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The Agony and (Not Quite) Ecstasy – Reproductive Health in the President’s 2010 Budget

Obama’s 2010 budget contains some recommendations that should buoy those of us working to improve women’s reproductive health, but it also contains a dose of heartache.

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HHS Provider Conscience Rule: You Better Shop Around

Today’s provider conscience regulations go so far as to put the onus on patients to divine what information and services might be withheld by any given provider, and then shop around to find alternatives.

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An Urgent Sexual and Reproductive Health Agenda for a Pro-Choice President and Congress

A supporter of reproductive health and rights will occupy the White House come January. The ranks of pro-choice legislators in the House and Senate will grow significantly. There is a lot for a new administration to do and undo on reproductive health, but it’s what we voted for.

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Domestic Gag Rule? Déjà Vu All Over Again

Last week, nearly 80 conservative groups led by the Family Research Council asked President Bush to strip family planning clinics of their eligibility for Title X funds if they refer patients for abortions or share facilities with abortion providers — which would bring the global gag rule home.

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Not Everything About Sex Is Sexy

It’s time for Congress to take a hard look at some less sexy aspects of sex and sexuality — like the high rates of STIs contracted by teen girls.

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Lost in the HPV Vaccine Controversy

Marilyn Keefe is Vice President for Public Policy at the National Family Planning and Reproductive Health Association (NFPRHA).

The promise of dramatically lessening—and someday, eliminating cervical cancer completely is a goal we can all get behind. Right? Well, maybe in the long run but not too quickly—and not this week. What should be a slam dunk on the public health front has, at least temporarily, gotten sidetracked because of an overly aggressive marketing campaign by Merck which has fueled charges by right wing groups like the Family Research Council that parental rights are being violated and that giving adolescent girls the HPV vaccine will somehow lead them away from abstinence and down the path of sexual depravity. Assuming, of course, that we accept the dubious proposition that HPV—that little known virus—plays a significant role in a teenager's decision to engage in or abstain from sexual activity. Research shows it does not.

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An Enormous Loss: Cynthia Dailard, Reproductive and Sexual Health Advocate, Dies

Marilyn Keefe is Interim President and CEO for the National Family Planning and Reproductive Health Association (NFPRHA).

Our very good friend and colleague, Cynthia Dailard, passed away on December 24 after suffering a cardiac arrest. Cynthia, a senior public policy associate at the Guttmacher Institute and a NFPRHA Board member, was a gifted thinker, writer, and speaker, whose highly regarded work focused on family planning-related issues in the policy and legislative arenas. Her contributions have been essential to advocacy and education efforts both in D.C. and across the country. The entire sexual and reproductive health and rights community mourns her loss less, both for her invaluable professional contributions to the field and for her years of unflagging good will and friendship.

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Visions of Sugar Plums: A Reproductive Rights Wish List

Marilyn Keefe is Interim President and CEO for the National Family Planning and Reproductive Health Association (NFPRHA).

The signs are everywhere: wreaths and lights decorate lampposts and buildings, shoppers scurry to and fro in search of gifts, the "do nothing" Congress is finally over… yes, the holidays are here and not a moment too soon. I don't think it is an overstatement to say that this was another difficult year. Once again, reproductive rights were under attack in America, from Supreme Court nominations to parental notification, from funding for the Title X family planning program to the hopefully overstated war on contraception.

Lest I seem too "Bah, humbug," however, I should point out some of the bright spots of 2006. Plan B was finally approved for over-the-counter sales, the South Dakota abortion ban was defeated, the first-ever HPV vaccine hit the market, and a handful of states turned down federal abstinence-only-until-marriage program dollars in recognition of the dangers inherent in these programs.

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A Plan for Plan B: FDA and the Art of Illusion

Marilyn Keefe is Vice President of Public Policy for the National Family Planning and Reproductive Health Association

Any amateur magician seeking to master the art of illusion should contact the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for lessons, as the agency has all but perfected its smoke and mirrors routine. For the past three years, FDA has succeeded in tricking the audience – in this case, the American public – into believing that it is taking real steps toward making Plan B emergency contraception available over-the-counter when in reality the agency has been standing still, a feat that may well rival any David Copperfield performance.

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HIMMAA: A Non-Solution for America’s Health Care Crisis

Marilyn Keefe, Vice President for Public Policy at NFPRHA joins us today with her thoughts on HIMMAA.

 

Congress is once again trying to address a very real problem with ill-conceived legislation certain to do more harm than good: The Health Insurance Marketplace Modernization and Affordability Act (“HIMMAA”, or S. 1955).

The problem? The inability of small businesses to afford health insurance. Congress’s solution? Allow insurance companies to discriminate against employees based on everything from how old they are to where they live and take away state protections that guarantee coverage of basic health care services. Makes a lot of sense, doesn’t it?

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