Welcome to “The Quickie” — Planned Parenthood Action Fund’s daily tipsheet on the top health care & reproductive rights stories of the day.
WEST VIRGINIA LEGISLATURE PASSES NEAR-TOTAL ABORTION BAN: Yesterday, just hours after Congressional Republicans introduced a national abortion ban, the West Virginia legislature passed a near-total abortion ban that would eviscerate what little access remains in the state. All told, both the state Senate and House considered and passed the amended bill in less than five hours. The ban will take effect immediately upon the governor’s signature, making West Virginia the second state after Indiana to pass a new abortion ban since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June.
The total ban includes narrow exceptions for medical emegencies and survivors of sexual assault, but imposes onerous reporting requirements and also mandates that providers report the date and name of a physician who provides an abortion to a legislative oversight committee. Doctors who violate the law would be subject to loss of their medical license, while all other medical providers could be charged with a felony and imprisoned for 3-10 years.
“There is nothing more extreme than a law that strips people of the freedom to govern their own bodies, and our state lawmakers have shamefully forced this despicable bill down our throats, behind closed doors in a matter of hours,” said Alisa Clements, Director of Public Affairs for Planned Parenthood South Atlantic in West Virginia.
“This cruel ban insults West Virginia doctors, endangering their patients’ lives while subjecting them to appalling government surveillance, and threatens to put other medical providers in prison simply for providing health care. To add salt to the wound, this bill will prevent many survivors of sexual assault from being able to obtain an abortion by subjecting them to mandatory and onerous reporting requirements to law enforcement. Abortion bans are deadly, and people will be denied life-saving care as a result of this government-mandated trauma.”
NEW HAMPSHIRE PRIMARY SETS UP FIGHT FOR ABORTION ACCESS: Results from yesterday’s New Hampshire primary election set up a fight for abortion access, with anti-abortion extremist Don Bolduc winning the GOP Senate primary, setting up a matchup against Sen. Maggie Hassan. While Bolduc tried to hide his record toreporters last night by saying hewouldn’t support a national abortion ban, Bolduc’s stark anti-abortion record is crystal clear. He rejoiced when Roe was overturned, and audio from a December town hall captured Bolduc telling voters “I’m not going to vote contrary to pro-life … I will never go against that principle." Bolduc also wants to strip funding from Planned Parenthood and other public family planning providers and repeal the Affordable Care Act.
Planned Parenthood Action Fund has endorsed Sen. Hassan as well as sitting Reps. Chris Pappas and Annie Kuster, who will face off against, respectively, Karoline Leavitt — a former Trump staffer who has said she doesn’t believe abortion is about reproductive rights — and national abortion ban supporter Bob Burns.
Kayla Montgomery, VP of Public Affairs for Planned Parenthood New Hampshire Action Fund, issued the following statement in response to the primary results:
“Since the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, one in three American women have lost access to legal abortion in their home state. While abortion remains safe and legal before 24 weeks in New Hampshire, we know the future of access depends upon each election. Planned Parenthood New Hampshire Action Fund congratulates the reproductive health champions who won their primaries yesterday - including Senator Maggie Hassan, Congresswoman Kuster, Congressman Pappas, Dr. Tom Sherman, and Councilor Cinde Warmington - and looks forward to educating Granite Staters about the impact of their vote this November.
Voters are at a clear crossroad: give extreme anti-abortion candidates power to further restrict access to abortion – and even birth control – in New Hampshire and nationwide, or elect leaders who will protect their fundamental rights of bodily autonomy and privacy. New Hampshire has a strong, proud bipartisan history of protecting reproductive freedom. But we are the only state in New England without protections for abortion rights. To change that, we must elect leaders at every level who are committed to protecting and expanding reproductive freedom - no matter what.”
