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Posts Tagged ‘Abortion’

World Contraception Day

World Contraception Day

Did you know that today has been declared “World Contraception Day?”

I frankly do not know who declared it as such but I don’t care.  It’s a great opportunity to think and opine a little about the important of contraception and how it affects the basic human rights of women all over the world.

It is no secret that contraception is an important tool in helping women make one of the most important decisions of her life – whether or not to bear children.  Now I know there are a bunch of men out there who think bearing a child is no big deal, that it is just a “natural” thing for a woman to want to do.  Well, guys, it really is not that simple.

The fact is that almost 215 million women in this world do not have access to modern birth control.  Obviously, most of them are in the underdeveloped nations of the world.  So, in these often male-dominated societies, where having more children is a sign of the man’s “masculinity”, women are practically being forced to bear more children.  That, of course, then perpetuates the cycle of poverty that has been going on for generations. And it’s not just individual males who are perpetuating this situation.  For example, courts in Chile, Ecuador, and Peru have all recently restricted or banned emergency contraception based on the ridiculous claim that it is the same as performing an abortion.  In places like the Philippines, public clinics and hospitals have been prohibited for years from distributing any kind of contraception.

Emergency Conraception

Emergency Conraception

Here in the United States, while contraception is more readily available than in underdeveloped countries, there are still battles that are being fought on a daily basis.  One of the more aggressive groups trying to make access to contraception easier is the Center for Reproductive Rights.  For example, just last year they won a ruling in federal court which compelled the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to revisit the restrictions it put on the availability of emergency contraception, otherwise known as the morning after pill.  Unfortunately, despite the presence of a pro-choice administration, they still have to press the FDA to comply with the judge’s order.  In addition, the Center is working on the world wide problem.  For example, they recently asked the Human Rights Council on Human Rights to focus on the high rates of unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections among low-income women.  They are also working with their local partners in Slovakia to examine how government subsidies can expand access to contraception to low-income Slovak women.

Center for Reproductive Rights and Abortion

Center for Reproductive Rights and Abortion

Kudos to the Center for Reproductive Rights!

Then, of course, in this country there are the persistent legislative efforts to allow healthcare professionals to refuse to provide emergency contraception to women if they personally object to the product.   Don’t even get me started on that one…

And while all this is going on, the anti-abortion movement sits back and refusesd to support providing better access to birth control.  To me, this is the height of hypocrisy.  Here they have the chance to prevent millions of abortions which I thought was their goal.  But, no, they’ve got their head in the sand and refuse to support the only real proven way to prevent abortions.  Indeed, I really believe that they would just rather stand outside of the clinics and scream at women as they enter abortion clinics.  The irony is that they may be yelling at a woman who is going in to get Norplant inserted or to start a new regimen of birth control pills….

And while I’m at it – where the heck is that male birth control pill?

Abortion

Abortion

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Gout

Abortion not associated with Gout

My doctor just told me that I have gout – and I am disgusted with myself.

Let me first say that I have never experienced more pain in my entire life.  The pain is focused on my left toe and there is no escaping it.  All I keep thinking about is how Ben Franklin, who had gout for years, could have accomplished all that he did because, aside from writing this post, I cannot focus on anything other than the pain.  Fortunately, at night I overdose on Nyquil so I’m sleeping okay.  But the fact that the gout will probably go away in a week or so is no consolation.

There are many causes of gout.  If you eat a lot of rich foods, like shellfish, if you don’t drink enough water, if you don’t exercise, etc.   You can also get gout if you drink “heavily.”   Let’s talk about that one for a second.

My mother was an alcoholic, a mean, nasty one.  I didn’t drink until I got to college, then I went nuts.    To this day, I do not know how I am alive because there were many times when I drove home from a bar totally inebriated.  I don’t remember the rides home.  I’m also lucky I never killed anyone.

Over the years, I continued to drink.  I became what my father used to call his father – a “weekend drunk.”   I would play or work all Friday and Saturday but then around 5 o’clock I’d open up the bottle of Vodka or Rum and start making some sweet drinks.   Every Saturday and Sunday morning was a nightmare, as my head was one giant hangover.

