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Featured Blog: Montana House Moves to Preemptively Ban Telemedical Abortion, But There is Good News

Maggie MoranBy Maggie Moran, Executive Director, NARAL Pro-Choice Montana

In Montana, we are two-thirds of the way through our 64th Legislature and there is no doubt that 2015 is a tough year for reproductive rights. From bans on telemedicine for early abortion care to fetal anesthesia requirements for later term abortions, politicians seem bent on making abortion, at any stage, as difficult to access as possible in our state. However, upon some much-needed reflection, my optimism allows me to see bright spots to appreciate.

Montana does not, yet, provide early abortion care via telemedicine (through which a woman, in the presence of a licensed health care practitioner, consults with a physician through telecommunications technology). That didn’t stop the House from passing a bill to ban the option. Politics trumped science in a committee stacked along party lines. On the House floor, there were several common sense Republican detractors after a passionate and lively debate. Sadly, we needed more members of the GOP to kill the bill, so it now moves on to the Senate. More »


May 19, 2015

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"Texas Lawmakers Want Women To Present IDs Before They Get Abortions," Tara Culp-Ressler, Center for American Progress' "ThinkProgress": Culp-Ressler writes about a measure (HB 3994) passed by the Texas House that would "make it extremely difficult for minors to obtain an abortion in a state that's already severely restricted reproductive rights." Among other restrictions, the "omnibus" bill would "requir[e] abortion doctors to assume that all of their patients are minors and request a government-issued ID to verify their age," Culp-Ressler writes, adding that the provision "threatens to pose an especially large burden for younger teens and immigrant women who may not have a drivers license." Culp-Ressler also describes how the bill would tighten a state law that allows pregnant minors to obtain a court's permission to have an abortion instead of obtaining parental consent for the procedure. Citing reproductive-rights proponents, Culp-Ressler notes that the "judicial bypass process is intended to serve as a safety net for vulnerable teens, and it's cruel to place even more restrictions on young women who are in difficult situations" (Culp-Ressler, "ThinkProgress," Center for American Progress, 5/15).

What others are saying about abortion restrictions:

~ "Which State Was the Worst for Women This Week?" Amanda Marcotte, Slate's "The XX Factor."

~ "South Carolina Republican: 20-Week Abortion Ban Isn't Harsh Enough," Nina Liss-Schultz, RH Reality Check.

~ "Anti-Choice Groups Try 'Texas Playbook' in Attempt To Block Health Care Access in California," Jessica Mason Pieklo, RH Reality Check.

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"Exploiting the Black Family: A Divisive Campaign of the Anti-Woman, 'Pro-Life' Movement," Cherisse Scott, RH Reality Check: Scott, founder and CEO of SisterReach, writes about how the placement of "three anti-choice billboards" in underserved and "predominantly Black ... neighborhoods of Memphis, Tennessee ... represent[s] another attempt by the anti-choice movement to guilt Black mothers about their personal reproductive health-care decisions while pitting Black fathers against us." According to Scott, such billboards, used by antiabortion-rights groups since 2010,"com[e] at a time when Black people everywhere are forced to remind the world that Black lives matter, especially the quality of those lives." She adds that "these anti-woman, anti-choice supporters are nowhere to be found when advocates are working to change the lived conditions of Black communities." Further, the antiabortion-rights groups "forego consulting Black communities about what we need in terms of support or resources to change the daily conditions of our lives," Scott writes, noting that "80 percent of Black Americans believe abortion should remain legal." She adds, "If the anti-choice movement is actually concerned about Black lives, they will take the billboards down and instead re-route those resources into productive efforts to achieve the complete health and well-being of Black families in Memphis and throughout the country" (Scott, RH Reality Check, 5/15).


