Afternoon Roundup: Washington DC Proposes Cutting Out the ‘Middle-Man’ For Birth Control Access


Washington DC proposes birth control from pharmacists without a prescription; the real effect of cutting funding for Planned Parenthood will be the loss of women’s lives; GOP budget slashes foreign aid for HIV/AIDS programs and AIDS advocates say it will mean the loss of babies’ lives; Dr. Bernard Nathanson, a physician who provided abortions turned passionate-anti-legal-abortion-advocate dies.

  • It’s taken a crisis to bring it on but the word is out: The House GOP will have blood on its hands if Title X funding/funding for Planned Parenthood is eliminated. As this article in the Modesto Bee illustrates, it’s not just women and men needing birth control (although that’s critical) who end up at Planned Parenthood. Are Republicans so completely cut off from reality that they don’t know midle-class people in need of health care or don’t understand that this is what so many of us – even those of us who work for a living wage – are experiencing now? A nurse for a Planned Parenthood in Modesto discusses the many patients they see:

Increasingly, she and others at the clinic on McHenry Avenue in Modesto see middle-class patients in their 40s and 50s coming into the clinic for the first time — with no insurance.

Some of these women say haven’t had a pap smear for years. Some say they’ve felt a breast lump for the past two years, but didn’t have the money to get it checked.

  • Dr. Bernard Nathanson, a physician who provided abortions for many years before deciding he was, in fact, deeply opposed to abortion died yesterday at the age of 84. The short post in the Washington Post describes his two conversions: from pro-choice to anti-legal abortion and his experience as a “pariah” in both movements, as well as his conversion from Judaism to Catholicism. RH Reality Check offers condolesences to his family. 
  • Washington DC Council Member David Catania has offered a bill which would allow pharmacists to dispense birth control pills directly, without a prescription from a physician. According to Catania, he’s proposed the policy to expand access to contraception for women who cannot afford a visit to the doctor first. From Ms. Magazine’s Feminist Wire, “If the DC city council votes to pass the bill, the DC Board of Pharmacy and the DC Board of Medicine would work together to develop regulation, which would include age restrictions, regarding the dispensation of birth control pills.”
  • The House GOP will have more than the blood of women who won’t have access to life-saving preventative care via Planned Parenthood if their passed budget becomes reality. The U.S. Foreign Aid line item in the budget also includes millions of dollars in cuts to PEPFAR (The President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief) and The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Malaria & TB which, according to the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Fund, could result in thousands of infants contracting HIV. 
  • Michelle Bachelet, the first head of the newly created UN Women (UN Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women), opened the 55th Session on the Commission for the Status of Women (CSW) today with a speech outlining the specific ways UN women will make concrete improvements to the health and lives of women and girls, globally. UN Women has a huge job ahead as it addresses the Millennium Development Goals of greatest importance to the lives of women and girls and, overall, how to improve the status of women and girls the world over. The CSW priority/theme this year is “Access and participation of women and girls in education, training, science and technology, including for the promotion of women’s equal access to full employment and decent work.”

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