January 3, 2014 — We've compiled some of the most thought-provoking commentaries from around the Web. Catch up on the conversation with bloggers from Huffington Post, "ThinkProgress" and more.
ABORTION RESTRICTIONS: "When Pro-Life Goes Frankenstein: The Case of Marlise Munoz," Morgan Guyton, Huffington Post blogs: Guyton summarizes the case of Marlise Munoz, a pregnant woman who suffered a "pulmonary embolism that left her brain dead on November 26." Munoz remains on life support despite her previously stated wishes to the contrary because "Texas has a law that pregnant women have to be kept on life support if there's any chance their fetus might survive," Guyton explains. Guyton argues, "A truly Christian pro-life position is concerned with not letting people play God by ending unborn children's lives unnaturally with technology," but that position "becomes Frankenstein when it demands that technology be used to disallow nature from taking its course with human life." Noting that the state is not required to pay for the required and unwanted life support, Guyton writes, "It's time for pro-life Christians to call up [Texas Gov.] Rick Perry [R] and tell him to let God be God when it comes to human life" (Guyton, Huffington Post blogs, 12/31/13).
What others are saying about abortion restrictions:
~ "2013 Isn't Over Yet, But Next Year's Attacks on Abortion Rights are Already Underway," Tara Culp-Ressler, Center for American Progress' "ThinkProgress."
~ "In The Past 3 Years, We've Enacted More Abortion Restrictions Than During The Entire Previous Decade," Culp-Ressler, Center for American Progress' "ThinkProgress."
CONTRACEPTION: "Catholic Employers Claim That Filling Out an Obamacare Form Violates Their Religious Freedom," Amanda Marcotte, Slate 's "XX Factor": "Late on New Year's Eve, Justice Sonia Sotomayor granted a small number of religiously affiliated groups a temporary injunction from a provision in the Affordable Care Act [PL 111-148] that allows them not to cover contraception in their health care plans if they fill out a form that they want an exemption from the law for religious reasons," Marcotte writes. She explains, "That's right: These groups are arguing that filling out a form is a violation of their religious freedom and that 'religious freedom' means that you should have control over your employee's health care decisions even when they happen outside of the insurance coverage you directly provide for them." Marcotte adds that the temporary injunction will only "allow the status quo to continue until the case gets heard in court," which "won't be great for the employees of these groups ... but it doesn't necessarily mean that the court is siding with the [religious groups] on this one" (Marcotte, "XX Factor," Slate, 1/2).
What others are saying about contraception:
~ "New Challenges to Birth-Control Mandate (UPDATED)," Lyle Denniston, SCOTUSblog.
2013 IN REVIEW: "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly: Women's Rights in 2013," Alexander Sanger, Huffington Post blogs: Although "there was indeed ugliness" for women's reproductive rights in 2013, "there is reason for hope," Sanger, chair of the International Planned Parenthood Council, writes, outlining his "top five wins for sexual and reproductive rights in 2013." Sanger's list includes the "widespread protests throughout India" in response to "[t]he rape and murder of a 23 year-old woman in New Delhi," and a court's decision in the Dominican Republic to reject a complaint by the Catholic Church against Profamilia's ad campaigns "to promote comprehensive sexuality education and responsible parenthood." He also highlights efforts to increase access to abortions in California, Texas state Sen. Wendy Davis' (D) filibuster against an abortion-restrictive bill (SB 5) and the "millions of women, men and young people throughout the world [who] continue to fight to ensure that all people have access to quality healthcare and protection of their human rights" (Sanger, Huffington Post blogs, 12/30/13).
What others are saying about 2013 in review:
~ "Feminist Heroes of 2013," Melissa McGlensey, Ms. Magazine blog.
~ "2013 in Review: Judicial Nominations," Marcia Greenberger, National Women's Law Center's "Womenstake."
~ "The 9 Worst States for Reproductive Rights in 2013," Laura Bassett, Huffington Post blogs.
