The Politics of Women’s Health

What We’re Reading: Women’s Health

Women’s Law Project
June 2, 2011

There has been an overwhelming amount of news out there concerning women’s health recently, so much that it is impossible to write an individual blog post on all the stories WLP staff come across. Below you will find a list of some of the stories we have been reading recently, representing both headlines we found disheartening and those that made us hopeful.

  • The New Hampshire Senate passed a parental notification law “requiring [that] at least one parent of a minor seeking an abortion receives written notification at least 48 hours prior to the procedure.” The bill would require notification even in circumstances in which “‘notice to the parent or guardian may lead to physical or emotional abuse of the minor.’” It is now up to Governor Lynch whether or not the bill becomes law.
  • A bill introduced by Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), if passed, would treat and prevent obstetric fistulas around the world. Obstetric fistulas are a devastating injury which occurs during childbirth, primarily to women and girls in developing nations.
  • According to a report by the United Kingdom Department of Health, thousands of Irish women travel from their home country where abortion is not legal to Great Britain in order to obtain the procedure legally.
  • Vermont Governor Shumlin signed into law a bill “requiring that any health insurance and health benefit plans that provide maternity benefits (including Medicaid and public health care assistance plans) must provide coverage for midwifery services in hospitals, other health care facilities, and at home.” The bill also allows transgendered individuals to change the gender on their birth certificate from the one they were assigned at birth.
  • A bill banning telemedicine to administer abortion services has passed the Nebraska Senate and is expected to be signed into law by Governor Heineman. This would ban Planned Parenthood from using telemedicine in Nebraska the way it has in Iowa. We have posted before about how Planned Parenthood’s utilization of technology to provide healthcare has given necessary services to women in underserved rural areas.
  • Representative Susan Davis (D-CA) “introduced an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act that would have allowed military health care plans to cover abortion services for service women who had been raped.” Currently, servicewomen’s health plans do not cover abortion even in the case of rape. “The House Rules Committee, however, did not permit the amendment to be brought to the House floor for debate.”
  • The New Jersey Senate passed a bill that would restore funding to family planning clinics after Governor Christie cut all family planning from the state’s budget last year. Christie said he would “consider the bill as part of a larger budget deal.”
  • The Planned Parenthood Federation of America and the American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit “against a new South Dakota law requiring that women undergo a 72 hour waiting period and mandatory counseling from a crisis pregnancy center (CPC) before obtaining an abortion.”
  • The US Senate voted against a budget plan which would have turned Medicare “into a voucher program to buy private insurance as if any company would sell such a policy to an elderly person who is ill.”
  • The Obama administration prohibited Indiana’s law which forbids “state agencies from entering contracts with or making grants to ‘any entity that performs abortions or maintains or operates a facility where abortions are performed.’”
  • House leaders shelved H.R. 1745 which would have taken away emergency unemployment insurance from jobless women and men.
  • The book Home/Birth: A Poemic extols the benefits of home birth and stresses the importance of “overturn[ing] restrictions which have limited the scope of midwifery and ‘normalized’ medical intervention.”

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Author: Leslie Carol Botha

Author, publisher, radio talk show host and internationally recognized expert on women's hormone cycles. Social/political activist on Gardasil the HPV vaccine for adolescent girls. Co-author of "Understanding Your Mood, Mind and Hormone Cycle." Honorary advisory board member for the Foundation for the Study of Cycles and member of the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research.