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April 25, 2014

Sen. Coghill Needs a Doctor STAT!

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John Coghill can’t seem to find credible doctors to attack Alaskan women’s reproductive health. Imagine that.

In a hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee Wednesday, not a single doctor from Alaska was allowed to testify for or against a bill that would restrict access to safe and legal abortion for low-income women in our state.

Gems of wisdom from the out-of-state doctors that the bill’s sponsor Senator John Coghill chose to testify on SB49 include these debunked falsehoods:

Abortion exacerbates existing mental health illness,” and “Women who have an abortion have an 81 percent increased risk for mental health problems.” –Dr. Priscilla Coleman, whose studies have been completely debunked.

Short of massive hemorrhage or bleeding, abortion is always an elective procedure. I really can’t recall an episode of trauma where termination of pregnancy would have saved a mother’s life,” Dr. John Thorpe, University of North Carolina, who must not be aware the high rate of ectopic pregnancies in the U.S., which occurs at a rate of 19.7 percent per 1,000.

And finally, Dr Susan Rutherford of Washington, “There’s some compelling evidence” that abortion could be linked to breast cancer. “I disagree with the National Institute of Health and the National Cancer Institute.” Studies debunking the link of breast cancer and abortion.

Doesn’t it make you feel great that our resources are being devoted to, and the legislature’s limited time is being spent on listening to complete falsehoods?

Said Planned Parenthood Votes Northwest Public Policy Director Jennifer M. Allen in a statement:

“Much of what we heard today has long been discredited by major medical associations such as the American Psychology Association, and would actually harm Alaskan women.

“The bottom-line is Alaskans know that a woman should have accurate information about all of her options. Information should support a woman, help her make a decision for herself and enable her to take care of her health and well-being.”

The Alaska State Supreme Court has said twice before that our Constitution protects the right to privacy, and therefore a low-income woman should be able to make her own pregnancy decisions without government intrusion.

Clearly, Senator Coghill (R-North Pole) missed his Alaska history lessons, all the more ironic since his father was one of the 55, who actually helped to write our Constitution. You can’t make this stuff up.

Senate Bill 49 seeks to restrict access to medicaid funding for abortion by narrowly defining what can be considered “medically necessary.” For some reason Coghill didn’t bring the bill to the Senate Health and Social Services Committee—a far more appropriate place for a medical bill, don’t ya think? Perhaps he’s trying to skirt around the Chair of that committee, Senator Bert Stedman, a holdover from the sanity of the bipartisan coalition days. Sanity in the senate? They’ll have none of that thank you very much. Remember those days not so long ago, when Coghill & Co. relegated themselves to a tiny powerless minority instead of playing well with others? Well, now the ill-behaved are in charge, and woe is us. Instead of bringing the bill to Health and Social Services, he just brought it to his own committee. Problem solved, Stedman avoided, and proper procedures of democracy be damned.

By leaving Alaskan women out of the testimony, out of the hearing, and out of the picture in his consideration of this bill, he is essentially recreating the all-male panel that got so much flack in Congress when the hearings on Obamacare’s contraception benefit began. Last time I checked, we actually still live in a democracy. Someone tell Senator Coghill. He thinks it’s much easier to hear from only one side and then go forth with his own agenda – especially when it involves restricting public funding for a Supreme Court-upheld, Constitutionally-protected legal medical procedure (see the rulings in 1997 and 2001).

Extreme opponents of women’s health like Dr. Patricia Coleman have been criticized nationally for spinning their “research” to meet their agenda. These doctors do not represent Alaska, and particularly low-income Alaska women, nor do they represent the truth. They are, as Planned Parenthood’s Allen also said, “placing politics before women’s health.”

Coghill told the Associated Press he would give women’s health advocates and the public a chance to testify next week, but nothing has actually been scheduled yet. I hope we can all show up in force and bring the real Alaska.

In the meantime, I encourage you to take action via Planned Parenthood Votes Northwest’s advocacy alert and tell the Senate Judiciary Committee to oppose Senate Bill 49.

 

Comments

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Comments
16 Responses to “Sen. Coghill Needs a Doctor STAT!”
  1. EatWildFish says:

    Wow … for a party that is constantly yelling about smaller government and keeping the government out of our lives, the Republicans sure can’t stay away from our lady parts.

  2. mike from iowa says:

    Rethuglicans need frontal lobotomies administered similar to a Texas “brain shot”.(through the back door)

    • mike from iowa says:

      my mistake. That is called the “reverse brain shor or Texas neck shot”.apologies to any great White Hunters offended.

  3. Beaglemom says:

    I have been wondering about the silence of the entire medical community over the past few years as these insane laws get passed in state after state and debated in the US House of Representatives. It seems to me that the medical profession has separated itself from the Hippocratic Oath to “do no evil” in the matter of attending to legislation affecting women’s health care.

