February 12, 2013 — We've compiled some of the most thought-provoking commentaries from around the Web. Catch up on the conversation with bloggers from Slate, National Women's Law Center and more.
REPRODUCTIVE JUSTICE: "The Meaning of Reproductive Justice: Simplifying a Complex Concept," Miriam Pérez, RH Reality Check: "Reproductive justice isn't a simple concept that can be explained in a sound bite," but "it also better mirrors the complex world we live in [better] than a label like pro-choice or pro-life ever could," writes Pérez, founder of Radical Doula. Pérez defines reproductive justice as "working to build a world where everyone has what they need to create the family they want to create," which must take into account "many different phrases and frames," such as an individual's race, class and gender. She adds that the terminology used to describe reproductive justice will continue to evolve "through the many different ways [activists] choose to make sense of it, in our own lives and in our own work." Pérez concludes, "We'll all use different language, invent new terms, retire old ones -- but I hope the end result will be a beautiful word cloud of meaning that keeps us on a path toward justice" (Pérez, RH Reality Check, 2/8).
CONTRACEPTIVE COVERAGE: "Catholic Bishops Say No to Obama's Contraception Compromise," Amanda Marcotte, Slate's "XX Factor": "After a short period of feigned investigation" into the Obama administration's proposed contraceptive coverage accommodation for religiously affiliated employers, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops rejected the proposal and continued "to demand a right to deny contraception benefits, even contraception benefits that they are not actually paying for," Marcotte writes. She continues that if one "assume[s] that anti-choicers are endlessly interested in separating as many women as possible from contraception, the bishops' behavior makes perfect sense." Marcotte adds, "As long as women are able to get easy access to affordable contraception, the bishops will oppose it," concluding, "It's time to stop trying to work with their unreasonable desire to interfere with women's private lives and just draft the regulations without their input" (Marcotte, "XX Factor," Slate, 2/8).
What others are saying about contraceptive coverage:
~ "Family (Planning) Matters, and Over 1,000 Religious Leaders Agree. Why Does the Media Continue To Ignore Them?" Debra Haffner, RH Reality Check.
~ "Catholic University's Birth Control Policies Raise Questions About Public Funding," Elizabeth Gavin, Huffington Post blogs.
~ "The Church and the Mandate," Andrew Rosenthal, New York Times' "Taking Note."
~ "Why I'm Gushing About the ACA's Contraceptive Coverage Requirement as the U.S. Teen Birth Rate Hits a Record Low," Mara Gandal-Power, National Women's Law Center's "Womenstake."
BIRTH RATES: "A Closer Look at What's Behind Birthrate Decline Scares," Laura Carroll, Huffington Post blogs: Carroll, an author and consultant, discusses a new book by Jonathan Last, who claims that "we need to have ... more babies to sustain our economic success," which is in keeping with "a set of beliefs called pronatalism, which exalts fertility." Carroll writes that although pronatalism originated in early societies that needed to encourage population growth to survive, it persists today because it serves "the agendas of power structures like church, state and industry -- not individuals." She argues that rather than "shaming Americans into having more children," society and government should "invest in the children we already have" (Carroll, Huffington Post blogs, 2/8).
What others are saying about birth rates:
~ "Teen Birth Rates Plunge To Record Low as Adolescents Now Have Better Access to Birth Control," Tara Culp-Ressler, Center for American Progress' "ThinkProgress."
ATTACKS ON REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS IN NORTH DAKOTA: "North Dakota's War on Women: The State's Top 5 Attacks on Women's Health So Far This Year," Culp-Ressler, Center for American Progress' "ThinkProgress": "North Dakota is pulling into the lead" for "the dubious title of the very worst state for women," Culp-Ressler writes. She outlines five "serious attacks on women's health" in the state, including legislation that could close the state's only abortion clinic and a "personhood" measure that could "ban abortion, some forms of contraception, and even invitro fertilization." Lawmakers also are considering a bill that would ban abortion if a fetal heartbeat is detectable, which would "necessitate a transvaginal ultrasound -- an unnecessary, invasive procedure -- since that's the only way to detect a fetal heartbeat so early in the pregnancy," Culp-Ressler writes. She notes that abortion-rights opponents also are reportedly pressuring a university to block a grant to researchers studying a sex education program for at-risk youth (Culp-Ressler, "ThinkProgress," Center for American Progress, 2/8).
VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN: "How Can We End Violence Against Women?" Ruth Rosen, Huffington Post blogs: "Twenty years after the [United Nations] declared violence against women to be a violation of their human rights, we are still a long way from gender violence becoming a relic of the past," writes Rosen, a journalist and historian. "[T]he only way this change will happen is the same way that abolitionists ended slavery -- through decades of social movement action and education that sought to end slavery," she continues. Rosen concludes, "It will take many more decades before everyone agree[s] that violence at home, at work, and on the battlefield are not customs, but are, in fact, crimes against humanity" (Rosen, Huffington Post blogs, 2/11).
What others are saying about violence against women:
~ "Somali Woman Who Reported Rape Handed Prison Sentence," Steve Williams, Care2.
TELEMEDICINE: "Five Facts To Remember as Anti-Choice Activists Launch Attacks Against 'Webcam Abortions,'" Culp-Ressler, Center for American Progress' "ThinkProgress": "[D]espite the significant evidence to the contrary, anti-abortion lawmakers are increasingly advocating legislation to outlaw" the use of telemedicine in abortion care because they claim it is unsafe, Culp-Ressler writes. She outlines "five facts to keep in mind" in the face of these efforts, including that "[m]ost of the states that are restricting telemedical abortion consultations don't offer those service in the first place" and that restricting the services "disproportionately hurts low-income women in rural areas." Culp-Ressler also notes that abortion is the only type of telehealth service that is tightly restricted (Culp-Ressler, "ThinkProgress," Center for American Progress, 2/11).
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