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.
In Case You Thought a Doctor Who Acknowledges Sleeping with His Patients Might Actually Get Punished
In a few previous round-up posts, I mentioned the case of Scott DesJarlais, anti-abortion Tennessee Republican who, as a physician, had sex with some of his female patients and recorded himself pressuring one to get an abortion. The Tennessee Board of Medical Examiners reviewed the complaints against DesJarlais this week.
You’d think such an abuse of the authority of and trust patients have in a physician would warrant serious punishment, right? Like loss of one’s medical license?
Nope. DesJarlais remains a practicing physician. He’s being fined $250 per patient (so $500 fine for the actual offenses), plus any administrative costs associated with the complaint, for a grand total of up to $1500. He keeps his medical license, and simply gets reprimanded.
According to the Tennessean, “The $500 fine is the same amount assessed against another doctor in 2012 for failing to pay her professional privilege taxes. At least two other doctors who admitted sexual misconduct with patients faced harsher penalties.”
The Tennessean also reports that “DesJarlais, a Jasper physician, said the medical ethics board had largely absolved him of complaints.” According to this consent order shared by the Huffington Post*, it is listed as a stipulation of fact that DesJarlais had a sexual relationship with two female patients, and that documentation did not exist to show whether or not he continued serving as their physician after the sex started. I would assume that’s because there’s no documentation of the exact time period of the sex, because if there were there would be records showing whether the women presented to DesJarlais as patients during or after that time.
This is not a process I know much about, and minutes of the meeting are not yet available. Judging from this site, there are meetings as far back as July 2011 that have never had their minutes posted, so who knows when they’ll be up there. I am not in a position to speak about evidence around DesJarlais’s actions or what the board discussed or found. However, I find both the idea of DesJarlais abusing his professional position and the lack of a serious punishment just gross and disturbing. I really hope we hear some more detailed reporting out of the Board soon.
Her: Add something zippy to the beginning of this article.
Me: Here are some percentages about HPV types and cervical and anal cancer!
Sometimes I feel sorry for my editor for National Women’s Health Network newsletter articles. Susan Flinn, you’re terrific! 🙂
Tomorrow I’ll go back to work after being out since Friday, May 3rd. Since that time, I’ve cleaned house for an overnight family guest, prepped and packed for a conference, spent 4 days at or traveling to/from the annual Medical Library Association conference (where I gave a presentation, attended a committee meeting, and served as an official conference blogger, along with various other conference obligations). Then I came home where I updated my resume, looked at job descriptions, worked on a cover letter, wrote the first draft of my next NWHN newsletter article, and had introvert recovery time. I also threw in a quick post on reproductive health content a Terry Pratchett book. Whew. I might still need a vacation.
Although I have been woefully isolated from the news for the past week, some things that have caught my attention:
- Bears repeating, and imagine how many *men in politics* are completely ignorant of this fact: Half of Women Unaware that Pregnancy Is More Dangerous Than Contraception. These are results released by ACOG from a very small study presented at their annual meeting, so complete methods and data is not available. I’d be interested in the results of a larger study that would also look at public knowledge about the safety of pregnancy vs. abortion (abortion similarly is safer than pregnancy/birth for women).
- Weld County Board Renews Decision to Ban Plan B at Health Clinics – in Colorado, where people are still completely wrong about how emergency contraception works, but also don’t want to help low-income people afford birth control. *headdesk*
- First the Egg is announcing a book project on feminist parenting, and is soliciting word-spreading, help, and story-sharing.
Among the issues to address: “Mainstream parenting culture–and books–make big assumptions about what men and women, boys and girls are like. And what we ought to be like, too. On top of this gender essentialism, most advice about parenting either ignores or participates in heteronormativity, classism, racism, ableism, and the power of commodity culture.”
So, as is often the case but not always executed in feminism, I think it would be good to get some voices in there that aren’t just secure, middle class, white highly educated feminist perspectives. Seriously.
- Go here to help out with fundraising for a Queer Women of Color Reproductive Justice event – “Sister Song will host a gathering of LGBTQ Indigenous women and women of color who are leaders in the reproductive justice movement in order to help strengthen a shared vision, build support of peer-leadership, strengthen intersectional movement alignment and develop potential policy agenda action items.”
- SisterSong is also having a live-streamed symposium on May 22 on “a mother’s right to parent her children.”
- The judge in the Plan B case has refused to issue a stay delaying over-the-counter emergency contraception access for young women in response to the Department of Justice’s appeal.
Props to Judge Korman, who is quoted as stating that “If a stay is granted, it will allow the bad-faith, politically motivated decision of Secretary Sebelius, who lacks any medical or scientific expertise, to prevail” and calling the appeal’s argument about women’s confusion both “silly” because the appeal itself creates confusion, and “largely an insult to the intelligence of women.”