~ "Conservative Media's Greatest Misogynist Hits of 2013: Feminism is a Sexual Perversion That Causes Statutory Rape and More," Katie Halper, Feministing.
VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN: "Why the Military is Excited That Sexual Assault Cases are Up 50 Percent," Kevin Mathews, Care2: "When statistics show that sexual assault reports in the military have increased by 50 percent in the past year, that sounds like awful news, but military officials are championing the figure as progress," Mathews writes. He explains, "One of the major problems in combatting sexual assaults in the military is a lack of reporting," so "[a]s top officials see it, the fact that more reports are being registered indicates a renewed faith in the [military's] system" for handling sexual assault reports. Officials also said that while the number of reports has increased, they believe the actual number of assaults has remained steady. Mathews notes, "The next step will be to see how the military handles these reports," adding, "Authorities can no longer claim to be helpless to stop assaults when no one reports the incidents" (Mathews, Care2, 12/31/13).
What others are saying about violence against women:
~ "Texas School Retaliated Against Student for 'Public Lewdness' After She Reported Rape,'" Rebecca Leber, Center for American Progress' "ThinkProgress."
~ "Judge Who Once Called Rape Victim 'In Control' Sentences Abusive Boyfriend To Write 'Boys Do Not Hit Girls,'" Leber, Center for American Progress' "ThinkProgress."
~ "Protests Erupt in India After 16-Year-Old Gang Rape Victim is Killed by Her Alleged Rapists’ Friends," Culp-Ressler, Center for American Progress' "ThinkProgress."
GLOBAL ABORTION RIGHTS: "Israel May Start Paying for All Abortions for Women Between 20 And 33 Years Old," Culp-Ressler, Center for American Progress' "ThinkProgress": "Beginning in 2014, Israel may cover the cost of elective abortions for women" ages 20 to 33, if the policy is approved by the country's Health Ministry, Culp-Ressler writes, adding that Israeli health officials "recommended the new policy" and "indicated they eventually intend to expand it to offer abortion funding to women of all ages." Culp-Ressler explains that Israeli women younger than age 20 or older than age 40 already "receive subsidized abortion services for personal reasons -- but women in between those age groups could only get abortion funding if they were suffering a medical emergency, or if their pregnancy resulted from rape or incest." If the proposed policy is approved, it may expand state funding for abortions to "an additional 6,300 women" (Culp-Ressler, "ThinkProgress," Center for American Progress, 12/30/13).
What others are saying about global abortion rights:
~ "Spain Follows the U.S., Proposes its Own Dramatic Abortion Restrictions," Robin Marty, Care2.
~ "Our Top 10 Wins in 2013," Paul Silva, International Women's Health Coalition's "Akimbo."
PAID LEAVE INSURANCE: "Creating a Family Friendly America," Former Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.)/Former Rep. Constance Morella (R-Md.), U.S. News & World Report: "Despite the tremendous success of the [1993 Family and Medical Leave Act (PL 103-3)] -- workers have used the unpaid leave it provides more than 100 million times -- families and the country are suffering without paid leave," write Dodd and Morella, who both worked to pass the law when they were in Congress. They urge current lawmakers to support the Family and Medical Leave Insurance Act (S 1810, HR 3712), introduced in late December, "which would build upon the FMLA and advance the vision of a family friendly America it established" by creating "a national paid family and medical leave insurance program that would ensure people have some income when they need time off to deal with a serious medical condition, including pregnancy or childbirth; to care for a newborn or newly adopted child; or to care for a family member who is seriously ill." Dodd and Morella add, "The FMLA demonstrated that lawmakers can come together to address the challenges facing workers, their families and the country," and the "FAMILY Act can and should continue its legacy" (Dodd/Morella, U.S. News & World Report, 12/26/13).
What others are saying about paid leave insurance:
~ "A Strong Start to 2014 for Working Families," Debra Ness, Huffington Post blogs.