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Blogs Comment on Kan. Lawsuit, Gov. Perry's Stance on Women's Health, Affordable Care Act

Blogs Comment on Kan. Lawsuit, Gov. Perry's Stance on Women's Health, Affordable Care Act

August 19, 2011 — The following summarizes selected women's health-related blog entries.

~ "Drawing a Line in the Sand: Stopping Politicians From Taking Away Insurance Coverage for Abortion Care," Brigitte Amiri, American Civil Liberties Union's "Blog of Rights": A lawsuit filed in federal court this week by the American Civil Liberties Union of Kansas and Western Missouri is "the first to take a step toward putting an end to [a] growing trend" of states passing laws to prohibit some or all health plans from covering abortion care, according to Amiri of ACLU's Reproductive Freedom Project. Kansas' "extreme" law bans abortion coverage "for the vast majority of abortions, including those necessary to protect a woman's health and for pregnancies resulting from rape/incest," Amiri writes. She adds, "As a result of the law, thousands of women in Kansas will lose their existing abortion coverage and will now have to pay out-of-pocket for this medical procedure." Amiri continues, "It's time to draw a line in the sand, and stop states from taking away insurance coverage for medical care that one in three women in the U.S. need," adding, "We hope the court will stop the law and protect the ability of women in Kansas to make the best decision for themselves and their families" (Amiri, "Blog of Rights," ACLU, 8/16).

~ "Perry: I'm Against It," Robert Walker, Huffington Post blogs: It's "no surprise" that Gov. Rick Perry (R) has "publicly reversed his longstanding support for requiring girls to be vaccinated against the human papillomavirus (HPV), a commonly sexually transmitted disease that is the principal cause of cervical cancer," Walker -- executive vice president of the Population Institute -- writes. Walker notes that as governor, Perry has been "an ardent champion of restricting a woman's right to choose an abortion and a stalwart opponent of comprehensive sex education," though his recent support of mandatory HPV vaccinations "got him into trouble with the religious right." Besides his turnaround on the HPV vaccinations, Perry also "suddenly backed away from declaring that abortion was a matter of 'state's rights,' by publicly supporting a constitutional amendment banning abortion." Walker concludes, "With that maneuver, it's now perfectly clear where Gov. Perry stands when it comes to government supporting the reproductive health and rights of women. He's against it" (Walker, Huffington Post blogs, 8/16).

~ "The Right to Choose to Become Pregnant: One Woman's Story," Thomas, NARAL Pro-Choice America's "Blog for Choice": Protecting a woman's right to choose to become pregnant "isn't as easy as it might seem," especially in the case of one working mother in Washington state, Thomas writes. The woman's insurer, Regence BlueShield, covered the implantation of an intrauterine device, "But when she wanted her IUD removed so that she could get pregnant again, Regence refused to cover the procedure." He continues, "According to the insurance company, removing the IUD wasn't 'medically necessary.' But it most certainly was necessary for conceiving a second child." After the woman filed a complaint with the state insurance commissioner, Regence was required to reimburse the woman and "nearly one thousand other women whose similar claims had been illegally denied," Thomas notes. He writes that this was possible because of laws in "Washington and 27 other states [where] covering birth control is required." He writes, "Beginning next year, all newly-issued insurance plans throughout the country will cover the full range of FDA-approved contraception without an additional copay." He concludes, "This means that women from Alaska to Alabama will have the same right that women in Washington now have. They'll be able to choose the birth-control method that's right for them -- and choose to plan a pregnancy when they want to" (Thomas, "Blog for Choice," NARAL, 8/17).

~ "Affordable Care Act Helps Women," Sen. Harry Reid, Huffington Post blogs: "The Affordable Care Act is helping women -- young and old -- avoid the onset of illness and improve their quality of life," Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) writes. He continues, "Starting in 2012, new health insurance plans will not only put money back in the pockets of women, but they will cover a wider net of preventive care services, such as Human Papilloma Virus DNA testing, HIV screening and counseling, FDA-approved contraception, breastfeeding support, and domestic violence screening and counseling." Reid cites a 2009 Commonwealth Fund study that found more than half of women delayed or avoided preventive care because of cost concerns. He writes, "Even moderate copays for preventive services such as mammograms or pap smears have deterred women from visiting a doctor." Reid concludes, "In a country as great as ours, no one should be forced to struggle without medical coverage because of an illness that could have been detected and treated" (Reid, Huffington Post blogs, 8/16).

~ "The Pill Still Doesn't Make You Fat," Robin Marty, RH Reality Check: "Despite how much many of us would like to believe otherwise, it is once again proven that it's our lifestyle (exercise, diet, slowing metabolism as we age) causing weight gain, not our birth control," Marty writes. She quotes a Slate article in which physician David Grimes of the University of North Carolina calls the notion that birth control pills make you fat "an elaborate mythology, one 'fueled by rumor, gossip and poor-quality research.'" In addition, Slate reports that "there's never been convincing evidence that the pill in any of its forms provokes weigh gain." Marty concludes that pregnancy is the "[o]ne thing that has been proven repeatedly to make you gain weight," although it "usually goes away sometime after" (Marty, RH Reality Check, 8/17).