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Sunday News Round-Up, Still Here Edition

January 30, 2011

Some things that caught my eye this week; for new folks, the Sunday news round-up tends to focus more on social issues than research or resources, including whatever I’ve noted for later reading from my RSS feeds or Twitter.

First, the English-language site for Al Jazeera has the most complete coverage I’ve seen of what’s going on in Egypt for those who need it in the English language.

I’m woefully behind on the “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act,” proposed by House Republicans, so this first chunk is catching up. It seems to me to be completely unnecessary political posturing on the backs of women (and especially rape victims, as we’ll see), given that there are existing restrictions preventing federal funding for abortion. I know it includes an exception for “forcible rape,” which as far as I know is not a real legal term with an actionable definition. Many folks have expressed concerns that it would seem to exclude women who are date raped, or drugged, or otherwise not sufficiently physically abused in the course of being raped. Perhaps those women didn’t suffer enough for House Republicans to be considered for access to the means to make their own decisions about their own pregnancies. *headdesk*

It also fails to mention statutory rape, includes incest only if the victim is a minor, and includes only a “danger of death” exemption, not a health exemption.

  • There’s a decent summary over at Mother Jones, The House GOP’s Plan to Redefine Rape.
  • The New York Times has an editorial: The Two Abortion Wars: A Highly Intrusive Federal Bill.
  • rikyrah at Jack & Jill Politics reminds us, of the politicians pushing this business: “They are who we thought they were.”
  • The blogger at No Fun at Parties writes in response to people who say, “who cares? I’m against all abortion anyway.” I think this response is an excellent one, and I encourage you to go read the whole post:

    It’s not about abortion. It’s about rape. People who oppose legal abortion can agree with the idea of reducing federal funding for abortions in the case of rape and incest, but doing it this way is incredibly dangerous. Creating two different kinds of rape survivors is very dangerous. Requiring women who were raped to have to prove to a health care provider that their rape was forcible, by some legal standard that has yet to be determined, is very dangerous. It creates a de facto class of rape in which women who were drugged, or severely underaged, or who saw the threat of force and chose to drop their resistance, are treated by the law as having colluded in their rape.

    By the way, some news sites like the New York Times have free online content but ask for users to register before viewing that content. If you ever need it, the website BugMeNot posts user-shared log-ins for reuse by those who don’t want to share their own personal details. It doesn’t always work and requires an extra step, but may be worth checking out if you have privacy concerns.

    Sex-ed source Scarleteen has launched the new Find-a-Doc service, a searchable database of services including STI testing, pregnancy testing, abortion, transgender health, LGBQ health, rape/abuse crisis, prenatal care, and more. You can also add new listings, but the providers *must* serve young people; reviews can also be added.

    RMJ at Deeply Problematic explores fat bodies in the Harry Potter books.

    Local school Belmont University finally added “sexual orientation” to their nondiscrimination policy. This would be more meaningful if Belmont President Dr. Bob Fisher, when asked whether openly gay people were welcome to study and work at Belmont, hadn’t responded by saying, “I would put that in the hypothetical category.” It’s hard for me to belief a nondiscrimination policy has teeth if it’s hypothetical as to whether the people the policy is supposed to cover are actually welcome. They also still need to add gender identity and expression. Kudos, though, to the folks who worked hard to get this small step.

    Lyon Martin Health Services, a San Francisco clinic that provides health care to many transgender and lgb persons, needs funding help to stay open. According to their website, “Currently, 39% of our patients are people of color; 14% are transgender and 41% self-identify as lesbian or bisexual; 84% live below 200% of the federal poverty level and 14% are homeless.” I wrote last year about a lecture I attended by an openly transgender physician affiliated with the clinic.

    Via Siobhan, links to info on an initiative to promote literacy in pediatric clinics.

    Canadian Blood Services (I could be wrong, but I think it’s kind of like our Red Cross in terms of blood donation), is planning to recommend that Health Canada start to roll back the lifetime ban for gay men on donating blood.

    Change.or has a brief overview of the serious lack of obstetric services/facilities for the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe.

    Amie at RHRC has an update on efforts in Washington State to hold “crisis pregnancy centers” accountable for their accuracy and disclosures.

    Yet another study found no evidence that abortion causes mental health problems.

    eastsidekate at Shakesville wants to share her own version of those car decals that demonstrate “how nuclear, hetero, and fecund your family is.”

    The CDC has a new section on their website on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Health.

    Anne Marie is talking about pelvic exams performed on anesthetized women without their knowledge or consent. I’d like to hear suggestions for actions toward putting a hard stop to this practice.

    I seriously want to have my belly button species cultured.

    And, just a reminder that I’m being more strict about moderating comments here. I don’t need to make a place for hatred and hostility. I also just don’t always have the energy to respond – again, and again, and again – to the “why do you care about this little thing?” arguments, to the feminism 101/derailing for dummies stuff. Some things I’ll let through in the hopes that someone else will respond (and I’m unbelievably grateful to the people who do), but I don’t always have the energy. Please know that my leaving something up in no way implies that I agree with the thoughts expressed. To the commenter who said she acts like a guy and so they don’t give her crap – I hope that protects you. If it doesn’t, it’s not because you didn’t act sufficiently like a man. I hope you realize how taking this stance positions all women as less than men instead of addressing the inequity of positioning women this way, and I recommend Julia Serano’s “Whipping Girl” to you. To the commenter who called the policy “censorship:” – I’m a librarian and I take that charge seriously; however, you may freely express your opinion at any website/blog of your own – I have no more obligation to be the one to provide a space for you than the New York Times would have to publish every screed they may receive.

    Related: if you never saw it, I really love Melissa McEwan’s response to the “little things” gambit related to the “Fat Princess” video game. Scroll down to: “How do you respond to the common argument “it’s just a game, and it’s not meant to be taken seriously”?

  • One Comment leave one →
    1. MomTFH permalink
      January 30, 2011 4:04 pm

      Yeah, I saw the new comments on the Rape Culture post, and I just sighed and rolled my eyes. I don’t have the energy to respond to the same old crap either.

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