Reproductive Rights Updates: DC, LA, NH, MO, VT

Today the House Subcommittee on the Constitution will hold a congressional hearing regarding a bill (HR 3803) that Rep. Franks (R-Arizona) introduced. There is a companion bill in the Senate intro'd by Utah senator Mike Lee (R-idiculous). These bills ban abortion past twenty weeks gestation under the pretense of "fetal pain". If you are just tuning in, the "fetal pain" idea has been debunked. But who cares about science!

Washington DC delegate Eleanor Norton was refused by the committee to testify. Del. Norton has chosen to speak up whenever legislation that specifically affects DC is under consideration. Franks, as co-chair of the committee discussing his legislation, could have accepted her request. He did not. Norton released a statement saying:
“The post-20-week D.C. abortion ban bill targets an entire group of individuals, women who live in the District of Columbia, and their constitutional rights. Using the women of one congressional district to reach for extreme encroachments on women’s reproductive rights has become a pattern of the House Republican majority, but also reflected nationwide. We will vigorously fight the bullying tactics of the Republican majority against the District’s women, and in standing up for ourselves, we recognize that we are also in the larger fight to protect the reproductive rights of women everywhere."
Del. Norton has said she will be participating in a press conference before the hearing.

Here are the men (of course!) on the subcommittee:

Mr. Franks, Chairman (R-AZ)
Mr. Pence, Vice-Chairman (R-IN)
Mr. Chabot (R-OH)
Mr. Nadler (D-NY)
Mr. Forbes (R-VA)
Mr. Quigley (D-IL)
Mr. King (R-IA)
Mr. Conyers (D-MI)
Mr. Jordan (R-OH)
Mr. Scott (D-VA)

The hearing will be at 4pm EST.


In Louisiana, a few different bills were advanced from committees. One is yet another "pain capable" act that bans abortions past 20 weeks, the other defunds Planned Parenthood, and yet another has to do with a person hearing a fetal heartbeat before an abortion.
The Senate Health and Welfare Committee approved two measures: Senate Bill 593, which would outlaw abortions after 20 weeks, and House Concurrent Resolution 11, which asks Congress not to fund Planned Parenthood.

At the same time, the House Health and Welfare committee backed Senate Bill 708, which would give women the option to listen to their unborn baby’s heartbeat before receiving an abortion.

State Rep. Frank Hoffmann, R-West Monroe, said Wednesday would be remembered as a great day in the fight against the procedure that terminates pregnancy. He noted that a “right-to-life” group hosted a breakfast for legislators that was followed by simultaneous hearings on two anti-abortion bills on both sides of the State Capitol.


On a 3-2 vote, the Senate health committee approved another anti-abortion measure aimed at stopping federal funds going to Planned Parenthood. HCR11, which has passed the House and now goes to the full Senate, would ask the U.S. Congress to defund activities of the group that deals with women’s health issues and family planning.

“I’m sure they do many good things but they lead the nation in abortions,” said Rep. Frank Hoffmann, the resolution’s sponsor.
"They provide health care to many low income, uninsured & under-insured citizens but they also provide a health care service I don't like! Sorry citizens who need Planned Parenthood, you're S.O.L.!" -- Rep. Hoffman's so-called moral logic.


In New Hampshire, the republicans in the House added--and passed--an amendment to a business tax credit bill that requires a twenty-four hour waiting period before an abortion that requires doctors to stress "risks" of abortion. Because that TOTALLY has to do with business taxes, amirite?!
The Republican-controlled New Hampshire House of Representatives Tuesday adopted a measure placing a 24-hour waiting period on abortions as part of a business tax credit bill.

The House passed the measure, attaching the "Women's Right to Know Act," toward the end of Tuesday's session in an effort to push the abortion bill out of the Legislature during the 2012 session. The bill, which extends the state's research and development tax credit program, passed the Senate in March, then the abortion measure was tacked on in a House committee.


The abortion provision specifies a series of steps a doctor must take 24 hours before an abortion is scheduled. They include informing the woman which doctor will perform the abortion and informing her of medical complications that could result following the abortion. The complications mentioned in the bill include risk of infection, hemorrhages, tearing of uterine lining and risk to future pregnancies.
Oh really? That's...interesting...because abortion does not affect future fertility, increase the risk of future miscarriage or preterm delivery in subsequent pregnancies (nor cause or increase risk of birth defects). Gee, wouldn't be asking doctors to lie now are we? Shocking. There is an exemption to this requirement if the abortion must be done in an emergency. The doctor will have to submit paperwork to the state explaining her/him-self and why they did not tell the patient the alleged risks the state has decided.


In Missouri, the House has passed so-called "conscience" legislation that also is regarding employers being forced (forced!) to provide insurance that covers things they don't like. Oh and that pharmacies don't have to actually stock medications or medical devices if they don't want to. AND! They added an amendment on the end that said people in group health plans cannot be forced to "pay for insurance coverage for elective abortions".
EFFERSON CITY — The Missouri House of Representatives approved legislation Wednesday that would allow health care workers, medical centers and others to refuse to provide contraception or carry out procedures that violate their religious or ethical beliefs.

Doctors, nurses and other medical workers could not be punished or discriminated against if they refuse to participate in abortions, embryonic stem-cell research or other procedures. Employers and health plan sponsors could not be forced to provide coverage for abortion, contraception or sterilization procedures, and pharmacies would not be required to stock particular medication or devices.
They should have titled it: "The No One Actually Has To Do Their Job If They Do Not Want To Act".


And to end on a positive note, Planned Parenthood of Northern New England has announced that they will be offering free family planning services in Vermont (& 2 NH locations) during Women's Health Week:
[Burlington, VT] — It’s time to prioritize your health! As part of Women’s Health Week (May 13-19), Planned Parenthood of Northern New England (PPNNE) is pleased to announce a new program for Vermont residents. Through Access Plan, eligible women and men can receive free family planning services including birth control, annual exams, cancer screenings, testing and treatment for sexually transmitted infections (STIs), and patient education and counseling.

Access Plan covers low-income Vermonters living at less than 200% of the Federal Poverty Level. For a family size of four, that would be a yearly income of $46,100 or less. Access Plan can be used at any of the 10 Planned Parenthood Health Centers in Vermont, as well as the Planned Parenthood Health Centers in Claremont and Lebanon, New Hampshire.
You can see if you qualify for Access Plan--or to just make an appt--you can call 1-866-476-1321 (or visit their site:

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