Reproductive Justice

Women’s Voices supports a woman’s right to make her own decisions about her reproductive health.St. Louis aldermen say no to protest-free ‘buffer zones’ around health care facilitiesSt. Louis aldermen say no to protest-free ‘buffer zones’ around health care facilitiesSt. Louis aldermen say no to protest-free ‘buffer zones’ around health care facilities

Missouri abortion activists ramp up for a fight after Kavanaugh appointment to Supreme Court

October 13, 2018 – St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Planned Parenthood, the largest provider of abortions in the U.S., spelled out a nationwide plan Wednesday to respond to anticipated restrictions from the Supreme Court.

“This is a big moment,” said M’Evie Mead, director of policy and organizing for the Planned Parenthood Action Fund in Missouri. “We absolutely believe (Kavanaugh) will be reshaping the court to be hostile to women seeking reproductive care, and we’ve been preparing.”

Planned Parenthood’s plan calls for expanding services in states where abortion is likely to remain legal and accessible, with a special focus on Illinois, which the organization says stands apart in the “growing abortion desert of the Midwest.”

Planned Parenthood plans to aggressively expand services at all 17 of its Illinois health centers and will push the Legislature to add the right to abortion into state law.

read the full article here

U.S. appeals court says Missouri can enforce abortion laws

September 10, 2018

The Missouri laws require doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at local hospitals, which can be difficult to obtain, and for abortion clinics to have costly hospital-grade facilities to be licensed as ambulatory surgical centers…Planned Parenthood in a statement said the ruling threatens to shut down abortion services at one of Missouri’s two clinics that can provide it.    Read the article about the decision here.

Read the St. Louis Post-Dispatch September 12, 2018 editorial about the decision and the erosion of abortion rights here.

Women’s Voices writes in Opposition to HHS Proposed Title X Compliance Rule

July 24 – sent to official comments at regulations.gov as attachment on Women’s Voices letterhead

Women’s Voices Raised for Social Justice supports the right of each individual to make decisions about their health care with their family and medical provider, and according to their own conscience. We are opposed to the administration’s most recent efforts to attack low- income access to comprehensive health care through the proposed Title X domestic “gag rule” that would prohibit Title X medical providers from discussing safe, legal abortion with their patients.

The proposed rule attempts to control a woman’s behavior by limiting the information she receives and forcing her into a decision that may not be right for her situation and circumstance. The result of which would mean denying critical health care services — such as contraception, breast cancer screenings and HIV and AIDS treatment and prevention — and meaningful health care choices for over 4 million low-income Americans who receive their care through Title X clinics.

Additionally, the proposed rule flies in the face of unencumbered access to accurate information. This proposed measure would all but destroy the federal Title X program, which has helped millions of Americans for almost 50 years to pave the way for untested, unproven organizations — hostile to providing women with the full range of information they deserve — to profit by providing less information and fewer health care options to those in need.

Lastly, the proposed rule contributes to a culture of stigma and shame around abortion — a standard and safe medical procedure that a quarter of all women will seek out in their lifetimes — as well as reproductive health care in general. No one should interfere with or judge a woman’s conscience-based decision to obtain birth control or preventive care from Planned Parenthood or other clinics as well as referrals for safe, legal abortion; or to have full and accurate information about her medical options.

HHS must stop undermining access to comprehensive health care, and instead return to its mission of promoting the health and well-being of all Americans. I urge you to withdraw this proposed rule.

Thank you for considering these comments.

(Thanks to the National Council for Jewish Women for providing this important information.)

 

Supreme Court Rules In Favor of Fake Women’s Health Centers

June 26, 2018

Allison Hile, the Women’s Voices reproductive rights liaison to our Advocacy Committee, says, “The highest court in the land has allowed anti-abortion pregnancy centers (with non-medical staff who often dress in medical garb) to continue lying to women about their safety and availability of care.”  Women’s Voices is extremely disappointed in the ruling and “stands with Planned Parenthood”.

Dawn Laguens, Executive Vice President Planned Parenthood Federation of America says: “Let’s be clear — fake women’s health centers are deceptive and harmful to women, full stop. Nothing in this decision suggests otherwise. Fake women’s health centers are lying to women, withholding medical information, and creating barriers to health care. Everyone deserves to be treated with dignity and respect. Rest assured, we will continue fighting for every person’s right to access high-quality care and accurate information, despite this disappointing decision. This decision, one in a series of 5-4 decisions, underscores the need for lawmakers to confirm fair-minded justices to the federal bench.”   You can read the full Planned Parenthood statement here.

