May 3, 2013 — We've compiled some of the most thought-provoking commentaries from around the Web. Catch up on the conversation with bloggers from the Huffington Post, Feministing and more.
NEED FOR LEGAL ABORTION: "The Importance of Roe vs. Wade," Joseph Blady, Huffington Post blogs:
"When abortion became legal in this country, its benefits to society were so obvious that one could be deluded into thinking that the issue was settled," Blady writes. "Since there is no scientific basis for declaring a six-week-old fetus a person, the obvious origin of the laws that have recently cropped up in North Dakota and four other states is religious," he argues, adding, "These states are rampaging against birth control for the same reason." He adds, "The answer to the abortion issue is so simple that it beggars belief that we haven't gotten to that place." Blady continues, "If you don't want an abortion, don't have one," but "leave the less pious of us alone to do what, unfortunately, has to be done to make more livable the lives of women who have to make the terrible decision to have an abortion" (Blady, Huffington Post blogs, 5/1).
What others are saying about the need for legal abortion:
~ "We Already Lost Savita in Ireland. Don't Let Beatriz Die in El Salvador," Maya Dusenbery, Feministing.
~ "Care2 Bloggers' Book Shows How GOP Shoves Women Toward Back Alley Abortions," Jeff Fecke, Care2.
RAPE CULTURE: "UConn Student Receives Rape Threats After Suggesting School Address 'Frightening' Atmosphere for Women," Soraya Chemaly, RH Reality Check: "Recently, University of Connecticut undergraduate student Carolyn Luby published an open letter to the school's president, Susan Herbst," urging the school to "re-prioritize" and consider "ways to remodel the behavior of athletes and create a less violent environment," Chemaly writes, adding, "Now, Luby is receiving rape threats." Chemaly highlights other cases of "institutional tolerance" of sexual assault -- including incidents at Amherst College, Indiana University and several other colleges -- and explains that schools are required to protect students from discrimination and respond to crimes under Title IX and the Jeanne Clery Act. Chemaly writes, "It's important to make sure this conversation continues in context," adding, "What is happening at UConn ... [is] about the school, the usefulness and profitability of aggressive and heroic athletes, and the acceptance of violence against girls and women" (Chemaly, RH Reality Check, 5/1).
What others are saying about rape culture:
~ "Awareness is Not Enough," Michelle Seyler, Law Students for Reproductive Justice's "RepoRepro."
PREGNANCY DISCRIMINATION: "The Face of Pregnancy Discrimination," Annamarya Scaccia, RH Reality Check: Scaccia explains the meaning of the 1978 Pregnancy Discrimination Act and details several pregnancy discrimination cases, including a case Young v. UPS that "is currently on appeal to the Supreme Court." She writes, "For many individuals, pregnancy discrimination can have an astounding financial impact," adding, "If fired or pushed to take unpaid leave, it can be difficult for the pregnant person to support herself and her family." Scaccia cites EEOC data that show 3,745 pregnancy discrimination charges were filed with the agency in 2012. Scaccia notes, "Many of [the] loopholes and discriminatory practices would close if the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA) were to pass in this new Congress" (Scaccia, RH Reality Check, 5/1).
What others are saying about pregnancy discrimination:
~ "Stephanie Stewart, My Hero!" Becka Wall, National Women's Law Center's "Womenstake."
~ "New Lawsuits Shine a Light on Pregnancy Discrimination," Jessica Grose, Slate's "XX Factor."
EMERGENCY CONTRACEPTION DECISIONS: "Obama Administration Throws Science and Public Health Out the Window in Appeal of Plan B Ruling," Jessica Mason Pieklo, RH Reality Check: The Obama administration has "capitulated further to anti-choice conservatives" by announcing that it will appeal a court decision requiring FDA to make emergency contraception available over the counter without age restrictions, Mason Pieklo writes. The court ruling was "a significant victory for science-supported public health policy," but the administration's reasons for challenging the decision are "unclear," she adds. "The science is not on the administration's side in this decision, and the politics shouldn't be either," she concludes (Mason Pieklo, RH Reality Check, 5/1).
