December 4, 2015 — Read the week's best commentary from bloggers at American Prospect, xoJane/Huffington Post blogs and more.
ANTIABORTION-RIGHTS MOVEMENT: "Campaign Against Planned Parenthood Decades in the Making," Adele Stan, American Prospect: "This election season, Planned Parenthood has come under unprecedented attack, fueled by" misleading videos targeting the organization, Stan writes. However, she notes that "the campaign against Planned Parenthood, a campaign created as an organizing tool by [conservative] leaders, has been decades in the making." Stan discusses how two antiabortion-rights activists -- Paul Weyrich and Richard Viguerie -- in the late 1990s "played the inside game in the [Republican] Party, working to elect right-wing delegates, and pushing right-wing figures ... into the party infrastructure." She writes, "Today, consequently, the outside game is the inside game. Today's [conservative] politicians, including presidential candidates, make claims that would have been deemed outrageous 20 years ago, for both their mendacity and their malice." Citing the recent "uptick in criminal or suspicious activity targeting reproductive health clinics" since the videos' release, Stan writes, "To [conservative lawmakers], it's all just politics, and they're playing to win" (Stan, American Prospect, 12/2).
CLINIC VIOLENCE: "I Worked at Planned Parenthood. This Is My Experience With Terrorism," Misha Coleman, xoJane/Huffington Post blogs: Coleman recounts her nearly five years working for Planned Parenthood, noting that only after ending her employment there did she realize she "had failed to notice the cumulative weight of all the moments of fear, big and small." Citing the murder of abortion provider George Tiller, which occurred just two months after she started working for Planned Parenthood, Coleman writes that while "[a]ssasinations were thankfully rare, ... the presence of protesters soon became normal to [her]," as did "wonder[ing] whether anyone ever tried to follow [her] home" and being grateful that she did not have a spouse or child who could be "stalked, harassed, even threatened" by abortion-rights opponents. Describing other incidents, Coleman concludes, "That, folks, is terrorism. It took me years to recognize it as such. I had internalized the way we all minimize and make excuses for domestic terrorism." She writes, "I want to change the way we think and talk about terrorism. Terrorism is already close to home" (Coleman, xoJane/Huffington Post blogs, 12/3).
What others are saying about clinic violence:
~ "Anti-Choice Violence: Why Colorado Springs Is Different," Carole Joffe, RH Reality Check.
~ "My Life as an Abortion Provider in an Age of Terror," Natalie Whaley, Vice's "Broadly."
~ "What It's Really Like To Be a Volunteer Escort at an Abortion Clinic," Lauren Rankin, Huffington Post blogs.
~ "The Right's Anti-Choice Death Count: They Can't Pretend To Think Abortion Is Murder Without Encouraging Terrorism," Amanda Marcotte, Salon.
~ "Romanticizing Robert Dear: Making Him 'a Recluse Who Longed for Women' Mythologizes His Brand of Violence," Mary Elizabeth Williams, Salon.
CONTRACEPTION: "Memo to Ted Cruz: Women Use Contraception Too!" Terry O'Neill, Huffington Post blogs: O'Neill, president of the National Organization of Women, writes that recent comments made by presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) about contraception are part of "a concerted, organized attack on women's access to reproductive health care -- an attack featuring abusive Congressional hearings against Planned Parenthood and over-the-top rhetoric that had deadly consequences last Friday." She explains that in his comments, Cruz "dismissed those who document the war on women" by suggesting that anyone can access condoms when needed. Placing his remarks in the broader context of antiabortion-rights rhetoric, O'Neill adds, "Just days before the shooting at the Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs, Ted Cruz proudly proclaimed his endorsement by Operation Rescue president Troy Newman." According to O'Neill, Newman -- who serves on the board of the Center for Medical Progress, which earlier this year released a series of misleading videos targeting Planned Parenthood -- "liken[ed] women who have abortions to 'contract killers'" in a book that he wrote. Further, O'Neill writes that conservative lawmakers, "instead of renouncing [CMP's videos], ... are promoting them ... to advance their political agenda of defunding Planned Parenthood." She notes that while the defunding effort will not succeed, "the relentless vitriol against women's reproductive health care does incite violence." She states, "Whether it's calling women who exercise their reproductive rights 'contract killers' or ignorantly proclaiming condoms as the only form of birth control worth worrying about, women continue to be disrespected, vilified and subject to horrific violence in the name of political debate." O'Neill continues, "We must reject the use of deception and hate to further a discriminatory and extremist ideological agenda" (O'Neill, Huffington Post blogs, 12/3).
What others are saying about contraception:
~ "How Does Emergency Contraception Work? 5 Things To Know," Elizabeth Enochs, Bustle.