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Ohio Urgently Needs Your Support, Too!

June 26, 2013

Ohio pro-choice forces urgently need support.

From Planned Parenthood Advocates of Ohio:

TOMORROW IN OHIO – The last votes that your lawmakers will cast on the state budget before it is sent to Gov. Kasich. It includes defunding. It includes transfer agreement bans that could close many abortion providers in Ohio. It includes the forced ultrasound amendment they added yesterday. Stand with Ohio women!

From a Facebook event page:

Inspired by Texan Women, please wear RED for Ohio and join us to show Ohio’s Legislature & Governor Kasich that we Stand With Ohio Women beginning at 10 AM Thursday with a Press Conference on the High Street/West entrance side. We’ll then pack the Gallery for what could a long day! (wear comfy shoes!). Spread the word – this is a non-partisan event for ALL of us who believe that Ohio’s Budget should not be the “Abortion Budget”. Demand a VETO on abortion amendments! *** if you can not make it in person, please call Gov Kasich 614-466-3555. Tell him to veto all of the attacks on access to reproductive healthcare! See y’all in Columbus! #StandwOHWomen

Go get ‘em, y’all. More love from Nashville.

Thank You Wendy Davis, Leticia Van De Putte, and Everyone Who Turned Out in Texas

June 26, 2013

There are no words but “thank you.” Your stamina and commitment are admirable and inspiring. Whatever we can do to help prepare for July 1, let’s do it.

Pretend all this cheering is my message to you:

Love, from Nashville.

Sunday News Round-Up, Everything is Miscellaneous Edition

June 23, 2013

I’m playing around with a tumblr companion to this site, located at http://womenshealthnewstumbles.tumblr.com/. I haven’t fully decided how much effort I can put into it, but I thought I’d copy posts over there, reblog things of interest, and otherwise post quick link items that don’t require much commentary. There may be a few more off-topic sorts of commentary things there as well, like one on my firsthand experience of Paula Deen’s racist waitstaff fantasy.

Recent posts over at Our Bodies Our Blog: WHO Releases Global Report on Health Effects of Violence Against Women; Groundbreaking Study Follows Women Who Underwent Abortions and Those Who Were Turned Away; Single Embryo Transfer Recommended in Most IVF Procedures.

National HIV Testing Day is coming up on June 27th. Find a testing site using the widget here (it doesn’t embed well here).

Transgender Child Care Co-Op – if you’re near Richmond, VA, “TGCC is a Richmond, VA based worker-owned organization of transgender and genderqueer childcare providers. We provide babysitting services to children of all genders, whether they be gender independent, gender questioning, transgender or cisgender.” Yes.

At Feministe, Five things to say to a friend who confides in you that they’ve been sexually assaulted.

The Gay Lesbian and Straight Education Network has developed a toolkit for elementary educators on diversity, bullying, and teaching kids respect. I don’t know the org and haven’t read through the toolkit, but I thought there might be some teachers in the audience here who would have a more educated opinion.

A reminder that it’s not just “mean” people who perpetuate rape culture.

Pam’s House Blend is closing up shop.

If you follow OutServe, you might want to check this out.

The Komen Foundation has a new leader. It’s a “take us seriously” and “we care about science” pick. Yeah, we’ll see.

Our Bodies Ourselves is looking for a summer intern. It’s unpaid, but there could potentially be a school credit arrangement.

From the FDA, making Plan B One Step emergency contraception available without a prescription to women and girls of all ages.

Op-ed in the New York Times on needing a legal abortion at 23 weeks.

Several good links over at first the egg.

Via the Center for Reproductive Rights: “The Center for Reproductive Rights filed a lawsuit today to block a new Kansas law encompassing 47 pages of unconstitutional restrictions on women’s access to abortion, all designed to discriminate against reproductive health care providers and their patients.”

Abortion Curbs Advance in Texas – more laws that do nothing to increase women’s safety and are just about reducing access to legal abortion.

And a bit of personal news – I’ve started seriously looking into medical library jobs at the associate/assistant director level. If you know of anything coming open, I’d really appreciate hearing about it.

How Even an Article on Not Blaming Rape Victims Can Blame Rape Victims

June 20, 2013

Over at Slate, Rebecca Ruiz has an article, “Why Don’t Cops Believe Rape Victims?” We know that blaming, shaming, and disbelieving victims contributes both to rape victims not reporting to police and rapists being free to continue raping. The Slate article focuses on the ways that rape victims respond to the trauma, and then talks about how increasing scientific understanding of how the brain responds to trauma can be used to convince law enforcement agents that their interpretation of a victim’s flat affect, cloudy memories, and other responses – namely, their assumption that victims are lying – may be incorrect.

Here’s the thing. The articles says the following, which could be Ruiz’s work or that of an editor. I don’t want to demonize Ruiz, just to point out this example of how deeply entrenched blaming rape victims really is:

In the past decade, neurobiology has evolved to explain why victims respond in ways that make it seem like they could be lying, even when they’re not.

What that sentence means is that rape victims act like they’re lying, but with *science!* maybe we can be convinced that they’re not really making it all up.

A better and more accurate approach would have been to say:

Neurobiology partially explains why victims respond how they do. In the context of rape culture, we (including law enforcement) frequently interpret those responses incorrectly and blame/distrust the victim.

With that comparison, see how the first example still puts the blame on the victim? It says to victims, “It’s your fault we don’t believe you, but we understand a bit better now why that’s your fault.” The second says, “We understand better your legitimate responses to trauma. With that knowledge, we can better educate law enforcement and reduce the further trauma of reporting rape, by questioning our rape culture-informed biases.”

