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Texas Law To Reduce Access To Abortion Takes Effect, Citizens Not Happy

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Texas Law To Reduce Access To Abortion Takes Effect, Citizens Not Happy
Angry Citizens Take The Street Of Texas To Protest
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Texas Law To Reduce Access To Abortion Takes Effect, Citizens Not Happy

The most radical abortion law in the US has gone into effect, despite legal efforts to block it.

A near-total abortion ban in Texas empowers any private citizen to sue an abortion provider who violates the law, opening the floodgates to harassing and frivolous lawsuits from anti-abortion vigilantes that could eventually shutter most clinics in the state.

“Abortion access will be thrown into absolute chaos,” says Amanda Williams, executive director of the abortion support group the Lilith Fund, a plaintiff in the suit that challenged the law. “Unfortunately, many people who need access the most will slip through the cracks, as we have seen over the years with the relentless attacks here in our state.

“It is unbelievable that Texas politicians have gotten away with this devastating and cruel law that will harm so many.”

Senate Bill 8, ushered through the Republican-dominated Texas legislature and signed into law by the Republican governor, Greg Abbott, in May, bars abortion once embryonic cardiac activity is detected, which is around six weeks, and offers no exceptions for rape or incest. Texas is the first state to ban abortion this early in pregnancy since Roe v Wade, and last-minute efforts to halt it through an appeal to the US supreme court by Tuesday did not succeed.

While a dozen other states have passed similar so-called “heartbeat” bills, they have all been blocked by the courts. The Texas version is novel in that it is intentionally designed to shield government officials from enforcement, and thus make legal challenges more difficult to secure. It instead incentivizes any private citizen in the US to bring civil suit against an abortion provider or anyone who “aids or abets” the procedure.

The law “immediately and catastrophically reduces abortion access in Texas”, say state abortion providers, and will probably force many abortion clinics to ultimately close. It will prevent the majority of Texas women (85%) from accessing abortion care, as most aren’t aware they are pregnant as early as six weeks.

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Joe Biden condemned the new law and reaffirmed the White House’s support for abortion rights. “This extreme Texas law blatantly violates the constitutional right established under Roe v Wade and upheld as a precedent for nearly half a century,” Biden said in the statement.

Planned Parenthood, which operates 11 clinics in the state, and Whole Woman’s Health clinics told the Guardian they would comply with the extreme law despite the fact that it is contrary to their best medical practices. In the days leading up to the law’s enactment, Texas clinics say they have been forced to turn away patients who need abortion care at the law’s cutoff point this week and into the near future.

Some abortion physicians in Texas have opted to discontinue offering services, choosing to forgo the potential risk of frivolous and costly lawsuits. For instance, most of the physicians across the four Whole Woman’s Health clinics in Texas will not continue care to prevent jeopardizing their livelihoods, said the clinic founder, Amy Hagstrom Miller.

States enacted 90 abortion restrictions in 2021, breaking the previous record of 89 in 2011.
‘Radicalized’ anti-abortion movement poses increased threat, US warned
Read more
“We are all going to comply with the law even though it is unethical, inhumane, and unjust,” Dr Ghazaleh Moayedi, a Texas abortion provider and OB-GYN, said. “It threatens my livelihood and I fully expect to be sued. But my biggest fear is making sure the most vulnerable in my community, the Black and Latinx patients I see, who are already most at risk from logistical and financial barriers, get the care they need.”

Texas Law To Reduce Access To Abortion Takes Effect, Citizens Not Happy

The law will force most patients to travel out of state for care, increasing the driving distance to an abortion clinic twentyfold – from an average of 12 miles to 248 miles one-way, nearly 500 miles round-trip, the Guttmacher Institute found. And that is only if patients have the resources to do so, including time off work, ability to pay for the procedure, and in some cases childcare.