- Haven’t read this, but definitely want to check it out: the Dari Project book, the first bilingual collection of LGBTQ Korean American stories (found via I am Korean American)
- These Mama’s Day e-cards from Strong Families are amazing.
- Resource of interest: Native Youth Sexual Health Network
- James Perry asks, “Is sexism obscuring the cure to American poverty?” – looks at America’s lack of paid pregnancy leave, the wage gap, and argues “Affording women equal rights, fair salaries, maternal support and the right and easy access to reproductive health care will go a long way stemming poverty.”
- Random media notes: Neil Gaiman did an episode of Doctor Who. The Doctor’s line near the end referring to Clara as a mystery wrapped in a “skirt that’s just a little too tight” just really ruined the episode for me, regardless of its other problems. Too bad that instead of being a companion through whose eyes we can see the Doctor – and someone who is interesting, courageous, clever, and a leader in her own right – Clara is reduced to an object for both the Doctor and the viewer, a mystery to be solved and a skirt open to policing comments by others. Just, no.
I just finished reading Terry Pratchett’s Equal Rites, and noticed several somewhat coded references to women’s reproductive health topics, and would love to know if other readers caught others.
First up, “Old Granny is up with my wife right now,” said by the smith, whose wife is giving birth. “Granny” is a common old term in the U.S. south for a lay midwife. Granny Weatherwax is a witch, too, the concepts of witches and midwives as women healers being somewhat intertwined in the imagination and history.
Later: “Esk knew that she [Granny] was famous throughout the mountains for special potions for special illnesses that her mother-and some young women, too, once in a while-just hinted at with raised eyebrows and lowered voices…” The mention of the occasional young women along with the secrecy here suggests that we are likely meant to think of herbal remedies for a late period (i.e., methods of terminating early pregnancy). Infertility and other menstrual problems are a possibility as well, but we can be fairly sure that Granny is working within the realm of women’s reproductive health.
“..a number of mysterious potions that Granny said she might learn the use of in good time.” Potentially a reference to sex or menstruation-related potions young Eskarina wouldn’t have need of just yet.
Esk out with Granny, Hilta Goatfounder speaking at her shop at the market: “…I say, there’d be many a family in this town a good deal bigger and poorer if it wasn’t for Madam Goatfounder’s Pennyroyal Preventatives.” Pennyroyal is well-known for its use to end pregnancies.
(Disclaimer: do not attempt! You can read about this elsewhere, and I do wonder how much knowledge we can pull together given MS, ND, and other states, but I’m emphatically not encouraging anyone to dive into this in a self-experiment-y kind of way.)
This is the first of Pratchett’s witches books that I’ve read – has anyone caught similar references in the other books?
PS – I’m reading books again! *For reasons,* I had to go on hiatus for a bit, enjoying briefer blog posts, fanfiction, and other online materials. Also reading: Dorothy Roberts’s Fatal Invention : How Science, Politics, and Big Business Re-create Race in the Twenty-First Century. I’ll probably have to return it before I’m finished. I also just finished the last book in the Southern Vampire Mysteries series, about which I have *feelings.*
First up, some recent posts from Our Bodies Our Blog:
- How Can We Help Teen Mothers Avoid and Cope With Postpartum Depression? – discussion of a study that tried to answer that question
- Study: IUDs Offer Safe Contraception Option for Teens But Rarely Prescribed – analysis of a study looking at IUD use in adolescents, with data on complications
- Supreme Court Hears Case Against Myriad Genetics: Why Patents Hurt Women’s Health – OBOS is a co-plaintiff in the case against BRCA1 an BRCA2 gene patents. I look at the oral arguments.
- “Can We See the Baby Bump, Please?”: Film on Commercial Surrogacy in India Screens in Boston – a film you might want to track down
Statement on State Legislation Requiring Hospital Admitting Privileges for Physicians Providing Abortion Services – The major U.S. ob/gyn professional association issued a statement specifically opposing laws and regulations requiring hospital admitting privileges for abortion providers, and generally opposing TRAP laws intended to restrict access. I’ve written here about why I think it’s obvious that admitting privileges rules are much more about controlling women than protecting women’s safety.
National DNA Day was celebrated last week, marking the 60th anniversary of Watson and Crick’s landmark paper describing the structure of DNA. In observance, let’s actually remember the role of Rosalind Franklin: The Rosalind Franklin Papers – Profiles in Science from the National Library of Medicine. Also: Rosalind Franklin: Dark Lady of DNA – describes a book that may be of interest on Franklin.
Today in “no duh:” More Birth Control Knowledge Equals Less Repeat Pregnancies For Teens
Mississippi’s Last Abortion Clinic Can Stay Open, For Now
But: Mississippi law will regulate abortion-inducing drugs
You know, when I think about where I’d be willing to live to take the next step in my medical librarianship career, I actually automatically crossed Mississippi off the list because I think I’d get too distracted by wanting to do activist work around this. Or just, like, yelling at politicians all day every day.
