Monday, May 16, 2011

A Celebrity Lawsuit Features a Commonplace Issue: Concealment of STD Status Sex, lies and STDs, by Tracy Clark-Flory:

A buzzy lawsuit brings up a common phenomenon: People lying about, or concealing, their true status

TMZ's week was sure made by news that an A-list celebrity was being sued for spreading herpes. An anonymous woman filed a $20 million lawsuit against the unnamed star, claiming that he knowingly exposed her to the virus, which she was diagnosed with after their fling.

This isn't the first time an STD lawsuit has made headlines (see: Michael Vick, David Hasselhoff and Robin Williams), nor is it a phenomenon reserved for big-name celebs. For example, in 2009, a California woman won a $7 million lawsuit against the (very rich) man who concealed his status and gave her herpes. These hard-to-win cases are extremely rare -- but anecdotally, at least, the dishonesty around this subject is hardly unusual. I decided to talk to people about how they had lied, and been lied to, about incurable but common STDs like herpes and HPV. . . .

May 16, 2011 in In the Courts, Sexuality, Sexually Transmitted Disease | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, May 13, 2011

Contraception Suffers "Collateral Damage" in Republicans' War on Abortion

San Francisco Chronicle/Bloomberg: Abortion Battles Make Collateral Damage of Family Planning:

As the city-run Women's Health Center in Bayonne, New Jersey, closed its doors last month for the final time, workers hauled away desks, cabinets and dozens of white boxes labeled "pregnancy tests" and "condoms."

The clinic was one of six forced to close after Governor Chris Christie eliminated the $7.45 million in state funding for family planning last year. Christie, who opposes abortion, said the state could no longer afford it.

His fellow Republicans, energized by the November elections that gave them control of 29 U.S. governorships and 25 legislatures, this year have introduced a record number of measures restricting abortion. They are also cutting services that provide gynecological care, sex education and contraception to a population of predominantly poor women. . . .

Huffington Post: Kansas Anti-Abortion Bill Could Also Block Planned Parenthood Funding, by Laura Bassett:

The Kansas state legislature passed a bill early Friday morning that bans insurance companies from offering abortion coverage in their general plans in most cases and manipulates the state budget to cut all Title X family planning funding from Planned Parenthood. The new Kansas bill places Planned Parenthood at the very bottom of the priority funding list for family planning funding under Title X, a federal grant program that funds reproductive health services for low-income and uninsured patients. . . .

May 13, 2011 in Abortion, Contraception, Politics, Poverty | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Kansas Legislature Passes Fourth Major Abortion Restriction This Session

Miami Herald/Wichita Eagle: Kansas legislature passes fourth abortion bill this session, by Dion Lefler:

After working through the night and with several stops and starts, both houses of the Legislature passed a bill that will require most women who want an abortion to pay the full cost of the procedure themselves.

House Bill 2075 bars insurance companies from including abortion coverage in their regular health coverage plans. Under the bill’s provisions, general insurance plans could cover termination of pregnancy only in emergency situations to save the life of the mother.

It is the fourth major anti-abortion law to pass the Legislature this session. . . .

May 13, 2011 in Abortion, State and Local News, State Legislatures | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Montana Governor Vetoes Parental Notification Bill

Great Falls Tribune: Schweitzer vetoes abortion bill and others, by Matt Gouras:

HELENA — Gov. Brian Schweitzer struck down a proposal to require parental notification of some teen abortions . . . .

The governor argued the parental notification proposal would be ruled unconstitutional by courts who had previously struck down legislative attempts to require parental involvement in those decisions.

The legislature's proposal would apply to minors less than 16 years of age. The issue is not dead, though, since the Republican-led Legislature also put the question on the 2012 ballot for voters to consider. . . .

May 13, 2011 in Abortion, State and Local News, State Legislatures, Teenagers and Children | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Midwife Pleads Guilty in Prosecution Over Baby's Death

Wash. Post: Midwife accepts plea deal, the birth debate rages, by Janice D'Arcy:

Karen Carr, the well-known Baltimore midwife whose prosecution in connection with an Alexandria baby’s death triggered a passionate debate about home births, was convicted of two felonies yesterday in Alexandria Circuit Court.

Carr pleaded guilty to both child endangerment and practicing without a license in Virginia when the baby died last year. She accepted a plea agreement that bars her from practicing in Virginia. But it allows her to avoid the lengthy prison sentence she faced.

The agreement brings to an end an episode that inflamed supporters of home births and inspired equally as angry a reaction among those who prefer hospital births. . . .