    • John says:

      Most people — and the medical community is not that different from anyone else — think politics is about Rs and Ds yelling at each other and trying to take credit for good things while blaming the other side for anything bad that occurs. Unfortunately, that seems to be a pretty good description of partisan politics. So most people try to distance themselves from anything political. But politics also involves the discussion of important public policy issues. If elected officials only hear from each other and the lobbyists who put them in office, we get crappy public policy decisions.

      We need to find a way to get more people involved more often. Not just when some proposes an outrageous law like this one. It’s great to pack the library to testify against Sullivan’s anti-union plan. And it is great to have a demonstration outside the capital against this bill. But if we could find a way to make sure everyone wrote one letter to a legislator or assembly person every year on an issue they cared about, we wouldn’t have to deal with these crazy ideas that are coming up now in Alaska and around the country because the people in charge would be better connected to reality.

      • Mo says:

        I disagree. Republican legislative agendas are paid for and coordinated by such organizations as ALEC. They could care less what their constituents write letters to them about. Republican voters are guaranteed, they’ll never switch parties, and with gerrymandered districts, a GOP seat is a sinecure. The corporate money rolls in, and the stooges do what they’re paid to do.

        In short, there is no accountability, and the voters in their districts lap up whatever slop gets delivered because it makes them feel validated.

      • Beaglemom says:

        There is no way to connect the current crop of GOP legislators to reality. Sad to say but true. I’ve written countless emails to my former Congressman, Dave Camp (chair of House Ways and Means since 2010) and never received a rational response. Now my Congressman is a genuine teabagger (class of 2010), Dr. Dan Benishek, who told so many lies during his campaign for re-election that his nose should have grown several feet long. So far I’ve received one reply (to one of my two emails) about gun control and this man, who wants to be known as “Dr. Dan,” wrote that we don’t need laws we need “human dignity.” I’m sure he would have the same response no matter what the contact was about. These legislators are owned, lock-stock-and-barrel, by the Koch Brothers and their front organizations like ALEC and driven by their undying fealty to Grover Norquist and the NRA. There is no room left for rational discourse, intelligent debate or willingness to compromise.

  4. Ivan says:

    if he wants to tell a woman what she can do with her reproductive organ than she should be able to cut his off.
    i think it should be done as soon a possible.

  5. AKMagpie says:

    And the next bill I propose is that all prescriptions for erectile dysfunction must be supported by videotaping the prescribing practitioner asking questions of the patient to justify the need for said prescription, advising those who do not have proper justification such as war injury, diabetes in a young man that If God had wanted impotent men to procreate She would give them the miracle of erection on demand. No need for all that recreational sexual activity, it can make make them blind and subject to mental illnesses. All videotapes must be reviewed and approved or denied within a week’s time by the local League of Women Voters before any such prescription can be filled. Refills will be reviewed in the same manner. Such behavior should not be encouraged lest it become habitual.

  6. beth. says:

    I shared a hospital room with a woman who was admitted with excruciating pain in her belly. She was trying to be brave but Oh My! was she in agony. Tears streaming down the face, moaning and groaning, body-twisting agony. Being post-(minor)-op, I did my best to distract her with chitchat about this and that for the three loooooong hours it took until she could finally be wheeled into the OR for removal of her ectopic pregnancy. I’ve been with at least 7 women through their labour and delivery but never have I seen (or heard) the pain my hospital mate was experiencing. And it was constant, unrelenting. Senator Coghill should have been there — it would have been a good start to the education it’s obvious he so desperately needs on even the most basic of women’s health issues. What an adz. beth.

  7. Zyxomma says:

    Amidst all the madness (must be the lack of light), there’s some excellent news. Shell is ABANDONING its plan to drill in the Arctic!!

    • InJuneau says:

      I wouldn’t party too much. They’re not going to drill in 2013. This is what they’ve said about later years:

      Shell Oil Co. President Marvin Odum said the company was suspending its plans to drill in the region this year but would be back “at a later stage.” “Shell remains committed to building an Arctic exploration program that provides confidence to stakeholders and regulators, and meets the high standards the company applies to its operations around the world,” Odum said in a statement Wednesday. “We continue to believe that a measured and responsible pace, especially in the exploration phase, fits best in this remote area.”

      Read more here: http://www.adn.com/2013/02/27/2805074/plagued-by-problems-shell-pulls.html#storylink=cpy

  8. Mo says:

    And who keeps voting for this old goon?

    • Carol says:

      Unfortunately, the enough people in his district think like he does and support what he does. don’t bother them with facts, they have their minds made up. Called epistemic closure, when the only criteria you use to judge a source is if it agrees with you or not.

  9. John says:

    I in no way want to detract from this important post. But the math geek in me has to comment on “a rate of 19.7 percent per 1,000.” It is a rate of 19.7 per 1,000, or a rate of 1.97%. Percent means per hundred, so 19.7 per hundred per 1,000 doesn’t make sense.

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  1. [...] Majority Leader John Coghill took a break from playing amateur gynecologist to say, “This decision comes despite repeated assertions by the State of Alaska that the Fish and [...]



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