Roundup: DC’s Female Condom Campaign Grows

Beth Saunders

The nation's capitol is engaged in a multi-faceted approach to increase availability of the new and improved female condom.

Back in March, Jodi Jacobson reported that community groups in Washington, DC, would begin handing out free female condoms. NPR reports that the campaign has grown, however, to include a public education campaign on buses, and the first availability in drug stores.

CVS is selling them in all its District of Columbia drugstores — though sales so far are slow — making Washington the only place where people can get them outside a health clinic or community group. And city officials are starting another promotion: a website and posters on 460 buses, about a third of the city’s fleet.

The ads, which feature a cuddling couple, a female condom package and the words “Get turned on to it,” will run for three months and again in the spring. “The female condom with pleasure points for her and him — to tease, please and protect. Go on, give it a try,” the ad urges.

Keep in mind, this is an all new female condom, not the plastic bag-like contraceptive you may have tried in the past.

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The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved female condoms in 1993, though they have never been widely available in the U.S. Leeper estimates that only 1 percent or 2 percent have tried them.

That’s in part because the original version wasn’t popular. Users complained about the price, about $3.60 for a single condom. Others said the material, polyurethane, reminded them of a doctor’s examination glove and sounded like a plastic bag crinkling when used.

About a year ago, however, the FDA approved a new version of the condom called the FC2. Made of a synthetic material called nitrile, it is less expensive — about $2 each — and not noisy.

The campaign is making a difference to at least one person already.

Jamika Roundtree, 24, who also watched the presentation and left with three condoms, said she was willing to experiment. A few days later she reported the female condom didn’t irritate her body like latex condoms and was easy to use.

“It’s better than any other condom I’ve used yet,” she said.

Mini-Roundup: Should Obama use his time on The View for debunking D.L. Hughley’s misstatements on HIV?

July 27, 2010

Family planning push for nations – BBC News

Abortion, Other Issues Continue To Stoke The Politics Surrounding Health Reform – Kaiser Health News

In Latin America, a Harbinger of Women’s Rights – New York Times

Pro-Life group asks Tim Cahill to clarify stance on abortion after endorsement … – MassLive.com (blog)

O’Donnell gets Tea Party backing – Politico

Karen Sypher regretted abortion, telling Fox 41 News she had sinned and was … – Louisville Courier-Journal

BLUE DOGS ABORTED–BY TAX FUNDED ABORTIONS! – The Cypress Times

Kansas medical board files complaint over physician’s referrals for late-term … – Kansas City Star

Nebraska Attorney General Hesitant to Defend Abortion Restrictions – Ms. Magazine

Omaha archbishop denounces abortion clinic plans – KCAU

Will Abortion Issue Impact Republican Runoff For Governor? – WABE

Group opposing abortion initiative has big cash lead – TheNewsTribune.com

Quotable: Kim Kardashian Calls Her Nephew “The Best Birth Control” – The Frisky (blog)

Should health plans offer free birth control? – msnbc.com

The Birth Control Battle – NHPR

FDA Approves New, Permanent Birth Control Method – cbs4denver.com
India’s ‘morning after’ pill use soars – Healthcare Today

Grayson County Family Planning Services No Longer Free – KTEN

Iran to pay for new babies to boost population – The Associated Press

CDC gives grants to improve HIV testing – Private MD

When to consider getting an HIV test done – Helium

Obama Should Debunk a Dangerous “View.” – Tapped (blog)

New findings may impact HIV drug use – Sydney Morning Herald

AIDS Alliance for Children, Youth and Families – TheBody.com

Guest Commentary by Joel Stegen: AIDS Denialists in the 21st Century? Really? – LTNewsNow

What can YOU do to stop HIV? – Minneapolis Star Tribune

Lifesaving Medications, Through a Back Door – New York Times

AIDS 2010: Women and Girls Obtain Their Place at the Table – TheBody.com

A Real Life Tale of Choosing Babies Before Career – Huffington Post (blog)

Let’s all play the abstinence game! – Salon

At Summit, AU Leaders Discuss Funding Challenges For Maternal, Child Health – Kaiser Family Foundation

Babies Who Get Affection From Mom Are Less Likely to Be Stressed Adults – FOXNews

