Monday, October 8, 2012

NV-03: One More Reality Check for Joe Heck

This morning, The Sun had a fact check article on recent ads hitting Joe Heck on matters of women's health care. Karoun Demerjian pretty much confirmed the facts behind the ads, then said they deserved an "eye roll" because the CDC wasn't yet recommending broad coverage of the vaccine to cover cervical cancer.

But here's the thing: It didn't take long for them to come around. And in the mean time, there was more than enough information available to confirm what his fellow legislators agreed to. Here's what Nevada NOW did to set the record straight on what Heck did in 2007.

Leading American public health organizations that include the CDC, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend wide-spread vaccination, as do all public health agencies in Europe. Nevada NOW is baffled why Senator Joe Heck, as a doctor, would vote against a bill in the state legislature that brings such health benefits to Nevada’s women at no public cost. SB 409 does not mandate administration of the vaccine (as 22 other states plus the District of Columbia are considering or have passed). Four other states, in addition to Nevada, have passed bills like SB 409, which (as passed in 2007 and signed by Governor Gibbons) requires health insurance companies in Nevada to cover the vaccine for those who opt to have it administered to their daughters. Moreover, Prior to SB409, the vaccine was already covered by Medicaid (through the federally funded Vaccines for Children program), by Nevada Check-Up, and by most insurance plans in the state, so there was really no savings for any entity, public or private, in opposing the bill. There was, however, a great risk to the public health.

To explain himself, Heck compares the vast majority of women American women who will contract genital HPV to a smoker who contracts lung cancer. It is important to note here that conservative studies estimate one in five women nationally will be sexually assaulted in her lifetime, and that Nevada women are statistically more likely to be subject to coerced sex than the national average. We also understand from common sense that a woman cannot control the past or even the present partners of her husband, boyfriend or lover, so that a woman need not engage in “risky” behavior to be at risk for contracting HPV or cervical cancer. For these reasons, most in the Religious Right, including most conservative organizations in Nevada, have dropped their previously stalwart opposition to the vaccine. Senator Heck stands to the right of almost everyone in his opposition to making the vaccine more widely available.

If we were to draw Senator Heck’s analogy with smoking and lung cancer to the logical conclusion, all women should abstain from having sex. My advice to Senator Heck is to consult Mrs. Heck before he is tempted to make more misleading comparisons.

Oh, yes. He went there. And ever since his narrow election to Congress in 2010, he keeps going back there.

Joe Heck has even opposed reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act because he doesn't seem to mind violence against minority women! No really, this is what he's been doing.

Here's the thing: If Joe Heck really didn't have a "women problem", then why does he keep fighting in the G-O-TEA War on Women? If he doesn't really have a problem with women's civil right, then why does he keep voting against women's health care? From his vote to block access to the HPV vaccine to his votes to defund Planned Parenthood to his continuing opposition to the Violence Against Women Act, Joe Heck doesn't really seem to care about the well being of Nevada's women.

And it's long past due for Joe Heck to get a reality check on this.

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