Editorial Excerpts
December 2018

It’s long been evident that the demonization of Planned Parenthood by the leaders of Texas government is depriving women of essential care. As the years roll by, new details emerge about the inadequacy of the providers struggling to fill the gap created when state officials effectively blackballed a century-old organization that women had long turned to for reliable, high-quality health services.

The disastrous consequences of the state’s reproductive health care policy — a festival of folly that began with the removal of Planned Parenthood as a provider in 2012 — have been documented in academic studies and in the work of journalists such as the Texas Observer’s Sophie Novack. Novack’s most recent article focused on the dismal performance of one provider: the Heidi Group, led by an anti-abortion activist with no experience running a family planning program.

State officials had acknowledged that the Heidi Group was falling short of its targets, but they had refused to provide details. Using the state open records law, Novack got the numbers: for fiscal 2017, the Heidi Group had pledged to cover 70,000 clients. In reality, it covered just 3,300 — meeting less than 5 percent of its obligation. How did the state respond?

It renewed the group’s multimillion-dollar contracts for a third year.

It’s the most dramatic example of a broader problem of underperformance: Novack reported that while the Heidi Group got a reprieve, the state did pull funds from 30 other contractors in the state’s two reproductive health programs this year.

Reversing this misguided decision wouldn’t lead to a single additional abortion. What it would do is save taxpayers money and help prevent lots of unwanted pregnancies while restoring vital health services to thousands of Texas women.

Houston Chronicle, October 4, 2018

The confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh was a setback to the legitimacy of the U.S. Supreme Court and the stature of the Republican-controlled U.S. Senate, and a threat to an array of Americans’ rights that have been barely preserved by a divided court in recent years.

Kavanaugh’s swearing-in leaves little mystery about the future direction of the court.

As a candidate, Donald Trump made plain that he would be nominating justices who would repeal the landmark 1973 Roe vs. Wade decision guaranteeing a woman’s reproductive freedom. It is now only a matter of time until that decision is tested with two Trump appointees, including the one he was gifted, Neil Gorsuch, by a Republican Senate that resolutely refused to allow even a hearing for President Barack Obama’s appointee, Merrick Garland.

It was the height of hypocrisy for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to complain about Democrats’ delay tactics because they reasonably insisted on seeing many thousands of withheld documents about Kavanaugh’s work in the George W. Bush White House, and then demanded a fuller investigation into multiple allegations of sexual assault against Kavanaugh.

The treatment of Christine Blasey Ford, the Palo Alto University professor who accused Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct when they were in high school, will not be easily forgotten. Many of the key Republicans were often dismissive when they were not being outright misogynistic — as if her poignant, credible testimony could be brushed aside for the partisan imperative of getting him on the court. Trump’s mockery of Ford at a Mississippi rally was repulsive even by the low standards he has set for his presidency.

San Francisco Chronicle, October 6, 2018

 

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