May 8, 2015

"Oklahoma Governor Signs 72-Hour Waiting Period Bill," Teddy Wilson, RH Reality Check: "Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin (R) signed a bill [HB 1409] into law Wednesday mandating that a person seeking an abortion must wait 72 hours for the procedure," making it "the fourth state in the country -- joining Missouri, South Dakota, and Utah -- with a 72-hour" mandatory delay, Wilson writes. Further, Wilson notes that the law, which takes effect on Nov. 1, also requires physicians to share "so-called informed consent materials" with patients. Wilson cites concerns of several reproductive rights advocates, including Amanda Allen, state legislative counsel at the Center for Reproductive Rights, who said, "'The message that this [law] really sends is that the [Oklahoma] Legislature and the government are second-guessing a woman's ability to decide for herself." Wilson adds that similar bills "have been introduced in state legislatures nationwide to create or increase [delays] before a woman can seek abortion care" (Wilson, RH Reality Check, 5/6).

What others are saying about abortion restrictions:

~ "Colorado Democrats Defeat Fetal 'Personhood' Legislation," Jason Salzman, RH Reality Check.

~ "California Lawmakers Won't Allow Insurers To Opt Out of Abortion Coverage," Nina Liss-Schultz, RH Reality Check.

May 8, 2015

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"One in 15 Students at a West Texas High School Has Chlamydia," Amanda Marcotte, Slate's "The XX Factor": An incident "in rural West Texas" in which 20 cases of chlamydia were confirmed among a group of 300 high school students is "the least surprising thing ever," Marcotte writes. She explains that "the combination of a repressive culture and a small population where everyone is up in everyone else's business all the time makes it hard for people -- especially teenagers -- to take necessary precautions against disease transmission: getting tested, communicating openly with partners, obtaining condoms." Further, according to Marcotte, "The area's repressive attitudes toward sex are illustrated in the school's sex education program, which takes up three days in the fall semester and, of course, is focused on abstinence." She writes that the media attention around the incident "might finally embarrass locals enough to consider changing their ways" when it comes to sexuality education instead of insisting on a "chlamydia-friendly strategy of telling kids to wait until marriage" (Marcotte, "The XX Factor," Slate, 5/5).

What others are saying about sexuality education:

~ "New Orleans Students Could Soon Have Accurate Sex Ed Information," Martha Kempner, RH Reality Check.

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"Colorado's Top Doctor Seeks Funds for Pregnancy-Prevention Program Rejected by GOP," Jason Salzman, RH Reality Check: "Days after Republicans in Colorado's [S]enate voted down funds for a successful teen-pregnancy prevention program, Colorado's chief medical officer has vowed to find donors to continue the program," according to media reports, Salzman writes. He notes that Larry Wolk, CMO and executive director at Colorado's Department of Public Health and Environment, said the agency is working with private foundations to fund the program and already has garnered some "'preliminary interest.'" The program's success "has caught the eye of foundations in Colorado and nationally ... in part because Colorado is the only state in which more than 20 percent of young women attending Title X clinics used long-acting reversible contraception (LARC), like intrauterine devices," Salzman writes, drawing on Wolk's assessment. Overall, Salzman notes that the program is "credited with reducing teen pregnancies by about 40 percent and teen abortions by 35 percent" during its initial "five-year test phase." However, Wolk has warned that if the initiative cannot find funding, the program's "success in reducing teen pregnancy could easily be reversed," Salzman writes (Salzman, RH Reality Check, 5/6).

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"Oklahoma Governor Signs 72-Hour Waiting Period Bill," Teddy Wilson, RH Reality Check: "Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin (R) signed a bill [HB 1409] into law Wednesday mandating that a person seeking an abortion must wait 72 hours for the procedure," making it "the fourth state in the country -- joining Missouri, South Dakota, and Utah -- with a 72-hour" mandatory delay, Wilson writes. Further, Wilson notes that the law, which takes effect on Nov. 1, also requires physicians to share "so-called informed consent materials" with patients. Wilson cites concerns of several reproductive rights advocates, including Amanda Allen, state legislative counsel at the Center for Reproductive Rights, who said, "'The message that this [law] really sends is that the [Oklahoma] Legislature and the government are second-guessing a woman's ability to decide for herself." Wilson adds that similar bills "have been introduced in state legislatures nationwide to create or increase [delays] before a woman can seek abortion care" (Wilson, RH Reality Check, 5/6).

