November 27, 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, Daily Beast and more.
ACCESS TO CONTRACEPTION: "By Choice, Not by Chance: Family Planning is Everyone's Right," Nicole Cheetham, RH Reality Check: The United Nations Population Fund last week released its annual report, which affirmed "the long-accepted international agreement that access to family planning services is a basic human right and is central to development," writes Cheetham, director of the international division of Advocates for Youth. The report can help promote "true choices" regarding women's access to family planning and reproductive health "if it leads to policies and programs that are rights-based and address unmet need, eliminate barriers to choice, and consider the many social and economic benefits of family planning," Cheetham states. She concludes, "As we begin to define a post-2015 sustainability development agenda, now more than ever before, we must ensure that family planning as a human right is at its core -- unless of course we prefer to leave it up to chance" (Cheetham, RH Reality Check, 11/27).
What others are saying about access to contraception:
~ "How Over-the-Counter Birth Control Could Screw You," Kent Sepkowitz, Daily Beast.
~ "The ACA Contraceptive Coverage Lawsuits: The Employee's Right to Comprehensive Insurance Coverage," Shari Inniss-Grant, National Women's Law Center's "Womenstake."
~ "New Medical Guidelines Say Birth Control Should Be Available Over the Counter," Annie-Rose Strasser, Center for American Progress' "ThinkProgress."
~ "Emergency Contraception Should Be Available Over the Counter. And You can Make That Happen," Kirsten Moore, RH Reality Check.
NEED FOR ABORTION: "Women's Lives Matter: It's Time To Hold Governments Accountable for Safe Abortion Care," Patty Skuster, RH Reality Check: The news of Savita Halappanavar's death after being denied an abortion in Ireland should serve as a "wake-up call" that "[w]omen's lives matter and laws should protect them -- not cost them their lives," writes Skuster, a senior policy adviser at Ipas. Halappanavar's death also underscores the need "to hold governments accountable" and for clear abortion policies, including the "regulation of providers' refusal of service -- to ensure that a woman can receive an abortion from a willing colleague through referrals or some other mechanism," Skuster writes. She concludes, "[N]ever should a woman's life hang in the balance because of someone else's moral objection to abortion" (Skuster, RH Reality Check, 11/21).
What others are saying about the need for abortion:
~ "Miscarriage of Justice," Charlotte Ryan, Huffington Post blogs.
~ "Silence and Denial Don't Work: Ireland, Malta, the European Union and the Lessons of Savita's Death," Johanna Westeson, RH Reality Check.
~ "My Two Abortions," Kate Blanchard, Huffington Post blogs.
VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN: "Why Do We Need an International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women?" Ann-Marie Wilson, Huffington Post blogs: Sunday was the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, and Wilson -- founder and director of 28 Too Many -- writes that it should be "part of a sustained campaign to raise awareness nationally and internationally of all forms of gender-based violence including [female genital mutilation] and increase pressure on policy makers to prioritise actions to support survivors, prosecute perpetrators and break the cycles of on-going violence." She adds that the upcoming U.N. Commission on the Status of Women meeting and the next G8 Summit provide opportunities "to make real progress, build support internationally and push for specific action on violence against women" (Wilson, Huffington Post blogs, 11/24).
What others are saying about violence against women:
~ "Chronicling an Everyday Rape in Haiti," Athena Kolbe/Robert Muggah, Huffington Post blogs.
~ "On the UN Day for Eliminating Violence Against Women and Girls," Lynne Featherstone, Huffington Post blogs.
~ "Putting the Rule of Law Behind Women's Rights," Cherie Blair, Huffington Post blogs.
~ "Women's Pelvises Sawed in Half During Labor," Piper Hoffman, Care2.
~ "How To Stop Sexual Assault in the Ranks," Rachel Natelson, Time.
