National Partnership for Women & Families

Around the Blogosphere

September 2, 2014

FEATURED BLOG

"Illinois Commits To Protect Pregnant Workers," Emily Martin, National Women's Law Center's "Womenstake": Although "most women continue working throughout their pregnancies with no need for changes in their jobs, some -- particularly those in physically demanding jobs -- will need temporary adjustments to continue working safely," writes Martin, vice president and general counsel at NWLC. These women often "need only a simple accommodation -- like avoiding heavy lifting for a few months, being permitted to sit occasionally during a long workday, or staying off high ladders" -- but many employers refuse to accommodate their requests and "fire pregnant workers or push them onto unpaid leave," Martin writes. Other women continue working without accommodations, putting their health at risk, "because they cannot afford to lose their income," she adds. Martin applauds Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn (D) for signing a new law that "will protect pregnant workers in Illinois" and urges Congress to pass the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (S 942), which is pending in the House and Senate, to "require employers to reasonably accommodate pregnant workers who need it so that they can continue working safely through their pregnancies" (Martin, "Womenstake," NWLC, 8/26).

FEATURED BLOG

"'Hobby Lobby' Aftermath: Illinois Seeks To Expand Birth Control Access," Teddy Wilson, RH Reality Check: Wilson reports on new regulations proposed by the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services that aim to "directly address the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Hobby Lobby" by expanding access to contraception for low-income state residents. Wilson writes that the policy changes, scheduled to take effect on Oct. 1, "would increase Medicaid funding for health-care providers to provide" contraception, including doubling "[p]ayments for vasectomies and intrauterine devices." The new rules would also "requir[e] health providers that object to contraception to refer patients to providers that will provide contraceptive care," he writes (Wilson, RH Reality Check, 8/26).

What others are saying about contraception:

~ "The Awesome Idea That Led to a Huge Drop in Teen Births," Judy Molland, Care2.

~ "Why the Right Will Reject the Administration's Latest Birth Control 'Fix,'" Jessica Mason Pieklo, RH Reality Check.

August 19, 2014

FEATURED BLOG

 "Abortion Opponents Caught on Tape Explaining How To Violate Patient Privacy," Robin Marty, Care2: "According to the Austin Chronicle's Mary Tuma, anti-abortion action groups in [Texas] have been having training sessions to ensure that patients going to the few remaining clinics in the state don't find the process easy," Marty writes, citing a training session recorded by Progress Texas that encouraged abortion-rights opponents to "make the most intimidating clinic atmosphere they can" and track the license plates of patients and staff members. Marty notes that "anti-abortion activists claim that the license plate tracking is innocuous, since it is simply to note which patients do return after the mandatory 24 hour waiting period, and isn't used to learn their identity or violate their privacy." However, the protesters "admi[t] that they are tracking providers with the information, as well, and that in those cases they are most definitely seeking out the person's identity so that they can determine who they are and if they have the now mandatory hospital privileges," she adds (Marty, Care2, 8/18).



August 15, 2014

FEATURED BLOG

"California Parents Complain That Sex Ed Textbook is 'Equivalent To Pornography,'" Culp-Ressler, Center for American Progress' "ThinkProgress": "Comprehensive sex ed materials often spark controversy for being too sexually explicit," Culp-Ressler writes, noting that a California school district recently "agreed to temporarily shelve a ninth grade sex education textbook" after some parents "compared the book to porn." The district's superintendent said the textbook was picked "because it 'provides current, accurate, factual and relevant information our students need to make responsible decisions about their health,'" she adds. Culp-Ressler writes that "from a public health perspective, experts suggest that kids should actually learn accurate information about sexuality from a very early age," but "most teens don't receive" such information "until after they've already started having sex" (Culp-Ressler, "ThinkProgress," Center for American Progress, 8/12).


