Reproductive Rights Updates: Mississippi, Indiana, Oregon, Tennessee

Today, a federal judge is going to determine what will happen with the lone remaining clinic in Mississippi:
A federal judge will decide Wednesday whether Mississippi's only abortion clinic can continue to stay open under a temporary order or whether it should permanently shut its doors under a new state law.

The law, which took effect July 1, requires all abortion providers in Mississippi to be certified obstetrician/gynecologists with privileges at local hospitals. Doctors at Jackson Women's Health Organization, the only abortion provider in the state, travel in from other states, and only one of its doctors is authorized to practice at a nearby hospital.

Supporters of the new law say it is intended to protect women from unscrupulous practitioners, but others say it's just another step to outlaw abortions in the state. Even Republican Gov. Phil Bryant called it "the first step in a movement, I believe, to do what we campaigned on: to say that we're going to try to end abortion in Mississippi."
Well, Gov Bryant, closing this clinic will never "end abortion in Mississippi". People who have the means will go out of state. People who do not have the means will turn to illegal clinics and/or internet advice. Your law is not about "protecting women" (or even "ending abortion"), it's about retribution against people who choose this legal medical procedure you do not like. That moral high horse you're on doesn't have any fucking legs, Governor.


Some good news! Recently, officials at the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare blocked Indiana's law that defunded Planned Parenthood:
Hearing officer Benjamin Cohen wrote that the Indiana law violated the federal requirement that individuals must have the freedom to obtain care from any qualified provider. Restricting that choice just because a care provider also offers non-covered care isn't allowed, he wrote.
If Indiana fails in court entirely (a lower court ruled against the state and it's in federal court now), the state may have to decide to not accept any money at all if they want to continue their asinine course of action against Planned Parenthood since the same officials who ruled against them at the Centers will ultimately have to approve any plan Indiana comes up with for the money.


Even more good news! In Oregon, there were two initiatives that anti-choice groups wanted to get on November's ballot: Initiative 22 was a "personhood" amendment and Initiative 25 was an amendment that said no one using the Oregon Health Plan could access abortion services with it--no exceptions. Both failed to get the required signatures to be on the ballot.


Can you believe it? More good news! You may recall that last year in Shelby Co., Tennessee, city officials decided to force poor residents to go to a religious organization to access health care? The Dept. of Health and Human Services has stepped in this year and has given Planned Parenthood a grant so they can provide Title X services:
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has announced that Planned Parenthood Greater Memphis Region will receive a grant of $395,000 annually over the next three years to provide Title X Family Planning services at its health center, 2430 Poplar Ave.
PP in Memphis provided Title X services (birth control, annual well-woman exams, cancer screenings & STD testing) for more than thirty years until last year. Good for DHHS!

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