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Trump Unveils ‘Vicious’ Women’s Health Restrictions During ‘Women’s Health Week’ May 21, 2017

Posted by rogerhollander in Health, Revolution, Right Wing, Trump, Uncategorized, Women.
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Roger’s note:

It is going to be a very very very bad 4 or 8 years.  Very bad.  Whether Trump hangs in or is replaced by Pence, the policies of this Republican Panzer Brigade are going to create death and suffering, not only in the United States, but around the globe.  The most immediate pain is being felt by Latin American refugees (many of whom have been in the States for decades), who are being rounded up and deported back to bloody homelands.  Health care for women, the elderly and others most vulnerable is in grave danger.  Environmental protections and public education are going down the drain.   The Southern bigot Attorney General is giving the prison industrial complex a shot in the arm and revving up the so-called War on Drugs, which is actually a war on the poor, Blacks and other minorities.  Workers will earn less as the rich pay fewer taxes and enjoy the fruits of deregulation.  I could go on.

All this while the political classes and the mainstream media obsess on Trumps ties to Russia.

As we will see from the article below. the mean-spirited neo-Fascist Republican Party, in control of all three branches of government, is not satisfied with attacking women’s access to safe abortions in the United States, is casting its deathly net in the four corners of the world.

TrumpGlobalGag-NoAbortionBan-©-Lauryn-Gutierrez-2017.3.8_3539-740x525“President Trump’s expansion of the Global Gag Rule is a major assault on those who serve the world’s poorest and most vulnerable women,” CRR President and CEO Nancy Northup said in a statement.
Lauryn Gutierrez / Rewire

“This policy does not protect life. It jeopardizes the lives of countless women by withholding critical information and access to the full range of reproductive health care,” said Nancy Northup, CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights.

May 18, 2017,  Christine Grimaldi, http://www.rewire.news

The newly released details of President Trump’s expanded “global gag rule” have lived up to advocates’ dire expectations.

Sec. Rex Tillerson’s U.S. Department of State on Monday approved the “Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance” plan, which prohibits all global health assistance, not just family planning funding, from organizations that provide abortion care abroad with their own funds. Under the new framework, the State Department, USAID, and the U.S. Department of Defense are subject to the restrictions with narrow exceptions for their humanitarian assistance efforts.

The guidelines effectively hamstring $8.8 billion—“nearly 15 times as large as the George W. Bush-era Global Gag Rule,” according to the Center for Reproductive Rights (CRR).

“President Trump’s expansion of the Global Gag Rule is a major assault on those who serve the world’s poorest and most vulnerable women,” CRR President and CEO Nancy Northup said in a statement.

“This policy does not protect life. It jeopardizes the lives of countless women by withholding critical information and access to the full range of reproductive health care.”

Serra Sippel, president of the Center for Health and Gender Equity (CHANGE), warned in January that a Trump gag rule has no place in 2017.

“Our worst fears came to light on Monday,” Sippel said in a phone interview.

“This is not based in evidence, it’s not based in global health.”

Historically, the global gag rule is associated with an increase in abortions. Stanford University researchers in 2011 found that abortion rates spiked in 20 sub-Saharan African countries under the George W. Bush version.

Trump initially signed the executive order reinstating and expanding the global gag rule in a photo op that featured only white men. That the administration gave an exclusive on the guidelines to a conservative Christian news site during Women’s Health Week only widened the gulf between words and actions in an administration that pays lip service to so-called women’s rights while actively undermining them.

The timing did not go unnoticed on Capitol Hill.

“The Trump Administration’s new, expanded global gag rule will undermine global health efforts and the reproductive freedom and economic security of women worldwide—and it makes President Trump’s blatantly false statement about concern for women’s health, issued just one day ago, all the more insulting and ridiculous,” Sen. Patty Murray (WA), the top Democrat on the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, said in a statement.

The lead sponsors of the Global Health, Empowerment, and Rights (HER) Act in the U.S. House of Representatives called on Congress to pass the permanent repeal of the “vicious, anti-woman policy.”

“President Trump has shown he cannot be trusted to lead in the global fight for women’s human rights and dignity,” Reps. Nita Lowey, Eliot Engel, and Louise Slaughter—Democrats from New York—said in a statement with California Democrat Rep. Barbara Lee.

The full breadth of the consequences is still emerging.

Outlets have reported that the new rule could jeopardize funding for groups working to combat the Zika virus. Trump didn’t even spare George W. Bush’s President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). Bush’s global gag rule had exempted PEPFAR, Slate’s Michelle Goldberg reported, “because it was widely understood that the program couldn’t meet its prevention and treatment targets otherwise … although applying the global gag rule to PEPFAR’s programs ill affects millions of men as well.”

The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation’s largest LGBTQ civil rights organization, slammed “another reckless move by the Trump Administration designed to cynically please his extremist base without regard for consequences.”

