April 13, 2012 — We've compiled some of the most thought-provoking commentaries from around the Web. Catch up on the conversation with bloggers from RH Reality Check, Salon and more.
ADOLESCENT HEALTH: "Teens Given the Opportunity To Know the Facts Before Engaging in the Acts," Emma Beall, RH Reality Check: Although people ages 15 to 24 make up just 25% of the sexually active population in the U.S., they acquire 50% of the approximately 19 million sexually transmitted infections that occur each year, Beall writes. She notes that "just as some teens don't know the facts about teen pregnancy, others have no information about" STIs. She concludes, "Teaching teens about safe sex opens up the lines of communication while providing teens with important information" and raising awareness about sexual health (Beall, RH Reality Check, 4/11).
What others are saying about adolescent health:
~ "Teen Birth Rate Down; Thanks, Contraception!" Amanda Marcotte, Slate's "XX Factor."
~ "Protecting our Daughters From Government Intrusion: The Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act," Morgan Meneses-Sheets, RH Reality Check.
~ "America's Teen Birth Rate is at a New Low -- and Still 10 Times Higher Than Switzerland's," Sarah Kliff, Washington Post's "Wonkblog."
WAR ON WOMEN: "In Defense of my Body, Health & Choices," Jacquie Marroquin, Huffington Post blogs: "If we are going to fight back against the assault on women, we must be impolite. If fact, we must be downright vulgar and unreasonable in defense of our bodies, our health and our choices," writes Marroquin, a program coordinator with the California Partnership to End Domestic Violence. "Let me be crystal clear with both Republican and Democrat[ic] politicians: Your insistence to legislate women's health and reproductive choice is not up for discussion," she adds (Marroquin, Huffington Post blogs, 4/12).
What others are saying about the war on women:
~ "Romney Owns the War on Women," Jamelle Bouie, American Prospect.
~ "Reproductive Health Laws Prove GOP 'War on Women' is no Fiction," Zerlina Maxwell, U.S. News & World Report's "Debate Club."
~ "War on Caterpillars? Absurd. GOP War on Women? Reality." Stephanie Schriock, Huffington Post blogs.
ABORTION AND CONTRACEPTION ACCESS: "Abortion Options Fade in South," Irin Carmon, Salon: Carmon writes, "Of all the innovative abortion restrictions passed from state to state, so-called TRAP laws -- targeted regulation of abortion providers, which impose expensive and often unenforceable restrictions that other outpatient facilities aren't subject to -- may be the most insidious and the most effective." In Mississippi -- where a TRAP bill could force the closure of the state's only abortion clinic -- and neighboring Alabama -- where another clinic has been targeted for closure -- women are "slated to have fewer safe options to end a pregnancy than they have in decades," she adds (Carmon, Salon, 4/12).
What others are saying about abortion and contraception access:
~ "Volunteer Abortion Funds Ramp Up in New York, Nationally," Mary Lou Greenberg, Feministe.
~ "Sign On To Support Native American Women's Access to Emergency Contraception," Rachel Walden, Our Bodies Our Blog.
ARIZONA ANTIABORTION LAW: "What to Expect if You're Expecting in Arizona," Ali MacLean, Huffington Post blogs: Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer (R) on Thursday signed into law a bill (HB 2036) that will define gestational age as beginning on the first day of a woman's last menstrual cycle, rather than at fertilization. "[T]his means the woman only has 18 weeks, not 20 weeks, to decide to terminate a pregnancy because ... the baby's life would start the first day of the mother's last period. The baby would exist before the mother committed the act," MacLean explains (MacLean, Huffington Post blogs, 4/11).
What others are saying about Arizona's antiabortion law:
~ "Arizona's New Abortion Law Doesn't do What Everyone Thinks it Does," Dashiell Bennett, The Atlantic's "The Atlantic Wire."
REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS MOVEMENT: "How Did Women's Health Advocates Start a Movement?" Nicole Levitz, RH Reality Check: Levitz writes about Voices from the Women's Health Movement, a book co-edited by Laura Eldridge and Barbara Seamen, who died in 2008. The book -- which includes essays on "a wide range of topics one expects from a book about women's health, like birth control, motherhood, menopause and menstruation" -- will allow "young women's health activists to continue to learn from Seamen, even though she's gone," Levitz writes (Levitz, RH Reality Check, 4/12).
HUMAN RIGHTS AND REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS: "Deserving vs. Undeserving? Everyone 'Deserves' Human Rights," Marianne Mollmann, Huffington Post blogs: The presidential election so far has framed most issues, including abortion, "in terms of separating the deserving from the undeserving," which "misses the point in two key ways," Mollmann writes. First, she notes, the "issues at hand are basic human rights and not dependent on who 'deserves' what." Second, "as a political process, it is ineffectual to focus policy debates on whether or not specific people deserve the services and public goods they clearly need" (Mollmann, Huffington Post blogs, 4/12).
RELIGIOUS FREEDOM AND REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS: "Whose Religious Freedom?" Louise Melling, American Civil Liberties Union's "Blog of Rights": "The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) would like you to think [the right to religious freedom] is in peril," Melling writes. However, recent events, including a recent court ruling, "confirm[ed]" that religious freedom in America is alive and well." The court affirmed that USCCB could not restrict human trafficking survivors' access to reproductive health services under grants it received from the government and that the government can limit USCCB's "right to use taxpayer money to impose its beliefs on others" (Melling, "Blog of Rights," American Civil Liberties Union, 4/11).
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