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Friday Femorandum: Legalizing Plan B

In case you (somehow) missed it, the Ninth Circuit US Court of Appeals ruled this week that pharmacies have to fill all lawful prescriptions, even if a pharmacist has a religious objection to doing his or her job. Although the situation on the ground has changed substantially since the original case was filed in 2007 (emergency contraception, or Plan B, is now also available over the counter), the ruling is still a major victory. Pharmacists who refuse to do their jobs and dispense legally prescribed medication will no longer be able to so under the vague mantle of “religious freedom.”

Excited Yes animated GIFAs the Olympian notes, the plaintiffs (Ralph’s Thriftway in Olympia and two individual pharmacists) plan to appeal the decision, which could go all the way to the Supreme Court.

Planned Parenthood found itself in the crosshairs of the radical anti-choice movement this week, when a group calling itself the Center for Medical Progress released a heavily edited video it said proved that the pro-choice organization was “selling aborted baby body parts” for nefarious purposes and at a profit. (In reality, as readers are probably aware, Planned Parenthood’s donations of fetal tissue are legal, standard medical practice, contribute to critical medical research for which fetal tissue is best suited, and do not profit the organization.)

RH Reality Check has been all over the story, with a wide range of pieces on everything from why the state of California, where the hidden-camera video was taken, should investigate the CMP, which posed as a medical research firm, for fraud; to the larger context of this concerted, long-planned attack on Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers; to the tactics used by the anti-choice front group, which included routinely plying their targets with alcohol to get them to say things on hidden camera that could then be edited and used out of context to promote their radical agenda.Wtf Crazy animated GIF

RH Reality Check also has a handy infographic showing who is behind this latest round of attacks on Planned Parenthood, including the Family Research Council, the notorious violent hate group Operation Rescue, and Congressional Republicans. It’s a must-view if you’re curious who’s responsible for this ugly, dishonest smear campaign.

The New York Times editorial board also weighed in on the manufactured scandal this week, calling the efforts just “the latest in a series of unrelenting attacks” against reproductive health-care providers.

applause animated GIF “The Center for Medical Progress video campaign is a dishonest attempt to make legal, voluntary and potentially lifesaving tissue donations appear nefarious and illegal. Lawmakers responding by promoting their own anti-choice agenda are rewarding deception and putting women’s health and their constitutionally protected rights at risk,” the Timesconcluded.

And Hillary herself got in on the action, defending Planned Parenthood at a campaign event in South Carolina, according to ThinkProgress. Clinton said, “I think it is unfortunate that Planned Parenthood has been the object of such a concerted attack for so many years,” the Democratic front-runner said at an event in Greenville, South Carolina. “And it’s really an attack against a woman’s right to choose, to make the most personal, difficult decisions that any woman would face, based on her faith and the medical advice that she’s given.”

We wouldn’t have minded some less-tepid rhetoric from HRC (later, she walked back her support a bit, saying Congress would have to decide whether the video justified defunding Planned Parenthood), but we’re glad she’s talking about health care access for women–and linking women’s equality to the success of the economy as a whole, as she did in a recent campaign video targeting opponents who accuse anyone who mentions women of “playing the gender card,” the Washington Post reports.

Writing at Raw Story, the inimitable Amanda Marcotte points out that conservatives who sputter furiously that 90 percent of Planned Parenthood’s budget pays for abortions are simply wrong. In fact, only 3 percent of Planned Parenthood’s budget is abortion-related, and the bulk of their funding provides birth control for low-income women–“and that is why they hate it,” Marcotte says. “Planned Parenthood combines two things that conservatives hate: 1) It provides services that allow low income people to live better lives and improve their economic opportunities. 2) It promotes the idea that women should be able to have sex on their own terms.”

And speaking of that absurd 90-percent claim, here’s Media Matters on the Republican/FOX News glee over the prospect of cutting Planned Parenthood’s funding, which demonstrates clearly that anti-choice commentators are blissfully unaware of what both Planned Parenthood and the Affordable Care Act actually do.

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