Thursday, December 18, 2008

Bush Passes HHS Regs

After thousands of objections from several medical associations and 13 attorneys general against the rule, the Bush administration today passed regulations reinforcing protections for doctors and other health care workers who refuse to participate in abortions and other procedures because of religious or moral objections.

Read the AP story!

Today is not a good day for women's health!

More on my thoughts later. . .


Anti-abortion Activists Targeted

Looks like the streets of NY will soon be safer - for the patients and staff of health clinics that perform abortions at least!

It looks like a bill commissioned by City Council speaker Christine Quinn which would provide protection against anti-abortion protestors has gained support and is expected to pass - possibly as soon as this week!

In a time when the Bush administration is doing its best to pass last minute regulations that would restrict access to birth control, not to mention abortion, this is fantastic news!

Check out the NYT article!


Thursday, December 11, 2008

Sex & Tech

A new study from the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy reveals that 21% of teen girls and 18% of teen boys have sent or posted nude or semi-nude images of themselves. Among young adults (20-26) the figures are even higher – one-third of participants surveyed have posted or sent racy images of themselves and almost half have received them.

With the culture that we live in today, I’m not particularly surprised by these findings. Last year, naked pictures of High School Musical Star Vanessa Hudgens surfaced and recently Cheetah Girls star Adrienne Bailon had a similar incident. These are two celebrities that young impressionable teen girls look up to and idolize. They go to see their movies, memorize the songs they sing, shop for the clothes they wear. And now they’re taking naked pictures of themselves too – just like their favorite celebrities.

And then there is the slew of celebrities whose sex videos did little to derail their careers but instead increased their popularity and fame - think about Pamela Anderson, Paris Hilton, and Kim Kardashian. What if teens start making their own sex videos and begin circulating them around school or posting them on youtube or facebook?

We need to teach young girls to respect their bodies and learn the consequences of their actions. If a picture or video is leaked it is with you forever. This is a hard lesson to sell when sex is everywhere in our culture - even our good old “friend” Jennifer Aniston this month graces the cover of GQ magazine with nothing on but a men’s tie around her neck (and that’s just the cover). But we need to try or we will be very, very sorry.


Check it Out

I found this great article on that links the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to violence against women - very interesting!

Click here to read!


The UDHR turns 60! (and I'm sick ... again!)

Ok, ok so it was yesterday, but forgive me for being late. I'm sick . . . again!

60 years is a momentous anniversary, but to me it really signifies how far we have left to go before women's worth and value is really taken seriously. Take for example Article 5: “No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.” Now let’s look at the facts:

- In the U.S. every two minutes someone is sexually assaulted;

- In the U.S. every 15 seconds a woman is battered, usually by an intimate partner;

- Globally, at least one in three women and girls are beaten or sexually abused in their lifetime.

- Fewer than half of all rapes and sexual assaults and only about half of domestic violence incidents are reported to the police.

- When factoring unreported rape cases, only one out of twenty rapists ever spend a day in jail. 19 out of 20 walk free.

How is this humane or just? Let’s hope with the election of Barack Obama that women will begin to be treated with the dignity and respect they deserve as human beings.


Thursday, December 4, 2008

Private Practice Tackles Abortion

I know many haven given up on Grey’s Anatomy, and I was well on my way too until the re-surfacing of Denny Duquette (ok I know having the dead fiancĂ© come back to life is a lame story line, but he’s beautiful to look at so I’m ok with it for now), but I have found a whole new love for its sister show Private Practice. This season the show has tackled a number of ethical issues and last night they did something I’ve never seen on TV before – an abortion. Ok, they didn’t show the procedure or anything, but abortion was an unfolding theme throughout the entire episode and I have to say that this sticky topic was handled beautifully on the show.

In the episode, a young woman, Renee, comes in for a termination and of course there is disagreement between the doctors as to whether their practice should perform the procedure. While I would have preferred for all the doctors to have welcomed the idea with open arms, this is not what happened and in reality this wouldn’t have happened either. Instead, the decision divided the doctors, as it divides Americans and people around the world on a daily basis. What was most interesting to me was that two of the doctors – Addison and Violet – shared that they’d had abortions in their past. Violet even expressed that she wasn’t ashamed of her choice and Addision said, “I was. I had one and I was embarrassed and scared. I was everything a woman shouldn’t be.” Right on!

