March 6, 2015 — Read the week's best commentaries from bloggers at Huffington Post, the National Women's Law Center and more.
ABORTION RIGHTS AND ACCESS: "How Safe is Abortion?" David Grimes, Huffington Post blogs: Abortion-rights opponents' "routin[e] claim[s] that abortion is unsafe," are made "by cherry-picking studies, citing obsolete literature, extrapolating inappropriately and misinterpreting results," writes Grimes, former chief of the Abortion Surveillance Branch at CDC. Grimes notes that national CDC data "indicate that induced abortion and miscarriage are the safest outcomes of pregnancy," adding that "[a]s a gynecologist," he "ha[s] had to spend considerable time over the years disabusing patients of these false claims" made by abortion-rights opponents. He cites several examples of the safety of abortion, including how CDC data show that "the risk of death from pregnancy and childbirth is 14 times higher than with abortion" and how other data show that "[i]n recent decades, the risk of death from abortion has been around 1 per 100,000 procedures," making it similar in risk to "paddling a canoe." He writes, "Given this fact, the current preoccupation of state legislatures with gynecology (and not canoes) clearly stems from partisan politics, not concerns about public health" (Grimes, Huffington Post blogs, 3/3).
SUPREME COURT: "Can the Supreme Court Take Away Maternity Coverage?" Dania Palanker, National Women's Law Center's "Womenstake": "If the Supreme Court rules in favor of the plaintiffs in King v. Burwell, then women -- including pregnant women -- who buy their coverage in 37 states' health insurance Marketplaces could lose the federal [tax credits] that make health insurance affordable," Palanker writes. She notes that such a ruling could "leav[e] pregnant women (and others) without coverage"; "unravel" some of "the protections of the [Affordable Care Act (PL 111-148)]"; and bring back aspects of the "individual health insurance market" that "failed women ... before the passage of the [ACA]." She adds that new mothers who are uninsured or do not have coverage that covers maternity care "could leave the hospital with tens of thousands of dollars in medical bills for labor, delivery, and newborn care" (Palanker, "Womenstake," NWLC, 3/3).
ABORTION COVERAGE: "Reproductive Rights Shouldn't Be Just for the Rich," Brigitte Amiri, American Civil Liberties Union's "Blog of Rights": Amiri discusses her recent efforts as "part of the team that is fighting" a law in Alaska that, if allowed to take effect, would "withhol[d] almost all Medicaid coverage for abortion from qualified women." She writes that if her team does not win a lawsuit challenging the law, "the consequences will be devastating," noting that "[w]ithout Medicaid coverage for abortion, some women will be forced to carry a pregnancy to term, despite the consequences to their families and their physical and mental health." Amiri cites several abortion patients who testified at the trial about how "even the smallest unexpected expense can send a family into financial chaos, and patients routinely delay or forgo health care because they can't afford it." She discusses other state abortion restrictions and an investigation from Center for American Progress' "ThinkProgress" into "the consequences [of such] restrictions" on low-income women, concluding, "What was true before Roe v. Wade is true today: Rich women will always have access to abortion, while low-income women may not" (Amiri, "Blog of Rights," ACLU, 3/3).
WOMEN'S HEALTH PROTECTIONS: "Congressional Pro-Choice Bill Would Expand Obamacare's Women's Health Gains," Emily Crockett, RH Reality Check: Crockett discusses the "21st Century Women's Health Act, introduced by Sens. Patty Murray (D-WA), Barbara Boxer (D-CA), and Barbara Mikulski (D-MD)" on Thursday, which includes "several provisions to both expand reproductive health-care access and improve research and public awareness on the topic." According to Crockett, the bill would address coverage for women with Medicaid, who cannot "always access the full range of contraceptive methods, or services like breast pumps and breast feeding counseling ... by extending the [Affordable Care Act's (PL 111-148)] preventive care standards for these services to all Medicaid recipients." In addition, she writes that the bill includes provisions that would "help enforce women's health-care rights and combat misinformation," and require "all hospitals to provide rape victims with emergency contraception," among other measures (Crockett, RH Reality Check, 3/5).
What others are saying about women's health protections:
~ "Female Senators Introduce Pro-Choice Bill To ‘Fight Back Against Those Who Miss the Mad Men Era,'" Tara Culp-Ressler, Center for American Progress' "ThinkProgress."
INTERNATIONAL WOMEN'S DAY: "International Women's Day: 10 Top Health Problems for Women," Flavia Bustreo, Huffington Post blogs: Bustreo -- director-general for Family, Women's and Children's Health at the World Health Organization and vice chair of the board of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance -- writes that International Women's Day, which falls on March 8, should be used to both "celebrate women and their achievements" and "to take stock of how women's rights, especially the right to health, are fulfilled in the world." Bustreo touches on 10 main health issues that continue to affect women, including cancer, particularly breast and cervical cancers; reproductive health issues, such as contraceptive access; maternal health, including family planning services and access to pregnancy and childbirth care; HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections; and violence against women, among other concerns. She writes that these health concerns, among other women's issues, are "why WHO and its partners are developing a new global strategy for women's, children's and adolescents' health, and working to enshrine the health of women in the post-2015 United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals" (Bustreo, Huffington Post blogs, 3/5).