Planned Parenthood facing two new threats to ability to serve patients.

May, 2018

First, the Trump Administration released their proposal to block Title X funding from any health care provider who provides or even makes a referral for abortion.  This strategy is sometimes called the “Gag Rule” because it limits what health care providers may tell their patients. More specifically, this rule would:

  • Make it impossible for patients to get birth control or preventive care from reproductive health care providers like Planned Parenthood.
  • Prevent doctors, nurses, hospitals, and community health centers across the country from providing accurate information about abortion.

Second, the Missouri Legislature passed a budget measure designed to block patients accessing services through public programs like Medicaid from receiving those services from Planned Parenthood.

Both these threats, often misleadingly referred to as “defunding” Planned Parenthood, mean patients who depend on Planned Parenthood will lose access to critical family planning services, including birth control, Pap tests, STD testing and more.

Talking Points – “Gag Rule”

  • Title X funded more than 3,400 patients’ care at Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region and Southwest Missouri in 2017.
  • Everyone, regardless of their race, income, or where they live, deserves the best medical care and information available. Under this rule, they won’t get it.
  • The result of this rule is that people will not get birth control, cancer screenings, STD testing and treatment, or even general women’s health exams.
  • Groups whose focus is healthcare, not politics, like the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the American College of Physicians and others, oppose this rule.
  • The US is at a 30-year low for unintended pregnancy, and a historic low for pregnancy among teenagers. Now is not the time to abandon that progress

Talking Points – Missouri Medicaid Exclusion

  • More than 7,000 Medicaid patients in Missouri count on Planned Parenthood for preventive care.
  • Despite what politicians have said, safety net health care providers in Missouri cannot absorb the patients of Planned Parenthood.70% of non-Planned Parenthood providers do not offer long-acting reversible birth control methods like intrauterine devices (IUDs), and 41% of non-Planned Parenthood providers don’t even offer birth control and Pap tests.
  • Prohibiting patients from using their Medicaid doesn’t improve health outcomes and discriminates against Missourians’ who choose Planned Parenthood for health care.

St. Louis aldermen say no to protest-free ‘buffer zones’ around health care facilities

April 16, 2018

A controversial proposal to ban protesters within an 8-foot radius of a health care facility’s driveway was defeated Monday by the St. Louis Board of Aldermen on a 9-15 vote on the last day of session.    Read more here

Supreme Court Hears Case Regarding “Crisis Centers”

March 20, 2018 –  The U.S. Supreme Court hears arguments Tuesday in a case that pits the right to know against the right of free speech.

On one side are self-identified “crisis pregnancy centers” that seek to prevent abortions, and on the other side is the state of California, which enacted a law to ensure that these centers do not intentionally or unintentionally mislead the women who walk through their doors.

Read more about the case here

 

MO New Abortion Law Takes Effect

A Jackson County judge on Monday denied a motion made by Planned Parenthood affiliates and the ACLU of Missouri that would’ve stopped implementation of a provision in Missouri’s newest abortion law.

On Oct. 10, the ACLU of Missouri and two Planned Parenthood affiliates sued the state to block implementation of a provision in Senate Bill 5, approved by lawmakers during an abortion-focused special session over the summer.  Read more

U.S. House of Representative Passes 20-Week Abortion Ban Bill

October 3, 2017   The Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act bans abortion procedures after 20 weeks of gestation, except in cases of rape, incest, or danger to the mother’s life. Those who attempt or perform an abortion could face a fine and up to five years in prison.   read more

 

Missouri hospitals forgo family planning funds as abortion rule goes into effect

“At issue is a $10.8 million portion of the state’s Medicaid program, which covers pelvic exams, tests for sexually transmitted diseases and  family planning services for about 70,000 low-income Missouri women. To prevent violating a federal law that says Medicaid patients must be allowed to choose their own provider, the state is rejecting about $8.3 million annually in federal funds, and paying the difference with money from the state.”

“The MHA is counseling its members to not submit claims to the program after providing an abortion, regardless of the circumstances.”    read more here

 HBO Film Focuses on Abortion Restrictions in MO

(CNN)Abortion: Stories Women Tell” is HBO’s latest advocacy-oriented documentary, chronicling the impact of Missouri abortion restrictions on those forced to cross the Illinois border to seek procedures. Spare and sober, it’s a solid look at how raw the issue remains, though given how entrenched opinions are, it’s unlikely to change many hearts or minds.   Click here to stream the film