September 23, 2014 — Read the week's best commentaries from bloggers at RH Reality Check, Care2 and more.
ABORTION RESTRICTIONS: "Colorado Anti-Choice Group Could Push Through 'Personhood' Amendment in November," Jason Salzman, RH Reality Check: "When voters are presented with the text of Colorado's latest 'personhood' amendment (Amendment 67), which would 'protect women and children' by adding 'unborn human beings' to the state's criminal code, they're mostly supportive of the measure, according to Vote No 67 campaign manager Fofi Mendez, citing internal focus groups and polling," Salzman writes. However, when voters are informed that the amendment would "have the 'same dangerous consequences as Colorado's two previous 'personhood' amendments,' which aimed to give legal rights to zygotes," they "turn against the proposal," Salzman writes, quoting Mendez. Mendez said that if the Vote No on 67 campaign can get this message across, the measure likely will be defeated again (Salzman, RH Reality Check, 9/19).
What others are saying about abortion restrictions:
~ "Repro Wrap: The Fall Out of Missouri's 72 Hour Abortion Waiting Period and Other News," Robin Marty, Care2.
~ "A Mother Landed in Jail for Trying to Help Her Daughter. And She Might Not Be the Last," Jennifer Dalven, American Civil Liberties Union's "Blog of Rights."
JUDICIARY: "Anti-Choice Judicial Nominee Michael Boggs 'Doesn't Have the Votes' (Updated)," Emily Crockett, RH Reality Check: "The controversial nomination of anti-choice candidate Michael Boggs to the federal bench in Georgia has likely met its end," after Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) indicated that Boggs does not have the votes needed for confirmation, Crockett writes. Various lawmakers and groups have opposed Boggs' nomination, citing his opposition to abortion and support for "a Confederate symbol on Georgia's state flag and a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage." However, the Obama administration has said it stands by its nomination of Boggs and does not plan to ask him to withdraw. According to Crockett, President Obama did not pick Boggs "for his ideology" but as a move to ensure the passage "of an all-or-nothing 'package' of judicial candidates, pre-approved by" Georgia's senators. Under the agreement, Republicans would end their filibuster of another judicial nominee "in exchange for the nominations of Boggs and ... other pre-approved candidates to the federal bench" (Crockett, RH Reality Check, 9/22).
SUPPORTING REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS: "Priest Speaks Up for Planned Parenthood: 'People of Faith Support Reproductive Rights,'" Tara Culp-Ressler, Center for American Progress' "ThinkProgress": An Episcopal priest's support for a new Planned Parenthood in New Orleans sends "a strong message to the religious community in his state," Culp-Ressler writes, noting that the new clinic will be the first Planned Parenthood clinic in Louisiana to offer abortion services. Culp-Ressler writes that a "bitter conflict has been raging over" the women's health clinic, but the Rev. Walter Baer -- the lead priest of the Episcopal Church of the Annunciation, which is "located across the street from the new Planned Parenthood" -- offers a "different perspective on the controversy." In a letter titled People of Faith Support Reproductive Rights, Baer "argues it's a good thing that his congregation is getting a new neighbor," Culp-Ressler writes. Baer writes that "'many other people of faith ... support the reproductive rights of women,'" concluding that the clinic will "'serve a very important role in education, health screenings, contraception and, when necessary, a safe place for the termination of pregnancy,'" she adds (Culp-Ressler, "ThinkProgress," Center for American Progress, 9/22).
PREGNANCY AND PARENTHOOD: "4 Cases Showing That Pregnancy Discrimination Still Runs Rampant," Marty, Care2: Marty details several examples that refute the notion "that there is no such thing as gender discrimination." Marty discusses Leigh Castergine, a New York Mets executive who was allegedly fired after returning from maternity leave for having a child while unmarried; two employees at Texas-based Pharmacy Solutions who "allege they were fired shortly after returning from maternity leave"; Peggy Young, a UPS worker who requested pregnancy-related accommodations and was told not to return to work until after she gave birth; and recent Housing and Urban Development investigations of lending discrimination during pregnancy and maternity leave. Marty argues, "If there was any doubt that discrimination is still rampant against women, especially when it comes to pregnant women, these four cases should lay that doubt to rest" (Marty, Care2, 9/19).
What others are saying about pregnancy and parenthood:
~ "6 Ways Infertility Prepared Me for Parenthood," Kirsten Brunner, Huffington Post blogs.
~ "An Obama Economist Explains How To Help Working Moms," Jonathan Cohn, New Republic.
SEXUAL AND GENDER-BASED VIOLENCE: "How Many of the Hundreds of Thousands of Untested Rape Kits in the US Are in Your City?" Soraya Chemaly, Huffington Post blogs: Chemaly writes that she "can't figure out why people aren't up in arms" over reports that police departments' undercounting and underreporting of sexual assault has resulted in an estimated "[o]ne million missing rapes and 400,000 unprocessed rape kits." She notes that only 17 states "have introduced measures addressing backlogs" and questions why the remaining states and cities have not moved on the issue, particularly areas such as Houston, which has "more than 16,000 unexamined kits." Further, Chemaly writes that while President Obama has requested $41 million in the 2015 budget for processing rape kits and related issues, "the Senate [recently] adjourned without providing the funds" (Chemaly, Huffington Post blogs, 9/22).
What others are saying about sexual and gender-based violence:
~ "President Obama: 'It's On Us' To Prevent Campus Rape," Anita Little, Ms. Magazine blog.
~ "The White House's New Rape Prevention Campaign Puts the Emphasis on Men," Culp-Ressler, Center for American Progress' "Think Progress."