Wednesday, April 30, 2008
HealthDay News: Health Tip: Pre-Pregnancy Health for Men:
When trying to conceive, good health is important for both moms- and dads-to-be. Future fathers can help a couple's chances of having a healthy baby.
Here are a few pre-pregnancy suggestions for would-be dads, courtesy of the American Pregnancy Association:
- Visit your doctor for a general checkup.
- Talk to your doctor about any medications you are taking, to determine if any of them may affect fertility.
- Get plenty of sleep, and maintain a healthy diet. Be sure to get plenty of zinc and vitamin E.
- Stop drinking alcohol and smoking, and never use illegal drugs.
- Practice good testicular health. Avoid immersion in hot water (hot tubs or spas), long hot showers, or wearing briefs or tight pants.
- Avoid bicycling.
Tampa Tribune: Rejects Ultrasound Abortion Bill With Tie Vote, by Jerome Stockfisch:
TALLAHASSEE - The Florida Senate has rejected an effort to require women to have an ultrasound and view the image of the fetus before having an abortion.
The vote was 20-20 after an hour of emotional debate, meaning that unless a senator asks for the issue to be reconsidered, it is dead for this year's legislative session. The measure had passed out of the House.
The controversial abortion bill was a signature issue of Sen. Daniel Webster, R-Winter Garden, a conservative stalwart who is ending a 28-year legislative career. Republicans outnumber Democrats 26-14 in the upper chamber, but seven GOP senators voted against the bill. One Democrat voted "yes."
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
NY Times: Indian Prime Minister Denounces Abortion of Females, by Amelia Gentleman:
The Indian prime minister described the widespread practice of aborting female fetuses as a “national shame” on Monday, and called for stricter enforcement of laws devised to prevent doctors from helping parents to avoid the birth of unwanted daughters.
In his first speech on the subject, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh highlighted an “alarming” decline in the number of girls for every 1,000 boys in India, slipping to 927 in 2001 from 962 in 1981, according to the latest census figures. “This indicates that growing economic prosperity and education levels have not led to a corresponding mitigation in this acute problem,” he said.
NY Times: Cardinal Egan Says Giuliani Shouldn’t Have Received Communion From Pope, by James Barron:
Cardinal Edward M. Egan said on Monday that former Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani should not have received holy communion during the visit of Pope Benedict XVI because Mr. Giuliani supports abortion rights.
Cardinal Egan, head of the Archdiocese of New York, said in a statement that he and Mr. Giuliani had reached “an understanding” when he became archbishop in 2000 that Mr. Giuliani “was not to receive the eucharist because of his well-known support of abortion.”
Wash. Post/HealthDay News: Pre-Pregnancy Diabetes Rates Have Doubled, by Serena Gordon:
The number of women starting their pregnancies with type 1 or type 2 diabetes has doubled since 1999, but rates of gestational diabetes have stayed the same, new research finds.
In some age groups, the results were even worse. Researchers from Kaiser Permanente found that the number of teenagers who had diabetes before birth jumped fivefold....
Past research has focused on the number of women who develop diabetes during pregnancy, which is called gestational diabetes, and generally disappears after the baby is born.
The new study, which included 175,249 women who gave birth from 1999 to 2005, also included women with type 1 and type 2 diabetes. All of the women in the study were treated at one of 11 Kaiser Permanente hospitals in southern California. Fifty-two percent of the women were Hispanic, 26 percent were white, 11 percent were Asian/Pacific Islanders, and 10 percent were black, according to the study.
Preexisting diabetes -- type 1 or type 2 -- was found in 1.3 percent of all pregnancies. In 1999, the rate of preexisting diabetes was 0.81 per 100 births; by 2005, that number had jumped to 1.82 per 100 births.
But, during that six-year period, gestational diabetes rates remained nearly unchanged. In 1999, 7.5 women per 100 births had gestational diabetes; in 2005, it was 7.4 women per 100 births.
Katharine Wright (Nuffield Council on Bioethics) has posted Competing Interests in Reproduction: The Case of Natallie Evans on SSRN. Here is the abstract:
Under the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990, embryos created for IVF treatment can be stored and used only with the consent of both 'gamete providers' (biological parents). Natallie Evans, whose frozen embryos represented her last chance to bear a child genetically her own, fought in both the domestic courts and in Strasbourg for the right to continue with treatment despite the fact that her former partner had withdrawn his consent. This article analyses the legal issues in the case, both those relating to statutory construction and those based on human rights, and highlights some significant differences in approach despite the apparent unanimity of the courts in concluding that Ms Evans' claim must be dismissed.
Kansas City Star: Court tosses outs Kline subpoena for abortion reports from Planned Parenthood, by Diane Carroll:
Johnson County District Attorney Phill Kline lost his bid Monday to obtain state abortion reports, but he said that would not stop his criminal prosecution of Planned Parenthood.
At the request of the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, District Judge Stephen Tatum quashed a subpoena Kline served on the department on March 24.
Under the law, Tatum said, the information Kline sought can be disclosed only to the state attorney general or the state Board of Healing Arts for use in a criminal or disciplinary investigation.
“The court finds that the subpoena at issue here would require the disclosure of privileged or protected matter and that no exception or waiver applies,” Tatum stated. “As a result the court must quash the subpoena.”
Kline had subpoenaed 23 reports regarding late-term abortions performed in 2003 at Planned Parenthood’s Comprehensive Health clinic in Overland Park. He wanted the department to provide them or to authenticate a copy he already has from his investigation of Planned Parenthood while state attorney general.
Monday, April 28, 2008
Reuters: Chocolate may reduce pregnancy complication risk:
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Indulging in chocolate during pregnancy could help ward off a serious complication known as preeclampsia, new research suggests.
Chocolate, especially dark chocolate, is rich in a chemical called theobromine, which stimulates the heart, relaxes smooth muscle and dilates blood vessels, and has been used to treat chest pain, high blood pressure, and hardening of the arteries, Dr. Elizabeth W. Triche of Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut and colleagues write.
Preeclampsia, in which blood pressure spikes during pregnancy while excess protein is released into the urine, has many features in common with heart disease, the researchers add.
Lucinda Marshall writes on AlterNet:
Abortion is not an isolated issue of choice, but part of a complex set of issues that reproductive rights advocates need to address holistically.
Far too often, I have the nagging feeling that we're having the wrong discussion. About what? Pretty much darned near everything but none more so than the endless pro-life vs. pro-choice debate.
During a recent community conversation in Louisville, KY, Loretta Ross, the National Coordinator of SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Health Collective offered what I think is a far more productive framework for discussing the abortion issue. Ross posits that abortion is only part of the issue of reproductive health and rights, which she points out include not only the right not to have a child but also the right to have a child.
AUGUSTA, Maine - Gv. John Baldacci on Wednesday signed into law a measure that authorizes Maine pharmacists to provide certain medications to certified professional midwives for administration to mothers and newborns during home births.
Certified midwives — sometimes referred to as "lay" midwives to distinguish them from registered nurses with additional midwifery credentials — typically help women deliver their babies safely at home rather than in a hospital or other medical setting.
The medications specified in the new law include drugs that induce labor, injectable vitamin K to control bleeding, antibiotic eye drops for newborns, numbing agents to reduce discomfort when repairing skin tears after delivery, and oxygen. Midwives often obtain these medications from pharmacies through "friendly" doctors who write prescriptions for them or other means. The new law is intended to grant them the autonomy of purchasing the drugs independently.
"Katie is coming out of the mommy closet," Caroline (Maura Tierney) teases her sister Kate (Tina Fey) in the film "Baby Mama," out in theaters today. Kate, a hard-charging executive at a Whole Foods-like grocery chain, seems to have the perfect life -- except, oops, she forgot to have a baby. Cursed with a misshapen uterus, she turns to a surrogate agency, which assigns a wacky South Philadelphia girl, Angie Ostrowiski (Amy Poehler), to carry her baby.
Surrogacy itself seems to have come out of the mommy closet, to judge from recent media coverage. The New York Times and the Boston Globe have both reported on the practice of outsourcing wombs to poor Indian women. On a recent cover of Newsweek, the abdomen of a pregnant woman appeared with the words "Womb for Rent" emblazoned upon it. The issue's lead story, "The Curious Lives of Surrogates," ignited a small media frenzy with its sensationalistic revelations about military wives cashing in as surrogates -- in part by bilking their government-provided health plans.
April 28, 2008 in Assisted Reproduction, Bioethics, Culture, Fertility, Parenthood, Pregnancy & Childbirth, Public Opinion, Reproductive Health & Safety, Women, General | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
Via the Daily Women's Health Policy Report:
When asked about abortion and other topics during an interview with Lesley Stahl on CBS' "60 Minutes" Sunday, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia confessed "to being a social conservative" but said it "does not affect [his] views on cases," USA Today reports (USA Today, 4/25). "On the abortion thing, for example, if indeed I were ... trying to impose my own views, I would not only be opposed to Roe v. Wade, I would be in favor of the opposite view, which the antiabortion people would like to see adopted, which is to interpret the Constitution to mean that a state must prohibit abortion," Scalia said. When Stahl asked, "And you're against that?" Scalia replied, "Of course," adding that there is "nothing" in the Constitution to support that view (AP/Google.com, 4/24).
Sunday, April 27, 2008
Via Our Bodies Our Blog:
A new report commissioned by the Center for Health and Gender Equity (CHANGE) blames "bureaucratic obstacles, funding restrictions, and a lack of high level commitment to female condoms" for delaying the expansion of U.S.-funded female condom distribution efforts.
But the biggest deterrent -- for both male and female condoms -- lies within U.S. global policy concerning HIV prevention.
The report, "Saving Lives Now: Female Condoms and the Role of U.S. Foreign Aid," takes to task the U.S. Office of the Global AIDS Coordinator, which prioritizes condom promotion programs under the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) only for "high-risk persons."
Via the ACLU's Take Issue, Take Charge blog: Shelby Knox blogs the House Hearings Assessing Abstinence-Only Programs (4/24):
Shelby Knox grew up as a conservative Southern Baptist in Texas turned progressive activist and documentary film subject. She recently graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a degree in Political Science. Throughout her college career, Shelby traveled across the nation to speak to young people about the importance of comprehensive sex education and the power of youth activism, using the film that carries her name, The Education of Shelby Knox, as a vehicle for discussion. She currently lives in New York City and is a full time speaker and organizer working with progressive organizations to promote sex education, women’s rights, and youth empowerment.
Yesterday the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, chaired by the Honorable Henry Waxman, held the first ever oversight hearing on the effectiveness of abstinence-only-until-marriage programs – programs that have been around for 25 years and have received over a billion dollars in federal funding in the past 10 years alone. (For the Committee's website, which includes Waxman's opening statement and the testimony of all of the expert witnesses, click here.)
Womens eNews: Chile Birth-Control Case Spurs 'Apostasy' Planning, by Matt Malinowsky:
Chilean judges, siding with the Vatican, have dealt a major blow to the Bachelet government by ending free emergency contraception in public clinics. A women's rights group is organizing a mass renunciation of Catholicism to express their outrage.
SANTIAGO, Chile (WOMENSENEWS)--Hundreds of Chileans are planning to renounce their membership in the Roman Catholic Church on April 29 as an outcry against a major blow to the government's push for expanded access to contraception.
On April 18 Chile's Constitutional Court outlawed distribution of emergency contraception in public health clinics to women 14 and older, a policy implemented in September 2006 by the government of President Michelle Bachelet to lower teen pregnancy rates in a country where 15 percent of births are to women 18 or younger. Emergency contraception remains available in the nation's private pharmacies.
DesMoines Register: Governor signs law requiring some health plans to cover HPV shot, by Tony Leys (4/19):
Gov. Chet Culver signed a bill Friday that will require some health insurers to cover a cervical-cancer vaccine, but Culver said he doubts the state will ever require girls to get the shots.
Proponents say the vaccinations against human papilloma virus could save thousands of lives nationally because they stave off common infections that cause most cases of cervical cancer. But the idea of adding them to the list of required childhood shots has been controversial because the viruses are transmitted sexually.
National medical experts recommend that all girls receive HPV shots at age 11 or 12, before they become sexually active. Critics say the vaccinations could encourage promiscuity, which supporters deny.
Saturday, April 26, 2008
Reuters: FACTBOX: Abortion law around the world:
Britain will mark the 40th anniversary of the day the Abortion Act came into force on April 28, 1968.
Studies by the Guttmacher Institute and the World Health Organisation, published last October, show the number of abortions worldwide fell to less than 42 million in 2003 from 46 million in 1995.
The article gives an overview of abortion laws in some countries.
AlterNet: Catholics and Contraception, by Kathryn Joyce:
In the midst of the wall-to-wall press coverage of Pope Benedict XVI's visit to the U.S. last week, The New York Times paused to note that many American Catholics pay little heed to papal authority, and instead bestow on the pope a particularly American commendation: They'd love to sit down and chat with the man, Catholic to Catholic. However homey the image, a stained-glass rendition of the favored American method of choosing a president (sans beer), the Times also pointed out, in explaining the lack of official Church data on how Americans really feel about the authority of this or any pope, that the Church is not a democracy. And, despite how nonchalantly many Americans speak about the relevance of the Vatican on their lives, the effect of a hierarchy headed by a man who built his career on opposition to liberation and feminist theology is real, and renders liberal or pro-choice Catholics today dissenters criticizing doctrine from outside the Church.
Friday, April 25, 2008
Herald Tribune: Abortion bill in trouble:
A proposed law to require women to get an ultrasound before having an abortion in Florida appears to be in jeopardy.
The bill was supposed to be taken up in the Senate today after yesterday's debate was postponed. Its sponsor, Majority Leader Daniel Webster, R-Winter Garden, said discussion on the legislation "is not quite ready."
"By Monday or Tuesday when we take it up it'll be a lot different. I think we'll be starting kind of with a clean slate and everybody can ask questions again and we can go forward and have a big debate on it," he said.
But Democratic Leader Steve Geller said Webster does not have the 21 votes he needs for his bill to pass.
NY Times: S. Dakota to Revisit Restrictions on Abortion, by Monica Davey:
Voters in South Dakota this fall will once again be asked to consider a sweeping limit on abortion, the secretary of state announced on Friday. The new proposal is widely seen as a direct challenge to Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision that made abortion legal.
South Dakota found itself in a similar spot two years ago, when a ballot question on a broad abortion ban turned national attention on the state’s 780,000 residents during an emotional and expensive battle that lasted months and ended with the proposed ban’s defeat.
One element has changed in the question that will appear on the ballot this November: This time the ban includes some exceptions for rape, incest, or the life and health of the mother. Some South Dakotans said the absence of such exceptions led them to vote against the 2006 proposal, which lost by 56 percent to 44 percent.
If the measure is approved by the voters, South Dakota would have the strictest limits on abortion in the country, abortion rights advocates say. That would be nearly certain to lead to an immediate challenge in the courts.
See also: Minneapolis Star Tribune: 2 years later, abortion will again be on S.D. ballot, by Mary Lynn Smith.