Planned Parenthood vs. the nurses union
The following comes from a June 17 story in the Sacramento Bee. ….The growth [of the California Nurses Association] came as the union made its name in politics by mau-mauing Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, after he sided with hospitals and tried to roll back a law signed by Gov. Gray Davis that guaranteed nurse staffing levels. In the 2010 campaign, the union aimed its guerrilla theater tactics at "Queen" Meg Whitman, viewing her as a Schwarzenegger clone. Operating behind the scenes, the union orchestrated the emergence of Nicky Diaz Santillan, Whitman's spurned illegal immigrant housekeeper. Diaz sent the Whitman campaign for a loop five weeks before the election by holding a weepy press conference in the Los Angeles offices of her celebrity attorney, Gloria Allred, recalling how billionaire Whitman fired her. Three weeks after Jerry Brown trounced Whitman, the San Francisco Chronicle disclosed the union's role in the Diaz matter. Unknown at that time, the union had paid Diaz's immigration attorney $25,000 a week before the election, its Labor Department report shows. For all its success, however, the union has been taking positions that leave allies in the Capitol scratching their heads. The union insists it defends the interests of patients in its lobbying efforts, not solely the interests of its union members. "Our prime directive as a board of directors is making sure that any legislation protects the patients," said Deborah Burger, president of California Nurses Association and a nurse at Kaiser-Santa Rosa. But some of its stands run counter to public health. There is, for example, legislation that would permit registered nurses to dispense birth control pills in community clinics. Earlier this year, there was legislation that sought to expand a program by which nurse practitioners and nurse-midwives provide nonsurgical abortions. The California Nurses Association contends that the measures could leave poor women with lesser care than people of means. Health care advocates viewed those claims as bogus, and believe the issue comes down to union representation. Planned Parenthood is the main proponent of both bills. As it happens, Planned Parenthood clinics are not union shops. Assemblywoman Holly Mitchell, D-Los Angeles, the author of the birth control legislation, is hardly antagonistic toward labor and has spent a career focused on issues related to poor women and children…. "It is a basic woman's reproductive health issue," Mitchell said of her bill, Assembly Bill 2348, which awaits a Senate vote. "I am deeply disappointed that the opposition comes from a female-dominated health care profession, at a time when we are experiencing attacks in public policy settings on women's health choices…." "It is our mission to increase access to birth control," said Kathy Kneer, the longtime head of Planned Parenthood in California. "We have something we know is safe. The issue is, how do we remove barriers to obtaining birth control?" To read entire story, Click here.