As the state attempts to implement a rule barring Planned Parenthood clinics from participating in the government-funded Women’s Health Program, the health commission has directed low-income women to use its online database to search for a new provider.
Nearly half of the women served by the program currently rely on Planned Parenthood. The commission says that more than 3,000 providers are available to serve these women, but many experts are skeptical that these facilities will be able to accommodate the women displaced by the new rule.
The database has garnered complaints from health care providers and patients for producing what they see as inflated and “misleading” search results. It includes a number of duplicate entries, facilities that do not provide reproductive health services (such as children’s clinics), and listings for clinics that are unable to see new program clients.
When confronted about the issue by The American Independent at an event hosted by The Texas Tribune, Janek insisted that the “3,000 providers” figure was accurate and that the error-prone database is “a separate list.”
“When we say that we’ve got 3,000 providers out there ready to participate in this program, there’s no duplicates,” he said.
Still, Janek admitted the inaccurate database is “a real problem.”
A study by George Washington University’s School of Public Health and Health Services found the state’s estimates of the impact of the rule to exclude Planned Parenthood appear to “contain numerous methodological flaws” and cautioned that the projections “may overstate remaining provider capacity in communities” where program participants live. The study added that the state might be counting reference laboratories “as sources of direct patient care.”
As detailed by TAI, the database also includes multiple listings of the same providers, lending the appearance of more options than actually available. On Wednesday, Janek addressed this concern as well.
Despite the database problems and questions of provider capacity, the commissioner reassured the audience he is “confident” the Texas Women’s Health Program will be ready for implementation by Nov. 1 if needed.
Yet, shortly after Janek gave this assurance, the commission announced that it would continue accepting federal funds for the time being, allowing Planned Parenthood to remain in the program for now.
Last week, a state judge issued a temporary restraining order barring Texas from excluding Planned Parenthood as long as the state continued accepting federal funds. A court hearing set for Nov. 8 may provide more clarity about the legal controversy surrounding the rule.
On Nov. 14, House Republicans voted in a lame-duck session to advance House Bill 298, which would likely strip public funding for Planned Parenthood in the state.
The Ohio House Health and Aging Committee voted to approve the bill on a party-line vote. The measure will reprioritize how state and federal family planning funds are administered, bumping Planned Parenthood providers to the bottom rung of eligibility. The bill states that priority for the funds should go to state, county, or local government entities. If “all eligible public entities have been fully funded,” then some of the money can go to private groups, but those are also ranked to put Planned Parenthood providers dead last. This would replace the current competitive grant process.
The committee’s chairman, Lynn Wachtmann, is among the Ohio House’s most anti-abortion lawmakers. He is the sponsor of the state’s “Heartbeat bill,” which would ban abortions if a doctor can detect a heartbeat—which can be as early as six weeks into a pregnancy. At the beginning of this term, Wachtmann pledged “push the pro-life agenda as far as we can.”
Wachtmann insists that the bill changing how family funding plans are awarded has nothing to do with abortion—and had some choice words for anyone who accused him of that. “There are Democrats who call us anti-woman—they are abhorrent, crazy people intent on killing every baby they can,” Wachtmann told the Dayton Daily News on Nov. 18.
Protest at death of Savita, denied an abortion in Irish hospital. (by TradeUnionTVIreland)
BREAKING: The Ohio House Health Committee votes to DEFUND Planned Parenthood, 11-9. #HearUsOH
So many people are gonna suffer because of this.
Conservatives, eat shit and die.
INDIANAPOLIS — A federal appeals court has ruled that Indiana can’t cut off funding for Planned Parenthood just because the organization provides abortions.
The 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago on Tuesday upheld the core portion of a lower court order that said Indiana cannot enforce a state law that barred abortion providers from collecting Medicaid funds for any medical services.
Indiana’s Republican Gov. Mitch Daniels signed a law in May 2011 that made Indiana the first state to deny the organization Medicaid funds for general health services including cancer screenings.
SUCK IT MIKE PENCE AND MITCH DANIELS
While the political battles over these laws have attracted significant press coverage, the way these laws are lived, endured and adapted to each day — by women and medical workers — tends to stay hidden inside clinic walls.
