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Meanwhile, in Opposite Land…

Monday, Mar 20, 2023 - Posted by Isabel Miller

* Idaho

Bonner General Health, the only hospital in Sandpoint, announced Friday that it will no longer provide obstetrical services to the city of more than 9,000 people, meaning patients will have to drive 46 miles for labor and delivery care. […]

The release also said highly respected, talented physicians are leaving the state, and recruiting replacements will be “extraordinarily difficult.” Idaho has one of the most restrictive abortion bans in the country, with affirmative defenses in court only for documented instances of rape, incest or to save the pregnant person’s life. Physicians are subject to felony charges and the revocation of their medical licenses for violating the statute, which the Idaho Supreme Court in January determined is constitutional. […]

Dr. Amelia Huntsberger, an obstetrician-gynecologist at Bonner General Health, said in an email to States Newsroom, a national nonprofit whose newsrooms include the Idaho Capital Sun in Boise, that she will soon leave the hospital and the state because of the abortion laws and the Legislature’s decision not to continue the state’s maternal mortality review committee.

* Bonner General Health press release…

Bonner General Health’s Board of Directors and Senior Leadership team has made the emotional and difficult decision to discontinue providing Obstetrical services at Bonner General Health for the following reasons:

    * Loss of Pediatrician coverage - Without pediatrician coverage to manage neonatal resuscitations and perinatal care, it is unsafe and unethical to offer routine Labor and Delivery services; despite our best efforts over months of negotiations. Our inpatient pediatric services will no longer be consistent and reliable in May. BGH has reached out to other active and retired providers in the community requesting assistance with pediatric call coverage with no long-term sustainable solutions. Our low patient volume is insufficient to attract candidates for pediatric hospitalists, and we cannot afford to continue having locum tenens physicians.

    * Volumes and changing demographics – The number of deliveries at BGH has continued to decrease yearly. We delivered 265 babies in 2022 and admitted less than ten pediatric patients for other reasons. There are many reasons, including a nationwide decrease in births, an older population moving to Bonner County, and Kootenai Health having a new, updated unit with Neonatologists and OBs in-house 24/7.

    * Idaho’s legal and political climate - Highly respected, talented physicians are leaving. Recruiting replacements will be extraordinarily difficult. In addition, the Idaho Legislature continues to introduce and pass bills that criminalize physicians for medical care nationally recognized as the standard of care.

* Ohio

A coalition of groups that oppose abortion have launched a $5 million dollar television and digital ad campaign to try to convince Ohioans that it is a bad idea. Backers of the amendment are getting ready to circulate petitions to put abortion rights on the ballot and if passed, in the state’s constitution. Ohio Right to Life, Citizens for Christian Virtue and other groups that oppose abortion rights have formed a group called Protect Women Ohio (PWO). That entity that will be airing ads over the next four weeks while a coalition of abortion rights groups will be circulating petitions, trying to get the more than 413,388 valid signatures needed by July 5 to put the issue on the Ohio ballot in November. […]

Molly Smith, board member for Protect Women Ohio, said the ads will focus on parents rights when it comes to the ballot measure. […]

Smith said the amendment would take away a parent’s right to have a say in whether their child can “change her sex” and eliminate any current or future protections for minors to get parent consent before getting an abortion.

The amendment does not mention gender affirming surgery at all, and doesn’t have any impact on Ohio’s existing abortion laws pertaining to minors.

* What it looks like to carry a life-threatening pregnancy in an abortion ban state. Tennessee

The post-Dobbs antiabortion laws have reached far beyond mothers trying to end their pregnancies voluntarily. They are also inhibiting access to healthcare for women like me who want to have a viable pregnancy. The political advocates responsible for the new laws proclaim themselves to be protecting human life, yet their laws can have the opposite effect.

These bans were passed in a hurry, and the end result is poorly drafted laws that are difficult for lawyers and courts to interpret. Because the consequences of violating them are so draconian, many healthcare systems and physicians are understandably avoiding all procedures and medicines associated with voluntary termination of pregnancy, even if they are being used for another purpose. […]

The D&C procedure, which can be used to terminate a pregnancy voluntarily, can also be used to help women like me — women who want to have a viable pregnancy but cannot carry to term. D&Cs can help women who have an incomplete miscarriage or unexplained pregnancy loss. A delay in expelling pregnancy tissue can cause health complications such as infections, and some women cannot have a successful future pregnancy without first having a D&C.

I was never able to get a D&C. On the morning of my final ultrasound — following nearly two weeks of waiting — I started to miscarry on my own. My doctor immediately prescribed hormones in an attempt to slow the progression of the miscarriage, but it was not enough. When I went for the procedure the following day, I had insufficient pregnancy tissue remaining to collect. After a painful waiting period, my husband and I were left without answers regarding what went wrong in this pregnancy.

