Wednesday, December 31, 2008



December 31, 2008 in Miscellaneous | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Teenage New Year's Resolution? Maybe Not An Abstinence Pledge

Party_hat Teenagers searching for a good new year's resolution would do better than to make an abstinence pledge.  How about vowing to have sex only when they are ready, and then to do so safely?  We adults could help out by giving teens the tools they need to keep such a resolution, rather than keeping them in the dark about how to be sexually responsible.

Wash. Post: Premarital Abstinence Pledges Ineffective, Study Finds, by Rob Stein:

Teenagers Who Make Such Promises Are Just as Likely to Have Sex, and Less Likely to Use Protection, the Data Indicate

Teenagers who pledge to remain virgins until marriage are just as likely to have premarital sex as those who do not promise abstinence and are significantly less likely to use condoms and other forms of birth control when they do, according to a study released today.

The new analysis of data from a large federal survey found that more than half of youths became sexually active before marriage regardless of whether they had taken a "virginity pledge," but that the percentage who took precautions against pregnancy or sexually transmitted diseases was 10 points lower for pledgers than for non-pledgers.

December 28, 2008 in Sexuality Education, Teenagers and Children | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Jeanne Flavin on the Policing of Reproduction in the United States

Our Bodies, Our Crimes: The Policing of Women's Bodies in America (NYU Press), by Jeanne Flavin (Sociology, Fordham Univ.):

Our_bodies Panicked teenagers are prosecuted for abandoning or killing their newborns, but are not guaranteed comprehensive sexuality education or reproductive health services. Poor women are pressured not to procreate and urged to undergo sterilization. Women who are addicted to illicit drugs risk arrest for carrying their pregnancies to term. And more than 30 years after Roe, women still face barriers to obtaining a safe and affordable abortion including clinic violence and attempts to criminalize medically necessary procedures.

In Our Bodies, Our Crimes, Jeanne Flavin argues that, not only has the states control of womens bodies become more intrusive and more pervasive, it has also become invisible and taken for granted. This important work is framed around several vivid case studies, each taking place at a different time in the reproductive cycle. Through these disturbing examples, Flavin describes how the criminal justice system regulates women and their reproductive behavior from conception to childrearing.

December 27, 2008 in Pregnancy & Childbirth, Reproductive Health & Safety, Sexual Assault, Sterilization, Women, General | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

NY Times Editorial on Last-Minute HHS Religious Refusal Reg

NY Times Editorial: A Parting Shot at Women's Rights:

Michael_leavitt Undermining women’s reproductive rights and access to health care has been a pervasive theme of the outgoing administration. On his first full day in office, President Bush imposed the “global gag rule,” which prohibits taxpayer dollars from going to international family-planning groups that perform abortions using their own funds or that advocate for safe abortion laws.

So it was unsurprising, but still dismaying, that the secretary of health and human services, Michael Leavitt, chose to extend that dismal record at the last minute with yet another awful regulation. A parting gift to the far right, the new regulation aims to hinder women’s access to abortion, contraceptives and the information necessary to make decisions about their own health. What makes it worse is that the policy is wrapped up in a phony claim to safeguard religious freedom.

December 27, 2008 in President/Executive Branch, Religion and Reproductive Rights | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, December 22, 2008

Conference - Gender and the Law: Unintended Consquences, Unsettled Questions

Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study (Harvard University): Gender and the Law: Unintended Consequences, Unsettled Questions

Unsettled questions of gender and the law present a broad range of challenges in courtrooms, legislatures, and everyday lives. Laws meant to protect or promote gender equality may have unintended consequences, and laws that seem irrelevant to gender may nonetheless significantly impact gender issues. This conference will convene judges; legal practitioners; and scholars of law, the humanities, and the social sciences from around the world to explore the ways in which legal regulations and gender influence each other. From varying historical and cultural perspectives, participants will address legal encounters with gender in the essential spaces of daily life: the body, the home, school, work, the nation, and the world.

Thursday, March 12, 2009–Friday, March 13, 2009

Thursday 2–5 p.m., Friday 9 a.m.–5:30 p.m., Radcliffe Gymnasium, 10 Garden Street, Radcliffe Yard, 617-495-8600

This event is free and open to the public. Registration is required and begins on January 30, 2009.

