National Partnership for Women & Families

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March 25, 2014

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"This Law Allows Genetic Counselors To Turn Away Gays and Unwed Parents," Molly Redden, Mother Jones: Genetic counselors in Virginia now "have the right to turn away gays or lesbians or to withhold test results that could cause a patient to consider terminating her pregnancy," under recently signed legislation that "establishes new rules for licensing genetic counselors," Redden writes. Redden notes that the genetic counselors are "health care professionals who help couples assess their odds of parenting a child with a genetic disorder, test individuals for genes indicative of disease, or detect fetal abnormalities after a woman becomes pregnant." She adds, "For pro-choice activists, the new law is more than just another intrusion on reproductive rights," but also "a betrayal" by Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D), who was elected in part because of substantial support from female voters and abortion-rights groups. Although McAuliffe worked with NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia and the Americans Civil Liberties Union of Virginia on an amendment that would have weakened the law's "conscience clause," he decided to sign into law the version passed by the state House and Senate because "the necessity of regulating genetic counselors was too great not to sign" it (Redden, Mother Jones, 3/25).

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 "Repro Wrap: If There's a Uterus in the House the GOP Wants To Legislate It and Other News," Robin Marty, Care2: "It's been a long, long week, especially for those fighting for reproductive rights in the state of Missouri," Marty writes, citing the "literally dozens of anti-abortion restrictions" passed by the state Legislature. She notes that state Rep. Stacey Newman (D) kept a knitted uterus on her desk during a recent debate, which was "probably the closest a number of the legislators had ever gotten to actually seeing one, but that didn't stop them from continuing to level restriction after restriction on women's reproductive organs." Marty also rounds up news on antiabortion-rights legislation in other states, noting that some are having a "harder time" than Missouri passing such bills (Marty, Care2, 3/21).