Friday, October 29, 2010
The Huffington Post: High BPA Exposure Linked to Low Sperm Count, by Lindsey Tanner:
The study is the latest to raise health questions about bisphenol-A and comes two weeks after Canada published a final order adding the chemical to its list of toxic substances.
Whether the relatively low sperm counts and other signs of poor semen quality translate to reduced fertility is not known. Study author Dr. De-Kun Li, a scientist at the Kaiser Permanente Division of Research in Oakland, Calif., noted that even men with extremely low sperm counts can father children.
Thursday, October 28, 2010
East Valley Tribue: Judge won't block new Arizona abortion restrictions, by Howard Fischer:
A judge refused late Wednesday to block the state from enforcing new regulations this coming week that an attorney for the state's largest abortion provider said will impair the ability of women to terminate their pregnancy.
Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Donald Daughton said Planned Parenthood Arizona waited too long before asking him to bar the Department of Health Services from enforcing a new rule to prohibit anyone other than a doctor from performing various medical procedures before or after an abortion.
He pointed out the state approved the new rules at the end of April. But Daughton noted that Planned Parenthood did not file its legal papers until Oct. 14 -- and the rules are set to take effect Monday. . . .
Feminist Wire (Ms. Magazine): Mississippi Personhood Amendment to Appear on Fall 2011 Ballot:
On Tuesday, Hinds County Judge Malcolm Harrison ruled against the ACLU and Planned Parenthood in a case that sought to remove a "Personhood Amendment," an anti-abortion initiative, from ballots next year in Mississippi. The measure "would amend the Mississippi Constitution to define the word 'person' or 'persons', as those terms are used in Article III of the state constitution, to include every human being from the moment of fertilization, cloning, or the functional equivalent thereof."
If the initiative passes, it would not only put a woman's right to an abortion in danger, but also threaten oral and emergency contraception, IUDs, in vitro fertilization clinics, and stem cell research. . . .
Louisville Examiner: Internal Revenue Service approves treatment of common bodily functions by gender [Fitness and health], by Rachel Hurd Anger:
Nursing mothers, take note: your milk is not superior or necessary, so says the Internal Revenue Service.
If you have an HSA or FSA, untaxed earnings saved and allocated for medical expenses, IRS has ruled that the benefits of breast milk are not great enough to qualify a breast pump as a legitimate medical device. How did that happen? Because the IRS gets a say in what you purchase with your tax-free income. . . .
The New York Times: Acne Cream? Tax-Sheltered. Breast Pump? No., by David Kocieniewski:
Denture wearers will get a tax break on the cost of adhesives to keep their false teeth in place. So will acne sufferers who buy pimple creams.
People whose children have severe allergies might even be allowed the break for replacing grass with artificial turf since it could be considered a medical expense.
But nursing mothers will not be allowed to use their tax-sheltered health care accounts to pay for breast pumps and other supplies.
That is because the Internal Revenue Service has ruled that breast-feeding does not have enough health benefits to qualify as a form of medical care. . . .
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
Slate Magazine: Mommy, Where Do Pictures of Aborted Babies Come From?, by Brian Palmer:
Aaron Gouveia, a Massachusetts reporter, posted a video this week of his confrontation with anti-abortion protesters, who taunted his wife with graphic pictures of aborted fetuses. Aborted fetus pictures are also in the news in Washington, D.C., where long-shot congressional candidate Missy Reilly Smith is forcing local TV networks to air graphic anti-abortion campaign ads. Where do abortion protesters get their fetus pictures? . . .
Salon.com: HPV shots for a shopping spree, by Tracy Clark-Flory:
The U.K. offers girls coupons for popular stores in exchange for getting vaccinated
The U.K. has settled on a new approach to getting teen girls to take care of their health: Offer them a shopping spree! Through the National Health Service, Birmingham is handing out £45 ($71) in coupons for local hot shops to girls who get the HPV vaccine. The plan, which targets girls between the ages of 16 and 18, costs the equivalent of roughly $35,600 a year. So far, approximately 500 girls have been given vouchers.
Today, the ever-incendiary Daily Mail calls the promotion a "bribe" and reports that some are calling it a "promiscuity jab." You see, we aren't so different from our British brethren: Stateside, conservatives have consistently challenged the vaccine -- which protects against the virus that causes cervical cancer -- on the grounds that it would cause girls to become reckless little strumpets. Because the only thing keeping girls from slutting it up is their fear of death-by-cervical-cancer. God knows sex wouldn't be right without guilt and fear! . . .
WTVD-TV/DT: HPV Vaccine for Boys?:
Health officials say there is important information that parents and teens need to know about -- oral sex is leading to throat cancer.
Most couples say talk about sex has not included oral sex and the link to throat cancer.
"Definitely not, definitely not," NC State junior Justin Maness said.
"I never thought that oral sex would come into play like that," NC State junior Leah Maxwell said.
But doctors say it has -- the human papillomavirus or HPV, which causes cervical cancer in woman, is now showing up in head and neck cancers with a rising number of cases in young men.
