It’s an inescapable fact: Making abortion harder to access means forcing women to go to greater lengths to end their pregnancies. Given the way laws in many states are tightening, that sometimes means going back to the days of abortions that may not be strictly legal. These days, it’s not so much coat hangers and back alleys as taking the Food and Drug Administration–approved drugs that induce pregnancy loss through cramping and bleeding. The medication is generally safe and effective (though like every drug, it carries a warning label). But in this country, if you take it without a prescription or a doctor’s supervision, you can be on the wrong side of the law.
Microsoft researcher and NYU media and culture professor danah boyd (who prefers to style her name in all lowercase) is one of my favorite people to talk with about teenagers and technology. That’s not because I agree with her all the time—often, I find that we see questions about privacy, use of technology, and online bullying a little or a lot differently. But danah is the best kind of sparring partner because she always tells me something I didn’t know along the way. That holds true with her new book, It’s Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens, which offers interviews with teenagers in communities across the country. By filtering them through her distinct danah lens, she gleans valuable insights.
On football watch this week, former NFL safety Darren Sharper has been accused not just of raping seven women in four states, but of drugging them beforehand. I know that most football players are decent human beings. And there’s plenty of love in the locker room culture, including for players whose childhoods reflect a world of hardship, as Nicholas Dawidoff, who spent a year with the Jets for his recent book, Collision Low Crossers, notes. But you know, string together the sexual assaults and the homophobia and thedegrading workplace harassment, and we are talking about a woeful, shameful pattern. Football’s concussion problem is so glaring that it rightly deserves attention, but it’s past time for this sport to address its various problems with sex and sexuality, too.
Last week, the Kansas House of Representatives embarrassed itself by easily passing a bill that aimed to make gay people separate and not equal. In the name of protecting the religious sensibilities of private employers, stores, hotels, movie theaters, parks, pools—any public accommodation—the law allowed them to turn away gay couples and could even have applied to gay individuals. It was grotesque. I have been taking seriously the religious objections of nonprofit groups like Little Sisters of the Poor to the contraception mandate in Obamacare (though I think their claims should fall in the end, because the government has an excellent rationale—improving women’s health!—for requiring health insurers to cover birth control). But the Kansas bill was religious objection on crack. As Mark Joseph Stern wrote in Slate:
Ted Wells’ independent investigation of the Miami Dolphins and the culture of their offensive line is the opposite of a whitewash. The investigators’ 140-plus page report on the events leading up to Jonathan Martin’s departure from the team is judicious, persuasive, and a public service. Carefully sifting through the evidence, it concludes that Richie Incognito and two teammates who acted as his henchmen humiliated and harassed Martin, another unnamed teammate, and an assistant trainer for months in ways that no employee should have to endure. This report should be required reading in management courses and for anyone who wonders how ugly, demeaning, and corrosive treatment can lie beneath a façade of “all in good fun” workplace “teasing.”