December 9, 2014 — Read the week's best commentaries from bloggers at Care2, Slate's "XX Factor" and more.
CRIMINALIZING PREGNANCY: "Mother Loses Newborn Baby After She is Wrongly Accused of Being on Drugs," Robin Marty, Care2: Marty writes about how Tiffany Langwell, a new mother, was separated from her newborn for a week after hospital staff contacted child protective services on the "conjecture" that Langwell was using illicit drugs despite lacking "hard evidence." Langwell had to spend a week "work[ing] through the courts [and] provide a drug test (negative) [to] get her child back," missing time "that was supposed to be spent establishing breast feeding patterns and getting nutrients and immunities to a newborn," Marty writes. She notes that Langwell's experience is a "growing concern" in the U.S., as "more and more outsiders are making judgment calls on what a 'good' mother should be doing,'" paralleling a similar trend of "personhood" laws that "are jailing women who are pregnant under the guise of protecting the fetus" (Marty, Care2, 12/6).
ABORTION RESTRICTIONS: "Repro Wrap: Activists Celebrate Victories in Clinic Access and Other News," Marty, Care2: Marty cites several recent victories for abortion-rights supporters, including a ruling against an antiabortion-rights law in Indiana, the likely failure of Ohio's latest "heartbeat ban" (HB 248) to get sufficient support from the state House and the Virginia Board of Health's decision to review "onerous, medically unnecessary abortion clinic regulations passed in 2012." Despite these successes, Marty also notes that 2015 will "be another year of massive anti-abortion legislation in states across the country," including a potential parental notification measure in Nevada, a debate in Colorado about whether to continue funding "a teen contraceptives grant," a slew of pre-filed antiabortion-rights bills in South Carolina and possible legislation in Tennessee. The overall "message is clear," Marty writes, noting that the successes in Ohio, Virginia and other states "show that as long as activists stay engaged in battle, there is always a chance that bad laws can be fought, blocked, changed or reversed" (Marty, Care2, 12/5).
What others are saying about abortion restrictions:
~ "GOP Majority in New Mexico Legislature Leaves Reproductive Rights in Doubt," Teddy Wilson, RH Reality Check.
CATHOLIC HOSPITALS: "Pregnant? Avoid Alcohol, Caffeine, and Catholic Hospitals," Brigitte Amiri, American Civil Liberties Union's "Blog of Rights": Amiri writes that Catholic hospitals in the U.S. have now joined "the long list of things to avoid in pregnancy," such as alcohol and cigarettes, because religiously based requirements bar the hospitals from providing "pregnant women care that is necessary to protect their health." She notes that the American Civil Liberties Union has taken action in two such situations, including one instance in which a Catholic hospital did not inform a pregnant woman whose water broke at 18 weeks that "terminating her pregnancy was the safest course for her," and another in which a Catholic hospital in Michigan is endangering women by refusing to provide tubal sterilizations for women undergoing caesarean sections. Avoiding Catholic hospitals "can't be the answer," as "in some areas of the country the Catholic hospital is the only option," Amiri writes, adding, "We need to make sure that all hospitals, regardless of their affiliation, provide the best care to women" (Amiri, "Blog of Rights," ACLU, 12/5).
CRISIS PREGNANCY CENTERS: "The Newest Crisis Pregnancy Center Offer: 'Abortion Reversals,'" Amanda Marcotte, Slate's "XX Factor": "[S]ome anti-choice activists are ... actively encouraging women to take what could be a very serious risk to their health," writes Marcotte, highlighting a Vocativ report on "a crisis pregnancy center in Iowa" that "is offering 'abortion reversals' to women who are halfway through a medication abortion." Marcotte explains that the procedure involves injecting medication abortion patients with progesterone after they have taken the initial dose in the two-dose medication abortion regimen, adding that "there's no real information available on the safety or efficacy of this largely untested procedure" aside from a 2012 paper published by the developer of the technique. Further, Marcotte cites Daniel Grossman of Ibis Reproductive Health and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, who has expressed concern "that the advertising of this procedure could mislead the public about the prevalence of abortion regret" though "regret after an abortion is really rare" (Marcotte, "XX Factor," Slate, 12/8).
PREGNANCY AND REPRODUCTIVE CARE: "What Women Need To Know About Fracking and Their Health," Anastasia Pantsios, EcoWatch/Care2: A new study "assert[ing] that fracking increases the rate of miscarriage, as well as other reproductive and developmental problems ... adds more evidence" to "concern[s] about ... these 'unconventional oil and gas (UOG) operations,'" Pantsios writes. She explains that the study examined "more than 150 papers that analyzed the health effects of compounds and chemicals widely used in fracking" and "identified a range of associated defects and reproductive disruptions known to be associated with exposure to them." Specifically, the study found that many "pollutants found near UOG operation sites are recognized as being developmental and reproductive toxicants" and that such areas have "elevated" rates of related conditions, including "infertility, miscarriage, impaired fetal growth, low birth weight, preterm birth and birth defects," Pantsios writes (Pantsios, EcoWatch/Care2, 12/8).
What others are saying about pregnancy and reproductive care:
~ "Competent, Caring Staff Crucial to Program Success," Laura Stepp, Huffington Post blogs.