December 13, 2013
"Pennsylvania's New 'Women's Health Caucus' Unveils Package of Pro-Active Bills," Tara Murtha, RH Reality Check: On Wednesday, "the Pennsylvania legislature's Women's Health Caucus -- just established this spring -- unveiled its first enterprise: a package of bills that pro-actively address women's physical health, financial security and personal safety," Murtha writes, noting that abortion restrictions are normally the types of women's health-related bills that come before the Legislature. "With 36 female representatives and eight female senators out of 253 seats, the percentage of women in Pennsylvania's legislature (17.8 percent) lags well behind the national average (23 percent) and fails to reflect constituent demographics," according to Murtha. State Sen. Judith Schwank (D), a leader of the new effort, said, "With this agenda, the Women's Health Caucus is going to work on focusing legislative efforts on the concerns most women worry about and struggle with, but historically have been put aside or downplayed." Murtha outlines the package's bills, including a measure that would boost women's access to cancer screenings and another that would bolster workplace accommodations for pregnant women, among others (Murtha, RH Reality Check, 12/11).
"After Lawmaker Discloses Her Own Sexual Assault, Michigan Approves 'Rape Insurance' Bill Anyway," Tara Culp-Ressler, Center for American Progress' "ThinkProgress": Before the Michigan Legislature voted to approve a ban on most abortion coverage in private and public health plans, two lawmakers who oppose the measure shared their own personal stories, Culp-Ressler writes. She notes that state Senate Minority Leader Gretchen Whitmer (D) "tearfully spoke about her own experience with sexual assault, disclosing that she was raped two decades ago." Speaking for the first time about the incident, Whitmer said, "'It's something I've coped with privately for many years now, but I felt it was important for my Republican colleagues to see the face of the women they're hurting with their actions today." Meanwhile, Culp-Ressler also writes that state Rep. Colleen Lamonte (D) "shared the emotional story of a miscarriage she experienced at 12 weeks of pregnancy," noting "that if she didn't have insurance coverage for the dilation and curettage that was necessary to end the doomed pregnancy, her hospital bill could have been unaffordable" (Culp-Ressler, "ThinkProgress," Center for American Progress, 12/12).
What others are saying about abortion restrictions:
~ "Who Suffers When States Decide To Cut Off Legal Abortion at 20 Weeks? The Young and Poor," Culp-Ressler, Center for American Progress' "ThinkProgress."
~ "Texas State Health Services Received More Than 19,000 Comments Against Abortion Law," Andrea Grimes, RH Reality Check.
~ "At Least 73 Abortion Clinics Have Shut Down Since 2011," Emily Crockett, RH Reality Check.