What others are saying about abortion restrictions:

~ "Colorado Democrats Defeat Fetal 'Personhood' Legislation," Jason Salzman, RH Reality Check.

~ "California Lawmakers Won't Allow Insurers To Opt Out of Abortion Coverage," Nina Liss-Schultz, RH Reality Check.

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"Virginia Attorney General: Abortion Clinics Don't Need To Comply With TRAP Regulations," Liss-Schultz, RH Reality Check: Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring (D) has issued a legal opinion stating that "Virginia abortion clinics don't have to comply with the harsh targeted regulation of abortion providers (TRAP) regulations" that "threate[n] to shut down all of the state's 18 clinics," Liss-Schultz writes. She explains that the 2013 regulations, which are currently under state review, require "clinics performing five or more first-trimester abortions per month to conform to the same architectural standards as hospitals." According to Liss-Schultz, Herring's predecessor, Ken Cuccinelli (R), had said the rules would "apply to all abortion clinics, not only clinics yet to be built," meaning that "established clinics ... would have to renovate or risk closure." However, Herring's opinion reverses that interpretation and "allow[s] current clinics to essentially hold tight while the rules are amended," she writes, adding that clinics -- which currently all have waivers exempting them from the rules -- also "will no longer need to re-apply for waivers after their year of exemption is over" (Liss-Schultz, RH Reality Check, 5/5).

May 5, 2015

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"Think the 'Personhood' Issue Is Over? Think Again," Kathleen Turner, RH Reality Check: Despite the defeat of "personhood" measures in Colorado (Amendment 67) and North Dakota (Measure 1), opponents of abortion rights are pushing ahead with passing abortion restrictions that "eliminat[e] the right to choose not by fiat ... but by red tape," Turner writes. She says that efforts of "personhood" advocates have resulted in other abortion-rights opponents deceptively appearing "more 'moderate,' providing cover for more incremental abortion restrictions that make it much harder for women to access abortion," such as "TRAP laws and similar recent anti-choice measures [that] have already created drastic inequality by eliminating abortion access for far too many." Turner adds that "when those measures pass, 'personhood' advocates get closer to their goal: Without access to safe and legal abortion, a woman's right to choose is essentially meaningless" (Turner, RH Reality Check, 5/1).

What others are saying about abortion restrictions:

~ "Texas Lawmaker Introduces 'Coerced Abortion' Bill so Extreme That Even Her GOP Allies Are Running for the Hills," Jenny Kutner, Salon.

~ "Abortion Opponents Are Winning," Culp-Ressler, Center for American Progress' "ThinkProgress."

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"This State Is Actually Protecting Reproductive Rights," Meredith Clark, Refinery29: "In the conversation around state regulations on women's reproductive rights, it's been almost all bad news in recent months, but there's one state that has quietly fought off attempts to reduce abortion access," Clark writes. Specifically, Montana Gov. Steve Bullock (D) last week "vetoed three bills that would have restricted abortion access in the state," she notes. According to Clark, the vetoed measures (SB 349, HB 479, HB 587) "would have placed restrictions on private insurance coverage for abortions, forced doctors to use fetal anesthesia for abortions at 20 weeks (a practice based on medically inaccurate claims about fetal pain), and banned healthcare providers from using telemedicine for medication abortions, which helps women in rural states that have few abortion providers, like Montana." Clark writes, "The first months of 2015 have seen more than 300 attempts by legislators to restrict abortion access, including laws signed by governors in Arkansas and Arizona that require doctors to give women medically inaccurate information," adding that such "[a]ttacks ... only underscore the importance of Governor Bullock's moves in Montana" (Clark, Refinery29, 5/4).


