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Blogs Comment on High Stakes in Supreme Court Cases, Controversial Genetic Counseling Law, More

Blogs Comment on High Stakes in Supreme Court Cases, Controversial Genetic Counseling Law, More

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

CONTRACEPTION: "What's at Stake in the Supreme Court Birth Control Cases? More Than You Might Think," Elizabeth Sepper, National Partnership for Women & Families blog: "At heart the question for the [Supreme Court]" in Tuesday's contraceptive coverage case is whether "a corporation [can] have a 'conscience' that trumps individual freedom and allows business owners to impose their beliefs on employees and consumers," writes Sepper, an associate professor of law at Washington University School of Law. She notes that the court in the past has "answered that question with a resounding 'no,'" adding that "equality in the workplace and the marketplace rides on the [justices] doing so again." Sepper explains that the "right of women and men to control their reproductive lives -- without their boss' say-so -- hangs in the balance," as does whether "employees will bear the costs of religious beliefs of corporations" (Sepper, National Partnership for Woman & Families blog, 3/21).

What others are saying about contraception:

~ "When 'Religious Liberty' Was Used To Deny All Health Care to Women and Not Just Birth Control," Ian Millhiser, Center for American Progress' "ThinkProgress."

~ "Religion is no Excuse for Bigotry Against Women," Terry O'Neill, Huffington Post blogs.

~ "The Life-Saving Power of Birth Control as ... Birth Control," Katherine Gwynn, RH Reality Check.

GENETIC COUNSELING: "This Law Allows Genetic Counselors To Turn Away Gays and Unwed Parents," Molly Redden, Mother Jones: Genetic counselors in Virginia now "have the right to turn away gays or lesbians or to withhold test results that could cause a patient to consider terminating her pregnancy," under recently signed legislation that "establishes new rules for licensing genetic counselors," Redden writes. Redden notes that the genetic counselors are "health care professionals who help couples assess their odds of parenting a child with a genetic disorder, test individuals for genes indicative of disease, or detect fetal abnormalities after a woman becomes pregnant." She adds, "For pro-choice activists, the new law is more than just another intrusion on reproductive rights," but also "a betrayal" by Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D), who was elected in part because of substantial support from female voters and abortion-rights groups. Although McAuliffe worked with NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia and the Americans Civil Liberties Union of Virginia on an amendment that would have weakened the law's "conscience clause," he decided to sign into law the version passed by the state House and Senate because "the necessity of regulating genetic counselors was too great not to sign" it (Redden, Mother Jones, 3/25).

ACCESS TO REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH CARE: "For Healthy Births and Happy Birthdays, Get Covered and Trust Women," Christine Pelosi, Huffington Post blogs: Pelosi, chair of the California Democratic Party Women's Caucus, writes about how she refused a doctor's recommendation that she undergo an emergency cesarean section and demanded a second opinion, leading to the vaginal birth of a healthy daughter. Pelosi cites her experience as the reason she is "all the more committed to fighting the good fight for universal healthcare, of which the [Affordable Care Act (PL 111-148)] is a monumental cornerstone." She notes that "access to quality affordable healthcare ... is still blocked by right wing ideologues who insist that all pregnant women give birth but then block access to prenatal care, inject themselves into maternal choices with harmful 'fetal harm' laws, and deny vital support once the child is born." Pelosi urges readers to "join the effort urging all to get covered[,] fighting fetal harm laws and advancing Medicaid Expansion" (Pelosi, Huffington Post blogs, 3/22).

ABORTION RESTRICTIONS: "Repro Wrap: If There's a Uterus in the House the GOP Wants To Legislate It and Other News," Robin Marty, Care2: "It's been a long, long week, especially for those fighting for reproductive rights in the state of Missouri," Marty writes, citing the "literally dozens of anti-abortion restrictions" passed by the state Legislature. She notes that state Rep. Stacey Newman (D) kept a knitted uterus on her desk during a recent debate, which was "probably the closest a number of the legislators had ever gotten to actually seeing one, but that didn't stop them from continuing to level restriction after restriction on women's reproductive organs." Marty also rounds up news on antiabortion-rights legislation in other states, noting that some are having a "harder time" than Missouri passing such bills (Marty, Care2, 3/21).