Getting Ready for the State of the Union
Technorati Tags: drinking games; sotu; State of the Union
MeSH Tags: Alcohol Drinking/adverse effects
women's health topics, news, policy, and resources from a medical librarian
"my boyfriend recently put his penis inside me, i don't think we had sex because it only lasted about 3 minutes, although he ejaculated i don't think i could be pregnent because we didn't actually have sex. He wasn't using contraception because i am a devoted Catholic and i don't believe in it.Upon being informed that, yes, she did in fact have sex and could possibly have become pregnant, the user responds that she feels stupid and though sex had to last at least 15 minutes to "count." She then asks if it's advisable to throw herself down the stairs in order to "get rid of it," even though she has not taken a pregnancy test. Oh, my.
"There is no Constitutional right to have children. The government does not have to take care of your children just because you feel like having them. This does not mean that I want only the wealthy and privileged to spawn. Nathan and I wouldn’t be alive if that was the case, and that would leave such a sad emptiness in the world. I believe that most people can afford children with realigned priorities and some planning. I just have a problem with women who see only wonderful aspects to dependence on WIC. Are they going to teach responsiblity to their children?"Bad, Bad Ivy also had two posts, and points out that sex education and real solutions to poverty are more effective than simply demonizing women who might take advantage of WIC. Ivy also makes the valid point that birth control fails, so it's not necessarily true that women using WIC weren't trying to prevent pregnancy. I was surprised by how much animosity this topic seemed to evoke, with people blaming women for not waiting to have children, and generally expressing resentment that *some* women may not need all the support WIC provides. I understand that nobody likes waste or people gaming the system. However, that's going to happen in any large government program. You want changes to WIC eligibility or procedures, talk to your government. I think there probably are some problems with the types of food included and lack of breastfeeding support. Otherwise, maybe try not to demonize women because they're poor and had the audacity to give birth. Because being pro-life isn't just about approval of rich mothers, and should go beyond the moment of birth.
"The full dimensions of the problem of human trafficking are difficult to measure. We do know, however, that human trafficking is a major source of profit for organized crime syndicates, along with trafficking in drugs and guns. The scope of the problem in the United States is serious: the U.S. Government estimates that approximately 50,000 women and children are trafficked into the United States annually.Many offenders are not being brought to justice however. According to another DOJ report,
Victims are often lured into trafficking networks through false promises of good working conditions and high pay as domestic workers, factory and farm workers, nannies, waitresses, sales clerks, or models. Once in this country, many suffer extreme physical and mental abuse, including rape, sexual exploitation, torture, beatings, starvation, death threats, and threats to family members. It is believed that most victims who are trafficked are isolated and remain undetected by the public because 1) the strategies used by the perpetrators isolate victims and prevent them from coming forward, and 2) the public and the victim service providers have only recently become aware of this issue and may not be familiar with how to recognize or respond to trafficking victims."
"In Fiscal Year 2004, DOJ filed 29 human trafficking cases, almost equaling the 33 total that were filed in the three previous years combined. In Fiscal Year 2004, DOJ initiated prosecutions against 59 traffickers, the highest number ever prosecuted in a single year. More than half (32) of those defendants were charged with violations created by the TVPA, and all but one of those cases involved sexual exploitation. In Fiscal Year 2004, DOJ obtained a record number of convictions against 43 traffickers, the highest number ever obtained in a single year."Resources:
Ina May Gaskin, a widely-respected midwife of many years and editor of the Birth Gazette, coined the term and adds that nipplephobia is cured by visual stimulus overload. In lay lingo, this means watching great numbers of women breastfeed their children in public places.The author goes on to examine representations of breastfeeding in media, suggesting that the more images of breastfeeding women are visible, the less resistance mothers will experience.
It's not that Americans don't like to see breasts. Shove breasts in tight swim suits on Baywatch, and ratings, among other things, rise. Breasts are used successfully, with few, if any, complaints to sell everything from cars to vacations. Why is it that when a baby, or worse yet, a toddler, is put to its mothers breast many Americans get angry and offended?
The reasons are plentiful: a general lack of education and support, a shortage of Baby-Friendly hospitals and staff, confused and narrow ideas about sexuality, mixed up feminist ideology that equates breastfeeding with repression of women, and sophisticated and aggressive marketing of infant formula, to name only a few. Nipplephobia is as good a theory as anything else put forth, and maybe, just maybe, there are small signs of the cure creeping into our collective consciousness.
Says Michelle Collins, a certified nurse midwife at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, said she found it ludicrous that legislation was needed to protect a woman's right to breast-feed in public. "In our country there's this phobia about breast-feeding, but you can wear a shirt that shows more," Collins said. "In other countries women breast-feed where and when they want and it's not a big deal."The Tennessean article has an associated comment board where users can post their opinions, with mixed opinions thus far. Nashville Knucklehead and Enclave also have posts on the story. Still waiting on comment from Franklin Circus, who previously called the mother who wanted to breastfeed in view of others at the rec center, "a spoiled kid who was never told no or spanked when she was young." Classy, right?
As we move more and more toward a "personal responsibility" view of healthcare in the United States, we need to remain cognizant of the bigger picture. Today, the view that people are responsible for the unhealthy choices they make (smoking, drinking, using drugs, etc.) and should bear the burdens of their decisions is becoming more and more popular. It may turn out that when we began to think about this issue in terms of "health problems you choose for yourself," we may unwittingly have opened the door to such ideas as mandatory (if you want to stay insured) mastectomy.Check out the rest of the post - it's an intriguing take on a women's health rights issue that I don't know to have arisen, but the possibilities are worth noting.
