October 12, 2012 — Our monthly quote round up compiles notable comments from key stakeholders in women's health. In today's edition, we feature comments about the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, state antiabortion laws and more.
"[K]icking Planned Parenthood out of the WIC program only hurts women who have made the choice to have their babies and are trying to do their best to provide for them." -- A Tulsa World editorial on the Oklahoma Department of Health's decision to end its contract with Planned Parenthood of the Heartland to provide services through the federal Women, Infants and Children program in the Tulsa area (Tulsa World, 10/5). State officials said they did not renew the contract because of a large decrease in caseloads, problematic billing practices and high costs per participant at PPH facilities, but the organization said the move is political (Women's Health Policy Report, 10/5).
"The goal should not be to make abortion less accessible but making it less necessary." -- Kellie Copeland, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio, commenting on a report by the Ohio Department of Health that found the number of abortions fell by 12% last year. Copeland noted that Ohio lawmakers in the last year have held 43 hearings on abortion restrictions and none on increasing access to contraception and improving sex education (Columbus Dispatch, 10/2).
"[T]he most important reason to end discrimination against pregnant women has to do with what kind of society we want to live in." -- Author Alissa Quart, in a New York Times opinion piece calling for passage of the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (S 3565). The legislation would require employers to offer reasonable workplace accommodations for pregnant women and prohibit firing of pregnant women or forcing them to take unpaid leave for requesting accommodations (New York Times, 10/6).
"[T]he story of today's vote illustrates just how far some politicians will go to interfere in a woman's personal, private decision making." - Talcott Camp of the American Civil Liberties Union, in a blog post commenting on the Virginia Board of Health's decision to end an exemption for existing facilities from new regulations for abortion clinics ("Blog of Rights," ACLU, 9/14). Prior to the vote, Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli (R) sent a letter to the board warning members that they would be responsible for legal fees if they are named in any resulting lawsuits related to the rules (Women's Health Policy Report, 9/17).
"Despite scientific and medical consensus, anti-abortion rights groups and some religious groups still object to the use of emergency contraception and, as Hobby Lobby has illustrated, still get away with calling them abortion pills." -- An Oklahoma Daily editorial, citing a lawsuit filed by the Oklahoma City-based company against the federal contraception coverage rules. More than two dozen legal challenges have been filed against the rules, many involving religious groups that consider certain contraceptives -- including emergency contraceptives and intrauterine devices -- to be abortifacients (Oklahoma Daily, 9/17).
"Women value the ability to plan their childbearing, and view doing so as critical to being able to achieve their life goals." -- Laura Lindberg, co-author of a recent Guttmacher Institute study that found 65% of U.S. women use contraception because they would not be able to afford to take care of a child. According to the study, 63% of women said contraception made them better able to take care of themselves and their families, while 56% said it helped them to support themselves financially (UPI, 9/25).
"It is particularly cruel and ironic that [the military's health insurance plan] denies coverage for abortions for rape and incest, given the long-standing challenges the armed services have faced in addressing sexual assault among the ranks." -- Lawrence Korb and Jessica Arons of the Center for American Progress Action Fund in a Politico opinion piece calling on Congress to approve a bill containing an amendment that would allow abortion coverage for service women in cases of rape or incest (Politico, 9/24). Multiple lawsuits have been filed against top Pentagon officials alleging an ongoing failure to address sexual assaults in the military (Women's Health Policy Report, 10/2).
Debra Ness, publisher & president, National Partnership
Andrea Friedman, associate editor & director of reproductive health programs, National Partnership
Marya Torrez, associate editor & senior reproductive health policy counsel, National Partnership
Melissa Safford, associate editor & policy advocate for reproductive health, National Partnership
Perry Sacks, assistant editor & health program associate, National Partnership
Cindy Romero, assistant editor & communications assistant, National Partnership
Justyn Ware, editor
Amanda Wolfe, editor-in-chief
Heather Drost, Hanna Jaquith, Marcelle Maginnis, Ashley Marchand and Michelle Stuckey, staff writers
Tucker Ball, director of new media, National Partnership