December 21, 2012 — We've compiled some of the most thought-provoking commentaries from around the Web. Catch up on the conversation with bloggers from Slate, Huffington Post and more.
VIOLENCE AGAISNT WOMEN: "Rapists Say They Rape Because of Mixed Signals, and the Good Men Project Believes Them," Amanda Marcotte, Slate's "XX Factor": Marcotte writes that articles recently published by the Good Men Project in which rapists tell "their side" of the story "tout a very old, repeatedly disproven rape myth, which is that rapists rape because they're confused about whether they have consent." The organization "rationalized publishing these pieces" by saying they were meant to educate the public, but "[i]t's hard to believe the people at GMP could be naive enough to think that rapists are a good source for the unvarnished truth about rape," Marcotte states. "Let me clear it up for all the supposedly confused guys out there: If you want to be 'good,' don't insert your penis into a sleeping woman. That's rape," she concludes (Marcotte, "XX Factor," Slate, 12/20).
What others are saying about violence against women:
~ "It's Time for Congress To Stop Politicizing VAWA and End a Human Rights Crisis," Lise Balk King, Huffington Post blogs.
~ "Violence Against Women Act: House Republican Women Emerge as Key to Possible Action," Jennifer Bendery, Huffington Post blogs.
~ "Is Anyone Listening to the 'Forsaken,' Marginalized Women of Vancouver?" Robyn Bourgeois, Huffington Post blogs.
~ "A California College Hopes To Model Best Sexual Assault Policies," Nina Flores, Ms. Magazine blog.
~ "Double Jeopardy for Rape Victims in Peru," Françoise Girard, International Women's Health Coalition's "Akimbo."
~ "Congress Leaves for Christmas Without Making Women Safer," Melinda Henneberger, Washington Post's "She The People."
~ "Why We Really Really Need To Pass the Violence Against Women Act," Desiree Hoffman, Care2.
~ "Will a Horrific Bus Gang-Rape in Delhi Finally Change India's Culture of Rape?" Jen Swanson, Slate's "XX Factor."
WOMEN'S HEALTH AND THE 2012 ELECTION: "How Women's Health and Social Media Won 2012: Retrospective," Echo Zen, Feministe: "[C]ontrary to previous elections where women's health was an afterthought in voters' minds, it was a centrepiece of the 2012 election," Zen writes, adding that "for the first time in history, a major political party" -- the Democratic Party -- "included in its platform unqualified support for women's reproductive equality." By contrast, the Republican Party "ran on a platform of eliminating protections for domestic violence survivors, pay equality for women, and health plans that cover contraception without co-pay," Zen writes, adding that the GOP's platform also pledged to "ban lifesaving abortions for dying pregnant women and survivors of legitimate rape." Zen notes that social media was "vital to women's health advocacy in this election," allowing millions of women a "visible space" to fight attacks on women's access to health care (Zen, Feministe, 12/18).
What others are saying about women's health and the 2012 election:
~ "The Shameless Slut Vote: The 2012 Election and Sex Ed," Soraya Chemaly, RH Reality Check.
ATTACKS ON REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS IN TEXAS: "Dear Rick Perry: Caring for Children Doesn't Stop at Birth," Melissa Harris-Perry, MSNBC: In announcing his support for a 20-week abortion ban this legislative session, Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) "drew a line deeply in the sand and planted his flag in support of not just weakening -- but completely obliterating women's reproductive rights," MSNBC host Harris-Perry writes. In response to Perry's declaration, Harris-Perry posts an open letter asking the governor to acknowledge that the measure is really about trying to challenge Roe v. Wade. She adds that instead of passing laws that address the state's high uninsurance rate or expand its Medicaid program, Perry is "more interested in laws whose only use is to block women's rights and make a difference in the life of one person in Texas -- [him]self" (Harris-Perry, MSNBC, 12/18).
What others are saying about attacks on reproductive rights in Texas:
~ "Texas Abortion Drug Bill Could Mean More Side Effects and Higher Costs," Mary Tuma, RH Reality Check.
~ "Texas Republicans Seek To Punish Women and Doctors for Late Term Abortions," Tara Culp-Ressler, Center for American Progress' "Think Progress."
