June 10, 2014 — We've compiled some of the most thought-provoking commentaries from around the Web. Catch up on the conversation with bloggers from Care2, NARAL Pro-Choice America and more.
ABORTION RESTRICTIONS: "Repro Wrap: An Abortion is not a Luxury Vehicle and Other News," Robin Marty, Care2: Marty rounds up the latest abortion news, including a court case in which Wisconsin officials defended the state's admitting privileges law (SB 206) by "arguing that making it too hard for pregnant people to access affordable abortions is no different than people not getting that Mercedes-Benz they really wanted but can't make payments on." Meanwhile, some political candidates are trying to appeal to "value[s] voters" by using "anti-choice rhetoric," including Joe Miller, a Republican in Alaska seeking a party endorsement "by declaring that if it weren't for abortion, we wouldn't be having issues funding Social Security," Marty writes. Marty touches on several other issues, including the Texas GOP's recently released party platform and the impact of an Oklahoma parental consent law (Marty, Care2, 9/6).
What others are saying about abortion restrictions:
~ "Jindal's Devastating 'Health Care' Plan for Women," Linda Paver, NARAL Pro-Choice America's "Blog for Choice."
~ "Oklahoma Prosecutors Decline To Charge Teen Who Allegedly Self-Induced Abortion," Teddy Wilson, RH Reality Check.
ABORTION-RIGHTS MOVEMENT: "Melinda Gates, and Why We MUST Talk About Abortion," Erin Matson, Ms. Magazine blog: Melinda Gates "proudly considers herself an advocate for family planning and women's health ... [b]ut there's a catch: She doesn't want to talk about abortion, and the Gates Foundation won't fund it," Matson writes, criticizing the "underlying premise within a Gatesian view of reproductive rights and the women's movement: that a commitment to abortion rights holds progress for women back." Matson argues against the mindset, writing that if people "really want constitutional equality, equality in pay and parity in leadership, and an end to violence against women, [they] do need to acknowledge that the various and far more numerous goals of empowering women will truly work only when women are able to exercise meaningful control over their own lives -- including, and especially, their reproductive lives." Matson adds that many women's rights causes would likely "benefit a great deal from culture change that affirms the value of abortion -- in women's lives, as a commitment to equality, as a matter of public health" (Matson, Ms. Magazine blog, 6/6).
What others are saying about the abortion-rights movement:
~ "The Abortion Rate is Dropping, but the Fight Over it is Picking Up Steam," Tara Culp-Ressler, Center for American Progress' "ThinkProgress."
CONTRACEPTION: "49 Years After Griswold: A Splintering Legacy," Jessica Mason Pieklo, RH Reality Check: "This month marks the 49th anniversary of Griswold v. Connecticut, the landmark Supreme Court decision that ruled states could not criminalize contraception use between married couples," Mason Pieklo writes, noting that "the Supreme Court is once again considering the question of birth control, this time in the Hobby Lobby case, with the question of whether or not businesses can avoid complying with" federal contraceptive coverage rules "by claiming a religious objection to providing employees insurance coverage for contraception." She notes that the majority opinion in Griswold found "that a right to privacy flows from several places in the Constitution to create 'zones of privacy' -- including fundamental questions of whether or not to have a family -- that set the stage for striking down interracial marriage bans and ultimately laid the foundation for today’s marriage equality movement." According to Mason Pieklo, "It's hard to see a clearer case for contraception as a test for equality than the seemingly splintered legacy of Griswold, the undeniable success of the marriage equality movement, and the continued, vicious attacks on reproductive privacy rights," (Mason Pieklo, RH Reality Check, 6/6).
What others are saying about contraception:
~ "Legal Wrap: 49 Years After Griswold, Legal Contraception Still up for Debate," Mason Pieklo, RH Reality Check.
~ "Can the Female Condom Ever Catch On?" Amanda Hess, Slate's "XX Factor."
