Jonathan Wolfman's Blog
FEBRUARY 12, 2013 7:58AM

Women's Best Hope for Reproductive Justice

Rate: 5 Flag





     For some time I've raised up the work of the federal courts as they work to stem the excesses of radically misogynist state legislatures when those bodies unconstitutionally restrict women's health services, particularly those for poor women. Most recently a federal judge in Arizona, Neil Wake, denied that state's bid to ban Planned Parenthood from contracting with Medicaid. Judge Wake's order to the state says, in part that


"A state may not restrict a beneficiary's right to select any qualified provider for reasons wholly unrelated to the provider's ability to deliver Medicaid services.


That is, state legislatures may not prevent women from using a medical resource simply because a legislature may object to that health resource's being a provider of a legal service (in this case, abortion) to which it objects. The sole reason the state could void its Medicare contracts with Planned Parenthood would be if Planned Parenthood could not deliver to clients what it says it could. That is, a state may break provider contracts for patterns of neglected and/or poor service but it may not do that in the service of ideological ends and certainly not when those ideological ends would, if served, subvert settled federal law (in this case, Roe v. Wade).


     Last May, the Arizona legislature voted to block (federal) Medicaid family planning money from going to any agency that provided abortion services. That stopped thousands of poorer Arizona women from using Planned Parenthood for any health-related reason. (Similar state laws elsewhere, most recently in Indiana, have been stopped by the federal courts.) Now, poor women and girls in Arizona may once again choose to use Planned Parenthood's array of health services.


     As these radical legislatures remain relentless, please know that the best we have for thoroughgoing justice for women and girls is, just now, the federal bench. Keep an eye open for these cases. Share what you learn widely.

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There are too many in the states who want not only to overturn ROE but to overturn GRISWOLD v. CONNECTICUT, the earlier ruling that forbade states to interfere with your decisions as to birth control.
It would be refreshing if state legislatures could somehow be penalized for attempting to break federal law. That may be a troublesome concept but it might also save a good deal of trouble.
yes, bc they don't appear to learn from slap-downs in other states
Poorer women in Arizona? Seriously. We know the color of these women, don't we? Not white or black. And not of the geriatric generation. Talk about discrimination in the worst order! My brain overloads when rhetorically I ask, "when will women stop state legislators from stripping them of their constitutional rights?" by allowing politicians [a/k/a old white dudes in public servant official capacities] to dictate what they can or can't do with their bodies.
B. you are so very right!
The same law was struck down in Indiana.
Teen birth rates are declining, and are in fact at an all time low. Easy access to BC has been cited as one of the reasons. Arizona is listed in the top 15 states for high teen birth rates.
onisland and, in fact, fewer abortions take place in jurisdictions, worldwide, where they're legal
R&L commented on Our Salon
So abortion is a "health service"? The women go into the clinic sick, and emerge cured. I get it.

Maybe more of them should stay away from the carriers of that disease they so irresponsibly contract.
Arthur I tht you knew that not all women's health care is about abortion nor is it abt disease. This is about states not being allowed to dodge contract obligations simply bc they may not like one service (out of many) of the provider, ALL services that are legal.

But I guess you really did know that.
Justice for woman is an important issue but what is even more important is the continued squandering of the earths finite resources The whole abortion issue could by solved quite easily by implementing a global policy limiting reproduction by a couple to two children, just like the one China so successfully used to gain control of its populace. Of course religious zealots will object but they can be given electric shock treatment.
And for those who chose to have children out of wedlock or relationship we have DNA testing now. That is not an issue.