Sunday, September 19, 2010

Some Montana GOP Members Exasperated by Policy to Make Same-Sex Intimacy Illegal

The Huffington Post: Montana GOP Policy: Make Homosexuality Illegal, by Matt Volz:

Montana flag At a time when gays have been gaining victories across the country, the Republican Party in Montana still wants to make homosexuality illegal.

The party adopted an official platform in June that keeps a long-held position in support of making homosexual acts illegal, a policy adopted after the Montana Supreme Court struck down such laws in 1997.

The fact that it's still the official party policy more than 12 years later, despite a tidal shift in public attitudes since then and the party's own pledge of support for individual freedoms, has exasperated some GOP members. . . .

September 19, 2010 in Politics, Sexuality, State and Local News | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

New Cases of HIV Have Dropped More Than 25% in Sub-Saharan Africa

BBC News: Sub-Sahara Africa leads global decline in new HIV cases:

AIDS in Africa UNAids said 22 countries in the world's worst affected region had seen a drop in new cases of more than 25%.

The fall was because of greater awareness and better use of preventative measures, it said.

But UNAids also noted that cases of HIV were increasing in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, and among gay men in developed countries.

Michel Sidibe, UNAids executive director, said the world was making "real progress" towards achieving the sixth Millennium Development Goal (MDG6) of halting and reversing the spread of HIV/Aids by 2015. . . .

September 19, 2010 in International, Reproductive Health & Safety, Sexually Transmitted Disease | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Flu Shot Recommended for Pregnant Women

The Huffington Post: Pregnant Women Urged to Get Flu Shots:

Flu Shot Flu season may not sound as scary for pregnant women this year as last – but they're still at high risk and need that shot, says a letter being mailed to thousands of health providers this week from some leading medical societies.

Any kind of flu is risky during pregnancy, for mother and baby. But last year's swine flu pandemic brought extra attention to the need for vaccination: Government data shows pregnant women account for only 1 percent of the population but represented 5 percent of swine flu deaths. . . .

September 18, 2010 in Medical News, Pregnancy & Childbirth, Reproductive Health & Safety | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Artifical Ovary Could Help With IVF & Fertility Preservation

Time Magazine: A New Artificial Ovary May Someday Boost Women’s Success with In Vitro, by Maia Szalavitz:

September 18, 2010 in Assisted Reproduction, Fertility, Medical News, Pregnancy & Childbirth | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Today Is The Third Annual National HIV/AIDS & Aging Awareness Day National HIV/AIDS and Aging Awareness Day, by Kathy Greenlee:

Red Ribbon Tomorrow, September 18, 2010, marks the 3rd annual National HIV/AIDS and Aging Awareness Day.  This special day provides us all with the opportunity to focus on the many challenges related to HIV prevention, testing, and treatment facing our aging population.  “Aging is a part of life; HIV doesn’t have to be,” the theme for this years National HIV/AIDS and Aging Awareness Day, reminds us that there is more we can do to make older Americans aware of HIV prevention and testing.  With 15% of all new HIV/AIDS cases occurring among people aged 50 and older, it’s clear that we can and must do more to inform individuals and service providers about the importance of educating older Americans. 

Increased prevention is one element of the call-to-action the National HIV/AIDS and Aging Awareness Day provides, but we must also focus on treatment and care. Research indicates that by 2015, half of the people living with HIV in the U.S. will be over age 50. As people live longer with HIV, we must continue to learn more about how to manage the longterm effects of HIV and how this intersects with the aging process and other common health conditions. Aging services providers and HIV care providers must work together to ensure that the special needs of these men and women can be effectively addressed in an integrated and collaborative fashion. . . .

September 18, 2010 in President/Executive Branch, Sexually Transmitted Disease | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

First School for Pregnant Teenagers Opens in Malasia

BBC News: School for pregnant teenagers opens in Malaysia, by Jennifer Pak:

Malaysia The first school for pregnant teenagers in mainly-Muslim Malaysia has opened, as part of an attempt to curb the rising number of abandoned babies.

