August 14, 2014 — We've compiled top comments from key stakeholders in women's health, including remarks on recent court decisions, a bill to improve contraceptive coverage for military women and more.
"A state cannot lean on its sovereign neighbors to provide protection of its citizens' federal constitutional rights." -- 5th U.S. Circuit Court Judge Grady Jolly, blocking a Mississippi law (HB 1390) that would have resulted in the closure of the state's sole abortion clinic. The judge said the law would illegally shift the state's burden of ensuring abortion rights for its residents to other states (New York Times, 7/29).
"I certainly respect the belief of the Hobby Lobby owners," but "they have no constitutional right to foist that belief on the hundreds and hundreds of women" who work for them. -- Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, criticizing the high court's ruling in the Hobby Lobby contraceptive coverage case (Yahoo! News, 8/1). However, Ginsburg added, "I am ever hopeful that if the court has a blind spot today, its eyes will be open tomorrow" (Women's Health Policy Report, 8/1).
"Female service members deserve access to the same basic health care as the women they protect, and it's unacceptable that they don't." -- Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), on a bill (S 2687) she authored that would require the military's health plan, TRICARE, to cover all FDA-approved contraceptives without copayments or other cost-sharing by beneficiaries. Currently, women who are not on active duty and other women covered through TRICARE have varying levels of copays, depending on the type of contraceptive (Politico, 7/30).
"Patients trust that their doctor is telling them the truth, the whole truth and that their health is the doctor's primary concern. We should protect that trust." -- Pennsylvania Rep. Dan Frankel (D), co-sponsor of a state bill (HB 2303) that would bar the government from forcing providers to care for patients in ways that are not considered medically appropriate or tell patients information that is not medically accurate. The bill is in response to requirements seen in numerous other states, such as laws that force doctors to tell women seeking abortions the inaccurate claim that there is a link between the procedure and breast cancer (Pittsburgh Business Times, 7/29).
"Even in the face of cynical and unrelenting political attack, the right to abortion can become stronger the more tightly it is stitched into the constitutional fabric, the more that smart and gutsy judges are willing to treat it as what it is, a right like any other." -- New York Times op-ed contributor Linda Greenhouse, praising recent rulings blocking antiabortion-rights laws in Alabama and Mississippi (New York Times, 8/6).