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Sunday News Round-Up, Got Distracted So I’m Still at Level 89 Edition

October 21, 2012
  • First up, please check out the new Our Bodies Ourselves “Educate Congress” campaign. I’ll post more about it later this week, but this campaign extends our action to take factual women’s and reproductive health information to Rep. Todd Akin by raising funds to send copies of the most recent OBOS to all members of Congress. We launched the campaign on Friday and are about 1/10th of the way to our goal, and there are neat perks for contributors, so please consider donating today.
     
    When the national organization for obstetricians and gynecologists has had to issue two official statements in the last to contradict erroneous things elected officials have said, you know those members of Congress need it.
  • For my public health nerds, the New England Journal of Medicine has published a report of the index case of the fungal meningitis outbreak. It’s freely available online.
  • Have you seen Coursera? It’s free online courses from universities around the country. I keep signing up for things then not having time to actually participate. There are courses on biology and life sciences, health and society and medical ethics, medicine, statistics, and other topics.
  • A World of Harm for Women
    New York Times editorial outlining how “If Mitt Romney and his vice-presidential running mate, Representative Paul Ryan, were to win next month’s election, the harm to women’s reproductive rights would extend far beyond the borders of the United States.”
  • Egyptian Abortion, American Choice
    Sheila Sundar rights of receiving this news at the end of her first trimester in her third pregnancy: “The cranium was too small and the heartbeat too slow…The baby would likely be stillborn in the seventh or eighth month.” Sundar explains that this situation fell outside our usual framing of abortion as either frivolous and selfish or dramatically saving a woman’s life (and how that framing affects insurance rules that made this medical situation extremely expensive).

    As a society, we’ve characterized one type of pregnancy and one type of abortion. A woman can keep a healthy pregnancy, or terminate one that she had been forced to conceive, or that could potentially kill her. We fell outside this dichotomy….Then our insurance company responded. Our claim had been denied. Because the pregnancy was not the result of rape or incest and did not threaten my life, it was considered an elective procedure. We relied on federal insurance, the same plan available to all State Department employees. It’s a basic plan, adequate for our typical needs, but bound by legal restrictions concerning federal spending and abortion. We gathered the paperwork necessary to rebut their claim, but knowing its futility, began digging up $5,000 to pay for the abortion.

  • You all heard about TN Rep Scott DesJarlais, right? The whole mistress/abortion thing? If not, see the Colbert Report’s naming of DesJarlais as “Alpha Dog of the Week” for a humorous take on this nonsense.

     
    B makes an observation about Scott DesJarlais‘s continued antics:

    If you want people to not believe that you abused your ex-wife, you can’t really go around forcing your mistress to have an abortion, trying to gaslight voters over it, and then going thermonuclear on anyone who doesn’t go along with your made-up version of events.

    At the least, it proves that you have and will deploy the skill set used by abusers when necessary. At the most, it proves that your ex’s accusations are probably true because it seems to be the only skill-set you have.

    B points to a Chattanooga Times-Free Press item which claims that DesJarlais said he reported an editorial campaign critical of him to Capitol Police – “What an irony. Someone who works for the federal government asking federal law enforcement to do something about an image that is protected under the First Amendment.” (‘Coma also has something smart to say about this)

  • Hospitals Ditch Formula Samples to Promote Breast-Feeding
  • This is a preliminary item without the full study methods and results handy, let’s be clear about that. But I found this very interesting: Diabetes Study Ends Early With a Surprising Results: “A large federal study of whether diet and weight loss can prevent heart attacks and strokes in overweight and obese people with Type 2 diabetes has ended two years ahead of schedule because the intensive program did not help…11 years after the study began, researchers concluded it was futile to continue — the two groups had nearly identical rates of heart attacks, strokes and cardiovascular deaths.”

     
    I suspect that sometime in the next 20-30 years – if we can manage to challenge what we all think we know – we’ll start to have research indicate that what we thought we have known about weight and health and simple in/out, exercise more! constructions will be shown to be entirely too simplistic. Sure, exercise is probably good for you in various ways. But this popular mythology that all overweight people are “sick” and all anyone has to do is strictly regulate calories and exercise more and more for proper results (else they’re lying, if they get bad results), I think that’s too simple. It’s too easy, and too easily lets us perpetuate ideas about body size that have nothing to do with real health, so it persists – people don’t like to challenge their own assumptions and stereotypes. If we can do that, I think we’ll learn some actually interesting things that also let us treat people like individuals and real people and benefit their health, rather that propping up our mean ideas about who is okay to look at as gross failures.

  • Clinic Raffles Could Make You a Winner, and Maybe a Mother – I haven’t quite worked through my thoughts about this one yet – a fertility clinic held a raffle for a free round of IVF
  • While most coverage of photo ID laws as voter suppression has been focused on older/low-income/student voters, Monica’s piece at The Transadvocate reminds me that it can be a real threat to transgender folks too, such as when providing ID to vote reveals an old name/identity. And yes, it’s a huge privilege that I can need a reminder of that, instead of living with it constantly.
  • The Red/Purple Line: An Alternate Method For Assessing Cervical Dilation Using Visual Cues
    I’d never heard of or seen this before, you? Would love to hear from some of the various types of birth attendants in the readership.
  • The Ones We Left Behind: On Being An Ally To Small Town Queers
    Good stuff. “A common saying heard during my childhood was, ‘A true lady never talks religion or politics.’ Yet much of progressive activism hinges upon doing just that.” Ayup.
  • Poem: Justice for Our Bodies
  • Rape and selective outrage in the feminist community
  • And, some examples of women mathematicians and top science writers.

Note: if you have any trouble with the New York Times paywall, try this. It’s extremely porous, and you can just delete everything in the URL after the .html part.

vinyl album with a bite out of it and the text "goat farmer records"Completely unrelated, but I just set up a site for Joel’s audio recording and production work – it’s the first time I’ve done a self-hosted WordPress install start to finish myself. Feel free to check it out, especially if you’re around Nashville, TN and interested in working with somebody to record and distribute your music. (And, yeah, we have a librarian and an audio recording person in the same household. We learn to live with uncertainty and changing professions.)

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. October 21, 2012 5:50 pm

    Just donated to the OBOS campaign! Thanks for mentioning it!

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  1. In Case You Thought a Doctor Who Acknowledges Sleeping with His Patients Might Actually Get Punished | Women's Health News

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