Although abstinence from sexual intercourse represents a healthy behavioral choice for adolescents, policies or programs offering “abstinence only” or “abstinence until marriage” as a single option for adolescents are scientifically and ethically flawed. Although abstinence from vaginal and anal intercourse is theoretically fully protective against pregnancy and disease, in actual practice, abstinence-only programs often fail to prevent these outcomes. Although federal support of abstinence-only programs has grown rapidly since 1996, existing evaluations of such programs either do not meet standards for scientific evaluation or lack evidence of efficacy in delaying initiation of sexual intercourse.A concluding paragraph stating the authors' conclusions and thoughts about their implications is very common in the medical literature. What is unusual is reading a scholarly article in a reputable medical journal and feeling as though you are being slapped in the face with the authors' political agendas. It seems striking that this should be the reader's reaction - after all, sexual and reproductive health are medical issues, not political ones. There can be two readings of this particular article. As a scholarly piece, it can read as a summary of known fact that seems to support comprehensive sex education rather than abstience-only, making the authors' concluding points a perfectly reasonably "implications" section of a standard research article. As a political piece, it is a strong editorial statement in opposition to the abstience-only agenda being pushed by certain policy-makers. Because the audience for this journal may be limited, it will be interesting to see what reaction this article provokes, if any.
Although health care is founded on ethical notions of informed consent and free choice, federal abstinence-only programs are inherently coercive, withholding information needed to make informed choices and promoting questionable and inaccurate opinions. Federal funding language promotes a specific moral viewpoint, not a public health approach. Abstinence-only programs are inconsistent with commonly accepted notions of human rights.
In many communities, AOE has been replacing comprehensive sexuality education. Federally funded AOE programs censor lifesaving information about prevention of pregnancy, HIV and other STIs, and provide incomplete or misleading misinformation about contraception. The federal government’s emphasis on abstinence-only approaches may also be harming other public health efforts such as family planning programs and HIV prevention efforts—domestically and globally. Federally funded abstinence-until-marriage programs discriminate against GLBTQ youth, as federal law limits the definition of marriage to heterosexual couples.
Schools and health care providers should encourage abstinence as an important option for adolescents. “Abstinence-only” as a basis for health policy and programs should be abandoned.
Which leaves the one part of the female body formerly not available to harsh scrutiny now glaringly on display, held up to culturally defined aesthetic standards undreamed of by the smut-obsessed author of "My Secret Life," borrowed as they are from centerfolds and online pornography. Sagging groin skin and limp labia are going the way of crooked noses and post-nursing breasts, courtesy of new cosmetic surgeries focused on this once-neglected hinterland of female beauty. As recently noted in an article in The Wall Street Journal, vaginal plastic surgery is one of the field's fastest growing sectors, and its high priest, one Dr. David Matlock of - where else? - Los Angeles, claims that he has a five-month waiting list for women eager to get that Playboy look.This is a rather fluffy essay, concluding as it does that, "From where I sit, life looks to be one long Madonna-esque self-invention tour, and there's nothing to be done but to grin, tighten your Kegel muscles and bear it." Despite the thread of objection that seems to run through the piece, this nonchalant conclusion suggests that women just go along, accepting that now their genitalia need to be "improved" because plastic surgeons offer procedures that purport to make the labia and vagina "better." In additional to labiaplasty, it discusses hymen reattachement, a procedure designed to make a woman "appear" to be a virgin, despite the fact that hymens often stretch or tear prior to first sexual intercourse. A recent article from the Wall Street Journal also discusses this trend, and is reprinted here. It begins:
For her 17th wedding anniversary, Jeanette Yarborough wanted to do something special for her husband. In addition to planning a hotel getaway for the weekend, Ms. Yarborough paid a surgeon $5,000 to reattach her hymen, making her appear to be a virgin again.You really have to read the article for the full effect. The procedure apparently stems in part from cultures that highly value virginity in a woman at the time of marriage, and in some cases require inspection of the hymen. The surgery is not without risks and recovery time, which the article says can take about six weeks. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists "which hasn't taken a formal position on the matter, said it worried that doctors may not be able to fully inform their patients about the procedure because it doesn't appear in the medical literature." Says one patient:
"It's the ultimate gift for the man who has everything," says Ms. Yarborough, 40 years old, a medical assistant from San Antonio.
A 26-year-old Latin American woman who lives in New York's Queens had a hymen repair in 2001 and says it took almost two months for her to feel comfortable again. It took even longer for her to enjoy sex.This is a difficult topic, because it involves a whole range of cultural factors that make women believe this is a necessary or worthwhile procedure. I really cannot comprehend the aspect of "doing something special for [the] husband," however, opposed as I am to mutilating the body for the sake of another (crazy, I know). If I was married to a man who wanted me to spend $5,000 to have my body cut up so he could "have sex with a virgin," I think I'd spend the $ on a divorce attorney instead. I'm betting Aunt B will have something to say on this as well...
The married mother of two says she's glad she had the surgery nonetheless. She says her husband wanted to experience intercourse with a virgin. "If a woman isn't a virgin when she gets married, a man can always put her down for that," says the woman...