February 19, 2013
"State Funding Cuts and Anti-Choice Policies Cited for Closure of Four Wisconsin Planned Parenthood Clinics," Robin Marty, RH Reality Check: "Citing Republican [Gov.] Scott Walker and the anti-choice state legislature's continued budget cuts to family planning and sexual health programs, Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin announced that it will be forced to close four of its Wisconsin clinics," Marty writes. She notes that the clinics were all the "sole providers of reproductive health care for low-income women in their communities" and the cuts result "in a loss of services to approximately 2,000 patients." The clinics will close between April and July. Marty writes, "For opponents of abortion, contraception and even basic health care itself, they simply won't be happy until every clinic is gone, and access to birth control and reproductive health care is left only for those who can afford it" (Marty, RH Reality Check, 2/18).
"State Legislatures Increasingly Provide Tax-Payer Funding of Non-Medical Crisis Pregnancy Centers," Robin Marty, RH Reality Check: Crisis pregnancy centers "are no longer subtle about their grab for taxpayer funding and, instead, have become outright aggressive," Marty writes. She adds that "a key tenet of [CPCs] is to convince a pregnant woman to continue a pregnancy by any means necessary." She highlights the efforts of CPCs in Wisconsin and Missouri to obtain low-interest loans from city governments and tax credits meant for organizations that help underprivileged children. "As CPCs continue to pass off inaccurate medical information as a 'religious right to free speech,' they are coming up with even more egregious ways to force all taxpayers to fund them, regardless of our personal feelings about their mission or their religious beliefs," Marty writes (Marty, RH Reality Check, 2/15).
"North Dakota Attorney General Says Sex Ed Program Can Move Forward," Jessica Mason Pieklo, RH Reality Check: Wisconsin Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem (R) gave public health advocates "a decisive victory" when he concluded that North Dakota State University "can legally accept a three-year federal grant" to run a voluntary, comprehensive sex education program in partnership with Planned Parenthood without running afoul of a 1971 law that may have defunded the project, Mason Pieklo writes. She explains that there were questions about how to interpret rulings regarding a previously challenged state law, which "forbids using any government funding 'as family planning funds by any person, public or private agency which performs, refers, or encourages abortion.'" Stenehjem found that the state statute was completely invalidated by one of the rulings, meaning that abortion-rights opponents' goal of "making North Dakota abortion and contraception-free" is just a "little more difficult," Mason Pieklo states (Mason Pieklo, RH Reality Check, 2/18).
Repro Health Watch — an exciting new edition of the Women’s Health Policy Report — compiles and distributes media coverage of proposed and enacted state laws and ballot initiatives affecting women's access to comprehensive reproductive health care, as well as litigation in response to those provisions.