•A woman in Utah gave birth to twins. When one was stillborn, she was arrested and charged with criminal homicide based on the claim that her decision to delay cesarean surgery was the cause of the stillbirth.
•After a hearing that lasted less than a day, a court issued an order requiring a critically-ill pregnant woman in Washington, D.C. to undergo cesarean surgery over her objections. Neither she nor her baby survived.
•A judge in Ohio kept a woman imprisoned to prevent her from having an abortion.
•A woman in Oregon who did not comply with a doctor’s recommendation to have additional testing for gestational diabetes was subjected to involuntary civil commitment. During her detention, the additional testing was never performed.
•A Louisiana woman was charged with murder and spent approximately a year in jail before her counsel was able to show that what was deemed a murder of a fetus or newborn was actually a miscarriage that resulted from medication given to her by a health care provider.
•In Texas, a pregnant woman who sometimes smoked marijuana to ease nausea and boost her appetite gave birth to healthy twins. She was arrested for delivery of a controlled substance to a minor.
•A doctor in Wisconsin had concerns about a woman’s plans to have her birth attended by a midwife. As a result, a civil court order of protective custody for the woman’s fetus was obtained. The order authorized the sheriff’s department to take the woman into custody, transport her to a hospital, and subject her to involuntary testing and medical treatment.
Our study identified 413 criminal and civil cases involving the arrests, detentions, and equivalent deprivations of pregnant people’s physical liberty that occurred between 1973 (when Roe v. Wade was decided) and 2005. Because many cases are not reported publicly, we know that this is a substantial under count. Furthermore, new data collection indicates that at least 250 such interventions have taken place since 2005.
Snyder told the Detroit News that his decision to sign the bill, as well as to veto a bill involving an insurance company that also would have banned abortion coverage in the insurance plan, was a result of “soul searching,” stating that he vetoed the Blue Cross/Blue Shield ban because “it is wrong to tell private insurers and employers what they can negotiate in their contracts.” On the other hand, telling women what they should be allowed medically to do with their own bodies is less worrisome for Snyder. Snyder called the final version of the superbill mostly stripped of “controversial” issues, telling Detroit News, ”To be screened for coercion is a reasonable thing. It is really a question of women’s health and safety.”
Along with the “anti-coercion” provision, H.B. 5711 includes a new law requiring that all clinics that perform more than 10 abortions a month be licensed as freestanding surgical outpatient facilities, a move that could shutter some clinics but is more likely to affect the opening of new clinics in the state. Those currently in business should be able to apply for waivers regarding some administrative and building regulations.
Also part of H.B. 5711 is a ban on tele-med abortions, a form of medication abortion that could have made the procedure much more accessible for women in rural areas, especially those with less financial means.
“Screening for coercion is already a part of the process of getting an abortion,” Meghan Groen, Director of Government Relations for Planned Parenthood Advocates of Michigan, which lobbied against the bill, told RH Reality Check. “Tele-medicine is becoming a new way to provide more access for women in rural or other communities, and can be performed with the help of nurse practitioners. It is frustrating that when the governor says it is wrong to tell private businesses what they can or can’t do, when it comes to a medical decision between a health practitioner and patient the legislature can step in.”
Still, Groen admits that the final bill could have been much worse than what passed. Revisions to the bill modified restrictions that would have all-but eliminated access to safe abortion care, but left in place regulations that will nonetheless severely restrict access for many women and greatly hamper efforts to expand it. “It was a bad bill, and he should have vetoed it, but it wasn’t as bad as it could have been,” said Groen.
Michigan Democratic Senator Gretchen Whitmer, who opposed the bill, was much less generous. Whitmer thoroughly criticized Snyder’s signing of the bill, saying via statement,
“It’s offensive, but no longer surprising, that Governor Snyder would align himself with extremists in his own party by putting his signature on a bill that represents the most blatant attack on women’s healthcare we’ve seen in Michigan. He can claim this is somehow about protecting our health all he wants, but we all know this disgraceful new law will only succeed in reducing or eliminating women’s access to cancer screenings and other critically important care. Republicans across the country saw the consequences of their war on women this past November and if Governor Snyder thinks we’re naive enough to believe his ridiculous excuses for signing this bill into law, he’s sadly mistaken.”
The signing of the bill, as well as the veto of the insurance coverage legislation reveals the twisted path down which Snyder is walking as he plans his reelection campaign. Recent polling ranks him as the third most unpopular governor in the country.
The Department of Health and Human Services recently announced the recipients of a $5 million federal grant designated for abstinence-only education programs. Although President Obama has opposed funding for abstinence-only programs since the beginning of his time in office, social conservatives in Congress forced a choice during the battle to pass Obama’s landmark health care reform law in 2010: in order to support extending to health coverage to more Americans, Senate Republicans demanded to deprive students of accurate and comprehensive sexual health education.
Despite the fact that abstinence-only curricula are ineffective and, in many cases — when young adults make risky sexual decisions after abstinence education fails to equip them with the resources they need — dangerous, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) used the Senate version of the health care reform bill to restore a lapsed program that provides funding for abstinence programs. President Obama eliminated the Title V Abstinence Education program in his 2010 budget, finally doing away with the steadily increasing federal funding for abstinence programs that ballooned under the George W. Bush administration. But Hatch’s bill, which narrowly squeaked by the Senate Finance Committee, forced the Obama administration to reverse that decision in order to pass health care reform.
And earlier this month, the Title V funds that Hatch insisted on tacking onto Obamacare were distributed to nine organizations that provide “mentoring, counseling and adult supervision to promote abstinence from sexual activity.” Of course, abstinence-only curricula advance those goals while neglecting to impart accurate information about methods to prevent pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases, as well as failing to include comprehensive discussions about sexuality and the LGBT community.
Although the Obama administration attempted to take a step forward by moving to eliminate Title V funds, social conservatives’ insistence on clinging to a misguided approach to sex education has brought the country right back — ensuring that federal funds will be spread over abstinence programs for the next two years. As the spokesperson for the right-wing National Abstinence Education Association put it, “[Obama administration officials] were specifically tasked by Congress to appropriate these funds for an authentic abstinence education program. So they really had no recourse but to do just that.”
You can look up here how much money is given to a certain state for a certain level of sex education and it’s RIDICULOUS how much federal funds are being spent on abstinence only education that has proven to be ineffective and really doesn’t teach a thing.
This is awful. This is going to directly cause more abortions and a higher teen pregnancy rate. This isn’t just an educational issue, it eventually comes down to being a public health issue.
Kids should be taught how to protect themselves not just from pregnancy but from STIs. STIs that could give them cancer, kill them, or cause sterility. This is not just a reproductive rights issue, THIS IS A PUBLIC HEALTH ISSUE.