Women's Health

Women's Health
8:20 pm
Fri March 15, 2013

North Dakota Bill Bans Abortions After Heartbeat Is Found

Rep. Bette Grande, R-Fargo, talks to reporters at the state Capitol in Bismarck, N.D. on Friday.
James MacPherson AP

Originally published on Fri March 15, 2013 5:55 pm

A week after the Arkansas legislature passed the strictest measure in the country on abortion, North Dakota's legislature passed a bill that goes further and would ban abortions as soon as a heartbeat is detected.

Arkansas' bill banned abortions after 12 weeks; North Dakota's could ban them as early as six weeks into a pregnancy.

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Women's Health
7:48 pm
Thu March 7, 2013

Capitol Rally Shows Support for Planned Parenthood

Stephanie March addresses a rally for Planned Parenthood at the Capitol.
Ann Choi/KUT News

Planned Parenthood supporters marched on the Texas Capitol today to protest cuts to women’s health programs. Planned Parenthood says it had to close 51 clinics across Texas after state lawmakers cut it out of a program that funds health screenings and other basic services for low-income women. 

Their keynote speaker at today’s rally was Stephanie March, an actor from Dallas who appears on Law & Order: SVU.

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Health
1:15 pm
Wed March 6, 2013

Study: 'Sonogram Bill' Doesn't Change Minds About Abortion

Right now, Texas law requires women who want an abortion to get a sonogram first.
Erich Schlegel, Texas Tribune

The Texas law that requires women wait twenty-four hours after receiving an ultrasound to get an abortion is not causing them to change their minds but is causing “excessive hardship.”

That’s according to a new survey by researchers at the University of Texas and a Massachusetts research group that favors women’s reproductive rights.

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Politics
7:11 pm
Mon March 4, 2013

Religious Leaders Demand Money for Women's Health

Texas Tribune

Religious leaders from Christian, Buddhist, Sikh and Jewish faiths are calling on state leaders to increase funding for women’s health programs. Clergy members held a news conference at the Capitol today to highlight a statement signed by more than 370 religious leaders from various faiths. 

"We are voices of faith that minister to people of all levels of economic ability in our state and we’ve seen these cuts especially affect women in poverty in Texas," said Larry Bethune, pastor of the University Baptist Church in Austin. Bethune sits on the board of the Texas Freedom Network, an organization that says it exists to counter the "religious right."

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Austin
10:03 am
Fri February 22, 2013

The Lead: Lawmakers Warm Up to Medicaid, UT Plans Day of Service

Texas is still holding out on an expansion of medicaid.
flickr.com/blakespot

Good morning, and happy Friday! Austinites are in for a cold and gusty day, with a high of 64 degrees and winds at 20 miles per hour according to the National Weather Service.

Lead Story: Texas is now the last big state to hold out against a push to expand Medicaid, after Florida Governor Rick Scott announced he would push for expansion.

Some Texas lawmakers, including Governor Rick Perry, are still firmly against expanding Medicaid. But others might be changing their minds. For example, State Sen. Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, says she is all about flexibility.

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Women's Health
4:48 pm
Thu February 21, 2013

Morning-After Pills Don't Cause Abortion, Studies Say

Plan B is one of two emergency contraceptives available in the U.S.
UPI/Landov

Originally published on Fri February 22, 2013 3:51 pm

The most heated part of the fight between the Obama administration and religious groups over new rules that require most health plans to cover contraception actually has nothing to do with birth control. It has to do with abortion.

Specifically, do emergency contraceptives interfere with a fertilized egg and cause what some consider to be abortion?

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Women's Health
3:33 pm
Tue February 19, 2013

New Poll: Texans Support Funding Family Planning Services

The Texas Freedom Network says contrary to lawmakers, Texas voters support family planning services
Ann Choi, KUT News

A new poll finds support for state-funded family planning from Texans across race, religion and party affiliation.

The survey by the Texas Freedom Network Education Fund found more than 70 percent of registered Texas voters support family planning funding such as birth control. The finding includes groups thought to be more socially conservative, like Republican women, Hispanics and Catholics.

