Women’s Health Committee

Women’s Health Committee Minutes, December 12, 2016

Attending: Nancy Mead, Chair; Cheryl Brown, Rebecca Chuck, Carolyn Crandall, Amy Greer, Nyla Jebousek, Scarlett Kier, Gary Lahman, Shannon McCarthy, Shannon Skaife, Nancy Steinberg, Sheila Swinford, Nel Ward

Amy Greer announced that she would like to form a women’s spiritual circle. Interested people should contact her.

The school board will be electing three members in the May 2017 election: districts are Newport (Ron Beck resigning), east and northeast of Newport, and southeast of Newport. Incumbents will run in the latter two. The group also addressed the question of school clinics and whether they provide birth control. Tami Martin (Lincoln County Health District) is a nurse in one of these clinics.

Samaritan Pacific Communities Hospital (Newport) a new interim CEO, Leslie Ogden, as of June 2017. [Note: she has named Ryan Combs as the interim COO.] It appears that the hospital does not perform abortions because of protesters. Abortions are available in Corvallis although not at the Corvallis Samaritan hospital. Samaritan also does not allow “death with dignity” within its facilities although other hospitals do permit this.

Concerns: no abortions or death with dignity locally; possibility of “crisis pregnancy centers” (CPC), which can promote no abortions through falsehoods.

Discussion about a commemoration of the January 22 anniversary of Roe v. Wade concluded with the decision to make this a part of the protest march on January 21, the day after the presidential inauguration.  Nancy Steinberg will write an Op Ed for Roe v. Wade Day.

Goals listed by people attending the meeting: access to full reproductive care, encouragement of healthy lifestyle, sex education in school to enable students to protect themselves, SANE (Sexual Assault Nurses Examination) training (suggested that we talk to OCCC and possibly have rural grants); public health issues; create Planned Parenthood facility; promote legislation.

Nancy discussed the Colorado plan to have free birth control for teenage girls and poor women. Backup information for this program:

For over six years, Colorado has offered teenage girls and poor women free intrauterine devices and implants to prevent pregnancy. The birthrate among teenagers fell 40 percent from 2009 to 2013, and the rate of abortions fell 42 percent. The number of repeat births by teenage girls dropped 58 percent from 2009 to 2014. Every dollar invested in the LARC (Long-Acting Reversible Contraceptive) program avoided $5.85 in the state Medicaid program; Colorado saved $79 million between 2010 and 2012 in birth-related Medicaid costs. Lawmakers stopped funding the program in 2015, but the state secured funding in April 2016 to reinstate it. LARC methods are 20 times more effective than other types of reversible birth control (oral contraceptives, patches, or vaginal rings), excluding the DMPA injection.

Gary Lahman discussed the importance of participating in local and state government groups as well as other organizations that provide public health oversight, including one on oral health.

Action Ideas:

Form subcommittees for specific interests

Establish Women’s Health Committee website for information such as funding for abortions

Continue FB page? https://www.facebook.com/groups/190708104667679/

Set up interviews for school board candidates

Establish priorities for legislation (i.e.; CPC issues and LARC); promote these with candidate (CP

Monitor Oregon Women’s Health & Wellness Alliance regarding legislation: https://www.facebook.com/Oregon-Womens-Health-and-Wellness-Alliance-294518923904372/

Talk to OCCC about SANE training

Investigate timing, cost, and requirements for SANE nurses for possible recruitment

Contact Brittany Kosydar, chair of the Sexual Assault/DV committee, regarding committee’s plans regarding Rape Test Kits

Determine whether medical abortion is available on the coast

Investigate specific information provided in school’s sex ed classes

Concern about SANE trained nurses being available in Lincoln County to administer rape test kits in a timely manner;  from Cheryl Brown:  County commissioners budgeted $2500 with fy16-17 funds to help with shortage of SANE. Would be good to know if improvement .

Recent anti-abortion bills in other states:  Ohio “fetal heartbeat bill”:  http://www.cnn.com/2016/12/07/politics/ohio-abortion-bill/index.html  and Texas “fetal burial bill”:  http://www.sacurrent.com/the-daily/archives/2016/11/29/texas-abortion-providers-now-required-to-bury-and-cremate-any-fetal-remains

Women’s Health Committee Minutes, November 29, 2016

Discussed needs of our community, especially considering the election of Donald Trump and the cuts he has threatened to make.  Main concerns/needs mentioned:

  1. Access to reproductive health services, including abortion, contraception, etc.

  2. Threatened changes to or elimination of the Affordable Care Act

  3. Oral health (Gary Lahman)

  4. Women needed on Oregon Health Plan committees (Gary Lahman)

  5. Physician Assisted Suicide and Samaritan’s policy prohibiting its providers from participating.  (Nancy Mead)

  6.  Threatened changes to Medicare and Medicaid

  7.  Dementia services (Kate Madison)

  8.  Pro-choice advocacy

Women’s Health Committee Minutes, March 11, 2016:

Members Present: Nancy Mead (Chair), Linda Aguirre, Carolyn Crandall, Robin Rochtritt, Nyla Jebousek, Ceci Pratt, Sheila Swinford, and Nel Ward

Committee goals: Include a variety of health issues—heart attack recognition, abortion/contraception access, cancer, effect of aerial spraying, health education curriculum.

This meeting followed up issues raised in the inaugural meeting on January 26, 2016.