ATTACKS ON REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS IN MICHIGAN: "In Search of Solidarity: Vastly Different Responses to Michigan's 'Right To Work' and Attacks on Right To Choose," Angi Becker Stevens, RH Reality Check: Becker Stevens draws several similarities between Michigan's "right to work" legislation and a recently passed measure (HB 5711) that would impose several new restrictions on abortion, including "that they are both attacks on the working class." She continues, "[A]s is always the case with restrictions on abortion, these barriers will have the greatest impact on those with the least resources," adding, "And as Right to Work laws push more people toward or below the poverty line, it becomes even more terrifying to consider what the future of abortion access will look like for women in Michigan." Becker Stevens notes that several pro-union protesters seemed to feel that her signs supporting reproductive rights were inappropriate at a recent rally. "Those who seek to dismantle unions and those who seek to deny women's bodily autonomy are not two separate groups with two separate motivations," she writes, calling on union and women's rights supporters to both "stand in solidarity to defend all the rights of the working class" (Becker Stevens, RH Reality Check, 12/18).
What others are saying about attacks on reproductive rights in Michigan:
~ "Michigan Politician on H.B. 5711: 'This Isn't About Protecting Women, It's About Protecting Fetuses!'" Robin Marty, RH Reality Check.
MISOGYNY: "How Feminism Caused Sandy Hook, According to the Right," Irin Carmon, Salon: "The dogged wish of many on the right to make the tragic Sandy Hook shooting about anything but guns means that it has to be about other things -- ideally, things they already do not like," such as "feminism, abortion or anything else that contributes to the oppression of white men," Carmon writes. She notes that "early out of the gate," former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (R) blamed "tax-funded abortion pills," while other conservatives wrote articles blaming "our feminized culture"; "sexual frustration" created by the abundance of sex in the media; and "women and people of color for not being nice enough to white men as they're robbed of privilege" (Carmon, Salon, 12/20).
What others are saying about misogyny:
~ "The 10 Most Outrageous Anti-Choice Comments of 2012," NARAL Pro-Choice America's "Blog for Choice."
~ "White Masculinity's Ties to Rape and Gun Culture," Jessica Pieklo, Care2.
~ "Operation Rescue Hilariously Declares 'Pre-Born Children' the Winner of Its Annual Anti-Abortion Award," Katie J.M. Baker, Jezebel.
~ "So-Called 'Family Values' Group Sued for Sexual Harassment," Annie-Rose Strasser, Center for American Progress' "Think Progress."
PARENTING: "Supporting Mothers at Any Age: How Media and Society Need To Change," Miriam Pérez, RH Reality Check: "One thing is clear about our media conversations regarding parenting: you are never the right age to be a mother," Perez writes, adding, "Whether it's alarmism about the high rates of teen pregnancy or the more recent alarmism about pregnancies and births to women who are too old, the message is clear." She continues, "The truth is that there is no perfect time to be a parent" and that "[a]sking people to change their decisions around parenting is a waste of breath." She concludes, "Instead we need to change the conditions that keep families from succeeding because there truly is no right time to be a parent" (Perez, RH Reality Check, 12/18).
CONTRACEPTION: "First Appellate Arguments on Birth Control Benefit Suggest Long Fight Ahead," Jessica Mason Pieklo, RH Reality Check: "The first legal challenge to the birth control benefit reached the appellate courts last week, leaving almost no doubt the issue of whether corporate entities can exercise religious rights that supercede women's health care will find its way before the Supreme Court," Mason Pieklo writes. She continues that the most "attractive" option for the court is to place the lawsuit on hold while the Obama administration continues work on accommodations for religiously affiliated employers. However, this option gives weight to the argument that corporate entities have a constitutional right "to express religious beliefs in a way that discriminates against others to survive," an idea that "at least a handful of [conservative] judges [are] willing to entertain," she writes. She notes that the tactic has "worked before. Will it work again?" (Mason Pieklo, RH Reality Check, 12/18).
What others are saying about contraception:
~ "They Are Coming for Your Birth Control: 'Get Your Perverse Acts Out of My Pocketbook!'" Robin Marty, RH Reality Check.
~ "It Doesn't Matter How Many Lawsuits Are Filed, the Contraception Rule Is Constitutional," Brigitte Amiri, American Civil Liberties Union's "Blog of Rights."
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