November 9, 2012 — Our monthly quote round up compiles notable comments from key stakeholders in women's health. In today's edition, we feature comments on the outcome of Tuesday's presidential election, legal challenges to laws that effect women's health and more.
"This argument ignores evidence that Planned Parenthood Arizona complies with all federal and state requirements to ensure that public funds are not used for abortion services." -- U.S. District Judge Neil Wake, in a ruling that rejected the claim by some Arizona lawmakers that public family planning funding to the organization frees up money to pay for abortion care. Wake issued a temporary injunction blocking Arizona from enforcing a state law barring public family planning funding to organizations that also provide abortion services (Capitol Media Services/Arizona Daily Sun, 10/20).
"This election sends a powerful and unmistakable message to members of Congress and state legislatures all around the country that the American people do not want politicians to meddle in our personal medical decisions, and that politicians demean and dismiss women at their own peril." -- Planned Parenthood Federation of America President Cecile Richards in a press release on the results of Tuesday's presidential election (PPFA release, 11/7). Richards also applauded the defeat of two Republican congressional candidates -- Rep. Todd Akin (Mo.) and Richard Mourdock (Ind.) -- who made controversial remarks about abortion during their campaigns (Women's Health Policy Report, 11/7).
"In an ideal world, no 15-year-old should have to make a pregnancy decision, but let's not make it harder on the women who must, and who must do it without the support of a healthy family unit." -- Ryann Milne-Price, a reproductive health counselor, in an a letter to the editor of the Missoulian urging Montana voters to reject a ballot measure (LR 120) that would require parental notification before a minor under age 16 can obtain an abortion (Missoulian, 10/31). The measure was approved on Tuesday (Women's Health Policy Report, 11/7).
"There are simply not enough providers with the capacity to see the same number of patients as Planned Parenthood." -- Mara Posada of the Planned Parenthood Trust of South Texas, commenting on Texas' pledge to exclude affiliates of abortion providers from its Women's Health Program (San Antonio Express-News, 11/1). Although state officials previously said the change would take effect Nov. 1, they have delayed the launch of the new program because of ongoing legal challenges and their desire to retain federal funding (Women's Health Policy Report, 11/1).
"The harm in delaying the implementation of a statute that may later be deemed constitutional must yield to the risk presented here of substantially infringing the sincere exercise of religious beliefs." -- U.S. District Judge Robert Cleland, writing in a decision granting a temporary injunction to a Michigan for-profit business that is challenging the federal contraceptive coverage rules (MLive, 11/1). Cleland did not rule on the case's merits, but he agreed that the company, Weingartz Supply, should be shielded from having to comply with the law or risk penalties while the case is resolved (Women's Health Policy Report, 11/2).
"Despite decades of activism on sexual assault, ... there is still widespread ignorance about what rape is, and this absence of a widely understood and culturally accepted definition of sexual assault is one of the biggest hurdles we have in chipping away at rape culture." -- Jessica Valenti, in a blog post for The Nation about how the lack of a standard definition of rape "leaves room for mischaracterizations" and "makes it more difficult for survivors to come forward and for anti-violence advocates to do their work, while making the world easier for victim-blaming and for rapists themselves." She called for a multi-faceted, nationwide campaign to address the issue (The Nation, 10/23).
"The religious beliefs of pharmacists, doctors, nurses, or other healthcare providers should not trump a woman's ability to make decisions about her reproductive health." -- Gretchen Borchelt, senior counsel and director of state reproductive health policy at the National Women's Law Center, in a U.S. News & World Report opinion piece. She notes that pharmacists have refused to sell birth control or EC in 24 states, while some hospital emergency departments have refused to provide EC to rape survivors (U.S. News & World Report, 10/15).
"[U]nintended pregnancies -- which account for about half of all pregnancies -- have huge economic consequences for women's employment, family welfare, public spending and children's health." -- Nancy Folbre, an economics professor at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, on why expanding women's access to contraception should be a public health priority. She cites a recent Guttmacher Institute study that found the most frequently cited reason women said they used contraception was that they could not afford to provide for a child ("Economix," New York Times, 10/15).
Debra Ness, publisher & president, National Partnership
Andrea Friedman, associate editor & director of reproductive health programs, National Partnership
Marya Torrez, associate editor & senior reproductive health policy counsel, National Partnership
Melissa Safford, associate editor & policy advocate for reproductive health, National Partnership
Perry Sacks, assistant editor & health program associate, National Partnership
Cindy Romero, assistant editor & communications assistant, National Partnership
Justyn Ware, editor
Amanda Wolfe, editor-in-chief
Heather Drost, Hanna Jaquith, Marcelle Maginnis, Ashley Marchand and Michelle Stuckey, staff writers
Tucker Ball, director of new media, National Partnership