October 2, 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, Salon and more.
ANTIABORTION HARASSMENT: "A Wink and a Nod: Anti-Choice Laws Invite Anti-Choice Harassment and Terrorism," Jen Russo, RH Reality Check: "[F]acilities that provide abortions in states with heavy restrictions on contraception and abortion experience more harassment than do their counterparts in states whose laws tend not to interfere in patients' decisions about birth control and abortion," Russo writes, referencing a recent study she co-wrote in the journal Contraception. The study analyzed the experiences of 357 abortion providers and facilities from a July 2010 Feminist Majority Foundation survey. "When a state government hinders abortion access with baseless restrictions, it adds fuel to the anti-choice fire," Russo concludes (Russo, RH Reality Check, 10/1).
What others are saying about antiabortion harassment:
~ "Study: Antiabortion Laws Inspire Abuse," Irin Carmon, Salon.
HYDE AMENDMENT: "How the Hyde Amendment Harms Women," Amanda Dennis, RH Reality Check: "For nearly four decades, the Hyde Amendment has limited the abilities of low-income women to implement timely decisions about ending a pregnancy by banning federal Medicaid coverage of abortion except in cases of rape or incest or when a pregnancy threatens a woman's life," writes Dennis of IBIS Reproductive Health, in a post marking the 36th anniversary of the provision last weekend. She explains how the exemptions set forth under Hyde reinforce the notion that abortion is more justified in some circumstances than others. Further, the exemptions often "lead to a de facto ban on coverage of abortion in all circumstances." Further, Hyde creates barriers that make it difficult for women to access reliable information, she says (Dennis, RH Reality Check, 9/28).
What others are saying about the Hyde Amendment:
~ "Unhappy Birthday to the Amendment That Started the War on Women," Jessica Arons, Daily Beast's "Women in the World."
GLOBAL DAY OF ACTION FOR ACCESS TO SAFE AND LEGAL ABORTIONS: "My Body is Mine! -- Global Day of Action for Access to Safe and Legal Abortion," Rachel Walden, Our Bodies, Our Blog: "Globally, 47,000 deaths occur each year as a result of unsafe abortion, accounting for 13% of all maternal mortality," Walden writes. As part of the Global Day of Action for Access to Safe and Legal Abortion on Sept. 28, "activists are calling attention to the need for safe, legal abortion in all countries, urging scrutiny of governments that restrict or forbid abortion," she adds. She directs readers to the campaign's website, which explains the term "unsafe abortion," and includes a letter to the United Nations and an online petition defending women's reproductive rights (Walden, Our Bodies, Our Blog, 9/28).
CONTRACEPTIVE COVERAGE: "Missouri Fines Insurance Provider $1.5 Million for Not Letting Employers' Personal Beliefs Dictate Contraception Coverage," Amanda Peterson Beadle, ThinkProgress: Missouri insurance regulators have fined Aetna $1.5 million for violating a state law that requires insurers to offer plans without contraceptive coverage to employers with moral or religious objections, Peterson Beadle writes, adding that the settlement comes shortly after Missouri legislators overrode Gov. Jay Nixon's (D) veto of a bill (SB 749) that expands refusal exemptions for insurance coverage of abortion, contraception and sterilization. She states that the measures "directly contradict" the federal contraceptive coverage rules, adding that "Missouri lawmakers cannot change [federal law] with a new or existing law to restrict women's access to birth control" (Peterson Beadle, ThinkProgress, 9/28).
What others are saying about contraceptive coverage:
~ "A Victory for Women: Employer Can't Use Its Religion To Deny Birth Control Coverage for Its Employees," Amiri et al., American Civil Liberties Union's "Blog of Rights."
~ "A Closer Look at the Contraceptive Coverage Lawsuits: The Radical Agenda Behind the Fight Over Religious Exemptions," Bridgette Dunlap, Law Students for Reproductive Justice's "Repo Repro."
~ "Bush-Appointed Judge Upholds Obama Administration's Birth Control Coverage Rules," Ian Millhiser, ThinkProgress.
ANTIABORTION-RIGHTS GROUPS: "Domestic Terrorists are Showing Dismembered Fetuses on TV, and No One is Stopping Them," Jessica Pieklo, Care2: Seven congressional candidates across the country plan to air TV advertisements depicting a supposedly dismembered fetus, Pieklo writes, adding, "Each candidate is, not surprisingly, affiliated with Randall Terry, leader of the anti-choice domestic terror organization Operation Rescue." She notes that "Terry's currently fundraising for what he hopes will be a $1 million ad buy." Pieklo asks, "If he's able to raise that kind of money, and it goes unanswered or unchallenged, what does that say about our tolerance, our acceptance of radicalism targeting women?" (Pieklo, Care2, 9/28).
ACCESS TO FAMILY PLANNING IN TEXAS: "Why we Should all Care That Texas is 'Dismantling' Women's Health," Thanh Tan, Seattle Times' "Ed Cetera": "[I]t's worth warning everyone that what happens in Texas can happen anywhere else," Tan writes about the impact of the state's decision to reduce family planning funding by two-thirds and exclude Planned Parenthood from preventive care programs because it offers abortion services. "We've seen numerous states (and even the federal government) try to follow suit and defund family planning by targeting Planned Parenthood, including efforts in Arizona and Pennsylvania," she notes. The efforts are misdirected and shortsighted, she argues, noting that publicly funded family planning is proven to help "break the cycle of poverty, promote self-sufficiency and save taxpayers' money in the long run" (Tan, "Ed Cetera," Seattle Times, 9/28).
What others are saying about access to family planning in Texas:
~ "In Texas, Low-income Women Will Be Offered Ideological Anti-Choice Message in Place of Reproductive Health Care," Kelli Garcia, National Women's Law Center's "Womenstake."
WORLD CONTRACEPTION DAY: "From Farms to Family Planning: Investing in Women on World Contraception Day," Melinda Gates, Huffington Post blogs: "[W]omen who do the majority of the labor on small family farms in developing countries are often the very same women who are asking for, but not getting access to, contraceptives," Gates writes, adding, "[T]hey need both the power to determine whether and when to have children and the ability to grow enough food to nourish them." World Contraception Day provides an opportunity to determine how "we make it clear that contraceptives are part of a complex puzzle -- that they connect to other key development priorities like agriculture and child health," Gates adds (Gates, Huffington Post blogs, 9/28).
What others are saying about World Contraception Day:
~ "Women Use Contraception for a Better Life. We Need To Support Their Goals," Laura Hoemeke, RH Reality Check.
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