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More federal support for emergency contraception

Good.

The federal government announced Friday it is providing additional funding to Austin nonprofit Every Body Texas to address a potential increase in clients’ need for emergency contraception and family planning services now that Texas prohibits abortions as early as six weeks into pregnancy.

Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra said in a release Friday that the Office for Population Affairs will award funding to the group, which is the statewide administrator of the federal Title X funding program, which provides family planning and reproductive health services to low-income patients.

Friday’s move comes as the Biden administration is challenging Texas’ near-total ban on abortion in court.

The federal government is also launching a new funding program that allows any entity across the country, regardless of if it receives Title X funding, to apply and receive additional money to provide reproductive and family planning services to patients impacted by Senate Bill 8.

There is $10 million available for these two programs, though it is unclear how much Every Body Texas is receiving directly. According to the federal government’s website, the grant application for the new program, called Funding to Address Dire Need for Family Planning Services, says they expect to award 10 grants between $150,000 and $1.5 million by the end of this year. The announcement said Every Body Texas must use the money provided by March 31.

[…]

Becerra also issued a memorandum detailing two federal statutes he says his department would enforce to provide protection for patients who may need an abortion and health care providers who assist pregnant patients in certain situations.

“​​Today we are making clear that doctors and hospitals have an obligation under federal law to make medical decisions regarding when it’s appropriate to treat their patients,” Becerra said in a release. “And we are telling doctors and others involved in the provision of abortion care, that we have your back.”

It was not immediately clear late Friday how Becerra’s memorandum would impact people’s ability to access an abortion in Texas or providers’ willingness to perform the procedure.

The two federal laws Becerra referred to include the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act and the Church Amendments. The federal government issued a memorandum reminding health care providers that patients who appear in the emergency room must receive appropriate medical screening, stabilizing treatment and a transfer, in or out of state, regardless of state laws, including pregnant patients or patients experiencing a pregnancy loss.

Becerra said the federal government would impose civil monetary penalties against hospitals or physicians if they violate that law.

Second, the federal Office of Civil Rights released guidance about the Church Amendments, which prevent discrimination against health care personnell who object to performing an abortion because of their relgious beliefs. Those amendments also protect health care providers from discrimination if they do assist or perform a lawful abortion, such as an abortion where federal funds are used to end pregnancies that result from rape or incest or to save the life of the pregnant person.

See here for the full statement from HHS. This is the sort of thing that would have been good to do at any time, but these are not normal times, and it’s everyone’s job to fight back against SB8. I hope the commitment continues once we have a (hopefully positive) resolution to the litigation. The Chron has more.

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2 Comments

  1. David Fagan says:

    19 days and counting………

  2. policywonqueria says:

    ___ days and counting

    Mr. Fagan: Are your sharing your mate’s ovulation calculator?

    Knowing the days you are most likely to be fertile can increase your chance of getting pregnant. The typical menstrual cycle is 28 days long, but each woman is different. There are about 6 days during each menstrual cycle when you can get pregnant. This is called your fertile window. Use the calculator to see which days you are most likely to be fertile.

    https://www.womenshealth.gov/ovulation-calculator

    PROPHYLAXIS

    On the policy question, why don’t they also do some public education on the identifiable cause of pregancy?

    That could cut down on the number of conception “accidents” and emergency interventions.

    DISCLOSURE: We here a policywonqueria favor prevention of unwanted pregnancy over abortion, and vaccines over disease spread and death. Note, however, that pregnancy is not a disease and — short of rape — an entirely preventable condition at the individual — or rather, the dyadic — level. Therefore, while the analogy is good from public policy & program design perspective, it’s not perfect.

    Still, you might analogize wearing a mask with wearing a condom. Why is it that Tex-Dems are into masks (even mandates), but won’t talk condom sense?