March 9, 2012 — We've compiled some of the most thought-provoking commentaries from around the Web. Catch up on the conversation with bloggers from ThinkProgress, the Huffington Post and more.
INTERNATIONAL WOMEN'S DAY: "International Women's Day: A Look at the Global Landscape Shows That Reproductive Health Care Matters," Jessica Arons, ThinkProgress: "International Women's Day is a good time to hit the pause button on all the debate swarming around abortion and contraception in Congress, the states, and on the campaign trail, and consider what our country would look like if anti-choice zealots had their way in further restricting access to contraception and abortion," writes Arons, director of the Center for American Progress' Women's Health & Rights Program. She writes that "access to family planning, abortion services and maternity care is one of the critical differences between the global north and south," and it "is sometimes quite literally the difference between life and death" for women around the world. Arons concludes, "It is unimaginable that we would want to undo the advances women have made in our society, and we should resolutely reject any policy agenda that would take us there" (Arons, ThinkProgress, 3/8).
What others are saying about International Women's Day:
~ "Empowering Women Empowers us All," Mike McCurry/Dana Perino, The Hill's "Congress Blog."
~ "A Winning Design for Maternal Health: Join the Threadless Challenge," Melinda Gates, Huffington Post blogs.
~ "Support Global Access to Birth Control, Y'all!" Jessica Mack, Ms. Magazine blog.
~ "A Call to Action: Integrate Family Planning and HIV Services To Save Women's Lives," Dana Hovig/Alvaro Bermejo, RH Reality Check.
~ "Sex, Reproduction and the MDGs: Why Funding for Reproductive Health Care is Critical To Combatting Global Poverty," Mandy Van Deven, RH Reality Check.
~ "Global Roundup: Can the U.S. 'Fix' Gender Inequality Worldwide?" Jessica Mack, RH Reality Check.
~ "International Women's Day: It's About American Women, Too," Malika Saada Saar, Huffington Post blogs.
~ "On International Women's Day, Let's Celebrate Our Success -- Not Dismantle it," Latanya Mapp Frett, RH Reality Check.
~ "Many International Agreements Later, Girls and Young Women Worldwide Still Lack Basic Rights," Louise Finer, RH Reality Check.
~ "Maternal Health Care Can Prevent Disabilities," Care2 Causes editors, Care2.
ATTACKS ON REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH CARE IN TEXAS: "In Texas, Abortion Trumps Health Care Access," Katie J.M. Baker, Jezebel: "Political posturing over anti-choice fervor is severely affecting hundreds of thousands of Texas women who are struggling to access health care services that even the most devout pro-lifer would consider crucial, like breast cancer screenings and pap smears," Baker writes. "Of course, drastic cuts like these aren't just taking place in Texas -- our national GOP candidates are just as eager to slash Planned Parenthood and Title X funding for the same reasons," Baker states, adding, "One wishes the politicians gleefully cutting funds had to face the rising numbers of women who are left without access to health care" (Baker, Jezebel, 3/8).
What others are saying about the Texas attacks on reproductive health care:
~ "Texans [Fight] Back Against Attacks On Women's Health Care," Jessica Pieklo, Care2.
~ "Texans Rally Against Defunding of Planned Parenthood, Which Would Leave 130,000 Without Health Care," Amanda Peterson Beadle, ThinkProgress.
ULTRASOUND LAWS: "Meet the Group Behind all Those Crappy Ultrasound Laws," Erin Gloria Ryan, Jezebel: "[I]f you think the [ultrasound] legislation in Pennsylvania, Virginia, Alabama, Oklahoma and Texas sounds oddly similar, you're not imagining things," Ryan writes, noting that "it seems that each bill was drafted after model legislation written by" Americans United for Life. She explains that AUL publishes an annual pamphlet for lawmakers containing "information about the group's long-term strategy to gradually ebb away at abortion rights until they're codified out of existence," along with "model legislation" for state and federal lawmakers. The 2010 edition included model legislation called the Women's Ultrasound Right to Know Act, which "purports to legally enshrine a woman's right to view an abortion ultrasound image and listen to fetal heartbeat 24 hours before her procedure," Ryan writes (Ryan, Jezebel, 3/8).
What others are saying about ultrasound laws:
~ "An Abortion Rights Blunder in Virginia?" Sarah Kliff, Washington Post's "Wonkblog."
~ "A 'Kerfluffle' Over Forced Ultrasound? An Open Letter to Governor McDonnell," Tara Casey, RH Reality Check.
~ "After Va. Police Break out Riot Gear To Arrest Peaceful Protestors, GOP Gov. McDonnell Wants Dems To Apologize," Josh Israel, ThinkProgress.
~ "Alabama Senator Backs off Forced Trans-Vaginal Ultrasound Bill, but Alabama Women Aren't Backing Down," Andy Kopsa, RH Reality Check.
