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Blogs Comment on Court Challenges to Abortion Restrictions, Daisy Coleman Case, More

Blogs Comment on Court Challenges to Abortion Restrictions, Daisy Coleman Case, More

January 10, 2014 — We've compiled some of the most thought-provoking commentaries from around the Web. Catch up on the conversation with bloggers from the Center for American Progress, Salon and more.

ABORTION RESTRICTIONS: "Judge to Texas Women: Living 150 Miles From an Abortion Clinic is No Big Deal if You Drive Fast," Tara Culp-Ressler, Center for American Progress' "ThinkProgress": During oral arguments in a lawsuit over a Texas antiabortion-rights law (HR 2), Judge Edith Jones' comment "suggesting that every woman who needs to get to an abortion clinic has access to a car that can zip along the highway at 75 miles an hour is a fundamental misunderstanding of the current landscape in Texas -- as well as in other states across the country," Culp-Ressler writes. She notes that 42% of U.S. women "who seek abortions have incomes that fall below the federal poverty line" and cites studies in Texas that show "the state's mandatory waiting period already puts an emotional and financial burden on women who can't afford to spend any extra time and money on their health care." She writes that while "[t]hese economically disadvantaged women don't exist in Jones' world ... [t]hey are the ones who will bear the brunt of Texas' ongoing push to restrict reproductive rights" (Culp-Ressler, "ThinkProgress," Center for American Progress, 1/7).

What others are saying about abortion restrictions: ~ "AFJ Releases Report on How Supreme Court Justices View Reproductive Rights," Alliance for Justice.

~ "3 Offensive Things Said by Texas Judges Who Will Rule on Abortion Access," Robin Marty, Care2.

~ "How Deeply Flawed Studies on Abortion and Breast Cancer Become Anti-Choice Fodder," Joyce Arthur, RH Reality Check.

~ "We're Finally Getting a Little Closer To Repealing the Hyde Amendment," Culp-Ressler, Center for American Progress' "ThinkProgress."

POLITICS AND ELECTIONS: "Salon's Guide To Convincing Free-Market Ideologues To Support Reproductive Rights," Katie McDonough, Salon: Proponents of free-market economics, such as the Club for Growth and "billionaire brothers David and Charles Koch," claim "not to care about" abortion rights and "other 'cultural' issues" because they "are too busy pushing the virtues of the free market," McDonough writes. However, she notes that a Capital Times investigation published Wednesday revealed that "the Club has been funding major players in the anti-choice movement in Wisconsin since at least 2011," while a recent Politico piece found "an expansive network of financial ties between Koch-monied Freedom Partners and groups that work exclusively on restricting abortion and access to contraception." McDonough argues that free-market groups should support reproductive rights, given how "robust support for women's ability to control their own fertility has been shown to have a close correlation with the kinds of economic benefits free market evangelists are obsessed with," such as expanded work force participation, increased disposable income and reduced reliance on public aid (McDonough, Salon, 1/9).

What others are saying about politics and elections:

~ "7 Pro-Choice State Lawmakers To Watch in 2014," Ali Tweedt, NARAL Pro-Choice America's "Blog for Choice."

~ "Republicans and Their Female Troubles," Ruth Rosen, Huffington Post blogs.

ACCESS TO REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH CARE: "REPORT: The United States Scores a Measly C- on Reproductive Health Care," Culp-Ressler, Center for American Progress' "ThinkProgress": A new report from the Population Institute found that the U.S. "barely earns a passing grade on several measures of reproductive health care," Culp-Ressler writes, noting that 13 states received failing grades that dragged "the average score for the entire nation down to an unimpressive 'C minus.'" The report found the U.S. at a "'historic crossroads' when it comes to reproductive health" because just as the Affordable Care Act (PL 111-148) stands to expand Medicaid eligibility and lower the cost of contraceptive coverage, "fierce state-level attacks on family planning programs and abortion clinics are putting health care out of reach for many women," Culp-Ressler explains. Although states have rapidly imposed new abortion restrictions in recent years, "[f]ortunately, in recent months, some state lawmakers have demonstrated an increased willingness to turn the tide on issues of reproductive health, arguing for access to abortion within the larger context of policies to advance gender equality," Culp-Ressler concludes (Culp-Ressler, "ThinkProgress," Center for American Progress, 1/9).

VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN: "Prosecutor Will Not Bring Maryville Rape Allegations to Trial," Annie-Rose Strasser, Center for American Progress' "ThinkProgress": Prosecutors indicated Thursday that "Daisy Coleman -- the 16-year-old Maryville, MO, girl who accused a neighborhood football player of raping her and leaving her out in the snow exactly two years and one day ago -- will not see her rape allegation go to court," Strasser writes. Strasser adds that the "only charge filed by a special prosecutor brought in for the case was a child endangerment misdemeanor charge for leaving the then-14-year-old on her front lawn in January of 2012 while she was drunk and unconscious," to which the accused, Matt Barnett, "will plead guilty." Strasser explains that the decision "does not mean that a rape never occurred" but only that "the prosecutor could not find enough evidence to bring a rape charge" (Strasser, "ThinkProgress," Center for American Progress, 1/9).

What others are saying about violence against women:

~ "California Bill Would Change Reporting Requirements for College Sexual Assaults," Teddy Wilson, RH Reality Check.

~ "Military General Criticized for Sexual Assault Prosecutions To Retire," Emily Crockett, RH Reality Check.

~ "Cornell Revamps Sexual Assault Policies, Takes Proactive Approach," Tyler Kingkade, Huffington Post blogs.

BREASTFEEDING: "It's Not Just You. Women Have Struggled To Breast-Feed Since Ancient Times," Jessica Grose, Slate's "The XX Factor": "New moms who struggle to breast-feed often feel guilty and ashamed ... and the way we valorize the breast-feeding habits of other 'less-developed cultures' doesn't help," Grose writes, adding, "Not only is assuming that less-developed cultures know more about things like breast-feeding condescending and kinda racist, but it turns out it's also incorrect." Grose points to a recent New York Times blog post that includes "nuggets about how rural and poor Indian women feed their babies," including discarding "the nutrient-rich first drops of breast milk known as colostrum ... because it's 'believed to be curdled,'" as well as a BBC piece on the history of breastfeeding that shows "how moms in ancient times had difficult deliveries, developed abscesses on their breasts, and struggled to produce milk." Grose concludes, "[I]t's good to get a little historical push-back to the idea that breast-feeding is simply the most natural thing a woman can do" (Grose, "The XX Factor," Slate, 1/9).

PREVENTIVE CARE: "2014 New Years Resolution: Visit the Gynecologist," S J Chapman, Law Students for Reproductive Justice's "Repo Repro": Chapman encourages women to make visiting their gynecologists their New Year's resolution because they "no longer have to worry about copays, coinsurance, or having to meet a deductible before seeing a gynecologist for preventive health services." Chapman explains, "While most plans under the Affordable Care Act [PL 111-148] have deductibles ... that must be met before insurance will cover medical services, the [ACA] carves out an exception to this rule when it comes to preventive care for women." Therefore, "[e]ven if a deductible hasn't been met, women are able to receive a range of preventive services," including "well-woman visits, breastfeeding comprehensive support and counseling, and all FDA approved contraceptive methods," without "having to pay a copayment or coinsurance" (Chapman, "Repo Repro," LSRJ, 1/8).

What others are saying about preventive care:

~ "Cancer Prevention Guidelines Really Do Lower Risk of Cancer, Study Finds," Huffington Post blogs.

~ "Women at Risk for Breast Cancer will get Free Preventive Medications Under Obamacare," Sy Mukherjee, Center for American Progress' "ThinkProgress."