Pratt contacted all pharmacies in the county, including the one at the Newport hospital, and reported that all except the Samaritan pharmacy dispenses contraception and the “morning-after” pill to prevent pregnancy. The hospital may dispense these to employees.

Ward needs to follow up with the Lincoln County Health District to see if they have removed Birthright from their information on pregnancy.

Pratt also said that she would provide information for flyers and pamphlets about abortion/adoption/ stroke/death with dignity, etc. and ask for contributions from committee members. Sue Hardesty will format the material.

My Sisters Place will provide training in April for law enforcement on responding to sexual assaults including evidence collection in rape kits. A new law requires that all voluntary, non-anonymous kits be analyzed within a short time, but policies for these must be prepared before the mandated collection and analysis. Ward distributed list of new laws regarding health issues important to NOW and proposed negative ones that failed. [See attached.]

Mead reported that Samaritan has a hospice. [According to a followup by Ward, doctors at that facility do not provide medication for Death with Dignity. Samaritan does not allow any of its providers to participate in DWD.]

Jebousek had a positive discussion with the health education teacher at Newport High School regarding the extension of education into economic and other issues regarding women. [State curriculum “promotes” abstinence-only education: http://arcweb.sos.state.or.us/pages/rules/oars_500/oar_581/581_022.html] [Some peripheral benchmark of self-esteem in general health curriculum: http://www.ode.state.or.us/opportunities/grants/hklb/hivaids/glm-hs.pdf]

Ward talked about the importance of educating legislators about a law mandating that crisis pregnancy centers tell patients about the availability of birth control and abortion services. At this time, many of them do not do so. In addition, these centers also disseminate false information about abortions such as a non-existent relationship to cancer. She suggested a packet of information for next year’s representative and senator from Lincoln County in time for the 2017 legislative session.

The committee should ask Oregon NARAL what legislation is being recommended for the 2017 session. The Executive Director, Michele Stranger-Hunter, will be speaking at the April NOW meeting.

NOW will sponsor a showing of Trapped, a documentary about the Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers laws that forced closure of many women’s clinics, on May 14, 11:00, at the Bijou in Lincoln City. Volunteers at the movie are Mead, Crandall, Hochtritt, and Pratt. Pratt will also ask Keith Killian, Lincoln City Chief of Police, to have law enforcement presence both outside and inside the theater during the showing. Robin said that Monica will also talk to Newport Chief of Police Mark Miranda about the April NOW meeting with NARAL.

After a discussion about self-defense classes, Mead said that she would contact Lt. Cari Boyd, Commander of Newport region, about speaking at a future NOW meeting. Jebousek will contact Sexual Assault Support Services (SASS) about a consultant, and NOW may present a panel on the issue. The recommended focus for NOW is education, support, and community.

Committee representatives may wish to meet with David Bigelow, head of Newport’s Samaritan Pacific Hospital, to determine answers to such questions as whether the local health district allows doctors to prescribe medical abortion pills and medications for health with dignity.

Respectfully submitted,

Nel Ward

New Oregon Legislature of Interest to NOW Health Committee:

New Laws:

SB 1571: Directs Department of State Police to adopt rules concerning prioritization of testing untested sexual assault forensic evidence kits. The bill doesn’t provide a time frame for the state lab to test kit evidence but allows the lab to prioritize the testing of kits. Police agencies must pick up a kit within seven days after a hospital alerts them about its existence and submit it to the crime lab for testing within 14 days. All kits must be stored for 60 years. The state will provide $1.5 million to the crime lab to hire nine new DNA and biology evidence technicians to help process the kits. The law requires testing of all untested rape kits except for anonymous ones. Procedures aren’t necessary until January 2017, and the testing must be entered into the Combined DNA Index System by July 1, 2018. A task force shall report to interim committee of Legislative Assembly related to judiciary by December 1, 2018. Anonymous kits may not be tested but will be kept for 60 years. https://assets.documentcloud.org/documents/2703100/Sb-1571.pdf

SB 1600: Removes the 12-year statute of limitations for first-degree sex crimes if new evidence becomes available or multiple victims come forward. This could include, for example, physical evidence such as emails or texts, corroborating testimony by someone other than the victim, reports from additional victims, or a confession by the defendant.

Student Medical Privacy (SB 1558): University-based health providers will now be forced to follow the same confidentiality rules as off-campus providers. It allows university or college health centers, mental health centers, and counseling centers to share patient medical information with someone at the university only if they have the right to access that information off-campus. The bill was introduced after the University of Oregon used a student’s counseling records against her when she sued the university for its mishandling of her rape case involving the basketball team. UO classified the health information as student records which, under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, are not protected under the Health Information Portability and Accountability Act, or HIPAA. The 2015 law was narrowly focused, covering only cases of sexual assault.

Bills Failed in Committee:

HB 4059: This anti-choice bill would require Oregon Health Authority to establish grant program for purpose of making grants to entities that provide services related to encouraging and assisting pregnant women in carrying their pregnancy to term. That means money would be provided to so-called “crisis pregnancy centers” which give false information about abortions and pregnancy. The bill is in committee with no meetings scheduled.

HB 4070: This bill, also stuck in committee, would outlaw late-term sex-selective abortions.

HB 4061: This bill prohibits OHA from providing assistance coverage of specified treatments for transgender people.