March 11, 2014 — We've compiled some of the most thought-provoking commentaries from around the Web. Catch up on the conversation with bloggers from Care2, ACLU and more.
INTERNATIONAL WOMEN'S DAY: "7 Women Who Have Inspired Us in Honor of International Women's Day," Judy Molland, Care2: In celebration of the 106th annual International Women's Day, Molland lists and praises Malala Yousafzai, Janet Yellen, Angela Merkel and four other women "who have made major strides over the past year and who can inspire all of us." She continues, "One of my favorite embodiments of female heroism can be seen through the actions of education activist" Yousafzai. Yellen is "the first woman to hold [the Federal Reserve Chairman position] in the 100-year history of the U.S. central bank," Molland notes. She adds that Merkel is "Germany's first female chancellor and one of the leading figures of the European Union" and commends her for her strong political prowess (Molland, Care2, 3/8).
What others are saying about International Women's Day:
~ "For International Women's Day, Let's Make Childbirth Safe Everywhere," Vanessa Kerry, Huffington Post blogs.
~ "Creating Safe Spaces in Cities for Women: A Resolution for International Women's Day 2014," Susan Blumenthal, Huffington Post blogs.
~ "We Heart: Fake Magazine Covers That Expose Real Inequality," Anita Little, Ms. Magazine blog.
CONTRACEPTION: "I Can't Afford to Let My Boss Interfere With My Health Care Decisions," Alice S., American Civil Liberties Union's "Blog of Rights": Alice S. writes that she was "relieved to learn that the contraception rule [under the Affordable Care Act] will require employers to cover birth control without any co-pay," but as a teacher at a Catholic primary school, she receives "[her] insurance through the regional Archdiocese, which has refused to allow insurance coverage for birth control or sterilization." Alice S. notes that she and her husband did not feel they were ready for a second child after the birth of their daughter, but she was unable to obtain the particular birth control pill her doctor recommended while she was still breastfeeding and subsequently became pregnant seven months after the birth of her first child. She adds, "Now that we have two children, I absolutely cannot get pregnant again. We just can't afford to care for a third child" and notes that she has been prescribed the "cheapest birth control pills that work for [her] body," though she ideally would like to have an intrauterine device or undergo sterilization. She writes that she is "trying to get to the bottom of whether [her] employer is following the new law, but it has been hard to get answers." She concludes, "Until I do, my family and I are back to square one," adding, "We hope that the Supreme Court does not give employers a green-light to violate the law and put other people in the same difficult position that we're in" (Alice S., "Blog of Rights," ACLU, 3/7).
What others are saying about contraception:
~ "'No Duh' Study: Free Birth Control Doesn't Lead To 'Promiscuity,'" Maya Dusenbery, Feministing.
ABORTION PROVIDERS: "Meet America's Most Hated Doctors," Tara Culp-Ressler, Center for American Progress' "ThinkProgress": "The politicized debate over reproductive rights is typically framed as a tug of war between life and choice, women and babies, pregnancy and abortion," Culp-Ressler writes. "Although it's no question that women's bodies have become a battleground, there are other foot soldiers in this fight who don't always enter the national conversation," she argues, adding, "The medical professionals who risk their jobs and their lives to perform legal abortions are under siege." Culp-Ressler interviewed eight abortion providers for this piece, and she discusses new kinds of harassment and other struggles such individuals face. The "biggest takeaway that the abortion providers who agreed to be interviewed for this story wanted to communicate," is that "abortion is not a terrible social ill, it's just a part of women's health," Culp-Ressler writes. "In fact, since most of them are OB-GYNs who provide the full spectrum of women's health care, they emphasized that caring for pregnant women and delivering babies is one of the greatest joys of their work," she adds (Culp-Ressler, "ThinkProgress," Center for American Progress, 3/10).
What others are saying about abortion providers:
~ "Does a Montana Abortion Clinic Break-in Signal a New Cycle of Clinic Violence?" Robin Marty, Care2.
~ "Celebrating Abortion Providers," Fran Moreland Johns, Huffington Post blogs.
