Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Study Shows Girls More Likely than Boys to Engage in Unprotected First Sex

The Chart (CNN Health Blog): Study: Girls take more chances during first sex, by David Martin:

Even though teenage boys are known for their risky behavior, it’s girls who are more likely to engage in unprotected first sex, according to research presented Monday at an American Public Health Association meeting in Denver.

Nicole Weller, a doctoral student at Arizona State University, analyzed government data and found adolescent girls were 30 percent more likely than boys to have  sex without contraception during their first sexual encounter. Weller said that surprised her. . . .

November 9, 2010 in Contraception, Sexually Transmitted Disease, Teenagers and Children | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Pope Denounces Spain’s Marriage and Abortion Laws

Ms. Magazine: Pope Benedict Denounces Abortion, Gay Marriage, and Secularization:

Spain Pope Benedict XVI ardently expressed his anti-abortion stance and defended the traditional family structure during his visit to the Spanish pilgrimage site, Santiago de Compostela late last week. Pope Benedict denounced what he perceived to be Spain's growing secularization and spoke out against its laws that permit gay marriage and access to abortions. Pope Benedict told the Catholic News Service, "we need to hear God once again under the skies of Europe.". . . .

November 9, 2010 in Abortion, International, Religion, Religion and Reproductive Rights, Sexuality | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

George W. Bush Says Opposition to Abortion Arose After His Mother Showed Him A Dead Fetus

Huffington Post: Bush Opposition To Abortion Grew After Mother Showed Him Dead Fetus In A Jar, By Nick Wing:

Former president George W. Bush explained recently that a formative event in his staunch pro-life stance came when his mother, Barbara Bush, showed him the remains of a human fetus in a jar when he was a teenager, the result of an earlier miscarriage by the elder Bush.

"There's no question that affected me, a philosophy that we should respect life", he told NBC's Matt Lauer. . . .

November 9, 2010 in Abortion, President/Executive Branch | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Operation Rescue Leader On Trial For WANTED Posters

Feminist Wire (Ms. Magazine): North Carolina Anti-Abortion Leader Tried for WANTED Posters:

Flip Benham of Operation Rescue/Operation Save America, goes to trial today for stalking and distributing WANTED posters with the names, pictures, and home and office addresses North Carolina abortion doctors. Benham, who distributed the WANTED posters in the doctors' neighborhoods and at their homes, is the first to be charged under a new North Carolina state law that bans residential picketing.

Katherine Spillar, Feminist Majority Foundation (FMF) Executive Vice President responded to Benham's claim that he was exercising his First Amendment rights saying, "this is not free speech. This is the equivalent of yelling fire in a crowded theater. History clearly shows a pattern of WANTED posters, murder, WANTED posters, murder. . . .

November 9, 2010 in Anti-Choice Movement, In the Courts, State and Local News | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Colorado Voters Decisively Reject Embryonic Personhood Amendment

Wall St. Journal (blog): Colorado Voters Slam Personhood Measure, by Dionne Searcey:

Colorado FlagFor the second time, Colorado voters have rejected a controversial initiative that would have restricted emergency contraception, fertility treatments and treatments for miscarriages.

Dubbed the “personhood” initiative, the measure that sought constitutional rights for individuals “at the beginning of biological development” was rejected by a 3-1 margin, according to this story in the Denver Post. . . .

November 3, 2010 in Abortion, Anti-Choice Movement, Fetal Rights, Politics, State and Local News | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Federal Court in Washington Sentences Man for Threatening Abortion Provider and His Family

Ms. Magazine: Probation Sentenced for Man Terrorizing Abortion Doctor:

Last Thursday, a federal court in Eastern Washington sentenced Donald Hertz to be confined to his home for 180 days and receive five years probation for threatening Colorado abortion provider, Dr. Warren Hern, and his family, including his 92 year-old mother. The threats followed three weeks after the tragic May 31, 2009 murder of Kansas abortion provider, Dr. George Tiller.

Hertz was charged with a felony for making threats across state lines and a misdemeanor for impeding a reproductive health clinic, but received the probation sentence as part of a plea bargain. In response to the probation sentencing, Kathy Spillar, the Executive Vice President of the Feminist Majority Foundation commented, "we need to send a strong message that this is domestic terrorism, and it must be treated as seriously as international threats." . . .

November 3, 2010 in Abortion, Anti-Choice Movement, In the Courts, State and Local News | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

How Soon Will Reproductive Rights Be Attacked After the Elections?

