May 12, 2015
"Tennessee's New Abortion Law Could Leave the State With Just Four Abortion Clinics," Lauren Barbato, Bustle: "Following the path cleared by abortion foes in Texas, Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam [R] signed an extreme anti-abortion measure [SB 1280] that could close a handful of the state's clinics by July 1," Barbato writes. She explains that the new law requires "all clinics and physicians' offices that perform more than 50 abortions per year to be licensed as ambulatory surgical treatment centers," meaning that they "will need to meet the same building requirements as hospital-style outpatient surgery centers," including "creating wider hallways and entrances ... and changing the size of the exam rooms." According to Barbato, only "about half of Tennessee's clinics -- just four in all -- meet the requirements of an ambulatory surgical center" and the remaining clinics, including those in more populous areas of the state, will "be forced to close unless they can upgrade their facilities by July 1." Citing figures from the Guttmacher Institute, Barbato notes that 23 states currently mandate similar requirements and that in one of those states, Texas, "the requirement has been successful at not only shutting clinics, but rendering abortion nearly obsolete for women outside metropolitan areas" (Barbato, Bustle, 5/9).
"Oregon Bans 'Conversion Therapy' of LGBTQ Youth," Nina Liss-Schultz, RH Reality Check: Oregon is set to become "the fourth jurisdiction, following California, New Jersey, and Washington, D.C., to ban so-called conversion therapy for minors" under a bill (HB 2307) passed Friday by the state Senate, Liss-Schultz writes. She notes that conversion therapy, "in which mental health professionals seek to change a person's sexual identity or orientation, relies on both the outdated belief that non-straight sexual orientation is a mental health disorder and the discriminatory belief that same-sex orientation is of less value than heterosexuality." Conversion therapy "has been lambasted by the medical and mental health professional communities, including the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Psychological Association and the American Psychiatric Association," she adds, noting that bills similar to HB 2307 have been introduced in 17 states. Further, she notes that "[b]oth the California and New Jersey laws have recently held up in court" and that the Obama administration in April "threw its support behind the bans" (Liss-Schultz, RH Reality Check, 5/11).