Since the introduction of the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine Gardasil in 2006, infections in women and girls have been by more than half. This statistic exceeds the expectations of researchers and although this progress is encouraging, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention Director Thomas Frieden stated, “the report should be a wake-up call to our nation to protect the next generation by increasing HPV vaccination rates.”
The fact that the infection rate has dropped so much comes as a surprise because the inoculation rate in the U.S. is relatively low: only a third of girls ages 13 to 17 in the U.S. have been vaccinated. Unfortunately, HPV vaccinations have been dogged by “moral panic” concerns that vaccinating adolescent girls will encourage them to be promiscuous — which is flat-out not true. Keep reading »
One small step for women, one giant leap for womenkind! That’s right, four of the eight new astronauts selected by NASA are women. Being the first new recruits in four years, the eight astronauts will join fellow NASA folk at the Johnson Space Centre in Houston. The ladies are Christina Hammock, 34; Nicole Aunapu Mann, 35; Anne McClain, 34, and Jessica Meir PhD, 35. Together they comprise the highest percentage of female astronaut candidates that NASA has ever selected! In 1998, there had been four women in the astronaut candidate class, but they only counted for 16 percent of the 25-member class. Keep reading »
Yesterday, the Republican-dominated House of Representatives advanced a so-called “fetal pain” bill to ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy. Fortunately, it is not expected to pass the Democrat-controlled Senate and President Obama would veto the bill. Thus, the bill is largely symbolic.
The Orwellian-worded bill called the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act is based on the idea, unsupported by the medical community, that fetuses can feel pain (and pleasure! They like to masturbate!) after 20 weeks. Numerous other bills have cropped up around the country, from Minnesota to Indiana to Texas, based on the same idea.
Not surprisingly, Republicans have a renewed vigor for “fetal pain” bills after the trial of Kermit Gosnell, a doctor who was found to have been killing babies in botched abortions — ironically, because the women who went to his inexpensive, illegally-run clinic were unable to obtain safer, earlier abortions. The House bill is sponsored by Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ), who made headlines last week for saying that pregnancy from rape is rare. Keep reading »
Frisky staffers are not the only ones finding pleasure with their hands between their legs. According to former OB/GYN and now Texas Congressman Micheal Burgess (a Republican, natch), male fetuses are masturbating as well!
“Watch a sonogram of a 15-week baby, and they have movement that are purposeful,” Burgess explained during a House committee on Monday when arguing for more restrictions against abortion. “They stroke their face. If they’re a male baby, they may have their hand between their legs. If they feel pleasure, why is it so hard to think that they could feel pain? Sometimes we have to give voice to the voiceless, and this is one of those times.” Keep reading »
This weekend in San Francisco, the organization About-Face hosted a protest where participants shed their clothing in front of Victoria’s Secret as a statement against the company’s exclusive use of unrealistic body images. In just bras and underwear, the protesters bared their real human bodies proudly to the world while holding signs with phrases like “I pledge to love my body.”
About-Face is a San Francisco-based organization that works to “equip women and girls with tools to understand and resist harmful media messages that affect their self-esteem and body image.” This particular demonstration, which was mostly planned over Facebook, sought to inspire women and girls everywhere to be proud of their real bodies and not to be affected by unrealistically flawless body images that Victoria’s Secret sets as the expectation. [Huffington Post; Policy Mic]
And you thought your period was rough: in the district of Achham, Nepal, women are ostracized each month while they are menstruating. During what is called “chaupadi,” a menstruating woman must stay in a small hut called a “goth” away from the village and her family. She’s also not allowed to use the same water as others or prepare food in the kitchen because she is seen as impure. All alone or with a few other women in the goth, women are extremely vulnerable to rape. Others have suffered jackal attacks, snakebites, or fire while trying to protect themselves from the elements of the Himalayas.
Because of these dangers, Nepal outlawed chaupadi in 2005. But according to The New York Times, because it’s a two-day drive outside of the capital of Kathmandu, Achham has yet to feel the effects of this change. Keep reading »