May 15, 2015
"The Worst State for Reproductive Rights," Olga Khazan, The Atlantic: South Dakota is "the worst state in the nation for reproductive rights," followed by Nebraska, Kansas, Idaho and Tennessee, according to a report released by the Institute for Women's Policy Research, Khazan writes. Khazan cites several reasons for South Dakota's poor ranking, including its 72-hour mandatory delay before abortions; requirements that women "undergo in-person counseling that necessitates two trips to the clinic"; and how almost 25% "of women in the state live in a county that doesn't have an abortion provider." Further, according to the report, the state also "does not require insurers to cover infertility treatments"; it does not "mandate sex education in schools"; and it has not expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act (PL 111-148), "which would have increased the number of women eligible to receive family-planning services," Khazan writes. Meanwhile, she notes that the report ranks "Oregon [a]s the best state for reproductive rights ... followed by Vermont, Maryland, New Jersey, and Hawaii." According to the Khazan, Oregon earned its ranking by providing "public funding for abortions ... having a 'pro-choice' governor" and not requiring mandatory delays for women seeking abortions (Khazan, The Atlantic, 5/12).
What others are saying about abortion restrictions:
~ "We're Living in an Anti-Choice Nightmare: 25 Ways Anti-Women Warriors Are Playing Doctor," Katie McDonough, Salon.
"The Family Planning Cuts That the Texas Legislature Forced Through Are Having Dire Consequences," Tara Culp-Ressler, Center for American Progress' "ThinkProgress": "[M]ore than half of Texas women have faced at least one barrier to getting the reproductive health services they need" since the state in 2011 "slashed funding for family planning services by two-thirds and dismantled the state's network of family planning providers in an effort to exclude Planned Parenthood," according to a report from the Texas Policy Evaluation Project, Culp-Ressler writes. She notes that "the attacks on ... family planning," which resulted in the closure of 76 women's health clinics, have "left low-income and rural women struggling to access basic preventative services like Pap smears, STD tests, and birth control consultations." According to Culp-Ressler, "[t]he new survey provides some data points" on the situation, finding that women "are struggling to get to a clinic for their gender-based health needs," with many citing difficulties with transportation, childcare, insurance and affordability, among other barriers. "Texas lawmakers have attempted to take some steps to restore the funding for family planning services," she writes, but she adds that "women's health experts in the state say it's not enough, and warn that it will take years for Texas to truly recover" from the cuts (Culp-Ressler, "ThinkProgress," Center for American Progress, 5/12).
"California Judge: Abstinence-Only Sex Education Isn't Sex Education at All," Jenny Kutner, Salon: A recent ruling by a California judge "affirms what reproductive health advocates and science have been saying for a long time: Abstinence-only sex education isn't really sex education at all," Kutner writes. She notes that, in the case, Fresno County Superior Court Judge Donald Black ruled that "'access to medically and socially appropriate sexual education is an important public right,' and that state law requires students receive accurate information in public school sex ed courses." Kutner writes that the decision "explicitly excludes abstinence-only curricula, which incorrectly -- and ineffectively -- teach[es] students that remaining celibate until marriage is the only route to avoiding sexually transmitted infections and unintended pregnancy." She adds, "Even if the California ruling doesn't have far-reaching implications for the state of abstinence-only sex education" in other states "just yet, it is a step in the right direction" (Kutner, Salon, 5/13).