April 4, 2014 — We've compiled some of the most thought-provoking commentaries from around the Web. Catch up on the conversation with bloggers from Slate, Care2 and more.
CONTRACEPTION: "Hobby Lobby Invests in Companies That Manufacture Contraceptives. What Hypocrites," Amanda Marcotte, Slate's "XX Factor": "Hobby Lobby's argument in Sebelius vs. Hobby Lobby is that its religious opposition to some forms of contraception goes so deep that it represents a substantial burden for the company to allow its employees to use their own health care plans to purchase those forms of contraception," so "it's no wonder" that the company has been accused of hypocrisy after a Mother Jones article revealed that its retirement plan "invests 'in the manufacturers of the same contraceptive products,'" Marcotte writes. "If Hobby Lobby's lawsuit is about sincere religious conviction, investing in companies that manufacture contraceptives ... must be a moral transgression," Marcotte continues, adding, "But, of course, this has never been about sincere religious convictions," given that Hobby Lobby "only developed this strong religious conviction ... after [HHS] mandated that contraception be covered in the plan," leading it to "channel anti-Obamacare anger toward the goal of expanding the power of conservative Christian business owners over the private lives of employees" (Marcotte, "XX Factor," Slate, 4/2).
What others are saying about contraception:
~ "Hobby Lobby Opposes Birth Control, Except When They Can Benefit From It," Robin Marty, Care2.
~ "Access to Birth Control is Disappearing, And It's Worse Than You Think," Marty, Care2.
ABORTION RESTRICTIONS: "Texas Abortion Providers Head Back to Court in New HB 2 Lawsuit," Andrea Grimes, RH Reality Check: "A group of doctors announced Wednesday that they will file suit against ... two provisions of [Texas'] HB 2, the omnibus anti-abortion law passed last summer," Grimes writes, adding that if one of the contested provisions -- which requires abortion providers to renovate or build clinics "to mirror hospital-style ambulatory surgical centers" -- takes effect, it would "shutter 18 of Texas' 25 existing legal abortion facilities" and leave no options "west or south of San Antonio, or east of Houston." In addition, the Center for Reproductive Rights has filed suit on behalf of "two abortion providers in far south and far west Texas" against the law's hospital admitting privileges requirement, which previously was upheld by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. She writes that researchers "at the University of Texas' Texas Policy Evaluation Project have estimated that more than 22,000 Texans would be unable to access legal abortion as a result of those two provisions," but "the impact is expected to be much greater if the state is left with only a handful of legal abortion providers, located only in major metropolitan areas" (Grimes, RH Reality Check, 4/2).
What others are saying about abortion restrictions:
~ "Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals Temporarily Blocks Arizona Medication Abortion Rules," Jessica Mason Pieklo, RH Reality Check.
~ "Mississippi Passes 20-Week Abortion Ban, Governor Promises To Sign," Emily Crockett, RH Reality Check.
~ "The Return of the Back-Alley Abortion," Laura Bassett, Huffington Post.
MATERNAL AND CHILD HEALTH: "Successful Home Visit Program for Mothers and Infants Lacks Long-Term Funding," Adele Stan, RH Reality Check: House Republicans and Democrats agree on few things, "but questions and testimony delivered Wednesday [before] the vast and well-appointed hearing room of the Ways and Means Committee suggested that the value of [the] little-heralded Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program may be one," Stan writes. Stan explains that the $69 million, 13-state program funds "home-visit programs whose models have proven to have positive outcomes in reducing child neglect and abuse, and in showing low-income families to thrive as a result of the program's intervention." However, despite the program's success, it "is not fully funded, and only on Monday" did the program obtain "a six-month extension of its funding, which was scheduled to expire last month," Stan writes (Stan, RH Reality Check, 4/3).
ADOLESCENT HEALTH: "When It Comes to Teen Pregnancy, Support Is Prevention," Gloria Malone, RH Reality Check: Although the U.S. teen pregnancy rate "is currently at one of the lowest points in the last three decades, it is still one of the highest among industrialized nations," Malone writes, adding that "it's time to consider what investing in the present and future of pregnant and parenting teens might do to disrupt the cycle of poverty and ensure stronger families." Because of "the systemic removal of teenage parents from schools through shame and stigma to a lack of support for pregnant and parenting teens, teenage parents, their families, and their children are on a path to continue living in long-term poverty," she continues, arguing, "What many fail to realize is support is prevention." Malone concludes, "It is long past time that larger teenage pregnancy prevention organizations, policy makers, funders and society realize and incorporate teenage pregnancy support in their teenage pregnancy prevention frameworks" (Malone, RH Reality Check, 4/1).
VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN: "Harvard Student Writes About Being Sexually Assaulted, Then Ignored by Administrators," Katy Waldman, Slate's "XX Factor": The Harvard Crimson student newspaper recently published a letter detailing "an anonymous, first-person account of sexual assault and its aftermath" which opens with, "'Dear Harvard: You Win.'" Waldman asks, "What has Harvard won?" She continues, "After nine months of resisting this student's pleas for action, validation, and empathy in the wake of what she says was sexual assault, one of the best schools in the world has won her surrender." Waldman argues, "Harvard's staff needs better training. More importantly, though, the school needs to reexamine its narrow and outdated assault definition -- and thanks to student advocacy, that language is currently under review." She concludes, "To address sexual violations directly is to both correctly deal with each individual case and to fight back against destructive norms," adding, "[I]t's not Harvard but rape culture that 'won' this week," which means "everyone lost" (Waldman, "XX Factor," Slate, 4/1).
What others are saying about violence against women:
~ "McCaskill Wants Info From Education, Justice on Campus Sexual Assaults," Diana Reese, Washington Post's "She The People."
~ "Mariska Hargitay and Amy Poehler Say NO MORE To Rape Culture's Damaging Myths," Amanda Duberman, Huffington Post blogs.