Just days after the state Board of Health approved the regulations this month, under pressure from Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli II (R), they claimed their first victim. Hillcrest Clinic in Norfolk, which for 40 years had provided reproductive health services, including abortions, closed last weekend.
Hillcrest was partly a victim of its own success in providing women with ready access to birth control. Like most other clinics around the state, it saw demand for abortions dwindle as more women took advantage of options to prevent unwanted pregnancies.
Still, even after years of protests, arson, a pipe bombing and an attack by a man wielding a semiautomatic weapon, Hillcrest performed more than 1,600 abortions last year, about 7 percent of the state total. The principal reason it closed its doors was that complying with the regulations would have saddled it with $500,000 in renovations — an unaffordable expense.
Alabama lawmakers late Tuesday gave final passage to a measure placing stricter regulations on clinics that provide abortions.
The state House voted 68-21 to give final passage to the Women’s Health and Safety Act. The vote came hours after the state Senate voted 20-10 to approve the bill after amending the measure to require clinics to tell patients what medications they had received.
The votes in the GOP-led legislature, mostly along partly lines, send the measure to Republican Gov. Robert Bentley, who backs the legislation.
Proponents say the regulations will protect women. Opponents say they will make it harder for women to exercise their right to get an abortion
Republican lawmakers in Texas have cut the state’s family planning budget by two-thirds, forcing many clinics that focus on women’s health to close across the state.
Researchers at the University of Texas conducted the study with Ibis Reproductive Health, a Massachusetts research group that supports “women’s reproductive autonomy.”
They interviewed more than 300 women seeking abortions at clinics in six Texas cities between August and December 2012.
The women reported traveling an average of 42 miles to obtain an abortion. Nearly a third of the women said the waiting period negatively affected their “emotional well-being.”
Rep. Jessica Farrar, D-Houston, said she plans to file a bill to remove the waiting period. The law includes other requirements, such as having the same physician who will perform the abortion do a sonogram and describe the fetus to the woman.
The waiting period “is about creating unnecessary hardships on women and has nothing really to do with their health care,” Farrar said.
Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston, who wrote the Senate version of the bill in 2011, said he doesn’t expect the law to be weakened. “My sonogram bill was about improving the standard of care for women,” he said.
On Tuesday, Perry threw his support behind a bill by Sen. Glenn Hegar, R-Katy, and Rep. Jodie Laubenberg, R-Parker, that would ban abortions after 20 weeks.
Think about this for a minute, especially if you are a Texan. The taxpayers of Texas will now have to pick up approximately 31.5 million dollars in services, and the bulk of those dollars will go to anti-choice church backed clinics once Planned Parenthood is taken out of the picture. Are average Texans really so backward that they think it’s ok not to have family planning that includes abortion and contraception advice that’s not packaged with religion? Are Texans really so misogynistic that they are going to let loud mouthed religious zealots set health policy for most Women in Texas?
In the latest of a series of legal proceedings about the women’s health program, a judge ruled Monday that Texas could cut off state funding from Planned Parenthood.
Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas and client Marcela Balquinta filed for a temporary restraining order to keep the provider in the new state women’s health program that is scheduled to begin on Jan. 1.
The provider will get another chance at a temporary injunction at another hearing on Jan. 11, but in the meantime, the Planned Parenthood will not be a part of the state-run women’s health program when it launches tomorrow.
Visiting Judge Gary Harger ruled that Texas may exclude the otherwise qualified provider as part of the state’s ban on abortion affiliates from the program, the Associated Press reports.
“It is shocking that once again Texas officials are letting politics jeopardize health care access for women,” said Ken S. Lambrecht, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas. “Regardless of what happens in the courts, Planned Parenthood will be here for our patients. Our doors remain open today and always to Texas women in need. We only wish Texas politicians shared this commitment to Texas women, their health, and their well being.”
Until today, the federal government paid for 90 percent of the $35 million program, but that match expired because Texas chose to switch to a state-funded version of the Medicaid Women’s Health Program that purposefully excluded Planned Parenthood as an approved provider.
The DEA accused Walgreens on Friday of endangering public safety and barred the company from shipping oxycodone and other controlled drugs from its Jupiter, Fla., distribution center.
The move is the latest action by the Drug Enforcement Agency in a crackdown on pharmaceutical companies, drug distributors and drugstore chains that sell large amounts of highly addictive narcotics. Earlier this week, the DEA revoked the controlled substances licenses for two CVS pharmacies in Sanford, Fla., accused of dispensing excessive amounts of OxyContin.
Abuse of prescription narcotics is an epidemic, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Overdose deaths from opiod pain relievers account for more deaths than heroin and cocaine combined.
The DEA says Walgreens failed to maintain proper controls to ensure it didn’t dispense drugs to addicts and drug dealers. Large increases in narcotic sales could be a sign that drug addicts and dealers are using fake prescriptions to purchase the drugs, the agency says. The addicts and dealers often get the prescriptions from clinics, known as “pill mills,” where doctors prescribe the drugs after only cursory examinations.
Six of Walgreens’ Florida pharmacies ordered more than a million pills a year, the DEA said. In 2011, the average pharmacy in the U.S. ordered 73,000 oxycodone tablets a year.
One pharmacy in Fort Myers went from ordering 95,800 pills in 2009 to 2.2 million pills in 2011, the DEA said. Another pharmacy in Hudson, a town of 34,000 people near Clearwater, purchased 2.2 million pills in 2011, the DEA said.
