February 1, 2013 — 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.
ADOLESCENT HEALTH: "Sex Education in South Carolina Still Failing 25 Years After Passage of Comprehensive Law," Martha Kempner, RH Reality Check: Twenty-five years after South Carolina passed the Comprehensive Health Education Act, which aimed to standardize sex education, Kempner writes that a recent report found "a number of places where schools were failing to follow the law and providing inadequate -- and in some cases inaccurate and outdated -- information to students." She adds that the state still is dealing with "misunderstandings about what the law does and doesn't require, and a complete lack of accountability." The findings "should serve as a reminder to advocates in other states that a law is a first step but we have to stay vigilant," Kempner concludes (Kempner, RH Reality Check, 1/30).
ABORTION ACCESS: "Hyde Restrictions Would Make Obama Budget Immoral," Harry Knox, Huffington Post blogs: Knox, president and CEO of the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, writes that the Hyde Amendment -- which bars federal funding for most abortions -- is a "big obstacle" to health care access for many women. "To keep abortion legal in America, but to throw up so many roadblocks to its implementation that it's rendered ineffectual is an unconscionable bait and switch that leaves millions of women with no choice at all," he adds. Knox writes that he sent a letter to President Obama on Tuesday requesting that his administration pass a "clean budget" that does not include the funding ban (Knox, Huffington Post blogs, 1/31).
What others are saying about abortion access:
~ "Young, Poor, and Single Women are More Likely To Lack Safe Abortion Access," Tara Culp-Ressler, Center for American Progress' "Think Progress."
~ "In New York City, Medicaid Coverage of Abortion Doesn't Cut It," Alison Turkos, RH Reality Check.
VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN: "Rhetoric of Rape," Barbara Holm, Huffington Post blogs: "[S]exual violence is being discussed more, by politicians, people in television, comedians, and society in general," writes Holm, a comedian, adding, "I wonder if that means as a society battling an endless rape culture, we're starting to pull out ... or that it's getting worse." She continues, "[L]ately it seems the excuse of 'I misspoke' is a broken record." Holm notes that New Mexico Rep. Cathrynn Brown's (R) description of her bill that could criminalize abortion in sexual assault cases as tampering with evidence "makes it seem like she has no idea that she sounds like she's punishing the victims." Holm notes, "I think it's good we're talking about [sexual violence] more," but "[l]et's make sure we're talking about it in a beneficial way" that "makes it clear that [rape] is a horrible thing" (Holm, Huffington Post blogs, 1/30).
What others are saying about violence against women:
~ "Now That Women Are Cleared for Combat, How About a Rape-Free Workplace?" Matthew Fleischer, Huffington Post blogs.
~ "Gayle Trotter's Ideas Will Not Keep Women Safe," Amanda Marcotte, Slate's "XX Factor."
~ "How the Military Can Lead the Way on Ending Sexual Assault," Jennifer Siebel Newsom/Amy Ziering, Huffington Post blogs.
~ "No Standard Deviation From Our Principles," Rosie Wang, Law Students for Reproductive Justice's "Repo Repro."
~ "The Dangers of a Gender Essentialist Approach to Sexual Violence," Jos Truitt, Feminsting.
~ "How Obama's Immigration Proposal Helps Domestic Violence Victims," Annie-Rose Strasser, Center for American Progress' "ThinkProgress."
BEST STATES FOR WOMEN'S HEALTH: "Oregon is the Only State Left That Hasn't Imposed Any Restrictions on Abortion," Tara Culp-Ressler, Center for American Progress' "ThinkProgress": "Despite the fact that Roe v. Wade first legalized abortion four decades ago, anti-choice lawmakers have successfully chipped away at abortion rights on a state level," leaving Oregon as the "sole state" that has not imposed any restrictions on abortion rights, Culp-Ressler writes. She references a chart compiled by Remapping Debate, which provides a "helpful visual" to "illustrate the recent flood of anti-abortion laws across the country" (Culp-Ressler, "ThinkProgress," Center for American Progress," 1/31).
What others are saying about the best states for women's health:
~ "Resolution 1635-A: A Progressive Action That Meets the Real Needs of American Women and Families," Andrea Miller, RH Reality Check.
WORST STATES FOR WOMEN'S HEALTH: "The Worst State for Women?" Amanda Marcotte, American Prospect: In recent years, states seem to be "competing for the dubious honor of being the worst place for women to live," Marcotte writes, noting that this year, North Dakota has "risen to the top of the competitive field." The state is considering a bill that threatens to close the state's only clinic by requiring that providers obtain hospital admitting privileges, as well as two others that would give rights to fertilized eggs and ban abortion after a fetal heartbeat is detectable, she explains, adding that abortion-rights opponents also are attacking sex education programs. The threats extend beyond reproductive health "to women in general," with programs including those intended to address violence against women being cut. Native American women in the state are especially vulnerable, Marcotte adds (Marcotte, American Prospect, 1/30).
What others are saying about the worst states for women's health:
~ "Meet Jason Rapert, the Koch-Backed Evangelical Steering Arkansas' Radical Abortion-Restriction Effort," Lee Fang, The Nation.
~ "The New Anti-Choice Legislation To Watch: 'Fetal Heartbeat' Bills Banning Nearly All Abortions," Culp-Ressler, Center for American Progress' "Think Progress."
~ "South Dakota Bill Would Exclude Weekends and Holidays From 72-Hour Abortion Waiting Period," Culp-Ressler, Center for American Progress' "Think Progress."
~ "Mississippi's Last Abortion Clinic Sends a Message: 'We're Here, and We're Not Going Anywhere,'" Culp-Ressler, Center for American Progress' "Think Progress."
RELIGIOUS RIGHT: "4 Things The Religious Right Is Blaming Women for This Month," Steve Williams, Care2: Williams highlights four "particularly ridiculous" things the "Religious Right blames women for" lately, such as Rep. James Lankford's (R-Okla.) comment suggesting that "overmedication of kids" is linked to gun violence and that "welfare moms" are overmedicating their children "to get additional benefits." Williams also quotes Matt Barber, a member of the conservative Liberty Counsel, who said that the person who "was going to find the cure for AIDS ... has already been slaughtered in the womb." Williams continues, listing Christian Broadcasting Network Chair Pat Robertson's comments that "awful looking" women are to blame for their husbands' drinking and the remarks of a prominent Indian Hindu guru Asaram Bapu, who claimed that a woman who was raped on a New Delhi bus was partly to blame because she should have prayed, admitted she was weak, and "pleaded for mercy" (Williams, Care2, 1/29).
CONTRACEPTION: "Texas GOP Considers Turning State Into Tax Dodge Over Contraception Mandate," Jessica Mason Pieklo, RH Reality Check: "Last week Republicans in Texas introduced a bill" (HB 649) that would allow businesses who "refuse to comply" with the ACA's contraception mandate to claim a "state tax break for the amount [they] must pay in penalties," Mason Pieklo writes. She points out that the bill -- though characterized by its proponents "as a haven for employers like Hobby Lobby who refuse to comply with the mandate solely on the religious convictions of the owners" -- is just another "'states rights' challenge to Obamacare generally." Like similar efforts, she concludes, its purpose is "not simply to advance an immediate legislative agenda or legal challenge but to shift ever-rightward the national framing of state and federal power," particularly jurisprudence and the "national conversation over reproductive health care" (Mason Pieklo, RH Reality Check," 1/30).
What others are saying about contraception:
~ "FDA Allows College Campus To Make Contraception More Accessible With Plan B Vending Machine," Culp-Ressler, Center for American Progress' "Think Progress."
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