Healthcare News February 8, 2012

  • Komen vice president resigns over Planned Parenthood decision

    Karen Handel said she continues to believe the decision was the best one for Komen’s future.

  • OVERNIGHT HEALTH: Planned Parenthood still the center of controversy

    The fallout from the Susan G. Komen foundation’s on-again, off-again decision defunding Planned Parenthood continued Tuesday, all but assuring the fight over abortion rights would play a major role in the 2012 election.

    The day started with the resignation of Komen vice president Karen Handel, who had become a lightning rod because of her past commitment to defund the nation’s largest abortion provider. In her resignation letter, Handel said she was “deeply disappointed by the gross mischaracterizations of the strategy, its rationale, and my involvement in it.”

    Liberals applauded the decision. Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) wrote on Twitter that Komen could now "refocus on its mission of preventing & curing breast cancer."

    Planned Parenthood isn’t out of the woods, though. In a separate development, the anti-abortion-rights group Alliance Defense Fund released a report alleging “waste, abuse, and potential fraud” at Planned Parenthood and called on Congress to schedule investigatory hearings “immediately.” Healthwatch has more on the ADF report here

    Contraception controversy: Congressional Republicans continued to hammer the Obama administration Tuesday for its mandate requiring employers — including some religious institutions — to cover birth control for their employees. Senate Republicans took to the floor to attack the mandate, and Sen. Chuck Grassley (Iowa) sent a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius urging her to withdraw the policy.

  • Anti-abortion-rights group accuses Planned Parenthood of ‘potential fraud’

    An anti-abortion-rights group unveiled a new report Tuesday aimed at fueling calls for congressional hearings into Planned Parenthood.

    The Alliance Defense Fund prepared the report for House Energy and Commerce Oversight Chairman Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.), whose ongoing probe into the nation’s largest abortion provider was cited by the Susan G. Komen foundation as a reason to cut off its funding. The report’s authors say they identified examples of “waste, abuse, and potential fraud” at Planned Parenthood, and called on Congress to schedule investigatory hearings “immediately.”

    “Americans deserve to know if their hard-earned tax money is being funneled to groups that are misusing it,” ADF senior counsel Steven Aden said in a statement. “Planned Parenthood has to play by the same rules as everyone else. It certainly isn’t entitled to a penny of public funds, especially if it is committing Medicare fraud.”

  • GOP field, Obama campaign say Romney hypocritical in contraception attacks

    Mitt Romney’s opponents on both sides of the aisle are turning his attack on President Obama’s decision to mandate that employers — including Catholic hospitals and universities — provide health insurance for contraception back on him.

    Romney has been hammering Obama’s mandate, believing the issue can help him to appeal both to the religious right and centrist Catholic voters who supported the president in the last election.

    But both his Democratic and Republican opponents on Tuesday pointed out that as governor of Massachusetts, he required all hospitals — including Catholic institutions — to provide the morning-after pill.

    In 2005, Romney required Massachusetts hospitals to provide emergency contraception to rape victims after the state legislature overrode his veto of a new state law. Romney said that he was obligated to do so under the advice of his legal counsel, despite some Catholic hospitals in the state arguing that the morning-after pill was a form of abortion.

    President Obama’s new regulation is facing similar scrutiny, with Catholic leaders arguing that they are being forced to subsidize a practice against their faith. The White House has stressed that it is willing to work with religious leaders, but believes that cheap and open access to contraception is an important step forward for women’s health.

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