May 23, 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.
PREGNANCY AND PARENTING: "Woman Sues a New York Hospital for Forcing a C-Section. Can Doctors Do That?" Jessica Grose, Slate's "XX Factor": Grose comments on a case in which a "New York woman, Rinat Dray, has filed suit against Staten Island University Hospital because she says doctors there forced her to have an unwanted cesarean section." According to Grose, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists' ethics committee contends that it is hard to "'imagine' a situation in which any pregnant woman should be forced" to have a C-section, yet National Advocates for Pregnant Women has "documented 30 cases where pregnant women were forced by a court order to undergo C-sections or other medical procedures they did not consent to between 1973 and 2005." Grose notes that "some states are trying to move in the direction of" enacting laws "that would take the right to refuse medical treatment away from a mother," which "leads down a very scary path to fetal rights laws." Grose concludes, "It should go without saying, but we need to continue to trust pregnant women as rational, adult actors who can make their own medical decisions" (Grose, "XX Factor," Slate, 5/21).
What others are saying about pregnancy and parenting:
~ "Enough is Enough: Poor Women are not Having Babies for Money," Shanelle Matthews, RH Reality Check.
ABORTION RESTRICTIONS: "Louisiana's War on Women: The 5 Worst Attacks on Reproductive Rights Launched This Year," Tara Culp-Ressler, Center for American Progress' "ThinkProgress": "This legislative session, Louisiana has exemplified" the fact that state "lawmakers show no signs of letting up" on efforts to restrict abortion-rights, Culp-Ressler writes. She highlights five proposals in the state, including "a bill to shut down abortion clinics and turn doctors into criminals," a bill advancing through the state Legislature that would "force comatose pregnant women to remain on life support against their families' wishes," a measure (HB 1262) that would require "women to read a pamphlet about 'abortion risks' written by abortion opponents," state lawmakers' rejection of "attempts to improve the state's dismal sex ed laws," and an effort toward "banning Planned Parenthood from providing sex ed materials in public schools" (Culp-Ressler, "ThinkProgress," Center for American Progress, 5/22).
What others are saying about abortion restrictions:
~ "Women's Access to Legal Abortion is Disappearing in the South," Culp-Ressler, Center for American Progress' "ThinkProgress."
~ "Abortion Waiting Periods are an Insult to Women," Ian Reifowitz, Huffington Post blogs.
PEACE CORPS: "Congress Must Act To Protect Peace Corps Volunteers," Nina Besser, International Women's Health Coalition's "Akimbo": Women account for more than 60% of the 8,000 Americans who choose to serve in the Peace Corps each year and travel to "all corners of the globe, partnering with local communities and working to promote development and stability," Besser writes. Although a recent study found that almost 10% of female Peace Corps volunteers reported they had been raped during their service, "each year, Congress votes to deny these women comprehensive reproductive health care," Besser notes. She explains, "Unlike other recipients of federal health coverage ... Peace Corps volunteers are denied access to abortion coverage, even in the extreme cases of rape, life endangerment, and incest." Besser concludes, "It's time that Congress stops being a barrier for comprehensive reproductive health coverage, and acts to ensure that women who choose to serve in the Peace Corps have access to the services they need" (Besser, "Akimbo," IWHC, 5/21).
SEXUAL VIOLENCE: "Man Who Drugged and Raped His Wife for Years Because She Was 'Snippy' Gets No Prison Time," Maya Dusenbery, Feministing: "Over the course of three years, an Indiana man named David Wise regularly drugged his wife, raped her, and filmed the assaults on his phone," all of which he admitted in writing, Dusenbery writes, adding that even though Wise was convicted of six felony charges, he "won't [spend] a single day in prison because the county judge ... decided that eight years of home confinement was plenty." Further, "there's no indication Wise understands what a terrible thing he did, and the light sentence just seems to confirm the idea that 'there will be no consequences for your crime' -- to Wise and the rest of us," Dusenbery writes (Dusenbery, Feministing, 5/20).
What others are saying about sexual violence:
~ "The Misguided Definition of Rape as 'Force,'" Mary Adkins, The Atlantic.
WOMEN IN POLITICS: "Women Will Reach Political Parity in 2121. Why Will it Take So Long?" Nia-Malika Henderson, Washington Post's "She The People": Henderson writes that women have "about 20 percent of overall representation" in politics, adding that "[p]redictions for when women will reach politica[l] parity are right in line with predictions for when humans will start setting up colonies on the moon": 2121. She cites a new report that examines "why, after all these years, women are still under-represented in elected office and why it's going to take so long to reach equal representation." According to the report, there is a "complicated landscape for women in politics, with discrimination and bias impeding progress, and other social, cultural and political barriers as well," she writes. In addition, Henderson highlights this year's "election season, in which women are the most coveted voting bloc and women candidates are engaged in high-profile campaigns for the Senate and other statewide races" (Henderson, "She The People," Washington Post, 5/22).
EMERGENCY CONTRACEPTION: "Buyer Beware: Can We Trust Cheap Plan B One-Step on Amazon.com?" Elizabeth Dawes Gay/Renee Bracey Sherman, RH Reality Check: Dawes Gay of the Reproductive Health Technologies Project and Bracey Sherman, an abortion access activist, write that social media sites have recently "lit up with the news that Amazon.com vendors are selling Plan B One-Step emergency contraception (EC) for on average $24.99," while the product costs around $50 in stores. They note that while "the apparent price drop is exciting news for those who want to ensure people across the country have access to this form of" EC, "such a steep drop in price raises red flags, especially since the wholesale acquisition cost" of the product "is estimated to be $32.50." According to Dawes Gay and Bracey Sherman, after RHTP looked into the products being sold through Amazon, they found various inconsistencies with vendors and their suppliers. They conclude that "it appears that some caution is warranted when seeking Plan B from Amazon.com" (Dawes Gay/Bracey Sherman, RH Reality Check, 5/22).