March 31, 2015 — Read some of the week's best commentaries from bloggers at RH Reality Check, Care2 and more.
ABORTION-RIGHTS MOVEMENT: "How Women Took Their Reproductive Rights Into Their Own Hands," Leila Hessini, RH Reality Check: In recognition of women's history month this March, "it's time we honor the contributions of the international 'sheroes' who have been leaders on spreading information about the use of pills to safely terminate a pregnancy," writes Hessini, board chair of Ipas' Global Fund for Women and director of community mobilization and women's organizing for Ipas. She explains that misoprostol, "a pill available over-the-counter in many countries" to treat stomach ulcers, is also "a safe, low-cost, and easy-to-use method to terminate early pregnancies." Further, "[b]ecause misoprostol's effects mirror that of spontaneous miscarriage, it isn't easily detectable," which "is an advantage for people in nations where attempting to self-induce an abortion or using misoprostol in this way is against existing laws," she adds. Word about misoprostol has spread around the globe through informal networks and women's grassroots advocacy, Hessini writes, adding, "These women, our sheroes, are among the drivers of some of the most innovative approaches to the biggest issues of our time" (Hessini, RH Reality Check, 3/27).
ABORTION RESTRICTIONS: "Repro Wrap: Abortion Reversals are Apparently a Thing and Other News," Robin Marty, Care2: Marty rounds up reproductive rights news from around the country, including the passage of an Arizona bill (SB 1318) with a provision that would mandate that health care providers tell women it is possible to "reverse a medication abortion." Physicians' objections that the claim is "asinine" and not medically supported "are unlikely to stop additional legislatures from taking up the cause," according to Marty. Among other news, Marty notes that a "Wisconsin judge has permanently blocked the state's admitting privileges" law (Act 37), while Ohio's latest proposed "ban [HB 69] on abortions when a heartbeat can be detected" passed the state House but "may once more die in the [state] Senate" (Marty, Care2, 3/27).
What others are saying about abortion restrictions: ~ "Pro-Choice Advocates on Radical Kansas Abortion Law: 'We've Never Seen This Language Before,'" Teddy Wilson, RH Reality Check.
~ "Montana House Moves To Preemptively Ban Telemedical Abortion, But There is Good News," Maggie Moran, National Partnership for Women & Families blog.
~ "Cancer Survivors Who Relied On Planned Parenthood's Treatment Tell Texas Not To Defund It," Tara Culp-Ressler, Center for American Progress' "ThinkProgress."
PREGNANCY DISCRIMINATION: "Pregnant Workers Need More Than Lip Service," Emily Martin, National Women's Law Center's "Womenstake": The Senate last Thursday "unanimously voted for providing pregnant workers with a right to workplace accommodations" in a budget amendment, but "the measure is nonbinding and purely symbolic -- unless the Senators who voted for it are held accountable for supporting the real thing," writes Martin, vice president and general counsel at the National Women's Law Center. Martin explains that while the amendment's unanimous Senate passage is "good news" and "a great first step," the senators need to "follow up their words with action" by supporting the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (S 942, HR 1975), which "will be reintroduced next month." She notes that the bill, which "would clarify and strengthen pregnant workers' rights and ensure that no woman has to choose between a job and a healthy pregnancy," has "attracted strong Democratic support in past Congresses" but that a lack of support from conservative lawmakers "has meant that it cannot move forward." Martin adds that "the vote last week confirms that need not be the case" (Martin, "Womenstake," NWLC, 3/30).
CONTRACEPTION: "Millennial Christians are More Socially Progressive Than You Might Expect, Shattering Some Conservative Stereotypes," Emma Cueto, Bustle: Cueto writes about "a recent survey of US adults between the ages of 18 and 35 from the Public Religion Research Institute" that found millennials are "overwhelmingly unopposed" to contraception. Further, the survey found "majority support" for contraception "among millennials in every major Christian denomination, even among Catholic millennials," Cueto writes. In addition, she notes that the survey found millennials "are far more hesitant than previous generations to label themselves as pro-life" (Cueto, Bustle, 3/28).
ASSISTED REPRODUCTIVE TECHNOLOGY: "Making the Case for Employee-Covered Fertility Treatment," Stephanie Vozza, Fast Company's "Second Shift": According to national CDC data from 2010, "1 in 8 couples struggle with infertility, but less than 30% of employers provide coverage for treatments," Vozza writes, adding that while "15 states require employers to offer fertility coverage ... benefits vary." Vozza discusses the issue with various leaders in the human resources and fertility treatment fields, noting that Gina Bartasi, CEO and founder of the fertility-information website FertilityAuthority, "hasn't seen much change in the number of companies offering fertility benefits since her organization was founded six years ago." However, Vozza writes that "[g]etting more companies to offer coverage might have a simple solution," citing a 2006 survey by Resolve that found that the companies "that offer coverage reported that the number one reason it had been added was because an employee asked for it." Further, according to Bartasi, employers who decide to offer such coverage can use it as "a recruiting and retention tool," Vozza writes (Vozza, "Second Shift," Fast Company, 3/30).