December 22, 2008 in Conferences and Symposia, Culture, Sexuality, Women, General | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (6)

Call for Papers: Women, Incarceration and Human Rights

A Feminism and Legal Theory Project Workshop (Emory University School of Law): Women, Incarceration and Human Rights:

February 27-29th, 2009  Atlanta, Georgia

Prison From 1995 – 2006, the number of incarcerated women in the United States increased 64 percent making the U.S. the leading country for the incarceration of women. Today, with well over 1.7 million women in prison, nearly half are mothers. Policy makers, activists, academics from diverse disciplines are searching for ways to understand the causes, costs, and consequences of hyper incarceration of women. Further, legal scholars are faced with the challenge of finding the most effective analytical lens through which to consider this relatively new social phenomenon. The Feminism and Legal Theory (FLT) Project at Emory is convening a workshop to explore the issues facing incarcerated women, their children, families and communities. This workshop, offered in conjunction with Emory’s Race and Difference Initiative, highlights Rickie Solinger’s multimedia and photographic exhibits Interrupted Life and Beggars and Choosers, which will be in Emory’s Schatten Gallery during the workshop. The Solinger exhibits explore the intersection of race, class, and privilege as it relates to motherhood in the U.S. and the impact of incarceration on women and their families.

Submission Procedures:
We welcome papers from all disciplines. Abstracts of 200-300 words are due by 22 December 2008. Please email abstracts to Jan Sellem, Program Associate for the FLT Project: Authors will be informed of acceptance of proposals by 5 January 2009.


December 22, 2008 in Conferences and Symposia, Pregnancy & Childbirth, Scholarship and Research | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

New Magazine for Women in Litigation

The new "Sue Magazine" caters to female litigators:

Sue, For Women in Litigation has been created to promote a new generation of professionals who are making a significant impact on the world through their work and their lives-while being true to themselves.

Sue's readers are part of the growing coterie of America´s most influential women in litigation  who are redefining what constitutes success in the legal field in the 21st century.  And, we are proud to present them as regular contributors.

Sue's authors include Professor Laurie L. Levenson (Loyola Law School Los Angeles).

December 17, 2008 in Women, General | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Obama Team Reviewing Bush Admin.'s Last-Minute Health Care Reg

Wall St. Journal: Bush-Era Abortion Rules Face Possible Reversal, by Laura Meckler:

The outgoing Bush administration this week will finalize a regulation establishing a "right of conscience" allowing medical staff to refuse to participate in any practice they object to on moral grounds, including abortion but possibly birth control and other health care as well.

In transition offices across town, officials in the incoming Obama administration have begun considering how and when to undo it.

The regulation is one of a swath of abortion and other reproductive-health issues under review by the Obama team, which is preparing to reverse a variety of Bush measures, according to officials close to the transition....

December 17, 2008 in Politics, President/Executive Branch, Religion and Reproductive Rights | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

A Conversation with the Director of Stanford's Center for Human Embryonic Stem Cell Research & Education

NY Times: A Conversation With Renee A. Reijo Pera: Using Embryos to Put Fertility First, by Claudia Dreifus:

Embryos As director of Stanford’s Center for Human Embryonic Stem Cell Research and Education, Renee A. Reijo Pera, 49, a professor of obstetrics and gynecology, works at ground zero of the controversy over human embryonic stem cells. She uses human embryos to create new cells that will eventually be coaxed into becoming eggs and sperm. In other research, she has also identified one of the first genes associated with human infertility. The questions and answers below are edited from a two-hour conversation and a subsequent telephone interview.

December 16, 2008 in Assisted Reproduction, Bioethics, Fertility, Stem Cell Research | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Message from EngenderHealth on Global Gag Rule

Monday, December 15, 2008

FDA Panel Recommends Approval of New Version of Female Condom

Daily Women's Health Policy Report: FDA Panel Recommends Approval of New, Less Costly Female Condom:

Aids_ribbon An FDA advisory panel on Thursday voted 15-0 to recommend approval of the new, less costly version of the female condom developed by the Female Health Company, Reuters reports. Experts told the panel that the lower price of the new condom -- called the FC2 female condom -- could attract more women to the product and allow health organizations to increase distribution in an effort to curb the spread of HIV/AIDS, Reuters reports. Approval of the less costly version also could boost U.S. sales -- which accounted for 10% of the company's 34.7 million unit sales in 2008 -- Reuters reports (Heavey, Reuters, 12/11).

