May 15, 2015 — Media outlets and key stakeholders in women's health comment on abortion restrictions masquerading as women's health protections, new guidance clarifying contraceptive coverage under the Affordable Care Act and more.
"None of these laws is really about women's health." -- Columnist Patt Morrison, on a recent surge of legislation that aims to restrict abortion under the guise of protecting women's health and safety. Morrison touches on abortion restrictions in several states, including a 72-hour mandatory delay measure (HB 465) in North Carolina and a new Arizona law (SB 1318) that "will force doctors who perform drug-induced abortions to tell women the procedure can be reversible, which most physicians say is medical malarkey" (Women's Health Policy Report, 5/4).
"It is now absolutely clear that all means all -- all unique birth control methods for women must be covered." -- Gretchen Borchelt, vice president for health and reproductive rights at the National Women's Law Center, on new guidance clarifying that insurers are required to cover at least one version of each of the 18 FDA-approved birth control methods without cost-sharing. The guidance followed reports illustrating that not all insurers had been adhering to the Affordable Care Act's (PL 111-148) preventive services requirements (Women's Health Policy Report, 5/12).
"We fight on our own terms. Giving up is not an option." -- Lenzi Sheible, founder of Fund Texas Choice, on a burgeoning coalition of volunteer-led abortion-rights groups that are working together to protect access to abortion in Texas amid increasing restrictions. According to a new report from the Texas Policy Evaluation Project, more than 50% of Texas women have faced at least one barrier to reproductive health care services since the state overhauled its family planning services program in 2011 (Women's Health Policy Report, 5/12).
"This speaks to the fact that the nation's largest specialty society comes down on the side of health equity for all." -- Wayne Riley, president of the American College of Physicians, on a new position paper from the group that backs policies aimed at improving health among lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals (Seaman, Reuters, 5/11). In the paper, ACP expresses support for insurance plans that cover comprehensive transgender health care services and opposition to so-called conversion or reparative therapy, among other policy positions (Women's Health Care Policy Report, 5/13).
"A women's reproductive health shouldn't be subject to political whims of the Montana Legislature." -- Montana Gov. Steve Bullock (D), signing into law a bill (HB 606) that would make Title X funding statutory and thereby remove the funding from legislative debate. Bullock this month also vetoed three antiabortion-rights bills, including a measure targeting health insurers (SB 349), a telemedicine abortion ban (HB 587) and a fetal anesthesia bill (HB 479) (Women's Health Policy Report, 5/1).
"Tripling the abortion waiting period serves no demonstrable purpose other than to create emotional and financial hardships for women." -- A Charlotte Observer editorial, calling on North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory (R) to keep his campaign promise and veto a bill (HB 465) that would impose a mandatory 72-hour delay before abortions (Charlotte Observer, 4/24).
"If the criminal laws can be used against women this way while abortion is legal, imagine what it will be like if it isn't." -- Alexa Kolbi-Molinas, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union, discussing how fetal homicide statutes can be used against pregnant women, such as in the case of Indiana resident Purvi Patel. According to Rolling Stone, these laws and others that criminalize pregnancy stem from the antiabortion-rights movement's "much broader campaign ... to overturn Roe v. Wade" (Women's Health Policy Report, 4/24).
"Reproductive freedom is in jeopardy in the United States, and we're not going to stand for it any longer." -- Ohio Rep. Teresa Fedor (D), taking part in an abortion-rights rally protesting several antiabortion-rights bills under consideration in the state Legislature. The bills include a fetal heartbeat ban (HB 69) and a measure (HB 135) barring abortion if sought solely because of a fetal diagnosis of Down syndrome, among others (Women's Health Policy Report, 5/8).
"Today abortion is safe, but we know it is safe because it is legal." -- Vanessa Cullins, vice president for external medical affairs at Planned Parenthood Federation of America, in an opinion piece decrying a surge of state-level abortion restrictions that are "based on bad medicine." She writes that if such bills are made into law, "the health of women across America ... will suffer again as it did many years ago" (Women's Health Policy Report, 4/21).