“This egregious expansion puts millions more lives at risk, including those living with HIV and AIDS,” HRC Senior Vice President for Policy and Political Affairs JoDee Winterhof said in a statement. “Withholding U.S. aid as a tool to limit anyone’s access to health is simply un-American and stands in direct opposition to our country’s role as a global leader for democracy and human rights.”

Sippel urged people to contact their lawmakers in support of the HER Act or comparable measures.

“We have data and evidence today that we did not have in 2001, the last time this came into place,” Sippel said. “I think we can get members of Congress to move on this if they’re presented with the evidence.”

The 200 Million Dollar Question January 31, 2009

Posted by rogerhollander in Health, Women.
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Cristina Page, www.huffingtonpost.com, January 30, 2009

Remember last week House Republicans, led by Rep. John Boehner, staged a prime-time temper tantrum arguing they couldn’t tolerate spending $200 million on contraceptive coverage, which they reported was part of the stimulus plan? Democrats capitulated and contraception was gone. Now, it turns out there never was a $200 million budget request for contraception included.

Rep. Boehner made a huge “mistake,” one that conveniently served his interests, and that he didn’t step up to correct. A week ago today he stood on television and announced that the stimulus package included hundreds of million of dollars for contraception, on Meet the Press he was more specific saying it would be “over $200 million.” Ever since that dramatic press conference, policy experts have been searching for any mention of such an expenditure. Rep. Henry Waxman called Boehner’s office seeking their source on it, but Boehner’s office is not forthcoming. That’s because the budget item didn’t exist. There is a $200 million figure that appears in the stimulus package for contraception: it refers to the projected cost savings to the states in five years. Good thing the package didn’t include mention of the $700 million it was projected to save states in ten years. One could only imagine the outrage then.

The media perpetuated the Congressman’s self-serving blunder. They used Boehner as an unimpeachable source, not checking to see if his figure was correct. Turns out Boehner is impeachable. The inclusion of contraception in the stimulus package was not a budget allocation but instead a proposal to insert more government efficiency into the process; streamlining the states’ cumbersome application process for Medicaid waivers for family planning services. According to actual documentation by the Congressional Budget Office, in the first three years the provision would not cost more than 50 million each year. They project that after the third year, it costs nothing and the savings to the states would total more than 100 million each year. That’s $200 million in savings by year five. $700 million in savings by year ten.

Currently under Medicaid the federal government acts as if pregnancy is cheaper than preventing it. According to the experts, who have been excluded from this debate, the provision in the stimulus package would have allowed every woman who is already eligible for Medicaid coverage for pregnancy-related care, to be eligible for pregnancy prevention care too. Just under half the states have already requested and received waivers to do exactly this –14 even during the Bush administration. Changing the law would have simply made it much quicker and easier for additional states to expand their Medicaid programs in this way, and for states already with expansions to renew their programs.

Mary Jane Gallagher, President and CEO of the National Family Planning and Reproductive Health Association, wrote on RH Reality Check,

Right now, Medicaid – the government’s way of paying for health care for low-income women and men – provides funding for pregnancy-related care for women whose incomes are up to a certain percentage of the federal poverty level (roughly $17,600 for a family of three). The provision that was stripped out of the House bill would have allowed states to provide family planning services to anyone who, based on their income, would be eligible for pregnancy-related care under Medicaid. In other words, if you would qualify for pregnancy-related care under Medicaid, you would also qualify to access family planning services, including contraceptives, if you do not wish to become pregnant.

So, a good question for the media to ask Boehner now: “Where did you get the $200 million dollar figure on how much the provision would cost? And when he’s unable or unwilling to answer that, the follow-up question should be, “Why didn’t you correct this mistake? Why did you let it get this out of hand?”

It remains to be seen whether the shock media still perpetuating the story will become as apoplectic about being misled. Will Chris Matthews, who compared offering poor women access to contraception to the coercive forced abortion laws in China, inform his viewers of this news? Will Curtis Sliwa, who appeared on Sean Hannity’s show to announce that making contraception more accessible is part of Nancy Pelosi’s plan to “eliminate minority populations,” be swayed by the truth? Will Neil Cavuto re-examine his proposal to encourage unwanted pregnancy because, “You want more people eventually in this country paying into social security because you have more people retiring.”

We know the answer to those questions. The one question that does remain is “Will Boehner get away with brazenly misleading the public on this issue.” Hopefully some real journalism will emerge to answer this question.

This post originally appeared on RH Reality Check–Information, commentary and community for Reproductive Health and Justice.

Et tu, Barack? January 27, 2009

Posted by rogerhollander in Health, Women.
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Christine Page, January 27, 2009, www.huffingtonpost.com

Yesterday, the Republicans, accompanied by a sadly uninformed media, led a frenzied bitch fest over the inclusion of a family planning provision in the Democrats’ stimulus package. That provision, a mere $200 million of a $825 billion stimulus package, which represents 1/4 of 1%, or 0.225%, of the overall budget, offered a safety net for Americans who need contraceptive coverage but ordinarily would be ineligible for that assistance.

