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Social Issues

Video: 60 Minutes Segment Highlights Need to Expand Medicaid in Virginia

by: lowkell

Sun Apr 06, 2014 at 20:39:58 PM EDT

I'm going to quote Rep. Gerry Connolly's Communications Director George Burke on this one: "The CBS 60 Minutes segment on the dedicated staff of the Health Wagon serving the desperate medical needs of many uninsured in Southwest Virginia is a damning indictment of Virginia Republicans' refusal to pass Medicaid expansion in the General Assembly."

Discuss :: (7 Comments)

Republican Refusal to Expand Medicaid Means 266-987 "Needless Deaths" Per Year in Virginia

by: lowkell

Sun Mar 30, 2014 at 13:23:01 PM EDT

While Virginia Republicans grow their beards, act like stupid frat boys (or actually 7th graders), and generally treat the entire issue of Medicaid expansion like a joke, back in the real world, these Republicans are hurting hundreds of thousands of Virginians. Actually, they're not just hurting them, they're doing far worse than that, at least according to the paper, Opting Out Of Medicaid Expansion: The Health And Financial Impacts, in the publication Health Affairs, "the leading journal of health policy thought and research."
We estimate the number of deaths attributable to the lack of Medicaid expansion in opt-out states at between 7,115 and 17,104.  Medicaid expansion in opt-out states would have resulted in 712,037 fewer persons screening positive for depression and 240,700 fewer individuals suffering catastrophic medical expenditures. Medicaid expansion in these states would have resulted in 422,553 more diabetics receiving medication for their illness, 195,492 more mammograms among women age 50-64 years and 443,677 more pap smears among women age 21-64. Expansion would have resulted in an additional 658,888 women in need of mammograms gaining insurance, as well as 3.1 million women who should receive regular pap smears.
That's right, Republican obstinacy and "Obama Derangement Syndrome" is not just hazardous to people's health, it's deadly. Here in Virginia, you can see the results in the table below (click to "embiggen"). That's right, we're talking about 266-986 "needless deaths" in Virginia every year - that's as many as 19 Virginians every week - dying needlessly due to one reason only: Republicans' obstinate, cold-hearted, ideologically-and-politically-driven refusal to accept our own tax dollars back and expand Medicaid in Virginia to nearly 300,000 people who would qualify. It's beyond appalling, bordering on pure evil. And no, corporate media, it's not "both sides," it's one side only - Speaker Bill Howell and company.


Oh, and one guess where the the Virginians who most desperately need expanded access to Medicaid live? That's right, in some of the "reddest" areas of Virginia politically speaking. Which means, yet again, that we have a case of Republicans politicians not only failing to represent the best interests of their constituents, but actively working to harm those constituents. Of course, one could ask why those constituents keep voting to reelect people who repeatedly, on just about every issue, fight against them. And the answer would be...actually, just read "What's the Matter with Kansas?" and you'll get the idea (in short, Republicans are masters at riling people up against the "other," at fostering fear and ignorance - and then preying on it, etc.).

h/t: Daily Kos

Discuss :: (16 Comments)

Virginia GOP Backs Firearms Background Check Bill? Say What?

by: AndyG

Mon Mar 17, 2014 at 11:23:18 AM EDT

( - promoted by lowkell)

As hard as it may seem to believe, there was a firearms background check bill that sailed through the Virginia General Assembly this year, with unanimous/bipartisan support. So, how did that amazing thing come about? Let me explain, but let's start with a little background.

Since the Brady background check system came into being in the late 1990's, just over 2.1 million people - who had lost their right to own firearms due to felony convictions, severe mental illness etc. - were prevented from buying guns from licensed dealers. In all these cases, the buyers had to fill out forms and voluntarily subject themselves to a background check, which they failed and were then denied the gun purchase. However, during the same time period, an unknown number of ineligible buyers were able to purchase guns from "private" or unlicensed sellers without having to divulge even the most basic identifying data, such as name, age or state of residency. Estimates vary slightly, but the volume of sales transacted by unlicensed sellers is thought to be about 40% of all gun sales. The pro-gun lobby would have us believe that, despite the fact that millions of licensed dealer sales have been blocked, due to the buyer not being eligible, felons, mentally ill people and other prohibited individuals do not take advantage of this huge, unregulated marketplace to obtain guns that they have no legal right to own.

