February 24, 2012 — We've compiled some of the most thought-provoking commentaries from around the Web. Catch up on the conversation with bloggers from Our Bodies, Our Blog; RH Reality Check; and more.
CONTRACEPTIVE COVERAGE REQUIREMENTS: "The True Costs of Birth Control," Rachel Walden, Our Bodies, Our Blog: Although some opponents of federal contraceptive coverage rules have argued that birth control is inexpensive and easy to obtain, research shows that "[w]hile women with insurance may have coverage for birth control on paper, the actual costs may still pose a barrier to actually getting it -- and probably [contribute] to [the fact that] half of pregnancies in the United States [are] unintended" (Walden, Our Bodies, Our Blog, 2/23).
What others are saying about contraceptive coverage requirements:
~ "The Panel Congress Really Needs to Hear From," Sarah Audelo, RH Reality Check.
~ "Convenient Methods for Birth Control Take More Work for Payment," Michelle Andrews, NPR's "Shots."
~ "Right-Wing Media Group Pledges To Strip Birth Control out of Health Plan After Providing it for Years," Amanda Peterson Beadle, ThinkProgress.
~ "Contraception Wars and Woes," William O'Rourke, Huffington Post blogs.
~ "Female Witness Hits Back at Issa: 'I'm a Woman Who Uses Contraception, That Makes Me Qualified' To Testify," Igor Volsky, ThinkProgress.
2012 ELECTION: "Rick Santorum's Poodle-Skirt Vision of America," Donna Trussell, Washignton Post's "She the People": Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum envisions a "'Rockwellian' America," where "men stand by their devoted wives" and single mothers are embraced with "love and support" by their families and communities, Trussell writes. "As cornball as Norman Rockwell's illustrations were, their sentimental scenes would be a welcome break from the violence, uncertainty, poverty, rape and sexual abuse that besets the lives of many women and children," she adds. Trussell writes that "pro-life Republican men so concerned about innocent lives [should] put their money where their mouths are" by supporting policies that would improve the lives of women and children (Trussell, "She the People," Washington Post, 2/23).
What others are saying about the 2012 election:
~ "Who Decided That This Election Should Be About Sex?" David Brooks/Gail Collins, New York Times' "Opinionator."
~ "Factcheck Finds Mitt Romney Wrong in Describing State Law on Emergency Contraception," Shira Schoenberg, Boston Globe's "Political Intelligence."
~ "Scott Brown, Elizabeth Warren Release New Radio Ads on Contraception Issue," Noah Bierman, Boston Globe's "Political Intelligence."
~ "Arlen Specter: 'I Never Made Any Deals With Santorum,'" Michael Crowley, Time's "Swampland."
~ "The Catholicization of the American Right," Howard Schweber, Huffington Post blogs.
~ "Debate Fact Check: Santorum Waffles on Title X," Katharine Seelye, New York Times' "The Caucus."
~ "Santorum's Views on Sex and Religion Keep Him From Talking About the Economy," John Aloysius Farrell, National Journal's "2012 Decoded."
~ "Santorum's One Track Mind: Denying Insurance Coverage of Prenatal Tests Would Hurt Poor Women Most," Martha Kempner, RH Reality Check.
ATTACKS ON GIRL SCOUTS: "The Way the Girl Scout Cookies Crumble," Abby Rapoport, American Prospect: Rapoport cites a letter from Indiana state Rep. Bob Morris (R) that asks his colleagues to oppose a resolution celebrating the Girl Scouts' 100th anniversary because he claims the Girl Scouts "promote homosexual lifestyles" and are "becoming a tactical arm of Planned Parenthood." Rapoport notes that "no one seems to be supporting Morris," who claims were rebuked by state Girl Scout leaders. His attack "may actually ... give the Girl Scouts more popularity in time for their 100th anniversary," she adds (Rapoport, American Prospect, 2/22).
What others are saying about the attacks on Girl Scouts:
~ "Indiana Rep: Girl Scouts are 'Bent on Communism, Lesbianism and Destroying America,'" Michael Hayne, RH Reality Check.
~ "Virginia Church Bans Girl Scouts for Planned Parenthood Affiliation and Acceptance of LGBT Youth," Ximena Ramirez, Care2.
VIRGINIA ULTRASOUND BILL: "What Pro-Choice Advocates Learned From the Pro-Life Movement," Sarah Kliff, Washington Post's "Wonkblog": "Analysts say that a new political landscape, coupled with a shift in abortion-rights rhetoric," helped opponents of the Virginia ultrasound law push back against the measure, which could be indicative of a broader trend, Kliff writes. States passed a near-record number of abortion restrictions last year, but now "the national reproductive health debate has broadened to one about contraceptives and family planning, issues that abortion-rights advocates tend to have better success mobilizing around," she states. Abortion-rights supporters also are refining their rhetoric, Kliff adds, noting that even though the word "transvaginal" was not mentioned in the Virginia legislation, opponents of the measure successfully used the term to convey the procedure's invasive nature (Kliff, "Wonkblog," Washington Post, 2/22).
What others are saying about the Virginia ultrasound bill:
~ "State-Sanctioned Rape via Transvaginal Ultrasound: A Rape Victim's Perspective," Andy Kopsa, RH Reality Check.
~ "Ultrasounds, Abortion and 'Personhood' in Virginia," Katie Rogers, Washington Post's "The Buzz."
~ "Va.'s Antiabortion Bill: This is Conservatism?" Richard Cohen, Washington Post's "Post Partisan."
~ "Where Was the Outrage Over Texas's Sonogram Law?" Abby Rapoport, American Prospect.
~ "Really Pro-Life? Ban Masturbation, Require Penis Probes," Jordan Zakarin, Huffington Post blogs.
~ "Shorter Va. Governor: Women Should be Violated Over Belly, Not Through Vagina," Katie Halper, Feministing.
GAY RIGHTS: "No Roe for Gays," Ronald Brownstein, National Journal's "Political Connections": "America is hurtling toward a cultural partitioning in which gay marriage (or civil unions) is increasingly common in Democratic-leaning states while remaining taboo in Republican-leaning states," Brownstein writes, noting that the trend is similar to state abortion-rights legislation in the years proceeding Roe v. Wade. He suggests that a "period of state experimentation that integrates gay marriage into daily experience for more Americans offers the best chance of minimizing the divisions that persist over abortion, long after Roe" (Brownstein, "Political Connections," National Journal, 2/23).
PREGNANCY DISCRIMINATION: "The Plight of the Pregnant Surgeon," Pauline Chen, New York Times' "Well": Chen writes that when a surgical residency colleague became pregnant during her last year of training, she was asked to make up lost time after returning from maternity leave, while a male colleague returning to work after a broken leg was not. Her experience coincides with a recent study that found two-thirds of female surgeons felt that being pregnant during training could negatively affect or even jeopardize their careers (Chen, "Well," New York Times, 2/23).
Debra Ness, publisher & president, National Partnership
Andrea Friedman, associate editor & director of reproductive health programs, National Partnership
Marya Torrez, associate editor & senior reproductive health policy counsel, National Partnership
Melissa Safford, associate editor & policy advocate for reproductive health, National Partnership
Perry Sacks, assistant editor & health program associate, National Partnership
Cindy Romero, assistant editor & communications assistant, National Partnership
Justyn Ware, editor
Amanda Wolfe, editor-in-chief
Heather Drost, Hanna Jaquith, Marcelle Maginnis, Ashley Marchand and Michelle Stuckey, staff writers
Tucker Ball, director of new media, National Partnership