October 17, 2014 — Read the week's best commentaries from bloggers at the Center for American Progress, RH Reality Check and more.
ABORTION RESTRICTIONS AND ACCESS: "Polling Confirms That Voters See Abortion Access as an Economic Issue for Women," Tara Culp-Ressler, Center for American Progress' "ThinkProgress": A majority of voters see abortion "as a mainstream policy that's inextricably linked to women's financial stability," according to a new poll released by the National Institute for Reproductive Health, Culp-Ressler writes. The poll surveyed "voters in New York and Pennsylvania, both states where lawmakers have proposed broad legislative agendas with several policies intended to advance women's rights." The findings suggest that the "legislative agendas were very popular with voters in both" states, with many of them saying "they see abortion as one piece of the larger push to help women lead fuller lives," Culp-Ressler notes. According to NIRH President Andrea Miller, the results also "should be a 'wake up call for elected officials' who insist on separating abortion issues from financial issues, even though that's out of step with their constituents' views on the subject," Culp-Ressler writes (Culp-Ressler, "ThinkProgress," Center for American Progress, 10/16).
What others are saying about abortion restrictions and access:
~ "The Hidden Costs of Abortion Restrictions," Carole Joffe, RH Reality Check.
~ "This Year's Most Outrageous Anti-Abortion Strategy," Dahlia Lithwick, Slate's "Jurisprudence."
~ "Supreme Court Surprises Everyone, Allows Texas Abortion Clinics To Reopen. For Now." Amanda Marcotte, Slate's "XX Factor."
CONTRACEPTION: "U.S. Taxpayers Save $7 for Every Dollar the Government Spends on Family Planning," Culp-Ressler, Center for American Progress' "ThinkProgress": Publicly funded family planning programs "'resulted in net government savings of $13.6 billion in 2010, or $7.09 for every public dollar spent,'" primarily by "averting costly medical expenses," such as potential Medicaid spending "for abortions, for miscarriages, or for maternity and infant care," among other costs, according to a new Guttmacher Institute analysis, Culp-Ressler writes. Culp-Ressler notes that the findings "are relevant to the larger health policy debate, too, since Obamacare's contraceptive coverage requirement seeks to expand exactly these type[s] of preventative services to privately insured women across the country." However, she writes that "[d]espite the well-documented benefits of family planning programs, states continue to slash funding in this area as women's health issues have become a politicized issue" (Culp-Ressler, "ThinkProgress," Center for American Progress, 10/15).
CRIMINALIZING PREGNANCY: "Pregnant Texans are Being Charged With Crimes That Don't Exist," Andrea Grimes, RH Reality Check: Despite Texas' "fetal homicide" law clearly stating that a "pregnant person cannot be charged with injury to [her] own fetus," prosecutors in West Texas have not stopped "charging women with reckless child endangerment for ingesting controlled substances while pregnant," Grimes writes. Grimes notes that while "these erroneous [child] endangerment charges don't stick," women "are nearly always persuaded to plead guilty to possession or other drug-related offenses, which often carry heftier penalties of incarceration" and that "judges may take the child endangerment charges into consideration as well." Grimes writes that these "attempts to criminalize pregnancy in Texas could not only break up families by forcing pregnant women into prisons and children into foster care; they could be the starting point for a new strike on reproductive rights across the state" (Grimes, RH Reality Check, 10/16).
REPRODUCTIVE JUSTICE: "Announcing the National Black Women's Reproductive Justice Agenda," Linda Goler Blount et al., RH Reality Check: Black Women's Health Imperative President and CEO Goler Blount, alongside several other representatives from reproductive justice groups, announces the formation of "In Our Own Voice: National Black Women's Reproductive Justice Agenda, an organizational initiative designed to amplify and lift up the voices of Black women at national and regional levels in our ongoing fight to secure reproductive justice for all women and girls." The authors write that the initiative will use a human-rights perspective to "focus on abortion rights and access, contraceptive equity, and comprehensive sex education." They add, "For us, reproductive justice is the human right to control our bodies, our sexuality, our gender, our work, and our reproduction," which "can only be achieved when all women and girls have the complete economic, social, and political power and resources to make healthy decisions about our bodies, our families, and our communities in all areas of our lives" (Goler Blount et al., RH Reality Check, 10/14).
WORKPLACE POLICIES: "Is Freezing Eggs the Best Way To Help Women in Careers?" Robin Marty, Care2: Marty considers whether it is a "good thing" that Facebook and Apple have "added egg freezing as a part of their employee benefits package, making this massively expensive medical procedure something that can now be in reach for even more people." She writes, "Freezing eggs should be available to anyone, regardless of [her] bank account, if that person wants to ensure the ability to be pregnant with her own genetic child years down the road." However, she also notes that "we ... need to have a family friendly change in workplace policies that doesn't punish a woman as soon as she becomes a mother." The "egg freezing policy, though laudable, continues to imply that work and motherhood can't go hand in hand," she writes (Marty, Care2, 10/15).
What others are saying about workplace policies:
~ "Freezing Eggs as Part of Employee Benefits: Some Women See Darker Message," Claire Cain Miller, New York Times' "The Upshot."
~ "In 2014, Companies are Still Asking Their Employees To Choose Between Work and Family," Allison O'Kelly, Huffington Post blogs.
MISCARRIAGE: "5 Ways Pregnancy After a Miscarriage is Different," Meredith Hale, Huffington Post blogs: In recognition of Oct. 15, Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day, Hale recounts a miscarriage she experienced, calling it a "scar that never fully fades," adding that it was "surprisingly" more difficult to be pregnant after the loss. She lists "reasons why being pregnant after a miscarriage is different," such as the "[f]ear of the unknown" and "[m]orning sickness envy." She writes, "I'm glad that there's a day to shine a light on this issue -- for people to acknowledge and share their sadness about such a difficult subject," adding that this "openness" helped her after her miscarriage and will hopefully "help others to know that there's light -- and even hope -- beyond the darkness" (Hale, Huffington Post blogs, 10/15).