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Blogs Comment on N.D. Ballot Measure, Military Abortion Policy, More

Blogs Comment on N.D. Ballot Measure, Military Abortion Policy, More

June 15, 2012 — We've compiled some of the most thought-provoking commentaries from around the Web. Catch up on the conversation with bloggers from National Women's Law Center, Ms. Magazine and more.

NORTH DAKOTA'S MEASURE 3: "North Dakota Ballot Measure 3 Decisively Defeated," Rebekah Horowitz, National Women's Law Center's 'Womenstake': The defeat of North Dakota's Measure 3 "sent a firm message to conservatives who are attempting to wrap limits to women's health in a shroud of 'religious liberty,'" Horowitz writes. The ballot initiative would have amended the state constitution to say that "[g]overnment may not burden a person's or religious organization's religious liberty." Horowitz writes, "The measure would have opened the door to use religious beliefs as a defense for breaking the law," such as by allowing insurers and doctors to deny women health care, including contraception (Horowitz, "Womenstake," NWLC, 6/14).

What others are saying about North Dakota's Measure 3:

~ "On Eve of 'Fortnight of Freedom,' North Dakota Votes by Wide Margin To Maintain Firewall Between Religion and Health Care," Jodi Jacobson, RH Reality Check.

~ "North Dakota Votes! Women: 1, Bishops: 0," Lauren Barbato, Ms. Magazine blog.

~ "North Dakotans Reject a Wolf in Sheep's Clothing," Daniel Mach, American Civil Liberties Union's "Blog of Rights."

MILITARY ABORTION POLICY: "Republicans Block Abortion Access for Military Rape Victims," Ilya Gerner, Comedy Central's "Indecision Blog": Gerner criticizes the current Pentagon policy that a "pregnancy cannot be aborted at a military facility, even in cases of rape or incest, nor will military insurance cover abortion at an off-base facility." The law is "a more restrictive policy than that offered to State Department workers or the guards in the federal prison system. Or inmates in the federal prison system," Gerner notes. She supports an amendment by Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) to change the law but concedes that it will face strong opposition in the House (Gerner, "Indecision Blog," Comedy Central, 6/13).

What others are saying about military abortion policy:

~ "Stand With Servicewomen: Support Access to Abortion in the Military," Maya Dusenbery, Feministing.

PROVIDERS' PERSPECTIVES: "Women Deserve Factual Medical Information, About Everything Including Abortion Care," Gabrielle Goodrick, RH Reality Check: Goodrick, a physician at Camelback Family Planning in Arizona, writes that the state's so-called "informed consent" laws and numerous requirements before a woman can receive an abortion are "based on ideology, not medical facts." Such laws are premised on the false claim that abortion care is dangerous, she adds, noting that a recent study in the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology found that "abortion care is 14 times safer than childbirth" (Goodrick, RH Reality Check, 6/12).

HIV/AIDS: "The 30 for 30 Campaign: Fighting for Women With HIV and AIDS," Martha Kempner, RH Reality Check: Kempner highlights the National Black Leadership Commission on AIDS' 30 for 30 Campaign, which brings together "advocacy and service delivery organizations to focus on the unique needs of women who are affected by HIV and AIDS, especially African-American women and transgender women." NBLCA President and CEO Virginia Fields, who is chair of the campaign, noted that creation of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy is a positive step but that it missed opportunities to address women's specific needs, largely "[b]ecause women's voices are not at the table when a lot of these decisions are made" (Kempner, RH Reality Check, 6/12).

CONTRACEPTION: "Anti-Choice Activists Protest on 47th Anniversary of Legalized Contraception," Amanda Marcotte, Slate's "XX Factor": Marcotte writes that it is no coincidence that this past weekend's nationwide anti-contraception protests aligned with the anniversary of the Supreme Court decision that struck down state laws criminalizing birth control. The rallies were not about "religious freedom" or insurance coverage but about contraception in general, she argues, noting that many speakers at the events equated emergency contraception with abortion. She writes that "while anti-choice activists talk a big game about abstinence, it seems implausible that they're all using it as their primary form of birth control," concluding, "I think the media and the public are ready to grasp that hypocrisy is the beating heart of the conservative movement" (Marcotte, "XX Factor," Slate, 6/12).

What others are saying about contraception:

~ "Birth Control -- Clarifying the (Small) Heart Attack & Stroke Risks," Margaret Polaneczky, The Blog That Ate Manhattan.

MICHIGAN ANTIABORTION BILLS: "Michigan House Denied Women the Right To Testify and Awakened a Sleeping Giant," Jacqueline M., Planned Parenthood Action Fund's "Women Are Watching": When a package of antiabortion bills was debated in a Michigan House committee last week, "Republican House members refused to let dozens of women, as well as numerous leading medical professional organizations testify against this restrictive legislation at a public hearing," Jacqueline writes, adding that now "their voices are being heard." She quotes Planned Parenthood of Mid and South Michigan CEO Lori Lamerand as saying the politicians "have awakened a sleeping giant," after hundreds of women protested at the Capitol "to make it crystal clear that politicians should not be involved in a woman's personal medical decisions about her pregnancy" (Jacqueline M., "Women Are Watching," Planned Parenthood Action Fund, 6/12).

What others are saying about the Michigan antiabortion bills:

~ "As Punishment for Opposing Anti-Abortion Bill, Male Michigan House Leader Bans Two Female Reps From Speaking," Amanda Peterson Beadle, ThinkProgress.

~ "Whose House? Our House! Whose Vagina? Not Yours, Mr. Speaker," Alexa Kolbi-Molinas, American Civil Liberties Union's "Blog of Rights."

VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN: "In Struggle Over Violence Against Women Act, War on Women Turns Deadly," Terry O'Neill, Huffington Post blogs: National Organization for Women President O'Neill writes that some observers say House Republicans aim to "either force passage of the House version of [the Violence Against Women Act] -- a horrendous bill that fundamentally undermines the act's key programs -- or block passage altogether of a reauthorization of this life-saving legislation, in which case they would proceed to defund its programs in next year's federal budget." She writes that supporters of the strategy see it as a "win-win"; however, "a growing number of women are becoming deeply disgusted by what they view as an extremist agenda to roll back women's rights and well-being across the board" (O'Neill, Huffington Post blogs, 6/14).

What others are saying about violence against women:

~ "Chart of the Day: What War on Women?" E.J. Graff, American Prospect.