August 5, 2014

FEATURED BLOG

"Repro Wrap: TRAPs Are Working, Buffers Aren't, and Clinics Just Keep Closing," Robin Marty, Care2: Marty reviews a number of targeted regulation of abortion providers measures, noting the "biggest news" last week was a decision by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that a requirement that abortion providers have admitting privileges could not be used to close Mississippi's only abortion clinic. Several states "are finding themselves wondering if their own laws" regarding abortion restrictions "are constitutional or not," Marty writes, noting that Louisiana and Oklahoma are "trying to convince their residents" that TRAP laws there "won't be blocked," she continues. She adds that "clinics are shuttering as they admit they can't adhere to the strict and medically unnecessary regulations," such as facilities in Texas, Kansas and Ohio. At the same time, the "eroding of buffer zones" is "making it that much more difficult for patients to access the front doors" of clinics "without harassment," she writes (Marty, Care2, 8/1).

What others are saying about abortion restrictions:

~ "Another Independent Texas Abortion Provider Shuts its Doors," Andrea Grimes, RH Reality Check.

~ "Federal Court Rules Alabama Admitting Privileges Requirement Unconstitutional," Jessica Mason Pieklo, RH Reality Check.





August 4, 2014

FEATURED BLOG

 "Mass. Governor Signs Abortion Clinic Access Bill Into Law," Rachel Walden, Our Bodies Ourselves' "Our Bodies, Our Blog": Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick (D) on Wednesday signed a bill (S 2281) into law "to protect access to health clinics where abortions are performed," Walden writes. The law, which "will be implemented immediately," was "passed quickly through the legislative process following" the Supreme Court decision striking down the state's "buffer zone" law, which the "[j]ustices said ... went too far in restricting free speech," Walden explains. "Under the new law, protesters may not block access to a clinic entrance or driveway," and it "prohibits the use of force, physical act or threat of force to injure or intimidate someone attempting to enter or leave a reproductive health care facility," she adds (Walden, "Our Bodies, Our Blog," OurBodies, Ourselves, 7/30).

What others are saying about abortion restrictions and access:

~ "Good News: Mississippi's Only Abortion Clinic Can Remain Open," Callie Beusman, Jezebel.

~ "Putting More Restrictions on Abortions Doesn't Magically Inspire Women To Embrace Their Pregnancies," Amanda Marcotte, Slate's "XX Factor."

FEATURED BLOG

"'It's Hard for Them To Accept That I Do Abortions Because I'm a Christian,'" Maya Dusenbery, Feministing: Willie Parker is "one of the two doctors who flies in from out-of-state to work at Mississippi's sole embattled abortion clinic," and his "decision to become an abortion provider is deeply rooted in his Christian faith," Dusenbery writes. She recommends and excerpts a recent Esquire profile that describes Parker as a practical physician who gave up a "'fancy career to become an abortion provider.'" The profile "captures Dr. Parker's motivation for doing this work and the great care and empathy he brings to it," Dusenbery writes (Dusenbery, Feministing, 7/31).

What others are saying about the abortion-rights movement:

~ "We're Fighting for Access, Not Choice," Dawn Laguens, Huffington Post blog.




July 25, 2014

FEATURED BLOG

 "Number of Texas Women Living 200 Miles From an Abortion Clinic Has Jumped by 2,800 Percent," Tara Culp-Ressler, Center for American Progress' "ThinkProgress": The omnibus antiabortion-rights package (HB 2) approved in Texas a "year ago this month" has "wreaked havoc on reproductive health access in the state, and half of Texas' clinics have been forced to shut down," writes Culp-Ressler, citing research from the Texas Policy Evaluation Project. According to TPEP's research, "the new abortion law is compromising women's ability to exercise their right to choose," as demonstrated by a "13 percent decline in the legal abortion rate in the Lone Star State," Culp-Ressler writes. She adds that because the rate is "steeper than the recent declines in the number of abortions observed across other states," it suggests that "the decreased access to clinics is preventing some Texas women from being able to have the medical procedure," an unsurprising finding given that "the number of women of reproductive age who live at least 200 miles away from an abortion clinic has skyrocketed by 2,800 percent -- jumping from 10,000 women in 2013 to 290,000 women in 2014." Culp-Ressler adds, "[I]t's important to remember that the new report focuses solely on legal abortions obtained in clinics, and doesn't reflect the number of women who may be resorting to illegal means of ending a pregnancy" (Culp-Ressler, "ThinkProgress," Center for American Progress, 7/23).




