March 4, 2014 — We've compiled some of the most thought-provoking commentaries from around the Web. Catch up on the conversation with bloggers from Feministing, Slate and more.
CONTRACEPTION: "FDA Makes Generic Versions of Emergency Contraception Available Over the Counter," Maya Dusenbery, Feministing: "Good news: The slow -- and often infuriating -- expansion of access to emergency contraception took another step forward last week when the FDA announced that generic versions of EC can now be sold over the counter to folks of all ages," writes Dusenbery. She writes that the announcement ends the "sweetheart deal" in which FDA gave "the pharmaceutical company that makes the brand name version, Plan B, exclusive rights to sell their product without age restrictions, while generic versions were available only to those over 17 and remained behind the pharmacy counter." Dusenbery writes that the decision should "hopefully drive down the price of [EC] overall" because generic versions "typically cost less," but she warns that a labeling requirement that generic versions state that they are "intended for 'women 17 years of age or older'" could confuse consumers (Dusenbery, Feministing, 3/3).
What others are saying about contraception:
~ "Yes, the Birth Control Pill Has Side Effects. For Instance, Better Sex," Amanda Marcotte, Slate's "XX Factor."
~ "Condom Company Markets Condoms to Women by Playing Down the Whole Sex Thing," Amanda Hess, Slate's "XX Factor."
SEX EDUCATION: "Getting Serious About Sex Education," Imelda Reyes, Washington Post's "The Answer Sheet": "Moving away from abstinence-only curricula in schools and strengthening the public image is the only way to start to solve" the problem of "how and where teens are accessing information about sex and sexually transmitted infections and pregnancy," writes Reyes, a clinical assistant professor of nursing. Reyes writes that according to a recent survey, about 47% of high school students have sex before graduation, and almost 40% of those failed to use a condom, while 77% did not use birth control. In many states, U.S. teens do not receive comprehensive and accurate sex education in their schools, with 34 states in 2011 applying for "abstinence-until-marriage funding" and just 19 states requiring that sex education in high schools be "medically, factually or technically accurate," Reyes adds. She urges adults and health practitioners "to make it a priority to provide the younger generation with information and access to health care," particularly "within our schools" (Reyes, "The Answer Sheet," Washington Post, 3/2).
What others are saying about sex education:
~ "'Don't Fear the Patriarchy, Girls -- Just Keep Your Panties On!' Rob Brooks, Huffington Post blogs.
MATERNAL AND CHILDREN'S HEALTH: "Federal Government Expands Access to Healthy Food for Low-Income Moms And Babies," Tara Culp-Ressler, Center for American Progress' "ThinkProgress": For the first time in more than 30 years, the federal government is updating the "fairly limited list of foods" that can be purchased under the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC), Culp-Ressler writes. She notes that the program -- which helps low-income women afford food for themselves and their families -- is "specifically targeted at improving healthy pregnancies and birth outcomes." The updates will allow women to buy a "range of whole grain options; yogurt products; and fresh, frozen, or canned fruits and vegetables," and will also give them "more leeway to purchase foods that meet their cultural needs," Culp-Ressler writes, but she cautions that funding for WIC is "often on precarious footing" (Culp-Ressler, "ThinkProgress," Center for American Progress, 2/28).
What others are saying about maternal and children's health:
~ "This Week in Sex: New Research on Maternal and Child Health," Martha Kempner, RH Reality Check.
~ "Birth by C-Section May Raise Obesity Risk," Nicholas Bakalar, New York Times' "Well."
SEXUAL VIOLENCE: "After Darren Sharper, the NFL Must Address Violence Against Women," Dave Zirin, The Nation: Zirin asks, "At what point do the NFL and Commissioner Roger Goodell confront the constant, haunting league-wide presence of violence against women?" Nonchalant responses from the media and NFL officials to accusations against the league's players are "all too typical," he writes, noting that former New Orleans Saints player and current NFL Network employee Darren Sharper was "formally charged with multiple sexual assaults and is suspected to have raped at least nine women across five states," and that the Baltimore Ravens' Ray Rice was videotaped "dragging his unconscious fiancée ... out of a casino elevator." Zirin argues that "even one instance of violence against women should be compelling the NFL to act. But instead, we get silence" (Zirin, The Nation, 2/28).
What others are saying about sexual violence:
~ "Third Pennsylvania Judge Rules Juvenile Sex Offender Registration Unconstitutional," Tara Murtha, RH Reality Check.
~ "If He's Sexually Aggressive in Bars, It's Not Because He's Drunk," Maanvi Singh, NPR's "Shots."
~ "Of Frats, Rape Culture and #TFM," Lindsey O'Brien, Ms. Magazine blog.
ABORTION RESTRICTIONS: "Who's to Blame When a Woman Experiences Abortion Regret?" Amanda Marcotte, RH Reality Check: While "[a]nti-choicers would like you to believe they are very concerned about abortion regret," they ignore other decisions people more frequently regret, such as marriage, Marcotte writes, adding that an Iowa bill that "would allow abortion patients to sue a doctor for abortion regret, even if they received counseling and signed informed consent forms prior to the abortion ... shows how cynical and insincere anti-choicers are when they pretend to care about women experiencing abortion regret." She argues that if antiabortion-rights lawmakers "actually cared about women who are suffering from abortion regret, they wouldn't blame the doctor." Instead, "[t]hey would blame the people who actually caused the regret," like "a partner or parent who shamed you, or your church for telling you that your past behavior was sinful, or your local anti-choice organization for provoking these feelings of shame and regret" (Marcotte, RH Reality Check, 3/3).
What others are saying about abortion restrictions:
~ "After Failing To Pass Anti-Gay Bill, Arizona Turns Its Attention To Attacking Abortion Rights," Culp-Ressler, Center for American Progress' "ThinkProgress."
~ "West Virginia Voters Don't Want Their Lawmakers To Focus on Passing a 20-Week Abortion Ban," Culp-Ressler, Center for American Progress' "ThinkProgress."