May 1, 2015

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"Millennials Lead a Texas-Sized Movement for Reproductive Health, Rights and Justice," Adriano Perez, National Partnership for Women & Families' blog: Perez, a campus organizer at the University of Texas at El Paso for the Texas Freedom Network, writes that "[o]ne of the issues millennials are organizing around is the continuing legislative assault on reproductive health care, including access to abortion care" in Texas. According to Perez, "Texas legislators have proposed more anti-abortion legislation -- at least two dozen bills -- than legislators in any other state," spurring "a coalition of progressive organizations across the state ... to launch" the "Trust. Respect. Access." campaign. According to Perez, the effort intends "to restore trust in Texans to make their own reproductive health care decisions, respect for health care professionals' judgment and access for all people to the full range of reproductive health care in Texas." Perez writes, "The journey to a better Texas, in which access to reproductive health care is a reality for all Texans, is an uphill battle. But we love our state more than we're angered by our legislature -- and we're in it for the long haul" (Perez, National Partnership for Women & Families' blog, 4/29).

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"Colorado's Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program Works, and That's Why Conservatives Want to Kill It," Amanda Marcotte, RH Reality Check: Marcotte writes that an "interesting political battl[e] over reproductive health-care access is currently going down in Colorado," where conservatives "are trying to kill ... an experimental program launched in the state in 2009 [that] has resulted in a shocking 40 percent drop in the teen birth rate and a 35 percent drop in the teen abortion rate." According to Marcotte, conservative lawmakers' efforts to kill the program are less about the state's budget and more "about the escalating battle over contraception access, both in Colorado and in this country as a whole." Specifically, conservatives in the state "are using this battle to beta-test various arguments against any future attempts, on any level, to make it easier for women to get affordable long-term contraception," she writes. The situation shows how "conservatives are willing -- eager, even -- to keep the teen pregnancy rate sky high on the slim hope that doing so might scare someone, sometime out of having sex," she writes, adding that the "fate of this little initiative in Colorado could determine the shape of reproductive health care for generations to come" (Marcotte, RH Reality Check, 4/28).

What others are saying about adolescent health:

~ "New Study: HPV Vaccine Prevents Host of Teen Health Issues," Martha Kempner, RH Reality Check.

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Michigan Continues Trend of Investigating Miscarriages as Murder," Robin Marty, Care2: "Despite claims that abortion opponents [have] no interest in investigating miscarriages, once again it appears that is exactly what is happening ... in Michigan as authorities appear to be looking for grounds to set ... another precedent for criminalizing bad pregnancy outcomes," Marty writes. She explains that the state is holding a woman named Kimberly Pappas "for murder because she went into premature labor at work" and allegedly "cut the umbilical cord, put the fetus in a plastic bag, and then placed it inside her desk." Specifically, according to Marty, Pappas is being charged "with felony murder, premeditated murder and first-degree child abuse" because prosecutors are "saying [the fetus] had been born alive." Marty writes, "What is most disturbing however is that Michigan shows ... [it is] eager to prosecute a delivery as a murder if the child fails to survive," noting that the state "waited nearly a month for an autopsy report to 'prove' the baby took a breath in order to press charges, and the mental health of Pappas since then held no weight to [the state]" (Marty, Care2, 4/28).

What others are saying about criminalizing pregnancy:

~ "Purvi Patel To Appeal Conviction: 'Feticide Is an Extreme, Extreme Proposition," Jenny Kutner, Salon.

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"Montana Governor Vetoes Telemedicine Abortion Ban," Teddy Wilson, RH Reality Check: Montana Gov. Steve Bullock (D) has vetoed a telemedicine abortion ban bill (HB 587) that "would have prohibited a medical practitioner from providing or attempting to provide an abortion on a pregnant woman or prescribing abortion-inducing drugs, except while in the physical presence of the woman," Wilson writes. Wilson notes that in vetoing the bill, Bullock said "'elected officials ... should all be working together to expand access to health-care services in Montana'" and added the proposed telemedicine ban was among several bills that "'seek to do just the opposite, particularly for women and families living in the more rural part of our state.'" Wilson adds that Bullock also signed a bill (HB 606) that "will protect access to reproductive health care in the state" by "creat[ing] a special revenue account for funding Title X, a federal program devoted to helping low-income people access family planning services." According to Wilson, Bullock said of the bill, "'A woman's reproductive health shouldn't be subject to political whims of the Montana Legislature'" (Wilson, RH Reality Check, 4/29).

