September 18, 2012 — We've compiled some of the most thought-provoking commentaries from around the Web. Catch up on the conversation with bloggers from ACLU, Ms. Magazine and more.
VIRGINIA TRAP RULES: "Sad Day For Science and Women's Health," Talcott Camp, American Civil Liberty Union's "Blog of Rights": "Virginia Attorney General Kenneth Cuccinelli [R] strong-armed the [state] Board of Health into reversing previous decisions based on medical evidence and patient safety in favor of unprecedented regulations on doctors and facilities that provide abortion care," Camp writes of the board's recent decision to end an exemption for existing facilities from new regulations for abortion clinics. The board's "move will endanger women by shutting down good, safe providers of abortion care," Camp continues. By requiring the board to reconsider its initial decision, Cuccinelli "twisted the law in order to twist the arms of doctors on the Board of Health -- the very doctors Virginians entrust to rely on medical expertise to ensure their health and safety," she adds (Camp, "Blog of Rights," ACLU, 9/14).
What others are saying about the Virginia TRAP rules:
~ "NEWSFLASH: Virginia Makes the Anti-Abortion Access TRAP Worse," Meg Randall, Ms. Magazine blog.
~ "Friday Vote on new TRAP Law may Decimate Abortion Access in Virginia," Vanessa Valenti, Feministing.
~ "Virginia Board of Health Succumbs to Threats From Cuccinelli, Passes Medically-Unnecessary Restrictions," Jodi Jacobson, RH Reality Check.
~ "Bad News for Virginia Abortion Clinics -- and Women," Sarah Erdreich, Feminists for Choice.
PLANNED PARENTHOOD: "Where do Women Turn When Planned Parenthood is Gone?" Jessica Pieklo, Care2: Efforts to cut public funding to Planned Parenthood have resulted in "an increasingly segregated and discriminatory method of delivering health care to women," Pieklo writes. She notes that when local officials ended a nearly $400,000 grant to Planned Parenthood in Shelby County, Tenn., "[t]he demand for health care didn't go down, it just became less accessible." Meanwhile, in Texas, finding a clinic that provides health services for low-income women through the state's Women's Health Program has become "practically impossible" because Texas excluded Planned Parenthood from the program (Pieklo, Care2, 9/15).
What others are saying about Planned Parenthood:
~ "Tim Huelskamp, GOP Congressman: Planned Parenthood's 'Sole Purpose is Killing Children' of Minorities," Laura Bassett, Huffington Post blogs.
POLICING PREGNANCY: "Pregnancy Testing in Bars," Jill Filipovic, Feministe: While offering pregnancy tests in bar restrooms allows women to take the tests discreetly and inexpensively -- at $3 each -- Filipovic is troubled by the motivations of the group behind the idea. The group aims to discourage women from drinking during pregnancy and says the pregnancy tests are "'all about protecting a child,' and not about, ... making health information easily accessible to women," Filipovic notes. Offering inexpensive pregnancy tests, condom dispensers and pregnancy information "[e]verywhere" would be a positive move, "[b]ut stop saying it's just to protect potential babies and to stop women from making bad choices!" she adds (Filipovic, Feministe, 9/14).
What others are saying about policing pregnancy:
~ "Belly Up to the Bar: Pregnancy Tests, Vending Machines, and Access to Contraception," Sara Alcid, RH Reality Check.
THE REV. HOWARD MOODY: "Remembering Reverend Howard Moody: A Pre-Roe Advocate for Women's Rights," Jodi Magee, RH Reality Check: Magee -- founding CEO of Physicians for Reproductive Choice and Health -- writes that the Rev. Howard Moody, who died this week, "helped thousands of women obtain safe abortions before Roe v. Wade." Moody, along with other ministers and rabbis, in 1967 started the Clergy Consultation Service on Abortion to provide women with information about how to access abortion care. They evaluated doctors who would provide illegal abortions as safely as possible and barred their own "counselors from showing 'any judgment' about a woman's reasons for needing an abortion," which "is a lesson this country still needs to learn," Magee writes (Magee, RH Reality Check, 9/17).
FAITH AND ABORTION: "Abortion: What the Bible Says (and Doesn't Say)," Rick Lowery, Huffington Post blogs: Rick Lowery -- an author, biblical scholar and former dean of Lexington Theological Seminary -- writes that although the Bible does not mention abortion, various passages indicate that human life begins "when a child is born and starts breathing," which was consistent with understandings of human reproduction at the time. While Lowery "appreciate[s]" this view, he writes that "modern science and medical technology give [him] a more nuanced and conservative conviction." He concludes, "The moral view that underlies Roe v. Wade -- that a line is crossed when a fetus becomes 'viable' -- seems most plausible, morally defensible, and consistent with the spirit of the biblical view" (Lowery, Huffington Post blogs, 9/14).
CONTRACEPTION: "Guest Blogger: Nancy Keenan 'The Next Step in Standing Up for No-Cost Birth Control,'" Nancy Keenan, Latinovations' "La Plaza": "[U]ntil now, many women were forced to choose between their birth control and their groceries, because many struggle[d] with the cost of contraception," Keenan writes in reference to the implementation of federal rules that bar health plans from charging copayments or deductible for contraceptives. However, "we still face opposition from anti-contraception forces," including "various organizations, individuals and states" that have filed lawsuits challenging the policy and the House, which "has voted no less than 33 times to repeal, undermine or defund the health-reform law that makes contraceptive coverage possible" (Keenan, "La Plaza," Latinovations, 9/17).
What others are saying about contraception:
~ "Switching Contraceptives Effectively," Jane Brody, New York Times' "Well."
~ "Republican Threats to Women's Access to Contraception Could Affect Millions," Tara Culp-Ressler, Center for American Progress' "ThinkProgress."
SEXUAL HEALTH: "From STD Prevention to Sexual Health, and Back," Kees Rietjmeijer, RH Reality Check: "[T]here have been a number of developments in the past decade that have fostered a broad-based discussion of sexual health," including CDC's recent efforts to develop "a sexual health framework" to shift from "disease prevention to health promotion," Rietjmeijer writes. However, "for a sexual health strategy to work," advocates need more evidence from studies and "science not just good will to show that this approach is working," he adds (Rietjmeijer, RH Reality Check, 9/17).
Debra Ness, publisher & president, National Partnership
Andrea Friedman, associate editor & director of reproductive health programs, 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