The exchange between Meg, the doctor who would be performing the procedure, and Dell, the intern who was unsupportive of abortion, was also very interesting. Check out the exchange below:

Dell: “We work really hard to create babies here. We are in the business of bringing babies into this world”

Meg: “I don’t know you very well. I certainly don’t know you well enough to judge you for this but you don’t know Renee [the patient] very well yet you were quick to judge her.

Dell: “Was she raped?

Meg: “Would it matter if she was? Would that make it ok? Does that make her more or less worthy? We don’t get to know why. That is her business; that’s her choice Dell. That woman agonized over a difficult choice, made it, and came in here. I guarantee you she was already worried about people out there judging her only to have you make her feel ashamed, but we are medical professionals. It’s part of our job to support her after she has made the hardest choices imaginable.

Meg couldn’t have said it any better! Like her I’m unapologetically pro-choice too and believe it’s a woman’s choice, and no-one else’s, to decide what is best for herself and her body. On the other hand, I understand that this is not a black and white issue and I am tickled pink that Private Practice took the issue of abortion, with all it’s complexities, head on. There are not many other shows or movies that would have done the same. Bravo!

Check out the episode on!


Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Catch Up!

I hope everyone had a fabulous Thanksgiving! Unfortunately, I was under the weather most of the weekend, but of course that didn’t stop me from eating non-stop! It did, however, stop me from blogging – sorry! But I’m back and have lots of interesting things to report that may be a little out dated so forgive me!

1). It really bothers me that people often forget about adolescents when it comes to discussing reproductive rights, and dare I say it – abortion. But the fact of the matter is that teenagers have sex and sometimes make risky decisions, so when I saw this article in London’s Daily Telegraph I was extremely impressed. In turns out that in the UK, the Family Planning Association has made it a priority to look out for the rights of young women and educate them on their right to choose an abortion. The group is urging schools to show girls a film called Why Abortion? that shows a range of scenarios that tackle the issue of abortion which are then debated by Northern Ireland teens. In the U.S., women under 18 can’t even buy emergency contraception! Maybe with our new President we’ll begin to give teens more reproductive choices.

Make sure you check out this article!

2). When I went abroad my junior year of college I was afraid to go to Amsterdam. I couldn’t imagine walking through the infamous racy Red Light district with women lined up in windows on the street luring men in for peeps shows or live sex shows. Anyway, I never realized that this openness with sex could have a positive effect until I read this article in the Times (London). Now, don’t get the wrong idea – I don’t believe in the whole empowering philosophy behind women flaunting their bodies, but when it comes to talking to teens about sexuality, the Netherlands is blowing us all out of the water. In fact, they have the lowest teen pregnancy rate in the West and the lowest rates of sexually transmitted diseases among young people! Now, the UK will look to the Dutch as an example as the country tries to reduce the number of abortions.

Check out this excerpt from the article:

Next year, 12-year-old Sasha explains to me, they will learn how to put a condom on a broomstick (she says this without a trace of embarrassment, just a polite smile). Across the city, nine-year-old Marcus, who lives in a beautiful 18th-century house on a canal, has been watching a cartoon showing him how to masturbate. His sister, 11, has been writing an essay on reproduction and knows that it is legal for two consenting 12-year-olds to make love. Her favourite magazine, Girls, gives advice on techniques in bed, and her parents sometimes allow her to stay up to see a baby being born on the birthing channel.

Then there is Yuri, 16, who explains to me in perfect English that “anal sex hurts at the beginning but if you persevere it can be very pleasurable”. When I ask whether he is gay, he says “no” but he has watched a documentary on the subject with his parents.

Do any of these scenarios ring true in the U.S.? I think not!

Some other interesting findings from the article:

In the Netherlands – at secondary school sex education is formalised and children are shown how to use various types of contraceptive and how to have “safe and pleasurable sex.

In the U.S. - President Bush proposes that funding for abstinence-only programs reach $270 million by 2009.

In the Netherlands – the average teenager loses his or her virginity 17.1 years old.

In the UK – the average teenager loses his or her virginity at 16.

In the Netherlands - about 93% of young people use contraception.

In the UK – 53% of young people use contracpetion.

Seriously check out this article! It looks like being open about sex with teens works! Who knew?

3). Planned-Parenthood of Indiana is offering holiday vouchers for basic healthcare services for the network of 35 clinics across the state. The vouchers can be used for exams, insurance co-pays, medication, including birth control, and even abortions. This move has angered many pro-life folks (surprise, surprise), but I think it’s fantastic! Yay PP!

Ok well that’s all for now! Comments welcomed and encouraged!