TEEN PREGNANCY: "Bring Up Reading Rates To Bring Down Teen Pregnancy," Jessica Pieklo, Care2: Teen girls are 2.5 times more likely to give birth if they have lower reading skills, compared with those with average reading skills, according to a new University of Pennsylvania study. "Linking literacy with self-esteem and a sense of accomplishment and/or rejection helps us get to the larger, thornier problem when dealing with teen pregnancy and that is the extent to which our cultural devaluation of women and girls drives these rates," Pieklo writes. "[I]n order to get serious about addressing teen pregnancy rates we need to get serious about addressing poverty and entrenched, structural racial bias that perpetuates these cycles," she adds (Pieklo, Care2, 11/22).
ABORTION STIGMA: "Good Women Have Abortions," Beverly McPhail, RH Reality Check: "The abortion debate in decades past has been one of stigma and shame," but "it is time to turn the tide and start speaking about the topic of abortion and the women who have them in very different ways," writes the University of Houston Women's Resource Center's McPhail. She points to the work of Charlotte Taft, director of the Abortion Care Network, and Shelley Oram, of Imagine! Counseling, who "have observed that good women, the majority of them women of faith, have abortions." McPhail writes, "If these ideas for framing the abortion question are adopted, policy decisions would look radically different," adding, "This is the hope and change American women desperately want in the policy debate on women's reproductive health" (McPhail, RH Reality Check, 11/20).
ATTACKS ON ABORTION IN THE STATES: "The Fight for Women's Rights in America's South," Nick Purves, Huffington Post blogs: Although "several female candidates came out victorious" on the federal level in the election, "on a state level there remain many ... who are prepared to use their legislative positions to decrease the number of [abortion] facilities available," writes Purves, editor of the London Word. He cites recent regulations approved by the Virginia Board of Health that threaten to force some of the state's abortion clinics to close. He notes that Virginia is not alone in enacting TRAP -- or targeted regulation of abortion providers -- laws. "All across the country, there are states that have introduced TRAP laws, forcing abortion clinics to spend tens of thousands on non-essential upgrades, thereby leading many to have to close down," he writes (Purves, Huffington Post blogs, 11/26).
What others are saying about attacks on abortion in the states:
~ "Arizona Government Designs Website To Manipulate Women Out of Having Abortions," Tara Culp-Ressler, Center for American Progress' "ThinkProgress."
~ "Ohio House Bill 298: Medically Unsound and Fiscally Irresponsible," Bob Hagan/John Patrick Carney, Huffington Post blogs.
~ "When it Comes to Women's Health and Rights, South Dakota is Still in the 'Hoghouse,'" Robin Marty, RH Reality Check.
~ "The Anti-Choice Agenda in Indiana? Full Speed Ahead," Robin Marty, RH Reality Check.
~ "Two of Three 'Consumer' Positions on Ohio Medical Board Now Anti-Choice Activists," Robin Marty, RH Reality Check.
~ "Far-Right 'Personhood' Measure Faces Strong Opposition From Virginia Republicans," Tara Culp-Ressler, Center for American Progress' "ThinkProgress."
~ "State Legislators Propose Draconian new Abortion Restrictions, Because Apparently They Want To Fail Louder," Erin Gloria Ryan, Jezebel.
REPRODUCTIVE JUSTICE: "Let's Remind Election Winners: Reproductive Coercion is Wrong," Amy Phillips Bursch, RH Reality Check: Population Connection's Bursch writes, "[H]ere's a friendly reminder to every candidate who won [on Nov. 6]: Reproductive coercion is wrong. When women aren't allowed to choose the number and timing of their children, they're being treated more like breeding stock and less like human beings." She notes that just as China's enforcement of its one-child policy by "[f]orcing women to undergo unwanted sterilizations or abortions is coercive, ... so is mandatory motherhood" instituted in the form of abortion restrictions in the U.S. She continues, "Both are wrong, and the government should have nothing to do with either policy. That's the message pro-choice voters sent on November 6" (Bursch, RH Reality Check, 11/26).
What others are saying about reproductive justice:
~ "Skewed Stories and Difficult Choices," Rosie Wang, Law Students for Reproductive Justice's "RepoRepro."
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