Thursday, February 23, 2012

"Assault on Women Health"

Women voters outnumber men by millions. Maybe Republicans should have thought of that before launching "the most comprehensive and radical assault on women's health in our lifetime," according to House Minority Leader, Nancy Pelosi.

Republicans are challenging President Obama's plan to provide free contraception coverage to women through their health insurance. House Republicans passed another bill stripping all federal funding from Planned Parenthood, which would block access to vital breast and cervical cancer screenings. Their actions will cost the lives of countless women if we don't stop them.

We've proved we can do just that, by working with progressive allies to prevent devastating funding cuts to Planned Parenthood in the past. But with Republicans clearly turning women's health into a social wedge issue this election, we need to tell the millions of women voters just what's at stake—their health, their lives, and their choice—with a multi-part campaign in partnership with our friends at Ultraviolet.

Our creative team is ready to shoot a hard-hitting TV ad to kick off the campaign.

Republican attacks on women's health are almost too many to mention, but here are some of the lowlights:

- 'Let Women Die' Bill. House Republicans passed a bill that would allow hospitals that receive federal funds to deny patients access to abortion procedures, even if such a procedure is necessary to save a woman's life.

- Contraception. Republican Congressman Darrell Issa chaired a hearing on President Barack Obama's plan to provide contraception coverage to women, but blocked all testimony from women's health advocates.

- Redefining Rape. In a bill to prevent taxpayer funding for abortions, House Republicans tried to redefine rape as "forcible rape" only, which would exclude statutory rape and women who are drugged or verbally threatened.

-> Forced Ultrasound. Republicans in the Virginia legislature have just passed a bill requiring women to have an invasive vaginal probe ultrasound before they're permitted to have an abortion.

-> Texas started enforcing its new pre-abortion sonogram law, following a ruling last year from the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. The law says women seeking an abortion must have a sonogram done 24 hours prior, and their doctor must play audio of the fetal heartbeat and describe what's on the screen.

The New York-based Center for Reproductive Rights jumped into federal court to challenge the law, and in August, U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks in Austin put the law's enforcement on hold, agreeing that many of its new requirements violated doctors' and patients' free speech rights.

Sparks conceded in his opinion that he "has grave doubts about the wisdom of the Act." He went even further, too, calling out its supporters for their hypocrisy: "It is ironic that many of the same people who zealously defend the state’s righteous duty to become intimately involved in a woman’s decision to get an abortion are also positively scandalized at the government’s gross overreaching in the area of health care."

These attacks won't stop until those who lead them are made to pay a political price. If we tell women about the GOP's war on women's health, we can make Republicans pay that price.

* Moveon Team

Georgia State Rep. Yasmin Neal (D-75) introduces Anti-Vasectomy Act.

Atlanta, Georgia - “If we legislate women’s bodies, it’s only fair that we legislate men’s,” said Neal, who said she wanted to write bill that would generate emotion and conversation the way anti-abortion bills do. “There are too many problems in the state. Why are you under the skirts of women? I’m sure there are other places to be."

Rep. Yasmin Neal, a Democrat from the Atlanta suburb of Jonesboro has introduced HB 1116, which would prevent men from vasectomies unless needed to avert serious injury or death.

The bill reads: "It is patently unfair that men avoid the rewards of unwanted fatherhood by presuming that their judgment over such matters is more valid than the judgment of the General Assembly. ... It is the purpose of the General Assembly to assert an invasive state interest in the reproductive habits of men in this state and substitute the will of the government over the will of adult men."


The chairman of the Alabama Senate Health Committee said he doesn’t see a conflict of interest between his support for a bill that would require physicians to perform ultrasounds on women seeking abortions and his company, which sells the type of equipment the bill would require.

Sen. Greg Reed, R-Jasper, voted to move Senate Bill 12 out of committee last week because he said it’s a good bill that would help “a mother to understand that a live baby is inside her body.”
But there’s no chance Preferred Medical Systems, where Reed is vice president, would benefit, he said. It is the company’s policy not to do business with abortion providers, Reed said.

“I do not sell ultrasound equipment in my business to clinics that are abortion clinics,” he said recently. According to campaign information, Preferred Medical Systems sells diagnostic medical equipment in five states. [State Senator Clay] Scofield (R) said he hopes that, if signed into law, his bill will stop some abortions. Though the bill states a woman can look away from the ultrasound image, Scofield wants her to see it.

“So she sees that this is not just a clump of cells as she is told,” he said. “She will see the shape of the infant. And hopefully, she will choose to keep the child.”
The procedure would not be required in the case of a woman seeking an abortion to save her own life. But the bill doesn’t allow victims of sexual assault to opt out of the ultrasound. (Mary Sell, Montgomery Bureau. Times Daily)


If you have a $62 million investment, representing the biggest single chunk of your $218 million in wealth, and you put it in a trust under your wife's name, does that mean you're no longer involved in the company? Florida Gov. Rick Scott says it does.

Scott has aggressively pursued policies like testing state workers and welfare recipients for drugs, switching Medicaid patients to private HMOs and shrinking public health clinics. All these changes could benefit that $62 million investment, but Scott sees no legal conflict between his public role and private investments.

And, experts say, under Florida law he is correct.

A few days before he took office in January 2011, Scott moved his shares in Solantic Corp., a chain of 32 urgent care centers, to the Frances Annette Scott Revocable Trust. Scott co-founded Solantic in 2001 and was involved in its operation until 2010. His wife's trust now holds enough stock in the private company to control it. (Kris Hundley, Tampa Bay Times)


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