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Blogs Comment on Pregnant Workers' Rights, Military Justice System, More

Blogs Comment on Pregnant Workers' Rights, Military Justice System, More

April 22, 2014 — We've compiled some of the most thought-provoking commentaries from around the Web. Catch up on the conversation with bloggers from the RH Reality Check, the Daily Beast and more.

PREGNANT WORKERS' RIGHTS: "Florida Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Pregnant Workers," Jessica Mason Pieklo, RH Reality Check: In "an important ruling for pregnant workers in the state," the Florida Supreme Court on Thursday "ruled 6-1 that a state law barring discrimination based on gender can cover claims of pregnancy discrimination," Mason Pieklo writes. However, the ruling "also highlights the need for updated protections for pregnant workers nationwide," she argues. Although Congress in 1978 "amended Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to add the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, which explicitly prohibits sex discrimination on the basis of pregnancy," there are many "gaps in protections," according to Mason Pieklo. Two bills (SB 220, HB 105) before the Florida Legislature would "codify into statute the Florida Supreme Court's decision," she adds (Mason Pieklo, RH Reality Check, 4/21).

What others are saying about pregnant workers' rights:

~ "How Walmart's 'Support' for Pregnant Employees Falls Short," Deborah Widiss, Huffington Post blogs.

VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN: "Caught Between Military and Civilian Justice, a Battered Wife Waits and Waits for Help," Jacob Siegel, Daily Beast: For more than a year, Bobbie Herron "has been working through the military system, appealing for justice against the Marine ex-husband she says routinely raped and beat her," Siegel writes. "As a civilian pursuing sexual assault charges against an active duty Marine who is also her ex-husband, Herron is caught between two worlds," Siegel explains, noting that Herron "can freely express her frustration in public forums," but her voice within the military justice system is "very limited." However, the advocacy group Protect Our Defenders became involved and connected Herron with U.S. senators, who "have been in continual contact with her and launched investigations into her case." Soon after, "Marine authorities suddenly expressed a newfound interest," but she has still struggled to obtain adequate legal representation in the military justice system, Siegel notes, adding, "As Herron's case shows, even the more modest changes put in place [to reform the military justice system] have not yet been fully adopted" (Siegel, Daily Beast, 4/21).

What others are saying about violence against women:

~ "Standing Our Ground: Reproductive Justice for Marissa Alexander," Monica Simpson, RH Reality Check.

~ "How Football Culture Can Change Rape Culture," Jessica Luther, The Nation.

ABORTION RESTRICTIONS: "Dallas Hospital Revokes Privileges, Tells Abortion Providers They Damage its 'Reputation,'" Andrea Grimes, RH Reality Check: "Two North Texas doctors have filed suit against a Dallas hospital that told them it had revoked their admitting privileges because they provide legal abortion care," Grimes writes, noting, "Federal and state laws prevent hospitals from discriminating against doctors who perform abortions." According to Grimes, the physicians "received identical letters" in March from the hospital's CEO stating "that because the doctors performed legal abortion procedures at locations wholly separate from the hospital, the doctors were engaging in 'disruptive behavior,' in violation of the hospital's bylaws." Grimes notes that "a Dallas County judge has temporarily granted a restraining order that forces the hospital to reinstate the doctors' privileges until the case can receive a full hearing, which has been scheduled for April 30" (Grimes, RH Reality Check, 4/18).

What others are saying about abortion restrictions:

~ "Alaska Law Limits Which Abortions Can Be Deemed 'Medically Necessary,'" Teddy Wilson, RH Reality Check.

~ "Repro Wrap: The Arbitrary Approval of Admitting Privileges and Other News," Robin Marty, Care2.

~ "'You Can't Always Trust People To Do the Right Thing': How a Law Split Pro-Life GOPers in Tennessee," Katie McDonough, Salon.

CONTRACEPTION: "Top Catholic Leader Defends Hobby Lobby, Claims Women Can Just Buy Birth Control at 7-11," Tara Culp-Ressler, Center for American Progress' "ThinkProgress": During a recent appearance on CBS' "Face the Nation," Archbishop of New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan said that "women don't need insurance coverage for birth control because they can purchase it at 'any shop on the street,' including a gas station like 7-11," Culp-Ressler writes, noting that Dolan was "defend[ing] for-profit companies' right to deny birth control coverage to their workers, an issue that's at the heart" of a case before the Supreme Court. While Culp-Ressler acknowledges that Dolan was "likely referring to the male condom, which is typically available for purchase at gas stations ... that's not what's up for debate in the Hobby Lobby case," which centers on whether a private business "should have the right to refuse contraceptive coverage to thousands of its employees based on the owners' religious beliefs" (Culp-Ressler, "ThinkProgress," Center for American Progress, 4/21).

PREGNANCY AND CHILDBIRTH: "9 Ways Childbirth Looks Different for Women Around the World," Catherine Pearson, Huffington Post blogs: While the "core elements of labor and delivery are pretty universal," a woman's overall "childbirth experience, and the postpartum practices that shape her first weeks and months as a mother, are very much informed by cultural traditions and geography," Pearson writes, outlining several ways that childbirth differs in the U.S. and other nations. For example, Finland since the 1930s has supplied mothers with an infant "care package" with baby items. Childbirth in many other areas of the world -- such as parts of Asia, Africa and Central and South America -- involves the woman squatting or using other upright positions to deliver, rather than the U.S. tradition of lying down, she adds. Among other cultural differences, many countries, including Denmark, Germany, Norway and Sweden, guarantee paid maternity leave (Pearson, Huffington Post blogs, 4/21).