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Blogs Comment on Family Planning Funding, Supreme Court Gun Ruling, More

Blogs Comment on Family Planning Funding, Supreme Court Gun Ruling, More

March 28, 2014 — We've compiled some of the most thought-provoking commentaries from around the Web. Catch up on the conversation with bloggers from Slate, RH Reality Check and more.

ABORTION RESTRICTIONS: "Kansas Moves To Defund Planned Parenthood and Force Doctors To Report Every Miscarriage," Amanda Marcotte, Slate's "XX Factor": While "conservative attacks on insurance coverage of contraception have been garnering a lot of attention," Marcotte notes that "it's important to remember that this is just one small part of a larger push from the right to do as much damage as possible to women's reproductive rights." She explains, "A couple of stories out of Kansas demonstrate this [push] quite well." For example, she cites a recent federal appeals court's decision to allow "lawmakers to deprive low-income women of access to contraception and other reproductive health services by allowing Kansas to immediately start defunding" Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri. Marcotte also points to a "bill [HB 2613] winding its way through the state's legislature," with an amendment that "would require doctors to report all miscarriages to the state health department, no matter how early they occur in a pregnancy" (Marcotte, "XX Factor," Slate, 3/26).

What others are saying about abortion restrictions:

~ "Federal Court Extends Order Temporarily Blocking Alabama Admitting Privileges Law," Jessica Mason Pieklo, RH Reality Check.

~ "Fact-Checking a Texas Republican's Claims on Women's Health 'Advances,'" Andrea Grimes, RH Reality Check.

~ "Federal Appeals Court Refuses To Overturn Texas' Stringent New Abortion Law," Tara Culp-Ressler, Center for American Progress' "ThinkProgress."

RELIGION: "Jimmy Carter Says Pope Francis Promised 'Women Should Have a Greater Role,'" Michelle Boorstein, Washington Post's "Post Local": Recapping President Carter's recent visit to the Post, Boorstein writes that "it wasn't surprising ... to hear" that the former president "typed out and mailed a letter to Pope Francis challenging the pontiff on the status of women in the Catholic church," given that Carter is known for being outspoken. Carter said Francis had promised him that "he thought women should have a greater role" in the Catholic Church. Carter also discussed "the intersection of religion and gender in a wide range of contexts, including prostitution, scripture and abortion," Boorstein adds (Boorstein, "Post Local," Washington Post, 3/26).

POLITICS AND ELECTIONS: "Two Anti-Choice Candidates in Colorado Rescind Support for 'Personhood,'" Jason Salzman, RH Reality Check: Two Republicans from Colorado -- U.S. Reps. Cory Gardner and Mike Coffman -- who are running for the state's "most hotly contested congressional seats have withdrawn their support for a 'personhood' amendment," Salzman writes. Gardner is trying to unseat U.S. Sen. Mark Udall (D), while Coffman is running for re-election against Democrat Andrew Romanoff. In the blog post, Salzman explains the amendment "would ban all abortion and give legal rights to fertilized human eggs, also called zygotes." According to Salzman, a Coffman spokesperson has said that "this year's [ballot] measure, which would redefine the definition of 'child' in the Colorado criminal code, isn't as broad as previous personhood measures, depending on how it would be interpreted by the courts." Meanwhile, Salzman notes, Gardner "has yet to clarify what his new abortion stance is" and whether "he supports an abortion ban, Roe v. Wade, or another policy" (Salzman, RH Reality Check, 3/26).

What others are saying about politics and elections:

~ "In Unprecedented Assault, Koch Brothers Aim for Anti-Choice Senate in 2014," Adele Stan, RH Reality Check.

~ "We Need an Act of Congress to Get More Women in Congress," Crystal Shepeard, Care2.

VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN: "Man Convicted of Domestic Violence Can't Possess a Gun, Supreme Court Rules," Nicole Flatow, Center for American Progress' "ThinkProgress": The Supreme Court in a unanimous ruling on Wednesday said that people who have been convicted of domestic violence, "even pushing or grabbing," are subject to a federal ban on possessing a gun, Flatow writes. "The ruling could have significant implications in interpreting which state domestic violence laws bar gun possession," she writes, noting that "domestic violence is one of the biggest risks associated with gun ownership." Flatow explains, "Because of this relationship ... federal law bars those convicted of a misdemeanor domestic violence offense from possessing a gun. But state crimes dubbed 'domestic violence' come with different definitions in different states." She also notes that "several bills introduced in Congress aim to fill ... gaps" in the current federal law, which only covers misdemeanors and "omits several other types of domestic violence offenses, including temporary protective orders and stalking offenses" (Flatow, "ThinkProgress," Center for American Progress, 3/26).

What others are saying about violence against women:

~ "A Year After VAWA, Still More Work To Be Done," Mark Kirschenbaum, Huffington Post blogs.

~ "From Dee to Patti: Transgender Women Fighting Back Against Sexual Assault in Detention," Chase Strangio, American Civil Liberties Union's "Blog of Rights."

~ "Feminists Take to Twitter To Explain That Rape Culture is Alive and Well," Culp-Ressler, Center for American Progress' "ThinkProgress."

~ "Survivors of Domestic Violence Now Have Better Access to Obamacare Benefits," Culp-Ressler, Center for American Progress' "ThinkProgress."

NEED FOR SAFE ABORTION: "Unsafe Abortions Have Killed 1 Million and Injured 100 Million in the Last Two Decades," Maya Dusenbery, Feministing: "[L]awmakers and public health leaders from over 30 countries have released a new declaration calling for the world's nations to repeal all criminal abortion laws and 'make safe, legal abortion universally available and accessible to all women regardless of age, income, or where they live,'" Dusenbery writes. The declaration represents a substantial update from the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development, where global leaders said that "abortion should be made 'safe where legal,'" she notes. Dusenberry adds, "As everyone -- except, of course, anti-choicers with their heads in the sand -- knows, outlawing the procedure does not stop people from getting abortions -- it just makes them less safe." She notes that 21 million women undergo unsafe abortions every year, adding that since 1994, more than one million have died from the procedures and 100 million more have sustained "often life-long" injuries (Dusenbery, Feministing, 3/27).

What others are saying about the need for safe abortion:

~ "UMich Exhibit Celebrates 4000 Years of Reproductive Choice," Callie Beusman, Jezebel.