February 14, 2014 — We've compiled some of the most thought-provoking commentaries from around the Web. Catch up on the conversation with bloggers from Time, RH Reality Check and more.
CONTRACEPTION: "Women Who Stand by Their NuvaRing," Alexandra Sifferlin, Time's "Healthland": Although stories "of women experiencing the negative side effects of the NuvaRing contraceptive ... are part of the evidence that led to" a recent $100 million settlement with its manufacturer, there are "some women [who] are finding it difficult to ditch [the] contraceptive that has provided them with consistency and convenience," Sifferlin writes. She explains that "finding the right birth control" can often take women "years of trial and error, and side effects range from weight gain to decreased libido." She concludes, "For this reason, when women find the right contraceptive, they tend to develop a certain loyalty to it" (Sifferlin, "Healthland," Time, 2/12).
SEXUAL VIOLENCE: "Gillibrand Demands Scores of Sexual Assault Case Records From Pentagon," Adele Stan, RH Reality Check: Following an Associated Press investigation "that revealed a 'chaotic' and erratic application of punishment for sexual assault within the armed forces on U.S. military bases in Japan, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand [D-N.Y.] on Monday demanded that the Pentagon turn over the records of sexual assault cases from a number of major U.S. military bases," Stan writes. She notes that Gillibrand has been leading efforts in the Senate to reform military sexual assault policies. She adds, "If Gillibrand succeeds in obtaining the records she seeks, the results could be explosive," citing one report that a Fort Hood "sergeant tasked with conducting the base's sexual harassment prevention program is alleged to have run a prostitution ring under the nose of commanders" (Stan, RH Reality Check, 2/11).
What others are saying about sexual violence:
~ "WSJ Writer James Taranto Blames Intoxicated Rape Victims for Their Own Assaults," Syreeta McFadden, Feministing.
~ "Anti-Rape Campaign Explains Why Consent Involves 'More Than Yes,'" Ron Dicker, Huffington Post blogs.
~ "California Lawmakers Want To Update Their State's Definition of 'Consent,'" Tara Culp-Ressler, Center for American Progress' "ThinkProgress."
~ "The Word You Are Searching for is Rape," Emily Bazelon, Slate's "Double X."
WORKPLACE POLICIES: "'Mad Men' Era of U.S. Family Policy Coming to an End?" Brigid Schulte, Washington Post's "She The People": Schulte writes that a new poll from American Women, the National Partnership for Women & Families and the Rockefeller Family Fund found "that a majority of American voters support 'family friendly' polices like an increased minimum wage, fair pay for men and women, affordable child care, paid sick days, and paid family and medical leave." Schulte notes that a Department of Labor survey last year found that the Family and Medical Leave Act (PL 103-3), which guarantees unpaid leave for certain workers, "does not cover 40 percent of the U.S. workforce." Advocates believe the new poll "is an indication that the work and family movement, long-moribund at the national level, is beginning to pick up steam at the state level," writes Schulte, who notes that several cities and states have advanced paid sick day laws in recent years (Schulte, "She The People," Washington Post, 2/12).
What others are saying about workplace policies:
~ "AOL Chief has a History of Blaming Pregnant Women for Cutting Into Profits," Robin Marty, Care2.
~ "New Report: More Working Mothers are Low-Income; State Actions Needed," Brandon Roberts, Huffington Post blogs.
SEXUAL HEALTH: "At Long Last, D.C. Legalizes Care for Partners of Patients With Some STIs," Jonathan Neely, RH Reality Check: A bill (20-343) that is expected to become law in Washington, D.C., would make the district the latest area to allow "expedited partner therapy," which is when a health care provider gives patients diagnosed with chlamydia or gonorrhea an extra prescription for their partners, Neely writes. He notes that the D.C. Committee on Health described the need as "dire" because diagnoses of chlamydia and gonorrhea rose by 18% and 22%, respectively, between 2010 and 2011. He writes, "D.C.'s legalization of EPT is a progressive step for a medical practice whose day is long overdue," adding, "With wheels turning in West Virginia, and EPT being potentially allowable in Maryland and Virginia, D.C.'s new law could be a step in the right direction for not only the District but also the region" (Neely, RH Reality Check, 2/12).
What others are saying about sexual health:
~ "Female Libido Drug Gets Another Chance From the FDA," Martha Kempner, RH Reality Check.
GLOBAL ISSUES: "Pregnancy and Childbirth are Still the Leading Causes of Death for Young Women in Poor Countries," Tara Culp-Ressler, Center for American Progress' "ThinkProgress": "[G]ains in women's progress have been extremely unequal across the globe, and economically disadvantaged women still face huge barriers to their health and wellbeing," Culp-Ressler writes, citing a recent report from the United Nation's Population Fund (UNFPA). She writes, "The UNFPA report -- a sweeping review of data from 176 countries -- finds that many indicators of sexual health have improved over the past 20 years," but in the world's "poorest countries, pregnancy and childbirth are still the leading cause of death among women between the ages of 15 and 19" and [t]here are still 222 million women without access to contraception and family planning, and 800 women die in childbirth every single day." Even in the U.S., "the number of American women dying in childbirth has doubled over the past 25 years," Culp-Ressler notes (Culp-Ressler, "ThinkProgress," Center for American Progress, 2/13).
What others are saying about global issues:
~ "Did Gender Segregation Lead to the Death of a Saudi Woman Needing Medical Attention?" Robin Marty, Care2.
ABORTION DOULAS: "Reproductive Justice Through the Eyes of an Abortion Doula," Jamie Hagen, RH Reality Check: "An abortion doula provides non-medical support to an individual choosing to terminate a pregnancy, having a miscarriage, or experiencing fetal loss of some other kind," writes Hagen, who recently completed an abortion doula class offered by the Boston Doula Project. She notes, "At the heart of any doula work is bearing witness to the client's experience while also serving as a personal advocate for the client." She continues, "During my abortion doula training, it became clear to me that as doulas we're part of a much larger network of people working to provide the many different types of care and support necessary during any individual's pregnancy experience. And perhaps the most important work of a doula is simply being there" (Hagen, RH Reality Check, 2/12).
JUDICIAL NOMINATIONS: "Why the Campaign Against Conservative Judicial Nominees Like Michael Boggs Matters," Jessica Mason Pieklo, RH Reality Check: "While the Obama administration deserves praise for diversifying the federal bench, going along with conservatives on nominees who embrace anti-equality positions in jurisdictions where these issues may matter most is both bad politics and bad policy," Mason Pieklo writes about the recent nomination of Michael Boggs, "currently a judge on the Georgia Court of Appeals, who has a long history of opposition to civil rights." She notes that the Obama administration brokered a deal with Republican senators allowing them to appoint three nominees to the federal district court of Georgia. She writes of Boggs' antiabortion-rights history, such as supporting parental involvement laws and "Choose Life" license plates to provide state funding to crisis pregnancy centers. She writes, "Boggs' nomination, and the deal that got him there, represents a step backwards for the administration's goal of opening up the federal courts, and threatens to slide an already conservative federal bench further to the right" (Mason Pieklo, RH Reality Check, 2/13).