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Blogs Comment on Support for Working Families, Breastfeeding, More

Blogs Comment on Support for Working Families, Breastfeeding, More

August 5, 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, Care2 and more.

SUPPORTING WORKING FAMILIES: "How Minnesota Passed a Massive Economic Security Law for Women," Erin Matson, RH Reality Check: The Women's Economic Security Act (HF 2536), which took effect Aug. 1 in Minnesota, "stands out" as a "remarkable" instance of a governor signing "legislation that does something good for women," Matson writes. The law provides "an expansive host of benefits," including "basic accommodations for pregnant workers," protections to address the "economic consequences of domestic violence" and an increase in unpaid leave, she notes, adding that "it's not often we see such a large package of solutions-oriented legislation enacted" to address economic discrimination. In an interview with Matson, Debra Fitzpatrick -- program director of the University of Minnesota's Center on Women and Public Policy -- says that "while our families have changed, our workplaces haven't really adapted," but this law "is a recognition that in most families everybody is working" (Matson, RH Reality Check, 8/4).

What others are saying about supporting working families:

~ "Bold Airport Campaign Exposes States' Treatment of Women," Laura Bassett, Huffington Post blogs.

~ "Montana State Government Leads the Way on Equal Pay with Self-Evaluation of Employee Compensation," Emily Werth, National Women's Law Center blog.

ABORTION RESTRICTIONS: "Repro Wrap: TRAPs Are Working, Buffers Aren't, and Clinics Just Keep Closing," Robin Marty, Care2: Marty reviews a number of targeted regulation of abortion providers measures, noting the "biggest news" last week was a decision by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that a requirement that abortion providers have admitting privileges could not be used to close Mississippi's only abortion clinic. Several states "are finding themselves wondering if their own laws" regarding abortion restrictions "are constitutional or not," Marty writes, noting that Louisiana and Oklahoma are "trying to convince their residents" that TRAP laws there "won't be blocked," she continues. She adds that "clinics are shuttering as they admit they can't adhere to the strict and medically unnecessary regulations," such as facilities in Texas, Kansas and Ohio. At the same time, the "eroding of buffer zones" is "making it that much more difficult for patients to access the front doors" of clinics "without harassment," she writes (Marty, Care2, 8/1).

What others are saying about abortion restrictions:

~ "Another Independent Texas Abortion Provider Shuts its Doors," Andrea Grimes, RH Reality Check.

~ "Federal Court Rules Alabama Admitting Privileges Requirement Unconstitutional," Jessica Mason Pieklo, RH Reality Check.

SEXUAL AND GENDER-BASED VIOLENCE: "Domestic Abuse Victim Marissa Alexander Faces 60 Years in Prison for Self Defense," Crystal Shepeard, Care2: Shepeard comments on a case in which "Marissa Alexander, a mother of three," in August 2010 "fired her gun into the ceiling" in an attempt to stop her husband, who had "repeatedly abused" her and threatened to kill her during a confrontation in front of his children. Shepeard notes that Alexander, who is "a trained and licensed firearm owner and had a concealed carry permit from the state of Florida," "was convicted of three counts of aggravated assault and sentenced to 20 years in prison" less than one year after the incident. According to Shepeard, "women -- especially women of color" have historically "been denied self-defense claims in cases of abuse." The case "prompted the [Florida] [L]egislature to modify" state law to allow people "to brandish a firearm and fire a shot in order to scare off an attacker," Shepeard writes, but the law "will not be applied retroactively and will be of no help to" Alexander (Shepeard, Care2, 8/2).

ABORTION-RIGHTS MOVEMENT: "Women Who Have Abortions Are 'Not Alone': A Q&A With Abortion Story Advocate Beth Matusoff Merfish," Chanel Dubofsky, RH Reality Check: "As high school students, Beth Matusoff Merfish and her sister, Brett, spent their summer afternoons volunteering at Planned Parenthood, encouraged by their mother, Sherry," Dubofsky writes, adding that Beth's mother shared the story of her own abortion with Beth before she left for college. "Years later, all three women sat in the gallery of the Texas state senate building during Wendy Davis's 11-hour speech aimed at filibustering legislation [HB 2] seeking to limit abortions after 20 weeks and impose new regulations that would leave just a few abortion clinics open in the state." According to Dubofsky, after that experience Beth wrote a New York Times opinion piece "urging women to tell their abortion stories in the name of breaking down stigma and shame," and the response has been tremendous. In the blog post, Dubofsky asks Beth a series of questions about her efforts, including founding the Not Alone project, which "aims to change the current climate around abortion stigma" (Dubofsky, RH Reality Check, 8/1).

What others are saying about the abortion-rights movement:

~ "Reproductive Justice: It's About More Than Safe Abortion Care," Rickie Solinger, RH Reality Check.

~ "I'm Having an Abortion This Weekend," Jenny Kutner, Salon.

BREASTFEEDING: "The Contradictory Truth About Breastfeeding," Christa Allard, Huffington Post blogs: Allard, a blogger for, discusses the many contradictions of breastfeeding. For instance, she writes that breastfeeding is both "natural," making one "feel connected to something -- someone -- outside of myself, yet an extension of myself" and "foreign ... wrought with complications," such as "nipple shields" and "clogged ducts." Breastfeeding, she writes, is both "incredibly connecting" and "impossibly alienating," causing one to miss out on other activities, and is both a "timesaver" and a "time suck." She says, "Breastfeeding is hard. So why do we do it? Because for every day you feel like you can't continue and are completely touched out, there are the ones where you vow you'll never do anything but snuggle her for the rest of her life." She adds, "Those are the days that keep you going" (Allard, Huffington Post blogs, 8/4).

BREAST CANCER: "The Not-So-Pink Truth About the World of Stage IV," Sarah Amento, Huffington Post blogs: "The way we are fighting" against breast cancer "has to change," argues Amento, who has stage IV breast cancer. She writes, "We see the 'survivors' at these walks with cute pink boas and pink tulle skirts celebrating life, and how proud I am of them. But, all of this pink gives a false sense that we are winning this battle against breast cancer." She says that those with breast cancer must "demand ... personalized care along with integrative care," concluding, "[m]aybe then we will stop burying someone's mother, wife, daughter and friend" (Amento, Huffington Post blogs, 8/4).