Tonight We’re Gonna Party . . . Like it’s 2009?

Hey everyone, just a quick note from all of us here at Feminists For Choice to say thank you for your support this year. We’ve reduced the pace of our posting schedule over the past months in order to accommodate the hectic pace of the holiday season, but we’ll be back with a bang in 2010.

As the editor for Feminists For Choice, I want to say thank you to all of the writers for providing such fabulous content each week. It’s really a pleasure to work with all of you. And since none of us are getting paid to do this, you know this is truly a labor of love.

Here’s a little video of The Muppets singing “Bohemian Rhapsody,” which is truly genius. Have a safe and happy New Year’s Eve, and we’ll be back next year with all the pro-choice blogging you can handle!

Utah Republican Lawmaker Pushing for Invasive Ultrasound Bill in 2010

Rep. Carl Wimmer, Republican lawmaker in Utah, certainly doesn’t want to make the already difficult decision to have an abortion any easier for women. In fact, he is in the midst of pushing through a bill for the 2010 legislative session seeking to amend the state’s informed consent law. In the status quo, Utah abortion law requires that women be told they have the right to view an ultrasound (as if they didn’t already know that).

Unfortunately for women in the state of Utah, Wimmer is pushing for more invasive restrictions that would dramatically challenge a women’s right to choice. Rep. Carl Wimmer’s bill would require that a doctor provide an image of the fetus on an ultrasound along with a detailed description of what is on the screen. [Read more...]

Sex, so many little choices…

So, I realize that generally this post is full of specific information or advice around having safer sex, but this month I seem to be without a good question. Instead I thought I’d try to spark a discussion about one of the hardest aspects of sexual actions to identify, name, or teach: Decision Making. [Read more...]

Senate Republicans Block Pro-Choice Judicial Nominee Edward Chen

Senate Republicans, in their relentless tirade on women’s bodily autonomy, have blocked yet another pro-choice judicial nominee by President Obama, Edward Chen. Barack nominated the U.S. Magistrate for a federal judgeship in San Francisco. Chen happens to be a former attorney for ACLU and vehemently pro-choice. To little surprise, this caused an uproar among Senate Republicans who inevitably filibustered his nomination.

Not only is this news incredibly disappointing because it means the loss of a pro-choice candidate in the San Francisco judiciary, it also means the loss of the first Asian-American judge in the Northern District of California. In addition, he seems to be pretty damn tuned in on racial disparities in the U.S. (something a judge should be conscious of). Bob Egelko, a chronicle staff writer at the San Francisco Gate, reports, [Read more...]

Man Arrested for Not Disclosing HIV Status

Poz Magazine is reporting that an Iowa man was recently arrested for having unprotected sex and failing to disclose his HIV status.

Court records do not say whether his partner contracted HIV, but in Iowa a person can be charged for criminal HIV transmission—a Class B —whether or not transmission actually takes place . . . Bogardus is being held on a cash-only $50,000 bond and he faces up to 25 years in prison.

This is certainly not the first case of someone being arrested for failure to disclose their HIV status. From a purely fictional standpoint, the TV show “Law and Order: Special Victims Unit” has featured several storylines involving HIV+ individuals being charged with a crime for failure to disclose their HIV status. One episode went so far as to portray the HIV+ character as a “domestic terrorist” who was using HIV as a “weapon of mass destruction.” It’s easy to dismiss these stories as hyperbole run amuck, but a poll regarding the American public’s attitudes towards HIV reveals that these television stories don’t stray too far from reality. [Read more...]

Tips for Ringing in a Safe New Year

New Year’s Eve is right around the corner. Many of us will be toasting champagne and kissing some hotty at the stroke of midnight. But did you know that New Year’s Eve happens to be the biggest night of the year for birth control slip ups? Before you get your stroke on, here are a few tips for keeping it safe.

1. Put some condoms and/or dental dams in your purse. While safe sex is everyone’s responsibility, you can’t always count on your partner to be prepared. I like to think of condoms in my purse as good karma. (You know what I mean – putting out your expectations into the universe, and all that other hooey from “The Secret.”) If you expect to get laid, chances are that you probably will.

2. Have fun, but be responsible about your alcohol intake. People look way hotter when you’re drunk than they do when you’re sober. You might have sex with someone who wouldn’t get to first base without the influence of liquid courage. So get buzzed, but don’t get trashed. Your decision-making faculties will be much better if you’re not three sheets to the wind.