Though ultrasounds are routine in prenatal care, providers who criticize the mandates point out they are rarely medically necessary during the first trimester, when the vast majority of abortions are performed. Researchers and reproductive health advocates report that forced ultrasounds can increase the cost of abortions, sometimes by several hundred dollars, and some insurance companies refuse to cover them if they aren’t deemed medically necessary. But the providers I spoke with were mainly concerned about being trapped by a hostile political culture in a symbolic struggle over doctors’ autonomy.
The legal challenges that reproductive rights groups have brought against these antiabortion policies tend to center on the rights of doctors and patients. Attorneys have raised constitutional challenges, arguing that rules that compel doctors to disseminate medically inappropriate, unnecessary or misleading information — such as suggesting a spurious link between abortion and breast cancer — would violate free speech and privacy rights.
In lawsuits filed against mandatory ultrasound laws in Texas and North Carolina, legal challenges have turned on whether the state can impinge on patients’ medical privacy and doctors’ professional and ethical responsibilities, and on the physical sovereignty of pregnant women. A lawsuit against North Carolina’s law, litigated by the Center for Reproductive Rights and other civil liberties advocates last fall, held that the mandates would harm both patients and medical providers by “depriving them of their constitutional rights to due process, free speech, privacy, liberty, bodily integrity, and freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures.” A few weeks later, a federal court’s preliminary injunction blocked the ultrasound provisions.
Antiabortion activists have long deployed confrontational pressure tactics, ranging from in-your-face clinic protests to undercover video “sting” operations to online listings of abortion doctors’ office addresses and phone numbers. But unlike direct harassment, this new round of coercive laws intimately affects the way doctors see patients and themselves.
Paula Gianino, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region and Southwest Missouri, said that laws dictating how abortion providers treat patients “are forcing our staff and our physicians to be agents of the state, by handing to women state-mandated materials and, in some states, attempting to script the speech of physicians.” She sees these laws as “the new battle lines” for abortion rights, a fight over “whether or not the state can force physicians to tell patients certain things.”
And research suggests these laws may have the effect of forcing many women to delay an abortion well into their second trimester, when the procedure is higher risk. Studies have also found that the laws increase the economic burden on poor women, particularly women of color and women living in rural areas.
The legal challenges to these coercive abortion statutes often hinge on whether an “undue burden” has been placed on women seeking an abortion. Yet, Gianino, president of the St. Louis Planned Parenthood, observed, “all of these waiting periods, all of these state-mandated materials, all this additional rhetoric — none of those, individually or, as a group, are an ‘undue burden’ as yet defined. Patients still come. Patients still come even with our picketers, who are pretty awful … Patients need this service.”
A federal appeals court on Tuesday lifted a temporary injunction and ruled that Texas can remove Planned Parenthood from the Women’s Health Program.
The Texas Health and Human Services Commission responded swiftly to the decision with an e-mailed statement.
“We appreciate the court’s ruling and will move to enforce state law banning abortion providers and affiliates from the Women’s Health Program as quickly as possible,” HHSC spokeswoman Stephanie Goodman said in a statement.
There are NO words.
Draft language for the 2012 Republican Party platform includes support for a constitutional ban on abortion without specifying exclusions in the cases of rape or incest, according to CNN.
In fact, of the more than 60 clinics that have closed across Texas, only 12 were run by Planned Parenthood. Dozens of other clinics unconnected to Planned Parenthood nonetheless lost state funds and have closed, leaving low-income women in large areas of the state without access to contraception.
It gets worse. The federally qualified health centers—which lawmakers said could provide family planning services to low-income women and make up for the cuts—have themselves experienced a funding crunch and are struggling to absorb demand. The result is that costs have shifted to patients, and exceptionally poor women now make hard choices about paying for their well-woman care. Some will find the cash, but an alarming number won’t. Indeed, the bipartisan Legislative Budget Board estimated that last year’s cuts would lead to more than 250,000 women losing services and 20,000 additional births covered by Medicaid. When The Texas Observer asked providers what they thought about the cuts, several mentioned the same phrase. They said in hoping to punish Planned Parenthood, politicians had gone too far, with devastating consequences for women’s health. Lawmakers, they said, had thrown the “baby out with the bath water.” In this story, the first in an occasional series, we examine what happened to the family planning providers who have fallen from favor.
