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Blogs Comment on Bill Requiring STI Test Before Marriage, Lawsuit Over Hospital Abortion Access, More

Blogs Comment on Bill Requiring STI Test Before Marriage, Lawsuit Over Hospital Abortion Access, More

February 24, 2015 — Read the week's best commentaries from bloggers at the Huffington Post, RH Reality Check and more.

ABORTION-RIGHTS MOVEMENT: "I Owe My Life to My Mother's Abortion," Ravishly/Huffington Post blogs: An anonymous writer shares the story of his or her mother's abortion, which took place "two years after ... Roe v. Wade." The writer wonders whether his or her mother would have eventually conceived him or her and gone on to give birth if she were not able to abort the previous pregnancy. The writer argues that while most abortion-rights opponents "loo[k] at abortion as a simple moral choice," his or her "mother's choice, and the choice of those like her, complicates [the] simple paradigm" of being "for life or against it." In the writer's mother's case, an abortion allowed her to "graduat[e] college, star[t] the career that would eventually lead her to open her own business" and meet and marry the writer's father, according to the blog, which adds, "Just how many people, like me, owe our lives to abortion?" (Ravishly/Huffington Post blogs, 2/20).

STIs: "Oklahoma Bill Would Make Couples Prove They Don't Have STDs Before Getting Married," Tara Culp-Ressler, Center for American Progress' "ThinkProgress": Under an Oklahoma bill (SB 733), the state could deny couples a marriage license if "either partner tests positive" for a sexually transmitted infection or "other communicable or infectious disease," Culp-Ressler writes. She explains that the law would require couples intending to marry to "submit a certificate or affidavit" in which a licensed physician "confirms neither of them are infected" with a communicable disease. According to Culp-Ressler, legal experts have raised concerns that the measure "would go too far to infringe on Americans' private medical information" because "[i]f people are required to file these documents with the court clerk before getting married," test results "would become public information." It is "unclear" how the measure would address STI rates in the U.S., given that most U.S. residents have sex before marriage, she writes, adding that "[m]edical experts have other ideas about how to effectively address [STI] rates," such as comprehensive sexuality education and no-cost condoms at high schools (Culp-Ressler, Center for American Progress' "ThinkProgress," 2/20).

CONTRACEPTION: "Bolstering Modern Contraception Could Prevent 15 Million Unintended Pregnancies Every Year," Martha Kempner, RH Reality Check: Kempner writes about a study released earlier this month that found that "increased and correct use of modern contraception" could annually prevent 15 million of the "estimated 16.7 million unintended pregnancies" in "35 low- and middle-income countries." According to Kempner, "[t]he analysis found that when compared to those using modern methods, women using traditional contraceptive methods were 2.7 times more likely to experience an unintended pregnancy, and those using no methods were 14.5 times more likely." She adds that the researchers are urging frontline health care workers to address women's health concerns about modern contraception, which, according to the study, was the most commonly cited reason for not using such methods when they were available (Kempner, RH Reality Check, 2/23).

ABORTION RESTRICTIONS: "Lawsuit: Washington Public Hospitals Aren't Complying With Reproductive Privacy Act," Jessica Mason Pieklo, RH Reality Check: Mason Pieklo writes about a lawsuit filed last week by the American Civil Liberties Union of Washington that alleges Skagit Regional Health violated a state law requiring medical facilities in the state that provide maternity care to "provide substantially equivalent maternity and abortion care." The suit is "part of a statewide effort by [ACLU of Washington] to make sure that all public hospitals are complying with" the law, Mason Pieklo writes. Specifically, she notes that the suit alleges that Skagit "has a practice of never performing medication abortions and of rarely performing surgical abortions" and "routinely refer[s] patients to Planned Parenthood or other private clinics instead of providing abortion services on site" despite adopting a resolution "stating it does not prohibit or have a written policy against providing abortion services." Mason Pieklo cites a case in Michigan where a hospital denied care to a miscarrying patient, noting that "[t]he fight to make sure hospitals provide patients with comprehensive reproductive health care that includes abortion extends well beyond Washington" (Mason Pieklo, RH Reality Check, 2/23).

What others are saying about abortion restrictions:

~ "Idaho Lawmaker Wonders if Women Could Have a Gyno Exam by Swallowing a Tiny Camera," Culp-Ressler, Center for American Progress' "ThinkProgress."