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Giving Our Daughters the Future They Deserve
Reproductive Health | RHRealityCheck.org - Sexuality Education
February 17th, 2008
Putting aside the politics of teen pregnancy, what does it represent to families? I think most parents (at least those like me who live in affluent countries or are in the upper echelons of other nations) would say we wouldn't wish it for our daughters first and foremost because it represents the loss of innocence, of youthful naivetÚ. By that I don't mean the kind of ignorance that leads people to trust scams, but that wonderful hopefulness that makes young people dream of being astronauts, artists or peacemakers (all the hopes I cherish for my daughter) -- the kind of naivetÚ that allows you to fall madly in love the first time because the inevitable heartbreak is impossible to imagine. While none of us enjoys standing by during ...

Abstinence-only: Decidedly not awesome for young women
Feministing
February 17th, 2008
Legal Momentum has a huge new report (PDF), Sex, Lies and Stereotypes, on how abstinence-only education is especially harmful to young women and girls. (It's also a great primer on abstinence-only in general.) It makes a strong case for why, even though these programs are bad for both male and female students, there's a disproportionate impact on girls: Females disproportionately suffer the consequences of unprotected sexual activity, including STIs and unplanned pregnancies. These programs also often contain harmful and outdated gender stereotypes that cast women as the gatekeepers of aggressive male sexuality. [...] For women of color, the absence of accurate sexual health information is particularly damaging given the high rates of HIV ...

Men Can Help Prevent Unintended Pregnancy, Too
Reproductive Health | RHRealityCheck.org - Information, News, Analysis, and Commentary
February 12th, 2008
Finding himself faced with his partner's unplanned pregnancy, today's man may well be confronted for the first time with a situation in which his opinions and beliefs carry less weight than those of his female partner. In absence of a critical day-to-day assessment of their gender-based privilege and power, privileged men rarely find...

HPV vaccine doesn't make a pelvic exam passÚ
sex_ed_blog
February 12th, 2008
A few years ago, I was reading the New York Times. I noticed a piece about trials for a Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) vaccine. The article explained that the vaccine could prevent both cervical cancer and genital warts, which are caused by different types of HPV. I got really excited and sent the link to some of my friends. "Woo hoo!" I wrote. "Finally, a story about this stuff that doesn't make me want to barf!" It wasn't eloquent, but hearing the news got me more energized than literary. I'm still excited that this aspect of women's' reproductive health got top billing from vaccine makers. But now that the HPV vaccine has moved out of the trial period and into the bodies of young women, I have a concern. Will getting vaccinated stop girls ...

Just the Facts: Immigration and Reproductive Justice
Reproductive Health | RHRealityCheck.org - STI/HIV/AIDS Prevention
February 7th, 2008
Over the summer, the 110th Congress failed to push through flawed, yet essential legislation that would have moved the immigration debate forward. Despite this setback, comprehensive immigration reform will continue to be a key issue throughout future election seasons and legislative sessions.Immigration is a multifaceted issue, but one component that should not be overlooked as progressives continue to work on this issue is the reproductive health of immigrant women. About 36 million foreign-born people live in the United States as of 2005--12 percent of the U.S. population. Over half of these immigrants are from Latin America, just under one-third are from Asia, 14 percent are from Europe, and the remaining 6 percent are from Africa, ...

The Third Rail: Reproductive Health Needs of Immigrant Women
Reproductive Health | RHRealityCheck.org - Contraception
February 7th, 2008
Gloria Steinem's recent New Yor Times op-ed, "Women Are Never Front-Runners," got one thing right: feminism is absent from the 2008 presidential debates. What it means to be a woman and what we contribute to this country has been lost in the recent political discourse. What we as women of color and immigrant women contribute is not even close to entering into the conversation--not to mention the absence of meaningful discussion about our broken immigration system. Instead, how we can fix our immigration system has been skirted around or, even worse, used as a wedge issue. A meaningful discussion about how women are impacted by policies other than those that are considered just "women's issues," is long overdue, most simply because ...

Activists By Chance
Reproductive Health | RHRealityCheck.org - Sexuality Education
February 5th, 2008
At the end of 2006, musician Damian Montagu and filmmaker Christian Banfield took a spontaneous trip to Cape Verde. "We didn't really know what we were doing. We just both loved Caesaria Evora's music, and thought we could maybe meet up with local musicians," Damian explains. On their first morning on the island of Mindelo, the two sat on their hotel veranda, not really believing that a spontaneous idea in a pub in London had actually got them to Cape Verde, and not really sure what to do next. As they drank their coffee and considered their options, a procession of school children and musicians danced by on the street below. It was December 1, and the procession was a World AIDS Day event. "It was one of those moments," ...

Bush Budget Slashes Women's Health Funding
Reproductive Health | RHRealityCheck.org - STI/HIV/AIDS Prevention
February 5th, 2008
Wow. Just wow. You wouldn't think President Bush would be working at this point to make his reign-of-disaster even worse.He's only got a few months left and we're all consumed with those darn campaigns so maybe he thinks no one is watching? It's not enough though, to rest on his destructive laurels. It's like some kind of withdrawal process for him (though not the kind progressives have been hoping for); wait too long between the slashing of taxpayer funded services for those who desperately need them and he starts twitching and shaking. President Bush released his budget proposal for Fiscal Year 2009 today and guess what? Funding for international family planning and other sexual and reproductive health programs is cut ...

Bush Budget Slashes Women's Health Funding
Reproductive Health | RHRealityCheck.org - Contraception
February 5th, 2008
Wow. Just wow. You wouldn't think President Bush would be working at this point to make his reign-of-disaster even worse.He's only got a few months left and we're all consumed with those darn campaigns so maybe he thinks no one is watching? It's not enough though, to rest on his destructive laurels. It's like some kind of withdrawal process for him (though not the kind progressives have been hoping for); wait too long between the slashing of taxpayer funded services for those who desperately need them and he starts twitching and shaking. President Bush released his budget proposal for Fiscal Year 2009 today and guess what? Funding for international family planning and other sexual and reproductive health programs is cut ...

Double Dose: The Pill and Its Studies; Genital Pain is Taken Seriously; When the Sex of Your Surgeon Matters; Tracking Global and U.S. Gender-Based Violence
Our Bodies Our Blog
February 5th, 2008
The Pill's Long-Running Health Saga: "Last week, British researchers published decisively good news about birth control pills: They lower the risk of ovarian cancer -- substantially," writes Amanda Schaffer at Slate. "The new analysis pooled large amounts of data. It...[This is a content summary only. Click the headline to visit Our Bodies, Our Blog for the full post, links, other content and more!]

Comprehensive Sex Education in Illinois Not All That
Our Bodies Our Blog
February 5th, 2008
One-third of all sex education teachers in Illinois are not providing comprehensive instruction, according to a new study. The survey by researchers from the University of Chicago Medical Center appears in the February 2008 issue of the journal Obstetrics and...[This is a content summary only. Click the headline to visit Our Bodies, Our Blog for the full post, links, other content and more!]

making teen sex a crime: another great way to ensure pregnancies and infections
sex_ed_blog
February 5th, 2008
Apparently, I wasn't the only one whose interest was piqued by a Maine middle school's decision to offer birth control to its students. Soon after the story broke, so did another piece of news. Maine will now start enforcing a little known law that requires people like doctors and teachers to report sexual activity of teens under 14 to the state's attorney general. That such a requirement even existed came as a pretty big shock to a lot of folks. All states have statutory rape laws. These usually make it a crime for someone over the age of consent to have sex with someone under it. Most states don't use these laws to make it illegal for teens to have sex with kids the same age. But some, like Maine, do. Texas, Kansas and Indiana also have ...

do you know your HIV status?
sex_ed_blog
February 5th, 2008
I've had a few HIV tests in my time, but I've never gotten totally used to them. My first test was when I was in 12th grade. Terrified of what I would hear, I never went back for the results. The second was a few months later. I was living abroad and was on a program that required an HIV test. When an envelope from the lab arrived almost a month later, I refused to look inside and instead handed it to my roommate. Then I held my breath as she read the word "negative." A few years after that, I got tested at a clinic which promised results in 20 minutes. On the bus ride there, I glanced out the window and saw the word "AIDS" glaring at me in huge red letters. I was convinced it was a sign--and not a good one. But like the previous results, ...