RHReality Check: No Anti-Choice Mandate, But Don't Worry, They'll Make One Up, by Jodi Jacobson:

Dem. v. GOP Yesterday's election did not, in my reading of polls, votes and analyses, represent an anti-choice mandate, an anti-health reform mandate, nor an anti-environment mandate.  But don't worry, that won't stop anti-choice, anti-health care, climate-change-denialist politicians from "creating" said mandates both in their rhetoric and in their actions.  And it won't stop groups with huge sums of undisclosed corporate money from funding campaigns on these issues to distract from the reality of what is happening in the United States: increasing inequality, eroding wages and quality of life, eroding retirement security, and a mounting climate of hate.

In fact, I predict fights over these very issues will take precedence in the next two years--despite the sixties-like "listen to the people" refrain of the Republican party leadership and Tea Party candidates on this day after the election--especially if President Obama and Harry Reid continue to govern as weak conciliators rather than principled and articulate fighters for a cause. . . .

November 3, 2010 in Abortion, Congress, Contraception, Politics, State and Local News, State Legislatures | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

What the Election Results Mean for Reproductive Rights

Center for Reproductive Rights: Election Perspective, by Nancy Northup:

Imagine waking up the day after an election to find that your First Amendment Rights were more vulnerable than the day before?  Imagine if your ability to speak freely and worship as you choose changed from election to election?  Unfortunately, reproductive rights are subject to such political shifts.  Yesterday’s election was not a referendum on reproductive rights, but a reflection of voters’ deeply felt economic worries.  But reproductive rights will be collateral damage. The Center for Reproductive Rights’ mission is to work for the day when this isn’t so—when reproductive rights are protected as fundamental human rights that all governments are legally obligated to respect and protect.  While we advance that vision, we’re in the trenches today, suing the federal government, states and municipalities when they jeopardize women’s lives, health, dignity and equality.

Here are the results from yesterday through a reproductive rights lens and what they mean for our work going forward. . . .

November 3, 2010 in Abortion, Congress, Politics, State Legislatures | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Washington State Sees Drop in Teen Pregnancy and Abortion

My Northwest.com: State teen pregnancy, abortion rates drop again, by Tim Haeck:

Washington Teen pregnancy continues to drop in Washington, reaching a 30-year low.

The latest numbers from the state Health Department are from 2009 and they show pregnancy rates for teens, ages 15-to-19, were 46.6 per 1,000. The rate peaked in 1989 at 96 pregnancies per 1,000.

The abortion rate for teens, ages 15-to-19, hit a new low of about 17 for every 1,000 teens.

"We're very happy to see the decline. It's an issue we're all very concerned with and you're seeing more and more of that nationwide, as well as in this state," said Sharon McAllister, head of Family Planning and Reproductive Health with the state.

The reasons for the decreases in pregnancy and abortion rates are not clear. . . .

November 2, 2010 in Abortion, Pregnancy & Childbirth, State and Local News, Teenagers and Children | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Ohio Rep. Schmidt Tells First-Graders that Abortion Is "Killing a Child Before It Is Born"

Politics Daily: Ohio Rep. Jean Schmidt Talks Abortion With 1st Graders; Principal Apologizes, by Christopher Weber:

The principal of a Cincinnati Catholic school has apologized to parents after Rep. Jean Schmidt (R-Ohio) discussed abortion during a speech to kids as young as 6.

Schmidt, a conservative, brought up the controversial matter while talking about the connection between moral issues and legislation during a question-and-answer period, the Daily News reported.

"Unexpectedly, towards the end of her address, Congresswoman Schmidt brought up the topic of abortion," Prinicipal Dan Teller wrote in a letter to parents, obtained by Cincinnati's WLWT-TV. "Your children may come home with questions, especially if this is a topic that has not been broached in your home." . . .

November 2, 2010 in Abortion, Anti-Choice Movement, Congress, Religion and Reproductive Rights, State and Local News, Teenagers and Children | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Gloria Steinem On Today's Election & Its Importance to Women

big think: Gloria Steinem: How Today's Election Affects Women, by Max Miller:

Republicans are expected to make huge gains in the Senate and House of Representatives today, and this could be very damaging for women's rights, says feminist icon Gloria Steinem. Gone is the old Republican party of Barry Goldwater and Nelson Rockefeller, two prominent conservatives from the 1960s and 70s who were pro-choice and supported the Equal Rights Amendment, she tells Big Think. In its place is a party that has shifted toward an "extreme" position on women's rights—one whose policies would "nationalize" women's bodies. . . .

