Roundup: Texas HIV Programs Forced to Turn Away Low Income Patients


Montana may have parental notification ballot measure, homebirth by midwife could be covered by insurance in Vermont, Texas turning away HIV patients, hospital merger in Arizona, and Planned Parenthood of South Florida responds to Rep. Alan West.

  • Montana lawmakers, concerned that Governor Brian Schweitzer may veto a bill requiring parental notification before a woman younger than 18 can terminate a pregnancy, are pushing to have the issue be included on the 2012 ballot.
  • Insurance providers in Vermont may soon have to provide coverage for homebirths with midwives, if a proposed bill becomes law. Governor Peter Shumlin supports the bill.
  • Texas lawmakers have decided not to prioritize HIV treatment for low-income residents, meaning that the state will turn away at least 2,000 people in need of medication. The state does not want to expand the program in times of a tough budget, but when people become so sick they need to be hospitalized, local communities will pay for their care through property taxes. The executive director of AIDS Services of Austin says, “These medications are so critical, it’s as if you’re denying someone oxygen, and the consequence is death.”
  • PBS’s Religion and Ethics television program recently did a story on the controversial hospital merger in Tucson, AZ, that would force Catholic religious directives on all citizens, because there is no longer a choice to visit a secular hospital.
  • Planned Parenthood of South Florida responded to Rep. Alan West’s comments that he was offended that so many of Planned Parenthood’s clinics are in African-American communities. In part, the statement says, “ If Congressman West wants to know what Planned Parenthood is doing in black neighborhoods, the answer to that question is certainly apparent if he visits a local health center or meets one of our educators. “ Somehow, I don’t think that will be on West’s agenda during the next district work period. But one can hope!

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