February 15, 2013 — Our monthly quote round up compiles notable comments from key stakeholders in women's health. In today's edition, we feature comments on the proposed contraceptive coverage accommodation for religiously affiliated employers, the 20th anniversary of the Family and Medical Leave Act and more.
"Delay isn't an option when countless women still live in fear of abuse, and when one in five have been victims of rape. … This is not a Democratic or Republican issue -- it's an issue of justice and compassion." -- President Obama, commenting on the Senate's approval of legislation (S 47) that would reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act. Obama urged the House to take action on the bill, which stalled last year (New York Times, 2/12).
"Today's draft regulation affirms yet again the Obama administration's commitment to fulfilling the full promise of its historic contraception policy. Thanks to this commitment, most American women will get birth-control coverage without extra expense." -- NARAL Pro-Choice America President Ilyse Hogue, praising HHS' proposed rule on how employees of religiously affiliated not-for-profits will be able to access no-cost contraceptive coverage (Washington Post, 2/2).
"To this day, I receive more thanks from citizens for the [Family and Medical Leave Act] than any other single piece of legislation I signed into law." -- President Clinton in a Politico opinion piece marking the 20th anniversary of FMLA, which workers have used to take job-protected leave more than 100 million times (Clinton, Politico, 2/5). Worker advocacy groups are pushing legislation to ensure that small-business employees have access to family and medical leave and to provide paid leave for all workers (AP/Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 2/5).
"It is unacceptable that thousands of Texas women may be cut off from access to the program due to the program's inability to meet demand." -- State Rep. Jessica Farrar (D) in a statement questioning whether the Texas Health and Human Service Commission has a sufficient network of providers to serve low-income women enrolled in its Women's Health Program, which bars affiliates of abortion providers from participating (Texas Tribune, 1/17). After lawmakers questioned the accuracy of an online database of providers in the state WHP, the commission re-launched the website with 965 fewer providers (Texas Tribune, 1/29).
"There is no law that will end the practice of abortion, only laws that can protect a woman's right to choose it, or not, and to keep it the safe and private procedure still available to us in 2013, 40 years after the Supreme Court made it legal." -- Kate Manning, an author, in a New York Times opinion piece commemorating the anniversary of the Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision (New York Times, 1/21). Manning and other reproductive-rights supporters leveraged the occasion to reflect on the status of abortion rights and access in the U.S. (Women's Health Policy Report, 1/23).
"Pro-choice? Pro-life? The truth is these labels limit the conversation. ... When it comes down to it, we just don't know a woman's specific situation. We're not in her shoes." -- A recent video from the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, calling for a new approach to abortion-rights advocacy and terminology that moves away from "black and white" labels. According to a recent poll, 70% of U.S. residents believe Roe v. Wade should stand, although many favor abortion restrictions under certain circumstances (Wall Street Journal, 1/22).
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