Newsworthy 11/11/08

One week after our historic election of Barack Obama as the 44th president of the United States, here’s a very interesting article on what his presidency might mean for Women’s Health (of the non-“airquotes” variety), namely improved access to birth control and sex education (i.e. the federal government no longer funding abstinence-only programs), a reversal of the “conscience” legislation which is now allowing doctors, nurses and pharmacists to legally refuse to perform any service they morally object to, including prescribing birth control, and stopping the global gag-rule which prohibits federally-funded health clinics in foreign countries from performing abortions or even referring women to other facilities that will. It’s all good stuff, and worth checking out (with a nod to Women’s Health News who found the article in the first place).

South Dakota’s Measure 11 was soundly defeated: “South Dakotans have affirmed by their votes tonight that no vague law can account for every individual circumstance. And that is precisely why women and families, not the government, should make these personal healthcare decisions,” said Sarah Stoesz, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota.

The New York Times, in the midst of all the election craziness, published an article on new links between depression and premature delivery which have been recently reported in the Journal of Human Reproduction. The study interviewed 791 women and ultimately gave them scores based on how many depressive symtoms they exhibited–the higher the score, the worse the depression. The study found that the higher the score, the greater the risk of preterm delivery, even after controlling for prior preterm deliveries, miscarriage, socioeconomic status, education and other variables. This is particularly fascinating considering that so little is known about how depression affects pregnancy, and vitally important since depression during pregnancy (and the mental health of women during pregnancy in general) are so often overlooked in prenatal care.

The New Space for Women’s Health (formerly Friends of the Birth Center) is having a fundraiser on November 18th at Babeland called Women Come First. The event, which is co-sponsored by Ricki Lake and The Business of Being Born, offers an opportunity to not only raise money for the new free-standing women’s health and birth center in New York City but an exclusive cocktail party and shopping opportunity. Sounds like a lot of fun! I’d be there if I wasn’t already working that day…

Finally, I’m sure this is going the rounds on the internet, but I think everyone, everyone, needs to watch Keith Olbermann’s special comment on Proposition 8:

This video was embedded using the YouTuber plugin by Roy Tanck. Adobe Flash Player is required to view the video.

This entry was posted in Choice, Complications, Contraception, Education, Feminism, Labor and Birth, Politics, Pregnancy, Research, Sex and Sexuality, Women's Health. Bookmark the permalink. Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.


  1. lovingpecola
    Posted November 11, 2008 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

    Also Newsworthy: Nebraska got rid of affirmative action. One step forward for the country, 2 steps back for my home state. sigh.

  2. The Midwife
    Posted November 11, 2008 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

    And here I was so proud of Nebraska for giving up one of its Electoral College votes to Obama (Maine and Nebraska are the only two states in the union that will actually split their electoral votes instead of winner take all). I had no idea Nebraska was your home state! It happens to be mine as well! Although I’ve been living in NYC for almost 10 years now, I was born and raised in Lincoln. I don’t know how I missed the affirmative action vote, though. And yeah….*sigh*.

  3. Ritsumei
    Posted December 2, 2008 at 6:55 pm | Permalink

    OK, I’m in the minority on this blog, but I’m not seeing the problems with either loosing Affirmative Action (which is legalized discrimination, IMO) or with keeping the conscience laws. Just because someone is licensed to do something doesn’t mean that they should be required to do something. I understand that you favor choice laws, but I don’t understand why you’d want to force someone to commit what is, in their opinion, murder. These health providers have to be able to live with themselves at night. I doubt that there is going to be any lack of doctors willing to perform abortions the way things currently are. But there may be a distinct lack of hospitals if Obama goes through with it: as I understand it, the Catholic church, owner/operator of all those St. Elizableth/St. Mary/ect hospitals says they will close their doors rather than provide those services. Is it really a good idea to force this particular issue? The religious hospitals are a huge part of our health care system! According to this Slate article, it’d be about 1/3 of the hospitals in the nation, many of them in, according to Slate, in “many neighborhoods that are not exactly otherwise overprovided for.” Do you really want to go there??

    Is it really so bad for minors, who can’t have Tylenol at school without a permission slip, to talk such an important decision over with the folks? Is it really not enough that Planned Parenthood does abortion-on-demand already, now we want to make everyone do it, regardless of their own code of ethics? How is this freedom?

    The federal government shouldn’t be messing around in either abortion or affirmative action anyway. When the Founders wrote the Constitution they gave the federal government a very short list of responsibilities. Then they said that every other power not specifically listed belonged to either the states or the people. This was so important that they then said it again. (See amendments 9 & 10 from the Bill of Rights.) These issues are states issues. No matter how you feel about the issue, when the federal government weighs in on things that are out of its jurisdiction we all loose a little freedom. We have allowed it for far too long, and it’s time for it to stop. The federal government is supposed to be small, not the bloated tick we currently have sucking the life from us as a nation.

  4. Ritsumei
    Posted December 4, 2008 at 10:44 am | Permalink

    I’ve posted a response to the video here.

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