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Blogs Comment on Lawsuits Threatening Roe v. Wade, CPC's Deceptive Messaging Tactics, More

Read the week's best commentary from bloggers at the Center for American Progress' "ThinkProgress," the National Women's Law Center's "Womenstake" and more.

ABORTION ACCESS: "The Supreme Court Is About To Consider a Case That Could End Roe v. Wade," Ian Millhiser, Center for American Progress' "Think Progress":

The Supreme Court "is widely expected to agree to hear at least one of [two] cases -- which present the biggest threat to a woman's right to obtain an abortion that has reached the court since 1992's Planned Parenthood v. Casey," Millhiser writes. According to Millhiser, one case "involves a Texas law [HB 2] that imposes onerous new credentialing requirements on doctors and similarly onerous building requirements on abortion clinics," and, if allowed to take effect, would "shut down over 80 percent of the abortion clinics" in the state. The other case "involves a Mississippi law [HB 1390] that imposes similar ... requirements" and would "shut down Mississippi's only abortion clinic" if allowed to take effect, he writes. Millhiser notes that both the laws "fit a strategy embraced by anti-abortion activists and state lawmakers in recent years" that advances abortion restrictions under the guise of health regulations, such as admitting privileges or ambulatory surgical center requirements, that "do little, if anything, to actually advance women's health." He writes, "If the Supreme Court holds that states may enact sweeping abortion restrictions, just so long as they mask those restrictions with the thin veneer of a health regulation, then Roeis effectively dead" (Millhiser, "ThinkProgress," Center for American Progress, 11/10).

What others are saying about abortion access:

"This Session of the Supreme Court Could Determine Abortion Access for Generations," Anna Merlan, Jezebel.

CRISIS PREGNANCY CENTERS: "Fake Pregnancy Centers Will Say Some Ridiculous Things To Trick Women Away From Abortion," Alex Zielinski, Center for American Progress' "ThinkProgress":

Zielinski rounds up quotes from antiabortion-rights materials that crisis pregnancy centers provide to women "to try and counter a woman's right to choose." For example, CPCs frequently use "coercive language" to tell women that "[i]f you're getting an abortion, you must be uneducated," she writes, adding, "Ironically, most of these resources lack any accurate information on the benefits of abortion -- and it's rare for any CPC employees to have any background in medicine." According to Zielinski, many CPC materials also "paint a dreary picture" for women who have had an abortion, including "lifelong regret, depression, promiscuity, isolation, sexual dysfunction, severe Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder -- the list is endless." However, Zielinski notes studies showing 95% of women do not regret their abortions and that there is no correlation between abortion and mental health issues. Zielinski also writes about how CPCs often use "upsetting and gory phrases" to describe abortion and suggest that the procedure is unsafe or unhealthy, such as by touting a "repeatedly debunked" connection between abortion and breast cancer, or claiming that abortions damage future reproductive health. Lastly, Zielinski notes that CPCs also allege that women who have abortions will damage their relationships with men involved with the pregnancy, but never detail "how going through an [unintended] pregnancy ... will change this relationship" (Zielinski, "ThinkProgress," Center for American Progress, 11/12).

CONTRACEPTION: "Help! My Birth Control Shouldn't Have a Co-Pay," Brandie Temple, National Women's Law Center's "Womenstake":

Temple writes about lingering gaps in contraceptive coverage, noting that insurers under the Affordable Care Act (PL 111-148) only "have to cover at least one type of birth control in each of the method categories for women listed on [the] FDA birth control guide without out-of-pocket costs." As a result, "[f]or method categories with only one product on the market, like the contraceptive ring or the copper [intrauterine device], plans have to cover the one product on the market in that category (i.e. the NuvaRing or Paragard) without out-of-pocket costs." Meanwhile, she notes that "for other method categories with a lot of different options on the market, like birth control pills" or progestin IUDs, plans can select which type of each method to cover so long as they cover at least one version of each type of method. However, Temple notes that if a woman, in consultation with her health care provider, determines that she needs a particular type of method that her plan does not cover, she or her provider can initiate a "'waiver' or 'exception'" process that allows her to "get coverage for it, without a co-pay" from her plan (Temple, "Womenstake," National Women's Law Center, 11/11).

What others are saying about contraception:

"Has Obamacare Contributed to a New Spike in Contraceptive Use?" Zielinski, Center for American Progress' "ThinkProgress," 11/10.

