Over a dozen states don’t provide Medicaid coverage for medication abortions where funding is permitted under federal and state law, according to a U.S. Government Accountability Office report.
At least 13 states are denying insurance coverage for eligible medication abortions even in the cases of rape, incest or to save the mother’s life, according to the January report. The Hyde Amendment prohibits federal funds from paying for abortion except in cases of incest, rape or to save the mother’s life.
Idaho, Utah, Texas, Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Kentucky, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Rhode Island and the District of Columbia provide coverage for surgical abortions where federal funding is permitted but do not provide coverage for medication abortions, according to the GAO report.
Denial rates ranged from approximately 4 percent to 90 percent, the report says. About half of those states reported denial rates higher than 60 percent.
South Dakota “does not cover abortions in cases of rape or incest, as required by federal law, but [the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services] has not taken any action in 25 years to ensure the state’s compliance,” the report reads. “[D]espite the requirement to do so under federal law,” 14 states reported a failure to cover Mifeprex, according to the report.
Mifeprex is an abortion-inducing drug used in medication abortions up until 70 days in pregnancy. The drug is taken in combination with misoprostol to end early pregnancies. (RELATED: Physician Says There Isn’t Single Scenario Where Late-Term Abortion Protects Mother’s Health)
“Federal law permits states to categorically exclude a participating manufacturer’s drugs from coverage under a few limited exceptions,” according to the report. Mifeprex does not meet any of the exceptions that would permit states to exclude the drug from coverage, CMS officials told the accountability office, according to Rewire.News.
Some states gave reasons for their denials, including rejections of life endangerment claims where recipients did not provide an address. Seven states, however, denied no payments, according to the report. Women made no eligible abortion coverage claims for five straight years in four states.
Fifteen states provide abortion coverage under Medicaid, according to a Jan. 9 Guttmacher Institute report. Twenty-six states restrict abortion coverage in private health insurance plans, the report indicates.
The Guttmacher Institute is “a research and policy organization committed to advancing sexual and reproductive health and rights globally,” according to its Twitter handle.
States such as Louisiana and Tennessee offer no coverage for abortion, a February Guttmacher Institute report revealed.
“States are supposed to be covering a limited number of abortions under Medicaid but are not even doing that,” Democratic Colorado Rep. Diana DeGette said, The New York Times reported Sunday.
DeGette requested an investigation into abortion coverage across states, prompting the government’s report.
CMS did not immediately respond to The Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.
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Source: The Daily Caller
Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant has vowed to sign a "heartbeat" abortion bill that was passed by state legislators last Wednesday. Kentucky passed a similar bill a day later. And Texas state lawmakers are also pushing to advance a similar bill in the coming weeks or months.
As both sides of the abortion debate are preparing for the possibility — however remote — of Roe v. Wade being overturned, at least 10 states are currently considering or have passed "heartbeat bills," which prohibit an abortion after a fetal heartbeat is detected, which can be as early as six weeks of gestation or as late as 12 weeks.
While it’s unclear whether the bills will withstand court challenges — similar proposals have been struck down by judges because of Roe v. Wade — lawmakers are pursuing them in case the 1973 Supreme Court ruling is reversed.
In Mississippi, Bryant trumpeted state lawmakers for passing a bill he hopes will be mirrored across the country.
"I’ve often said I want Mississippi to be the safest place for an unborn child in America," Bryant wrote on Twitter. "We will stand for life here in the Magnolia State and hope the rest of the nation follows."
Florida, Maryland, Minnesota, Mississipi, Missouri, Ohio, South Carolina and West Virginia are among the states that have either passed "heartbeat" legislation or are hoping to do so. This comes as states like New York, New Mexico, Maryland, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Virginia, among other Democratic-leaning states, are supporting bills that allow abortion up to the moment of birth.
The bills on both sides of the issue have become politically, and emotionally, charged.
In Kentucky, a pregnant woman, April Lanham, sat as a witness in support of the bill while the audience listened to her preborn child’s heartbeat via an electronic monitor.
"That child in her womb is a living human being," State Sen. Matt Castlen, a sponsor of the bill, said. "And all living human beings have a right to life."
But critics say the bills will not hold up in court. In Arkansas, Iowa, and North Dakota, federal judges found similar bills "unconstitutional."
In Mississippi, while the "heartbeat" bill was being debated, Democratic State Sen. Derrick Simmons asked if it was worth the money to fight this bill in court, referencing the state spending $1.2 million over a 15-week abortion ban that a district judge found unconstitutional. His Republican colleague, State Sen. Michael Watson, responded: "What is a life worth?"
