishops to the mandate, which was first revised in early February to exempt certain religious organizations, today’s announced changes from the Department of Health and Human Services make a number of concessions, including allowing religious organizations that self-insure to be made exempt.

Also raised is the possibility that the definition given for religious employers in the original mandate could be changed.

HHS did not announce final rules, but put forward a 32 page proposal for comment [pdf] on religious organizations and their obligation (or lack thereof) to provide coverage for “certain preventive services.”

That “self insurance” loophole is a huge exemption. Look for any Roman Catholic institutions that aren’t self-insured already to set themselves up that way in short order.

Dog damn it (so to speak), First Amendment religious freedom does NOT mean freedom to impose your religion’s phobias on society at large through government regulations. Obama has no business compromising on this… none whatsoever. It’s just another aspect of his noncombatant status when it comes to fighting against the Republican War on Women.

“Compromising a little bit” on significant women’s issues is a bit like being “a little bit pregnant.” If Obama cannot be depended upon to face down the Catholic bishops over this (which is really, despite Rush’s rants, not about government money for contraception; it’s about insurance companies’ money for contraception), then what on Dog’s decreasingly green earth can one depend on him for?

Look. Most American Catholic women use contraceptives, the Pope be fucked (you do the job, not me). Those Catholic women who instead choose to have fifteen children are free to do so; their freedom of religion guarantees that they can drop babies until they’re bloodless wraiths, if they want to. That’s religious freedom. Catholic Bishops essentially writing administration regs on health care coverage… that’s not religious freedom; that’s an outright merger of church and state. Obama should fight that religious invasion tooth and nail. But noooo…

The Problem

(H/T ellroon for the link.)

Mitt Rmoney (sic[k]) Joins War On Women, Threatens To ‘Get Rid of Planned Parenthood’

The Republican War on Women leads candidates to say some astonishing things. Mitt says he’s going to “get rid of Planned Parenthood”:

Republican women: the good news is that you don’t have to beat him senseless to prevent his wanton act. All you have to do is vote against him in November… and tell all your friends to do the same.

The ‘Doonesbury’ Series That Some Newspapers Wouldn’t Print

Here. Probably NSFW. H/T Michael Moore.

Arizona: Land Of Insanity About Birth Control

The hits just keep coming. A new bill introduced into the Arizona House does two things: it contains Blunt-amendment-like language allowing employers to deny a woman coverage for contraceptives absent a prescription specifying their use for non-contraceptive purposes, and (this astonishes me) it would allow an employer to fire a woman if she sought contraceptives even if not through the employer-sponsored insurance plan. The latter is to be accomplished by removing the following protection from existing law:

“A religious employer shall not discriminate against an employee who independently chooses to obtain insurance coverage or prescriptions for contraceptives from another source.”

The Arizona ACLU is on the case; here’s Public Policy Director Anjali Abraham:

“I think this just goes to what we’ve been saying about the bill,” she said. “It isn’t really about guaranteeing an individual’s religious liberty but ultimately is about eliminating access as much as possible to basic health services for women.”

I can’t imagine this proposed law does not violate the 14th Amendment’s equal protection clause. But this is Arizona we’re talking about, and they seem ready to try it: the bill has already passed the state House and a Senate committee.

What sort of person would introduce such a bill? Well, first of all, it’s a woman, House Majority Whip Debbie Lesko (R-Glendale), and second, this is an assertion of her vast knowledge on the subject:

“I believe we live in America. We don’t live in the  Soviet Union,” Lesko said. “So, government should not be telling the organizations or mom and pop employers to do something against their moral beliefs.”

Um… who’s going to be the one to tell Rep. Lesko that no one lives in the Soviet Union anymore?

(H/T TPM.)

We’re In Kansas Again: Bill Would Allow Docs To Lie To Pregnant Women

From an email I received from ACLU:

Dear Stephen,

I thought I had seen it all. After years of working on reproductive rights, I thought I was beyond being shocked. Then I heard about a provision in a sweeping new Kansas anti-abortion bill, that is almost too stunning to believe.

The “let doctors lie” provision of this law would give legal protection to a doctor who discovers that a baby will be born with a devastating condition and deliberately withholds that information from his patient.

Christ on a crutch! How exactly is the state protecting its citizens by encouraging medical professionals, whose job entails diagnosing and accurately reporting to patients any conditions they find, to lie about the results of their diagnoses? Of course, any doctor who actually did that should lose his or her license. And the legislators who proposed this in Kansas seem to have lost their heads.