* Texas

On a sunny August day, after I had just finished the invite list for the baby shower my sister was planning for me, everything changed. Some unexpected and curious symptoms arrived. I contacted my obstetrician to be safe, and was surprised when I was told to come in as soon as possible. After a brief examination, my husband and I received the harrowing news that I had dilated prematurely due to a condition known as cervical insufficiency. Soon after, my membranes ruptured prematurely, and we were told by multiple doctors that, because of the seriousness of this condition, called PPROM, the loss of our daughter was inevitable. […]

My health care team was anguished as they explained there was nothing they could do because of Texas’s anti-abortion laws, the latest of which had taken effect two days after my water broke. It meant that even though we would, with complete certainty, lose Willow, my doctor could not intervene as long as her heart was beating or until I was sick enough for the ethics board at the hospital to consider my life at risk and permit the standard health care I needed at that point — an abortion.

So even though I had lost all of my amniotic fluid — something an unborn child simply cannot survive without — we had to wait. I cannot adequately put into words the trauma and despair that comes with waiting to either lose your own life, your child’s, or both. For days, I was locked in this bizarre and avoidable hell. Would Willow’s heart stop, or would I deteriorate to the brink of death?

The answer arrived three long days later. In a matter of minutes, I went from being physically healthy to developing sepsis — a condition in which bacteria in the blood develops into infection, with the ability to kill in under an hour. I spent the next three days in the intensive care unit, surrounded by family who booked last-minute flights because they feared for my life. I spent another three days in a less critical unit of the hospital — all because I was denied access to reasonable health care due to Texas’s new abortion bans.

* Nebraska

Nebraska’s state legislature has been unable to pass a single bill this year. One senator’s distaste with the advancement of a bill seeking to ban gender-affirming care for Nebraskans under 19, coupled with the state’s unique filibustering rules, has brought the session to a standstill.

While filibustering is not rare for Nebraska’s unicameral legislature, Democratic state Sen. Machaela Cavanaugh is the first lawmaker to filibuster every bill introduced to the floor, said lawmakers and political scientists. Traditionally, senators have only stalled debate around the bills they oppose.

If the filibuster does not end, the clerk of the legislature predicted, as few as 30 bills out of the roughly 820 that were introduced would be debated this session. Senators opposing the bill seeking to restrict gender-affirming care say this is the first time their legislature has become a part of the national culture war around transgender rights. Lawmakers also say the bill and the filibuster are a sign that one of the least-polarized legislatures in the country is becoming partisan

She has defined her own priorities clearly. “I will burn this session to the ground over this bill,” she told the body last month. “I have nothing but time, and I am going to use all of it.”

Sen. Cavanaugh is related to Statehouse lobbyist John Amdor.

* Wyoming

Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon (R) late Friday signed into law a ban on abortion pills, as the state adopted what appears to be the nation’s first such state law.

The new law says that it will be “unlawful to prescribe, dispense, distribute, sell or use any drug for the purpose of procuring or performing an abortion.”

The law includes penalties of up to six months’ imprisonment and a fine of up to $9,000. But it exempts people who take abortion pills from criminal liability. It also allows drugs to be used in case they are needed to treat “natural miscarriages.”

Abortion rights advocates expressed dismay. “A person’s health, not politics, should guide important medical decisions — including the decision to have an abortion,” said Antonio Serrano, an advocacy director at the American Civil Liberties Union of Wyoming.

* Georgia

Local Georgia officials refused to change a department’s health insurance plan to cover the gender-affirming surgery of a trans employee, citing cost as a reason.

But Georgia’s Houston County ended up paying a private law firm nearly $1.2 million to fight the employee in federal court, far more than the estimated $10,000 a year it would have cost to add transition-related care to the health plan, ProPublica reported.

And this month a federal judge ordered it to cover transition care for its employees.

“It was a slap in the face, really, to find out how much they had spent,” Anna Lange, the sheriff’s deputy who filed a federal discrimination lawsuit, said.

* Back to Idaho

A bill that would allow Idaho to execute condemned inmates by firing squad is headed to the governor’s desk after passing the Legislature on Monday with a veto-proof majority.

Firing squads will be used only if the state cannot obtain the drugs needed for lethal injections — but one death row inmate has already had his scheduled execution postponed multiple times because of drug scarcity.


  1. - Chicago Republican - Monday, Mar 20, 23 @ 2:02 pm:

    I am thankful that President Trump was able to appoint supreme court justices that understood the error of Roe vs. Wade. The nation is better off with abortion left to the states.

  2. - This - Monday, Mar 20, 23 @ 2:02 pm:

    And then there’s our neighbor Iowa, being led by a governor auditioning for a DeSantis VP slot, also turning back the clock a century. Time for the blue team in Illinois to ramp it up in Iowa to help protect womens’ rights right next door.

  3. - Dotnonymous - Monday, Mar 20, 23 @ 2:09 pm:


  4. - illinifan - Monday, Mar 20, 23 @ 2:13 pm:

    Women and infants will die because of poor law making by people who do not fully understand the risks or are blinded to the risks due to ideology. Health care decisions should be left to the women and families affected with the best advice from people in the medical field.