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VA Business Coalition Launches Campaign for Medicaid "Private Option" Plan

by: lowkell

Fri Mar 14, 2014 at 11:39:30 AM EDT

Whatever it's called, the bottom line is that we need to expand Medicaid in Virginia - end of story. Of course, I'd much prefer a strong "public option" - or better yet, single payer/universal coverage - over any "private option" for health care in this country. For now, I suppose this will have to do...

Va. Business Coalition Launches Advertising, Social Media Campaign to Support 'Private Option' Plan to Close Virginia's Coverage Gap

Richmond, VA – A non-partisan coalition of Virginia business and community leaders today announced it is launching a statewide radio, online and social media advertising campaign to galvanize support for a Medicaid 'Private Option' plan to close Virginia's coverage gap for the uninsured.

The campaign encourages Virginians to join the coalition through its website, www.ahealthyvirginiaworks.com, where they can also contact their legislators and urge their support for a free market-based solution to close Virginia's coverage gap. The coalition's radio ad can be heard here: soundcloud.com/healthyvaworks/a-healthy-virginia-works-radio. The coalition has also launched a Facebook page (www.facebook.com/healthyvaworks) and Twitter page (twitter.com/HealthyVaWorks), both of which the coalition is promoting through targeted statewide advertising. 

"Virginia businesses and taxpayers are sending $5 million every day to the federal government to expand health insurance coverage for working people in our state," said Michel Zajur, President of the Virginia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. "We think the fiscally responsible approach is to reclaim that money and use it to promote a healthier workforce in Virginia. At the same time, we can seize this opportunity to introduce a new private model into our Medicaid system so it's more efficient and sustainable for the long term." 

The coalition released the names of nearly 450 businesses, hospitals, organizations and individuals who have joined the coalition in support of a market-based solution to Virginia's coverage gap. The complete list of coalition supporters can be found here: www.ahealthyvirginiaworks.com/supporters.

"Every day, more businesses are coming on board to join our coalition and help send a clear message: Virginia's business community wants to bring our federal healthcare dollars back to Virginia to help our economy remain competitive," said Laurie Moran, President of the Danville Pittsylvania County Chamber of Commerce. "Expanding access to health coverage will promote a healthier, more productive workforce, and it will reduce the cost of healthcare premiums for Virginia’s job producing businesses," she added. 

Speaking about the significance of today's announcement, Alan Witt, CEO of PBMares, said, "The growing ranks of our coalition is a clear sign that the business community is coming together on this issue and that we want a solution sooner rather than later. Businesses are paying too much to subsidize uncoordinated care for the uninsured. It's not good for people's health, and it's damaging our economic competitiveness. If we want to remain the number one state for business, we need a solution to this problem – a solution based on the principles of the free market and privately managed care. That's what the Senate private option does, and that's why we're supporting it."

 

###

 

A Healthy Virginia Works is a coalition of business and community leaders and citizens seeking to reform and replace traditional Medicaid in Virginia in order to improve access to quality healthcare in the Commonwealth through a free market-based healthcare plan. The coalition is a project of the Virginia business community, including the Virginia Chamber of Commerce, Virginia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Virginia Hospital & Healthcare Association, Alleghany Highlands Chamber of Commerce and Tourism, Arlington Chamber of Commerce, Danville Pittsylvania County Chamber of Commerce, Dickenson County Chamber of Commerce, Fairfax County Chamber of Commerce, Greater Richmond Chamber of Commerce, Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce, Roanoke Regional Chamber of Commerce and Washington County Chamber of Commerce. For more information, visit the coalition's website at www.ahealthyvirginiaworks.com.

