October 9, 2012 — We've compiled some of the most thought-provoking commentaries from around the Web. Catch up on the conversation with bloggers from Mother Jones, The Nation and more.
DRAW THE LINE CAMPAIGN: "Abortion Rights Group Launches 'Bill of Reproductive Rights,'" Kate Sheppard, Mother Jones' "Political Mojo": Draw the Line, a new campaign from the Center for Reproductive Rights, "asks Americans to sign a 'Bill of Reproductive Rights,' and features a star-studded series of ads," with Meryl Streep, Amy Poehler and other celebrities. The campaign, which was prompted by the unprecedented volume of attacks on reproductive health in the past two years, coincides with the 20th anniversary of the Supreme Court's decision in Planned Parenthood v. Casey and the upcoming 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade. The Center plans to deliver the signatures to the president and members of Congress after next month's election (Sheppard, "Political Mojo," Mother Jones, 10/9).
FEMALE IDENTITY: "I'm Not a 'Mother First,'" Jessica Valenti, The Nation blogs: "[T]here's a danger in returning to an ideal where women's most important identity is relational rather than individual," Valenti writes in response to comments by GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney; his wife, Ann Romney; and first lady Michelle Obama implying that women's most important identity is as mothers. "[I]dentifying as a mom first in a culture that pays lip service to parenthood without actually supporting it has consequences," including "giv[ing] those who would enshrine [women's] dehumanization more firepower and assur[ing] that their domestic work will only ever be paid in thanks, not in policy or power," she continues. It's also important to note that "declaring our individual importance as people and citizens does not diminish the depth of love we have for our children or the central role parenthood plays in our lives," she adds (Valenti, The Nation blogs, 10/5).
PREGNANT WORKERS FAIRNESS ACT: "Hiding Pregnancies: Reproductive Freedom is an Economic Issue," Robin Marty, RH Reality Check: People who argue that reproductive rights are not an economic issue have "never tried to get a job while pregnant," Marty writes, referencing a New York Times opinion piece that notes that female employees who become pregnant are often seen as "easily replaceable in the eyes of management." She continues, "The jobs in which a woman is likely to lose her position if she gets pregnant are also the ones least likely to have health-care plans that offer affordable contraception," adding, "Those who can least afford to get pregnant unintentionally are the ones who most need access to contraception." Marty asks, "When being pregnant affects your ability to find work, how can you see reproductive health care as anything other than an economic issue?" (Marty, RH Reality Check, 10/8).
SHACKLING OF PREGNANT PRISONERS: "Victory: No More Shackles on Pregnant Prisoners," Alicia Walters, American Civil Liberties Union's "Blog of Rights": "In 2005 California became one of the first states to prohibit the shackling of incarcerated pregnant women during labor, delivery, and recovery after childbirth," Walters of ACLU of Northern California writes, adding that the state has "taken another step forward to protect the health of incarcerated women -- this time by prohibiting shackling throughout pregnancy." With AB 2530, which was signed last week by Gov. Jerry Brown (D), Walters "can proudly report that doctors will no longer have to argue with guards over the removal of restraints. And every pregnant woman and juvenile in this system must be informed of these rights" (Walters, "Blog of Rights," ACLU, 10/5).
CONTRACEPTIVE COVERAGE: "Shocker: Free Birth Control Means Fewer Abortions," Erika Eichelberger, Mother Jones "Political Mojo": Eichelberger writes about a new study that shows access to no-cost birth control leads to fewer teenage pregnancies and lower abortion rates. "Women's health specialists say the study points to the potential impact of ... the Affordable Care Act, which mandates access to contraceptives without co-payments," she writes. According to the study's authors, when implemented nationwide, "more than 40 percent of the over 1 million abortions performed in the United States each year could be avoided," Eichelberger writes (Eichelberger, "Political Mojo," Mother Jones, 10/5).
What others are saying about contraceptive coverage:
~ "Birth Control Prevents Abortion: Should Be Obvious, but Sadly Disputed," Amanda Marcotte, RH Reality Check.
~ "New Study Confirms Obamacare's Birth Control Mandate Will Reduce Abortion Rate," Tara Culp-Ressler, Center for American Progress' "Think Progress."
~ "Absolutely Everyone Benefits From Free Birth Control, Says yet Another Study Conservatives Will Ignore," Katie J.M. Baker, Jezebel.
~ "Great News: Court Holds Birth Control Rule Does not Violate Religious Freedom," Leila Abolfazli, National Women's Law Center's "Womenstake."
BREAST CANCER: "Don't Touch my Breasts, Hon," Kate Barasz, Salon blogs: Barasz writes about her experience undergoing a double mastectomy at age 28, 10 years after learning that she inherited the BRCA1 gene mutation that had led to breast and ovarian cancers in her mother, grandmother and great-grandmother. Barasz describes how the likelihood that she would undergo the surgery influenced her decision to marry her husband and how they regained intimacy in their relationship after the operation (Barasz, Salon, 10/8).
What others are saying about breast cancer:
~ "Breast Cancer Awareness: Will I Have the Disease my Mother Did," Jessica Pearce Rotondi, Huffington Post blogs.
~ "Six Things I Learned From Breast Cancer," Judy Pearson, Daily Beast's "Women in the World."
~ "A 20-Year Dream To Eradicate Breast Cancer," Maureen Case, Huffington Post blogs.
CRISIS PREGNANCY CENTERS: "San Francisco Judge Rules That Crisis Pregnancy Centers Cannot Mislead Women," Tara Culp-Ressler, Center for American Progress' "Think Progress": "Although [CPCs] often present themselves as valid alternatives to women's health clinics, they actually serve as a tool for anti-abortion advocates to talk women out of getting abortions," Culp-Ressler writes. She commends a judge's decision last week to uphold a San Francisco law that bars CPCs from using deceptive advertising "to shame women into making a different choice for their bodies." San Francisco "is not the first city to attempt to prevent CPCs from spreading misinformation, but it is the first to succeed," she notes (Culp-Ressler, "Think Progress," Center for American Progress, 10/5).
GLOBAL ABORTION ACCESS: "Warships Meet Abortion Doctors Outside of Morocco," Jessica Pieklo, Care2: Pieklo highlights Women on Waves' recent attempt to provide safe abortion care to women in Morocco, where abortion is illegal. Access to safe, legal abortion is "a critical need and one that is becoming more acute as conservatives take their fight against women's autonomy and comprehensive family planning global," Pieklo writes, adding, "The fight for abortion access in countries like Morocco serves as a good reminder of what's on the line in the fight for abortion rights stateside" (Pieklo, Care2, 10/8).
ANTONIN SCALIA: "Justice Scalia Says Abortion and Gay Sex are Obvs Unconstitutional," Katie J.M. Baker, Jezebel: Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia "loves the Constitution so much that he never wants it to change, even though it's no longer the 1700s and therefore we've made some exciting social progress -- banning slavery, for example! -- as we mature as a nation," Baker writes. During a recent speech at the American Enterprise Institute, Scalia said that it is "[a]bsolutely easy" to decide cases involving abortion-rights because "[n]obody ever thought the Constitution prevented restrictions on abortion." Baker writes that Scalia's refusal to consider "real life" when applying the principles of the Constitution is "[h]ogwash" (Baker, Jezebel, 10/5).
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