September 9, 2014 — Read the week's best commentaries from bloggers at Feministing, Salon and more.
ABORTION RESTRICTIONS AND ACCESS: "Single Mother Will Spend at Least One Year in Prison for Getting Her Daughter Abortion Pills," Maya Dusenbery, Feministing: "State laws requiring an abortion to [be] performed by a doctor were intended to prosecute quack providers; they were never intended to be used against people seeking to end their pregnancies -- and they make no sense in the modern world where the procedure can be 'performed' non-surgically by taking a couple pills," Dusenbery writes. Unfortunately, such laws "continue to be abused," such as in the case of "Jennifer Whalen, the Pennsylvania mother charged with a felony for helping her daughter get an abortion" via medication abortion drugs who "has been sentenced to up to 18 months in prison." Dusenbery continues, "If these laws remain on the books ... it's terribly obvious what the consequence will be: Pregnant people -- whether they intended to end their pregnancies or not -- will be afraid to seek medical help when they need it" (Dusenbery, Feministing, 9/8).
What others are saying about abortion restrictions and access:
~ "Miscarriage Isn't Illegal, but it's Increasingly Treated With Suspicion," Amanda Marcotte, RH Reality Check.
BREAST CANCER: "The 'Angelina Jolie Effect': More Women Now Considering Similar Steps To Prevent Breast Cancer," Sam Collins, Center for American Progress' "ThinkProgress": "Oscar-winning actress Angelina Jolie's decision to undergo a double mastectomy last year has inspired more women to take their health into their own hands and receive genetic counseling," Collins writes, citing a study that found genetic counseling referrals at a cancer center based in Toronto, Canada, "doubled after Jolie's announcement." Overall, "the rates at which women receive mastectomies [have] increased by double digit percentages" since the late 1990s, Collins writes. However, she notes that even "with a 95-percent reduction rate among women who receive mastectomies, the risk of breast cancer still exists." In addition, recent studies "have also found that removal of both breasts didn't extend patients' lives any more than ... removing cancerous lumps, followed by radiotherapy," she writes, adding that many "experts warn against taking what they consider a drastic measure to prevent the spread of a tumor" (Collins, "ThinkProgress," Center for American Progress, 9/5).
CONTRACEPTION: "Tubal Ligation in Catholic Hospitals: A Qualitative Study of Ob-Gyns' Experiences," Lori Freedman/Debra Stulber, ANSIRH Blog: In a recent study, Freedman and Stulber found that ob-gyns who work in Catholic hospitals and cannot "perform a post-partum tubal ligation" are frustrated "because hospital religious policy mandates that physicians cannot give the patient what she wants and needs, despite their own medical judgment." Denying women "a desired sterilization" is a "troubling trend," Freedman and Stulber write, noting that women "who have decided they are done having kids and are in the hospital anyway are regularly told they will need to go to a different facility months later if they want their tubes tied." They write, "There is really no excuse for requiring a woman to go through the risks of surgery twice, when only once is necessary" (Freedman/Stulber, ANSIRH Blog, 9/8).
ABORTION STORIES: "Wendy Davis' Choice: Why Speaking Out About Abortion Must Remain a Woman's Decision," Jenny Kutner, Salon: Texas gubernatorial candidate and state Sen. Wendy Davis (D) did "exactly what she should have done" when she revealed "private information about her reproductive history," not because "it might impact the polls," but because "Davis decided that sharing her abortion stories was the right decision for her," Kutner writes. However, Kutner stresses that women who are making abortion decisions or deciding whether to share their abortion stories "must make the choices that are best for them and for their families." She writes that while sharing abortion stories "shamelessly and openly ... [is] a simple act that has the potential to eliminate the stigma attached to abortion," women who do not share such stories are "exercising yet another right -- to maintain their privacy" (Kutner, Salon, 9/8).
What others are saying about abortion stories:
~ "Why is the Media Asking Anti-Choice Extremists About Wendy Davis' Abortions?" Andrea Grimes, RH Reality Check.
SUPPORTING WORKING FAMILIES: "The Parent Gap: Many Challengers of Birth Control Benefit Don't Offer Parental Leave Either," Sofia Resnick, RH Reality Check: A RH Reality Check analysis finds that "[m]any of the employers currently suing the federal government over the Affordable Care Act's [PL 111-148] contraceptive benefit fail to offer employees robust parental leave coverage," Resnick writes. She notes that despite these employers' "stated commitment to protecting and fostering new life, many … offer only the minimum federally mandated unpaid time off to employees, making it difficult for many families to have children without missing at least a few paychecks." Resnick highlights the example of Wheaton College, which has challenged the contraceptive coverage rules in court and where there is "a debate going on … over whether the lack of guaranteed paid maternity leave is consistent with the school’s pro-family stance" (Resnick, RH Reality Check, 9/8).