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Blogs commemorate International Safe Abortion Day, spotlight repeal efforts on Hyde's 40th anniversary and more

Read the week's best commentary from bloggers at Bustle, Mother Jones and more.


"On International Safe Abortion Day, criminalization of the medical procedure remains a reality -- even in America," Sarah Friedmann, Bustle: To commemorate International Safe Abortion Day on Sept. 28, Friedmann spotlights "[w]omen's limited and even diminishing access to abortion ... around the globe." She explains that not only does "[o]ver 25 percent of the world's population liv[e] in countries where abortion laws remain highly restrictive," but "[e]ven in countries where abortion is legal, like the United States, many women still have limited access to the procedure due to (often state-directed) limited clinic availability and high costs." Moreover, Friedmann writes that women "are also being prosecuted and imprisoned for having abortions" both in countries that have criminalized or severely restricted the procedure and in countries that have technically legalized it. Friedmann cites several instances of such prosecution in the United States, including Anna Yocca in Tennessee, Gabriela Flores in South Carolina and Purvi Patel in Indiana. Calling for an end to the imprisonment of women for abortion care, Friedmann concludes by highlighting three action steps outlined by the International Campaign for Women's Rights to Safe Abortion, including the removal of abortion care from criminal law, a halt to "all abortion-related prosecutions worldwide" and the release of women currently imprisoned for the procedure (Friedmann, Bustle, 9/28).

What others are saying about the abortion-rights movement:

~ "The real impact of abortion stigma," Rachel Jacobson, International Women's Health Coalition's blog.

~ "Today marks the 16th anniversary of the abortion pill and International Safe Abortion Day," Melissa Grant, Huffington Post's blog.


"Today is the anniversary of a dark day in abortion rights history," Nina Liss-Schultz/Hannah Levintova, Mother Jones: "For decades, millions of low-income women have been prevented from getting Medicaid coverage for their abortions" because of the Hyde Amendment, an appropriations rider that "prevent[s] the use of federal funding for most abortions," Liss-Schultz and Levintova write on the 40th year of the amendment. While "efforts to repeal the federal funding ban have gained new momentum over the last year," Liss-Schultz and Levintova note that "an old and relatively obscure Supreme Court case, Harris v. McRae, could stand in the way of making public funding for abortion a reality." They explain that in Harris v. McRae, the Supreme Court "upheld the Hyde Amendment, ruling that even though women should have the choice to abort, the government doesn't have an obligation to help." The decision presents a challenge to abolishing bans on public funding for abortion care, the authors write, because "even if Hyde no longer exists, prohibitions on Medicaid coverage for abortion would still be constitutional, thanks to McRae." Given the precedent, a group of reproductive-rights advocates "have focused their attention not on ditching Hyde, but on overturning McRae," Liss-Schultz and Levintova write. They quote Jill Adams, a lawyer and the executive director of the Center for Reproductive Rights and Justice at the University of California-Berkeley, who said, "The dream is for the court to say, 'The nature of the abortion right compels the state to furnish the resources necessary to ensure equal access by all people'" (Liss-Schultz/Levintova, Mother Jones, 9/30).

What others are saying about the Hyde Amendment:

~ "It's time to go, Hyde Amendment," American Civil Liberties Union's "Speak Freely," Jaweer Brown.

~ "On the 40th anniversary of Hyde, a theological defense of reproductive justice," Anita Little, Religion Dispatches.


"Congress passed a bill of rights for sexual assault survivors & it's about time both parties agree on this," Joseph D. Lyons, Bustle: "On Wednesday night, the Senate unanimously passed the Sexual Assault Survivors' Rights Act (S 2566), sending it to the president's desk for signature," Lyons writes, noting that President Obama "is expected to sign the bill into law." Lyons spotlights the bipartisan support for the bill, crediting the bill's sponsor, Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), for spearheading the effort a little over a year ago after meeting with Amanda Nguyen, a sexual assault survivor and founder of the advocacy group Rise. Lyons explains that Nguyen shared how she must continually check in on the status of her untested rape kit to ensure it is not destroyed. According to Lyons, the bill, if approved, "will ensure that survivors have the right to a sexual assault evidence collection kit, to learn the results and to be told in writing before the kit is destroyed." Further, it would mandate that kits "be kept 20 years or until the statute of limitations passes, whichever comes first," and "ensures that process is free, as some are still charged for rape kits being administered" (Lyons, Bustle, 9/28).

What others are saying about sexual and gender-based assault:

~ "In mocking rape culture, my university revealed our own," Amanda Crawford, Ms. Magazine blog.

~ "UN Women for Peace Association's President Barbara Winton's editorial on ending violence against women," Barbara Winston, Huffington Post blogs.