Reproductive Rights News Roundup

Florida lawmakers’ latest attempt to ban abortion turns conscientious doctors into criminals
By Charo Valero and Amy Weintraub
Miami Herald
During this time of COVID-19, financial, logistical, structural and legal barriers to reproductive healthcare have been compounded, and we can only imagine the angst of a pregnant patient facing a problematic fetal diagnosis. But Sen. Ana Maria Rodriquez, R-Doral, and Rep. Erin Grall, R-Vero Beach, have no sympathy. In fact, with their companion abortion-ban bills, Senate Bill 1664 and House Bill 1221, they want to turn into criminals doctors who provide abortion care if they know a patient wants to end a pregnancy because of a fetal diagnosis.

Taxpayers should not fund centers that deceive about abortion
By Amy Weintraub
Palm Beach Post
Excerpt: A report published by the Floridians for Reproductive Freedom coalition tells a story of inefficiency and what we see as religious extremism at FPSSP and at the organization that administers the program, the Florida Pregnancy Care Network. The report calls on Florida officials to stop giving taxpayer dollars to these ineffective and ideologically driven centers, and instead allocate funding to clinics staffed by medical professionals who provide comprehensive healthcare services and are subject to diligent state oversight.

Online clinics show abortion access can survive state restrictions and Roe v. Wade threat
By Rachel Rebouché and Ushma Upadhyay
Naples Daily News
Remote care amid COVID-19 illustrates abortion rights are resilient even in the face of a hostile Supreme Court or state laws designed to gut them.

Houses passes bill prohibiting transgender girls from playing on girls’ sports teams
By Jacob Ogles
Florida Politics
Rep. Michele Rayner, a St. Petersburg Democrat and the only gay woman in the Florida House, wept as she argued against the bill’s passage. “As a lawyer, I have been trained not to have emotion when I debate. But we are talking about children … we are talking for children who can’t speak for themselves,” she said.

“You can’t defend the indefensible”: House Republicans silent as Dems try to soften attack on trans athletes
By Danielle J. Brown
Florida Phoenix
State Rep. Michele Rayner, a Democrat who represents parts of Hillsborough, Manatee, Pinellas, and Sarasota counties, likened an aspect of the bill to sexual assault at the Tuesday House session. “A child that is forced, coerced by an authority figure to have a physical examination of their external reproductive anatomy – if that isn’t sexual assault, I don’t know what is,” said Rayner, who is an attorney. “There should be no circumstance where the law requires genital inspection.”

Senate temporarily postpones transgender sports bill ahead of final committee stop
By Jason Delgado
Florida Politics
The announcement comes hours after the NCAA issued a warning. The Senate Rules Committee has temporarily postponed plans to hear a bill that would essentially ban transgender athletes from competing in women’s high school and collegiate sports, Senate spokeswoman Katie Betta announced Monday.

Florida’s health agencies are led by Black women. Can they create equity?
By Margo Snipe and Kirby Wilson
Tampa Bay Times
DeSantis appointed Shevaun Harris and Simone Marstiller to head top agencies. They join Shamarial Roberson at the Department of Health. Experts and officials say representation might not be enough.

Rep. Kat Cammack files to override House committees for “Born-Alive” bill vote
By Ruelle Fludd
WCJB Gainesville
“It really is an inflammatory misrepresentation of medical care,” said Laura Goodhue, the Executive Director of Florida Alliance of Planned Parenthood Affiliates … “There’s already laws and also ethical standards of medical providers who provide standards of care and so it’s already illegal,” said Goodhue. “And it’s really not an accurate representation that is provided to people who are often in really difficult situations.”

Biden Administration Moves To Undo Trump Abortion Rules For Title X
By Sarah McCammon
NPR/All Things Considered
The Biden administration is moving to reverse a Trump-era family planning policy that critics describe as a domestic “gag rule” for reproductive healthcare providers. The proposal published on Wednesday would largely return the federal Title X family planning program to its status before Trump took office. 

FDA lifts curbs on dispensing abortion pills during pandemic
By Alice Miranda Ollstein and Darius Tahir
The Biden administration is lifting restrictions on dispensing abortion pills by mail during the Covid-19 pandemic, reversing a Trump administration policy that the Supreme Court backed in January. Acting FDA Commissioner Janet Woodcock informed the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists in a letter Monday that her agency concluded that allowing patients to receive the pills via telemedicine and through the mail will not increase risks and will keep people safe from contracting the virus.

Getting Rid Of This One Piece Of Legislation Could Transform Abortion Access. But, Will It Happen?
By Danielle Campoamor
Since the passing of Hyde, millions of women, trans men, and nonbinary people have been denied abortion coverage and, as a result, abortion care. Nearly seven million Medicaid-enrolled women of reproductive age live in 34 states and Washington, D.C., according to the Guttmacher Institute, where state or federal healthcare funding services are banned from covering abortion care.

Women are comparing the potential risk of blood clots from vaccines to birth control. It’s more complicated than that, experts say.
By Anne Branigin
The Lily
Jen Villavicencio, an obstetrician-gynecologist and family planning fellow at the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, cautioned against drawing any kind of comparison between birth control medication and the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. “It’s comparing apples and cashews,” said Villavicencio. She emphasized that the concern with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is that it could be connected to a blood clot syndrome, rather than the singular blood-clotting episodes that can happen with other medications.

Federal Appeals Court Upholds Ohio’s Down Syndrome Abortion Law
By Jacob Gershman
The Wall Street Journal
A splintered federal appeals court on Tuesday upheld an Ohio law that makes it illegal for a physician to perform an abortion upon learning that the patient wants the procedure because she fears the fetus has Down syndrome. In a 9-7 vote, the Sixth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati allowed Ohio to enforce the law, reversing an earlier ruling by a smaller panel of the court.

This OB/GYN Says Sex Ed in the U.S. is a ‘Complete Embarrassment’
By Joe Brandt
LX News Philadelphia
In the digital age, anyone can post what they want: home remedies with no basis in reality, “facts” about the human body that are anything but fact. A man can make a TikTok complaining that past partners made him use contraception while they were using birth control pills. In comes Dr. Jennifer Lincoln with the truth. 

“Abortion Helpline, This is Lisa”: A Wake-Up Call to Unseen Harms of Abortion Restrictions
By Nargis Aslami and Namrata Jacob
When the difference between feeding your kids, forgoing your life-saving medication, or losing everything in your life is $275, what do you do when there’s no one left to call? This is the question viewers are left with when watching “Abortion Helpline, This is Lisa,” a short documentary film offering a glimpse into the lives of five callers to an abortion fund hotline in Philadelphia—each left with an unplanned pregnancy, no options, and everything to lose.

Moms who breastfeed face challenges as offices reopen amid COVID-19
By Charisse Jones
“My work is super supportive,’’ says Cannon Dean, 39,  who is an OB-GYN in Reno Nevada. She’s able to pump milk in her office, and her employer has given her a refrigerator where she can store it and offered her an exam room where she can have some privacy. “But it’s still hard, just logistically.’’

Daunte Wright called his mom before being shot. George Floyd yelled for his. As a Black mother, this is my greatest fear.
By Dara Beevas
The Lily
The nightmare is that our children will call out for us, and we won’t be able to protect them.