April 16, 2013 — We've compiled some of the most thought-provoking commentaries from around the Web. Catch up on the conversation with bloggers from RH Reality Check, Slate and more.
KERMIT GOSNELL CASE: "Separating Truth From Lies Around the Kermit Gosnell Case," Amanda Marcotte, RH Reality Check: Abortion-rights opponents "are exploiting the tortures and deaths of women and babies" in the murder trial of physician Kermit Gosnell "in order to justify policies that will lead to more suffering, more torture, and more death" by further limiting safe, legal abortion care, Marcotte writes. She offers "a list of the facts about how pro-choicers are reacting to the Gosnell case," including that they condemn Gosnell and want him brought to justice. Abortion-rights supporters believe that expanding access to affordable, high-quality abortion care through accountable facilities will help prevent future cases of unethical physicians and illegal practices, she adds. "All the lies being thrown around are attempts to confuse the issue, but for the sake of women and their families, we should not let the issue be confused," Marcotte concludes (Marcotte, RH Reality Check, 4/14).
What others are saying about the Gosnell case:
~ "Dr. Gosnell is Not Me," Lynette Leighton, RH Reality Check.
~ "Why Did They Seek Abortions There? How Abortion Bans Threaten Women's Lives," Patty Skuster/Susan Schewel, RH Reality Check.
~ "Why Did Women Go to Kermit Gosnell Instead of Reputable Abortion Providers?" Marcotte, Slate's "XX Factor."
EMERGENCY CONTRACEPTION: "The Long Political History of Increasing Access to Emergency Contraception," Rachel Walden, Our Bodies Ourselves' "Our Bodies, Our Blog": Walden recounts the years-long push by reproductive-health advocates to expand access to emergency contraception, leading up to the recent court ruling ordering FDA to make the drug available over-the-counter without age restrictions. "While we're celebrating the judge's ruling, we should also keep in mind the fact that President Obama is still praising" HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius' move in 2011 to override the FDA's decision to lift the restrictions, Walden adds (Walden, "Our Bodies, Our Blog," Our Bodies Ourselves, 4/12).
GENE PATENTS: "The Breast Cancer Gene and Control of Women's Bodies," Karuna Jaggar, Ms. Magazine blog: "When it comes to women's health, corporate interests and profits have been driving the agenda for far too long," Jaggar writes, noting that the Supreme Court is hearing a case to determine whether Myriad Genetics may hold patents for two genes -- BRCA1 and BRCA2 -- linked to an increased risk of breast and ovarian cancer. "Myriad's strict patent enforcement means its test is the only available one to determine whether someone has a genetic variant that increases their risk of" the diseases, Jaggar continues, adding, "At a time when we desperately need new insights into cancer prevention, diagnosis and treatment, the human BRCA patents [stop] vital scientific research and medical care connected to breast and ovarian cancer" (Jaggar, Ms. Magazine blog, 4/13).
ADOLESCENT HEALTH: "How To Help Youth Develop Healthy Attitudes Toward Sex," Donna Harwood, RH Reality Check: Harwood -- who heads Lion's Pride, an organization that provides resources and education to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning youth -- urges adults and parents in particular to "take a more proactive approach" toward discussing sexual health with young people. "As youth leaders, educators, adult family members, religious leaders, health workers, and role models we must be sure to educate ourselves enough on the sexual health issues that our youth face today, and be willing to have those difficult discussions with our youth," she writes. She urges adults to think about how they can "make youth feel safe coming to adults with their sexual health questions" and use local resources -- such as state health departments -- for tips about making such discussions less difficult and ensuring they are medically accurate. She writes, "If parents do not take an active role in their kid's sexual education, the youth will seek it out on their own, and who knows if the information they find is accurate, healthy, and safe" (Harwood, RH Reality Check, 4/12).
What others are saying about adolescent health:
~ "The Most Effective Form of Birth Control is (Still) Safe for Teenagers," Andrea Peterson, Center for American Progress' "ThinkProgress."
~ "A View of a Classroom: The Role of Educators in STD Prevention," Mary Beth Szydlowski, RH Reality Check.
SAVITA HALAPPANAVAR: "Report Confirms that Savita Halappanavar Didn't Need To Die," Maya Dusenbery, Feministing: "An investigation confirms that Savita Halappanavar, the Irish woman who died last year after being denied an abortion after an incomplete miscarriage, lost her life because her doctors prioritized her unviable fetus over her own health," Dusenbery writes. The investigation found that Halappanavar's medical team did consider performing an abortion at one point, Dusenbery adds, noting that Halappanavar's widower is "not satisfied with the report" because it did not clarify why the team decided not to perform an abortion. "And I can't imagine there will ever be an adequate answer to that question," Dusenbery concludes (Dusenbery, Feministing, 4/15).
ABORTION BANS: "State Policy Trends 2013: Abortion Bans Move to the Forefront," Elizabeth Nash/Rachel Benson Gold, RH Reality Check: In an overview of reproductive health-related legislation in the first quarter of 2013, the Guttmacher Institute's Nash and Gold note that "abortion restrictions are at the center of state legislative activity." However, "unlike in recent years, when the thrust of legislative activity was on regulating abortion (for example, requirements that women undergo an ultrasound, clinic regulations, or insurance coverage restrictions), this year legislators seem to be focusing on banning abortion outright -- either by declaring that 'personhood' begins at the moment of conception or by prohibiting abortion even during the first trimester of pregnancy," they explain. Fourteen states have "introduced provisions seeking to ban abortion prior to viability" and "10 states have introduced proposals that would ban all, or nearly all, abortions," according to Nash and Gold (Nash/ Gold, RH Reality Check, 4/12).
~ "North Dakota Lawmaker: Banning Abortion Will Help Women 'Realize' They Don't Want One After All," Tara Culp-Ressler, Center for American Progress' "ThinkProgress."
TARGETED REGULATION OF ABORTION PROVIDERS: "Federal Court Blocks Mississippi Admitting Privileges Law," Jessica Mason Pieklo, RH Reality Check: On Monday, U.S. District Judge Daniel Jordan ruled that the "state of Mississippi cannot enforce onerous admitting privileges designed to close the state's lone abortion clinic," Mason Pieklo writes, noting that the judge "blocked all remaining forms of enforcement of the admitting privileges requirement, preventing the state Department of Health from revoking the clinic's license for failing to comply with the new regulations." Mason Pieklo adds, "While this ruling has no direct effect in states like Alabama and North Dakota that have passed similar measures targeting their lone clinics for closure, it does set a good tone for the legal arguments moving forward and re-affirms that inherent in the right to choose an abortion is the right to have reasonable access to the procedure" (Mason Pieklo, RH Reality Check, 4/15).
What others are saying about TRAP laws:
~ "Virginia Board of Health Approves TRAP Measures," Lauren Kelley, RH Reality Check.