July 29, 2014

FEATURED BLOG

"Pennsylvania Law Requires Doctors To Read Scripts to Pregnant Patients With Prenatal Down Syndrome Diagnoses (Updated)," Tara Murtha, RH Reality Check: "A new law in Pennsylvania mandates that doctors read a script to pregnant patients after delivering the diagnosis of prenatal Down syndrome," Murtha writes. She explains that the law will take effect 60 days after it was signed on July 18 and that the materials will include "'up-to-date, evidence-based information about Down syndrome,' including 'physical, developmental, educational and psychosocial outcomes,' life expectancy, and 'any other information the [state Department of Health] deems necessary.'" However, Murtha writes that because the script is still under development, "there is no way to assess if the materials are biased, or comply with scientific consensus -- which is not always the case when it comes to government-mandated physician scripts, especially when the targeted patients are pregnant women." Meanwhile, two state lawmakers this week introduced a bill, called the Patient Trust Act (HB 2303) responding to state laws that "that force providers to practice medicine in a way that is not in line with basic medical standards," she adds (Murtha, RH Reality Check, 7/25).

July 25, 2014

FEATURED BLOG

 "Anti-Choice Protests Target New Orleans Clinics, Homes, Churches," Teddy Wilson, RH Reality Check: "In the first few days of planned protests in New Orleans, anti-choice activists have disrupted the community by targeting reproductive health-care clinics, personal residences, and even houses of worship in the hopes of intimidating abortion providers and reproductive rights supporters," Wilson writes. Wilson explains that the protests, organized through Operation Save America, target "two New Orleans clinics that provide abortion care, a construction site where a Planned Parenthood facility is being built, and the home of a physician who is an abortion provider," among other locations. The protests "have focused primarily on harassing the staff, volunteers, and patients of reproductive health-care clinics," Wilson writes, adding that the protests "come in the wake of legislative efforts to reduce access to reproductive health care in Louisiana" (Wilson, RH Reality Check, 7/24).

What others are saying about the antiabortion-rights movement:

~ "Anti-Choice Groups Seek to Stack State Courts," Zoe Greenberg, RH Reality Check.

~ "I Scream, You Scream, the Anti-Choice Crowd Is Mad About Ice Cream," Madeleine Davies, Jezebel.

FEATURED BLOG

 "Number of Texas Women Living 200 Miles From an Abortion Clinic Has Jumped by 2,800 Percent," Tara Culp-Ressler, Center for American Progress' "ThinkProgress": The omnibus antiabortion-rights package (HB 2) approved in Texas a "year ago this month" has "wreaked havoc on reproductive health access in the state, and half of Texas' clinics have been forced to shut down," writes Culp-Ressler, citing research from the Texas Policy Evaluation Project. According to TPEP's research, "the new abortion law is compromising women's ability to exercise their right to choose," as demonstrated by a "13 percent decline in the legal abortion rate in the Lone Star State," Culp-Ressler writes. She adds that because the rate is "steeper than the recent declines in the number of abortions observed across other states," it suggests that "the decreased access to clinics is preventing some Texas women from being able to have the medical procedure," an unsurprising finding given that "the number of women of reproductive age who live at least 200 miles away from an abortion clinic has skyrocketed by 2,800 percent -- jumping from 10,000 women in 2013 to 290,000 women in 2014." Culp-Ressler adds, "[I]t's important to remember that the new report focuses solely on legal abortions obtained in clinics, and doesn't reflect the number of women who may be resorting to illegal means of ending a pregnancy" (Culp-Ressler, "ThinkProgress," Center for American Progress, 7/23).

What others are saying about abortion restrictions:

~ "The Onion's Brilliant Take on Abortion Restrictions Will Make You Laugh/Sob," Katie McDonough, Salon.

~ "Super-Restrictive Ireland Abortion Laws Are Violating Women's Rights, and the UN Knows It," Lauren Barbato, Bustle.





