Maddie Oatman

Maddie Oatman

Research Editor

Maddie worked as a travel guide in Argentina and a teacher at several educational nonprofits in San Francisco before joining Mother Jones. She’s also written for Outside, the Bay Citizen, and the Rumpus. A proud Boulder native, she makes time for mountain climbing, stargazing, and telemark skiing.

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Birth Control Coverage for Everyone? Not So Fast.

| Fri Aug. 12, 2011 5:00 AM EDT

The announcement last week that the Obama administration will require health insurance plans to cover preventative health care for women at no additional cost elicited whoops of joy from females all over the country. The idea that contraception will be fully covered was an especially celebrated point; Mother Jones blogger Jen Quraishi heralded the occasion as "a momentous day," and Jezebel happily noted that it was time to "kiss your co-pay goodbye."

Not everyone found the rule change so invigorating. That's because the new regulations contain a religious refusal clause, also known as a "conscience clause," exempting "certain religious employers" from having to cover the cost of contraception in employees' insurance plans if doing so would contradict the employer's belief system. The proposed conscience clause defines a religious employer as a nonprofit organization that "has inculcation of religious values as its purpose" and primarily employs and serves people who share its religious tenets. Religious groups say that language is far too weak and might force some religious institutions that don't want to provide birth control to women to do so anyway. Women's groups, meanwhile, are arguing that the language shouldn't be there at all.

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Kansas Sued Over Abortion Clinic Guidelines

| Tue Jun. 28, 2011 7:49 PM EDT

Two weeks ago, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment issued a new set of stringent guidelines for abortion clinics. Under the new requirements, the three remaining clinics in the state would have to make enormous structural changes to their buildings and obtain new certifications in just two weeks or face possible closure. These types of laws are known as Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP) laws, and critics say they're intended to make it almost impossible for clinics to operate.

But despite the new rules, abortion rights activists aren't giving up: On Tuesday, the Center for Reproductive Rights (CRR) filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of one of the remaining Kansas clinics, the Center for Women's Health, which is run by a father/daughter duo who practice in Overland Park.

Film Review: "Page One: Inside the New York Times"

| Tue Jun. 21, 2011 5:00 AM EDT

Page One: Inside the New York Times

MAGNOLIA PICTURES

88 minutes

Director Andrew Rossi opens his doc with shots of clunky presses spitting out broadsheets—footage that feels dated, and that's the point. He catches the Gray Lady at a moment when print is waning and the bosses are scrambling for ways—a paywall?—to survive the impending digital era. Rossi becomes "part of the furniture" at Times HQ as journos mull the value of Twitter, whether to publish WikiLeaks docs, and how best to cover the demise of newspapers. And while the film's big unanswered questions might leave viewers feeling untethered, the paper's personalities—from editors' goofy antics to reporters coaxing sources into going on the record—leave us believing that all the news that's fit to print isn't doomed quite yet. "Of course we will survive," insists media columnist David Carr, the film's smack-talking star. "You," he reminds his fellow journos, "are a bunch of tenacious motherfuckers!"

The Precocious Sarah Jarosz

| Mon Jun. 20, 2011 5:20 AM EDT

At barely 20 years old, roots singer Sarah Jarosz has already recorded two full-length albums and performed at Telluride, Austin City Limits, Bonnaroo, and on A Prairie Home Companion. On her new CD, Follow Me Down, she plays eight instruments, and normally travels with four—guitar, mandolin, banjo, and her new favorite, octave mandolin. 

Though she spent her teen years at folk festivals and mandolin camps, Jarosz opted to put year-round touring aside to pursue a degree at New England Conservatory of Music. "My parents are both teachers and I always wanted to have the college experience," she told me eagerly. She'll major in Contemporary Improvisation—put simply, the development of personal style.

Micronesia Challenges Europe's Dirty Energy

| Tue May 24, 2011 12:00 PM EDT
The Prunéřov Power Station in Bohemia, Czech Republic

The Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), an island nation scattered across the Pacific north of New Guinea, has already had to confront the tides of climate change, which have eaten away at its coasts and left its food and water security in shambles. When leaders in FSM heard that the Czech Republic planned to extend the license on its biggest polluter, the Prunéřov power station, they decided that a coal plant halfway across the world had everything to do with their fragile island country's health. In January of 2010, FSM legally intervened in the extension of the plant by calling for a Transboundary Environmental Impact Assessment, which required the Czech government to take into account the environmental impact upon another territory when deciding whether to approve the project.

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