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Sunday News Round-Up, Car-Free/Carless Edition

May 8, 2011

This post is late because I was busy taking the bus to get here.* 🙂

I wrote several times in 2008 about the case of Juana Villegas, an immigrant in Nashville who was arrested as the result of a traffic stop and ultimately ended up shackled to a hospital bed during labor, separated from her newborn for two days without seeing him, and denied a breast pump or cream for lactating women. This past week, a federal judge ruled in her favor that the shackling during labor and after delivery violated her civil rights. I have a full post up at Our Bodies Our Blog on this topic.

I also have a full post up at the OBOS blog on the Skin Deep database, which provides info on the safety and ingredients of skin care and cosmetic products.

I spent the last few days at the IHA Health Literacy conference. I intend to post on this separately later, including a list of a lot of good resources I learned about, but Siobhan has a few things up at her place. One thing I need to think about is the level at which this blog is written, and whether it is useful and helpful to make some adjustments so posts are more readable for a wider audience, and whether there would be interest in that.

The National Resource Center on LGBT Aging, which I think I also found out about from Siobhan, has information and guidance for providers, patients, and organizations on a number of topics, including ageism, HIV and aging, housing, legal support, Medicare, homelessness, and more.

Jodi Jacobson at RH Reality Check (which has a new look) asks, “What does it mean to be pro-choice?

NPR, on Morning Edition and Talk of the Nation, aired several pieces on the local Magdalene/Thistle Farms, a residential program in Nashville, TN for women who have experienced violence, sex work, and addiction, and a bath and body products enterprise through which the women work and earn money. You can buy from them online at

A question at Good: Why isn’t birth control getting better?

Relatedly, I talked briefly with a representative of the California Family Health Council at the health literacy conference, and was told that they are trying to promote some longer term methods of birth control. This is among their other work, which includes the development of patient education materials on contraception, violence, cancer prevention, pregnancy, STIs, and other sexual and reproductive health topics. I always kind of get the willies when people talk about “promoting” long term contraception, because of the problematic history of how it has been used to assert control over the reproduction of women of color and poor women – regardless of what may be good methods, ethics and intent from whoever is talking about it. I’ll have to contact them and find out what the motivation for this is and how they are approaching it, because I didn’t have time to follow up at the event. In the meantime, anybody familiar with this group?

In the comments at Aunt B’s place, the topic of “gender parties” comes up. I have an appeal to saucy bakers to incorporate the message, “Now you know the sex, not the gender” into the design of these ill-conceived “gender party” cakes.

Here in Tennessee, Stacey Campfield has been pushing his “don’t say ‘gay’” bill, which – despite an intro that talks generally about home being the appropriate place for discussions of sexuality – provides specifically that “no public elementary or middle school shall provide any instruction or material that discusses sexual orientation *other than heterosexuality*” – which is not at all the same as “teachers shouldn’t be discussing sexuality in schools at all.

I picked up a weekly paper in Orange County this week and noticed that Dan Savage mentioned the bill in his 5/4 column, pointing readers to, a site ostensibly set up by a couple of teenagers opposing the bill and gathering petition signatures in opposition – it’s nice to see students being active in this way.

The bill passed the House committee and is scheduled for a full Senate vote on May 9, although it has been reported that the state Senate will not take it up this year.

The wonderful Rev. Chris Buice of Knoxville argues in a commentary on the bill that prohibiting teachers from discussing homosexuality in school hinders them in acting against bullying and prevents them from having many educational discussions related to current events and legislation.

Apparently this coming week is National Women’s Health Week.

From the FDA:

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) today announced a joint effort to remove products from the market that make unproven claims to treat, cure, and prevent sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). Among the products targeted in today’s action are Medavir, Herpaflor, Viruxo, C-Cure, and Never An Outbreak.

The Harper Collins controversy has escaped the boundaries of libraryland. tigtog at Hoyden notes it, and Andy’s petition got sent out on a huge scale. Short version of the controversy – Harper Collins wants to make libraries buy new copies of ebooks after they’ve been read 26 times. You know, because libraries are rolling in money and typically discard books after 26 reads. *eyeroll* There’s a ton of writing on this in the library blogosphere, just google it with some combination of Harper Collins, libraries, 26, ebooks.

The Abortioneers are talking about the stigma of multiple abortion, and there is some really good discussion in the comments, including from those gently pushing back against the OP for certain attitudes expressed in the post.

The Utah AIDS Drug Assistance Program is closing to new applicants due to a funding shortfall; supporters of the program are encouraged to contact their state and federal legislators.

This week’s title: I was in a car accident a couple of weeks ago, car three in a five-car wreck. I’m fine, although I was a little rattled and had a seatbelt bruise for about a week. The car, which is older and was in a previous accident, is totaled. The spouse and I are planning to go without a car, at least for the next few months. Tips and strategies for doing so are welcome. Depending on my mood, the situation gets framed as “car free” or “carless.”

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