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Providers and abortion fund support groups – who help finance travel, lodging, and direct service for low-income women through donations – have spent months scrambling to coordinate with out-of-state clinics, including in New Mexico and Colorado, to ensure patients receive timely care when SB8 goes into effect. Last year, the state was offered a glimpse of what would happen if abortion care ceased: when the state barred most abortion procedures amid the Covid-19 pandemic in March 2020, the number of patients who traveled out of state for care jumped nearly 400%.

Many abortion-seeking women are expected to be delayed until later in pregnancy and others will be forced to carry pregnancy to term or try to end their pregnancies without medical oversight, abortion providers caution. As with most abortion restrictions, low-income women and women of color will bear the greatest burden under SB8.

Physicians are not the only ones that could be targeted under SB8: a breathtakingly wide range of people and groups, including clinic nurses, abortion fund workers, domestic violence and rape crisis counselors, or even a family member who offers a car ride to the clinic could now face suit from strangers. Those who sue can collect a minimum of $10,000 if they win, but if providers are legally successful they cannot recoup any legal payment. The law, say providers, will spur abortion “bounty hunters”.

The law’s radical legal provision is the first of its kind in the country.

The state’s major anti-abortion lobby group, Texas Right to Life, have already helped empower anti-abortion activists to enforce the law by creating a website that invites “whistleblowers” to report violations of SB8. (In response, pro-choice advocates have flooded the digital entry forms with satirical information.)

Abortion providers, funds, and clergy members, represented by the Center for Reproductive Rights, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, and the American Civil Liberties Union, filed suit against SB8 in July, writing that the law would “create absolute chaos in Texas and irreparably harm Texans in need of abortion services.”

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Texas Law To Reduce Access To Abortion Takes Effect, Citizens Not Happy

A preliminary injunction hearing was originally set for Monday 30 August in federal court. However, the largely conservative fifth circuit court of appeals cancelled the hearing on Sunday afternoon and denied the plaintiffs’ request to allow the district court to block the law. Providers then appealed to the US supreme court for emergency relief.

But the court failed to act before the law took effect on Wednesday, allowing it to proceed. While the nation’s high court, which now holds a strong anti-choice contingent, plans to consider a Mississippi 15-week ban that could test Roe v Wade during the next term, its lack of action in the Texas case signals the possible early unraveling of Roe.

Texas is already one of the most difficult states in the US in which to access abortion due to a slew of state laws pushed by the Republican-dominated legislature over the past decade, including a 24-hour waiting period, a 20-week abortion ban, restrictions on telemedicine, and a prohibition on private and public insurance. It is home to the highest number of abortion deserts – cities in which an abortion-seeking patient must travel at least 100 miles for care – in the country.

Following the passage of a 2013 multi-part law known as House Bill 2, roughly half of the state’s abortion clinics shuttered – dropping from 40 to less than 20. While the law was eventually struck down by the US supreme court in 2016, many clinics were unable to reopen. Large swaths of the state – including the Panhandle and west Texas – are without an abortion clinic, forcing women to travel great distances for care.

Theguardian.com

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FG spent over ₦2 billion on free meals propramme in Adamawa – Minister

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FG spent over ₦2 billion on free meals propramme in Adamawa – Minister
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FG spent over ₦2 billion on free meals propramme in Adamawa – Minister

The Federal Government (FG), has spent not less than ₦2 billion on free feeding for pupils in Adamawa, under the National Home-Grown School Feeding Programme (NHGSFP).

Hajia Sadiya Farouq, Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, gave the statistic during the hand over of additional 50,000 branded quality feeding utensils to Adamawa Government on Saturday, in Yola.

Farouq, represented by Dr. Umar Bindir, National Coordinator, Social Investment Programme, said that.

NHGSFP was one of the four clusters under the Social Investment Programme (NSIP).

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She explained that the Federal Government was expending a total of ₦226 million monthly on the school feeding programme in Adamawa.

She said so far, more than nine million pupils had registered and were benefiting from the programme nationwide.

