While we’re never sure what new, exciting, or horrible fates await us at the dawn of a new year, rest assured that we’ll be here covering the news that matters most with regard to reproductive and sexual health, politics, gender issues, and reproductive justice well into 2015 and beyond.
Hobby Lobby continues to be terrible — this time they’re discriminating against a transgender employee who simply wants to use the restroom that corresponds with her gender identity. (Slate)
President Obama is decidedly not down with discrimination and is signing an executive order to protect LGBTQ workers — and there will be no religious exemptions for those who think their god gives them a right to discriminate. (NYT)
Bill Moyers had Planned Parenthood’s fearless leader, Cecile Richards, on his show for an enlightening discussion about the right wing’s crusade against reproductive rights. Definitely worth a watch! (Bill Moyers)
Only in modern-day America would a nurse, who is anti-contraception and refuses to dispense contraceptives, sue over not being hired to do a job in which dispensing contraception is an integral part. (Wonkette)
A group of protesters (anti-abortion, of course) interrupted a church service to demand that the worshippers there “repent” for supporting reproductive rights. So yeah, now churches aren’t even safe from these clowns. Ironic coming from people who claim to “serve God,” dontcha think? (Think Progress)
More states are recognizing that new mothers on Medicaid who wish to prevent pregnancy aren’t being served well under current rules — and they’re finding new ways to help them. (NPR)
Do women perceive other women differently when they’re taking the birth control pill? (Salon)
The Arizona legislature has been an eager participant in the War on Women, rolling back women’s health and reproductive rights with a number of measures we’ve covered on this blog. Then there was Senate Bill 1062, the bill that would have given a green light to discrimination against LGBTQ individuals and many others had it not been for Gov. Jan Brewer’s veto in February. It’s easy to feel embattled in times like these, which is why a look at what Arizona is doing right might be in order.
Here’s a look at six recent news items from around the state to remind us that we have some victories to count — not just losses.
1. Moving Forward with Medicaid Expansion
Last year, against opposition from other Republicans, Gov. Brewer signed into law a Medicaid expansion that was expected to make 300,000 additional Arizonans eligible for coverage. Brewer stated that the expansion would also protect hospitals from the costs associated with uninsured patients and bring additional jobs and revenue to the economy.
That expansion took effect on the first of the year, and by early February the Associated Press was reporting that already close to 100,000 Arizonans had obtained coverage. At Tucson’s El Rio Community Health Center, the change has made them “very, very busy,” according to Chief Financial Officer Celia Hightower. El Rio used a recent grant to hire six application counselors — in addition to five who were already on staff — who could help patients understand their eligibility and guide them through the process of obtaining coverage. Pharmacist Sandra Leal reports that they’re now seeing patients receive diabetes care they previously couldn’t afford — and no longer having to choose “between paying for the doctor and paying for their grocery bill.” Continue reading →
Staci Michelle Yandle, the first African-American lesbian federal judge
Dear Jan Brewer and all the other ridiculous Republicans in this state: Your attempts to thwart the reproductive rights of Arizona women WILL NOT STAND! You have no business trying to dictate when a fetus is viable. None of you are ob/gyns. Just give it up already. You have lost the battle and the war. #Booya (AZ Central)
OK, so, remember how the Repubs came up with the astronomically stupid idea to force women to see or have doctors describe the contents of their uterus via ultrasound before they could undergo an abortion? Well, the studies on the impact of this practice are in, and guess what? It turns out women already know what’s in their uteruses! A whopping 98.4 percent of those women went on to undergo their abortions anyway. What they saw wasn’t a shocking revelation! Those who thought women were too stupid to make an informed choice without seeing the embryo or fetus occupying their body were totally wrong. Shocker. (Slate)
President Obama is taking an unprecedented step in judicial history by nominating the first black lesbian federal judge, who will preside in the 7th Circuit, covering Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin. (The Root)
There’s a pretty active debate on whether or not MTV’s “16 and Pregnant” has had a direct effect on the downturn in teenage pregnancy rates. Speaking from a personal standpoint, it sure helped cement my commitment to staying childfree! (Time)
In related news, it ain’t cheap to have a baby. And after that, guess what? You have to spend money on it for at least 19 to 20 years. Minimum! (NBC News)
Further evidence that the health and wishes of a pregnant woman are trumped by the “rights” of a fetus: Marlise Munoz, a 33-year-old woman in Texas, suffered a tragic fall that resulted in her being on life support and clinically brain dead. Under Texas law, brain dead individuals are considered deceased. Unfortunately, that hasn’t stopped John Peter Hospital in Fort Worth from refusing to act in accordance with her personal end-of-life directive. Instead, they have forced her to remain on life support. Why? Because of the 19-week-old fetus still occupying her womb. Her family is suffering and understandably distressed. Her husband Erick is determined to fight this out in court. We’ll be watching and hoping. (RH Reality Check)
Just so you know, abortion is just like slavery! This message was brought to you by complete idiot Gov. Sam Brownback of Kansas. Who should be ashamed for equating hundreds of years of brutal whippings, back-breaking and unrelenting labor, rape, lynching, and all of the other unspeakable acts of cruelty inflicted upon blacks in this country to a woman exercising her right not to be forced to give birth and choosing not to carry a non-viable, non human being in her body. (Politico)
Is it a coincidence that the anti-contraception movement wasn’t on the radar of evangelicals until 2011, after Obama took office? HELL NO. (Salon)
Well folks, 2013 has been quite the year when it comes to women’s issues and reproductive health. Anti-choice Republicans have made every attempt to strip us of our most basic human rights. We dealt with many a jackass. We won. We lost. We came, we saw, and sometimes we even conquered.
