January 20, 2015 — Read the week's best commentaries from bloggers at The Nation, RH Reality Check and more.
FEMINISM & THE ABORTION-RIGHTS MOVEMENT: "'She's Beautiful When She's Angry' Reveals the Radical Ordinary Women of 1960s Feminism," Dani McClain, The Nation: McClain discusses a new documentary called "She's Beautiful When She's Angry, which chronicles the movement for women's rights in the '60s and early '70s." She writes that the documentary "is nothing if not timely," since it is "touring the country just as the concept of the grassroots movement as the spark for social change is having a moment." According to McClain, the film "mixes the history you know and expect, like the burning of bras at the Miss America pageant in '68, with lesser-known stories, like the role women in the Young Lords played in exposing forced sterilization in Puerto Rico and New York City." In addition, she notes that it includes commentary from "women who made up the movement," such as "those who learned to provide safe, if not legal, abortions as part of the Jane Collective." McClain adds that the woman in the film "were dealing with many of the same messes and contradictions we still struggle with today" (McClain, The Nation, 1/16).
What others are saying about feminism and the abortion-rights movement:
~ "How Tennessee Awakened a New Wave of Pro-Choice Activism," Tara Culp-Ressler, Center for American Progress' "ThinkProgress."
ABORTION PROTECTIONS: "Virginia Lawmakers Roll Out Pro-Choice Legislative Agenda," Nina Liss-Schultz, RH Reality Check: Liss-Schultz notes that "Virginia lawmakers on Wednesday filed a handful of bills related to reproductive and sexual health -- and they are almost all pro-choice, and could roll back anti-choice policies pushed through by Virginia Republicans in recent years." Specifically, she writes that state legislators "introduced at least eight bills [SB 733, SB 769, SB 920, SB 1277, HB 1524, HB 1541] related to reproductive health care," four of which "would repeal state regulations on abortion, while the others provide further access." However, "not every bill introduced so far in the 2015 [state legislative] session has been good for reproductive health," she writes. According to Liss-Schultz, the Virginia Legislature also on Wednesday "introduced HB 1456, which would allow child-protective services to investigate private property in response to a complaint that a pregnant person is using certain controlled substances that would 'render the woman's unborn child abused or neglected'" (Liss-Schultz, RH Reality Check, 1/19).
ABORTION RESTRICTIONS: "Fetus Lawyers, Baby Daddies and 'Legitimate Rape': America's Craziest Abortion Bills," Brandy Zadrozny, Daily Beast: "[A]rmed with hundreds of pre-written bills -- drawn up by" antiabortion-rights groups, "state lawmakers are finding new ways to make an abortion even harder to get in the new year," despite ongoing legal challenges to abortion restrictions in Texas, Alabama and other states, Zadrozny writes. Zadrozny highlights several "states that have gotten an early start at" attempting to "rol[l] back Roe v. Wade, which she says are "almost guaranteed" to be challenged in court if passed: Missouri, where "Republicans have already introduced eight abortion bills," including a measure (HB 131) "that would require permission from a fetus's father before a woman could have an abortion"; Indiana, where a lawmaker has "introduced legislation [SB 334] that would make it a felony for providers to perform an abortion because of the sex of the fetus or a potential disability"; Tennessee, where lawmakers have "rall[ied] behind three different abortion bills that include a mandatory waiting period, new inspection requirements for clinics, and an 'informed consent' bill," in addition to a proposed ultrasound requirement (HB 2); and South Carolina, where lawmakers have "filed nine anti-abortion bills before the legislative session even began, four of which were proposals to outlaw abortions after 20 weeks." Zadrozny notes that "this state list is only partial, as some states haven't yet begun their legislative sessions" (Zadrozny, Daily Beast, 1/20).
What others are saying about abortion restrictions:
~ "Anti-Choice Legislators Try To Force Wedge Between Reproductive, Disability Rights Activists," David Perry, RH Reality Check.
~ "Legal Wrap: New Year, Same Old Anti-Abortion Tricks From the GOP," Jessica Mason Pieklo, RH Reality Check.
GLOBAL: "El Salvadoran Woman Denied Pardon in 30-Year Sentence for Miscarriage," Collier Meyerson, Jezebel: The Salvadoran Congress in a 43-42 vote on Friday denied a pardon to a "Salvadoran woman known as 'Guadalupe' currently serving a 30-year sentence for a 2007 miscarriage," Meyerson writes. Citing a Fusion report, Meyerson explains that Guadalupe was "convicted of murdering her unborn baby" after she collapsed one day at work and "was taken to the nearest clinic." Meyerson, quoting the report, notes that "'[a]ll forms of abortion are illegal in El Salvador'" and that although "'there was no indication that Guadalupe, a mother of one, intentionally terminated her pregnancy, the doctors snitched her out to save themselves from any criminal liability.'" Further, the report states that "'[a]t least 29 Salvadoran women are currently behind bars for having illegal abortions, but a dozen of them are still appealing their sentences in court'" (Meyerson, Jezebel, 1/17).
ABORTION IN THE MEDIA: "'The Daily Show' Slams Appalling Alabama Law That Appoints Lawyers for Fetuses," Sarah Gray, Salon: Gray writes about a "Daily Show" segment in which Susan Wilson, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Alabama, describes a "baffling Alabama law" (HB 494) that uses state funds to provide lawyers for fetuses. Gray explains that Alabama requires minors to obtain "parental consent to get an abortion," but that if they cannot obtain such consent, they "can go to the courts." However, she explains that the law permits judges to "appoint the unborn fetus a lawyer, and put the teenager seeking an abortion on trial -- witnesses and all." According to Wilson, the law is "not only 'particularly insulting to women' -- denying a woman's right to choose -- it also takes funds away from people who need public defenders," Gray writes (Gray, Salon, 1/16).