February 15, 2013 — 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, Feministing and more.
ABORTION COVERAGE: "From the Ground Up: Restoring Insurance Coverage for Abortion Care," Tara Sweeney/Kelly Baden, RH Reality Check: Sweeney and Baden, both of NARAL Pro-Choice New York, highlight a recent resolution (Res 1635-A) adopted by the New York City Council. The resolution calls on the U.S. Congress to support funding for reproductive health care, including abortion, and provides an "example of the kind of proactive move that elected officials can take to break the mold of defensive responses that have characterized" the reproductive-rights movement, they write. "With more actions like these from brave and prominent leaders in our cities, the quiet acquiescence that reinforces the Hyde Amendment's ban on coverage just might start to disintegrate," they conclude (Sweeney/Baden, RH Reality Check, 2/13).
What others are saying about abortion coverage:
~ "21 States Will Soon Ban Insurance Coverage of Abortion," Maya Dusenbery, Feministing.
CONTRACEPTION AND THE CHURCH: "2013: The Year Women Abolish God," Mark Morford, Huffington Post blogs: "It's becoming abundantly clear just how awesomely wide has become the chasm between religious groups" and women's rights supporters, writes Morford, a columnist and author in San Francisco. He notes that while church attendance is in decline, acceptance of contraception among religious individuals is high, with 89% of U.S. Catholics supporting its use. "America's multicultural, pro-gay, pro-women future is here, and it could all spell doom for church and its dour influence," Morford adds (Morford, Huffington Post blogs, 2/13).
What others are saying about contraception and the church:
~ "For It Before They Were Against It: Catholic Universities and Birth Control," Bridgette Dunlap, RH Reality Check.
VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN: "One in Three: Silenced Stories of Survivors of Sexual Assault and Women Who Have Abortions," Lindsay Rosenthal, RH Reality Check: This Valentine's Day was the 15th anniversary of V-Day -- a global movement to end violence against women -- and the launch of the "One Billion Rising" campaign which "honors the one billion women in the world who have survived sexual and physical violence," writes the Center for American Progress' Rosenthal. Rosenthal also notes the recent anniversary of Roe v. Wade, highlighting the "connection between the silenced stories of the 1 in 3 women worldwide who have experienced physical and sexual violence and the silenced stories of 1 in 3 women in the [U.S] who will have an abortion in their lifetime." Rosenthal writes that "we are living in a moment ... where the Violence Against Women Act has been attacked and politicized," and where access to abortion care is under attack "even for rape survivors who became pregnant as a result of being assaulted." She calls for a world where women "are free from sexual and physical violence and... fully empowered to make their reproductive decisions" (Rosenthal, RH Reality Check, 2/14).
What others are saying about violence against women:
~ "While Not Perfect, #1billionrising is a Step in the Right Direction," Zerlina Maxwell, Feministing.
~ "Sing, Dance, RISE: One Billion Rising on Valentine's Day," Malia Schilling, Ms. Magazine blog.
~ "What Makes One Billion Rising's Invitation To Dance a Radical Move," Jill Filipovic, The Guardian.
~ "Why I Won't Support One Billion Rising," Natalie Gyte, Huffington Post blogs.
~ "When Women Fear To Tread: Sexual Violence and the Egyptian Revolution," Roger Friedland/Janet Afary, Huffington Post blogs.
~ "The GOP's Woman Problem is the GOP," Anson Kaye, U.S. News & World Report.
~ "We Need To Call it Rape," Mary Elizabeth Williams, Salon.
~ "Inside the Military's 'Giant Rape Cult,'" Janet Allon, Salon.
WOMEN AND THE STATE OF THE UNION ADDRESS: "Dear POTUS: Why Do I Have To Be Someone's Daughter for You To Think I Deserve Rights?" Robyn Swirling, RH Reality Check: Swirling writes that she was pleased to hear President Obama in his State of the Union address call for Congress to pass the Violence Against Women Act and the Paycheck Fairness Act, but she was "disheartened by his reasoning for why Congress should do these things: 'We know our economy is stronger when our wives, mothers, and daughters can live their lives free from discrimination in the workplace, and free from the fear of domestic violence.'" Swirling points out that it's "insulting to the women who serve in our Congress and Senate, and assumes that the default for a legislator is male. Believe it or not, some of those women vote on equal rights legislation because they want those protections for themselves." She continues, "My worth as a woman, and as a person, is not imbued by my relationship to someone else." Swirling urges Congress to support her rights not because she "could be a woman you know," but "because [she is] a woman, and because that alone is enough" (Swirling, RH Reality Check, 2/14).
What others are saying about women and the state of the union address:
~ "State of the Union: Takeaways for Women's Issues," Schilling, Ms. Magazine blog.
SEXUALLY TRANSMITTED INFECTIONS: "Health Officials Warn the U.S. Still Faces an 'Ongoing, Severe Epidemic' Of STDs," Tara Culp-Ressler, Center for American Process' "ThinkProgress": "The U.S. has the highest rate of [sexually transmitted infections] of any nation in the industrialized world, with roughly 110 million total incidents of infection in 2008," Culp-Ressler writes, adding that treating those infections cost "about $16 billion." She highlights comments from public health experts who explained that the "high cost of ST[I]s is entirely preventable, [but] Americans aren't taking enough steps to safeguard their sexual health -- particularly in regards to the HPV vaccine." According to Culp-Ressler, "conservative fearmongering around issues related to sexuality -- which has contributed to a shame-based culture that pushes ineffective abstinence-only education on youth, rather than fully educating them about their bodies -- has directly impacted the current public health epidemic" by discouraging people from taking preventive measures (Culp-Ressler, "ThinkProgress," Center for American Progress, 2/14).
What others are saying about sexually transmitted infections:
~ "Doctors, Patients Left in Dark About Faulty HPV Test Linked to False-Negatives and Undetected Cancers," Lindsay Beyerstein, RH Reality Check.
~ "HPV Costs America Nearly $2 Billion To Treat. Why is It So Expensive?" Amanda Hess, Slate's "XX Factor."
ADOLESCENT REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH: "Pregnant Teen Sues Parents for Forcing Her To Get an Abortion," Katie J.M. Baker, Jezebel: Baker discusses a recent lawsuit involving a 16-year-old girl who is suing her parents on the grounds that they are "trying to physically force her to have an abortion." Baker writes that it is "frustrating" that abortion-rights opponents "are totally going to bring this poor teenager up" to support restrictions on teens' abortion access and abortion in general, even though her lawyers -- from the antiabortion-rights Texas Center for Defense of Life -- are "actually arguing that the teen is free to decide to keep her baby under state law and provisions of Roe Vs. Wade which -- drumroll, please -- gives women the right to make their own reproductive choices" (Baker, Jezebel, 2/13).
What others are saying about adolescent reproductive health:
~ "Hypocrisy," The Abortioneers.
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