April 24, 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, NARAL and more.
ATTACKS ON PLANNED PARENTHOOD: "New Secret Hoax Campaign Another Tactic in the Wars Over Safe Abortion Care and Women's Rights," Leslie Kantor/Carolyn Westhoff, RH Reality Check: "For years opponents of reproductive health and rights have used secret videotaping tactics with fictitious patient scenarios and selective editing to promote falsehoods about Planned Parenthood," Kantor and Westhoff -- both of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America -- write. Most recently, a group appears to be using "secret recorders while inquiring about sex selection abortions," likely as part of plan to create a "propaganda campaign with the goal of discrediting Planned Parenthood, and, ultimately, furthering legislation that blocks access to basic reproductive health care, including birth control," according to Kantor and Westhoff. They add, "Planned Parenthood condemns sex selection motivated by gender bias, and urges leaders to challenge the underlying conditions that lead to these beliefs and practices, including addressing the social, legal, economic, and political conditions that promote gender bias and lead some to value one gender over the other" (Kantor/Westhoff, RH Reality Check, 4/23).
HIV/AIDS: "Couples Should Get Tested for HIV Together, WHO Says," Richard Knox, NPR's "Shots": "About 50 million people around the world get HIV blood tests every year, and the vast majority go alone for the tests" and "don't share the results with their sex partners," Knox writes. The World Health Organization's latest guidelines on HIV recommend that "couples around the world get tested together" enabling "both partners in a stable relationship [to] work together to prevent the uninfected person from getting the virus," Knox adds (Knox, "Shots," NPR, 4/20).
What others are saying about HIV/AIDS:
~ "Is Criminalization of HIV Transmission Effective? Swedish Case Reveals why the Answer is no," Marianne Møllmann, RH Reality Check.
VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN: "Violence Against the Wrong Women," Patricia Murphy, Washington Post's "She the People": "It's a risky year on Capitol Hill to ask for more than you know you can get, and in the end, Democrats will have to decide if pushing to expand the Violence Against Women Act was worth the chance of losing the fight altogether," Murphy writes, noting that "a majority of Senate Republicans [are] planning to oppose the bill unless [certain] new language" on protecting people regardless of sexual orientation, expanding power for tribal courts and aiding undocumented immigrants is removed. Murphy adds, "Republicans will have to answer to the women and men trying to escape domestic abuse, who may never receive the help they need because they are not the right kind of victim in the eyes of today's laws and the politicians who write them" (Murphy, "She the People," Washington Post, 4/23).
What others are saying about violence against women:
~ "The Pentagon is Camouflaging the Truth About Rape in the Military," Nancy Parrish, Huffington Post blogs.
MATERNITY CARE: "Giving Women Maternity Care is Illegal. Really?" Anna Benyo, National Women's Law Center blog: Benyo writes that the Missouri House recently approved a bill that would charge government officials with a class A misdemeanor for implementing any aspect of the federal health reform law. She says the measure is "pretty unfortunate because Missouri could stand to improve health care access for women," as all health plans in the individual market in the state charge women more than men for the same health coverage and none cover maternity services (Benyo, National Women's Law Center blog, 4/23).
What others are saying about maternity care:
~ "In Startling Move of Consistency, Nebraska Legislature Overrides Governor's Veto of Prenatal Care for Undocumented Women," Kari Ann Rinker, RH Reality Check.
LGBT ISSUES: "Health Disparities Report Highlights Transgender Concerns," Kellan Baker, ThinkProgress: For the first time, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality's 2011 National Disparities Report includes LGBT people as a priority population, Baker writes. Baker notes that the report's "strongest focus is on the disparities in health status and health care access that transgender people experience," and it "emphasizes the enormous burden of discrimination, prejudice and poor health that the transgender population bears." Baker concludes that the Obama administration has made "much progress in identifying LGBT health disparities," although "much work remains to be done, particularly when it comes to taking action to address these disparities" (Baker, ThinkProgress, 4/23).
What others are saying about LGBT issues:
~ "Missouri Bill Prohibits Discussion of Sexual Orientation in Classroom," Randy Turner, Huffington Post blogs.
MEDICATION ABORTION: "Alabama's New Abortion Bill Mis-reported by Associated Press," Amanda Marcotte, RH Reality Check: Marcotte writes that the Associated Press falsely reported that "Alabama was considering a law requiring women to take the morning-after pill, which can be purchased without a prescription from your pharmacist, in the presence of a doctor." In fact, the "bill specifically and by name addresses only one drug: RU-486, the abortion pill, which you can only get at a doctor's office," she writes. She notes, "It's a testament to the out-of-control nature of the anti-choice movement at this point that the story was intensely believable." Marcotte adds, "Even though it's not as politically entertaining, it's critically important for the media to be clear about the differences between various reproductive health technologies that the right is attacking" (Marcotte, RH Reality Check, 4/22).
What others are saying about medication abortion:
~ "As Wisconsin Suspends Medical Abortions, One Doctor Explains How the Bill Puts Doctors at Risk," Robin Marty, RH Reality Check.
CONTRACEPTION: "Sandra Fluke, Georgetown Students Continue Fight for Contraception Coverage," Jenna Johnson, Washington Post's "Campus Overload": Contraceptive coverage advocate Sandra Fluke and more than 780 of her classmates at Georgetown Law "sent a letter to university administrators that urged them not to wait until 2013 to add coverage of contraception" to its student health plan, Johnson writes. The letter states that "'it is crucial that Georgetown act to ensure that no student again suffers unnecessary health complications" because of a lack of access to affordable contraception. Meanwhile, another group of "more than 100 students and alumni sent an open letter to [Georgetown President John] DeGioia and asked him to publicly clarify his position" on the federal contraceptive coverage rules and "criticized the Catholic university for providing a forum for 'Fluke to promote her views which are contrary to Church teaching'"(Johnson, "Campus Overload," Washington Post, 4/20).
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