February 26, 2013 — We've compiled some of the most thought-provoking commentaries from around the Web. Catch up on the conversation with bloggers from ThinkProgress, RH Reality Check and more.
ADOLESCENT HEALTH: "Teen Pregnancy is Most Common in Rural America, Where There May Be More Barriers to Birth Control," Tara Culp-Ressler, Center for American Progress' "Think Progress": "While teens across the country have largely been having less sex and using more contraception, teens in rural areas have actually been having more sex and using birth control less frequently," Culp-Ressler writes, noting a recent study by the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy that found the teen birth rate in rural areas of the U.S. is almost one-third higher than in more urban areas. Although the reasons for the trend is not known, "it could partly be because teens in rural areas still lack access to a range of comprehensive contraceptive services" and sexual health resources in general, Culp-Ressler writes, noting that school districts in rural areas might also still "cling to abstinence-only health curricula that don't give teens enough information about methods to prevent pregnancy" (Culp-Ressler, "Think Progress," Center for American Progress, 2/22).
What others are saying about adolescent health:
~ "Fives States Taking Important Steps To Expand Access to Comprehensive Sex Ed," Culp-Ressler, Center for American Progress' "Think Progress."
ACCESS TO ABORTION: "Mandatory Ultrasound Removed From Indiana TRAP Law, but Will Probably Still Close Lafayette Clinic," Robin Marty, RH Reality Check: Marty discusses an Indiana bill (SB 371) that would tighten restrictions on medication abortion. Although lawmakers dropped a provision that would have required women to obtain a second ultrasound as part of follow-up care, the bill still includes requirements that women undergo an ultrasound before a medication abortion and that medication abortion providers become licensed as surgical abortion clinics, even if they do not provide surgeries. As a result, the measure "is still likely to result in the closure of the only medication abortion clinic in the state," according to Marty. The full Senate is expected to vote on the bill on Tuesday (Marty, RH Reality Check, 2/25).
What others are saying about access to abortion:
~ "As Dr. Tiller's Abortion Clinic Prepares to Re-Open, Tightened Security is Top Priority," Culp-Ressler, Center for American Progress' "Think Progress."
~ "Is the South About To Become a Legal Abortion-Free Zone?" Jessica Pieklo, Care2.
PLANNED PARENTHOOD: "Arizona Federal District Court Blocks Efforts To Defund Planned Parenthood," Jessica Mason Pieklo, RH Reality Check: Pieklo highlights a recent court decision striking down an Arizona law that blocked funding to Planned Parenthood, which is "an important victory that comes on the heels of a similar victory in Indiana." The injunction in the Arizona case "guarantees that women in the state will continue to have access to lifesaving cancer screenings, birth control, and STI screenings at Planned Parenthood clinics across the state," Pieklo writes. However, she notes that fights over funding for Planned Parenthood continue in Kansas, North Carolina and Tennessee (Mason Pieklo, RH Reality Check, 2/22).
What others are saying about Planned Parenthood:
~ "Republicans Call for Government Study To Justify Their Efforts To Defund Planned Parenthood," Culp-Ressler, Center for American Progress' "Think Progress."
VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN: "The House Now Turns to the Violence Against Women Act," Mary Curtis, Washington Post's "She The People": The recently released House version of the Violence Against Women Act reauthorization "has not resolved disputed differences with the Senate proposal" that led to an impasse last year, Curtis writes. She adds that Sarah Tofte -- director of policy and advocacy for the Joyful Heart Foundation, which aids sexual assault survivors -- believes the continued uncertainty over the reauthorization is creating an unstable environment for organizations that use VAWA funds (Curtis, "She The People," Washington Post, 2/25).
What others are saying about violence against women:
~ "House Republicans Strip Protections From LGBT Victims in New Violence Against Women Act," Aviva Shen, Center for American Progress' "Think Progress."
~ "Somalia's Shocking Response to a Rape Report," Fartuun Abdisalaan Adan, Huffington Post blogs.
~ "University of North Carolina Rape Victim May Be Expelled for Speaking About Her Case," Annie-Rose Strasser, Center for American Progress' "Think Progress."
SEXUALLY TRANSMITTED INFECTIONS: "Not Shipshape: STI Rates Higher for Women in the Military," Martha Kempner, RH Reality Check: The rate of sexually transmitted infections "among women in the military is seven times [more] than that of the general population," according to Kempner, who discusses a recent article that reviewed the available literature on women in the military to assess STI rates and sexual behavior. Although little research exists that directly compares servicewoman and the general population, "the literature suggests that high-risk sexual behavior is common among military women," Kempner writes. She also quotes a separate study, which found that "[c]onfusion or concern about ... laws [regarding consensual sex among troops] might put women at increased risk of unintended pregnancy since some are led to believe that they will not need contraception for deployment and because they may be fearful of asking for contraception" (Kempner, RH Reality Check, 2/22).
RELIGIOUS LIBERTY IN MEDICINE: "What One Doctor's Approach To Treating a Jehovah's Witness Says About Religious Liberty in Medicine," Sy Mukherjee, Center for American Progress' "Think Progress": A recent New York Times story about a woman who is a Jehovah's Witness and a surgeon who developed a new approach to treating her potentially fatal condition without violating her beliefs "highlights a positive way to reconcile the tensions between modern medical technology and religious dogma," Mukherjee writes. "Rather than being a case in which a doctor imposes his or her conscientious biases on a patient -- such as the Irish medical team that incited global outrage after denying a life-saving abortion to a woman who later passed away -- [the woman's] experiences are an example of a doctor keeping his patient's health at the forefront while also respecting that patient's ethical choices through creativity and innovation," Mukherjee adds (Mukherjee, "Think Progress," Center for American Progress, 2/25).
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