November 13, 2014 — Media outlets and key stakeholders in women's health comment on the role of abortion and other issues in the midterm elections and more.
"The overwhelming rejection of 'personhood' measures in Colorado and North Dakota dealt another well-deserved blow to the effort by some opponents of reproductive rights to ban all abortions." -- A New York Times editorial, commenting on the defeat of ballot initiatives that also could have restricted "some common forms of contraception" by "giving fertilized eggs legal rights and protections that apply to individuals" (New York Times, 11/5). However, the Times also notes that "opponents of abortion rights scored a victory in Tennessee," where "voters approved a state constitutional amendment that gives the Republican-led State Legislature leeway to curtail access to safe and legal abortion care" (Women's Health Policy Report, 11/6).
"The facts are clear, and indisputable, [that] the majority of Americans favor having the right to make their own health care decisions." -- NARAL Pro-Choice America President Ilyse Hogue, on a poll from NARAL and Planned Parenthood that found a majority of voters in four states said reproductive health issues influenced their votes during the midterm election. The survey also found that 78% of respondents do not believe the government should restrict abortion access and said a candidate's opposition to abortion rights was the most persuasive reason not to support him or her (Women's Health Policy Report, 11/12).
"There are many large companies that do not have pregnancy accommodations, or they're not in jurisdictions that require it." -- Cynthia Calvert, an attorney at Workforce 21C, noting the potential impact of a Supreme Court case that will consider whether UPS violated the 1978 Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PL 95-555) when it denied a pregnant employee a light-duty assignment. UPS in a Supreme Court brief announced that it will change its workplace policy to allow pregnant employees to work temporary light-duty assignments, though it continues to maintain that it acted lawfully in the woman's case (Women's Health Policy Report, 10/30).
"It's a cancer vaccine and should be treated as such." -- Rodney Willoughby, a human papillomavirus prevention specialist at Children's Hospital of Wisconsin, discussing how physicians should talk about the HPV vaccine to their patients. Willoughby said uptake of the vaccine likely is lower than it should be because its "sex associated … label tainted the vaccine early on" (Women's Health Policy Report, 11/3).
"We should be able to work across the spectrum of opinion about abortion to unite in the defense of one basic principle: that at no point in her pregnancy should a woman lose her civil and human rights." -- National Advocates for Pregnant Women Executive Director Lynn Paltrow and Jeanne Flavin, president of NAPW's board of directors, in a New York Times opinion piece arguing against antiabortion-rights laws that "are increasingly being used as the basis for arresting women who have no intention of ending a pregnancy and for preventing women from making their own decisions about how they will give birth" (Women's Health Policy Report, 11/10).