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“Nothing Changes” for Fifty Thousand Texans Forced to Find New Health Care Providers, Says State Attorney

9:29 am in Uncategorized by RH Reality Check

Written by Andrea Grimes for RH Reality Check. This diary is cross-posted; commenters wishing to engage directly with the author should do so at the original post.

Nothing changes for her, other than she has to find a new doctor.”

A Texas planned parenthood

A Texas state attorney insists that defunding Planned Parenthood is no big deal.

That’s what attorney for the State of Texas Kristofer Monson told a judge last week when arguing for the state’s right to block Planned Parenthood from participating in its Texas Women’s Health Program (TWHP) because some Planned Parenthood clinics, wholly fiscally and geographically separate from others, provide safe, legal abortions. Nearly 50,000 Texans who are enrolled in the program will be forced to find new doctors for cancer screenings and contraception this year if the state gets its way; as of Monday, a judge’s refusal to grant a temporary injunction in favor of a Planned Parenthood patient fighting in court to continue seeing her regular doctor means that the health care provider is, for the first time, officially barred from the newly operational TWHP.

So, we’re meant to believe that nothing changes for “her,” for Texas’ tens of thousands of “hers,” other than they can no longer see the doctors and clinicians they’ve come to trust with their most intimate and private health needs? Kristofer Monson needs to check whatever he thinks the definition of “nothing” is.

Ladies, how long did it take you to find a gynecologist you clicked with? How many doctors were affordable but out of the way? How many doctors were expensive, but non-judgmental? How many doctors were right next door, but refused certain medications or procedures because of your age, sexuality, or marital status? How many of us are still looking, after years of trying, for a doctor that understands us and the needs of our families?

It’s hard enough to find a health provider when the State of Texas isn’t telling you who it thinks is qualified to treat you. But Texas thinks it has a right to tell poor women they can’t go to their usual doctors and nurses at Planned Parenthood, not because they provide inferior services or cost more money than other health providers—in fact, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services, Planned Parenthood has historically provided some of the most efficient, cost-effective family planning care in the state—but because they are “affiliates” of doctors who provide a legal medical procedure: abortion.

The state is strong-arming Texans in a not-at-all veiled attempt to legislate morality; it’s telling low-income women that if they want to get the contraception and cancer screenings that the state has agreed to provide for them, they can’t go to a doctor who admits that his or her politics clash with Rick Perry’s, or Dan Patrick’s, or Bill Zedler’s, or with that of any number of the conservative male lawmakers who have appointed themselves official reproductive health decision makers for Texans.

But listen to Kristofer Monson, little ladies! It’s no big deal to find a whole new person in whose hands to put your reproductive health—and reproductive parts. Show your breasts and vulvae to a whole new State of Texas-approved stranger this year, maybe it’ll be great. Or maybe it’ll be horribly embarrassing, even demeaning, who knows? The risk of low-income Texas women being treated by a doctor who believes in reproductive freedom is definitely worth it!

I know it may seem convenient and comforting to see familiar faces when you’re making some of the most important health care decisions of your life, but hey, try something new! Live a little! Even if it takes you miles out of the way, means you have to listen to a religious lecture or forces you to wait months for a doctor’s appointment. Maybe while you’re riding the bus or counting the days down to your pap smear-a-la-stranger, you’ll realize that Texas merely wants what Republicans think is best for you.

Photo by Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas.

Ohio Legislature Seeks to Punish Women with Unconstitutional Bills During Lame Duck Session

2:42 pm in Uncategorized by RH Reality Check

Written by Robin Marty for RH Reality Check. This diary is cross-posted; commenters wishing to engage directly with the author should do so at the original post.

Are abortion protesters deliberately using unconstitutional laws to attack Roe V. Wade?

Just as promised, a “compromise” may have been reached between Ohio’s anti-choice activist groups Ohio Right to Life and Faith2Action on the long blocked “heartbeat ban” that would make abortion illegal from the moment an embryonic heartbeat can be detected.

That compromise? Make it even more restrictive.

The “heartbeat ban” was always intended to be unconstitutional. The extreme group Faith2Action proposed it as a way to invoke a challenge to Roe v. Wade, allowing a possibility for the case to work its way through the court systems and end up in front of the Supreme Court. Ohio Right to Life, on the other hand, urged caution, worried that if the case made it all the way up the ladder, Roe would be reaffirmed rather than overturned.

Rumor has it that caution has been thrown out the window. Although previously anti-choice politicians showed reluctance to write a law so destined for a court challenge, now they have decided that rather than write a more constitutional bill, they will instead break it into pieces. Should the bill fail to overcome a legal challenge, the unconstitutional aspects of it can be dropped, and a defanged, more moderate set of  pre-termination restrictions will remain instead.

With that sort of “get out of jail free” card attached, the bill’s backers have allegedly decided to go all out when it comes to unconstitutional abortion bans. According to speculation from multiple sources, rather than just banning abortion at the point of a heartbeat—which could be as much as 4 weeks post conception—they have chosen to write the bill so abortion is banned at conception itself. Should that be struck down by the courts, the ban would revert to the heartbeat as it was originally proposed. If the courts strike that down, then the law would default to a trigger law that would go into effect if Roe ever is overturned, banning abortion at any point and for any reason. Until that goes into effect, women would still be required to have a forced ultrasound prior to terminating a pregnancy, and be forced to listen to the embryonic heartbeat before having an abortion.

The actual bill hasn’t yet been introduced for Thursday’s senate session. Those who support abortion rights have noted that the anti-choice political groups have been playing it close to the vest, not wanting to unveil too soon a bill that most believe they have been working on quietly and out of sight while the bulk of attention has been on the 2012 election.

“We knew all along that the bill was still alive,” state Senator Nina Turner told RH Reality Check. “It’s crystal clear what they are doing. They have been working on this all this time and here it is. They are following through on everything they said they would.”

Senate Leader Tom Niehaus may have blocked the original “heartbeat ban” from coming out of committee prior to the election, but now that he is finishing his final days in the senate and the contentious 2012 elections are over, he’s ready to take the ban up:

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