Discuss :: (0 Comments)

New Polling Reinforces VA Voters Overwhelmingly Support Medicaid Expansion

by: lowkell

Tue Mar 04, 2014 at 17:29:05 PM EST

From Planned Parenthood Advocates of Virginia:

RICHMOND, VA — New Public Policy Polling in five Virginia House of Delegates districts shows broad support for proposals to close the coverage gap for 400,000 Virginians through Medicaid expansion.

The polling found double-digit margins of support for closing the coverage gap and majority support for the measure in districts where Medicaid impacts a high percentage of the population. Additionally, Virginia voters strongly support their elected representatives working toward a budget compromise that includes accepting federal funds to close the coverage gap and advance health care for hundreds of thousands of hardworking Virginians.

This polling follows a proposed House budget that attempted to block funding for Planned Parenthood’s nonprofit centers and a series of sexist comments from GOP leadership.

Statement from Cianti Stewart-Reid, executive director, Planned Parenthood Advocates of Virginia:

“The voters of Virginia couldn’t be more clear. In every district polled, the number of Virginians supporting expanding Medicaid to improve access to healthcare for hardworking people in our state far outweighed the number of those who opposed it. “Virginians are tired of politicians in Richmond playing politics with our health — that’s why those voters also showed strong support for a budget compromise.

“As the leading advocate for Planned Parenthood health centers in Virginia, we see firsthand the need for affordable and high quality lifesaving preventive health care, like cervical cancer screenings, breast health exams and birth control. It’s time for Virginia to expand Medicaid and accept federal dollars, which are already set aside, so that hundreds of thousands more Virginians can afford the quality health care when they need, without facing devastating medical bills.”

Background

More than 24,000 women and men across Virginia come to Planned Parenthood health centers every year – not to make a political statement, but to get high-quality, affordable health care.

  • Planned Parenthood’s seven health centers in Virginia see 17,793 patients for birth control information and services, conduct more than 7,500 breast and cervical cancer screenings.
  • One in five women in the U.S. has visited a Planned Parenthood health center at least once in her life.
  • More than 90 percent of the services Planned Parenthood health centers provide are preventive (cancer screenings, STD tests, birth control, etc.).

Virginia women and families need — and support — more access to health care, not less.

  • In all five districts recently polled by Public Policy Polling, voters supported closing the coverage gap by double-digit margins.
  • More than half of all pregnancies in Virginia are unintended and in 2008, there were 375,500 women in need of affordable contraceptive services and supplies.
  • Rural women — specifically in the Alleghany, Rappahannock, and Southern Virginia market regions, have seen a huge increase in the distance they must travel to receive OB-GYN care due to closures.
  • According to ACOG, in 2011, 39 percent of Virginia’s counties did not have any OB‐GYNs.
  • In 2010-2011, 18 percent of women aged 15-44 in Virginia were uninsured.
  • Virginia ranks in the worst category for rates of breast cancer deaths among both African American and white women.

According to the Shriver Report, released last month by Maria Shriver and the Center for American Progress, one-third of all American women are living at “the brink of poverty,” meaning that they earn less than $47,000 per year for a family of four. “Forty-two million women, and the 28 million children who depend on them, are living one single incident—a doctor’s bill, a late paycheck, or a broken-down car—away from economic ruin,” the report reveals 

Discuss :: (0 Comments)

Will Wonders Never Cease? Top VA Repubs Call for Fitzsimmonds to Resign Over Misogynistic Remark

by: lowkell

Thu Feb 27, 2014 at 12:49:05 PM EST

Amazing.
Virginia House of Delegates Speaker William Howell and two of his lieutenants are calling on the state Republican Party's treasurer to resign over his use of a slang term for female genitalia in a Facebook discussion about a female GOP legislator.

"The comments made recently by Bob FitzSimmonds are offensive and have no place in mainstream society or our political discourse," reads a statement issued by Howell, Majority Leader Kirk Cox of Colonial Heights and Fairfax County Del. Tim Hugo.

"These comments are not representative of the House Republican Caucus or the Republican Party of Virginia," continued the statement issued Thursday. "They do not reflect our values or principles and they are deeply inconsistent with the tone and tenor we believe is appropriate for public debate."