What others are saying about abortion restrictions:

~ "Which State Was the Worst for Women This Week?" Marcotte, Slate's "XX Factor."

~ "Colorado GOP's Fetal Homicide Bill Based on Legislation Promoted by Anti-Choice Group," Jason Salzman, RH Reality Check.


April 17, 2015

"'Marlise's Law' Could Give End-of-Life Rights to Pregnant Texans," Andrea Grimes, RH Reality Check: The family of a pregnant woman, Marlise Muñoz, "whose body was kept on mechanical support against her wishes for months," on Wednesday testified in favor of a measure [HB 3183] "that would give end-of-life decision-making rights to pregnant Texans," Grimes writes. Grimes explains that under current Texas law, pregnant women are prevented "from being able to issue advance directives about their end-of-life care, requiring doctors and hospitals to keep pregnant Texans on mechanical support against their consent and regardless of their, or their families' instructions." According to Grimes, the new bill, proposed by state Rep. Elliott Naishtat, would enable pregnant women in Texas to have more control over their end-of-life care by "strik[ing] a line in the state's advance directives code that bars the code from applying in cases where a patient is pregnant." She notes that the bill "was left pending in committee," while a separate bill (HB 1901) that "directly counters the intention of" HB 3183 has "not yet been assigned a hearing" (Grimes, RH Reality Check, 4/15).



April 24, 2015

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"Colorado Pro-Choice Advocates: Giving Legal Rights to Fetuses Doesn’t Protect Pregnant Wom[e]n," Jason Salzman, RH Reality Check: "Colorado pro-choice activists on Wednesday decried a bill (SB 15-268) introduced ... in response to a grotesque crime against a pregnant woman that would give 'personhood' rights to fetuses," Salzman writes. He notes that during a news conference before a hearing on the measure, "pro-choice advocates urged lawmakers to focus on measures to protect women from violence instead of giving fetuses legal rights that could be used to arrest pregnant women." For example, Salzman notes that Lynn Paltrow, executive director of National Advocates for Pregnant Women, asked, '"Why are we having a conversation about how many years is long enough (to incarcerate someone for destroying a fetus), rather than asking whether these laws do anything to deter violence against pregnant women, to protect pregnancies, embryos, and fetuses?"' Meanwhile, Salzman notes that other abortion-rights supporters said the state's current law against such crimes -- which "does not give legal rights to fetuses" -- already imposes "severe penalties" on individuals who illegally terminate pregnancies while simultaneously protecting pregnant women and medical professionals from prosecution (Salzman, RH Reality Check, 4/23).

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"A 'New Low'? GOP Tries To Block D.C.'s New Reproductive Health Law," Emily Crockett, RH Reality Check: The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on Tuesday voted 20-16 to advance a measure that aims "to overturn a new law [Act 20-593] that would protect women in Washington, D.C., from being fired due to their reproductive health-care choices," Crockett writes. Supporters of the law, D.C.'s Reproductive Health Non-Discrimination Act, cite "cases of non-Catholic women who become pregnant out of wedlock being fired from Catholic schools as an example of why the law is needed," Crockett notes, explaining that "[l]aws against gender discrimination or pregnancy discrimination don't always cover cases in which a woman's reproductive health choices run afoul of her employer's ideology." Meanwhile, the law's opponents, "which include the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops," have "claim[ed] that it would restrict religious freedom," Crockett writes. She notes that because the effort to halt the law is "unlikely to succeed," opponents have "urged House budget leaders to stop the new law by blocking funds to implement it" (Crockett, RH Reality Check, 4/22).

What others are saying about the D.C. antidiscrimination measure:

~ "It Won't Surprise You, But the House Wants To Allow Bosses To Fire Women for Their Personal Reproductive Health Decisions," Leila Abolfazli, National Women's Law Center's "Womenstake."

