August 17, 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, Ms. Magazine and more.
VIRGINIA ULTRASOUND LAW: "Virginia Forced Ultrasound Law Interferes With Health Services, Clinic Director Says," Reilly Moore, RH Reality Check: A Virginia law (HB 462) "forcing women to receive an ultrasound at least a day before having an abortion has already caused a Northern Virginia health clinic to reduce its non-abortion services in the month since it took effect," Moore writes. The Falls Church Healthcare Center has been forced to "add appointment times, hire additional staff and reduce its non-abortion gynecological services" to accommodate the two visits now required by abortion patients to comply with the ultrasound law, he explains. Previously, the clinic performed ultrasounds on abortion patients only when medically appropriate, and it could be done on the same day as the abortion procedure (Moore, RH Reality Check, 8/16).
VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN: "NEWSFLASH: Obama Announces Plan To Prevent Global Gender Violence," Lauren Barbato, Ms.Magazine blog: President Obama last week issued an executive order aimed at improving the prevention of and response to violence against women and girls worldwide. The order requires the administration to "implement a multi-year strategy that will increase prevention and response efforts among U.S. government agencies; integrate violence prevention efforts within existing government agencies; expand the U.S. government programs that address gender-based violence; and improve the collection and analysis of data and research," Barbato writes. She concludes that the "hopeful end result of these initiatives is clear: Women should not have to live in fear of being abused, assaulted or raped" (Barbato, Ms. Magazine blog, 8/14).
TEXAS ATTACKS ON PLANNED PARENTHOOD: "Attacks on Planned Parenthood in Texas Forced at Least 50 Unaffiliated Health Clinics To Close," Tara Culp-Ressler, ThinkProgress: "Planned Parenthood has become a buzzword for anti-choice Republicans who seek to equate Planned Parenthood clinics with death and destruction," Culp-Ressler writes in response to a Texas Observer report that 60 family planning clinics in Texas have closed since the state slashed family planning funding last year. Supporters of the cuts cited their desire to cut off money to Planned Parenthood, but Culp-Ressler notes that most of the closed clinics were not affiliated with the organization. "[T]he real destruction is wreaked when overarching, politically-motivated attacks on women's health providers leave low-income women with no affordable contraceptive options, no available STI tests, no regular cancer screenings and no control over their reproductive health," she writes (Culp-Ressler, ThinkProgress, 8/16).
PRENATAL DEPRESSION: "Not Just the Pregnancy Blues: Watching My Wife Spiral Into Prenatal Depression," Slate's "XX Factor": "[T]he shame that is associated with [prenatal depression] has drawn a veil over the whole experience for many women," writes the husband of a woman who experienced the condition, as part of a blog series on the topic. He writes, "Doctors will talk about how important it is to not be depressed while pregnant, and they'll even suggest medication like ours initially did," but "never once did anyone really discuss the likelihood of prenatal depression for my wife." He concludes, "I hope that other people can share their experiences here and elsewhere if nothing else so that couples everywhere can get the support they need" ("XX Factor," Slate, 8/15).
What others are saying about prenatal depression:
~ "Not Just the Pregnancy Blues: Slate Readers Weigh In on Their Prenatal Depression and the Poor Care They Received," Jessica Grose, Slate's "XX Factor."
~ "Not Just the Pregnancy Blues: Overcoming the Hispanic Cultural Stigma Against Prenatal Depression," D. Conway, Slate's "XX Factor."
~ "Not Just the Baby Blues: I Thought I Could Handle Going off Meds," Lindsay, Slate's "XX Factor."
PROTESTS: "Thoughts Upon Release From Jail After Sunday's Abortion Rights Protest Inside St. Patrick's Cathedral," Sunsara Taylor, RH Reality Check: Taylor reflects on her arrest for taking part in an organized protest -- called Take Patriarchy By Storm -- at St. Patrick's Cathedral, the home church of Cardinal Timothy Dolan, who is head of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. She writes, "There is a real war going on against women. Around the world, under the cover of religious authority, women's dreams are extinguished, women's bodies are treated like mere vessels for men's sperm and the incubation of fetuses, women's lives are foreclosed." She notes, "With these people in mind, my sacrifice felt well worth it" (Taylor, RH Reality Check, 8/14).
CRISIS PREGNANCY CENTERS: "Appeals Court To Revisit 'Truth in Advertising' CPC Rule in Baltimore," Robin Marty, RH Reality Check: Marty discusses the recent decision by a federal appeals court to hold a new hearing in a case over a Baltimore ordinance (FID 09-0406) requiring crisis pregnancy centers to "place notices informing women that they did not provide nor refer clients for abortions or birth control." The same court previously found the ordinance unconstitutional. "Is it a violation of free speech to be honest and clear that you do not provide the services most of the women who accidentally enter the building are seeking?" Marty asks (Marty, RH Reality Check, 8/16).
What others are saying about CPCs:
~ "4th Circuit Will Review CPC Truth-in-Advertising Ordinance," Jessica Pieklo, Care2.
PAUL RYAN: "How Romney and Ryan Plan To Close Your Family Planning Clinic," Dana Liebelson, Mother Jones: "If you want to know what a Mitt Romney presidency and a Paul Ryan vice-presidency would mean for your local family planning clinic, look at what happened in Texas and Ryan's home state of Wisconsin," Liebelson writes. She notes that "GOP governors like Texas' Rick Perry and Wisconsin's Scott Walker have targeted both of these income streams in their states, blocking many clinics from receiving crucial funds." If Romney is elected president, he is likely to "gut both programs on the federal level, all but ensuring that clinics in blue states have to close too," she adds (Liebelson, Mother Jones, 8/17).
What others are saying about Paul Ryan:
~ "Meet Rep. Paul 'Personhood' Ryan," NARAL Pro-Choice America's "Blog for Choice."
~ "With Ryan Selection, GOP Doubles Down on War on Women," Carolyn Maloney, Huffington Post blogs.
ABORTION DECISIONS: "'I Wish My Mother Had Aborted Me,'" Lauren O'Neal, Slate's "XX Factor": O'Neal writes that although the statement "I wish my mother had aborted me" seems "provocative," it was used by writer Lynn Beisner (a pseudonym) as a "calm and compelling rebuttal to antiabortion activists' favorite rhetorical question: 'Aren't you glad your mother didn't choose abortion?'" O'Neal adds, "Beisner is not. Her mother's life was unquestionably worse after having a child, and Beisner herself had to suffer decades of poverty and abuse." O'Neal notes that Beisner is one of many abortion-rights supporters who "envision fulfilling, coercion-free lives for their mothers, even if that means they would never have been born" (O'Neal, "XX Factor," Slate, 8/16).
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