  5. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Mar 20, 23 @ 2:16 pm:

    ===the error of Roe vs. Wade===

    Republicans are now dangerous to women’s health and until abortion is available nationally Republicans will lose at the ballot box… along with 2A zealots who refuse to vote for adding weapons bans.

    Can’t be dangerous to women, children, schools and think as a party you can rule in legislatures and Governors

    Kansas showed… as a state being dangerous to women was a bridge too far, so they voted accordingly.

  6. - Nick - Monday, Mar 20, 23 @ 2:20 pm:

    So much energy and effort and focus on just being cruel

  7. - Streator Curmudgeon - Monday, Mar 20, 23 @ 2:25 pm:

    “…one death row inmate has already had his scheduled execution postponed multiple times because of drug scarcity.”

    Last year I had to have my dog euthanized, and it was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. I loved him but it was absolutely necessary. The process was surprisingly fast.

    My point is that I’ve never heard of any shortage of drugs vets use to euthanize dogs and cats. I don’t know what drugs states use in lethal injections, but there aren’t that many being done any more. Why the scarcity of those drugs?

  8. - Norseman - Monday, Mar 20, 23 @ 2:30 pm:

    === The nation is better off with abortion left to the states. ===

    Opposite Land meet Clueless people. Must be caused by WOKE [insert photo of “The Scream”]

  9. - JS Mill - Monday, Mar 20, 23 @ 2:33 pm:

    =I am thankful that President Trump was able to appoint supreme court justices that understood the error of Roe vs. Wade. The nation is better off with abortion left to the states.=

    Live by the sword, die by the sword. These things have a way of eating their own, I hope you are just as thankful when that happens.

  10. - Norseman - Monday, Mar 20, 23 @ 2:34 pm:

    John always touts Nebraska’s unicameral legislature. Well John, you’ve discovered single chamber dysfunction. We’ve see two chambered dysfunction - twice as good as Nebraska. /s

  11. - Nuke The Whales - Monday, Mar 20, 23 @ 2:54 pm:

    ==Lawmakers also say the bill and the filibuster are a sign that one of the least-polarized legislatures in the country is becoming partisan==
    I think the folks at the Washington Post need to read “Polarization without Parties: Term Limits and Legislative Partisanship in Nebraska’s Unicameral Legislature” published in State Politics & Policy Quarterly in 2015. Ultimately, the bicameral legislature is redundant. A bicameral legislature in Illinois stopped making sense once we passed the Cutback Amendment. A bicameral legislature based on houses with two different electoral schemes makes some sense. One house with FPTP, single seat districts and another house with the exact same thing, but slightly smaller, makes little sense.

  12. - Huh? - Monday, Mar 20, 23 @ 3:12 pm:

    There are no words that can respond to what chicago republican’t wrote. The sheer horror of what is occurring because of the SCOTUS ruling is too much to stomach.

  13. - Demoralized - Monday, Mar 20, 23 @ 3:28 pm:

    ==The nation is better off with abortion left to the states==

    Lol. You go with that. They lied about that. Once it was overturned they immediately began working toward banning it nationwide. Anyone that thinks otherwise is fooling themself.

  14. - OneMan - Monday, Mar 20, 23 @ 3:44 pm:

    == My point is that I’ve never heard of any shortage of drugs vets use to euthanize dogs and cats. I don’t know what drugs states use in lethal injections, but there aren’t that many being done any more. Why the scarcity of those drugs? ==

    It’s a different set of drugs. You can get some details here about the shortage.

    Part of it is difficulty making one of them, and European drug companies withholding some for use in this way.

  15. - Ebenezer - Monday, Mar 20, 23 @ 4:00 pm:

    … Left to the states.

    Because when I look at the heart wrenching decisions these families need to make, and they need to make them now. I think: You know who really needs to join us and our doctors in this conversation - the state legislature.
    /110% Snark/

  16. - Nick Name - Monday, Mar 20, 23 @ 4:15 pm:

    ===The nation is better off with abortion left to the states.===

    Limited access to maternal care in Idaho due to OBGYN’s leaving leaving certainly makes Idaho better off, eh? /s

  17. - JoanP - Monday, Mar 20, 23 @ 4:39 pm:

    Why anyone intending to have children would live in a state that restricts maternal health care is beyond me. Particularly since your odds of finding an ob/gyn get longer every day.

  18. - G'Kar - Monday, Mar 20, 23 @ 6:34 pm:

    It is not just in Idaho. In 2021 St. Margaret’s Hospital in Spring Valley bought out Illinois Valley Community Hospital in Peru. In January, with very little warning, they closed the hospital in Peru and with it the only Obstetrics Unit in the area.

  19. - Leslie K - Monday, Mar 20, 23 @ 8:27 pm:

    Thank you for this powerfully constructed post, Isabel.

  20. - JustAThought - Monday, Mar 20, 23 @ 8:51 pm:

    Thank you Isabel. It is opposite land today, at least here in Illinois, but very important to remain informed so we never let this awfulness infect this State. Great work.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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