April 17, 2015

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"California Bill Would Require Crisis Pregnancy Centers To Discuss Abortion Options," Nina Liss-Schultz, RH Reality Check: The California Assembly Committee on Health on Tuesday approved a bill (AB 775) aimed at "regulat[ing] the information anti-choice crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs) provide to clients," Liss-Schultz writes. She explains that CPCs "have the either explicit or unstated goal of preventing clients from obtaining abortions," a goal they aim to accomplish by "regularly dol[ing] out misinformation about the procedure" and "disguising themselves as abortions clinics, advertising their services as unbiased counseling and buying up or leasing space near abortion clinics." According to Liss-Schultz, some cities in the state, such as San Francisco, "have taken steps to curb the influence of CPCs." She writes that the new, statewide bill would require licensed facilities that "'provide family planning and pregnancy-related services to inform patients about available assistance for affordable contraception, abortion, and prenatal care, including how to obtain that assistance.'" In addition, it would mandate that "facilities without medical licenses that offer similar services to post a notice saying they have neither a license nor licensed providers on staff" (Liss-Schultz, RH Reality Check, 4/16).

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"'Marlise's Law' Could Give End-of-Life Rights to Pregnant Texans," Andrea Grimes, RH Reality Check: The family of a pregnant woman, Marlise Muñoz, "whose body was kept on mechanical support against her wishes for months," on Wednesday testified in favor of a measure [HB 3183] "that would give end-of-life decision-making rights to pregnant Texans," Grimes writes. Grimes explains that under current Texas law, pregnant women are prevented "from being able to issue advance directives about their end-of-life care, requiring doctors and hospitals to keep pregnant Texans on mechanical support against their consent and regardless of their, or their families' instructions." According to Grimes, the new bill, proposed by state Rep. Elliott Naishtat, would enable pregnant women in Texas to have more control over their end-of-life care by "strik[ing] a line in the state's advance directives code that bars the code from applying in cases where a patient is pregnant." She notes that the bill "was left pending in committee," while a separate bill (HB 1901) that "directly counters the intention of" HB 3183 has "not yet been assigned a hearing" (Grimes, RH Reality Check, 4/15).

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"Anti-Choicers Are Going To Take Away Second-Trimester Abortion Without Much Notice," Amanda Marcotte, RH Reality Check: "Kansas and Oklahoma, both of which have passed laws [SB 95, HB 1721] banning the dilation and evacuation (D and E) procedure that is used in most abortions after 13 weeks, have graduated to a new level in their efforts to stamp out reproductive rights," Marcotte writes. She notes that if the Supreme Court were "to agree with the anti-choice side about these bans," it "would open the door to just banning abortion outright." While similar legislation is "being considered in Missouri [HB 920], South Carolina [SB 531], and South Dakota," the mainstream media has made limited mention of the issue, and there has "been little outrage or fear," Marcotte writes. According to Marcotte, the strategy behind such laws is twofold, with abortion-rights opponents aiming to "[o]verwhelm the news cycle with restrictions on abortion so that the public starts to tune the stories out" and make the regulations seem "minor" so that people "shrug" off the news. Marcotte questions whether "a weary public is going to shrug off [these laws] as no big deal," adding, "by the time we're all panicked enough to stop shrugging, it will be too late" (Marcotte, RH Reality Check, 4/16).

What others are saying about abortion restrictions:

~ "Senate Passes Medicare 'Doc Fix' Bill, Including Anti-Choice Language," Emily Crockett, RH Reality Check.


April 14, 2015

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"Why This Longtime Abortion Provider May Never Reopen Her Practice," Robin Marty/Susan Cahill, Cosmopolitan: Cahill, who was "the only physician's assistant in Montana to provide abortions," discusses last year's vandalization of her clinic, which "had been systematically destroyed by Zachary Klundt, the son of a local anti-abortion activist." Cahill says Klundt "destroyed every possible thing you can imagine," adding that she believes Klundt, who was armed, "would have killed [her]" had she walked in while he was there. Cahill adds that while she is "not saying that [she is] not reopening" her practice, she has had "a really, really, really hard year" and is currently "on a sabbatical." She continues, "[A]s the time goes by, I feel more like, if I could get a little medical community around me so I wasn't alone and so I could teach people even medication abortion, I would do it in a millisecond, because it's needed" (Marty/Cahill, Cosmopolitan, 4/10).

