December 11, 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, Huffington Post and more.
GLOBAL REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS: "Reproductive Rights as Human Rights? Is the World Flat?" Purnima Mane, RH Reality Check: "This International Human Rights Day, my hope is that in the near future, the idea that sexual and reproductive health and rights were not always a given will seem simply unbelievable" and "[a]lmost as hard to understand as people once believing the world was flat," writes Mane, president and CEO of Pathfinder International. "For me, it is a simple concept: every person should be able to make decisions about her or his body," she states. She continues, "We have made great strides in improving access to sexual and reproductive health care," but "we cannot ignore the persistent barriers that plague our work," including cultural barriers, such as forced marriage, and barriers to service delivery, such as a lack of trained providers (Mane, RH Reality Check, 12/7).
What others are saying about global reproductive rights:
~ "Eleven Words," Melanne Verveer, Huffington Post blogs.
ABORTION-RIGHTS OPPONENTS: "Americans United for Life: Abortion Must Be Made Illegal so Women Can Prove They Can Have It All," Robin Marty, RH Reality Check: During a recent press conference, Jeanneane Maxon -- vice president of external affairs and corporate counsel at Americans United for Life -- argued that abortion-rights groups deny women's true potential by sending the message that women cannot handle both a career and family. Marty writes that Maxon suggested "that abortion should be all together banned so that women can prove that they don't need it." Marty calls this argument "ironic," given the "strong measure of paternalism that threads through the batch of model legislation churned out" by AUL in recent years. She writes, "No one doubts that women can handle careers and families," adding, "All we ask is that the balance of the two should be left completely up to us, and not influenced by anti-choice activists who believe that not being pregnant is 'denying them of their true womanhood'" (Marty, RH Reality Check, 12/7).
What others are saying about abortion-rights opponents:
~ "Worst Marketing Decision Ever: Drycleaner Puts 'Pro-life' Message on Their Hangers," Robin Marty, RH Reality Check.
~ "Right Wing Falsely Claims Planned Parenthood Encouraged Hiding Abuse," Jillian Rayfield, Salon.
ABORTION COVERAGE FOR SERVICEWOMEN: "Abortion Coverage for Military Rape Victims Passes Senate," Rachel Kassenbrock, Ms. Magazine blog: Kassenbrock hopes that the House will agree to include a Senate-approved amendment in its version of the National Defense Authorization Act (HR 4310) that "would provide some relief to rape victims in the military with a disgraceful history of sexual abuse." She notes that a conference committee will determine whether the amendment will be included, concluding, "Hopefully, ... service women will not be denied full health care coverage by the country they risk their lives to serve" (Kassenbrock, Ms. Magazine blog, 12/7).
What others are saying about abortion coverage for servicewomen:
~ "Shaheen Amendment Moving Forward in Congress," Robin Marty, RH Reality Check.
VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN: "Conservatives Must Stop Blaming Victims for Violence Against Them," Amanda Marcotte, RH Reality Check: The "gross willingness" by conservatives to blame domestic violence victims for the crimes against them, including the recent fatal shooting of Kasandra Perkins by professional football player Jovan Belcher, "is breathtaking in its cruelty," Marcotte writes. "When we blame women and say it's their fault for being easy to hit, we can't be surprised if they blame themselves if they're hit," Marcotte continues, adding, "If we tell women that it's their job to hold their relationships together and that they've failed if they become single mothers, we can't be surprised if they stick by men who mistreat them" (Marcotte, RH Reality Check, 12/10).
What others are saying about violence against women:
~ "Republican Leadership Split on Whether To Protect Native American Women," Erik Stegman, Center for American Progress' "Think Progress."
~ "Homeland Security Takes Steps To Implement Prison Rape Elimination Act Guidelines," Zack Ford, Center for American Progress' "Think Progress."
EMERGENCY CONTRACEPTION: "Emergency Contraception Should Be Available Over the Counter -- And You Can Make That Happen," Kirsten Moore, Huffington Post blogs: Moore, president and CEO of the Reproductive Health Technologies Project, asks readers to sign a petition launched by a "broad coalition of medical professionals and advocates" to urge HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius "to revisit the evidence and remove the restrictions" on nonprescription access to emergency contraception. Moore notes that this week marks one year since Sebelius overruled FDA's decision to allow nonprescription EC sales to people of all ages. "That decision led to confusion and unnecessary obstacles for women, teens, and couples at the very moment clarity was needed most," Moore writes, adding, "Medical science, not political ideology, should govern which products are safe and effective" (Moore, Huffington Post blogs, 12/8).
MEDICAID: "Three Million Reasons To Support Medicaid," Danielle Garrett, National Women's Law Center's "Womenstake": Garrett, a health policy analyst for health and reproductive rights at NWLC, notes that she has "written many a blog" about Medicaid's benefits to women's health, such as "family planning services, comprehensive maternity care, treatment for chronic conditions, treatment for breast and cervical cancer, and long-term care services and supports." However, a recently released report from NWLC provides "a few new reasons" Medicaid is important to women, such as the three million Medicaid-supported jobs that are held by women. "These new findings further reinforce what a vital program Medicaid is to women's economic security and make a compelling case for protecting the program during fiscal cliff negotiations," Garrett concludes (Garrett, "Womenstake," NWLC, 12/10).
PREGNANCY: "More Stuff for Pregnant Women To Worry About," Kate Sheppard, Mother Jones' "Blue Marble": Although most doctors routinely discuss smoking, alcohol, diet and weight gain with their pregnant patients, only 19% discuss pesticides and only 12% bring up air pollution, according to a study by University of California-San Francisco researchers, Sheppard writes. In addition, only 44% of doctors warn patients about mercury, 8% talk about bisphenol A and 5% discuss phthalates, despite that research shows "toxic chemicals in the womb can have a 'profound and lasting impact on health across the life course,'" Sheppard notes. She concludes, "Women already have a lot to deal with when pregnant, which is why some doctors say that they should be doing more to raise awareness about those potential hazards even before women become pregnant" (Sheppard, "Blue Marble," Mother Jones, 12/11).
ATTACKS ON REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS IN MICHIGAN: "Why are Michigan Politicians Adopting Ireland's Deadly Abortion Policy?" Jennifer Dalven, American Civil Liberties Union's "Blog of Rights": "[F]or reasons I can't begin to understand, politicians in Michigan are telling hospitals it is okay if they treat a pregnant woman exactly like the Irish hospital treated Savita [Halappanavar]," Dalven writes, referring to a bill passed by the Michigan Senate last week that would protect a hospital from penalties for refusing "on religious grounds to provide appropriate care to a pregnant woman facing an emergency." Dalven adds that "when a pregnant woman is taken to a hospital in an emergency she shouldn't have to worry that the hospital will withhold the care she needs to protect her health" (Dalven, "Blog of Rights," ACLU, 12/10).
What others are saying about attacks on reproductive rights in Michigan:
~ "Michigan Senate Just Passed a Bunch of Bills Prohibiting all Insurance Coverage for Abortion," Katie Baker, Jezebel.
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