Fat-Shaming All Around Us – at The Nation
NYTimes interactive graphic on overlapping disease in the elderly.
This is an extremely contentious issue, on American Christian push to adopt from other countries: Is There Really An Orphan Crisis?
Good job, Philadelphia! City of Brotherly Love, indeed! Philadelphia Passes Historic LGBT Health Equality Bill! – “The transgender health provision would make Philly the largest city to remove trans health care coverage exclusions for city employees.”
At Dartmouth, students are protesting the college’s handling of sexual assault. This apparently resulted in their being threatened, both with disciplinary action and by classmates. Classes were canceled. Follow the struggle and background at Real Talk Dartmouth.
Later this week I’m headed to Boston, MA for the annual Medical Library Association conference, where I’m presenting, official conference blogging (covering posters), attending a committee (Government Relations) and a special interest group (Relevant Issues, chair-elect for 2013) meeting. I’ll also get to see a former colleague and lots of other amazing medlibs from around the country, which is always refreshing. So blog posts will be light here, as they have been lately. Then I’m actually taking about a week off work. Woohoo!
Also professionally speaking, I’ve struggled with how to represent the variety of my interests and experiences in a way that integrates both the medlib stuff and the repro health writing/advocacy stuff. Here’s one attempt. If you have feedback or suggestions, I’d love to hear it. It’s a work in progress: http://rachelrwalden.wordpress.com/
First up, some brief comments on Gosnell:
The “care” women received from Dr. Kermit Gosnell is abhorrent. The idea that nobody is covering it is not true, however. It was covered extensively when many details first became known in 2011. Here’s my own post on the issue. It is also not representative of abortion care or even late-term abortion care (which is extremely limited) in this country. A woman is more likely to die from pregnancy than abortion in the United States. There absolutely was a failure to inspect and act on his clinic. That is a failure to do what they were *supposed* to do – and no amount of hospital admitting privileges, wider doorways, or other common “TRAP” laws would have done anything to change it. Preventing all late-term abortions is not the issue, either – they’re already extremely limited, and a total ban is unjust for women who develop severe health complications or whose fetuses are either already dead or would not survive.
Want to see more abortion “care” like Gosnell’s? Continue to ignore women’s sex ed and contraception needs, defunding family planning services, cutting state budgets because “government” is the enemy, and working toward elimination of legal abortion. I guarantee you’ll see more of it. Using Gosnell to further restrict abortion virtually guarantees more cases *just like Gosnell.*
There is no Gosnell coverup: ” If you’ve never heard of the Gosnell story, it’s not because of a coverup by the liberal mainstream media. It’s probably because you failed to pay attention to the copious coverage among pro-choice and feminist journalists, as well as the big news organizations, when the news first broke in 2011.”
Recent posts at Our Bodies Our Blog:
Eating Disorders in Adolescence Can Have a Long Term Effect on Women’s Health – long-term bone effects might cause issues well past the teen years
The Long Political History of Increasing Access to Emergency Contraception – A judge ruled that emergency contraception pills should be available OTC. Sebelius’s “what about 11 year olds?” excuse was always crap. I’m still mad at Obama for supporting that nonsense.
Some other stuff:
Morality and Techie Aesthetics are Not “Health” – Great post from Aunt B – “So, if I fail to be “fit” I’m now fucking it up for the business community? It’s now my fault if the right kind of people, the people we really want and need in Tennessee catch a glimpse of me and decide that I’m too ugly for them to want to live here? I’m ruining the whole fucking state now?” The idea that “fat people” are ruining it for our potential unseen glorious tech takeover of the world! is absurd, when this type of TN nonsense gets national attention.
North Dakota Is Determined to Make You Have Your Baby – Dear North Dakota: Please next pass a law requiring parents to provide organs to their own children in need of transplant. Do not let them decide/consent, just force them to have surgery. I’m just saying.
U.S. government moves to ban ‘fake pot’ – You know what else would take care of the “fake pot” problem? Legal pot. Then we could also stop throwing people in jail and disenfranchising them for life for something that’s arguably less harmful than legal alcohol.
I can’t remember if I linked it already, but one of the We Do Campaign couples (Matt and Raymie) applied for a marriage license in the town where I grew up, Morristown, TN. So, you can see images of this liberal librarian’s place of origin, and you’ll be able to guess it’s not a metropolis where LGBTQ people have a lot of community. Their video made me tear up. No, I don’t think marriage equality is *everything,* but I want to hug those babies.
Drawing the impossible? Fully dressed Superheroines – This is pretty great. I need somebody to make me the Black Canary outfit. (I’d also like to drop the “heroines” part. Because I don’t really need that gendering.)
*weekly title: I’m finishing my taxes *today,* have to prepare a conference presentation and travel for an event in a couple of weeks, and am generally stressed. Eep. That’s also why the short update. I think after the conference I’ll take a few days off work! Soothing pictures of adorable kittens or attractive people at Coachella are appreciated.