Jindal Cuts Medicaid Funding for Planned Parenthood as Senate Efforts to Defund Group Fail

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal
Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal

In the wake of a smear campaign against Planned Parenthood — one of the nation’s largest healthcare service providers for women (as well as men and youth) — the Senate voted last night on a bill that would have prohibited federal funds from going to the organization. That bill received 53 yea votes to 46 nay votes, 7 short of the 60 needed to overcome a Democratic filibuster, effectively defeating the proposed measure.

Women’s health advocates can breathe a little bit easier after last night’s defeat of conservative efforts to dismantle a network of clinics that serve over 2.7 million patients nationwide, many of them low- or middle-income women. Although Planned Parenthood is a perpetual target of pro-life hate-mongers, the group actually provides a broad range of reproductive and general healthcare services, including sex education, contraceptive care, and pre-natal care, as well as tests and treatment for sexually-transmitted diseases. Less than 5% of the clinic’s patients arrive seeking abortion services.

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SCOTUS ruling against MA’s abortion clinic buffer zones hinders women’s access to reproductive choice

An anti-choice protester harasses a woman and her clinic escorts as she crosses the yellow line into the clinic buffer zone. Photo credit: ThinkProgress
An anti-choice protester harasses a woman and her clinic escorts as she crosses the yellow line into the clinic buffer zone. Photo credit: ThinkProgress

The Supreme Court of the United States ruled unanimously today that Massachusetts’ abortion clinic buffer zone ruling is unconstitutional. In 2007, the state amended the state-wide Reproductive Health Care Facilities Act to make it illegal to congregate within 35 feet of the entrance of an abortion clinic, including on public sideways and roadways.

The amendment was implemented to directly address an oft-used tactic by the anti-choice Right: the harassing and abusive screeching and finger-wagging that seeks to shame women entering clinics for seeking an abortion (whether they are actually doing so or not).

The SCOTUS decision paints a euphemistic picture of this strategy, labeling it the righteous exercise of free speech. They call it “sidewalk counseling” and refer to two tactics they’ve now ruled as protected by the First Amendment: the right to close person-to-person contact between protester and patient, and the right to distribute literature.

This is a disingenuously charitable description of what these protesters actually do.

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Study: Anti-Asian racism basis for anti-abortion bans in 8 states | #ReproductiveJustice

asian-baby

Last year, nearly 500 restrictions on abortion and reproductive choice were proposed at the state level nation-wide. Among those abortion restrictions were bans on sex-selective abortion; bans that have now passed in eight states — Arizona, Illinois, North and South Dakota, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Kansas and North Carolina.

Advanced by Republican pro-life legislators, the ban on sex-selective abortions cite concerns that appear superficially feminist: to protect the “unborn” from gender discrimination prior to birth. Further, these bans are based on the assertion that male-biased birth ratios are evidence of sex-selective abortion; that these male-biased birth ratios are only found in India and China; that these male-biased birth ratios are evidence of sex-selective abortion occurring in the United States; that the growing influx of Asian women immigrants from India and China means sex-selective abortion is occurring here; and that the U.S. is one of the few remaining countries in the world that has yet to ban sex-selective abortion. As I wrote about last year, these are the kinds of arguments that are being expressed on the floor of state legislatures, and they are succeeding in restricting reproductive rights for women living in those states.

Yet, closer examination of the arguments of Republican legislators reveals that it is predominantly unfounded and wholly racist anti-Asian stereotypes — not facts — that serve as the principle justification for these recent restrictions on sex-selective abortions.

Continue reading “Study: Anti-Asian racism basis for anti-abortion bans in 8 states | #ReproductiveJustice”