About Tara Culp-Ressler

Tara Culp-Ressler is the Health Editor for ThinkProgress. Before joining the ThinkProgress team, Tara deepened her interest in progressive politics from a faith-based perspective at several religious nonprofits, including Faith in Public Life, the National Religious Campaign Against Torture, and Interfaith Voices. Tara holds a B.A. in Communications from American University, where she wrote for the student newspaper and advocated for women's issues on campus. She is originally from Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.

Are Cigarettes More Addictive Now?

Cigarettes More Addictive

Tara Culp-Ressler: Cigarette manufacturers have worked hard to keep their products relevant even in the midst of aggressive public health campaigns to crack down on smoking, according to a new report released on Monday by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.

Unrealistic Portrayal Of Women’s Bodies

Truth in Advertising

Tara Culp-Ressler: So are we getting closer to a tipping point where unrealistic images of women’s beauty are going out of style? Are brands starting to recognize that photoshopping hurts their bottom lines? Will TV viewers start rejecting contestants who are unrealistically thin?

From School Bullying to School Shootings

Preventing Bullying

Tara Culp-Ressler: School administrators need to get better at addressing the overall school climate and educating students more specifically about gender-based bullying, like sexual harassment, homophobic harassment, and harassment for gender non-conformity.

Long-Term Unemployed Struggle with Mental Health Issues

Long-Term Unemployed

Tara Culp-Ressler: The recent economic downturn led to a sharp spike in suicide rates around the globe, and there were bigger increases in suicides in the countries where people were accustomed to financial success before the recession hit.

The Disturbing Data Behind America’s Street Harassment Epidemic

Street Harassment

Tara Culp-Ressler: Some of the most pervasive forms of street harassment, like telling women to smile or whistling at women, are often perceived as compliments. It’s difficult for some people to understand why women wouldn’t welcome being told that they’re attractive.

Abortion Providers Still at Risk

George Tiller Murdered

Tara Culp-Ressler: Although Tiller’s murder shook the nation in 2009 — and led Attorney General Eric Holder to dispatch U.S. Marshals to protect abortion doctors across the country — his line of work hasn’t actually gotten much safer in the years since his assassination.

Men’s Magazines and Sexual Boundaries

Objectifying Women

Tara Culp-Ressler: There are serious consequences to this pervasive cultural attitude about women as objects of men’s desires. When men believe that they are entitled to sex, they often respond violently when women deny it from them.

Do Pollsters Ask the Wrong Questions About Abortion?

Questions About Abortion

Tara Culp-Ressler: There’s increasing evidence that the “pro-choice” and “pro-life” dichotomy doesn’t accurately reflect Americans’ complex attitudes about abortion, from both a moral and a legal perspective.

Obamacare Helps Boost Young People’s Incomes

Obamacare and Young People

Tara Culp-Ressler: Young adults used to have the highest uninsurance rate of any age group. But over the past several years, Obamacare has given millions of young adults access to health care, helping the uninsurance rate among Americans between the ages of 18 and 25 decline to just 19 percent.

Campus Rape Reports Up, And That’s Not Entirely Bad

Campus Rape Reports

Tara Culp-Ressler: College administrators, who want to avoid cultivating a bad reputation as an unsafe school, are typically squeamish about the fact reforming their sexual assault policies can actually result in an initial uptick in rape reports. But it’s important to realize that this data can signal that students have the support systems they need.

Should Students Chose Their College Based on How It Handles Rape?

campus rape crisis

Tara Culp-Ressler: New ads are now targeting the students who may be considering attending an additional seven institutions grappling with their own rape controversies

Bill O’Reilly Says Beyoncé Encourages Black Girls to Get Pregnant

Bill OReilly Beyonce Comments

Tara Culp-Ressler: O’Reilly suggested that Beyoncé isn’t helping to address the “cultural deficits” in African American and poor white communities and is actually “part of the problem.”

Is Sexual Violence the New Normal?

Sexual Violence on College Campuses

Tara Culp-Ressler: Taught that men can’t control their aggressive sex drives, young women believe that they will inevitably become the subject of that aggression. That’s a central aspect of rape culture,

Should Campus Rapes Affect College Rankings?

campus rape protests

Tara Culp-Ressler: A group of lawmakers is pressuring U.S. News & World Report to update its influential college ranking system to indicate which universities have come under fire for failing to adequately handle sexual assault cases on campus.

Florida Refuses to Expand Medicaid: 32-Year-Old Woman Dies


Tara Culp-Ressler: A recent study conducted by Harvard researchers estimated that as many as 17,000 people will die directly as a result of their states refusing to expand Medicaid.

10x More Mentally Ill Americans in Prison Than In State Hospitals


Tara Culp-Ressler: 44 states and the District of Columbia have at least one jail that houses more people with mental illnesses than the largest state psychiatric hospital does.

Abstinence-Only Lessons: Making Sex Dirty


Tara Culp-Ressler: 5 common analogies abstinence-only curricula use to teach youth that becoming sexually active makes them worthless

States That Expanded Medicaid See Huge Jump In Enrollments


Tara Culp-Ressler: Obamacare has had a “woodwork effect” — essentially, helping to raise awareness about people’s health insurance options, and therefore encouraging uninsured Americans to come out of the woodwork to sign up for Medicaid.

Brad Pitt’s New Movie On The Steubenville Rape Case Has The Wrong Protagonist


Tara Culp-Ressler: It’s disconcerting that the myths about rape victims, as well as the high-profile coverage of false rape allegations, vastly outweigh the space for thoughtful, honest consideration of survivors’ personal stories.

At Least 9.5 Million Uninsured Americans Have Gained Coverage Under Obamacare


Tara Culp-Ressler: RAND estimates that about two million previously uninsured people have enrolled in private coverage on Obamacare’s new marketplaces; about 4.5 million previously uninsured people have gained public coverage through Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion; and about three million previously uninsured young people are now covered on their parents’ insurance plans.

Sex Strike: Don’t Give It To a Russian


Tara Culp-Ressler: The new campaign, “Don’t Give It to a Russian,” is encouraging Ukrainian women to withhold sex from Russian men as a method of fighting the enemy “by whatever means.”

The Secret Strategy Behind 20-Week Abortion Bans


Tara Culp-Ressler: The political momentum for 20-week abortion bans is really about finding an initial foothold to chip away at Roe v. Wade.

Robin Thicke’s All Wet: Sexual Aggression Doesn’t Actually Have Blurred Lines


Sexual Aggression: Researchers found that sexually aggressive men are consciously seeking out women who may be easy targets.

After Failing To Pass Anti-Gay Bill, Arizona Turns Its Attention To Attacking Abortion Rights


Attacking Abortion Rights: After Brewer’s widely publicized veto, lawmakers in Arizona advanced new legislation to attack abortion rights.

ACLU Warns That Latest Push to Restrict Abortion Is an ‘Assault On Women’


Alabama Abortion Bill: Alabama politicians are upfront about their goal of this package of legislation is to end abortion altogether.

California Lawmakers Updating State’s Definition of ‘Consent’?


Affirmative Consent: California lawmakers have been focused on policy solutions to address colleges’ inadequate sexual assault policies.

5 Ways Our Society Unfairly Punishes Women For Their Sexuality


Punishing Women for Their Sexuality — Our societal assumptions about women’s purity and chastity are directly related to rape culture.

Dee Dee Bridgewater Speaks Out About Her Illegal Abortion


Dee Dee Bridgewater: “I remember being very humiliated, to the point that today. Thinking about it makes me want to cry.”

Body Shaming The Biggest Loser’s Newest Winner


The Biggest Loser: Criticizing Fredrickson’s appearance nowmay not actually be any more sensitive than criticizing her body before the show.

The Stealth Campaign to Destroy Abortion Rights You Know Nothing About


Destroy Abortion Rights: Iowa’s current push to restrict telemedicine could have big consequences for abortion access across the country.

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