Tag Archive: contraception

When Ideology Trumps Health…

Promoted from the diaries…Thurman

This past Friday’s Times featured an op-ed by Hillary Clinton and Cecile Richards highlighting the Bush administration’s newest ridiculous proposal: a rule that would require that any federally-funded health care entity certify that none of its employees are required to assist in any way with medical services they find objectionable.  With over 60,000 health care facilities potentially affected, patients across the nation can – and will – be refused access to a number of critical services should this become law.  

There is, of course, the obvious: emergency contraception, birth control pills, abortions even in the case of rape or incest.  But the proposal, which will cost taxpayers $44.5 million a year, extends much further, as providers are also allowed to refuse to participate in unspecified “other medical procedures” that they may find objectionable.  Clinton and Richards rightly bring up the point that this opens the door for health care professionals to deny service in a variety of frightening cases:  

News Roundup & Open Thread for Wednesday, October 25, 2006

  • The top news of the day will be the gay marriage decision. 
  • New Jersey has rejected $800,000 in Federal money for sex ed. due to right-wing restrictions on teaching about contraception and also…

    But Jacobs said new guidelines require the organizations to follow all sections, including one that teaches that monogamous in marriage is the only expected standard and that sex outside of marriage is likely to have harmful psychological and physical effects.

  • The New York Times has an overview of property tax reform.  The Courier Post says that Codey hinted as selling the New Jersey Turnpike.
  • The Star-Ledger reports that Italian-Americans  are infuriated with the Free Enterprise Fund’s anti-Menendez ad that smears Jersey Italians:

    “Our phones started ringing off the hook,” said Robert Bianchi, a Bloomfield lawyer who serves as national vice president for the Sons of Italy’s Commission for Social Justice. “I’ve never seen a response like what we’ve seen with this particular ad, from Democrats and Republicans alike.”

  • The AP reports that black leaders are rallying behind Menendez:

    “He is right on Iraq,” said the Rev. Reginald T. Jackson, pastor of St. Matthew’s AME Church in Orange and director of the influential Black Ministers Council, which represents 600 congregations statewide. “He is right on Social Security. He is right on stem cell research. He is right on the minimum wage. He is right on cutting the federal deficit. He is right on health care. He is right on immigration, and he was right on racial profiling legislation, which his opponent opposed and voted against.”

  • Tom Kean Jr. loaned himself $400,000 for his campaign,but Bob Menendez still has $1.5 million more according to Herb Jackson.
    The DSCC has spent $1 million in ‘coordinated’ ads and is spending another $2 million in ‘uncoordinated’ ads.  The article discusses spending by other groups as well.

  • Linda Stender has pointed out that the Wall Street Journal found that Mike Ferguson is one of the top 10 recipients of campaign contributions from big drug companies.
  • Comcast Digital has interviews with the candidates available free for subscribers.  Sounds good if you’ve got it, but remember that the free internet allows anyone to make interviews available with the magic of podcasting and youtube. 

    This is your open thread to discuss anything that’s on your mind.

  • Dr. Dobson’s weighs in on the NJ Delegation

    Andrew  0%
    LoBiondo  85%
    Saxton  85%
    Smith  100%
    Garrett  100%
    Pallone  0%
    Ferguson  85%
    Pascrell  0%
    Rothman  0%
    Payne  0%
    Frelinghuysen 42%
    Holt  0%

    But I think Chris Smith gets extra credit for all the hard work he does for Dobson and other religious extremists. That’s why we need Carol Gay for Congress.

    The votes:

    Marriage protection and sponsorship of the amendment; maintain ban on abortions at military facilities overseas; requiring minor’s parents be notified if crossing state lines for an abortion and requiring doctors to notify parents of out of state minors who seek abotion services; repeal tax payer money used for lawyer fees in establishment of religion cases against local state and federal governments (ten Commandments)-“threatening public official’s public displays of religion”; removing federal courts from hearing Pledge of Allegiance cases; and of course blastocyst protection act.

    Here’s the link:
    PDF of scorecard link

    Chris Smith is SOOO concerned about families but he doesn’t trust NJ families to do the right thing whether making a decision about the size of their family or end of life care ( he was Terri Schiavo’s brother’s chauffer to middle of the night pressers- had to cancel a trip to Europe to get in on the action.) He has spent his 26 year congressional career trying to eliminate contraceptive and abortion services not only for his constituents and US citizens, but also for the poverty stricken in developing countries.

    Republican Policies Result in More Abortions

    Congresmman Mike Ferguson opposes abortion, but he also opposes policies and legislation that would reduce the number of abortions in the United States and abroad

    There is a bill in front of the Subcommittee on Health, where Ferguson is co-chair, that would increase funding and availability of contraceptives and family planning education for poor women.  This, in turn, would reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies and result in a dramatically lower number of abortions.  The Bush administration estimates that there are 3 million unwanted pregnancies a year, with 50 percent ending in abortions.