But the ideology-plagued Republicans, and their media enablers, couldn’t seem to figure out why unemployed Americans without health insurance would possibly want, or need, to prevent an unwanted pregnancy. They seemed mystified that a surprise addition of a new family member could batter a no-income family financially, or when multiplied exponentially, a state, and work against everything a stimulus package is supposed to stimulate. Rep. John Boehner wondered aloud, “How can you spend hundreds of millions of dollars on contraceptives? How does that stimulate the economy?”

News story after news story reports that many Americans suffering through the collapse of the economy (like the 71,000 who were laid off yesterday) are, among other lifestyle changes, postponing having a child. Planning when to have a child based on whether you can support one seems like a pretty common sense approach. It could even be described as “responsible” which, you will recall, was the overarching theme of our new president’s inaugural speech. One small part of the stimulus package the Democrats presented offered this family planning safety net for Americans who need contraceptive coverage but ordinarily would be ineligible for that assistance. The staged Republican freak-out revealed the degree to which they are out-of-touch with Americans’ lives, as if we needed another reminder. The more disturbing part is how quickly President Obama surrendered to this pressure. Without a single attempt to explain the importance of family planning in the lives of struggling Americans, the White House distanced itself from the provision. After a day of bizarre media misinterpretation of the proposal, Obama spokesman, Bill Burton, told Cybercast News Service that it was not Obama’s idea and that “the principles of what he thought should be in the package–that wasn’t part of that.”

Yet just last Friday Obama, in a statement accompanying his rescinding of the Global Gag Rule, recognized the importance family planning plays in “promoting global economic development” and promised “In the coming weeks, my Administration will initiate a fresh conversation on family planning.” Unless he meant fresh as in impudent and presumptuous, I’m confused. If family planning can promote economic development globally, why won’t it here?

Experts say, it would. According Cory Richards, VP of Public Policy at the Guttmacher Institute, wrote on RH Reality Check,

“Assisting states with their Medicaid programs is a proven and effective strategy for stimulating the economy in times of economic distress. That’s why the stimulus package contains $87 billion to help states with Medicaid costs. One can only assume that Rep. Boehner’s singling out for criticism the Medicaid spending for contraception is politically motivated.Not only is it politically motivated, it is highly ironic coming from a self-described fiscal conservative who repeatedly says the stimulus package should include spending that doesn’t increase the deficit. When the Congressional Budget Office assessed a virtually identical provision in 2007, it found that it would save the federal government $200 million over five years by helping women voluntarily avoid pregnancies that otherwise would result in Medicaid-funded births. An expansion such as the one permitted by the stimulus package could save Rep. Boehner’s state of Ohio $1.4 million in 2009 – money that could make a real difference in a hard-hit state that is struggling with significant budget shortfalls.”

 

The Republican opposition to the family planning provision is without merit but does serve as a perfect tool to misrepresent a thoughtful stimulus package; one that takes in to consideration real people’s lives. And this misrepresentation found a bullhorn in a media that
likes to go light on the facts, especially with regard to reproductive health. (The Republicans and the media, both of which like to think of themselves as loyal opposition, may make a powerful, reckless, and frightening pair.) On his show, Chris Matthews compared the family planning provision in the stimulus package to China’s coercive abortion policy stating:

“I don’t know. It sounds a little like China. I think everybody should have family planning and everybody believes in birth control as a right. I’m for — abortion is a right and all that. It’s all right. But why should the federal government have a policy of reducing the number of births?”

On Fox News, Neil Cavuto bizarrely argued that unwanted pregnancies are good for the economy because, “You want more people eventually in this country paying into social security because you have more people retiring.”

James Pethokoukis, blogger for US News and World Reports, abandoned all journalistic integrity when covering the stimulus package and got all misty-eyed about unwanted pregnancy, stating “This is wrong on so many levels, one of which is looking at children born to the “wrong people” as economic burdens rather gifts, the music makers, the dreamers of dreams. She sees them as a cost instead of blessed benefits. Wow.” Wow is right, this guy writes for US News and World Reports? Guess those layoffs in the publishing industry weren’t broad enough.

After suffering through eight years of attacks on contraception, we come out the other end with surging teen birth rates in 26 states and increases in STDs. The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy reports that the cost to taxpayers (federal, state, and local) of teen childbearing in the United States in 2004 alone was $9.1 billion. We know that for every dollar invested in family planning the federal government saves $4. The Republican distortion campaign will, sadly, prevent Americans from understanding what they already know — especially in hard economic times family planning makes sense.

Update: Today, the House Democrats announced they were dropping the contraception provision from the bill.

This post originally appeared on RH Reality Check–Information, commentary and community for Reproductive Health and Justice.