December 7, 2012 — We've compiled some of the most thought-provoking commentaries from around the Web. Catch up on the conversation with bloggers from Huffington Post, Planned Parenthood Action Fund and more.
VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN: "Intimate Partner Violence Report Proves VAWA Works," Kim Gandy, Huffington Post blogs: Gandy, president and CEO of the National Network to End Domestic Violence, highlights a new report by the Bureau of Justice Statistics that found a 64% decline in intimate partner violence between 1993 and 2010. The Violence Against Women Act "has surely played a critical role in this remarkable decline," she writes, calling on lawmakers to reauthorize the law. "Congress has the opportunity now to enhance VAWA's reach and ensure that all victims have access to justice," Gandy writes, concluding, "Members of Congress must stand up for women and girls to end domestic violence now, so that our daughters and granddaughters -- their daughters and granddaughters -- will one day know domestic violence as a rarity, a mere relic of a bygone era" (Gandy, Huffington Post blogs, 12/4).
What others are saying about violence against women:
~ "Reduction in Violence Shows That VAWA is Helping," Claire McCormack, Ms. Magazine blog.
~ "Edmonton's New Rape Prevention Ads Should Be Everywhere," Maya Dusenbery, Feministing.
~ "A Culture of Death: Guns, Domestic Violence and the Murder of Kasandra Perkins," Jessica Pieklo, Care2.
~ "Kasandra Perkins Did Not Have To Die," Jessica Valenti, The Nation.
ABORTION COVERAGE FOR SERVICEWOMEN: "Great News: Senate Votes Unanimously To Expand Rights of Military Women," Jacqueline Murphy, Planned Parenthood Action Fund's "Women Are Watching": "The Senate voted 98-0 to pass the National Defense Authorization Act, including the Shaheen Amendment which will grant military women insurance coverage for a wide range of reproductive health care services, including abortion when a pregnancy results from rape or incest," Murphy writes. She adds, "The Shaheen amendment brings military health care in line with the rest of the federal government, and [ensures] that they will be able to make their own personal, private medical choices without the interference of politicians" (Murphy, "Women Are Watching," Planned Parenthood Action Fund, 12/5).
What others are saying about abortion coverage for servicewomen:
~ "A Special 'Thank You' to a Pro-Choice Champion for Servicewomen," NARAL Pro-Choice America's "Blog for Choice."
ATTACKS ON REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS IN MICHIGAN: "Michigan Lawmakers are Trying To Sneak Through Extreme Abortion Restrictions in Lame Duck Session," Tara Culp-Ressler, RH Reality Check: Michigan lawmakers on Thursday attempted to revive an omnibus antiabortion bill (SB 612, SB 613, SB 614) that sparked an outcry after it passed the House this summer, Culp-Ressler writes. The legislation would "[r]egulate abortion clinics out of existence," restrict telemedicine abortion, impose guidelines on the disposal of fetal remains, prevent private insurers from offering abortion coverage and allow doctors to refuse to provide abortion services for personal reasons, she writes. She notes that "Thursday's push doesn't represent the only step that Michigan lawmakers have taken ... to push through anti-choice legislation," adding that lawmakers recently considered bills (HB 5684, HB 5685) that would establish a tax credit for fetuses past 12 weeks' gestation, "a dangerous step toward endowing fetuses with the same rights as U.S. citizens" (Culp-Ressler, RH Reality Check, 12/6).
What others are saying about attacks on reproductive rights in Michigan:
~ "Michigan Capitol LOCKDOWN! In the Last Days of Legislative Session, Michigan Politicians Take Extreme Measures to Attack Women's Heath," Elissa Berger, American Civil Liberties Union's "Blog of Rights."
~ "Misleading Poll Used To Support Michigan Super Bill," Robin Marty, RH Reality Check.
CONTRACEPTION: "The Nation's Doctors Speak Up for Contraception Access," Martha Kempner, RH Reality Check: The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists' Committee on Gynecological Practice recently concluded that "'based on currently available data, [oral contraceptives] should be available over-the-counter,'" and members of ACOG also recently recommended "steps to improve access to [emergency contraception], including removing age restrictions on its OTC availability," Kempner notes. She adds, "This week their colleagues at the American Academy of Pediatrics also took on access to EC" by suggesting that providers "give young women prescriptions for the drug before they need it." She concludes, "Both of these new opinions are very encouraging as physicians are coming forward to help increase access to contraception even if it means they will see their patient[s] a little less" (Kempner, RH Reality Check, 12/4).
What others are saying about contraception:
~ "Most Americans Support Obamacare's Contraception Mandate, Even for Religiously Affiliated Groups," Amanda Peterson Beadle, Center for American Progress' "ThinkProgress."
PREGNANCY DISCRIMINATION: "American Women Deserve the 'Kate Treatment,'" Joan Williams, Huffington Post blogs: Williams, director of the Center for WorkLife Law and a distinguished professor of law at the University of California-Hastings, writes that Kate Middleton is "lucky she's not an American gal" because women who are pregnant in the U.S. often face workplace discrimination. "U.S. employers regularly fire pregnant women when they need modest accommodations to keep doing their jobs," Williams writes. "That's why we need the Pregnant Workers' Fairness Act, which would mandate accommodations for pregnant workers unless 'the accommodation would impose an undue hardship on the operation of the business,'" she adds (Williams, Huffington Post blogs, 12/5).
GLOBAL REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS: "Reproductive Rights Are Critical to an Open Society and the Promise of Equality," Megan Evans, RH Reality Check: Reproductive rights are "an essential component of an open society, without which women cannot enjoy full equality," Evans writes. She adds that women and girls on society's margins -- especially teenagers, women with disabilities or HIV, sex workers and women with substance abuse disorders -- are most at risk of having their rights hindered. "When women control their reproductive destiny, it helps dismantle the idea that their gender exists only to care for others," and this can only happen when reproductive rights are acknowledged as human rights, Evans writes (Evans, RH Reality Check, 12/4).
ACCESS TO ABORTION: "Waiting Is the Hardest Part: A Woman's Story of Abortion in Remote Alaska," Anonymous, Tomorrow Magazine/Alaska Dispatch: An anonymous contributor details her difficulties in obtaining an abortion in Alaska, "a state with only eight abortion providers." The closest available Planned Parenthood clinic was in Anchorage, a place she "lived nowhere near," and then she had problems scheduling an appointment because of the travel involved. She was able to obtain an abortion through an Anchorage-based obstetrician. The author writes, "Going through with the pregnancy would have meant committing to a place where it would be just as difficult to raise a child as it was to get a basic surgery." She adds that she might "have made a different decision" had circumstances placed her in a "big city" (Anonymous, Tomorrow Magazine/Alaska Dispatch, 11/29).
MEDICAID: "Medicaid Expansion Is a Win-Win: More Health Care for More People (At Less Cost!)," Jacqueline Murphy, Planned Parenthood Action Fund's "Women Are Watching": States should expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, Murphy writes, because it "is good for women and families -- and good for states." She details how "Medicaid covers health care services for 1 in 10 women, serving more than one in five women with incomes below 200 percent [of] the poverty line." In addition, "nearly half of Planned Parenthood patients rely on Medicaid coverage to access affordable, preventive care, including lifesaving cancer screenings and birth control," she writes. However, she writes, "a number of states [are] rejecting the option to expand" because "conservative governors are choosing ideology over the health of their own citizens and their budgets." She concludes, "There is no sound reason why any states should deny these women and families access to basic health care coverage. ... Isn't it time states put affordable access to health care above politics?" (Murphy, "Women Are Watching," Planned Parenthood Action Fund, 12/5).
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