Local News Noise & Notes Politics

Yarmuth Rips Limbaugh During Women’s History Month Address

In a House floor speech celebrating Women’s History Month, U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth, D-Ky., called out talk radio host Rush Limbaugh’s crude remarks about a Georgetown law student as part of a larger Republican assault on women.

Earlier this week, Limbaugh apologized to 30-year-old Sandra Fluke after calling the women’s rights activist a “slut” and “prostitute” during a recent broadcast for coming out in favor of making contraception available to all women.

The issue has become a hot button election-year fight between President Obama and Republicans over his policy that requires health insurance companies to cover birth control.

Yarmuth says Limbaugh’s comments were not an isolated incident, but rather reflect a trend in the GOP in their voting record on Planned Parenthood and Title X family planing services.

Check it out:

Several GOP lawmakers and pundits have come out against Limbaugh’s comments as inappropriate, but political observers have noted the remarks are hurting Republicans nationwide.

Local News Politics

Indiana AG Appeals Planned Parenthood Ruling, Organization Looks to Kansas Case for Encouragement

The Indiana Attorney General’s office has filed its brief in the defense of a state law that defunds Planned Parenthood.

The law passed the General Assembly this year and blocks Medicaid funding from any organization that provides abortions. Planned Parenthood of Indiana and the American Civil Liberties Union have challenged the law, and won a temporary injunction in June.

Further, the federal government has rejected Indiana’s attempt to move state Medicaid rules in line with the law. In the brief, Attorney General Greg Zoeller argues that the state’s feud with the federal government should take precedent over any court challenges.

“This dispute belongs between the state and the federal government that administers and funds the Medicaid program, not between a private contractor and the state,” said Zoeller in a statement. “The proper place to argue this dispute is the federal government’s own administrative hearing process, established for exactly this purpose. We hope the 7th Circuit will agree, reverse the U.S. District Court’s decision and allow the administrative review to run its course.”

But Planned Parenthood of Indiana President Betty Cockrum says that’s too abstract.

“The one thing it overlooks is that the defunding in particular had a very significant and adverse effect on Planned Parenthood of Indiana and his argument entirely forecloses any action on our part to seek relief for that,” she says.

Before the injunction was issued, Planned Parenthood planned layoffs, furloughs and office closures to make up for loss of Medicaid funds. The organization serves about 9,300 Medicaid patients in Indiana.

The appeal takes the case to the Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago. A Kansas judge recently ruled in Planned Parenthood’s favor in a similar case.

“Same arguments, same response. There are nuances and differences and all that but it’s one more favorable review,” says Cockrum, adding that the Kansas ruling gives her confidence in another legal victory for her organization.

The appeal will be heard in the U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago.

Local News Politics

Planned Parenthood to Make Cuts as Donations Run Out

The donations have run out for Planned Parenthood of Indiana, and layoffs, furloughs and service cuts are forthcoming.

Planned Parenthood has been using donations to pay for services to its 9,300 Medicaid patients since May, when Governor Mitch Daniels signed a law stripping the agency of its $1.4 million in public funding.

But the donations have run out and a hoped-for ruling in a legal challenge to the law hasn’t arrived. Organization officials say that leaves them with no choice but to begin cutting staff and services.

No services will be provided to Medicaid patients unless they can pay out of pocket. Two specialists at the Muncie branch will be laid off. And most employees will be furloughed without pay later this week.

The U.S. Justice Department has taken Planned Parenthood’s side in the challenge to the law, and a ruling is due by July 1st. A spokeswoman says if the judge’s ruling isn’t favorable, more layoffs and office closures will likely be necessary.

Attorney General Greg Zoeller says the law is fair and his office will continue to defend it. The state is appealing to change its rules for receiving Medicaid funding to accommodate the new law.

Local News Noise & Notes Politics

Update With Audio: Moffett Says Abortion is Murder

Losing a key pro-life endorsement to state Senate President David Williams, Republican gubernatorial candidate Phil Moffett flexed his socially conservative views in a recent questionnaire sent out by the Associated Press.

The Louisville businessman, who is backed by the Tea Party, didn’t pull any punches on the issues and equated abortion with murder.

From the Daily Journal:

Moffett, better known for his fiscal conservatism, shows the colors of a social conservative on the abortion issue.

“Human life begins at conception and a fetus is as human as a toddler,” Moffett said, responding to the AP questionnaire. “No one would seek a special exemption to murder a toddler, so there should be no special exemptions for murdering a human fetus.”

We’ve asked the Moffett campaign for further comment.

UPDATE with audio:

Local News

SAFE Exams Now Available Before Crime Is Reported

Revised Kentucky law now requires rape exams to be made available to sexual assault victims, even if the crime has not yet been reported. Sexual Assault Forensic-Medical Exams, or SAFE exams, are available at medical facilities across the commonwealth.

Kentucky State Police Lt. Col. Mike Sapp says delayed reporting of sexual assaults is not unusual.

“But unless we can get this evidence collected and preserved, it’s really difficult to get these perpetrators indicted,” he says. “And we’re glad to be part of this SAFE exam compliance project because we believe it will increase the number of cases that we have good quality evidence collected.”

State law requires SAFE exams to be provided to victims who request them, and victims can decide whether or not to immediately notify authorities. If they choose to delay, all medical evidence gathered during the exam will be stored for 90 days.

Local News

Area Organizations To Celebrate Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Suffrage

Thursday marks the 90th anniversary of the formal adoption of the 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote. A local celebration will be held Thursday evening to honor one of the leaders of the suffrage movement.

Elizabeth Cady Stanton helped lead the women’s rights movement, but Louisvillian Marsha Weinstein says Stanton is often overshadowed by her colleague Susan B. Anthony.

“Her contributions to philosophy, she was equal to Emerson. In terms of her contributions to political science, she was equal to Thomas Jefferson,” says co-founder of the Elizabeth Cady Stanton Trust Marsha Weinstein. “Her work is really very, very important and I think if more people knew about Elizabeth and her contributions, then they would be inspired today to also want to make contributions like she did to the development of democracy in this country.”

The trust has sponsored a website celebrating Stanton’s work. The locally-designed site will debut at the celebration. The event will also include a discussion of the 19th Amendment and Kentucky’s role in the women’s suffrage movement. It will be held at the Pyro Gallery and is sponsored by the League of Women Voters, Elizabeth Cady Stanton Trust and the University of Louisville Women’s Center.

State of Affairs

Black Women's History

Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Black Women’s History
They say history is written by the victors. It should be no surprise then that African-American women’s stories have gone untold for so long, and their achievements have gone unrecognized. Facing the double-edged sword of racial and sexual discrimination, they often found themselves kept on the sidelines of both the women’s liberation and the civil rights movements. Tuesday on State of Affairs we’ll talk with historian, writer, and activist Dr. Barbara Ransby about the history of Black women in the United States, and why that history is often overlooked.

>Listen to the Show

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