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You should wait for sex, but if you can't....
Scarleteen
February 8th, 2010
This is one of a long line of common phrases in sex education and sexuality messaging people, including people I think of us allies, use that I deeply dislike, like "preventing teen pregnancy." Let me explain why, working backwards."You should wait for sex, but if you can't..."That's usually followed by "then you should have sex using safer sex and contraception." Or -- and usually addressing both those things -- "then you should at least be responsible."In some respect, that's fine. Now, not everyone needs contraception, either because they don't have a partner with a radically different reproductive system than them or they're not having the kinds of sex that can create a pregnancy, so that doesn't always make sense. But for people ...

The Creepy, Crawly Virginity Obsession
Reproductive Health | RHRealityCheck.org - Sexuality Education
February 8th, 2010
Virginity obsession grows stronger and weirder. Also, Ariel Gore talks about women and happiness, and Andre Bauer advises starving people as forcible birth control. Subscribe to RealityCast:RealityCast iTunes subscriptionRealityCast RSS feedLinks in this episode:Bluebird The New Virginity Second virginity in her 40s? Purity ball creepiness This is why they're anti-choice  This episode of Reality Cast is largely going to be devotedto virginity.  I have a hugebacklog of fascinating stuff exploring American culture's relationship tovirginity, so I thought I'd devote two segments to it.  But that's not all!  The interview this week is with ArielGore, who has a new book out about happiness and women. Rachel Maddow reported on the guilty verdict ...

Teen Mom: Who Are You Calling a Whore?
Beyond the Birds & the Bees
February 4th, 2010
I was talking with some of my friends about MTV’s Teen Mom a few weeks ago, and one of them said, “They’re all whores.” My friend wasn’t calling the guys who the girls had sex with whores, just the girls?not that anyone deserves to be called a whore. I was really surprised and upset that my friend said this.Why is it that if you’re a teen mother you’re a whore? I don’t hear people calling 20-something-year-old mothers whores, even though they have unplanned pregnancies too. People?teens and adults?make mistakes and birth control fails. But that doesn’t mean you’re a whore, and it doesn’t mean you’re a bad person. I don’t look at any of the girls on Teen Mom as ...

(VIDEO) Football and Olympic Stars Call for "Respect for Women's Choices" in New Planned Parenthood Video
Reproductive Health | RHRealityCheck.org - Information, News, Analysis, and Commentary
February 4th, 2010
Former Minnesota Vikings football player Sean James and former Olympic Gold Medalist Al Joyner appear in a video created by Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) focusing on "respect for women's choices." Joyner is the brother of Olympic track star Jackie Joyner-Kersee.The men, both of whom have gone on from sports career to become successful in business, speak to the strengths of the women in their lives and their respect for women's choices, "sharing their own thoughts about sports, families, and the importanceof personal decision-making."In the video, James, referring to the CBS-Focus on the Family ad featuring Pam and Tim Tebow, says "I respect and honor Mrs. Tebow's decision."  "My mom showed me that women are strong and ...

Am I normal? Who cares?
Scarleteen
January 28th, 2010
Am I/is he/is she/is this/are we normal?As anyone who works in sex education or sexuality can tell you, when it comes to the questions people ask us, variations on the theme of "Am I normal?" reign supreme. I just spent a half hour going through our advice question queue, doing a search on each page for the word "normal." At the moment, we have around 55 pages of unanswered questions. There's five to fifteen questions on each page. I found only two pages where there was not at least one question with the term "normal" in it; where the heart of the question wasn't "Am I -- or is he, she or ze -- normal?"Some questions about normality are really about health. That's a little different. Of course, from my view, that's also less about normal ...

The Doula Movement: Making the Radical a Reality by Trusting Pregnant Women
Reproductive Health | RHRealityCheck.org - Information, News, Analysis, and Commentary
January 27th, 2010
Three years ago I became a doula. Early in my training, Ibecame part of a conversation that focused on providing doula support for allof a pregnant person?s choices, including abortion. Since that time, I haveserved more than 100 pregnant people as part of The Doula Project in New YorkCity. The project was founded on the idea that pregnancy is a spectrum and thatas female-bodied people we may experience any and all of the possibilities thatspectrum contains in a lifetime. Within that, we should also have access todoula care for each of our pregnancies.The Doula Project has served over 500 pregnant people sincethe fall of 2008, guided by the mission of providing free compassionate careand emotional, physical and informational support to ...

Less sex ed, more pregnant kids
Salon: Broadsheet
January 27th, 2010

Based on a False Story: Lifetime's "The Pregnancy Pact"
Reproductive Health | RHRealityCheck.org - Information, News, Analysis, and Commentary
January 27th, 2010
"The Pregnancy Pact," a hokeyLifetime dramatization of a non-existent "pact" between a group of pregnant teen girlsin Gloucester, aired Saturday as basic cable's most successful original movie in years even though the film's premise is based onrumors and even blatant lies. Still, given that the movie was made withthe blessing of the National Campaign for the Prevention of Teen and UnplannedPregnancy, whose work in the dramaticdepartment I've writtenabout before, I thought I'd tune in and see whether the movie made anyworthwhile points. To help pick through the hackneyed dialogue and earnestacting, I got the insight of feminist blogger Veronica Arreola, who blogs at Viva La Feminista and was vigilantly tweeting her way throughthe film's ...

UPDATED: Time to Turn the Lights on in Wisconsin Schools
Reproductive Health | RHRealityCheck.org - Information, News, Analysis, and Commentary
January 27th, 2010
UPDATE: The Healthy Youth Act passed out of committee this morning in the Wisconsin State Senate, and will now go on to the full Senate for a vote.  We will keep you updated. Like states across the country, Wisconsin is facing apublic health crisis that needs a statewide solution.According to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services(DHS), sexually transmitted diseases among Wisconsin teens ages 15 to 19 increased53 percent between 1997 and 2007. Twenty percent of new HIV infections inWisconsin are diagnosed in young people ages 15 to 24.  And at the same time, the dramatic 10 year drop in teenchildbearing has halted.With 28 health centers throughout Wisconsin, PlannedParenthood of Wisconsin is the state?s largest and oldest ...

The Day I Became Pro-Choice
Reproductive Health | RHRealityCheck.org - Information, News, Analysis, and Commentary
January 25th, 2010
In 10th grade, my teacher for a class on National, State, and Local Government changed how I viewed the abortion debate forever.As usual, he was goading the class into a debate.  This time, though, the debate centered on the nature of parenting.  Our collected group of fifteen and sixteen year olds felt like we had everything all figured out.  People shouldn't have children they can't pay for, we demanded, it just isn't responsible!  Children should be properly planned for."Oh?" he asked, leaning against the chalkboard. "So are you saying poor people shouldn't have children?  That poor people can't be good parents, and rich people automatically are?"A pause hit the room.  We were in a low income school district - lots of us were raised by ...

Getting to Choice
Reproductive Health | RHRealityCheck.org - Information, News, Analysis, and Commentary
January 25th, 2010
When I was young, the word "choice" was a euphemism for "anti-life." I specifically remember being told that the pro-choice movement was about destruction, and appending the word "choice" to it was a corrupt strategy to spin something reprehensible into something good.I've come pretty far from those conservative roots.  For me now the word "choice" means not just the right to reproductive choice, but the right that we all should have to make the choices that allow us to be the people we are; the freedom to be on the outside who we are on the inside. To me this is the point of anti-oppressive work - of which sexual health work is a huge part - to create a world where people have the freedom to be who they are. That means that on top of ...

Remembering Roe in Denver: Real People, Real Stories
Reproductive Health | RHRealityCheck.org - Information, News, Analysis, and Commentary
January 25th, 2010
Desperate and alone, Kathy* confided to a fellow student that she was pregnant and needed to terminate her pregnancy. But getting an abortion was still illegal in the United States then and her options for professional medical care were extremely limited.Several young women in her dormitory at the University of Colorado-Boulder took up a collection to get Kathy to an abortion clinic in Mexico. She returned to Colorado soon after and while recovering in a local hotel room, Kathy began to hemorrhage severely."She had been butchered," said Cindi Coleman, who served as a freshman residence hall leader and helped gather funds for the procedure.The girls panicked. As Kathy became increasingly ill, they sought advice from a trusted older student ...

One Bloody Mess: Myths & Realities of Bleeding with First Intercourse
Scarleteen
January 19th, 2010
How long after a girl's first time should they bleed for and how heavy should they bleed?Read the answer...

(VIDEO) Campaign to End Fistula: Caroline's Story
Reproductive Health | RHRealityCheck.org - Information, News, Analysis, and Commentary
January 19th, 2010
Tuesday's earthquake in Haiti reminds us how vulnerable women andchildren are - particularly in times of disaster. Poor and disadvantaged womentend to be unequally affected by natural disasters and are oftenoverrepresented in death tolls.One of the poorest countries in the Western Hemisphere, Haiti already has thehighest rate of maternalmortality in the region - 670 deaths per 100,000 live births. Pregnantwomen in and around the country's capital, Port-au-Prince, lack access to eventhe most basic health services.Although the odds are against women in Haiti, and against women throughout thedeveloping world, success stories do exist: Caroline Ditina is a young woman in the Democratic Republic of Congo whosuccessfully survived obstetric ...

Birthmotherhood
Scarleteen
January 13th, 2010
Author:  Jennifer Padre Introduction:  When I gave birth, options were discussed with me regarding what to do about the baby. For me, there seemed no choice but adoption. I was now 17. The thought of raising a child was an impossibility. I wanted to finish high school. I wanted to go to college. I wanted to have fun. I wanted to hang out with my friends. I just wanted to continue to be a teenager. This post appeared originally on RHRealityCheck's OnCommonGround forumWhen I was growing up I had a friend named Kat. She was adopted. She had a Korean brother, Jun, who was also adopted. As a child, Kat and Jun were my frame of reference ...

Which of these is the best sexuality-based New Year's resolution for you?
Scarleteen
January 13th, 2010
To better use birth control or safer sex practices To enjoy myself more To accept and embrace my sexual orientation or sexual identity To be more assertive and speak up more for my sexual wants, needs or boundaries To get out of an unhealthy sexual realtionship To learn more about my own sexual body and self To improve my sexual communication skills To allow myself to be more vulnerable, honest and open with partners To seek out the kind of sexual relationships I truly want To improve my body image and/or ditch sexual shame To get better at respecting the limits and boundaries of others To get tested for sexually transmitted infections and/or ask a partner to Something else (tell us in the ...

In Health Reform, Abortion Not the Only Fight
Reproductive Health | RHRealityCheck.org - Information, News, Analysis, and Commentary
January 13th, 2010
This article was originally published in the Guardian.uk Finally, a feminist health campaigntelling it like it is: American women are being thrown under the busfor an insurance industry-friendly motion towards "health reform."Enough with the handwringing, Jane Fonda seems to say in this video for the "Not Under the Bus" campaign. It's time for women to stop that bus and start driving it.The healthcare billcurrently headed for conference committee station in Congress istroubling to progressives on several accounts, but for women, it willhave the ironic effect of making a medical procedure less accessible.The Senate's abortion "compromise," extorted by Ben Nelsonof Nebraska (along with a pile of cash for his state), ostensibly meansthat ...

Peruvian Court Bans Distribution of EC in Public Sector
Reproductive Health | RHRealityCheck.org - Information, News, Analysis, and Commentary
December 16th, 2009
In mid-October, the Peruvian Constitutional Court?the highestcourt in Peru--issued a ruling banning the free distribution in the publichealth system of the Emergency Contraception pill (EC) arguing that it is anabortifacient.  The tribunal didnot ban the sale of EC pills in private pharmacies because it only has legal jurisdictionover the actions of public institutions.The most recent court decision is hard to understand becausein 2006 this same court approved the distribution of EC by public hospitals andhealth centers, based on the scientific evidence of its effect as acontraceptive method.According to experts from the Colegio de Médicos del Peru (Associationof Physicians of Peru) and the World Health Organization, EC prevents ...

UK "Repeat" Abortion Rate for Teens Increases: What Does It Mean and What Can We Do?
Scarleteen
December 16th, 2009
Originally written for The Guardian, condensed version can be seen there.In 2008, over 5,000 UK women under the age of 20 had an abortion that was not their first. As was made clear by the alarmist headlines following the publication of those numbers, this is a big concern for the public.

Misinformation and Confusion Key Aims of Anti-Choice Ads by ICare (Part One)
Reproductive Health | RHRealityCheck.org - Information, News, Analysis, and Commentary
December 16th, 2009
This article is Part One in a series on an advertising supplement being sold by Minneapolis-based Human Life Alliance to colleges and universities. In each piece, Robin Marty, RH Reality Check Contributing Editor, will examine one in the series of ads for misleading, dangerous and outrageous information.  Robin introduced the series here. A reader doesn't make it far into the Icare advertising supplement released by the Human Life Alliance before getting hit with some major whoppers.  In fact, you can't even make it past the table of contents."No country has more permissive abortion laws than the U.S.?abortion is legal through all nine months of pregnancy for any reason."Not true. In Roe V. Wade, the Supreme Court decided that states could ...

A Common Condom Misunderstanding
Scarleteen
December 9th, 2009
I get the impression that some, if not many of of our users think that condom failure rates are the same as condom breakage/slippage rates. In other words, think that when we explain that in typical use, condoms are 85% effective, that means that 15% of condoms break.It doesn't: that is NOT what those rates mean. I hate for anyone to be presuming it is and to panic about a potential pregnancy via condom use because of that misunderstanding.

Senate Defeats Amendment Restricting Women?s Access To Abortion
Reproductive Freedom News
December 7th, 2009
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASECONTACT: (202) 675-2312 or media@dcaclu.org WASHINGTON – The Senate voted today to table, thus defeating, an amendment to the Senate health care reform bill that would have imposed severe restrictions on women's access to abortion. The amendment, introduced by Senators Ben Nelson (D-NE) and Orrin Hatch (R-UT), would have denied women who receive any federal health care subsidy from purchasing an insurance plan on the exchange that covers abortion care even if the premium is largely paid for with private dollars. The American Civil Liberties Union hailed the Senate vote as a victory for women’s rights and ability to make private health care decisions without government interference.  A similar amendment, the ...

Fess up, faux women's clinics!
Salon: Broadsheet
December 4th, 2009

What's wrong with female desire?
Salon: Broadsheet
December 4th, 2009

The Real ?Fright? about High Teen STD Rates
Beyond the Birds & the Bees
November 30th, 2009
I spoke to Montel Williams on his Air America show Montel Across America, last Thursday. We talked about the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC’s) Sexually Transmitted Disease Surveillance, 2008, which was released last week. The CDC’s report found that STDs, such as chlamydia, syphilis and gonorrhea, are on the rise. And why is this relevant to us? Because the report found that there are over 19 million new STD infections each year and almost half of them occur in young people who are 15 to 24 years old. Montel, much like other adults who’ve been talking about the report, was alarmed by these numbers and referred to the high rates of STDs among young people as “frightening” news.It is ...

HPV & Herpes: Why Safer Sex Isn't Always Safe Enough
Scarleteen
November 30th, 2009
At some point, you have probably heard someone -- perhaps even a school or community or health group -- say that condoms are not effective when it comes to safer sex and preventing the spread of sexually transmitted disease and infection. Unfortunately, some myths are propagated about condom use in this way.read more

CDC Releases Its Annual 'Abortion Surveillance' Report
Reproductive Health | RHRealityCheck.org - Information, News, Analysis, and Commentary
November 30th, 2009
Today, the CDC released its Abortion Surveillance report for2006. Every year, since 1969, the CDC conducts this ?abortion surveillance? to?document the number and characteristics of women obtaining legal inducedabortions in the United States.? The information is obtained from abortion datathe CDC requests from 50 central health agencies in all fifty states plusWashington DC and New York City.  The report provides critical information on how many abortions are performed in this country, at what gestational age, and with what medical procedure but also about who gets abortions in this country: broken down by age, ethnicity and race.  According to the report, for 2006, a total of 846,181abortions were reported to CDC. From that number, ...

Today is the Transgender Day of Remembrance
Reproductive Health | RHRealityCheck.org - Information, News, Analysis, and Commentary
November 23rd, 2009
November 20th is Transgender Day of Remembrance, andit's an opportunity for all of us to stand up to end violence against all women.Female identified people throughout the feminist movement have been pushing forequality, and have been breaking down the stereotypes of being women in ourculture. No longer are we forced to wear skirts, or cover our faces. This isblurring our gender binary system, by letting female identified women cometogether and wear what they want, when they want it. Transgendered people are anatural ally in this movement, because we too are blurring the gender binary.Some of us that are transgendered are very clearly maleidentified or female identified regardless of what we were assigned at birth.But others are less clear ...

Precious, Stupak, and the Erasure of Women's Lives
Reproductive Health | RHRealityCheck.org - Information, News, Analysis, and Commentary
November 23rd, 2009
"Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire" couldn't come at a more frightening moment forAmerican women. With the Stupak amendment literally and symbolically strippingwomen of equal status and ignoring our right to bodily self-determination, hereis a movie that presents, in grim detail, the way race, class and gender biasrender a woman's body invisible and susceptible to the worst kinds of abuse andneglect. Beyond that, the film is a reminder that when we talk about women'shealth every statistic masks a story, a woman's story that none of us canunderstand unless we see it firsthand. This is the underlying message of thereproductive justice movement, a message many of our legislators have forgottenor never learned. This isn't to ...

Dear Mr. Stupak: Do You Trust Women?
Reproductive Health | RHRealityCheck.org - Information, News, Analysis, and Commentary
November 16th, 2009
The Stupak amendment has prompted our well-deserved ire. But it also presents an opportunity for serious reflection about what abortion represents and how we represent it.We have often spoken the language of my: my child, my choice; keep your laws of my body; U.S. out of my uterus. With some laudable exceptions, a rights-based, essentially libertarian framework has formed the basis for our argument.This appeal, while deeply resonant with the pre-Roe generation, has become less and less effective. We?ve heard the problems before. Choice is simply too weak a concept to stand up against Life. Choice conveys quick decisions made without thought, reinforcing the already negative stereotypes about why women abort. Choice is necessary but ...

Teen, Supermodel, Covergirl?.and Pregnant
Beyond the Birds & the Bees
November 13th, 2009
The cover of the November issue of Teen Vogue pictures 19-year-old Jourdan Dunn and 18-year-old Chanel Iman along with the cover line “Teen Supermodels Jourdan and Chanel on Their Rise to the Top.” Inside the magazine, Jourdan and Chanel talk about their careers as supermodels, but it’s what Jourdan reveals that’s got people talking.  Jourdan is expecting a baby sometime this December and her boyfriend, mother and modeling agency are supportive of her.There was some debate at Teen Vogue, as to whether the magazine should still run the cover after they found out Jourdan was pregnant. But a number of factors, like a tight production schedule, kept the cover in place. Jourdan’s pregnancy and other recent ...

Roundup: Michelman and Kissling in the New York Times; Keenan Discusses Stupak on "Talk of the Nation"
Reproductive Health | RHRealityCheck.org - Information, News, Analysis, and Commentary
November 13th, 2009
Michelman and Kissling on Stupak in the New York Times "A grim reality sits behind the joyful press statements fromWashington Democrats," write Kate Michelman and Frances Kissling on the editorial page of today's New York Times. To secure passage of health care legislation in the House, the party chose a course that risks the well-being of millions of women for generations to come. They are of course writing about the "deal" struck in the eleventh-hour on the Stupak-Pitts amendment which, in effect and among other things, would ban women who participate in the health insurance exchange called for in the House bill from obtaining insurance policies including coverage for abortion care, even if they pay 100 percent of the premiums. It is ...

Preventing Teen Pregnancy: Three Words Most Likely to Make My Blood Boil
Scarleteen
November 13th, 2009
I hate, hate, hate that phrase. Nearly everywhere I go or look as a young adult sexuality educator anymore, I run into it incessantly. Let me be clear: I don't hate doing all that we can, to help people of every age to avoid pregnancies or parenting they do not want or do not feel ready for. I'm so glad to do that, and it's a big part of my job at Scarleteen and elsewhere when I work as a sexuality and contraception educator and activist.

I'm becoming a Christian: How can I reconcile my faith with my sex life?
Scarleteen
November 13th, 2009

Welcome to the 6th Feminist Carnival!
Scarleteen
November 13th, 2009
We're pleased to host the 6th edition of the newly reborn Feminist Carnival! In the spirit of rebirth, and in alignment with the readers and mission of Scarleteen, this round puts it's focus on young feminist bloggers and feminist issues particularly pertinent to younger women.The F-Word & The Myth of the Invisible Young FeministWe often hear that younger women are eschewing feminism or that young feminists just aren't out there. But maybe we just need to look a little harder and listen a little more.

National Sex Ed Call-In Day: Make Your Voice Heard
Reproductive Health | RHRealityCheck.org - Information, News, Analysis, and Commentary
October 28th, 2009
October is Sex Ed Month of Action and organizers from Advocates for Youth, Catholics for Choice, Choice USA, Law Students for Reproductive Justice, NARAL Pro-Choice America, Planned Parenthood, Sexuality Information Education Council of the U.S. (SIECUS), Sierra Club, and Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice.Why is comprehensive sex education important?It has been saidtime and time again: abstinence-only-until-marriage programs don't work. President Obama has called for the end of them in his budget and Membersof Congress in the House and Senate have held firm by letting abstinence-only-until-marriagefunding streams expire. The federal government?s own studyof the Title V abstinence-only-until-marriage program found these programs ...

They?re Baaaaaack: Abstinence-Only Programs Rely on Scare Tactics and Humiliation to Spread Misinformation
Reproductive Health | RHRealityCheck.org - Information, News, Analysis, and Commentary
October 28th, 2009
Throughout October 2009, young people and their allies are engaging in advocacy efforts in communities across the country to raise awareness for the need for REAL sex education. The Sex Ed Month of Action will engage young people and their allies across the United States in showing their support for comprehensive sex education. On October 15th, 2009, SIECUS ? the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States ? held our seventh annual Back to School briefing on Capitol Hill.  Each year, we review some of the more popular abstinence-only-until-marriage curricula and use this briefing to share our findings with policymakers.  We use this moment to remind policymakers that a ?just say no? approach is failing our kids.  ...

New Feminist Disability Blog Launched, and Disability Info on Twitter
Our Bodies Our Blog
October 22nd, 2009
A new blog, FWD/Forward, has recently launched.  The About section of the site explains:FWD/Forward is a group blog written by feminists with disabilities. It is a place to discuss disability issues and the intersection between feminism and disability rights activism. The content here ranges from basic information which is designed ...[This is a content summary only. Click the headline to visit Our Bodies, Our Blog for the full post, links, other content and more!]

Considering the Risks of Egg Donation
Our Bodies Our Blog
October 22nd, 2009
Earlier this month, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed into a law a bill, AB 1317, which requires advertisements seeking egg donors for fertility treatment to include a notice about the possible adverse health effects of egg donation.Such advertisements must contain standard warning language that there may be risks associated with ...[This is a content summary only. Click the headline to visit Our Bodies, Our Blog for the full post, links, other content and more!]

"Dying to Get In", Healthcare Reform and Digital Storytelling
culturekitchen - fresh dissent served daily
October 22nd, 2009
Besides making a point about the state of healthcare in the US today, my friends and I created the video above as a form of ?digital storytelling?, using new tools to share an age-old content delivery system. Would facts and figures worked better?I?ve been hearing a lot more about storytelling these days. For example, in a recent NPR segment about storytelling at the Edinburgh festival, an audience member said in her Scottish burr, ?We?ve been so clever about computers and pushed entertainment as far as we can, we?re going back to the original art form?. This might help explain the increased buzz around great user-generated events like the Moth StorySlam and Mortified and radio shows like This American Life and now the Moth Radio Hour. ...

Gender Discrimination Is Us?
Beyond the Birds & the Bees
October 16th, 2009
Pretty pink princesses or muscle-bound superheroes? Monster trucks or sparkly ponies? Go into just about any toy store, and you’ll notice that half of it is pink with toys for girls and the other half has brightly colored toys meant for boys. Is that really fair? Does our gender really have all that much to do with what kinds of toys we should like? A group of sixth graders in Sweden don’t think so.The students had been learning about gender roles in school and felt that the 2008 Toys “?” Us Christmas catalog portrayed outdated gender images by having girls and boys playing with separate kinds of toys. Boys were featured playing with very active toys in busy settings, and girls were usually pictured sitting and ...