SA ‘failing in child health’ – Independent Online

Pregnant with Possibility – Accra Daily Mail

Fourth Cervical Cancer Conference wraps up in Accra – GhanaWeb

Teen sex messages go digital – Orlando Sentinel

How Private-Public Partnerships Can Help Achieve the MDGs – UN Dispatch

Cuddles from mom make braver babies – Examiner.com

TEXAS FAITH: Are Bristol and Levi a good or bad example? – Dallas Morning News (blog)

Doctors Hospital lends a hand to teen moms at PACE – Bahamas Tribune

Where so many children die bearing children – Toronto

Uganda praised on genital mutilation ban – New Vision

The good book’s guide to great sex – Sydney Morning Herald

Teen pregnancy an enduring problem – The Daily News Online

July 28, 2010

50 years of ‘the pill’ – Journal Times
Growing popularity of morning-after pills triggers alarm in India – Vancouver Sun
Experts Say While AZ Teen Births are Down, Pregnancies are Not – Public News Service
New Jersey women’s health centers react to cuts – Philadelphia Inquirer

Baby is breast-fed by wrong woman at Virginia Hospital Center – Washington Post

Ending violence to women should be diplomatic priority – Indianapolis Star

Does HIV trump privacy? – National Post

HIV drug may increase heart attack risk – ABC Online

Officials launch inmate treatment program for HIV – Chicago Tribune

DC pushes female condoms to fight HIV epidemic – The Associated Press

AIDS awareness hits Facebook – Red and Black

DC Pushes Female Condoms To Fight HIV Epidemic – NPR

Teen baby boom plays out on TV – The State

News Politics

Clinton Campaign Announces Tim Kaine as Pick for Vice President

Ally Boguhn

The prospect of Kaine’s selection has been criticized by some progressives due to his stances on issues including abortion as well as bank and trade regulation.

The Clinton campaign announced Friday that Sen. Tim Kaine (R-VA) has been selected to join Hillary Clinton’s ticket as her vice presidential candidate.

“I’m thrilled to announce my running mate, @TimKaine, a man who’s devoted his life to fighting for others,” said Clinton in a tweet.

“.@TimKaine is a relentless optimist who believes no problem is unsolvable if you put in the work to solve it,” she added.

The prospect of Kaine’s selection has been criticized by some progressives due to his stances on issues including abortion as well as bank and trade regulation.

Kaine signed two letters this week calling for the regulations on banks to be eased, according to a Wednesday report published by the Huffington Post, thereby ”setting himself up as a figure willing to do battle with the progressive wing of the party.”

Charles Chamberlain, executive director of the progressive political action committee Democracy for America, told the New York Times that Kaine’s selection “could be disastrous for our efforts to defeat Donald Trump in the fall” given the senator’s apparent support of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). Just before Clinton’s campaign made the official announcement that Kaine had been selected, the senator praised the TPP during an interview with the Intercept, though he signaled he had ultimately not decided how he would vote on the matter.

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Kaine’s record on reproductive rights has also generated controversy as news began to circulate that he was being considered to join Clinton’s ticket. Though Kaine recently argued in favor of providing Planned Parenthood with access to funding to fight the Zika virus and signed on as a co-sponsor of the Women’s Health Protection Act—which would prohibit states and the federal government from enacting restrictions on abortion that aren’t applied to comparable medical services—he has also been vocal about his personal opposition to abortion.

In a June interview on NBC’s Meet the Press, Kaine told host Chuck Todd he was “personally” opposed to abortion. He went on, however, to affirm that he still believed “not just as a matter of politics, but even as a matter of morality, that matters about reproduction and intimacy and relationships and contraception are in the personal realm. They’re moral decisions for individuals to make for themselves. And the last thing we need is government intruding into those personal decisions.”

As Rewire has previously reported, though Kaine may have a 100 percent rating for his time in the Senate from Planned Parenthood Action Fund, the campaign website for his 2005 run for governor of Virginia promised he would “work in good faith to reduce abortions” by enforcing Virginia’s “restrictions on abortion and passing an enforceable ban on partial birth abortion that protects the life and health of the mother.”

As governor, Kaine did support some existing restrictions on abortion, including Virginia’s parental consent law and a so-called informed consent law. He also signed a 2009 measure that created “Choose Life” license plates in the state, and gave a percentage of the proceeds to a crisis pregnancy network.

