March 2, 2012 — We've compiled some of the most thought-provoking commentaries from around the Web. Catch up on the conversation with bloggers from National Women's Law Center, the Huffington Post and more.
BLUNT AMENDMENT: "Blunt Amendment 'Restores' Something -- Just Not What It's Supporters Say it Does," Mara Gandal-Powers, National Women's Law Center blog: Gandal-Powers writes that supporters of the Blunt amendment claimed they wanted to "'restore conscience rights' that existed before the health care reform law." She adds, "The problem is, however, that the actual language in the Blunt amendment creates a refusal right that would allow a health plan or employer to refuse to provide insurance coverage for any item or service required by the health care reform law. Before the health care reform law, no such refusal right existed." She notes that prior to the health reform law, "refusal happened all the time," in the form of "insurance companies refusing coverage for things they didn't find profitable ... and that was a big part of the problem that the health care reform law was meant to address" (Gandal-Powers, NWLC blog, 2/29).
What others are saying about the Blunt amendment:
~ "Blunt Amendment Debate Recalls Memories of Walmart Contraception Case," Laura Bassett, Huffington Post blogs.
~ "GOP Attempt To Quash Contraception Coverage Fails for Now but Begs the Question: What if There Were 83 Women Senators?" Christine Cupaiuolo, Our Bodies, Our Blog.
~ "A Well-Deserved Defeat for the Religious Right," Andrew Rosenthal, New York Times "Loyal Opposition."
~ "Victory! Senate Blocks Dangerous Blunt Amendment," Sarah Lipton-Lubet, American Civil Liberties Union's "Washington Markup."
~ "Senate Kills Blunt's Anti-Contraception Amendment," Igor Volsky, ThinkProgress.
CONTRACEPTIVE COVERAGE: "No Right Door on Birth Control," Andrea Kane, Huffington Post blogs: Kane addresses "common misperceptions" in the contraceptive coverage debate, such as that any woman can "just go to a clinic to get birth control" inexpensively, that "[b]irth control is cheap and easily available" and that a woman could "just go to the drugstore and buy birth control" if her employer's health plan did not cover it. "The current, senseless uproar has ... revealed a profound lack of understanding -- especially on the part of many men -- about contraception and how it actually works for real women," Kane writes (Kane, Huffington Post blogs, 2/28).
What others are saying about contraceptive coverage:
~ "Women of Color Benefit From Contraceptive Coverage in Employer Plans," Jessica Arons/Lucy Panza, Huffington Post blogs.
~ "Women Don't See GOP's War on Contraceptives as About Religion," Susan Milligan, U.S. News & World Report blogs.
~ "GOP Rep. on Birth Control: 'We're Not Talking About Scientists, I'm Asking About Religious Belief!" Igor Volsky, ThinkProgress.
~ "Here are the Women," Sandra Fluke, The Hill's "Congress Blog."
~ "Can We Get the Government Out of Our Exam Room?" Ami Bera, Huffington Post blogs.
CONDOM USE: "Want to Get Young Women To Use Condoms? Give Them Money," Jessica Grose, Slate's "XX Factor": Grose writes that a study published in the Journal of Adolescent Health "shows that teenage girls whose primary source of spending money is a boyfriend are less likely to use condoms by a significant margin" and that "young women are less likely to use condoms if their boyfriend has a car." She adds that "what's particularly notable about the study is that the socioeconomic status of a teenager's family had no impact on whether they would use condoms"; rather, condom use "was all based on their personal 'human and financial capital,' which the study defines as level of education and employment status" (Grose, "XX Factor," Slate, 3/1).
What others are saying about condom use:
~ "Poking Holes: Too Many Condom Users are Making Mistakes," Martha Kempner, RH Reality Check.
GLOBAL HEALTH OF WOMEN AND GIRLS: "Understanding the Girl Effect," Jill Sheffield, RH Reality Check: Sheffield responds to a recent post on The Guardian's "Poverty Matters Blog," where the blogger "questions the contributions that girls and young women can make to economies when they delay childbirth" and claims that the "so-called 'Girl Effect' of delaying childbirth does not necessarily 'stop poverty before it starts.'" Sheffield writes that the Girl Effect is "about much more than adolescent fertility" and that it is "an amalgamation" of improvements in three areas: security, health and power. "In isolation, these results may not be able to end poverty; but as a whole, they have the incredible power to transform our world, one girl at a time" (Sheffield, RH Reality Check, 2/27).
