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Blogs Comment on Faults in Abortion Polling, Santa Barbara Shooting, More

Blogs Comment on Faults in Abortion Polling, Santa Barbara Shooting, More

May 27, 2014 — We've compiled some of the most thought-provoking commentaries from around the Web. Catch up on the conversation with bloggers from "ThinkProgress," Care2 and more.

PUBLIC OPINION ON ABORTION RIGHTS: "When We Poll People About Abortion, We're Usually Asking The Wrong Questions," Tara Culp-Ressler, Center for American Progress' "ThinkProgress": Culp-Ressler argues that a new Gallup poll -- which found that U.S. residents "remain divided on the abortion issue, with 47 percent of U.S. adults describing their views as 'pro-choice' and 46 percent as 'pro-life'" -- is "pretty misleading" and does not give "a clear sense of Americans' complicated feelings about the issue." She notes that "Gallup's questions about the circumstances under which abortion should be legal are incredibly vague, allowing participants to select either 'in all cases' or 'in some cases," adding that "Americans' personal views on abortion don't always correspond with how they think it should be regulated." Citing state-level polling data in places with new abortion restrictions, she adds, "As states have imposed an increasing number of laws targeting abortion, it's been clear that public opinion is playing out quite differently than what Gallup's poll would suggest -- even in traditionally red states" (Culp-Ressler, "ThinkProgress," Center for American Progress, 5/23).

VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN: "By The Numbers: How the Santa Barbara Shooting Reflects a Culture of Violence Against Women," Bryce Covert/Adam Peck, Center for American Progress' "ThinkProgress": After Elliot Rodger "posted a YouTube video in which he said it was 'an injustice, a crime' that women have never been attracted to him and that he was going to 'punish you all for it' and 'slaughter every single blonde slut I see,'" on Friday night, he "allegedly killed six people and wounded 13 others near a Santa Barbara, California university campus," Covert and Peck write. "While the debate in the aftermath of the shooting will likely focus on gun legislation ... and mental health resources, it is also becoming a discussion about widespread misogyny," they explain. They list several "facts that paint the picture" about the connections between cultural attitudes toward women, homicide and other violence against women, concluding, "As the country tries to reckon with the tragedy, it will have to grapple with a climate in which men perpetrate violence against women on a daily basis, violence that is deeply embedded within our society" (Covert/Peck, "ThinkProgress," Center for American Progress, 5/26).

What others are saying about violence against women:

~ "Some Colleges are Still Afraid To Use the Word 'Rape' on Campus," Huffington Post blogs.

ABORTION RESTRICTIONS: "Repro Wrap: Here a Clinic, There a Clinic, Soon Nowhere a Clinic, and Other News," Robin Marty, Care2: "It's sure starting to look like" the "end of abortion access in the south," as "Alabama's battle to keep its clinics open hits the courts this week," Marty writes, commenting on the legal challenge brought by local abortion providers and the American Civil Liberties Union of Alabama against the state's admitting privileges requirement. She notes that Alabama women cannot easily travel to another state for abortion care because the "situation in surrounding states makes the push to close clinics even worse, as the closing[s] compound on each other," Marty writes, citing legislation in Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas (Marty, Care2, 5/23).

What others are saying about abortion restrictions:

~ "Abortion is Safe. Let's Keep it Safe," Cecile Richards/Louise Melling, Daily Beast's "Women in the World."

~ "The End of Abortion in the South?: This Interactive Map Shows All of the Clinics Impacted by Draconian Anti-Choice Laws," Katie McDonough, Salon.

~ "Oklahoma Senate Passes Admitting Privileges Bill (Corrected)," Teddy Wilson, RH Reality Check.

CONTRACEPTION AND FAMILY PLANNING: "Should 2014 Elections be About Birth Control? Yes!" Marty, Care2: A "wing of the right has decided they want to make 2014" a referendum year "on contraception," Marty writes, discussing a recent article in the National Catholic Register in which Janet Morana, "author of the book Recall Abortion and executive director of Priests for Life, urges readers to make 2014 a 'pro-life' vote." Marty writes that she "couldn't agree more" that the 2014 election "needs to be about birth control," explaining, "With the number of 'no exceptions' and 'fertilization to natural death' candidates in today's races, it is not an exaggeration to say that access to the ability to prevent pregnancy is an issue that is actually in play when [voters] go to the polling place." Marty writes that each candidate should be asked publicly about whether he or she believes that "life begins at fertilization and that hormonal contraception, [intrauterine devices] and other forms of non-barrier pregnancy prevention can potentially cause an abortion based on that belief?" (Marty, Care2, 5/26).

PREGNANT WOMEN'S RIGHTS: "Louisiana Committee Passes Bill That Would Keep Pregnant Women on Mechanical Support Against Their Wishes," Teddy Wilson, RH Reality Check: "After emotional testimony given by opponents of a bill [HB 1274] that would allow the state of Louisiana to invalidate any advance directives when a patient is pregnant, regardless of the viability of the fetus, a committee voted to pass the bill and send it to the full senate," Wilson writes. He explains that if Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) signs the bill, it would become "legal for the state to prohibit a family from directing physicians to remove mechanical support from a brain-dead pregnant woman." According to Wilson, the measure already passed the state House in a 95-0 vote (Wilson, RH Reality Check, 5/23).