April 29, 2014 — We've compiled some of the most thought-provoking commentaries from around the Web. Catch up on the conversation with bloggers from the RH Reality Check, the Daily Beast and more.
ABORTION RESTRICTIONS: "Mississippi's Lone Abortion Clinic Goes to Court Today," Maya Dusenbery, Feministing: On Monday, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals heard arguments over a "Mississippi law [HB 1390] that would shut down the only remaining abortion clinic in the state," the Jackson Women's Health Organization, Dusenbery writes. She adds that the admitting privileges requirement "was designed to force the clinic to close and ... make Mississippi an 'abortion-free state,'" in the words of Gov. Phil Bryant (R). According to Dusenbery, all local hospitals have refused to grant admitting privileges to JWHO providers, although "a judge blocked enforcement of the law while JWHO and the Center for Reproductive Rights challenge it in court." She writes, "At issue in the case is whether not having a single provider in the state puts [an] 'undue burden' on Mississippians' ability to exercise their constitutionally protected right to abortion," which "seems like a no-brainer" (Dusenbery, Feministing, 4/28).
What others are saying about abortion restrictions:
~ "Georgia Governor Signs Abortion Insurance Coverage Ban," Emily Crockett, RH Reality Check.
~ "Legal Battle Over Medication Abortion in Wisconsin Drags On," Jessica Mason Pieklo, RH Reality Check.
RIGHTS DURING PREGNANCY: "Louisiana Committee Passes Bill Preventing Removal of Mechanical Support From Pregnant Women," Teddy Wilson, RH Reality Check: A Louisiana House panel has "unanimously approved a bill [HB 348] ... that would prohibit a family from directing physicians to remove mechanical support from brain-dead pregnant woman," Wilson writes, adding that the bill's passage would make Louisiana "the 13th state to invalidate any advance directives when a patient is pregnant." According to Wilson, the bill would create a law similar to one that a family recently fought in Texas, which gained national attention. He explains that the Louisiana measure "does make exceptions for when maintaining mechanical support would not 'permit the continuing development and live birth of the unborn child,' or would be 'physically harmful to the pregnant woman,' or '[c]ause pain to the pregnant woman that cannot be alleviated by medication.'" The bill now goes to the full House (Wilson, RH Reality Check, 4/25).
SEXUAL VIOLENCE: "We're Covering the National Mall in a Giant Quilt for Victims of Sexual Assault," Rebecca Nagle, Huffington Post blogs: "As an activist, I have found meaning and empowerment through organizing The Monument Quilt," a project that assembles a giant quilt of a "collection of stories from survivors of rape and abuse," writes Nagle, a sexual assault survivor. Nagle explains that the project aims to "creat[e] a new culture where survivors are publicly supported rather than publicly shamed." She writes that survivors are invited to "create a quilt square, organize workshops or events in their community, contribute anonymously or publicly, and, on a massive scale, come together" as the quilt is assembled "to blanket the National Mall in a final display with the message, 'NOT ALONE'" (Nagle, Huffington Post blogs, 4/28).
REPRODUCTIVE-RIGHTS PROTECTIONS: "6 Things We Got Done on Reproductive Rights This Month," Hayley Smith, American Civil Liberties Union's "Blog of Rights": "Politicians are comparing women's health to cars, attempting to criminalize pregnancy, and singling out abortion providers for surprise, medically unnecessary inspections," but "over the past month, reproductive rights supporters also found a few reasons to celebrate," Smith writes. She notes that although "it's undeniable that opponents continue their laser-like focus on ending abortion ... in some places [reproductive-rights advocates'] voices are being heard and policymakers are standing up for women's health." She continues, "As we celebrate the 10th anniversary of the March for Women's Lives, it's fitting to reflect on our successes that show how our activism does pay off and that we can hold accountable those who let politics trump women's health." She highlights six recent successes on the reproductive-rights front, including pushing the Nevada Republican Party to "dro[p] opposition to abortion from its platform," state action to protect "pregnant inmates during childbirth" and a ruling against "the nation's most extreme abortion ban" (Smith, "Blog of Rights," ACLU, 4/25).
PREGNANCY AND CHILDBIRTH: "I Was Taught That Getting Pregnant is Easy for Black Girls -- Too Easy. But it Wasn't for Me," Regina Townsend, New York Times' "Motherlode": "Enduring infertility ... is different" and "hard as a black woman because no one expects a black woman to have trouble conceiving -- not even other black women," Townsend writes, noting that as she grew up, she "was taught ... to get out of high school without a baby" and "maste[r] birth control and self control." However, when she struggled to conceive, she "felt alone" and "read countless blogs about people fighting infertility bravely, but absolutely none featuring women (or men) of color." She eventually consulted with family members and realized that relatives also had struggled with infertility but never talked about it. She notes, "It was then I realized that in a culture where almost everything is fair game for conversation, we were our own worst enemy and were holding ourselves back from resources and support by being so quiet" (Townsend, "Motherlode," New York Times, 4/25).
What others are saying about pregnancy and childbirth:
~ "Hiding Pregnancy From the Marketing Machine," Ben Johnson, Marketplace Tech.