Texas may be down, but it’s not out. Unable to get the 5th Circuit to allow clinics to stay open regardless of whether or not they have been able to obtain medically unnecessary transfer agreements with local hospitals, last week providers sued against another part of HB 2, which required each center to rebuild itself as an full-scale ambulatory surgical center (ASC). Now, advocates are trying another tack, and are asking for a full 5th Circuit review of the admitting privileges requirement, hoping they may have more luck than they did with the three judge panel they faced before. “The plaintiffs are now asking the full 5th Circuit Court to reconsider the panel’s decision, arguing that courts in other states, including Alabama, Mississippi and Wisconsin, have blocked similar provisions,” writes the Texas Tribune, which reports that less than one year after the bill passed, the state has gone from 40 active practitioners to just 24 working providers.
One OBGYN still working? Dr. Sherwood Lynn. In an interview with Cosmopolitan magazine, Lynn said: “The admitting-privileges requirements are also absolutely unnecessary. If you have a number of patients waiting for procedures, and something happens and a patient needs to be transferred to a hospital, you’re not going to leave everyone else and go to the hospital. That makes no sense. You’re going to refer that person to a gynecologist at the hospital. There is no safety issue involved here. If a patient shows up with an emergency, every hospital is required to admit that patient. They have to by law.”
Here’s hoping this challenge is more successful than the last one.
South Carolina’s legislature may be considering a bill to grant legal rights to fertilized eggs. Sure, “personhood” has been failing every time it has been introduced, but this blog gives a great primer on how anti-abortion activists hope to market it better this go around.
Speaking of marketing and legal theory, this op-ed in West Virginia isn’t surprising in its ire against Governor Tomblin, who vetoed the state’s 20 week abortion ban. What is surprising, however, is its very specific detailing of how these so-called “fetal pain” bills are constructed specifically with the intention of wooing Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, the court’s swing vote on abortion rights. Not a swing vote on abortion rights? Justice Antonin Scalia. Then again, when your wife is an anti-abortion activist, that’s not a shock.
Iowa Governor Terry Brandstad is looking for another member of the board of medicine, and, while people are being interviewed, none of the candidates are being asked about abortion. This is a pretty big deal considering he’s currently using the board to try to end the state’s highly successful telemed abortion program, which hasn’t had a single complaint filed against it by a patient or physician. The current front runner should fit right in: she used to be a part of Iowa Catholics for Sam Brownback.
Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker is feeling heat from his own anti-abortion backers, who are angry that his new spokesperson at one point considered herself a pro-choice Republican and supporter of Planned Parenthood. Still, the cynic in me wonders if it is all just a ploy to try to appear to have moved to the middle now that his reelection is looming.
In state legislative news, a Louisiana house panel has now approved new info that must be part of the informed consent script prior to receiving an abortion, as well as potential new criminal charges if a pregnant person is killed in a drunk driving accident. Florida wants to do viability testing prior to an abortion done later in pregnancy, Alaska is once more debating what constitutes the “health” of a pregnant person when it comes to Medicaid funding an abortion, and Arizona’s bill to allow unannounced surprise abortion clinic inspections has finally passed.
Missouri activists spent Equal Pay Day at the capitol demanding their legislature stop passing anti-choice bills that would harm women. One lawmaker responded that they should just think longer about their decisions, like he does when he buys a new car.
Still, there are less bad reproductive health bills being passed than in years past, and more positive bills being introduced. Guttmacher has a release of everything that has happened when it comes to reproductive health bills for the first quarter of 2014 here.
One type of bill we are still seeing an increase of is the ban on fetuses with any sort of genetic anomaly. Now, that type of ban is an even bigger cause for concern, as genetic counselors in Virginia are being given the precedent-setting right to refuse to provide counseling to pregnant patients who have a fetus with a disorder, if they fear their counseling could lead that patient to abort.
This week also gave us one county board that passed a resolution praising a local crisis pregnancy center for helping pregnant people learn “the many blessings that can come from living the teachings of Christ,” one Iowa politician unable to figure out why saying abortion should be illegal but no one should be jailed doesn’t make a lot of sense, and a state senator who compared Planned Parenthood to Hitler.
Finally, on a brighter note, those who are undergoing abortions are finding their own means of support. Read about the fantastic people acting as abortion doulas, helping pregnant people navigate their journey through their own transition.
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