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The Lead
9:09 am
Thu February 14, 2013

The Lead: Vote on Independent Austin Energy Board, SXSW Film Wristbands on Sale

Some wonder if city council should be tasked with managing a utility the size of Austin Energy
Joy Diaz, KUT News

Happy Valentine's Day! The National Weather Service says Austin is looking to stay sunny with high 60s in this afternoon. 

Lead Story: Austin City Council votes today on a measure that could create an independent board to oversee Austin Energy. The resolution is sponsored by Mayor Lee Leffingwell, Mayor Pro Tem Sheryl Cole and Council Member Bill Spelman. 

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Women's Health
10:39 am
Fri January 25, 2013

Bill Proposing Tax Break Targets Contraception Rule

A bill would allow religiously based businesses to claim state tax breaks for the amount they pay in penalties for refusing to provide contraceptive coverage.
Todd Wiseman & Esther Groen, Texas Tribune

A bill filed Thursday in the Texas House would give religiously based businesses, such as Hobby Lobby, a state tax break if the businesses were forced to comply with the federal government’s mandate that employers provide contraception coverage.

"It is simply appalling that any business owner should have to choose between violating their religious convictions and watching their business be strangled by the strong arm of Federal mandates and taxation," Rep. Jonathan Stickland, R-Bedford, said in a prepared statement discussing his measure, House Bill 649.

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Women's Health
10:27 am
Thu January 24, 2013

OB-GYNs Told to Look For 'Reproductive Coercion'

When an intimate partner interferes with contraception, doctors should know about it.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed January 23, 2013 5:30 pm

Womens' doctors should be on the lookout for patients whose partners are unduly pressuring them to become pregnant — or even sabotaging their efforts to use contraception.

That's the advice from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, which just published recommendations for doctors about reproductive and sexual coercion.

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Women's Health
12:38 pm
Tue January 22, 2013

'We Have No Choice': A Story Of The Texas Sonogram Law

iStockPhoto

Originally published on Wed January 23, 2013 8:19 am

Tuesday marks the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion. But in some states, access to facilities that perform abortions remains limited.

In part, that stems from another Supreme Court ruling from 20 years ago that let states impose regulations that don't cause an "undue burden" on a woman's abortion rights.

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Women's Health
7:21 pm
Mon January 7, 2013

HHSC: New Women's Health Program Has Enough Providers

Nicole Griffis, nurse practitioner, consults with a patient at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Austin, Texas.
Tamir Kalifa, Texas Tribune

The Health and Human Services Commission on Monday said a new survey it commissioned shows the Texas Women’s Health Program has a greater capacity to serve impoverished women than its predecessor, a joint state-federal program that ended after the state moved to exclude clinics affiliated with abortion providers. 

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Texas
12:11 pm
Fri January 4, 2013

Clearing Texas Rape Kit Backlog Brings Hefty Price Tag

Pictured is a sexual assault evidence collection kit used by law enforcement throughout Texas.
Todd Wiseman, Texas Tribune

There are some 20,000 untested rape kits sitting on evidence shelves in police departments across Texas, the state Department of Public Safety estimates.

Each box with samples of hair, skin and clothing represents one of the worst moments of the victim’s life, a crime that was followed by hours in a doctor’s office submitting the most personal evidence.

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Women's Health
5:00 am
Fri January 4, 2013

Women's Health Program Still Has Provider Problems

Todd Wiseman/Texas Tribune

Ben Philpott's story on the WHP providers list.

The new state-funded Texas Women’s Health Program began on Jan. 1. It provides low income women in Texas with basic health screenings and contraception. State officials said the new program began with more capacity to serve clients then the program had when it was federally funded. But at least one state lawmaker believes there’s a problem with the agency’s list of providers.

Austin Democrat Donna Howard has been worried about the Women’s Health Program since the state said it would create its own version of the program. That came after the state moved to exclude clinics affiliated with abortion providers – such as Planned Parenthood – from participating, which led the federal government to announce it was pulling all funding. Howard was worried when she wrote a letter to the Health and Human Services Commission asking for information about new providers.