Officials hope that the school in the southern state of Malacca will help young women to overcome the stigma of having children outside marriage.

As well as medical check-ups, students will receive religious counselling.

About 70 babies have been left on doorsteps, in rubbish bins and public toilets in Malaysia this year. . . .

September 18, 2010 in International, Pregnancy & Childbirth, Religion and Reproductive Rights, Teenagers and Children | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

House Committee Considers Bill Addressing Sex Trafficking of Minors Within the U.S.

Ms. Magazine: Hearing Held on Trafficking of Minors in US:

A hearing was held Wednesday by the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security that addressed sex trafficking of domestic minors within the United States. Currently, the committee is considering the Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking Deterrence and Victims Support Act of 2010, which is sponsored by Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney (D-NY). Witnesses at the hearing stated that as many as 100,000 to 300,000 children are victims of sex trafficking within the US annually.

According to Maloney's testimony (see PDF) at the hearing, the bill "would provide shelter and care for victims, including specialized counseling, clothing and other daily needs in order to keep victims from returning to the street. It creates a comprehensive, victim-centered approach to addressing the sex trafficking of minors. It also aims to ensure adequate resources for law enforcement and prosecutors to rescue victims and put pimps behind bars. Importantly, the legislation will strengthen deterrence and prevention programs aimed at potential buyers." The bill is unique because it focuses "exclusively on minor victims and increase[ing] the share of funding available for shelters. Lack of appropriate shelters often force law enforcement to send victims to juvenile detention facilities where there is no access to appropriate services or release them, knowing that they will likely end up back in the hands of their pimps." . . .

September 18, 2010 in Congress, Reproductive Health & Safety, Sexual Assault, Teenagers and Children | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, September 17, 2010

Open Letter from The Religious Institute Addresses Importance of Reproductive Freedom

Religious News Service: Open Letter Calls on Religious Leaders to Address Crisis of Maternal Mortality Worldwide, by Rev. Debra W. Haffner:

The Religious Institute today issued a call to the nation's religious leaders to raise a prophetic voice about maternal mortality worldwide and promote universal access to reproductive health services.

The Open Letter to Religious Leaders on Maternal Mortality and Reproductive Justice, developed by a group of clergy, theologians and ethicists recognizes that "access to sexual and reproductive health services is a matter of life and death." Every ninety seconds, somewhere in the world a woman dies from complications of pregnancy and childbirth. The Open Letter declares, "No woman should lose her life to create a new one." All women and men must have access to a full range of reproductive health services, including contraception, prenatal care, and safe abortion and post-abortion care. . . .

September 17, 2010 in Abortion, Contraception, Pregnancy & Childbirth, Religion, Religion and Reproductive Rights, Reproductive Health & Safety | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

WHO Report Shows Maternal Mortality Rates Will Not Meet Goal For 2015

Feminist Wire (Ms. Magazine): WHO Report Shows Maternal Mortality Rates Will Not Meet Millennium Development Goals:

The World Health Organization (WHO) announced in a report yesterday that although maternal mortality rates have decreased by 34 percent since 1990, the decline in the rate of pregnancy-related deaths is not on track to meet the Millennium Development Goal target for 2015. The report, which was published in conjunction with the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), and the World Bank, stated a need for greater investment in health systems and care quality. Currently, there are approximately 1,000 maternal deaths per day caused by easily preventable conditions that include severe bleeding after childbirth, infections, hypertensive disorders, and unsafe abortion. According to Reuters, the 34 percent decline since 1990 is a result of improved midwife training, family planning services, and increased access in some locales to hospital and clinical care for pregnant women. . . .

September 17, 2010 in International, Pregnancy & Childbirth, Reproductive Health & Safety | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Happy Constitution Day!


