Reproductive Rights Updates: AZ, KS, MS, NH, & OH

Well! Hasn't this just been a never-ending stream of fuckery? Here's the latest news:

In Arizona, the GOP wants to not only make it so an employer--of any sort--can refuse whatever insurance coverage they want for their employees, the GOP has also removed the clause that protected employees from being fired or otherwise discriminated against if that employee sought out the medication (or service) that the employer had refused to cover:
The Republicans who control the Arizona legislature are pushing through a bill that would make it OK for both religious and secular employers to deny coverage for contraception if the employers object for moral reasons.

But apparently that’s not all.

HB2625 in its current version also eliminates the following protection for employees:

“A religious employer shall not discriminate against an employee who independently chooses to obtain insurance coverage or prescriptions for contraceptives from another source.”

In the most recent version of HB2625 (see it here) that provision is removed (scroll down to the very end).
This bill has already passed the House and has been approved by Senate committee.

When contacted about the clause removal, the bill's sponsor Rep. Debbie Lesko said that "it is not necessary".


Kansas, who can never seem to stand not being in the news for being Really Terrible, has recently revived looking at its singularly horrific anti-abortion bill because the language may cost Kansas University its accreditation for its ob/gyn program. Like with Wisconsin--under Scott Walker's budget bill, UW's accreditation came into question--anti-abortion fanatics show they simply do not care about the lives or health of people.
According to KU, accreditation requirements say that medical residents being trained as obstretrics-gynecologists must gain experience with induced abortion and complications due to abortion, unless they have a religious or moral objection. The residents gain this experience at facilities not owned or operated by the state.

One part of HB 2598 states: “no health care services provided by any state agency, or any employee of a state agency while acting within the scope of such employee’s employment, shall include abortion.”

When legislators reported that they were working with KU to solve this issue, the influential anti-abortion group, Kansans for Life, sounded the alarm.

"Time to end University of Kansas abortion training," said a call to action by Kansans for Life. Kathy Ostrowski, of Kansans for Life, said, "There is no professional reason that ob/gyn resident physicians have to learn how to destroy unborn children in order to achieve competency in pregnancy management, stillbirth evacuation or treating abortion complications."
Kathy Ostrowski clearly has nothing but contempt for actual life and zero understanding of medical care. As I said when I wrote about Wisconsin:

They like to point at pro-choice people and call them "pro-death" but pro-choicers aren't the ones condemning women to not have access to medical care or comprehensively trained physicians.

I've written about the extremely disturbing Kansas bill before but this really puts it all out here:
Under the Kansas legislation, for pregnancies at least 10 weeks from the last menstrual period, the abortion provider must use a hand-held Doppler fetal monitor and "make the embryonic or fetal heartbeat of the unborn child audible for the pregnant woman to hear."


The measure would also make it a crime for a person to perform an abortion with the knowledge that the pregnant woman was seeking the abortion solely on account of the sex of the child.

The bill also requires the physician to inform a woman seeking an abortion about the risks of abortion on premature birth in future pregnancies and breast cancer. Abortion rights groups point to scientific studies that dispute this assertion.

The measure also would have the effect of creating new taxes on expenses related to abortion services or insurance coverage for abortion, and imposes state sales taxes on drugs and medications used in an abortion.

The bill also excludes the threat of suicide or self-harm from the definition of substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function for the purposes of seeking a post-viability abortion.

And it would prevent any group providing abortion services, such as Planned Parenthood, from offering materials for human sexuality classes in school districts.

And another part of the bill would eliminate a civil cause of action for wrongful life or wrongful death, according to a state bill summary. Abortion rights supporters say this may allow physicians to conceal from the pregnant woman information about abnormalities in the fetus.
A tax! They are creating a special tax on abortion and insurance that covers abortion. This is a new one, for me. I don't know of--though there may well be--another state that has proposed that particular hurdle. Oh Kansas, you just never change. Even South Dakota is less horrid than you.


Mississippi is chipping away with their own pickaxe as the House passed new regulations for abortion care:
Mississippi's House of Representatives on Tuesday overwhelmingly passed a bill that would tighten regulations for abortion facilities in the conservative state.

The bill, approved by a 80-37 margin in the Republican-controlled House, would require doctors performing abortions to have admitting privileges at a local hospital and be board-certified or eligible in obstetrics and gynecology.

Mississippi's Senate will now consider the proposed legislation.
The state only has one clinic that provides abortion services. Of the three doctors that work there (all are board certified), only one has admitting privileges. Most MS hospitals refuse to give privileges to doctors who provides abortion services.


In New Hampshire, the House is scheduled to vote today on three different bills related to abortion and care:
CONCORD — The House is expected to vote today on three bills related to abortion — including one that would require a 24-hour waiting period before a woman could have the procedure.

Women seeking an abortion would also be given information on fetal development.

Supporters of House Bill 1659 say the bill requires “informed consent.” Opponents call it another attempt to limit abortion rights.

The House also votes on HB 1679, which outlaws third-term or “partial birth” abortions. Federal law bans the procedure and the law was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Lawmakers will also vote on HB 1723, which allows judges two business days before they have to decide whether a juvenile who does not want to inform her parents may have an abortion.

Under current law, judges hearing the cases have to rule within 48 hours. The bill would set the threshold at two business days, effectively giving judges who hear the cases the weekend off.
Oh the weekend off! How lovely for them! I'm sure the teenager who has already had to jump through a bunch of hoops, who is obviously in a even more stressful situation (because of having to go though the courts), who also has to work within the court hours that run similar to school hours totally understands. I mean, I do: you all are trying to make it even harder for a minor to have an abortion and create longer delays to prevent it. Perhaps give her parents more time to find out. After all, she went through all that court business because she just wanted to be sneaky, amirite?


As you may have heard, Ohio state senator Nina Turner has introduced legislation that makes it so men seeking Viagra would have to jump through some familiar hoops:
COLUMBUS – Before getting a prescription for Viagra or other erectile dysfunction drugs, men would have to see a sex therapist, receive a cardiac stress test and get a notarized affidavit signed by a sexual partner affirming impotency, if state Sen. Nina Turner has her way.


Under Senate Bill 307, men taking the drugs would continue to be tested for heart problems, receive counseling about possible side effects and receive information about “pursuing celibacy as a viable lifestyle choice.”

“Even the FDA recommends that doctors make sure that assessments are taken that target the nature of the symptoms, whether it’s physical or psychological,” Turner said. “I certainly want to stand up for men’s health and take this seriously and legislate it the same way mostly men say they want to legislate a woman’s womb.”
Senator Turner is not the only legislator who has intro'd legislation like this. It's not necessarily the legislation that I find particularly interesting--though it is--but it is the conversation about the legislation, particularly in the media.

The media report on anti-autonomy legislation aimed at women and other people with uteri as a given. As fact. As per usual. That the legislation, whatever it may be, will probably pass. Which, generally and infuriatingly, it is and does.

Legislation such as Senator Turner's, while I understand it's novelty (as in newness, not amusement), is treated as "women getting revenge" with a "you're so cute when you're angry" level of seriousness. As a given it will never pass. Which it probably will not. I have read several articles on Senator Turner's legislation (and the others proposed in other states) but very few get to the point of the gender disparity in the legislatures and how anti-autonomy legislation aimed at women & other people with uteri is primarily written and voted on by men. The reasons the legislation will not pass are not explored, the legislation is treated as little more than an amusing snarky joke, sometimes as a good joke but still a joke. Which, in relation, is how some male legislators view their women peers: "imaginative but irrelevant".

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