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Blogs Comment on D.C. Abortion Bill, Sexual Assault in Prison, Other Topics

Blogs Comment on D.C. Abortion Bill, Sexual Assault in Prison, Other Topics

May 22, 2012 — We've compiled some of the most thought-provoking commentaries from around the Web. Catch up on the conversation with bloggers from RH Reality Check, Washington Post and more.

D.C. ABORTION BAN: "Physician Speaks Out in Strong Opposition to the Proposed DC Abortion Ban," Willie Parker, RH Reality Check: In testimony submitted to the House, Parker -- a member of Physicians for Reproductive Choice and Health and an ob-gyn in D.C. -- argues against a bill (HR 3803) that would ban abortion in Washington, D.C., after 20 weeks of pregnancy. He describes multiple cases of women in need of abortion care later in pregnancy, adding that the bill "takes away decision-making from DC women and their doctors and replaces it with political judgment." The bill not only "is clearly unconstitutional and would harm women's health," it is "incredibly disrespectful of women, doctors and the residents of [D.C.]," he writes (Parker, RH Reality Check, 5/18).

What others are saying about the proposed D.C. abortion ban:

~ "An Interview With a Late Term Abortion Provider," Sarah Kliff, Washington Post's "Wonkblog."

~ "None of the GOP's 'Experts' on Abortion Policy in D.C. are Actually From D.C." Alesa Mackool, RH Reality Check.

PRISON RAPE ELIMINATION ACT: "New Federal Standards Offer Unprecedented Protections to LGBTI Prisoners," Leslie Cooper, American Civil Liberty Union's "Washington Markup": The Department of Justice's release of National Standards to Prevent, Detect, and Respond to Prison Rape "create[s] an historic opportunity to put an end to the epidemic of sexual abuse in prison, which disproportionately affects prisoners who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or have intersex conditions," Cooper writes. However, rather than including immigration detention centers in the standards, President Obama issued a memorandum ordering the Department of Homeland Security to develop its own standards. "We will be urging DHS to adopt equally rigorous standards to protect immigration detainees," Cooper writes (Cooper, "Washington Markup," ACLU, 5/21).

GLOBAL WOMEN'S HEALTH: "A Mexican NGO Meets the Community Where it's at," International Planned Parenthood Federation/Western Hemisphere Region, RH Reality Check: IPPFWHR spotlights an NGO in Mexico, called Mexfam, that provides "high quality sexual and reproductive health services" to rural and economically marginalized populations that otherwise would not have access. Mexfam employs "health promoters" who help "educate community members about sexual and reproductive health and provide a much-needed link to Mexfam's clinical services," as well as host local events that bring together community members to discuss sexual health topics (IPPFWHR, RH Reality Check, 5/18).

What others are saying about global women's health:

~ "New Maternal Mortality Estimates Released; Maternal Health Still a Feminist Issue," Lori, Feministing.

WAR ON WOMEN: "KS v. V-J-J," Meg, Buttered Toast: Meg outlines the "story of how, at 38 years old, [she] found [her]self without health insurance, sitting in the lobby of [a] local Planned Parenthood." She notes that she quit a job with health benefits in order to spend more time with her children, and sought care at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Kansas. She writes that after passing through protesters, a security guard and bullet proof glass, she realized she was "on the front lines of America's War on Women's Reproductive Rights," which she notes is "not restricted to family planning services, unless you also consider cancer screenings and hormone therapy for medical purposes family planning" (Meg, Buttered Toast, 5/19).

What others are saying about the war on women:

~ "Stay Out of My Bedroom: Women of Color Have the Right To Decide if and When to Parent," Shantae Johnson, RH Reality Check.

~ "The Importance of Choice," Hayley Rose Horzepa, Huffington Post blogs.

PREGNANCY: "Pregnancy Depression is Real, and Women Like me and Bei Bei Shuai Need Help, not Jail," Robin Marty, RH Reality Check: Marty discusses her own experience with pregnancy-related depression, as well as the case of Bei Bei Shuai, an Indiana woman who has been jailed for months after attempting suicide while pregnant. Marty concludes, "If feticide laws are enforced when a woman loses her pregnancy during a suicide attempt, we won't save babies, we will just lose more mothers -- women who can live if they are just helped in time" (Marty, RH Reality Check, 5/18).

CONTRACEPTION COVERAGE: "Eight Years Ago, Even Republican Judges Rejected Notre Dame’s Attack on Contraceptive Access," Ian Millhiser, ThinkProgress: Millhiser notes that eight years ago, the "overwhelmingly Republican California Supreme Court rejected" a lawsuit nearly identical to those filed on Monday by 43 Catholic-affiliated institutions over the federal contraceptive coverage rules. In a 5-1 ruling, the court said a California law requiring contraceptive coverage in employer-sponsored health plans "serves the compelling interest of eliminating gender discrimination," citing evidence that "women during their reproductive years spent as much as 68% more than men in out-of-pocket health care costs, due in part to the cost of prescription contraceptives" (Millhiser, ThinkProgress, 5/21).

VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN ACT: "Setting the Record Straight on the Violence Against Women Act," Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.), The Hill's "Congress Blog": Conyers, who helped draft the original Violence Against Women Act nearly 20 years ago, defends his stance against the House-passed reauthorization bill (HR 4970) after fellow lawmakers questioned his motives during a floor debate. "I refuse to support legislation that would protect only some victims of domestic violence and would make women less safe than they are under current law," Conyers writes, noting that the original law "was grounded on the bipartisan belief that we should protect all women from sexual and domestic violence, particularly vulnerable minority and immigrant women" (Conyers, "Congress Blog," The Hill, 5/21).