September 16, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Some Strains of Gonorrhea Showing Signs of Resistance to Antibiotics

MSNBC: Incurable gonorrhea may be next superbug, by Brian Alexander:

Some strains of STD showing signs of becoming resistant to all treatments

Gonorrhea An alarming new superbug may be on its way — an incurable form of gonorrhea. The disease, once easily killed with a shot of penicillin, is increasingly becoming drug-resistant. Soon, the world may face a version that can’t be killed by any known antibiotic, warned Catherine Ison, the director of the sexually transmitted bacteria reference library with the United Kingdom’s Health Protection Agency.

In recent years, as the disease has evolved, medications once proven to kill the bacteria have become less effective except one, a class of antibiotics called cephalosporins. Now some strains of gonorrhea are showing signs of being resistant to even that, Ison told those at a scientific meeting last week in Edinburgh, Scotland. . . .

September 16, 2010 in Medical News, Reproductive Health & Safety, Sexually Transmitted Disease | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Shelby Knox's U.S. Tour Promoting Safe Sex Education

Marie Claire: Shelby Knox Rocks the Feminist Movement:

The feminist organizer — and next Gloria Steinem — travels across the country to promote safe sex education.

September 15, 2010 in Sexuality Education, Teenagers and Children | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Abortion Clinic Reopens After Baton Rouge Judge Temporarily Blocks License Suspension Judge stays local abortion clinic's license suspension, by Melody Brumble:

A Shreveport abortion clinic has reopened after a Baton Rouge judge temporarily blocked the suspension of the clinic's license.

The Center for Reproductive Rights on Monday filed suit on behalf of Hope Medical Group for Women, which lost its license Sept. 3 after state health officials cited violations they considered an immediate danger to the health and safety of clients. A new state law gives the state Health and Hospitals Department the authority to take action immediately rather than giving a clinic time to correct violations.

The lawsuit claims the state's actions were unnecessary and unconstitutional. A hearing will be held Sept. 21 to determine whether the clinic can remain open while its legal claims are resolved. . . .

September 15, 2010 in Abortion, In the Courts, State and Local News, Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP) | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Lessons on Contraception Missing from Most Sex Ed Classes

SFGate: Sex ed for teens: birth control is still off-limits for some, by Erin Allday:

Education Nearly every American teenager has had sex ed classes by the time he or she leaves high school -- but only about two-thirds of teens are getting education about birth control, according to a report released today by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Girls are more likely than boys to get birth control lessons -- 70 percent of them are told about birth control methods in sex ed classes, compared to 62 percent of boys.

Girls are also more likely to talk to their parents about sex -- or at least their parents are more likely to lecture them about it. Half of teenaged girls reported talking to their parents about birth control, compared to 31 percent of boys. Nearly two-thirds of girls said they've talked to their parents about how to say no to sex -- only 42 percent of boys reported having had that conversation with mom or dad. . . .

September 15, 2010 in Contraception, Sexuality Education, Teenagers and Children | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Remembering Margaret Sanger on Her Birthday

Brooklyn Daily Eagle: On This Day in History: September 14 Birth Control Crusader Born, by Vernon Parker:

MargaretSanger-Underwood.LOC Margaret (Higgins) Sanger was born on September 14, 1879, the sixth of 11 children, in Corning, New York. Her father was a poor Irish tombstone cutter. Her mother died at the age of 48 of tuberculosis. When she was 17, Margaret came to New York. She married William Sanger, an architect; joined the Socialist Party and nursed tenants in the tenements of Manhattan’s Lower East Side.

On a hot, muggy day in July, 1912, Nurse Sanger was called to attend Sadie Sachs, 28, a mother of three who was near death from attempting to abort another child on the way. Sadie begged Sanger and the doctor to tell her what she could do to prevent having more babies. The doctor told her to tell her husband to sleep on the roof. When Sadie Sachs died three months later of another self-induced abortion, Margaret Sanger felt it was time to crusade for birth control. . . .

September 15, 2010 in Abortion, Contraception, Pregnancy & Childbirth, Sexuality Education | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Luminaries Criticize Pope's Visit to UK in Light of Vatican's Record on Contraception and Abortion

BBC News: Pope's state visit criticised in luminaries' letter:

More than 50 public figures have added their names to a letter in the Guardian newspaper saying the Pope should not be given the "honour" of a UK state visit

Vatican Authors Terry Pratchett and Philip Pullman and actor Stephen Fry are among those critical of the Vatican record on birth control, gay rights and abortion.