GENDER-BASED AND SEXUAL VIOLENCE: "Exploring the Global Culture of 'Honor Killings,'" Lizabeth Paulat, Care2: "The brutal stoning to death of a pregnant Farzana Parveen in Pakistan," a woman "who was lured to the Lahore Court House for an 'abduction' case her family brought against her husband (after she married him without their approval)" has brought "immense backlash from the Muslim community," Paulat writes, noting that eight people so far have "been arrested in connection with her death including her father, two brothers, two cousins, a driver and her husband." According to Paulat, "Although many might assume stonings are a regular activity in such parts of the world, they are, in fact, incredibly rare and Pakistanis across the country have expressed shock and horror" over the killing. She continues, "In fact, it is entirely accurate to say that within Islam, there is zero justification for these honor murders," but, "[d]espite this, in a number of Arab countries, ... those who claim 'honor' as the motivation behind these murders are sometimes given lesser sentences." Paulat concludes, "Islam doesn't allow this killing, our laws don't allow this killing, so let's drop the pretense of 'honor' and begin calling these cases what they are: murder" (Paulat, Care2, 6/6).
What others are saying about violence against women:
~ "Sorry, Tucker Carlson: Statutory Rape is Still Wrong if the Victim is Male," Amanda Marcotte, Slate's "XX Factor."
~ "Billionaire Heir Sentenced to Four Months in Jail for Sexually Assaulting His Stepdaughter," Aviva Shen, Center for American Progress' "ThinkProgress."
~ "George Will: Being a Victim of Sexual Assault is a 'Coveted Status That Confers Privileges,'" Katie McDonough, Salon.
RELIGION: "Christian Right Attacks Planned Parenthood for Praying," Elizabeth Dias, Time: While "[p]rayer is often one of the few acts that can cross religious and political divides, ... last week, the president of the Family Research Council criticized Planned Parenthood Federation of America for reaching out to women in the name of God," Dias writes, explaining that FRC President Tony Perkins lambasted "a Planned Parenthood 'Pastoral Letter to Patients' written by the group's 15-member Clergy Advocacy Board" that touched on whether "'religious leaders disapprove of abortion.'" Dias notes that the letter "wasn't actually new" and "has been on [PPFA's] website since October 2013." According to Dias, the letter "is part of a group of clergy's longstanding efforts to support [PPFA] and [its] patients" (Dias, Time, 6/9).
ADOLESCENT RIGHTS: "My Daughter Was Dress-Coded for Wearing Shorts," Jennifer Weiss-Wolf, Slate's "XX Factor": Weiss-Wolf writes about dress code policies at her daughter's middle school and other schools around the country that largely focus on what girls should not wear, with few restrictions for boys, and blame girls for "interfering with establishing and maintaining a 'learning environment'" if they do not dress a certain way. She argues that by punishing her daughter for wearing shorts that were considered too short, her daughter's "school is normalizing the notion that girls' bodies are distractions," "[t]hat girls bear responsibility for boys' reactions to their bodies" and "[t]hat boys have thoughts that are inherently impure and will lead to misconduct." Further, schools "chosen mode[s] of punishment" -- such as sending them home, suspending them or making them wear oversized clothing over their outfits -- are "disrupting girls' educational experiences and quite possibly hindering their legal right to an education," she adds (Weiss-Wolf, "XX Factor," Slate, 6/9).
WORKPLACE POLICIES: "Women and Work: Opt Out or Pushed Out? The Story in Data," Brigid Schulte, Washington Post's "She The People": Although the term "'opting out'" is often used to describe "women leaving the workforce in order to balance work and family life, ... [s]ocial scientists who study workplace culture say it's more like they were 'pushed out' because workplaces require long, demanding hours of face time and see flexible or part-time work as almost a sign of weakness," Schulte writes. Further, she notes that "unlike in other advanced economies, there are no [U.S.] policies or laws that give real support to working families." She explores various studies examining why and when people take extended time away from the workforce, suggesting that a lack of workplace flexibility contributes to time off for many women. For example, women with medical degrees who have children are more likely to be employed than those with MBAs 15 years after graduation, possibly because "doctors can set their own flexible hours," Schulte writes (Schulte, "She The People," Washington Post, 6/9).