Blogging for choice : The business of outsourcing choice
culturekitchen - fresh dissent served daily
January 24th, 2008
Today is January 22nd, 2008 and women across the United States will observe it as the 35 anniversary of Roe vs. Wade. Many of them will even be blogging about how the right to choose is so important to them. Others will spend the day condemning it. Which just brings me to the topic of birthing. It seems like there is a baby boom in Hollywood. Everybody and their mother is pregnant. There is so much baby booming that it led Ricki Lake to make a documentary about the whole thing. In The Business of Being Born, Lake goes on to document the way women in the United States go about birthing babies and reveal it for what it is, a business. As an advocate for midwifery and non-invasive birthing, Lake hopes "this film educates people and empowers ...

What if it was YOUR kids?
culturekitchen - fresh dissent served daily
January 24th, 2008
"If 28 percent of the white male population were in prison, I kind of think we'd be doing something about it." — Stacy Peralta, director of "Made in America" in an interview with Salon.com

Meet EMERJ: Expanding the movement for Empowerment and Reproductive Justice
Feministing
January 24th, 2008
In all the Blog for Choice hoopla yesterday, I forgot to post about this amazing new group, EMERJ. A national movement building initiative founded in January 2007 by a group of reproductive justice leaders, EMERJ seeks to grow and strengthen the reproductive justice movement. Hear what I'm telling you folks, this group is at the cutting edge of the activism being done for reproductive justice. These are the people doing the work, these are the people that you will start to hear a lot more about. So check them out.Moira Bowman, the Movement Building Director at EMERJ, had this to add about yesterday's anniversary: The anniversary of Roe is a time to celebrate that fact that abortion is still legal and the amazing efforts that have been ...

Must We Fear Adolescent Sexuality?
Feministing
January 24th, 2008
Girl with Pen has a fascinating guest post by sociologist Virginia Rutter on Juno and love. Anyone obsessed with the movie (which seems to be just about everybody, including Ms. Oprah, these days), should check it out. Be sure not to miss one of the links later on to an academic article called "Must We Fear Adolescent Sexuality?" by Dr. Amy Schalet. It is a cross-cultural study of parental attitudes towards teen sexuality in the United States (where adolescent sexuality is an evergreen hot button issues) and the Netherlands (where anxiety around adolescent sexuality is nill). She essentially asks: how is it that two countries similar in terms of wealth, education, and reproductive technologies have had the highest and lowest rates of teen ...

Equality Ride 2010 Call for Applicants!
Amplify Featured Diaries
Image Credit: Soulforce, Taueret Manu, an Equality Rider from the Bronx, prepares literature for the stop at Liberty UniversityThe 2010 Equality Ride is hitting the road and it's seeking young adults ages 18-28 to be Riders!What is the Equality Ride?The equality ride is a traveling forum that gives young people a chance to deconstruct justice and allows emerging young leaders to unite in the struggle for common equality. According to the Association for Women's Rights and Development, "Everyday thousands of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning people suffer harassment, violence, and discrimination at the hands of those who do not understand them. The idea is this. We get on a bus and journey to various institutions ...

Queering the 2010 Census
Feministing
This is a campaign from the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force to advocate for an additional question on the 2010 census that would allow for better reporting on the number of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people in the US. There was already one victory for the LGBT community this past year, when the it was announced that married LGBT couples would be counted in the 2010 census. But this only counts LGBT folks who are partnered--single folks are left totally off the census, which is the biggest source of data collection researchers and government officials have. That's why NGLTF is calling for an additional question on the survey, which would allow folks to categorize themselves based on sexual orientation.You can sign their ...

Huge earthquake hits Haiti
Feministing
Yesterday evening, a magnitude 7 earthquake hit Haiti, a small island nation in the Caribbean. While exact reports of the damage are still to come, it sounds like a horrific situation for a country where almost 9 million of it's citizens are already living in poverty. Many buildings in the capital where demolished in the earthquake, including the UN Headquarters there. MSNBC has more details about the disaster and Talking Points Memo has constant updates on this site. White House officials have said sending money is the easiest way to help folks in Haiti (via TPM). If you want to donate money you can go to UNICEF or the Red Cross. UPDATE: Also, via the US State Department: "For those interesting in helping immediately, simply text "HAITI" ...

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