May 1, 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, Feministe and more.
RESPONSES TO ATTACKS ON REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS: "Abortion and Contraception Protect Women's Health: That's an Incontrovertible Medical Truth," Jen Russo, RH Reality Check: Reproductive-rights advocates "understand that women rely on birth control and abortion for their health and their self-determination," and "that every woman deserves the best possible medical options for her reproductive health," Russo, a fellow with Physicians for Reproductive Choice and Health, says in a transcript of a speech she gave at a recent Unite Against the War on Women rally. She adds, "The same political figures who talk about getting government out of our personal lives have no problem dictating what happens in a woman's vagina" or "telling them that abortion causes breast cancer and depression, that it will ruin their fertility," despite "[m]ountains of medical evidence" that show "abortion has no connection to breast cancer or depression, and having an abortion doesn't affect a woman's chances of becoming pregnant again" (Russo, RH Reality Check, 4/30).
What others are saying about responses to attacks on reproductive rights:
~ "California Bill To Expand Access to Safe Abortion Care Gets Stuck in Committee," Robin Marty, RH Reality Check.
~ "Mississippi 'Heartbeat Ban' Off the Table for 2012," Marty, RH Reality Check.
~ "Enough is Enough! A Doctor Calls for Keeping the Government Out of Your Private Medical Decisions," Lori Gawron, RH Reality Check.
~ "Feminist Advocacy and Social Media (or How we Achieved Critical Mass)," Echo Zen, Feministe.
~ "United Against the War on Women," Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Huffington Post blogs.
STD AWARENESS MONTH: "The Centers for Disease Control's New Priorities for STD Prevention," Gail Bolan, RH Reality Check: Bolan -- director of the Sexually Transmitted Disease Prevention Program at CDC -- highlights new CDC priorities on preventing sexually transmitted infections among adolescents and young adults. "Research shows that adolescent patients feel primary care settings are an appropriate place to discuss sexual health and would like their providers to initiate such discussions," Gail writes. She lists several suggestions for health care providers who treat young people, such as maintaining a culture of confidentiality and encouraging testing among patients who are sexually active (Bolan, RH Reality Check, 4/28).
'PERSONHOOD': "Are Anti-Choice Groups Finally Pushing Lawmakers too Hard?" Robin Marty, RH Reality Check: Supporters of the Oklahoma "personhood" movement recently angered their political allies by trying to "strong arm them into voting on a bill they simply did not want to hear," Marty writes. She notes that the personhood advocates have since apologized, adding, "When your movement leader has to kiss and make up with his own political allies, you know a group's popularity -- and their legislation -- is in the toilet" (Marty, RH Reality Check, 4/30).
What others are saying about personhood:
~ "Oklahoma 'Egg-as-Person' Ballot Initiative Ruled Unconstitutional," Marty, RH Reality Check.
CONTRACEPTION: "Dear Republicans: Contraception Is an Economic Issue," Laura Chapin, U.S. News & World Report blogs: Although Republicans have "spent a lot of time insisting that contraception isn't a real issue for women voters," in reality, "[t]here is no more fundamental economic issue for women than determining if and when they will have children," Chapin writes. She continues, "The Pill was the catalyst for ... the full entry of women into the American workforce because, for the first time in history, women could themselves control their own reproduction" (Chapin, U.S. News & World Report, 4/30).
What others are saying about contraception:
~ "Georgetown University President: We Will Continue Providing Birth Control to our Employees," Igor Volsky, ThinkProgress.
U.N. COMMISSION ON POPULATION AND DEVELOPMENT: "Dispatches From CPD 2012: Final Successes, Limitations and a Call for Accountability," Dave, RH Reality Check: Dave lists several positive aspects of the outcome document produced at the United Nations Commission on Population and Development's annual meeting last week, including that it "highlights the importance of 'comprehensive education about human sexuality;'" emphasizes "the importance of safe abortion care," acknowledges "that parental consent for accessing services and information is not always appropriate," and "[p]reserves language concerning discrimination." However, some important issues are not mentioned in the document, including sexual rights, sexual orientation and gender identity, and global access to safe abortion (Dave, RH Reality Check, 4/29).
What others are saying about the Commission on Population and Development:
~ "Dispatches from [CPD] 2012: Why Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights are not 'Anti-Family,'" Yoli Sanchez Neyoy, RH Reality Check.
VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN ACT: "Why the Violence Against Women Act is a LGBT Issue," Suzy Khimm, Washington Post's "Wonkblog": "The rate of domestic violence among [lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender] couples is about the same as for heterosexual ones, ... [b]ut LGBT victims are significantly less likely to seek out help," Khimm writes, adding that "45% of them have been turned away from domestic violence shelters and only 7% call the police after an incident of domestic violence." Khimm notes that opponents of a Violence Against Women Act reauthorization bill that would "include greater support for LGBT victims, immigrants and Native American women" have accused "Democrats of using the issue to fire up the base in a big election year." However, "advocates and survivors of domestic abuse don't believe that's the case," she writes (Khimm, "Wonkblog," Washington Post, 4/30).
PLANNED PARENTHOOD: "This Should be Good News for Texas Planned Parenthood (but Isn't)," Abby Rapoport, American Prospect: A judge's ruling that "Texas cannot exclude Planned Parenthood from its Women's Health Program" is "seemingly good news for the organization," Rapoport writes. However, it "[t]urns out, if Planned Parenthood wins its lawsuit, state officials will simply end the program entirely," she writes, adding, "It's a lose-lose for the organization" and a "lose-lose for low-income women" (Rapoport, American Prospect, 4/30).
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