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Annotated Reading List

Restoring family-planning cuts without ruffling feathers

By Becca Aaronson, The New York Times, March 1, 2013

This article indicates that funding for family planning services in Texas may be restored by being funneled through a primary care program rather than family planning clinics.  Republican state senators have proposed adding $100 million to a state-run primary care program specifically for women’s health services.  This could help lawmakers stem the increase in births in the state while avoiding the political hot potato of being seen as supportive of abortion.  Family planning advocates say that it would be better for the money to be allocated specifically to family planning clinics but that they would be happy to receive the funding increase in any form.

Texas may restore family planning funds

By Katie McDonough, Salon, March 1, 2013

The Texas Health and Human Services Commission reported that cuts to family planning services in Texas will cost the state $273 million because of the increased number of unplanned pregnancies.  Republican lawmakers who supported the cuts fear this kind of fiscal impact and are attempted to restore $100 million of the lost funding by putting it into a fund that provides primary care services for women.  These services would be available to poor Texans who fail to qualify for other state programs.

Will Senate restore women’s health care funds?

By Jordan Smith, Austin Chronicle, March 1, 2013

Texas state senator Jane Nelson, a ranking Republican and chair of the Health and Human Services Committee, has come out in favor of restoring $100 million cut from the family planning budget in 2011.  Instead of being sent back to family planning agencies, however, the money will be directed into a fund that pays for primary care services for low-income women.  Nelson’s support has raised hopes that other Republicans that supported the cuts will fall into line.  It is not entirely clear that all  of the restored funding will go to family planning services, however, or that all of the women who lost services will now be able to access them.

Divided by abortion, united by feminism

By Ross Douthat, The New York Times, January 26, 2013

In this opinion piece, the author argues that women who are against abortion are not fighting for a return to traditional conceptions of gender roles, such as the idea that woman should remain at home or focus on raising children rather than building a career. The author writes that women on both sides of the argument want equality for the female gender. However, the ones who are pro life believe the equal status can be maintained without unrestricted access to abortion. The author concludes that in order to win this argument, women supporting life must address this idea in a more compelling way.

Jumping the shark on women’s health

By Jordan Smith, The Austin Chronicle, January 18, 2013.

This analytical piece examines Texas government’s decision to stop funding for all abortion activities and details the policies, the effects of the policies on the ground and what they mean for Texas women. The author says that in an attempt to stay true to their politics, the Republican government has defunded Planned Parenthood, foregone federal aid and is in the process of creating new legislation that would increase regulation on abortion. The author says the consequences of these decisions, however, adversely affect women’s health care and family planning on a broader scale and will have repercussions for not only Texas women but also the state.

Editorial: Texas’ problem with women’s healthcare

Dallas Morning News, January 14, 2013

This editorial discusses the repercussions of Texas Legislature’s 2011 law that disallows the state to fund any women’s health providers affiliated with abortion service providers, especially Planned Parenthood clinics. The state decision has led to increased cuts in health funding, fewer functioning reproductive health providers and an “informational black hole” for low-income women. Authorities have uploaded online a referral list of state funded providers but many of those included either are not participating in the program, or aware that their names were on the list, or not accepting new patients. Some of these providers do not even offer family planning services.

New study shows anti-choice policies leading to widespread arrests of and forced interventions on pregnant women.

By Lynn Paltrow (National Advocates for Pregnant Women) and Jeanne Flavin (Professor of Sociology, Fordham University), RH Reality Check: Reproductive & Sexual Health and Justice News, Analysis and Commentary, January 14, 2013

The authors of this article provide a brief summary of their research study published in the peer-reviewed Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law in January, 2013. The authors said they identified 413 criminal and civil cases against pregnant women in the United States and claim the arrests and other legal actions in these instances would not have occurred had the women not been pregnant “at the time of the alleged violation of law.” The authors listed the kinds of punishment and harsh treatment pregnant women have been subjected to, such as being forced to submit to cesarean surgery or being held under house arrest and incarcerated in prisons. They also provided examples of legal cases against pregnant women in various states.

Planned Parenthood receives record amount of taxpayer support

Fox News, January 8, 2013

This article highlights a recent report that indicated Planned Parenthood’s federal funding in 2012 rose 11% from the previous year’s funding to $542 million.  The piece then presents the opposing views of pro-life and pro-choice activists on the funding increase.

Texas has created a costly roadmap for defunding Planned Parenthood.

By Molly Redden, The New Republic, January 11, 2013.

This article discusses the consequences of Texas Legislature’s decision to defund Planned Parenthood. It outlines how the state, by excluding Planned Parenthood from the state funded Women’s Health Program (WHP), has left more than 50,000 women in the lurch and forced them to look for a new primary care provider. Also, by rejecting federal funding, the state must now find an additional $200m from its own overstretched coffers to provide for the program.

Updated: Planned Parenthood loses bid for injunction

By Becca Aaronson, The Texas Tribune, January 11, 2013.

This article reported on a Travis County judge’s decision to deny Planned Parenthood a temporary injunction that would include them in Texas state’s Women’s Health Program. It provides context on the court case being argued between Planned Parenthood and the Texas Government over their exclusion from the WHP based on the “Affiliate Ban Rule”.

Judge: Texas WHP can proceed without Planned Parenthood

By Becca Aaronson, The Texas Tribune, December 31, 2012

This article reports on a state district court judge’s decision in December, 2012, to deny Planned Parenthood’s request to be included in Texas Women’s Health Program. It gives details of Texas Legislature’s decision to exclude family planning providers affiliated with abortion providers from any state funded program under the Affiliate Ban Rule. Planned Parenthood contested this decision in court and lost.

