June 22, 2012 — We've compiled some of the most thought-provoking commentaries from around the Web. Catch up on the conversation with bloggers from Huffington Post, ACLU and more.
MICHIGAN ANTIABORTION DEBATE: "How Censorship of the Word 'Vagina' by the Michigan House of Representatives Is Related to Child Sexual Abuse," Claudia Trevor-Wright, RH Reality Check: In an open letter to Michigan House leaders for silencing female legislators as part of an antiabortion debate, Trevor-Wright questions the message sent to children when "grown men find the use of the word 'vagina' -- the medically accurate term for that part of the human body -- to constitute a lack of decorum." She notes that 93% of minors who are victims of sexual violence are attacked by trusted adults, such as family members and acquaintances, but most cases go unreported because children are ashamed, confused or blame themselves for the abuse. The Michigan House leaders' squeamishness over medically accurate languages "perpetuate[s] an environment in which silences thrives, and predators serially offend for years uninterrupted" (Trevor-Wright, RH Reality Check, 6/21).
What others are saying about the Michigan antiabortion debate:
~ "Ban the Vagina?" Dennis Miller, Huffington Post blogs.
PREGNANT AND PARENTING MINORS: "Quilting is not Geometry: Pregnant and Parenting Teens' Deserve an Education Free From Discrimination," Tiseme Zegeye, American Civil Liberties Union's "Blog of Rights": In marking the 40th anniversary of Title IX -- the 1972 law "that prohibits sex discrimination in federally funded education programs and activities" -- Zegeye urges its supporters to "hold schools accountable and let students know of their right to an education free from discrimination." Zegeye notes that a recent report from the National Women's Law Center found that pregnant and parenting "students are often barred from classes and activities, penalized for absences related to pregnancy and child-care obligations, and refused homebound instruction." Further, teens often are pushed into "alternative programs" of inferior quality, Zegeye adds (Zegeye, "Blog of Rights," ACLU, 6/21).
What others are saying about pregnant and parenting minors:
~ "Teen Pregnancy: Yet Another Economic Drain," Meghan Lewis, Care2.
HYDE AMENDMENT: "Changing Course on the Hyde Amendment," Nancy Kaufman, Huffington Post blogs: "The story of the Hyde Amendment illustrates once again that when a majority looks the other way as the most vulnerable among us are targeted by a punitive public policy, punishment is extended to more and more people," writes Kaufman, CEO of the National Council of Jewish Women, referring to the provision that "bars the government from paying for insurance coverage of abortion, except in very narrow circumstances." She adds that "every year Congress has an opportunity to toss out this amendment" -- which is attached to annual spending bills -- but "lacks the will to do so." She concludes, "We can and we must organize to end it in accord with one of our founding principles -- it's not fair" (Kaufman, Huffington Post blogs, 6/20).
BENEFITS OF ACCESS TO CONTRACEPTION: "Women Are Having Kids Later, and That's Good for Everyone," Amanda Marcotte, Slate's "XX Factor": A recent CDC report found that "despite conservative efforts to discourage contraception use among younger people, the overall trend is toward women delaying pregnancy," Marcotte writes. Although the shifts are not "earth-shattering," Marcotte notes that they are "significant enough to say that the combination of increased contraception use and increased education levels for women is having an impact on their reproductive choices, and more and more are waiting until they're more mature and stable to have children" (Marcotte, "XX Factor," Slate, 6/21).
What others are saying about the benefits of access to contraception:
~ "Contraception Prevents Abortion," Jeff Fecke, Care2.
~ "Over Two Decades, Abortion Rate Dropped for Women in Their 20s Because of Contraception Access," Annie-Rose Strasser, ThinkProgress.
~ "New Report Shows Benefits in Global Investment in Contraception," Jessica Pieklo, Care2.
~ "New Poll Shows American Voters Believe Birth Control is a Health Issue," Jacqueline M., Planned Parenthood Action Fund's "Women Are Watching."
RIO+20: "What's Good for Women is Good for the Planet," Maggie Fox, Huffington Post blogs: In the 20 years since the Rio Earth Summit, "we have learned one clear and resounding truth: that a commitment to protect the rights of women and young people around the world is a critical step toward a sustainable future," writes Fox, president and CEO of the Climate Reality Project. At this year's Rio+20 summit, "[a]n essential, powerful impact of the ... negotiations would be to affirm the human rights of women, men and adolescents to make decisions related to their sexuality, including sexual and reproductive health, free from coercion, discrimination and violence" (Fox, Huffington Post blogs, 6/21).
What others are saying about Rio+20:
~ "Live from Rio+20, Day One: Women and Reproductive Health," Vicky Markham, RH Reality Check.
~ "Rio+20: Women + Environment = Empowerment," Manis Rayles, Feminists for Choice.
~ "Rio+20 Agreement Fails Women, and the World," Zonibel Woods, International Women's Health Coalition's "Akimbo."
~ "Live from Rio+20, Day Two: 'Favelas and Protests,'" Vicky Markham, RH Reality Check.
~ "A Sustainable Samba: Sex, Rights, and Health at Rio+20," Esther Agbarakwe/Kim Lovell, RH Reality Check.
ATTACKS ON CONTRACEPTION ACCESS: "The Bishops' Fortnight -- Whose Religious Liberty are we Talking About?" Lauren Barbato, Ms. Magazine blogs: "The bishops' Fortnight for Freedom, though advertised as a time of prayer, exposes the political strategy of the bishops," writes Barbato, who adds that since the passage of the health reform law, "the bishops have acted as generals in the War on Women, leading the contraception battles from the frontlines." She writes while U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops President Timothy Dolan "can whine about the Church being 'strangled'" by the federal contraceptive coverage rules, "it doesn't help that he and his colleagues are strangling women by trying to return them to a time when contraception was neither accessible nor acceptable and women were less valued in society" (Barbato, Ms. Magazine blogs, 6/21).
What others are saying about attacks on contraception access:
~ "Religious Freedom Cannot Be a License To Discriminate," Alicia Gay, American Civil Liberties Union's "Blog of Rights."
~ "Fortnight for Freedom: In Catholic Campaign, What Does Freedom Mean?" Mathew Schmalz, Washington Post's "Guest Voices."
~ "Continuing the Fight for Contraceptive Coverage," Leila Abolfazli, National Women's Law Center's "Womenstake."
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