Reproductive Rights Updates: Oklahoma, Ohio, Pennsylvania, California, & Tasmania, Australia

Legislation is moving, moving around the country--and around the world. Side note: Liss posted about the big news from Mississippi yesterday.

In Oklahoma, the state senate has advanced three bills, two of which concern the need of young people (under 18) who must bypass parental notification:
Two of the bills restrict the use of “judicial bypass,” a procedure that allows girls younger than 18 to ask a judge’s permission to get an abortion without parental consent. The first would eliminate the exemption that allows a minor to avoid parental notification of they seek a judicial bypass.


A second bill requires a judicial waiver be sought in the home county of the minor seeking an abortion, a move that Sen. Greg Treat, R-Oklahoma City, said would prevent girls from “venue shopping” for a judge willing to grant the bypass. Treat’s bill also requires a parent granting consent of a minor’s abortion to present a government-issued identification.

A third bill adds more than a dozen questions to the list that abortion providers must answer, including several that are related to abortion-related measures that have passed in recent years. One example is a question that asks doctors at which hospital they have privileges at the time they perform the abortion, a requirement that was imposed by a recently approved law.
A republican legislator claims that the parental notification legislation is about the "sovereignty of the relationship between a parent and a child".


In Ohio, the committee is still debating about the new budget, which I noted last week would defund Planned Parenthood and refuse to expand Medicaid per the ACA. Yesterday republicans added in an amendment--to the budget!--that would ban comprehensive sex education and allow a parent to sue a teacher:
New sex education standards that would ban any teaching that condones “gateway sexual activity” and allows parents to sue if their child receives such instruction are among the Republican amendments added to the two-year budget bill today.


The sex education addition says that any instruction must not promote “any gateway sexual activity or health message that encourages students to experiment with sexual activity.”

It goes on to prohibit distributing certain materials, conducting demonstrations with “sexual stimulation” devices, or distributing contraception.

If a student receives such instruction, a parent or guardian can sue for damages, and a court may impose a civil fine of up to $5,000.
So what is "gateway sexual activity", you may ask. Well, they use the same definition as the Ohio Criminal Code, which states it is: “any touching of an erogenous zone of another, including without limitation the thigh, genitals, buttock, pubic region, or, if the person is a female, a breast.” Yes, that's right.


In Pennsylvania, a House committee passed legislation that would prevent abortion from being covered by insurance in the health exchanges:
n a 15-9 vote, largely along party lines, the Health Committee approved a proposal that provides exceptions only for victims of rape and incest or when the mother's life is threatened.

A single Democrat, Rep. Gerald Mullery of Luzerne County, voted for it.

Democrat Mary Jo Daley of Montgomery County offered an unsuccessful amendment that would have added an exception for the mother's health.

Committee chairman Matt Baker (R., Tioga) said the health exception would represent a substantial change from the state’s longstanding public policy that does notpermit public funding of abortions under most circumstance

"I do not believe health care should include killing babies," said Baker, the committee's chairman, according to an Associated Press report.

Daley said without her amendment physicians may find themselves waiting to recommend an abortion while a woman's health deteriorates to the point of risking her life.

The ranking Democrat on the committee, Rep. Flo Fabrizio of Erie County, said the bill restricts private individuals from spending their own money for a legal procedure.

"I find it incredulous that we're debating something that is designed to protect the health of women," Fabrizio said.
As with other similar legislation in other states, if it becomes law, no private insurance could cover abortion outside of reported rape or incest cases or if a person is about to die due to the pregnancy.


In some good news for Oakland, California, residents:
After two years of planning and permits, Mar Monte Planned Parenthood has just opened a new clinic in West Oakland.

The office is located on Seventh Street, just across from the Post Office, and features four exam rooms – including an ADA compliant exam table – two counseling rooms and an on-site lab.


This new Planned Parenthood clinic provides a variety of services, including pregnancy testing and services, STD testing (including rapid HIV tests), STD treatment and vaccines, birth control, emergency contraception (the morning-after pill) and abortion referral. Abortions will not be conducted at this location, but a variety of men and women's basic health care also will be available including colon cancer and cervical cancer screenings.


There are no insurance or income requirements to access services at Planned Parenthood. The clinic accepts Medi-Cal, Family PACT and many forms of private insurance. If an individual is uninsured or does not qualify for Family PACT or Medi-Cal, then the clinic offers sliding scale fees for services.
For more info, you can check out their site here.


In some global news: good news from Tasmania, Australia!
Abortion legislation has passed the House of Assembly after conservative Labor politicians voted in support of the bill.

Attorney-General Brian Wightman, Denison Labor MHA Graeme Sturges and Braddon Labor MHA Brenton Best spoke in support of the Reproductive Health Bill last night, guaranteeing Health Minister Michelle O'Byrne the crucial 13 votes.

The legislation removes abortion from the criminal code and allows abortion up to 16 weeks if the woman provides her consent, and after 16 weeks if two doctors say it is medically, psychologically or socio-economically justified.

Mr Wightman opposed voluntary euthanasia legislation on personal grounds last year and was expected by opponents of the legislation to vote against the bill.

He defended his decision by saying he could not in good conscience restrict a woman's choice.

``It's not for any government to dictate to women how and in which circumstances they should lose control over their own bodies,'' Mr Wightman said.
Yes, exactly, Mr. Wightman.

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