May 15, 2012 — We've compiled some of the most thought-provoking commentaries from around the Web. Catch up on the conversation with bloggers from Care2, RH Reality Check and more.
CATHOLIC BISHOPS' INVESTIGATION OF GIRL SCOUTS: "Girl Scouts Targeted by Catholic Bishops," Sarah Vrba, Care2: The U.S. Conference on Catholic Bishops has launched an investigation into the Girl Scouts of America, "trawling through a wide variety of program materials and liaisons that the Catholic Church finds problematic in order to make requests about changing the materials," Vrba writes. She adds that the Girl Scouts' "inclusive, cooperative message" -- including that the organization accepts girls from any religious background and allowed a transgender girl to join a troop -- "may just be the central tension between the Catholic Church and the often flexible" organization (Vrba, Care2, 5/11).
What others are saying about the bishops' investigation of Girl Scouts:
~ "First Nuns and Girl Scouts, Next Dora the Explorer," Andrew Rosenthal, New York Times' "Taking Note."
~ "Catholic Bishops Engage in Witch-Hunt Against Girl Scouts," Fatima Naijy, ThinkProgress.
MOTHER'S DAY: "Moms Need Abortion Access Too," Phyllida Burlingame, RH Reality Check: "To anti-choice activists, talking about abortion in the context of mothers' day would seem an oxymoron at best," Burlingame writes. "But, contrary to popular stereotypes about who gets abortions in our country, data show that the majority of women who terminate pregnancies already have children, and many cite the need to care for their children as a significant contributor to their decision," she continues. Burlingame points to a California bill that would have allowed some non-physicians to provide early abortions as an example of legislation that would help ensure more women have access to timely, affordable abortion care (Burlingame, RH Reality Check, 5/13).
What others are saying about Mother's Day:
~ "Obamacare: A Mother’s Day Gift for all Moms Throughout the U.S.," Jessica Arons, ThinkProgress.
~ "On Mother's Day, the Gift of Family Planning," W. Henry Mosley, Washington Post's "Guest Voices."
~ "Why Access to Abortion Care is Such an Urgent Need for Mothers Worldwide," Britt Wahlin, RH Reality Check.
~ "The State of the World's Mothers," Suzi Parrasch, Care2.
~ "Respecting Moms on Mother's Day," Tiseme Zegeye, American Civil Liberties Union's "Blog of Rights."
~ "Young Mamas Need Support, not Stigma," Veronica Bayetti Flores, Ms. Magazine blog.
~ "Giving Mothers a Very Special Gift," Eric Goosby, Huffington Post blogs.
FAITH AND REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH: "Faith Leaders Support Reproductive Justice," Sally Steenland, Huffington Post blogs: "Religion and reproductive rights are usually pitted against each other in public debates and the media. But in real life, they are not on opposite sides," writes Steenland, director of the Center for American Progress' Faith and Progressive Policy Initiative, which is training leaders from mainline Protestant denominations on how to strengthen their work on reproductive justice issues. "For many faith advocates, reproductive justice is intrinsically connected to the work they do in other areas such as health care, education, the environment, the economy and more," she adds (Steenland, Huffington Post blogs, 5/4).
SHACKLING: "Unchain My Heart: The Shackling of Pregnant Women in Prison Needs To Stop," Karen Shain, RH Reality Check: Despite support in the Legislature and from the prison guards union, California governors for two consecutive years have vetoed bills that would have banned shackling of pregnant women in prisons, Shain writes. Advocates are attempting to pass another bill this year that would prohibit the use of belly chains, leg irons or handcuffs behind the back for pregnant, incarcerated women (Shain, RH Reality Check, 5/11).
VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN ACT: "House Bill on Violence Would Hand Power to Abusers of Immigrant Women and Allow Criminal Prosecution of Victims," Mony Ruiz-Velasco, RH Reality Check: A House bill (HR 4970) approved in committee last week to reauthorize VAWA "erodes protections available to immigrant victims" by removing a provision that allows them to apply for legal status on their own, without the knowledge of an abusive spouse, according to Ruiz-Velasco, an immigration attorney. "I cannot imagine a situation where I would advise a client to apply for protection under VAWA if HR 4970 becomes the law," she said, adding, "The risk to their safety would be too great and they would not be able to achieve permanent protection from dangerous abusers" (Ruiz-Velasco, RH Reality Check, 5/14).
What others are saying about the Violence Against Women Act:
~ "Republican Partisan Bill H.R. 4970 Will Make Life More Difficult for Domestic Abuse Victims," Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), RH Reality Check.
~ "VAWA Saved my Life. Now House Republicans are Pushing for Changes That Will Leave Others Like me Vulnerable," Erika Anonymous, RH Reality Check.
ABSTINENCE-ONLY EDUCATION: "Just Say Yes ... To Sexist Stereotyping?" Katherine Stewart, Ms. Magazine blog: Stewart notes that many abstinence-only sex education programs "make cheerful use of gender stereotypes," such as that a "woman who 'shows a lot of skin' is either 'ignorant when it comes to guys,' is cruelly 'teasing' men, or is 'giving her boyfriend an open invitation' to have sex with her." These messages place "the responsibility for policing the boundaries of sexual behavior" on women, suggesting that men "can hardly be expected to control themselves" (Stewart, Ms. Magazine blog, 5/10).
What others are saying about abstinence only education:
~ "Because of Abstinence Education, 60 Percent of Young Adults are Misinformed About Birth Control's Effectiveness," Tara Culp-Ressler, 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