Of course, Fitzsimmonds is just one of many, many Virginia Republicans who have made misogynistic and otherwise bigoted (e.g., homophobic) remarks. For instance, Sen. Stephen Martin (R) earlier this week called women "the child's host (some refer to them as mothers)," while raging against pro-choice advocates as "very sick people." When are Republicans going to denounce HIM or call on HIM to resign?!?

Let's also not forget that House Speaker Howell himself had this little incident, in which he demeaned ProgressVA head Anna Scholl as  apparently not being smart enough to understand anything but "little enough words." Finally, we haven't even mentioned the actual policies Republicans push with regards to women's health and reproductive freedom, most of which seem to be aimed at wildly unhelpful things like defunding Planned Parenthood, requiring intrusive and medically unnecessary ultrasounds, selectively harassing women's health clinics, and keeping poor women and their kids from gaining access to high-quality and affordable health care. Hence, the "war on women" phrase, which Republicans get so indignant about, probably because they know they have no substantive response to it, and also because it kills them politically. And yes, they richly deserve to be hurt politically for this extremist, anti-women lunacy.

P.S. The sad thing is, Fitzsimmonds' comments (and Martin's, and Howell's towards Anna Scholl, and so many others) actually ARE "representative of the House Republican Caucus or the Republican Party of Virginia" and actually DO "reflect {their} values or principles."

UPDATE: RPV Chair Pat Mullins, who has never seemed bothered by all sorts of offensive remarks (e.g., by Ken Cuccinelli, EW Jackson, Mark Obenshain, etc, etc, etc.) has commented and revealed the REAL reason why top Republicans are calling for Fitzsimmonds to resign -- because his remarks "give the media and Democrats an excuse to talk about anything other than the impact of their disastrous policies on our Commonwealth and country." Hahahahaha.

Discuss :: (6 Comments)

PHOTOS: Virginia Women Visit Virginia Senate To Tell Senator Martin Women are People, Not "Hosts"

by: lowkell

Tue Feb 25, 2014 at 15:06:36 PM EST

From Anna Scholl of Progress Virginia:


Comments are latest example of disregard for women’s health care 

Richmond, VA - Virginia women visited the gallery of the Virginia Senate today to stage a silent protest against Senator Martin’s recent comments referring to pregnant women as merely a “host.” The women wore shirts emblazoned with “Not A Host” as they sat in the gallery.

Four female Senators criticized Senator Martin’s callous remarks on the floor, calling his comments insulting and misogynistic .

“Senator Martin’s offensive comments are merely a symptom of the disregard and disrespect anti-choice politicians show Virginia women,” said ProgressVA executive director Anna Scholl. “Virginia women deserve better than politicians who dismiss their reproductive rights and throw up barriers to access for reproductive health care.”

“Senator Martin was brazen enough to make his views public, but politicians in Virginia are working behind the scenes to restrict women’s access to reproductive care,” said Tarina Keene, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia. “Anti-choice politicians are championing measures in the Virginia budget to cut men and women from accessing high quality care at Planned Parenthood, force low-income women to carry a severely incapacitated fetus to term, and block over 100,000 women of reproductive age from accessing affordable health care.”

 

 

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Virginia GOP Sen. Steve Martin Calls Women "the child's host (some refer to them as mothers)"

by: lowkell

Mon Feb 24, 2014 at 14:47:24 PM EST

Another Republican shows his utter contempt for women, referring to them as "the child's host (some refer to them as mothers)."  Note that Sen. Steve Martin (R, of course) has attempted to cover his tracks, changing "the child's host" language to "the bearer of the child." Unfortunately for Martin, there's such a thing as "screen shots," so he can run but he can't hide.  Here's the current language on his page...we'll see how many more times he tries to change it, or delete it or whatever. Also, I can't wait to hear the condemnations from other Virginia Republicans for Martin's appalling misogyny. We're waiting...

P.S. Martin also calls pro-choice advocates "really sick people." 

