May 9, 2014 — Our monthly quote roundup compiles notable comments from key stakeholders in women's health. In today's edition, we feature comments on legal battles to protect reproductive rights, efforts to address college sexual assault and more.
"[W]omen should not be forced to go to court, year after year in state after state, to protect their constitutional rights." -- Center for Reproductive Rights President and CEO Nancy Northup, on a federal judge's decision to overturn a North Dakota law (HB 1456) that banned abortions when a fetal heartbeat can be detected. Noting a "long line" of other court decisions affirming women's reproductive rights, Northup said she hopes the ruling "sends a strong message to politicians across the country that our rights cannot be legislated away" (AP/Boston Globe, 4/16).
"There's no reason [Peace Corp volunteers] should be denied standard health care services offered to most women with federal health care coverage." -- Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), on a bill she is sponsoring that would provide Peace Corp volunteers with the same access to abortion coverage as federal employees and Medicaid beneficiaries (MSNBC, 5/6). Peace Corps volunteers currently receive no abortion coverage, whereas the federal government's employee health plans and Medicaid cover abortions in cases of rape, incest or danger to a woman's life (Women's Health Policy Report, 5/7).
"The more barriers there are to abortion services, the more desperate women become, and they may pursue desperate measures." -- Physician Lin-Fan Wang, a reproductive health advocacy fellow at Physicians for Reproductive Health, on a Mississippi law (HB 1390) that threatens to close the state's sole abortion clinic ("The Gupta Guide," MedPage Today, 4/29). The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals recently heard oral arguments over the law, which requires that physicians performing abortions have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals (Women's Health Policy Report, 5/1).
"Tennessee's law is a continuation of the flawed logic that social problems can be solved by using prenatal care as a means of controlling the bodies and behavior of pregnant women." -- Marika Seigel, an author and associate professor of rhetoric and technical communication at Michigan Technological University, on legislation (SB 1391) that allows Tennessee to file criminal charges against women suspected of using illicit drugs while pregnant (Al Jazeera America, 4/30). Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam (R) signed the bill into law last month (Women's Health Policy Report, 4/30).
"Colleges and universities need to face the facts about sexual assault" and stop "turning a blind eye or pretending it doesn't exist." -- Vice President Biden, introducing the Obama administration's latest recommendations to stem sexual assault at colleges (New York Times, 4/28). In another move to pressure campus officials to address the issue, the administration released a list of 55 colleges that are under federal investigation for their handling of sexual violence claims, drawing record traffic to the Department of Education's website (Women's Health Policy Report, 5/6).
"Anything less is aiding and abetting ideologically driven groups with a calculated campaign to lie to and shame women making one of the most important decisions of our lives." -- NARAL Pro-Choice America President Ilyse Hogue, on the group's call for Google to take down deceptive Web search ads sponsored by antiabortion-rights crisis pregnancy centers (The Hill, 4/28). The search giant agreed to remove most of the ads after reviewing a NARAL investigation that found that queries for "abortion clinic" typically returned CPC ads with false information, in violation of the company's ad policy (Women's Health Policy Report, 4/29).