May 8, 2012 — We've compiled some of the most thought-provoking commentaries from around the Web. Catch up on the conversation with bloggers from Ms. Magazine, Huffington Post and more.
WAR ON WOMEN: "1,000 Reasons To Trust Women," Colleen Crinion, Ms. Magazine blog: Crinion cites data from the Guttmacher Institute that show 944 reproductive health-related laws -- half of which aim to restrict abortion access -- were introduced in the first three months of 2012. Noting that several bills would require women to listen to the fetal heartbeat before an abortion, she writes, "The basic assumption behind such legislation is that women do not know what is happening to them -- that without these bills, women would get abortions out of ignorance." Crinion, a former clinic assistant at two Planned Parenthood facilities, adds, "More often than not, however, our patients had already thought about what they needed to do, and they just needed it done -- safely and with dignity" (Crinion, Ms. Magazine blog, 5/4).
What others are saying about the war on women:
~ "Women Doctors, Female School Athletes all Signs of 'War on Men,'" Robin Marty, Care2.
~ "Guest Post From Colorado: Defending Women's Health," Amy Runyon-Harms, Planned Parenthood Action Fund's "Women Are Watching."
~ "House Ready To Give Finger to Violence Against Women Act?" Norm Stamper, Huffington Post blogs.
~ "Planned Parenthood Fight Continues at State Level," Rachel Weiner, Washington Post's "The Fix."
GLOBAL MATERNAL HEALTH: "Birth in Brazil," Ricki Lake, Huffington Post blogs: Vaginal childbirth is uncommon in Brazil, with 93% of middle- and upper-class women delivering via caesarean section, Lake writes. "[T]here is a pervasive and deeply rooted fear of the pain of childbirth handed down from older generations" in Brazil, according to Lake, who adds that most Brazilian women "believe that a vaginal birth will damage their bodies irreparably." In addition, the way the physician system is set up in Brazil makes scheduling births the most practical option, and most obstetricians think c-sections are safest and refuse patients who want vaginal births, Lake states (Lake, Huffington Post blogs, 5/8).
What others are saying about global maternal health:
~ "Stand Up for Moms and Babies Around the World," Helene Gayle and Theresa Shaver, Huffington Post blogs.
HIV/AIDS: "Prosecutions of HIV-Positive Sex Workers: Bad Human Rights and Bad Public Health," Cheryl Overs, RH Reality Check: The practice of "naming and shaming" HIV-positive sex workers, as well as mandatory testing, has become more common worldwide, including the U.S. and U.K., writes Overs of the Michael Kirby Centre for Public Health and Human Rights. Although "HIV testing is crucial, ... [t]he strategies for increasing access to testing and treatment that have been successful are reducing the burden of criminalisation and discrimination and providing respectful services including quality health care, information and social support," Overs notes (Overs, RH Reality Check, 5/7).
What others are saying about HIV/AIDS:
~"Giving Power to Couples to End the AIDS Epidemic," Michael Sidibé, Huffington Post
ABORTION-RIGHTS OPPONENTS: "'Do Women Have too Many Rights?' Abby Johnson's Dangerous Message Delivered With Sugar," Jessica Mack, RH Reality Check: Mack discusses a speech at the University of Washington by "former Texas Planned Parenthood Director-cum-pro-life-maven" Abby Johnson. Although "many of the points Johnson discussed in her talk actually weren't that problematic to" Mack, she writes that "[i]t was the logical hops, skips and jumps [Johnson] made from those points that created a nebulous of misrepresentation." Noting that "rowdy pro-choice protestors" disrupted the talk, Mack adds, "Incessant shouts only accented her point about the anger that resides in the pro-choice community -- 'anger that comes from hurt,' she cooed -- and which contributes to a shameful hostility" (Mack, RH Reality Check, 5/8).
What others are saying about abortion-rights opponents:
~ "The Next Phase of States of Refuge: God Punishing Wyoming With 'Evils' Because of Abortion," Robin Marty, RH Reality Check.
~ "The Gratuitously Anti-Choice George Will," Sarah Erdreich, Feminists for Choice.
MILITARY SEXUAL ASSAULT: "Law & Order: The Army's SVU," Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.), Huffington Post blogs: "For years, some have tried to discredit sexual assault victims by highlighting the fact that the victim may have memory gaps during and after an assault," but, in a positive step, the Army "has adapted the 'Forensics Experiential Trauma Interview' into [its] response to sexual assault cases," Slaughter writes. She explains that the approach incorporates the latest research and techniques for interviewing, ensuring that victims' behaviors are "treated for what they are -- proof of psychological trauma because of a sexual assault" (Slaughter, Huffington Post blogs, 5/7).
CRISIS PREGNANCY CENTERS: "Ideological Crisis Pregnancy Centers Receiving Hundreds of Thousands in Federal Funding," Sofia Resnick, RH Reality Check: Crisis pregnancy centers across the country have received funding to for abstinence-only education efforts through a grant program included in the federal health reform law (PL 111-148). Resnick focuses on three CPCs in Tennessee that have received $650,000 in federal funding, explaining that the centers discourage contraception and promote false information, such as claims that condoms are ineffective at preventing sexually transmitted infections and that abortion causes breast cancer (Resnick, RH Reality Check, 5/4).
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