“Over ₦2 billion expended by the Federal Government in Adamawa, under the National Home-Grown School Feeding Programme (NHGSFP).

“I m here today, to represent Mr President, to hand over an additional 50,000 branded quality feeding utensils to the Adamawa State Government, for use in feeding pupils under the National Home-Grown School Feeding Programme (NHGSFP).

“So far, the NHGSFP has recorded over nine million pupils that are being fed by over 100,000 cooks/vendors nationwide,” Sadiya said.

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FG spent over ₦2 billion on free meals propramme in Adamawa – Minister

According to the minister, the Programme, launched in 2016, is well grounded in Adamawa and that so far, 1,286 schools have been enrolled, with 162,782 children being fed, using 2,417 cooks/vendors.

She explained that 182,000 utensils were previously distributed in Adamawa, and that Saturday’s programme was a continuation of one of the several strategic plans on the programme, aimed at ensuring pupils’ hygiene and safety in consuming the free meals.

In his address, Gov. Ahmadu Fintiri, who was represented by Mr. Elijah Tumba, Commissioner for Rehabilitation, Reconstruction and Re-settlement, thanked the Federal Government for the laudable initiative.

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Fintiri said that according to available records, the feeding programme had increased the number of pupils enrolment into schools across the state.

The governor said his administration was always ready to partner with the Federal Government in moving the educational sector forward.

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Strike: Doctors not paid were illegally employed, We’re not owing doctors – FG

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Strike: Doctors not paid were illegally employed, We’re not owing doctors - FG
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Strike: Doctors not paid were illegally employed, We’re not owing doctors – FG

•Says those not paid were illegally employed

•Laments disparity in payment of foreign, Nigerian doctors

•Says some states pay foreign doctors five times higher than Nigerian counterparts

The Federal Government insisted yesterday that resident doctors who were not paid were only those illegally recruited by Chief Medical Directors, CMDs, without necessary approval.

The Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, who stated when he received chairman of the Federal Character Commission, FCC, Dr Muheeba Dankaka, and other federal commissioners who paid him a courtesy visit in his office, also expressed concern over the disparity in payment of foreign doctors by some states, warning that such preferential treatment does not encourage national unity and loyalty.

“You people know the mandate for recruitment. The Federal Ministry involved will give approval. The office of the Head of Service of the Federation will give approval. Budget Office will give approval. These three approvals come to you in Federal Character Commission for final approval and issuing of compliance letter. But in the case of these resident doctors, their letters were issued without any of these approvals.

“The CMDs who did that said they thought they could pay them through Government Integrated Financial Management Information System, GFMIS, platform, an ad hoc platform used for sundry expenses. Personnel costs have been removed from GFMIS. That is the problem.

”Every payment for personnel costs is done under Integrated Personal and Payroll Information System, IPPIS. But, now a waiver has been given. It will come to you in the FCC to give compliance certificate.

“We explained to them that it is not a one bus stop thing. It cannot be done in one day. They said no, we are going on strike. You go on strike to force government to regularize an irregularity. It is not done.”“Ngige disclosed that the request for compliance letter would be sent to the FCC by the Federal Ministry of Health before the end of the week and urged the commission to give the request expeditious attention.

Strike: Doctors not paid were illegally employed, We’re not owing doctors – FG

On preferential treatment of foreign doctors by states, Ngige said some states in Nigeria employ foreign doctors and pay them five times higher than they pay their Nigerian counterparts.

He charged the FCC to use its constitutional mandate to promote national unity and loyalty, rather than concentrate efforts only on the public sector, especially in job recruitment.

He also appealed to the commission to ensure equitable distribution of amenities, infrastructure and social services in the country.

The minister said: “The constitution did not say that you do only cases in the public sector. There are areas we need you to look into especially where the constitution is silent.

“We have cases where doctors are employed from Egypt, Cuba and Pakistan and they are paid five times what the Nigerian doctor will get if you convert the foreign exchange they use to pay them.