Ohio was the first state to introduce the so-called "heartbeat bill" in 2011, and after being revived last year was vetoed by then-Gov. John Kasich late in December. The current governor, Mike DeWine, has vowed to sign the legislation that is expected to pass in March. He said he believes it will be ultimately be decided by the Supreme Court.
The heartbeat bills prohibit abortion as early as six weeks. Roe v. Wade’s ruling allows abortions until 24 weeks, which the justices said is the "point of viability," when the fetus can survive outside of the womb.
Florida’s version redefines a fetus as an "unborn human being," would make it a third-degree felony to perform an abortion after a fetal heartbeat is detected. Gov. Ron DeSantis has vowed he will sign the legislation if it passes this spring.
Anti-abortion advocates believe they have a better chance at the Supreme Court following President Trump’s appointment of Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh.
Source: Fox News Politics
Sex abuse survivors say Vatican summit must deliver action
VATICAN CITY – Roman Catholics who were sexually abused by clergy are insisting that decisive actions to confront the decades-long problem of pedophile priests and church cover-ups must come out of an upcoming Vatican summit.
A founding member of the advocacy group Ending Clergy Abuse, Peter Isely, contended Sunday that Pope Francis is "facing resistance" from top Vatican officials as he prepares to convene bishops from around the world.
"Let me tell you what it was like to try and have to resist that priest when I was a boy who was sexually assaulting me," Isely said. "So whatever difficulty for him or discomfort this is for anybody in the papal palace, it is nothing compared to what survivors have had to undergo."
Isely offered his perspective in an interview with The Associated Press near St. Peter’s Square shortly before Francis spoke of the importance of the Feb. 21-24 event on protecting children and teenagers in the church,.
Addressing faithful in the square, Francis asked for prayers for the gathering of the heads of Catholic bishops’ conferences worldwide.
Francis said he wanted the summit, to be "an act of strong pastoral responsibility in the face of an urgent challenge of our time."
Revelations in many countries about priests raping and committing other kinds of sexual abuse against children and a pattern of bishops hiding the crimes have shaken the faith of many Catholics.
They also test the pontiff’s ability to ensure the safety of children and punishment for the abusers as well as any complicit superiors.
The Vatican announced Saturday that Francis approved the expulsion from the priesthood for a former American cardinal, Theodore McCarrick, for sexual abuse of minors and adults.
But survivor advocates also have demanded that Francis say what he and other top Vatican officials knew about the prelate’s sexual wrongdoing, which spanned decades.
"You abuse a child, you have to be removed from the priesthood," Isely said. "If you cover up for abusing a child, you have to be removed from the priesthood, and this is the only thing that is going to turn the corner on this global crisis."
Another founding member of the group, Denise Buchanan, a native of Jamaica, said a priest raped and assaulted her when she was 17.
"That rape actually resulted in a pregnancy, and the priest arranged for an abortion," Buchanan said.
Veteran Vatican watcher Marco Politi told the AP he also sees the pope facing inside resistance.
"There is a struggle going on between the pope and his supporters who want a change, and a lot of people among the bishops and among the clergy who don’t want transparency and applying law and order in the abuse issue in the world," Politi said.
Some of Francis’ critics contend that as a product of the Catholic Church’s hierarchical culture, he, too, has been slow to recognize the hierarchy’s role in perpetuating abuse by pedophile priests.
Francis has tried to temper expectations for the summit, saying in January the "problem of abuse will continue" because "it’s a human problem." Isely of Ending Clergy Abuse said the bar should be high and the participants "have to deliver for survivors."
Source: Fox News World
2020 Dems hit early voting states; Weld explores GOP bid
Several Democratic presidential candidates are spending the long holiday weekend on the campaign trail, while a Republican has announced he’s creating an exploratory committee for a possible 2020 run.
Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York and Kamala Harris of California are visiting early voting states on Friday that will be critical to securing the Democratic nomination next year.
Former Massachusetts Gov. William Weld, who ran for vice president on the Libertarian Party ticket in 2016, said Friday that he was considering challenging President Donald Trump in a 2020 Republican primary.
A look at midterm campaign activities ahead of Presidents Day weekend:
Gillibrand, in New Hampshire, participated in a walking tour of downtown Concord before visiting businesses in Dover and meeting members of the LGBT community in Somersworth.
On Friday, she called Trump’s decision to declare a national emergency to construct a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border "inappropriate" and said Trump manufactured a crisis to justify the move.
The only national emergency, she said, "is the humanitarian crisis that President Trump has created at our border from separating family from children and treating people who need our help inhumanely."
