October 31, 2014 — Read the week's best commentaries from bloggers at ACLU, the Center for American Progress and more.
WORKPLACE POLICIES: "UPS Finally Admits the Obvious -- Letting Pregnant Workers Work is Good for Business," Ariela Migdal, American Civil Liberties Union's "Blog of Rights": UPS has filed a Supreme Court brief, "promis[ing] to give pregnant workers the equal treatment they have been demanding all along," Migdal writes. UPS announced that it will now permit certain accommodations for pregnant workers, which "equally is not only good policy," but also "good business." Still, the company "continues to deny that the law requires such equality of treatment ... and refuses to give back pay to women like Peggy [Young]," the former UPS employee who was forced off the job while pregnant "after she requested light-duty work on the advice of her doctor." However, on Dec. 3, "the Supreme Court has the opportunity [to] make clear once and for all that our civil rights laws require what UPS has already admitted is good business policy: equal treatment for pregnant workers," as Young v. UPS heads to the high court (Migdal, "Blog of Rights," ACLU, 10/28).
CONTRACEPTION: "Pennsylvania May Drop Birth Control Coverage for Thousands of Low-Income Women," Tara Culp-Ressler, Center for American Progress' "ThinkProgress": Women's health advocates in Pennsylvania are concerned that Gov. Tom Corbett (R) will let a "special Medicaid program" that provides "free reproductive health coverage" to low-income state residents expire on Dec. 31 "without ensuring that [beneficiaries] can maintain uninterrupted access to their birth control," Culp-Ressler writes. The program, SelectPlan for Women, "is essentially an experiment in putting Medicaid dollars toward women of reproductive age, hoping that preventing their unplanned pregnancies will ultimately lower health costs," she writes, noting that it provides "birth control, emergency contraception, breast exams, Pap smears, and STD treatment at no cost to women whose incomes fall below 214 percent of the federal poverty line." However, Corbett has not yet indicated if he will apply for an extension of the program, and, according to media reports, "women's health groups in the state have been told to prepare for SelectPlan's termination," she writes (Culp-Ressler, "ThinkProgress," Center for American Progress, 10/29).
What others are saying about contraception:
~ "Why More Women and Doctors Should Consider This Kind of Birth Control," Marjorie Greenfield, Huffington Post blogs.
SEXUAL VIOLENCE: "Students Bring out Mattresses in Huge 'Carry That Weight' Protest Against Sexual Assault," Alexandra Svokos, Huffington Post: "College students around the globe brought out mattresses on Wednesday to support Columbia University student Emma Sulkowicz and raise awareness about sexual assault," Svokos writes. She notes that the demonstration was organized by the group Carrying the Weight Together, which consists of "college students and activists working to support survivors of sexual and domestic violence." According to Svokos, "The group was inspired by Sulkowicz's senior thesis project, 'Carry That Weight,' in which she is hefting her mattress around campus until the student she says raped her is expelled or leaves" (Svokos, Huffington Post, 10/29).
PREGNANCY AND INFERTILITY: "Infertility 101: What NOT To Say When Your Friends Are Trying," Camille Preston, Huffington Post blogs: Preston, founder and CEO of AIM Leadership, recounts the "best practices" she learned from her own two-year struggle with infertility, noting that "[i]nfertility is not rare" and that "almost 12 percent of American women have received some form of fertility treatment in their lifetime." Further, "[o]ne in four pregnancies ends in miscarriage, and an estimated 20 percent of couples have challenges conceiving." For those who know "someone who is on her own journey through infertility," Preston offers six recommendations, such as to avoid sharing stories about others who have gotten pregnant, to "[r]espect all that they are doing to create a family" and to "[e]ducate yourself" on infertility by watching her recent TEDx talk (Preston, Huffington Post blogs, 10/28).
What others are saying about pregnancy and infertility:
~ "Let's Forget 'Pregnancy Brain,'" Katherine McAuliffe, Huffington Post blogs.
ABORTION RESTRICTIONS: "Abortion Options in North Dakota Are Dwindling," Culp-Ressler, Center for American Progress' "Think Progress": A North Dakota State Supreme Court decision that requires physicians "to follow the federal recommendations for administering [medication abortion] sounds logical on the surface," but it actually "requires doctors to adhere to the FDA's outdated protocol for administering the abortion pill" even though "women have been safely taking [the off-label version] for years," Culp-Ressler writes. "In reality, this type of requirement often functions as a back-door ban on medication abortion -- which is exactly what's playing out in North Dakota, where women no longer have this option for terminating a first-trimester pregnancy," she writes, noting that the state's sole abortion clinic has stopped providing medication abortion. She writes that other states have enacted medication abortion restrictions that have "sparked similar legal challenges," suggesting that the issue "could make its way up to the Supreme Court" (Culp-Ressler, "Think Progress," Center for American Progress, 10/30).
What others are saying about abortion restrictions:
~ "North Carolina Doubles Down on Shaming Women Who Seek Abortions," Andrew Beck, American Civil Liberties Union's "Blog of Rights."
~ "Tennessee's Amendment 1 is a 'Personhood' Referendum -- for Pregnant Women," Farah Diaz-Tello/Cherisse Scott, RH Reality Check.
~ "Driving to an Abortion Clinic in Texas is Really Expensive," Jenny Kutner, Salon.