~ "As Women Rally, Doctor Speaks Out Against Forced Ultrasound Bill in Alabama," Andy Kopsa, RH Reality Check.
~ "Ultrasounds? Lawmakers in Pennsylvania Want To Force you to Have one, but They Can't Even say the Word," Robin Marty, RH Reality Check.
WAR ON WOMEN: "Rough Language and Real Politics Jeopardize Women's Health," Elaine Schattner, Huffington Post blogs : Schattner writes that she has "taken women's health, or what's really at issue -- women's access to needed care -- for granted," but now realizes that "[n]ew politics and rough talk jeopardize women's lives on three fronts": access to contraception, access to safe and legal abortion services, and "access to prescriptions and health care without intimidation or emotional abuse" (Schattner, Huffington Post blogs, 3/9).
What others are saying about the war on women:
~ "Sexist Bullying: What's Behind the 'War on Women?" Dominique Browning, Time's "Ideas."
~ "Why Women Need to Go H.A.M. for Their Reproductive Health," Danielle Moodie-Mills, Huffington Post blogs.
~ "The Politics of Women's Health Care," Renee Parsons, Huffington Post blogs.
~ "The War on Women in the Courts," Marge Baker, Ms. Magazine Blog.
PUSHBACK AGAINST ATTACKS ON REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH: "Insane Sex Laws Inspired by Republicans," Hannah Levintova, Mother Jones: "As Republican lawmakers have pushed ever more intrusive and expansive uterus-related legislation, some of their colleagues across the aisle have fired back with intentionally and equally ridiculous counterproposals," Levintova writes. She adds that although most of these measures -- from "mandatory rectal exams for guys seeking Viagra to prohibitions on sperm-stifling vasectomies" -- have failed, they have "scored big symbolic gestures, spotlighting the inherent sexism of laws that regulate only lady parts" (Levintova, Mother Jones, 3/8).
What others are saying about the pushback against attacks on reproductive health:
~ "As Antiabortion Bills Gain Steam, Legislators Push Back With Legislation Mocking the Extreme Bills," Amanda Peterson Beadle, ThinkProgress.
~ "Lawmaker Adds Viagra Amendment To Illinois Ultrasound Bill," Jessica Pieklo, Care2.
~ "Georgia Female Legislators Stage Walk Out To Protest Antiabortion and Contraception Bills," Igor Volsky, ThinkProgress.
RUSH LIMBAUGH: "Limbaugh is Sorry for Calling Fluke a 'Slut,' But Why Were we ALL Sorry, Too?" Marianne Mollmann, RH Reality Check: Rush Limbaugh's "juvenile tirade illustrates the many levels on which women are held to different standards than men," Mollman writes, noting that a "woman who speaks publicly about sex, even clinically, is automatically a slut, but no such term automatically attaches to men who routinely affirm their sexual needs and desires." Likewise, "Women who ask that the insurance they pay for cover contraception are not only freeloaders but are also prostitutes, while men who rely on their female partners to take care of their contraception needs are presumably virile," she writes (Mollmann, RH Reality Check, 3/8).
What others are saying about Rush Limbaugh:
~ "Rush Limbaugh Isn't the Only Media Misogynist," Kirsten Powers, Daily Beast.
~ "Limbaugh Widens His Attacks Against Women," Jessica Pieklo, Care2.
~ "Military's Subsidy of Limbaugh Insults Taxpayers," Earl Ofari Hutchinson, Huffington Post blogs.
~ "What Would Rush Limbaugh Have Said to Margaret Sanger?" Vera Titunik, New York Times' "The 6th Floor."
~ "What Rush Limbaugh Can Teach us About Discrimination Against Women," Judith Rich, Huffington Post blogs.
~ "Sluts and Guts," Patricia McGuire, Huffington Post blogs.
~ "Why Didn't Limbaugh's Apology Take?" Amanda Marcotte, Slate's "XX Factor."
ECONOMIC BENEFITS OF ACCESS TO CONTRACEPTION: "Can Government-Subsidized Birth Control Really Save Taxpayer Money?" J. Bryan Lowder, Slate: Although most people would agree that in a "perfect, economically equal world," everyone "should be responsible enough to buy and use their own contraception," the reality is that, "for many women, the most effective forms of birth control are financially out of reach, not to mention the fact that given the paucity of our country's commitment to comprehensive sex education, many wouldn't know how to use them properly in the first place," Lowder writes. He points to a new study by the Brookings Institution showing that greater investment in Medicaid family planning could save $1.32 billion and that "evidence-based teen pregnancy prevention" programs that "combine abstinence advocacy with honest, thorough instruction in contraception methods" could deliver hundreds of millions of dollars in savings and reduce the rate of pregnancy among low income U.S. residents (Lowder, Slate, 3/6).
