March 27, 2015 — Read some of the week's best commentaries from bloggers at RH Reality Check, ACLU and more.
ABORTION PROVIDERS: "Mississippi Abortion Clinic 'Not Going Anywhere' After Vandalism," Teddy Wilson, RH Reality Check: "An act of vandalism at Mississippi's last abortion clinic will not intimidate clinic workers from providing reproductive health care to women in need," Wilson writes. According to the facility, Jackson Women's Health Organization, "a 'masked intruder' came onto the ... clinic property and 'proceeded to methodically destroy' the security cameras and attempted to 'destroy the power lines coming into the building,'" he writes. The vandalism follows a report from "earlier this year [that] found that threats of harassment, intimidation, and violence against abortion providers have doubled since 2010," Wilson writes, adding, "Reproductive rights advocates have raised concerns that radical anti-choice activists have been emboldened by a wave of legislative attacks on reproductive rights" (Wilson, RH Reality Check, 3/24).
EMERGENCY CONTRACEPTION: "Native American Women Still Don't Have Access to OTC Emergency Contraception," Martha Kempner, RH Reality Check: "U.S. senators last week sent a letter to the secretary of Health and Human Services, Sylvia Mathews Burwell, urging her to look into" the Indian Health Service's failure to "update its policies to make [emergency contraception] available in the pharmacies it runs," Kempner writes. According to Kempner, IHS has not yet followed through on its pledge to do so, which it made when FDA "in 2013 approved over-the-counter access to certain [EC] pills without any age restrictions." Citing two surveys highlighting the difficulty of accessing EC at IHS facilities, Kempner writes that such issues are "particularly disturbing" because the "Native American women who rely on these health centers often live in rural areas where access to other health care and even pharmacies is limited." She notes that Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and the other senators in their letter asked HHS to "share the steps [HHS] has taken towards updating its policy and provide a clear timeline for when that process will be completed" (Kempner, RH Reality Check, 3/24).
PREGNANCY DISCRIMINATION: "Supreme Court Delivers Fairness to Pregnant Workers in UPS Case," Lenora Lapidus, American Civil Liberties Union's "Blog of Rights": "The Supreme Court on Wednesday issued an important ruling for pregnant workers in the case of Peggy Young," a UPS worker who had to take unpaid leave after being denied a light-duty assignment while pregnant, Lapidus writes. She notes that in Young's case, lower courts had ruled "it was perfectly fine for employers" to "deny [pregnant workers] light-duty accommodations, even when the employer gives light-duty to many other groups of workers." However, she writes the high court on Wednesday ruled "that employers cannot impose a 'significant burden' on pregnant workers and that a pregnant worker can show that her employer's practices are unjustified if the employer makes accommodations for a large percentage of non-pregnant workers, while denying the same kinds of accommodations to pregnant workers." According to Lapidus, the decision "is a gain for women across the country" and "furthers the purpose of the Pregnancy Discrimination Act [PL 95-555]," which aims to set "women on an equal footing and ensur[e] that they can't be fired or forced onto leave when they become pregnant" (Lapidus, "Blog of Rights,"ACLU, 3/25).
ABORTION RESTRICTIONS: "Arizona May Force Doctors To Tell Women Their Abortion Can Be Reversed," Tara Culp-Ressler, Center for American Progress' "ThinkProgress": Arizona lawmakers have advanced a bill (SB 1318) to Gov. Doug Ducey (R) that would "requir[e] doctors to tell patients that 'it may be possible to reverse the effects of a medication abortion if the woman changes her mind,'" making Arizona "the first state to pass this type of requirement," Culp-Ressler writes. She explains that the "[s]o-called 'abortion reversal' involves injecting the hormone progesterone into a patient after she has taken mifepristone, the first [drug] in the two-part process to terminate a first-trimester pregnancy with medication." She notes that "medical professionals say there's no scientific evidence to suggest the hormonal injection is effectively reversing the effects of mifepristone," adding that Daniel Grossman -- a fellow with the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and vice president for research at Ibis Reproductive Health -- "has repeatedly said that there isn't enough proof to justify this particular hormone treatment and ACOG does not feel comfortable recommending it." Further, Culp-Ressler writes that while research has found that "most women are not unsure about their procedures," physicians "would likely refrain from giving [a patient] the first mifepristone pill" if the patient "appears to be unsure about going through with the procedure" (Culp-Ressler, "ThinkProgress," Center for American Progress, 3/26).
What others are saying about abortion restrictions:
~ "The 'Reach' of Anti-Choice Hyde Amendment May Get Wider," Emily Crockett, RH Reality Check.