January 28, 2014 — We've compiled some of the most thought-provoking commentaries from around the Web. Catch up on the conversation with bloggers from Feministing, Huffington Post and more.
WAR ON WOMEN: "Birth Control Isn't Just About Sex -- But it's Also About Sex," Alexandra Brodsky, Feministing: Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee's (R) recent comments about contraceptives "are misogynistic and illogical on so many levels," Brodsky writes, adding, "[B]ut we don't need to concede his basic premise -- that sex is bad, and good women abstain -- in order to prove their absurdity." While acknowledging the importance of highlighting the medical and economic reasons people need birth control, Brodsky also urges women's health supporters "to avoid drawing lines between 'good' and 'bad' reasons for accessing reproductive services, from contraceptives to abortions, that accept our opponents' anti-sex moral framework as the only option" (Brodsky, Feministing, 1/24).
What others are saying about the war on women:
~ "GOP: Sensitivity Training in Animal House," Michael Keegan, Huffington Post blogs.
~ "What Century are You Living In? An Open Letter to House Republicans," Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), Huffington Post blogs.
~ "Rand Paul Says There is No 'War on Women' Because His Niece and Sister are Doing Pretty Well," Amanda Marcotte, Slate's "XX Factor."
~ "Anti-Choicers Drop the 'Life' Pretense, Increasingly Admit They're Angry About Sex," Marcotte, RH Reality Check.
~ "No, Ross Douthat, Restricting Abortion Won't Shore Up Marriage," Michelle Goldberg, The Nation.
PREGNANT WOMEN'S RIGHTS: "Texas Judge Rules Brain Dead Pregnant Woman Must Be Taken Off Life Support," Robin Marty, Care2: A federal judge's ruling that a brain dead pregnant woman -- Marlise Muñoz -- who had been kept on life support for almost two months at a Texas hospital against her family's wishes, "may have settled things for good for the [Muñoz] family, but it won't address the fact that ... the state still has a troubling law that requires pregnant people to be kept on life support, overriding her directives or that of her family," Marty writes. She concludes, "Marlise and her family should now receive justice, but until the law is changed, another [Muñoz] case can always be in the wings" (Marty, Care2, 1/24).
What others are saying about pregnant women's rights:
~ "Judge Orders Brain Dead Texas Woman Be Taken Off Life Support After Lawyers Admit Her Fetus is 'Non-Viable,'" Annie-Rose Strasser, Center for American Progress' "ThinkProgress."
~ "State Bills Aim To End Practice of Shackling Pregnant Inmates," Teddy Wilson, RH Reality Check.
PREGNANCY AND CHILDBIRTH: "Bill Regulating Certified Professional Midwives Needs a Push," Judy Norsigian, Our Bodies Ourselves' "Our Bodies, Our Blog": It is time for the Massachusetts Legislature to "join the 28 other states in this country" and enact legislation (HB 2008, SB 1081) "that would license and regulate certified professional midwives, or CPMs," Norsigian writes. Norsigian cites several maternity care professionals who have written to the state Legislature in favor of the bill, noting that they and several "prominent consumer organizations are supporting this bill because they believe it will increase the safety of home birth for families choosing this option." She urges the Legislature's Committee on Public Health to advance the measure for a floor vote, writing, "Failure to license CPMs will make the several hundred home births that occur in Massachusetts every year less safe by failing to create an integrated maternal health care system with enhanced collaboration among all care providers" (Norsigian, "Our Bodies, Our Blog," Our Bodies Ourselves, 1/27).
SEXUAL HEALTH: "This Week in Sex: Chicago Pushes HPV Vaccine, a Study on Sex and Class, and Sex Ed for Seniors," Martha Kempner, RH Reality Check: Kempner rounds up news on sexual health, first highlighting a new initiative by the Chicago Department of Public Health, which has received CDC funding "to encourage adolescents to get the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine," including money for "training ... 200 health-care providers, a new patient reminder system, and a public education campaign aimed at teenagers and their parents." She also notes a recently released University of Barcelona study that "found that women of lower socioeconomic status are more stressed about sex, mostly because they were less likely to use contraception ... and more likely to be the victims of domestic violence." Lastly, Kempner points to a New York Times op-ed that discussed an increase in sexually transmitted infections and STI testing among Medicare beneficiaries, which could be attributable to people "living longer, staying healthier, and popping Viagra, which means more years of sexual activity" (Kempner, RH Reality Check, 1/24).
What others are saying about sexual health:
~ "Pill Thrill: The Future of Female Sex Drugs," Bella Ellwood-Clayton, Huffington Post blogs.
SEXUAL VIOLENCE: "Indian Woman Gang-Raped on Orders From Elders," S. E. Smith, Care2: Smith highlights a case in which a woman in rural India was "gang-raped on orders from her tribal council" for "engaging in a romantic relationship outside her tribal affiliation." Because the woman was not able to pay a fine, "the council invited the men of the tribe to 'enjoy' her" and threatened her with "further penalties" if she reported the rape to the police. Smith notes, "While such crimes are undoubtedly a significant social issue in India, the depiction of India as a country mired in the inability to progress is grossly incorrect; as evidenced by the fact that gang rapes such as these are met by large-scale protests including people of all genders organizing ... to speak out about crimes against women." Smith criticizes the "Western media" for frequently portraying India as a "backwards" and "irredeemable" nation, "rather than one where social progress is propelling the country forward and many people are working within India to fight the authority of tribal councils and improve rural life for women and girls" (Smith, Care2, 1/25).
What others are saying about sexual violence:
~ "How Police Can End Abusive Relationships by Asking the Right Questions," Carimah Townes, Center for American Progress' "ThinkProgress."
~ "Acknowledge That Rape is Rape and 5 Other Steps To Combat Sexual Violence," Christine Pelosi, Huffington Post blogs.
~ "President Obama's Task Force on College Sexual Assault," Malika Saada Saar, Huffington Post blogs.
ABORTION RESTRICTIONS: "New Law Could Force All of Louisiana's Abortion Clinics To Close," Zoe Carpenter, The Nation: "Women in Louisiana could lose all access to abortion services if the state succeeds in enacting a secretive overhaul of its clinic regulations," Carpenter writes, adding that the changes from the state Department of Health and Hospitals would go into effect "immediately" if approved during a public hearing next month. Among other things, the rules would impose "new and complex documentation and staffing requirements," Carpenter writes. The rules originally would have required a woman to have had a blood test 30 days before she could qualify for an abortion, but a DHH spokesperson told The Nation that the 30-day requirement would be rescinded. Carpenter adds that the rules "would also give the state tools to prevent new clinics from getting a license" by requiring new or renovated facilities to meet "square footage requirements" and forcing clinics to "prove to DHH that their services are needed" (Carpenter, The Nation, 1/27).
What others are saying about abortion restrictions:
~ "Louisiana Rules Would Have Required 30-Day Waiting Period Before Legal Abortion (UPDATED)," Andrea Grimes, RH Reality Check.
~ "What if a Waiting Period for an Abortion Was 30 Days Long?" Robin Marty, Care2.
~ "To Stop Dangerous Abortion Providers, We Need More, Not Less, Access to Abortion," Amanda Marcotte, Slate's "XX Factor."