Las Vegas Sun

June 24, 2019

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EDITORIAL:

Nevadans must remain vigilant to protect women’s health rights

With the administration’s newest assault on Planned Parenthood, President Donald Trump and the far right have further demonstrated their discrimination against women and disregard for their well-being.

The proposal, part of a broader effort to eliminate federal funds to the organization, would restrict health clinics and programs that receive government funding from referring women to receive abortions, and would adversely affect women’s health in several ways.

It would make birth control and preventive care unavailable from Planned Parenthood and other reproductive health care providers, for example, and would bar physicians, hospital staff and community centers from making referrals for safe, legal abortion.

It also would eliminate women’s Title X guarantee of receiving comprehensive and accurate information about their health care from their doctors, essentially reducing them to second-class status in terms of their health.

The proposal drew a fiery reaction from gender equality advocates and health providers.

“This is an attempt to take away women’s basic rights, period. Under this rule, people will not get the health care they need,” said Dawn Laguens, executive vice president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, in a statement. “They won’t get birth control, cancer screenings, STD testing and treatment, or even general women’s health exams.

“Everyone has the right to access information about their health care — including information about safe, legal abortion — and every woman deserves the best medical care and information, no matter how much money she makes or where she lives. No matter what. They won’t get it under this rule.”

The gag rule would adversely affect the health care of millions of Americans, including Nevadans. Here, Planned Parenthood serves 14,000 to 19,000 patients a year at its two health centers in Las Vegas and one in Reno. And the recipients of the organization’s services aren’t just women, but also men and young people.

Even more revolting, it’s nakedly obvious that the timing of the proposal is designed to give conservative Republicans a boost in the upcoming primary and midterm elections.

Nevada’s congressional delegates must do all they can to protect the residents of our state from this assault. It would be unforgivable for the state’s Republicans in Congress, Sen. Dean Heller and Rep. Mark Amodei, to sacrifice the health of Nevadans for partisan politics.

The proposal also underscores the need for Nevadans to elect candidates this year who will oppose the regressive and harmful actions of the Trump administration and the far right and work toward repairing the damage that has already been done, such as cuts to an Obama-era program aimed at helping disadvantaged teens in Las Vegas and dozens of other cities to avoid unplanned pregnancies.

The good news is that advocates in Las Vegas and across the nation are battling Trump and conservatives at every turn.

It remains to be seen what will happen with the proposal, which will go through a review process conducted by the White House Office of Management and Budget.

But Nevadans who want to fight for our mothers, wives, relatives and friends can make their opinions known on it through the White House’s online contact portal, available at whitehouse.gov/contact/, and by demanding that Heller and Amodei oppose the action.

Heller’s Las Vegas office number is 702-388-6605, and his online portal address is here.

Amodei’s constituents can reach him through his online portal here. His Washington, D.C., office number is 202-225-6155.