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Blogs Look at Women's Rights 'After Hobby Lobby,' State Abortion Restrictions, More

Blogs Look at Women's Rights 'After Hobby Lobby,' State Abortion Restrictions, More

July 11, 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.

CONTRACEPTION: "After Hobby Lobby," Dahlia Lithwick, Slate's "Double X": Women "are still reeling" from the Supreme Court's ruling in the Hobby Lobby case and "generally trying to understand how a term that was characterized as minimalist and undramatic by many male commenters, even liberal male commenters, represented a tectonic shift not just for America's women, but for the three women who actually sit up there and do their jobs at the high court," Lithwick writes. She adds that there "wasn't so much a clash of rigorous constitutional values that determined the outcomes" in Hobby Lobby and another two cases that affected women -- McCullen v. Coakley, which struck down Massachusetts' 'buffer zone' law, and Harris v. Quinn, which focused on home health workers -- but rather "a strong identification by the majority justices with the values that were arrayed in opposition to women's freedoms and economic equality" (Lithwick, "Double X," Slate, 7/9).

What others are saying about contraception:

~ "Putting 'Hobby Lobby' in Context: The Erratic Career of Birth Control in the United States," Carole Joffe, RH Reality Check.

~ "Rewriting Hobby Lobby: If Women Were People, Birth Control was Health Care, and Sex Discrimination was Discrimination," Hillary Schneller, National Women's Law Center's "Womenstake."

~ "New Fallout From Hobby Lobby," Lyle Denniston, SCOTUSblog.

~ "This is the Most Audacious Case Seeking To Expand Hobby Lobby," Ian Millhiser, Center for American Progress' "ThinkProgress."

~ "Finally, Science Explains Why Rush Limbaugh Gets So Mad About Women Having Sex," Amanda Marcotte, Slate's "XX Factor."

~ "Whiplash: Post-Hobby Lobby, What Did the Supreme Court Just Do in the Wheaton College Case?" Hillary Schneller, National Women's Law Center's "Womenstake."

~ "Reid: 'Hobby Lobby' Bill To Be Taken Up Next Week," Emily Crockett, RH Reality Check.

~ "The Medical Facts About Birth Control and Hobby Lobby -- From an OB/GYN," Jen Gunter, New Republic's "Q.E.D."

ABORTION RESTRICTIONS AND ACCESS: "The Dangerous Abortion Restriction That's Sweeping the Nation," Tara Culp-Ressler, Center for American Progress' "ThinkProgress": A new Guttmacher Institute report on state-level abortion restrictions shows that "the pace of anti-abortion laws is slowing," but "[m]ore than half the states in the country" now have laws "known as the Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers, or TRAP," measures, Culp-Ressler writes. TRAP laws are designed to restrict "women's abortion access by making it too difficult for clinics to stay open," she explains. She adds that the laws include requirements that are framed "in terms of making clinics safer," but "there isn't any medical evidence to support the logic behind TRAP. Multiple studies have shown that abortion clinics are already highly regulated and extremely safe. And the nation's largest organization of OB-GYNs is firmly opposed to TRAP laws" (Culp-Ressler, "ThinkProgress," Center for American Progress, 7/8).

What others are saying about abortion restrictions and access:

~ "Chart of the Day: Fewer State Abortion Restrictions Were Passed in the First Half of 2014," Maya Dusenbery, Feministing.

~ "An Open Letter to a Protester Outside the Boston Planned Parenthood This Saturday," Elizabeth Miller, Huffington Post blogs.

~ "Protester Admits That Harassing Women Outside of Abortion Clinics Doesn't Work," Culp-Ressler, Center for American Progress' "ThinkProgress."

SEXUAL AND GENDER-BASED VIOLENCE: "Survey Offers Insights Into How Colleges Handle Sexual Assaults: Not Well," Diana Reese, Washington Post's "She The People": The results of a survey released by Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) on how colleges handle sexual assault investigations "are depressing in all areas," writes Reese, whose daughter is college-aged. Reese recommends several changes to address campus sexual assaults, including allowing students to make confidential online reports; requiring a trained sexual assault nurse examiner; and instituting programs to educate students, faculty and staff about consent, bystander intervention and what to do after an assault. "An Act of Congress will help get change started. But so can parents and students," she argues, concluding, "If we ask the right questions, the colleges will need to find answers" (Reese, "She The People," Washington Post, 7/9).

What others are saying about sexual and gender-based violence:

~ "Want Colleges To Protect Students From Sexual Assault? Take Action To Give Title IX Teeth," Alexandra Brodsky et al., The Nation's "Take Action."

~ "'It was Degrading': Terry Richardson and the Nasty Sexual Harassment Loophole," Josh Eidelson, Salon.

~ "Men's Rights Conference Host Says Women Who Drink and Dance Are 'Begging' for Rape," Alex DiBranco, RH Reality Check.

~ "The Term 'Classic Rapist' Shows That People Still Don't Understand What Rape Is," Mychal Denzel Smith, Feministing.

~ "16-Year-Old's Rape Goes Viral on Social Media: 'No Human Being Deserved This,'" Culp-Ressler, Center for American Progress' "ThinkProgress."

~ "Todd Akin is not Sorry for His Insane Rape Comments," Erika Eichelberger, Mother Jones' "Political MoJo."

PREGNANT WOMEN'S RIGHTS: "Minnesota Law Protects Incarcerated Pregnant Women From Shackling, Provides Doulas," Nina Liss-Schultz, RH Reality Check: Liss-Schultz comments on a Minnesota law (SF 2423) that took effect last week and "will protect incarcerated pregnant women in the state" by "set[ting] new requirements for the state's prisons relating to the treatment of prisoners during pregnancy and childbirth." Among the law's provisions are the requirements "that inmates have access to mental health assessments and treatment during pregnancy and postpartum" and "that correctional facilities offer pregnancy and sexually transmitted disease tests to inmates, along with prenatal, childbirth, and parenting materials," she explains. Further, the law "bans the use of restraints and shackles on pregnant women in most circumstances, and allows women access to doulas as long as there is no extra cost to the state," she adds (Liss-Schultz, RH Reality Check, 7/8).

What others are saying about pregnant women's rights:

~ "Texas Jailers Deny Pregnant Navy Vet Medication Needed To Continue Her Pregnancy," Andrea Grimes, RH Reality Check.

~ "Texas Loves Babies, So Long as Their Mothers Aren't Former Drug Users," Robin Marty, Care2.

~ "First Woman Arrested Under Tennessee Pregnancy Criminalization Law, For a Drug not Covered Under the Law," Liss-Schultz, RH Reality Check.

BREASTFEEDING: "Mothers Can Now Breastfeed at Barnes & Noble (Even Though It was Already Legal)," Jenny Kutner, Salon: "Nursing mothers of New York may now peruse the stacks of their local Barnes & Noble while breastfeeding their children in peace, which is something they've been entitled to do since the state legalized public nursing 20 years ago," Kutner writes. Under a settlement with the state's attorney general, the retailer "agreed to better educate its employees about laws that protect women's right to nurse in public without interference," Kutner explains. In addition, the company "agreed to pay $10,000 to support a breastfeeding awareness and promotion program in Rockland County, where a March incident involving a nursing mother's dismissal from the bookstore prompted outrage across the state" (Kutner, Salon, 7/9).