August 26, 2016
"Healthcare reforms must include abortion care access to be called 'universal'": Karen Middleton, Huffington Post blogs: "In Colorado there is a 2016 ballot measure, Amendment 69, that has the good intention of universal healthcare, but a serious policy flaw that it cannot fund abortion care as written," Middleton, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Colorado, writes. Middleton explains that under a 1984 state constitutional ballot, Colorado "explicitly bans any public funds to be used for abortion care." According to Middleton, ColoradoCare, the universal coverage system proposed under Amendment 69, "would be established as a 'political subdivision' of the state, therefore prohibited from providing coverage for any abortion services to women except when continuing the pregnancy would endanger the life of the pregnant woman." As a result, Middleton writes, "More than 550,000 women of childbearing age in Colorado -- who, today, have insurance coverage for abortion services as part of their contracted benefits, will lose access to abortion coverage benefits if Amendment 69 passes." Middleton concludes, "While we strongly support the goal of improved healthcare for all Coloradans, and many of our members individually support the idea of universal health care, Amendment 69 not providing guarantees to affordable abortion access means it is not truly universal" (Middleton, Huffington Post blogs, 8/24).
"Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin shut down its Appleton North clinic & the reason why speaks volumes about reproductive rights," Claire Warner, Bustle: Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin has shut down its Appleton clinic for security reasons, a decision that leaves "just three abortion providers ... in the state" and "speaks volumes about the current state of reproductive rights in the United States," Warner writes. She explains that Planned Parenthood "had clinics reassess their individual security standards nationwide" after a deadly shooting at a Colorado clinic and determined that "the Appleton location was unable to afford stricter safety regulations." She writes, "Now that the Appleton location has shut its doors, women in Wisconsin may have to travel hundreds of miles, potentially across state lines, to receive abortion services; the three remaining abortion providers in the state are located in either Madison or Milwaukee." According to Warner, the clinic's shutdown "exemplifies the obstacles facing abortion providers today: Even when they aren't operating under absurd restrictions imposed on them by state legislatures, abortion clinics are in danger of acts of violence from anti-abortion extremists." She concludes, "No medical facility should have to choose between providing services and ensuring the safety of their patients and staff, but that's exactly the decision Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin was forced to make ... even though abortions are absolutely legal in the United States" (Warner, Bustle, 8/25).