The reduced family planning budget has destabilized every provider in Texas, whether they were small, rural organizations or large community programs in metropolitan areas. They all depend on public funding, and the large cut to their budgets forced them to reduce services, fire staff and, in some cases, close shop completely. Many of the providers that haven’t closed teeter precariously on funds from another endangered source—the Women’s Health Program. This Medicaid-funded program pays for many of the same services as the state family planning program that lawmakers cut last session. The Women’s Health Program’s future in Texas is in doubt as well. A federal court is expected to decide this fall if Texas can legally exclude Planned Parenthood from the Women’s Health Program. That ruling could determine if clinics continue to receive WHP funds or if Texas can scuttle the program entirely. Texas officials have said they will end the program rather than include Planned Parenthood. If the Women’s Health Program in Texas does end, more clinics may close.
What isn’t so well known about Ryan’s record, though, is that one piece of legislation he supported is so extreme that it would have turned Romney’s children into criminals.
The Sanctity of Human Life Act, which Ryan co-sponsored, would have enshrined the notion that life begins at fertilization in federal law, thus criminalizing in vitro fertilization—the process of creating an embryo outside of a woman’s womb. In IVF, doctors typically create multiple embryos and then only implant the healthiest ones in the woman. Some of them stick and become babies, and some don’t. The embryos that don’t make it to the womb are either frozen for later use or destroyed. The Sanctity of Human Life Act, if passed, would make all those embryos “people” in the legal sense, so if they aren’t used or don’t become babies after being implanted, they would essentially become murder victims under the law.
In May, Romney’s son Tagg became father of twin boys thanks to help from IVF and a surrogate mother. Tagg’s son Jonathan was also produced this way. Two of Tagg’s brothers reportedly have struggled with infertility issues and resorted to IVF as well. It’s hard to imagine that Romney will score any points with voters by tapping a running mate whose anti-abortion views are so extreme that Romney’s own kids can’t live with them.
Ryan’s position on IVF might give President Obama an opening for attack: While Romney’s running mate has advocated criminalizing a procedure that has brought untold joy to about 3 million families over the past three decades, Democrats might be able to claim credit for making advanced infertility treatments available to the vast majority of Americans who can’t afford them. Currently, most health insurance plans don’t cover infertility treatment, so IVF and other advanced baby-making technology is mostly available to rich people—like the Romney boys.
In a letter explaining how he would fill a budget gap left by Texas’ decision to defund Planned Parenthood, Perry’s office uses the money the federal government will pay states that make Medicaid available to individuals up to 133 percent of the Federal Poverty Line in its budgetary assumptions
When Rita Poley created the “Stop the Abington Hospital Merger” Facebook page, she had no idea what would happen next.
For the 69-year-old Elkins Park, Pa. resident, it was a way to connect with other Montgomery County community members outraged by the abruptly announced partnership between the secular Abington Health (AH) and the Catholic-affiliated Holy Redeemer (HR), both located in the metro Philadelphia area. The Facebook page, created July 3—a week after the merger was revealed—was a means to initiate debate about “the horrible situation that was now present in our community.”
That horrible situation? The creation of a new regional health system formed between Holy Redeemer and Abington Health (which encompasses its flagship hospital, Abington Memorial Health (AMH) and Lansdale Hospital in Hatfield Township, as well as two area outpatient facilities), would mean total elimination from the hospital system of abortion care, even as Abington Health still claimed to remain a secular institution. Abington Health doctors and community members claim they were not consulted about this decision—or the partnership—before it was announced.
This is a bit of a longish read, but well worth the time - especially if you are in a community where such a merger is being considered. Citizens, with doctors and non-Catholic religious leaders fought back - and won. Defeating the merger and thus protecting women’s reproductive health.