News Roundup

The Abortion Looking Glass – On The Issues
How Does HIV Cause AIDS? – Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona
Reproductive Rights as Human Rights? – RH Reality Check
Talking About Abortion with My Local Barista – Abortion Gang

Abortion in Advertising

I read a ridiculously high number of fashion magazines for someone that doesn’t wear makeup and considers a new pair of Levi’s a major splurge. But what caught my eye while flipping through the latest batch of glossies was the advertisement for Kenneth Cole that appears to the right of this post.

Ads seeking to make a social or political statement are nothing new. In the 1980s and 1990s, the clothing company Benetton used striking and often controversial images in its advertisements. From the famous image of AIDS activist David Kirby on his deathbed surrounded by family; to a picture of a white child, hair in blond ringlets, grinning next to a black child, hair in devil’s horns; to an array of multi-colored condoms, Benetton made a point of tackling the hot-button social issues of those decades.

Though Kenneth Cole’s new abortion-themed ad is part of the company’s recently launchedWhere Do You Stand” campaign, which also addresses gun control, gay marriage, and war, this isn’t the first time that the fashion company has combined advertising with social awareness. A handbag ad from 1997 includes the words “It is a woman’s right to choose. After all, she’s the one carrying it”; other ads from that decade focused on AIDS, homelessness and, perhaps most amusingly, Dan Quayle. [Read more...]

Albinos in Tanzania are Being Raped for AIDS Cure

In Tanzania, albinos, individuals with pigment deficiency, are being murdered for black magic purposes, and albinos girls are being raped because individuals believe they are a cure for AIDS. Many accounts are not recorded because individuals have not come forward to authorities regarding the incidents. Thus, the exact number of attacks on albinos is difficult to know. However, at least 63 albinos have been raped or murdered. The body parts of those murdered are used in black magic potions and spells to improve others’ love lives, business, or well being.

I believe education could have prevented the rape and murder of hundreds of albinos in Tanzania.  Misinformation from community members has caused individuals in desperation to murder and rape innocent individuals born with a different skin color.

I often take for granted my educational opportunities. Even if many of us did not attend college, we have access to the Internet that supplies information on an assortment of topics. Tanzanians do not have access to education or information in the same fashion as Americans do. These incidents are not completely the fault of the individuals raping and murdering, but a larger societal problem for Tanzania.  [Read more...]

Condoms: What are they good for?

Used to be I could joke that the only people even talking about condoms were the teens on Daytime TV. Maybe it was all the celebrity babies, or the “bump” watches. But it didn’t seem like too many grown-ups were using them. (Or any other form of birth control, for that matter.)

Times have changed. Condoms are making a comeback. Thrusting their way into the media spotlight, so to speak.

First Nicholas Kristof wrote a column on contraception that practically put the condom out to pasture. His rosy prediction:

The next generation of family planning products will be cheaper, more effective and easier to use — they could be to today’s condoms and diaphragms what a smartphone is to the bricklike cellphones of 20 years ago. (Kristof, “Birth Control Over Baldness,” NYT, 9/26/10)

Condoms made the news again a few days later in the coverage of a new study on American sexual behavior published by The Journal of Sexual Medicine. The chief talking point? Sexually active teens are using condoms on a more regular basis than their Baby Boomer parents (and grandparents). Even when the parent or grandparent is having sex with a stranger.

The stories themselves are a mixed bag. If Kristof is right about the future of reproductive technology, it would not only be good news for women looking for effective forms of birth control—it could very well be the key to our survival as a species, given the threat of overpopulation. And if teenagers are using condoms more than boomers, well, that’s fewer unplanned pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases among teens. And for their elders? A lot of tough questions.  [Read more...]

Wednesday Click List

Laura Bush: Pro-Gay Marriage? – Gay Politics
Don’t Ask Don’t Tell Could Still Be Repealed This Year – Gay Politics
Would You Sell Your Ova to Make Some Cash? – Tenured Radical
Is Elena Kagan a Lesbian? – Mother Jones
Liberals, Conservatives, and Abortion – New York Times
The AIDS Epidemic Enters Old Age – Poz Magazine

Malawi Judge Convicts Gay Couple of Unnatural Acts With a Possible Sentence of 14 Years in Prison

Homophobia is incredibly rampant throughout the continent of Africa. As evidenced by the ‘Kill the gays’ bill in Uganda, the lives of LGBT citizens are incredibly precarious around the world. A similar case of legal persecution has surfaced in Malawi, where a Judge has convicted a gay couple of indecency for conducting a public ceremony celebrating their engagement to one another. That’s right folks; two men face years of prison time for publicly expressing their love to one another. Tiwonge Chimbalanga and Steven Monjeza, both in their twenties, were arrested a day after they celebrated their engagement with a party.

