August 7, 2015 — Read the week's best commentary from bloggers at the Center for American Progress' "ThinkProgress," Feministing and more.
CONTRACEPTION: "New Proof That Birth Control Pills Can Help Save Women's Lives," Tara Culp-Ressler, Center for American Progress' "ThinkProgress": "The birth control pill has prevented hundreds of thousands of cases of endometrial cancer, and can help reduce women's risk of developing cancer even long after they stop using it, according to new research that analyzes data collected between 1965 to 2014," Culp-Ressler writes. According to Culp-Ressler, researchers found that "taking birth control pills for just five years can reduce a woman's risk of developing this type of cancer by 25 percent," adding, "They estimate oral contraceptives have prevented about 400,000 cases of endometrial cancer since 1965 -- including 200,000 cases in the last decade alone." Further, the study "found that the protective effect persists for at least 30 years even after women stop taking oral contraception," she adds. Culp-Ressler writes that even though "hormonal contraception has been legal for decades, it often becomes entangled in contentious political debates." She notes medical professionals have cautioned that such debates "ultimately obscure birth control's potential to save lives" and cites other benefits of birth control, such as curbing the unintended pregnancy rate and "giv[ing] women more control over the economic course of their lives" (Culp-Ressler, "ThinkProgress," Center for American Progress, 8/6).
ABORTION-RIGHTS MOVEMENT: "Lessons on the 10 Year Anniversary of My Abortion," Renee Bracey Sherman, Feministing: Writing on the tenth anniversary of her abortion, Bracey Sherman discusses the lessons she has learned since she "made one of the best and most empowered decisions of [her] life." She writes that after six years of staying silent about her abortion, she found "[t]he ability to speak openly and freely with friends and family allowed [her] to connect with them in a deeper way." Further, she found that sharing her story publicly created a community with others who have had similar experiences while also challenging abortion-rights opponents to "think differently about how they treat those in their lives who have abortions." She writes that abortion is "just one of many reproductive experiences," and discusses how she has "found men to be great allies in the fight for reproductive freedom." According to Bracey Sherman, " [B]eing public about [her] abortion isn't easy," and she notes that if she remains silent, abortion-rights opponents "can continue to make up whatever narrative they want about [her], and those like[her], and [she] cannot allow that to happen" (Bracey Sherman, Feministing, 8/4).
What others are saying about the abortion-rights movement:
~ "'What The F*ck Has Planned Parenthood Done?' Tumblr Shows That Planned Parenthood Does Much, Much More Than People Realize," Claire Warner, Bustle.
ANTIABORTION-RIGHTS MOVEMENT: "A Timeline of Attempts To Defund Planned Parenthood," s.e. smith, Care2: "Despite the best efforts of [conservative lawmakers], an attempt to defund Planned Parenthood failed on Monday, illustrating that Congress is still committed to women's health despite a recent series of shock videos designed to smear the reputation of the venerable family planning organization," smith writes. According to smith, the most recent "attempt at defunding" Planned Parenthood "certainly wasn't the first, and it likely won't be the last, demonstrating just one of the many reasons it's important to vote for pro-choice politicians." For example, smith discusses several antiabortion-rights policies over the last few decades -- including the Hyde Amendment, a 2011 effort to defund Planned Parenthood, and the Mexico City Policy or Global Gag rule -- and the efforts of lawmakers who support abortion rights to overturn or revoke some of those policies, such as former President Bill Clinton and President Obama (smith, Care2, 8/4).
CPCs: "Democrats Push To Hold Crisis Pregnancy Centers Accountable," Emily Crockett, RH Reality Check: "House Democrats reintroduced a bill [HR 3378] last week that would prohibit so-called crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs) from falsely advertising that they provide abortion services," Crockett writes. Specifically, she explains that the measure "would direct the Federal Trade Commission to create rules against deceptive advertising of abortion services, and let the FTC investigate reports of misleading CPC advertisements just like any other consumer product or service." According to Crockett, CPCs "are anti-choice facilities that try to persuade women not to get abortions," which "may offer free ultrasounds or pregnancy tests, but often no other medical services." Further, she notes that the centers often offer biased counseling that "includes overtly misleading information about abortion, including anti-choice myths that abortion causes breast cancer or sterility." In addition, CPCs "routinely use deceptive advertising, especially online, to suggest" women might be able to receive abortion services at the clinics, she writes (Crockett, RH Reality Check, 8/4).
REPRODUCTIVE JUSTICE: "Latinas Need Reproductive Justice -- Not Luck," Kelli Garcia, National Women's Law Center's "Womenstake": "Reproductive justice requires that all people -- not just a lucky few -- have the economic means, social capital, and political power to make and exercise decisions about their own health, family, and future," Garcia writes, noting that her own professional and personal accomplishments would have been "derailed" without adequate health care and childcare. She explains that Latinas face high rates of childhood poverty, which "mak[es] it hard for Latina students to succeed in school"; are less likely than other populations to have health insurance; and "more likely to work in low-wage jobs with no benefits." Noting that "reproductive justice for Latinas must include a comprehensive plan for economic security," Garcia lists several key aspects of what reproductive justice means for Latinas. According to Garcia, such factors include: raising the minimum wage; "[i]vest[ing] in childcare and early childhood education"; improving financial aid for students; expanding Medicaid in all states; guaranteeing that all health plans cover "comprehensive reproductive health care including the full range of contraception and abortion"; protecting pregnant women's rights in the workplace; "[p]rotect[ing] family caregivers from employment discrimination"; ensuring paid time off for employees; and "[e]nsur[ing] that Latinas receive equal pay for equal work" (Garcia, "Womenstake," National Women's Law Center, 8/4).