May 11, 2011 in In the Courts, Pregnancy & Childbirth, State and Local News | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sorting Out the Anti-Abortion Free-for-All

JURIST Op-Ed: The New Attacks on Constitutional Reproductive Rights, by Caitlin Borgmann:

The scores of anti-abortion bills pending and passing across the country following the November elections, including that just passed by the House of Representatives, present an astounding array of schemes for curtailing abortion. The measures generally follow one of three lines of attack. The first approach is to push at the boundaries of the constitutional framework currently governing abortion laws and to make abortions as difficult as possible to obtain, even as women's right to abortion remains theoretically intact. A second approach aims to goad Justice Anthony Kennedy, the Supreme Court's swing vote on abortion, into beginning to dismantle that constitutional framework (which he helped to create). The final and most radical approach ignores the framework altogether and seeks to ban abortion from the earliest stages of embryonic development. . . .

Los Angeles Times: Antiabortion measures flooding state legislatures, by Robin Abcarian:

Energized by Republican gains in the last election and still stinging from the passage of President Obama's healthcare overhaul, conservative lawmakers in statehouses around the country have put forward a torrent of measures aimed at restricting abortion.

The measures now under consideration in dozens of states reflect advances in technology and a political cycle that has reempowered a reliably antiabortion bloc — conservative Republicans — on the state and federal levels. . . .

May 11, 2011 in Abortion, Abortion Bans, Anti-Choice Movement, Congress, Fetal Rights, Mandatory Delay/Biased Information Laws, State and Local News, State Legislatures, Supreme Court, Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP) | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Indiana Law To Defund Planned Parenthood Is Challenged in Federal Court

ACLU press release: ACLU And Planned Parenthood Challenge Indiana Law That Would End Federal Funding For Family Planning:

The American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana, the ACLU and Planned Parenthood Federation of America filed a lawsuit on behalf of Planned Parenthood of Indiana (PPIN) challenging a law that would defund family planning programs in the state moments after it was signed by Gov. Mitch Daniels today. The law is designed to penalize health care providers that perform abortions, though they do so without federal dollars. The bill would also violate health care providers’ First Amendment rights and endanger patients by requiring providers to give misleading information about abortion. . . .

May 11, 2011 in Abortion, Anti-Choice Movement, Contraception, In the Courts, Poverty, Reproductive Health & Safety, State and Local News, State Legislatures, Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP) | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Male Condom Gets an Upgrade

Time Magazine: Could a New 'Viagra Condom' Encourage Safer Sex?, by Meredith Melnick:

Condom The problem with condoms is that they don't get used as often as they should. But an innovative new product by a British biotech firm may change men's minds: called CSD500, the condom helps men keep their erection longer.

It's been dubbed the "Viagra condom," but that's not entirely accurate. The new product is lined with a vasodilating gel, which increases blood flow to the penis and helps maintain erection. But unlike the pill, it's not designed for men who have erectile dysfunction; rather, it's meant for men who have trouble keeping erectios specifically while using a condom. . . .

May 11, 2011 in Contraception, Medical News, Men and Reproduction, Sexuality | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, May 9, 2011

Emergency Contraceptive Use Has Increased, Yet More Counseling Is Needed

Guttmacher News Release: Use of emergency contraception has increased, yet few women receive counseling on the method:

Nearly one in 10 women of reproductive age in 2006–2008 had ever used emergency contraception—about twice the proportion who used the method in 2002. Women in their 20s, the group at greatest risk of unintended pregnancy, were more likely than other women to have used the method. Additionally, better-off women were more likely than poor women to have used the method, suggesting that the cost of emergency contraception may present a serious barrier for poorer women. Unfortunately, counseling about emergency contraception—one of the strongest predictors of use—is still low, with only 3% of women having received such counseling . . . .

May 9, 2011 in Contraception, Poverty, Scholarship and Research | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Reexamining the Supposed Golden Age of Motherhood

NY Times (Op-Ed): When We Hated Mom, by Stephanie Coontz:

ONE of the most enduring myths about feminism is that 50 years ago women who stayed home full time with their children enjoyed higher social status and more satisfying lives than they do today. All this changed, the story goes, when Betty Friedan published her 1963 best seller, “The Feminine Mystique,” which denigrated stay-at-home mothers. Ever since, their standing in society has steadily diminished.

That myth — repeated in Suzanne Venker and Phyllis Schlafly’s new book, “The Flipside of Feminism” — reflects a misreading of American history. There was indeed a time when full-time mothers were held in great esteem. But it was not the 1950s or early 1960s. It was 150 years ago. In the 19th century, women had even fewer rights than in the 1950s, but society at least put them on a pedestal, and popular culture was filled with paeans to their self-sacrifice and virtue. . . .