I received a Valentines Card today with a two tone red heart on the front above the words, "Don't break our hearts." Inside was the following message:
"On behalf of women's Heath advocates across Virginia, we are disappointed in your record of voting to restrict access to critical healthcare for women and families. All women deserve access to their full range of reproductive health options - including preventing unintentional pregnancies, raising healthy children, and choosing safe, legal abortion - and your votes only make it more difficult for Virginians to plan and provide for their families. We are watching your actions closely, and hope that you will reconsider your position on this critical issue. Please don't break our hearts.

- The Virginia Pro-Choice Coalition" 
 
~ How very heart warming - all while using ill defined terms. "Raising healthy children" in the context of access to abortions speaks only to the ability to "kill unhealthy children." Do they not see the sickness of that argument?

If it's your expectation that I should support such nonsense, I will be breaking your heart.

You can count on me to never get in the way of you "preventing" an unintentional pregnancy." I'm not actually sure what that means, because if it's "unintentional" you must have been trying to prevent it. And, I don't expect to be in the room or will I do anything to prevent you from obtaining a contraceptive. However, once a child does exist in your womb, I'm not going to assume a right to kill it just because the bearer of the child (some refer to them as mothers) doesn't want it to remain alive. 
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PHC to sexual assault survivors: "If you were telling the truth, God would have kept you conscious"

by: Epluribusunum

Sat Feb 22, 2014 at 13:29:17 PM EST

( - promoted by lowkell)

The administrators at Loudoun County's Patrick Henry College have had a tough week.

Beginning on Sunday, PHC founder and chancellor Michael Farris posted a public statement about the recent disgrace of two important leaders within the religious homeschooling and "parental rights" movement, both of them because young women have come forward with testimony of sexual misconduct and abuse of power. Former Home School Legal Defense Association attorney Doug Phillips resigned last fall from the separatist group he had founded after it was revealed that he pursued a sexual relationship with a young woman, under 18, who was under his "authority." Bill Gothard, leader of an influential Christian Patriarchy instruction program, is slowly being exposed as a predator who has for decades sexually molested young women sent to him, often at his personal invitation, to be his interns.

Farris did not dispute the misconduct of these men, seeming to accept evidence of their "protracted patterns of sin." Instead, he tried to distance his own kind of "leadership" from theirs. But his statement is very strange. Attempting to avoid criticism of the authoritarianism that undergirds his own position, it ends up reading as if he thinks these "leaders," these powerful men, should rightly have such control over the women and children under their authority, and that maintaining this position of male authority is a "basic strength." The only problem with these men is that their strength was allowed to "get out of control." The statement then ends with a lighthearted punchline normalizing the idea that men naturally want to pursue young women, but are inhibited by the fear that their wives will shoot them.

What came the next day must have been a surprise, although one is at pains to imagine why.

There's More... :: (0 Comments, 1115 words in story)

PHC to sexual assault survivors: "If you were telling the truth, God would have kept you conscious"

by: Epluribusunum

Sat Feb 22, 2014 at 13:29:17 PM EST

( - promoted by lowkell)

The administrators at Loudoun County's Patrick Henry College have had a tough week.

Beginning on Sunday, PHC founder and chancellor Michael Farris posted a public statement about the recent disgrace of two important leaders within the religious homeschooling and "parental rights" movement, both of them because young women have come forward with testimony of sexual misconduct and abuse of power. Former Home School Legal Defense Association attorney Doug Phillips resigned last fall from the separatist group he had founded after it was revealed that he pursued a sexual relationship with a young woman, under 18, who was under his "authority." Bill Gothard, leader of an influential Christian Patriarchy instruction program, is slowly being exposed as a predator who has for decades sexually molested young women sent to him, often at his personal invitation, to be his interns.