They say the type of throat cancer they're seeing in young men from HPV is the type they see in someone who's been smoking for years. . . .
October 27, 2010 in Medical News, Reproductive Health & Safety, Sexuality Education, Sexually Transmitted Disease, State and Local News, Teenagers and Children | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
Richard F. Storrow (CUNY School of Law) has published The pluralism problem in cross-border reproductive care in the Journal of Human Reproduction:
Outlawing well established forms of assisted reproduction places obstacles in the path of couples who wish to attain their reproductive goals with medical assistance. One effect of restrictive reproductive laws that has received widespread attention is cross-border reproductive travel. In Europe, such travel is permitted by the policy of free movement of persons that is a cornerstone of the democratic and economic stability of the European Union. Cross-border reproductive travel fails to promote moral and political pluralism in democratic states for three primary reasons. First, the opportunity for patients to go abroad for treatment tempers organized resistance to the law and allows government to pass stricter regulations than it otherwise might. Second, cross-border reproductive care has been shown to have deleterious extraterritorial effects that undermine the articulated rationales behind restrictive reproductive laws. Third, laws that generate demand for cross-border reproductive care often fail to satisfy the standard of proportionality that restrictions on human reproduction must meet.
Monday, October 25, 2010
An anti-abortion candidate running for D.C. delegate to the U.S. House is airing what is arguably one of this election cycle’s most provocative TV campaign ads, featuring extremely graphic images of aborted fetuses.
The 30-second ad for Missy Smith, which will air 24 times on local broadcast network affiliates across the greater Washington, D.C., metropolitan area. It is so explicit that it's preceded by a 15-second warning that was added by the stations’ administrators.
Over gruesome images of bloody and lifeless premature bodies, Smith says she had two abortions but has turned against the practice. . . .
Chicago Tribune: Highest teen birthrates are in the South:
A CDC study finds a slight dip in the overall teen birthrate to 41.5 births per 1,000, with the highest rate, 65.7, seen in the state of Mississippi. The lowest are in the northeast.
The highest teenage birthrates in the U.S. are clustered in Southern states and the lowest in the Northeast and upper Midwest, government researchers said Wednesday.
Birthrates fell to an average of 41.5 births per 1,000 female teens in 2008 from 42.5 in 2007, with 14 states seeing declines. That followed an increase from 2005 to 2007, according to the report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Health Statistics.
The differences are important because teen parents are less likely to pursue higher education, their children are less likely to be healthy, and they earn less on average than people who have children later. . . .
The Toronto Sun: Woman forced to have abortion, husband alleges, By QMI Agency:
Family planning officials in China detained an eight-months pregnant woman against her will, beat her, and forced her to have an abortion, her husband alleged this week.
Luo Yanquan, a Chinese construction worker, said officials dragged his wife Xiao Ai Ying kicking and screaming from their home on Oct. 10, held her captive for three days at a medical clinic, and injected her with a drug that killed her baby.
The allegations surfaced on a Chinese blog that functions a lot like Twitter. The blog also shows a picture of Xiao, frowning, visibly pregnant, and sitting on the edge of a hospital bed. . . .
Salon: Husband confronts abortion protesters, by Tracy Clark-Flory:
After activists yell at his wife outside a clinic, he gives them a piece of his mind and videotapes the whole thing
We're used to seeing videos of anti-abortion activists spewing venom in front of women's clinics, but rarely do we get to see the tables turned. Thanks to Aaron Gouveia, now we do.
He and his 16-weeks-pregnant wife went to a women's clinic in Brookline, Mass. for an abortion after discovering that their baby had a congenital deformity with no chance for survival. On their way in, they were confronted by images of dismembered fetuses and two women yelling, "You're killing your unborn baby!" Enraged, Gouveia decided to confront the protesters while his wife was in surgery, and he caught the whole interaction on his cellphone. In an essay for The Good Men Project, he admits to feeling a bit "foolish for getting so heated" in the moment, but who can blame him? Not to mention, any foolishness on his part is overshadowed by the Christian protesters' decidedly un-Christ-like behavior. . . .
Sunday, October 24, 2010
This week's New York Times Magazine is titled, "The Women's Empowerment Issue." The many articles include:
D.I.Y. Foreign-Aid Revolution, by Nicholas D. Kristof (featuring a woman who invented an inexpensive sanitary pad made out of banana fibers in order to liberate Rwandan women and girls to attend jobs and school)
Studio Kabul, by Elizabeth Rubin (about the cultural impact of Afghanistan's first soap opera on Afghan women)
An Uncompromising Woman, by Daniel Bergner (about Liberian president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf)
The Art of Social Change, by Kwame Anthony Appiah (about campaigns against foot-binding and genital mutilation)
Friday, October 22, 2010
RH Reality Check: Anti-Choice-Tea Party Video on Amendment 62 Full of Lies, Distortions and Grotesquery, by Jodi Jacobson:
I am long past the point of hoping for some semblance of truth from the anti-woman, anti-life, anti-choice movement. Still, the length to which they use blatant lies and distortions--and the failure of most media outlets to call them on it--remains breathtaking.
