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: