June 6, 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.
ABORTION RESTRICTIONS: "New Study Exposes Sex-Selective Abortion Bans for What They Are: Just Another Way To Restrict Abortion," Emily Bazelon, Slate's "XX Factor": A new study published this week "exposes banning abortion based on sex-selection for what it is: a way to restrict abortion, not to combat gender discrimination," Bazelon writes. She adds that the study, which "looks at a large and recent data set (called the American Community Survey)," found that "foreign-born Asian-Americans and Indians don't have birth rates that skew toward boys" and that they have more daughters than white Americans. Bazelon cites other findings in the study that debunk abortion-rights opponents' rationale for such bans, concluding that while "the problem of parental preference for boys is a real one" in some countries, it is "a canard" in the U.S. and that there is "nothing feminist about invoking it to make abortions harder to get" (Bazelon, "XX Factor," Slate, 6/3).
What others are saying about abortion restrictions:
~ "The Fight To Take Back Our Health Care System From Junk Science," Tara Culp-Ressler, Center for American Progress' "ThinkProgress."
~ "When Courts Consider Evidence, Abortion Supporters Win," Dorothy Samuels, New York Times' "Taking Note."
~ "Need an Abortion? Get in Line," Amanda Marcotte, Slate's "XX Factor."
PREGNANT WOMEN'S RIGHTS: "Louisiana Lawmakers Pass Bill to Keep Women on Mechanical Support Against Their Wishes," Teddy Wilson, RH Reality Check: "The Louisiana legislature passed a bill (HB 1274) that requires physicians to keep brain-dead women who are pregnant on mechanical support if the physician determines there is a chance the fetus is viable," Wilson writes, adding that the measure "would invalidate advance directives when a patient is pregnant and prohibit a family" from making end-of-life decisions for the woman. Wilson writes that the bill as finalized would apply if a woman was "at least 20 weeks pregnant" and would not apply "to any woman who has previously specified a 'do not resuscitate' while pregnant instruction in a will." He notes that the bill is now before Gov. Bobby Jindal (R), who is "expected to sign it into law" (Wilson, RH Reality Check, 6/3).
WOMEN'S HEALTH PROTECTIONS: "Pennsylvania Women's Health Caucus Unveils Second Package of Bills," Tara Murtha, RH Reality Check: "Members of Pennsylvania's bipartisan Women's Health Caucus unveiled the second wave of bills aimed at addressing women's health and economic equality at a press conference at the capitol on Tuesday morning," Murtha writes. She explains that this second wave of legislation includes "bills designed to curb interference in a patient's relationship with her doctor, identify health-care gaps for female veterans, fight deep poverty among women and children, ensure widows of state and municipal employees receive fair pensions, and protect more women from sexual harassment." Murtha notes that while some of the measures "are still being drafted," the caucus expects to have them all introduced "within the next few months," while it also continues to advocate "for movement on some of the bills introduced last year as part of the first package" (Murtha, RH Reality Check, 6/3).
PREGNANCY AND CHILDBIRTH: "Mothers are Not Alone: The Vital Role of Midwives in Healthy, Normal Birth," Mary Higgins/Sue Bree, Huffington Post blogs: "Birth used to be a private affair taking place at home or in a birth center," but, "[t]oday, for many women birth is a very public experience" that "takes place in a hospital where the woman's view of privacy may not be shared by all the health care workers she encounters," write Higgins and Bree, both board members of the International Confederation of Midwives. They add that midwives cannot "ignore the crucial responsibility ... in keeping childbirth normal, thereby doing our best to prevent those complications that contribute to mortality and morbidity [from] even occurring" and that "[t]his requires knowledge and respect of the physiological processes of pregnancy, birth and postpartum." They conclude, "The promotion of normal birth, the safest way to give birth, is part of the Scope of Practice of a midwife, and it is our view that trusting and actively supporting physiology is the main way in achieving this" (Higgins/Bree, Huffington Post blogs, 6/4).
CONTRACEPTION: "Most Americans Want Employers Like Hobby Lobby To Offer Birth Control Coverage," Culp-Ressler, Center for American Progress' "ThinkProgress": "Most Americans support ... requiring employers to provide birth control coverage for their workers at no additional cost, according to new polling conducted by the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI), and don't believe that corporations should be able to claim religious liberty exemptions to get out of this policy," Culp-Ressler writes. She notes that the findings come as the Supreme Court is "poised to hand down a decision regarding… this question" and that if the corporations involved -- Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties -- "win their case[s], they'll be allowed to invoke religious liberty even though they're not religiously affiliated companies." She argues that "including coverage for contraception in workers' health plans actually tends to save money in the long run" and cites research that has "shown that ensuring women have access to the pill helps them invest in their careers and remain in the workforce" (Culp-Ressler, "ThinkProgress," Center for American Progress, 6/3).
ABORTION IN THE MEDIA: "Obvious Child: The Movie About Abortion We've Been Waiting For," Steph Harold, Feministing: The comedy "Obvious Child," which opens in select theaters Friday, is "the abortion moving we've been waiting for" because "[i]t will not only help demystify abortion but [also] give concrete examples of how to make someone who's having one feel loved and supported," according to Harold. She continues, "Abortions are often portrayed [on film] as dangerous and heart wrenching," but "Obvious Child" shows "a pristine clinic environment, a safe abortion, and a woman who's sure of her decision." Although "[m]any Hollywood portrayals of abortion are somewhat sympathetic to people who have abortions, ... by showing women as isolated, unsupported, and in danger, they can unintentionally reinforce stigma, shame, and fear around abortion," Harold writes, concluding that "Obvious Child" "takes another approach, showing us that abortion is normal, manageable, social, and not the end of the world" (Harold, Feministing, 6/5).
What others are saying about abortion in the media:
~ "Can Abortion Be Funny? Thoughts on Obvious Child," Gretchen Sisson, Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health's "ANSIRH Blog."