July 20, 2012 — We've compiled some of the most thought-provoking commentaries from around the Web. Catch up on the conversation with bloggers from National Women's Law Center, Slate and more.
PREGNANCY IN THE WORKPLACE: "'Working Maternity Leaves' Aren't the Solution," Liz Watson, National Women's Law Center's "Womenstake": The news that new Yahoo! CEO Melissa Mayer plans to work during her maternity leave "could suggest to many that these days any woman who wants to can easily balance the demands of work and family," Watson writes. She points out that only 11% of employees in the U.S. receive paid family leave and fewer than half of workers are eligible for unpaid family leave. She adds that some women "find themselves forced out of their jobs even sooner -- during pregnancy," which underscores the need to enact the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, a bill to require employers to provide reasonable accommodations for pregnant workers (Watson, "Womenstake," NWLC, 7/18).
What others are saying about pregnancy in the workplace:
~ "What Does Marissa Mayer's Pregnancy Mean for Other Pregnant Women?" Jessica Grose, Slate's "XX Factor."
~ "Woo hoo for Yahoo for Making Pregnant Marissa Mayer its New CEO," Melinda Henneberger, Washington Post's "She The People."
~ "Marissa Mayer Becomes First Ever Pregnant CEO of Fortune 500 Company," Annie-Rose Strasser, ThinkProgress.
~ "How the Zero Weeks of Paid Maternity Leave in the U.S. Compare Globally," Amanda Peterson Beadle, Care2.
VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN: "Veteran Bikes To End Epidemic of Military Sexual Assault," Nancy Parrish, Huffington Post blogs: Retired U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Colleen Bushnell and four military service members on July 15 began a 4,000-mile bike ride from Washington state to the District of Columbia to raise awareness for survivors of military sexual assault. DOD estimates that more than 19,000 service members were raped or sexually assaulted in 2010, but only 13.5% reported the incidents. Of those who reported the crimes, three-fourths said they would not do so again, according to Parrish, who notes, "Victims often face retaliation for reporting the crime" (Parrish, Huffington Post blogs, 7/17).
What others are saying about violence against women:
~ "Violence Exists. Women Exist. The Violence Against Women Act Should Too." Women Campaign Forum's "Women and Politics."
~ "Preacher: Women Need a Dress Code To Prevent Assault," Amy Boughner, Care2.
~ "'Nice Guys' Contribute to Rape Culture," Ben Atherton-Zeman, Ms. Magazine blog.
CHALLENGE TO ACA CONTRACEPTIVE COVERAGE: "One Down and 23 To Go: Judge Tosses Baseless Challenge to Birth Control Coverage," Sarah Lipton-Lubet/Brigitte Amiri, American Civil Liberties Union's "Washington Markup": A federal court "properly rejected [the] ridiculous argument" by a few attorneys general that the Obama administration's contraception coverage rules would burden state governments by "forcing droves of new citizens on to the Medicaid rolls" if their employers dropped coverage, Lipton-Lubet and Amiri write, noting that "individuals with jobs generally don't financially qualify for Medicaid." The court also rejected the states' religious liberties claims, they add, concluding that religious freedom "doesn't give one group the right to impose its beliefs on others by denying employees access to critical health services" (Lipton-Lubet/Amiri, "Washington Markup," ACLU, 7/18).
What others are saying about the challenge to ACA contraceptive coverage:
~ "Federal Judge Throws Out Lawsuit Against Obama Administration's Contraception Mandate," Tara Culp-Ressler, ThinkProgress.
~ "Why the Bishops' 'Religious Freedom' Argument is a Lie," Bridgette Dunlap, Ms. Magazine blog.
~ "Another One Bites the Dust: Second Challenge to Birth Control Rule Rejected in One Week," Sarah Lipton-Lubet, American Civil Liberties Union's "Washington Markup."
~ "House Republicans Revive the Contraception Wars," Sahil Kapur, TPMDC.
ACCESS TO CONTRACEPTION: "It's Time To Recommit to Family Planning in the United States," Joan Malin, RH Reality Check: "Even as the United States reclaims its leadership role in global health and development, a radicalized U.S. House of Representatives is working to curtail reproductive rights here at home, and state governments are aggressively dismantling family-planning programs on which millions of Americans depend," writes Malin of Planned Parenthood of New York City. "It's time to set aside politics and recommit ourselves -- as a city, a state and a nation -- to family planning and sexual health," she continues, adding, "If the global community can revive them in 2012, so can we" (Malin, RH Reality Check, 7/19).
What others are saying about access to contraception:
~ "Anonymous Global Health Worker: The Problem with Melinda Gates' Family Planning Crusade," Feministing.
~ "Why Birth Control Matters for the American Dream," Erika Christakis, Time's "Ideas."
~ "From Abortion to Contraception," Haley Sweetland Edwards, New York Times' "Latitude."
~ "Will the London Family Planning Initiative Measure Up?" Françoise Girard, International Women's Health Coalition's "Akimbo."
D.C. ABORTION BAN MARKUP: "Open Letter to Representative Trent Franks: What Caring About Women and Babies Really Looks Like," Bria Murray, RH Reality Check: Murray, who became pregnant as a result of rape, asks a number of questions of Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.), who authored a bill (HR 3803) that would ban abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy in the District of Columbia. They include how he can claim to care about babies and women when he continually supports policies that harm them. She asks how he can "claim to care about pregnant people and the babies they are carrying when you voted to deny federal funding to Planned Parenthood, the very organization that helped empower me to keep my baby?" She continues, "The answer is you can't, Representative Franks, and that is why you must do your best to support all options a person could possibly make regarding an unintended pregnancy, even if you do not agree with it" (Murray, RH Reality Check, 7/19).
What others are saying about the D.C. abortion ban markup:
~ "Abortion in D.C.," Juliet Lapidos, New York Times' "Taking Note."
CRISIS PREGNANCY CENTERS: "In Maryland, Free Speech Protects the Right of Crisis Pregnancy Centers To Lie to Women: An Analysis of the Baltimore CPC Case," Imani Gandy, RH Reality Check: Responding to a ruling that struck down a Baltimore ordinance (FID 09-0406) requiring crisis pregnancy centers to post signs saying they do not provide abortions or birth control, Gandy writes that the ruling "paved the way to allow religion to trump common sense and women's health concerns." She adds, "As with reproductive health issues in politics generally, the health of women is treated as some sort of academic or religious inquiry, rather than the life-and-death matter that it is" (Gandy, RH Reality Check, 7/17).