February 28, 2012 — We've compiled some of the most thought-provoking commentaries from around the Web. Catch up on the conversation with bloggers from Slate, RH Reality Check; and more.
STATE NEWS: "The Consequences of Conscience-Based Sex Education," J. Bryan Lowder, Slate's "XX Factor": "Utah's Legislature is on its way to approving an incredibly restrictive and convoluted sex education bill that would allow schools to choose whether they offer the classes at all," Lowder writes. Lowder questions what will happen, "when some students receive sound, thorough instruction and others are left out." Lowder adds that "if teachers -- all teachers -- aren't providing the same basic instruction to all students, then teens will fill in the gaps among themselves," which could "be more dangerous than no information at all" (Lowder, "XX Factor," Slate, 2/24).
What others are saying about state news:
~ "State Sen. Coleman on Alabama's Mandated Ultrasound Bill: 'It's Rape,'" Andy Kopsa, RH Reality Check.
~ "Women's PAC Formed Following Abortion Legislation," Anita Kumar, Washington Post's "Virginia Politics."
~ "McDonnell: I Backpedaled on Ultrasound Bill After Cuccinelli Told Me It's Unconstitutional," Igor Volsky, ThinkProgress.
~ "South Dakota Legislature Makes Bad Abortion Bill ... Worse," Kari Ann Rinker, RH Reality Check.
~ "Judge Rules Pharmacists Can Refuse To Sell Emergency Contraception," Maya Dusenbery, Feministing.
~ "Texas's War on Women," Kristen Schuetz, Ms. Magazine blog.
2012 ELECTION: "Rick Santorum, Meet My Son," Emily Rapp, Slate's "Double X": Rapp argues against Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum's "assertions that prenatal testing increases the number of abortions (a this equals that equation), and for this reason, the moral viability or inherent value of these tests should be questioned." Rapp writes that if she would have known while she was pregnant that her son would have the degenerative disease Tay-Sachs, she "would have had an abortion. Without question and without regret," to spare him from a life of "intense suffering." She is grateful for her son but feels that "no person should suffer this way -- daily seizures, blindness, lack of movement, inability to swallow, a devastated brain -- with no hope for a cure. Both of these statements are categorically true; neither one is mutually exclusive" (Rapp, "Double X," Slate, 2/27).
What others are saying about the 2012 election:
~ "Patrick Kennedy to Scott Brown: Stop Citing My Father," Naftali Bendavid, Wall Street Journal's "Washington Wire."
"Gillibrand Challenger: No One Would Notice if Roe v. Wade Were Overturned," Alex Seitz-Wald, ThinkProgress.
~ "Is 'Pro-Life Super PAC' a Personhood Front Group?" Robin Marty, Care2.
INFERTILITY: "An Alternative to Fertility Financing: Insurance Coverage of Fertility Treatment," Mara Gandal-Powers, National Women's Law Center blog: Although infertility treatments are costly, "studies have shown that insurance coverage of [the] treatments actually reduces long-term costs," Gandal-Powers writes. She explains, "[W]hen insurance coverage enables patients to have a single embryo transferred without worry [and] this will be their only chance at conceiving, the result is fewer cases of multiples, fewer pregnant women with preeclampsia or gestational diabetes, fewer premature births, and fewer low-birthweight babies" (Gandal-Powers, National Women's Law Center blog, 2/24).
What others are saying about infertility:
~ "Pope Says Couples Who Conceive Through In-Vitro Fertilization are Guilty of Arrogance," Jon O'Brien, RH Reality Check.
CONTRACEPTIVE COVERAGE: "Is the Blunt Amendment Constitutional?" Annamarya Scaccia, RH Reality Check: Scaccia examines arguments related to the constitutionality of a proposal by Rep. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) that would allow health plans and employers to deny coverage of any service for moral or religious reasons. Opponents of the measure, including the American Civil Liberties Union, argue that although employers have the freedom to believe certain aspects of health care are immoral, they do not have a right to impose that belief on their employees by insisting that they follow the tenets of the faith (Scaccia, RH Reality Check, 2/27).
What others are saying about contraceptive coverage:
~ "Which Catholic Institutions Cover Birth Control?" Kate Sheppard, Mother Jones' "Mojo."
~ "Blunt Instruments, Transvaginal Probes, and What's at Stake," Sue Hyde, Huffington Post blogs.
~ "Four Ways To Show How the 'Religious Liberty' Claim Against Contraceptive Coverage is Nonsense," Amanda Marcotte, RH Reality Check.
~ "Why The Republican AG's Anti-Birth Control Lawsuits Should be Over Before They Even Start," Ian Millhiser, ThinkProgress.
~ "Rep. Issa Concedes His All-Male Anti-Contraception Hearing was Not 'My Greatest Success,'" Scott Keyes, ThinkProgress.
IUDS: "Americans Get Reacquainted With IUDs," Jane Brody, New York Times' "Well": "[T]he intrauterine device is making a major comeback in the United States," Brody writes, noting that the number of IUD users in the U.S. has more than tripled over the past 10 years. However, she writes that "lingering effects of a bad rep that IUDs no longer deserve may still be keeping millions of American women from choosing these devices from the cafeteria of contraceptive choices" (Brody, "Well," New York Times, 2/27).
GLOBAL WOMEN'S HEALTH: "Prioritizing Reproductive Health, Empowering Women and Girls," Sarah Costa, Huffington Post blogs: Next week's session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women will focus on the "empowerment of rural women and their role in ending poverty and hunger," Costa, executive director of the Women's Refugee Commission, writes. According to Costa, WRC "will be advocating that the concerns of the displaced be fully integrated in the CSW's delegates' deliberations" and pushing "for a renewed commitment to quality reproductive health care," especially family planning (Costa, Huffington Post blogs, 2/24).
DRUG USE DURING PREGNANCY: "Sensationalizing Drug Use in Pregnant Women: How the Media Perpetuates Racist and Ineffective Policies," Marianne Mollmann, RH Reality Check: The media's "kneejerk reaction" of blaming low birthweight, infant mortality and early childhood health problems on illegal drug use by pregnant women "is unhelpful for a number of reasons," Amnesty International's Mollmann writes, noting that "a pregnant woman's use of illicit drugs is neither the only nor the most damaging pregnancy phenomenon from the point of view of the infant." She adds that "the prosecution of drug use in pregnant women does nothing to fulfill a legitimate policy goal and in fact seems to be racially motivated -- at least in the implementation -- rather than spurred by a concern for children" (Mollmann, RH Reality Check, 2/24).
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