April 11, 2014


"Rick Perry Dodges Measures To Address the Prison Sexual Assault Crisis," Molly Jane Knefel, RH Reality Check: Even though the federal Prison Rape Elimination Act (PL 108-79) "has been bipartisan and non-controversial since its creation in 2003," Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) "[i]n a letter written late last month ... informed the [U.S.] Department of Justice that he will not be complying with the new regulations, calling the intent of PREA 'commendable' but arguing that it will be 'impossible' for Texas to implement the expected changes," Knefel writes. She continues, "Given the state's record for detention facilities with high rates of sexual abuse, Perry's rejection of PREA is especially troubling to those advocating for the safety of inmates." Knefel adds, "Texas has a clear commitment to reducing sexual violence in prisons, having already implemented a number of safety policies, [but] that doesn't explain or justify Perry's actions regarding PREA" (Knefel, RH Reality Check, 4/8).

What others are saying about violence against women:

~ "This Sexual Assault Victim Didn't Report Her Rape Because She Wanted To Protect Me," Gordon Braxton, Huffington Post blogs.

~ "The House of Representatives Doesn't Require any Sexual Harassment Training," Tara Culp-Ressler, Center for American Progress' "ThinkProgress."

~ "Report Tackles Supreme Court Ruling on Workplace Harassment," Erin Matson, RH Reality Check.


 "The 5 Most Surprising Things About My Abortion," Nicole Stewart, Huffington Post  blogs: Stewart -- a director, editor and producer for Oral Fixation, a live storytelling show -- recounts the five things that surprised her most about her abortion experience two weeks after a 20-week ultrasound revealed her "fetus was abnormal" and "incompatible with life." For example, Stewart writes that she obtained an abortion in Dallas, Texas, on the same day state Sen. Wendy Davis (D) filibustered an antiabortion-rights bill, "describ[ing] my exact situation," adding, "Seeing her stand there, so professional and composed as she spoke about what I was facing, was the single most consoling act I could have experienced in that moment." Stewart also notes that her experience prompted her to publicly share her story to help educate people about the need for abortion later in pregnancy, inspired her to feature more difficult stories in Oral Fixation, helped connect her with new friends and strengthened her marriage (Stewart, Huffington Post blogs, 4/9).

What others are saying about abortion restrictions:

~ "The Story of HB 2: How Multiple Failed Bills Became One Bad Law," Imani Gandy, RH Reality Check.

~ "Washington Policy Disclosures Provide Little Clarity on Reproductive Health-Care Access at Hospitals," Teddy Wilson, RH Reality Check.

~ "No, Abortion is not Like Buying a Car: Here Are 5 Reasons Why," Robin Marty, Care2.

~ "Tennessee Legislature Passes Far-Reaching Bill That Could Make Pregnant Women Criminals," Emily Crockett/Jessica Mason Pieklo, RH Reality Check.


"Colorado Lawmakers Introduce an Ambitious Bill To Protect Reproductive Rights," Culp-Ressler, Center for American Progress' "ThinkProgress": Colorado lawmakers are considering a "proactive piece of legislation [SB 175] that would safeguard women's reproductive health decisions, and ensure that anti-choice politicians aren't allowed to chip away at them," Culp-Ressler writes. The law would "guarante[e] every Colorado resident the opportunity to make their own decisions regarding abortion and contraception"; enshrine "women's fundamental right to privacy and freedom about their health care choices"; and "perhaps most importantly, it [would] explicitly preven[t] state lawmakers from enacting restrictions in this area that aren't based on scientific evidence," she explains. Culp-Ressler adds that if the bill is approved, the antiabortion-rights strategy of introducing abortion restrictions "cloaked in the language of 'women's health and safety' ... won't be able to advance in Colorado" (Culp-Ressler, "ThinkProgress," Center for American Progress, 4/10).

What others are saying about abortion-rights protections:

~ "State Policy Trends: More Supportive Legislation, Even as Attacks on Abortion Rights Continue," Elizabeth Nash/Rachel Benson Gold, RH Reality Check.


"Missouri Lawmaker Compares Getting an Abortion To Buying a New Car or Re-Carpeting," Maya Dusenbery, Feministing: Dusenbery writes about how, during debate over a Missouri measure (HB 1307/1313) that "would triple the waiting period before having an abortion in the state to a whopping 72 hours," the bill sponsor, state Rep. Chuck Gatschenberger (R), compared the mandatory delay to waiting to make other decisions, "'whether that's a car, whether that's a house, whether that's any major decision that I make in my life. Even carpeting.'" Dusenbery writes that the statement came amid a debate between Gatschenberger and a female colleague, who tried to get Gatschenberger "to empathize outside his own sphere of experience or merely to acknowledge the limits of his own perspective." Dusenbery adds that "neither strategy work[ed]," as "Gatschenberger pivot[ed], again and again, back to himself," before finally launching "into his car speech" (Dusenbery, Feministing, 4/10).

What others are saying about politics and elections:

~ "Republican Lawmaker: 'I Have No More Confidence in Planned Parenthood Than I Do in Adolf Hitler,'" Katie McDonough, Salon.


"It's Time To Repeal State Advance Directive Laws That Discriminate Against Women," Katherine Taylor/Lynn Paltrow, RH Reality Check: "Today, more than 30 states have laws that require a pregnant woman to be kept on mechanical support no matter what her living will says, or what her health-care proxy decides if her wishes are unknown," Taylor and Paltrow write, noting the recent case of Marlise Muñoz, a Texas woman who was kept on mechanical support against her and her families' wishes because she was pregnant when she died. Taylor and Paltrow urge advocates to "take action" and suggest several steps to do so, including informing others in their state about the laws and contacting their state lawmakers to "demand repeal of these discriminatory laws and support for ones that respect women's right to make end-of-life decisions." They write, "It is time to end all laws that dehumanize pregnant women and disrespect families," adding, "Repealing discriminatory advance directive laws is one very good place to start" (Taylor/Paltrow, RH Reality Check, 4/10).