ANTIABORTION-RIGHTS MOVEMENT: "Colorado GOP's 'In formational Hearing' Becomes Attack on Planned Parenthood," Jason Salzman, RH Reality Check:

"An 'informational hearing' on the use of fetal tissue research in Colorado, staged by the state's" conservative lawmakers, "turned into a one-sided condemnation of Planned Parenthood after Colorado universities, a state agency, and Planned Parenthood declined GOP requests to attend the hearing and answer questions" Salzman writes. According to Salzman, the state lawmakers "maintained that they were simply trying to gather information after both Colorado's ... attorney general and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) refused to investigate Planned Parenthood, citing, respectively, a lack of jurisdiction and a lack of evidence." He writes that, during the hearing, "lawmakers, along with witnesses from anti-choice organizations such as the Alliance Defending Freedom, the Charlotte Lozier Institute, the Colorado Faith and Freedom Coalition (FFC), and pregnancy crisis centers, condemned Planned Parenthood" and "focused on heavily edited videos released by the Center for Medical Progress" targeting the organization. Salzman adds that while "[s]peakers at [the] hearing insisted that a serious investigation by Colorado lawmakers should be undertaken," several conservative investigations into the organization "have turned up no violations." Meanwhile, according to Salzman, one conservative state lawmaker, state Rep. Doug Lamborn (R), is considering asking for permission to subpoena witnesses from Planned Parenthood "for hearings during the legislative session beginning in January" (Salzman, RH Reality Check, 11/10).

What others are say about the antiabortion-rights movement:

"'Flip the Script' With Liz Plank Is Back for Season 2, and the First Episode Takes on the Abortion Debate in an Epic Way -- VIDEO," Erin McKelle Fischer, Bustle, 11/10.

"Wingnuts Go Batsh*t Over Katie Couric, Again: The Insane Right-Wing Freak-Out Over her Planned Parenthood Interview," Gary Legum, Salon, 11/12.

SEXUALITY EDUCATION: "Parent Wanted Their Child To Have an Accurate Sex Education but the School Resisted," Casey Quinlan, Center for American Progress' "ThinkProgress":

"An Ohio parent is upset that their child was given inaccurate information about sexual health and unwanted pregnancy by the Pregnancy Care Center of Wayne County -- a conservative faith-based organization -- in their eighth grade family and consumer science class," Quinlan writes. She explains, "According to the parent ... the Wooster High School student was told that marriage protects people from sexual transmitted infections, people shouldn't have children until they are married, and that if someone is a survivor of incest or rape, they must either keep the child or give the child up for adoption." In addition, "The center also never acknowledged the existence of LGBT students during the presentation," Quinlan writes, adding, "It was the first time the student had been given any sexual health information in school." According to Quinlan, the parent after voicing concerns faced opposition from school administrators, one of whom reportedly denied the parent's "suggest[ion] that a representative from the Wooster Health Care Center -- a Planned Parenthood clinic -- should be brought in to present accurate medical information and offer more options for students facing [unintended] pregnancies." Noting that curriculum used by the school "focuses on abstinence," Quinlan writes that abstinence-only curricula do not "result in more students delaying sex," perpetuate "antiquated notions about gender roles" and "also generally ignore LGBT students completely." However, she notes that parents, such as this parent in Ohio and another in Michigan, are increasingly "fighting back" (Quinlan, "ThinkProgress," Center for American Progress, 11/10).

STIs: "People Are Terrified of Sex," Brian Earp, The Atlantic:

Earp writes about a study on the stigma associated with sexual risk taking that was conducted as follow-up to research that found participants substantially overestimated the risk of someone dying "from HIV contracted from a single unprotected sexual encounter" compared with the risk of dying "from a car crash on a 300-mile trip." For the follow-up study, researchers tested the "idea that sex-related risks are more stigmatized than other types of risk" by asking participants to read vignettes in which someone unknowingly transmits one of two diseases -- chlamydia, "a common STI that rarely causes serious health problems," or swine flu, "which can be seriously bad for your health or even kill you" -- to another individual "during a casual sexual encounter." According to Earp, the researchers found that those "who read the story about someone unknowingly transmitting chlamydia -- with a 'mild' outcome -- judged that person more harshly than participants who read about the swine-flu case where the other person actually died!" Study author Terri Conley of the University of Michigan suggested an explanation for the findings could be "[u]njustified stigma about STIs." However, Earp notes that study participants also might have assumed that the individual transmitting an STI in the vignette was not using a condom -- which would "dramatically reduce [the] chances of transmitting an STI" but "have no effect on transmitting the swine flu" -- or thought that someone who had chlamydia previously had unsafe sex. Earp cites continued questions about whether reducing stigma around STIs would improve sexual health outcomes, noting, "'more research is needed'" (Earp, The Atlantic, 11/12).