Blogs Comment On Health Reform Repeal Attempts, Crisis Pregnancy Centers, Other Topics

Aug 11th, 2010 | By healthnews | Category: Health

Main Category: Women’s Health / Gynecology
Also Included In: Abortion;  Pediatrics / Children’s Health;  Sexual Health / STDs
Article Date: 11 Aug 2010 – 4:00 PDT

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The following summarizes selected women’s health-related blog entries.

~ “None of Your Business: Bus Driver Refuses To Bring Women to Planned Parenthood,” Micole Allekotte, National Women’s Law Center’s “Womenstake”: Allekotte, a health fellow at NWLC, writes that a Texas bus driver is suing a transportation company that allegedly fired him because he refused to drive women to a Planned Parenthood affiliate. The driver “claims that the employer must accommodate his religious beliefs against abortion by allowing him to refuse to do his job,” Allekotte states. She continues, “The driver’s prejudice against Planned Parenthood and the women who go there is especially egregious because Planned Parenthood performs many services in addition to abortion, including routine gynecological exams, cancer and [sexually transmitted infection] screenings, family planning counseling, birth control distribution, and men’s sexual health screenings.” Ultimately, “[i]t is none of a bus driver’s business where his passengers are going or why,” Allekotte writes, adding, “We should all promote the principle that each person is entitled to make his or her own medical decisions free of imposed impediments from those who disagree” (Allekotte, “Womenstake,” National Women’s Law Center, 8/6).

~ “Republicans Plan To Exploit Abortion Issue To Defund Health Law,” Igor Volsky, Think Progress’ “Wonk Room”: Conservative critics of the federal health reform law (PL 111-148) “are now focusing on defunding some of the most unpopular provisions” of the legislation through the appropriations process, Volsky writes, adding that a recent American Spectator article by Philip Klein shows that “the idea is picking up some serious traction.” According to Volsky, Republicans might attempt to add abortion-related language to the defunding amendments to “peel off the votes of several old members of the so-called Stupak coalition” — antiabortion-rights Democrats who opposed related provisions of the law until the last minute. Klein wrote that this tactic “would provoke a fight in which pro-choice Democrats would once again have to choose between” the reform law and limiting private coverage of abortion services. Volsky continues, “Depending on how the midterm elections turn out, some of these strategies may, in fact, prove successful,” he cautions that if Republicans do attempt this strategy “it’s far from certain that they’ll succeed.” He notes that Gail Wilensky, a CMS administrator under President George H.W. Bush, said recently that “it has been very difficult historically to do this type of a starving unless you have a very large majority behind you” (Volsky, “Wonk Room,” Think Progress, 8/9).

~ “Little Women: Early Puberty and What It Means for Girls,” Melanie Abrahams, International Women’s Health Coalition’s “Akimbo“: “In recent years, the transition from girlhood to womanhood has seemed to come faster” and placed “the sexual maturity of young girls in the spotlight,” Abrahams writes. A new study showing that U.S. girls are reaching puberty at younger ages “complicates the issue,” she continues. While “there’s been a lot of brouhaha over naming the culprit of early physical maturation of girls,” Abrahams argues that “instead of pointing fingers, we need to face the facts and focus on the changing need of girls in our lives and around the world.” She writes that the urgency of providing “early, age appropriate and comprehensive sexuality education” is “far greater when a girl is already menstruating and could be at risk for early pregnancy, or is having to negotiate sexual pressures.” In addition, “early puberty illuminates the crucial need to fight child marriage on a global scale,” she argues, noting that in some countries, puberty is considered the benchmark for when girls are ready for intercourse. “People might not like the idea that little girls are, physically speaking, growing up faster — but that doesn’t mean we can afford to simply stick our heads in the ground or focus only on how to stop early maturation,” Abrahams states, concluding, “Puberty is scary and confusing at any age — and as girls face it earlier and earlier, it’s our responsibility to offer them any help we can” (Abrahams, “Akimbo,” International Women’s Health Coalition, 8/9).

~ “Unmasking Fake Clinics: The California Edition of ’12th and Delaware,’” Alexa Cole, RH Reality Check: The premiere of the HBO documentary “12th and Delaware” “gave vivid examples of threats [crisis pregnancy centers] pose to women’s freedom and privacy,” Cole writes. Although the documentary was filmed in Florida, Cole writes that a NARAL Pro-Choice California Foundation investigation into CPCs “demonstrate[s] that the pro-choice state of California is under attack from the ‘fake clinic’ arm of the anti-choice movement.” According to Cole, 91% of California counties have at least one CPC, while only 59% of counties have an abortion provider. “What’s happening in Florida, as seen in ’12th and Delaware,’ is not only happening here in California but all over the country,” she continues. The investigation “highlights that though California has long been considered the top state for respecting women’s reproductive privacy, it is not immune to the threats that are being documented around the country” (Cole, RH Reality Check, 8/10).

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