October 28, 2014 — Read the week's best commentaries from bloggers at The Economist, the Huffington Post and more.
SUPPORTING PREGNANCY AND PARENTING: "A Costly Choice," E.B., The Economist's "Democracy in America": "[G]iven the opposition of conservative lawmakers to ending unwanted pregnancies, one might assume they would throw more support behind pregnant women who end up delivering their children," but "[t]his is where things get awkward," E.B. writes. "For a country where politicians are rather eager to promote family values, America has few policies that make it easy to have children," with "high health-care costs," "limited employer benefits" and "little in the way of affordable child-care," the blogger continues, adding, "It is unsurprising, then, that three-quarters of women who choose to have an abortion say it is because they cannot afford to have a child." E.B. concludes that "perhaps instead of closing down abortion clinics, lawmakers might consider more ways to give these women better choices" (E.B., "Democracy in America," The Economist, 10/27).
BREAST CANCER: "Why is no Other Disease so Literally Tied Up With Ribbons and Shopping?" Nancy Stordahl, Huffington Post blogs: "Somehow breast cancer" has "morphed into the shopping disease," with "breast cancer awareness ... now big business," writes Stordahl, a blogger and breast cancer survivor. She writes that "so many corporations and companies are profiting from a deadly disease," while consumers "who are buying all this pink stuff are often being misled as to how much (or if anything) is being spent on breast cancer research or for that matter, anything to do with breast cancer." Further, "[i]t feels wrong to see a deadly disease being all prettied up in pink and the complexities of it being over-simplified in the messaging," she writes. Stordahl urges people to shop critically, "deman[d] transparency from companies big and small" and consider donating directly "to causes we care about (like research)" (Stordahl, Huffington Post blogs, 10/27).
What others are saying about breast cancer:
~ "Faces of Breast Cancer: Find Your Story, Join the Conversation," Tara Parker-Pope, New York Times' "Well."
ABORTION RIGHTS: "California's Innovative Experiment To Tackle Abortion Stigma," Tara Culp-Ressler, Center for American Progress' "ThinkProgress": A 2013 California law (AB 154) that allows "nurse practitioners, midwives, and trained physician's assistants to perform [abortion] during the first trimester" has not only "made abortion easier to get" but is also "having an important effect on the culture of stigma that often pervades abortion services," Culp-Ressler writes. For example, the law allows patients who would otherwise be required to visit a Planned Parenthood clinic in Marin County only when physicians were available to receive one "any day of the week" from a nurse, which means that patients "don't have to feel singled out by being forced to come to the clinic on a day when the anti-abortion harassment likely intensifies," she writes. Culp-Ressler adds, "[I]n a society where abortion is continually separated out from the rest of women's reproductive needs ... California's new law is a radical way to communicate that it doesn't have to be that way" (Culp-Ressler, "ThinkProgress," Center for American Progress, 10/27).
What others are saying about abortion rights:
~ "We Know College Feminists Care About Sexual Assault. But What About Abortion?" Rachel Cohen, American Prospect.
SEXUAL AND GENDER-BASED VIOLENCE: "Where are MY Rape Threats?" David Trumble, Huffington Post blogs: Trumble, a cartoonist, illustrator and blogger, compares his online experiences with those of female feminist writers, writing that "simply because of [his] gender," he can "say EXACTLY the same thing a female feminist does, in exactly the same arena, without having to change [his] address, fear for [his] personal data, or carry a rape whistle." He calls that privilege "simple," adding that he is not perceived as a threat because a man supporting feminism does not intimidate aggressors in the same way as a woman expressing her opinion does. "NOTHING strikes more terror into the bitter hearts of the insecure, the hateful, and the emasculated than a strong woman speaking her mind and staking her claim," he explains, adding that aggressors attempt to "weaken [female feminists] because [female feminists] are tougher than they are" (Trumble, Huffington Post blogs, 10/28).