Oh no he didn’t! Virginia Governor McDonnell Monday night added a ban on insurance coverage of abortion to a health care bill passed by the Virginia legislature. The underlying bill was meant to bring the state into compliance with the federal health care law – in other words, to help ensure affordable and comprehensive coverage for people, not take benefits away. But that’s exactly what Governor McDonnell’s amendment would do. And he’s not the only one.
Abortion insurance coverage bans have been introduced so far this year in at least 10 states. Some of these states are already among the 21 states that have such bans. But this year abortion opponents in those states want to prohibit even more women from obtaining abortion insurance coverage. Like Alabama, where a bill has been introduced to expand their exchange ban to all private plans and to take coverage away from survivors of rape and incest. Read more »
Lately, it seems that Texas lawmakers can’t pass up any opportunity to deny women health care. In 2011, they cut funding for birth control services by two-thirds, forcing 53 clinics that provided those services to close. Then, they turned down $30 million in federal money that would have provided contraception and cancer screening to low income women, rather than allow Planned Parenthood to participate in the program. And now, a representative in the Texas House has proposed a bill that would give a tax break to companies that refuse to provide contraceptive coverage to their employees. Read more »
Think the holidays were just a time for joy, merry making, and generosity? Think again. This holiday season, state politicians continued their attacks on women's reproductive health. Here's a wrap up of from the past 2 weeks.
If you think we’ve been crying wolf when we say that women’s access to birth control is under attack, here’s some proof. A new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine evaluated the initial impact of recent birth control-focused budget cuts in Texas. In 2011, Texas lawmakers cut funding for birth control services by two-thirds. And to add insult to injury, they adopted a provision that would give the remaining funds first to entities other than family planning clinics. In other words, family planning clinics were the very last on the list to get limited family planning funds!
The impact? Already, 53 clinics that provided birth control services have closed. Clinics that remain open have been forced to restrict access to the most effective contraceptive methods (like IUDs) because of their higher up-front costs. And clinics are requiring women to pay for services. Read more »
According to a recent study in the New England Journal of Medicine, the repercussions of Texas' decision to forgo over 30 million dollars in federal Medicaid money for the Texas Women's Health Program which provides screening for breast and cervical cancers, diabetes, sexually transmitted diseases, and high blood pressure; family planning counseling; and birth control will create a drastic reduction in the availability of and access to reproductive health care for low-income women. At the same time, Texas Governor Rick Perry is touting The Source for Women, a crisis pregnancy center (CPC), as the alternative to Planned Parenthood affiliates, which the Texas Legislature barred from participating in the Women's Health Program. In his remarks at a ribbon cutting ceremony for The Source for Women, which is trying to revamp itself into a "medical" clinic, Perry congratulated himself and the Texas legislators "who stood strong in the face of assaults" and refused federal money rather than allow Planned Parenthood affiliates to participate in the Women's Health Program. Proudly, Perry proclaimed that The Source for Women "will be part of Texas' own Women's Health Program, and Planned Parenthood will not be." So, Planned Parenthood affiliates that do not provide abortions but do provide a full range of reproductive health services, including pap smears, mammograms, and birth control cannot participate in the Women's Health Program but a CPC that is adding nurse practitioners to its staff to provide some testing, but not treatment, for sexually transmitted diseases can. Read more »