“But in this country, I was here when some of my teachers left from South East to go and teach in the North East at a time. They left because we had enough down there to export to our brothers. They were paid with our local currency and given some other incentives, which at the end of the day make the economy of those states to be alright.

“Whether you like it or not, if some people are poor in Nigeria in the poverty index rating, when the Nigerian poverty index is being taken, it will be an aggregate, including those places. If it is health, when the health parameters are being taken, it is for the whole. So, FCC can go into that area.”

Ngige urged the FCC to persuade state governments to open up and advertise those jobs, so that Nigerians could come from any part of the country to fill the gap.

He further advised the commission to be revolutionary and do new things, using its broad mandate, established by Section 14 (3) of the 1999 Nigerian constitution (as amended).

“Our constitution is the Supreme law of the land. And any law made by anybody, whether national and state assembly that is in conflict with constitution is void. So, you people have a strong mandate from the supreme law of the land. I think you should help us build a new country.

“A country where we will not be talking about hatred because it is some of these perceptions that cannot even be separated from reality that breeds all the discontent and hate speeches we see.

“We must strive to unite our country. All these North and South, East and West, they are artificial geographical demarcations. One body that can unite our country is FCC. As you are here now, you are no longer politicians.

“We count on your chairman that wherever she goes to fly the umbrella of justice, freedom and fair play. We need it for Nigerian workers. We need it for Nigerian people. If we distribute schools well, people will go to school in the areas where there are no schools now. The almajiris will get western education. When we educate people, we have liberated them from poverty and ignorance which breeds all these security issues all over,” Ngige said.

He blamed the economic situation which has eaten into individual pockets for worsening labour dispute issues in the country, adding that labour unions were now remembering agreements they signed with the previous adminstartions, some dating back to 2009 and even 2002.

He said: “The President said we are alive to our responsibilities and we do not owe any worker salaries. The president is strong on that and that is why we have not retrenched anybody. He is also strong on the fact that government is a continuum.

“If they now remember that the previous administration owed them 2009, we will not say no. we will say yes. But we will pay you based on our capacity to pay and ability to pay.

“Those allowances can be stretched and we pay you in tranches. That is what we have been doing with ASUU, NASU, and JOHESU.”

Earlier the Chairman of FCC, Dankaka noted that the commission was established to promote the unity of the country and ensure strong and indivisible nation, fostering sense of belonging, fairness, equality and justice.

She said they have the mandate to ensure the fair distribution of infrastructure, amenities and social service, assuring that the commission under her would discharge its mandate in a manner to eschew the feeling of marginalization from any quarters of the country.

Vanguardngr.com

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AHAPN urges FG to develop single-spine salary structure for healthcare practitioners

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AHAPN urges FG to develop single-spine salary structure for healthcare practitioners
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AHAPN urges FG to develop single-spine salary structure for healthcare practitioners

By Amarachukwu EgwuAgha, Abakaliki

Association of Hospital and Administrative Pharmacists of Nigeria (AHAPN) has urged the Federal Government (FG) to develop single-spine salary structure for healthcare practioners.

The association made the call in a statement jointly signed by it’s national chairman
Mr Olabode Ogunjemiyo and national secretary Mr Oladele Obikoya and made available to newsmen in Abakaliki.

The group also urged the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) to embrace modern medicine and to jettison ‘medieval’ era practice

AHAPN noted that the single-spine salary structure for practising health professionals in Nigeria would usher in permanent industrial harmony in the health sector.

The association frowned at the prolonged professional rivalry between NMA and other health workers under the aegis of Joint Health Sector Unions (JOHESU) and appealed to the FG to initiate a single-spine salary regime for all health workers.

The initiative the association noted would be based on the job evaluation report in the health sector submitted in February 2008 by the inter agency committee set up by FG on the matter.

AHAPN urges FG to develop single-spine salary structure for healthcare practitioners

The statement added that the report prescribed a salary relativity ratio of 10 is to 8.57 is to 7.12 between medical doctors and pharmacists/other health professionals and others respectively.

