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Blogs Comment on Obstacles to Abortion, Supreme Court Cases, More

Blogs Comment on Obstacles to Abortion, Supreme Court Cases, More

June 17, 2014 — We've compiled some of the most thought-provoking commentaries from around the Web. Catch up on the conversation with bloggers from the Center for American Progress, RH Reality Check and more.

ABORTION IN THE MEDIA: "Most Women Have a Much Harder Time Getting an Abortion Than Jenny Slate Does on Film," Tara Culp-Ressler, Center for American Progress' "ThinkProgress": The new movie "Obvious Child" has "garnered widespread praise" from abortion-rights supporters for its portrayal of "a woman who goes through with an abortion without facing dire consequences," Culp-Ressler writes. However, she notes that other than "the initial sticker shock about the cost of the abortion," the main character in the movie, Donna, "doesn't face many barriers to making her choice," which makes her a "disproportionately fortunate patient." Many women in the U.S. "may want to end a pregnancy for many of the same reasons as [Donna] does, but may face a much greater struggle getting there," including obstacles such as state-mandated ultrasounds, financial difficulties, trouble taking time off work or traveling long distances to the nearest clinic, Culp-Ressler writes (Culp-Ressler, "ThinkProgress," Center for American Progress, 6/16).

SUPREME COURT: "Unanimous Supreme Court: Anti-Choice Susan B. Anthony List Can Challenge Elections Law," Jessica Mason Pieklo, RH Reality Check: In ruling Monday "that the conservative anti-choice advocacy group the Susan B. Anthony List can proceed with a challenge to an Ohio law prohibiting 'false' political speech," the Supreme Court did not address the issue of whether the group made "intentionally and recklessly false" statements by claiming that the Affordable Care Act (PL 111-148) permits "taxpayer funding for abortion," Mason Pieklo writes. Nonetheless, the ruling shows that the high court is "more than willing to defer" to abortion-rights' opponents' "'reasonable' beliefs" about the facts of a particular issue, rather than the "actual facts," a pattern that could influence its rulings on two other cases -- McCullen v. Coakley and the contraceptive coverage challenge involving Hobby Lobby. She adds that "now more than ever it is incumbent on all reproductive rights advocates to correct every misstatement promoted by the right," because "if we don't, there's no guarantee the courts will either" (Mason Pieklo, RH Reality Check, 6/16).

What others are saying about the Supreme Court:

~ "Stop Calling Hobby Lobby a Christian Business," Jonathan Merritt, The Week.

GLOBAL ISSUES: "Ireland's Abortion Laws Continue To Harm Women," Mara Clarke, RH Reality Check: "On June 12, the UK Department of Health published its report on abortion statistics for 2013," finding a "reduction in the number of women from Ireland and Northern Ireland," where abortion is severely restricted, who travel "to England to access a safe and legal abortion -- 4,481, down from 4,887 -- the lowest reported number since 1969," writes Clarke, who works with the Abortion Support Network. Clarke adds that the figures "only tell part of the story," noting that her organization during the same time frame "experienced a steep increase in calls from women in Ireland and Northern Ireland" -- 446 calls from women and couples in 2013, compared with 363 in 2012 and 253 in 2011. Clarke writes, "The continued increase in women contacting ASN is further proof that criminalizing abortion does not end abortion -- it simply makes it more difficult for poor women and families to access" (Clarke, RH Reality Check, 6/13).

What others are saying about global issues:

~ "We Heart: Australian Chief of Army David Morrison, Feminist Ally," Simone Lieban Levine, Ms. Magazine blog.

PREGNANT WOMEN'S RIGHTS: "Louisiana Proposes Using Brain-Dead Women as Incubators," S.E. Smith, Care2: A Louisiana bill (HB 1274) "would mandate that if a fetus is over 20 weeks [of] gestation and a woman's bodily processes can be 'reasonably' maintained," even if she is legally dead, "she must be kept on [medical support] until delivery of the fetus," Smith writes. Smith writes that the bill and others like it deprive women of their bodily autonomy, reducing "women to the status of incubators, instead of treating them as whole human beings." In addition, Smith writes that maintaining medical support after a pregnant woman has died "increases the risk of complications, as it requires a constant balancing act to prevent organ failure, monitor blood chemistry, and provide medications, some of which can cause birth defects of varying degrees of severity," and would not "result in a live delivery in very many cases" (Smith, Care2, 6/16).

BREAST CANCER: "Dense Breasts May Obscure Mammogram Results," Roni Caryn Rabin, New York Times' "Well": Rabin writes about receiving a letter after a recent mammogram that informed her she has dense breast tissue, which "makes it hard to read mammograms and may increase the risk of breast cancer." The information was included in the letter under a New York state law -- championed by a breast cancer survivor whose cancer went undetected for years because of dense tissue -- that requires patients to be notified if a mammogram shows dense breast tissue. Other states have passed similar laws. Rabin decided to undergo an ultrasound that affirmed she did not have cancer, although she notes that there is "still no clear medical guidance on how women should proceed once they've been told they have dense breasts." Some doctors and medical groups recommend against the additional scans because they can "pick up other suspicious spots that may require intervention, such as biopsy to rule out cancer, even though most of them will turn out to be harmless," she adds (Rabin, "Well," New York Times, 6/16).