Let’s take a little stroll down memory lane, shall we?
Trent Franks (from our great state, naturally) told everyone that pregnancies attributed to rape were super low and thus insignificant and not even relevant to the abortion issue.
(The Daily Beast)
The Affordable Care Act made birth control available without a co-pay! (Planned Parenthood)
But that didn’t go unchallenged, of course. Domino’s Farms, Hobby Lobby, and a gang of other fools think the mandate to cover birth control for women in their insurance policies is a “violation” of their rights and values. That’s right. They believe the pills you take to exert control over what happens in your uterus is not only their business, but something they should have full control over! They also completely disregard the fact that birth control pills are often medically necessary. From PMS, PCOS, and endometriosis relief, birth control pills serve women’s health interests in many important ways. You think these a-holes give any sort of damn about that? NOPE. (RH Reality Check)
Texas pretty much went anti-choice nuts this year. But little-known State Sen. Wendy Davis put on her tennis shoes and went to battle for the women of Texas in an effort to kill SB 5, a craptacular proposal that would pretty much annihilate abortion access in the state. This pro-choice dynamo stood on her feet for 11 hours to filibuster the bill. While her efforts were ultimately thwarted by “pro-life” governor Rick Perry (who’s so pro-life he facilitated the execution of more than 200 people), she became a powerful symbol of the pro-choice movement in Texas, and the rest of America. (NYT)
A majority of Americans now support a woman’s right to safe, legal abortion! That’s the first time in the 10 years that NBC/WSJ has included the question in their poll. (NBC News)
Anti-choice legislators have latched onto “fetal pain” and “heartbeat” bills as their latest strategy to restrict women’s reproductive rights. Neither of those things can be proven as “real” by science, but they’re not going to let pesky facts get in the way of their women-hating mission. (The Atlantic)
Dr. Kermit Gosnell committed unspeakable horrors in his abortion clinic, the details of which are not only distressing, but almost physically painful to read. Despite that fact that this is astonishingly rare, he gave credence to to all of the anti-choice vultures and harmed the pro-choice movement in an immeasurable way. (Jezebel)
Mr. President had to lay the ultimate smack down on behalf of Planned Parenthood earlier this year. He told all of the anti-choice haters, “Planned Parenthood ain’t goin’ nowhere, chumps!” (OK, he didn’t say that exactly/verbatim, but kinda.) Anyway, thank you, President Obama, for being our advocate and BFF in Chief. (Salon)
Another big story this year: More women are purposely forgoing mommyhood and deducing that babies are better when they belong to someone else. It’s like a trend now. Childfree is the new black! (Fem2pt0)
2013: Another year in which abortion clinics got shut down at an alarming rate. Less access to safe abortion. Just what we need. (Think Progress)
Lastly, some good news. Four years after his tragic, heartbreaking murder, Dr. Tiller’s clinic reopened this year. His legacy lives on. (Mother Jones)
What will 2014 hold? We can’t predict the future, but one thing is for sure: We will continue to put everything on the line to make sure women have access to the reproductive health care they deserve and have a right to. If we have to be relentless and unyielding in this fight, so be it. The lives of women matter.
In “wanting it both ways” news, a Catholic hospital is claiming that fetuses aren’t human beings in order to help themselves win a malpractice lawsuit. So, essentially, fetuses are only human beings when someone’s trying to abort them. Otherwise — NOPE! (Jezebel)
President Obama is here to remind you how pro-choice and awesome he is. (YouTube)
Religious women love their birth control as much as the rest of us. (Guttmacher)
In what will be a true victory for choice, Dr. Tiller’s former clinic is gearing up to start serving patients again. (The Daily Beast)
Taking time away from other controversies, the Catholic bishops have announced that they will not compromise with Obama on birth control. (NBC News)
Proving that all schools would benefit from giving students access to contraception, NYC has seen its teen pregnancy rate plummet. (Center for Reproductive Rights)
In nearly every state, the total number of abortion providers has dropped since 1978. (The American Prospect)
Guess what, naysayers, condoms won’t prevent you from having great sex after all! (New York Daily News)
Dear lovely lesbians, Pap testing is super important for you guys, too! (The Advocate)