May 8, 2011 in Culture, Parenthood, Women, General | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Nicholas Kristof on Maternal Mortality and the Need for Family Planning

NY Times: Mothers We Could Save, by Nicholas D. Kristof:

Here’s a Mother’s Day thought: There’s a way to save many of the world’s 350,000 women who die in childbirth each year. But it’s very controversial, for it’s called family planning.

Republicans in Congress have gone on the warpath this budget season against family planning programs at home and abroad. To illustrate the stakes, let me share a Mother’s Day story about a pregnant 30-year-old Somali woman named Hinda Hassan.

Ms. Hassan lived in a village near this remote town of Baligubadle in Somaliland (a self-ruling enclave carved from Somalia). She never used family planning, for none is available within several days’ walk. When her eighth child was still an infant, she became pregnant again. . . .

May 8, 2011 in Contraception, International, Parenthood, Poverty, Pregnancy & Childbirth, Reproductive Health & Safety | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

In Defense of Motherhood

Time Magazine: In Defense of Motherhood: Why We Keep Having Kids When They're So Clearly Bad for Us, by Bonnie Rochman:

Here at Healthland, we devote a considerable amount of virtual ink to reporting on research that disses parenthood. I've written several stories in this vein, and I find them both wryly amusing and often uncomfortably accurate. But at least in my experience parenting three young kids, they're not the whole truth. So in honor of Mother's Day, I decided to analyze why it's so fab to be a mom and dig up some data in defense of motherhood — and parenting in general. Because despite the inexorable toll children take on our finances, our patience, our emotions and our energy reserves, they really are pretty great.

Let's get this out in the open: there is not an impressive cache of objective research extolling the benefits of parenthood. Yet the subjective evidence is overwhelming . . . .

May 8, 2011 in Culture, Parenthood | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

House Anti-Choice Bill Contravenes "Local Rule" in Washington, D.C.

The Washington Post - D.C. Wire Blog: D.C. Council complains to House leaders ahead of abortion-ban vote, by Ben Pershing:

Capital The D.C. Council wrote to Congress Tuesday with a familiar message: Leave us alone.

On Wednesday, the House is scheduled to vote on the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act, which is designed to tighten prohibitions on the use of federal funds for abortions or for health-insurance plans that cover abortions.

But the bill also prohibits the District from using its own, locally-collected tax money to pay for any abortion services. That prompted the council to send a unanimously-signed letter to House leaders to complain that “[t]he bill would overturn the rule of local government.”. . .

May 4, 2011 in Abortion, Congress, Politics, State and Local News | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sweeping Federal Anti-Abortion Bill Passes House

The Huffington Post: H.R. 3, Wide-Sweeping Anti-Abortion Bill, Facing House Vote, by Laura Bassett:

House UPDATE (5:30 p.m. EST): H.R. 3 passed the House 251-175.

“Members of Congress who supported this egregious assault on women will hear from outraged Americans through phone calls, protests, petitions, and most importantly, at the ballot box in 2012,” said Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America. “As this legislation moves to the Senate, we also will mobilize our members to urge their senators to stop this bill in its tracks.”

May 4, 2011 in Abortion, Congress, Fetal Rights, Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP) | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Indiana's Unlawful Plan to Cut off Federal Funding to Planned Parenthood Poses Challenge for Federal Health Officials

Chicago Breaking News: Indiana opening new front in abortion battle, by David G. Savage:

Opening a new front in the battle over abortion, Indiana might soon become the first state to cut off federal funding to Planned Parenthood clinics — a move that could boost the presidential aspirations of Gov. Mitch Daniels while creating a dilemma for the Obama administration. . . .

"If the state denies payment to these providers, that would be illegal," said Mary Kahn, a spokeswoman for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the U.S. agency that administers the two huge healthcare programs. "There are some options available to us. But I can't say what action will be taken to bring the state into compliance. All we can say now is we will review the matter once Indiana decides." . . .

May 4, 2011 in Abortion, Politics, President/Executive Branch, State and Local News, State Legislatures | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Raffaela Schiavon, et al., on Abortion Services in Mexico City Post-Legalization

Raffaela Schiavon (Bocconi University - Institute of Public Administration and Health Care Management (IPAS)), et al., have posted Characteristics of Private Abortion Services in Mexico City after Legalization on SSRN. Here is the abstract:

In 2007, first trimester abortion was legalized in Mexico City, and the public sector rapidly expanded its abortion services. In 2008, to obtain information on the effect of the law on private sector abortion services, we interviewed 135 physicians working in private clinics, located through an exhaustive search. A large majority of the clinics offered a range of reproductive health services, including abortions. Over 70% still used dilatation and curettage (D&C); less than a third offered vacuum aspiration or medical abortion. The average number of abortions per facility was only three per month; few reported more than 10 abortions monthly. More than 90% said they had been offering abortion services for less than 20 months. Many women are still accessing abortion services privately, despite the availability of free or low-cost services at public facilities. However, the continuing use of D&C, high fees (mean of $157-505), poor pain management practices, unnecessary use of ultrasound, general anaesthesia and overnight stays, indicate that private sector abortion services are expensive and far from optimal. Now that abortions are legal, these results highlight the need for private abortion providers to be trained in recommended abortion methods and quality of private abortion care improved.

