March 13, 2012 — We've compiled some of the most thought-provoking commentaries from around the Web. Catch up on the conversation with bloggers from ACLU, Mother Jones and more.
LAWS AIMED TO MISLEAD WOMEN: "Kansas to Pregnant Women: 'A Little Lie from Your Doctor Won't Hurt You,'" Jennifer Dalven, American Civil Liberties Union's "Blog of Rights": A "sweeping" antiabortion-rights bill in Kansas includes a provision that would "immunize a doctor who discovers that a baby will be born with a devastating condition and deliberately withholds that information from his patient," Dalven writes, noting the bill would allow a physician to withhold "information that might lead [a woman] to decide to end [her] pregnancy." She adds that lawmakers in other states are considering similar legislation, which abortion-rights opponents claim is "necessary to ensure that women's decisions are well-informed." Dalven argues that the bills are really about "politicians who think they know better than women and who are trying to impose their own views on abortion on a woman and her family regardless of the circumstances" (Dalven, "Blog of Rights," American Civil Liberties Union, 3/12).
What others are saying about laws aimed to mislead women:
~ "A Doctor Speaks: 'Horrific' Arizona Law Would Allow Doctors To Practice Bad Medicine Without Accountability," Megan Evans, RH Reality Check.
~ "Arizona and Kansas Pursue Laws Letting Docs Hide Information From Women," Kate Sheppard, Mother Jones' "Mojo."
~ "Idaho Legislature Proposes Bill To Trick Women Into Visiting Crisis Pregnancy Centers," Robin Marty, RH Reality Check.
'DOONESBURY': "Censoring Doonesbury on Abortion: It's So Sad It's Not Even Funny," Jodi Jacobson, RH Reality Check: "What does it say about the state of our society when so many state legislators seem to make the passage of laws de-humanizing women their main priority, but newspapers are afraid of running comic strips satirizing these laws?" Jacobson asks in response to some newspapers' decision this week not to run a series of "Doonesbury" comic strips about a Texas ultrasound law. She notes that some of the papers refusing to run the strips are in "states with the harshest anti-choice, anti-woman laws on the books or now being pushed by state legislatures" (Jacobson, RH Reality Check, 3/12).
What others are saying about 'Doonesbury':
~ "Newspapers Censor 'Doonesbury' Strips About Abortion News," Jos Truitt, Feministing.
~ "'Doonesbury' Takes on Ultrasound Laws," Sarah Erdreich, Feminists for Choice.
~ "Doonesbury Starts Week-Long Abortion Storyline," Rachel Walden, Our Bodies, Our Blog.
~ "'Doonesbury' on Ultrasound as Rape," Delia Lloyd, Washington Post's "She the People."
CONTRACEPTION: "Rush Thinks We're All Sluts," Hayley Rose Horzepa, Huffington Post blogs: "This is war: war on women," Horzepa writes referring to the "vast majority of Republicans [that] are going after birth control coverage in the same way they bullied some insurance companies into removing abortion coverage." She writes that their "attempt to remove birth control coverage from major insurance plans proves [that] [t]hey want us to be barefoot and pregnant or just plain poor from having to buy birth control without insurance coverage" (Horzepa, Huffington Post blogs, 3/12).
What others are saying about contraception:
~ "Use Birth Control? You're Fired!" Jennifer Davlen, ACLU's "Blog of Rights."
~ "The Age of the Pill in Peril," Francine Hardaway, Huffington Post blogs.
~ "The Abortionization of Contraceptives," Kevin Drum, Mother Jones.
~ "Can the Catholic Church Embrace the Pill?"Anthony Stevens-Arroyo, Washington Post's
~ "Rush Limbaugh -- Sluts, Prostitutes or Just a Pack of Lies?" Juliet Jeske, Huffington Post blogs.
ABORTION PROVIDERS: "Appreciating and Supporting Abortion Providers: A Call to Communities of Faith," Darcy Baxter, RH Reality Check: To mark this month's Abortion Provider Appreciation Day, Baxter calls on people of faith to express their gratitude to abortion providers. She notes, "Conservative-Fundamentalist Christianity has promoted hateful idolatry, seducing too many of us into believing that abortion (and heck, these days even birth-control) are used in spite of morality, compassion, and love; that birth control and abortion are evils in a harsh world." Baxter adds that abortion providers "and their loved ones live with the memories of their eight colleagues murdered and countless other acts of violence and intimidation" and "persevere through continual harassment at work and at home ... because they are fiercely dedicated to women's well being" (Baxter, RH Reality Check, 3/12).
