The Quickie: Celebrating Abortion Provider Appreciation Day
For Immediate Release: March 10, 2023
Welcome to “The Quickie” — Planned Parenthood Action Fund’s daily tipsheet on the top health care & reproductive rights stories of the day. You can read “The Quickie'' online here.
In today’s Quickie: celebrating Abortion Provider Appreciation Day, this federal case is about more than just medication abortion, PP welcomes Biden’s budget commitments to sexual and repro health, and our weekly state fights round-up.
THIS FEDERAL MIFEPRISTONE CASE IS ABOUT MORE THAN MEDICATION ABORTION: As law professors Greer Donley and Rachel Sachs point out in a recent op-ed in the Washington Post, the anti-abortion lawsuit seeking to end mifepristone’s FDA approval could have consequences far beyond abortion — and could have serious implications for companies seeking FDA approval for other medications.
“If a judge can override the FDA and remove a drug from the market nationwide, particularly at such an early stage of litigation, it will undermine the interests of pharmaceutical companies as well as patients. Obtaining approval for a new drug is expensive, time-consuming and risky. It typically involves years or decades of research and can cost hundreds of millions, or even billions, of dollars. Most drugs that enter the research and development process fail, never making it to market. The prize at the end of this ordeal is the FDA’s approval to sell the product.
“It could chill innovation nationwide if political actors could circumvent the agency’s data-driven process by engaging the courts. Manufacturers might become wary of investing time and money into products for a wide range of conditions which may — decades down the line — be the subject of nuisance litigation.
Read the full op-ed at the Washington Post.
PP WELCOMES BIDEN’S COMMITMENT TO SEXUAL AND REPRO HEALTH IN FY2024 BUDGET: Yesterday, the Biden-Harris administration released toplines of its proposed budget for the Fiscal Year 2023, reaffirming its support for sexual and reproductive health care. The administration’s commitments to sexual and reproductive health include:
- $512 million for the Title X program, 79% more than it received in FY2023
- $600 million for bilateral family planning and reproductive health
- $57.5 million for the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA)
- $125 million increases for the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program and the Ending the HIV Epidemic Initiative
- $153 million for the CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/Tuberculosis program
- Proposal to close the Medicaid coverage gap by providing Medicaid-like coverage to people in states that have not adopted Medicaid expansion
Planned Parenthood will look for continued support for sexual and reproductive health and rights in the administration's full budget.
“Amid the abortion access crisis, we need our budgets to reflect our values and support sexual and reproductive health care,” President and CEO of Planned Parenthood Federation of America Alexis McGill Johnson said in a statement. “While we await more details, President Biden’s proposed budget is an encouraging sign of the Biden-Harris administration's continued support. We welcome much-needed increases to Title X and international family planning programs. The administration must continue to push to end the Hyde Amendment, and work with Congress to eliminate the Helms, and Weldon amendments, permanently end the global gag rule, as well as the repeal of all budgetary abortion bans and restrictions for federal employees and their families.”
Read more at PPFA.
STATE FIGHTS ROUNDUP: Nearly 500 abortion-related bills have been filed across the country so far this session. While lawmakers in states like Florida and Kansas introduced new abortion bans and restrictions this week, Michigan sent legislation to Gov. Whitmer to finally repeal the state’s pre-Roe criminal abortion ban.
- After its passage in the Michigan House last week, a bill to repeal the state’s 1931 criminal abortion ban passed the Senate on Thursday and now heads to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, who has promised to sign it. While the pre-Roe ban has been unenforceable since a state court permanently blocked it last year — and further nullified in November when Michigan voters overwhelmingly approved Proposition 3, which enshrines reproductive rights in the state constitution — officially striking the nearly century-old law from the books is an important continuation of advocates’ work in the state.
- The Hawai’i Senate passed a bill on Tuesday that aims to protect abortion providers across the islands and allows physician assistants to provide abortion care, sending it to the House.
- On Wednesday, the New Mexico Senate passed a bill to protect people’s right to access reproductive and gender-affirming care in state law.