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"Alaska Bill Restricts Sexual Health Education in Schools," Nina Liss-Schultz, RH Reality Check: "Alaska lawmakers are moving forward with a bill [SB 89]that would bar Planned Parenthood outreach programs from teaching sex education in public schools and allow parents to opt their children out of sex education classes and standardized testing," Liss-Schultz writes. Specifically, she notes that the original bill would "allow parents to withdraw their children from any portion of school ... that the 'parent believes is harmful to the child,'" which the original bill defined as "[a]ny activity that might question 'beliefs involving human reproduction, health, or sex education.'" According to Liss-Schultz, a state Senate committee advanced the measure on April 9, approving additional language that while "not specifically mention[ing]" Planned Parenthood," effectively bars the organization "from participating in sex education in schools" (Liss-Schultz, RH Reality Check, 4/13).


April 7, 2015

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"When It Comes to Abstinence-Only Education Battles, Let's Fight Anecdotes With Anecdotes," Amanda Marcotte, RH Reality Check: A Texas lawmaker's recent comments about his personal experience with abstinence until marriage "perfectly encapsulates why exactly it's so hard to kill ... abstinence-only ideology off completely: Because the argument that it could work somehow gets confused with the idea that it will work or even that it should work," Marcotte writes. She explains that Texas Rep. Stuart Spitzer (R) -- during debate over a plan to divert funding from an HIV-prevention program to abstinence-only sexuality education -- said his goal is "for everybody to be abstinent until they're married," adding, "What's good for me is good for a lot of people." Marcotte writes that although research has shown that abstinence-only sex ed is not effective, "[t]he problem is that anecdotes are often more persuasive than data." Therefore, "the best way to kill off abstinence-only education -- and similar movements trying to ban abortion and restrict contraception -- is to really embrace the power of the anecdote," she argues (Marcotte, RH Reality Check, 4/3).

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"Repro Wrap: It's Not 'Motorcycle Vagina,' But North Carolina's at It Again," Robin Marty, Care2: After enacting a "massive omnibus anti-abortion bill" (SL 2013-366) in 2013, North Carolina lawmakers are "at it [a]gain" with a "plethora of anti-abortion restrictions all bundled up in one tidy package [HB 465] [that] the sponsors claim is necessary for 'protecting women's health,'" including a 72-hour mandatory delay, Marty writes. Meanwhile, Arkansas is adding controversial "[a]bortion reversal" language to a 48-hour mandatory delay bill (HB 1578), mirroring a provision in a new Arizona law (SB 1318) that will require doctors to tell women the medically unproven claim that a medication abortion can be reversed, Marty continues. She also touches on reproductive rights news from other states, as well as a new Guttmacher Institute report that found that "states have introduced literally hundreds of anti-reproductive rights and health bills so far this year" (Marty, Care2, 4/3).

What others are saying about abortion restrictions:

~ "'They Want the Judges' Heads on a Plate': Texas GOP Wants To Shame Courts Helping Teen Victims of Abuse Access Abortion," Katie McDonough, Salon.

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"Losing My Lege: Transgender Visibility Lobby Day Sparks Surprising Response From Capitol Staffers," Andrea Grimes, RH Reality Check: Grimes reports on Equality Texas' Transgender Visibility day of lobbying, during which more than a dozen "trans and queer Texans and allies ... spent the day telling capitol staffers their own deeply personal stories in the hopes of showing who could be affected by proposed legislation." Specifically, they lobbied against four state bills "that would punish trans and queer Texans for using the restrooms that are appropriate for them but that some other people -- very likely total strangers -- feel they shouldn't use," even though "it is trans, queer, and gender non-conforming people who are more likely to be abused or harassed for using a public bathroom, not cis[gender] people." Meanwhile, they also lobbied in support of a bill (HB 2058) that would "codif[y] the process by which trans people can obtain identification documents, a currently undefined and ambiguous process that allows judges -- either arbitrarily, or because they seek to discriminate against trans people -- to refuse to grant the court orders required for updated drivers' licenses and birth certificates" (Grimes, RH Reality Check, 4/3).