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Blogs Comment on 'Corporations Who Worship,' Paid Family Leave, More

Blogs Comment on 'Corporations Who Worship,' Paid Family Leave, More

July 8, 2014 — We've compiled some of the most thought-provoking commentaries from around the Web. Catch up on the conversation with bloggers from SCOTUSblog, Feministing and more.

CONTRACEPTIVE COVERAGE: "Hobby Lobby Symposium: Corporations Who Worship -- 1, Women Who Work -- 0," Dawn Johnsen, SCOTUSblog: "In Burwell v. Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties v. Burwell, the five-Justice majority opinion fails to address the real-world consequences for women and their families of allowing employers' religious objections essentially to trump women's interest in their right to health insurance coverage for contraception on an equal basis with other preventive health care," writes Johnsen, a professor at Indiana University's Maurer School of Law. She adds that the majority opinion "considers at length (as it should) the alleged harm to the directors of corporations, but not so the effect on employees of those corporations of interpreting [the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (PL 103-141)] in this expansive fashion, without precedent, to protect for-profit employers' right to act on their religious views in the workplace." She argues that because of the ruling, "more women are likely" to be unable to obtain contraception, "unless and until the other branches of our government act to protect women from the imposition of their bosses' religious beliefs" (Johnsen, SCOTUSblog, 7/1).

What others are saying about contraceptive coverage:

~ "Clergy Protest Supreme Court by Handing Out Condoms at Hobby Lobby," Jack Jenkins, Center for American Progress' "ThinkProgress."

~ "What Does Hobby Lobby Mean for LGBT Employment Discrimination?" Jos Truitt, Feministing.

~ "4 Good (And Not So Good) Ways To Protest the Hobby Lobby Decision," Robin Marty, Care2.

~ "Why the Hobby Lobby Decision is a Stunning Setback for Women's Rights," Lisa Bloom, Huffington Post blogs.

FAMILY LEAVE AND PREGNANT WORKERS' RIGHTS: "Celebrating 10 Years of Paid Family Leave in California -- Now Let's Get the Word Out!" Maria Shriver, Huffington Post blogs: "This month California is celebrating the 10th anniversary of its first-in-the-nation Paid Family Leave (PFL) program, which has helped than 1.5 million parents take paid time away from work to bond with a newborn or adopted child," Shriver, a journalist and former first lady of California, writes. Research since the law's passage has shown that "paid family leave offers real and lasting benefits both to families and to employers," including higher rates of breastfeeding and better child health outcomes, lower rates of postpartum depression, and "neutral or even positive impact on [companies'] productivity and ... bottom line," Shriver adds. However, she notes that California parents file for paid family leave in just 36% of the more than half a million annual births and that, nationwide, just 12% of "American workers have access to paid family leave to care for a new child or a sick family member" (Shriver, Huffington Post blogs, 7/2).

What others are saying about family leave and pregnant workers' rights:

~ "Keeping Pregnant Workers on the Job Unanimously Carries the Day in Delaware," Emily Werth, National Women's Law Center's "Womenstake."

~ "Roberts Court Takes Up Issue of Accommodating Pregnant Workers," Jessica Mason Pieklo, RH Reality Check.

~ "Taking Paternity Leave Makes Other Dads More Likely To Do the Same," Joe Pinsker, The Atlantic.

ABORTION ACCESS AND RESTRICTIONS: "While You Were Paying Attention to Hobby Lobby, it Got Harder To Get an Abortion," Tara Culp-Ressler, Center for American Progress' "ThinkProgress": While "[a]ll eyes have been trained on the Supreme Court ... as the justices delivered a highly-anticipated decision" in the Hobby Lobby case, "that's not the only recent policy change related to reproductive rights," Culp-Ressler writes, noting that "several new abortion restrictions also became law" in various states. She explains that many state laws take effect at the start their fiscal year, which is usually July 1. She details new restrictions on abortion rights in Alabama, Florida, Indiana, Mississippi and South Dakota (Culp-Ressler, "ThinkProgress," Center for American Progress, 7/6).

What others are saying about abortion access and restrictions:

~ "Jay Nixon Vetoes a Terrible Abortion Bill," Dorothy Samuels, New York Times' "Taking Note."

~ "National Right to Life Director Admits Pregnancy is Riskier Than Abortion," Sofia Resnick, RH Reality Check.

~ "Supreme Court Aftermath: Striking Down Buffer Zones Puts Doctors, Patients, Health-Care Workers at Risk," Margaret Nickens, Ms. Magazine blog.

