May 4, 2012 — We've compiled some of the most thought-provoking commentaries from around the Web. Catch up on the conversation with bloggers from Feminists for Choice, The Nation and more.
REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS HISTORY: "My Body: Your Choice? How Men Control and Dominate Women's Bodies," Elin Weiss/Hennie Weiss, Feminists for Choice: "As outraged as many women and men were over the exclusion of females" from a recent congressional hearing on women's contraceptive coverage, Weiss and Weiss note that "men's control over women's bodies is not a new phenomenon." They discuss several "historical examples that showcase men's influence and control over women's rights and choices," explaining how "male control over women's bodies and choices has not always been based on knowledge or competence but simply has concerned men's need to control women" (Weiss/Weiss, Feminists for Choice, 5/3).
RELIGION AND REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH: "Why Religious People Should Support the Rights of Women in Reproductive Decisions," Harry Knox, Huffington Post blogs: Knox, interim executive director of Integrity USA, argues that "religious people should support the rights of women to make decisions about bearing children, including about abortion and birth control." He continues, "In my view, it is sinful to turn away from women who are struggling to make the best decision for themselves, their families and perhaps their future children," adding, "There is nothing holy about silence in the face of human struggle and there is certainly nothing religious about shaming a woman who has an abortion" (Knox, Huffington Post blogs, 5/3).
What others are saying about religion and reproductive health:
~ "Fighting Fire With Water: The Christian Role in the War on Women," Nynia Chance, RH Reality Check.
~ "Striking at the Source of the War on Women," Robert McElvaine, Huffington Post blogs.
FEMINISM AND THE PROGRESSIVE MOVEMENT: "Women: Occupy the Left," Katha Pollitt, The Nation: "Women's rights have always been a bit of an add-on for the left," Pollitt writes, noting that the Occupy Wall Street movement "mentioned women's inequality only in the context of the workplace" and largely did not address women's reproductive health issues. However, she writes that the high cost of birth control, childbirth and abortion, as well as the effect of childbearing on women's education, all point to the fact that women's reproductive health is not just "'culture war' theater" but "an economic issue" (Pollitt, The Nation, 3/2).
ADOLESCENT HEALTH: "United Nations Adopts Landmark Resolution on Adolescents and Youth," International Planned Parenthood Federation/Western Hemisphere Region, RH Reality Check: Last Friday at a United Nations Commission on Population and Development meeting, "member states issued a bold resolution in support of young people's sexual and reproductive health and human rights," IPPFWHR writes. Key points in the final resolution include the right of young people to "decide on all matters related to their sexuality" and "[a]ccess to sexual and reproductive health services." The members also pledged to protect young people's right to have "comprehensive sexuality education" and the "to control their sexuality free from violence, discrimination and coercion" (IPPFWHR, RH Reality Check, 5/3).
What others are saying about adolescent health:
~ "Marriage Promotion for Eighth Graders: Even Among Abstinence-Only Programs, Heritage Keepers Stands Out," Martha Kempner, RH Reality Check.
~ "Is New Sex-Education Course Too Much or Just Enough?" New York Times' "Schoolbook."
ABORTION-RIGHTS OPPONENTS: "State of Alabama Harasses and Seeks To Close Abortion Clinic, While Women die Needlessly in Childbirth," Ann Rose, RH Reality Check: "If Alabama [officials] really, really cared about women, they would investigate the many deaths of women in childbirth," Rose writes, noting that "nearly 12 Alabama women die from maternal mortality for every 100,000 live births." Instead, the Alabama Department of Public Health "went on a witch hunt with the express purpose of shutting down" a Birmingham, Ala., abortion clinic, Rose writes, describing the department's investigation of a clinic owned by Diane Derzis and its denial of a license to the clinic's new management (Rose, RH Reality Check, 5/2).
What others are saying about abortion-rights opponents:
~ "Anti-Choice Zealots Convene in Fargo, Hoping To Close State's Only Clinic," Robin Marty, RH Reality Check.
~ "Anti-Choice Group Traumatizes School Children," Jessica Pieklo, Care2.
~ "Anti-Choice Bill Sponsor in Minnesota: Viagra is a 'Wonderful Drug' That 'Helps Create Life,'" Maya, Feministing.
~ "On 'Limbaugh's Team,' Deeply Partisan Fifth Circuit Judge Blocks Federal Ruling in Favor of Planned Parenthood," Andrea Grimes, RH Reality Check.
MATERNAL MORTALITY: "Maternal Mortality Rising in the U.S.? What About Mother's Day?" Mary Anne Mercer, Huffington Post blogs: With Mother's Day approaching, Mercer draws attention to the rising rate of maternal mortality in the U.S., stressing the need for affordable preventive care and access to parental leave for all women. "Not long ago we could celebrate how well we supported pregnancy and the birth process," Mercer writes, noting that in 1980, there were 12 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births in the U.S. and Canada, but by 2008, the rate had increased by 50% (Mercer, Huffington Post blogs, 5/2).
What others are saying about maternal mortality:
~"Taking Charge," Ifeyinwa Madu Egwaoje, Huffington Post blogs.
~"Improving Maternal Healthcare, One Song at a Time," Kristi York Wooten/Christy Turlington
Burns, Huffington Post blogs.
Debra Ness, publisher & president, National Partnership
Andrea Friedman, associate editor & director of reproductive health programs, 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