October 12, 2012 — We've compiled some of the most thought-provoking commentaries from around the Web. Catch up on the conversation with bloggers from Religion Dispatches, Salon and more.
FAITH AND ABORTION IN THE ELECTION: "Why Does Abortion Have to be a Personal Question for Men?" Sarah Posner, Religion Dispatches: During Thursday's vice presidential debate, both candidates were asked "to discuss their views, as Catholics, on abortion from a 'personal' perspective," Posner writes. She notes that while the question "was intended for some tension, of course, given their opposing political views," Catholic doctrine also "has a lot to say about issues unrelated to reproductive matters" that were not brought up in the debate. It might have "seemed preposterous" if the moderator asked about Catholic doctrine on social justice and economic policies, "[b]ut somehow men must opine about their personal religious beliefs on women's bodies," Posner writes (Posner, "Dispatches," Religion Dispatches, 10/11).
What others are saying about faith and abortion in the election:
~ "VP Debate: Missing From the Abortion Discussion? Women," Irin Carmon, Salon blogs.
~ "'Please Talk Personally About This': Abortion at the Vice-Presidential Debate," Jacques Berlinerblau, Washington Post's "Guest Voices."
~ "Biden, Ryan Talk Abortion, Catholic Social Teaching in Vice-Presidential Debate," Jeannine Hunter, Washington Post's "Under God."
~ "Catholics not Concerned About Abortion, Gay Marriage, Says Catholics for Choice Poll," Robin Marty, RH Reality Check.
~ "An Opportunity for a Real Policy Debate Between two Catholics," Vincent Miller, The Hill's "Congress Blog."
INTERNATIONAL DAY OF THE GIRL: "A Promise to Girls," Desmond Tutu/Ela Bhatt, Huffington Post blogs: Tutu, archbishop emeritus of Cape Town, South Africa, and Bhatt, founder of the Self-Employed Women's Association, discuss the first-ever International Day of the Girl on Oct. 11. The United Nation's choice of the theme of child marriage for the inaugural year is "especially important," they write, adding, "The marriage of adolescent girls, sometimes to much older men, sums up much of the harm, injustice and stolen potential that afflict so many girls around the world." Eradicating child marriage would mean millions of girls worldwide "would be more likely to stay in school," have healthy lives, and more able to economically contribute to their families and society, Tutu and Bhatt write (Tutu/Bhatt, Huffington Post blogs, 10/11).
What others are saying about the International Day of the Girl:
~ "On Day of the Girl, Putting Girls First," Ann Blanc, Huffington Post blogs.
~ "Let's Celebrate International Day of the Girl," Cecilia Attias, Huffington Post blogs.
CONTRACEPTIVE COVERAGE RULES CHALLENGE: "Using 'Religious Liberty' To Hide Religious Overreach," Dennis Ross, RH Reality Check: Ross, a rabbi, writes about a private company in Missouri, O'Brien Industrial Holdings, that filed a lawsuit challenging the contraceptive coverage rules, which the company claims violate its "religious liberty." That claim "does not stand up to deeper examination," Ross states, comparing the challenges to the civil rights struggle of the 1960s. Religious liberty does not exempt a person or organization from respecting the civil rights of others; religious liberty does not allow for religious discrimination, Ross explains, adding, "[T]he ACA is about insurance coverage; it is not asking anyone to use birth control. And the worker earns the insurance and owns it -- the employer's religion is secondary" (Ross, RH Reality Check, 10/10).
What others are saying about contraceptive coverage rules challenge:
~ "The O'Brien Decision: A Gift to the Obama Administration From a Bush Appointee," Imani Gandy, RH Reality Check.
DRAW THE LINE CAMPAIGN: "It's Time to 'Draw the Line' on Attacks Against Reproductive Freedom," Nancy Northup, RH Reality Check: Northup, president of the Center for Reproductive Rights, highlights the organization's new Draw the Line campaign against laws that "build significant barriers between women and safe reproductive health care services, including contraception, pregnancy care, abortion care and fertility treatments." The campaign's goal is to "collect massive amounts of signatures ... in order to demonstrate that the majority of Americans believe that these rights are fundamental, inalienable human rights that must be guaranteed and defended," she concludes (Northup, RH Reality Check, 10/9).
