September 5, 2014 — Read the week's best commentaries from bloggers at "ThinkProgress," Slate and more.
ABORTION RESTRICTIONS: "Abortion Rights Aren't Safe in the South," Tara Culp-Ressler, Center for American Progress' "ThinkProgress": While "abortion rights supporters have won several key victories in federal court ... the wins aren't likely to be permanent," Culp-Ressler writes. She notes that while federal judges recently have blocked restrictive abortion legislation in Alabama, Texas and Louisiana, their decisions "aren't the final word on the matter." Texas has already appealed and Louisiana is waiting to see "whether its law will be permanently enjoined," meaning that "there's 'a real risk' looming in subsequent court decisions," Culp-Ressler writes. Further, if the issue goes before the Supreme Court, "the nation's highest court can't necessarily be counted on to protect reproductive rights," given the "current make up of the bench," Culp-Ressler concludes (Culp-Ressler, "ThinkProgress," Center for American Progress, 9/2).
What others are saying about abortion restrictions:
~ "A Huge Abortion Win in Texas," Emily Bazelon, Slate's "Jurisprudence."
~ "National Right to Life President: Texas Abortion Bill Intended To Shutter Clinics," Andrea Grimes, RH Reality Check.
CRIMINALIZING PREGNANCY: "Montana Charges Woman With 'Criminal Endangerment' at Just 12 Weeks Pregnant," Robin Marty, Care2: The arrest of Montana woman Casey Gloria Allen for child endangerment for testing positive for drugs while just 12 weeks pregnant "has left a lot of questions unanswered," including whether Allen's physician alerted the police, Marty writes. "If we want pregnant women to obtain prenatal care and drug-treatment therapies, they have to trust that a trip to the doctor won't end with the police at her doorstep," she argues. Marty wonders if Allen knew she was pregnant, asking, "How can someone be charged for committing a crime against a 'person' that she either might not have known existed or had no intention of giving birth to?" Marty continues, "By promoting a series of laws that punish a pregnant person by granting legal rights to the embryo or fetus," abortion-rights opponents "are pitting pregnant people against their own pregnancies, and leaving them no option but to terminate that pregnancy in order to avoid stiffer penalties from law enforcement" (Marty, Care2, 9/2).
SEXUAL AND GENDER-BASED VIOLENCE: "College Rape Survivor Will Carry Her Mattress Around Campus Until Her Rapist is Expelled," Jenny Kutner, Salon: Columbia University student Emma Sulkowicz was raped on the "first day of her sophomore year of college," allegedly by a student who was accused in two other assaults, but "all three cases against [him] were dismissed," Kutner explains. After joining a federal complaint over Columbia's alleged mishandling of such cases, Sulkowicz has begun "carry[ing] around a standard twin-size dorm room mattress with her everywhere she goes, until her rapist is removed from school," Kutner writes. In a video about her efforts for the Columbia Spectator, Sulkowicz said, "A mattress is the perfect size for me to just be able to carry it -- enough that I can continue with my day, but also heavy enough that I have to continually struggle with it," adding that it symbolizes her mission of "telling people what happened in that most intimate, private space and bringing it out into the light" (Kutner, Salon, 9/3).
What others are saying about sexual and gender-based violence:
~ "The Sexual Violence of Non-Consensual Nudity," Jenny Trout, Huffington Post blogs.
CONTRACEPTION: "Hobby Lobby Fallout: The Government Wants Your Comments on Employer Coverage of Contraception," Rachel Walden, Our Bodies Ourselves' "Our Bodies, Our Blog": "In the wake of this summer's Supreme Court's Hobby Lobby decision, which allowed for closely held corporations to refuse, based on religious objections, to provide contraceptive coverage as part of their employee's health insurance, there is now the question of what exactly it means to be a "'closely held corporation,'" Walden writes. The federal government last month published a notice in the Federal Register suggesting "a couple of approaches to defining 'closely held corporation'" and requested public comments "on whether these definitions are appropriate." She adds, "Comments are also being solicited on whether to require companies to document their decision-making process and disclose that they're refusing coverage based on religious objections," as well as "on any additional steps the government should take to help ensure coverage of the full range of FDA-approved contraceptives without cost sharing for people whose health plans are provided by these corporations" (Walden, "Our Bodies, Our Blog," Our Bodies Ourselves, 9/4).