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Blogs Comment on National Condom Week, Breastfeeding Support, More

Blogs Comment on National Condom Week, Breastfeeding Support, More

February 25, 2014 — We've compiled some of the most thought-provoking commentaries from around the Web. Catch up on the conversation with bloggers from RH Reality Check, Salon and more.

SEXUAL HEALTH: "This Week in Sex: Celebrating National Condom Week," Martha Kempner, RH Reality Check: In a post marking National Condom Week, Kempner highlights a survey by New York City's health department that found that fewer than two-thirds of 8,500 surveyed city residents used a condom the last time they had sex. In an effort to increase condom use, the city launched its own brand of condoms, and it gives away 38 million condoms annually, according to Kemper. She also discusses a recent NIH grant to TheyFit, which will work with Emory University to test and develop condoms in different sizes (Kempner, RH Reality Check, 2/21).

What others are saying about sexual health:

~ "Why the CDC Stopped Calling Sex Without a Condom 'Unprotected Sex,'" Kempner, RH Reality Check.

~ "GOP's War on 'Hookup Culture': Tennessee Republicans Enraged by College Sex Week," Josh Eidelson, Salon.

BREASTFEEDING: "Extending Breastfeeding Services to Our Military Moms and Spouses," Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), Huffington Post blogs: The Affordable Care Act (PL 111-148) covers many "services vital to new mothers," including "access to breast pumps, as well as lactation support and counseling," writes McCaskill. However, TRICARE, which provides health insurance for military members and their families, does not cover many of those same services. McCaskill has introduced a bill that would "bring TRICARE services for military mothers and military spouses to the high standard we've achieved in the civilian sector under the health care law." She writes, "This is commonsense legislation and I hope my colleagues on both sides of the aisle will help it see swift action" (McCaskill, Huffington Post blogs, 2/21).

~ "What I Wish I'd Known About Breastfeeding," Kara Pogue, Huffington Post blogs.

ABORTION-RIGHTS PROTECTIONS: "Could This Be the Year the Pro-Choice Movement Goes on the Offensive?" Maya Dusenbery, Feministing: Citing a Bloomberg article that reported that more abortion-rights legislation has been introduced this year than any year since the early 1990s, Dusenbery notes that many of the bills "are simply trying to recoup the ground we've lost in the anti-choice barrage of the last few years." She adds, "[E]ven in states where there's little chance of enacting pro-choice legislation now, raising the issue and forcing anti-choice lawmakers to defend increasingly extreme restrictions is a good long-term strategy." She notes, "Plus, every now and again, a truly pro-active pro-choice bill actually gets passed" (Dusenbery, Feministing, 2/24).

What others are saying about abortion-rights protections:

~ "New Hampshire is Poised To Enact a Buffer Zone Around Abortion Clinics To Protect Patients," Tara Culp-Ressler, Center for American Progress' "ThinkProgress."

FAMILY PLANNING: "Supreme Court Turns Away Arizona Planned Parenthood Funding Ban," Jessica Mason Pieklo, RH Reality Check: The Supreme Court on Monday "again turned back efforts to strip Planned Parenthood clinics of Medicaid funding, this time rejecting a request by attorneys for the State of Arizona to overturn a federal appeals court ruling blocking its attempts to disqualify the women's health-care provider from state Medicaid funds," Mason Pieklo writes. The attorneys defending the law for the state argued that the Medicaid statute's use of the word "qualified" was "too vague for the court to enforce" and that the state was thus allowed to define it on its own. Mason Pieklo explains that the lower court's ruling found that this interpretation "would have effectively gutted the 'provider-choice' provision of the Medicaid Act, the portion of the law that allows Medicaid recipients to cho[o]se which providers they want to see." She notes that the Supreme Court's decision marks the second time it "has refused to overturn such lower court decisions" (Mason Pieklo, RH Reality Check, 2/24).

HEALTH CARE COSTS: "The Price of a Child I Wouldn't Let Go," Amanda Rose Adams, New York Times' "Motherlode": "Our son is almost 11, and since the revelation of his critical heart defects during my pregnancy, the cost of his survival increases each year," Rose Adams writes, adding that her son's care has cost her family $100,000 in out-of-pocket expenses and effectively eliminated her savings for retirement and her children's college educations. "I once believed when our son's health stabilized, our medical expenses would decline, but inflation proved me wrong," Rose Adams writes, noting that a cardiology exam that cost $800 in 2003 now costs $2,800. Rose Adams adds, "I made a choice to fight for my child's life, a choice I do not regret," but his "life is a free-market commodity with no fixed price on which I, and my employer, make payments annually in a mad, unaccountable installment plan" (Rose Adams, "Motherlode," New York Times, 2/23).

ABORTION RESTRICTIONS AND ACCESS: "Repro Wrap: Here Come the Personhood Bids Again and Other News," Robin Marty, Care2: "This week, three different states have been moving the needle when it comes to granting legal rights to fertilized eggs," including a ballot initiative in Mississippi -- where a "[p]ersonhood" ballot measure was previously rejected -- and bills in the New Hampshire and Florida legislatures, Marty writes. Meanwhile, Alabama is considering four different antiabortion-rights measures, including a bill that would ban abortion once a fetal heartbeat is detectable, while both South Carolina and West Virginia are advancing "'fetal pain' pre-viability bans," Marty continues. However, "[i]n good news this week, the state of New Hampshire has passed its own buffer zone to provide additional protection at abortion clinics, some Planned Parenthoods in Arizona have returned to offering medication abortions ... and a bill that would have made public the names of doctors in Indiana who were providing back up care for abortion providers in the state has failed to make it out of committee," she adds (Marty, Care2, 2/21).

What others are saying about abortion restrictions and access:

~ "One of the Nation's Cruelest Anti-Abortion Laws is Starting To Gain Ground," Culp-Ressler, Center for American Progress' "ThinkProgress."

~ "Virginia Lawmaker Refers to Pregnant Women as 'Hosts,'" Callie Beusman, Jezebel.

~ "GOP Lawmaker: We Need To Ban Sex-Based Abortions Because of Asian Immigrants," Molly Redden, Mother Jones.

~ "South Dakota Spends $170,000 Defending Anti-Choice Law," Sharona Coutts, RH Reality Check.