Legislation giving health care providers the right to refuse to provide care if it violates their religious principles won final approval in the Missouri House Tuesday.
The bill now heads to the Senate, where similar legislation was approved by a committee yesterday.
House Speaker Tim Jones, a Eureka Republican who sponsored the measure, said the legislation protects workers’ rights.
“We want to encourage those people in the health care field and give them a shield, so they can have an opt-out, with proper notice, to their employer,” Jones said.
State law already allows doctors, nurses and other health care workers to refuse to participate in an abortion. Under the bill, that right to refuse would be extended to include providing birth control, sterilization and assisted reproduction services and stem cell research. Medical professionals would also be able to deny referrals for care and could not be punished legally or professionally for their actions.
There is an exemption in the legislation for emergency situations, Jones said, adding that in those instances “you can throw this bill out. It wouldn’t apply.”
But critics of the bill said it sacrifices the health of women to the religious beliefs of medical providers.
Some antiabortion activists were crowing about their apparent victories in North Dakota last week — including an unprecedented ban on abortion at six weeks, before most women know they’re pregnant — but, notably, that’s not what Peggy Noonan wanted to talk about on “Meet the Press” yesterday. When Chuck Todd asked her if such legislation “could be what motivates evangelicals again,” Noonan promptly changed the subject. It was no accident.
“The real story this week is the haunting and disturbing story of this doctor in Philadelphia — [Kermit] Gosnell, who is being tried this week,” she said, adding, “This was a man who had an abortion mill, that was in fact a death mill for babies essentially born. Being tried now, we’ll see how it goes. But this is a story that is haunting, about the implications of decisions made by courts.” (In fact, Gosnell is accused of crimes that have never been sanctioned by any court, and appears to have been exploiting gaps in access for low-income women.) The point was this: Noonan, in keeping with the bigger antiabortion groups, doesn’t want to talk about banning abortion in the first trimester, when it is overwhelmingly supported by Americans. They would rather change the subject to grislier, rarer, later procedures. Too bad for them that a growing number of state legislators aren’t getting in line.
For years, a civil war has been brewing in the right-to-life movement, between the absolutists, who want to pass Personhood amendments and “heartbeat” bans that grab headlines, and the careful incrementalists, who are mounting a long-term campaign to stigmatize abortion and make it inaccessible through seemingly common-sense restrictions.
When he signed the federal Voting Rights Act on August 6, 1965, President Lyndon Johnson did not rely on understatement to express the significance of the legislation.
“Today is a triumph for freedom as huge as any victory that ever been won a on any battlefield,” Johnson told members of Congress and dignitaries assembled in the Capitol’s rotunda.
Standing beneath a large painting of the British surrender to George Washington at the Revolutionary War battle of Yorktown, and flanked by a statue of Abraham Lincoln, Johnson harkened back 350 years to the arrival of the first African-Americans at colonial Jamestown, Virginia, “in darkness and chains” as slaves.
“Today, we strike away the last major shackle of those fierce and ancient bonds,” Johnson said. “Millions of Americans are denied the right to vote because of their color. This law will ensure them the right to vote.”
The Voting Rights Act, along with the Civil Rights Act of 1964, proved to be the legislative pillars of the civil rights movement. They were pushed through Congress by Johnson after years of civil rights protests punctuated by the 1955 Montgomery, Alabama, bus boycott led by Rev. Martin Luther King to King’s March on Washington in 1963. There were smaller legislative achievements along the way, such as the a limited voting rights bill Johnson shepherded through Congress as Senate Majority Leader in 1957.
The House GOP unveiled their watered-down version of the Violence Against Women Act today, prompting an immediate and vocal reaction from the Democratic majority in the Senate.
Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT), the author of VAWA, derided the legislation as “partisan” and said it omits critical measures designed to protect vulnerable populations like Native Americans, immigrants and the gay and lesbian community.
“Next week, the House of Representatives plans to revert back to its partisan version of the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act,” Leahy said in a statement. “The Republican House leadership has decided to replace the Senate-passed version with a substitute that will not provide critical protections for rape victims, domestic violence victims, human trafficking victims, students on campuses, or stalking victims. This is simply unacceptable and it further demonstrates that Republicans in the House have not heard the message sent by the American people and reflected in the Senate’s overwhelming vote earlier this month to pass the bipartisan Leahy-Crapo bill. A majority of Republican Senators — and every woman serving in the United States Senate — supported it.”
I would act surprised and/or outraged by this, but I’m not. The GOP’s war on women continues unabated.
What’s most amazing to me is that the House GOP strip out the protections for human trafficking victims. To give you an idea of just how deranged that is, consider that the very same protections passed in the Senate with a rare 100-0 vote.
As part of the new protocol for administering a medication abortion, legislative bill SB 371 would require not only that a patient undergo a likely mandatory forced trans-vaginal ultrasound prior to receiving the medication to induce abortion, but another vaginal ultrasound during her mandated follow up two weeks after the abortion.
Swayze is now responding to critics who claim the multiple unnecessary probings are invasive.