~ "Gulf Residents are Already Turning to DIY Abortions," Marty, Care2.

GLOBAL ISSUES: "Senate Hearing Reignites Hope for CEDAW and I-VAWA," James Hildebrand, Ms. Magazine blog: At a recent Senate subcommittee hearing on global violence and discrimination against women, "a sense of urgency and hope prevailed amid calls for increased U.S. diplomatic action and participation in international legislation," Hildebrand writes, adding that the hearing "marked the beginning of a new campaign to finally pass the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) and the International Violence Against Women Act (I-VAWA) [S 2307]." Hildebrand highlights testimony at the hearing, adding that the U.S. "is in a critical position to influence global development in a way that speeds progress, improves security and perhaps most importantly, saves the lives of women worldwide" (Hildebrand, Ms. Magazine blog, 7/1).

What others are saying about global issues:

~ "Chile Takes Steps To Allow Abortion To Save a Woman's Life," Susan Wood, International Women's Health Coalition's "Akimbo."

~ "Salvadoran Activists Demand Government Response on Pardons for 17 Women Imprisoned for Miscarriage and Stillbirth," Kathy Bougher, RH Reality Check.

~ "After 90-Year Delay, Peru Releases Protocols for Legal Abortion Services," Jessie Clyde, IWHC's "Akimbo."

LGBT RIGHTS: "Dept. Of Labor: 'Discrimination on the Basis of Transgender Status is Discrimination Based on Sex,'" Sesali Bowen, Feministing: The Department of Labor recently made clear that discrimination based on an individual's transgender status "is considered discrimination based on sex and violates Title VII," making DOL "the latest federal agency to clarify" that such discrimination is illegal, Bowen writes. She continues, "This is an important step in fighting trans-discrimination in the workplace" because it "brings Labor in line with the Equal Opportunity Commission['s] 2012 ruling that anti-trans discrimination violates the Civil Rights Act." The clarification also "follows President Obama's announcement that he will sign two executive orders addressing trans employment discrimination: one barring federal contractors from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, and one protecting federal employees from gender identity discrimination," she notes (Bowen, Feministing, 7/3).

MEDICAID: "The Other War on Women's Health," Igor Volsky, Center for American Progress' "ThinkProgress": Volsky writes that a "White House report released Wednesday argues that the 24 state government[s] that have failed to expand their Medicaid programs" under the Affordable Care Act (PL 111-148) "could also be undermining women's health" by limiting women's "access to coverage," therefore "significantly restrict[ing] their access to health care." According to the report, if the states expanded their Medicaid programs, nearly 651,000 additional people would receive needed health care within a given year. That care would include an extra 214,000 women receiving mammograms and 345,000 more women receiving pap tests, Volsky notes. Further, the report found that an additional seven million women could receive "'preventive health screenings, birth control, checkups, and the care they need to manage chronic conditions,'" he adds (Volsky, "ThinkProgress," Center for American Progress, 7/2).

What others are saying about Medicaid:

~ "Report: Failure To Expand Medicaid is a Missed Opportunity," Emily Crockett, RH Reality Check.

PREGNANCY AND FAMILY PLANNING: "Misleading Evidence: Why Maternal Mortality Rates in the U.S. are not Plummeting," Christy Turlington Burns/Jeanne Faulkner, Huffington Post blogs: "[H]undreds of thousands of women still die needlessly during pregnancy and childbirth" because the U.S. is "just not making the lives of mothers and women a priority," write Turlington Burns and Faulkner, both of Every Mother Counts. They take issue with a previous Huffington Post blog post that suggested maternal mortality rates have "plummeted," in part because the author included a graph that "stops with data collected in 1996." In fact, "over the last 20 years, maternal mortality in the United States has been on the rise," Turlington Burns and Faulkner write, noting that a recent study "places the U.S. among only eight countries in the world whose maternal death rates are rising." Turlington Burns and Faulkner conclude that U.S. maternal mortality rates are "rising due to an abundance of women receiving poor health care, the wrong kind of health care or no health care at all. The evidence speaks for itself" (Turlington Burns/Faulkner, Huffington Post blogs, 7/7).

What others are saying about pregnancy and family planning:

~ "Would You Like to Become Pregnant in the Next Year?" Julie Kay/Michele Stranger Hunter, Slate's "Medical Examiner."

~ "The Future of Birth Control: Remote Control Fertility," Eliana Dockterman, Time.

~ "New High-Tech Contraception Will Deliver Birth Control On Demand for up to 16 Years," Lauren Williams, Center for American Progress' "ThinkProgress."