August 25, 2015 — Read the week's best commentaries from bloggers at RH Reality Check, Huffington Post blogs and more.
ABORTION RESTRICTIONS: "Michigan Republican: Ban Common Second-Trimester Abortion Procedure," Teddy Wilson, RH Reality Check: Michigan Rep. Laura Cox (R) "introduced two bills [HB 4833, HB 4834] that would criminalize a medical procedure used after a miscarriage and during second-trimester abortions," Wilson writes. The bills "would target the dilation and evacuation (D and E) procedure, commonly used in second-trimester abortion care," he notes, adding that similar measures have been proposed in six other states and signed into law in Oklahoma (HB 1721) and Kansas (SB 95). Wilson discusses the imprecise and contradictory language in one of the Michigan bills, HB 4833, noting that the measure's "broad and vague language and lack of medical terminology makes the possible implications on abortion care unclear." Meanwhile, "HB 4834 would change the state's criminal code; violation of the law would constitute a class G felony punishable by a maximum of two years in prison or a maximum fine of $50,000," Wilson writes. According to Wilson, the "bills have been referred to the Committee on Criminal Justice for further consideration" (Wilson, RH Reality Check, 8/21).
What others are saying about abortion restrictions:
~ "Republicans Find Their Next Anti-Choice Innovation," Paul Waldman, American Prospect.
CONTRACEPTION: "Federal Appeals Courts Unanimous in Support of Obamacare's Birth Control Accommodation," Jessica Mason Pieklo, RH Reality Check: "A federal appeals court on Friday reaffirmed a ruling that the accommodation process to the birth control benefit in the Affordable Care Act [PL 111-148] does not violate the Religious Freedom Restoration Act [PL 103-141]," Mason Pieklo writes. According to Mason Pieklo, "The decision came from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit in a challenge brought by six Catholic groups in Tennessee and Michigan, which argued the process of completing the paperwork to receive the accommodation unduly burdened their religious rights." She writes, "The plaintiffs in Michigan Catholic Conference argued that completing the form to qualify for the exemption violates RFRA because the act of completing the form 'triggers' or 'facilitates' the ability of their employees to get contraceptive coverage elsewhere, which the plaintiffs claim makes them 'complicit' in the sin of facilitating contraception ... But a three-judge panel from the Sixth Circuit rejected these arguments and unanimously affirmed its earlier ruling that completing the paperwork is not a RFRA violation." Mason Pieklo notes, "Meanwhile, the Tenth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals issued another ruling in the nonprofit contraception challenges, granting a request by the Little Sisters of the Poor to put on hold its earlier decision that the accommodation process does not burden the organization's religious rights while the Little Sisters asks the U.S. Supreme Court to step in" (Mason Pieklo, RH Reality Check, 8/24).
REPRODUCTIVE JUSTICE: "Improving Reproductive Care for Women in Jail Is Not an Impossible Task," Kyl Myers, RH Reality Check: Although "[w]omen in city and county jails frequently face barriers to accessing contraception, abortion, prenatal care, and disease screening and treatment," putting in place "a few core tenets" for incarcerated women could improve "preventive family planning ... in jails around the United States," Myers writes. Myers explains that while "the female jail population has been the fastest-growing correctional population," according to the Department of Justice, "the National Commission on Correctional Health Care has stated that women's sex-specific health-care needs remain unmet due to their minority status in a male-dominated jail population." According to Myers, "[t]here are no federally mandated guidelines for women's health care in jails," and "health care arrangements [often] do not include appointments with obstetrics and gynecological health providers." She writes, "Although some members of the public may believe that contraception and other reproductive care needs aren't necessary because of facilities' sex-segregation, discontinuing women's birth control and not providing contraceptives before release may increase the likelihood of women experiencing an unintended pregnancy post-incarceration." Myers provides several recommendations that "should be initiated in all local jails housing women," such as providing inmates with access to birth control, emergency contraception, pregnancy tests and prenatal care, as well as preconception resources for women who want to become pregnant after their release (Myers, RH Reality Check, 8/24).
ANTIABORTION-RIGHTS MOVEMENT: "No, Defunding Planned Parenthood Wouldn't Make Colorado Better," Jason Salzman, Huffington Post blogs: While "there are many more community health centers than Planned Parenthood" facilities in Colorado, defunding Planned Parenthood and redistributing the money to community health centers "doesn't mean ... the community health clinics would provide equal or greater access to healthcare than what's available now," Salzman writes. He notes that studies have found "the community health center (CHC) network and federally qualified health center (FQHCs) network don't offer all types of birth control and reproductive health care," adding that "many large community health centers actually ... refer patients to Planned Parenthood." Further, Medicaid beneficiaries "go disproportionately to Planned Parenthood for these services," Salzman notes, adding that as a result, "defunding Planned Parenthood would weaken our country's already weak safety net." Moreover, although the law prohibits both Planned Parenthood and community health centers from using federal funding for most abortion services, "Planned Parenthood offers this option through other funding sources, while the community health clinics do not," Salzman states (Salzman, Huffington Post blog, 8/21).
What others are saying about the antiabortion-rights movement:
~ "Crime-Tracking Service Wrongly Calls Abortion 'Murder,'" Hans Johnson, Huffington Post blogs.