Clinics Closing, Women Buying Drugs Over Border Thanks to "War on Women" Laws

Women's health--and reproductive and sexual health for people of all genders--is suffering as predicted thanks to GOP attacks.

Robin Marty has two blog posts up at RH Reality check detailing attacks on family planning in states as disparate as Texas and New Hampshire.  In Texas, she notes, over 60 clinics--only 12 of them Planned Parenthood affiliates--have shut down after state funding for Family Planning was cruelly cut off by Rick Perrty, leaving hundreds if not thousands of low-income women without a provider.

Meanwhile up north in New Hampshire, she writes, after the GOP-controlled legislature moved that state cut its contractual ties with Planned Parenthood, anti-choicers weren't satisfied, leading to a "new attempt to attack Planned Parenthood by denying them a license to dispense birth control, emergency contraception, and RU-486, claiming that since they do not have a family planning contract with the state, they do not count under pharmacy licensing rules."

Marty's primary point in both posts is that "Planned Parenthood" the specifically organization has always been a proxy for the women it serves and the political war its in the midst of: "This isn't about fungible money or conscience or any of the other excuses politicians were providing. This is about shutting off family planning services for low income and uninsured patients."

Meanwhile, in Jezebel, Erin Gloria Ryan details some other major problems stemming from GOP legislative efforts.

In Tennessee, a clinic has shut down thanks to TRAP laws:

In Tennessee, lawmakers passed a law requiring all doctors at abortion providing clinics have admitting privileges at a local hospital — a condition framers of such legislation often tell the public is for women's own good, but tell their frothy anti-abortion rights voting base is for the sole purpose of eliminating abortion by targeting providers (we saw a lot of this in Mississippiearlier this year). Well, in Tennessee, the law is working just as lawmakers not-so-secretly intended — the Volunteer Women's Medical Center in Knoxville was just closed down this week because it was unable to pay its bills while it scrambled to comply with the state's Life Defense Act. 

These shuttering clinics sure do puncture the myth of the greedy "for-profit" reproductive care industry, don't they? These staffers and doctors were doing their job out of the desire to help, not for gain--and operating with a small budget. Ryan also points outanother big problem in Texas (and other border states):

 According to the Texas Tribune, the mass shuttering of women's health care clinics combined with Texas' new law requiring an ultrasound 24 hours before abortion procedures has driven women to Mexico for their reproductive health needs, which has proven dangerous. In Mexico, abortion is illegal everywhere except in the capitol, but the drug commonly used for medicinal abortions here in the states isn't. In fact, it's available over the counter as a treatment for ulcers. Many pharmacists in northern Mexican cities haven't been trained on how the drug can be used for pregnancy termination, and so women who take the drug don't know how to properly administer it.

These developments, among others--as well as the strong anti-birth control stance of the Republican ticket, provide a sobering reminder that although it's out of the headlines, the series of GOP-led attacks on sexual health for people of all genders known as the "war on women" is still taking a toll, and that toll is likely to worsen the more restrictive laws combined with budget cuts go into effect over time.

Even comedians have awoken to this problem. Friday Night Lights actress Connie Britton plays an underfunded nurse who has replaced "Planned Parenthood" with "Wing It Parenthood" in this Funnyordie video that is more cringe-inducing than laugh-inducing thanks to its chilling resemblance to reality for many women.

Watch below:

AlterNet / By Sarah Seltzer

Posted at August 17, 2012, 8:50am

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