Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced last Friday that the federal government will no longer provide funding through the Medicaid family planning program for the state of Texas. This comes after Governor Rick Perry's decision to implement a law that would exclude Planned Parenthood from the Medicaid women's health program, essentially cutting any government funding to Planned Parenthood. 11 clinics in the state have had to close as a result.
Officials at the Medicaid federal agency said that states are not allowed to restrict patient's access to particular providers and still receive federal funding. Cindy Mann, a top official at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, stated, "Medicaid law is clear - patients, not state government officials, are able to choose the health-care providers that are best for them and their families."
The Medicaid women's health program provides free birth control and exams to more than 130,000 women in the state. Texas will be the only state to have federal funding for this program withdrawn. Several states, however, such as Wisconsin, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Indiana, are considering similar action to Texas in cutting funding to Planned Parenthood clinics.
Media Resources: Reuters 3/16/12; Huffington Post 3/15/12; Wall Street Journal 3/15/12; Reuters 3/13/12
12/9/2013 Mixed Results for Afghanistan's Anti-Violence Against Women Law - The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) and the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) released their annual report on violence against women in Afghanistan yesterday, revealing mixed results of the country's Elimination of Violence against Women Law.
"A Way to Go: An Update on Implementation of the Law on the Elimination of Violence against Women in Afghanistan [PDF]," found that there was a 28 percent increase in reports of violence against women from 2012 to 2013 , but only 17 percent of those were prosecuted under EVAW - a small 2 percent increase from last year.
The law, which was issued by the executive decree of President Hamid Karzai in 2009, criminalizes 22 acts of violence against women and specifies punishment for perpetrators. . . .