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Sunday News Round-Up, 40mph Winds Edition

November 13, 2011

Some things that caught my attention this week, with bonus “this week in misogyny” content.

I don’t know how many people noticed, and I assume it won’t go anywhere, but Michele Bachmann introduced a forced ultrasound for abortion bill in the House. It’s been sent to the Subcommittee on Health.

The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy has launched a new website, Bedsider, about birth control and says it’s intended for women ages 18-29 years. I haven’t looked through it thoroughly, but it includes comparisons of different methods of preventing pregnancy by factors like cost, immediacy, STI prevention, ease of getting and using the method, ease of hiding it from a partner, and degree of mistake-proofed-ness. It is focused through a pregnancy prevention lens, so the site is focused on penis-in-vagina sex, not other forms of sex or prevention. I haven’t reviewed the site thoroughly, but let me know what you think. Some of the language seems a little, uh, teen magazine-y for my tastes and for a target audience that is actually made up of adults, but perhaps it’s my advanced age talking there (early 30s).

Over at OBOS, between C and I we’ve covered Mississippi, personhood, and reproductive justice, and new research on in vitro fertilization and ovarian cancer risks.

The CDC released the final data on 2009 births [PDF] in the United States. It’s full of data on the number of births, birth rates by things about women, like their age and marital status, and rates of cesarean (another all-time high), low birth weight, preterm, and out of hospital births. [hat tip to Jill]

Jaclyn Friedman, who I met briefly at the Our Bodies Ourselves 40th, has a new book out, What You Really, Really Want: The Smart Girl’s Shame-Free Guide to Sex and Safety. I haven’t read it yet, but there’s a Twitter chat happening at 9pm Eastern tonight using the hashtag #shamefreesex.

B points out the ridiculousness of news coverage taking the “vodka-soaked tampon” story seriously. Notably, liquid-soaked tampons expand and are not exactly convenient for insertion. Aside from which, alcohol+mucous membranes would probably hurt. And the likelihood of it being widespread for teenage boys to be inserting said vodka-soaked tampons rectally is just absurdly small. And then there was the follow-up to B’s post, which takes a quick downward spiral in the comments to “if we take your picture without permission but link to you, you should be glad of the traffic”-land.

The FDA released a new statement on Makena, a drug intended to help prevent preterm birth. It has been the subject of controversy because versions of the same ingredient in Makena has been available for pretty cheap through compound pharmacies for a long time. FDA’s approval of Makena with it’s extremely high price, have generated strong reactions and concerns about access. The FDA’s new statement basically says, “The company that makes Makena says those vastly cheaper compound pharmacy products vary in their strength and purity, so we’re going to look into it.”

The agency also approved the first therapy derived from cord blood cells.

Jill at Feministe had a note left in her suitcase by the TSA when she checked what she’s referring to as a “personal item.” A note that read, “get your freak on girl.” Jill follows up that the TSA agent who left that note has been suspended, and Jill responds to the lack of response to the real problem here: “…I get no satisfaction in hearing that someone may be in danger of losing their job over this. I would much prefer a look at why ‘security’ has been used to justify so many intrusions on our civil liberties, rather than fire a person who made a mistake.”

This week, the CDC is running a campaign focused on the smart and appropriate use of antibiotics. Go to the website to learn more about why you don’t always need antibiotics and why it’s bad for all of us to use too many.

Transgender Day of Remembrance is coming up on November 20th.

The Abortioneers ask when to speak up, when to keep your mouth shut, and how to know the difference.

The fact that women prisoners often get shackled during labor is discussed at Smart Bitches, Trashy Books, in an interview with a fiction writer who covered this practice in a book.

Sometime this week, I stumbled across #occupyhealthcare and the accompanying website. The contributors seem to be mostly healthcare providers and adjacents, focused on increasing access to healthcare.

The government has issued a “Leading Health Indicators App Challenge,” soliciting developers to create apps that promote the use of key measures of health (“indicators”) to improve the health of communities.

The Census released new data with the headline, “Half of First-Time Mothers Receive Paid Leave, Census Bureau Reports.” Before you get too excited, “paid” leave included not just official paid maternity leave, but using up your own existing balance of paid sick and/or vacation leave, if you’re fortunate enough to have that. They also noted that women who got some type of paid leave were *more* likely to return to work within 3-5 months, making me wonder if they are often returning to work when they exhaust their reserves of paid sick or other time. Then there’s this limitation: “Given that FMLA and other leave policies in the United States do not allow for leave for more than 12 weeks, it is not entirely surprising that new mothers return to work relatively soon.”

ePatientDave writes about how impossible to understand an “explanation of benefits” document can be and how we’re prevented from stopping errors and reducing costs because of this lack of transparency.

This week in misogyny:
Rick Perry’s “departments I would close” gaffe has received most of the news coverage, but in the same GOP candidate debate, Herman Cain referred to Representative/former Speaker Nancy Pelosi as “Princess Nancy.” He or his team reiterated this remark on Twitter, before offering the fauxpology that he “probably shouldn’t have” made the remark, but “was trying to make a point.” A point that required a gendered diminishing and dismissal of a powerful woman politician, apparently. I guess he thought he had built up too much goodwill with women over the course of his sexual harassment scandal.

Using the #mencallmethings hashtag (which Sady Doyle apparently started), feminist women bloggers took to Twitter to talk about some of the vile things that have been said to them in the course of their writing, including rape and death threats. I contributed a rape threat I received through the comments here because I had the temerity to dislike a rape joke on tv. Just another humorless feminist who deserved threats of violence because of it, right? @metalmujer and others pointed out that the hashtag itself would be better focused on misogyny rather than “men.” Yes, most of the excessively hateful and threatening remarks I’ve been subjected to have been made by men, but the problem is not something about all men, it’s the misogyny these particular men have carried out and a culture that encourages them to do so.

I also keep seeing this image on Facebook intended at a critique of dubstep and its fans. I don’t have an opinion one way or the other about the actual quality of dubstep or its fans over time, but I do know that when the main critique is presented as “it was good when it was a bunch of men standing around, now it sucks and is by/for little girls,” that’s misogyny.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. November 13, 2011 3:26 pm

    Wow, what a find! Thanks for showing up in my Google Alerts – I’m subscribed.

    Aside from loving the content here, I *wish* I could write a burst of quick line items like this. Well done.

    p.s. I was gonna be at OBOS40, had my ticket & all as a contributor, but ended up in Denver doing a lecture. Bummer. In my talks (and my book) when I speak of precedents for e-patient-ness, I always cite the original, which I witnessed when I was just out of college.

    • November 13, 2011 4:04 pm

      Thanks for commenting and for the complement, Dave!

      Sorry you missed OBOS, I very much left inspired and re-energized by the words and work of the speakers and global partners.

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