May 4, 2011 in Abortion, Abortion Bans, International, Scholarship and Research | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

House Scheduled to Vote Tomorrow on Rep. Chris Smith's Anti-Choice Bill

Center for Reproductive Rights press release: House Resumes War on Women, Rules Committee Tees Up H.R. 3 Vote:

Last night, the House of Representatives Rules Committee rejected a series of amendments to Representative Chris Smith's anti-choice legislation "No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act" (H.R. 3), resuming the House's sweeping assault on women's reproductive health following the 2011 budget debate.

While the bill's sponsors claim that it will “merely codify” federal insurance coverage of abortion services, the bill is radically broad and is clearly intended to prevent all women from obtaining health insurance coverage for abortion.  The bill denies any woman who receives her health insurance through Medicaid or other government programs coverage for abortion and tries to do the same to women in the private insurance market. Through tax penalties on insurance plans that cover abortion, the bill raises taxes on millions of American families and small businesses, and imposes intrusive new government rules on private, personal medical decisions.

This evening's amendment votes tee up a House floor vote scheduled for this Wednesday and draw a clear picture of the House majority's efforts to roll back women's rights and access to reproductive health services. . . .

May 3, 2011 in Abortion, Congress | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

May 4th is 10th Annual National Day to Prevent Teen Pregnancy

PR NewsWire: 10th Annual National Day to Prevent Teen Pregnancy is May 4, 2011:

Hundreds of thousands of teens nationwide are expected to participate in the tenth annual National Day to Prevent Teen Pregnancy on May 4, 2011. The purpose of the National Day is to focus the attention of teens on the importance of avoiding too-early pregnancy and parenthood through an interactive online quiz and game.

On the National Day, teens nationwide are asked to go to participate in several online activities that challenge them to think carefully about what they might do "in the moment." The message of the National Day is straightforward: Sex has consequences. . . .

May 3, 2011 in Pregnancy & Childbirth, Teenagers and Children | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Margo Kaplan on an Alternative Approach to HIV-Exposure Criminalization

Margo Kaplan (Brooklyn Law School) has posted Restoring Reason to HIV-Exposure Laws on SSRN. Here is the abstract:

Margo (2) This article challenges the current legislative and scholarly approaches to HIV-exposure criminalization and proposes an alternative framework to address their flaws. Twenty-four states criminalize consensual sexual activities by people with HIV. I argue that current statutes and the scholarship that supports them fail to address adequately the role that risk, mental state, and consent should play in criminal law. They punish conduct that ordinarily would not rise to the level of criminal culpability and stigmatize individuals living with HIV. I propose limiting criminalization to circumstances in which a defendant exposed her partner to a substantial degree of unassumed risk and did so with a culpable mental state. This approach requires juries to consider all evidence relevant to the risk of transmission and the victims’ understanding of that risk, a modest requirement that would nonetheless rectify the substantial flaws of current statutes and invert outcomes in numerous prosecutions.

The article transforms the HIV-criminalization debate by demonstrating that HIV-exposure statutes should focus on very limited and rare conduct. It also serves as an object lesson for reforming traditional criminal law’s approach to activities that put others at risk of harm, no matter the context. . . .

May 3, 2011 in Scholarship and Research, Sexually Transmitted Disease | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Texas Ultrasound Bill Moves Closer to Passage

The Texas Tribune: Abortion Sonogram Bill Clears Another Hurdle, by Becca Aaronson:

Senate lawmakers have tentatively passed a controversial measure to require women seeking abortions to receive sonograms — and have the details of the fetus described to them — prior to the procedure. Pending a final vote tomorrow, the bill will head back to the House so the lower chamber can sign off on the Senate's changes. 

The vote on House Bill 15 came after compromise was reached on the biggest point of contention — whether women seeking abortions should be required to have a sonogram 24 hours in advance, or two hours in advance. . . .

May 3, 2011 in Abortion, Mandatory Delay/Biased Information Laws, State and Local News, State Legislatures, Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP) | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)