- On Monday, Texas advocates celebrated the introduction of the C.A.R.E. No Matter What Act in both legislative chambers. The bill, which stands for Comprehensive Access to Reproductive Health Entities, would restore pathways to state and local funding for trusted community health providers like Planned Parenthood. For the past decade, Texas has systematically removed Planned Parenthood providers from all aspects of federal and state funding to disastrous results, worsening the health care crisis in the state.
- Colorado lawmakers introduced the Safe Access to Protected Health Care Package, a set of bills to further secure reproductive freedom and transgender equity in the states. The measures include a bill shielding providers of and patients receiving abortion and gender affirming care from harassing interstate lawsuits and other targeted measures; a bill to close gaps in insurance coverage for abortion and sexually transmitted infections; and a bill to regulate anti-abortion fake clinics.
- The New Hampshire Senate rejected the Access to Abortion Care Act, which would have codified abortion rights in the state. Lawmakers are still expected to consider the House version of the bill in the coming weeks.
- Rhode Island lawmakers held a hearing on the Equality in Abortion Coverage Act, which would eliminate the state’s ban on public abortion coverage. The bill was held for further study, though it could still move during this legislative session.
- On the first day of the state’s legislative session, Florida lawmakers wasted no time trying to further restrict abortion, introducing a six-week abortion ban. By outlawing abortion before many people even know they’re pregnant, the ban could virtually eliminate access in Florida. Florida is a key access point not only for the southeast, but for central and south America and the Caribbean. Already, the state’s 15-week ban — which is in active litigation before the Florida Supreme Court — has taken a catastrophic toll on pregnant people in need of essential care.
- Anti-abortion bills in Utah and Wyoming are awaiting those governors’ signatures. The Utah bill, HB 467, passed the full legislature last week and will functionally eliminate abortion access in the state on May 3, despite the injunction currently blocking the trigger ban. Wyoming’s legislature approved HB 152 last week, which will replace that state’s trigger ban — also currently blocked — and remove what limited Medicaid coverage for abortion the state currently allows, meaning that even if someone in Wyoming got an abortion to save their life, Medicaid would not cover the costs.
- On Tuesday, the Idaho House passed HB 242, a bill to ban people from helping minors travel out of state for abortions without parental consent. Even with parental consent, however, helpers could still face prosecution if this bill becomes law. Abortion has been banned in Idaho since the summer, and this bill is designed to have a chilling effect on those who would help young people get basic health care, putting them in dangerous and isolating situations.
- Kansas lawmakers introduced more anti-abortion bills this week, including a Texas-style S.B. 8 copycat near-total ban with a bounty hunter enforcement mechanism. Also this week, a so-called “born alive” bill and another measure to create a taxpayer funded program to divert funds to anti-abortion organizations passed out of the House Health and Human Services committee.
- Another so-called “born alive” bill passed the House and Health Human Services Committee in Arizona on Monday. Rhode Island lawmakers rejected a similar bill in committee.
- Two bills to defund Planned Parenthood affiliates were voted out of Missouri’s Senate Health and Welfare Committee on Wednesday: SB 160 attempts to defund affiliates through statute while SJR 8 is a proposed constitutional amendment.
The growing wave of anti-LGBTQ+ legislation continues to sweep the nation:
- The West Virginia legislature is expected to pass HB 2007, a ban on gender-affirming care for minors, before its 2023 session ends on Saturday.
- Arkansas lawmakers rushed to pass SB 199, an anti-trans bill, on Wednesday. The bill, which creates additional civil liability for providers of gender-affirming care, moved so rapidly that it never even received a hearing in the House. It now heads to Gov. Huckabee-Sanders, who has indicated she will sign it quickly.
- On Tuesday, the Georgia Senate passed SB 140, a ban on gender-affirming care for minors, along party lines.
- More anti-trans, anti-LGBTQ+, and drag restrictions continue to move in Tennessee, even after Gov. Bill Lee signed bans on gender-affirming care for minors and public drag performances last week.