Iowa's personhood bill has passed the House; President Obama's FY 2012 budget and women's and girls' health; a new kind of HIV vaccine; and Mississippi midwifery!
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- Iowa's version of what's essentially a Personhood bill, HR 153, was heard and passed out of the House Human Resources subcommittee today. The bill seeks to not only accord the same legal rights to a fertilized egg as women, men and children have but also states that the Iowa Supreme Court has no jurisdiction over the provisions of the bill. So, not only do sponsors of the bill want to outlaw contraception and in-vitro fertilization as well as prosecute women for murder for having abortions but they want to do away with our system of checks-and-balances. Of course, it's unconstitutional but it hasn't stopped the Republicans from wasting taxpayer money with these hearings.
- President Obama released his FY 2012 budget today, There are increases (minimally) to family planning (Title X) and a grant program to states that implement paid leave programs for workers. As well, there is funding for teen pregnancy prevention programs which use evidence-based models that provide medically accurate, age appropriate information on sex ed. I must say I didn't notice anything in the budget that looked like an abstinence-only-until-marriage funding stream. RH Reality Check will be covering the President's proposed budget, the Republican budget and the implications of both in the coming days!
- A new study released in the journal Immunity shows that it may be possible to create an HIV vaccine that works by provoking the production of antibodies in specific parts of the body that are most commonly tied to infection: the rectum and the vagina. HIV vaccines have traditionally operated by delivering a "modified or fragmented infectious organism" to the body in order to prompt the body to produce antibodies - which has thus far been largely unsuccessful. This new way of thinking of an HIV vaccine, however, may open up different avenues for vaccine research.
- A legislative proposal to create a registry of midwives in Mississippi is gaining traction. The bill passed the House last week and is now headed to the state Senate. In order to be included in the registry the midwife must be registered with the North American Registry of Midwives, an international certification group. Pregnant women and midwives say it will make pregnancy and birth safer by providing peace of mind to women seeking midwifery care, that the midwife they chose will be officially certified. However, some Republicans - specifically Rep. Sidney Bondurant, a Republican who is also an obstetrician/gynecologist - as well as the Mississippi Nurses Association are against the bill because they say it gives state sanctioned credibility to midwifery when the practice isn't recognized by the Mississippi Department of Health. Women are clearly still needing and choosing midwifery care, even in states where it's illegal or hard to come by, so bills like this one do immeasurable good by providing women and midwives with better tools to keep women safe.