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WHEALTH NEWSLETTER
WHEALTH Newsletter
Issue 16 - February 2020
NATIONAL WOMEN'S HEALTH UPDATES
47th ANNIVERSARY OF ROE V. WADE / ABORTION AT SCOTUS

January 22 marked the 47 year anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the landmark Supreme Court ruling that legalized abortion nationwide.  This year is especially poignant, as women’s health is rapidly being jeopardized, especially when it comes to access to safe, legal abortions.

In March, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral argument in June Medical Services v. Gee, a challenge to a Louisiana law that requires doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at a local hospital.  This case is a reprise of another case decided in 2016, when the Supreme Court struck down a nearly identical Texas law as unconstitutional, in Whole Woman's Health v. Hellerstedt.  In that case, the Court found the law did not improve women’s health and instead imposed an undue burden on the constitutional right to access abortion.  Why would Louisiana pass a law that has already been deemed unconstitutional?  Because Justice Anthony Kennedy retired after Whole Women’s Health, and Justice Kavanaugh’s appointment has cemented a more conservative Supreme Court.

Notably, in January, more than 200 Republican members of the House and Senate filed a brief urging the justices to use June Medical Services to overturn Roe once and for all.  Nevertheless, multiple briefs have been filed in support of abortion access.  A decision is expected by the end of June.


BIRTH CONTROL AT THE SUPREME COURT, AGAIN

In January, the Supreme Court announced that it would revisit whether employers must guarantee free birth control coverage for their employees.  This marks the third time that the Supreme Court is taking up this provision.  Under the Affordable Care Act, employers are required to provide birth control with no co-pays and no deductibles in all employee health plans.  This is part of the women’s preventive care guidelines (see below).  Houses of worship, including churches, temples and mosques, were always exempt from the requirement.  However, nonprofit groups like schools and hospitals that are affiliated with religious organizations were not.

In 2014, in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, the Supreme Court ruled that requiring family-owned corporations to pay for insurance coverage for contraception violated a federal law protecting religious liberty. 

In 2017, the Trump administration issued new rules that significantly expanded the number of workplaces that could opt out of the contraceptive coverage requirement.  In July 2019, a federal court concluded that the administration did not follow the appropriate procedures when it issued the new rules, and that federal law does not authorize the broad exemptions described by the Trump administration’s rule.  The new rules were prevented from continuing, and now the Supreme Court will decide how broadly the contraceptive exemption applies to employers.


TITLE X UPDATE

The Title X Family Planning Program is a federal grant program for low-income patients to receive family planning and reproductive health services.  New regulations by the current administration that took in effect in July 2019 place unnecessary restrictions on the program, and undermine the quality of care women receive.  These new rules prohibit Title X recipients from providing referrals for abortion care, even when requested by the patient, and eliminate the requirement for nondirective pregnancy options counseling that also includes discussion of abortion as an option.  Beginning in March, Title X-funded centers must establish and maintain physical separation from the provision of abortion.  As a result of these restrictions, in California alone more than 50% of Title X clinics have dropped out of the program.

Furthermore, the Trump regulations no longer require Title X grantees to offer all FDA-approved methods of birth control to their patients (as was required before); instead, Title X grantees are now required to provide only one FDA-approved method, and that method can be natural family planning (also known as the rhythm method or withdrawal).  This means patients will experience unnecessary delays when seeking more effective methods of birth control.

The State of California and Essential Access Health, California’s largest administrator of Title X funding, have sued the administration over these regulations.  A hearing is scheduled on February 20th in Federal District Court, where a motion for summary judgment has been made, which means that there is a request for the court to rule that the administration has no case, and the new regulations should not be allowed to continue.  The OCWHP will continue to monitor the legal progress of the case and provide updates.


UPDATED WOMEN'S PREVENTIVE CARE GUIDELINES

Under the Affordable Care Act, Women's Preventive Services are required to be covered by all insurers with no co-pay and no deductible.  In January, the federal government announced that it is adding screening for anxiety as one of these required covered services under the Women’s Preventive Services Guidelines.  There are 11 other services already included under these guidelines:
  • Breast Cancer Screening for Average Risk Women
  • Breastfeeding Services and Supplies
  • Screening for Cervical Cancer
  • Contraception
  • Screening for Gestational Diabetes Mellitus
  • Screening for Human Immunodeficiency Virus Infection
  • Screening for Interpersonal and Domestic Violence
  • Counseling for Sexually Transmitted Infections
  • Well-Woman Preventive Visits
  • Screening for Diabetes Mellitus after Pregnancy
  • Screening for Urinary Incontinence
OCWHP MARCHES FOR WOMEN'S RIGHTS
On Saturday, January 18 the OCWHP joined over 12,000 people in Downtown Santa Ana for the 2020 Orange County Women's March.  Thank you to everyone who marched with us to support women's rights!
#LOVEISOC IS 1 WEEK AWAY!
LOVE IS HEALTHY TEEN RELATIONSHIPS

Join us next Wednesday, February 12 for #LoveIsOC – a 24-hour online giving day to support healthy teen relationships in Orange County. 

The OCWHP is Orange County’s voice to ensure that women’s and teen’s health remains a top priority.  
With your help, the OCWHP can continue to educate teens and those working with teens on healthy relationships and how relationships impact health.
SUPPORT #LOVEISOC
SAVE THE DATE
The OCWHP is excited to announce that the 8th Orange County Women's Health Summit: Women's Health Across the Lifespan will be held in the spring this year on Friday May 29, 2020 at the Beckman Center at UC Irvine. 

Judy Belk, President and CEO of The California Wellness Foundation, will present the keynote address.  Additional presentations will focus on ACEs and women's health, mental health, and issues impacting LGBTQ+ individuals, seniors and caregivers.  

Registration will open early April.
RECENT ACTIVITY
FREE ONLINE TRAINING FOR SUBSTANCE ABUSE TREATMENT PROVIDERS
The OCWHP’s free training on Intimate Partner Violence for Substance Abuse Treatment Providers is now available online with CEUs
ONLINE TRAINING
REQUEST LIVE TRAINING
HEALTHY TEEN COLLECTIVE

The OCWHP has launched planning for the Healthy Teen Collective – Orange County (HTC).  The HTC is a groundbreaking initiative designed to promote teen health and healthy teen relationships in Orange County. 

HTC Planning Partners include: Human Options, Laura's House, LGBTQ Center OC, Planned Parenthood of Orange and San Bernardino Counties, UC Irvine - Initiative to End Family Violence, Waymakers, WTLC, and 211 Orange County.