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Blogs Comment on Women's Health Protection Act, Upcoming Albuquerque Abortion Vote, More

Blogs Comment on Women's Health Protection Act, Upcoming Albuquerque Abortion Vote, More

November 15, 2013 — We've compiled some of the most thought-provoking commentaries from around the Web. Catch up on the conversation with bloggers from RH Reality Check, SCOTUSblog and more.

WOMEN'S HEALTH PROTECTION ACT: "An Historic Push To Protect Reproductive Rights," Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.)/Rep. Judy Chu (D-Calif.), Huffington Post blogs: The "assault on [women's] essential, constitutionally protected rights has gone on too long," write Blumenthal and Chu, who this week introduced the Women's Health Protection Act (S 1696, HR 3471) to "stop states from subjecting reproductive health care providers to burdensome requirements that are not applied to medical professionals providing similar services." They write, "Constitutional rights should never be subject to the personal whims or beliefs of political leaders," adding, "Personal medical decisions belong solely to the people they impact and the medical professionals they trust." They conclude, "The Women's Health Protection Act will restore for all women the ability to make those decisions" (Blumenthal/Chu, Huffington Post blogs, 11/13).

What others are saying about the Women's Health Protection Act:

~ "Senate Democrats Unveil Pro-Choice Bill To Prevent States From Chipping Away at Abortion Rights," Tara Culp-Ressler, Center for American Progress' "ThinkProgress."

~ "Playing Offense: Advocates Seek Legislation To Protect, Advance Reproductive Rights," Jodi Jacobson, RH Reality Check.

AFFORDABLE CARE ACT: "Why 57-Year-Old Men Need Maternity Benefits," Geoffrey Cowley, MSNBC: Critics of the Affordable Care Act (PL 111-148) "are offended at the idea of paying for services they may never need," such as maternity care, Cowley writes. However, "that's how health insurance already works for most of us," particularly those enrolled in large-group plans, which "have long covered a full basket of services, including maternity care, and diluted the cost by spreading it across the population," he explains. By contrast, the individual market, which allows "every consumer [to bear] the full weight of his or her own potential needs," has "been a train wreck," Cowley writes. He adds that the ACA "brings the individual market (which insures just 15 million people) into line with the group market," which he argues will reduce overall costs. In addition, Cowley highlights an "ethical" reason for those who will not use maternity care to support coverage for it: "each of us (even Republican economists and self-employed psychotherapists) is the result of a successful pregnancy that a man helped initiate" (Cowley, MSNBC, 11/14).

What others are saying about the ACA:

~ "5 Facts Women Should Learn Before Renewing Their Insurance Policy," Dania Palanker, National Women's Law Center's "Womenstake."

ALBUQUERQUE: "Historic Early Voter Turn-Out for Albuquerque 20-Week Abortion Ban Ordinance," Teddy Wilson, RH Reality Check: "A record number of Albuquerque residents have cast ballots as election day nears for an ordinance that will decide whether women will continue to have the right to terminate pregnancies after 20 weeks' gestation in the city," Wilson writes, noting that if enacted, the measure "would effectively cut off access to abortions after 20 weeks in the entire region." Participation in early voting for the ordinance is about double that when the city voted for mayor last month, according to an Albuquerque Journal article Wilson cites. The Journal also reported that city officials have received a high number of inquiries for people who are confused about the measure's wording and meaning (Wilson, RH Reality Check, 11/14).

What others are saying about Albuquerque:

~ "Religious Groups are Fighting To Defeat Albuquerque’s Proposed 20-Week Abortion Ban," Tara Culp-Ressler, Center for American Progress' "ThinkProgress."

SUPREME COURT: "Attorneys Tell Roberts Court There's No Reproductive Health-Care Crisis in Texas," Jessica Mason Pieklo, RH Reality Check: Mason Pieklo comments on the ongoing legal dispute over a Texas law (HB 2) that requires physicians who provide abortions to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals. State attorneys recently filed a response with the Supreme Court stating that "despite the fact clinics across the state will close and tens of thousands of patients will be forced to travel hundreds of miles for care, there's no need to act," she explains. The filing responded to an emergency petition from abortion-rights advocates that "simply asks the Roberts Court to put back in place the district court stay while the appeal process moves forward." However, the state's attorneys "took the opportunity to fully defend the law and attack the district court's ruling and reasoning, casting as much doubt as they can on the claim that tens of thousands of Texans will lose access to care, almost previewing for the [Supreme] Court future arguments over the merits" of the law. Mason Pieklo calls the move "a cynical strategy to color the merits of a case the court may hear long before the merits are actually before it" (Mason Pieklo, RH Reality Check, 11/13).

What others are saying about the Supreme Court:

~ "Court Bypasses Ultrasound Case," Lyle Denniston, SCOTUSblog.

MEDICATION ABORTION: "Study: No Increased Risks Associated With Second vs. First Trimester Medication Abortions," Jodi Jacobson, RH Reality Check: "A new study has found that women having second trimester medication abortions [during a first pregnancy] face no increased risk of future premature birth, miscarriage, low birth weight, or placental complications when compared to first trimester medication abortions," Jacobson writes. She adds that the study -- which "examined the public health records of 88,552 Finnish women who, between 2000 and 2009, became pregnant for the first time" -- "is the largest available analysis of such risks." She concludes, "The results of this study directly contradict persistent efforts by some legislators to either ban outright, legislate the administration of, or interfere in the delivery of medication abortion, all in the name of health and safety" (Jacobson, RH Reality Check, 11/13).

SEXUALLY TRANSMITTED INFECTIONS: "'I'm Calling To Let You Know That You May Have Been Exposed to Gonorrhea,'" Amanda Marcotte, Slate's "XX Factor": The "Spokane Regional Health District has instituted a program where, if you test positive for a sexually transmitted infection, their social workers will do the hard work of finding your former sex partners and calling them to let them know they've been exposed to this disease," Marcotte writes. She calls the program "a simple, effective way of preventing people who may have infectious diseases from infecting more people," particularly when "[h]alf of new STI infections are among Americans ages 15-24, an age where having these kinds of loaded conversations is especially difficult." Marcotte concludes, "Good for Spokane, and let's hope this program spreads across the country faster than chlamydia" (Marcotte, "XX Factor," Slate, 11/14).

CONTRACEPTION: "Doctors Are Still Reluctant To Give Women the Most Effective Types of Birth Control, Culp-Ressler, Center for American Progress' "ThinkProgress": "[T]oday, the IUD is the most effective form of birth control available, and multiple studies have confirmed it's perfectly safe," but "the vast majority of U.S. women aren't opting" to use it, in part "because their doctors still aren't suggesting it," Culp-Ressler writes. She notes that "medical professionals are particularly reluctant to prescribe implants or IUDs to young women, assuming that negative side effects will convince them to give up." She adds that while "[y]oung women who are ... most at risk for unintended pregnancy stand to benefit the most from long-lasting contraception," many parents are "not comfortable with the idea of their teenage daughters having an IUD" and physicians often "think of long-lasting birth control as something that's mostly appropriate for married women." She argues that because "many women are still misinformed about their options and reluctant to initiate that conversation with their doctors," it is "up to the providers to start bringing up these issues" (Culp-Ressler, "ThinkProgress," Center for American Progress, 11/13).

What others are saying about contraception:

~ "'Thanks, Birth Control' Day Wants To Remind Americans How Modern Contraception Has Changed the World," Culp-Ressler, Center for American Progress' "ThinkProgress."

~ "Even When We Talk About Birth Control, We're Still Not Comfortable Talking About Women Having Sex," Culp-Ressler, Center for American Progress' "ThinkProgress."