KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Obama Emphasizes Women’s Health Issues

President Barack Obama is differentiating his positions from those of GOP challenger Mitt Romney, saying a Romney win could result in the overturning of Roe v. Wade. He is also assailing efforts to "redefine rape," attempting to link Romney to comments made by Indiana Republican Senate candidate Richard Mourdock.

Politico: Obama: Politicians Should Stay Out Of Women's Health
President Obama launched into a defense of women being allowed to make their own health care and reproductive choices. "These attempts to re-define rape in some way make no sense to me, and I don't think they make sense to the vast majority of women across the country," Obama said in an interview with NBC — indirectly referring to an incident where Indiana senate candidate Richard Mourdock said that babies who were the result of rape were part of God's plan (Tau, 10/25).

The Hill: Obama: No Doubt Romney Win Could Overturn Roe V. Wade
There's no question a Romney presidency could spell the end of Roe v. Wade, President Obama said in an interview with Rolling Stone. Romney has said he'd like to see the Supreme Court overturn Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision that said abortion is legal. And if he wins in November, he might be able to tilt the balance of the court to make that possible. "I don't think there's any doubt," Obama said when asked whether he fears that Roe could be overturned. "Governor Romney has made clear that's his position. His running mate has made this one of the central principles of his public life. Typically, a president is going to have one or two Supreme Court nominees during the course of his presidency, and we know that the current Supreme Court has at least four members who would overturn Roe v. Wade. All it takes is one more for that to happen" (Baker, 10/25).

Reproductive issues are reverberating in other races, too -

Politico: Democrats Go All In For Abortion Rights
Democrats have gone all in for abortion rights, with none of the hedging or defensiveness they've shown in recent years — a subtle but striking repositioning with political consequences that extend far beyond Nov. 6 (Nather and Mahtesian, 10/26).

The Hill: SBA Lists Blasts Obama For Saying Planned Parenthood Provides Mammograms
A leading anti-abortion-rights group on Thursday slammed President Obama for saying Planned Parenthood provides mammograms when the group provides only referrals for the procedure. The Susan B. Anthony (SBA) List, which works to elect candidates who oppose abortion rights, said Thursday that Obama "persists in falsehood" on the distinction to attract female voters. Planned Parenthood is anathema to Republicans, who say its public funding as a healthcare provider allows the group to further subsidize its abortion services (Viebeck, 10/25).

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Archdiocese Wades Into Legal Fight Over Birth Control Mandate
The Archdiocese of Atlanta has placed itself squarely in the midst of a national fight over what it believes is an attack against religious freedom during a hotly contested election. The archdiocese recently filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and other federal agencies over the birth control insurance mandate. The lawsuit is among a dozen or so that have recently been filed in federal courts across the nation, in what some experts see as a strategy to ensure the issue winds up in front of the U.S. Supreme Court (Poole, 10/26).

The Boston Globe: Antiabortion Group Endorses Brown In Mailer
The National Right to Life Committee has spent about $45,000 sending out mailers backing Senator Scott Brown, even as he supports ­legalized abortion. Federal election law prohibits Brown from having any say over mailings sent by a political action committee. The latest expenditure figures were reported over the last few days (10/26).

In other news related to women's health issues -

The Associated Press: Native Women Face Patchwork Of Policies For Plan B
Months after the federal Indian Health Service said it was finalizing a policy that would make emergency contraception more accessible to American Indian women, advocates say they're still waiting. And in the meantime, Native women face a patchwork of policies at hospitals and clinics that don't always ensure timely access to the medication (Fonseca, 10/25).

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