Farris did not dispute the misconduct of these men, seeming to accept evidence of their "protracted patterns of sin." Instead, he tried to distance his own kind of "leadership" from theirs. But his statement is very strange. Attempting to avoid criticism of the authoritarianism that undergirds his own position, it ends up reading as if he thinks these "leaders," these powerful men, should rightly have such control over the women and children under their authority, and that maintaining this position of male authority is a "basic strength." The only problem with these men is that their strength was allowed to "get out of control." The statement then ends with a lighthearted punchline normalizing the idea that men naturally want to pursue young women, but are inhibited by the fear that their wives will shoot them.

What came the next day must have been a surprise, although one is at pains to imagine why.

There's More... :: (0 Comments, 1115 words in story)

Videos: Three Pro-Choice Virginia Legislators Fight GOP Attacks on Women's Health

by: lowkell

Fri Feb 21, 2014 at 14:24:55 PM EST

Great job by the following three pro-choice legislators. Even though they lost the battle in this case, ultimately they will win the war, as public opinion is strong on their/our side, and also they're correct morally and from a policy perspective. For more, see Despite heroic efforts from pro-choice Delegates, dangerous budget amendments advance in House.

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Virginia Senate Votes to Repeal Mandatory Ultrasounds

by: lowkell

Tue Feb 11, 2014 at 13:45:34 PM EST

From the Virginia Senate Democratic caucus:

Bill to end mandatory ultrasounds passes

 

RICHMOND, VA— This afternoon, the Virginia Senate passed a bill to repeal the mandatory ultrasound requirement that Republicans passed in 2012. Senate Democrats provided 19 of the 20 votes which produced a tie, broken by Democratic Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam.

SB 617, patroned by Senator Mamie Locke (D – Hampton), would repeal themandatory ultrasound requirement that Republicans passed in 2012. Under that law, women seeking an abortion must submit to an abdominal ultrasound — regardless of their wishes, and regardless of the wishes of their doctors.

Let’s call the ultrasound mandate what it really is: a measure to shame, judge, and delay a woman’s access to the health care she seeks,” said Sen. Locke. “The state should not meddle in what ought to be a personal, private decision between a woman, her family, her faith, and her doctor. I am encouraged that members of the Senate saw the value in repealing this law. This is a great victory for the women of Virginia.”

We need to think about the rights of individuals: of women, men and all of us. Because when one group us has their rights threatened, we all have our rights threatened,” said Sen. Favola (D-Arlington). "I'm glad my colleagues agreed and voted to protect women's rights."

When an ultrasound is necessary, a doctor knows. There's no one on the floor, with the exception of the lieutenant governor, who's qualified to practice medicine,” saidSen. Ebbin (D-Alexandria). “This bill can be broken down to seven words: let doctors decide how to practice medicine.”

The question of what is medically necessary should be decided by a physician, not by the General Assembly,” added Sen. Edwards (D-Roanoke). “Let's not practice medicine. Lets not have the hubris or the arrogance to tell physicians what they should do.” 

Discuss :: (11 Comments)

Video: Creigh Deeds on "60 Minutes"

by: lowkell

Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 20:17:22 PM EST

I'm not a big fan of "60 Minutes," but this is a powerful story that's well worth watching. More importantly, it's well worth watching and then taking ACTION to rectify the glaring, unacceptable shortcomings in this country's mental health care system. We can start right here in Virginia (and yes, that most definitely includes expansion of health care coverage via Medicaid expansion, restoration of mental health funding that was foolishly cut, etc.). Thanks to Creigh Deeds for speaking out courageously so that what happened to his son (hopefully) doesn't happen to anyone else!

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Republican Senators Kill Virginia DREAM Act

by: lowkell

Thu Jan 23, 2014 at 15:06:45 PM EST

Ugh.

In-state tuition bill fails on 6-7 party-line vote 

RICHMOND, VA —This morning, the Senate Committee on Education and Health voted to kill SB 249, a bill to allow students with deferred action status to pay in-state tuition at public colleges and universities if they meet certain requirements, including established roots in the community and a family history of paying taxes.

SB 249 was introduced by Sen. Donald McEachin (D – Henrico) and chief co-patroned by Sen. Adam Ebbin (D – Alexandria) and Sen. Dave Marsden (D – Fairfax). It failed in a party-line, 6-7 vote.