Saying “she doesn’t understand the problem with the procedure,” Swayze told Brandon Smith of WBAA, “I got pregnant vaginally. Something else could come in my vagina for a medical test that wouldn’t be that intrusive to me. So I find that argument a little ridiculous.”
Charles has written about the underlying bill earlier this week.
It requires not one but two invasive vaginal ultrasound probings for purposes of seeking an abortion. One would be required prior to the procedure; the second would occur after.
Mind you that a woman seeking an abortion may have any number of reasons for seeking one, but it could also come after a sexual assault. In those cases, this law would require violating the woman twice in order to try and deter that woman from seeking the abortion in the first place.
All this legislation does is further stigmatize the women seeking an abortion, increases the costs and reduces the access to abortion. That’s the ultimate goal for the anti-abortion activists. It has nothing to do with the personal rights of women to control what happens with their own bodies or to take control of their own reproductive rights.
¶ The approach came in 2009, in a presentation to doctors by Allscripts Healthcare Solutions of Chicago, a well-connected player in the lucrative business of digital medical records. That February, after years of behind-the-scenes lobbying by Allscripts and others, legislation to promote the use of electronic records was signed into law as part of President Obama’s economic stimulus bill. The rewards, Allscripts suggested, were at hand.
But today, as doctors and hospitals struggle to make new records systems work, the clear winners are big companies like Allscripts that lobbied for that legislation and pushed aside smaller competitors.
While proponents say new record-keeping technologies will one day reduce costs and improve care, profits and sales are soaring now across the records industry. At Allscripts, annual sales have more than doubled from $548 million in 2009 to an estimated $1.44 billion last year, partly reflecting daring acquisitions made on the bet that the legislation would be a boon for the industry. At the Cerner Corporation of Kansas City, Mo., sales rose 60 percent during that period. With money pouring in, top executives are enjoying Wall Street-style paydays.
President Obama starts his second term with a clear upper hand over GOP leaders on issues from guns to immigration that are likely to dominate the year, a USA TODAY/Pew Research Center Poll finds. On the legislation rated most urgent — cutting the budget deficit — even a majority of Republican voters endorse Obama’s approach of seeking tax hikes as well as spending cuts.
The survey underscores the quandary for the GOP as it debates the party’s message in the wake of disappointing losses last November for the White House and in the Senate.
Now just 22% of Americans, nearly a record low, consider themselves Republicans.
Isn’t it crazy that we even have to ask that question?
In Arkansas this week, the State Senate passed a bill that would ban almost all abortions. Within a month, women in Arkansas could be prevented from receiving abortion care, no matter what their circumstances.
In North Dakota, the legislature is poised to vote on set of bills that aim to ban abortion, close down women’s health centers, and could prevent couples from using in-vitro fertilization to build their family. The Senate is expected to vote on those bills next week.
In Mississippi and Alabama and several other states, legislators are playing at the same game - introducing legislation that takes away a woman’s ability to have all options open to her.
These bills are shocking at any time, but especially now when lawmakers have heard men and women across the nation say we don’t want politicians interfering in personal private decisions. From the voting booth to the capitol steps, the message from the last year was clear: hands off women’s health care. But now — less than a month into state legislative sessions, and about a week after the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, politicians are working overtime to block a woman’s access to abortion care.
We can’t let them get away with it. Share this blog. Email your friends. Call or email your state legislators and let them know - enough is enough.
President Obama said that the bipartisan group of senators working on immigration legislation was following a “reasonable timeline” and suggested he would push to get a bill passed in the first half of the year.
In a pair of interviews the day after kicking off his public campaign for immigration reform, Obama told the Spanish-language networks Univision and Telemundo that he would put the weight of his office - and his bully pulpit - behind the effort.
“I can guarantee that I will put everything I’ve got behind it,” Obama told Telemundo anchor Jose Diaz-Balart. “We’re putting our shoulder to the wheel.”
Obama began that effort Tuesday with a speech outlining his top priorities for a bill, including a pathway to citizenship for the 11 million immigrants currently living in the country illegally. But Obama also encouraged the group of senators crafting compromise legislation and said their principles were in line with his own.
Still, the president aimed to put the Senate on a clock and threatened to send up his own legislation if the process didn’t move ahead in a “timely fashion.”
The President and Senior Administration Officials met this morning with leaders of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus to discuss the need to make things fairer for and grow the middle class by fixing our broken immigration system so everyone plays by the same rules. The President thanked the Members for their long standing leadership on the issue, and reiterated that this is a top legislative priority.
The President was pleased to hear from CHC members and noted that they share the same vision, including that any legislation must include a path to earned citizenship. The President further noted that there is no excuse for stalling or delay. The President made it clear he will continue to lead on this issue, and that he looks forward to working with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and other key Members of Congress in a bipartisan process to move this debate forward at the earliest possible opportunity.
The President will be traveling to Nevada on Tuesday to redouble the Administration’s efforts to work with Congress to fix the broken immigration system this year.