November 16, 2012 — We've compiled some of the most thought-provoking commentaries from around the Web. Catch up on the conversation with bloggers from The Nation, RH Reality Check and more.
NEED FOR ABORTION: SAVITA HALAPPANAVAR: "Justice for Savita," Jessica Valenti, The Nation: The death of 31-year-old Savita Halappanavar of septic shock after a hospital in Ireland refused to perform an abortion "reminds us of the worst thing that can happen when women are denied abortions," Valenti writes. Irish law prohibits abortion except in cases when the woman's life is in danger. Although Halappanavar was miscarrying and in "excruciating pain," doctors refused to perform an abortion until the fetal heartbeat had stopped, days later. "American women would do well not to dismiss this as a tragedy that could only happen in another country," Valenti writes, adding, "This is what happens when you legislate something as personal and complicated as pregnancy" (Valenti, The Nation, 11/15).
What others are saying about the need for abortion and Savita Halappanavar:
~ "When the Pope Plays Doctor, Women Die," Margaret Polaneczky, The Blog That Ate Manhattan.
~ "Death in Ireland is a Wake Up Call to Fight Bans on Later Abortion Here at Home," Susan Yanow, RH Reality Check.
~ "Irish Law, 'Conscience Clauses,' and Needless Deaths: Three Questions About Savita Halappanavar's Death," Jodi Jacobson, RH Reality Check.
~ "How the Tragic Death of a Woman Denied an Abortion in Ireland Could Become the Norm in America," Tara Culp-Ressler, Center for American Progress' "ThinkProgress."
~ "Savita Halappanavar's Heartbreaking Death," Sarah Morice-Brubaker, Religious Dispatches' "Dispatches."
~ "When 'Pro-Life' Kills," Katha Pollitt, The Nation.
~ "We Are All Savita Halappanavar: Catholic Hospital in Ireland Denies Woman Life-Saving Abortion," Jodi Jacobson, RH Reality Check.
~ "Woman Dies After Hospital Denies Abortion," Sarah Erdreich, Feminists for Choice.
~ "Ireland: Sa[v]ita's Death Should Spur Reform," Human Rights Watch, Huffington Post blogs.
CONTRACEPTION: "United Nations Declares Access to Contraception a 'Universal Human Right,'" Amanda Peterson Beadle, Center for American Progress' "ThinkProgress": For the first time, the United Nations Population Fund in its annual report declared that family planning is a "universal human right," Beadle writes. While conservative and religious groups continue to fight the federal contraceptive coverage requirement, the U.N. report supports a growing number of studies that "have documented the positive benefits of providing women with affordable access to contraceptive services" (Beadle, "ThinkProgress," Center for American Progress, 11/14).
What others are saying about contraception:
~ "Romney Calls Contraception a 'Gift' Just as the U.N. Declares it a Right," Amanda Marcotte, Slate's "XX Factor."
~ "More Challenges to the Contraception Rule, More Misguided Arguments," Brigitte Amiri, American Civil Liberties Union's "Blog of Rights."
~ "UN Declares Birth Control is a Universal Human Right," Jessica Pieklo, Care2.
FEMINISM AND POLITICS: "Feminists for the Win," Jessica Valenti, The Nation: This month's election "gave [feminists] the re-election of a feminist-friendly president, a record number of women in Congress, the first openly gay U.S. senator and wins for marriage equality in four states," Valenti writes, adding that the next step for the feminist movement should be to "examine why we're winning the culture wars and think about what to do next." Recent successes provide the opportunity to move feminist efforts from "a defensive crouch to an active agenda," particularly on behalf of marginalized groups, Valenti writes. "We need to fight battles on our own terms, thinking about what big-picture successes might look like on rape, reproductive health and economic justice," she adds (Valenti, The Nation, 11/14).
ONGOING ATTACKS ON ABORTION: "It was a Good Election for the Pro-Choice Movement -- But the Culture Wars Aren't Over!" Carole Joffe, Huffington Post blogs: Although "this year's election contained much good news for abortion rights supporters" at the federal level, in the states, "nothing will likely change," Joffe writes. She adds, "In spite of Obama's and Democrats' senatorial victories, the Republicans did very well in state races, and now control 30 governorships." Noting that Ohio lawmakers already announced plans to act on antiabortion legislation, she concludes, "The culture wars, at least on the abortion front, sadly are not going away" (Joffe, Huffington Post blogs, 11/13).
SERVICEWOMEN'S HEALTH: "Military Women Fight for Our Freedoms, Now It's Time We Fight for Theirs," Jacqueline M., Planned Parenthood Action Fund's "Women Are Watching": "Women who serve in our military give up a great deal, ... but they shouldn't be forced to give up their rights in the process," Jacqueline writes, noting that servicewomen are denied the same abortion coverage provided to federal employees and Medicaid beneficiaries. The number of sexual assaults in the military is estimated to "be as high as 19,000 annually," but "[u]nder current policy, a woman serving in the military who is a survivor of rape or incest and wants a safe and legal abortion must pay for it on her own dime," Jacqueline continues. Servicewomen "deserve more than this discriminatory policy," which is why Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) "introduced and successfully passed an amendment that would provide coverage for abortion in cases of rape or incest" in the military. Congress now has the chance to enact a law that would right this wrong (Jacqueline M., "Women are Watching," Planned Parenthood Action Fund, 11/14).
What others are saying about servicewomen's health:
~ "Stand By Rape Survivors in the Military," NARAL Pro-Choice America's "Blog for Choice."
~ "Contraception Use is Lower and Unintended Pregnancy Rates are Higher Among Military Women," Amanda Peterson Beadle, Center for American Progress' "ThinkProgress."
~ "Honor and Rape," Robert Koehler, Huffington Post blogs.
TRANSGENDER HEALTH: "How Discrimination Leads to Health Disparities in the Transgender Community," Miriam Pérez, RH Reality Check: Fenway Health, a Massachusetts-based lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender health group, recently released infographics showing that "transgender people face a whole host of health disparities not seen in the general population," including a greater likelihood of being uninsured or denied health care, as well as higher rates of depression and HIV, Pérez writes. She advocates for a "justice-based health approach" for transgender individuals that includes "educating the general public about transgender people to reduce stigma and disease discrimination" and "making sure transgender people can get health care coverage, and that [it] also covers the specific health needs of the transgender population" (Pérez, Huffington Post, 11/13).
REPRODUCTIVE JUSTICE: "Listening for Reproductive Justice," Harry Knox, Huffington Post blogs: Although President Obama believes that a woman's access to abortion "should not be contingent upon her economic status," he still faces an "uphill battle with a Congress that remains recalcitrant around reproductive justice," writes Knox, president and CEO of the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice. The president and Congress should not "make it more difficult for women to make decisions about their own bodies, their health care, and the economic future of themselves and their families," he continues. Instead, "[i]t is their job to listen -- especially now to an electorate that sent a clear message that reproductive health is an important decision point when voting," Knox concludes (Knox, Huffington Post blogs, 11/14).
What others are saying about reproductive justice:
~ "A Dual Disenfranchisement: How Voter Suppression Denies Reproductive Justice to Women of Color," Elizabeth Chen, Law Students for Reproductive Justice's "Repo Repro."
Debra Ness, publisher & president, National Partnership
Andrea Friedman, associate editor & director of reproductive health programs, 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