HIV exposed babies who don't contract the disease face greater danger from other diseases; Texas Republican reels back a heinous abortion bill to be something minorly less heinous; Ohio Right to Life says no thanks to the "heartbeat" bill; and more Democratic Senators speak out against the wave of anti-woman, anti-health care mania that's swept the GOP.
- A new study finds that babies exposed to HIV at birth but don't become infected may have lower immunity to other diseases like whooping cough and tetanus, because they have fewer antibodies to these diseases.
- In Texas, a proposed bill that would have forced women to view an ultrasound prior to an abortion (even if the patient asked not to), listen to the heartbeat of the fetus and listen to a detailed description of the ultrasound, is being modified. The sponsor of the bill, State Sen. Den Patrick (R-Houston), says he just didn't realize this was an imposition on women in any way. So, he says, he'll reel it back out of the goodness of his heart, to allow women to opt out of viewing the sonogram or listening to the heartbeat or the description. According to this bill and statements he's made, he apparently thinks that physicians don't already perform ultrasounds prior to an abortion (that's the standard of care) and that women don't understand that they are growing a baby inside their uterus when they are pregnant. "I believe that if all the women — and there are about 80,000 a year who have abortions in Texas — if they are aware there is a sonogram and a heartbeat, and a number of them choose to see it and hear it, that there will be a number that decide to keep the baby," Patrick said. If a woman chooses to carry the pregnancy to term, of her own volition, and she's doing so willingly and happily, that's wonderful. But since most women who access abortion have already had at least one birth, and further restrictions on abortion care have never been shown to reduce abortions - just reduce safe, legal abortion care - his reasoning is far from realistic or factual.
- Beth wrote about the Ohio "heartbeat" bill today - it's the bill that would criminalize abortion in the state from the time one is detected for the fetus. It is of course meant to criminalize abortion completely; and, as is par for the course at this point, distract voters from the larger issues and waste more taxpayer money. But there is at least one anti-abortion group which isn't signing on. Ohio Right to Life director Michael Gonidakis says his group won't support the bill because it has no chance of surviving the federal courts and the last thing he wants is for it to travel to the Supreme Court where he says Roe v. Wade would be affirmed once more, by this potential law's unconstitutionality. It's okay, though. Gonidakis has a whole bonanza of anti-choice bills to chose from, behind which to throw his organization's support! From piling more restrictions on young people who seek a judical bypass for parental consent to a ban on health exchanges covering abortion care for women, he's got a buffet of bills at his disposal...
- Add Sens. Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Patty Murray (D-WA), Al Franken (D-MN), Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) and others to the list of legislators who are speaking out against HR 3 and HR 358, two bills which seek to slash abortion care access, defund critical family planning services and cut other sexual and reproductive health services for women around the country. Says Boxer,
"We are sending a clear message to House Republicans that their agenda on women’s health is extreme, it breaks faith with a decades-long bipartisan compromise and it risks the health and lives of women,” Boxer said. “It also punishes women and businesses with a tax hike if they wish to keep or buy insurance that covers a full range of reproductive health care. We want the women and families of America to know that we will continue to defend women’s health and, with a bipartisan effort, we will stop an agenda that would do them harm.”