The most recent example is a video circulating on Amendment 62, the so-called Personhood Amendment on the ballot in Colorado, which seeks to imbue fertilized eggs with the same rights as living, breathing, born human beings.
A similar referendum effort failed in 2008.
Now, it appears, with an infusion of "tea party" money from who knows where, anti-choice forces are pulling out all the stops, including the video which spreads additional lies, references Nazi Germany, and features grotesque caricatures of President Obama as the angel of death and as the Joker from Batman.
The Atlantic: 'Mad Men' and Abortion: It's About Plot, Not Politics, by Eleanor Barkhorn:
A woman whose husband is out of town has a one-night stand with a man she works with, who's also married. She misses her next period, and a pregnancy test confirms she's pregnant.
What does she do?
If she's a real, flesh-and-blood woman, there's a more than 40 percent chance she'll have an abortion. If she's a character on television or in a movie, she's almost certain to keep the baby.
Mad Men viewers discovered this week that Joan Harris—who became pregnant earlier in the season after a tryst with her colleague and on-again, off-again lover, Roger—did not have an abortion, as we were led to believe a few episodes ago. Instead, she joins the heroines of TV shows like Sex and the City and Secret Life of the American Teenager and movies like Knocked Up and Juno in deciding to bring her unplanned pregnancy to term. . . .
The New York Times: Mildred Jefferson, 84, Anti-Abortion Activist, Is Dead, by Dennis Hevesi:
Dr. Mildred Jefferson, a prominent, outspoken opponent of abortion and the first black woman to graduate from Harvard Medical School, died Friday at her home in Cambridge, Mass. She was 84.
Her death was confirmed by Anne Fox, the president of Massachusetts Citizens for Life, one of many anti-abortion groups in which Dr. Jefferson played leadership roles.
Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion, “gave my profession an almost unlimited license to kill,” Dr. Jefferson testified before Congress in 1981. . . .
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
NY Times: Clarence Thomas’s Wife Asks Anita Hill for Apology, by Charlie Savage & Tamar Lewin:
WASHINGTON – Virginia Thomas, the wife of Supreme Court Associate Justice Clarence Thomas, left a message last weekend on the voicemail of Anita Hill, who accused her husband of sexual harassment during his confirmation hearings, a spokeswoman for Ms. Thomas confirmed on Tuesday.
In a message left at the office of Ms. Hill, who is now a professor at Brandeis University, Ms. Thomas apparently brought up Ms. Hill’s accusations against her husband during the 1991 hearings. . . .
The Huffington Post: Stem Cell Poem Sparks Heated Debate, by John Lundberg:
The California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) sponsored a poetry contest to promote Stem Cell Awareness Day last Wednesday, and the seemingly innocuous event kicked up a serious controversy.
One of the winning poems, published on CIRM's website and in a national publication, utilizes the language of the Christian ceremony of communion to make its point. Here's the full text of that poem, entitled "Stem C.," by Tyson Anderson:
This is my body
which is given for you.
But I am not great.
I have neither wealth,
nor fame, nor grace.
I cannot comfort with words,
nor inspire to march.
I am small and simple,
so leave me this.
Let me heal you.
This is my body
which is given for you.
in remembrance of me.
Anderson's poem doesn't strike me as being deliberately provocative -- its tone is clearly heartfelt. But using the language considered sacred by most opponents of stem cell research in order to promote the research is, well, provocative. . . .
Monday, October 18, 2010
RH Reality Check: Citizens United: An Unprecedented Threat to Reproductive and Sexual Justice, by Jodi Jacobson:
Both can and will undermine the fundamental rights of women.
On January 21st of this year, perhaps in some cosmically ironic sense a day before the 37th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court handed down a decision on the Citizens United  case. . . .
A great deal of this money is being used to support the campaigns of ultra-right, anti-choice candidates who also share an agenda of dismantling health care reform, social security, minimum wage and labor protections, and a range of other laws and social programs aimed at improving the common--not just the corporate--good.
The candidates in the target list above, for example, are all pro-choice and all support minimum wage protections, environmental protection, social security and other programs. Their opponents all share an anti-choice, anti-government, pro-corporation agenda disguised as "personal freedom." . . .
NY Daily News: Andrew Cuomo Plays Abortion Card In "Carl's New York" Ad, by Celeste Katz:
Democrat Andrew Cuomo's latest ad, "Carl's New York," focuses directly on GOP rival Carl Paladino's opposition to abortion -- in all cases, including instances of rape or incest. Paladino says the children can be adopted.
The Cuomo ad -- striking an ominous tone that echoes this ad produced by NARAL Pro-Choice New York last month -- seeks to convince viewers that women would have fewer options regarding their pregnancies under a Paladino administration. (Cuomo, of course, has been endorsed by pro-abortion rights groups such as Planned Parenthood.)