WI Senate Advances Transvaginal Ultrasound, TRAP Bill
After intense but brief debate, the Wisconsin state Senate approved a bill that could mandate transvaginal ultrasounds before an abortion and impose unnecessary regulations on abortion clinics. The bill, SB 206 [PDF] was approved in a vote of 17 to 15 along party lines.
If the bill becomes law, women seeking an abortion will be forced to view an ultrasound and have a physician or ultrasound technician describe the fetus and it's stage of development in detail. For women who are early in a pregnancy, this could mean having to go through a transvaginal ultrasound to even view the fetus. There is also no provisions in the bill about funding for the mandatory ultrasounds, creating a financial barrier for some women. Supporters of the bill argue that women can find clinics that offer free ultrasounds before their procedures. Many of these clinics are Crisis Pregnancy Centers (CPCs) which use medically inaccurate information and religious ideology to pressure women to carry their pregnancies to term.
In addition to requiring women to view an ultrasound, SB 206 also requires abortion providers to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of the facility. This could close Planned Parenthood of Appleton, which is one of the only four abortion clinics in the entire state. Admitting privileges are not required to transfer a patient to a hospital in case of an emergency.
7/27/2015 Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell Blocked Efforts to Defund Planned Parenthood - An attempt in the Senate to defund Planned Parenthood by Mike Lee (R-UT) was blocked this weekend by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY). Lee tried to attach the elimination of federal funds for Planned Parenthood to a vote for highway legislation, a move which was rejected by McConnell as out of order.
Republican legislators have redoubled their efforts to block funding for Planned Parenthood since the release of two heavily edited clandestine videos of different PPFA employees taken without their knowledge. . . .
7/24/2015 Katherine Spillar Urges Cleveland to Dramatically Increase Hiring of Women Police to Mitigate Police Violence - In a well-received speech at the City Club of Cleveland today, Katherine Spillar, Executive Director of the Feminist Majority Foundation urged Cleveland city officials to dramatically increase the hiring of women police officers as a way to decrease police brutality incidents.
Following a number of high profile police killings in Cleveland of African Americans, and an eight-month investigation by the US Attorney's office of the Northern District of Ohio, the City of Cleveland has now entered into a Consent Decree that requires numerous reforms in how the city oversees and investigates police operations, including training in use of force.
"Among the most important reforms mandated by the consent decree - and the most easily overlooked - are the changes the Cleveland Division of Police must make in its recruitment and hiring practices,
said Spillar. . . .