November 2, 2010 in Congress, Politics, Women, General | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Montana and New Jersey Cut Funds For Family Planning

Feminist Wire (Ms. Magazine): Montana, New Jersey Cut Funds for Family Planning:

A hearing has been set for May for the lawsuit filed by Planned Parenthood of Montana against the state of Montana over its denial of birth control for teenage girls who are insured by the state's low-income health insurance program for minors, Healthy Montana Kids. The Associated Press reports that girls insured by Healthy Montana Kids are prohibited from obtaining the drug through its public insurance program if they are using it solely to prevent pregnancy. They can obtain the drug for other purposes, such as the treatment of acne or heavy menstruation. . . .

State actions preventing the allocation of funds for family planning-related programs have been prominent over the course of the past month. . . . In late September, Governor Chris Christie (R) vetoed a measure that allocated $7.5 million from reaching the state's 58 family planning clinics. Due to lack of funding, two clinics have already closed in New Jersey's Camden County, and two more Burlington County clinics are expected to close this month.

November 2, 2010 in Contraception, State and Local News, Teenagers and Children | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, November 1, 2010

A Look at Judges' Activities Off the Bench

Slate Magazine: Lay Off Sandra Day O'Connor, by Bert Brandenburg:

We need judges to speak up, not shut up.

Gavel Working the ref is a time-honored tradition. This election season, America's referees—judges—are coming in for a serious round of partisan hazing. The latest target is Sandra Day O'Connor. The immediate goal is to shut her up. The broader goals are more ominous.

Since she left the Supreme Court in 2005, Justice O'Connor hasn't spent her time golfing or mastering the Wii. She hears cases as a part-time federal appeals judge. She has pressed for more research on Alzheimer's disease, which afflicted her late husband. She has worked to improve civics education. And she's been sounding a warning about the growth of special-interest money in judicial elections, urging states to consider selecting judges not through elections but by appointment, which her home state of Arizona and more than 30 others do. . . .

November 1, 2010 in In the Courts, Politics | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

As Election Day Nears, Eyes Turn to Judicial Races

The New Yorker: Voting Out Judges, by Jeffrey Toobin:

Ballot Box On Tuesday, I’ll be watching the races for control of Congress and the statehouses, of course, but there are important judicial races around the country as well.

The most interesting is in Iowa. As in many states, judges on the State Supreme Court in Iowa are appointed by the governor and then subject to retention election by the voters. In 2009, the Court ruled unanimously that, under the state constitution, same-sex couples could not be denied the right to marry. As it happens, three of the seven Justices are up for retention this year, and conservative activists have launched a campaign to evict the trio from the court. The race is shaping up as a referendum on same-sex marriage, and that could spell doom for the judges on the ballot. . . .

November 1, 2010 in In the Courts, Politics | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Brazil's First Female President Won in Part by Abandoning Previous Support for Liberalizing Abortion Laws

 Salon.com: Brazil elects first female president, By Tracy Clark-Flory:

Dilma Rousseff, presidential candidate for the governing Workers Party, greets supporters as she leaves a polling station

Dilma Rousseff marks another milestone for women's global political presence

Well, here's occasion to break out the Carnival costumes and floats once more this year: Brazil just elected its first female president.

Dilma Rousseff's win follows major global steps toward presidential parity: In 2006, Michelle Bachelet was elected as Chile's first female president, and Cristina Fernández de Kirchner became Argentina's first female president in 2007. You might also have noticed that the 2008 U.S. election brought about many historic moments for women (so many, in fact, that some smart people have written whole books on that very subject). In the context of women's advancement, her victory is certainly something to celebrate, as are her leftist, democratic aims -- but Rousseff is also a more complex character than that narrative allows. As the Washington Post reports, she has quite the fabled past.

See also: The Miami Herald: Abortion, God drive vote in Brazil, by Vinod Sreeharsha:

The economy has taken a back seat in the race between Dilma Rousseff and opposition leader Jose Serra.

SAO PAULO, Brazil -- The pocketbook is battling the pulpit in Brazil's presidential elections Sunday, as government candidate Dilma Rousseff faces opposition leader Jose Serra in a runoff election to lead this burgeoning economic power of 190 million people.

Issues that most Brazilians thought didn't belong in national politics -- in particular, abortion -- have taken center stage, and both candidates are catering to the concerns of evangelical and Roman Catholic voters.

