August 12, 2014 — We've compiled some of the most thought-provoking commentaries from around the Web. Catch up on the conversation with bloggers from Slate, Feministe and more.
CONTRACEPTION: "The Fourth Feminist," Dahlia Lithwick, Slate's "Jurisprudence": While "the headlines across the boards this summer have trumpeted the notion that the women were applying a special kind of women's justice at the highest court in the land ... it's worth offering up a brief shout out to the unsung feminist at the court, Justice Stephen Breyer," Lithwick writes, adding that he "has been a staunch defender of women's rights and freedoms for a long time, often without getting too much credit, especially from the ladies." She continues, "The fact that Breyer ... can comprehend the interests of the women in both Hobby Lobby and Harris ... is proof that the system works in ways that are not confined to gender, and that we can all transcend personal experience to imagine someone else's life." Breyer proves "that you needn't be a wom[a]n to be a passionate advocate for gender fairness at the court. You only need to listen to one," Lithwick concludes (Lithwick, "Jurisprudence," Slate, 8/11).
What others are saying about contraception:
~ "After Hobby Lobby Decision, State Legislators Mobilize To Protect Employees' Access to Reproductive Healthcare Services," Sarah Brafman, National Women's Law Center's "Womenstake."
~ "No One Is Paying for my Birth Control but Me," Caperton, Feministe.
SUPPORTING WORKING FAMILIES: "Now That Male CEOs Are Trying To Balance Family and Work, Will Workplaces Change?" Robin Marty, Care2: Marty writes about technology company CEO Max Schireson's recent decision to move to a less demanding role "in order to try to 'balance' his professional and family life." She writes that the news was significant because while stories "about a woman who leaves a successful career to spend more time with her family are a dime a dozen," stories "about a man doing the same ... are few and far between." Marty adds, "That it takes a man finally weighing in on a need for work/family balance is sad, but if it opens up real conversation, it is welcome, no matter how we got here" (Marty, Care2, 8/10).
GLOBAL: "Iran Bans Some Forms of Birth Control To Encourage Women To Have More Babies," Tara Culp-Ressler, Center for American Progress' "ThinkProgress": "Iran's parliament has voted to ban some forms of birth control, as well as advertising promoting the use of birth control, in an effort to spur more women to have babies" amid concerns about the country's "declining fertility rate," Culp-Ressler writes, adding that the bill now heads to a panel of theologians that is "tasked with determining whether [the] proposed legislation complies with Islam." The measure would outlaw sterilization procedures "like vasectomies and tubal [ligation]," impose fines on doctors who perform them and make members of the media "subject to prosecution if they choose to publicize birth control or other family planning efforts," Culp-Ressler explains. She notes that the policy marks "a sharp departure" for reproductive health policy in Iran, which once had "one of the best family planning systems in the world" (Culp-Ressler, "ThinkProgress," Center for American Progress, 8/11).
What others are saying about global issues:
~ "Women Want the Global Gag Rule Gone for Good," Suzanne Petroni, Ms. Magazine blog.
~ "El Salvador's Right-Wing Media Begins Sustained Campaign Against Releasing 17 Women Imprisoned on Abortion-Related Charges," Kathy Bougher, RH Reality Check.
ABORTION RESTRICTIONS: "You're 40 Times More Likely To Die From a Colonoscopy Than From an Abortion," Culp-Ressler, Center for American Progress' "ThinkProgress": Although "[f]ear of medical risk is being used to enact harsh restrictions on abortion clinics throughout the nation," there are no "data proving that patients at abortion clinics are receiving substandard care," Culp-Ressler writes. The rate of complications that could result in hospitalization from a first-trimester abortion "is less than 0.05 percent," while "[t]he risk of dying from an abortion is considerably smaller, estimated as occurring in 0.0006 percent of all legal surgical abortions," she adds. The risk of death is higher for many other types of medical care, such as childbirth, which has a risk of death about 14 times higher than abortion, and knee replacement surgery. Further, other "non-surgical procedures sometimes performed outside of hospital settings," such as colonoscopies, "are more likely to kill people than abortion, but [they] don't face the same type of regulation that abortion does" (Culp-Ressler, "ThinkProgress," Center for American Progress, 8/8).
What others are saying about abortion restrictions:
~ "It's a TRAP: Targeting Mandatory Delays, Ultrasounds, and Other Clinic Abuse," Caperton, Feministe.
SEXUAL AND GENDER-BASED VIOLENCE: "A Brief History of Sexual Violence Activism in the U.S.," Caroline Heldman/Baillee Brown, Ms. Magazine blog: "In the past year, survivor-activists and allies have effectively put sexual violence on the national agenda, spurring White House, congressional, and state-level policy action," Heldman -- the lead complainant in a Title IX complaint against Occidental College -- and Brown -- an Occidental student -- write. However, "this is not the first time activists have organized around issues of sexual violence in the U.S.," they note. Heldman and Brown review past efforts to combat sexual violence in the country, touching on activism during the Civil War and the civil rights movement, as well as a "new coalitional movement" in the 1970s (Heldman/Brown, Ms. Magazine blog, 8/8).
What others are saying about sexual and gender-based violence:
~ "The Ray Rice Teachable Moment: Coaching Boys Into Men," M.L. Carr/Peter Harvey, Huffington Post blogs.
~ "Buzzfeed's Video About Street Harassment is a Must-See," Lauren McEwen, Washington Post's "She The People."
~ "Connecting Sexual Violence With the Need for Comprehensive Sex Education," Pamela Zimmerman/Katharine Bodde, Huffington Post blogs.
~ "These Often-Invisible Women Experience Sexual Assault at an Alarming Rate," Robbie Couch, Huffington Post blogs.