3. Emergency contraception is available if you forget to put a glove on it. EC is available over-the-counter at your friendly local drugstore. It’s also available at Planned Parenthood. So if you do have a mishap, take EC within 72 hours to prevent an unintended pregnancy.

4. Be a pal. If you’re not big on drinking, offer to be the designated driver. Keep an eye out for your friends at the party, and make sure that they’re not unwittingly getting themselves into a compromising position. You could also send them a friendly message the day after the party, just in case they need a helpful reminder about EC.

For more safe partying tips, check out this article from the FFC vault, or this fun guide from Shelby Knox.

Happy New Year everybody!

Judge Postpones Debate on the Oklahoma Abortion Survey

A quick update on the abortion debacle underway in Oklahoma. A judge has delayed a restraining order against the enactment of the legislation until Feb. 19th, where a hearing will take place to determine the validity of a lawsuit to have the legislation dismissed. The Wall Street Journal reports,

An Oklahoma County judge, Daniel Owens, recently extended a restraining order against enactment of the law until Feb. 19, when a hearing is scheduled to see if a law suit involving the new law is dismissed. This AP story says the Center for Reproduction Rights and two women sued on technical grounds, saying the legislation violated a rule in the state constitution that requires a piece of legislation to deal with only one issue–called the “single subject law.” [Read more...]

Essentialism Rears its Ugly Head: Chinese Shopping Centre Builds “Women-Only” Parking

Photo via BBC

Because lord knows women don’t know how to drive. And they certainly can’t be trusted to park if the spaces aren’t decorated in so-called “girly” colors. No… I’m not kidding. A Chinese shopping center in the Hebei province has built a car park designed particularly for women. The objective being to make the spaces wider (because of course women are ‘naturally’ less efficient at driving and aren’t gifted with good depth perception). Oh – and the spaces must be pink and purple — because that is every woman’s favorite color. Ugh. The BBC reports,

The women-only car park in Shijiazhuang city is also painted in pink and light purple to appeal to female tastes.

Official Wang Zheng told AFP news agency the car park was meant to cater to women’s “strong sense of colour and different sense of distance”.

The parking bays are one metre (3ft) wider than normal spaces, he said.

The Wanxiang-Tiancheng shopping centre had also “installed signs and security monitoring equipment that corresponded more to women’s needs”, he said.
The Global Times website says female parking attendants have been trained to help guide women drivers into their parking spaces. The bays also have extra lighting.
Driving in China is a dangerous activity, with more than 200 deaths in road accidents each day last year, AFP reports, citing police statistics. [Read more...]

Are CPCs The New Maternity Homes? It Certainly Seems That Way

I came to a scary realization not to long ago: When I was 18 and pregnant, I went to a crisis pregnancy center. Knowing what I do now about CPCs, I realize how easy I got off and shudder to think how bad it could have gotten. Then again, I tend to be pretty strong willed, and my husband says my angry look is scary – it’s possible I glared the woman out of trying to coerce me into adoption and anti-abortion movies.

It was a Birthright clinic (which is, thankfully, no longer there), and I only went to confirm my pregnancy and get a referral to an obstetrician because it was closer to home than the local Planned Parenthood. I left in a hurry because I was sorely, sorely disappointed: the confirmation test consisted of an over-the-counter urine test (of which I’d already taken two on my own – I wanted to be really sure) and despite what I was told over the phone, the woman said they didn’t have referrals to ob/gyn’s and to pick one out of the phone book. Thanks.

Learning what I have since about crisis pregnancy centers, I’ve been continuously baffled at their gall. What on earth would make them think it was OK to out-right lie about medical and legal information and emotionally manipulate vulnerable girls that come to them for help? After reading The Girls Who Went Away by Ann Fessler this weekend, it became clear to me: They think it’s OK because they have recent historical precedent. [Read more...]

Senate Passes Health Care Reform on the Eve of Christmas

On a 60-39 vote, the U.S. Senate finally passed sweeping health care reform. Although it isn’t anywhere near the bill that I had envisioned myself, it is an enormous step in the right direction. With all negative aspects considered, the bill does expand insurance coverage to nearly 30 million Americans who currently don’t have access to health care. Jill, at Feministe, does a damn good job explaining the myriad of reasons why the advantages of this particular bill still outweigh the disadvantages. [Read more...]