In 2015, 46 of 50 states considered passing a total of 396 anti-abortion laws

photo-1433588616917-dcbcc63429f42015 was not a good year for abortion-rights and it doesn’t look like 2016 will be much better. Last year, 46 of 50 states considered passing a total of 396 anti-abortion laws. Of those 46 states, 17  actually passed 57 of those suggested. Of the restrictions passed, there are four main topics that lawmakers are targeting: counseling and mandatory delays, medication abortion, abortion after the first trimester of pregnancy, and targeted regulation of abortion providers.

Here are some of the anti-abortion laws that passed last year alone:

  1. Florida and Tennessee passed mandatory delay measures
  2. Arkansas, North Carolina, and Oklahoma lengthened mandatory delays
  3. Arkansas, Idaho, Kansas, and Montana attempted to prevent women from obtaining abortion care via telemedicine
  4. Arizona and Arkansas adopted legislation that requires doctors to give women seeking abortion false information about the procedure.
  5. Kansas and Oklahoma enacted legislation that prevents women from obtaining a safe method of abortion after 14 weeks.
  6. West Virginia and Wisconsin passed legislation that bans abortion beyond 20 weeks.
  7. Arkansas, Indiana, Ohio, and Oklahoma and Tennessee have enacted TRAP laws (Target Regulation Abortion Provider) which targets clinic closures and have nothing to do with protecting the health of women.

If are a woman who happens to live in Oregon or Maine, consider yourself lucky. In Oregon, women will now be able to obtain birth control pills without visiting a doctor first. And Maine plans on expanding the Medicaid coverage of family planning individuals who earn up to 209% of the federal poverty level.

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Repro Roundup: July 2015

Repro Roundup July

The Good

  • This month, a Federal Appeals court ruled that contraceptive coverage is not a burden on religious organizationsIf a nonprofit religious organization wants to opt out from providing contraceptive coverage to their employees, they may do so with ease. When the organization opts out, the government will then arrange contraceptive coverage for the employees instead. An order of nuns in Colorado objected to the government stepping in because they claimed it made them complicit in the delivery of contraceptives. Read more here. 
  • House lawmakers recently introduced a bill that would end the Hyde Agreement. This repeal would permit federally funded insurance plans to cover abortion service, including women covered with Medicaid. Though this repeal would be nice, it is unlikely to pass. Read more here. 

    The Bad

    • Wisconsin recently passed a 20-week limit for abortions. The bill, which makes no exceptions for pregnancies resulting from rape or incest, was passed by the Republican-led State Senate in June. It prohibits abortions 20 weeks after fertilization, when some abortion foes say an unborn child can experience pain. Twelve other states have similar bans, according to the Guttmacher Institute, which tracks the issue. The United States Circuit Court of Appeals for the Ninth District ruled in May that an Idaho ban on abortions after 20 weeks was unconstitutional. Read more here. 
    • More efforts to discredit Planned Parenthood are being made with the use of nefarious and misleading tactics. Read more here. 
    • Lately there seems to be so much concern about embryos, but none, as far as I can see, about our shamefully high infant mortality rate. This supports the notion that many in the so-called “pro-life” camp, care only about pre-born life. Where is the effort to save these babies who have already been born – a disproportionately high percentage of whom are Black? Read more here.
    • Republican politicians are refining that way that they talk about pregnancy and abortion rights in hopes that they will sound less ‘anti-woman’.  Read more here. 
    • Senate fast tracks measures to defund Planned Parenthood. Read more here.

      The Good // The Bad

      • The Good: Supreme Court stays part of Texas’ extreme anti-abortion law // The Bad: “The Court’s stay of the Texas abortion restrictions law makes it all but certain that the Justices will take up abortion rights next term.” Read more here. 
      • The Good: Federal appeals courts are withholding Obama’s contraceptive policy, guaranteeing access to free birth control for women. // The Bad: The government could have problems finding third parties to pay for contraceptives when employers object. Read more here.