July 22, 2014

FEATURED BLOG

 "Half of Texas' Abortion Clinics Are Gone," Tara Culp-Ressler, Center for American Progress' "ThinkProgress": The number of abortion clinics in Texas "has been cut in half over the past year, dropping from 41 to just 20" under a "stringent package [HB 2] of abortion restrictions" that was approved in 2013, according to a report from Houston Public Media, Culp-Ressler writes. She writes that many of those clinics "were forced out of business because they can't comply with the new law, which requires doctors to obtain admitting privileges from local hospitals" and that just six clinics are expected to be able to comply with a provision of the law that takes effect in September, requiring clinics "to bring their facilities in line with the building codes for ambulatory surgical centers." The "crisis won't be contained within Texas' borders," Culp-Ressler writes, noting that "[o]ther anti-choice lawmakers have followed in Texas' footsteps and proposed the exact same type of laws in their own states" (Culp-Ressler, "ThinkProgress," Center for American Progress, 7/18).

What others are saying about abortion restrictions:

~ "The People of Color Activists Whose Voices Are Too Often Missing From Stories Abortion Texas' 'Orange Army,'" Shailey Gupta-Brietzke, RH Reality Check.

~ "A New Abortion Rights Bill Could Help Decide the Midterms," Robin Marty, Care2.

~ "The Women's Health Protection Act: Protecting Women's Right to Choose," Ashley Bender, NWLC blog.

~ "What The Abortion Fight Unfolding in Tennessee Means for the Rest of the Country," Culp-Ressler, Center for American Progress' "ThinkProgress."

FEATURED BLOG

 "Repro Wrap: Massachusetts Gets Harsh With Abortion Protesters and Other News," Marty, Care2: "Massachusetts may have lost its buffer zone law thanks to a 9-0 decision by the Supreme Court, but the state, its governor, and its attorney general aren't willing to let that loss go quietly," writes Marty. She adds that the governor has proposed a new bill "to combat harassment at clinics" by "allowing police to have more power to disperse groups impeding an entrance way and forcing protesters to stay away longer once they have been accused of blocking a patient or a vehicle." Marty writes that while abortion-rights opponents might try to bring the proposed law to court if enacted, doing so will "make it clear that their intention was never about 'counseling'" but instead "to block the entry way and harass patients and staff." Marty also touches on similar legislative efforts in New York and New Hampshire, among other measures related to abortion rights (Marty, Care2, 7/18).




July 18, 2014

FEATURED BLOG

"Massachusetts is Rushing Through Legislation To Fix the Supreme Court's Ruling on Buffer Zones," Culp-Ressler, Center for American Progress' "ThinkProgress": After the Supreme Court's decision to strike down Massachusetts' "buffer zone" law, "state lawmakers are rushing through new legislation to ensure that patients will still be able to safely enter clinics," Culp-Ressler writes. If signed into law, the new bill (S 2281) "would strengthen criminal penalties for certain disruptive behavior outside of abortion clinics," she explains. "Lawmakers are hoping the new legislation will strike the appropriate balance between patient safety and protesters' First Amendment rights," but "it's unlikely to please the individuals who brought down buffer zones," she adds (Culp-Ressler, "ThinkProgress," Center for American Progress, 7/17).

FEATURED BLOG

 "States Prescribe Bad Medicine for Women Seeking Abortions," Emily Shugerman, Ms. Magazine  blog: The day "before senators testified on behalf of a bill to protect women's health services, the National Partnership for Women & Families released a report detailing just how threatened these services are," Shugerman writes. Thirty-three states have at least one of the four types of abortion restrictions mentioned in the report -- biased counseling, mandatory delays, medication abortion restrictions and ultrasound requirements -- while 16 states have all four, she notes. "These laws require physicians to act according to state ideologies, not scientific evidence," Shugerman explains, concluding, "More importantly, they obscure the fact that reproductive health care should be treated like any other form of health care: an issue for the patient and her doctor, not for politicians" (Shugerman, Ms. Magazine blog, 7/16).

What others are saying about abortion restrictions:

~ "A Federal Pro-Choice Bill That Would Stem the Anti-Choice Tide in the States," Maya Dusenbery, Feministing.

~ "How To Get an Abortion in Texas," Jenny Kutner, Salon.