May 30, 2014 — We've compiled some of the most thought-provoking commentaries from around the Web. Catch up on the conversation with bloggers from RH Reality Check, the Washington Post and more.
ABORTION PROVIDERS: "Reflections on the Fifth Anniversary of the Assassination of Dr. George Tiller," Carole Joffe, RH Reality Check: "The abortion situation in Kansas in the post-Tiller era can be best understood as a series of both skirmishes and high-profile battles between the two sides of the endless abortion war," Joffe writes on the five-year anniversary of the murder of abortion provider George Tiller. She notes that since then, the Kansas Legislature "has seen many moderate Republicans replaced by extreme right-wing ideologues" and "has passed one abortion restriction after another." Joffe reviews other developments of the past five years, calling the disbarring of former Kansas Attorney General Phill Kline the "most unequivocal victory that abortion rights supporters in Kansas have experienced since Tiller's death." She concludes that while "the road ahead for providers and their allies to not only preserve George Tiller's specialized service, but simply to stay open, is hardly an easy one," they should find strength in his favorite saying, "Attitude is everything" (Joffe, RH Reality Check, 5/28).
VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN: "#YesAllWomen: A Short Fuse Between Rejection and Violence," Lauren McEwen, Washington Post's "She The People": "The leap from spurned advance to physical violence might not always be as dramatic as last Friday's killing spree by 22-year-old Elliot Rodger, who murdered six people and wounded 13 in the University of California at Santa Barbara community before taking his own life -- but it isn't as far as many would like to believe," McEwen writes. "Women are expected to adjust to silently living in fear" when faced with misogyny and "carefully and gently turn down advances, like we're defusing bombs," McEwen adds, concluding, "It might be troubling to think that everyday occurrences have anything in common with a mass shooting, but that doesn't make it untrue" (McEwen, "She The People," Washington Post, 5/27).
What others are saying about violence against women:
~ "Misogyny Kills: How the Isla Vista Shooting Proves What #YesAllWomen Already Know," Rachel Grate, Ms. Magazine blog.
ABORTION RESTRICTIONS: "Caught in a TRAP," Emily Bazelon, Slate's "Jurisprudence": "Abortion is on trial this week in Alabama," one of several states with a law (HB 57) that requires abortion providers "to have admitting privileges at local hospitals," Bazelon writes, noting that the future of these laws could determine "whether poor women in red (and even purple) states will continue to have access to abortion, or whether some states will succeed in shutting down every clinic within driving distance, all in the name of protecting women (from themselves)." The Alabama law -- and similar targeted regulation of abortion providers, or TRAP, laws in other states -- have "been written for an audience of one -- Supreme Court swing voter Justice Anthony Kennedy," who joined the majority in the 1992 Planned Parenthood v. Casey decision that said states cannot impose an "undue burden" on women's access to abortion, Bazelon explains. The justices did not define what constitutes an undue burden, meaning that "[w]e'll have to wait for the Supreme Court challenge" to the TRAP laws to see if obstacles like the "expenses of travel, lodging, and often child care," which "would be much heavier for poor women," are unconstitutional in Kennedy's eyes, Bazelon writes (Bazelon, "Jurisprudence," Slate, 5/26).
What others are saying about abortion restrictions:
~ "The Obscure Legal Fights That Could Wipe Out the Country's Abortion Clinics," Tara Culp-Ressler, Center for American Progress' "ThinkProgress."
~ "Medical Provider Says: Risk of Unsafe Abortion in Texas is Growing," Ms. Magazine blog.
JUDICIARY: "Audio Recording Casts Doubt on Judicial Nominee Michael Boggs' Abortion Testimony," Emily Crockett, RH Reality Check: "An audio recording of a 2001 Georgia house floor debate is casting further doubt on ... controversial anti-choice judicial nominee" Michael Boggs, Crockett writes, referring to a recording published Tuesday by the Huffington Post of floor debate "for which Boggs was present, and in which his colleagues bring up the sorts of concerns that Boggs testified he had been unaware of at the time during his Senate confirmation hearing." The debate focused on "an amendment that would have required doctors to publicize how many abortions they have performed," which prompted concerns that it "would lead to anti-choice violence against doctors." She continues, "However, Boggs claimed during his confirmation hearing that while he regrets the vote [in favor of the amendment] in hindsight, at the time he hadn't had time to consider the floor amendment and was unaware of any controversy about the murder of abortion doctors" (Crockett, RH Reality Check, 5/28).
RELIGION: "Christian Doctor on Why He Performs Abortions: 'I Came to a Deeper Understanding of my Spirituality,'" Culp-Ressler, Center for American Progress' "ThinkProgress": For many years, physician Willie Parker did not perform abortions because as a "Christian from Alabama, he didn't feel comfortable participating in the procedure," Culp-Ressler writes. However, Parker "changed his mind -- and he credits that reversal to his faith." Parker said he "'came to a deeper understanding of [his] spirituality, which places a higher value on compassion,'" and became concerned about what would happen to women seeking abortions if he did not help them. According to Culp-Ressler, "Although abortion opponents have been quick to attack Parker's faith, suggesting that his line of work is incompatible with Christianity, he's hardly the only religious person who supports reproductive rights." She notes that "a coalition of faith-based organizations recently launched a campaign to encourage religious Americans to speak up for women's right to choose" (Culp-Ressler, "ThinkProgress," Center for American Progress, 5/27).