The rise of DIY abortions

By Ada Calhoun, The New Republic, December 21, 2012

This feature focuses on women’s struggles to access clinical abortion methods to end unwanted pregnancies in the U.S. by highlighting the story of Jennie Linn McCormack. A resident of Pocatello, Idaho, she bought anti-abortion pills online, consumed them to end her pregnancy and delivered a fetus in her home. She was charged with violating a state law that makes it a felony for any woman to abort a fetus via a method not sanctioned by the state. She sued the county prosecutor, claiming that certain restrictions on abortions were unconstitutional, and won. However, other women in Idaho can still be arrested for having illegal abortions.

Texas abortion bill could mean more side effects and higher costs.

By Mary Tuma, The American Independent, RH Reality Check: Reproductive & Sexual Health Justice News, Analysis & Commentary, December 19, 2012.

This article discusses the consequences of Texas state Senator Dan Patrick’s bill that would require doctors to follow FDA rules when prescribing abortion inducing drugs to women. The author details the workings of these anti-abortion drugs, namely Mifepristone and Misoprostol, the FDA rules related to them and the current medical consensus about these drugs as well as the FDA rules. The article also outlines the logistical and financial difficulties women would face when accessing this medical route for abortions if the bill is signed into law.

Pregnant? Scared? Can they help? The rise of crisis pregnancy centers and the abortion-alternative industry in Texas.

By Carolyn Jones, Texas Observer, December 11, 2012.

This article describes the rise, growth and functioning of crisis pregnancy centers in Texas state. The author outlines the services provided by these pro-life centers that, while appearing to be medical facilities, do not have the license to provide medical care. Their sole purpose is to offer advice that encourages a woman to continue with her pregnancy and abstain from sex until marriage. The author also discusses the current state government’s pro crisis pregnancy center stance and its increased funding of these facilities while cutting its funds for other family planning clinics, especially Planned Parenthood.

Likely increase in births has some lawmakers revisiting cuts.

By Emily Ramshaw, The New York Times, December 7, 2012

This news article discusses the possibility that the Republican government of Texas may reconsider its 2011 legislation of cutting funds to family planning services. This revisit of the legislation follows the projections of Health and Human Services Commission that in the years 2014-15, poor women would give birth to about 23,760 more babies than they would have if they had access to state subsidized birth control measures. This increase in population has direct consequences for the taxpayers in the form of an additional cost of $273 million, most of which constitutes health care for the newborns through Medicaid.

Judge considering Planned Parenthood injunction

By The Associated Press, SFGate, November 8, 2012

This news brief reported on Planned Parenthood’s appeal to a court to extend its injunction against Texas for excluding Planned Parenthood clinics from its state run Women’s Health Program. The state government passed a rule that barred all family planning providers affiliated with abortion providers from the WHP. The Planned Parenthood clinics involved in the lawsuit have argued that none of its clinics provide abortion services; however, other Planned Parenthood affiliates do provide abortion services and have therefore, stopped receiving any funds from the state.

Texas will continue funding to Planned Parenthood, for now

By Andrea Grimes, RH Reality Check: Reproductive & Sexual Health Justice News, Analysis & Commentary, October 31, 2012.

This article discusses how the launch of Texas state’s Women’s Health Program on the original date of November 1, 2012 was postponed because it was not ready to take on clients who would be left in the lurch following the exclusion of Planned Parenthood. The article said Texas was unprepared to to fill the void following Planned Parenthood’s exit from the program; the state said it had clinics and physicians ready to step in and provide services to more than 50,000 women currently served by Planned Parenthood but despite several requests from RH Reality Check, the Health and Human Services Commission did not provide the list of their non Planned Parenthood qualified providers.

Federal judge rejects key provisions of Texas anti-abortion law: Center for Reproductive Rights calls decision a huge victory for Texas women.

Press Release, Center for Reproductive Rights, August 30, 2011

This statement by the Center for Reproductive Rights praised the decision of a federal district judge who deemed Texas’ anti abortion law a violation of the First Amendment. The judge granted a preliminary injunction to the state and ruled that doctors cannot be penalized should they violate the law’s requirement of showing women who seek abortions, their sonogram images, describing these images in detail as well as making them listen to the fetal heartbeat. The Center had filed a class suit against these new rules on behalf of Texas medical providers in June 2011.

Measuring the effects of the family planning budget cuts

Part 1 in the series, Fertile ground: The battle over family planning in Texas By Thanh Tan, Texas Tribune, April 26, 2012.

In this video, the reporter highlights the study spearheaded by UT Professor Joe Potter that examines the effects of Texas Legislature’s 2011 decision to defund family planning service providers affiliated with abortion providers, specifically Planned Parenthood. The video also examines the current situation of family planning services in the state and what the Legislature’s decision means for Texas women as well as other family planning providers.

The storm over women’s health care had been brewing

By Emily Ramshaw and Thanh Tan, The New York Times, in collaboration with the Texas Tribune, March 22, 2012.

This news article focuses on the disagreement between Texas and the Obama administration over funds for women’s health care in the state. The article provides both sides’ point of view- the federal government’s belief that the women’s health care program in Texas cannot be funded with federal money should it exclude Planned Parenthood from the program and Texas government’s belief that the federal government is impinging on its state rights to decide which providers are eligible to participate in the program.

The media’s abortion blinders

By Ross Douthat, The New York Times, February 4, 2012.

In this opinion piece, the author argues that the large percentage of Americans who are pro-life are ignored in media coverage of events relating to women’s health. Douthat says that journalists tend to assume that the pro-choice viewpoint is the most widely accepted one, despite poll results that suggest an increasing number of Americans are opposed to unrestricted abortions. Douthat urges journalists to begin reporting on the issue with more impartiality, which he feels they have not done up to this point.

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