July 31, 2015 — Read the week's best commentaries from bloggers at the Center for American Progress' "ThinkProgress," Huffington Post blogs and more.
CONTRACEPTION: "Evangelical College Ends Students' Health Insurance Altogether To Avoid Covering Birth Control," Tara Culp-Ressler, Center for American Progress' "ThinkProgress": "In a dramatic stand against [the Affordable Care Act's (PL 111-148)] birth control coverage requirement, an evangelical college has opted to end its student health insurance plans altogether so it won't need to worry about indirectly facilitating Americans' access to contraception," Culp-Ressler writes. According to Culp-Ressler, Wheaton College is "eliminating health care coverage in a move that will affect about a quarter of the college's 3,000 undergraduate and graduate students," who now "have just a few weeks to shop for new plans before their current coverage ends." Culp-Ressler explains that the college currently is contesting the contraceptive coverage requirements in court, contending that the accommodation for not-for-profits that hold themselves out as religious "makes them too complicit in providing coverage for certain forms of birth control." Meanwhile, "[f]ederal appeals courts ... have consistently ruled that submitting a form" as required by the accommodation "does not pose a substantial burden to religious liberty," Culp-Ressler writes (Culp-Ressler, "ThinkProgress," Center for American Progress, 7/29).
ABORTION-RIGHTS MOVEMENT: "Why This Minister Stands With Planned Parenthood," Debra Haffner, Huffington Post blogs: "As a woman, as a mother, as a former client, as a former employee, as a colleague and yes, as a religious leader, I stand with Planned Parenthood" against "'the politically motivated, heavily edited, and secretly recorded videotape[s] falsely portraying Planned Parenthood's participation in tissue donation programs that support lifesaving scientific research,'" writes Haffner, president and CEO of the Religious Institute. Haffner cites her 35 years of experience counseling women about their pregnancy decisions, adding that while she has "not personally counseled women about tissue donation," she "applaud[s] the women and couples who consent to donate fetal tissue as a way to further medical research." According to Haffner, "The physicians and clinic staff -- and the researchers using fetal tissue to create immunizations and new treatments for life-threating diseases -- are helping to save lives and protect futures." By contrast, the videos' efforts to shut down Planned Parenthood "and en[d] access to safe and legal abortion," as well as all the other contraceptive and preventive services offered through the organization, are "morally wrong" and "will effectively coerc[e] women into childbearing," Haffner states. She writes, "In the cacophony of views we have heard in the past two weeks, let us remember that Planned Parenthood saves lives, promotes human flourishing and advances the common good" (Haffner, Huffington Post blogs, 7/29).
What others are saying about the abortion-rights movement:
~ "These Powerful #WomenBetrayed Tweets Take Back The Hashtag To Prove There's No Silencing Women's Rights," Elizabeth King, Bustle.
ANTIABORTION-RIGHTS MOVEMENT: "Exclusive: The Faces and Fake Names of People Behind Planned Parenthood Attack Videos," Sharona Coutts/Sofia Resnick, RH Reality Check: RH Reality Check has identified at least three of the pseudonyms used by "operatives from the Center for Medical Progress," which recently released the videos attacking Planned Parenthood, Coutts and Resnick write. According to Coutts and Resnick, "the group's apparent ringleader, David Daleiden," used the alias "Robert Daoud Sarkis," while two still unidentified operatives used the aliases "Susan Tennenbaum and Brianna Allen." Coutts and Resnick note that the three individuals could face legal consequences for falsely representing themselves as members of "the sham company used by the activists -- BioMax Procurement Services." They write that "California Attorney General Kamala Harris has announced an investigation into the Center for Medical Progress," while "a California criminal defense attorney, Michael Kraut," said "there is some reason to believe that Daleiden and his associates may have violated California and federal law on forgery, credit card fraud, and identity theft." According to Coutts and Resnick, the operatives might have taken the Brianna Allen alias from one of Daleiden's former classmates at Davis Senior High School, Brianna M. Allen. Coutts and Resnick write that more videos likely will be released this summer, but, citing Brianna M. Allen's comments on the videos, add that "as evidence of the Center for Medical Progress' questionable tactics comes to light, it becomes more difficult to give their sensationalist claims much credence" (Coutts/Resnick, RH Reality Check, 7/28).
What others are saying about the antiabortion-rights movement:
~ "Attorneys: Planned Parenthood Attack Videos Could Threaten Physical Safety of Abortion Providers," Nina Liss-Schultz, RH Reality Check.
~ "Angel Dillard To Stand Trial for Threatening Abortion Provider," Jessica Mason Pieklo, RH Reality Check.
~ "The Largely Forgotten History of Abortion Billboard Advertising -- and What Pro-Choice Advocates Can Learn From It," Cynthia Greenlee, RH Reality Check.
~ "'Fetal Remains' Model Legislation Could Make Abortion Impossible in Red States," Robin Marty, Care2.