January 30, 2015 — Read the week's best commentaries from bloggers at ANSIRH, Ms. Magazine and more.
ABORTION RESTRICTIONS: "Will Abortion Opponents Use a Familiar Playbook To Push for a 20 Week Ban?" Carole Joffe, Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health's "ANSIRH Blog": Although the House earlier this month canceled a vote on a 20-week abortion ban (HR 36), it "is not the end of the story for the federal 20 week ban" because "a modified version of this bill will be voted on at a later date," Joffe writes. Joffe explains that abortion-rights opponents' justification behind such bans, "that the fetus can feel pain at 20 weeks," has been widely dismissed "by medical experts, and by organizations such as the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecology." She writes that in pushing for the ban, "anti-abortion politicians are following a tried and true playbook: choose an aspect of abortion provision that is unsettling to a public that is not informed about the science, ignore the testimony of leading medical experts on the abortion issue, and instead, rely on arguments made by alternative 'experts,' who may lack the credentials or research background in their purported areas of expertise or draw on so-called junk science" (Joffe, "ANSIRH Blog," ANSIRH, 1/27).
What others are saying about abortion restrictions:
~ "Who Has Late Abortions -- And Why?" David Grimes, Huffington Post blogs.
CONTRACEPTION: "IUD Expulsion: Is it as Scary as it Sounds?" Claire Tighe, Ms. Magazine blog: Tighe comments on the various ways an intrauterine device can become "expelled," which, according to an article by Corinne Rocca, "'is a fancy way of saying that an IUD has been pushed out of its ideal location at the top of the uterus.'" According to Tighe, expulsion is rare, occurring between 0.05% and 8% of the time, but "[t]here are a few different factors that can affect the possibility of expulsion, like your age and pregnancy history, how long it's been since the IUD was inserted, and even how well your health care provider inserted the IUD in the first place." She notes the IUDs are more likely to be expelled during menstruation than other times in a woman's cycle and are "most likely" to become expelled during "the first three months" following insertion. Tighe writes that women concerned about a possible expulsion should check to see if they can feel the IUD's strings and call a provider, among other care suggestions (Tighe, Ms. Magazine blog, 1/27).
What others are saying about contraception:
~ "Salon's Guide to Where Babies (Don't) Come From: Let's Talk About IUDs!" Katie McDonough, Salon.
ABORTION PROVIDERS: "Threats Against Abortion Providers Have Doubled Since 2010, Report Finds," Teddy Wilson, RH Reality Check: "[T]here has been significantly higher levels of threats and targeted intimidation of doctors and staff in recent years" across the U.S., according to the National Clinic Violence Survey, Wilson writes. According to Wilson, the report found the "[i]ncidents of wanted-style posters of abortion providers, pamphlets targeting doctors and clinic staff, and harmful information and pictures of doctors posted on the Internet have all significantly increased over the past four years." Further, the survey found that 8.7% of clinics reported stalking in 2014, an increase from 6.4% in 2010, and 19.7% of clinics reported "severe violence." He adds, "Increases in the incidents of harassment of abortion clinics appear to coincide with the increasing amount of legislation passed to restrict access to reproductive health care" (Wilson, RH Reality Check, 1/28).
What others are saying about abortion providers:
~ "The Disturbing Levels of Stalking and Intimidation Plaguing Abortion Doctors," Tara Culp-Ressler, Center for American Progress' "ThinkProgress."
MEDICATION ABORTION: "Study: Evidence-Based Protocols for Medication Abortion are Safe, Effective," Emily Crockett, RH Reality Check: A new study has found "evidence-based alternatives to the [FDA]-approved regimen for medication abortion are safe and effective," Crockett writes. She notes that the five-year study found that "the protocols were more than 98 percent effective for pregnancies of up to 42 days' gestation, and more than 95 percent effective up to 63 days." By contrast, FDA protocols "only recommend using medication abortion up until 49 days of gestation ... and are less than 85 percent effective after 49 days," in addition to requiring a "higher dose of medication and more doctor's visits," she writes. According to Crockett, the study adds to the "robust body of evidence" that laws restricting medication abortion by requiring physicians adhere to FDA protocol "have no scientific basis" (Crockett, RH Reality Check, 1/28).