Planned Parenthood Arizona Has a Good Day in Court

arizona flagThe good news from Arizona is that the omnibus abortion bill, which was scheduled to go into effect today, will no longer have as much of a sting on women’s access to reproductive health care. Planned Parenthood was victorious in court yesterday, and an injunction will keep the bill from going into effect. Here are the parts of the bill that are currently on hold:

  • Appropriately trained nurse practitioners will continue to be able to provide in clinic abortions (as well as the abortion pill). The bill would have mandated that only a doctor can perform an abortion, even though Arizona licensing guidelines for nurse practitioners allows them to perform the procedure.
  • Parental consent for abortion forms signed by a parent or guardian will not have to be notarized.
  • Specific information will not have to be provided by a physician face to face at least 24 hours in advance of an abortion. The 24-hour waiting period will still go into effect, and mandatory counseling must still be provided. But qualified clinic staff members can provide patients with the information, and the information can be delivered over the phone.

It really sucks for rural women in Arizona that the 24-hour waiting period will still go into effect as of today, but al least some of the other restrictions have been placed on hold.

Recession-Proofing Your Birth Control

Times are tough, and birth control is expensive. Still, unintended pregnancy would be a catastrophe for most women in this economy. A recent study by The Guttmacher Institute found that one in four women were having difficulty paying for gynecologist visits and more frightening, skimping on birth control – cutting pills in half, skipping a few days here and there, and for some women, just going without. [Read more...]

Wednesday News Roundup

mouse_click_270x270Phyllis Schlafy on the ERA: Feminism is Scary, Ya’ll! – Think Progress
Obama Won’t Protect Reproductive Rights – Feministing
Senate Votes to Restore Abstinence-Only Funding – AP
Michael Moore Tells Obama “Don’t Desert the Liberals” – ABC News

Which lube to choose?

lubeA reader asks:
It’s a little overwhelming when I go to the store and see all the choices of lube. Which one is the best to use?

Dear reader,

This is one of those really difficult questions to answer because there is so much that goes in to picking the right lube, and most of them are issues of personal preference.  The most important questions things to think about, however, when choosing a personal lubricant are the intended use and potential allergies. Most lubes come in one of three bases, water, oil, and silicone.  Choosing the base of your lube is an important first step before moving on to specific brands, flavors, scents, etc. [Read more...]

E.R.A re-introduced into Congress for 27th year

FE_PR_081022whispers_obamaIts the E.R.A….take 27

Almost three decades after the Equal Rights Amendment was introduced and defeated, and eighty six years after it was originally drafted by women’s rights leader, Alice Paul, the E.R.A has made its way back to Congress. This time, in hopes of FINALLY getting the votes its been needing since 1982.

Its not a difficult concept to grasp, Equal Rights. Yet, every year since 1982, the E.R.A has been re-introduced into Congress and repeatedly shot down for one reason or another. At this point in time, it has been ratified by 35 of the required 38 states needed for a Constitutional Amendment. And yet, here we are, almost thirty years since, and it seems as if we’ve all forgotten to care.

The current bill in this session of congress was introduced by Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) under House Joint Resolution 61. The text of this legislation is exact to the very same E.R.A bill that was submitted to Congress in 1972 under President Richard Nixon. The only difference is that this bill, if passed through both houses, would not contain the original 7 year time limit for ratification that the original bill did. In 1979, we were still three states short of the 38 needed, and an additional bill was drafted to extend the deadline another 4 years to 1982. It was at this juncture that, under President Ronald Reagan, the E.R.A is said to have “died”. To this day, Ronald Reagan was the first and only president to actively oppose a Constitutional amendment to give equal rights to women (Chronology of the Equal Rights Amendment) [Read more...]

Is Yaz Safe?

yazSwissmedic, the Swiss agency that is responsible for overseeing the safety of medications, is currently investigating the safety of the birth control method Yaz. The investigation was launched after a woman died from a pulmonary embolism that is believed to have been caused from taking Yaz.

