They’re frequently identified as “Women’s Health and Safety” laws, but a growing number of laws regulating abortion providers are more accurately called TRAP laws — Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers. Mandatory delays, ultrasounds, “informed consent” lectures, and medication restrictions strike out at abortion by hitting women directly. If you’re the kind of person who believes in evil, these restrictions are arguably the most evil of TRAP laws.
Imagine this conversation with your employer:
YOU. Hey, it looks like my paycheck is $25 short.
EMPLOYER. Oh, no, that’s for Kitten Day.
YOU. I’m sorry?
EMPLOYER. Once a month, we bring in kittens for everyone in the office to cuddle for a day. Studies show that it reduces stress. It’s adorable.
YOU. I’m sure it is, but you’re paying for it out of my paycheck.
EMPLOYER. Yes. Kitten Day is part of your overall compensation package.
Tampa Family Health Centers is a Title X health care facility in Florida that found itself in need of certified nurse-midwives. Up-and-comer Sara Hellwege graduated from nursing school in June, took her boards in July, and is all about certified nurse-midwifery, except for the part where she would have to provide health care because that would violate her religiously held but not scientifically supported beliefs that hormonal contraceptives “have the potential to act in a manner potentially threatening the lives of embryos after their conception/fertilization.” With that in mind, she applied for a nurse-midwife position at Tampa Family Health Centers, and when they declined to interview her for a job she had religious objections to performing, she decided to sue.
Following the Supreme Court decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, which established that companies are free to enforce bullshit restrictions on women’s health care on their employees if said bullshit corresponds with their religious beliefs, another religious group has stepped forward to claim their religious exemption: the Satanic Temple.
Before we even get started: The universally accepted definition of “pregnancy” within medical science begins at implantation — at the moment a fertilized egg adheres to the wall of the uterus. That’s when pregnancy begins. Not at ovulation, not at ejaculation, not when the winning sperm meets the egg and wriggles its way in. Implantation. But what if you’re comfortable rejecting medical science out of hand and insisting that emergency birth control — the morning-after pill — is an abortifacient for preventing implantation? Well, you’re still wrong. But that particular mistake is a little easier to make.
They’re frequently identified as “Women’s Health and Safety” laws, but a growing number of laws regulating abortion providers are more accurately called TRAP laws — Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers. Last week, we looked at hospital admitting privileges. Another favorite restriction is unreasonable requirements for the medical facility itself, holding it to standards that have little impact on keeping women safe and, ultimately, plenty of impact on keeping them pregnant.
I’ve been writing about it over at Cosmopolitan.com. Here’s the basic summary of the case. Here are 13 of the biggest misconceptions about the case (this one is especially helpful for Twitter / Facebook / family dinner table fights). And, finally, how the right-wing reaction to women with opinions on Hobby Lobby is a pretty good illustration of how this is all about misogyny and hostility toward female sexuality, not religious beliefs.
They’re frequently identified as “Women’s Health and Safety” laws, but a growing number of laws regulating abortion providers are more accurately called TRAP laws — Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers. They’re aimed at stopping abortion by making them logistically impossible — shutting down clinics — rather than flat-out illegal. One favorite tool of the TRAP law is a requirement that physicians performing abortions must have admitting privileges at a local hospital. Doctors say the requirement is unnecessary and frequently well-nigh impossible to satisfy.
Just in time for LGBT Pride Month: The Department of Health and Human Services has lifted the national policy barring Medicare from paying for gender-confirming surgery. Decisions will still be left up to regional administrators, but claims will be subject to individualized review and will no longer be automatically rejected for gender-related procedures, just like any other medical procedure. The blanket exclusion will be fully lifted by June 30.
My latest at Al Jazeera America is about how Catholic health care services put women’s health at risk:
Conscience laws. Fucking conscience laws. In this case, the fucking “Health Care Rights of Conscience Act,” Alabama HB31, which would allow the entire hospital staff, including but not limited to physicians, nurses, pharmacists, counselors, and social workers, to refuse to provide medical care in situations that would “violate their conscience.”
The Supreme Court of the United States will hear two cases about the Affordable Care Act, brought by businesses who claim their religious freedom is violated by the mandate to cover contraception. I’m writing about it in the Guardian this week: