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Blogs comment on Poland's 'Black Monday' protests, nearing the end of Hyde and more

Read the week's best commentary from bloggers at Slate's "XX factor," Care2 and more.


"Women strike in Poland to protest a proposed ban on all abortions," Christina Cauterucci, Slate's "XX factor": "Thousands of women in Poland and across Europe wore black and skipped work on Monday to protest a proposed law that would ban abortions under all circumstances, making the procedure a crime punishable by five years in prison," Cauterucci writes. Poland already criminalizes abortion care except in the limited instances of "rape or incest, a major fetal [anomaly], or a severe threat to the pregnant woman's health," Cauterucci explains, noting that "[u]nder these circumstances ... tens of thousands of women get unsafe, illegal abortions at home or travel across borders for the procedure." Cauterucci writes that should the proposed ban be approved, "doctors who perform abortions could be imprisoned, making Poland's abortion policy one of the world's most draconian" and imposing a chilling effect on providers' ability to give appropriate care to pregnant women. Citing instances in which women were prosecuted for miscarriages or denied appropriate care in other nations that impose similarly severe abortion bans, Cauterucci concludes, "This is the oft-hidden barbarism at the heart of a 'pro-life' politic that prizes abstract ideas about fertility and religion over women's health and lives" (Cauterucci, "XX Factor," Slate, 10/3).

What others are saying about global issues:

~ "Millions of women in Poland skipped work today to fight for women's rights," Hannah Levintova, Mother Jones.

~ "Prioritizing maternal and newborn survival: Time to look to the developing world for affordable solutions," Susan M. Blaustein, Huffington Post blogs.


"Hyde turns 40, but are we near its end?" Robin Marty, Care2: The Hyde Amendment has "burden[ed] and often block[ed] the poor from accessing a legal abortion by forbidding Medicaid insurance from covering the procedure," but on Sept. 30, "as Hyde reache[d] its 40th anniversary, there is a strong possibility that it could have been renewed for the last time," Marty writes. "This year is going to be the tipping point of the Hyde Amendment, one way or another," Marty states, explaining that "[f]or the first time, Hyde has become a campaign platform plank for both parties' presidential nominees." Liberal lawmakers also are ramping up ongoing efforts to end Hyde, Marty writes, but she concludes, "Voting on Election Day won't just put a new president in the White House -- it could also end Hyde for good" (Marty, Care2, 9/30).

What others are saying about the Hyde Amendment:

~ "Democrats are pushing to use tax dollars to pay for abortions," Emma Green, The Atlantic.

~ "A double bind punishes low-income families as lawmakers deny women abortion coverage and fail to support parenting," Debra L. Ness, Huffington Post blogs.

~ "40 years later, harmful Hyde policy continues to attack women's health," Elizabeth G. Taylor, Huffington Post blogs.


"The states that siphon welfare money to stop abortion," Bryce Covert/Josh Israel, Center for American Progress' "ThinkProgress": Seven states direct Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) funding toward crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs), which "run with the express purpose of discouraging women from getting abortions, often through misleading them or flat out lying to them," Covert and Israel write. The seven states -- Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Missouri, North Dakota and Texas -- "have diverted more than $30 million of federal money meant for welfare to" CPCs, Covert and Israel write. According to the authors, "TANF money used for a CPC is necessarily money that isn't going to cash benefits or other measures that might help someone climb out of poverty." They continue, "What strains credulity is how the states justify using TANF money in this way. According to the rules guiding TANF, the way states deploy their funding has to fall under at least one of the program's four core purposes: providing assistance to needy families, promoting job preparation and work, preventing and reducing out-of-wedlock pregnancies, and/or encouraging marriage and two-parent families." However, according to the authors, "HHS, which oversees TANF, rarely enforces those rules." While surveyed states claimed their use of funds met one of those four purposes, or refused to provide an answer, "[i]t's hard to see how CPCs fulfill any of these goals," the authors note, citing studies showing that not only do CPCs mislead women, but also that abortion access "reduce[s] poverty" (Covert/Israel, "ThinkProgress," Center for American Progress, 10/3).

What others are saying about abortion restrictions:

~ "Florida group intends to outlaw abortion and birth control as first-degree murder," Christina Cauterucci, Slate's "XX factor."