February 21, 2014 — We've compiled some of the most thought-provoking commentaries from around the Web. Catch up on the conversation with bloggers from "ThinkProgress," Care2 and more.
ABORTION RESTRICTIONS: "10 Dangerous Anti-Abortion Bills That Are Already Gaining Traction This Year," Tara Culp-Ressler, Center for American Progress' "ThinkProgress": "Less than two months into 2014, state legislatures are already busy crafting new attacks on reproductive health," including some that are "using new language to ban the procedure and coming up with new ways to punish doctors," Culp-Ressler writes. She highlights 10 of "the most problematic bills currently up for consideration," such as a South Dakota bill (HB 1241) that "may ban most abortions and threaten doctors with life in prison," an Iowa proposal that would "allow women to sue doctors for 'abortion distress,'" and Missouri bills (HB 1307, HB 1313, SB 519) that "may force women to wait three days before having an abortion" (Culp-Ressler, "ThinkProgress," Center for American Progress, 2/18).
What others are saying about abortion restrictions:
~ "Virginia House Committee Quietly Kills Bill That Would Have Repealed Mandatory Ultrasound Law," Emily Crockett, RH Reality Check.
~ "Grieving Mothers are the Latest Prop in the Radical 'Personhood' Movement," Culp-Ressler, Center for American Progress' "ThinkProgress."
~ "First Texas Abortion Provider Suspended Over Omnibus Anti-Abortion Law," Andrea Grimes, RH Reality Check.
~ "Louisiana Abortion Providers Allege 'Harassment and Intimidation' From Health Officials," Grimes, RH Reality Check.
CONTRACEPTION: "The Escalating War on Hormonal Contraception," Robin Marty, Care2: Because the emergency contraceptive Plan B is now "specifically allowed to be sold over the counter, the issue of 'conscience objection,'" in which pharmacists claim "to have a moral objection to the drug," should have less of an impact, Marty writes. However, she notes that as EC "and even basic hormonal birth control becomes allegedly more easy to access, anti-choice activists are escalating in their strategies to block it." Marty highlights a case in Tennessee, where a "pharmacist is suing his former employer for religious discrimination, after the Walgreens that he worked for fired him for refusing to sell" EC (Marty, Care2, 2/19).
What others are saying about contraception:
~ "Times Public Editor Slaps Down Unscientific Claims About Emergency Contraception," Sarah Posner, Religion Dispatches.
~ "Would I Trust My Partner With Birth Control?" Melissa Torres-Montoya, Law Students for Reproductive Justice's "Repo Repro."
REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS IN THE MEDIA: "Infographic: Fictional Characters Way More Likely To Die After Abortion Than Real People," Maya Dusenbery, Feministing: Dusenbery highlights charts based on Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health's recent census "of all abortion-related storylines in American television shows and films," which found there have "been 385 abortion storylines in pop culture" throughout the last century. The researchers noted that "these stories are often inaccurate and not necessarily true to most people's experiences with abortion." Dusenbery elaborates that "fictional pregnant people are much more likely to choose adoption than they are in real life" and that "abortion is portrayed as much more risky than it actually is." Although the real risk of major complications from abortion is less than 1%, nearly 10% of the characters died from their abortions, which reinforces "negative myths around the procedure," she writes (Dusenbery, Feministing, 2/20).
What others are saying about reproductive rights in the media:
~ "Why the Anti-Choice Movement is Attacking My Play, 'MOM BABY GOD,'" Madeline Burrows, RH Reality Check.
SEX EDUCATION: "The Failures of Abstinence-Only Education Illustrated in 2 Charts," Culp-Ressler, Center for American Progress' "ThinkProgress": A new report from the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States shows "how disastrous" Mississippi's sex education program has been, with high rates of teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections, Culp-Ressler writes. The report found that Mississippi teens also have "sex earlier and more frequently than the national average," and they are "also much less likely to know how to avoid unintended pregnancies," she notes. However, "there's progress on the horizon" for Mississippi, as a recently enacted state law requires schools to offer sex education and permits them to offer "abstinence plus" classes, "which still emphasize waiting for marriage as the best approach to teen sexuality, but also include some more information about contraceptive methods," Culp-Ressler writes, noting that "71 of Mississippi's 151 school districts implemented 'abstinence plus' curricula last school year" (Culp-Ressler, "ThinkProgress," Center for American Progress, 2/20).
What others are saying about sex education:
~ "How One Outraged Parent Could End Up Undermining Kansas' Sex Ed Policy," Culp-Ressler, Center for American Progress' "ThinkProgress."
~ "Why Buy the (Sexist) Pig When You Can Get the Oink for Free?" Megan Tackney, National Women's Law Center's "Womenstake."
SEXUAL AND DOMESTIC VIOLENCE: "Update: Pregnant, Raped and Facing the Death Penalty," Lizabeth Paulat, Care2: "Last August, near Sudan's capital, a pregnant Ethiopian woman was raped by seven men while they filmed the assault," writes Paulet, adding that the video went viral in January and led to charges of "creating pornography and indecency" for both the woman and the men involved in the rape. Paulet notes that the timing of the case against the men is crucial because "in Sudanese law it is illegal for persons to be tried with facts or evidence used against them in a previously concluded case." Meanwhile, the woman has been charged with additional crimes of prostitution and adultery, the latter of which "still carries with it the penalty of death by stoning." Paulet writes that "it seems clear from their behavior that the men in this case don't expect any punishment in regards to the rape trial," while the woman's case is likely to be pushed "through as fast as possible to ensure her silence" (Paulet, Care2, 2/18).
What others are saying about sexual and domestic violence:
~ "Rape Culture and Evangelical Culture Collide at 'God's Harvard,'" Katie McDonough, Salon.
~ "Can Affirmative Consent Standards Fix the Problem of Alcohol and Rape?" Amanda Marcotte, Slate's "XX Factor."
~ "Montana County Attorney Quoted Religious Passages To Sexual Assault Victim, DOJ Investigation Finds," Alex Leichenger, Center for American Progress' "ThinkProgress."
~ "No, Texas, Spouse Abuse Isn't Foreplay," Emily Shire, Daily Beast.
WOMEN'S HEALTH: "9 Reasons Why 2014 Will Be a Breakout Year for Women's Health," Napala Pratini, Huffington Post blogs: "With the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) [PL 111-148] well under way, 2014 looks to be a breakout year for women's health," writes Pratini, a health analyst at NerdWallet. Pratini outlines several benefits to women's health included in the ACA, such as insurance coverage for pregnancy, breastfeeding services, pre-existing conditions and well woman visits. In addition, the ACA will extend health coverage to low-income women through the Medicaid expansion in some states, cover birth control without copayments for many and prevent women from being charged more than men for the same coverage (Pratini, Huffington Post blogs, 2/19).
What others are saying about women's health:
~ "Why Don't We Have Viagra for Women Yet?" Amelia Thomson-Deveaux, American Prospect's "Vox Pop."
~ "Behind the Numbers: Women's Enrollment in Health Insurance," Stephanie Glover, NWLC's "Womenstake."
~ "Texas Lawmakers Celebrate 'Achievements' in Women's Health as Thousands Go Without Care," McDonough, Salon.