The association said that the single-spine salary model had been adopted by the government of Ghana for their health workforce and stressed that it has engendered peace, harmony and stability in the sector with the attendant better health indices.

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The association condemned the reaction of the NMA to the recent 15 days ultimatum and commencement of an indefinite strike action notice by JOHESU to FG.

The statement alleged that NMA had described some of the demands of JOHESU as inappropriate and capable of violating existing agreement between it and the FG which could plung the health sector into needless labour unrest.

The demands included; upward review of the Consolidated Health Salary Structure (CONHESS), non-discriminatory hazard allowance, implementation of consultancy cadre for pharmacists.

The association also demanded for the promotion of hospital-based consultants to Chief Executive Officers of tertiary hospitals.

The statement read: “The NMA is challenging the position of JOHESU on residency training programme for its members and creation of Consultant Pharmacist cadre.

“NMA alleges that the demand for the implementation of the Pharmacist consultant cadre is a breach of the ruling of the National Industrial Court which places the authority of such creation in the Federal Ministry of Health (FMoH).

“The association in debunking NMA’s false claims set the records straight with supporting documents from the FG and also stated the existence of the Pharmacist consultant cadre in the public service of countries like U.K, USA, France, Australia and neighboring Ghana.

“The NMA’s opposition is contained in a letter to Dr Chris Ngige, Minister of Labour and Employment, dated Sept. 7, 2021 and jointly signed by the President, Prof. Innocent Ujah, and General Secretary, Dr Phillips Ekpe.”

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It added that the NMA had contended the positions of JOHESU claiming that the association was not aware of any residency training programme in teaching hospitals, specialist hospitals and federal medical centres.

The pharmacists which vowed commitment to enthronment of industrial peace in the health sector urged the medical doctors to jettison ‘medieval’ era practice of the profession and embrace modern medicine anchored on teamwork for patients’ best outcome.

“The NMA should understand that orthodox health care practice is not indigenous to Nigeria.

“Therefore, its modus operandi in the country cannot be dictated and driven by the whimsical and capricious proclivities of NMA contrary to what is obtainable at the global arena,” the document said.

The statement portrayed NMA’s alleged denial of residency programme for pharmacists as mere deception, as it cited the particular circular via the FMoH that gave approval for the residency training of pharmacists.

“The ministry of health had on Sept. 22, 2015 approved the use of its facilities as sites for residency training for the students of the West African Postgraduate College of Pharmacists.

“The approval was made vide a circular, reference number FDS/231/04/11/68 signed by the Permanent Secretary.

“It is important that NMA be reminded that residency programmes are not only applicable to medicine but also Pharmacy and Nursing in other climes notably USA.

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“In the USA, physicians, pharmacists and nurses undergo residency training where you either pay the facilities to undergo the training or you receive remuneration as salary and you are thereafter bonded for a period.

” In adopting the above model in Nigeria, emigration of residents in medicine will be stemmed.

“Perhaps, NMA imagines that medicine is superior to every other profession. NMA should appreciate that modern healthcare provision is anchored on teamwork by the different professionals with the patient at the centre of the care matrix.

“Besides, NMA should note that professions exist to serve humanity and new ones are emerging in response to the activities of human existence.

“Everyone cannot belong to a single profession; it is appropriate to state that the bottom line of all care efforts in the patient care chain is to treat the patient to get healed from ailment.

“Doing this, requires the use of drugs which are tiny molecules prepared, handled and managed by the pharmacist and it remains the most potent weapon in disease treatment and patient care/management,” the statement added.

The association noted that pharmacists remained one of the most exposed professionals in terms of risk in the hospital environment as they were exposed to risk of infection during patients counseling, chemical hazards, physical and psychological agents.

The group canvassed for parity in determining hazard allowance of all health professionals in the ongoing negotiation with FG.

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