Gillibrand visited a coffee shop in downtown Concord before stopping to listen to a homeless man, Kevin Clark, play a song by Cat Stevens called "Father and Son." She praised his singing and gave him a hug before heading off to a consignment shop, where she bought a vase and a small plate.
Later Friday, Gillibrand spoke at Teatotaller, a cafe in Somersworth that refers to itself as an "oasis of queer, hipster, tea, coffee and pastry goodness."
She told the crowd that she would advocate for the rights of the LGBTQ community and called it "an outrage" for Trump to tell transgender people what bathrooms they can use or whether they are qualified to serve in the military. She said she would support the addition of a non-binary or third gender classification.
Gillibrand also spoke out in favor of the Green Neal Deal, a set of proposed programs that aim to address climate change.
Harris, who is campaigning in South Carolina, visited Charleston’s Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, the site of the 2015 shooting that killed nine African-American churchgoers.
Speaking to reporters after a lunchtime stop, Harris said she’d visited the church, known as Mother Emanuel, earlier Friday and called it a "very tragic symbol of failure of people, in particular in the United States Congress, to pass smart gun safety laws."
Mother Emanuel is one of the oldest black churches in the South. During her visit, Harris paid her respects and left flowers. The church has been a pillar of African-American and spiritual life in South Carolina.
At a town hall in North Charleston later Friday, the scoreboard overhead in the gymnasium was changed to reflect the date of South Carolina’s Democratic primary: Feb. 29, 2020. The crowd swelled, and some attendees climbed on top of folded bleachers for makeshift seating.
Harris talked about the bill that the Senate passed this week that would explicitly make lynching a federal crime. Harris, one of three black members of the Senate, introduced the bill with Democratic Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey and Republican Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina. Booker is also running for president.
Harris says lynchings are "a stain on America’s history."
While in South Carolina, she received an endorsement for president from California Gov. Gavin Newsom, who said on MSNBC: "I think the American people could not do better" than Harris.
Weld, who is little-known on the national stage but well-respected among veterans in the GOP established, announced the creation of an exploratory committee for president on Friday.
The move makes Trump the first incumbent president since Republican George H.W. Bush in 1992 to face a notable primary challenge.
Weld served as Massachusetts governor from 1991 to 1997 and was popular despite being a Republican in a heavily Democratic state. He held the line on spending and taxes but embraced liberal positions on abortion and gay rights.
Trump remains very popular with Republicans so he faces little risk of losing the GOP nomination.
But primary challenges often foreshadow trouble ahead for incumbent presidents. Bush and Democrat Jimmy Carter lost their bids for a second term after facing challenges from inside their own party.
Source: Fox News National
Kentucky House passes bill banning abortions if Roe v. Wade overturned
Lawmakers in Kentucky’s House of Representatives on Friday overwhelmingly passed a bill that would ban most abortions in the state – if the U.S. Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade.
The bill passed 69-20 in the House, and now heads to the state’s Senate. It would ban abortions except for cases when it is necessary to save the life of the mother.
The legislation would take effect if Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 decision that legalized abortion across the country, is reversed and states have the authority to outlaw abortion.
Lawmakers staked out their views on abortion during the emotionally charged debate.
"Not one of us, man or woman, has the moral authority to take the life of an unborn," said Republican Rep. James Tipton. "There is no other medical procedure that I know of that the goal is to intentionally take the life of an unborn child."
Democratic Rep. Mary Lou Marzian said if the bill were to take effect, it would amount to government intrusion into the private medical decisions of women.
"It’s none of our business," she said. "If you want to go have a colonoscopy, should we get ourselves involved in that? If you want to take Viagra, should we get ourselves involved in that?"
Kentucky is among states enacting strict abortion laws in hopes of triggering a legal challenge to the high court. Louisiana, Mississippi, North Dakota and South Dakota have similar laws on the books triggering abortion bans if the Roe v. Wade decision is struck down.
Anti-abortion legislators and activists around the country believe President Trump has strengthened the push to topple the Roe v. Wade ruling with his appointments of conservatives Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.
Meanwhile, liberal states, including New Mexico, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Virginia, and Washington, have been making efforts to pass bills that loosen restrictions on abortion.
Controversy has erupted in Virginia, where the Democratic sponsor of a Virginia abortion proposal acknowledged it could allow women to terminate a pregnancy up until the moment before birth, for reasons including mental health.
Democratic Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam came under after he waded into the fight, with critics saying Northam indicated a child could be killed after birth.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Source: Fox News Politics
Cuomo Helped Pass the Law on Abortion in New York and Now he Claims hes not a legislator of religion…. what about morals? Does he have any? Amid Catholic leaders’ calls for excommunication, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo stands by the new state law that allows abortions to be performed by non-doctors up until […]