December 15, 2008 in Contraception, Reproductive Health & Safety, Sexually Transmitted Disease | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, December 12, 2008

Survey Indicates Many Teens Electronically Share Sexually Suggestive Images of Themselves

Press Release from the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy:

Large Percentage of Teens Posting/Sending Nude/Semi Nude Images.

Natl_campaign_logo_4 (Washington, DC) — One in five teen girls (22%)—and 11% of teen girls ages 13-16 years old—
say they have electronically sent, or posted online, nude or semi-nude images of themselves. 
According to the results of a survey released today by The  National Campaign to Prevent Teen
and Unplanned Pregnancy and, these racy images are also getting passed around:
One-third (33%) of teen boys and one-quarter (25%) of teen girls say they have had nude/semi-
nude images—originally meant to be private—shared with them.

The survey of 1,280 teens and young adults—conducted online by TRU, a global leader in
research on teens and 20-somethings—indicates that 15% of teens who have sent sexually
suggestive content such as text messages, email, photographs or video say they have done so with someone they only know online.

Read the full press release

Download the survey results.

December 12, 2008 in Culture, Sexuality, Teenagers and Children | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (3)

Vatican Issues Statement Condemning a Variety of Reproductive Technologies

Wash. Post: Vatican Condemns Cloning, Embryonic Stem Cell Research, by Michelle Boorstein & Rob Stein:

Vatican_2 The Vatican, in its first authoritative statement on reproductive science in more than 20 years, today condemned human cloning, designer babies, embryonic stem cell research that destroys human embryos and a host of techniques widely used to help infertile couples.

The sweeping 32-page document, which comes from the Catholic Church's highest rule-making authority and has the approval of Pope Benedict, warns about the moral dangers of a variety of procedures, including the freezing of unfertilized eggs and embryos, the injection of sperm directly into eggs, and the genetic testing of embryos to identify those with defects.

Although many of the arguments in "Dignitas Personae" -- Latin for "the dignity of a person" -- have been made before by Benedict and his predecessor, Pope John Paul, in public comments or writings, a church "instruction" from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith is far more authoritative. It reflects the Vatican's desire to focus attention on ethical questions raised by technologies that are becoming increasingly commonplace in the United States and elsewhere.

December 12, 2008 in Assisted Reproduction, Religion and Reproductive Rights, Stem Cell Research | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Planned Parenthood's Kansas Affiliate Challenges Kline's Retention of Patient Records

The Associated Press reported yesterday on the legal efforts of Planned Parenthood's attorney to prevent former Kansas Attorney General Phill Kline from taking copies of patient files with him when he leaves office.  Here's more background on the case from the Daily Women's Health Policy Report:

In October 2007, Kline filed 107 criminal charges against Comprehensive Health of Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri for alleged performance of illegal late-term abortions and alleged filing of falsified documents. Planned Parenthood of Kansas, which operates the clinic, requested that the Supreme Court intervene in the case on the grounds that Kline -- who was Kansas attorney general when he launched the investigation -- abused his power and obtained about three dozen records illegally. Kline's grounds for filing the criminal charges against the clinic were dependent on the records, according to the Capital-Journal.

December 11, 2008 in In the Courts, State and Local News, Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP) | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Supreme Court Heard Arguments Yesterday in AT&T v. Hulteen

NY Times: Justices Hear Bias Case on Maternity, Pensions and Timing, by Adam Liptak:

Scales_of_justice The argument of an employment discrimination case at the Supreme Court on Wednesday was full of references to one of the court’s more controversial decisions in recent years — the 2007 ruling against Lilly M. Ledbetter.    

Ms. Ledbetter lost her case because she had discovered the disparity between her pay and that of her male colleagues too late.

The later effects of past discrimination, the court ruled last year in Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company, a 5-to-4 decision, do not restart the clock on the statute of limitations. President-elect Barack Obama has supported efforts to overturn that decision in Congress.

