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Weekly News Round-Up, Two-Day Weekend Edition

January 16, 2011

A few stories that have caught my attention over the last week:

Unlike many people, the larger workplace does not have MLK Day tomorrow as a holiday. I’m going to two lectures at work, though – the first is from Robert L. Satcher, Jr., physician and astronaut, on “Fulfilling the Dream: Minorities in Biosciences.” The second will be Julian Bond, civil rights activist, on “The Road to Freedom: From Alabama to Obama.” The Julian Bond talk is free and open to the public but tickets are required; on Friday the Sarratt box office still had tickets.

The CDC released their first report on health disparities and inequalities. It provides data on a number of issues and disparities, including exposure to air pollution, health insurance coverage, infant deaths, inadequate and unhealthy housing, preterm births, homicide, and many others.

This NPR bit on buildings and building standards in Haiti (as related to earthquakes and their damage) has a striking line in it from a seismologist working in the region: “poverty and corruption kill [because they undercut construction standards, he says. People cheat.]” It’s such a clear example of the truth of that statement, I felt the need to mark it.

Relatedly, MADRE has released a new report on sexual violence in camps in Haiti one year after the country’s devastating earthquake.

The 2011 standards of medical care for diabetes from the American Diabetes Association came out this month in the journal Diabetes Care.

A Canadian publication brought attention to the practice of pelvic exams done on anesthetized women without their knowledge or consent. Here in the U.S., there was some controversy over this practice a few years back, resulting in some institutions changing their practices, but it still happens and I’m mulling over whether it would be possible to get state and/or federal laws passed banning the practice outright.

Report: Drug-Sniffing Dogs Are Wrong More Often Than Right. In short, in Chicago, dogs were way over-alerting their handlers, and at least one expert thinks it might be because of the behavior of those handlers. According to the story:

…officers found drugs or paraphernalia in only 44 percent of cases in which the dogs had alerted them. When the driver was Latino, the dogs were right just just 27 percent of the time.

The obvious concerns here about racial profiling and unjustified searches are discussed in the full article from the Chicago Tribune.

The American College of Nurse-Midwives is holding their annual video contest, and is accepting video submissions supporting midwifery or on becoming a midwife through March 31.

This piece describes some of the barriers to safety and freedom faced by immigrant women who are abused and are in the U.S. without legal documentation.

Jodi Jacobson at RH Reality Check writes about The Pregnancy Police and Citizens’ Arrests of Pregnant and Nursing Women. In Tennessee, a woman who abused cocaine during her pregnancy, and whose infant was found to have cocaine its system, is being charged with aggravated child abuse.

A trans woman was murdered in Minneapolis. OutFront Minnesota has info on the planned vigil and anti-violence efforts.

Pam at Pam’s House Blend has links to info and commentary on the gruesome story of videos sent to the LAPD which depict men sexually assaulting several disabled women.

Angry Asian Man has a nice round-up of posts by Asian authors with critical responses to the “tiger mother/Chinese mother” thing. Amy Chua herself has claimed that the WSJ misrepresented her work in the controversial parenting article.

Jill at Feministe points to a story of an Idaho pharmacist who refused to fill a prescription written by a Planned Parenthood nurse practitioner unless the NP would disclose whether the drug was needed for abortion-related follow-up care.

The sixth annual Blog for Choice day is coming up this Friday, January 21. The theme for this year is: Given the anti-choice gains in the states and Congress, are you concerned about choice in 2011?

3 Comments leave one →
  1. January 16, 2011 6:09 pm

    I can’t say I am getting all up in arms over a woman whose newborn tests positive for cocaine in the same way of the stories. As a nurse, I am a mandated reporter of child abuse, and I call children’s services several times a month for newborns who test positive for drugs. Drug use does not magically disappear after birth, and drug addicted mothers do not magically surround themselves with people who ought to be around children. Those positive tests are often what children’s services needs to remove that child from an unsafe environment until the mother is ready to get clean and provide a safe home environment.

    • January 16, 2011 6:31 pm

      I tend to be more of a treatment advocate than an incarceration/criminalization advocate. I know not all women are ready to get that treatment just because they’ve had a child, but I’m not a fan of our current drug laws and the inequities they perpetuate in the first place.

  2. January 16, 2011 9:26 pm

    In my state, these women are not incarcerated very often- however the child is removed from their care, and rightly so. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve moved mountains as a case manager to find residential drug treatments for a pregnant patient that also is abusing substances- and they reject it. Treatment is needed, and should be mandated- however the right of that helpless child to be healthy and safe should not be discounted.

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