April 17, 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, NARAL and more.
STATE ABORTION RESTRICTIONS: "State Policy Trends: Abortion and Contraception in the Crosshairs," Rachel Benson Gold/Elizabeth Nash, RH Reality Check: Gold and Nash, both of the Guttmacher Institute, note that in the first quarter of 2012, "legislators introduced 944 provisions related to reproductive health and rights in 45 of the 46 legislatures that have convened this year." Half of the proposed measures would restrict abortion access. According to Gold and Nash, "legislators are particularly focused on measures that require a woman seeking an abortion to undergo an ultrasound; that limit access to medication abortion; and that prohibit abortion at a specific point in gestation," while many also are "considering measures allowing employers to refuse to provide insurance coverage for contraceptive methods" (Gold/Nash, RH Reality Check, 4/13).
DEFENSE OF REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH AND RIGHTS: "Saturday Salute, Courtesy of Kansas and North Carolina," NARAL Pro-Choice America's "Blog for Choice": "Blog for Choice" highlights "unsung heroes from Kansas and North Carolina," including the recipient of NARAL Pro-Choice North Carolina's Susan Hill Award, McCoy Faulkner, "who for 27 years has provided security to abortion rights organizations, clinics and high-profile advocates." The blog also notes that 100 citizens in Kansas' Miami County raised $9,500 "to ensure that people in their community who rely on family-planning services for contraception and other basic health care" would continue to receive it, after the county commission "voted to reject any federal funds related to family planning" ("Blog for Choice," NARAL Pro-Choice America, 4/14).
VA. ULTRASOUND LAW: "McDonnell's Forced Ultrasound Bill Awakens a Sleeping Giant -- Pro-Choice Virginians -- and They Are Going to the Polls," Tarina Keene, RH Reality Check: A poll by Quinnipiac University found that by a 52% to 41% margin, Virginia residents oppose the mandatory ultrasound required before an abortion under a new state law (HB 462), Keene reports. In addition, "72% of Virginians generally oppose laws that try to convince women seeking an abortion to change their minds," she writes. "This poll adds to the overwhelming evidence we've seen this year that once people understand the true intrusive nature and insulting intention of anti-choice laws like ultrasound mandates, they oppose this sort of government invasion into their private lives," she adds (Keene, RH Reality Check, 4/16).
TEXAS ATTACKS ON REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH: "Two Years in the Life of a Texas Planned Parenthood: 'We're Figuring This Out as we go,'" Sarah Kilff, Washingon Post's Wonkblog": "Over the past two years, Planned Parenthood has seen both its private and public funding come under siege like never before," and "[n]owhere in the country has this been more true than in Texas," Kliff writes. She spoke to Planned Parenthood of North Texas CEO Ken Lambrecht, whose organization was forced to close five clinics last year because of cuts in state funding. PPNT has been developing alternatives to provide care, such as establishing travel voucher programs for patients who no longer have a nearby clinic, providing more birth control prescriptions over the phone and considering larger facilities to lower overhead costs (Kliff, "Wonkblog," Washington Post, 4/15).
What others are saying about Texas attacks on reproductive health:
~ "When it Comes to Texas vs. Planned Parenthood, How Do You Know Who Is Winning?" Robin Marty, RH Reality Check.
~ "What's Behind Texas' Proposed New Abortion Reporting Requirements? No One Knows," Andrea Grimes, RH Reality Check.
WAR ON WOMEN: "Wars: Imagined and Real," Andrew Rosenthal, New York Times' "The Loyal Opposition": "Those on the right try to separate birth control issues from the broader spectrum of women's issues, but they're inextricably linked," Rosenthal writes in response to the "increasingly aggressive Republican-led assault on women's rights, starting with access to abortion and contraceptives." He notes that "Democrats are starting to get a little nervous about using the term War on Women," but "it's a good term, because that's what it is" (Rosenthal, "The Loyal Opposition," New York Times, 4/13).
ADOLESCENT HEALTH: "Abstinence Isn't Working," Tracy Clark-Flory, Salon: Clark-Flory writes about Janice Crouse of Concerned Women for America's outrage that a new CDC study showing a decline in teen birth rates didn't "even mention the fact that there's been a tremendous increase in effectiveness and pervasiveness of abstinence education." Clark-Flory notes that such programs have been "widely documented" to be "largely ineffective," adding that although it is true that teens are delaying sexual activity, the impact of an increase in teens' contraceptive use "has been much more profound" (Clark-Flory, Salon, 4/15).
What others are saying about adolescent health:
~ "Teen Birth Rates Are Down: 10 Proven Assertions About Why We're Succeeding," Lon Newman, RH Reality Check.
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