- When asked if they believe the government should restrict access to abortion, 70 percent of registered voters said no. It’s too bad our elected officials are so dead set on being tone deaf. (Politico)
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is frustrated that more adolescent boys and girls aren’t getting the HPV vaccine. Is it simply because no one wants to talk to kids about sex? Seems pretty petty! (NYT)
- Ireland forced a suicidal woman who was pregnant as a result of rape to give birth, against their own laws. (The Guardian)
- Despite the Affordable Care Act being “the law of the land” for quite some time now, some insurers are still not covering birth control! (Time)
- Speaking of the ACA, our government continues to find new ways to be even more accommodating of religious institutions that refuse to cover birth control for their employees. (HuffPo)
- Good news and bad news. The good: Teen births are at a historic low in the United States. The bad: While the story itself doesn’t mention Arizona, a PDF of the report linked in the story shows our state has a significantly higher rate of teen pregnancy than the national average. (WaPo)
- Because abortion is health care, California will not allow its Catholic universities to eliminate abortion coverage for their employees. (SF Gate)
- The “Ice Bucket Challenge” craze has pissed off anti-abortion, anti-stem-cell zealots. (NY Mag)
The Arizona legislature has been an eager participant in the War on Women, rolling back women’s health and reproductive rights with a number of measures we’ve covered on this blog. Then there was Senate Bill 1062, the bill that would have given a green light to discrimination against LGBTQ individuals and many others had it not been for Gov. Jan Brewer’s veto in February. It’s easy to feel embattled in times like these, which is why a look at what Arizona is doing right might be in order.
Here’s a look at six recent news items from around the state to remind us that we have some victories to count — not just losses.
1. Moving Forward with Medicaid Expansion
Last year, against opposition from other Republicans, Gov. Brewer signed into law a Medicaid expansion that was expected to make 300,000 additional Arizonans eligible for coverage. Brewer stated that the expansion would also protect hospitals from the costs associated with uninsured patients and bring additional jobs and revenue to the economy.
That expansion took effect on the first of the year, and by early February the Associated Press was reporting that already close to 100,000 Arizonans had obtained coverage. At Tucson’s El Rio Community Health Center, the change has made them “very, very busy,” according to Chief Financial Officer Celia Hightower. El Rio used a recent grant to hire six application counselors — in addition to five who were already on staff — who could help patients understand their eligibility and guide them through the process of obtaining coverage. Pharmacist Sandra Leal reports that they’re now seeing patients receive diabetes care they previously couldn’t afford — and no longer having to choose “between paying for the doctor and paying for their grocery bill.” Continue reading
- Arizona’s abortion restrictions are making national news for their colossal suckiness. (Rolling Stone)
- Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia is an anti-choice zealot and, unsurprisingly, so is his wife. It seems she has strong ties with a “crisis pregnancy center” that counsels women (and tells them big lies) to dissuade them from having abortions. What does this mean for us? It means buffer zones at abortion clinics could be a thing of the past if Scalia has anything to say about it. WHICH SADLY HE DOES. (Salon)
- Criminalizing pregnant women for having the misfortune of being addicts. That’s the agenda in Tennessee. (RH Reality Check)
- Abortion opponents cannot grasp the fact that pro-choice advocate Chelsea Clinton is choosing to have a child. The air is really thick with stupid these days, isn’t it? (Think Progress)
- Nearly 70 percent of Americans believe all health insurance plans should cover birth control. Maybe because something like 97 percent of women use or have used some form of contraception in their lifetimes? That could be why. (Time)
- Catholic Cardinal Timothy Dolan thinks people can walk into “a 7-Eleven or any shop on any street in America” and pick up birth control like it’s a pack of Juicy Fruit Gum. Look, I know the guy’s celibate and all, but lack of sex doesn’t excuse this kind of ignorance. (NY Times)
- Rand Paul said something reasonable and non-extreme about abortion and conservatives are pissed. (HuffPo)
- Need some tips to make sex and birth control less awkward subjects in your life? Here ya go! (Care2)
Yesterday was World AIDS Day and this year, as we work to raise awareness around HIV and gather support for those who are living with HIV/AIDS, we should also take a moment to recognize the profound impact that the Affordable Care Act will have on prevention, detection, and treatment of HIV/AIDS.
One in 5 people with HIV is unaware of his or her infection.
With the Affordable Care Act, 1.1 million Americans living with HIV will no longer be denied health insurance coverage because HIV is a “pre-existing condition.” More people living with HIV/AIDS will have access to affordable health insurance coverage to get the care they need, and millions of Americans will have access to preventive health care services that include HIV testing without a co-pay.
There is no doubt that we have come a long way in the fight against HIV/AIDS, especially given the advances of the ACA, yet the epidemic continues to affect millions of people throughout the world with some communities impacted more than others. In the United States, more than 56,000 people become infected with HIV each year. About one-third of new HIV cases are in young people, ages 13 to 29.
According to the Arizona Department of Health Services, there are more than 15,000 Arizonans living with HIV/AIDS with some of the highest rates in Maricopa and Pima counties.
As the largest nonprofit sexual health care provider in Arizona, Planned Parenthood is committed to reducing the impact of the HIV/AIDS epidemic by providing nonjudgmental, comprehensive, high-quality reproductive health care to all women, men, and young people.
Planned Parenthood Arizona has health centers throughout Arizona that provide a range of health care services, including HIV testing, STD testing and treatment, cancer screenings, birth control, vaccinations, and primary care. We also serve as an expert resource in medically accurate sexuality education.
As a trusted health care provider and sexual health educator, we strive to educate women, men, and young people about how to prevent HIV and other STDs. In addition to diligent condom use and regular STD screening, practicing abstinence and having one partner who has no other intimate partners can also help to reduce the risk of getting an STD (including HIV).