Birth control for depression/healthcare privacy
Scarleteen
October 16th, 2009

New Feminist Disability Blog Launched, and Disability Info on Twitter
Our Bodies Our Blog
October 16th, 2009
A new blog, FWD/Forward, has recently launched.  The About section of the site explains:FWD/Forward is a group blog written by feminists with disabilities. It is a place to discuss disability issues and the intersection between feminism and disability rights activism. The content here ranges from basic information which is designed ...[This is a content summary only. Click the headline to visit Our Bodies, Our Blog for the full post, links, other content and more!]

New Study: "A Woman's Nation Changes Everything"
Reproductive Health | RHRealityCheck.org - Information, News, Analysis, and Commentary
October 16th, 2009
A lot has changed since John F. Kennedy put Eleanor Roosevelt at the head of the very first Commission on the Status of Women. According to Anthropologist Margaret Mead, who co-edited the final report of that organization, "the climate of opinion is turning against the idea that homemaking is the only form of feminine achievement." But that was more than 40 years ago; since then, we?ve encountered the sexual revolution, the second wave of feminism, self-made female billionaires?even mannies. And in a study to be released tomorrow, Kennedy?s niece, Maria Shriver?who worked in conjunction with the Center for American Progress?will release ?The Shriver Report: A Woman?s Nation Changes Everything.? The 400-page report, according to an essay on ...

Teen pregnancies on the rise for the first time in over a decade
Feministing
October 16th, 2009
Via The Economist, some data about teenage pregnancies in the US:On one point, however, experts agree: when it comes to teenage births, the United States is backsliding. Between 1991 and 2005 the teenage birth rate declined by 34%, according to the National Centre for Health Statistics. Between 2005 and 2007, the last year for which statistics are available, it crept up 5%.A quick and easy blame game points to the Bush era abstinence-only policy, which is scientifically proven to fail. But those working on the issue of teen pregnancy know it's more complicated than that. Access to sex education and birth control are key to preventing teen pregnancies--but not all teen's want to prevent their pregnancies. Some want to be parents, despite ...

Long Past Due: Constitution Protects Women in Prison from Unsafe Shackling During Childbirth
Reproductive Health | RHRealityCheck.org - Information, News, Analysis, and Commentary
October 7th, 2009
Last week, in Nelson v. Norris, a federal Court ofAppeals held for the first time that the U.S. Constitution protects pregnantwomen in prison from the unnecessary and unsafe practice of shackling duringlabor and childbirth.  Notably,although the American Civil Liberties Union argued the case more than a yearago, the court?s decision comes on the heels of three states (TX, NY, and NM)passing legislation in 2009 to restrict the use of shackles on pregnantinmates.  These three join IL, VT,and CA in restricting the practice. Both the outcome and the history of the Nelson case and the recent legislation demonstrate the dramaticshift that has taken place around this issue. ACLU attorney Diana Kasdan answers a few questions about the ...

Lila Rose: Hidden Camera Videos Raise Ethical Questions
Reproductive Health | RHRealityCheck.org - Information, News, Analysis, and Commentary
October 7th, 2009
This article is published as part of a partnership between Minnesota Independent, the Center for Independent Journalism, and RH Reality Check. The grainy video, filmed in Bloomington, Ind., last year, features ayoung woman with bleach-blonde hair fidgeting in her chair. As hauntingmusic loops over her small voice, she tells a Planned Parenthood workerthat she?s 13 years old, almost 14. She mentions an older boyfriend.The worker says Indiana law dictates that people 13 years old or underwho have had intercourse must be reported to Child Protective Services.The timestamp in the corner of the screen skips back and forth. Thevideo lingers accusingly on a clip, edited to repeat multiple times, ofthe worker saying she didn?t hear the boyfriend?s ...

Substitute teacher fired because he is transgender
Feministing
October 7th, 2009
Jan Buterman has filed a complaint with the Alberta Human Rights Commission after he was fired by the Greater St. Albert Catholic school district in Edmonton, Canada. Buterman was fired after disclosing his gender identity and informing the district he was in the process of transitioning from female to male. In the letter of dismissal he received Buterman was told his transition would confuse students and parents. As Cara points out at The Curvature, this is bullshit. Young people and their parents should be learning about trans issues, learning to interact with trans folks in a respectful way, learning about our humanity. Having a trans teacher would be a great opportunity to humanize trans folks to Buterman's students and show them we're ...

No one is invincible without health care
Feministing
October 7th, 2009
I wrote about this group when they first got started, but I continue to be impressed by what the Young Invincibles are doing to send the message that folks of our generation (18 to 34 year olds) care about health care reform, and have a lot at stake in the debate. Michelle's story is one of the many the Young Invincibles are bringing to the conversation. They are organizing events all around the country for folks of our generation to push the health care conversation. There is a lobby day in DC next week on Tuesday October 13, and there are more events and ideas for getting involved here.

The Cutting Room Floor: On Sexting
Scarleteen
October 7th, 2009
With everyone talking about it so much lately, thought I'd reprise the topic with some questions Tracy Clark-Flory of Salon.com asked me about sexting a few months ago, and the whole of my answers. To see her finished piece, you can meander over here.Q: Where does "sexting" -- or for that matter, taking nude self- portraits or videos that they may or may not share with a significant other, friends or a crush -- fall within teenage sexual development?

In Labor and In Chains
Reproductive Health | RHRealityCheck.org - Information, News, Analysis, and Commentary
October 7th, 2009
When she became a mother, her body wasshackled. gave birth to her son with her ankles shackled to the hospital bed.Arnita remained shackled as she held her son for the first time and while shenursed him. Like Arnita, most mothers behind bars are restrainedduring labor, delivery and post-delivery as a matter of routine practice in ournation?s jails and prisons.Shawanna Nelson is another mother who wasshackled during labor, but she brought a lawsuit against the ArkansasDepartment of Corrections for cruel and unusual punishment. Thanks to hercourage and the common sense of a panel of judges, the 8th CircuitCourt of Appeals recently ruled and the shackling of prisoners during labor isunconstitultional.In most state prisons and jails, ...

German women's magazine to ban professional models
Feministing
October 7th, 2009
Lately, Europe seems to be eons ahead of us regarding their recognition that the fashion and media having a significantly unhealthy effect on women's body image. The latest is Germany's most popular women's magazine's announcement of their intention to omit professional models from their pages in an effort to combat unrealistic social beauty standards: The editor-in-chief of Germany's bimonthly Brigitte told reporters that, starting next year, the magazine will feature a mix of prominent women and regular readers in photo spreads for everything from beauty to fashion to fitness.Andreas Lebert said the move is a response to readers increasingly saying that they are tired of seeing "protruding bones" from models who weigh far less than the ...

Roundup: Public Option is Alive, National Sex-Ed Week of Action, Is Yaz Safe?
Reproductive Health | RHRealityCheck.org - Information, News, Analysis, and Commentary
September 29th, 2009
The Trains Keep On Rollin' On Health Care Reform...The Wonk Room reports that,  The White House is considering improving the affordability of health care reform by ?exempting more families and individuals on the basis of income from the penalty for failing to buy insurance, a fine that for families could run as high as $1,900.? Senators are debating just how best to ensure affordability for all Americans - most obviously, subsidies - while keeping in mind President Obama's statement that he would not accept a health care bill that would cost more than $900 billion over ten years. According to the New York Times, "subsidies are already the biggest-ticket item."While The Media Consortium's Lindsay Beyerstein writes that "reports of the ...

NYT: Abortion Fight Complicates Debate on Health Care
Reproductive Health | RHRealityCheck.org - Information, News, Analysis, and Commentary
September 29th, 2009
A front page story in today's edition of the New York Times highlights access to abortion as a potential roadblock to acheiving health insurance reform.  Abortion access opponents are fighting for a provision that would ensure no federal health insurance subsidy money is used to purchase private insurance policies that cover abortion care.  There seems to be enough support from moderate Democrats to make the debate too close to call at this point: Abortion opponents in both the House and the Senate are seeking to block the millions of middle- and lower-income people who might receive federal insurance subsidies to help them buy health coverage from using the money on plans that cover abortion. And the abortion opponents are getting enough ...

FDA Panel Recommends Cervical Cancer Vaccine; Florida Teen Objects to Gardasil as Path to Citizenship
Our Bodies Our Blog
September 21st, 2009
A second vaccine designed to protect against cervical cancer may soon be available in the United States.A Food and Drug Administration panel last week gave its approval to GlaxoSmithKline PLC's Cervarix vaccine, essentially recommending that the FDA approve the vaccine for use in females 10 to 25 years old. The ...[This is a content summary only. Click the headline to visit Our Bodies, Our Blog for the full post, links, other content and more!]

The Debate over Climate Change and Reproductive Health
Our Bodies Our Blog
September 21st, 2009
The medical journal The Lancet has an editorial in its current issue that argues that one way to help ward off climate change is to increase family planning services and reduce unintended pregnancies.The writers of the editorial, Sexual and reproductive health and climate change, believe that family planning proponents might ...[This is a content summary only. Click the headline to visit Our Bodies, Our Blog for the full post, links, other content and more!]

Health Reform and Tampons: The New Tea Party
Reproductive Health | RHRealityCheck.org - Information, News, Analysis, and Commentary
September 21st, 2009
Where to start?Did you know that the future of our country in relation to the deficit (and maybe even democracy and life as we know it on this planet) may rest on your consumption of Kotex, Playtex or OB tampons?  Fox News thinks so.  Thanks to our colleague Lucinda Marshall for calling our attention to this looming crisis.In it's ongoing "fact-based" coverage (as in, "we make up the facts and we report 'em"), Fox News has managed to equate the following: tampons, taxes, the deficit and....freedom. Now, in my many years experience with tampons, I have never seen any interest by any major network in the fact that women pay out-of-pocket for tampons, sanitary pads and other related items every month, without, mind you, any reimbursement ...

VIDEO: All Abortions Should Take Place in the Public Square
Reproductive Health | RHRealityCheck.org - Information, News, Analysis, and Commentary
September 21st, 2009
Thanks to our colleagues at Right Wing Watch for this tidbit from the Values Voter Summit:Lila Rose--the college student whose claim to fame rests on taking surreptitious videos while posing as a pregnant 13-year old at Planned Parenthood clinics and who has become the darling of the conservative movement--suggested in her speech at the Values Voter Summit in Washington DC this past weekend that, until they are illegal, abortions should be performed "in the public square..... until we were so sick and tired of seeing them that we would do away with the injustice altogether....maybe then we would hear angels singing when we ponder the glory of conception." Anti-abortion activist Lila Rose tells the Values Voter Summit audience that ...

Daily Pulse: Women's Health Beyond Pink Ribbons
Reproductive Health | RHRealityCheck.org - Information, News, Analysis, and Commentary
September 21st, 2009
This article is printed in partnership with The Media Consortium, of which RH Reality Check is a member organization. While the Senate Finance Committee tinkers with the Baucus Bill,First Lady Michelle Obama is taking center stage in the health carereform debate. Obama?s director of communications announced last weekthat the FLOTUS would be focusing on the health care needs of women and children. Mindful of the conservative backlashagainst Hillary Clinton?s crusade for health care reform, Mrs. Obama isexpected to steer clear of policy issues, according to Salon?s JudyBerman.Tying health reform to women?s health is a smart political move. The Far Right lured anti-choicers into a corporatist tax revolt with talltales of tax-payer funded ...

Highly religious states have top teen birth rates
Feministing
September 21st, 2009
A new study shows that states that skew towards more conservative religious beliefs tend to have higher rates of teenage girls giving birth. (Shocking, I know.)Researcher Joseph Strayhorn of Drexel University College of Medicine and University of Pittsburgh says,"We conjecture that religious communities in the U.S. are more successful in discouraging the use of contraception among their teenagers than they are in discouraging sexual intercourse itself."Now, obviously studies like these have the whole correlation/causation issue going on - but from the work I did write The Purity Myth, this study makes sense to me.If you grow up in an area where you're taught that sex is bad and contraception is evil (and that it can kill you), when you ...

Quick Hit: False Rape Accusations and Rape Culture
Feministing
September 21st, 2009
This post reminds me why Amanda Hess at The Sexist is quickly becoming one of my favorite bloggers. Update: Apparently Feministing love for Hess runs deep. My bad.

The Family Research Council's "new masculinity"
Feministing
September 21st, 2009
Feminist backlash: Better than spinach! Via Wendy Norris at RH Reality Check, we find out that the Christian conservative think tank Family Research Council wants dudes to be more manly. Apparently, the way men become more manly is by fighting back against feminism. According to the seminar description on "The New Masculinity," Pat Fagan, senior fellow and director of FRC's Center for Family and Religion, will discuss how "feminism has wreaked havoc on marriage, women, children and men. It is time to redress the disorder it has wrought and that must start with getting the principles and ideals for a new 'masculinism' right." What always strikes me as odd about conservative discussions of masculinity is how closely they're tied with ...

Anything but early marriage is a "relationship wasteland"
Feministing
September 21st, 2009
I have to say, nothing gets me writing faster than anti-feminist blogs. Caroline from the Network of Enlightened Women (more on them here) thinks that couple living together is a tremendous destructive force: I remember when I was in kindergarten and the big tease was "Johnny and Annie sitting in a tree, k-i-s-s-i-n-g, first comes love, then comes marriage, then comes baby in a baby carriage!" That is how I always thought it went, love, marriage, baby carriage. Easy as pie. As a college student preparing for the real world, I realize that there are some new steps in the process. Now, the song could be sung , "hookup, move in together, maybe get married when we are 30, baby." Cohabitation, or the Trial Marriage, is causing the ...

Sisters Are (or should be) Doin' It for Themselves.
Scarleteen
September 14th, 2009
I'm going to keep this short and sweet. (Well, short for me anyway.)Why are so many of you kickass, take-charge gals leaving the buying, having and using of condoms only up to the men? I gotta tell you, it confounds my mind.

"Gender Verification in Sports:" We All Have a Stake in Caster Semenya's Medal
Reproductive Health | RHRealityCheck.org - Information, News, Analysis, and Commentary
September 14th, 2009
Katherine Franke's article was originally published at the Gender and Sexuality Law Blog of Columbia University Law School. As many will recall, the gold medal performance in the 800 meter track competition by CasterSemenya, a South African athlete, last month at the Berlin WorldChampionships, sparked a ?sex panic? when some observers questionedSemenya?s ?real? sex.  Well, things have turned a troubling corner inthis matter this week.  An Australian newspaper reported today that Semenya?s ?gender verification? test results revealed that she failed the female sex test.  That is to say, the results are reported to show that her body does notfall within the prescribed definition of a woman for competitiveinternational sports.I put the issue ...

Health care reform needs YOU
Feministing
September 14th, 2009
If you are under 21 today, you have a 50% chance of losing your health care coverage in the next decade. Health care coverage matters. It matters to the country, to progressives, to feminists, but especially to young people. We're the least likely to be covered, and the most likely to end up changing the course of our lives because of health care related debt. This is serious folks. We need to do something, because our chance at real health care reform that could free our generation from the chains of shitty health care coverage we can only get at certain places of employment is quickly slipping away. Now is the time Feministing. Now is the time. One way we can have an impact on this debate is telling our stories--explaining why ...

Fed Up With Misinformation About Healthcare Reform? Tell Your Own Story
Our Bodies Our Blog
September 3rd, 2009
Forget everything you've heard or seen about the healthcare debate. OK, not everything -- just the lies and misinformation.Feel better? Want to do something with that positive energy? The Media Consortium (TMC), a network of progressive, independent journalism organizations, explains how you can change the debate with your own reporting:Your story ...[This is a content summary only. Click the headline to visit Our Bodies, Our Blog for the full post, links, other content and more!]

Young and Coming Out HIV Positive
Reproductive Health | RHRealityCheck.org - Information, News, Analysis, and Commentary
September 3rd, 2009
LaShaun Brown, a 14 year old girl from Fayetteville, NC, describes living with HIV and wonders what her friends will think when they find out.  

USA Squeamish About UN Guidelines
Reproductive Health | RHRealityCheck.org - Information, News, Analysis, and Commentary
September 3rd, 2009
Looks like the US is once again living up to it's Puritanroots. According to a report in the New York Times yesterday, the UN is putting together international sexual education guidelines-offering information about bodies, relationships, and sex-to children as young as 5. Apparently, the American right is still worried that teaching kids how AIDS is transmitted-andthat legal abortion by a medical professional in a clean environment is safe-will turn them into sex-crazed adults. "The guidelines, scheduled to be released by UNESCO in a new draft next week, would be distributed to education ministries, school systems and teachers around the world to help guide teachers in what to teach young people about their bodies, sex, relationships and ...

Sins Invalid 2009
Feministing
September 3rd, 2009
Photo credit: Richard DowningI wanted to give a shout out and a heads up that Sins Invalid has announced the dates for their 2009 series. I've heard great things about them, although I haven't been able to see a performance live. About Sins Invalid:Sins Invalid is a performance project on disability and sexuality that incubates and celebrates artists with disabilities, centralizing artists of color and queer and gender-variant artists as communities who have been historically marginalized from social discourse.Unfortunately their performances are only in San Francisco, but if you're in the Bay Area you should check it out, October 2-4. You can also check out their blog and videos from their performances.

What happened to immigration reform?
Feministing
September 3rd, 2009
Among the many promises and priorities of the Obama Administration was immigration reform. If you've been watching the national policy conversation you'd think that health care reform was trumping all other priorities, except maybe the economy and stimulus. In early August President Obama told Latino journalists at the White House that he hopes to have legislation drafted by early 2010. This is later that many had hoped, and if the health care battle is any indication, it's not going to be an easy fight. We've also been through this struggle before, albeit in a very different political climate. The failed immigration reform attempts in 2006 and 2007 have left a bitter taste in advocates mouths. The bills that were eventually negotiated ...

MTV Tackles the Adoption Option
Beyond the Birds & the Bees
August 24th, 2009
Dealing with an unplanned pregnancy means having to make some tough choices. Become a teen parent or have an abortion? But what about the other option? Adoption.Recently MTV’s 16 and Pregnant featured Catelynn and Tyler, a teen couple who chose to put their daughter Carly up for adoption. If you saw the show, then you know there were a lot of tears, disagreements with their parents, nine long months of pregnancy and, finally, labor. In the end, Catelynn had this to say about choosing adoption:“Giving my child up for adoption was the hardest thing I’ll have to do in my life…. I just did what my heart told me to do. I think that Carly’s gonna one day come to me and Tyler and tell us, ?thank you.’ I’m ...

Blame It on the Lyrics
Beyond the Birds & the Bees
August 24th, 2009
What does it take to get the girl? In his hit single, “Blame It,” Jamie Foxx (featuring T-Pain) pays tribute to one method of hooking up, involving nothing but a-a-a-a-a-alcohol.“Blame It” is all about throwing away your cares and lowering your inhibitions?all for the sake of sex. Assuming that the woman wants a hookup, Foxx counters her hesitation with a list of drinks she could always blame her actions on the next morning. The alcohol and its effects (?feeling loose,” “feeling dizzy”) become the excuses to engage in risky behavior. If anything goes wrong, just blame it on the alcohol.But what if you want more than drunken sex? Maybe you want the power to make your own responsible decisions ...

Emergency Contraception: Have We Come Full Circle?
Reproductive Health | RHRealityCheck.org - Information, News, Analysis, and Commentary
August 24th, 2009
This article originally appeared in the journal Contraception. Two decades ago, Dr. Felicia Stewart, then serving asMedical Director of the Planned Parenthood affiliate in Sacramento California,began her campaign to let out of the closet "America's best-kept secret" -emergency contraception. The method had been suppressed because manyproviders thought the method was "not effective enough," or would lead women touse it "too much" (in place of using other more effective methods). Advocatesdisagreed, believing that emergency contraception could help some women preventpregnancy, that women could learn to use the method appropriately, and thatwomen had the right to this important option. When Dr. Stewart and otherwomen's health advocates ...

MTV Tackles the Adoption Option
Beyond the Birds & the Bees
August 3rd, 2009
Dealing with an unplanned pregnancy means having to make some tough choices. Become a teen parent or have an abortion? But what about the other option? Adoption.Recently MTV’s 16 and Pregnant featured Catelynn and Tyler, a teen couple who chose to put their daughter Carly up for adoption. If you saw the show, then you know there were a lot of tears, disagreements with their parents, nine long months of pregnancy and, finally, labor. In the end, Catelynn had this to say about choosing adoption:“Giving my child up for adoption was the hardest thing I’ll have to do in my life…. I just did what my heart told me to do. I think that Carly’s gonna one day come to me and Tyler and tell us, ?thank you.’ I’m ...

What sex ed do you recommend when a teen's had, well, nothing?
Reproductive Health | RHRealityCheck.org - Sexuality Education
August 3rd, 2009
Last night, as so often happens when you work at Planned Parenthood, a good friend of mine came to me with a problem. While usually I get asked about sexual health (remind me to tell you about the time a guy at a party started asking me about the little red bumps on his genitals) my friend Carla* needed advice -- for her 14 year old cousin. See, her cousin lives in Florida, goes to a private Christian school, and, apparently, has had no sex education whatsoever. I get the feeling her school teaches some sort of abstinence program (when Carla mentioned condoms her cousin's response was 'but don't they break?') and her mom just hasn't felt comfortable bringing it up. So when she ran into savvy New York City-based cousin Carla at a wedding ...

New CDC Report Reveals Disparities, Declines in Young People?s Sexual & Reproductive Health
Our Bodies Our Blog
August 3rd, 2009
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has released a new report on the sexual and reproductive health of people ages 10-24 in the United States. The agency compiled data from its various surveillance and survey systems for the period of 2002-2007 in an attempt to answer questions about how ...[This is a content summary only. Click the headline to visit Our Bodies, Our Blog for the full post, links, other content and more!]

The IUD Debate: Experienced Providers Weigh in
Reproductive Health | RHRealityCheck.org - Information, News, Analysis, and Commentary
August 3rd, 2009
With Slate.com declaring IUDs the best form of birth control, and the writers at RH Reality Check weighing in on their experiences with IUD insertion, we?ve been getting a lot of questions about IUDS as a birth control method. There seem to be conflicting messages being given out there ? with some publications touting them as the saving grace of birth control even as many providers are calling them unsafe or refusing to insert them in women who haven?t yet had children. How do you know who?s right, and why are so many people telling you different things? Our providers at Planned Parenthood of New York City, who are experienced in providing IUDs, weigh in.  The HistoryAs many of you may now know, the original design of IUDs was, less than ...

Girls sports DO make money
Feministing
August 3rd, 2009
Contrary to popular belief, a new article in the NYTimes highlights a trend among youth sporting events--girls events tend to draw more crowds and bring in more revenue than boys events. The article is comparing traveling teams and tournament sporting events, where a number of groups noted that girl's event were more likely to draw parents (and therefore revenue) then boys sports. As the popularity of youth tournaments has intensified over the past decade, a peculiar trend has emerged: girls' sporting events tend to attract more relatives and generate more revenue for tourism than similar events for boys. And that is drawing increased attention from economic development officials....Although Schumacher said he and others did not keep ...

Still Black
Feministing
August 3rd, 2009
I wanted to highlight that a new documentary is now out and available on DVD, Still Black. Below is a clip from the documentary, which I would love to see. About the film:STILL BLACK: a portrait of black transmen, is an alternative feature-length documentary that explores the lives of six black transgender men living in the United States. Through the intimate stories of their lives as artists, students, husbands, fathers, lawyers, and teachers, the film offers viewers a complex and multi-faceted image of race, sexuality and trans identity.Check out the website to purchase the documentary, or see here for festival viewing.

What sex ed do you recommend when a teen's had, well, nothing?
Reproductive Health | RHRealityCheck.org - Sexuality Education
July 29th, 2009
Last night, as so often happens when you work at Planned Parenthood, a good friend of mine came to me with a problem. While usually I get asked about sexual health (remind me to tell you about the time a guy at a party started asking me about the little red bumps on his genitals) my friend Carla* needed advice -- for her 14 year old cousin. See, her cousin lives in Florida, goes to a private Christian school, and, apparently, has had no sex education whatsoever. I get the feeling her school teaches some sort of abstinence program (when Carla mentioned condoms her cousin's response was 'but don't they break?') and her mom just hasn't felt comfortable bringing it up. So when she ran into savvy New York City-based cousin Carla at a wedding ...

New CDC Report Reveals Disparities, Declines in Young People?s Sexual & Reproductive Health
Our Bodies Our Blog
July 29th, 2009
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has released a new report on the sexual and reproductive health of people ages 10-24 in the United States. The agency compiled data from its various surveillance and survey systems for the period of 2002-2007 in an attempt to answer questions about how ...[This is a content summary only. Click the headline to visit Our Bodies, Our Blog for the full post, links, other content and more!]

Not Just a ?Love Game?
Beyond the Birds & the Bees
July 21st, 2009
When Lady Gaga sings “I wanna take a ride on your disco stick” in her new hit single “Love Game,” she’s got people wondering, Is she singing about what I think she’s singing about? With its catchy pop lyrics and up-tempo beat, it’s hard to resist this popular song and music video.Yet, it’s important to remember that “Love Game,” through its seductive words and images, promotes a distorted view of sexuality. The music video, with Lady Gaga naked and suggestively gyrating with groups of men, shows a sexual fantasy world that’s all about fun and games without consequences or emotion. It offers no honest, accurate information about real relationships or important sexual health ...

Is it really illegal to sell me condoms?
Scarleteen
July 21st, 2009

Our Little Wizards Are All Grown Up
Reproductive Health | RHRealityCheck.org - Sexuality Education
July 21st, 2009
Critics reviewing the latest installment in the wildly popular Harry Potter franchise have been distracted to no end by the spell of attraction that has been added into the magic mix.  They can't get over the fact that the films' three young stars, once gawky misfits, are now good-looking young adults worthy of cover shots.  And it's true: in the sixth book and film, Harry, Hermione, Ron and sundry others are caught up in a tangled web of hormones and confusion.  They have to figure out where making out (or "snogging") can fit into their schedule of conquering evil, saving the world and puzzling out the cryptic, possibly universe-altering, intentions of the adults around them.What's fascinating about the rather gentle sexification of the ...

What sex ed do you recommend when a teen's had, well, nothing?
Reproductive Health | RHRealityCheck.org - Sexuality Education
July 21st, 2009
Last night, as so often happens when you work at Planned Parenthood, a good friend of mine came to me with a problem. While usually I get asked about sexual health (remind me to tell you about the time a guy at a party started asking me about the little red bumps on his genitals) my friend Carla* needed advice -- for her 14 year old cousin. See, her cousin lives in Florida, goes to a private Christian school, and, apparently, has had no sex education whatsoever. I get the feeling her school teaches some sort of abstinence program (when Carla mentioned condoms her cousin's response was 'but don't they break?') and her mom just hasn't felt comfortable bringing it up. So when she ran into savvy New York City-based cousin Carla at a wedding ...

Want an abortion? Get a note from a dude.
Feministing
July 21st, 2009
File this under paternalism-gone-amok: An Ohio bill would force women to get men's permission before obtaining an abortion. Sound familiar? That's because Rep. John Adams from Ohio tried this same thing a couple of years ago.Rep. John Adams, a Republican from Sidney, wants to change that and the legislation he introduced today, House Bill 252, would require the biological father's consent before an abortion can be done.The bill would apply to any abortion and would require written consent before it can be done.Like a note from your parents for school, except you're an adult now (minus the rights and bodily autonomy). But here comes the kicker - and this part of the bill was around last time as well:Adams told the newspaper that, in ...

Thanks, abstinence-only education!
Feministing
July 21st, 2009
Or 'enter', whatever.A new report from the CDC says that "trends in the sexual and reproductive health of U.S. teens and young adults have flattened, or in some instances may be worsening." Are we really surprised? Thanks to a decade of misinformation masquerading as sex education, teens are having the same amount of sex, using contraception less, and getting pregnant more. We're reaping what we've sowed. A 2002 study found that one-third of U.S. teenagers hadn't received any formal instruction about contraception. For those who did learn about contraception - it was all scare tactics. In Me, My World, My Future - a textbook used in public schools across the country - students are told that "relying on condoms is like playing Russian ...

What sex ed do you recommend when a teen's had, well, nothing?
Reproductive Health | RHRealityCheck.org - Sexuality Education
July 14th, 2009
Last night, as so often happens when you work at Planned Parenthood, a good friend of mine came to me with a problem. While usually I get asked about sexual health (remind me to tell you about the time a guy at a party started asking me about the little red bumps on his genitals) my friend Carla* needed advice -- for her 14 year old cousin. See, her cousin lives in Florida, goes to a private Christian school, and, apparently, has had no sex education whatsoever. I get the feeling her school teaches some sort of abstinence program (when Carla mentioned condoms her cousin's response was 'but don't they break?') and her mom just hasn't felt comfortable bringing it up. So when she ran into savvy New York City-based cousin Carla at a wedding ...

Female Condom to be Reintroduced in Uganda, United States
Our Bodies Our Blog
July 14th, 2009
We've written about the female condom - including the recently approved FC2 - several times in the past. Serra Sippel of the Center for Health and Gender Equity has an update on this topic at RH Reality Check, noting that Uganda is working on plans to reintroduce female condoms, with ...[This is a content summary only. Click the headline to visit Our Bodies, Our Blog for the full post, links, other content and more!]

Oh my God - Older People Have Sex?!
Reproductive Health | RHRealityCheck.org - Information, News, Analysis, and Commentary
July 14th, 2009
Editor's Note: We just published, today, the first in a series of articles on sexuality and aging, How Are Your Orgasms, Mom?, co-produced by the National Sexuality Resource Center and RH Reality Check. Check back in the coming weeks for more on seniors and sexuality. In light of the attention our elders are getting about their sex lives and sexual health on RH Reality Check, we thought it would be interesting to point out this article in the New York Times last week:Yes, We Do. Even At Our Age.  We talk about cultural competency as it relates to all sorts of marginalized groups of people when it comes to health care provision: LGBTQIs; those for whom English is not their primary language; low-income individuals. But what about ...

Sotomayor Hearings, Day One: Empathy, Respect, and Political Circus
Reproductive Health | RHRealityCheck.org - Information, News, Analysis, and Commentary
July 14th, 2009
Confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor began yesterday with a sense of predictability and inevitability within the Senate chambers.  Leading Republican Senators called for respectful review of and debate on Sotomayor's candidacy during the hearings.  Conservative Senator Jeff Sessions, ranking minority member of the committee, stated: I expect this hearing and resulting debate to be characterized by a respectful tone, a discussion of serious issues, and a thoughtful dialogue, and I have worked hard to achieve that from day one.That message, however, apparently was not heard outside the walls of the hearing room, as representatives of the extreme right in the media engaged without shame in a smear campaign replete ...

Video games give girls "life lessons" on how to achieve their social beauty standards
Feministing
July 14th, 2009
Check out Wired's take on new games for girls released in 2009, in which all but one ("The Daring Game for Girls") is about fashion, boys, princesses, modeling, and more fashion. Well, there is a detective game, but you solve mysteries using your "feminine sixth sense," so I wouldn't necessarily put that in the feminist-friendly category. In the post, Tracey John compares games targeted towards girls with typical "boys' games": Some parents worry that videogames might cause their children to become violent and antisocial, but what if the opposite were true? What if games could make kids exceedingly likable and fashionable?...The weird thing is that you can view these "wholesome" games as being just as bad for girls as Grand Theft Auto's ...

Only White Men Can be "Objective."
Feministing
July 14th, 2009
Watching the confirmation hearings of Sotomayor, it makes me wonder if Sotomayor wants to scream, "hey white dude, you are impartial to your own life experience as well..." The Sotomayor hearings are pretty painful to watch, and should put to the side any belief that we are in a post-racial space. Session's attempts to grill Sotomayor on this question of impartiality reveals the obvious ignorance that when white men hold impartial beliefs they are natural and objective, whereas when women of color do, they are unable to effectively do the job. It seems the question of whether Sotomayor's experience adds value, verse whether it impacts her ability to be objective in her rulings is at the core of the questioning, which is almost a ...

When Partner Abuse Isn't a Bruise But a Pregnant Belly
Reproductive Health | RHRealityCheck.org - Sexuality Education
June 29th, 2009
Janey (not her real name) was 19 when she fell "head over heels" for a guy six years her senior.Hemoved in just weeks after their first date, which was before shelearned about the cheating. When she confronted him, repeatedly, heraped her, repeatedly. When she told him to move out, he threatened herwith more violence. Meanwhile, condoms: not happening. Hormonal birthcontrol like the Pill, she says, made her sick.  "The first timeI got pregnant against my will, I had the baby," she says. Along withseveral STDs. (He'd been her only partner.) After a stint in jail forviolating an ex's order of protection, he was back, promising never tohurt her, gushing about family happiness.The -- yes -- secondpregnancy occurred when she'd run out of money ...

When Partner Abuse Isn't a Bruise But a Pregnant Belly
Reproductive Health | RHRealityCheck.org - Information, News, Analysis, and Commentary
June 29th, 2009
Janey (not her real name) was 19 when she fell "head over heels" for a guy six years her senior.Hemoved in just weeks after their first date, which was before shelearned about the cheating. When she confronted him, repeatedly, heraped her, repeatedly. When she told him to move out, he threatened herwith more violence. Meanwhile, condoms: not happening. Hormonal birthcontrol like the Pill, she says, made her sick.  "The first timeI got pregnant against my will, I had the baby," she says. Along withseveral STDs. (He'd been her only partner.) After a stint in jail forviolating an ex's order of protection, he was back, promising never tohurt her, gushing about family happiness.The -- yes -- secondpregnancy occurred when she'd run out of money ...

Supreme Court Reverses Ricci Decision; Finds White Firefighters Unfairly Denied Promotion
Reproductive Health | RHRealityCheck.org - Information, News, Analysis, and Commentary
June 29th, 2009
In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court has reversed the Second Circuit ruling in Ricci vs. DeStefano, the case in which white firefighters have argued that they had been discriminated against when a promotional exam on which no African-American firefighters scored highly enough to be promoted was discarded.  Reports the New York Times,  "Fear of litigation alone cannot justify an employer's reliance on race to the detriment of individuals who passed the examinations and qualified for promotions," Justice Anthony Kennedy said in his opinion for the court. He was joined by Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Samuel Alito, Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas. In dissent, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said the white firefighters ...

A friend of mine knows: Sotomayor "hard to BS"
culturekitchen - fresh dissent served daily
June 29th, 2009
A friend of mine is running for city council in my district in NYC. I have known Jo Anne Simon for several years and she is currently one of the district leaders for my area. I have also endorsed her for City Council. Locally Jo Anne Simon is best known for being one of only a handful of district leaders to stand up to local corruption. Nationally, she is known for he role as an advocate for disabled rights. I recently learned that in this capacity she has first hand knowledge of what it is like to argue before Judge Sotomayor, and I think her comments are worth knowing as Sotomayor is scrutinized for her Supreme Court nomination.This is from Jo Anne Simon's campaign website:In a letter to New York Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten ...

I'll be there (a capella)
culturekitchen - fresh dissent served daily
June 29th, 2009
There were three Michael Jacksons in my lifetime. The little black boy that sang like an angel. That same little black boy changed by a nose and Jheri Curls. And then there was the plastic surgey superfreak, masked by his dreams of whiteness and tainted by the stench of pedophilia. I reckoned going through the threads of places like Oh No They Didnt and Metafilter that there's a whole generation of people who never saw Michael Jackson as a black boy and young man. That boggles the mind. And yet, all commenters, even detractors, cannot but give the man his due. When it came to talent, music and entertainment chops, there has been nobody like him.  more this way»

Friday Feel-Good Story: Teen Lesbians Voted Best Couple in Yearbook
Feministing
June 29th, 2009
SistersTalk made a great point: While the adults in Albany, NY still can't get it together to vote on the gay marriage bill in the NY Senate, the students of Mott Haven Village Preparatory (Public) High School in the Bronx have already cast their vote - and made history. Victoria Cruz and Deoine Scott were voted (by a landslide!) "Best Couple" by their high school peers, the first time a gay couple was voted Best Couple in the school, and possibly in the Bronx. Check out their story, it's really sweet. H/t to Bialogue.

Ask Professor Foxy: Should I Lose My Virginity?
Feministing
June 29th, 2009
Apologies for the delay, there were some technical difficulties - PFThis weekly column "Ask Professor Foxy" will regularly contain sexually explicit material. This material is likely not safe for work viewing. The title of the column will include the major topic of the post, so please read the topic when deciding whether or not to read the entire column.Dear Professor Foxy,I am 22 and half years old and I am still a virgin, and frankly, I worry a lot that this is strange and unusual.From age 17 to 20, I dated two different guys seriously. Coming from a pretty religious Roman Catholic background, at first I didn't want to have sex for all the wrong reasons -- because nice girls don't do that outside of marriage, etc etc. As I got a little ...

MTV's 16 and Pregnant--The First Episode
Reproductive Health | RHRealityCheck.org - Sexuality Education
June 14th, 2009
Last night MTV premiered its new show, "16 and Pregnant." Watch the first episode here. While the show shines a fairly honest light on how hard it can be for teens trying to live an adult family life, my impression is that it tends to have the 'Bristol Palin" effect: "don't get pregnant--but if you do, you'll get lots of media attention... Maybe even your own MTV show, (scored with hip indie music, with your own voice-over narration and tilted to put you in a sympathetic light.)" Although it's crucially important not to stigmatize pregnant and parenting teens and offer them full support, I'm not sure whether this show doesn't inappropriately glorify their difficult existence. It also hews to gender roles--the dutiful, self-sacrificing mom ...

Roundup: Operation Rescue President Wants to Purchase Tiller's Clinic
Reproductive Health | RHRealityCheck.org - Information, News, Analysis, and Commentary
June 14th, 2009
Operation Rescue President Wants to Purchase Tiller's ClinicTroy Newman, president of Operation Rescue, a group that has fought for years to close Dr. Tiller's abortion clinic, told the New York TimesWednesday the group is considering purchasing the building and turningit into a memorial, "a tribute to all the babies," Newman said.According to the NYT, Operation Rescue's national headquarters in Wichita is another former abortion clinic Newman owns.He told NYT: "That is hallowed ground," Mr. Newman...said of Dr. Tiller's clinic. "It's iconic of the abortion movement, of abortion itself. It holds memories, sorrowful memories for countless women and for the babies that have died there. You can't turn it into a coffee shop. You wouldn't pave ...

Is Pulling Out Losing Its Bad Rep?
Reproductive Health | RHRealityCheck.org - Information, News, Analysis, and Commentary
June 14th, 2009
Any time a friend has described their method of birth control as ?pulling out,? I instinctively give them a judgmental look. We won Griswold v. Connecticut. We can buy condoms at any corner store. Sure, Plan B is available over the counter, but why risk it?While this seems to be the standard reaction, it could have more basis in cultural stigma than in fact. Recent studies have shown that in this age of infinite options, withdrawal might be just as good as diaphragms and condoms. According to an article on The Globe and Mail, researchers and academics have been embracing the withdrawal method as a viable option of birth control. ??Withdrawal has a bad rep, but if you look at the research, it substantially reduces the risk of pregnancy,? ...

Coercively Sterilized Romani Woman Will Receive Compensation
Reproductive Health | RHRealityCheck.org - Information, News, Analysis, and Commentary
June 14th, 2009
Afterthree years, the Hungarian government has finally decided to provide financialcompensation to a Romani woman who was coercively sterilized in 2001. The casewas referred to the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination AgainstWomen, and in August 2006 it found the Hungarian government to be in violationof the UN Convention that guarantees an end to discrimination against women.  In March 2008, the Hungariangovernment declared the opposite. It would not provide any compensation to Ms.A.S., a woman who was sterilized by Hungarian doctors without her consent. Now,on February 24, 2009, after eight years of national and international legalproceedings, there is hope that the victim, as recommended by CEDAW Committee,"will be provided an ...

Vanessa Richmond asks, "Is Angelina Jolie the Next Feminist Icon?" My Answer: "No ... but"
culturekitchen - fresh dissent served daily
June 14th, 2009
The lovely @CruelSecretary twittered Is Angelina Jolie the Next Feminist Icon? :: Media and Technology :: AlterNet to me this morning. Let's say that I stopped taking seriously not just Naomi Wolff but Virginia Richmond as well after I read this part: A quarter of American households are headed by single parents, often portrayed as sad, poverty-stricken and pathetic, and Jolie turned that it into a "fairly radical, vision... that made the relationship seem tender, glamorous, and complete, father figure or no father figure in the picture." She re-framed single motherhood "from a state of lack or insufficiency to a glamorous, unfettered lifestyle choice."Why I was a bit ticked-off about this? Well, before there was Angelina Jolie the ...

Live Blogging: NCRW Young Women's Caucus
Feministing
June 14th, 2009
I'm going to let my friend Laura Leischner, the Prevention Specialist at The Collins Center, blog this one out...It's a pretty informal setting with people finishing their lunch, but the caucus is going to be moderated by Kyla Bender-Baird and Lisa Rast, both of NCRW. Everyone went around and introduced themselves. There are a wide range of women in the room, from freelancers, college students to attorneys.Lisa talks about how one of her favorite quotes is by Madeleine Albright, "There's a special place in hell for women that don't support other women." She poses the question, "How can we support other women while looking out for ourselves?" A tough one indeed.A NCRW intern Shirley raises the point that she appreciates the quote, but ...

What we Missed.
Feministing
June 14th, 2009
Today was Iran's election, TPM has some pictures. A soldier's courageous story of why he will not deploy to Afghanistan. Great piece from Sokari on organizing around sexuality and gender in some of the African nations. Firedoglake has an update on the debacle in Albany. Adam Serwer at Tapped on D.C.'s anti-gay marriage "crusaders." A new Target Women from Sarah Haskins, "Lady Friends."A jail in Virginia broke up a lesbian cell block that had been created to separate butch women. Um, wow.

Sotomayor, Race and Gender: An Abortion Debate by Proxy
Reproductive Health | RHRealityCheck.org - Information, News, Analysis, and Commentary
June 14th, 2009
When Supreme Court Justice David Souter announced that he intendedto step down from the bench at the end of this year's Supreme Court term, therewas a brief pause, a collective gathering in of air, followed by a frenzy ofspeculation that did not end until President Obama announced his selection ofJudge Sonia Sotomayor as nominee.  Duringthe days of guesswork and anticipation that preceded Obama's nomination ofSotomayor, political odds-makers seemed to favor the selection of a woman, withmost pundits leaning toward a woman of color, to replace Justice Souter.  Everyone was on pins and needles, and whocould blame us?  During the 2008elections, the that the next President would most likely have the opportunityto nominate more than one Supreme ...

Roundup: Operation Rescue wants to purchase Tiller's Clinic, and It's Not a Publicity Stunt
Reproductive Health | RHRealityCheck.org - Information, News, Analysis, and Commentary
June 14th, 2009
Operation Rescue wants to purchase Tiller's Clinic, and It's Not a Publicity StuntOn Tuesday, Operation Rescue announced that it wanted to purchaseDr. George Tiller's clinic and turn it into a "memorial to the unborn."According to Mother Jones, the media called the claim a publicity stunt, but it turns out Operation Rescue is serious.In the past, the group has acted on similar claims. Its current national headquarters is in Wichita at a former abortion clinic.Mother Jones' Josh Harkinsonreported in 2007 after meeting with Troy Newman, Operation Rescue'sdirector, that he purchased its headquarters through a front group,which makes his newest threat more credible.Newman told him: "What better way to show that we are winning and demoralize ...

Esteemed Doctor and Friend of George Tiller to Provide Late Term Abortion Care in Kansas
Feministing
June 14th, 2009
While the closing of Dr. Tiller's clinic and the infuriating possibility that anti-choice extremist group Operation Rescue may try to buy the space has made us realize things actually could get worse, Dr. LeRoy Carhart brings us some hope. Via Feministe, we find that Carhart has stepped in to take Dr. Tiller's place in providing late term abortions in Kansas, although potential plans to open an actual clinic are unknown: A Nebraska doctor said Wednesday that he will perform third-term abortions in Kansas after the slaying of abortion provider George Tiller, but would not say whether he will open a new facility or offer the procedure at an existing practice.Dr. LeRoy Carhart declined to discuss his plans in detail during a telephone ...

Abortion cartoons: Where is the woman's voice?
Feministing
June 14th, 2009
Sociological Images has a post up pointing out something I have actually never noticed: how women are almost always depicted as voiceless or faceless in editorial cartoons about abortion. This isn't solely the province of anti-choice cartoons, either. Some examples:What these (and most) editorial cartoons are doing is channeling and distilling the political debate. It's telling how, even in the pro-choice cartoon in the center above, the woman is just a stand in for "women's rights" -- a broad issue, not an individual woman making a choice. This is reflective of how we talk about "contentious" abortion issue -- and it's pretty striking to see all these cartoons lined up. (More here.)And if you aren't already reading Sociological Images on ...

Ask Professor Foxy: Am I Nonmonogamous? What Does That Mean for My Relationship?
Feministing
June 14th, 2009
This weekly Saturday column "Ask Professor Foxy" will regularly contain sexually explicit material. This material is likely not safe for work viewing. The title of the column will include the major topic of the post, so please read the topic when deciding whether or not to read the entire column.Hi Professor Foxy,I have been having some major issues with monogamy lately. I have been dating my boyfriend (I am a woman) for 3 and half years, and for most of that time we've been very happy with an amazing sex life! I've always had trouble when it comes to monogamy, though, and I've had to work very hard to resist the temptation to cheat. For the past few months, however, these feelings have gotten much stronger. I've started to feel very ...

Behind Bars for Being Pregnant and HIV-Positive
Reproductive Health | RHRealityCheck.org - Information, News, Analysis, and Commentary
June 10th, 2009
In May, 2009, U.S. District Judge John Woodcock sentenced Quinta Layin Tuleh,who was about five months pregnant, for the crime of having fakeimmigration documents. While both the federal prosecutor and defenseattorney urged the judge to sentence Tuleh to 114 days, which wouldallow her to leave prison with time served, Judge Woodcock doubled therecommended sentence and exceeded federal sentencing guidelinerecommendations for the sole purpose of keeping Tuleh in prison untilshe gave birth. Judge Woodcock's sole justification for the extendedsentence is that Tuleh is HIV-positive. The judge felt that - despite thefact that Tuleh had arranged for care outside the prison - keeping her inprison would best ensure that she would take ...

Tiller's Clinic Will Be Shut Down.
Feministing
June 10th, 2009
Dr. Tiller's clinic in Wichita, Kansas has been shut down according to his family. "The family of Dr. George Tiller announces that effective immediately, Women's Health Care Services, Inc., will be permanently closed," according to a statement issued on Tuesday morning by the family's lawyers. "Notice is being given today to all concerned that the Tiller family is ceasing operation of the clinic and any involvement by family members in any other similar clinic."This is awful. And can someone explain to me why the NYTimes is so concerned about where all these murdering pro-life "activists" will go? I didn't realize that by balanced coverage we were going to highlight terrorist organizations as having a legitimate mission and goals. Thanks ...

Ask Professor Foxy: Am I Asexual? What Does That Mean?
Feministing
June 8th, 2009
This weekly Saturday column "Ask Professor Foxy" will regularly contain sexually explicit material. This material is likely not safe for work viewing. The title of the column will include the major topic of the post, so please read the topic when deciding whether or not to read the entire column.Hey Professor Foxy,How do you know if you're asexual? Is it something that you just know from the time you're in kindergarten, or is it something you realize later? I had lots of crushes on boys until I was maybe 10 or 11 and nothing really after that (I'm almost 20 now, and a girl). In high school I had only three boyfriends, none of whom I was really attracted to. We kissed (like a peck) a few times but I was really not into it.I find the idea of ...

The New Pro-Lifer
Reproductive Health | RHRealityCheck.org - Information, News, Analysis, and Commentary
June 8th, 2009
In our pain, anger and profound sadness over the murder of Dr. Tiller, pro-choice people risk losing an opportunity to see a better day as a country and a movement. In the wake of our loss, it is tempting to continue to categorize in one fixed way all who oppose abortion. To do so would be easy but also foolish. We must admit and accept that not all who are opposed to abortion are the same.  Especially since a new movement of pro-lifers has extended a hand in search of a better way.Yesterday offered a unique opportunity to make this distinction. Alexia Kelley, co-founder of Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good, was appointed Director of Faith-based and Community Partnerships at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Each ...

Breaking News: Supreme Court rejects challenge to Don't Ask, Don't Tell
Feministing
June 8th, 2009
The Supreme Court has decided not to hear a case challenging Don't Ask, Don't Tell, which according to TPM was in response to the Obama Administration's request. From Talking Points Memo: The Supreme Court has turned down a challenge to the Pentagon policy forbidding gays and lesbians from serving openly in the military, granting a request by the Obama administration.The court said Monday that it will not hear an appeal from former Army Capt. James Pietrangelo II, who was dismissed under the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy.The federal appeals court in Boston earlier threw out a lawsuit filed by Pietrangelo and 11 other veterans. He was the only member of that group who asked the high court to rule that the Clinton-era policy is ...

Not Yet Rain: A new documentary about abortion access in Ethiopia
Feministing
June 8th, 2009
Ipas has partnered with filmmaker Lisa Russell to produce Not Yet Rain, a documentary about women's access to abortion in Ethiopia. Events like the murder of Dr. Tiller last week highlight the real challenges we face here when it comes to access to abortion, but it's also important to remember what challenges are faced by women abroad. Ethiopia has one of the most liberal abortion laws in all of the African continent but access is still a challenge there. You can watch the documentary at www.notyetrain.org.

Remembering why I'm a pro-choice doula.
Feministing
June 8th, 2009
I recently got an email from a reader about her reflections on activism after Dr. Tiller's death. Here is her email:Hi, Miriam, Among my many reactions to Dr. George Tiller's murder is a desire to put my money where my mouth is (so to speak) with regards to my support for choice in reproductive health. I'm contacting my local Planned Parenthood about volunteering in whatever ways they need. But for me "pro-choice" is about more than access to abortion. My local birthing center just shut down (to the disappointment of one of my best friends, who's seven months pregnant). I'm really interested in becoming a doula and/or midwife, but I have very little medical training. Would you consider doing a post about why and how you became a doula, and ...

On the Question of Choice, Where Does the President Stand?
Reproductive Health | RHRealityCheck.org - Information, News, Analysis, and Commentary
June 1st, 2009
In the wake of the Notre Dame controversy and a flurry of polls attempting to assess public opinion on abortion, we've been treated to the most media coverage on the issue we've seen in a while. But amid the maelstrom, another story was quietly reported in California: more women are seeking abortions and long-term contraception.  And that leads us to the obvious conclusion that no matter what the political climate, abortion isn't going away.  No matter how we seek to explain and understand the issue--as a matter of privacy, morality, autonomy, or all of those--women will continue to terminate unwanted pregnancies.  This is a stark reality in the United States, but also throughout the globe.And the silence surrounding that fact while the ...

"Pregnancy scare" takes on a whole new meaning
Feministing
June 1st, 2009
This is just...wow. We're a wee late to this; the ad was created by a program which is headed by the Leicester City Council in the UK, and was released by the National Health Service of Leicester. And despite YouTube banning it (not sure why it's up again), NHS Leicester defended the ad, saying that it was merely designed to "shock" and "provoke" younger people. "We know this film is hard-hitting, but so are the numbers of under-18s getting pregnant in Leicester. The city's Teenage Pregnancy and Parenthood Partnership has been successful in cutting the numbers of young girls getting pregnant," said Tim Rideout, chief executive of NHS Leicester City. Shock? Yes. Provoke? If they mean "provoke" young people to run away screaming from The ...

Amazon sells another video game where you "play" sexual abuser
Feministing
June 1st, 2009
*Possible trigger warning*While we haven't been the biggest fans of Amazon as of late and their history of selling a rape simulation game (which they did end up banning), it looks like another game involving violence against women seems to have"slipped" past their radar. "Stockholm: An Exploration of True Love" is a game that allows the user to experience, "...a terrifyingly vivid exploration of Stockholm Syndrome, a psychological condition in which a captive falls in love with her kidnapper. And you play the part of the kidnapper. With a limited number of options, you must figure out how to make her fall in love with you."This includes using poison gas on the victim, sexually assaulting her and using psychological abuse against her in ...

Breaking: Abortion provider George Tiller murdered
Feministing
June 1st, 2009
Dr. George Tiller, an outspoken advocate for abortion rights and one of the few late-term abortion providers in the country, was shot dead in church this morning.Cara writes at Feministe,This is the first time an abortion provider has been murdered in over a decade. I have friends who work in abortion clinics. This is terrorism. And right now, I just don't have the words.The loss of Dr. Tiller is deeply upsetting, and Cara rightly identifies this as a terrorist act. It is the culmination of an ongoing campaign of intimidation and harassment against someone who was providing completely legal health-care services. I've been paying attention to the more militant strains of the anti-choice movement, so this news shouldn't have shocked me as ...

German Pop Star Publicly Arrested for HIV Tranmission
Reproductive Health | RHRealityCheck.org - Information, News, Analysis, and Commentary
May 27th, 2009
I was diagnosed HIVpositive in 1991. I am a member andstaff member of the International Community of Women Living with HIV (ICW), which is the onlyinternational network run for and by HIV positive women. ICW promotes the voices of and advocates forchanges in policies that improve the lives of all HIV positive women.  We believe that all laws that uphold thecriminalization of HIV transmission should be abolished.  Criminalization is counterproductive to goalsrelated to rights-based approaches to public health, reinforces stigma towardpersons who are often already marginalized and fosters feelings of chaos and fear around HIV and sex. On April 11th, Nadja Benaissa, a member ofthe highly successful German pop band No Angels, wasarrested in ...

Newt Gingrich jumps the shark and twitters that Sonia Sotomayor is a racist against white men
culturekitchen - fresh dissent served daily
May 27th, 2009
Here's what Gingrich has written obviously, as he came off his psycho-racist medications: White man racist nominee would be forced to withdraw. Latina woman racist should also withdraw.about 1 hour ago from TwitterBerryTheres also this chesnut: Imagine a judicial nominee said "my experience as a white man makes me better than a latina woman" new racism is no better than old racismHasn't this idiot heard of Friedrich Nietzsche, Jacques Derrida or Michel Foucault? They are dead white Euopean men after all.

Intended Consequences
Feministing
May 27th, 2009
Check out Jonathan Torgovnik's amazing collection of photographs of the children of rape victims in the Congo. I became aware of his work because of a devastating photo essay in this month's Mother Jones Magazine, which you should all check out if you get a chance (it's not available online).

Unions are a Feminist Issue
Feministing
May 27th, 2009
Not only do female unionized workers earn more, but this great op-ed in the Anchorage Daily News by a single working mother gives us personal account of why unions can be a pretty damn big feminist issue: I became a single mother of an 8 year-old son while I was serving in the United States Army. This was a very frightening experience for me. My son's dad was not around to help raise him. After I left the Army, I found a job working for a company where women had no opportunity to advance. I was fortunate to then land a union job. I started work with a 90-day probation period, and on my 89th day I had an accident for which I was fired.Even though I didn't have grievance rights, my union fought for me. The accident wasn't my fault, but my ...

Friday Feminist Fuck You: Pregnancy Discrimination
Feministing
May 27th, 2009
Related posts:Supreme Court: Pregnancy discrimination A-OK!Pregnancy Discrimination Galore at Bloomberg LPQuick Hit: Employers get real (discriminatory)Pregnancy discrimination complaints at record levelsPregnancy discrimination on the riseDouble whammyApproximate transcript after the jump. This week we're saying fuck you to pregnancy discrimination. It's a topic in the news this week because the Supreme Court recently ruled that it was ok for AT&T to give several retired women lower pensions because they took time off from work for maternity leave. Basically, when women took leave from their AT&T jobs to have a baby, those days did not count toward their pensions -- even though other types of leave, such as temporary disability, ...

Citizen "Entrapment": Lila Rose and 21st Century Stealth Pro-Life Activism
Reproductive Health | RHRealityCheck.org - Information, News, Analysis, and Commentary
May 27th, 2009
Twenty-year-oldLila Rose suffers from a condition that afflicts many new activists, a condition known as myopia. Those who suffer from myopia experience aninability to see nuance in the world and seek comfort in absolutes.  While thought to be more pronounced among theyoung, myopia can infect people of all ages with varying results, and theresults of Rose's particular strain of this cerebral infection have only justbegun to make themselves known.One of Lila Rose's undercover visits to Planned Parenthood, this one in Memphis, Tennesee.It'snot clear how Rose became involved in the pro-life movement - it is a questionshe studiously avoids answering. Perhaps it is no surprise that a girl who grewup with seven siblings in an Evangelical family ...

California Supreme Court Upholds Proposition 8
Reproductive Health | RHRealityCheck.org - Information, News, Analysis, and Commentary
May 27th, 2009
The California Supreme Court today ruled Proposition 8, the ballotinitiative outlawing same-sex marriage, constitutional, while declaringvalid the thousands of same-sex marriages that took place whilesame-sex marriage was legal in the state.The Los Angeles Times explains the decision: In an opinion written by Chief Justice Ronald M. George, the state high court ruled today that the November initiative was not an illegal constitutional revision, as gay rights lawyers contended, nor unconstitutional because it took away an inalienable right, as Atty. Gen. Jerry Brown argued. The battle is far from over, the LA Times goes on to say: The decision virtually ensures another fight at the ballot box over marriage rights for gays. Gay rights ...

Fair and Balanced: Weighing Sotomayor's Opinions
Reproductive Health | RHRealityCheck.org - Information, News, Analysis, and Commentary
May 27th, 2009
President Obama's nomination of Sonia Sotomayor for theSupreme Court should shock no one.  Whatis surprising is the relative lack of information about Sotomayor and one ofthe most perennially controversial Constitutional issues: abortion rights. In her time on the bench, Sotomayor's only majorabortion-related case was Center for Reproductive Law and Policy v. Bush - and her conclusion isn'tgoing to warm the hearts of reproductive rights activists. In that case, theCenter for Reproductive Law and Policy (now the Center for Reproductive Rights)challenged the Global Gag Rule, a policy which barred U.S. money from fundingany organization abroad that so much as mentioned abortion as an option oradvocated for abortion rights.  TheCenter for ...

Supreme Court Decision Pretends Pregnancy Discrimination Doesn't Harm Women
Reproductive Health | RHRealityCheck.org - Information, News, Analysis, and Commentary
May 27th, 2009
Few things underscore the Supreme Court's lack of diversitymore than the recent ruling in a pregnancy discrimination case, AT&T Corp. v. Hulteen. The caseexamined the pension payments for a number of former female employees of AT&Twho had taken maternity leave before passage of the Pregnancy DiscriminationAct, which clarified that under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act pregnancydiscrimination counted as sex discrimination. Now, AT&T is defining unpaidmaternity of these employees as personal leave from the company.  And the court has now ruled that such personalleave doesn't and shouldn't count toward these women's pensions.  Justice David Souter, who recently announcedhis retirement from the court and has generally been thought of as ...

Remember that first awkward conversation with mom and/or dad?
Reproductive Health | RHRealityCheck.org - Sexuality Education
May 27th, 2009
I consider myself lucky. When I was three my mom had just become pregnant with my little sister, and I, like any toddler, was fascinated with how a little sister was growing in what looked like my mommy's tummy. So I asked ? and she answered, whipping out her vintage copy of "Our Bodies Ourselves" and all. Over the years, we kept having versions of this conversation, whether it was me asking what a term I'd heard on TV meant (the "blow job" conversation was epic) or asking about different forms of birth control. That doesn't mean I always felt comfortable telling my mom everything, but it did mean that I knew the facts, and knew where to go if I needed answers from somewhere other than mom.Other friends however were not so lucky. I ...

Supreme Court of Nepal Calls on Government to Make Legal Abortion a Reality
Reproductive Health | RHRealityCheck.org - Information, News, Analysis, and Commentary
May 27th, 2009
The thought of a woman dying or being forced to carry an unwanted pregnancy because a Government denies her legal access to a safe abortion is deplorable. Yet, it is equally unacceptable for a Government to hide behind what appears to be an acceptable law that in reality does little to guarantee a women's right to choose or to put her health and life first.On May 20, Nepal's Supreme Court ordered the Nepalese government to enact a comprehensive abortion law to guarantee that women have access to safe and affordable abortion services.  Abortion has been legal in Nepal since 1992 when the government introduced an amendment to the National Code to allow a woman to have an abortion within the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, up to 18 weeks if the ...

VIDEO : "Justice" - Supreme Court Nominee Sonia Sotomayor
culturekitchen - fresh dissent served daily
May 27th, 2009
Via email from ConstitutionalValues.Org: read more

Breaking News: California Supreme Court upholds Prop 8 decision
Feministing
May 27th, 2009
Via Bilerico.This is a really huge blow to the fight in California for same sex marriage. One positive note, according to Bilerico, the marriages that already took place will be upheld.Bilerico has a great round-up of responses here, but here's one snippet response from the LA Gay and Lesbian Center. Today, our Supreme Court sent a mixed and troubling message. While upholding the legal marriages of the 18,000 same-sex couples who married in California, the ruling establishes that all Californians are NOT entitled to equal protection of the law. This is a sad day for our state and a setback for the cause of freedom and fairness.But it's also important to keep this in perspective. Every noble struggle known to man or woman has been filled ...

Ask Professor Foxy: Transitioning and Changing Sexuality
Feministing
May 26th, 2009
This weekly Saturday column "Ask Professor Foxy" will regularly contain sexually explicit material. This material is likely not safe for work viewing. The title of the column will include the major topic of the post, so please read the topic when deciding whether or not to read the entire column.Hia Professor Foxy. I've been enjoying your column, but must admit I feel sort of embarrassed writing in myself...Anyway, I'm a trans woman in the process of transitioning, and having a lot of frustration in figuring out how to deal with my ever-changing sexuality. That is, over the past year or so, hormones have physically changed my body quite a bit, and that's my sexuality in ways you might expect (having boobs is fun!) and also in ways you ...

Obama to Announce Sotomayor as Supreme Court Nominee Today
Reproductive Health | RHRealityCheck.org - Information, News, Analysis, and Commentary
May 26th, 2009
It is being widely reported by many news outlets that President Obama will, at about 10:15 am ET this morning, announce that appeals court judge Sonia Sotomayor is his nominee for the Supreme Court. Sotomayor, 54, would be the first Hispanic and third woman inhistory to serve on the nation's highest court. There is currently onlyone woman on the high court, Ruth Bader Ginsburg.Sotomayor isbased in New York City. President Clinton appointed her to the 2nd U.S.Circuit Court of Appeals back in 1998. She is a graduate of PrincetonUniversity and Yale Law School.The AP has a good writeup on Sotomayor's professional history. And a short profile.  

Insurance Inequity Harms All of Us
Reproductive Health | RHRealityCheck.org - Information, News, Analysis, and Commentary
May 26th, 2009
Obtaining health insurance coverage in California is hard enough without gender-based discrimination.  If you are a woman without employer provided health insurance, or do not qualify for a public program, your only option is the individual insurance market, a market where insurers are free to charge women more than men for comparable coverage.  This practice was banned nationally in the employer-provided benefits setting more than 30 years ago.   A report released in September 2008 by the National Women's Law Center (NWLC) found that women in California under 55 years old paid up to 39% more than men for the same health coverage.  In California, two bills in the Assembly and Senate this year, Assembly Bill 119 (Jones) and Senate Bill 54 ...

Intended Consequences
Feministing
May 26th, 2009
Check out Jonathan Torgovnik's amazing collection of photographs of the children of rape victims in the Congo. I became aware of his work because of a devastating photo essay in this month's Mother Jones Magazine, which you should all check out if you get a chance (it's not available online).

Unions are a Feminist Issue
Feministing
May 26th, 2009
Not only do female unionized workers earn more, but this great op-ed in the Anchorage Daily News by a single working mother gives us personal account of why unions can be a pretty damn big feminist issue: I became a single mother of an 8 year-old son while I was serving in the United States Army. This was a very frightening experience for me. My son's dad was not around to help raise him. After I left the Army, I found a job working for a company where women had no opportunity to advance. I was fortunate to then land a union job. I started work with a 90-day probation period, and on my 89th day I had an accident for which I was fired.Even though I didn't have grievance rights, my union fought for me. The accident wasn't my fault, but my ...

Friday Feminist Fuck You: Pregnancy Discrimination
Feministing
May 26th, 2009
Related posts:Supreme Court: Pregnancy discrimination A-OK!Pregnancy Discrimination Galore at Bloomberg LPQuick Hit: Employers get real (discriminatory)Pregnancy discrimination complaints at record levelsPregnancy discrimination on the riseDouble whammyApproximate transcript after the jump. This week we're saying fuck you to pregnancy discrimination. It's a topic in the news this week because the Supreme Court recently ruled that it was ok for AT&T to give several retired women lower pensions because they took time off from work for maternity leave. Basically, when women took leave from their AT&T jobs to have a baby, those days did not count toward their pensions -- even though other types of leave, such as temporary disability, ...

Abstinence-Only Funding Not Dead if Congress Plays "Hide-the-Salami" Again
Reproductive Health | RHRealityCheck.org - Information, News, Analysis, and Commentary
May 12th, 2009
Reproductive health advocates cheered the news Friday that President Barack Obama proposed cutting cut two abstinence-only sex education programs totalling over $100 million from the federal budget in lieu of more effective, comprehensive teen pregnancy prevention programs. But the real test of wills comes in the Congressional conferencecommittee on the federal budget where one Democratic member has apenchant for playing ?hide the salami? with funding for thecontroversial chaste-until-marriage program. As we?ve reported previously, the labyrinthine budgeting process Congress has been giving it away big time ? to the tune of now more than $1.3 billion for abstinence-only programs in the past 10 years.We?ve long-documented the fancy ...

Philippines Government Pursues Feeble Family Planning Strategy
Reproductive Health | RHRealityCheck.org - Information, News, Analysis, and Commentary
May 12th, 2009
Women?s health in the Philippines is in crisis. A report from the Guttmacher Institute finds that 54 percent of all pregnancies in the Philippines are unintended. Helping women delay or avoid pregnancy would reduce abortions and miscarriages?by 500,000 and 200,000, respectively?and would save the lives of 2,100 women. The Philippines government, which is not ignorant of this state of affairs, has declared this month Natural Family Planning Month. Its message to Filipinos is conservative and confusing. On the one hand, the government embraces the idea that family planning is an essential part of national health: Responsible Parenthood means that each family has the right and duty to determine the desired number of children they might have ...

2009 Women's Health Heroes.
Feministing
May 12th, 2009
Go check out Our Bodies Ourselves 2009 Women's Health Heroes. It is an amazing group of women's health advocates. From the blog,The 20 outstanding individuals and organizations inducted in May 2009 have made significant, long-lasting contributions to women's health. Their work covers a wide range of health fields and disciplines.Included are midwives and women advocating for safer, more comfortable births; founders of websites on chronic illness and teen sexuality; an activist against female genital mutilation; director of a LGBT health center; a public health nurse; a photographer; and many more.This inaugural group, chosen from close to 100 nominations, represents seven countries: United States (13), Canada (2), Australia, The ...

Sex Drives and Eating Disorders.
Feministing
May 12th, 2009
Check out this surprisingly informative piece from the sexpert over at Fox News (yeah, I did a double take as well), Yvonne Fulbright about the reported decrease in sex organ functioning and loss of sex drive due to anorexia and bulimia. She writes,*Possibly triggering*Having an eating disorder is also linked to deficient sexual functioning in women when they become sexually active. When a female severely reduces her intake of food to the point she's consuming hardly anything, naturally, her reproductive system shuts down.With low body fat, her body fails to produce sufficient amounts of sex hormones, namely estrogen. Thus, she'll quit menstruating, making pregnancy difficult for those hoping to reproduce. These endocrinal changes have a ...

Power of the Pum Pum?
Feministing
May 12th, 2009
*Trigger Warning*Not so much. Last week women's organizers in Kenya decided to go on a sex strike to ply their husbands into ending political divisions. via the Root.The Women's Development Organization spearheaded a weeklong strike in which they called on Kenyan women to withhold sex from their husbands and lovers until they put an end to the political divisions that threaten to destroy the Grand Coalition Government of President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga. The act of conjugal disobedience was straight from the pages of Aristophanes' Lysistrata. The women involved even paid prostitutes not to ply their trade during the seven-day holdout.As author Lisa Crooms concludes, if only it were that simple. Rape has consistently ...

Bristol Palin's Dangerous Talking Points
Reproductive Health | RHRealityCheck.org - Information, News, Analysis, and Commentary
May 7th, 2009
As you've probably heard Wednesday was National Day to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, and to kick off the day the Candie's Foundation sent its new teen ambassador, Bristol Palin, to make the rounds of the morning shows and the New York press scene.   The Candie's Foundation's mission is "to educate America's youth about the devastating consequences of teen pregnancy through celebrity PSA campaigns and initiatives." Americans couldn't get enough of Vice Presidential-nominee Sarah Palin and her brood during the presidential campaign, especially pregnant teenager Bristol and her then-fiancé, Levi Johnston.  So, the foundation's choice of a spokesperson was a brilliant move guaranteed to bring much-needed attention to the important issue of teen ...

Teen Pregnancy: Mixed Messages and the Responsibility Question
Reproductive Health | RHRealityCheck.org - Information, News, Analysis, and Commentary
May 7th, 2009
Yesterday, my colleague Emily Douglas attended the Candie's Foundation event on teen pregnancy featuring Bristol Palin, a handful of "celeb-vocates" and some experts, including Sarah Brown, CEO of the Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy. Her excellent post on that even can be found here.Today, Gail Collins writing in the New York Times, takes on the mulitple levels of hypocrisy evident during the event, including that of a corporate actor trying to clean up its own image by "doing good" when it appears unprepared for what it is actually doing or the ambiguity of the signals it is sending.  She writes:  A couple of years ago, under fire from critics who accused him of dressing high schoolers like tarts, he [Neil Cole] ...

Shaming Miss California: Stop fighting homophobia with misogyny
Feministing
May 7th, 2009
I do not like Miss California Carrie Prejean. I think she's a bigot, and I don't particularly dig the way she's making the understandable negative reaction to her comments about same sex marriage about people "persecuting" her. But no matter how I, or anyone else, feels about Prejean - this shit is simply wrong. It wasn't enough that folks were mocking the woman for getting breast implants, now they have to slut shame her into oblivion for some "nude" pictures. (And seriously, the pics are hardly scandalous considering the bathing suit competition and all.) From the Associated Press:The directors of the Miss California USA pageant are looking into whether title holder Carrie Prejean violated her contract by working with a national ...

Support Women Veterans
Feministing
May 7th, 2009
This is an issue that's become increasingly dear to my heart, as I've gotten to know a couple of amazing women veterans and read more about their experiences. There is no question that women vets have special needs at this time, especially as the epidemic of sexual assault and the psychological trauma that follows, is being acknowledged publicly for the first time. A few stats in case you haven't been following the issue: The current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are employing the greatest number of American servicewomen in US military history. Women are rapidly adding to the already existing population of 1.8 million women veterans, most of whom have yet to be adequately recognized for their sacrifices. The sexual assault rates among ...

Female Genital Mutilation Versus Female Circumcision
Feministing
May 7th, 2009
The amazing Michelle Goldberg has a great piece in the latest print issue of The American Prospect, but you can also read it online. Essentially, she's exploring the question, as the title suggests, of "Rights Versus Rites," when it comes to the much abhorred practice of "female genital mutilation" (by many Westerner feminists) and the much honored practice of "female circumcision" (by many African women). Same practice, vastly different contexts and values--as evidenced by the language itself. Goldberg writes:At first glance, the two speakers seemed to symbolize the dichotomy between modernity and tradition, cosmopolitanism and cultural authenticity. Fuambai Ahmadu (pictured), the American-born daughter of a Sierra Leonean family, wore ...

RH Reality Check Interviews: Kathryn Joyce, Author of Quiverfull
Reproductive Health | RHRealityCheck.org - Information, News, Analysis, and Commentary
May 5th, 2009
The patriarchy movement is part of a widespread evangelical movementpromoting male headship and wifely submission. Quiverfull, asub-movement within the patriarchy movement, promotes the idea thatcouples should have as many children as possible to be soldiers of God. Journalist Kathryn Joyce recently published Quiverfull: Inside the Christian Patriarchy Movement.  She spoke to RH Reality Check's Laura Janoff about the book.RH Reality Check: How does the patriarchy movement define itself? How is it different from other conservative Evangelical movements?Kathryn Joyce: It is important to note that the term "patriarchy movement" is the self-described term of the movement; this is not terminology I'm putting on them. They are proudly reclaiming ...

Alaska Ballot Initiative Targets Minors
Reproductive Health | RHRealityCheck.org - Information, News, Analysis, and Commentary
May 5th, 2009
Palin would have liked to sponsor Alaska?s new ballot initiative requiring girls under 18 to notify a parent before having an abortion. When she found out that probably wouldn?t be appropriate, she met the challenge with her trademark ?Us vs. Them? spirit that allowed her to rise to brief, stunning popularity with a rhetoric of insults, sarcasm, and nastiness. "I got a preliminary opinion from Law (Department) just giving me a heads up that critics would certainly file an ethics charge against me if I were to sponsor an initiative. So though I maintain I have First Amendment rights just as any other citizen does, I won't flirt with the notion of giving critics more ammunition to keep filing wasteful ethics charges against me, but instead ...

Personal is Political: Buying my own health insurance
Feministing
May 5th, 2009
So when I recently decided to take a leap and quit my full-time job, I didn't initially realize how big of a deal buying my own health insurance would be. I realized that it would be expensive, and probably not great coverage. But what I didn't know was that I would have to worry about getting denied coverage completely and wait more than 6 weeks for my application to be approved. I was pretty much indignant when I decided I wanted to quit my job and try cobbling together a living in a non-conventional way. I had saved money for the three years I worked full-time, I had planned out some future sources of income to keep me going initially. The idea that I wouldn't be able to pursue what I wanted to do with my life because of health ...

Feminist author, Marilyn French, dies at 79
Feministing
May 5th, 2009
From the NYTimes:Marilyn French, a writer and feminist activist whose debut novel, "The Women's Room," propelled her into a leading role in the modern feminist movement, died on Saturday in Manhattan. She was 79 and lived in Manhattan.With steely views about the treatment of woman and a gift for expressing them on the printed page, Ms. French transformed herself from an academic who quietly bristled at the expectations of married women in the post-World War II era to a leading, if controversial, opinion maker on gender issues who decried the patriarchal society she saw around her. "My goal in life is to change the entire social and economic structure of Western civilization, to make it a feminist world," she once declared.That's a goal I ...

20-Year-Old Pregnant Woman Faces Death by Firing Squad in Laos
Feministing
May 5th, 2009
Samantha Orobator, a 20-year-old British woman faces death by firing squad for allegedly carrying 1.1 pounds of heroin into Laos. To make matters worse, she is pregnant. Doctors attest that she must have been impregnated after her capture; Orobator's mother fears that she was raped in prison. CNN has more.Amnesty International has some crucial background information on Laos and its ongoing human rights violations, mostly involving the persecution of indigenous people and censored media. On prison conditions:Lack of access by independent human rights monitors prevented an accurate assessment of the number of political prisoners and prison conditions, but reports continued of ill-treatment, lack of food, overcrowding and inadequate medical ...

Sexual Health 101: Hers
Scarleteen
April 29th, 2009
A big part of keeping yourself sexually healthy is maintaining your sexual and reproductive health in the first place, and paying attention to your sexual health daily so that you can get the jump on any problems that may crop up.read more

RJ100: Reproductive Justice and Obama's First 100 Days
Reproductive Health | RHRealityCheck.org - Information, News, Analysis, and Commentary
April 29th, 2009
Are yourreproductive rights more secure today than they were 100 days ago?  Howabout the human rights of women around the world?  Are we makingprogress toward universal access to basic sexual and reproductivehealth services, comprehensive sex education and HIV/AIDS preventionand treatment here and abroad? click SHARE to get embed codeOn the 100th day of the Obama Administration, RH Reality Checkevaluates whether the Administration makes the grade on these and manyother critical sexual and reproductive health issues. After 8 longyears of attacks on sexual and reproductive health and rights here andabroad, it is clear that the Obama Administration intends to - and indeedalready has begun - to take women's rights and sexual and ...

Sexual health sites for teens spread misinformation
Feministing
April 28th, 2009
A study from Lucile Packard Children's Hospital and the Stanford University School of Medicine shows that health websites that have sexual health information for teens are often "riddled with errors and omissions."Lead researcher Sophia Yen, MD, said, "Even widely trusted sites like WebMD are not that accurate when it comes to adolescent reproductive health...Teens should be cautious about finding sexual health answers on the Web." About half of the Web sites, including such highly trafficked destinations as Wikipedia and Mayoclinic.com, failed to provide accurate, complete information about emergency contraception, also known as "the morning-after pill." For instance, sites often failed to say that minors can buy emergency contraception ...

Roundup: Are Your Reproductive Rights Safer Than They Were 100 Days Ago?
Reproductive Health | RHRealityCheck.org - Information, News, Analysis, and Commentary
April 28th, 2009
Are Your Reproductive Rights Safer Than They Were 100 Days Ago?Obama's one-hundredth day in office is fast upon us, and media outlets near and far are weighing in on his achievements and tactics thus far. USA Today observes that Obama's administration has taken a "sharp turn" from Bush's direction: Obama expanded federal support for embryonic stem cell research and overseas family planning clinics that counsel women about abortion. Bush believed federal funds should not support abortion, and he was opposed to extracting stem cell lines from human embryos.On Beliefnet,Paul Rauschenbush gives Obama a B+ for his handling of "the culturewars:"  Barack Obama has taken the steam out of the culture wars somewhat by his efforts at reaching ...

Obama Nominates New Global AIDS Coordinator
Reproductive Health | RHRealityCheck.org - Information, News, Analysis, and Commentary
April 28th, 2009
President Obama today announced he would nominate Dr. Eric Goosby as the new Ambassador at Large and Global AIDS Coordinator.  The Office of the Global AIDS Coordinator (OGAC) resides within the Department of State and is responsible for overseeing all U.S. global AIDS policy and funding, including global AIDS work of the U.S. Agency for International Development and the Department of Health and Human Services, among others.  If confirmed, Goosby will replace former Global AIDS Coordinator Mark Dybul. Goosby, a medical doctor, has been CEO and Chief Medical Officer of Pangaea Global AIDS Foundation since 2001. He is also Professor of Clinical Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco.  He has played a key role in the ...

Anti-Plan B-ers Shoot Themselves in the Foot
Reproductive Health | RHRealityCheck.org - Information, News, Analysis, and Commentary
April 28th, 2009
The Baptist Press half-heartedly argues against the extension of Plan B?s over-the-counter status to 17-year-olds. After reminding us that Plan B causes abortions and making groundless arguments about ease and frequency of use of the drug, the article concludes, surprisingly, with the FDA?s original finding: that the drug is just as safe for 17-year-olds as it is for 18-year-olds.  The effect of these facts is to undermine the Baptist Press?s entire argument and to reveal the real divide in this debate: those who support the well-being of teenage girls, and those who pursue an anti-choice and anti-contraception agenda so inflexible that it hinders its own aims. Opponents of Plan B claim that the drug causes abortion. The drug does one of ...

Obama's 99th Day in Office
Feministing
April 28th, 2009
Tomorrow marks Obama's first 100 days in office. Obama has been all over the place, but a couple of things that make me happy I voted for him include the overturning of the Global Gag Rule, the passing of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Restoration Act, and his signature to shut down Guantanamo Bay. I am also happy with many of his appointments, most notable to me is Van Jones as the green czar, someone who comes from the same organizing community as myself. The one place I differ with this administration, even if far better than the last administration, is their stance on foreign policy from our role in the G20 to our stance on Afghanistan. That said, I will say in watching the news coverage of Obama in international settings, it is nice to ...

Today is Equal Pay Day!
Feministing
April 28th, 2009
(I am not writing a transcript for this, but basically every man that interacts with this woman in the work place calls her a different derogatory term)And why is it on a Tuesday? Because it is by Tuesday that women catch up to the wages earned by a man from the previous week. via National Committee on Pay Equity.Equal Pay Day was originated by the National Committee on Pay Equity (NCPE) in 1996 as a public awareness event to illustrate the gap between men's and women's wages. The day, observed on a Tuesday in April, symbolizes how far into the year a woman must work, on average, to earn as much as a man earned the previous year. (Tuesday is the day on which women's wages catch up to men's wages from the previous week.) Because women earn ...

Addressing Sexual Violence through Sexuality Education
Reproductive Health | RHRealityCheck.org - Sexuality Education
April 20th, 2009
This week the Internet has been buzzing with conversation about how toteach about sexual violence -- kicked off by an article in the New York Times about talking to boys about sexual assault.  The blog postings have ranged fromhumorous to derivative to insightful, while the comments have includedfar too much about man-hating women and about male chauvinistswhistling at women in the streets.  The only things there about which there seem to bebroad agreement are that both rape and date rape are bad.The crux of the argument centers around whether to providegender-unspecific sex education or gender-specific sex education.   Thegoal of gender-unspecific sex education is to provide the samecurriculum, information, and skills to males and females ...

State Trends: Abortion, Personhood, Sex Ed and STIs
Reproductive Health | RHRealityCheck.org - Information, News, Analysis, and Commentary
April 20th, 2009
With the legislative year well underway, some interesting trends are beginning to emerge in a number of states. These include attempts in six states to declare a fetus a person from the moment of conception-measures that not only aim to ban abortion, but would affect contraception as well (more on this topic below).   By the end of March 2009, a total of 704 measures related to sexual and reproductive health had been introduced in the 49 legislatures that have convened so far this year, and 11 new laws had been enacted in five states. One of the laws passed allows the provision of treatment for sexually transmitted infections (STI) for a patient's partner (Utah), while two increase access to emergency contraception (Utah and Virginia). ...

Roundup: Alaska Parental Notification Bill Stalled
Reproductive Health | RHRealityCheck.org - Information, News, Analysis, and Commentary
April 20th, 2009
Parental Notification Bill in Alaska StalledA bill to require parental notification for teens seeking abortion has stalled in Alaska state legislature, the Juneau Empire reports. "The parental consent bill passed through the Republican-controlledHouse of Representatives earlier, but failed to get a hearing in theSenate until Friday, two days before the end of the session."  Gov.Sarah Palin criticized the "lack of action" on the bill.  The Empirenotes that a judicial bypass would be particularly difficult for teensto obtain in the largely rural state.Columnists Bonnie Erbe and Ruth Marcus both covered Gov. SarahPalin's admission in a speech late last week that she had contemplatedhaving an abortion; both reporters called Palin "brave."  ...

RightRides: Providing Safe Rides Home
Reproductive Health | RHRealityCheck.org - Information, News, Analysis, and Commentary
April 20th, 2009
Anyone who has ever walked home through an eerie part of town can understand how frightening it can be. In September of 2004, Consuelo Ruybal and Oraia Reid responded to the high rate of sexual assault in Brooklyn (in some areas, it had increased as high as 200%, according to their website) by creating RightRides, a service that provides free late night rides home to women in Brooklyn, in an effort to end gender-based harassment and sexual assault. Their SafeWalk program offers escorts to those who don't want to walk home alone. The program functions exclusively in Brooklyn, and tries to cater to lower-income neighborhoods with limited public transportation. They are especially helpful considering New York City's MTA recent approval of ...

National Day of Silence
Feministing
April 20th, 2009
Today is the National Day of Silence, which brings attention to LGBT bullying and harassment in schools. Some folks are tweeting, some are pledging their support and just generally getting involved.Are you participating?For a history of the Day of Silence, click here.The anglerfish on the Community blog has more.

My Sister the Health Activist: Stephanie Herold
Our Bodies Our Blog
April 13th, 2009
Entrant: Lauren HeroldNominee: Stephanie Herold, Women's Health ActivistThis is an interview with my older sister, Steph Herold, a college senior who already has helped countless women with her passion for variety of different kinds of activism.[This is a content summary only. Click the headline to visit Our Bodies, Our Blog for the full post, links, other content and more!]

We Already Have an Abortion Pride Movement
Reproductive Health | RHRealityCheck.org - Information, News, Analysis, and Commentary
April 13th, 2009
There is no shortage of venues for women to be able to speak out about the positive impact of their abortion experiences. At Aradia Women's Health Center, the clinic where I worked for more than 18 years, we had journals for clients and their loved ones to share their feelings about their abortions, as well as public events emphasizing the need to destigmatize abortion and to honor and support women's decision-making, pregnancy choices, and women as the gatekeepers of life. Many other clinics associated with the Abortion Care Network and the National Abortion Federation also use journals and other mechanisms for the expression of women's thoughts and emotions. Allegheny Reproductive Health Center in Pittsburgh offers their patient the ...

The Date Rape Heard Round the World
Reproductive Health | RHRealityCheck.org - Information, News, Analysis, and Commentary
April 13th, 2009
In the "controversial" film "Observe and Report," which opened this weekend, Seth Rogen's character Ronnie takes Anna Faris's Brandi home after a night of tequila and recreational anti-depressant consumption. Brandi is stumbling and half-conscious. The audience at my Saturday afternoon screening of grew audibly uncomfortable as Ronnie began kissing Brandi after she puked on the lawn.  But when the screen flashed to Rogen "pumping away" while Brandi lay on the pillow, vomit on her face and eyes closed to oblivion, a line was crossed - "sketchy" became "illegal." Here's the oft-circulated response Rogen (the actor) has to the scene: SETH ROGEN: When we're having sex and she's unconscious like you can literally feel the audience ...

The Consequences of Anti-LGBT Bullying
Feministing
April 13th, 2009
Trigger warningThis is just so incredibly sad. Via the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN): An 11-year-old Massachusetts boy, Carl Joseph Walker-Hoover, hung himself Monday after enduring bullying at school, including daily taunts of being gay, despite his mother's weekly pleas to the school to address the problem. This is at least the fourth suicide of a middle-school aged child linked to bullying this year.Carl, a junior at New Leadership Charter School in Springfield who did not identify as gay, would have turned 12 on April 17, the same day hundreds of thousands of students will participate in the 13th annual National Day of Silence by taking some form of a vow of silence to bring attention to anti-LGBT (lesbian, gay, ...

China's Gender Gap Up to 32 million
Feministing
April 13th, 2009
The New York Times and others covered a new study regarding China's longstanding one-child policy that many of us know has resulted in a preference for male children over females; women have not only had to give up their female children to orphanages, but are enduring forced abortions and sterilizations. According to the new findings, there is now a gap of 32 million more males than females under the age of 20 in China.The researchers suggested that enforcing a ban on sex-selective abortions would solve this problem, attributing the gap to just that. As some have misinterpreted sex-selective abortions as "family planning got awry" in the past (for example, the Bush administration used it as a reason to defund the United Nations Populations ...

Personhood Bill Lays Egg in North Dakota Senate
Reproductive Health | RHRealityCheck.org - Information, News, Analysis, and Commentary
April 7th, 2009
Out-of-stateanti-abortion activists who rallied behind Colorado?s Amendment 48 lastyear came up with another big goose egg Friday when the North Dakota Senate rejected a ?personhood? bill that sought to confer constitutional rights to zygotes.But reproductive rights advocates aren?t cheering Roughrider State lawmakers just yet.Senators voted 29-16, without debate, to kill the anti-abortion bill which passed the North Dakota House Feb. 17.Opponents counter that contraception, in-vitro fertilization andstem-cell research would be threatened, and miscarriages could beprosecuted if legal recognition of fertilized eggs were upheld.The controversial bill was backed by Personhood USA, which dubsitself ?missionaries to the preborn.? The duo behind ...

Miscarriage is Not a Pro-Life Issue
Reproductive Health | RHRealityCheck.org - Information, News, Analysis, and Commentary
April 7th, 2009
In speaking to Iowans about the dangers of farm chemicals, Sandra Steingraber focuses on the effect of these chemicals on reproductive health. What?s troubling is that she?s decided to tailor this message to pro-lifers.The risk she?s discussing is miscarriage, which isn?t analogous to abortion. A chemical that?s damaging to reproductive health is everyone?s concern. The pro-life movement, on the other hand, is not concerned with the ability of women to have children, but rather with interfering with a woman?s choice not to. Steingraber?s assumption that pro-lifers are also those most concerned with maternal health muddies the issue troublingly. Does this concern travel both ways? If I?m angry about the connection between my inability to ...

Tyra Banks, Sex Ed Teacher?
Reproductive Health | RHRealityCheck.org - Information, News, Analysis, and Commentary
April 7th, 2009
"Does this help?" is what I wondered watching Tyra Banks try to pin down a squirming, monosyllabic Levi Johnston on whether he and Bristol had used protection each and every time they had sex.  "Even when the baby was conceived?"  "Yup," came the response.  When Levi finally conceded that they had used protection "most of the time," Tyra, admittedly a dogged interviewer, broke into a grin, and the audience laughed and applauded. Okay, so she caught him. There's a tiny chink in the raft of pretenses swirling around the conception of Tripp Johnston.  As entertainment, it's not bad (Tyra worked in a "wardrobe malfunctions" joke).  But it's a sorry excuse for sex ed.  A persistent, almost meddling adult; a young person who really doesn't want ...

The Call for Common Ground
Reproductive Health | RHRealityCheck.org - Information, News, Analysis, and Commentary
April 7th, 2009
Some historic moments are short and sweet. That was the case lastFriday with a call the White House organized on common ground in theabortion conflict. In a never before attempted event, the Obamaadministration merged dozens of leaders from the pro-choice andpro-life movements onto one conference call line and, wisely, muted us.The team to which Obama has assigned the task of shaping a civildiscussion and exploring common cause within the abortion conflictenthusiastically laid out a profoundly sensible plan. Melody Barnes,Assistant to the President for Domestic Policy, kicked off the callexplaining that their goal is not to change minds on the dug-in issueof abortion. Rather, she explained, the intent is to focus on the areasin which, ...

Sarah Palin Speaking for Bristol Palin on Abstinence.
Feministing
April 7th, 2009
Remember when Bristol Palin basically admitted that abstinence doesn't work? Well, sounds like she (or rather her mom on her behalf) is singing a different tune now and I am going to have to agree with Renee that there is something fishy, sad and manipulative about using your teenage daughter to further your political agenda. In response to Levi Johnson being on the Tyra Show yesterday discussing openly that the Palin's knew they were knocking boots, Sarah Palin released the following statement:"Bristol's focus will remain on raising Tripp, completing her education, and advocating abstinence," [spokeswoman Meghan] Stapleton continues. "It is unfortunate that Levi finds it more appealing to exploit his previous relationship with Bristol ...

Egg-as-Person Laws Deprive Pregnant Women of Their Personhood
Reproductive Health | RHRealityCheck.org - Information, News, Analysis, and Commentary
March 27th, 2009
Personhood USA apparently sees itself as the new, hipper, more effectiveincarnation of the anti-abortion movement. Personhood USA hopes that byestablishing the "pre-born, as legal persons with protection under thelaw" it will end the "injustice of abortion."  Its attempt to do thislast November through a "personhood" ballot measure in Colorado'sfailed miserably. Nevertheless, Personhood USA, is committed to "workingtirelessly to establish personhood in every State."What supporters of this approach don't mention is that if theunborn have legal personhood rights, pregnant women won't. There isreally no way around this. As National Advocates for Pregnant Women's video demonstrates, if successful, this strategy will mean that upon become ...

Now's Our Chance to Cut Funding for Abstinence-Only Sex Ed!
Reproductive Health | RHRealityCheck.org - Information, News, Analysis, and Commentary
March 27th, 2009
Luckily, Barack Obama?s budget left out Title V funding for abstinence-only education, and now the right wing is up in arms. And it?s going to the Senate Budget Committee today, so now it?s our turn to speak up.According to Focus on the Family?s CitizenLink.com, ?Republican Sens. Jim Bunning, Ky., and Lindsay Graham, S.C., plan to propose an amendment in the Budget Committee on Thursday to save a place for Title V in the 2010 budget.?Haven?t we already gone over the fact that abstinence-only education doesn?t work? Whether or not you agree that teens should be having sex, several studies have shown that the programs offered are ineffective. ?Although abstinence is a healthy behavioral option for teens,? said a report from the Journal of ...

Reflections on Leadership in Honor of Gloria's Birthday
Feministing
March 27th, 2009
Yes, that Gloria. She turns 75 today and, as much, I thought it would be an opportune time to reflect on leadership within contemporary feminism. Gloria became the face of the feminist movement--along with Betty Friedan and a few others along the way--in the late 60s. Her scandalous investigative report on Playboy catapulted her into the spotlight. She would use that blinding light to do so many incredibly things over the years--co-found The Ms. Foundation for Women, Ms. Magazine, and the National Women's Political Caucus, champion the Equal Rights Amendment, and more recently, create Choice USA--a haven for young activists in the reproductive justice movement. I, personally, have benefited from her vision in multiple ways, one of which is ...

The "tragedy" of hook up culture. And scare quotes.
Feministing
March 27th, 2009
One of the upsides of reading IWF's blog (the downside being the constant retching) is that it points you in the direction of gems like this one. Robert P. George and John B. Londregan, professors in Princeton's Department of Politics, say that sex on college campuses is a "tragedy." They also really, really like scare quotes....Princeton, where we teach, is a wonderful university; but like other colleges and universities there is a dark side to its social life. Our students are bright, enthusiastic, and eager to learn. Most did not come to college bent on boozing and hooking up. Many feel deeply ambivalent about these aspects of campus life. Yet, they find little support on campus for the "alternative lifestyle" of living by traditional ...

Obama administration decides to sign UN gay rights document
Feministing
March 27th, 2009
In further evidence of Obama's departure from Bush era policy, the State Department announced last week they would sign on to a gay rights UN document. The document calls for the decriminalization of homosexuality and 66 countries have signed on so far. The UN drafted the document in December as a stand against human rights violations based on gender identity and sexual orientation. The Bush Administration had previously argued that the document contradicted US law, but the Obama Administration disagrees.

Documenting Obstacles to Medical Care for Women in Detention
Reproductive Health | RHRealityCheck.org - Information, News, Analysis, and Commentary
March 20th, 2009
Two new reports issued by Human Rights Watch and the Florida Immigrant Advocacy Center document numerous barriers encountered by women when they try to obtain needed medical care in the confines of the immigration detention system. Human Rights Watch investigated facilities run by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) itself, as well as privately-run facilities and state and local prisons and jails where immigration detainees are held by contract with ICE. Women report a wide range of problems, from delayed medical care and denied medical screenings to inadequate sanitary supplies when they have their periods.  The Florida Immigrant Advocacy Center investigated ICE-run facilities in Florida as well as jails that contract with ICE. The ...

Obama Reverses Bush Ban On Contraceptive Supplies to Leading Int'l Family Planning Organization
Reproductive Health | RHRealityCheck.org - Information, News, Analysis, and Commentary
March 20th, 2009
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) today reversed a Bush Administration policy to block African governments from providing U.S.-funded contraceptive commodities to Marie Stopes International (MSI), one of the world?s leading family planning organisations.  Restoring U.S. support will allow women to exercise their basic human rights while helping them avoid unintended pregnancies and unsafe abortions and reduce the spread of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections. The ban imposed by Bush as part of a full-on attack on women's access to contraception worldwide disrupted MSI operations in six of the affected countries - Ghana, Malawi, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Uganda and Zimbabwe ? including some where MSI ...

A World in Which Women Are Cartoons, Not People
Reproductive Health | RHRealityCheck.org - Information, News, Analysis, and Commentary
March 20th, 2009
The Vatican's demoralizing, dehumanizing view of women grabbed a lot of attention around International Women's Day, when the church pushed back against women's basic rights by ex-communicating the mother and doctors who saved the life of a nine-year-old rape victim.  The doctors performed the abortion on the rape victim after discovering that she was four months pregnant after what turned out to be a history of being raped by her stepfather.  The sexual violence and pregnancy were only discovered because the 80-pound girl complained of stomach pains.    Outrageously, but not surprisingly, the Vatican did not excommunicate the rapist. Spend enough time around sentimental pro-life rhetoric, and it becomes clear that a 4-month-old fetus is ...

Five Issues I Wish More Feminist Men Were Taking On
Feministing
March 20th, 2009
1. comprehensive sexual education that include critical conversations about rape, power, and violence with men AND teaches men what and where the clit is (just sayin')2. advocating for more family friendly work policy for all and changing the culture of work machismo among men3. reflecting on how much $$ goes into male athletic culture, and how linked it is to violence off the field4. changing the culture to give men more permission to identify, manage, and talk about their emotions5. an intersectional approach to incarceration, poverty, and race that includes a gender analysisWhat about you?

Reported Rapes in the Military on the Rise, Prosecutions Still Low
Feministing
March 20th, 2009
Check out community poster ArmyVetJen's take (who beat us to the punch) on the new statistics just released by the Pentagon showing that there has been a 9% increase in the reports of sexual assault in the military over the past year. AP reports: The Pentagon said it received 2,923 reports of sexual assault across the military in the 12 months ending Sept. 30 2008. That's about a 9 percent increase over the totals reported the year before, but only a fraction of the crimes presumably being committed.Among the cases reported, only a small number went to military courts, officials acknowledged.The Pentagon office that collects the data estimates that only 10 percent to 20 percent of sexual assaults among members of the active duty military ...

A Plan for Women's Rights for a New Bolivia
Reproductive Health | RHRealityCheck.org - Sexuality Education
March 16th, 2009
As countries around the world celebrated International Women'sDay last week, the Bolivian government launched an equal rights andopportunities plan dubbed "Mujeresconstruyendo la Nueva Boliviapara vivir bien," which can be loosely translated as "women are building a new Bolivia withbetter lives for all." Not simply a development strategy, this planexemplifies a significant, shared vision: namely the importance of recognizingwomen's contributions to the ongoing development of the country. The plan is the culmination of a lengthy process of compromise betweenthe Bolivian government and women's NGOs from all parts of Bolivia,including Católicas por el Derecho a Decidir in Bolivia, a partner organizationof Catholics for Choice. All parties met ...

Female Condom Receives FDA Approval
Our Bodies Our Blog
March 16th, 2009
The Female Health Company is announcing [PDF] today that the FDA has approved the company's FC2 Female Condom for preventing pregnancy, HIV/AIDS, and other sexually transmitted infections.The company notes that the approval will "enable the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to procure FC2 for distribution to global HIV/AIDS ...[This is a content summary only. Click the headline to visit Our Bodies, Our Blog for the full post, links, other content and more!]

Fear and Abstinence on Capitol Hill
Reproductive Health | RHRealityCheck.org - Information, News, Analysis, and Commentary
March 16th, 2009
Last Wednesday morning in the Rayburn Congressional Office Building onCapitol Hill, hundreds of abstinence-only supporters gathered toprepare for their annual lobby day.With their programs exposed as failures by independent studies, abudget crisis, and new leadership in Washington, they know that theirfunding is in serious jeopardy.So, what do you do when faced with this kind of dilemma?Rebrand!Sitting amongst their crowd Wednesday, the talking point repeatedlydrilled into the young lobbyists? heads was that their programs aren?tjust about not having sex. Oh, no? they are actually ?holisticapproaches? to promote ?healthy lifestyle choices."Really? Has the social conservative fringe gone New Age on us?No. No, they haven?t. But in the face ...

North Dakota Abortion Ban Could Have National Implications
Reproductive Health | RHRealityCheck.org - Information, News, Analysis, and Commentary
March 16th, 2009
North Dakota legislators are proposing a law that could havenational implications. Dubbed the Personhood bill, SF 1572 would grantevery fertilized egg in the state full rights, and any intentionaldeath of that fertilized egg would constitute murder. It?s alreadypassed the North Dakota House and will be considered by ananti-abortion Senate. And while Gov. John Hoeven hasn?t spoken publiclyabout the bill, he is opposed to abortion.?This sparsely populated rural state that?s proud of itsconservative roots could fundamentally alter the rights of women acrossthe country,? said Tim Stanley of Planned Parenthood of Minnesota,North Dakota, South Dakota (PPMNS). ?We feel confident that the morepeople hear about 1572, the less comfortable they?ll ...

It's not "sex," it's rape
Feministing
March 16th, 2009
A reader sent in this story, about how this 18 year-old man was given only 6 months in jail for raping two women. (Oh, and he gets work and school release privileges.)Michael Philbin, son of a Green Bay Packers coach, said he was "ashamed" and "embarrassed." Well, that's lovely, but I wish he was feeling ashamed from prison for more than 6 frigging months. The short jail sentence aside, what really bugged me about this article was the language it used to describe the attacks:Philbin had sex with one girl after she passed out and was placed on his parent's bed. He then joined another 17-year-old boy in the basement and forced a second girl to perform oral sex, according to the criminal complaint filed last month.Excuse me, but you don't ...

Broken Promises, New Pledges, and Possibilities on Women's Rights in India
Reproductive Health | RHRealityCheck.org - Sexuality Education
March 9th, 2009
The past year has seen an increase in attacks against women in the southern Indian state of Karnataka, culminating in series of assaults on women in public spaces, with the most controversial being the pub assault in the coastal city of Mangalore followed by numerous assaults in the IT hub of Bangalore. By saying that there are far more attacks in other states of the country, official Nirmala Venkatesh made a feeble attempt at keeping the myth of women's safety alive but what she achieved was to reduce women of the state and the country to mere statistics. What she also seemed to have neglected is that her job description requires her to make every single woman's and girl's well-being and safety paramount; that their liberties and rights ...

Obama Names Ambassador for International Women's Issues
Reproductive Health | RHRealityCheck.org - Information, News, Analysis, and Commentary
March 9th, 2009
The AFP reports: "Obamanamed Melanne Verveer, an aide in former president Bill Clinton'sadministration, as ambassador-at-large for international women'sissues. She will serve at the State Department under Secretary of StateHillary Clinton."The appointment "isunprecedented and reflects the elevated importance of global women'sissues to the president and his entire administration," the White Housesaid in a statement.Melanne Verveer is co-founder and currently co-chiefexecutive officer of Vital Voices Global Partnership, an internationalnonprofit that invests in emerging women leaders.The AFP adds, Verveer "also served asexecutive vice president of People for the American Way, a civil rightsand constitutional liberties organization, 'where ...

Prop 8 looks likely to stand
Feministing
March 9th, 2009
Photo of Prop 8 protest yesterday via the Bilerico Project.Yesterday the California Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the case to repeal Prop 8. It doesn't look good:Based on their questions and comments during three hours of oral argument Thursday, a majority of the California Supreme Court appeared ready to uphold Proposition 8, the ballot initiative that ended gay marriage in the state.But, a small silver lining:However, it seemed equally apparent that the court was prepared to rule that the 18,000 same-sex marriages performed in the state last year should remain valid.My colleague Adam at the Prospect flags this quote from anti-marriage-equality lawyer Ken Starr,"Rights are ultimately defined by the people," said Starr, ...

Roman Catholic Church: Excommunication for all who supported 9-year old rape victim's abortion
Feministing
March 9th, 2009
There really are no words for this kind of case. A community poster already covered the uproar by the Brazilian Roman Catholic Church of the abortion of a 9-year old girl who was raped by her stepfather. This is despite the fact that abortion is legal in Brazil in cases of rape and when the woman's life is in danger, which both applies to this girl (as she not only weighs just 80 pounds but was pregnant with twins): The Catholic Church tried to intervene to prevent the abortion going ahead but the procedure was carried out on Wednesday.Now a Church spokesman says all those involved, including the child's mother and the doctors, are to be excommunicated.The Archbishop of Olinda and Recife, Jose Cardoso Sobrinho, told Brazil's TV Globo that ...

Two months into the era of Obama
Feministing
March 9th, 2009
It still surprises me every time I get an email from Barack Obama in my inbox. The President is communicating with me?!? Really? Obviously it's not actually Barack sending me messages, but the fact that he has staff dedicated to communicating with millions of Americans is pretty incredible in and of itself. After Obama won, the emails didn't stop. It's so logical, yet so groundbreaking. I would posit that Obama is the first President to keep his campaign machine alive--now it's called Organizing for America. Brilliant. Obama is certainly getting things done in these first months in office. His first 100 days aren't over yet and already we've seen the global gag rule disappear, Guantanamo's future is looking bleak and now a removal of the ...

A Top Ten List for Talking to Teens About...Well, You Know
Reproductive Health | RHRealityCheck.org - Sexuality Education
March 5th, 2009
1. Know yourself.What are your expectations, your hopes, and your fears about yourteenager?s sexual and romantic development?  You?ll have far morecontrol over yourself and your interactions if you have a fullunderstanding of these things.2. It?s not about you. Yourteenager is, in fact, discovering sex for the first time.  They don?twant to hear about you and your sex life or your path to discoveringsex.  They want to talk about their current exciting, overwhelmingpath.  So let them!  That?s how you?ll get to know your teenager ? andthat?s now one of the primary goals of your parenting.  (If yourteenager directly asks you about your own experiences, well, that?s adifferent matter for another time.)3. Stop talking! As the parent of a ...

Today's Prop 8 Hearing is Online
Reproductive Health | RHRealityCheck.org - Information, News, Analysis, and Commentary
March 5th, 2009
In San Francisco today, the California Supreme Court will consider arguments for overturning Proposition 8, the ballot initiative passed last year redefining marriage as between one man and one woman.It was the state Supreme Court that had previously declared it unconstitutional to deny marriage to gay and lesbian couples. Now, it is being asked to decide whether voters can take away rights that the court granted.You can watch the proceedings here: www.calchannel.com. (Isn't it nice that California webcasts these things???)You may recognize Kenneth Starr, our old friend from the Clinton impeachment days, representing Protect Marriage, the anti-gay marriage side of this fight.For added interest, Air America's Ana Marie Cox is liveblogging ...

The New, Progressive Spain
Reproductive Health | RHRealityCheck.org - Information, News, Analysis, and Commentary
March 5th, 2009
Legalized abortion in Catholic Spain?  Maybe the times really are changing.Encouraging reports surfaced last month of a proposed change to Spain's strict 1985 abortion law, which allows women to end pregnancies up to 12 weeks in cases of rape and 22 weeks in cases of fetal malformation?or at any point, if a doctor believes the woman's physical or mental health is in danger at any point during the pregnancy, they can authorize the procedure.And today brought another step towards Spanish women gaining the right to choose. According to the AP, a government-appointed panel of experts announced the specifics of the legislation?which would give women the power to end a pregnancy for any reason during the first trimester. It would allow abortion ...

Women's History Month!
Feministing
March 5th, 2009
Happy March, y'all. Just in case you haven't been keeping up with the events calendar, check out all of the great events on tap around the country. (They're listed below by date and location, to make things easier. Check the events calendar for more details on all events below.)March 5New York, NY: Commemorate the 1969 Abortion SpeakoutNew York, NY: The Lonely Soldier MonologueCollege Park, MD: How are Women Affected by the War on Drugs?Columbia, MO: Women's Health GatheringMarch 6Chicago, IL: Chicago Feminisms: Past, Present and FutureNewark, NJ: The Gender Dimensions of Terrorism: How Terrorism Impacts the Lives of Women San Francisco, CA: National Lesbian Health Summit (through March 8)March 7Ithaca, NY: Summit on Women's Issues in ...

Eve and the Ethics of Story
Feministing
March 5th, 2009
Check out this reading by Eve Ensler of a section of her upcoming book, I'm an Emotional Creature: The Secret Lives of Girls Around the World. It's called "The Teenage Girl's Guide to Surviving Sex Slavery" and in it she speaks in the voice of a former sexual slave from the The Democratic Republic of Congo:First let me say that I admire Eve's bold insistence on speaking truth, on writing deeply emotional pieces, on insisting that we talk about and stay conscious of and do something about the most horrific suffering on this planet--things that the rest of us often don't have the strength to face on a regular basis. V-Day is such an unbelievably successful movement--unparalleled in contemporary feminism. The idea that she got a nation of ...

Obama's "Population" Moves: Also Good for the Environment
Reproductive Health | RHRealityCheck.org - Information, News, Analysis, and Commentary
February 26th, 2009
President Obama showed much more than good judgment when he rescinded the Mexico City population policy and promised to restore funding to the UN Population Fund (UNFPA). He not only sent a strong message, and the means, to revive U.S. leadership in support of family planning and reproductive health around the world, he also moved to sustain the global environment. Yes, these "population" actions will help women realize their right to control their own fertility; provide them more freedom and opportunity to pursue better education, economic, resource-use and family-raising opportunities; and help prevent abortions and unwanted pregnancies.But they also address something we tend to overlook ? or avoid noticing ? the fact that stabilizing ...

For Iraqi Women, Human Rights Abuses Continue
Reproductive Health | RHRealityCheck.org - Information, News, Analysis, and Commentary
February 26th, 2009
Iraq is a disaster and every day more details surface to show us just how completely we, as a country, destroyed millions of lives.My mother used to say that children take you places you didn't know you wanted to go. For me, it's Google News. Thanks to the miracle of keyword aggregation, I discovered a report from AlterNet depicting the homeless women left on the streets of Baghdad, living in constant fear of kidnapping, rape, and death.In the midst of this shameful war, 135 families, about 750 people, hide in compounds-turned-shelters just outside of the Green Zone. The reporter spoke with Um Qasim, one such woman living with 13 family members in a "brick shanty" in Baghdad."Me and my girls have to be extra careful living this way," she ...

Publicly funded family planning prevents 1.94 million unintended pregnancies, 810,000 abortions annually
Feministing
February 26th, 2009
A new report from the Guttmacher Institute shows that publicly funded family planning services prevent 1.94 million unintended pregnancies - that includes nearly 400,000 teen pregnancies and 810,000 abortions."The national family planning program is smart government at its best," says Rachel Benson Gold, the study's lead author. "Publicly funded family planning is basic health care that empowers disadvantaged women to decide for themselves when to become pregnant and how many children to have. It reduces recourse to abortion. And it saves significant amounts of taxpayer money." For more information, check out these other reports from Guttmacher:Next Steps for America's Family Planning Program: Leveraging the Potential of Medicaid and ...

Ask Congress to fund anti-violence programs
Feministing
February 26th, 2009
Both statistically and anecdotally, incidents of violence against women increase as the economy falters. As Obama prepares to release his budget, now's the time to ask him and Congress not to reduce funding for preventing violence against women and helping survivors. According to Women's eNews:Congress is currently authorized to spend up to $175 million a year for the program. But the actual allocation of federal dollars is subject to a congressional vote, and lawmakers last year set aside $123 million; over $50 million less than was approved. That was a slight cut from fiscal 2007, when Congress spent $125 million on the program.Women's safety advocates also want Congress to fully fund the Violence Against Women Act, a broader ...

More on Rachel Maddow
Feministing
February 26th, 2009
The media can't get enough about America's new butch sweetheart, Rachel Maddow. I can't say I blame them, but this week's piece on Maddow entitled Butch Fatale maybe takes it a bit too far. Author Daphne Merkin writes an overly poetic piece about the role of lesbians in fashion--the forgotten wallflowers, she calls us. She relies on a lot of played out tropes (battle of the sexes, lipstick lesbians, etc) and makes the claim that Maddow marks the beginning of a new era for lesbian glamour. Lesbianism has finally come into a glamour of its own, an appeal that goes beyond butch and femme archetypes into a more universal seduction. Her name is Rachel Maddow, the polished-looking, self-declared gay newscaster who stares out from the MSNBC ...

Sex-Positive Evangelicals? Oh, Yes
Reproductive Health | RHRealityCheck.org - Information, News, Analysis, and Commentary
February 24th, 2009
We all know that the growing evangelical movement is one (with a few left-leaning pockets exempted) obsessed with sex.  Controlling it.  Punishing it.  Using it to control women.  Stomping out most versions of it completely.  Shaming people who enjoy it.  And now, believe it or not, promoting it as an important part of healthy marriages.   Wait, come again?  Sex-positive evangelicals?  Well, sort of. While they're not bringing in enough numbers to drown out the dominant attitude of shaming, there does seem to be a trend in the evangelical community of promoting more and better sex within marriage -- for the good of the marriages.  There are now Christian sex shops, Christian sex advice columns, and Christian sex blogs.  Most of it is tame ...

At Tonight's Address, What Obama Should Say About Abortion
Reproductive Health | RHRealityCheck.org - Information, News, Analysis, and Commentary
February 24th, 2009
In Sunday's issue of the New York Times, William Saletan confirmsthat "President Obama wants to end the culture wars" and reminds us that his"joint address to Congress this week could be an opportunity to change thatdebate."  I couldn't agree more.  But, I disagree with Saletan about what President Obamashould say.  Saletan argues that Obama should defuse theculture war by telling pro-choice pragmatists to get a sense of morals andtelling pro-life moralists to get realistic. I think that President Obama should acknowledge the unique andlegitimate moral and emotional experiences of women who have had abortions -instead of focusing on the opinions and convictions of those who haven'tstopped to listen. In his Address, President Obama is ...

Pro-Life Movement Reveals Pro-Abortion Stance
Reproductive Health | RHRealityCheck.org - Information, News, Analysis, and Commentary
February 24th, 2009
What if one day you woke up to a news story like this? Feb 24:    Tony Perkins, President of the formerly anti-abortion Family Research Council, admitted to the Associated Press that the organization's previously stated mission of saving the "unborn" had been ceded to other priorities. Perkins, who opposes preventing abortion through contraception, says, "The issue is whether taxpayers should fund, and thereby encourage, behavior that's risky and morally questionable," by which Perkins means having sex. The acknowledgment that his moral agenda trumps his professed desire to reduce the numbers of unwanted pregnancies, comes on the heels of a new report released today by the Guttmacher Institute, a non-partisan policy institute frequently ...

Speechifying: So-called hook up culture and the anti-feminists who love it
Feministing
February 24th, 2009
Earlier this week, I was in Virgina speaking at Emory & Henry College at the school's winter forum - it was a day-long group of discussions on gender and sexuality. This talk was different than others I've done - generally I speak about Feministing and my writing. But the organizers at E&H wanted me to speak about the so-called hook up culture on college campuses, and they wanted me to have a "discussion" (a debate) with this woman, Elizabeth Marquardt. (I actually felt very odd about debating Marquardt because she was so damn nice and friendly - I don't know that I'm cut out for this kind of thing. More on this in an upcoming post...)In any case, I had a lot of fun with the talk, because a lot of it related back to the work I did for ...

Black women's bodies, voyeurism and Rihanna
Feministing
February 24th, 2009
I really wish I hadn't seen the pictures that were leaked of Rihanna after the supposed assault by boyfriend Chris Brown. I am not going to post them here, because I think they are too triggering. Needless to say, they show someone who was brutally attacked. As I said the last time I wrote about this, it is rare that the media gives light to violence against women of color. From the jump, this story hinged from an angle of victim-blaming, from blaming Rihanna for "giving Brown herpes" to "cheating on him with Jay-Z." The narrative was clear; sometimes it is OK to beat a woman. In releasing the pictures two things have happened. First, Rihanna's privacy has been violated in a very harmful way. We have no business seeing the extent of the ...

Where Are The Women in Obama's Faith-Based Advisory Council?
Reproductive Health | RHRealityCheck.org - Sexuality Education
February 17th, 2009
The Obama Administration's Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships announced an Advisory Council and four key priorities this week.  In addition to addressing poverty and promoting interfaith dialogue, the priorities consider "how we support women and children, address teenage pregnancy, and reduce the need for abortion," and call for "encouraging responsible fatherhood."   Notice how women are paired with children and pregnancy/abortion concerns.  Men apparently only need help with fatherhood.  This gendered pairing strikes me as paternalistic and misguided.  For one thing, the issue of abortion isn't just about teens and unwed mothers.  Married women have abortions, too.  Many women who make a moral decision to have an ...

Where Did the Abortion Reduction Agenda Come From?
Reproductive Health | RHRealityCheck.org - Information, News, Analysis, and Commentary
February 17th, 2009
You could say this is a story about the old adage: the more things change, the more they stay the same.  The rise of the concept of "abortion reduction" as a worthy policy goal, currently being promoted by some in the Democratic Party, has generally tracked the rise of the Party's fortunes of the over the past few years and the accompanying decline in the likelihood that the Supreme Court will overturn Roe v. Wade. The Democrats' ascent, and Roe's resilience, has been a tough reality for antiabortion leaders to face, but they are not out of strategic and tactical options. Politics is the art of the possible.   Abortion reduction, currently being sold as the "common ground" between the pro-choice and anti-abortion camps, has its roots in ...

VIDEO: Britain's "Baby" Daddy
Reproductive Health | RHRealityCheck.org - Information, News, Analysis, and Commentary
February 17th, 2009
Last Friday, The Sun reported on Alfie Patten, a British "baby-faced"13-year-old father. The baby's mother is only 15 years old. Tabloid stories like this are loud, invasive,and irritating, yet this story is an excellent case study on why serious familyplanning and sexuality education needs to be utilized. Patten's justification for why the couple did not seek an abortion was thathe "thought it would be good to have a baby." It's clear in the videos includedin the original story that he has no idea about the costs or complexities ofraising a child. When Patten was asked how he'll afford the child, he said, "Ididn't think about how we would afford it. I don't really get pocket money. Mydad sometimes gives me £10."It's hard to be mad at ...

Wishful Thinking? Two Republican Pro-Choice Groups Team Up
Reproductive Health | RHRealityCheck.org - Information, News, Analysis, and Commentary
February 17th, 2009
Via LifeNews, two Republican so-called "pro-abortion" (ahem) groups are teaming up in a fresh effort to defang the GOP's stance on abortion and as LifeNews put it, to "drag the party to the left."The two groups are WISH, Women in the Senate and House, and the Republican Majority for Choice. After being marginalized within the party for years and years, the two have combined powers to set their sights set on weakening the Republican party's newest pro-life platform. All I have to say to the is, Good Luck, because the platform is rigid. Here's a little gem:  Faithful to the first guarantee of the Declaration of Independence, we assert the inherent dignity and sanctity of all human life and affirm that the unborn child has a fundamental ...

Bristol Palin admits abstinence is "not realistic."
Feministing
February 17th, 2009
I feel bad for her. Her story was used by her family and the GOP to make an example of what is considered "responsible" behavior for a teen mom. Holding all that, she is telling the truth that abstinence is not realistic for young people, even if it should be what everyone strives for. Comprehensive sex-ed wouldn't be this unrealistic. via Gawker. (h/t to Aaron)

Utah Proposes Comprehensive Sex-Ed
Reproductive Health | RHRealityCheck.org - Sexuality Education
February 13th, 2009
Conservative states are finally realizing that teenagers have sex?even if you tell them not to?and taking that into account in education addressing legislation.Reports surfaced today concerning Utah's HB 189, a proposed state bill introduced by representative Lynn Hemingway, D-Salt Lake, that would allow the state's schools to teach comprehensive sexual education, moving away from the abstinence only policy that was previously enforced. This comes just days after North Carolina state representative Susan Fisher, D-Buncombe, said she would promote similar legislation this session in her traditionally conservative state.Apparently Mr. Hemingway has paid attention to the onslaught of recent studies proving that abstinence-only programming ...

Understanding the Roots of Violence Against Women in the Pacific
Reproductive Health | RHRealityCheck.org - Sexuality Education
February 13th, 2009
Violence against women is undeniably a global problem. While women in all societies are affected, the violence experienced by women in the Pacific has generally been given little attention by the international community. However, a report released by Australia's Foreign Aid Agency, AusAID, in late 2008, has put the spotlight on the steps being taken to address violence against women and girls in five of Australia's neighbouring countries: Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and East Timor. The AusAid study gathered input from over 700 individuals from government, international organizations and NGOs. Like elsewhere around the global, the most common forms of violence against women in the countries studied are physical, ...

Elevating Maternal and Child Health and Family Planning Under the Obama Administration
Reproductive Health | RHRealityCheck.org - Sexuality Education
February 13th, 2009
By repealing the Global Gag Rule on his third day in office, President Obama took a huge first step toward leading the world in addressing the health needs of the world's poorest women, children and families. Now it is time to get to work on elevating what has been a stagnant American response on global family health and work toward saving the lives of millions of women and children.  On January 23, 2009, the new president correctly lifted the Gag Rule, a policy that severely hindered the work of international family planning organizations by banning funding to any international organization that engages in a wide variety of activities, including "providing advice, counseling, or information regarding abortion, or lobbying a foreign ...

Anti-Contraception Crew Still at Work at HHS
Reproductive Health | RHRealityCheck.org - Information, News, Analysis, and Commentary
February 13th, 2009
A perplexing story popped up in my Google alerts the other day. It wasfrom The Hoya, Georgetown University's college newspaper, and theheadline read: "Med Center Receives Research Grant for Natural Family Planning."Georgetown is a Catholic university which aroused my suspicions; afterall, in the 21st century, the Catholic Church still bans contraception forits adherents. The research grant was from HHS, for $600,000. Not muchas research grants go, but in this economy spending money to research aquote-unquote contraceptive method with a failure rate of 25% seemspretty lavish.I poked around the website of the grant recipients, The Institute for Reproductive Health (not to be confused with the National Institute for Reproductive Healthto ...

Twelve States Consider Abortion Restrictions Via Ultrasound Technology
Feministing
February 13th, 2009
The Chicago Tribune breaks down the twelve states that are all considering legislative restrictions that would require an ultrasound before a woman gets an abortion. (Or force a doctor to offer one.) This reminds us of the whole "informed consent" absurdity that the antis love to push as some sort of right when it's nothing but completely belittling, implying that women don't understand their personal decisions (or at least they don't without the "guidance" of their friendly neighborhood anti-choice legislator). Cara says it well: It all seems to be about the poor little woman who doesn't understand what it means to be pregnant, or who will surely have a change of heart once she sees a blurry, cloudy image that I've never been able to ...

When Do "Believers" Have to Face Facts?
Reproductive Health | RHRealityCheck.org - Sexuality Education
February 9th, 2009
When do facts supercede "belief" in shaping public policy?  And what responsibility do we have as individuals, irrespective of our personal religious faith, to figure out the facts when it comes to laws and policies that affect the lives of others?These are big questions, and I won't attempt to answer them here, today, in any "big" way.  However, both questions were raised for me in reading an article by Steve Waldman on Beliefnet entitled: "Why Many Pro-Lifers Oppose Family Planning."Among three reasons Waldman suggests in answering his own question are that the anti-choice movement was initiated originally by the Catholic Church, which opposes what it refers to as "artificial" contraception; that the Catholic Church and others believe ...

Sexonomics
Reproductive Health | RHRealityCheck.org - Information, News, Analysis, and Commentary
February 9th, 2009
Over the past two weeks there has been lots of public huffing and puffing over the inclusion (and then exclusion) in the stimulus package of a provision for contraception. Much of the discussion was little more than media hot air, unanchored by anything as weighty as facts. The media discussion was notable for among other things: the absence of experts. To cite one blunder: the shock media gleefully tore into the supposed controversy of a $200 million allocation of taxpayer money for pregnancy prevention, despite the fact that there was no $200 million allocation of taxpayer money for pregnancy prevention. That fable sadly got passed off as fact. In reality, the bill proposed an administrative change that would have saved the states  200 ...

Time to Lift the Federal Ban on Syringe Exchange: Advocates Call on Obama to Fulfill Campaign Pledge
Reproductive Health | RHRealityCheck.org - Information, News, Analysis, and Commentary
February 9th, 2009
Domestic prevention advocates and members of Congress are calling on President Obama to fulfill a campaign promise by acting swiftly to lift the federal ban on funding for syringe exchange programs.  The ban, which has been in place for some 20 years, prevents federal funds from being used to support a health intervention universally recognized as being highly effective in stopping the spread of HIV and hepatitis C, and as a means for reaching drug users for other interventions.  It is another in a long lineof ideologically-driven restrictions on basic prevention programs whichmust be removed in US policy, both domestically and internationally.  Efforts to lift the ban on funding of syringe exchange have been underway for well over a ...

Ultrasound and Informed Consent
Reproductive Health | RHRealityCheck.org - Information, News, Analysis, and Commentary
February 9th, 2009
In the name of informed consent, more states are hopping on the ultrasound bandwagon.  Already, according to the Guttmacher Institute, 12 states have enacted legislation on the issue. The majority (6 states) require only that a woman have the option to view an ultrasound image of the fetus in the case that an ultrasound is performed as part of the clinic?s preparation. Many clinics nationwide follow this procedure, whether it is required or not.  But on the more disconcerting end, Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana require that each and every woman seeking an abortion have an ultrasound performed by the abortion provider (not an attendant) with a stipulation that the abortion-provider must ask the woman if she would like to see the image. ...

No link between fertility drugs and ovarian cancer
Feministing
February 9th, 2009
One of the largest studies done to determine whether fertility drugs cause ovarian cancer found that there is "no convincing association" between the two. The New York Times reports:[T]he researchers followed 54,362 women who had been referred to Denmark's fertility clinics between 1963 and 1998. They gathered information about the women from Denmark's birth, cancer and hospital discharge registries, seeking more detailed information on medications from individual medical records of a subgroup of 1,241 of the women.Among the 54,362 infertile patients followed for an average of 15 years, there were 156 cases of ovarian cancer. The average age of the women by the end of the study was 47.Medical records were used to analyze the relative ...

Roundup: Republicans, Independents Endorse Contraception and Sexuality Education
Reproductive Health | RHRealityCheck.org - Sexuality Education
February 5th, 2009
Republicans, Independents Favor Reproductive Health AgendaOn US News & World Report, Bonnie Erbe takes noteof a new survey conducted by the National Women's Law Center, findingeven Republican and independent voters in favor of access tocontraception and sex education: Nearly three-quarters (72%) of Republicans and Independents favor legislation that would make it easier for people at all income levels to obtain contraception, and 70 percent favor legislation that would help make birth control more affordable. More than 60 percent of fundamentalist/evangelical Protestants favor these proposals.... Only 8 percent of Republicans and Independents think the government should support abstinence-only education. A strong majority ...

A "Pill" for Men?
Reproductive Health | RHRealityCheck.org - Information, News, Analysis, and Commentary
February 5th, 2009
Sick of birth control's side-effects? Had enough with the bloating, lack of sexual appetite and risk of blood clot? Simply forgetting to take it? No, there isn't a new super-pill for women - its better.  Now there's birth control for men. Currently undergoing trials in Sydney, the twice-monthly injection of testosterone and progestin tricks the male mind into believing that enough sperm has already been produced. (Funny, I've never needed such elaborate science to trick male minds.) And according to the city's Daily Telegraph, studies have shown that the proposed treatment is 95% effective, about the same as the pill for women, and men are able to impregnate three months after they stop. Even better, lead researcher Rob McLachlan told them ...

Can Pro-Choice People Support the Pregnant Women Support Act?
Reproductive Health | RHRealityCheck.org - Information, News, Analysis, and Commentary
February 5th, 2009
On the 36th anniversary of Roe v Wade, Senator Bob Casey, whoopposes legal abortion, introduced what he described as a common groundbill: The Pregnant Women Support Act. He explained, "Ibelieve there is more common ground in America than we might realize.If only we focus on how we can truly help and support women who wish tocarry their pregnancies to term and how we can give them and theirbabies what they really need to begin healthy and productive livestogether."Pro-choice people, like myself, get a little defensive overproposals such as this, and the righteous rhetoric that accompaniesthem. This legislation proposes to provide support to low-income womenwho want to bring a pregnancy to term. Pro-choice elected officialshave proposed ...

The Ex-Masturbator Campaign: Shaming idle hands since 2009
Feministing
February 5th, 2009
You know...sometimes a picture really is worth a thousand words. (Not to mention an infinite number of jokes.)Apparently the Passion for Christ Movement has a bunch of these "ex" shirts, and this is just the latest. Here's the thing - you don't want to masturbate because you feel it goes against your beliefs? All good. But there's no need to shame others, and telling folks that doing something completely natural, safe and personal is sinful...well it's just wrong.Not to mention, the shame that some people may feel after what one article calls "an illegal orgasm," (something the Passion for Christ members talk about a lot) isn't a sign that masturbation is wrong. It's an indicator that you haven't been told the truth about ...

Get Real! How Do I Learn to Trust Him?
Reproductive Health | RHRealityCheck.org - Sexuality Education
February 2nd, 2009
anofficialknight asks: If you have been raped by more than one person but as a result you never stay with a male in fear of becoming close to them and then you find a guy that you really like and you want to trust him but you just can't ... what should I do to make us a trusting couple? Heather replies:Whethera person is having issues with trust due to sexual abuse or any otherreason under the sun, I really like how Staci Haines, in The Survivor's Guide to Sex, concisely outlines three basic factors for trust. She talks about competency, consistency over time, and congruency between words and behavior.When she says competency, what she means is if that person iscompetent in the ways you need for them to be. For instance, as asurvivor of ...

Liveblogging "Roe Is Safe - Now What?" at Feminism 2.0
Reproductive Health | RHRealityCheck.org - Sexuality Education
February 2nd, 2009
I'm at Feminism 2.0 today, a one-day conference dedicated to bringing new technologies to feminist organizing.  In the first plenary, the exciting ideas came in equal measure from the panelists and the tweets displayed on a screen behind them.  You can follow the tweetchat here - you're entering the room "fem2." I'm now at the first breakout session, a panel including RH Reality Check's Amanda Marcotte and Cristina Page, called "Roe Is Safe - Now What?" Amanda Marcotte points out that because Roe is considered safe, because Obama will not appoint a Supreme Court justice will not vote against it, we've lost one of the story lines that helps us get our issue into the mainstream news.  Mainstream media aren't necessarily going to pick up on ...

More Than Two Children = "Environmentally Irresponsible"?
Reproductive Health | RHRealityCheck.org - Information, News, Analysis, and Commentary
February 2nd, 2009
Editor's Note: Please welcome RH Reality Check's new blogger, Joe Veix! Joe is joined by three other young bloggers - Micah Steffes, Kathleen Reeves, and Elisabeth Garber-Paul -  each of whom will offer their perspectives in our Real Time Blog every week. On Sunday, Jonathon Porritt, chairman of England?s Sustainable Development Commission, said that couples who have more than two children are environmentally ?irresponsible.? The issue of overpopulation is loaded and complex, and puts the well-being of human existence at stake. Our environmental footprints are already large, even for the most sustainable of us, and having children further eats up our dwindling natural resources.Mentioning overpopulation forces us to think of possible ...

How Contraceptives Factored into the Economic Stimulus Plan
Our Bodies Our Blog
February 2nd, 2009
One of the contentious points in President Obama's $825 billion stimulus plan has been the $200 million allocated for expanding birth control coverage under Medicaid."How can you spend hundreds of millions of dollars on contraceptives?" Republican Minority Leader John Boehner of Ohio said on Friday. "How does that stimulate the economy?"Alas, Obama today headed to ...[This is a content summary only. Click the headline to visit Our Bodies, Our Blog for the full post, links, other content and more!]

Political Diagnosis: The Week in Women?s Health
Our Bodies Our Blog
February 2nd, 2009
Each week, Our Bodies, Our Blog will take a look at what's happening in Washington and in the new Obama administration related to women's health and well-being. This first week included major highs and lows:President Obama signed his first piece of legislation today -- the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. ...[This is a content summary only. Click the headline to visit Our Bodies, Our Blog for the full post, links, other content and more!]

Expanding the Female Condom Market
Our Bodies Our Blog
January 26th, 2009
Guest post by Audacia Ray, International Women's Health CoalitionDemand for newer and better devices that protect against pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections is constant -- partly due to the fact that the process of development, testing and approval takes forever, and partly because what?s on the market often leaves something ...[This is a content summary only. Click the headline to visit Our Bodies, Our Blog for the full post, links, other content and more!]

Weekly Feminist Reader
Feministing
January 26th, 2009
What a week! Obama does away with the Global Gag Rule and announces plans to do the same for Gitmo. Isn't winning elections fun??Roe v. Wade was decided 36 years ago. Jamelle writes, "I'm not terribly interested in living in a world where women die for the "crime" of trying to control their own futures." earlgreyrooibos asks Obama to make contraception and sex education more accessible. Cara on how abortion intersects with the issue of sexual violence. Over at her place, Shark-Fu writes, "The existence of Roe v Wade doesn't automatically make pro-choice activists out of everyone. It does, however, give those of us who do give a damn something to fight for...to build on...and to defend." PLUS, Our Bodies, Our Blog has a link roundup, and ...

An Immodest Proposal
Scarleteen
January 26th, 2009
Just last Tuesday, right down the street from you, or perhaps even right where you live, two teenagers had sex for the very first time, and it was exactly as we all wish those first experiences to be.read more

Report Describes Concerns Over Treatment of Detained Women Immigrants
Our Bodies Our Blog
January 23rd, 2009
A report released this month by Southwest Institute of Research on Women and the James E. Rogers College of Law at the University of Arizona expresses concerns about the treatment of women held in immigration detention centers in Arizona.The report, "Unseen Prisoners" (PDF), describes conditions in three Arizona facilities. The ...[This is a content summary only. Click the headline to visit Our Bodies, Our Blog for the full post, links, other content and more!]

Roe v. Wade Marks 36th Anniversary: Round-Up of Political News, Blog Posts and Remembrances
Our Bodies Our Blog
January 23rd, 2009
Today is the 36th anniversary of Roe v. Wade. Here's a look at what's happening in the news and online.Live Blog: Pro-Choice Messaging's New Wave or Passing Ship?: Head over to RH Reality Check at 3 p.m. (EST) today for a live blog discussion about messaging and the reproductive rights ...[This is a content summary only. Click the headline to visit Our Bodies, Our Blog for the full post, links, other content and more!]

Roundup: He Will Repeal the Global Gag Rule, Right?
Reproductive Health | RHRealityCheck.org - Information, News, Analysis, and Commentary
January 23rd, 2009
He's Still Going to Repeal the Global Gag Rule, Right?The thirty-sixth anniversary of Roe came and went with noword from the White House repealing the global gag rule, frustratingthe hopes of many women's health advocates.  Does this mean PresidentObama won't take swift action on the gag rule?  He will do so "soon," reports Laura Meckler in the Wall Street Journal.  But not, as tradition dictates, on the Roeanniversary.  According to Meckler, Obama is pursuing a strategy of"defusing emotional political debates: "President Obama was breakingwith the tradition set by his recentpredecessors to make an abortion-related order on the anniversary ofthe Supreme Court ruling, another example of his attempt to supportliberal policies he believes in ...

Why Roe isn't enough
Feministing
January 23rd, 2009
Check out this piece at RH Reality Check today. Emily asked two questions of reproductive rights and justice advocates about the Roe anniversary. The first, what does Roe mean to you and the people you work with, and the second, is Roe enough? Here are my answers:For the women we work with, many of whom come from countries in Latin America where abortion is still criminalized, Roe has the potential to have a huge impact on their lives. Roe has the potential to make reproductive health services just like any other healthcare need a woman has, it has the potential to make a usually clandestine procedure safe and accessible. Unfortunately for them, the Roe decision has been weakened and diluted by subsequent legislation. The Hyde ...

When The Money Runs Out: Abortion Funds Struggling
Reproductive Health | RHRealityCheck.org - Information, News, Analysis, and Commentary
January 14th, 2009
Readingthe news these days is more depressing than usual in Richmond, Virginia.Headlines even in our notoriously conservative local paper tell a tale ofstruggle for the working class and poor. The foreclosure rate was up 805percent in the second quarter of 2008 as compared to 2007, and the rate ofunemployment is the highest it's been in years, according to the VirginiaPoverty Center. As an advocate for the women of Richmond, I see these numbers in terms ofwomen's lives: how are women who struggle coming up with the money forthe day to day necessities so many of us take for granted, like food orshelter? Are they making it at all?I knowthe answer to these questions and more, because I am a part of the Richmond Reproductive Freedom Project, ...

Teens Take Virginity Pledges - And Then Have Sex?
Reproductive Health | RHRealityCheck.org - Information, News, Analysis, and Commentary
January 14th, 2009
In the January issue of Pediatrics, the journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, there's a new study from Janet Rosenbaum of Johns Hopkins University about the effects of virginity pledges on sexual behavior.   So how do these commitments to abstain until marriage affect sexual behavior?  Do teens who pledge to abstain have less sex than their compatriots?  Nope.  Do they wait longer to have sex?  Nope.  So what's the effect?  Teens who take virginity pledges are significantly less likely to use the Pill or condoms than their non-pledging peers.  Color me unsurprised.  ResearchersBearman and Bruckner have looked into virginity pledges twice before.  In 2001, they found that when compared to the general population, teens who take ...

Double Dose: More Proof Virginity Pledges Don?t Work; Genetic Testing and Ambiguity; Cut Health Care Costs, Not Care; The Year in Medicine ?
Our Bodies Our Blog
January 8th, 2009
Well, it Wasn't All Bad: "Although the number of uninsured and the cost of coverage have ballooned under his watch, President Bush leaves office with a health care legacy in bricks and mortar: he has doubled federal financing for community health centers, enabling the creation or expansion of 1,297 clinics ...[This is a content summary only. Click the headline to visit Our Bodies, Our Blog for the full post, links, other content and more!]

The Lie We Love
Reproductive Health | RHRealityCheck.org - Information, News, Analysis, and Commentary
January 8th, 2009
We all know the story of internationaladoption: Millions of infants and toddlers have been abandoned ororphaned?placed on the side of a road or on the doorstep of a church,or left parentless due to AIDS, destitution, or war. These little onesfind themselves forgotten, living in crowded orphanages or ending up onthe streets, facing an uncertain future of misery and neglect. But, ifthey are lucky, adoring new moms and dads from faraway lands whisk themaway for a chance at a better life. Unfortunately, this story is largely fiction. Westerners have been sold the myth of a world orphan crisis. We aretold that millions of children are waiting for their ?forever families?to rescue them from lives of abandonment and abuse. But many of theinfants ...

gURLs sound off on sex ed at their schools
sex_ed_blog
January 8th, 2009
Writing this blog has taught me a lot about the situation inside America's "sex education" classrooms.Some of my knowledge has come from closely following the news on this topic, but plenty has also come directly from comments that you have left after the posts. I've really enjoyed reading them, so I thought I would share some highlights with you:ArielMeog says, "I live in North Carolina ... I can tell you loads of bull crap I got from the abstinence-only ed. It's the whole "girls give sex to get love, boys give love to get sex." They basically promoted the stereotypes that girls were weak and gullible while boys were unable to control their urges.In my ninth grade health textbook there was a load of information on drugs such as marijuana, ...

South Carolina may expand ultrasound law
Feministing
January 8th, 2009
It seems that trying to force women to view ultrasounds - because we're too stupid to know that when you get an abortion, you get an abortion - just isn't enough for some folks. Now anti-choicers want to decide where women view that ultrasound.Seven S.C. House lawmakers have prefiled a bill that would require women seeking abortions to be given a list of clinics and other facilities that provide free ultrasounds. That list could include pregnancy crisis centers -- many run by antiabortion groups -- that actively discourage abortion and encourage women to choose other alternatives.The bill expands upon the law the General Assembly passed this year that requires abortion providers to give women seeking an abortion the option of viewing an ...

what's the real reason behind teen pregnancy?
sex_ed_blog
December 11th, 2008
Thanks to the recent teen pregnancies of Jamie Lynn Spears and Bristol Palin, the issue of adolescents sporting baby bumps has been thrust into the mainstream spotlight.As a result, there has been a lot of discussion about the reasons behind this trend.Of the many people to throw his hat into the ring on this matter is NYU sociologist, Johnathan Zimmerman. In Zimmerman's view, the cause of teen pregnancy is directly related to poverty. As a result, he says, no amount of either comprehensive or abstinence-only sex ed will have any effect on the number of teen pregnancies.As he writes in the San Francisco Chronicle, "About two-thirds of teenage mothers live at or below the poverty line at the time they give birth. The less income and ...

Human Rights Day: Read it, learn it, promote it, claim it
Feministing
December 11th, 2008
Today is the anniversary of the passage of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights:Sixty years on, we pay tribute to the extraordinary vision of the Declaration's original drafters and to the many human rights defenders around the world who have struggled to make their vision a reality.The Declaration belongs to each and every one of us - read it, learn it, promote it and claim it as your own.During its "16 Days" series, MADRE, an amazing international women's rights organization, has been posting some great examples on their blog of women around the world who are taking this to heart. In Kenya, women established a village called Umoja ("unity") where violence against women is prohibited.In Colombia, in communities threatened by violence ...

Ten Things To Do Before You Have Sex
Reproductive Health | RHRealityCheck.org - Information, News, Analysis, and Commentary
December 8th, 2008
As a sexuality educator, I spend most of my time helping parents understand how to talk with theirchildren and teenagers about sex, sexuality, gender, and all of themyriad issues that go along with those things.  One question thatparents often ask me is how to make sure their teenagers are ready tohave sex.  Putting aside issues of whether parents should have substantial input andcontrol over their teenager's sexual activities, I found that parentswere relying on goals that were far too vague.  Parents want to makesure that their teenagers are mature enough, have good communicationwith their partners, understand the health and reproductiveconsequences, etc.One parent lamented that she and her daughter had (what the motherthought were) ...

Young Women Of Color Speak Out
Reproductive Health | RHRealityCheck.org - Information, News, Analysis, and Commentary
December 8th, 2008
New PEP research into young women of color and reproductive rights. The controversy over the HHS rules rages on, and do you know if your city is healthy for women? Subscribe to RealityCast:RealityCast iTunes subscriptionRealityCast RSS feedLinks in this episode:Pro-Choice Public Education Project Public News on HHS regs Public News on HHS regs, II Propaganda and PEPFAR funds Healthiest cities for women More on the scary, scary "hook-up culture"  On this episode of Reality Cast, I?ll be interviewing Aimee Thorne-Thomsen about the Pro-Choice Public Education Project?s new research into what young women of color are doing and thinking with regards to activism and sexual health.  Also, the controversy over the HHS redefining contraception as ...

one of my friends skips her period by taking her birth control pills a certain way. is this safe?
sex_ed_blog
December 8th, 2008
Q: One of my friends skips her period by taking her birth control pills a certain way. Is this safe?A: Generally, yes--but she should talk to her doctor if she plans on doing this regularly.Women can avoid their periods if they skip the last seven pills in a 28 day pack. Those pills don't contain hormones, so missing them won't put a girl at risk for pregnancy. When a girl does this, she can just start a new pack of pills as soon as she finishes the previous one.Another option is to get a prescription for a birth control pill called Seasonale. Seasonale works similarly to the method described above, but it designed so you only get your period four times a year, instead of twelve.And while I am sure you know this, I can't help myself from ...

Environmental Disasters in the Asia-Pacific: What About Reproductive Health in Emergencies?
Reproductive Health | RHRealityCheck.org - Information, News, Analysis, and Commentary
December 2nd, 2008
Climate change is one of the most prominent topics of discussion in recent times, with increasing recognition of its particular effects on women. For those engaged in post-disaster reconstruction, attention to reproductive health should be a primary concern. The Asia-Pacific region is indisputably one of the most vulnerable areas to climate-change induced disasters, as evidenced in recent time in Myanmar, China and Tsunami-affected countries. For pregnant women in this area, any environmental disaster severely limits safe delivery options, which in turn exacerbates pre-existing vulnerabilities to maternal death and disability. Access to contraceptives and other family planning is often interrupted or stopped altogether, which may lead to ...

