November 4, 2014 — Read the week's best commentaries from bloggers at the Huffington Post, The Nation and more.
SUPPORTING WORKING FAMILIES: "Meet the Working Mother Taking Her Pregnancy Discrimination Case to the Supreme Court," Dave Jamieson, Huffington Post blogs: "When Peggy Young became pregnant in 2006, she had every intention of continuing to work delivering packages for UPS in Maryland," but "UPS placed Young on unpaid leave" after she obtained a doctor's note that "recommended that she not lift more than 20 pounds for the first 20 weeks of her pregnancy," Jamieson writes, noting that the Supreme Court will hear Young's pregnancy discrimination case later this year. Jamieson adds that UPS recently announced it will change its policy effective Jan. 1, 2015, so that pregnant workers will be eligible for light-duty assignments, which puts the company "in the peculiar position of defending before the Supreme Court a policy that it is already walking away from." Despite the change, "Young's case could have far-reaching consequences for working women throughout the country," he writes, explaining that "[t]he underlying question is whether or not the Pregnancy Discrimination Act compels companies to offer light-duty options to pregnant workers if they already do so for non-pregnant workers in other situations" (Jamieson, Huffington Post blogs, 10/31).
What others are saying about supporting working families:
~ "'Work and Family Month' Shouldn't Need To Exist," Betsey Stevenson, Huffington Post blogs.
~ "Why Many Working Moms Make Better Employees," Kevin Mathews, Care2.
POLITICS AND ELECTIONS: "Will Colorado and North Dakota Voters Criminalize Abortion on Tuesday?" Dani McClain, The Nation blogs: "Proponents of [a] personhood initiative on the ballot in [Colorado], one of two nationwide that voters will consider Tuesday," argue that Amendment 67 will protect life and not affect abortion rights, but "abortion rights advocates and others concerned with the health and wellbeing of women cry foul," McClain writes. She notes that "Tuesday won't be the first time Colorado voters are asked to vote on personhood," with voters rejecting similar measures in 2008 and 2010, and recent polling "suggests that just over a third of Coloradans will vote yes" on this year's measure. According to McClain, "Voters appear similarly split in North Dakota, where they'll decide on Measure 1, which aims to protect the 'right to life of every human being at any stage of development.'" McClain writes that anyone interested in "how anti-choice advocates are working to ban abortion should keep their eyes on these states Tuesday" (McClain, The Nation blogs, 10/31).
What others are saying about politics and elections:
~ "Tackling Myths vs. Facts on Tenn. Abortion Measure," Anita Wadhwani, USA Today.
~ "Repro Wrap: Abortion Access Dwindles as Election Day Looms and Other News," Robin Marty, Care2.
~ "Nope, This Will Not Be the Next Year of the Woman. Not Even Close," Nia-Malika Henderson, Washington Post's "The Fix."
MATERNAL HEALTH: "Medicaid Expansion in North Carolina? Let's Talk About Infant Mortality and Maternal Health," Emma Akpan, RH Reality Check: "Maternal and infant health should be made more prominent in the movement to advance Medicaid expansion in states across the country, and women should be on the front lines in these discussions, because while our concerns are not being addressed women and their infants are dying," Akpan writes. Akpan argues that North Carolina's " alarming infant mortality rate ... can be seen as a direct result of women not having access to quality health care even before they become pregnant." She adds, "If North Carolina lawmakers are truly concerned about the lives of women and children, they would remember that when women go without health coverage, they have a harder time having healthy babies" (Akpan, RH Reality Check, 11/3).
ABORTION RESTRICTIONS AND ACCESS: "North Carolina is Fighting To Enact One of the Country's Most Condescending Abortion Laws," Tara Culp-Ressler, Center for American Progress' "ThinkProgress": Attorneys for the state of North Carolina are asking a federal appeals court to reinstate a law that "requires doctors to describe ultrasounds in detail immediately before allowing their patients to proceed with an abortion," Culp-Ressler writes. The state maintains that it "has a legitimate interest in protecting the life of the fetus," while opponents of the law believe the "policy is a particularly egregious overreach into women's personal medical decisions, even as 'informed consent' measures become increasingly popular on the state level," Culp-Ressler explains. The plaintiffs -- including the Center for Reproductive Rights, Planned Parenthood and the American Civil Liberties Union -- also argue that the state is unconstitutionally forcing physicians to convey the state's antiabortion-rights position to patients. Culp-Ressler notes that while some abortion patients might want to view an ultrasound image, research has shown that being forced by the state to have one -- rather than making an elective decision -- "'may have negative psychological and physical effects'" and that ultrasounds do not change women's minds about wanting an abortion (Culp-Ressler, "Think Progress," Center for American Progress, 10/31).
GENDER-BASED AND SEXUAL VIOLENCE: "Sex Trafficking Isn't an 'Over There' Issue, 100,000 U.S. Kids Are Sold Into It Every Year," Eleanor Goldberg, Huffington Post blogs: While many U.S. residents appear to view child sex trafficking as a "remote issue," the not-for-profit group ECPAT-USA is working to educate Americans that the crime is "happening ... all over the United States," Goldberg writes, noting that more than 100,000 U.S. children are victims of sex trafficking annually. In a new public service announcement, many New Yorkers interviewed by the group "pointed to Amsterdam, South America and Thailand, among other foreign regions, where they believed children to be at risk for exploitation." Goldberg cites ECPAT-USA Executive Director Carol Smolenski, who explained that in the U.S., "[r]unaways, homeless kids and children in the foster care system," many of whom have already faced abuse, are especially vulnerable to trafficking. Many of these victims "fall through the cracks" as they become older and are no longer seen as child victims but as adult members of the sex industry, Goldberg adds (Goldberg, Huffington Post blogs, 11/2).
What others are saying about gender-based and sexual violence:
~ "Teach Them the Way: The Role of Sexuality Education in Preventing Sexual and Domestic Violence," Jamille Fields, Law Students for Reproductive Justice's "Repo Repro."