February 20, 2014 — In this week's video highlights, we feature abortion clinic escorts describing the need for "buffer zone" laws, a law professor explaining the Supreme Court contraceptive coverage case and experts debating the latest mammogram study.
In a discussion about the need for "buffer zone" laws, abortion clinic escort Katie Klabusich describes the environment outside clinics in New Jersey, where there is no requirement that protesters stay back from clinic entrances or patients. "HuffPost Live" host Ricky Camilleri also speaks with activist and comedian Lizz Winstead; Michelle Colon, an escort at the only abortion clinic in Mississippi; and former escort Jason Notte. The panelists discuss the tactics protesters use to try to intimidate patients -- such as following them for blocks, yelling insults and taking their pictures -- as well as the Supreme Court case over the constitutionality of Massachusetts' buffer zone law (Camilleri, "HuffPost Live," 2/19).
One of the authors of an amicus brief arguing against granting for-profit businesses an exemption from the contraceptive coverage rules describes the potential ripple effects of a ruling in favor of the companies. The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear oral arguments in the case next month. In the video, Elizabeth Sepper, an associate professor of law at Washington University in St. Louis, says a decision in favor of the businesses would be an unprecedented assertion that for-profit, secular companies have a "conscience equivalent to that of a human being." This could allow other companies to claim they should be exempt from many laws they oppose, such as anti-discrimination laws or obligations to contribute to Social Security, she says (Sepper, Washington University in St. Louis, 2/10).
On PBS' NewsHour, two experts debate a recent study that found that breast cancer death rates were the same among women who underwent regular mammograms and those who did not. Physician Gilbert Welch of the Dartmouth Institute says the findings are valid, noting that they add to evidence that routine mammograms can lead to "overdiagnosis" and result in women being treated for cancer that "didn't need treatment in the first place." However, physician Carol Lee of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center notes there are "a number of other large, randomized, prospective studies of screening mammography that do indeed show a benefit" in reducing breast cancer deaths (Woodruff, "NewsHour," PBS, 2/12).