What does feminism look on the web?
culturekitchen - fresh dissent served daily
December 2nd, 2008
I've always thought of the internet as a kitchen where every web page, every email, every embed is a menu of creative delicacies feeding the soul of our culture. Every image, every word, every interaction carries meaning for the post or page where it is found. Collectively, all those billions of moments are not just being archived for as long as the blog or website is in place. Together, they are transforming our consciousness -- the way we talk, the way we speak and, more importantly, the way we think of each other.When I started blogging in 2001, there were fewer than two-million blogs worldwide. Blogger was the biggest blogging platform and yet a work-in-progress for the little company that created it, Pyra. MovableType, Typepad's older ...

sex ed is a human right
sex_ed_blog
November 24th, 2008
These days, it's pretty hard to find scientific research proving the benefits of abstinence-only education. In fact, study after study has found that such programs fail to prevent teens from contracting STDs or getting pregnant, let alone having sex before marriage. But a conference held at Columbia University in New York found something else: Abstinence-only programs infringe on teens' basic human rights!The term "human rights" refers to the entitlements that all humans on the planet should be allowed to access in order to live with decency and freedom. Along with things like civil and political rights and equality before the law, the rights to health care and education are included as two very important human rights.Yet on some levels, ...

Transgender Day of Remembrance
Feministing
November 24th, 2008
Today is the International Transgender Day of Remembrance, when we stop and take note of the fact that transgender people are murdered at 10 times the rate of everyone else. And, as queenemily says, "Many of the dead lost their lives because they were trans women of colour, doubly disposable."Please take a moment to read about the people we memorialize today.At least thirty people, most of them women, were killed this year because of who they are, because of their gender. Cara points out that four of the people on this list were killed in the past 20 days alone. Writes Mercedes Allen at Bilerico:What's more chilling is what those numbers don't include. That number doesn't include the unknown numbers of transfolk killed alongside gay and ...

No Time to Waste: Women Leaders on Life in an Obama Era, Plus News on Health Care Reform
Our Bodies Our Blog
November 19th, 2008
The Real Deal, the blog of the National Council for Research on Women (and a new addition to our blogroll!), last week asked leaders of women's organizations to speculate how life might be different in an Obama era, that is: "more equitable, healthier, more secure -- for women and girls."The ...[This is a content summary only. Click the headline to visit Our Bodies, Our Blog for the full post, links, other content and more!]

The System is the Problem: Where the U.S. Ranks on Infant Mortality
Our Bodies Our Blog
November 19th, 2008
"President-Elect Obama's healthcare reform proposals have focused intensely on two key questions: How much would reform cost and how many people would be covered? He also must address the critical issue of why the United States has such poor health outcomes despite all the money we spend," write Judy Norsigian, ...[This is a content summary only. Click the headline to visit Our Bodies, Our Blog for the full post, links, other content and more!]

Reproductive Rights - Indivisible, With Liberty and Justice For All
Reproductive Health | RHRealityCheck.org - Information, News, Analysis, and Commentary
November 19th, 2008
Reproductive rights activists around the country celebrated the decisive defeat at the ballot box on November 4 of attempts to ban or limit abortion rights in South Dakota, Colorado, and California.Unfortunately, four other ballot initiatives--to ban gay marriage andadoption by unmarried couples--succeeded. These initiatives--inCalifornia, Arkansas, Arizona, and Florida--were defeats not only forthe gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender, or GLBT community, butalso for the reproductive rights community and for anyone who believesin freedom, equality, and fairness.Reproductive rights mean more than the right to terminate apregnancy, as explained in the Center for American Progress's 2006publication, "More Than a Choice."In fact, a ...

Election Round-Up - Reproductive Rights Edition
Our Bodies Our Blog
November 11th, 2008
Good morning, readers! By now you all know that Barack Obama is our President-Elect. However, a number of specific reproductive health issues were up for a vote in this election - RH Reality Check has great coverage of the fate of anti-choice ballot initiatives in this election (links below), 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!]

One Girl's Story of Living with HIV
Reproductive Health | RHRealityCheck.org - Information, News, Analysis, and Commentary
November 11th, 2008
When she was seventeen years old, Gabrielle's* life took two drastic turns: she became pregnant, and subsequently, during a routine blood test, discovered that she was HIV-positive.  In a series of news features being published by the Jamaica Gleaner, we are able to track some of Gabrielle's experiences over the past two years: from losing the father of her child to the disease; to giving birth to a healthy son; and subsequently meeting her current boyfriend (also HIV-positive), and becoming pregnant again.  The series of articles, "The Reality of HIV/AIDS - Diary of an HIV-Positive, Pregnant Girl" gives us a glimpse into a largely hidden world, highlighting some of the challenges faced by pregnant teenagers, in particular those that are ...

teens having fewer abortions, but why?
sex_ed_blog
November 11th, 2008
The Guttmacher Institute, a research and education organization dedicated to advancing sexual and reproductive health, just released a study on abortion. One of the main findings was that adult women are having abortions at a significantly higher rate than are teens. As the report states, "Over the past three decades, the proportion of abortions obtained by teens has dropped steadily, from 33% in 1974 to 25% in 1989 to 17% in 2004. In 2004, more than half of all abortions (57%) were obtained by women in their twenties. Teen abortion rates have also declined?by more than 50%?from 42 per 1,000 women aged 15?19 in 1989 to 20 in 2004. A large part of the decline in abortion among teens?which began long before abstinence-only sex education ...

Double Dose: Health Insurance Shifts from Employer-Based to Individual Market; Pharmacy Refuses to Sell Birth Control, and in Virginia, That?s OK; ?Free to Be You and Me? Turns 35; 2009 Sheroes; Sexy Costumes ?
Our Bodies Our Blog
October 31st, 2008
The New Health Insurance Model: In the first of a three-part series, the L.A. Times looks at the changing insurance scenario -- where once working Americans could rely on employer-based benefits, now more people are being forced into the individual market, where coverage is costly, bare-bones and precarious.Part two looks ...[This is a content summary only. Click the headline to visit Our Bodies, Our Blog for the full post, links, other content and more!]

The Future of Sexual and Reproductive Health
Reproductive Health | RHRealityCheck.org - Information, News, Analysis, and Commentary
October 31st, 2008
Ask the average American their thoughts on the economy, the effects of the leadership over the last eight years, and what needs to be done to remedy the fiscal spiral we've wound up with and they'll likely ramble off any number of opinions related to the yo-yoing stock market, home foreclosures, or progressive taxation vs. tax cuts for all. We're now a nation of economists and we all know which policies we want put in place in the coming weeks and months, after a new administration is voted in.  Pose a similar question to the average American about reproductive and sexual health care and, though these issues affect every American just as deeply as the economy, it's doubtful you'd get much more than a tirade on their anti- or pro-choice ...

intersex conditions
sex_ed_blog
October 31st, 2008
Sometimes the human body does exactly what we expect. Other times it decides to go a different route. One example of this is intersex conditions.The term intersex is a relatively new one and it?s used to describe people whose genitals and reproductive organs don?t look or act typically male or typically female.In the past, the word hermaphrodite was used in this context. These days, however, a lot of folks find that term inaccurate and offensive. That?s because, technically, a hermaphrodite is able to reproduce without a sex partner. Though snails and seahorses can do this, it's simply not possible for humans. In fact, a lot of intersex condition leave people infertile--a far cry from the ability to impregnate oneself.Most intersex ...

Women Charged More for Identical Health Insurance
Feministing
October 31st, 2008
A bunch of conscientious readers have sent us the link to a really depressing article in today's New York Times about economic differentials for women and men when it comes to health insurance costs--and, no, not just because we're the ones that bear the babies. It reads, "In general, insurers say, they charge women more than men of the same age because claims experience shows that women use more health care services. They are more likely to visit doctors, to get regular checkups, to take prescription medications and to have certain chronic illnesses."Seriously? Is our health care system so broken that when women actually use it, it discriminates against them? This is deeply troubling. Health care is a human right. Every woman in this ...

Reality Check: Stem Cell Research
Reproductive Health | RHRealityCheck.org - Information, News, Analysis, and Commentary
October 22nd, 2008
What are stem cells? What's the difference between embryonic stem cells and adult stem cells? How are they created? Amanda answers all of your scientific and political questions about stem cells and stem cell research and clears up the confusion! YouTube version.  Check out the rest of our Reality Check video series: You've heard them before. Abortion is "convenient" and "allows women to shun motherhood." How about this one? The "abortion industry" uses women to make money. Amanda shatters all of our favorite stereotypes put forth by the anti-choice movement and offers up her usual dose of reality!. . . . . What does "pro-life" mean anyway? Aren't we all pro-life? Amanda dissects anti-choice frames for emotional manipulation and ...

CDC Denies Intent to Force HPV Vaccination of Immigrants
Our Bodies Our Blog
October 16th, 2008
A number of bloggers have written over the past month about a new requirement that immigrants seeking permanent legal status in the United States must receive the HPV vaccine. The requirement is troublesome for a number of reasons, including the lack of an opt-out provision (in contrast to requirements for ...[This is a content summary only. Click the headline to visit Our Bodies, Our Blog for the full post, links, other content and more!]

time magazine takes on teen girls
sex_ed_blog
October 16th, 2008
Time Magazine recently published a really interesting article called, The Truth About Teen Girls and for once, I don't think the title is too far off.The piece contrasts myths (teen pregnancy is a growing trend; oral sex is the new French kissing; watching TV makes girls have sex) with reality (teen pregnancy has declined over the past 15 years, most kids who do oral are already sexually active, TV is more likely to lead to body image issues than sexual activity). As the author says: "Like steak-house owners trying to raise vegetarians, we idealize youth and sexiness but recoil if our young want to be sexy. What has complicated things recently is that girls are literally getting older younger. Their bodies are hitting physical maturity ...

National Latino AIDS Awareness Day
Feministing
October 16th, 2008
Today is National Latino AIDS Awareness Day. HIV/AIDS is the third leading cause of death among Hispanic men ages 35 to 44 and the fourth leading cause of death among Hispanic women in the same age group.In honor of NLAAD, check out Ambiente, a bilingual online Latino LGBT publication.

Insurance Obstacles for Women: Best Not to Get Sick or Pregnant
Our Bodies Our Blog
October 8th, 2008
The National Women's Law Center has released a new report, "Nowhere to Turn: How the Individual Health Insurance Market Fails Women," and is hosting a webinar on Thursday, Oct. 16, to discuss the findings. Register here.The majority of women (and men) are covered either by their employers or through Medicare ...[This is a content summary only. Click the headline to visit Our Bodies, Our Blog for the full post, links, other content and more!]

New York Times on Advocating for Your Health
Our Bodies Our Blog
October 8th, 2008
The New York Times recently published a special series to help individuals advocate for their own health. The series included information on reliable health information websites, patients' use of the Internet for self-education about their symptoms and diagnoses, how to understand a medical research report, what FDA approval really means, ...[This is a content summary only. Click the headline to visit Our Bodies, Our Blog for the full post, links, other content and more!]

before birth control was legal
sex_ed_blog
October 8th, 2008
It sounds kind of crazy, but until the 1960s there were actually places in the United States where it was against the law to use birth control!This was partly thanks to the work of a man named Anthony Comstock. Comstock was a conservative moral crusader from Connecticut who fought to make giving out information on birth control a crime in the 1870s. His mission worked in his favor and anti-birth control laws were passed around the country. As a result, women--who hadn't had good birth control options to begin with--now had even fewer birth control options. In this climate, many resorted to ineffective and even dangerous methods of pregnancy prevention. In this climate, many resorted to ineffective and even dangerous methods of pregnancy ...

US Abortion Rate Lowest Since Legalization; Racial Disparities Persist
Reproductive Health | RHRealityCheck.org - Information, News, Analysis, and Commentary
September 23rd, 2008
The 2004 abortion rate in the United States is the lowest ithas been since national legalization, but the overall rate masks starkdisparities in the abortion rate among different racial and ethnic groups, astudy released today by the Guttmacher Institute found.  Hispanic women obtained abortion at a ratethree times the rate of non-Hispanic white women; the rate among black womenwas five times the rate of non-Hispanic white women.  But abortion rates have fallen since 1980 forall racial and ethnic groups - white women saw a drop of 30%, Hispanic women20%, and black women 15%. Why the dramatic racial disparities? "Behind virtually everyabortion is an unintended pregnancy. And because women of color are much morelikely to experience ...

the girls who slip through the cracks
sex_ed_blog
September 23rd, 2008
For a number of years I taught sex ed in the Bronx. We were constantly reminded that kids who lived in our zip code were at extremely high risk for both HIV and pregnancy, and so our goal was to prevent these things from occurring. Year after year, I was proud when the majority seemed to be staying safe. But the thing was, despite living in a "risky" zip code, the kids I saw weren't really the kids who were most likely to end up in serious trouble. The teens I worked with were the ones getting services. They were the ones with parents who signed them up for an after school program. They were the ones who came back day after day even though the older they got, the less cool that was. They heard whatever message it was that we were trying to ...

does the rhythm method work?
sex_ed_blog
September 18th, 2008
Question: My sex ed teacher taught my class about the rhythm method. Does this really work? Can you avoid getting pregnant if you know when you're ovulating?Answer: Let me tell you a little story about the rhythm method. A few years ago, I went out with some friends of mine, Dean and Nancy. Over appetizers they informed me that they had exciting news: Nancy was pregnant. Then they informed of some startling news: It was my fault. "Excuse me?" I yelped. "Yup," said Dean. "We were using the rhythm method from the Planned Parenthood website, just like you told us to." Nancy and Dean were joking about the pregnancy being my fault, of course. But it was true, when they had asked what I thought of the rhythm method, I had directed them to the ...

what defines "virginity"?
sex_ed_blog
September 18th, 2008
h1t5e4 says, "I don't believe in the whole 'losing your virginity' thing. I know that sounds weird, but let me explain. I don't think that by having any kind of sexual experience you lose something, I think you gain something. You gain that experience and learn about yourself and maybe get a stronger connection with that person. But you don't get rid of anything. "It's all up to you. I think you could have sex with a guy that and still be a 'virgin' (or whatever you wanna call it) if it didn't mean anything to you, and you can be with a girl and not be a virgin." What do you think? Leave a comment below. Or, if you want to join the discussion on the boards, go to the when girls like girls board.

Health care is a feminist issue
Feministing
September 18th, 2008
Doctor's office waiting room, uploaded by Flickr user TheConsumeristI'll admit it: I find the debate over health care in America incredibly confusing at times. What I do know is pretty simple. I know that people don't have a right to health care in this country, which is appalling. I know that navigating our current system and getting quality care is a huge headache, even for the privileged and knowledgeable. I know that low-income people, those with nontraditional work situations, immigrants, and people of color have an even tougher time finding and paying for care.And I know that health care is a feminist issue. Because women are more likely than men to go without needed care. Because nearly twice as many women as men access health care ...

do you know if medicaid pays for abortions?
sex_ed_blog
September 11th, 2008
Question: Do you know if Medicaid pays for abortions? Answer: It depends on where you live. In some states it does and in others it doesn't. I know where I live, in New York, Medicaid not only covers abortions, but if a woman is under 21, she can get something called "Emergency Medicaid" if she isn't able to pay for the procedure. This can be applied for on the spot, but it is a pretty unique program and in most states the process is a lot more complicated. So why isn't abortion always covered? Largely, this is due to something called the Hyde Amendment. This amendment passed in 1976 and it determines what abortion services are covered under Medicaid. Until the Hyde Amendment passed, Medicaid covered abortions, just like it covered almost ...

Time to Say No to Abstinence-Only
Reproductive Health | RHRealityCheck.org - STI/HIV/AIDS Prevention
September 11th, 2008
Lastweek, the announcement that Governor Palin's daughter is pregnant reigniteda national conversation about teenage pregnancy that was first sparked earlier in theyear by Jamie Lynn Spears and the film Juno. The issue of teen pregnancy deserves more thanfleeting tabloid coverage.  It needs sustainedattention and action. Eachyear, 750,000 adolescents in the U.S. become pregnant - far more than in most other industrialized nations - and 82 percent of such pregnancies are unintended. In addition to potential risks to the healthof both the mother and her child, pregnancy at a young age can severely limit ayoung woman's ability to complete her education - and subsequently tofind a well-paying job. Yet,rather than addressing this critical ...

Justice Ginsburg Reflects on Roe v Wade Today
Reproductive Health | RHRealityCheck.org - Information, News, Analysis, and Commentary
September 2nd, 2008
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was honored by the Veteran Feminists of America this summer in "A Salute to Feminist Lawyers 1963-1975," held on June 9 at the Harvard Club in New York City. While the tribute to Ginsburg especially reflected on her packed career as a lawyer from 1969 to 1980 in seeking legal redress for sex discrimination, Ginsburg also answered audience questions, including ones on the health of Roe v. Wade today.  Below are her informal comments about the state of reproductive freedom. To one question about the prospects and future of Roe v. Wade, Justice Ginsburg responded: "People tend to think that Roe v Wade has to be preserved at all costs.  What has to be preserved is the right of a woman to have ...

it's a fact: teen sex doesn't always end in disaster
sex_ed_blog
September 2nd, 2008
If you listen to a lot of the chatter out there, it would seem as if sexually active teens were the equivalent to lighted sticks of dynamite: disasters waiting to happen (as illustrated by Gossip Girl). There are a few reasons people feel this way:One is the moral belief that sex should only happen between a married man and woman. This logic holds that since most teens aren't married, they shouldn't be having sex. Another is that people worry about teens' emotional states. They fear that teens are too immature to handle sex and will be devastated when things don't go as they planned. Then there are serious health concerns. Teen pregnancy and the risk of contracting an STD are often cited as good reasons to urge teens not to have sex. Now I ...

Weekly Feminist Reader
Feministing
September 2nd, 2008
A kicker was booted from a high-school football team in Georgia because of her gender.A Pakistani senator defends the fact that women were buried alive in his district as "tribal custom."Monica Roberts has video interviews with Isis, the first trans contestant on Top Model.MzBitca has a plea: leave Amy Winehouse alone!A clearly innovative and forward-thinking family counselor goes on Oprah to tell women it's their fault if their husbands cheat.Broadsheet discusses a new blog, called What to Expect When You're Aborting.Katie Couric on how her nightly news hosting gig has been difficult.In These Times on why soldiers rape. And Col. Ann Wright has another piece on the possible cover-ups related to two female soldiers' suicides. ...

abstinence-only update: the good and the bad news
sex_ed_blog
August 28th, 2008
When it comes to the current state of abstinence-only education, there's good news and bad.The good news is that as of September, only 28 states will still be taking the government's abstinence-only money. By October, that number will drop even further to 26, when Iowa and Arizona opt out of the program. This means that in the past two years, 40% fewer states have been pushing the "no sex outside of marriage" party line. This drop is really significant when we consider that in 1998, when the program began, California was the only state that rejected the Title V funding that pays for such programs.The bad news is that because the majority of states still get Title V funding, plenty of you will be hearing some pretty crazy stuff come ...

Fight Bush's Proposed Anti-Birth Control Regulations!
Reproductive Health | RHRealityCheck.org - Contraception
August 4th, 2008
How would you feel if you called a federally-fundedfamily planning clinic and the person who answered the phone refused to make anappointment for you until you prove that you're married? How would you feel if you asked for emergency contraception at a public health clinic and were told bythe public health nurse that you have to go somewhere else because Plan B isthe same as having an abortion? What if these employees were protected byfederal regulations so they couldn't be fired, transferred, or disciplined? TheNew York Times recently uncovered that the Department of Health and HumanServices is draftingregulations that would "prohibit discrimination" against certain health careemployees who refuse to deliver contraceptives because of ...

can i go to the gyno without telling my mom?
sex_ed_blog
July 25th, 2008
Question: I want to go to the gynecologist without telling my mom. How can I find a doctor and make an appointment on my own? Does it cost money?Answer: I wish I could give you a quick one sentence answer like, "Sure you can and nope it won't cost a dime." But if you live in the United States, that's not usually the way things play out for teens. So here is some information on seeing a doctor by yourself, a few stumbling blocks that can make it tough to do so and a couple ideas about how to get around these: Finding a Doctor: If you live somewhere with a teen clinic, or Planned Parenthood health center, making your own appointment should be fairly straightforward. You call, tell the receptionist why you want to come in and set it up. You ...

PPFA Chides Bush HHS on Abstinence-Only; Mainstream Media Silent
Reproductive Health | RHRealityCheck.org - Contraception
July 24th, 2008
RH Reality Check broke the story on Tuesday about the Bush Department of Health and Human Services end run on abstinence-only funding, and so far mainstream media is ignoring one more assault on sexual health and education by the Bush Administration. Other new media outlets like Truthout are following our coverage.Today, Planned Parenthood reached out to media on this important issue, hoping to stir more coverage with this statement: "On the way out the door, the Bush administration is once again caught misrepresenting the facts to push its own agenda," said PPFA President Cecile Richards.  "This latest announcement is nothing more than a gimmick and offers nothing new or different for states that want to provide effective programs to ...

An Outrageous Attempt by the Bush Administration to Undermine Women's Rights
Reproductive Health | RHRealityCheck.org - Women’s Rights
July 22nd, 2008
The BushAdministration is up to its old tricks again, quietly putting ideology beforescience and women's health. The U.S. Department of Health and HumanServices is poised to put in place new barriers to accessing common forms ofcontraception like birth control pills, emergency contraception and IUDs bylabeling them "abortion." These proposed regulations set to bereleased next week will allow healthcare providers to refuse to providecontraception to women who need it. We can't let them get away with thisunderhanded move to undermine women's health and that's why I am sounding thealarm.These rulespose a serious threat to providers and uninsured and low-income Americansseeking care. They could prevent providers of federally-funded ...

South Dakota abortion providers must tell women abortion terminates "life"
Feministing
July 21st, 2008
Oh South Dakota. You never cease to amaze.Starting Friday, doctors in South Dakota must tell women seeking abortions that the procedure ends a human life and may cause them psychological harm, the state attorney general said....The 2005 law requires doctors to tell women "that the abortion will terminate the life of a whole, separate, unique, living human being." Women also would have to be told they have a right to continue a pregnancy and that abortion may cause them psychological harm, including thoughts of suicide.So basically, they have to provide patients with false information. Nice. Planned Parenthood Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota is fighting back. "We remain optimistic that, in time, the court will find that the law is ...

Contra-bortion?
Reproductive Health | RHRealityCheck.org - Information, News, Analysis, and Commentary
July 16th, 2008
The Department of Health and Human Services proposed regulations that would allow any federal grant recipient to obstruct a woman's access to contraception. In order to do this, the Bush Administration is attempting to redefine many forms of contraception as abortion. HHS Moves to Define Contraception as Abortion, C. Page Will McCain Also...

Get Real! Real Sex Ed, That Is
Reproductive Health | RHRealityCheck.org - Information, News, Analysis, and Commentary
July 15th, 2008
It's not easy being a teen today ? especially when it comes to getting straight answers to your questions about sex and sexuality. RH Reality Check is thrilled to bring you Get Real!, Heather Corinna's teen sexual health advice column, now on RH Reality Check every Friday. Get Real! What Are Some of the Benefits of Having Sex? Get Real! When...

Republicans Call for an End to Planned Parenthood's Federal Funding
Reproductive Health | RHRealityCheck.org - Information, News, Analysis, and Commentary
July 15th, 2008
Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota called for the defunding of Planned Parenthood lastWednesday. In a "special order" floor speech organized by Bachmann andChris Smith, R-N.J., Bachmann called for an end to any federal moneyfor the network of reproductive health care clinics because PlannedParenthood offers abortion services....

Quick Hit: NY domestic violence law to cover dating relationships
Feministing
July 14th, 2008
This is great news:The new law would make it possible for people in dating relationships, heterosexual or gay, to seek protection from abusers in family court. As it stands, New York has one of the narrowest domestic violence laws in the country, allowing for civil protection orders only against spouses or former spouses, blood relations or the other parent of an abused person's child.

America's Next Top Misinformed Teenager
Reproductive Health | RHRealityCheck.org - Contraception
July 11th, 2008
Sultry summer night? Time for really, really bad TV.During the summer lineup, the characters get more wooden, the contestants moreoutlandish, the judges more rude.And for those viewers with a craving for locker roomconfrontations and math class drama, there are no popular teen programs on theair, leaving an eager audience for ABC Family's new show, "TheSecret Life of the American Teenager."But "Teenager" is not just another teendramedy: it's a poorly-scripted warning about the perils of unplannedpregnancy. The show centers around the lithesome and wide-eyed Amy who, afterher first, brief, not-clearly consensual sexual encounter, manages to getpregnant. But our heroine lacks the maturity to divulge her condition to herparents, the baby's ...

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