May 13, 2014 — We've compiled some of the most thought-provoking commentaries from around the Web. Catch up on the conversation with bloggers from ACLU, National Women's Law Center and more.
WORKPLACE POLICIES: "'I Should Not Have Had To Sue My Employer To Have a Healthy Pregnancy or Keep Breastfeeding,'" Bobbi Bockoras, American Civil Liberties Union's "Blog Of Rights": "I hardly thought that in this day and age I would have to fight just to have a healthy pregnancy or continue breastfeeding after returning to work," writes Bockoras, who is being represented by ACLU, the Women's Law Project and Debevoise & Plimpton in a lawsuit against her employer. She explains that supervisors in her manufacturing job refused her requests for accommodations that her doctor ordered during her pregnancy, eventually leading her to "accep[t] a voluntary lay off, which forced [her] to give up [her] FMLA bonding time with" her newborn daughter. When she returned to work, Bockoras' employer "did not provide the proper accommodations that nursing mothers are entitled to -- instead assigning [her to pump milk in] places that were filthy, hot, and unsanitary or places where [her] coworkers were constantly trying to barge in" and frequently harassed her. "I should not have had to take the drastic step to sue my employer simply to have a safe pregnancy, equality as a woman, and the right to breastfeed even after returning to work," Bockoras writes (Bockoras, "Blog of Rights," ACLU, 5/9).
What others are saying about workplace policies:
~ "Just in Time for Mother’s Day, Delaware Becomes Latest State To Pursue Fairness for Pregnant Workers," Emily Werth, National Women's Law Center's "Womenstake."
~ "A 21st Century Workplace for Today's Working Families," Valerie Jarrett, Huffington Post blogs.
~ "The Key To Keeping Men Happy in the Workplace," Anne Miller, Ozy's "Acumen."
GLOBAL: "Seeking Justice for 17 Salvadoran Women Imprisoned for Miscarriage and Stillbirth," Kathy Bougher, RH Reality Check: "The Salvadoran feminist organization La Agrupación Ciudadana por la Despenalización del Aborto (the Citizen Group for the Decriminalization of Abortion) has launched a campaign petitioning the Salvadoran government to grant pardons and free 17 women imprisoned" for having miscarriages or stillbirths, Bougher writes, noting that the "women have no other legal recourse, having exhausted all other alternatives under Salvadoran law." She explains that abortion has been illegal in the country in all circumstances since 1997, with a "penalty of two to eight years in prison." Further, the country's legislature in 1998 "approved a constitutional amendment declaring that life begins at conception," allowing "prosecutors to convert many abortion charges to aggravated homicide, which carries a sentence of 30-to-50 years." Because of this, "Salvadoran courts imprison poor women for miscarriages, stillbirths, and other obstetrical complications ... without respect for their rights to due process, the presumption of innocence, a standard of reasonable doubt, or an effective legal defense," Bougher writes (Bougher, RH Reality Check, 5/9).
What others are saying about global issues:
~ "The Role of Education and Health Care in Fostering Sustainable Motherhood," Andrew Revkin, New York Times' "Dot Earth."
~ "Mexican Social Development Secretary's Racist Soundbite Scolding Indigenous Women for Reproductive Choices has a Long History," Martha Pskowski, Feministing.
SUPPORTING REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS: "Missourians Launch 72-Hour 'Women's Filibuster' To Protest Proposed 3 Day Abortion Waiting Period," Tara Culp-Ressler, Center for American Progress' "ThinkProgress": "On Monday afternoon, reproductive rights advocates in Missouri kicked off a 72-hour 'women's filibuster' to stand up against their state legislature's current attacks on abortion access," Culp-Ressler writes. She writes that while Missouri lawmakers have considered "more than 30 anti-choice bills this session," the filibuster was in response to a "hotly contested measure [HB 1307/1313] that would triple the state's current abortion waiting period and force women to wait a full three days before accessing reproductive health care." Culp-Ressler explains that while mandatory delays are "popular tactic[s] to dissuade women from having an abortion," the laws in reality "don't change women's minds, since most of them are already confident about their decision to end a pregnancy" (Culp-Ressler, "ThinkProgress," Center for American Progress, 5/12).
What others are saying about supporting reproductive rights:
~ "Claiming My Mamahood After My Abortion," Renee Bracey Sherman, Huffington Post blogs.
~ "'Hopefully This Bill Will Go Down in Flames': Missouri Activists Stage 72-Hour Filibuster Against Extreme Abortion Restrictions," Katie McDonough, Salon.
~ "Terry McAuliffe Reminds Virginia Women Why They Voted for Him," Dahlia Lithwick, Slate's "XX Factor."
PREGNANCY AND PARENTING: "New Mothers are Older, More Educated Than Their Predecessors," Vicky Pasquantonio, PBS' "The Rundown": "The demographics of motherhood in the U.S. have changed considerably over the last 20 years," Pasquantonio writes, citing a Pew Research Center study that found that U.S. births have decreased in recent decades and that today's mothers tend to be more educated than in the past. Specifically, "66 percent of mothers in 2011 had some level of college education, up from 18 percent in 1960 and about 50 percent in 1990," Pasquantonio writes. Increased education levels among mothers benefit their children, the report said. For example, children with more-educated mothers "are more likely to have a healthier birth rate and achieve higher academically in school," according to Pasquantonio (Pasquantonio, "The Rundown," PBS, 5/11).
What others are saying about pregnancy and parenting:
~ "What Happens After Fertility Treatments Don't Work," Risa Sugarman, Huffington Post blogs.
VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN: "Repro Wrap: What's the Difference Between a Bum Knee and Rape, and Other News," Robin Marty, Care2: Marty writes that Missouri Sen. David Sater (R), the sponsor of a bill that would require women in the state to wait 72 hours after an initial appointment before an abortion, during a legislative debate "compared the waiting period for an abortion to having surgery on his knee." She notes that Sater also "has shot down the idea that a person impregnated by sexual assault should be allowed to bypass the wait, arguing that a pregnancy is a pregnancy, regardless of how it came about." She adds, "The state GOP is so eager to force all pregnant people -- even rape victims -- to remain pregnant as long as possible that they have stated they will 'use extraordinary measures,' to stop any attempts to block a vote" on the measure (Marty, Care2, 5/9).
What others are saying about violence against women:
~ "Ending the Epidemic of Sexual Assault," Sandra Fluke et al., Huffington Post blogs.
~ "Did This School Cover Up Sexual Assault Because the Perpetrators Were Related to Board Members?" Annie-Rose Strasser, Center for American Progress' "ThinkProgress."
~ "Photographer Offers Glimpse at Disturbing Incident of Domestic Violence," Emily Thomas, Huffington Post blogs.
PREVENTIVE HEALTH: "Older Women May Actually Be More at Risk For Cervical Cancer," Nancy Shute, NPR's "Shots": Although "[w]omen are often told they don't have to get a Pap test for cervical cancer if they're over 65," research shows "the data behind that recommendation might underestimate their cancer risk" because they do not account for women who have had hysterectomies, Shute writes, noting that the "surgery removes a women's risk of cervical cancer." However, when researchers "looked at cancer rates only in women who hadn't had a hysterectomy," they "found that the odds of having cervical cancer were higher; 18.6 per 100,000 women, compared to 11.7 cases without that adjustment," Shute writes. Further, "while earlier studies had found that women's risk of cervical cancer peaks in their early 40s," the new research shows "that the risk was highest for women in their late 60s," she adds (Shute, "Shots," NPR, 5/12).