January 22, 2013 — We've compiled some of the most thought-provoking commentaries from around the Web. Catch up on the conversation with bloggers from Huffington Post, RH Reality Check and more.
ROE V. WADE ANNIVERSARY: "Inaugurating Roe: Remove Restrictions on Abortion Coverage," Laura Murphy, Huffington Post blogs: The definition of inaugurate, to "put something into operation," takes on additional significance in light of President Obama's recent inauguration ceremony and the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, writes Murphy, director of the American Civil Liberties Union's Washington Legislative Office. While both milestones should "be celebrated, for too many women the promise of Roe has yet to be 'put into operation'" because of federal restrictions on abortion coverage in Medicaid. Murphy calls on Obama to submit a budget proposal to Congress that "omit[s] the restrictions on coverage of abortion," which would "send a strong signal to Congress and to women and families around the country: Not only are these restrictions unfair, they're also not inevitable. Together, we must work to eliminate them" (Murphy, Huffington Post blogs, 1/21).
What others are saying about the Roe v. Wade anniversary:
~ "Legal Roundup: On Roe Anniversary Legal Attacks on Reproductive Rights Increase," Jessica Pieklo, RH Reality Check.
~ "Politicians Didn't Walk With Me Through My Life. They Don't Belong in My Bedroom," Morgan Meneses-Sheets, RH Reality Check.
~ "Taking Action: Making Roe Real for All Women," Kelly Blanchard, RH Reality Check.
~ "Alabama Supreme Court Declares a Fetus is a Child," Jessica Pieklo, Care2.
~ "Roe v. Wade: After 40 Years, Deep Divide is Legacy," David Crary, AP/Huffington Post blogs.
VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN: "Thinking About the Steubenville Rape and Raising a Son," Stassa Edwards, Ms. Magazine blog: Edwards reflects on a recent case in Steubenville, Ohio, in which a 16-year-old girl allegedly was "dragged unconscious from party to party and repeatedly assaulted by two football players while her peers laughingly chronicled her assault on social media, only to find herself blamed by coaches, city leaders and school administrators." Edwards, who gave birth to a son in November, writes that the case made her grapple with a parenting issue she had never considered before: how to prevent her son "from becoming a rapist." She writes, "I was floored by the sudden realization that I not only had to teach my son that consent is never nebulous -- it is a very clear and multi-part process -- but I also had to prepare him to navigate a rape culture which is so ingrained that it seems to consistently reward its preservationists" (Edwards, Ms. Magazine blog, 1/18).
What others are saying about violence against women:
~ "No Justice for College Rape Victims," Jessica Valenti, The Nation.
PRESIDENT OBAMA'S SECOND TERM: "The Life of 'Julia' as a Future Standard for Women," Rachel Grate, Ms. Magazine blog: To evaluate where Obama stands on "his campaign promises -- especially those he made to women" -- Grate, a 19-year-old college student, compares her own life with that of "Julia," the "fictitious young white, middle-class woman featured on the website [the] Obama [campaign] launched called 'The Life of Julia.'" Grate writes that while Obama made laudable achievements in his first term, such as signing the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act and the health reform law, she still "fear[s] ... entering the job market not only as a recent graduate during an economic downturn, but also as a woman." She adds, "I fear for those women less lucky than white, middle class Julia and me, who can't easily pay off their student loans or rely on their parents' health insurance." While acknowledging that Julia's position is "a privileged one," Grate concludes, "Julia stands for a set of promises Obama has made about the future, and it's up to us to stand with Julia to make sure women and men of all races, classes and sexualities can get there together" (Grate, Ms. Magazine blog, 1/20).
MATERNITY CARE: "Fixing Persistent Concerns in Maternity Care: We Can Do It!" Carol Sakala, Our Bodies, Our Blog: "If we cannot make progress toward more evidence-based, woman-centered care because of liability concerns, then the liability system is functioning poorly," writes Sakala, director of programs for Childbirth Connection. Sakala details a new Childbirth Connection report, Maternity Care and Liability, which holds "25 liability reforms up to a framework that addresses the needs and interests of all of the system stakeholders." She points out that "widely implemented" reforms "do not appear to meet any of the criteria," and she offers alternatives that "have the potential to be win-win-win solutions for women and newborns, providers, and payers," such as "routine maternity care quality improvement initiatives." Sakala concludes, "By seeking guidance from the best available evidence about the nature of liability problems in maternity care and the effectiveness of possible solutions, we can move constructively beyond belief and entrenched positions" (Sakala, Our Bodies, Our Blog, 1/18).
ACCESS TO ABORTION PROVIDERS: "Mississippi May Be First State With Zero Abortion Providers," Jessica Pieklo, Care2: "Roe v. Wade may have confirmed that women have a constitutional right to choose an abortion, but for women in Mississippi, they may soon learn whether that federally protected right means anti-abortion legislators in states cannot drive out abortion providers," Pieklo writes. She notes that Mississippi's sole abortion clinic has missed the deadline to comply with a law "that mandated doctors performing abortions at the [clinic] have admitting privileges at local hospitals." She adds, "Legislators in the state have been very clear that their crusade is about one thing and one thing only: re-criminalizing abortion," a goal that is "in sight" (Pieklo, Care2, 1/18).
What others are saying about access to abortion providers:
~ "Alabama's Clinic Escorts Protect Women From Anti-Abortion Protesters Singing 'Happy Birthday Dead Baby,'" Tara Culp-Ressler, Center for American Progress' "ThinkProgress."
PLANNED PARENTHOOD: "International Planned Parenthood Federation: Still Sexy at 60," Mandy Van Deven, Ms. Magazine blog: The International Planned Parenthood Federation was founded 60 years ago when "a handful of women" -- from eight family planning organizations representing Hong Kong, India, the Netherlands, Singapore, Sweden, the United Kingdom, the United States and West Germany -- joined together to affirm "that empowering women to control their own bodies was essential to creating healthy families and sustainable communities," Van Deven writes. Today, IPPF works with partners in 172 countries to provide health services and advocate for policy changes that support reproductive rights. Despite the group's progress, millions of women worldwide lack access to safe abortion or contraception, underscoring "the continued need for international advocacy in support of sexual and reproductive health and rights," Van Deven continues, adding, "As 2013 begins, advocates are gearing up for another year of standing their ground and pushing governments toward further gains" (Van Deven, Ms. Magazine blog, 1/10).
What others are saying about Planned Parenthood:
~ "Happy MLK Day: Your Friendly Reminder Martin Luther King Loved Planned Parenthood and Birth Control," Katie Halper, Jezebel.
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