Repro Rights Afternoon Style: Protesting the Death of a Pregnant Prisoner, Planned Parenthood Sues Alaska

Amie Newman

Where are the pro-life forces when a pregnant inmate dies from lack of reproductive health care in jail and how can we prevent this from happening to other women? Planned Parenthood sues the state of Alaska, and it seems that physicians are giving women seeking birth control unnecessary pelvic exams...

Where are the pro-life forces when a pregnant inmate dies from lack of reproductive health care in jail and how can we prevent this from happening to other women? Planned Parenthood sues the state of Alaska, and it seems that physicians are giving women seeking birth control unnecessary pelvic exams…

  • Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest along with several doctors have sued the state of Alaska to block a new parental notification law for teenage girls to access abortion services. The suit charges that the new law violates privacy rights embedded in the state constitution and also treats teenage girls who want to have an abortion differently from teens who want to continue with their pregnancy – a violation of the equal protection clause in the state constitution.
  • The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists have issued a practice bulletin on guidelines of care for HIV-infected women given that women with HIV are “living longer, healthier lives and their need for gynecological care is increasing.” They hope to educate clinicians about the need for women’s health screenings as well as family planning for HIV infected women.
  • Ms. Magazine’s Feminist Daily News Wire reports that the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecologists released the results of a study which found that one-third of doctors required that women seeking birth control undergo an (unnecessary) pelvic exam before dispensing it. This is despite the fact that the World Health Organization guidelines say different and there is no medical reason for doing so. It places, as well, an additional barrier for women seeking contraception as well. 
  • A group fighting for reproductive justice for pregnant women in jail are protesting in front of an Pittsburgh jail today. The jail is the target of a federal lawsuit after a female inmate allegedly died, while pregnant, from being denied access to health care. As far as I can tell from the news reports, there were no “pro-life” activists in attendance. I’m just noting. 
  • Are aspirin and ibuprofen worse for the reproductive health and future fertility of boys than more the more notable chemicals – like BPA – found in plastics? European researchers say yes based on a study of pregnant women who took those common painkillers.

Repro Rights Afternoon Style: Silent Birth, AIDS denialism, Tea Party Abortion Argument and More

Amie Newman

AIDS denialist given a radio gig, Tea Partiers argue over abortion and gays in the military, New Jersey legislators debate whether women's health is all that important, and what is "silent birth"?

AIDS denialist given a radio gig, Tea Partiers argue over abortion and gays in the military, New Jersey legislators debate whether women’s health is all that important, what is “silent birth” and more…

  • WBAI, New York’s Pacifica radio station, has announed that they will put AIDS denialist Gay Null back on the air. Null pushes dangerous propaganda which includes the idea that HIV does not cause AIDS, that it’s not even a sexually transmitted infection and more. A host of organizations are petitioning WBAI to keep him away from the airwaves including the Global AIDS Alliance and CHAMP, The Community HIV/AIDS Mobilization Project. You can sign a petition here
  • Right Wing Watch notes that last week’s push, on the part of a handful of GOPers and Tea Party leaders for the Tea Party to abandon religious right social issues in its agenda has been met by fierce opposition from  “dozens of Tea Party leaders” (including religious rights groups) who have released their own letter to the GOP which includes “calling on Congress to fight repeal of DADT and defunding Planned Parenthood.” I’d like to think this is a real division in the Tea Party but the religious right is a force with which to be reckoned and most Tea Party supporters who identify with the religious right will not release from their white knuckle grip over other Americans’ lives and choices so easily.
  • New Jersey legislators will make another attempt, today, to restore family planning funding for critical health programs in the state. The programs would expand access to services like breast and pelvic exams, sexually transmitted infection testing, birth control and pregnancy testing. 
  • Kelly Preston, actress and wife of John Travolta, is due to give birth any day. As a follower of the Church of Scientology a lot has been made of the fact that Preston must abide by the church’s mandate to have a “Silent Birth.” Now, yes, I have issues with this as I find it absurd that there should be any dictates – from a church, from a provider, from anyone –  over how a woman must give birth, that is unrelated to health issues. That said, there seems to be a lot of misinformation over what exactly Scientology means by a “silent birth” (ie, it doesn’t mean utter silence on the part of the birthing woman). Still, I find it all unnecessarily controlling.  
  • Researchers in Canada are looking at the impact of stress during pregnancy on the long-term health of the babies in utero. The researchers say they’d like to be able to address what pregnant women can do to improve the health of their newborns, during pregnancy. However, I’d add that there are so many external stressors on pregnant women including lack of access to proper health care, economic issues, a lack of control over bodily autonomy, and more so I hope the results are viewed with a wide lens.

Repro Rights Roundup: Afternoon-Style

Amie Newman

Nadya Suleman may have been part of a fertility study without knowing it, same sex couples now have full visiting privileges at hospitals that participate in Medicaid and Medicare, a couple places their potential abortion up to a vote and more...

Nadya Suleman may have been part of a fertility study without knowing it, same sex couples now have full visiting privileges at hospitals that participate in Medicaid and Medicare, a couple places their potential abortion up to a vote and more…

  • Same sex couples can now eat the same horrible hospital food while visiting each other in the hospital, that hetero couples can! The ACLU notes that the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare issued new rules yesterday that require all hospitals that participate in Medicaid and Medicare to have written rules and policies to allow patients to chose who can visit them, and to ensure those visitors have full and equal visitation rights. The rules are great news for same sex couples who have been “uniquely affected” says President Obama, “by being unable to be there to care for the person they love.” 
  • Faking it? Amanda Marcotte writes today on XX Factor about a potential anti-choice hoax. A couple puts up a web site asking people to vote on whether they should have an abortion. But Marcotte doesn’t buy it. He’s a Glenn Beck fan? They think “pro-choice” means “hey, let’s make pregnancy termination participatory and fun!”? Whatever it is, it’s absurd. 
  • An FDA advisory panel says the HPV vaccine Gardasil is safe and effective at preventing anal cancer in young men and women.