Senator Adam Ebbin said, “This bill is limited to students with DACA status. The federal government has authorized them to remain here; they’re already able to work and drive. These young people are a part of our communities, and they’re not going to disappear tomorrow. So why wouldn’t we give them this tool to succeed in and contribute to those communities?” 

Senator A. Donald McEachin said, By giving these young people an opportunity to achieve higher education, they are more likely to become even greater contributors to our society. These students are here through no fault of their own and who have known no other home. I’m disappointed that Republicans chose to withhold those opportunities. 

Senator Janet Howell (D – Reston) said, “Our leaders in the federal government aren’t doing their jobs, and as a result, students are losing access to the kind of high-quality education Virginia can provide. If the feds won’t act, we need to act, instead. This bill should have passed.” 

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AUDIO: Virginia Pro-Choice Coalition Releases 2014 "Healthy Families" Agenda

by: lowkell

Thu Jan 02, 2014 at 14:48:03 PM EST

From ProgressVA: 

Legislative priorities include expanding access to comprehensive reproductive health care and repealing limits on access to abortion 

The Virginia Pro-Choice Coalition today released its 2014 “Healthy Families” agenda for the upcoming legislative session. The group’s priorities include increasing access to affordable health services by expanding Medicaid and restoring maternity and family planning programs targeted at low-income Virginians, as well as repealing recent attacks on women’s health designed to make it more difficult for women to access safe and legal abortion. Audio of the call is available at: https://www.dropbox.com/s/czypeklwc7f1zlg/010214%20Press%20Call.mp3

Tarina Keene, co-chair of the Coalition, noted, “We are dedicated to ensuring that families across the Commonwealth have access to the quality, affordable health care services they need to pursue their full range of reproductive options - including preventing unintended pregnancy, bearing healthy children, and choosing safe, legal abortion.”

The Coalition’s 2014 “Healthy Families” agenda includes:

  • Medicaid Expansion: Expanding Medicaid in Virginia will not only create jobs and save the Commonwealth money, but will also provide much needed health care access to over 150,000 Virginia women of reproductive age. At least one in ten women nationally rely on Medicaid to access life-saving cancer screenings and mammograms. If Virginia refuses to expand Medicaid, at least 115,000 Virginia women of reproductive age will fall in the so-called “Medicaid Gap”, wherein they earn too much to quality for Virginia’s very low Medicaid threshold, but not enough to quality for tax credits to purchase insurance on the exchange.
  • Teen Pregnancy Prevention Initiative Funds: Governor McDonnell’s state budget for 2012-2014 eliminated funding for the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Initiative (TPPI). Prior to funding cuts, TPPI operated in seven health districts designated as having the highest teenage pregnancy rates in the state. The budget cut means our kids suffer when they don’t have the information and services they need to make responsible and healthy life decisions. This budget amendment would restore Virginia youth’s chances to receive comprehensive education and health services that will allow them to make safe, healthy choices.
  • FAMIS MOMS and Plan First Funds: Due to budget cuts, FAMIS MOMS, which provides health care coverage to low-income, pregnant women, will cease enrollment on January 1st. Plan First, which provides family planning services to low-income men and women, will being operating with reduced eligibility. Healthy pregnancies mean healthy babies. Access to health care during pregnancy significantly decreases the risks for complications and unhealthy outcomes, including low-birth weight babies. Plan First has proven effective at reducing the number of unintended pregnancies across the Commonwealth. The program saved the state $2.5M annually in 2008 and 2009.
  • Repeal Mandatory Ultrasound: The 2012 mandatory ultrasound statute is the only state law to mandate medical procedures and is intended to shame and coerce women regarding their private health care decisions. Politicians should not interfere in personal decisions that are between a woman, her family, her faith, and her doctor.
  • Repeal Abortion Insurance Coverage Ban: A 2013 Governor’s amendment prohibits insurance companies from offering, and individuals from purchasing, insurance coverage that includes coverage for abortion. A woman deserves to be able to get the safe, legal medical care she needs—no matter where her insurance comes from.

