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Saturday, April 14, 2007

No surprises here.
Students who participated in sexual abstinence programs were just as likely to have sex as those who did not, according to a study ordered by Congress.
The Bush administration's reaction is classic.
Bush administration officials cautioned against drawing sweeping conclusions from the study, saying the four programs, which are among several hundred across the nation, were some of the very first established after Congress overhauled the nation?s welfare laws in 1996.

Officials said one lesson they learned from the study was that the abstinence message should be reinforced in subsequent years.
Yes, the study really shows we need more, not fewer, abstinence programs. We'll call it an abstinence program surge! I see a pattern here.

Conclusions Are Reported on Teaching of Abstinence - New York Times

Thursday, November 16, 2006

So the Educators for Reproductive Rights, collaborating with Students for Choice, sponsor Pro-Choice Day and a panel discussion on Pro-Choice religious views ... and the Enquirer titles their article "Abortion foes stay polite." The article is nearly all about potential confrontation and the well-mannered anti-choice crowd who served cookies outside. What about the polite people inside who coordinated a panel discussion to cultivate informed discussion about controversial issues? What about the panel members and their points of view?

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Many of the feminist blogs have been responding to this wonderfully funny piece in the Onion: "I'm Totally Psyched About This Abortion!"
"I know, I know, I've heard all the arguments: Abortion stops a beating heart. It's a child, not a choice. Every life is precious. Well, I don't care what the pro-lifers say... I am totally psyched for this abortion!
At least one anti-choice blogger didn't really figure out that it was satire. This statement in the Onion article asks us to think about the relationship between unwanted pregnancy and the restrictions placed on oral contraceptives: "If my HMO wouldn't have bowed to their pressure not to cover oral contraceptives, I never would've gotten pregnant in the first place." Not to be slowed down by reflection, reason, or an appreciation of fine satire, the right wing blogger replies, "Sorry ma'am, if you hadn't had sex you wouldn't have gotten pregnant, it's not the HMO's fault for not supporting your promiscuity while not married." Sometimes I can't tell which is worse: having an abortion or having sex.

But why is it that these anti-choice wingnuts can't recognize even the most obvious attempts at humor? Even if you don't think it is funny, you should at least be able to see that it is meant to be satire. Perhaps the same sloppy neural wiring that prohibits the appreciation of subtle reasoning and complex value systems also struggles with subtles required by some forms of humor. Anyway, even though the point of the satire is revealed to him (I love this comment on the blog: "I'm pro life, but sweet Jesus you're an idiot. For your next post, how about a passionate speech on the need to immediately free Prince Albert from the can?"), the anti-choice wingnut follows up with a defense of his original entry. Yes, it's a joke; but for God's sake, you shouldn't have put Prince Albert in the can in the first place!

The rest of the Onion article follows.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Lee Salisbury at Dissident Voice comments on the 2004 story of Melissa Ann Rowland, the Utah mother who was charged with first-degree murder when she delayed a recommended early C-section and one of her twins was subsequently stillborn. Her doctor had warned her eleven days earlier that an emergency C-section was required to save the life of the twin. An autopsy later revealed that the fetus would have survived had she acted immediately. A tragic and sad situation, but is it murder?

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Pam Spaulding posted a note on Pendagon about a new website--Mapping Our Rights--that "ranks states on their level of respect for reproductive and sexual rights." The press release from the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force reads:
Complete with state-by-state rankings, Mapping Our Rights is an ideal tool for monitoring state policies. A resource that will help activists, journalists and researchers, it's also for people who want to know how their state -- or a state they may relocate to -- governs their bodies and relationships.
Kentucky ranks 45, Indiana 49, and Ohio 50 (tied with South Dakota for last place).
The clickable, online map uses more than 20 indicators to rank the 50 states and the District of Columbia, including:

- Public funding for family planning and abortion
- Whether health-care providers can deny medical services because of their beliefs
- Whether same-sex couples can adopt
- The use of abstinence-only curricula in schools
- Whether states have anti-discrimination clauses that explicitly protect gays
The map is hard to read and cluttered, but does make available some important information and permits some interesting comparisons.

The Task Force - Press Release

Monday, May 22, 2006

This piece of lunacy slipped by me last week.
New federal guidelines ask all females capable of conceiving a baby to treat themselves -- and to be treated by the health care system -- as pre-pregnant, regardless of whether they plan to get pregnant anytime soon.
There is so much to say about this--and so little time--, I'm not sure where to begin. First, I would remind the CDC that males are pre-impregnators and deserve a diet of their own. Our job is to provide healthy sperm--and lots of it. Impotence effects one in ten males; male infertility is involved in 40% of all infertile couples. No more briefs instead of boxers, give up smoking and drinking, and no mountain biking.

Second, not only is this a quiet nod to the anti-choice folks, but--framed as it is-- this strikes me as tied to an implicit social darwinist agenda that treats women as essentlially reproductive machines whose ultimate value is wrapped up in bearing children. Reproduction is certainly a biological function of the normal human organism (both male and female), but it needn't be definitive of female personhood specifically or human value generally. While it is a significant part of evolutionary change that populations maintain a certain successful reproduction rate, that is not a requirement for every individual in the population. Many human beings (men and women) are successful in other endeavors and certainly valuable individuals even though they may be infertile or have decided not to have children.

Now the CDC hasn't said that women are to be thought of as essentially baby-makers. But why introduce the "pre-pregnant" label and invite the characterization? Why not come out with health advice for women (and men) insofar as they are pre-astronauts, pre-Senators, pre-farmers, and pre-teachers? Why not address the specific concerns of women (and men) who are planning to have children?

Forever Pregnant