A federal judge has struck down parts of an extreme Texas law going that would require a doctor to show a woman — including a rape victim — an ultrasound, describe the development of the fetus, and give her headphones to listen to a fetal heartbeat before an abortion. Doctors who refused to do these things to their patients — cruel by any compassionate standard — would have been penalized. An injunction issued yesterday blocks the state from enforcing penalties on both doctors and patients.
The judge ruled aspects of the law, which goes into effect on Thursday, were “unconstitutionally vague” and violate the free speech of both the doctor and the patient by requiring “government-mandated speech.” In his decision, the judge wrote the law “compels physicians to advance an ideological agenda with which they may not agree, regardless of any medical necessity, and irrespective of whether the pregnant women wish to listen.” He continued, “The court is inclined to agree with (the) defendants’ characterization that (the) “plaintiffs have chosen to throw everything at the wall and hope something sticks.” That’s how much respect these anti-abortion extremists have for you, ladies. Keep reading »
Abortion is a big no-no in the Catholic church — but not from Tuesday until this Sunday. The Vatican is offering forgiveness to women who’ve had abortions during a six day-long World Youth Day prayer event in Madrid, which will bring 1.5 million pilgrims from all over the world. Catholic women who have had an abortion (and in the U.S., that will be four in 10 of us in our lifetime —UPDATE: to clarify, four out of 10 unintended pregnancies end in abortion while two in ten of all pregnancies end in abortion. Thanks to commenter @MrsG for pointing this out. I apologize for the error.) can confess and supposedly be spared excommunication; women who’ve been excommunicated for the sin of abortion will be welcomed back into the church. Keep reading »
First Resort, a so-called “crisis pregnancy center” in San Francisco, has until the end of the month to change its advertisements misleading women about abortion-related services — or else. “Crisis pregnancy centers” often look like women’s health clinics and advertise about pregnancy counseling and services; they claim to help women pay for prenatal care and give them free diapers and other baby supplies. However, CPCs are frequently run by religious organizations and don’t have actual medical professionals on staff; instead, they “counsel” women to not have abortions. Thus, the SF city attorney sent First Resort a cease-and-desist letter warning them about its ads that “appear to be designed to confuse or mislead consumers.” The SF Supervisor Malia Cohen also introduced an ordinance on Tuesday that would punish CPCs for using misleading statements in their ads that make it seem like they provide abortion or counseling for abortions. Keep reading »
Health care plans should cover birth control, STD screening, HPV testing, and other services for women without co-pays, according to an independent panel of doctors from the Institute of Medicine (IOM). President Obama’s new health care reform requires “preventative care” services be covered and the Obama administration asked that the IOM assess which services fell under this category.
According to the IOM report [PDF], their eight recommendations for coverage include: “the full range of Food and Drug Administration-approved contraceptive methods, sterilization procedures, and patient education and counseling for all women with reproductive capacity”; HPV testing as part of cervical cancer screening for women over 30; counseling on STDs; counseling and screening for HIV; lactation counseling and equipment to promote breast-feeding; screening for gestational diabetes; screening and counseling to detect and prevent domestic violence; and annual preventive care visits. Including these services are integral for women to “better avoid unwanted pregnancies and space their pregnancies to promote optimal birth outcomes” as a key method of preventative care, the IOM report said.
No co-pays for your Nuva Ring and HPV testing? Preventing pregnancy until you and your boo are ready to be parents? Sweet, right!? Alas, not everyone is so thrilled. Keep reading »