Katherine Greenier, Coalition co-chair, said, “Decisions about when and whether to have a child should be between a woman, her doctor, her family, and her faith. Politicians have no role in these private decisions. Our 2014 Healthy Families agenda will do just that: get politicians out of the doctor's office and back to promoting policies that promote healthy children and families.”

 

To download audio of the call, please visit: https://www.dropbox.com/s/czypeklwc7f1zlg/010214%20Press%20Call.mp3 

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Arlington Circuit Court Throws Out Ken Cuccinelli's Challenge To TRAP Suit

by: lowkell

Wed Oct 09, 2013 at 14:10:00 PM EDT

From Progress Virginia (photo from NARAL Virginia) - another huge #FAIL by Ken Kookinelli.
Legal challenge to politically motivated abortion provider regulations will go forward

Arlington, VA - A circuit court judge this morning overruled a motion from the Virginia Attorney General's office in the case of Falls Church Medical Center vs. Virginia Board of Health (CL13001362-00). The ruling means Falls Church Healthcare Center's lawsuit over the politically motivated regulations will proceed. Outside the courtroom, over 100 women's health supporters rallied in support of Falls Church Healthcare Center and their suit against regulations that threaten to shutter the majority of Virginia's first-trimester abortion providers.

Rosemary Codding, director of FCHC, celebrated the court's ruling. "We're thrilled that the court today rejected the Attorney General's attempts to keep this case from being heard. The courts are the citizens' last resort to monitor government agencies and correct the wrongs. Our appeal ultimately  challenges regulations that will remove access to legal, safe abortioncare as part of women's health services. We can now look forward to our day in court to overturn these burdensome and medically unnecessary regulations."

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America, are we OK?!?

by: mrollando

Mon Sep 23, 2013 at 12:21:12 PM EDT

Despite failing bees, flagellant Congress, fraudulent banks and flailing pay check to pay check, each new dawn gives our mental sun opportunity to burn off the fog of yesterday, and clothed our vision with the promise, it's going to be OK.
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Video: Jim Moran Speaks Out on Gun Violence

by: lowkell

Thu Sep 19, 2013 at 13:23:06 PM EDT

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Video: President Obama Makes a Statement on the Situation at the Washington Navy Yard

by: lowkell

Mon Sep 16, 2013 at 18:31:05 PM EDT

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Supporting Virginia's Children

by: lowkell

Mon Aug 05, 2013 at 11:56:10 AM EDT

Guest Post by Cliff Schecter

Recently, there was a piece in the Richmond Times Dispatch by Every Child Matters President Michael Petit, making it clear there's an issue that cuts along partisan lines and will benefit whichever major party candidate has the common sense to take up this cause: The plight of our children. Some recent studies have shown a spike in poverty among children that is not only deeply immoral in a country as wealthy as this one, but will only hurt us as decreased educational opportunities lead to fewer job opportunities and an increased likelihood of getting caught up in the penal system. This is what one could call common sense.

From the piece:

Last month, another national study reported on the economic well-being of American children and their families, and it contained some shocking findings. Nationwide, 16.4 million children, or 23 percent, were in families living in poverty in 2011, an increase from 15.7 million - or 22 percent - in 2010, and 3 million more than in 2005. This was on top of the finding in 2012 that the number of children living in poverty had increased by nearly 33 percent from 2000 to 2010.

How has Virginia fared? According to data from the Census Bureau, the "deep poverty" rate jumped by more than 20 percent, putting 260,000 children in households in which the income level for a family of four was below $22,000 per year. Poverty, of course, is not an academic exercise. To put it in human terms, hundreds of thousands of Virginia children go to sleep hungry, don't get the medical care they need or are inadequately supervised while parents work. For many of these children, poverty is so disruptive that a basic education is often not possible because of frequent moves or because they attend underfunded schools that place them squarely at educational risk.


I know you're thinking what I'm thinking: build a border fence! Increase defense spending! Cut taxes for multinational corporations!
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