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Blogs comment on eased Va. clinic regulations, one woman's breast cancer experience and more

Read the week's best commentary from bloggers at Mother Jones, Huffington Post blogs and more.

ABORTION RESTRICTIONS:

"Virginia becomes first state to jettison abortion clinic restrictions based on Supreme Court's ruling," Hannah Levintova, Mother Jones: "On Monday, the Virginia Board of Health voted to get rid of building restrictions on abortion clinics," stating that "the regulations, which were passed to make clinics more like hospitals, are unconstitutional under the Supreme Court's ruling in Whole Woman's Health v. Hellerstedt," Levintova writes. According to Levintova, "Since the board of health approved these requirements in 2013, a third of the state's clinics have shut down." She explains that in Whole Woman's Health, the Supreme Court "struck down two provisions of a Texas abortion law [HB 2], including one that required abortion clinics to comply with the expensive structural requirements of an ambulatory surgical center," ruling that the provisions "constituted an undue burden on women's access to abortion and weren't shown to improve women's health." Levintova writes, "Virginia is one of 20 states that had onerous building regulations for abortion clinics," but the state -- which postponed the vote on the regulations to assess the Supreme Court's ruling -- is the first "to take explicit steps to comply with the precedent" established under Whole Woman's Health. According to Levintova, "The amended regulations now go to Virginia's attorney general and Gov. [Terry] McAuliffe for review" (Levintova, Mother Jones, 10/26).

BREAST CANCER AWARENESS MONTH:

"Early detection saved my life. I'm a breast cancer survivor," Melanie Harris, Huffington Post blogs: "[T]he 'C' word is certainly a scary one," Harris, a fashion designer in New York, writes of her battle with breast cancer. After her diagnosis in December 2015, Harris writes, "I felt afraid. I felt scared. I felt scarred. I felt alone -- even though there are millions of people aware of this disease and countless survivors." She continues, "I survived the initial horror of hearing the words, 'you have breast cancer,' the surgeries, the countless doctors appointments and the unknown." She explains the difficulties of balancing her diagnosis and the fear it caused with her career, writing, "With each purchase order for gowns and dresses that came through my office, there was also slight anxiety about deliveries coordinating with my surgeries and recuperation. As happy as I was to be a part of each of these special occasions, my insides ached with emotion that no one truly knew I was feeling." It was at that point, Harris says she decided to share her story: "To free myself and to let so many others know the highs & lows of what being a breast cancer survivor really feels like. To join the club I never wanted to be a part of." Harris notes that early detection saved her life. She praises "[t]he brilliant doctors, nurses and staff at the NYU Langone Perlmutter Cancer Center in NYC [who] are treating me," adding that she is "donat[ing] a portion of proceeds from the sale of each Melanie Harris design for breast cancer survivors, mastectomy patients, women undergoing reconstruction, etc to NYU for continued research." Since her diagnosis, Harris writes that she is "even more dedicated to help empower women to feel proud, strong, able and confident," concluding, "I encourage women to ask me about my story and to share their stories with me -- after all, I am now part of the club! We are the lucky ones. We are survivors!" (Harris, Huffington Post blogs, 10/25).

What others are saying about breast cancer awareness month:

~ "October is breast cancer awareness month: know the facts!" SreyRam Kuy, Huffington Post blogs.

~ "CDC: Preteens only need two rounds of the HPV vaccine, not three," Christina Cauterucci, Slate's "XX Factor."

SEXUAL AND GENDER-BASED VIOLENCE:

"Brigham Young University announces new amnesty policy for sexual assault victims," Julie Zauzmer, Washington Post's "Acts of Faith": "Students who report being sexually assaulted at Brigham Young University [BYU] will no longer face the possibility of punishment for honor code violations, such as drinking or extramarital sex," Zauzmer writes. According to Zauzmer, the announcement follows a petition filed last year by BYU student Madi Barney, who said the school investigated her for violating the honor code after she reported her rape to police. Barney's petition drew more than 117,000 signatures, Zauzmer writes, with "other students report[ing] that they too had been afraid to report sexual assaults because they might themselves be penalized" for honor code violations. Zauzmer notes that, according to BYU officials, "[t]he policy will protect students who report being assaulted, as well as witnesses who report assault." In addition, BYU officials announced "that the school will locate its Title IX Office ... in a new space separate from the Honor Code Office, and will employ a full-time Title IX coordinator instead of the current part-time officer, and a new victim advocate," Zauzmer writes. According to Zauzmer, "The Title IX Office will not be allowed to share information with the Honor Code Office unless the victim agrees to it" (Zauzmer, "Acts of Faith," Washington Post, 10/26).

What others are saying about sexual and gender-based violence:

~ "Victory: Pennsylvania strengthens domestic violence law," Women's Law Project blog.