David Cameron has said the Pope's visit will be a "very special four days".

A Catholic spokesman said the prime minister's comments were an "excellent response to this open letter".

Pope Benedict XVI's visit to Scotland and England begins on Thursday.

Other signatories to the letter in the Guardian include: Professor Richard Dawkins, Ken Follett, AC Grayling, Stewart Lee, Claire Rayner, Lord Foulkes, Lord Hughes, Professor Steve Jones, Sir Jonathan Miller, Lord Taverne, Peter Tatchell and Baroness Turner. . . .

September 15, 2010 in Abortion, Contraception, International, Religion and Reproductive Rights | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Pres. of National Abortion Federation: Maryland Doctor Under Investigation Is Not Representative of State of Abortion Care

RH Reality Check: Don't Judge All Abortion Providers Based on the Case of Steven Brigham, by Vicki Saporta:

It is no surprise that abortion opponents are attempting to use the recent investigation of a Maryland clinic to depict abortion as unsafe and providers as unregulated. However, this case is not representative of the state of abortion care in Maryland or throughout the rest of the country.

Abortion is one of the safest medical procedures provided in the United States due in large part to the skill and expertise of abortion providers who offer high-quality care. However, Steven Brigham’s record makes it clear that he is not one of these providers. . . .

September 15, 2010 in Abortion, Anti-Choice Movement | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Study Suggests Smoking Can Harm Sperm

Bloomberg BuisnessWeek: Smoking Could Harm Sperm, Study Finds, By Alan Mozes:

Cigarette butt Other research suggests women who smoke while pregnant impair sons' fertility

THURSDAY, Sept. 9 (HealthDay News) -- Two new studies provide evidence that smoking can harm sperm - both in smoking men who may become fathers, and in sons born to women who smoked during pregnancy.

The research also suggests that both men and women who hope to conceive should kick the habit. . . .

September 14, 2010 in Fertility, Medical News, Men and Reproduction, Reproductive Health & Safety | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Despite Indian Supreme Court Ruling, "Finger Test" Still Used in India to Gauge Rape Victims' Sexual History

Association for Women's Rights in Development: Rape Victims Forced to Undergo “Finger Test” to Gauge Their Sexual History, by Tana Ganeva:

Here’s how some Indian doctors, lawyers and judges are going the extra mile to traumatize rape victims, according to a Human Rights Watch report:

… a doctor insert[s] fingers in a rape victim’s vagina to determine the presence or absence of the hymen and the so-called “laxity” of the vagina. These findings perpetuate false and damaging stereotypes of rape survivors as “loose” women. Defense attorneys use the findings to challenge the credibility, character, and the lack of consent of the survivors.

Though the Indian Supreme Court ruled that “evidence” from the finger test can’t be used against the victim, many doctors still perform the procedure: “The Indian government has yet to take steps to ensure that all states eliminate it. There are no nationwide guidelines or programs to standardize forensic examinations and to train and sensitize doctors, police, prosecutors, and judges to survivors’ rights." . . .

September 14, 2010 in In the Courts, International, Sexual Assault | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Iranian Women's Rights Activist Released from Prison on Bail

Feminist Wire (Ms. Magazine): Iranian Activist and Journalist Released From Prison:

Iranian women's rights activist and journalist Shiva Nazar Ahari was released from the notorious Evin Prison yesterday on approximately $500,000 bail. Ahari had been held since December 2009 on a number of charges, including "waging war against God," according to Radio Free Europe.

Ahari was arrested while traveling to attend the funeral of dissident cleric Grand Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri. According to Reuters, an Iranian opposition website reported that, while in prison, Ahari has spent more than 100 days in solitary confinement. . . .

September 14, 2010 in Incarcerated Women, International, Women, General | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)