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Blogs Comment on Rape Culture in the Workplace, Safety of Abortion, More

Blogs Comment on Rape Culture in the Workplace, Safety of Abortion, More

August 23, 2013 — We've compiled some of the most thought-provoking commentaries from around the Web. Catch up on the conversation with bloggers from "ThinkProgress," Slate and more.

VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN: "Rape Culture at Work: Five Examples of how Employers Turn Women Into Sex Objects," Tara Culp-Ressler/Bryce Covert, Center for American Progress' "ThinkProgress": In addition to "being unfairly assumed to be less competent or less valuable than their male counterparts," women in the workplace often "are up against very specific assumptions about their sexuality, their role as 'objects' intended to be attractive to men, and their responsibility to prevent men from desiring them," Culp-Ressler and Covert write. They discuss five recent examples, including a recent ruling by a New Jersey judge who said casino waitresses can be fired for gaining weight and an Iowa Supreme Court's decision allowing employers to "fire attractive women if they pose a risk to men's marriages." Culp-Ressler and Covert note that while many Americans think about "rape culture" mostly in the context of sexual assault, such incidents show that it is part of "a pervasive societal attitude" that affects many interactions. "This approach to gender roles assumes that men can't control themselves around women, and it's women's responsibility to figure out how to handle that," they write (Culp-Ressler/Covert, "ThinkProgress," Center for American Progress, 8/22).

What others are saying about violence against women:

~ "Dear Onion Writers: Sexual Abuse Isn't Funny," Angi Becker Stevens, Ms. Magazine.

~ "Five Problems With Dr. Phil's tweet," Alexandra Brodsky, Feministing.

~ "13-Year-Old Accused of Egging on Her Abuser," Elin Weiss, Feminists for Choice.

~ "California Lawmakers Demand a State Investigation Into Colleges' Inadequate Sexual Assault Policies," Culp-Ressler, Center for American Progress' "ThinkProgress."

RH REALITY CHECK INVESTIGATION: "The Anti-Choice Movement's Achilles' Heel: An Utter Lack of Evidence," Amanda Marcotte, Slate's "XX Factor": "The anti-abortion movement may seem like an unstoppable beast as of late, but it's also a movement that is in very real danger of succumbing to its own overwhelming hubris," Marcotte writes, citing a series of court losses and an investigation that refuted many arguments in support of increased abortion restrictions. She explains that the movement has tried to portray abortion-rights opponents as the "'real' defenders of women's health" and abortion providers as trying to exploit women. In the latest "embarrassment to anti-choicers," House lawmakers' inquiry into state abortion regulations and safety -- which they hoped would uncover health violations and support more restrictions -- instead showed that "by and large abortion care is well-regulated and safe." Marcotte concludes that "the inability of anti-choicers to provide evidence for their dark intimations about how abortion is harmful to women is a real weak spot in their campaign to protect us" (Marcotte, "XX Factor," Slate, 8/21).

What others are saying about the RH Reality Check investigation:

~ "Disproven: The Myth of Infants 'Born Alive' After Abortions," Andrea Grimes/Sharona Coutts, RH Reality Check.

~ "Quick Hit: Abortion in America is Already Ridiculously Safe; New Restrictions Only Put More People in Danger," Lori Adelman, Feministing.

~ "Republicans' Own Investigation Into 'Dangerous' Abortion Clinics Discovers They're Already Very Safe," Tara Culp-Ressler, Center for American Progress' "ThinkProgress."

ABORTION ACCESS: "Washington State Won't Let Public Hospitals Refuse To Provide Abortion Care," Culp-Ressler, Center for American Progress' "ThinkProgress": Amid a nationwide assault on abortion rights, Washington state "is currently working to ensure that women will be able to access abortion care at public hospitals," Culp-Ressler writes. The state's attorney general's office released an opinion requiring public hospitals that offer maternity care to also offer abortion care, as mandated by a 1991 state law. The opinion came amid growing concerns that the increasing number of partnerships between public hospitals and Catholic health systems would allow the hospitals "to exploit a loophole that would narrow women's access to reproductive health care," Culp-Ressler writes. She notes that while reproductive health advocates in Washington celebrated the announcement, the "growing network of religious providers" remains a nationwide issue, with about one in six U.S. patients receiving care at a Catholic hospital (Culp-Ressler, "ThinkProgress," Center for American Progress, 8/22).

What others are saying about abortion access:

~ "West Virginia's Attorney General Launches Politically-Motivated Investigation Into Abortion Clinics," Culp-Ressler, American Center for Progress' "ThinkProgress."

~ "Planned Parenthood, ACLU Sue To Block Indiana Law Designed To Close Lafayette Clinic," Jessica Mason Pieklo, RH Reality Check.

~ "West Virginia Attorney General Closes Public Comment Period on Clinic Regulations," Robin Marty, RH Reality Check.

~ "Femcare Clinic in North Carolina Could Soon Reopen," Marty, RH Reality Check.

ABORTION BANS: "Albuquerque 20-Week Abortion Ban Won't Make it on High-Turnout Ballot," Andrea Grimes, RH Reality Check: "A vote to ban abortion after 20 weeks in Albuquerque, New Mexico, won't be in a high-turnout mayoral election this October," despite abortion-rights opponents' "'grassroots effort'" to have the measure included, Grimes writes. The proposal "would effectively ban abortion after 20 weeks in the state, as Albuquerque is the only New Mexico city where abortion providers are located," she explains. Abortion-rights advocates fighting the measure do not see this as the end of the battle. Micaela Cadena, a community organizer with Young Women United, stated "'I wouldn't say it's good news," adding, "We're organizing for whenever this election happens." Municipal officials were only able to verify "around 9,800 signatures of the 12,091" on a petition to include the measure, and "final verification won't come in time to print election notices 50 days in advance of the October 8 election," according to Grimes (Grimes, RH Reality Check, 8/20).

What others are saying about abortion bans:

~ "New Ohio Heartbeat Bill Filed," Marty, RH Reality Check.

~ "Tragic Accident is the Perfect Opportunity To Bring Fetal Personhood to Colorado?" S.E. Smith, Care2.

WELFARE PROGRAMS: "Repealing Welfare Family Cap Laws a Common Goal for Some Pro- and Anti-Choice Groups," Sheila Bapat, RH Reality Check: "[T]he effects of family cap laws on poor women and families are very real," prompting advocates on both sides of abortion-rights debate to join efforts to repeal such measures, writes Bapat, an attorney and writer covering economic and gender justice. "Such laws not only exacerbate economic barriers for struggling families, but they also have deeply problematic reproductive justice implications: These laws penalize the poor for having children -- something families of means would never face," she explains. Although the number of family cap laws has decreased since the 1990s, they are still enforced in some states, such as California, which is considering a bill (AB 271) that would "'prohibit the denial of aid or an increase in the maximum aid payment for a child born into the family of a [California Medicaid] recipient.'" While "not all 'pro-life' groups in the state are on board, ... there is a broad coalition of organizations in California working to pass AB 271, including anti-poverty, pro-choice, and religious groups," Bapat notes (Bapat, RH Reality Check, 8/21).