December 12, 2014 — Media outlets and key stakeholders in women's health also comment on Young vs. UPS before the Supreme Court, state antiabortion-rights bills and other issues.
"United States foreign policy can serve as a hindrance to human rights for women and girls or it can be the catalyst for change." -- Nobel peace laureates Jody Williams and Shirin Ebadi, in a letter urging President Obama to clarify interpretation of the Helms Amendment to make clear that it does not prohibit foreign aid funding for all abortion services. The amendment states that U.S. funds cannot be used for abortion "as a method of family planning or to motivate or coerce any person to practice abortions," but it has been incorrectly interpreted as a complete funding ban, including on aid for women raped in conflict zones (Women's Health Policy Report, 12/10).
"At the very least, the Supreme Court should rule that pregnant women deserve to be treated as well as workers who are injured on the job." -- A Los Angeles Times editorial, discussing a Supreme Court case in which former UPS employee Peggy Young alleges that the company violated the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PL 95-555) by forcing her to take unpaid leave during her pregnancy, rather than granting accommodations so she could continue working. The high court heard oral arguments in the case earlier this month (Women's Health Policy Report, 12/4).
"Abortion is very safe as currently performed, which calls into question the need for additional regulations that purportedly aim to improve safety." -- Ushma Upadhyay, assistant professor at University of California-San Francisco, on a study she co-authored finding that abortion patients experience major complications less than 0.25% of the time. The study found that women who underwent abortion procedures experienced an overall complication rate of 2.1%, which is substantially lower than the complication rate for childbirth (Women's Health Policy Report, 12/9).
"This committee certainly makes it seem like medicine and science [are] our enemy." -- Ohio Rep. John Patrick Carney (D), on a state House committee vote to advance a bill (HB 248) that would ban abortion once a fetal heartbeat is detectable, which is as early as six weeks of pregnancy (Columbus Dispatch, 11/21). The full House later rejected the bill, which lacked support from Republican legislative leaders and divided abortion-rights opponents over whether it would ultimately help their cause (Women's Health Policy Report, 12/11).
"Anybody in the U.S. Senate should think long and hard before voting to restrict access to abortion." -- Planned Parenthood Federation of America President Cecile Richards, warning conservative lawmakers that plans to push a 20-week abortion ban in light of GOP Senate gains from the midterm election could backfire in 2016 races. Advocates on both sides of the abortion-rights debate anticipate action on such a bill in early 2015 (Women's Health Policy Report, 12/8).
"It is up to the public ... to send a message to state legislators that they will not tolerate TRAP laws any more than they will accept personhood restrictions." -- Caitlin Borgmann, professor at CUNY School of Law and editor of the Reproductive Rights Prof Blog, writing in the Los Angeles Times that "Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers, or 'TRAP laws'" are a "far bigger threat to abortion rights" than personhood measures, which often receive more attention (Women's Health Policy Report, 12/2).
"[T]he main thrust of this paper is that transgender people are out there, they're everywhere, and the health care field is not adequately serving them." -- Jae Sevelius, a psychologist with the University of California-San Francisco Center of Excellence for Transgender Health, on a study that found some transgender individuals face barriers to receiving adequate reproductive health care services (Women's Health Policy Report, 11/20).