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Women's Health
1:56 pm
Mon December 31, 2012

Judge OKs Planned Parenthood's Removal From Women's Health Program (Update)

Planned Parenthood’s “Don’t Mess with Texas Women” tour bus made a stop near the University of Texas in Austin in March. A Texas judge OK'd the group's removal from the new Women's Health Program.
Marjorie Kamys Cotera, Texas Tribune

Update: Here's a statement from Gov. Rick Perry: 

“Today’s ruling finally clears the way for thousands of low-income Texas women to access much-needed care, while at the same time respecting the values and laws of our state. I applaud all those who stand ready to help these women live healthy lives without sending taxpayer money to abortion providers and their affiliates.”

Original post: A judge has ruled against granting Planned Parenthood a temporary restraining order that would prevent it from being kicked out of the state’s new Women’s Health Program.

Texas officials plan to launch a new program on Jan. 1 that will provide family planning services, well-woman exams and more, but will exclude clinics affiliated with abortion providers – mainly Planned Parenthood, which historically has provided over approximately half the services in the program.

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Women's Health
1:29 pm
Fri December 28, 2012

Judge to Rule on Planned Parenthood's Inclusion in Women's Health Program (Updated)

Signs reading "Don't Mess With Texas Women," at a rally in support of keeping Planned Parenthood in the new Women's Health Program.
flickr.com/scatx

Update: A decision on whether to allow women in Texas to receive government subsidized health screenings through Planned Parenthood will not be issued until hours before the organization could be cut off by the state.  

Visting judge Gary Harger today delayed a decision until Monday, Dec. 31 at 1:15 p.m. over whether to extend the temporary restraining order requested by Planned Parenthood. The order would ensure continued funding for Planned Parenthood through the Texas Women's Health Program, at least until another hearing on Jan. 11. 

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Women's Health
2:15 pm
Mon December 24, 2012

Top Texas Stories of 2012: The War Over Women’s Health

Planned Parenthood supporters rally on the south steps of the Texas Capitol on March 8, 2011.
Bob Daemmrich, Texas Tribune

When state lawmakers pushed to remove Planned Parenthood from Texas’ Women’s Health Program as part of an anti-abortion agenda, some questioned whether the state could absorb the cost of the change.

We still don’t know, because at year’s end, the legal battle over whether Texas can exclude Planned Parenthood – currently the largest provider in the program– is still being fought.

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Politics
4:12 pm
Tue December 11, 2012

Perry Lends Support to Fetal Pain Bill

Texas Gov. Rick Perry at a press conference announcing his support for Texas Right to Life's Preborn Pain Bill in Houston, Tuesday Dec. 11, 2012.
Michael Stravato, Texas Tribune

Gov. Rick Perry on Tuesday indicated he would support a prospective "fetal pain" bill to ban abortions after 20 weeks. Speaking at the Source for Women, a pregnancy crisis center in Houston, he said his goal "is to make abortion at any stage a thing of the past." 

The measure is being championed by Texas Right to Life, a state-based anti-abortion group, but a bill has not yet been filed. The group's director, Elizabeth Graham, said the measure her organization backs would include exceptions for women whose lives are in danger, but not for victims of rape or incest. "Those decisions for children who are conceived in rape or in incest will need to be made prior to the 20-week mark," she said.

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Women's Health
12:01 pm
Fri December 7, 2012

Lawmakers Could Restore Family Planning Funds

Microgestin birth control from Planned Parenthood.
Todd Wiseman, Texas Tribune

When state lawmakers passed a two-year budget in 2011 that moved $73 million from family planning services to other programs, the goal was largely political: halt the flow of taxpayer dollars to Planned Parenthood clinics.

Now they are facing the policy implications — and, in some cases, reconsidering.

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Women's Health
9:55 am
Fri December 7, 2012

'Morning After' Pill Advocates Want Age Rules Revisited

Currently, you need a doctor's prescription to obtain emergency contraception, such as Plan B, if you are younger than 17.
AP

Originally published on Fri December 7, 2012 8:20 am

Friday marks a not-so-happy anniversary for some of President Obama's biggest supporters: It's exactly one year since Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius decided not to lift the age restrictions on availability of the so-called morning-after pill, Plan B.

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