What others are saying about emergency contraception decisions:
~ "Hey, FDA: Drop the Plan B Age Restriction," Jessica Valenti, The Nation.
~ "Federal Government Continues Politicization of Health Care," Below the Waist.
~ "One Step Forward, Two Steps Back: The Week in Over-the-Counter Emergency Contraception," Rachel Walden, Our Bodies, Our Blog.
~ "Morning-After Pill Age Lowered, But Obama Will Appeal FDA Decision," Michelle Cottle, Daily Beast.
ABORTION IN POLITICS: "How Abortion Stigma Impacts Our Politics," Tara Culp-Ressler, Center for American Progress' "ThinkProgress": Culp-Ressler reports that conservative polling group SSI Group is reportedly making phones calls to South Carolina voters under the guise of conducting a survey, but the questions are worded to dissuade people from supporting Elizabeth Colbert Busch's (D) congressional bid. People who received the calls said one of the questions was, "What would you think of [Busch] if I told you she had had an abortion?" Culp-Ressler writes, "[W]omen's personal experiences with abortion have certainly been used as a method of dissuading popular support from female candidates before," such as the recent case of a Nevada state representative who received death threats after stating that she had an abortion as a teen. Abortion stigma "impacts the way that politicians talk about it, and ultimately the way that they legislate it," Culp-Ressler writes, adding, "Abortion policy likely won't drastically shift until that stigma is lessened" (Culp-Ressler, "ThinkProgress," Center for American Progress, 5/1).
ABORTION-RIGHTS DEBATE: "Kevin Drum Asks Pro-Choicers if They Would Accept Roe. The Answer is Yes." Amanda Marcotte, Slate's "XX Factor": "Asking pro-choicers if we would accept what amounts to Roe plus funding and better availability than we have now -- as if that wasn't already our loud and proud and frequently stated preference -- serves no other purpose than to distort the debate," Marcotte writes about Mother Jones contributor Kevin Drum's recent posting of a hypothetical question about reaching a compromise in the abortion-rights debate. Drum wrote in his post, "Basically, the deal is (a) abortions up to, say, 22 weeks or so, would be legal and easily available, (b) late-term abortions would be completely illegal unless the life of the mother were clearly and directly threatened, and (c) this put an end to the whole issue." In response, Marcotte writes that Drum's suggestion "implies that late term abortions are more common than they are," adding, "Abortions after 24 or 25 weeks are so rare they don't even show up in the official statistics compiled either by the Guttmacher Institute or the CDC." She writes, "The real issue here is" that "[a]nti-choicers focus on these exceedingly rare abortions to demonize the everyday providers, such as Planned Parenthood, offering early terminations and contraception" (Marcotte, "XX Factor," Slate, 4/30).
ABORTION OPPONENTS: "A Gosnell Amendment? Jennifer Rubin Plays Doctor and Legislator -- and Fails," Jodi Jacobson, RH Reality Check: "In their quest to make safe, legal abortion care as inaccessible as possible, anti-choicers are now seeking to sway public policy by conflating safe abortion care with [Kermit] Gosnell's atrocities, to tar all legitimate providers of safe abortion care as Gosnell clones, and to use a criminal case as a justification to drive legitimate providers out of business," Jacobson writes. She cites one recent example of this effort "courtesy of Washington Post contributor Jennifer Rubin, who, in a column Wednesday, suggested several ways to further diminish access to safe, legal abortion care in the United States through what she calls a 'Gosnell amendment.'" Jacobson writes, "The inconvenient truth here is that the very policies anti-choicers espouse are the ones that create the conditions in which Gosnells thrive: limiting access to safe abortion care by closing clinics, driving up the costs, requiring women to go through innumerable unnecessary hoops to secure an abortion, and driving them later in the process -- denying women living in poverty public support for safe abortion care" (Jacobson, RH Reality Check, 5/2).
What others are saying about abortion opponents:
~ "How State Lawmakers Are Working To Make Abortion Too Expensive for Low-Income Women,"Culp-Ressler, Center for American Progress' "ThinkProgress."
~ "The Missionary Movement To 'Save' Black Babies," Akiba Solomon, Colorlines/RH Reality Check.