By abandoning her previous public stance on liberalizing the country's anti-abortion laws, and attending church before the television cameras, Rousseff, a former atheist, appears to have outmaneuvered Serra. A national poll Thursday night gave her a 13-point advantage over the former governor of Sao Paulo state. . . .

November 1, 2010 in Abortion, Abortion Bans, International, Politics, Religion, Religion and Reproductive Rights, Women, General | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

U.S. Vatican Official Says Voting for a Political Candidate Who Supports Abortion Is Never Justified

Catholic News Service: Vote for supporters of abortion never justified, Vatican official says, by John Thavis:

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- A U.S. Vatican official said voting for a political candidate who favors legal abortion can never be morally justified.

Cardinal-designate Raymond L. Burke, who heads the Vatican's highest tribunal, made the comments in an interview with the U.S. advocacy group Catholic Action for Faith and Family. A video of the comments on abortion were posted online in late October, a few days before the U.S. elections Nov. 2. . . .

November 1, 2010 in Abortion, Politics, Religion, Religion and Reproductive Rights | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Lamenting the Prevalence of Anti-Choice, Pro-Gun Misogyny in Current Election Cycle

guardian.co.uk: The women-hating rage of the Republican right, by Amanda Marcotte:

The Rand Paul supporters 'stomping' incident shows you don't have to look far for anti-choice, pro-gun misogyny in this election

As soon as I saw the video, I knew it was destined to be played on an endless loop on the news networks. A couple of Rand Paul supporters outside a debate between Paul and his opponent for Kentucky senate, Jack Conway, pinned a MoveOn.org activist to a curb with deliberation before one of them stomped on her head, luckily with enough ineptness that the victim was left only with a minor concussion.

It was a shocking example of inchoate rightwing rage turned to violence, displayed in a way that Americans associate solely with white supremacists.

But it was more than that. The entire incident had a whiff of not just election rage, but of gendered violence. . . .

November 1, 2010 in Anti-Choice Movement, Culture, Politics, Religion and Reproductive Rights, Women, General | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

New Study Shows Link Between Anorexia and Unplanned Pregnancies

Science Blog: Women with anorexia nervosa more likely to have unplanned pregnancies:

 A new study by University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Norwegian researchers has found that women with anorexia nervosa are much more likely to have both unplanned pregnancies and induced  abortions than women who don’t have the serious eating disorder.

These results may be driven by a mistaken belief among women with anorexia that they can’t get pregnant because they are either not having menstrual periods at all or are having irregular periods, said Cynthia M. Bulik, PhD, the study’s lead author and director of the UNC Eating Disorders Program. . . .

November 1, 2010 in Contraception, Medical News, Pregnancy & Childbirth, Scholarship and Research | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Planned Parenthood Suit Challenges Montana CHIP's Lack of Coverage for Contraception

Medical News Today: Planned Parenthood Of Mont. Sues Over Teen Birth Control Coverage:

Birth Control Planned Parenthood of Montana has filed a lawsuit challenging Montana's version of the Children's Health Insurance Program, which does not cover birth control for the purpose of preventing pregnancy, the AP/Helena Independent Record reports. A state law permits Montana's CHIP -- part of its Healthy Montana Kids program -- to cover the cost of birth control for the treatment of acne or heavy menstrual bleeding.

The suit argues that selectively denying birth control coverage violates the state constitution's equal protection and privacy rights clauses. "It includes the ability to make medical decisions, with your doctor, without interference from the government," American Civil Liberties Union of Montana's Niki Zupanic said. . . .

November 1, 2010 in Contraception, In the Courts, Medical News, State and Local News, Teenagers and Children | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

A Look Inside Anti-Abortion "Pregnancy Centers"

The New York Times: A Hidden Minefield at Pregnancy Centers, by Ariel Kaminer:

I had barely finished signing in at the Expectant Mother Care counseling center in Downtown Brooklyn when a staff member ushered me into a darkened room for a sonogram. As we both watched the flickering image of what looked more or less like a tadpole, she called my attention to every anatomical detail, from eyes and nose to hands and toes. Staring at the little bugger wriggling around inside me, a tear slid out of my eye.

Did that tear trigger some alarm? Suddenly, two more people crowded into that tiny, darkened room. One asked if I was considering abortion.

Well, no. But I do sometimes find the prospect of a second child terrifying, and I said so. At which point Linda Marzulla, the center’s effusively warm director, administered a therapeutic technique that might be called the Love Bomb. . . .

November 1, 2010 in Abortion, Anti-Choice Movement | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)