The Kansas state legislature advanced a so-called “conscience” bill yesterday that will make it easier for health care providers to refuse to provide women’s health services that they personally find morally objectionable. According to the Kansas City Star, a doctor could refuse to give chemotherapy to a pregnant woman with cancer because the fetus might be harmed by the chemicals; a pharmacist could refuse to dispense the morning after pill, the abortion pill, and possibly even birth control. Anti-abortion folks in the medical profession claim they should not have to go against their conscience even if it means providing the medical services for which their customers depend on them. But women’s health supporters say it’s all part of a larger attempt to restrict women’s reproductive rights. Keep reading »
I was born out of wedlock in Minnesota, to a white mother and an Afghan (not the blanket, the country) father. It was considered pretty scandalous for my mom to be a single mother with a brown baby back in 1979 in Minnesota.
My mother had been with my father off and on for nearly seven years before I came along. Just before my conception, Mom had “escaped” down to South Carolina to stay with her sister after my father informed her that he was already in an arranged marriage with his 15-year-old cousin, who would be arriving soon from Afghanistan. My father’s family had arranged the marriage before relocating to the Unites States; apparently, they felt the need to bring tradition — the child bride tradition—along with them.
You can’t blame my father for wanting my mom for the time that he did, though, as his intended wife was a nine-year-old in Kabul when he met my mom at a Twin Cities bar in 1973, coincidentally the year Roe v. Wade was decided. Still, just before his teen wife was to arrive, my father drove all the way from Minnesota to South Carolina to conceive me in the back seat of his Camaro. Keep reading »
Lila Rose, a twentysomething anti-abortion activist who conducts “sting” operations on Planned Parenthood, penned a piece last week for the news site Politico about the voice she says has been absent from the debate over women’s health care: “that of the anti-abortion feminist.”
Now, it’s not a news that a feminist would also be opposed to abortion; there have always been feminists who have made the individual choice not to have an abortion when presented with an unwanted pregnancy. The problem is when women who call themselves feminists and are also anti-abortion try to climb into my bed, my OB/GYN office, my medical records, and tell me what to do — women like Lila Rose, who writes:
We are women who view the intentional killing of children not as a constitutional right, a matter of privacy or a necessary evil but, rather, as profoundly anti-woman and the antithesis of love. … We are women who believe that something precious is lost when fertility is intentionally excluded from marriage, a sacred bond and a total giving of each spouse to the other. We are women who believe that sex and pregnancy aren’t just health issues; they are also inextricably linked with family, morals, faith and values. And we are women who love everything about being a woman, including being mothers. Keep reading »
A couple months ago, I was excited to find out that scientists were busy “zapping balls” in hopes of finding an effective and safe birth control method for men. Well, I recently stumbled upon some more exciting news for the fellas who were a little weary of any procedure that involved the shocking of their testicles, but are still interested in taking responsibility for their own reproductive lives. A new male contraceptive has been under clinical trials in India, which boasts a 100 percent success rate — no zaps necessary! The method works by injecting something called Vasalgel into the penis, which annihilates sperm before they successfully complete their baby-making agenda. Okay, dudes, I know the excitement about this new birth control dwindled a little with the idea of taking a shot directly into your junk, but at least someone is thinking about giving you (and us ladies) more options. The procedure only takes 15 minutes, lasts up to 10 years and is easily reversible. Clinical trials are starting this year and the injection is expected to be available for us starting as early as 2015. Would you guys be interested in trying this new birth control injection? [Nerve]
If you thought it was just dude politicians who were tone deaf on women, think again: South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley visited “The View” today and declared, “Women don’t care about contraception.”
Oh jeez Louise. Keep reading »
Tonight at 11 p.m. is the premiere of MTV’s “Savage U,” the half-hour series in which Dan Savage, sex advice columnist and founder of the It Gets Better Project, travels to 12 colleges and universities across the country and talks to young folks about sex and relationships. Given his experience — he’s been doling out straight-forward advice for 20 years — and hilariously honest approach, “Savage U” is sure to have a refreshing, entertaining, and most of all important impact on the way mainstream television addresses sex and dating. I was lucky enough to talk to Dan about the show, what most surprised him about the sex lives of college students, and whether he thinks he’ll still be dishing it out in another 20 years. Check out our Q&A after the jump! Keep reading »
A new study conducted by the Boston Medical Center/Boston University School of Medicine and published in the journal Pediatrics has uncovered a truly disturbing trend: teens are being given false information about the legality and availability of the morning-after pill (also known as Plan B), quite possibly on purpose, by their pharmacists. What the what?!
First, the facts about the Plan B’s legality/availability: teenagers 17 and older are allowed to purchase the morning-after pill without a prescription; teens under 17 are able to acquire it but need a doctor’s prescription. However, the study found that when researchers posing as teens under the age of 17 called their pharmacy to inquire about getting Plan B, many were told that they were not legally allowed access to it or were given misinformation about how they could get it — but when researchers posing as doctors called back asking for the same information, the pharmacists suddenly had their facts straight. Keep reading »
“I don’t understand how you can be so anxious to populate the world with children who can’t afford to get an education or are going hungry. It’s wonderful to have a family but it takes money. We’re in an election right now where there’s a lot of talk about how the government is not supposed to make it easy for you to get health care, education, food, or any of the things you need to give a child a chance to be a contributing member of society. I don’t understand how that works? If you don’t have control over your reproductive system as a woman, then who steps in to help you? Clearly, abstinence doesn’t work, and we’re living in an age where a lot of gentlemen don’t take responsibility for the children they’re so happy to give to women. So who helps? … Are the Republicans suggesting that they take care of all the children that are born when you don’t have birth control available to you when you’re a poor woman? Do these guys not understand what it takes to raise a child, financially and time-wise? They sound like complete idiots!”
– Susan Sarandon reminds me why she’s my favorite feminist in Hollywood (and not just because she played the mom in the “Little Women” remake). Elsewhere in this interview she calls Rush Limbaugh “a Barnum & Bailey showman” who “doesn’t care who he endangers or what it means” and when asked about dating her much-younger business partner after she split from Tim Robbins, goes off on the double standard against sexual women. She’s also playing “four or five different men” in a movie version of the novel Cloud Atlas, which sounds wild. LOVE HER. [The Daily Beast]
One spring afternoon when I was in high school in New York City, I had a bizarre health scare. A friend and I had been lounging by the Hudson River pretending to read and philosophize but really gossiping about our schoolmates — acting exactly our age.
That afternoon, I had miserable symptoms as I always did when I had my period. So I popped some handy painkillers, waited for them to work, gritted my teeth, yakked some more with my friend, and then went home. Later that evening I noticed myself itching at the hairline, then on my face. Within an hour, I was completely covered with distinct red polka dots which would have been cute on a dress, but were horrifying on my skin. Hurriedly I showered, took Benadryl, and woke up fine the next morning. I assumed it had been a reaction to something on the ground or a tree.
But then it happened again the next time I had my period. So my mother, like the good Jewish mom that she is, marched me to the doctor. There I learned I was allergic to anti-inflammatory medicines: Aspirin, Advil, Aleeve, Motrin and their equivalents. I could only take Tylenol, which didn’t help nearly as much as the other pills had.
This newly-diagnosed allergy posed a big problem. Keep reading »