June 13, 2014 — Our monthly quote roundup compiles notable comments from key stakeholders in women's health. In today's edition, we highlight dwindling abortion access in the South, the New York Women's Equality Act and more.
"With these restrictions, the United States is poised to become a country in which a woman's ability to make the private and personal medical decision best for herself and her family will be dependent upon where she happens to live." -- Planned Parenthood Action Fund President Cecile Richards, on the spread of laws across the South that require abortion doctors to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals (CNN, 5/28). According to the Center for Reproductive Rights, 10 states have enacted or are expected to soon enact antiabortion-rights laws with admitting privileges requirements (Women's Health Policy Report, 5/29).
"We shouldn't be forced to ask, 'Which rights should we protect this year?' or 'In which areas of life can women wait to be equal?' A woman's rights, safety and equality aren't up for negotiation." -- NARAL Pro-Choice New York's Christie Petrone, urging the New York Legislature to pass the 10 bills included in the Women's Equality Act as a single package rather than separate measures (Poughkeepsie Journal, 5/20). New York Senate Democrats reintroduced the measure in May, after efforts to pass it as a complete package were derailed last year amid GOP resistance to an abortion provision (Women's Health Policy Report, 5/21).
"It's time for the FDA to act for women by approving the first-ever drug to treat the most common form of women's sexual dysfunction and open the field of research for a variety of treatment options to come." -- Susan Scanlan, founding member of the Even the Score campaign, urging FDA to approve a drug to treat hypoactive sexual desire disorder in women (The Hill, 6/4). The campaign accuses FDA of "persistent gender inequality" for approving more than 20 drugs for sexual dysfunction in men and none for similar conditions in women (Women's Health Policy Report, 6/6).
"Governments are acknowledging there's a responsibility of the state to prevent violence against women -- even in the home -- and bring perpetrators to justice." -- Liesl Gerntholtz, executive director of the Women's Rights Division at Human Rights Watch, on the growing global awareness of violence against women. Women's rights advocates are lauding the increasing awareness, particularly as recent high-profile incidents garner activism and government responses (AP/Sacramento Bee, 5/31).
"The decision brings federal Medicare policy up to 21st-century standards for transgender people, and acknowledges that there's no scientific or medical basis for categorically excluding coverage of sex reassignment surgery for people who need it." -- Jennifer Levi, director of the Transgender Rights Project at Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders, on Medicare's decision to cover gender-affirmation surgery in some cases. The change lifts a 33-year ban on covering such procedures (New York Times, 5/30).
"What you're talking about is having the government decide what happens to your loved one. ... That should be terrifying to people." -- Louisiana Sen. J.P. Morrell (D), on a state bill (HB 348) that would require health care providers to maintain medical care for pregnant women who are brain dead until birth if an obstetrician believes there is a reasonable chance the woman's body can sustain normal fetal development and a live birth (AP/Washington Times, 5/27). The bill is now before Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) (Women's Health Policy Report, 6/3).