What others are saying about the global health of women and girls:
~ "Protecting Women and Their Children Around the World," Valerie Jarrett, Huffington Post blogs.
~ "Giving New and Expecting Moms Power in The Palm of Their Hands," Tina Sharkey, Huffington Post blogs.
RUSH LIMBAUGH: "Limbaugh: A National Disgrace," Joe Peyronnin, Huffington Post blogs: Peyronnin, an New York University journalism professor, blasts conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh for criticizing and degrading Georgetown law student Sandra Fluke, who has spoken out in support of the federal contraceptive coverage rules. Among his many attacks on Fluke, Limbaugh called her a "slut" and said, "If we are going to pay for your contraceptives, and thus pay you to have sex, we want something for it. We want you [to] post the videos online so we can all watch." Peyronnin notes that 75 congressional lawmakers sent a letter to House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) calling for GOP leaders to condemn the remarks, "[b]ut the Republican Party appears to have a tin ear when it comes to women's health issues, especially contraception" (Peyronnin, Huffington Post blogs, 3/1).
What others are saying about Limbaugh:
~ "Rush Limbaugh Attacks Sandra Fluke and Pro-Choice Women Everywhere," Kirsten, Blog for Choice.
~ "Limbaugh Calls Sandra Fluke a 'Slut' for her Birth Control Advocacy," Ms. Magazine blog.
~ "Dems Ask Boehner To Rebuke Limbaugh Over 'Slut' Comments," Jonathan Easley/Sam Baker, The Hill's "Blog Briefing Room."
~ "Rush Limbaugh: I'll Buy Georgetown Women 'as Much Aspirin To Put Between Their Knees as They Want,'" Laura Bassett/Jennifer Bendery, Huffington Post blogs.
ATTACKS ON REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS IN THE STATES: "Don't Give Up on Anti-Choice States: An Example From Idaho," Sara Kiesler, Planned Parenthood Action Fund's "Women Are Watching": Kiesler, a communications specialist at Planned Parenthood Votes Northwest, writes that "voters hold the power to decide when legislation has gone too far." She adds, "Idaho recently reiterated this sentiment, proving that taking a stand, even in a conservative state, to protect women's access to comprehensive health care can absolutely make a difference." After Idaho residents spoke out against a bill that would allow employers to deny coverage of contraceptin for any reason, a House committee "realized an attack on contraception was not a winning issue, and voted to table the bill, which essentially killed it," although a revised version is being drafted, Kiesler writes (Kiesler, "Women Are Watching," Planned Parenthood Action Fund, 3/1).
What others are saying about attacks on reproductive rights in the states:
~ "Wisconsin GOP Bill: Single-Parenthood Contributes to Child Abuse," Alex Seitz-Wald, ThinkProgress.
~ "Utah Joins the War on Contraception," Jodi Lustig, Feminists for Choice.
~ "California Lawmaker: Expanding Access to Abortion is Like Returning to Back Alleys," Robin Marty, Care2.
~ "Mandatory Ultrasound vs. HPV Vaccine: Virginia Lawmakers Debate Government Overreach," Laura Bassett, Huffington Post blogs.
~ "New Rule for Vaginaphobes: If You Can't Say It, You Can't Probe It!" Katie Halper, Feministing.
~ "Virginia GOP Fails To Pass Abortion Bill Targeting Poor Women," Jessica Pieklo, Care2.
~ "'Discomfort' is the Point of Transvaginal Ultrasound Bill, Sponsor Said," Robin Marty, Care2.
~ "Alabama Lawmaker Backs Down, Changes Invasive Ultrasound Bill," Igor Volsky, ThinkProgress.
~ "Telemedicine is a Safe and Effective Way of Delivering Medical Abortion Care," Vicki Saporta, National Abortion Federation's "Saporta Reporter."
~ "Pennsylvania Legislators Considering One of the Most Far-Reaching Ultrasound Bills in the Nation," Amanda Peterson Beadle, ThinkProgress.
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