TX Clinics Win Short-Term Victory Against Efforts to Limit Choice
Texas clinics received a temporary reprieve last Monday from state health officials' demand that they promise, in writing, to stop performing abortions or face the loss of all public funding. Federal District Judge Sam Sparks granted a temporary restraining order against the Texas Department of Health (TDH), which had demanded signed pledges from clinics by 5 p.m. on June 30, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. The restraining order exempts the organizations from submitting the pledges for now, and a hearing scheduled for July 25 will determine whether the order will stay in place permanently, the Star-Telegram reported.
Six Planned Parenthood affiliates in Texas filed suit against the state on June 26, claiming that TDH's demand and Rider 8, the law that requires the pledge, illegally punish clinics for providing abortions, the Austin Chronicle reported. If the law is upheld, Texas Planned Parenthood affiliates will lose $13 million, most of which they would have spent on providing preventive and routine care, like mammograms and Pap smears, to low-income women, according to the Chronicle. "The funds affected by Rider 8 are not used to provide abortion," said Peter Durkin, chief executive of Planned Parenthood's Houston clinic, according to the Daily Texan . "The money is used to prevent abortion through education and providing access to contraception. It is also used to provide medical services that keep these women healthy."
Rider 8 is only one of several anti-choice measures passed in the recent Texas legislative session. And Texas is not the only state that has attempted to deprive Planned Parenthood of funding. The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld Missouri's law withholding state funds from Planned Parenthood affiliates there, according to the Texan. But Planned Parenthood's attorney, Jim George, points out that the Texas law interferes with federal funding as well, which is unconstitutional, reports the Texan.
2/27/2015 This Bipartisan Bill Will Hold Colleges Accountable for Ending Campus Sexual Assault - A bipartisan bill aimed at holding colleges and universities accountable for rape and sexual assault cases was introduced in Congress yesterday, spearheaded by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY).
Some of the Campus Accountability and Safety Act's key key provisions include a requirement of confidential reporting systems on colleges and universities, minimum training requirements for campus personnel, and stricter penalties for schools found to be in violation of Title IX or the Clery Act. . . .
2/26/2015 If This Bill Passes Federal Law Will Add Consent to Sex Ed Curriculums - Right now, federal law does not require health or sex education to include sexual assault prevention - but that could change with a new bill introduced by Senators Claire McCaskill (D-MO) and Tim Kaine (D-VA).
The Teach Safe Relationships Act of 2015, which was introduced earlier this month, would require all public secondary schools in the country to include teaching "safe relationship behavior" in order to help prevent domestic violence and sexual assault. . . .