August 7, 2012 — We've compiled some of the most thought-provoking commentaries from around the Web. Catch up on the conversation with bloggers from She The People, Care2 and more.
MEDICAID: "Branstad Denies Iowa GOP Request To Ban Medicaid Funding for Rape Victims," Robin Marty, RH Reality Check: Iowa House Republicans' petition to prohibit the state's Medicaid program from covering abortion care in cases of rape "has once more been rejected, this time by the governor's office itself," Marty writes. She notes, "That this new ban was shot down by the office of Republican Governor Terry Branstad, who himself is no friend of reproductive rights, is a sign that even some Republicans see members of their own party as too extreme when it comes to ending the legal right to terminate a pregnancy" (Marty, RH Reality Check, 8/6).
What others are saying about Medicaid:
~ "Rick Perry: We'll Pay for Our New Women's Health Program With the Medicaid Funds I Said I'd Reject," Robin Marty, RH Reality Check.
MEDIA COVERAGE OF REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS: "An Open Letter to the Media Outlets That Are Ignoring a Scheduled, National Rally for Women's Rights," Jessica DelBalzo, RH Reality Check: "Women's issues have been a dominating subject in news outlets for well over a year now," yet a national rally for women's rights scheduled at the Capitol on Aug. 18 by the grassroots organization We Are Woman has received minimal media attention, DelBalzo writes. Other efforts to draw attention to women's rights events have included a publicity stunt, but DelBalzo asks the media, "Since when is the act of gathering thousands of people to stand shoulder to shoulder at the Capitol and cry out for reproductive freedom ... not a grand gesture?" She adds, "We can be creative. We can divert some of our precious resources away from the event itself and direct them toward a funny publicity stunt. We can, but we shouldn't have to" (DelBalzo, RH Reality Check, 8/6).
EMPLOYMENT DISCRIMINATION: "Former CEO Kathleen Mason: I Was Fired for Having Breast Cancer," Donna Trussell, Washington Post's "She The People": Kathleen Mason -- former CEO of the Dallas-based retail store Tuesday Morning -- recently filed a lawsuit alleging that her recent dismissal from the company "had nothing to do with poor performance and everything to do with disclosing to her board that she was battling breast cancer," Trussell writes. Mason said the company did not convey any concerns about her performance and she has filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Noting that Tuesday Morning will not provide Mason a severance package with medical benefits until she signs a release, Trussell quotes Mason's attorney, Rogge Dunn, who said, "If cancer had nothing to do with it, why would they dangle a bunch of: You sign this, you get a bunch of extra medical benefits" (Trussell, "She The People," Washington Post, 8/3).
HIV/AIDS: "HIV Rate Rises in Uganda After AIDS Prevention Strategies Shifted Focus [to] Abstinence-Only Policies," Amanda Peterson Beadle, ThinkProgress: Despite the U.S. spending about $1.7 billion to fight HIV/AIDS in Uganda from 2005 to 2012, the infection rate rose from 6.4% to 7.3%. Peterson Beadle writes that some public health campaigns "may have backfired"; while 75% of Ugandans said they are knowledgeable about condoms, fewer than 8% of married men who have sex outside marriage use condoms. Peterson Beadle adds that the country's "hard-line" approach toward homosexuality -- which is illegal -- also contributes to the spread of HIV/AIDS (Peterson Beadle, ThinkProgress, 8/3).
What others are saying about HIV/AIDS:
~ "When it Comes to Fighting AIDS, Mother Knows Best," Aid for Africa, Care2.
ANNUAL EXAMS: "Annual Visits to the Gynecologists Have Just Become More Affordable for Many. But Are They Still Necessary?" Martha Kempner, RH Reality Check: As of last week, most insurers are required to cover a range of preventive services -- including annual ob-gyn visits -- for women at no additional cost under the Affordable Care Act, Kempner writes. However, the coverage comes just months after the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the American Cancer Association and the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommended that most women need a Pap test once every three years and pushed back the age when women should begin to have internal pelvic exams. "Now, just as these annual appointments are likely to be covered by your insurer, public health experts have decided that most of us don't need a pap or even a pelvic [exam] every year and, in fact, that we can get the coveted [birth control] pill prescription without having either of these tests," Kempner writes. However, she adds that experts seem to agree the appointments are still "a good tradition to keep in order to check our overall health and help maintain an ongoing relationship with our health care providers" (Kempner, RH Reality Check, 8/6).
CONTRACEPTIVE COVERAGE: "History Is on Our Side: Why the Federal Contraception Rule is Constitutional," Brigitte Amiri et al., American Civil Liberties Union's "Blog of Rights": Amiri and colleagues outline O'Brien Industrial Holdings' suit seeking an exemption from the federal contraception coverage rule because of religious beliefs. They write that while the case "centers around access to contraception and eradicating gender discrimination, the claim that the business makes in today's case -- that religious objections should trump laws designed to promote equality -- is not unique." For example, the authors highlight a 1966 case where a restaurant owner refused to serve African-Americans, saying that racial integration was against his religious beliefs. Amiri and colleagues write that "although a business owner has a constitutional right to express his religious beliefs, he does not have an absolute right to exercise such beliefs 'in utter disregard' of the rights of others," adding, "The court in [the O'Brien] case should follow history and what courts have long recognized: that religion is not a license to discriminate" (Amiri et al., "Blog of Rights," ACLU, 8/3).
What others are saying about contraceptive coverage:
~ "The Birth Control Benefit and the Bad Faith Religious Liberty Gambit," Amanda Marcotte, RH Reality Check.
~ "Conservatives So, So Grossed Out That a Democrat Said 'Menstruation' While Discussing Birth Control," Erin Gloria Ryan, Jezebel.
TITLE IX; ADOLESCENT HEALTH: "Get Tested or Get Out: School Forces Pregnancy Tests on Girls, Kicks Out Students Who Refuse or Are Pregnant," Tiseme Zegeye, American Civil Liberties Union's "Blog of Rights": Delhi Charter School in Louisiana "is in blatant violation of federal law and the U.S. Constitution," Zegeye writes, noting that the school requires "female students who are suspected of being pregnant" to undergo pregnancy testing. "[T]hose who are pregnant or refuse to take the test are kicked out and forced to undergo home schooling," she adds, noting that the policy completely disregards Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, which explicitly mandates that schools cannot exclude a student from any class or extracurricular activity on the basis of pregnancy (Zegeye, "Blog of Rights," American Civil Liberties Union, 8/6).
What others are saying about Title IX and adolescent health:
~ "Pregnant? No School for You in This Louisiana Public Charter," Kate Sheppard, Mother Jones' "Political Mojo."
AFFORDABLE CARE ACT: "Breaking: Health Care Law Protects Against Gender Identity Discrimination," Jos Truitt, Feministing: "In another big win for the transgender community, [HHS] has clarified that" the overhaul's "ban on sex discrimination in federally-funded health services ... covers discrimination based on gender identity," Truitt writes. She adds that "it's a very necessary win" because "1 in 5 respondents to the National Transgender Discrimination Survey reported being denied care by a medical provider" (Truitt, Feministing, 8/6).
What others are saying about the Affordable Care Act:
~ "HHS Makes Clear that Nondiscrimination Protections Under Obamacare Includes Gender Identity," Brian Moulton, Human Rights Campaign blog.
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