Undule Mwakasungula, a gay rights activist in Malawi, said the couple’s decision to declare their relationship with an engagement ceremony appears to have been personal, not political. Others have been prosecuted under the law but this case was different because the two men were open about their homosexuality, Mwakasungula said.

The couple were convicted of unnatural acts and gross indecency under laws dating from the colonial era. Blantyre Chief Resident Magistrate Nyakwawa Usiwa said the sentencing will take place on Thursday and they could be imprisoned for up to 14 years. [Read more...]

Friday News Roundup

It’s finally Friday!  Here’s to some fabulously feminist plans for the weekend, plus a little bit of light reading to get it kicked off in high fashion!

An Interview with Michael Moore – Poponthepop
A Ban on Race-Based Abortions? – Broadsheet
“Famine Marriages” a Biproduct of Climate Change – IPS News
Mifepristone (aka “The Abortion Pill”) is Ruled Out as HIV Treatment – AIDSmeds.com
Let’s Appreciate Abortion Providers Every Day – The Abortioneers
Is Violence Against Women Really Taken Seriously? – Womanist Musings

Why is AIDS the #1 Killer of Women Worldwide?

HIV/AIDS is typically thought of as a gay man’s disease, despite the fact that the World Health Organization released statistics in November 2009 that show HIV/AIDS is the #1 killer of women ages 15-44 worldwide. Since March 10th is the National Day of HIV/AIDS Awareness for Women and Girls, I thought that it was important to focus on some of the reasons why women and girls are particularly vulnerable to contracting HIV.

According to a recent article in Poz Magazine:

The particulars of women’s heightened risk include the specifics of female biology; high rates of sexual abuse and gender-based violence; battles for self-esteem and respect; women’s need to be accepted by sexual partners; a chronic lack of resources and income; and homophobia, which can drive lesbians to unsafe and unhealthy practices.

Another part of the challenge is that the stigma surrounding HIV/AIDS prevents women from getting tested or seeking support services for themselves. One woman interviewed in another Poz article about HIV and women pointed out that if you have breast cancer or heart disease, there are races and other public events for people to show their support. But with HIV, people would rather look the other way. [Read more...]

Wednesday News Roundup

mouse2Health Care Debate Takes Shape Via Social Networking – The Hill
What is a TRAP Bill? – National Abortion Federation
Abortion Should Not Imperil Health Care Reform – Charleston Gazette
AIDS in South Africa: Women, The Church, and Global Indifference – Religious Dispatches
South Dakota Rules Anti-Abortion Donors Will Remain Anonymous – First Amendment Center
Abortion: A Healthy Choice – HuffPo
Why Private Insurance Should Cover Abortion – Wall Street Journal

HIV/AIDS is #1 Killer of Women

aids-ribbonIt’s World AIDS Day. I’ll save my little rant about government complacency in stopping the AIDS epidemic, since I’ve already gone off on that tangent may times before. But I do want to get up on my soap box for a minute about how HIV/AIDS is now the #1 killer of women world wide. According to the World Health Organization:

Women’s particular vulnerability to HIV infection stems from a combination of biological factors and gender inequality. Some studies show that women are more likely than men to acquire HIV from an infected partner during unprotected heterosexual intercourse. The risk posed by this biological difference is compounded in cultures that limit women’s knowledge about HIV and their ability to negotiate safer sex. Stigma, violence by intimate partners, and sexual violence further increase women’s vulnerability. Fewer young women than young men know that condoms can protect against HIV. Furthermore, while women generally report increased condom use during high-risk sex, they are generally less likely to protect themselves than men are.

The youngest women are the most vulnerable. They not only face barriers to information about HIV – and in particular how they can protect themselves from infection – but in many settings they often engage in sexual activity with older men who are more sexually experienced and more likely to be infected.

[Read more...]