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I was recently featured in the NY Times

NY Times

I recently had a letter published in The New York Times. The letter expresses my disdain for the elected officials who want to take health care away from millions of Americans. You can read an excerpt of the letter below:

Re “If Law ‘Is Here to Stay,’ So Are Doubts About It” (news analysis, front page, June 26):

As a nurse practitioner and a professor of nursing at Pace University, I am baffled by those who are so eager to overturn a law that provides health care to millions of people, the Affordable Care Act. Do they think it’s just fine that Americans die routinely of preventable and treatable illnesses because they have no insurance?

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June Repro Roundup: The Latest Women’s Health News

June Repro Roundup

The Good

  • The Supreme Court decisions handed down this month are simply wonderful! Its decisions on the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will protect Americans’ health. Of particular relevance to this News Roundup – the ACA provides for preventive care for women, including Pap Smears, mammograms and contraception, without a co-pay. And, while not directly relevant to women’s health per se, the decision legalizing same sex marriage will improve the well-being of so many individuals and families!
  • Earlier this month, an Oregon House committee voted to advance legislation that would allow women to buy contraception without a prescription from a physician. Read more here.
  • While Americans are showing progress on their social beliefs (like growing acceptance of same gender marriage) they are also showing progress on their perceptions about abortionRead more here or here. 
  • SCOTUS rejects appeal for blocked North Carolina Ultrasound Law. The law would have required physicians to perform ultrasounds and describe the images to women seeking abortions. Read more here. 

    The Bad

    • Women seeking abortions in North Carolina will now have to wait three times as long with the 72-Hour Mandatory Delay Bill that recently passed. Read more here. 
    • Minors seeking abortion in Texas will now face even more restrictions. The Texas government just signed a bill that tightens judicial bypass restrictions. Read more here.
    • State laws restricting access to abortion are accumulating faster than ever and some states are trying to make the procedure impossible. Read more here. 
    • Nearly 5 million women, including 1.5 million Planned Parenthood patients, are about to lose critical preventive health services. If Congress succeeds in eliminating all Title X funding, these women will be cut off from birth control, well-woman visits, cancer screenings, and family planning services. With Planned Parenthood as the only family planning provider in some states, and many of these women living below the poverty line, they will have nowhere to turn. A key Senate subcommittee just voted for these cuts on June 23. Read more here or here. 

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May Repro Roundup

May Repro RoundupThe Good

My apologies in advance for this newsletter being shorter than normal. May 2015 proved to be the busiest month I think I have ever had. Here are some of the highlights:

  1. I became a grandma again! On May 11th, my daughter gave birth to a beautiful baby.
  2. The non profit I co-founded (Promoting Health in Haiti) held a fundraising event on May 15th in order to raise money to help educate Family Nurse Practitioners in Haiti. You can read about (and see pictures from) the event here. 
  3. In addition to preparing for the big fundraising event, all 17 PHH students were flown to NYC to be able to observe Family Nurse Practitioners at work. Guess who was teaching two groups of FNP students in addition to attending her day job? Me 🙂

While I absolutely love what I do, May really took a lot out of me. I think it’s time for a much needed vacation. Who’s with me?

The Bad

Abortion access is still very much under attack and Republican-controlled state legislators are the ones advocating more restrictions. A recent article from the New York Times pointed out that in the US alone, more than 200 laws restricting abortion access have been passed in the last four years. Here are a few of the most restrictive states:

Arkansas + Arizona – Doctors must tell patients that drug-induced abortions can be reversed (a notion that has no scientific basis.)

Wisconsin – Abortions after 20 weeks are now banned.

Texas – Half of all abortion clinics in the state have closed due to strict regulations governing their operation.

Florida – Enacted a “reflection period” that requires patients to make two trips to the clinic.

What can you do to make sure your state doesn’t join this list? Participate in local elections!

“The right to vote is the right upon which all of our rights are leveraged – and without which none can be protected” -Benjamin Todd Jealous

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