April 1, 2014 — We've compiled some of the most thought-provoking commentaries from around the Web. Catch up on the conversation with bloggers from the American Constitution Society, RH Reality Check and more.
CONTRACEPTION: "When You Marginalize Women's Health, You Sanction Inequality," Sarah Lipton-Lubet, American Constitution Society for Law and Policy's "ACSblog": "[T]here is no good reason that the [Supreme] Court should treat laws that protect contraception access differently from other civil rights laws and worker protections," writes Lipton-Lubet, director of reproductive health programs at the National Partnership for Women & Families. In two recently argued cases, "Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties are pursuing a radical proposition: that corporations have a right to impose religious beliefs on their employees by withholding benefits otherwise legally guaranteed to the women who work there," she explains. She notes that although "in the past, courts have rejected claims that religion-based arguments could allow restaurants to discriminate on the basis of race, or businesses to ignore wage-and-hour laws," the current cases are wrongly being viewed differently "because these jurisprudence-shifting questions are being re-litigated in the context of women's reproductive health care." She argues, "[A]s we characterize what's at risk in the Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood cases, let's stop allowing those who would deny basic rights and fairness to get a foot in the door by making reproductive rights the target of their attacks" (Lipton-Lubet, "ACSblog," American Constitution Society for Law and Policy, 3/28).
What others are saying about contraception:
~ "2014: The Year of the IUD?" Elizabeth Dawes Gay, RH Reality Check.
~ "Why Contraception is a Health Issue for Everyone," Rachel Walden, Our Bodies Ourselves' "Our Bodies, Our Blog."
~ "Doctors at an Oklahoma Hospital Were Just Told They Can't Prescribe Birth Control Anymore," Steven Hsieh, The Nation.
VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN: "When Cops Rape Crime Victims," Stephanie Hallett, Ms. Magazine blog: "Just this month, three police officers in different cities have been charged with raping women who called the police for help," Hallett writes. After detailing the three incidents, Hallett notes that other "ongoing rape investigations involving police officers" are taking place "all over the country." Hallett questions how women can "feel safe calling the police knowing they may find themselves victimized by those charged with protecting them," adding that an "[i]ntervention by the federal government into local police departments may be one way" (Hallett, Ms. Magazine blog, 3/28).
What others are saying about violence against women:
~ "What the Dartmouth Rape Acquittal Really Teaches Us," Lulu Chang, Huffington Post blogs.
~ "'Law And Order's Mariska Hargitay Teams Up With Amy Poehler And Other Celebrities To Fight Rape Culture," Tara Culp-Ressler, Center for American Progress' "ThinkProgress."
~ "Harvard Student: School Made Me Live With Attacker After Sex Assault," Charlotte Alter, Time.
~ "Wealthy Child Rapist Given Probation as Judge Felt He Would 'Not Do Well' in Jail," Alter, Time.
GLOBAL ISSUES: "Poverty Need Not Bar Women From Healthcare in Latin America," Rosario Perez, Huffington Post blogs: Perez, president and CEO of Pro Mujer, notes that 37% more Latin American women than men live in poverty and that nearly 50% of women older than age 15 in the region "have no income of their own." However, Pro Mujer, a women's development organization, has found "that when women have access to independent sources of income, they improve economic conditions for their children" and "[f]emale micro-entrepreneurs are successful engines for economic improvement both in their communities and their countries," Perez writes. Noting that "this demographic does not generally have access to healthcare," Perez explains Pro Mujer's model of increasing health care access by using "four pillars: convenience, affordability, preventive care and financial sustainability." The model has proved successful and should be adopted by the "more than 3,500 microfinance institutions working with more than 190 million households worldwide" to help "transform the delivery of healthcare to people at the bottom of the economic pyramid," she says (Perez, Huffington Post blogs, 3/31).
What others are saying about global issues:
~ "Why My Fight for Latina Health Took Me All the Way to the UN," Lucy Felix, RH Reality Check.
~ "Sexual Health and Rights Conference Tackles Harmful Traditional Practices in Africa," Jennifer Dreher, International Women's Health Coalition's "Akimbo."
ADOLESCENT HEALTH: "5 Simple Strategies To Reduce Teen Pregnancies That Worked in This Rural South Carolina Town," Culp-Ressler, Center for American Progress' "ThinkProgress": Culp-Ressler highlights a small South Carolina town's success in lowering its teen pregnancy rate, which was "one of the highest" in the U.S., "by more than two thirds" over the past 30 years. She explains, "The town is employing a few common sense strategies to make sure teens have the tools they need to have healthy sexual relationships," including teaching "comprehensive sex ed"; focusing "messages at teen boys, not just at the girls"; involving the entire community in the efforts; making "condoms widely available"; and "[e]ncourag[ing] mentoring" between older teens and "their younger peers" (Culp-Ressler, "ThinkProgress," Center for American Progress, 3/31).
What others are saying about adolescent health:
~ "How One Small Town Lowered Their Teen Birth Rate," Alter, Time.
ABORTION RESTRICTIONS: "Repro Wrap: Abortion is Safer Than Birth, Except When It's in the Hands of Anti-Choice Judges and Other News," Robin Marty, Care2: The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals' decision to allow Texas' "HB 2 to remain in effect," meaning that clinics "will continue to shut down as the bill goes fully into effect," could foretell its reasoning in a challenge to an admitting-privileges requirement (HB 1390) in Mississippi, according to Marty. However, given that the "cases are somewhat different," it is possible the judges will find the latter law to be an "undue burden" for women in Mississippi because it would close the state's sole abortion clinic. "On the other hand, for many people who would be seeking care, the distance from where they reside to a clinic outside the state could actually be closer than it was for pregnant people in Texas to now get to one of the remaining clinics that will be open six months from now, so the question may be do state borders even matter," Marty writes (Marty, Care2, 3/28).
What others are saying about abortion restrictions:
~ "A Devastating Loss for Texas Women," Brigitte Amiri, American Civil Liberties Union's "Blog of Rights."
~ "Appeals Court on Texas Abortion Law: So What if Women Have Long Drive?" Carla Hall, Los Angeles Times' "Opinion L.A."
~ "This State is Quietly Becoming One of the Worst for Women's Health (And No, It's Not Texas)," Culp-Ressler, Center for American Progress' "ThinkProgress."
~ "West Virginia Governor Vetoes 20-Week Abortion Ban," Sharona Coutts, RH Reality Check.