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Blogs Comment on 'Bad Science' in Women's Health Policy, Midterm Election, More

Blogs Comment on 'Bad Science' in Women's Health Policy, Midterm Election, More

July 29, 2014 — We've compiled some of the most thought-provoking commentaries from around the Web. Catch up on the conversation with bloggers from The Hill, the Huffington Post & more.

WOMEN'S HEALTH: "Debunking the Bad Science on Abortion and Women's Health," Andrea Flynn, The Hill's "Contributors": During a recent Senate Judiciary Committee hearing "on the Women's Health Protection Act [S 1696], a bill that would prevent unnecessary restrictions on abortions and abortion providers," opponents of the measure "used overblown and often incorrect claims to drive home the familiar message that abortion is dangerous, bad for women and shouldn't be considered part of women's healthcare," Flynn, a Roosevelt Institute fellow, writes. For example, Flynn notes that Rep. Diane Black (R-Tenn.) "asserted that women who have abortions are more likely to get breast cancer, a truly outrageous suggestion considering it has been thoroughly invalidated by the medical establishment." Individuals "testifying against the WHPA seemed to imply that it's all sunshine and roses for women who forgo abortions," while neglecting to "acknowledg[e] that by nearly every measure, pregnancy -- the abortion alternative heralded by anti-choice advocates -- carries greater health risks, particularly for young women and women with unintended pregnancies," Flynn adds. She concludes, "In the face of tireless attacks on reproductive rights, it is important to revisit those claims, set the record straight and remind the opposition of the real health threats facing too many U.S. families" (Flynn, "Contributors," The Hill, 7/25.)

What others are saying about women's health:

~ "Why are Politicians Ignoring This Maternal Health Act?" Timoria McQueen, Huffington Post blogs.

CONTRACEPTION: "Most Female Voters Say They Won't Support Politicians Who Back Hobby Lobby," Tara Culp-Ressler, Center for American Progress' "ThinkProgress": "The majority of female voters don't want to vote for politicians who support Hobby Lobby's move to drop coverage for some forms of contraceptives, according to a new poll conducted by Hart Research Associates," Culp-Ressler writes. She writes that according to the survey, 57% of respondents said "they'd be more likely to support a candidate who opposes allowing employers to drop birth control coverage, and about half of them said they feel 'very strongly' about that preference." She notes, "It's obviously too early to tell exactly how much impact the Hobby Lobby decision will have on the midterm elections, but it's clear that Democrats are looking to make it a key issue," while "Republican strategists are trying to counter the party's 'War on Women' image" (Culp-Ressler, "ThinkProgress," Center for American Progress, 7/25).

What others are saying about contraception:

~ "IUD Inside," Karen Cordano, Huffington Post blogs.

ABORTION RESTRICTIONS: "Pennsylvania Law Requires Doctors To Read Scripts to Pregnant Patients With Prenatal Down Syndrome Diagnoses (Updated)," Tara Murtha, RH Reality Check: "A new law in Pennsylvania mandates that doctors read a script to pregnant patients after delivering the diagnosis of prenatal Down syndrome," Murtha writes. She explains that the law will take effect 60 days after it was signed on July 18 and that the materials will include "'up-to-date, evidence-based information about Down syndrome,' including 'physical, developmental, educational and psychosocial outcomes,' life expectancy, and 'any other information the [state Department of Health] deems necessary.'" However, Murtha writes that because the script is still under development, "there is no way to assess if the materials are biased, or comply with scientific consensus -- which is not always the case when it comes to government-mandated physician scripts, especially when the targeted patients are pregnant women." Meanwhile, two state lawmakers this week introduced a bill, called the Patient Trust Act (HB 2303) responding to state laws that "that force providers to practice medicine in a way that is not in line with basic medical standards," she adds (Murtha, RH Reality Check, 7/25).

SUPPORTING WORKING FAMILIES: "Times Have Changed for American Families. It's Time for Policies To Change, Too," Judith Warner, Huffington Post blogs: "[T]he 'culture wars' of the end of the 20th century, which pitted working moms against stay-at-home moms and old-fashioned family values against the evils of modern-day homes, are over," Warner writes, citing research showing that a majority of Republicans, Democrats and Independents last year "said they thought it was important for Congress and the White House to devote attention to family-friendly policies." Nonetheless, "changed attitudes have not translated into changed policies," Warner notes, adding that a majority of U.S. residents say that "they, their neighbors, and their friends experience hardship in balancing work, family, and professional responsibilities." It is "time to take the next step" by "putting realistic plans into action" so women do not "have to choose between pursuing a career and having a family," she argues (Warner, Huffington Post blogs, 7/28).

What others are saying about supporting working families:

~ "Paid Leave Encourages Female Employees To Stay," Claire Cain Miller, New York Times' "The Upshot."

GENDER-BASED VIOLENCE AND HARASSMENT: "Take a Look at the Blog That is Going To Help End Rape Culture," Jenny Kutner, Salon: Kutner writes about the blog "I Believe You | It's Not Your Fault," started by writer Lindy West to help women and girls who have been sexually harassed or assaulted "hea[r] from someone else who has been through a similar experience, and gai[n] the tools and vocabulary" they need "to understand that the harassment [they] experienced was not unique -- but that it was also not okay, nor the result of anything" they did. Kutner explains that people write letters to the blog to share their stories and also tell women "exactly" what they need to hear: "I believe you. It's not your fault." In an interview with Kutner, West said, "These issues are so massive, entrenched, and seemingly immovable, they really breed a sense of hopelessness," adding, "So getting the chance to actually DO something -- even if it's as small as telling stories and answering questions -- feels hugely comforting" (Kutner, Salon, 7/28).

What others are saying about gender-based violence and harassment:

~ "'Even If You Don't Like It, You're Supposed to Appear That You Do,'" Noah Berlatsky, The Atlantic.

~ "One Simple Solution To Make Sure Colleges Start Taking Rape Seriously," Culp-Ressler, Center for American Progress' "ThinkProgress."