CALIFORNIA LAUNCHES ABORTION.CA.GOV TO CONNECT PATIENTS TO CARE: As tates around the country further restrict reproductive rights, California continues to lead in expanding access to reproductive health care, including abortion. Yesterday, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced the launch of abortion.ca.gov, a new website that provides critical information about how, where, and when to access abortion care in California — including information specifically for patients who are traveling from another state — without collecting any personal information about visitors to the site. The site, which is currently available in Spanish and will be translated into additional languages, is a result of policy recommendations by the California Future of Abortion Council of which Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California is a leading member.
“This new website is a critical resource, providing essential information to patients in and out of California, and can hopefully serve as a model for the rest of the nation,” said Jodi Hicks, President and CEO of PPAC. “No person should be forced to travel outside of their home state for essential health care, including abortion care, yet extreme politicians are making that a reality for millions across the country. This new website will increase access to accurate information and is critical so that people can seek the care they want or need here in California. Planned Parenthood was proud to support this effort and we thank Governor Newsom for making it a reality – this website truly demonstrates California’s commitment to expanding abortion access.”
The Health Capsule
PPFA’s weekly roundup of recently-published articles that address timely and critical reproductive health topics.
YOUR GUIDE TO IUDS: Since the overturning of Roe v Wade, there has been increased interest in long-acting reversible contraceptives like IUDs. Forbes Health recently covered frequently asked questions on IUDs, including what types of IUDs there are and what to expect during IUD insertion and removal. As the article explains, IUDs are 99% effective, and the two main types of IUDs are hormonal and non-hormonal. Different IUDs work in different ways, so the kind of IUD you use depends on the individual patient’s needs:
“We use the hormonal IUD for someone with heavy menstrual periods, because it decreases the length and heaviness of the cycle. You might not even get a cycle, in some cases…The copper IUD causes a hostile environment for sperm [therefore preventing fertilization], but it also might work by causing an inflammatory response that is toxic to sperm,” according to Dr. Meagan Moore, an OB-GYN at Memorial Care Orange Coast Medical Center in Fountain Valley, California.
IUDs can cause side effects as well, such as cramping and irregular periods, but side effects depend on the type of IUD and the individual person, which is why it’s important to talk to your doctor or provider about what the best options are for you. Planned Parenthood also offers more information on long-acting reversible contraceptives and other forms of birth control.
Read more in Forbes Health here.
Take Planned Parenthood’s birth control quiz.
PHARMACISTS MUST BE SAFE COMMUNITY RESOURCES FOR PATIENTS: As a result of the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, many people are concerned about their own and their loved ones’ sexual and reproductive health care, even beyond abortion care. In the September 2022 issue of Pharmacy Today, the official publication of the American Pharmacists Association, Megan N. Freeland, PharmD, director of health communications at Planned Parenthood Federation of America, spoke in detail about the the impact of widespread loss of abortion access on birth control and emergency contraception.
Dr. Freeland notes the critical role pharmacists play in helping patients access the health care they need:
“As patient educators, pharmacists should be offering straightforward, accurate information on sexual and reproductive health care, including birth control, emergency contraception, and abortion.
“Patients come to us because they believe we will help them. It is important that pharmacists are safe community resources who allow patients to make their own personal medical decisions without paternalism and who offer patients accurate, supportive resources for care and information.”
Read more in Pharmacy Today here.
TENNESSEE TEENS TAKE SEX EDUCATION INTO THEIR OWN HANDS: This week, Teen Vogue reported on four Tennessee teens who collectively sprang into action following the leaked Supreme Court draft opinion on Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. They quickly organized a march for abortion rights and, soon after, founded Teens for Reproductive Rights, a community organization focused on reproductive rights and sex education for young people.
While Tennessee does not mandate sex education in public high schools, state law requires any sex education offered to be abstinence-based even though abstinence-only programs are highly ineffective.
Through Teens for Reproductive Rights, the 17-year-old founders hope to bring comprehensive sex education to young people in Tennessee by connecting them with expert resources and organizations that can help. Their latest efforts include a benefit concert where reproductive care organizations including Planned Parenthood and Abortion Care Tennessee passed out resources to attendees during musical performances.
Read more in Teen Vogue here.