OVERNIGHT HEALTH: 'War on women' rhetoric continues

Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) called its passage "one more assault on what has become sadly but surely known as the war against women." 

Republican women, including Rep. Ann Marie Buerkle (R-N.Y.), balked at the idea.

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"When we sat down, when we began discussing VAWA, we sat down with the understanding that Americans deserve equal protection under the law," she said. "We are not going to single out, we are not going to distinguish one victim from another." 

Read more on the vote from The Hill. 

NARAL, too, blasts 'war on women': In a separate fight, NARAL Pro-Choice America vowed to fight back against a bill to criminalize abortions after 20 weeks in the District of Columbia, authored by Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.). The bill will receive a hearing Thursday.

"The politicians behind this bill, who claim to support smaller government, are obsessed with attacking choice and willing to override locally elected officials to undermine the doctor-patient relationship," NARAL President Nancy Keenan said in a statement.

The bill, H.R. 3803, takes cues from laws passed in six states that ban abortions after 20 weeks because research has suggested that fetuses can feel pain at that point, Republicans say. It contains new reporting requirements and, under certain circumstances, civil remedies for partners and parents of women who have abortions.

Douglas Johnson, legislative director of the National Right to Life Committee, said that a vote against the bill would be "a vote to ratify a policy of unlimited legal abortion, to the moment of birth, in the capital city of the United States." 

Healthwatch has the story

Exchanges details: The Health and Human Services Department announced more than $180 million in grants Wednesday to help five states — including three with Republican governors — establish insurance exchanges. Several GOP governors have resisted exchanges pending the Supreme Court's ruling on the Affordable Care Act, but the latest round of grants could help bolster the argument for states to proceed on their own, avoiding a larger federal role in their exchanges. HHS can set up a federally run fallback exchange in any state that doesn't establish its own.

HHS also released long-awaited details Wednesday about the federal exchange. The guidance is available here.

Female lawmaker describes experience with rape: Rep. Gwen Moore (D-Wis.), speaking against the House-passed version of VAWA, told reporters that she had been raped as a young woman but that the perpetrator was "found not guilty."

"I took a ride with a guy I thought was a friend ... and he decided to take a detour behind some buildings to rape me and choke me almost to death. I went to the hospital, was examined, they could see I had been raped. When we got to court I was on trial ... what I wore that night was on trial and he was found not guilty," Moore said. 

She added that VAWA helps educate law enforcement on issues of rape and sexual abuse. 

"As a woman of color I am particularly aggrieved this bill ignores the circumstances of women who are minorities," she said. 


State by State

Miami is the most expensive place in the country to buy private health insurance.

Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick continues to make the case for new measures to control healthcare costs.

The Louisiana legislature killed a bill to establish the state’s insurance exchange.


Reading list

Mitt Romney’s plan to repeal President Obama’s healthcare law drew only 40 percent support in the latest Washington Post/ABC News poll.

Republicans are still looking into the deal between Democrats and pharmaceutical companies over healthcare reform, Bloomberg reports.

A Catholic college in Ohio has dropped its student health plan in response to the healthcare law’s contraception mandate, CNN reports.


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