So, today I ask you to join Planned Parenthood in fighting for the healthiest generation ever.
About Bryan Howard: Bryan Howard is president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Arizona and a board member at Reproductive Health Technology Project, a Washington, D.C.-based research organization.
This year, as a 20-something woman, I have a whole lot to be thankful for and I want to take a moment to share, because I know it’s not just me the universe is smiling down on.
Those of us celebrating Thanksgiving have so much to be thankful for this year.
I am thankful for the Affordable Care Act — a bill that has and will continue to change the lives of so many people in the United States. I should also say I am equally thankful that the 40-plus attempts to stop the Affordable Care Act from being enacted didn’t pass either (whew!).
I want to take a moment to share what it is about the ACA that makes it so amazing — especially for young women.
Inclusion on your parents’ health insurance until you turn 26. Let’s face it, these days it is not a given that you graduate and immediately start working a full-time job with benefits. Finding a job takes time and sometimes you have to take the part-time waitressing gig, the retail job, or an unpaid internship on the way to landing that dream job. And, newsflash, internships and part-time jobs usually don’t include benefits like health insurance (unless things have changed in the last few years…).
Free birth control. The rumors are true. Birth control is FREE. Just wait until you have that moment where you pick up your pills and don’t pay anything — it is pretty darn exciting.
Tons of other preventive health care benefits that will make your head spin. Free birth control is awesome, but not every woman needs or wants birth control. Other women might be pretty excited for the free breastfeeding supplies and counseling, or interpersonal and domestic violence screening, which are also available at no cost through the ACA.
Affordable health insurance. With cost-sharing and tax premiums available to people who need them most, health insurance is affordable for more people. Plus, if you are a woman, you don’t have to worry about how being a woman might impact your coverage. Can you believe that insurance companies could, at one point in time, charge women more just because being a woman was considered a pre-existing condition?!
Although the Affordable Care Act has been slowly coming together over the past few years, this year had some of the more important, hallmark ACA pieces come to fruition. With the exchanges opening (well, sort of…) in October and coverage starting as early as January 1, 2014 for millions (yes, I said millions) of people, 2013 was sort of a big deal. Plus, starting January 1, 2014, your health insurance really does have to let you get your birth control for free. No more games.
So tomorrow, I am giving thanks to something that has not only changed my life, but also the lives of so many other young women just like me — and it will continue to do so in the coming years!
- Texas is trying its best to reduce access to abortion and we’re not gonna take it. What does that mean, exactly? Can you say LAWSUIT?! #Boom (HuffPo)
- Speaking of Texas, Pro-Choice Princess Wendy Davis is expected to announce her run for governor! (Politico)
- Once-a-month birth control? Count me the hell in. (The Week)
- *Sigh* The knuckleheads in Colorado will not give up on “personhood.” The voters have rejected this malarkey twice before, and last year it was rejected from even making it to the ballot. Some would call this “persistent.” We call it moronic. (RH Reality Check)
- Why do women have abortions after 20 weeks? This article will tell you. (ABC News)
- The new documentary “After Tiller” confronts one of the most volatile topics in American life: late-term abortion. (WSJ)
- Medical miracle on the horizon!!! Eight Promising Methods of Male Birth Control (Popular Science)
- The lack of access to affordable family planning services is exacerbated when 13 million women of reproductive age have no health insurance. (Think Progress)
How appropriate that, today, World Contraception Day is only five days before the health insurance exchange opens. Not only can we celebrate the advances we have made in contraceptive development over the years, but we can also rejoice around the fact that birth control is now affordable and accessible to even more women.
Obamacare allows you to visit Planned Parenthood for the same preventive health care — with no co-pays!
Let’s start by celebrating the fact that women have options. Between rings, patches, pills, injections, IUDs (intrauterine devices), and implants — a woman can find a method that works best for her lifestyle. Of course, the search for the “perfect” method will continue — the contraceptive that not only prevents pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases, but also tastes like chocolate. Fingers crossed!
Next, let’s take a moment to celebrate the fact that women have access to these methods. Through the Affordable Care Act (also known as health care reform or Obamacare), all health insurance plans must provide specific, no-cost, preventive health care coverage to women, which includes … drum roll … birth control!
Free birth control?!
On August 1, 2012, Food and Drug Administration-approved contraceptives became available to women for free (or without co-pay), and starting in January 2014, this benefit will apply to most private health insurance plans and health insurance plans through the exchanges.
As with all good news, there are always a few limitations. In the case of no-cost birth control, there are two things to watch out for:
- Women who are participants or beneficiaries in group health plans sponsored by religious employers might not be able to access this benefit. Why? As of August 1, 2013, group health plans established or maintained by certain religious employers, and insurance coverage provided in connection with such plans, are exempt from the requirement to cover contraceptive services.
- Yes, insurance companies are required to have all FDA-approved methods of contraceptives available. However, the specific brand of birth control pills that you like might be covered by one health care insurance plan and not another. It depends …
Some people might be thinking, “This is a great benefit, but I don’t have insurance, so it doesn’t really do me any good.”
Not true! The exciting news is, if you don’t have any kind of health insurance, the health insurance exchange opens on October 1, only five days from now. Through the health insurance exchange, you can find a plan that fits your needs and your budget. Plus, no matter what level of health insurance you choose, birth control without co-pay is included. Whew!
Now you might be thinking, “If I have health insurance, I guess I don’t need to come to Planned Parenthood anymore.”
Not true! Planned Parenthood accepts most insurance plans, both through the health insurance exchanges and private insurance. Whether you have insurance or not, Planned Parenthood is here for you.
Happy World Contraception Day, and cheers to more accessible and affordable contraception here in the United States!
Read more about Obamacare here: www.plannedparenthood.org/healthinsurance