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Blogs Comment on Abortion Restrictions for Immigration Detainees, Court Rulings, More

Blogs Comment on Abortion Restrictions for Immigration Detainees, Court Rulings, More

June 13, 2014 — 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, Slate and more.

ABORTION: "House Appropriations Committee Passes Abortion Restriction for Detained Women," Emily Crockett, RH Reality Check: The "House Appropriations Committee passed an amendment Wednesday that could further limit immigrant women's access to abortion care," Crockett writes. The legislation, called the Aderholt Amendment, "bans the use of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) funds to pay for abortion care for detained women, except in cases of rape, incest or life endangerment," and "also allow[s] ICE employees to refuse 'to perform or facilitate in any way' any abortion," she explains. Crockett writes abortion-rights supporters believe the latter provision is particularly dangerous because it means that "any ICE employee -- including non-medical personnel such as a detention center employee -- could refuse to transport a detained woman to obtain necessary abortion care, regardless of her reason for seeking the procedure and regardless of who was paying for it" (Crockett, RH Reality Check, 6/12).

What others are saying about abortion:

~ "Virginia Moves Forward With Governor's Directive To Review Abortion Clinic Regulations," Teddy Wilson, RH Reality Check.

CONTRACEPTION: "Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals Says Catholic Groups Must Comply With Contraception Benefit," Jessica Mason Pieklo, RH Reality Check: "A federal appeals court denied a request by Catholic groups in Michigan and Tennessee to exempt them from the contraception coverage requirements in the Affordable Care Act [PL 111-148], saying the groups had not shown they were likely to succeed on their challenge to the law," Mason Pieklo writes. She explains that the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously ruled that the contraception coverage rules do not substantially burden the plaintiffs because they are already eligible for an accommodation that prevents them from having to directly provide or pay for the coverage. The ruling is a "strong rebuke of the legal arguments made by religious nonprofits challenging the coverage requirement," Mason Pieklo writes, but she adds that the issue could still end up before the Supreme Court, given the number of similar challenges working their way through the federal courts (Mason Pieklo, RH Reality Check, 6/12).

FEMALE GENITAL MUTILATION: "Parents Are Sending Their American Daughters Abroad for 'Vacation Cutting,'" Amanda Marcotte, Slate's "XX Factor": While "[f]emale circumcision, a practice most common in Africa and the Middle East in which part or all of a girl's external female genitalia are removed, has been banned in the United States since 1996, ... some families who have immigrated here from countries that still practice circumcision" are "sending their daughters on vacations that are about helping 'them connect with their families and traditions,' which just happen to include undergoing female circumcision, sometimes forced," Marcotte writes, citing a recent New York Times article. Although "estimating how often this happens is difficult," there is "enough concern about it that federal law was updated just last year in order to ban the practice of 'vacation cutting,'" she adds. According to Marcotte, "There is no easy, clear cut solution to this problem," because it "is a complicated mess of family, culture and sexuality," but "[b]ringing this issue out in the open is a necessary part of finding a way to stop it" (Marcotte, "XX Factor," Slate, 6/11).

What others are saying about FGM:

~ "America's Underground Female Genital Mutilation Crisis," Nina Strochlic, Daily Beast.

'BUFFER ZONES': "New Hampshire Approves a Buffer Zone Around Abortion Clinics," Tara Culp-Ressler, Center for American Progress' "ThinkProgress": A new New Hampshire law "to institute a 25-foot buffer zone around reproductive health facilities in the state ... will help prevent women from encountering anti-choice harassment when they're trying to enter an abortion clinic, a persistent issue that can dissuade some patients from visiting clinics altogether," Culp-Ressler writes. Although the New Hampshire bill was prompted by harassment at Planned Parenthood clinics there, "[a]cross the country, anti-choice harassment makes it harder for employees at abortion clinics to do their jobs and often intimidates the women who are looking for medical services," Culp-Ressler explains, adding that "what starts out as picketing can quickly turn violent" (Culp-Ressler, "ThinkProgress," Center for American Progress, 6/10).

PREGNANCY AND MATERNAL HEALTH: "CDC and Consumer Reports Track Cesarean Birth Rates," Rachel Walden, Our Bodies Ourselves' "Our Bodies, Our Blog:" CDC has released "preliminary data on 2013 U.S. births" that shows "a very, very slight decline in the cesarean birth rate -- 32.7 percent in 2013, down from 32.8 percent of all births in 2012," Walden writes. The report noted that the 2013 decline only occurred among non-Hispanic white women and remained "unchanged from 2012 to 2013 for black women, who have an even higher c-section rate -- 35.9 percent -- and Hispanic women, who have a slightly lower rate of 32.2 percent." However, CDC reported that the C-section rate among Hispanic women did not increase for the first time in more than 10 years. Meanwhile, Consumer Reports has "issued ratings of more than 1,500 hospitals in 22 states based on their cesarean rates for deliveries that are considered low-risk," which may "inspire" women to question their providers about their "approach to births and what they will 'allow' -- such as whether [a] local hospital will allow vaginal births after cesarean," Walden writes (Walden, "Our Bodies, Our Blogs," OurBodies Ourselves, 6/11).