Physician who provides abortions indicted for murder; health reform law repeal vote in the House today; parental consent in Kansas; breast-feeding promotion from the U.S. Surgeon General; and crisis pregnancy centers are in trouble in Texas and Washington State.
- A Philadelphia physician, Dr. Kermit Gosnell, is facing murder charges, along with his employees (none of whom were certified to provide care), for performing illegal abortions on mostly poor and immigrant women. It's beyond understandable how his "center" was able to remain open over the thirty years it was, given the many complaints and visits resulting in violation write-ups and more. We'll have more on this story but, for now, it's a devastating story of the murder of both women and babies and a tale of how abortion stigma and restrictive laws contribute to a culture of silence.
- A parental consent bill was introduced into the Kansas Legislature today, by request from the state's Governor Sam Brownback. The bill would also "increase reporting requirements" by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, and contains "late term abortion provisions" despite the fact that there are no providers who perform abortions after 22 weeks in the state, since Dr. Tiller was murdered by an anti-choice activist, Scott Roeder.
- The U.S. Surgeon General, Regina Benjamin, said today that U.S. women face too many obstacles to breast-feeding is putting out a call to address those tomorrow, Thursday. "Our society and our culture aren't there to support them [women]," said Surgeon General Regina Benjamin. "They really shouldn't have to go it alone." As the health reform measure which mandates reasonable break time and spaces for women to nurse is refined and put into place, Benjamin is picking up the baton and running with it. "It makes economic sense for the company," Benjamin stressed. "Women miss less time at work when the babies are healthy, and there's retention of their good employees."
- Yes, shockingly, the Republican controlled House voted to repeal health reform for millions of Americans. One representative called it "political theatre" and a "charade." It's unlikely to go anywhere concrete since the Senate won't even pick it up but as we've been writing about on RH Reality Check, it's obviously paving the way for anti-choice attacks on health care in the states and helping to disseminate false and misleading information like it's both a "job killer" and even kills Americans (death squads?). And though, as Jodi Jacobson wrote today, they are covered by government sponsored health care coverage themselves, Republicans don't seem to feel it's okay for the rest of us. Some are willing to voluntarily give up their coverage - but, of course, many of them have "private coverage" anyway.
- Texas is cutting and cutting big. In an effort to tackle its budget shortfall, the state has actually zeroed out funding for crisis pregnancy centers. Writes the Washington Independent, "During the past two budget cycles, the state provided the centers with $13 million, primarily through a contractor, Texas Pregnancy Care Network." This budget cycle, legislators have proposed entirely eliminating funding. On the other side of the spectrum, Washington State (more reporting on this to come) is hoping to be the first state to regulate "LImited Service Pregnancy Centers (aka crisis pregnancy centers)" by requiring them to clearly communicate they don't perform or refer for abortion care; as well as require them to immediately provide pregnancy test results (delayed results are a tactic used to prevent women from accessing abortion until it's "too late") and assure medical privacy. Bills were introduced in the Washington state Senate and House today.