Reproductive Rights Updates: AZ, TN, WI, RI, GA

Well, it's all crap news I'm sorry to say. So, let's get to it...

You may recall Arizona recently removed a clause protecting employees from being fired or discriminated against if the employee purchases medications or services that were not offered by employer-sponsored health coverage. The bill's sponsor, Rep. Deb Lesko (R-Ididculous), said the clause was: "not necessary". Well. There's more to it:
PHOENIX (AP) — Women in Arizona trying to get reimbursed for birth control drugs through their employer-provided health plan could be required to prove that they are taking it for a medical reason such as acne, rather than to prevent pregnancy.


When a female worker uses birth control pills, which can be used to treat a number of medical conditions, the bill would allow an employer who opted out to require her to reveal what she was taking it for in order to get reimbursed.


"We don't live in the Soviet Union," said the Arizona bill's sponsor, Republican Rep. Debbie Lesko. "And so government shouldn't be telling employers, Catholic organizations and mom and pop (businesses) to do something that's against their moral beliefs."
Did you hear that? "We don't live in the Soviet Union." Pssst, Rep. Lesko: NO ONE LIVES IN 'THE SOVIET UNION' ANYMORE. I get your attempt at a point but no. It also helps to not say "we don't live somewhere with government intrusion" of some sort (that's where you were going with the Soviet Union bit, right?) when you are proposing legislation that does just that. Bzzt! Try again.

But, anyway, that's right. In order to get reimbursed, a person would have to show proof and reason for why they are taking medications or using health services. To their employer.

Arizona is also attempting to de-fund Planned Parenthood. As a reminder:
•In 2006, 46 family planning centers in Arizona received support from Title X. They included:

Health department clinics: 27
Community health centers: 1
Planned Parenthood clinics: 10
Hospital outpatient clinics: 7
Other independent clinics: 1

•These centers provided contraceptive care to the following numbers of clients:

Health department clinics: 15,160
Community health centers: 910
Planned Parenthood clinics: 29,210
Hospital outpatient clinics: 11,080
Other independent clinics: 1,110
Planned Parenthood, with its ten clinics, provided care--and just contraceptive care in this listing--to more people than all the other clinics combined.


In Tennessee, the legislature has taken up a bill that was proposed by the local "Right to Life" group. This legislation would require the health dept to publish information about abortions:
The Life Defense Act contains two parts. The first would require doctors to have admitting privileges at a hospital near where they perform abortions, while the second would require the Department of Health to release more information on abortions, including the name of the doctor who performed the procedure and demographics about the women who receive them.
Both Planned Parenthood and the Tennessee Medical Association have spoken out against the bill. The two biggest concerns are outing patients, especially those who live in very small rural communities. The bill requires the patients age, race, number of children, & education level to be identified. And then it will be published by county location. In very small communities, it wouldn't be terribly hard to figure out who a patient may be, particularly given the obsessive determination of some anti-abortion fanatics.

Speaking of those fanatics, they are the second concern. Publishing the names of doctors who preform abortions is little more than creating a government mandated version of Operation Rescue's hit list. Doctors face very real danger as it is.

Rep. Matthew Hill has said he plans on bringing the bill, which had been on the back burner, up this Wednesday.


In Wisconsin, the legislature has passed two bills. One bans health insurance coverage via the health exchange for abortions. The other relates to sex education and has removed mention of contraception, promotes abstinence, and touts the "socioeconomic benefits" of marriage. They also repealed the "Healthy Youth Act" that was passed last session, by Democrats, which required comprehensive sex education.

The people who proposed such backwards, deliberately ignorant "education" say that sex ed should be the domain of the parents.


Rhode Island has joined the forced ultrasound brigade, thanks to Rep. Karen L. MacBeth (D-Cumberland).
PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- Doctors who perform abortions would be required to first do an ultrasound, display the images, and describe them to the pregnant woman -- including the dimensions of the fetus and any "external members and internal organs if present and viewable,'' according to a bill pending in the General Assembly.
Rep. MacBeth says that the legislation is necessary so the person will be "fully informed" to help make a decision. Since people who need an abortion are unthinking ignoramuses who have no idea about fetuses, amirite?


In Georgia the Suwanee offices of the Georgia Obstetrical and Gynecological Society were broken into and its membership data was stolen:
In a statement Saturday, the group’s president, Dr. David Byck, confirmed the break-in at its Gwinnett County offices.

“The computer equipment contained the membership of the association as well as financial and other administrative information,” Byck said. Efforts to obtain more information on the break-in from Gwinnett County authorities were unsuccessful Saturday.

The group has been fighting anti-abortion bills being considered in the state General Assembly. It has been active since 1951 and has more than 950 members. Its offices are on Tench Road in Gwinnett.

“It is a shame that this non-profit, physician association responsible for advancing the cause of providing quality care to Georgia’s women and their unborn children was the victim of such a crime today,” Byck said. “The police officers said that the break-in looked well planned and it’s frightening that the personal and family information of our membership has been stolen. There cannot be a good intent behind such a crime.”
The group has been vocally opposed to the recent bills in Georgia (HB954, SB434, SB438), urging members--and the public--to write to state legislators.

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