July 10, 2015 — Read the week's best commentaries from bloggers at the Center for American Progress' "ThinkProgress," RH Reality Check and more.
ABORTION PROTECTIONS: "Members of Congress Introduce Groundbreaking Bill To Help More Women Afford Abortion," Tara Culp-Ressler, Center for American Progress' "ThinkProgress": "A group of U.S. congressmembers ... introduced a landmark bill [HR 2972] on Wednesday" that "would restore insurance coverage for abortion services for women who rely on the government for their health care," among other abortion-rights protections, Culp-Ressler writes. According to Culp-Ressler, the measure "seeks to undo the Hyde Amendment, a policy dating back nearly four decades that bans taxpayer funding for abortion services," including for women in the Medicaid program. She writes that proposed measure is part of a "renewed" effort "to educate Americans about the harmful effects of the Hyde Amendment and convince U.S. lawmakers to finally revisit the decades-old abortion coverage restriction." Culp-Ressler cites Kierra Johnson -- URGE executive director and part of the All* Above All coalition -- noting that the "legislative push to finally repeal the Hyde Amendment represents where the movement for reproductive health is headed: Toward proactive efforts to meaningfully expand access to abortion, after years of weathering relentless attacks on the state and federal levels" (Culp-Ressler, "ThinkProgress," Center for American Progress, 7/8).
What others are saying about abortion protections:
~ "Unbowed, Undaunted, and Bold: Restoring Abortion Coverage and Achieving Reproductive Justice," Vania Leveille, American Civil Liberties Union's "Washington Markup."
CONTRACEPTION: "Contraceptive Pill Users Save $1.4 Billion on Birth Control After ACA Implementation," Andrea Grimes, RH Reality Check: "Americans who use birth control pills saved $1.4 billion on the cost of their contraception in 2013 after the implementation of the Affordable Care Act [PL 111-148], according to a new report published in the policy journal Health Affairs," Grimes writes. She adds, "In fact, out-of-pocket spending on most reversible contraceptive methods has gone down as of January 2013, and the savings are being passed on directly to families." According to Grimes, researchers "found that on average, contraceptive pill and [intrauterine device] users spent 20 percent less out-of-pocket on their chosen family planning methods post-ACA." She explains that while "[s]ome contraceptive brands are still not required to be covered by the ACA ... researchers found that their sample group -- nearly 800,000 women -- cut their pill expenses by 50 percent during the first half of 2013, and by 70 percent on [IUDs]." Grimes writes, "While researchers did not draw a direct causal relationship between the ACA and out-of-pocket contraception savings, the director of women's health policy at the Kaiser Family Foundation" said the "study was 'persuasive and consistent with what other studies are finding,' and that there was a 'clear pattern in the research'" (Grimes, RH Reality Check, 7/8).
What others are saying about contraception:
~ "Free IUD Programs Work. Why Are Conservatives Opposed to Them?" Amanda Marcotte, Slate's "The XX Factor."
~ "Beyond the IUD: What You Might Not Know About the Contraceptive Implant," Katharine Simmons, Feministing.
ABORTION STIGMA: "Google, AdBlade Bar Abortion Clinic From Advertising," Nina Liss-Schultz, RH Reality Check: "Abortion care services continue to be stonewalled by some of the web's most visited sites, as these Internet giants charge that abortion is not a family friendly topic," writes Liss-Schultz. According to Liss-Schultz, "[t]he refusal to use abortion-related ads continues even as providers push to remove the stigma from the procedure with unapologetic online advertisements." She writes that Google ran Washington, D.C., clinic Carafem's ads "for two weeks before finally rejecting them ... in an email to the clinic" citing a restriction on "'non-family safe' ads," even though "[a]bortion is not listed as an example of 'non-family safe' advertising" in the company's policies. As a result, the ads "will only appear in Google Search and never via Google Display ... which runs video and display ads on third-party sites." Similarly AdBlade, which "publishes ads on sites owned by ... Fox News, the Hearst Corporation, and McClatchy," rejected Carafem's ads "'due to the sensitivity of the topic,'" despite no mention of "abortion nor any other medical procedure" in their policies on ad restriction, Liss-Schultz writes. According to Liss-Schultz, Carafem Vice President Melissa Grant in response to the decisions said the clinic's ads are "'not flippant or outlandish'" but rather "a crucial aspect of the clinic's larger mission to break down the silence and taboo surrounding the procedure" (Liss-Schultz, RH Reality Check, 7/7).
REPRODUCTIVE JUSTICE: "New Study Shows Black Communities Want Clinic Access," Anita Little, Ms. Magazine blog: "As reproductive health services continue to be cut, especially in the South, low-income women and women of color will be disproportionately affected," Little writes. She cites a recent survey that finds "85 percent of black women and men agree that black women should be trusted to make their own reproductive choices, and 71 percent believe abortion should be available in their communities." The survey also found that "86 percent of African Americans see contraception, such as birth control pills, [intrauterine devices], Depo-Provera shots and diaphragms, as part of women's basic health care." However, Little notes, "As clinics shutter, black women not only lose access to abortion but also to the many other reproductive health services that clinics provide, such as [sexually transmitted infection] testing and cancer screenings" (Little, Ms. Magazine blog, 7/9).