The Swiss investigation comes at the same time as 74 different lawsuits that have been filed in the United States against Bayer Healthcare, the company that manufactures Yaz. According to the National Partnership for Women & Families:

These groups argue that the drugs put women at higher risk for strokes, blood clots and other health problems than some other oral contraceptives. Citing warning letters FDA sent to the company, plaintiffs’ attorneys contend that Bayer was aware or should have been aware of the problems. These new concerns could “rattle consumer confidence” and harm the drugs’ image as the “go-to brands for women under 35,” according to some industry analysts, the Times reports.

[Read more...]

Tuesday News Roundup

mouse-clickIs a Personhood Statute Coming to a State Near You? – LA Times
Abstinence-Only Violates the First Amendment – RH Reality Check
Dr. Susan Wicklund on Native American Women & Reproductive Health Care – Blog For Choice
Google Will No Longer Accept Pro-Choice Ads – Women’s Rights @ Change.org
The Conversation on Race That Most Americans Won’t Have – Pam’s House Blend
Warning Signs of Breast Cancer – Susan G. Komen Foundation
Is Fear of Population Control Trumping Green Solutions? – RH Reality Check
Will Portugal Legalize Same-Sex Marriage? – Gay Rights @ Change.org
35 Catholic Leaders Support Repeal of DOMA – Catholic.net

Conservative Activists Push for Ban on Same-Sex Marriage in New Jersey

Gerald Cardinale

Gerald Cardinale

Republican lawmakers and conservative activists are at it again in New Jersey. Although the momentum has slowly been growing among democrats to push forward equal marriage legislation, social conservatives have made their way out of the woodworks, pushing for a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage in the state of New Jersey. Senator Gerald Cardinale (R-Bergen) is one of the leading conservative voices behind the push for a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage in New Jersey, and this isn’t his first time.

The current situation for same-sex couples in New Jersey makes this issue a hot button one for pushing forward with either increased legal access to marriage rights, or a significant roll back. In the state of New Jersey, same-sex couples have been issued the legal right to register as domestic partners since July 10, 2004. Unfortunately, domestic partnership does not resolve the disparity between legal rights afforded to heterosexual couples, and those awarded to non-normalized partnerships. According to a report presented to the Office of the General Counsel of the U.S. General Accounting Office, here are a couple of the 1,138 benefits the United States government provides to legally married couples: [Read more...]

Religious leaders demand abortion rights

female religious leaderLast week the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice published an “Open Letter from Religious Leaders to Members of Congress Supporting Inclusion of Abortion Services in Health Care Reform.” The letter is signed by over 70 leaders from a wide variety of faith organizations and churches ranging from the United Methodist Church and Lutheran Women’s Caucus to the Women’s League for Conservative Judaism and the National Coalition of American Nuns.

While many would look at this act as one of bravery, the letter makes an attempt to paint reproductive justice as a concern of the majority of religious people, not the other way around: “The majority of faith groups have affirmed that abortion is a decision of conscience that should be safeguarded by government. Further, these faith traditions affirm that health care services, including abortion, must be available to all, regardless of income.”

It angers me to think that believing in reproductive rights is seen as something that religious leaders and people of faith have to justify. Given that the foundation of reproductive freedom is respect for the dignity and lives of women, it is a crime that one would assume religious individuals are anti-abortion unless otherwise noted. [Read more...]

A Lazy Lesbian Mom’s Guide to Sex Ed Books for Kids

paige schiltGuest blogger Paige Schilt is a dyke mama, a “low-femme” nerd, an activist, and a part-time professor of Feminist Studies. She holds a Ph.D. in English and Cultural Studies from the University of Texas at Austin and has published scholarly articles on queer culture at the intersections of race and class. She lives in Austin with her partner, Katy Koonce, and their son, who is named after a certain country music legend.

Before I became a mom, I knew—intellectually–that sexuality education in the United States was dominated by social conservatives. After all, I live in Texas, the “flagship state” of abstinence-only sex education.

But, as a lesbian mom in my mid-thirties, I have to admit that I thought of access to effective information about bodies and sexuality as an issue for teenagers and young adults. I hadn’t thought too much about how the religious right’s stranglehold on sex education was going to affect me.

Then my son, Waylon, turned 5. [Read more...]