What others are saying about the economic benefits of access to contraception:
~ "How Access to Contraception Helped Shrink the Gender Pay Gap," Pat Garofalo, ThinkProgress.
~ "How Birth Control Boosts Women's Salaries," Sarah Kliff, Washington Post's "Wonkblog."
~ "The Economic Impact of the Pill," Annie Lowrey, New York Times' "Economix."
ABORTION PROVIDERS: "The Abortion Excuse," Andrew Rosenthal, New York Times' "The Loyal Opposition": Rosenthal writes that laws that target Planned Parenthood because it offers abortion services "reduce health care options for millions of women around the country who will never want or have an abortion." He also notes that the federal Title X family planning program "helps pay for the treatment of sexually transmitted diseases, prenatal care, sex education and vasectomies, as well as birth control." Rosenthal concludes, "Antiabortion activists probably think that by attacking Title X they're restoring a 'culture of life.' But they are wrong" (Rosenthal, "The Loyal Opposition," New York Times, 3/8).
What others are saying about abortion providers:
~ "Has Violence Deterred Doctors From Performing Abortions?" Sarah Kliff, Washington Post's "Wonkblog."
~ "Abortion Clinics' Public Relations Problem," Katrina Kimport, ANSIRH blog.
CRISIS PREGNANCY CENTERS: "Sketchy Crisis Pregnancy Center Services Now Available to Barnes & Noble Shoppers," Anna North, Jezebel: North writes that a Jezebel reader found a business card at an Annapolis, Md., Barnes & Noble for a crisis pregnancy center that "claims condoms don't work and abortion can result in 'delivery of a badly burned infant.'" North notes that a store spokesperson said the card must have been left there by someone other than an employee. North adds, "Whoever picks the cards up ... is going to get a big dose of misinformation" (North, Jezebel, 3/7).
'TEEN ENDANGERMENT ACT': "On International Women's Day, Congress Debates Measure To Limit Reproductive Rights," Laura Bassett, Huffington Post blogs: Republicans in Congress are celebrating International Women's Day "by debating a new bill that would restrict abortion rights" for teens by making it "illegal for anyone but a parent to accompany a young woman across state lines to seek an abortion -- even if her parents are absent or abusive," Bassett writes. She notes that the bill "is the latest in a long series of attempts by Republican lawmakers to criminalize physicians who perform abortions, to chip away at women's constitutionally protected right to decide when and if they will have a child and to otherwise politicize women's health" (Bassett, Huffington Post blogs, 3/8).
What others are saying about the Teen Endangerment Act:
~ "On International Women's Day, House Republicans Hold Anti-Choice Hearing," George Zornick, The Nation.
~ "House Marks International Women's Day with Hearing on 'Arrest Grandma' Act," Thomas, NARAL Pro-Choice America's "Blog for Choice."
PREGNANCY DISCRIMINATION: "School Official Outs 8th-grader as Pregnant," Valerie Strauss, Washington Post's "The Answer Sheet": The American Civil Liberties Union is suing a New Mexico public school that "kicked out" a student when she told school officials she was pregnant and then later readmitted her, "only [for her] to be 'outed' as pregnant by the middle school director at an assembly," Strauss writes. She concludes, "Outing a teenager as pregnant is nothing more than bullying, but when an adult does it, it sends a message that such behavior is acceptable" (Strauss, "The Answer Sheet," Washington Post, 3/6).
What others are saying about pregnancy discrimination:
~ "N.M. School Publicly Shames Pregnant Student, She Fights Back," Jenny Egan, National Women's Law Center blog.
CONTRACEPTIVE COVERAGE: "When They Say 'It's Not About Birth Control,' You Know ... It's About Birth Control," Christine Adams, RH Reality Check: "In recent years, the political right has tried to separate the issues of abortion and contraception, condemning abortion loudly while at the same time working quietly to make access to birth control more difficult and expensive," Adams writes. She adds, "At the same time, in their rhetoric, they have tried to conflate birth control and abortion in the public's mind," as exemplified by debates about emergency contraception and the ongoing fight over the federal contraceptive coverage rules. Adams continues, "Suddenly, women have been forced to confront the fact that the right even to birth control, which they considered long settled, is more fragile than they realized" (Adams, RH Reality Check, 3/8).
~ "Why Aren't Men More Outraged by the Oral Contraception Issue?" John Blumenthal, Huffington Post blogs.
~ "Sandra Fluke, Religious Colleges and Unexpected Rules," Jenna Johnson, Washington Post's "Campus Overload."
~ "Sandra Fluke and the Birth Control Divide," Eesha Pandit, Feministing.
~ "Bachmann: Obama Could Mandate One-Child Policy," Kevin Drum, Mother Jones.
~ "Sex, Politics and the Single Latina," Melissa Blanco Borelli, Huffington Post blogs.
~ "The Scarlet IUD?" Caryl Rivers, Huffington Post blogs.