September 12, 2014 — Read the week's best commentaries from bloggers at the Huffington Post, RH Reality Check and more.
ABORTION RESTRICTIONS AND ACCESS: "Doctors Aren't Dummies: Support the Patient Trust Act," Kate Michelman, Huffington Post blogs: The Pennsylvania House Democratic Policy Committee this week discussed a bill (HB 2303), introduced in July, that "says that politicians have no business putting words that are 'not medically accurate and appropriate for the patient' into the mouths of doctors," writes Michelman, former president of NARAL Pro-Choice America and co-chair of WomenVotePA. She writes that the legislation is important because "politicians have made it difficult -- and in some cases even illegal -- for doctors to keep that sacred obligation," such as through measures "proposed by lawmakers trying to disguise their opposition to contraception and abortion by disingenuously claiming that these laws promote women's health and safety." Michelman cites a report that found a majority of states have passed such laws and concludes, "It's time for politicians to stop masquerading as ideological ventriloquists" because "[w]omen need to be able to trust that the voice they're hearing is from their physician" (Michelman, Huffington Post blogs, 9/10).
What others are saying about abortion restrictions and access:
~ "Texas' Radical Anti-Abortion Law Faces Hearing Friday," Jessica Mason Pieklo, RH Reality Check.
CONTRACEPTION: "OB-GYNs Warn Candidates Against Pretending To Support Birth Control for Political Gain," Tara Culp-Ressler, Center for American Progress' "ThinkProgress": "Several Republican candidates have recently come out in favor of" over-the-counter access to contraception, "leading Democratic groups to accuse them of merely paying lip service to reproductive health to win over female voters," Culp-Ressler writes, noting that the debate has spurred the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists to warn candidates that OTC access to birth control "shouldn't be used as a 'political tool.'" Culp-Ressler notes that while ACOG welcomes the "'[r]ecent political discussions on the importance of OTC access to contraceptives,'" the group "'remains firmly in support of comprehensive strategies to increase adoption of more-effective methods and to provide all women with the contraceptives they need at no cost'" (Culp-Ressler, "ThinkProgress," Center for American Progress, 9/10).
SEXUAL AND GENDER-BASED VIOLENCE: "#WhyIStayed," Rachel Leibrock, Huffington Post blogs: Leibrock comments on the recent controversy surrounding former NFL player Ray Rice after a video surfaced of him assaulting Janay Rice, who was his fiancé at the time and is now his wife. She notes that the video spurred many observers to question "[w]hy on earth would someone stay in an abusive relationship" and explains that the "answers came into focus as thousands took to Twitter to share their experiences through #WhyIStayed." The tweets "were powerful, with recurring themes of self-loathing, a sense of worthlessness, a fear that life without that person would somehow be worse than with him," she writes, adding that instead of "ask[ing] someone why she stayed or why she still says," people should "offer a nonjudgmental lifeline" (Leibrock, Huffington Post blogs, 9/10).
What others are saying about sexual and gender-based violence:
~ "Domestic Violence Kills More People Than Wars, Global Study Finds," Culp-Ressler, Center for American Progress' "ThinkProgress."
~ "Students Show Solidarity by Helping Columbia Rape Survivor Carry her Mattress," Maya Dusenbery, Feministing.
SUPPORTING WORKING FAMILIES: "The Fight To Let Pregnant Women Work Reaches the Supreme Court," Lenora Lapidus, American Civil Liberties Union's "Blog of Rights": The Supreme Court this term is scheduled to consider a pregnancy discrimination case in which the high court will "decide whether employers ... must offer light duty and other accommodations to pregnant workers that are provided to other employees," Lapidus writes, noting that ACLU has filed an amicus brief in support of the plaintiff. Lapidus writes that incidents in which women are forced to take unpaid leave from their jobs instead of being given light duty "have long-term effects on women's ability to maintain stable careers and achieve equality in the workforce" and "are part of the larger picture of persistent inequality for working women who become pregnant and have children." Lapidus writes," We hope the Supreme Court agrees: It's time for employers to let women -- including pregnant women -- remain at work" (Lapidus, "Blog of Rights," ACLU, 9/11).
SUPREME COURT: "The Notorious Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Men's Rights, Hobby Lobby, and the 'Dream' Reproductive Freedom Case," Lori Adelman, Feministing: At a recent event celebrating the 30th anniversary of the International Women's Health Coalition, Adelman heard Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg discuss topics including gender equality, reproductive health and Hobby Lobby. On gender equality, Ginsburg said, "The climate has changed in this country, which makes it possible to break down barriers to [gender] equality." However, she also acknowledged that "subtle discrimination" still exists and that "[o]ne of the biggest problems to overcome is unconscious bias." On the Hobby Lobby ruling, Ginsburg said, "Preventative care is as important as many other things that a health care package covers," so "[m]aybe [the reaction to] Hobby [L]obby will get everyone -- even some of my colleagues [on the Supreme Court] -- to think more about this issue than they [originally] did, when it comes up the second time around" (Adelman, Feministing, 9/10).