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Virginia: House of Delegates Advances ‘Defund’ Bill

State lawmakers in Richmond moved legislation to “defund” Planned Parenthood — voting along party lines to block patients from using federal funds to seek health care at organizations that perform safe and legal abortion.

Despite Virginia’s recent prominence as a swing state in the electoral college, the party-line split left 60 state delegates in the majority, with 33 opposed. The bill now proceeds to the more closely divided state Senate, where the Republican majority possesses a mere two-seat margin over Democrats.

Activists filled the rows of the House chamber’s gallery as delegates voted on the “defunding” bill — with some viewers standing in silent protests wearing shirts to spell the words “we are watching.”

 

Oklahoma: Anti-Abortion Lawmaker Proposes Paternal ‘Permission Slip’

In pursuit of new depths of absurdity, first-term Oklahoma lawmaker Justin Humphrey introduced legislation that would require women to procure “the written informed consent of the father of the fetus” when obtaining an abortion.

Yes, this is literally what the bill proposes. The bill would also let the named father ask for a paternity test before an abortion could proceed.

The bill was among nearly a dozen anti-abortion proposals filed ahead of the first day of the Oklahoma legislature’s annual session. On Feb. 8 members of a legislative committee tabled a measure to prohibit abortions sought after the diagnosis of a fetal abnormality — with lawmakers citing a multimillion dollar budget gap to say that state lawmakers should focus on other priorities.  

 

Tennessee: Memphis Reproductive Rights Advocates Fight Back and Protect Sexual Health Program

Local residents beat back an effort in Shelby County — the core of the Memphis metropolitan area — to terminate an arrangement to distribute condoms through Planned Parenthood to fight the spread of sexually transmitted infections. The county commission voted on Feb. 6 to approve a contract with Planned Parenthood of the Greater Memphis Region, with members of the panel 7-to-5 in favor of the agreement.

The Tennessee health department had warned the county, in a letter sent ahead of the vote, that rejecting the contract would jeopardize federal grants for HIV/AIDS prevention efforts, used to serve patients across the county. According to the [Memphis] Commercial Appeal, “[Shelby] County had the highest rate of newly diagnosed HIV cases in the state last year … [and] chlamydia infections are double the statewide rate and more than double the national rate.”

According to the newspaper’s account, nearly 200 observers packed the room ahead of the vote — with most of them, according to the paper, “in the Planned Parenthood camp.”

 


Learn more about the reproductive and sexual health policy fights happening in the states by visiting Planned Parenthood Action’s State Attacks page.

 

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Tags: State Fights, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Planned Parenthood, Virginia

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