March 27, 2012 — 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, Mother Jones and more.
HEALTH REFORM LAW ANNIVERSARY: "The Affordable Care Act: Hope for Health Care Equality for All," Jessica Gonzalez-Rojas, RH Reality Check: Gonzalez-Rojas of the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health marks the second anniversary of the federal health reform law by highlighting its benefits for Latinas and other women of color. The law helps "clos[e] the health equity gap," she writes, noting that while Latinos in general have higher uninsurance rates than other racial and ethnic groups, "[w]omen of color face a double challenge, since we also encounter the discrimination that for years has led to disproportionately high insurance premiums for women." The law ends such discrimination, prohibits insurance denials because of pre-existing conditions and also makes it more affordable for women to access preventive care, she notes (Gonzalez-Rojas, RH Reality Check, 3/23).
What others are saying about the health reform law anniversary:
~ "Chart of the Day: The Affordable Care Act and Women," Kate Sheppard, Mother Jones' "Political Mojo."
~ "HERvotes: Why I Support the Health Care Law," Amy Cotton, Ms. Magazine blog.
~ "What the Health Care Law Means to me," Jacqueline M., Planned Parenthood Action Fund's "Women Are Watching."
BISHOPS' ANTI-TRAFFICKING CONTRACT: "Court Rules Religiously-Based Restrictions in HHS Contracts With Bishops Violate Establishment Clause," Sarah Posner, Religious Dispatches: A federal court in Massachusetts last week "ruled in favor of the American Civil Liberties Union in a challenge it brought against [HHS] over contracts with the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops under the Trafficking Victims Protection Act," Posner writes, noting that the court found "permitting the bishops to restrict trafficking victims' access to reproductive health services violated the Establishment Clause" of the Constitution. Posner concludes the ruling demonstrates that while "the Free Exercise Clause does, of course, protect one's expression of deeply held religious beliefs," the "Establishment Clause prohibits the government from favoring particular religious beliefs, no matter how deeply held they are" (Posner, Religious Dispatches, 3/24).
STATE ATTACKS ON REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH: "Are Women Turning the Tide on Anti-Women Legislation?" Robin Marty, RH Reality Check: Marty writes that backlash against an Idaho ultrasound bill is "a much more open and obvious version of what is occurring across the country -- Republicans losing their own supporters, especially women, because of their virulent anti-women policies." According to Marty, many House members felt uncomfortable with the bill because of feedback from female constituents who opposed the measure. She writes that some female Republican House members reportedly expressed anxiety over the bill in private settings and that some male House members "also became less enthused after hearing their own wives speak out against the bill" (Marty, RH Reality Check, 3/25).
What others are saying about state attacks on reproductive health:
~ "1,000 Women," Sarah Pierz, EMILY's List blog.
~ "Doc-Bloggers Speak Out Against Laws That Threaten Women's Rights & Ethical Medical Practice," Margaret Polaneczky, The Blog That Ate Manhattan.
~ "Top 5 Worst U.S. States for Women," Megan Gibson, Time 's "News Feed."
~ "Arizona's War on Birth Control," Christine Clarke, Slate's "Jurisprudence."
~ "Requiring Ultrasounds Before Abortion: One Mother's Personal Tragedy," Bonnie Rochman, Time's "Healthland."
WAR ON WOMEN: "Phase III of the War on Contraception: Pretend It Was All a Dream," Amanda Marcotte, RH Reality Check: Marcotte says the "conservative war on contraception" has reached "phase three: Playing the victim." She explains, "The claim that it's not fair to criticize conservatives for supporting anti-woman policies because they aren't the ones who 'started' this has reached the mainstream of the Republican Party." Although conservatives claim Democrats are just trying to scare voters, in reality, "[e]ver since the electoral gains of November 2010, Republicans have waged an all-out war on reproductive rights," Marcotte writes (Marcotte, RH Reality Check, 3/25).
What others are saying about the war on women:
~ "Dispatches From the War on Women: The Pill On Demand!" Jessica Pieklo, Care2.
~ "Dolan Would Make Women Second-Class Citizens," Lon Newman, Below the Waist.
~ "Trend Alert: Policing Women's Behavior," Angela Stanley, Huffington Post blogs.
~ "Why History Matters in Understanding the War on Women," J. Bryan Lowder, Slate's "XX Factor."
FAMILY AND MEDICAL LEAVE ACT: "Coleman v. Court of Appeals of Maryland: A Warning to Women," Marianne Mollmann, Huffington Post blogs: The Supreme Court's decision last week that state employees who are denied medical leave cannot sue their state for damages under FMLA"should be a warning to women: the Supreme Court most definitely does not have our backs," Mollmann writes, a senior policy adviser for Amnesty International. She notes that the court ruled that "even though the denial of sick leave might have a disproportionate impact on women, denying anyone the protection of such leave still does not constitute discrimination," which sends the message that "women matter only as incubators and care-givers and not as equal citizens in a modern democracy" (Mollman, Huffington Post blogs, 3/26).
CHILDBIRTH DECISIONS: "Your Body, Your Decisions -- This Means You, Moms!" Mie Lewis, American Civil Liberties Union's "Blog of Rights": In a national survey, 25% of women who had a caesarean section said they felt pressured by their physician to do so, a situation that seems common with other labor interventions as well, Lewis writes. She continues, "Every person had a fundamental right to refuse unwanted medical treatments and interventions," adding, "Yet these rights are under attack, with pregnant women as some of the principal targets" (Lewis, "Blog of Rights," ACLU, 3/26).
INTERNATIONAL ABORTION LAWS: "An Illegal Abortion in Mexico Changed My Life," Jenny Shapiro, RH Reality Check: Shapiro, a resource mobilization officer for International Planned Parenthood Federation Western Hemisphere Region, writes that she is "inspired by the bravery" of a female physician in Mexico who provides safe abortion care in her living room, even though the procedure is illegal. Shapiro writes, "Thankfully, for the hundreds of Mexican women who no longer have to put their lives at risk with dangerous abortion procedures, there is one women who is willing to put their needs first" (Shapiro, RH Reality Check, 3/25).
VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN: "'Work It Out' With Your Rapist? No Way," Kirsten Bokenkamp, ACLU's "Blog of Rights": ACLU of Texas' Bokenkamp writes about how after a high school student found out that she was pregnant as a result of rape, she was told by school officials to "work it out" with her rapist and disciplined for sexual misconduct. She notes that while most people are familiar with Title IX as a way to ensure gender equality in school athletics, ACLU of Texas and ACLU's Women's Rights Project were able to use the statute to remove the student from the school district and call on Texas schools to take a closer look at their gender discrimination policies (Bokencamp, "Blog of Rights," ACLU, 3/23).
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