KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

States Consider Abortion And Contraception Legislation

News outlets are considering the next moves for Texas' Women's Health Program after the federal government said it won't renew its funding for the program over the state's plan to cut off funding for Planned Parenthood. In the meantime, state legislatures in Colorado, Mississippi, New Hampshire and Pennsylvania consider contraception and abortion legislation.

Bloomberg:  Texas Fight With Obama on Women's Health May Cut Care
Texas public health officials say women who get family-planning services at Planned Parenthood clinics will struggle to find other providers once the nonprofit group is expelled from the state Women's Health Program. A dispute pitting Governor Rick Perry, a Republican, against President Barack Obama, a Democrat, over a state ban on aid to abortion providers or their affiliates is expected to force out the nonprofit organization, which cares for almost half of the program’s 130,000 participants (Mildenberg, 3/14).

The Texas Tribune: What's Next for Texas' Women's Health Program? 
[A]bortion opponents have argued that there are thousands of more comprehensive health care providers available to take Planned Parenthood's place. ... But Fran Hagerty, the head of the Women's Health and Family Planning Association of Texas -- which represents non-Planned Parenthood providers in Texas, including clinics, hospitals and medical schools -- said she seriously doubts Gov. Rick Perry will be able to keep the pledge he made last week to maintain the roughly $30 million-per-year program without federal help (Tan, 3/14). 

Denver Post: Focus On The Family To Push Ballot Initiative To Ban State Government Interference
Focus on the Family will build a coalition to back a constitutional amendment prohibiting state government from interfering with the religious freedom of a person or religious organization. ... [Senior vice president Tom] Minnery said recurring problems of government interference with or exclusion of religious people and groups prompted the ballot measure. He denies it's spurred by the national debate over religious freedom and conscience-based exemptions to national health care mandates, such as required coverage of birth control (Draper, 3/13).

Reuters: Mississippi Lawmakers Approve Abortion Restrictions
Mississippi's House of Representatives on Tuesday overwhelmingly passed a bill that would tighten regulations for abortion facilities in the conservative state. The bill, approved by a 80-37 margin in the Republican-controlled House, would require doctors performing abortions to have admitting privileges at a local hospital and be board-certified or eligible in obstetrics and gynecology (Ward, 3/13).

Fox News: New Hampshire GOP Works To Reverse State's Contraceptive Coverage Rule
While the battle over birth control, women's rights and religious freedom rages in Washington, Republicans in New Hampshire are firing a preemptive strike, aiming to reverse a 12-year-old state law requiring health plans with prescription coverage to include contraceptives. Republican House Speaker William O'Brien is leading the charge to allow employers with religious objections to exclude contraceptive coverage from their health plans. He believes the law as it stands can be legally challenged (Line, 3/13).

The Philadelphia Inquirer: Corbett Says He Supports 'External' Ultrasounds For Abortion Patient
Gov. Corbett says he supports mandatory ultrasounds for abortion patients, the subject of one of the most controversial pieces of legislation before the General Assembly. Corbett said Tuesday he would support a bill that would force doctors to show women an ultrasound before an abortion is performed as long as it was not "obtrusive" (Worden, 3/13).

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