    Now new evidence from the Bush administration demonstrates that the number of unwanted pregnancies among poor women is skyrocketing under Republican “pro-life” policies, resulting in even more abortions.

    Poor women in America are increasingly likely to have unwanted pregnancies, whereas relatively affluent women are succeeding more and more in getting pregnant only when they want to, according to a study analyzing federal statistics.

    As a result of the growing disparity, women living in poverty are now almost four times more likely to become pregnant unintentionally than women of greater means, the study found.

    Based on nationwide data collected by the National Center for Health Statistics and other sources, the researchers found that from 1994 through 2001, the rate of unplanned pregnancies increased by almost 30 percent for women below the federal poverty line — now defined as $16,000 annually for a family of three. For women in families comfortably above poverty, the rate of unplanned pregnancies fell by 20 percent during the same period.

    The abortion rate also rose among poor women while declining among the more affluent.

    The Republican took over the House and Senate in 1994, and the White House in 2001.  During that time they have radically reduced access to family planning and contraception, choosing to focus only on abstinence education to prevent unwanted pregnancies.  Abstinence education has a place, since teenagers are often not ready for the emotional or other costs of sex and pregnancies, but only when it is coupled with realistic prevention messages, as well.

    Congressman Ferguson is one of the most absolutist opponents of contraception, family planning and abortion.  He is so radical that his own colleagues call him “Mr. Embryo“, and that radical position is hurting poor women.  Unwanted pregnancies create financial burdens, empotional stress, hurt families, and end in abortion as often as they result in children.

    Prevention First to Reduce Abortions

    Congressman Mike Ferguson is the vice chair of the House Subcommittee on Health, which was referred a bill called the “Prevention First Act’’ [pdf] in January.  So far the bill, which is intended to reduce abortions in the United States, has neither come up for discussion nor a vote.  Rep. Ferguson has so far taken no position on the bill.

    Blue 7th PAC is calling on Rep. Ferguson, as vice chair of the committee, to bring this bill up for discussion.  Rep. Ferguson is well-known to be an avid opponent of abortion, going so far as to support a Constitutional Amendment making it illegal.  The “Prevention First Act” should be a common ground where both pro-choice and anti-abortion advocates can find common ground:

    The summary of the “Prevention First Act’’ is:

    To expand access to preventive health care services that help reduce unintended pregnancy, reduce the number of abortions, and improve access to women’s health care.

    To reduce unintended pregnancies and, as a result, reduce abortions the bill would:

    • Allow states to provide family planning and contraceptive services to low-income women and families not eligible for Medicare;
    • Requires health insurers who cover prescription drugs and outpatient services to cover prescription contraceptives and outpatient family planning services;
    • Requires Health and Human Services (HHS) to distribute information on emergency contraceptives to the public and health care providers;
    • Requires hospitals to offer and provide emergency contraceptives to victims of sexual assault;
    • Creates HHS grants for public and private entities to expand teenage pregnancy prevention programs; and
    • Mandates that all information regarding contraception in federally funded educational programs and materials be medically accurate and include health benefits and failure rates.

    Ferguson’s Opposition To Contraceptives

    A number of people have called or written Congressman Mike Ferguson’s office about the emergency contraceptive called Plan B to determine his position on whether it should be sold over the counter without a prescription.  Plan B is made of the same stuff as the contraceptive known as the pill in higher concentrations, and has been approved by the FDA as an emergency contraceptive for use within days of unprotected sex to prevent conception.  It is not an abortion pill.

    To date his office has not answered the question once, though they do have a new tactic: answering a different question.  A few weeks ago the following question was sent to Ferguson’s office via his official on-line form:

    What is your position on Plan B? Do you think it should be made available?

    The answer that came back [after the jump] was about H.R.1652, the Access to Legal Pharmaceuticals Act, a bill that requires pharmacies to fill medical prescriptions even if the pharmacist has a moral objection to the drug.  Interestingly, not only is this not an answer to the question Ferguson was asked but he also refused to take a position on this bill.

    Thank you for contacting me regarding H.R.1652, the Access to Legal Pharmaceuticals Act.  I appreciate hearing from you and having the benefit of your views. …

    H.R.1652 was referred to the House Energy and Commerce Committee. Should this legislation come to the House floor for a vote, I will reflect further on your well-stated views.

    Ferguson sits on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, yet will only “reflect further” if the committee reads the bill out to the entire house.  He would not say whether he believes the committee should approve the bill, or if he will vote against it.  Of course, he doesn’t have to because it is sponsored by a Democrat and has no chance of coming to a vote in the committee, much less for the entire house.