Pennsylvania Wants to Make Abortion Safer by … Closing Safe Clinics?

Apparently Pennsylvania has decided to follow in Virginia’s ill-advised footsteps, at least when it comes to regulating abortion clinics out of existence. The state House has approved a bill that would require clinics to adhere to new structural guidelines and staffing procedures that would likely be expensive and logistically difficult. If it is passed, the bill – which includes requirements like upgrading elevators and doubling the size of procedure rooms – could force “most, if not all” of the state’s 20 freestanding clinics to either move or stop offering abortion services entirely.

The bill’s supporters argue that this level of regulation is needed in the wake of allegations surrounding Kermit Gosnell, the Philadelphia-area doctor that was charged earlier this year in the death of seven infants and one woman. Republican Rep. Matt Baker, chairman of the House Health Committee, claims that the bill “is about patient safety and preventing future cases of murder and infanticide within abortion clinics.” What Baker and his colleagues seem to miss is that different building codes would not have made a difference in the Gosnell case;  larger exam rooms aren’t exactly going to deter someone from practicing the kind of bad medicine that Gosnell is accused of.  [Read more...]

Update: Virginia Board of Health Approves Abortion Clinic Regulations

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Well, this is just crappy: today the Virginia Board of Health voted 12-1 to uphold new restrictions  on the the state’s abortion clinics. The decision followed a standing-room-only meeting to hear comments on the regulations, which will place hospital-level operating and building requirements on all 21 abortion clinics in the state.

Proponents of the regulations claim that they will make abortions safer for women, although the procedure is extremely safe already. Approximately 26,000 abortions are performed in Virginia hospitals and clinics every year; between 1999 and 2009, one woman died as a result of complications. Compare that to the eleven women that died in 2009 alone as a result of pregnancy and childbirth complications. Not to mention that clinics in Virginia only perform first-trimester abortions, which are widely regarded as the safest kind of abortion to perform.

I don’t know, I’m not really seeing how mandating covered entryways and high ceilings will ensure that an already-safe procedure will become even safer. But if these regulations are so necessary, then why aren’t other stand-alone clinics that provide invasive surgical services, like eye surgery or plastic surgery, being held to the same standards? [Read more...]

AZ Legislature Takes Anti-Choice to a New Level

In case the rest of the world has any doubt that Arizona is full of gun-slinging, ignorant assholes, one look at the state legislature’s agenda should clear up any confusion.  Several anti-choice bills have been introduced at the legislature in the past few weeks, and they make the already draconion abortion restrictions in our state look like a cake walk compared to what is potentially coming down the pike.  Let me summarize the worst offenders in the bunch.

HB2416 would introduce several new restrictions on abortion access, including:

  • Expands the definition of abortion clinic from those that perform surgical abortion to also include those that dispense medications which induce abortion without surgery.
  • Requires Arizona courts to appoint guardians ad litem for minors who are asking courts to waive the state parental consent requirement.
  • The bill expands required components of informed consent to include mandatory ultrasound and “auscultation” (using a stethoscope to listen to fetal organs, including the heart).
    - Both components must be provided at least one hour before medication is administered or the surgical procedure is provided.
    - Must offer the patient to view the ultrasound and to hear the heartbeat, etc.
    - Must offer to provide a detailed explanation of what the ultrasound depicts.
    - Must offer the patient a print version of the ultrasound.
    - Patient must certify in writing that the ultrasound and auscultation were offered, and whether she accepted or declined the offer.
  • Bans use of “telemedicine.”

There are so many problems with this bill it’s hard to know where to start the tirade. For starters, how many pills are considered a form of surgery? Can you imagine if a doctor had to have admitting rights at a hospital if they wanted to prescribe Viagra? The men of this state would be rioting in the streets! What if they needed to have admitting rights to prescribe allergy medicine, or insulin? I think you get my drift. Taking a pill is not the same as having surgery. It’s a total no brainer. [Read more...]

Monday News Roundup

mouse_click_270x270First of all, my apologies for the brevity of content today. I woke up yesterday to a dead laptop. My cat managed to spill a glass of water on top of the computer. And I think the rest of the story is self explanatory. Hopefully the nice geeks at the Genius Bar will give me a new laptop and get me back in business within a day. I think a low-cut shirt should help my cause. Thank goodness for extended warranties and external hard drives.

Here’s your Monday click list. Happy reading!

Canadian Government Won’t Appeal Abortion Ruling – Times & Transcript
Canadian Abortion Clinics Exempted From New Law Regulating Surgical Centers – Montreal Gazette
Emergency Contraception: Have We Come Full Circle? – RH Reality Check
Abortion Myths v. Reality in the Health Care Debate – PPAZ Community Action Blog
Did You Know Justice Ginsburg Started the ACLU’s Women’s Rights Project in 1972? – ACLU
Saving the World’s Women – New York Times
Hillary’s Response to the War on Women – Department of Homegirl Security
Can I be Sexually Active with HPV? – Feministing