What others are saying about the Draw the Line campaign:
~ "Amy Poehler and Meryl Streep are Pissed About Attacks on Reproductive Rights," Amanda Marcotte, Slate's "XX Factor."
ATTACKS ON ABORTION: "Briefs in Support of Arizona's Pre-Viability Ban Show the Evolution of a Legal Challenge to Roe," Jessica Mason Pieklo, RH Reality Check: "Next month the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals will hear arguments on the constitutionality of Arizona's 20-week abortion ban," Mason Pieklo writes, adding, "What is unfolding is not the direct debate about a woman's right to terminate a pregnancy but a proxy debate on whether anti-choice science supports that right." She notes the state is arguing that "[b]ecause science has changed" since Roe v. Wade "and the court has moved away from viability as a bright-line test for banning abortions in favor of the looser 'undue burden' standard, ... Arizona's pre-viabil[i]ty ban not only meets the state's legitimate interest in protecting fetal life, it amounts to nothing more than a regulation of pre-viability [abortions] since the law provides for an emergency exception for maternal life and health" (Mason Pieklo, RH Reality Check, 10/9).
AFFORDABLE CARE ACT: "Health Care Reform: How it Benefits Women," Susan Blumenthal, Huffington Post blogs: "As a result of the passage of the ACA, a critical ingredient has been added to the national prescription to improve women's health that had been missing until now -- access to comprehensive, quality health care," writes Blumenthal, a former U.S. Assistant Surgeon General. She notes that the law bars setting insurance premiums based on gender alone, enhances reproductive health care and expands access to no-cost preventive services, such as well-woman visits, Pap tests and cancer screenings. "The ACA focuses on the unique needs of women, from infancy through childhood, adolescence and adulthood, and into later life," Blumenthal writes, adding, "The results of this legislation should ensure a healthier future for all American women in the years ahead" (Blumenthal, Huffington Post blogs, 10/11).
VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN: "All Politics Aside, Rape Shouldn't Be a 'Controversial' Issue," Robin Marty, RH Reality Check: "Sexual assault shouldn't have to be a 'controversy," Marty writes, referencing a newscaster who referred to rape survivors as "controversial characters." The newscaster made the comments in regard to women featured in a campaign advertisement denouncing the "legitimate rape" remarks made by Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo.), who is running for Senate, as well as his stance on emergency contraception. "How is being sexually assaulted 'controversial,' unless you are attempting to reiterate the idea that a rape victim's account of the event is in question?" Marty asks, adding, "That the discourse has deteriorated so much this cycle that political ads discussing the rights of rape victims are actually necessary is sad enough" (Marty, RH Reality Check, 10/11).
What others are saying about violence against women:
~ "Wisconsin Lawmaker Says 'Some Girls Rape Easy,' Makes it Worse By Explaining What he Means," Maya Dusenbery, Feministing.
~ "Code of Military Justice Needs To Be Updated for 21st Century," Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) et al., Huffington Post blogs.
GLOBAL ABORTION ACCESS: "An Unmet Need for the World's Women: Safe Second-Trimester Abortion," Jennifer Daw Holloway, RH Reality Check: Ipas' Daw Holloway writes about "an unmet need that never gets discussed outside of small circles: second-trimester abortion." She notes that "second-trimester abortions are often a medical emergency" and that "[t]wo-thirds of the women who suffer or even die [from unsafe abortion worldwide] are those who had an unsafe second-trimester abortion." To help address the problem, Ipas and its partners are sponsoring sessions during the ongoing World Congress of Gynecology and Obstetrics in Rome to educate providers about establishing access to second-trimester abortion care in low-resource settings around the world (Daw Holloway, RH Reality Check, 10/11).
What others are saying about global abortion access:
~ "Unfinished Business: Abortion Laws in Mozambique and Uruguay," Mercedes Sayagues, International Women's Health Coalition's "Akimbo."
~ "Why Uruguay's Move to Legalize Abortion is not a True Victory," Katey Zeh, Religion Dispatches.
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