REPRODUCTIVE-RIGHTS MOVEMENT: "UltraViolet, Women's Rights Group, Upgrades Movement via Social Media," Laura Bassett, Huffington Post blogs: The women's rights group "UltraViolet, which is funded by the progressive nonprofit Citizen Engagement Lab, has already gathered 300,000 members in less than two months of existence, making it clear to the women's rights community that the days of organizing sit-ins at local courthouses and knocking on doors to gather signatures are long over," Bassett writes. She notes that much of the group's success is the result of "using social media in new and unique ways to reach more people" (Bassett, Huffington Post blogs, 3/9).
'TEEN ENDANGERMENT ACT': "Federalizing Parental Consent Isn't Child's Play," Gwen Emmons, RH Reality Check: The House convened a hearing this week to consider legislation (HR 2299) that would "federaliz[e] parental consent laws" and make it so "many women won't be able to obtain basic reproductive health care simply because of how old they are," Emmons writes. She notes that in most states, "minors are able to give consent for virtually every other area of their health care," except abortion, which suggests that the bill "isn't about protecting the public health of women under 18; it's about making an already difficult-to-obtain procedure even harder to access for a particular segment of the population" (Emmons, RH Reality Check, 3/12).
What others are saying about the 'Teen Endangerment Act':
~ "House Considers Bill Federalizing Parental Consent Laws for Abortion," Kate Sheppard, Mother Jones.
~ "Federal Parental Consent is Back, Gets Congressional Hearing," Jessica Pieklo, Care2.
SEX EDUCATION: "Teen Sex Ed: Instead of Promoting Promiscuity, It Delays First Sex," Bonnie Rochman, Time's "Healthland": The Guttmacher Institute on Thursday released a study suggesting that comprehensive sex education "leads teens and young adults to delay sexual intercourse," Rochman writes, noting that research has linked comprehensive sex education to "improved contraception use and choosing a partner closer to [one's] age." Despite the benefits of comprehensive sex education, "there's very little standardization when it comes to sexual education," with wide variations from state to state and even with individual districts, Rochman notes (Rochman, "Healthland," Time, 3/9).
What others are saying about sex education:
~ "New Research Again Confirms That Comprehensive Sex Ed Delays First Sex and Keeps Teens Safe," Martha Kempner, RH Reality Check.
SHACKLING PREGNANT WOMEN: "Birthing Justice: End Shackling Now," Jamarah Abdullah Amani, Huffington Post blogs: "Every time I hear or read the story of a survivor who was forced to birth in chains, I am reminded of how broken our prison system is," Abdullah Amani writes in response to policies that permit law enforcement officials to shackle female prisoners during pregnancy and childbirth. Although Florida last week became the "first state in the Southeast to pass anti-shackling legislation," the "struggle to end shackling and actualize Birth Justice continues until all pregnant people are free to birth in dignity," she adds (Abdullah Amani, Huffington Post blogs, 3/12).
PUSHBACK AGAINST ATTACKS ON REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH: "Ohio Lawmaker Proposes Legislation Aimed To Regulate Old Dicks," Doug Barry, Jezebel: Barry writes that Ohio Rep. Lynn Wachtmann (R) was correct in stating that his antiabortion "heartbeat bill" and state Sen. Nina Turner's (D) bill to restrict men's access to Viagra are not similar. Barry writes that although Wachtmann might have "confused his similes" when he said the two bills "were like 'apples and bananas,'" the lawmaker was "right that he and Turner's bills aren't even related -- the Viagra bill actually makes a little sense, since there are real heart risks posed" from the erectile dysfunction drug (Barry, Jezebel, 3/12).
What others are saying about the pushback against attacks on reproductive health:
~ "Want Viagra? Your Partner Has To Swear You are Impotent," Robin Marty, Care2.
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