January 8, 2013 — We've compiled some of the most thought-provoking commentaries from around the Web. Catch up on the conversation with bloggers from "ThinkProgress," Jezebel and more.
ATTACKS ON REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS IN THE STATES: "Republican Lawmakers To Kick Off New Year by Limiting Women's Reproductive Health," Tara Culp-Ressler, Center for American Progress' "Think Progress": "Republican legislators are already gearing up for the new abortion restrictions they hope to introduce this year," Culp-Ressler writes, noting that 2012 had the second-highest number of such measures ever enacted in a single year -- 19 states passing 43 bills. Culp-Ressler includes updates on how Indiana, Texas, Virginia and Wisconsin are already "moving forward with their attempts to continue restricting women's right to choose" (Culp-Ressler, "Think Progress," Center for American Progress, 1/7).
What others are saying about attacks on reproductive rights in the states:
~ "2012 Had the Second Highest Number of Abortion Restrictions ... Ever," Jacqueline Murphy, Planned Parenthood Action Fund's "Women Are Watching."
ABORTION COVERAGE FOR SERVICEWOMEN: "Some Good News: Abortions Insured and More Available to Military Rape Victims," Anna Breslaw, Jezebel: A provision in the recently enacted Department of Defense authorization measure "will change the lives and careers of the estimated several hundred women in the armed forces who become pregnant as the result of rape at the hands of fellow soldiers," Breslaw writes. The provision allows the military to cover abortion costs in those cases, Breslaw explains, adding that Congress should now focus on a bill by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.) that will "bring down the long-held ban on providing abortions to servicewomen in military hospitals" (Breslaw, Jezebel, 1/5).
MEDICATION ABORTION: "The Power of Pills: Putting Abortion Back in the Hands of Women Around the World," Leila Hessini/Alyson Hyman, RH Reality Check: Hessini and Hyman, both of Ipas, write that medication abortion is "safe, low-cost and easy to use," adding that the pills have "changed the dynamics of who can provide abortions, where women get them, and who has control over the process." They discuss a meeting hosted by Ipas that outlined initiatives to increase access to medication abortion in Kenya, Mexico and Tanzania. "Women must be able to plan their futures -- they must be in control of their reproductive lives," they write, concluding, "Let's put access to safe [medication] abortion in their hands" (Hessini/Hyman, RH Reality Check, 1/7).
WOMEN'S HEALTH IN 2013: "A New Year's Resolution for our Nation's Leaders: Prioritize Women's Health," Paula Johnson, Huffington Post blogs: Johnson -- executive director of the Connors Center for Women's Health and Gender Biology and chief of the Division of Women's Health at Brigham and Women's Hospital -- writes that the nation's leaders should make a New Year's resolution to "listen to the voters and pledge to focus on women's health." She continues, "For far too long, the view of women's health has been limited and has been more a political football than a serious policy discussion," adding that women's health research is "woefully underfunded" and the nation lacks a "specific plan of action" to address the "epidemic of chronic disease in women [that] costs our health care system an estimated $466 billion in direct costs each year." Although she notes that the 2012 election indicated that the "American public understands the importance and immediacy of women's health as a policy issue," she asks, "Will our leaders listen? Can they really afford not to?" (Johnson, Huffington Post blogs, 1/3).
What others are saying about women's health in 2013:
~ "5 Anti-Abortion States To Watch in 2013," Kate Sheppard, Mother Jones.
RESPONSES TO TIME MAGAZINE PIECE: "A Response to Time Magazine: Young People Are Not Fragmenting the Pro-Choice Movement," Steph Herold, RH Reality Check: The notion portrayed in Kate Pickert's Time cover story that young people are "causing the downfall of the pro-choice movement" is a "simplistic version of reality," Holden writes. In fact, "[t]here is a difference in priorities and strategy that doesn't split evenly among age lines, but instead, often on ideological lines," according to Herold. The well-established national women's rights organizations "prioritize the needs of white, middle class, straight, cis-women, and work within the Democratic party politics system to achieve their goals," whereas young activists are more focused on "a movement for culture change and social justice" that advances the reproductive rights of all people, Herold writes. She concludes, "If anything is strengthening the pro-choice and reproductive justice movements, it's the people, regardless of age, who are working outside the traditional power structures and are pushing us to be unabashedly inclusive, radical, and unashamed" (Herold, RH Reality Check, 1/7).
What others are saying in response to the Time magazine piece:
~ "The Rumor of the Death of the Pro-Choice Movement Has Been Greatly Exaggerated," Robin Marty, Care2.
~ "Conservatives Aren't Going To Win the War on Women," Amanda Marcotte, Slate's "XX Factor."
VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN: "Lead the World by Example: Reauthorize VAWA," Theodore Johnson, Huffington Post blogs: "When [the Violence Against Women Act] reauthorization failed to occur, we unnecessarily muted our voice and lost moral ground," writes Johnson, a columnist and former White House fellow, adding, "If we are to lead, it must be by example, and reauthorization is an important step." He notes that "the real war [on women] is ensuring they enjoy the same rights as men: to safety, security, and equality, something violence and sexual assault attempts to rob from them." Johnson continues, "By reauthorizing VAWA, we will show that in the face of violence against women, our country has the same nirbhaya spirit" -- a Sanskrit word meaning fearless -- "of the young student in New Delhi," who died after being raped and beaten by a gang of men (Johnson, Huffington Post blogs, 1/4).
What others are saying about violence against women:
~ "Father of New Delhi Rape Victim: Tell the World My Daughter's Name," Diana Reese, Washington Post's "She The People."
~ "Rape Victim's Friend Details Attack and Delays in Getting Help," Heather Timmons/Malavika Vyawahare, New York Times' "India Ink."
~ "As a Girl in India, I Learned To Be Afraid of Men," Mira Kamdar, The Atlantic.
~ "America's Rape Problem: We Refuse To Admit That There is One," Jessica Valenti, The Nation.
~ "Notre Dame and Penn State: Two Rape Scandals, Only One Cry for Justice," Dave Zirin, The Nation.
~ "No More Setbacks: The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) Must Be Revived," Chloe Cooney, Planned Parenthood Action Fund's "Women Are Watching."
~ "Court Throws Out Rape Case Because Victim is Unmarried," Rachel Kassenbrock, Ms. Magazine blog.
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