May 20, 2014 — We've compiled some of the most thought-provoking commentaries from around the Web. Catch up on the conversation with bloggers from Salon, RH Reality Check and more.
VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN: "'Trapped in the Dark': Marissa Alexander and How Our Twisted Legal System Re-Victimizes Domestic Violence Survivors," Victoria Law, Salon: Law discusses a case involving Marissa Alexander, "a Florida mother of three, [who] made headlines in 2012 when she was convicted of aggravated assault after firing a warning shot" into the ceiling, where it did not harm anyone, "to stop her husband from attacking her." Law notes that Alexander "attempted to invoke Florida's 'stand your ground' law, but a pre-trial judge ruled that she could have escaped through the front or back doors." An appeals court in September 2013 "reversed her conviction," and a new trial is scheduled for July. Law says the "case is a stark example of how the legal system frequently revictimizes survivors of domestic violence, prosecuting and imprisoning them after failing to respond to their calls for help." In particular, Alexander's case "highlights how the legal system frequently ignores experiences of domestic violence, instead painting the abused person as the perpetrator and the abuser as the victim" (Law, Salon, 5/16).
What others are saying about violence against women:
~ "Increased Health Risks for Latina Women Don't Stop at the Border," Kimberly Inez McGuire, Huffington Post blogs.
~ "Occupy Activist Who Claims She Was Groped by Police Officer Sentenced to Three Months in Jail," Aviva Shen, Center for American Progress' "ThinkProgress."
~ "Mozambique's Criminal Code Fails Survivors," Elizabeth Bernstein, Huffington Post blogs.
SEXUALLY TRANSMITTED INFECTIONS: "South Carolina Senate Committee Approves HPV Vaccine Bill, Amid Opposition," Martha Kempner, RH Reality Check: The South Carolina Senate Medical Affairs Committee last week "passed a bill [H 3236] aimed at encouraging parents to get their children vaccinated against human papillomavirus (HPV)" by "allow[ing], but not requir[ing], the state to publish brochures about the vaccine" and "offer free HPV vaccines to young people entering seventh grade who are not covered by private insurance or the federally funded Vaccines for Children program," Kempner writes. If enacted, the bill would make "an estimated 2,400 students ... eligible for the vaccine, but provision of the vaccines would depend on the availability of federal and state funding," Kempner explains. However, the bill "faces opposition from many lawmakers in the state, including the governor" (Kempner, RH Reality Check, 5/19).
PREGNANCY AND PARENTING: "The Backwards Logic of U.S. Maternity Leave," Lizabeth Paulat, Care2: "[O]ur national policies and politics don't reflect [the] reality" that "[w]e live in a time where American politicians and religious groups pander to the public, lauding the importance of 'family' and heaping praise onto mothers for their contributions," Paulat writes. She notes, "The idea of paid maternity leave turns a lot of conversations sour" because some people "wonder why we would pay someone for not working." However, "[s]ending [working mothers] off on disability pay, or with no pay at all, is not a realistic way to create a healthy society. Expecting every pregnant woman to have a wealthy partner, able to support her at all times, is not a realistic scenario either," Paulat argues. She concludes, "If we're really worried about saving companies money (never mind those humans who just created life), it makes sense to join the rest of the world, and make paid maternity leave a law" (Paulat, Care2, 5/17).
What others are saying about pregnancy and parenting:
~ "What Do Pregnant Women Want?" Seth Stephens-Davidowitz, New York Times' "Sunday Review."
REPRODUCTIVE-RIGHTS MOVEMENT: "Places for Hope in the Fight To Protect Women's Health and Rights," Andrea Flynn, Roosevelt Institute's "Next New Deal": "A number of states are currently deliberating (or have passed) legislation that protects women's access to health care, showing that states can be safe havens, not just hostile environments, for women and their families," Flynn, a fellow at the Roosevelt Institute, writes. For example, she writes that California enacted legislation (AB 154) that allows "nurse practitioners, midwives, and physician assistants to perform abortions during the first trimester," while a proposed measure in the state would reinforce the Affordable Care Act's [PL 111-148] "requirement that insurance companies cover all FDA approved contraceptive methods and counseling without cost-sharing," as well as "birth control for men." These bills and others elsewhere are "important models" for lawmakers in additional states "who are working to counter the tide of anti-women's health legislation that is sweeping the nation" (Flynn, "Next New Deal," Roosevelt Institute, 5/15).
What others are saying about the reproductive-rights movement:
~ "CLPP2014: The Movement for Reproductive Freedom is Alive and Well," Lori Adelman, Feministing.
Judiciary: "Repro Wrap: U.S. Senate is All Abortion, All the Time, and Other News," Robin Marty, Care2: It was "a Congressional smorgasbord of abortion headlines [last] week, as the Senate held a confirmation hearing for what is likely the least progressive candidate nominated by a Democratic President for a federal bench ever," Marty writes, commenting on judicial nominee Michael Boggs. Marty also details antiabortion-rights efforts in Congress and the states, such as a 72-hour mandatory delay bill (HB 1307/1313) in Missouri, as well as some "good news," including a failed "personhood" ballot measure in Mississippi and Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe's (D) effort to "rescind the medically unnecessary clinic building requirements that ... had been shutting down abortion providers throughout the state" (Marty, Care2, 5/16).
What others are saying about the judiciary:
~ "Democratic Opposition to Anti-Choice Judicial Nominee Michael Boggs Grows," Emily Crockett, RH Reality Check.
MEDICAID: "In Georgia, Lawmakers Taking Pride in Policies That Hurt the Poor," Flynn, Roosevelt Institute's "Next New Deal": Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal (R) last week made the state a leader "in the mad dash to thwart the Affordable Care Act [PL 111-148] and prevent poor people from accessing health care" by "sign[ing] into law two bills that ensure the state won't be expanding Medicaid any time soon," thus making "it decidedly more difficult for people to gain coverage under the ACA," Flynn writes. She notes that the majority of Georgians who stood to gain health coverage under the Medicaid expansion are women, which would have "surely save[d] women's lives" in a state with a maternal mortality rate far above the national rate. Anti-ACA laws, which are "a notch in the belt of conservatives preparing for the fall election -- compound the social and economic injustices already experienced by many low-income Georgians," Flynn argues (Flynn, "Next New Deal," Roosevelt Institute, 5/16).
ABORTION RESTRICTIONS: "Missouri Governor Signals Possible Veto of 72-Hour Waiting Period Bill," Teddy Wilson, RH Reality Check: "Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon [D] has indicated that he may veto a bill that would extend the waiting period for a woman seeking an abortion in the state from 24 to 72 hours ... in contrast to comments [he] made following the bill's passage that made his intentions unclear," Wilson writes. Nixon in a statement on Thursday said he has "'profound concerns about [the bill's] impact on women and especially the victims'" of rape and incest, Wilson explains. He notes that if Nixon vetoes the bill, "[t]he legislature can override the veto with a two-thirds vote of both houses" (Wilson, RH Reality Check, 5/19).
What others are saying about abortion restrictions:
~ "Trial Set To Begin in Alabama Admitting Privileges Case," Jessica Mason Pieklo, RH Reality Check.