November 15, 2013 — Our monthly quote round up compiles notable comments from key stakeholders in women's health. In today's edition, we feature quotes on congressional efforts to protect abortion rights, potential Supreme Court cases and more.
"This law will help make reproductive rights real." -- Sen. Richard Blumenthal, in announcing legislation (S 1696, HR 3471) that "would prohibit laws that impose burdensome requirements on access to reproductive health services" (Blumenthal release, 11/13). The bill, called the Women's Health Protection Act, aims to combat state laws that place medically unnecessary restrictions on abortion, such as requirements that physicians perform medically unnecessary tests or that clinics have a specific physical layout (Women's Health Policy Report, 11/14).
"If health coverage -- yes, including maternity care -- isn't a right-to-life issue, I don't know what is." -- Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne, arguing that abortion-rights opponents should support expanded access to maternity coverage under the Affordable Care Act (PL 111-148) because it would help "women who want to bring their children into the world." He adds, "In the name of consistency, they need to break with their conservative allies and insist that maternity coverage be included in all health-care plans" (Washington Post, 11/10).
"We are here today to make one thing abundantly clear, and that is that this extreme, unconstitutional abortion ban is an absolute non-starter." -- Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), responding to a Senate bill (S 1670) that would impose a nationwide ban on abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy (CQ Roll Call, 11/7). The bill, introduced by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), is similar to a measure (HR 1797) the House passed earlier this year (Women's Health Policy Report, 11/8).
"[The Supreme Court's] duty is to resolve the conflicting opinions by firmly rejecting the dangerous view that private employers can use their religious belief to discriminate against women." -- A New York Times editorial, calling for the Supreme Court to consider legal challenges to the federal contraceptive coverage rules and reject private businesses' claims that the requirements infringe on religious freedom. The court is expected to announce this month whether it will take such a case (New York Times, 11/7).
"This decision is another victory for women and reproductive health care providers, and another clear message to lawmakers across the U.S. that attacks on women's health, rights, and dignity are patently unconstitutional and will not be allowed to stand." -- Center for Reproductive Rights President and CEO Nancy Northup, responding to the Supreme Court's decision to dismiss Oklahoma's appeal of a state court ruling that struck down a law (HB 2780) requiring ultrasounds before abortions (CRR release 11/12). The decision came a week after the high court refused to hear the state's appeal of a ruling that struck down restrictions on medication abortion (HB 1970) (Women's Health Policy Report, 11/14).