February 3, 2015 — Read the week's best commentaries from bloggers at the American Constitution Society, Huffington Post and more.
ABORTION RESTRCITIONS: "The Onslaught of State Abortion Restrictions Falls Hardest on Those Least Able To Access Care," Kelli Garcia, American Constitution Society's "ACS Blog": "Between 2011 and 2013, politicians in 30 states enacted 205 abortion restrictions," which make it more difficult or "impossible" for many women to obtain abortions, writes Garcia, senior counsel for the National Women's Law Center. She notes that these restrictions "impose unnecessary monetary costs" that "are particularly devastating to low-income and poor women"; "impose emotional and psychological costs because they are profoundly disrespectful to the women who have made the personal medical decision that having an abortion is best for themselves and their families"; and "make it impossible for providers to give their patients the best care." Garcia adds, "Unfortunately, anti-abortion politicians in the states show no sign of letting up" (Garcia, "ACS Blog," American Constitution Society, 1/30).
ABORTION-RIGHTS MOVEMENT: "Reproductive Justice Matters," Monica Raye Simpson, Huffington Post blogs: Reproductive justice is "the human right to not have children, to have children, to parent the children one has in healthy environments and the human right to bodily autonomy and to express one's sexuality freely," writes Simpson, executive director of SisterSong. She adds that the concept of reproductive justice "insists that we see abortion and reproductive health in the larger context of the overall health and wellness of women, our families and our communities." Further, she links the themes of reproductive justice to the Black Lives Matter movement, noting that reproductive justice is a "term created by black women in 1994 to bridge the gap between reproductive rights and other social justice." Specifically, she notes that "reproductive health and rights" cannot be separated from "the fight for Black liberation," adding that "our future depends on all of us bringing our full selves to the fight for freedom" and that "Reproductive Justice is the framework that will carry us there" (Simpson, Huffington Post blogs, 2/1).
What others are saying about the abortion-rights movement:
~ "Roe Anniversary: A Look at History To Understand Our Present," Jamille Fields, Law Students for Reproductive Justice's "Repo Repro."
CRIMINALIZING PREGNANCY: "Lawyers for Fetuses? Yes, It's Absurd, But It's Worse Than You Realize," Sara Ainsworth, RH Reality Check: Ainsworth writes about how laws giving legal rights to fetuses, such as a newly enacted law in Alabama (HB 494), "have been used for decades in state and judicial efforts to strip pregnant women of their civil and human rights." For example, she notes that several women in Wisconsin have been put on trial under a state law that (Act 292) assigns a lawyer as a guardian ad litem to defend a fetus or embryo "from 'the time of fertilization' when anyone alleges that a pregnant woman has used any amount of alcohol or a controlled substance," while the pregnant woman herself "has no right to a lawyer until very late in these proceedings, long after she's been detained." Further, she notes that "[s]ince at least the 1980s, courts around the country have been appointing lawyers to represent fetuses -- if not under statutes like Alabama's and Wisconsin's, then through judicial action," such as in cases in Illinois, Massachusetts, and Washington, D.C. (Ainsworth, RH Reality Check, 1/30).
CONTRACEPTION: "The History of the Pill, and the Man Who Co-Created it," Elaine Tyler May, Ms. Magazine blog: Tyler May revisits her 2010 Ms. Magazine piece describing the origin of the birth control pill to commemorate Carl Djerassi, "the doctor who synthesized a key hormone in the birth control pill" and died on Friday. In the article, Tyler May writes about how, more than 50 years ago, "[t]wo feminists, birth control pioneer Margaret Sanger and longtime women's rights activist Katharine McCormick, teamed up to realize their dream of a contraceptive that would be completely controlled by women" even as pharmaceutical companies and the U.S. government "shunned the project." According to Tyler May, the timing of the pill's FDA approval "could not have been better," as it became accessible just as "[t]he feminist movement gained momentum" and allowed women to "take full advantage of new opportunities for education, careers and participation in public life." She writes that feminism made the pill revolutionary, noting, "Thanks to feminism, the Pill enabled women not only to control their fertility but to change their lives" (Tyler May, Ms. Magazine blog, 2/2).