The case that was argued Wednesday, AT&T v. Hulteen, No. 07-543, raised broadly similar issues. Noreen Hulteen and three other women took pregnancy leaves from AT&T from 1968 to 1976. When the company calculated their pension benefits on their retirements decades later, it did not give them full credit for the leaves.

December 11, 2008 in Pregnancy & Childbirth, Supreme Court | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

It's the 60th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Via the United Nations: Human Rights Day: Dignity and Justice for All of Us:

Udhrpage The universal declaration of human rights: A living document

Many things can be said about the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). It is the foundation of international human rights law, the first universal statement on the basic principles of inalienable human rights, and a common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations. As the UDHR approaches its 60th birthday, it is timely to emphasize the living document’s enduring relevance, its universality, and that it has everything to do with all of us. Today, the UDHR is more relevant than ever.

Read the full text of the UDHR.

December 10, 2008 in International, Miscellaneous | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Anti-Choice Advocates Take Aim at Planned Parenthood's Government Funding

Wall St. Journal: Abortion Foes Open a New Front, by Stephanie Simon:

Abortion opponents are pressing state and local governments to stop sending taxpayer dollars to Planned Parenthood, arguing that the nonprofit group has plenty of cash and shouldn't be granted scarce public funds at a time of economic crisis.

Planned Parenthood receives about $335 million a year -- a third of its budget -- from government grants and contracts to subsidize contraception, sex education and non-abortion-related health care for poor women and teenagers.

See also: Front Lines (Wall St. Journal blog): Activists Go Undercover at Planned Parenthood:

Planned Parenthood is facing renewed efforts from conservatives to cut off its government contracts and grants, as reported in today’s Journal.

But the nonprofit is also under siege from a new generation of YouTube activists who deploy hidden cameras, tape recorders — and subterfuge — to collect footage they hope will galvanize opposition to the nation’s largest abortion provider.

The most recent entry in this guerilla campaign comes from Lila Rose, a 20-year-old student at the University of California at Los Angeles who apparently has a gift for looking much younger than her years. Ms. Rose visited a Planned Parenthood clinic in Indiana, posing as a 13-year-old girl pregnant by her 31-year-old boyfriend.

For more on the UCLA student's "sting operation" and the issues it raises, see this post: Politicizing Statutory Rape Reporting Requirements.

December 10, 2008 in Anti-Choice Movement | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

WSJ Opinion Column on Alex Kuczynski's Surrogacy Piece

Wall St. Journal: Rent-a-Womb Is Where Market Logic Leads, by Thomas Frank:

At long last, our national love affair with the rich is coming to a close. The moguls whose exploits we used to follow with such fascination, it now seems, plowed the country into the ground precisely because of the fabulous rewards that were showered on them.

Massive inequality, we have learned, isn't the best way to run an economy after all. And when you think about it, it's also profoundly ugly.

Some people haven't received the memo, though. Take Alex Kuczynski, author of the New York Times Magazine cover story for Nov. 30, which tells how she went about hiring another woman to bear her child.

December 10, 2008 in Assisted Reproduction, Bioethics, Fertility, In the Media, Pregnancy & Childbirth | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Responses to Ross Douthat on the Republican Party and Abortion

The New York Times has published several letters responding to Ross Douthat's op-ed about the GOP and abortion.  You can find a link to the op-ed, and my own response to Douthat, here.

December 10, 2008 in Abortion, In the Media, Politics | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

NYT Public Editor Comments On Alex Kuczynski's Surrogacy Article

NY Times: The Privileged and Their Children, by Clark Hoyt:

...The magazine article about gestational surrogacy — a woman’s bearing the biological child of someone else — posed a very different issue. The facts were not in dispute. But the article focused almost totally on the wealthy Kuczynski and her feelings without giving a voice to Cathy Hilling, the substitute teacher who bore her son. The article glossed over their class and economic differences, but the accompanying photographs seemed to emphasize them. The cumulative impact struck some readers as elitist....

Via Julie Shapiro.  I posted an excerpt and link to Kuczynski's piece here.

December 9, 2008 in Assisted Reproduction, Bioethics, Fertility, In the Media | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)