Diane Derzis carries a Taser, a Smith and Wesson and a nickname: “abortion queen.”
“It doesn’t in any way injure my self-confidence,” said Derzis, who owns Mississippi’s last abortion clinic and three others in the U.S. South. “I kind of like being the queen.”
Her dominion, though, is shrinking. Derzis’s Birmingham clinic was shut for what Alabama health officials called “a history of deficiencies” in what she said was a witch hunt. Now, the Jackson Women’s Health Organization may close, thanks to a law Mississippi’s Republican-led Legislature passed requiring that abortion doctors have admitting privileges at a local hospital.
Derzis, 58, and her lawyers are trying to prevent the state from becoming the first with no abortion clinic, and argued in U.S. District Court yesterday that the requirement is unconstitutional because it will effectively ban the procedure. Judge Daniel P. Jordan III ruled that the law will remain blocked as he considers new material filed by the state.
Derzis, seen as a hero by allies and an enabler of murder by the anti-abortion movement, bought the Jackson clinic two years ago. She had become known in the region after Eric Robert Rudolph bombed her New Woman All Women Health Care Clinic in Birmingham in 1998, punctuating years of attacks on clinics. The blast killed an off-duty police officer and maimed a nurse.
Politicians now present the greatest threat to Derzis’s professional survival. States passed a record 92 abortion restrictions last year, according to the New York-based Guttmacher Institute, which compiles reproductive-health data. Mississippi joined nine other states with laws requiring admitting privileges when Republican Governor Phil Bryant signed the bill in April.
Amber, a soft-spoken, feminine 12-year-old who loves Hello Kitty and fashion design, lives with a secret. It is a secret most sixth-graders can’t fathom, one she hides behind pink skirts and makeup. It is a secret that led to all her baby pictures being tucked away as though her childhood had never happened.
Amber was born a boy.
When she was 10, she stopped going by her given name, Aaron, and began dressing as a girl. Last year, she started taking medication to keep her from going through puberty.
“I can be who I am,” Amber said. “I can be a girl.”
An increasing number of children like Amber are realizing they are transgender and seeking care at clinics around the nation. Because of their age, the complex and emotional journey is as much their parents’ as their own. Families are forced to make tough decisions about therapy and medication, and about what to tell friends and relatives. They are trying to give their children a normal upbringing with summer camps and sleepovers while protecting them from harm and embarrassment.
“How do you move through society with a gender-variant child?” said Nancy Quay, a psychotherapist at the University of Michigan gender services program. “What do you tell your neighbors? How do you keep your child safe?”
For Amber’s parents, Michelle and Jamie, the last few years have been a roller coaster of emotions — guilt for not recognizing earlier that their daughter was transgender, grief over losing Aaron and worries about Amber’s future.
The family’s last name is being withheld at Amber’s request. They all agreed, though, to both a video and photographs. Michelle said their family and others close to them know about Amber’s transition.
Telling their story, she said, “is the right thing to do…. Hopefully it will bring more awareness and help other families.”
Michelle said she believes that letting Amber take the medication and live as she wants is the only real choice. “We are confident this is her authentic self,” she said.
Jamie is supportive but not quite as sure. “This is some pretty serious territory,” he said. “As a parent, you are always second-guessing yourself.”
An Oakland County judge upheld Planned Parenthood’s right Tuesday to build a clinic in Auburn Hills, thwarting a yearlong fight by abortion opponents to stop the organization from moving into the county.
At the hearing, Circuit Judge James Alexander said lawyers representing those opposed to Planned Parenthood failed to show how the clinic, set for a business-zoned area of Opdyke Road, would violate restrictions set forth when the land was split for sale more than a decade ago.
He scolded lawyers representing the opponents for arguing on the assumption that the clinic would provide abortion services, when local Planned Parenthood officials have said repeatedly that they may not.
“Let me stop this right now,” said Alexander, as attorney James Carey referred to the clinic as “an abortion clinic” in the beginning of his arguments. “This is not an abortion case. This is a property case.”
Planned Parenthood Mid and South Michigan CEO Lori Lamerand said the organization bought the property in 2010 after finding that 5,400 Oakland County residents were going to other Planned Parenthood clinics and learning that federal funds were available for family planning for low-income people.
“It’s a wonderful thing, primarily not for Planned Parenthood, but for the women who need health care in Oakland County,” she said.
Anti-choice zealots bill abortion as a lucrative industry, but this article tells the real tale. There aren’t huge profits in abortion as the lack of providers clearly demonstrates.
According to Guttmacher, 87 percent of counties in the United States have no abortion providers. But for the other 13 percent, many are facing a serious lack of available providers, too. Many exurban and more rural areas are too far away from the larger cities to have a clinic that has a regular provider, and often clinics share providers, with one doctor traveling to multiple sites, or sometimes even multiple states, a few times a month in order to provide services to women seeking to terminate a pregnancy.
How critical has the shortage of abortion providers become? As Missouri shows us, the loss of one provider could mean the suspension of abortion services all together.
The Columbia, Missouri Planned Parenthood clinic has announced that they will no longer be able to provide abortions to the women in the area, due to the military deployment of their practitioner, who previously came to the clinic two to three times a month. Without a provider, the clinic will now have to refer women to other clinics further away, increasing the expense associated with an abortion as well as how early the abortion can be performed.
As each provider retires, is called away from his or her area, or for some other reason stops performing abortions, without newer providers to step in, the wait time for an abortion grows while schedules fill even faster, in some cases causing women to miss their ability to have a legal, early abortion all together.