~ "Honoring America's Dedicated Abortion Providers," Ali Tweedt, NARAL Pro-Choice America's "Blog for Choice."
REPRODUCTIVE JUSTICE MOVEMENT: "Are We Inadvertently Conceding Moral Ground? The Importance of Language Choices in the Reproductive Justice Movement, Marcella Kocolatos, Feministe: Kocolatos, a second-year student at the New York University School of Law, analyzes the troubling implications of the phrase, "'No one is pro-abortion,'" a "common refrain in the reproductive justice movement." She writes, "It should be of concern to those of us working in the area of reproductive justice that the declaration 'no one is pro-abortion' might easily be misinterpreted by our opponents -- willfully or not -- as a concession of moral high ground, as an admission that abortion is in fact a 'bad' thing and that all women who choose it must necessarily view it as such, rather than as a morally neutral medical procedure," adding that such a phrase might also confer stigma on women who obtain abortions. Kocolatos writes that while there "inevitably [will] be certain trade-offs involved in the language choices we make as activists," proponents of abortion rights who believe "that complete reproductive freedom is necessary to a moral and just society" must "be wary of using language that might inadvertently convey to our adversaries, as well as the women and men we advocate for, that we believe otherwise" (Kocolatos, Feministe, 3/10).
WORKPLACE POLICIES: "Businesses Must Improve Their Family Policies -- for 'Distressed Babies' and All Workers," Sheila Bapat, RH Reality Check: "Policymakers across the country are starting to strengthen their support for a range of pro-family policies, including flexible schedules, paid sick days, and paid family leave," but a similar trend is not occurring in the private sector, Bapat writes. Bapat says that the "past several decades have shown an overall decline in paid leave and similar pro-family policies, and today a mere 11 percent of private sector workers have access to policies like paid leave." Bapat cites a recent controversy in which AOL CEO and Chair Tim Armstrong announced changes to the employee 401(k) plan by criticizing the cost of care for two employees' medically "'distressed'" infants, noting that his sentiment "reflects the tension between the pursuit of profit and employer-supported family policies in general." Bapat writes that continued private sector opposition to family friendly policies is bad for both the growth of such policies and for businesses themselves, as research has shown that paid family and sick leave help companies reduce the costs associated with employee turnover (Bapat, RH Reality Check, 3/7).
What others are saying about workplace policies:
~ "Legal Wrap: Protections for Pregnant Workers Advance in States, But Where's Congress?" Jessica Mason Pieklo, RH Reality Check.
HIV/AIDS: "3 Facts Illustrating the Toll that HIV Takes on Women and Girls," Heidi Williamson, Center for American Progress' "ThinkProgress": March 10 "marks National Women and Girl's HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, a day focused on educating, advocating and supporting women and girls in the U.S. who are living with this disease," writes Williamson, a senior policy analyst for the Center for American Progress' Women's Health and Rights program. According to CDC, about "1.1 million people in the U.S. have HIV, 25 percent of whom are women 13 years or older," Williamson writes. Williamson outlines three key facts about HIV/AIDS and women and girls in the U.S., including that almost "all of the 250,000 women living with HIV are of childbearing age;" that "women of color are at a higher risk for HIV/AIDS," primarily because of socioeconomic factors; and that teenagers "are especially vulnerable to HIV/AIDS," mainly because many schools do not offer comprehensive sex education. "This year, Americans can mark National Women and Girl's HIV/AIDS Awareness Day by encouraging the women and girls in their lives to get tested, go to regular well woman visits, and practice safe sex," Williamson writes (Williamson, "ThinkProgress," Center for American Progress, 3/10).
What others are saying about HIV/AIDS:
~ "America Without HIV/AIDS in Women: A Wish for This National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day," Susan Blumenthal, Huffington Post blogs.
~ "Another Case Raises Hopes About Early Treatment for HIV-Positive Babies," Martha Kempner, RH Reality Check.
~ "This Week in Sex: An HIV Shot, Cuts to Abstinence-Only Funding, and the STD Alphabet Game," Kempner, RH Reality Check.