Regardless of Clinton’s vice president pick, the “center of gravity in the Democratic Party has shifted in a bold, populist, progressive direction,” said Stephanie Taylor, co-founder of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, in an emailed statement. “It’s now more important than ever that Hillary Clinton run an aggressive campaign on core economic ideas like expanding Social Security, debt-free college, Wall Street reform, and yes, stopping the TPP. It’s the best way to unite the Democratic Party, and stop Republicans from winning over swing voters on bread-and-butter issues.”

Roundups Politics

Campaign Week in Review: Republican National Convention Edition

Ally Boguhn

The Trump family's RNC claims about crime and the presidential candidate's record on gender equality have kept fact-checkers busy.

Republicans came together in Cleveland this week to nominate Donald Trump at the Republican National Convention (RNC), generating days of cringe-inducing falsehoods and misleading statements on crime, the nominee’s positions on gender equality, and LGBTQ people.

Trump’s Acceptance Speech Blasted for Making False Claims on Crime

Trump accepted the Republican nomination in a Thursday night speech at the RNC that drew harsh criticism for many of its misleading and outright false talking points.

Numerous fact-checkers took Trump to task, calling out many of his claims for being “wrong,” and “inflated or misleading.”

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 Among the most hotly contested of Trump’s claims was the assertion that crime has exploded across the country.

“Decades of progress made in bringing down crime are now being reversed by this administration’s rollback of criminal enforcement,” Trump claimed, according to his prepared remarks, which were leaked ahead of his address. “Homicides last year increased by 17 percent in America’s 50 largest cities. That’s the largest increase in 25 years. In our nation’s capital, killings have risen by 50 percent. They are up nearly 60 percent in nearby Baltimore.”

Crime rates overall have been steadily declining for years.

“In 2015, there was an uptick in homicides in 36 of the 50 largest cities compared to the previous years. The rate did, indeed, increase nearly 17 percent, and it was the worst annual change since 1990. The homicide rate was up 54.3 percent in Washington, and 58.5 percent in Baltimore,” explained Washington Post fact checkers Glenn Kessler and Michelle Ye Hee Lee. “But in the first months of 2016, homicide trends were about evenly split in the major cities. Out of 63 agencies reporting to the Major Cities Chiefs Association, 32 cities saw a decrease in homicides in first quarter 2016 and 31 saw an increase.”

Ames Grawert, a counsel in the Brennan Center’s Justice Program, said in a statement posted to the organization’s website that 2016 statistics aren’t sufficient in declaring crime rate trends. 

“Overall, crime rates remain at historic lows. Fear-inducing soundbites are counterproductive, and distract from nuanced, data-driven, and solution-oriented conversations on how to build a smarter criminal justice system in America,” Grawert said. “It’s true that some cities saw an increase in murder rates last year, and that can’t be ignored, but it’s too early to say if that’s part of a national trend.” 

When Paul Manafort, Trump’s campaign chairman, was confronted with the common Republican falsehoods on crime during a Thursday interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper, he claimed that the FBI’s statistics were not to be trusted given that the organization recently advised against charges in connection with Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server during her tenure as secretary of state.

“According to FBI statistics, crime rates have been going down for decades,” Tapper told Manafort. “How can Republicans make the argument that it’s somehow more dangerous today when the facts don’t back that up?”

“People don’t feel safe in their neighborhoods,” said Manafort, going on to claim that “the FBI is certainly suspect these days after what they did with Hillary Clinton.”

There was at least one notable figure who wholeheartedly embraced Trump’s fearmongering: former KKK Grand Wizard David Duke. “Great Trump Speech,” tweeted Duke on Thursday evening. “Couldn’t have said it better!”

Ben Carson Claims Transgender People Are Proof of “How Absurd We Have Become”

Former Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson criticized the existence of transgender people while speaking at the Florida delegation breakfast on Tuesday in Cleveland.  

“You know, we look at this whole transgender thing, I’ve got to tell you: For thousands of years, mankind has known what a man is and what a woman is. And now, all of a sudden we don’t know anymore,” said Carson, a retired neurosurgeon. “Now, is that the height of absurdity? Because today you feel like a woman, even though everything about you genetically says that you’re a man or vice versa?”

“Wouldn’t that be the same as if you woke up tomorrow morning after seeing a movie about Afghanistan or reading some books and said, ‘You know what? I’m Afghanistan. Look, I know I don’t look that way. My ancestors came from Sweden, or something, I don’t know. But I really am. And if you say I’m not, you’re a racist,’” Carson said. “This is how absurd we have become.”

