June 12, 2015 — Media outlets and key stakeholders in women's health comment on the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decision to uphold parts of Texas' omnibus antiabortion-rights bill, debunk the medical misinformation behind certain abortion restrictions and more.
"Not since before Roe v. Wade has a law or court decision had the potential to devastate access to reproductive health care on such a sweeping scale." -- Nancy Northup, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights, on a ruling from the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that upheld major portions of a Texas antiabortion-rights law (HB 2) (Women's Health Policy Report, 6/10). On Wednesday, CRR asked the 5th Circuit to stay its ruling while Texas abortion providers appeal the decision to the Supreme Court (Women's Health Policy Report, 6/11).
"[T]he idea of fetal pain is just the latest way the pro-life lobby is trying to reduce access to abortion." -- Columnist Latoya Peterson in an opinion piece for Fusion, explaining that 20-week abortion bans are based "on misinterpreted research that says fetuses can feel pain" at that point of development. She writes, "By pandering to an increasingly fringe minority, who will take any symbolic victory against abortion and leave the bodies of women in their wake, extremist lawmakers are willing to ignore medical facts and statistics and hurt women to advance their cause" (Women's Health Policy Report, 5/29).
"Because (Idaho's law) places an arbitrary time limit on when women can obtain abortions, the statute is unconstitutional." -- 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Harry Pregerson, overturning Idaho's 20-week abortion ban (The Hill, 5/29). The appeals court also struck down restrictions in the state that require abortions performed during the second trimester to take place at a hospital (Women's Health Policy Report, 6/1).
"[W]omen should be able to get the comprehensive health care they need when they need it, without being charged extra, without asking permission and without politicians interfering." -- Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), on a measure (S 1532) she proposed that would require insurance companies to cover oral contraceptives approved by the FDA for over-the-counter use (Women's Health Policy Report, 9/10).
"We're going to continue the program, first and foremost." -- Larry Wolk, Colorado's chief medical officer and executive director of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, pledging to keep in place a state program that helps low-income women access long-acting reversible contraception. State lawmakers did not approve $5 million in funding for the program, but Wolk has said he is in discussions with in- and out-of-state foundations to procure additional funding (Women's Health Policy Report, 6/2).
"This is about protecting the health and safety of women." -- California Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins (D), on a bill (AB 775) passed by the chamber that aims to protect women from receiving certain misleading information from crisis pregnancy centers. The bill now heads to the state Senate for consideration (Women's Health Policy Report, 5/27).
"[I]f you're a woman counting on a constitutional right to an abortion, your access to one may increasingly depend on your county or zip code." -- Columnist Rebecca Ruiz in a Mashable opinion piece, discussing the barrage of state legislation designed to restrict women's access to abortion. Ruiz notes that as lawsuits over these restrictions move through the courts, often with "different outcomes depending on geography, it has become clear that only the Supreme Court can truly address the growing disparities in access to abortion" (Women's Health Policy Report, 5/21).
"We call for age-appropriate, medically accurate, evidence-informed and comprehensive school-based sexual health education for young people." -- Richard Carmona, Joycelyn Elders and David Satcher -- the 17th, 15th and 16th U.S. surgeons general, respectively -- discussing the need for comprehensive sexuality education in the U.S. (Washington Post, 5/22). The surgeons general note that despite some improvements in sexual health, the U.S. "continues to have one of the highest teen birth rates and some of the highest rates of sexually transmitted [infection] in the industrialized world" (Women's Health Policy Report, 5/27).