In general, the whole idea that we need new neurobiology results in order to stop treating rape victims like liars is problematic. As Ruiz rightly notes, only an estimated 2 to 8 percent of rape accusations are false, while many, many more rapes go either unreported or unprosecuted. Refusal to believe rape victims or pursue rapists is a problem many times bigger than the supposed “problem” of women lying about rape, and it’s part of rape culture to skew that picture.

It’s great if science helps convince cops and judges that the overwhelming majority of people aren’t lying about being raped. But it sure doesn’t sound like needing that science is starting from a legitimate point of believing the victim, collecting the evidence, and following up, does it? After all, there is huge a rape kit backlog where the evidence was simply never processed – Cleveland, OH has started processing kits that are *more than a decade* old – and making convictions. It’s important that cops don’t treat rape victims like they’re lying, of course. It’s highly problematic that it takes results from neurobiology for some of them to even consider it, and makes me wonder if retraining efforts might be better focused on recognizing the full range of their own rape culture-informed biases, rather than explaining aspects of post-trauma brain responses.

Sunday News Round-Up, OBOS-Style

June 9, 2013

OBOS2011_weblgThis week I’m highlighting some things from Our Bodies Ourselves!

Some recent posts of interest that I have up at the Our Bodies Ourselves blog:
New Developments in OTC Emergency Contraception Court Case
The Obama administration – via the Justice Department – is still appealing the order that emergency contraception be made available to women and girls of all ages without prescription. So far the courts aren’t really going for it, having partially denied a stay pending appeal. Please do carry the appeal as far as you can, Justice Department, so we can have more illogical testimony on the record and more court decisions agreeing that the federal approach to denying EC access has been completely outside the usual procedures and not evidence-based. Go for it.

New Survey on Childbirth Details Experiences, Problems with (some) Hospital-Based Births (and some providers)
Listening to Mothers III is out. Want to know how often U.S. women don’t ask their prenatal care providers questions because the providers make them feel rushed? How often providers use medical terminology they don’t even understand? What factors loomed largest as women chose their providers and hospitals for childbirth? How many women are still reporting having episiotomies or getting their pubic hair shaved at the hospital? Check it out.

Reproductive Justice: The Movement Whose Time Has Come
Some background info and recent media around the concept of reproductive justice, which is much broader and more encompassing of reproductive issues and social justice than just abortion choice.

Campaign Against Gender-Based Hate Speech on Facebook – Activists Win!
Great job over at WAM! and partners in getting Facebook to at least acknowledge that the social networking giant has been largely inactive – despite its own existing policies – in responding to and removing pages that promote violence against women.

What Women Need to Know About Health Care Reform and Insurance Coverage

And here are a few that were written by other contributors and are pretty great:
Supporting Women – At Home and Around the World – Ayesha talks about her journey to and with OBOS, her work as a doula, and her passion for reproductive justice. With a lovely picture of Ayesha and her new baby. :)

“Educate Congress” Accomplished: Every Member Now Has a Copy of “Our Bodies, Ourselves” – Every. member. of. Congress. It’s amazing, and couldn’t have been done without everybody who promoted and contributed to the Educate Congress campaign. You’re amazing.

Adapting “Our Bodies, Ourselves” for Iranian and Vietnamese Women and Girls – OBOS works with local organizations in many countries to create context-sensitive adaptations (not just translations) of the awesome book. This post has news of two new adaptations; learn more about the Global Initiative here.

Video Available from Hearing on Sexual Assault in the Military

June 6, 2013

Video from the Senate Committee Armed Services heard testimony earlier this week on sexual assault in the military, including military leaders as well as representatives from outside groups. The hearings were aired on C-SPAN, and video is archived on that site for viewing, split into 3 parts.

Panel 1 – Lots of questions to a panel of military leaders – I think all of one of them was a woman. Senator Joe Manchin points out, in response to a leader talking about how change should start at the top and responsibility should stay with Commanders, that the problem has been known for more than 20 years and “it’s almost intolerable that we can continue on the current path by allowing the Commanders to be in charge at the level they are.”

Panel 2 – Senator McCaskill says of the military leaders at about 47 minutes in, “It sounds like you all are very bullish on the status quo.” Then, “The status quo is not acceptable.”

Panel 3 – outside experts, includes representatives from Protect Our Defenders and the Service Women’s Action Network. Includes commentary on how victims have completely lost faith in the military justice system, and were threatened with charges of adultery when reporting rape.

Lies, Half-Truths, and Deliberately Misleading Adolescents about Sex at Hillsboro High

May 27, 2013

More on this when I’m not sick with a sore throat. For now I will just say that I consider it morally repugnant to mislead teens and to present them with religious opinions about sex in a public school setting instead of facts that could help keep them healthy. Want to complain about the possibility of condoms failing? Then talk about correct use, back-ups, and emergency contraception. This lecture was nothing more than fear-mongering and trying to drum up new clients for a faith-based “clinic” that will not provide birth control or refer for abortion services – in other words, they want women to make very specific choices around sex and pregnancy, rather than in actually providing a full range of information and services around reproductive health.

The claim that “all” scientific, medical, and biological texts define life as beginning at conception is an outright lie, by the way. Apparently that’s what you get when you invite an anti-sex, anti-choice Christian religious messenger into schools about sex – lies and deliberately misleading takes on truth.

Hillsboro High sex talk from group is questioned

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