When confronted with his comments during an interview with Yahoo News’ Katie Couric, Carson doubled down on his claims.“There are biological markers that tell us whether we are a male or a female,” said Carson. “And just because you wake up one day and you say, ‘I think I’m the other one,’ that doesn’t change it. Just, a leopard can’t change its spots.”

“It’s not as if they woke up one day and decided, ‘I’m going to be a male or I’m going to be a female,’” Couric countered, pointing out that transgender people do not suddenly choose to change their gender identities on a whim.

Carson made several similar comments last year while on the campaign trail.

In December, Carson criticized the suggested that allowing transgender people into the military amounted to using the armed services “as a laboratory for social experimentation.”

Carson once suggested that allowing transgender people to use the restroom that aligned with their gender identity amounted to granting them “extra rights.”

Ivanka Trump Claims Her Father Supports Equal Pay, Access to Child Care

Ivanka Trump, the nominee’s daughter, made a pitch during her speech Thursday night at the RNC for why women voters should support her father.

“There have always been men of all background and ethnicities on my father’s job sites. And long before it was commonplace, you also saw women,” Ivanka Trump said. “At my father’s company, there are more female than male executives. Women are paid equally for the work that we do and when a woman becomes a mother, she is supported, not shut out.” 

“As president, my father will change the labor laws that were put into place at a time when women were not a significant portion of the workforce. And he will focus on making quality child care affordable and accessible for all,” she continued before pivoting to address the gender wage gap. 

“Policies that allow women with children to thrive should not be novelties; they should be the norm. Politicians talk about wage equality, but my father has made it a practice at his company throughout his entire career.”

However, Trump’s stated positions on the gender wage gap, pregnancy and mothers in the workplace, and child care don’t quite add up to the picture the Trumps tried to paint at the RNC.

In 2004, Trump called pregnancy an “inconvenience” for employers. When a lawyer asked for a break during a deposition in 2011 to pump breast milk, Trump reportedly called her “disgusting.”

According to a June analysis conducted by the Boston Globe, the Trump campaign found that men who worked on Trump’s campaign “made nearly $6,100, or about 35 percent more [than women during the April payroll]. The disparity is slightly greater than the gender pay gap nationally.”

A former organizer for Trump also filed a discrimination complaint in January, alleging that she was paid less than her male counterparts.

When Trump was questioned about equal pay during a campaign stop last October, he did not outline his support for policies to address the issue. Instead, Trump suggested that, “You’re gonna make the same if you do as good a job.” Though he had previously stated that men and women who do the same job should be paid the same during an August 2015 interview on MSNBC, he also cautioned that determining whether people were doing the same jobs was “tricky.”

Trump has been all but completely silent on child care so far on the campaign trail. In contrast, Clinton released an agenda in May to address the soaring costs of child care in the United States.

Ivanka’s claims were not the only attempt that night by Trump’s inner circle to explain why women voters should turn to the Republican ticket. During an interview with MSNBC’s Chris Matthews, Manafort said that women would vote for the Republican nominee because they “can’t afford their lives anymore.”

“Many women in this country feel they can’t afford their lives, their husbands can’t afford to be paying for the family bills,” claimed Manafort. “Hillary Clinton is guilty of being part of the establishment that created that problem. They’re going to hear the message. And as they hear the message, that’s how we are going to appeal to them.”

What Else We’re Reading

Vox’s Dara Lind explained how “Trump’s RNC speech turned his white supporters’ fear into a weapon.”

Now that Mike Pence is the Republican nominee for vice president, Indiana Republicans have faced “an intense, chaotic, awkward week of brazen lobbying at the breakfast buffet, in the hallways and on the elevators” at the convention as they grapple with who will run to replace the state’s governor, according to the New York Times.

“This is a party and a power structure that feels threatened with extinction, willing to do anything for survival,” wrote Rebecca Traister on Trump and the RNC for New York Magazine. “They may not love Trump, but he is leading them precisely because he embodies their grotesque dreams of the restoration of white, patriarchal power.”

Though Trump spent much of the primary season denouncing big money in politics, while at the RNC, he courted billionaires in hopes of having them donate to supporting super PACs.

Michael Kranish reported for the Washington Post that of the 2,472 delegates at the RNC, it is estimated that only 18 were Black.

Cosmopolitan highlighted nine of the most sexist things that could be found at the convention.

Rep. Steve King (R-IA) asked, “Where are these contributions that have been made” by people of color to civilization?