I am now 60 years old and about two years ago – after a gout attack – I vowed to get off the hard stuff.  Since then, I haven’t had any more serious alcohol, the only exception being when I visit my good friend Scott in Del Ray Beach and we share a bottle of Southern Comfort as we sit on the shore, talking about life.  These days, I “only” drink Amaretto, which is not as alcoholic as the hard stuff.   On Friday night at about the same time, I pour a small glass and quietly watch TV.   I have about three glasses, which gives me a nice buzz.  I wake up the next day with no hangover, I’m ready to go.  Then, that Saturday night I do the same.  I just sit there quietly and don’t disturb anybody.  My two older boys know I drink and at times they have found the hidden bottles and they just throw them out.  I don’t say a word to them, but I certainly appreciate their sentiment.

I don’t believe I am an alcoholic.  I don’t crave alcohol in the mornings and it doesn’t affect my work.  It’s just that once I get through the week, I’m ready for my weekend buzz.  Maybe I’m in denial.  Perhaps if I went to a counselor, he would determine I am technically an alcoholic.  I continue to insist that I am not, that I am stronger than those folks who desperately crave a drink.    I really don’t know and I don’t care to find out if I am an alcoholic.

But this gout has really got me to thinking.  I am totally paralyzed and cannot imagine going through this again.

For the sake of my kids, my spouse and myself, I gotta stop.

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Abortion Doctor

Abortion Doctor

On Wednesday, New Jersey officials filed legal documents seeking to suspend the medical license of an abortion provider involved in a procedure that critically injured an 18-year-old woman who was 21 weeks pregnant, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports. The physician, Steven Brigham, owns American Women’s Services, which operates clinics in New Jersey, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Virginia. The filing is the first step in revoking a medical license.

According to the filing by Attorney General Paula Dow’s (D) office, Brigham “has committed serious violations” of the rules of medical practice and “would represent a clear and imminent danger to the public health, safety and welfare.” The filing stems from a case involving a woman who “suffered a uterine perforation and small bowel injury” during an abortion at one of Brigham’s Maryland clinics. Brigham allegedly initiated the abortion process at his New Jersey clinic and told the woman to travel to his Maryland clinic for the completion of the procedure.

Brigham has never been licensed to perform abortions in Maryland, and he is not authorized to perform the procedure after 18 weeks’ gestation in New Jersey, the complaint says. However, Brigham performed about 50 abortions from January through August 2010 at his Elkton, Md., office, using a “two-step process” initiated in New Jersey and completed in Maryland, the complaint alleges. The complaint also alleges that Brigham created false records or asked others to create them stating that two physicians working for him — George Shepard and Kimberly Walker — performed the procedures in Maryland. Shepard and Walker deny that that they performed any procedures (McCullough/Goldstein, Philadelphia Inquirer, 9/9).

Md. Case ‘Not Representative’ of Abortion Care, Letter to the Editor Says

As the Maryland Board of Physicians investigates the allegations against Brigham, “it is important to note that cases like this are not representative of the state of abortion care in Maryland or throughout the country,”

National Abortion Federation President and CEO Vicki Saporta writes in a letter to the editor of the Baltimore Sun. The case in Maryland is “just the latest problem for [Brigham], who has come under fire from state licensing boards and health departments throughout his career,” Saporta continues, noting that Brigham “has had his medical license temporarily suspended, relinquished or revoked in five states.”

Abortion is “one of the safest medical procedures” in the U.S., Saporta writes, adding that the “repeated disciplinary actions” against Brigham indicate that he “operates outside recognized standards for quality abortion care” (Saporta, Baltimore Sun, 9/8).

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Abortion US Supreme Court building

Abortion & The Supreme Court

On January 22, 1973 the Supreme Court of the United States held that women had a right to terminate their pregnancies.  The case was Roe v Wade and no other Supreme Court case has had such a dramatic impact on the lives of women in this country.

Prior to that case, most states banned abortion.  Of course, those states could not ban the desire of a woman to obtain an abortion.  For hundreds, if not thousands of years, women faced with an unwanted pregnancy have always at least considered abortion and some obtained them.  That meant that many women each year were procuring illegal abortions.

The world of illegal abortion was always a world of whispers.  A woman would “get in trouble” and, if she felt there was absolutely no way that she could have the baby, she would quietly start talking to anyone she could trust.  In every major city, there always seemed to be a least one doctor who would be willing to do the abortion, but these “abortionists” usually performed these illegal procedures in the shadows, in dirty “back alleys” with unsterilized instruments, no counseling, no sophisticated anesthesia, and no follow up exams.  The result was hundreds and hundreds of women each year died on the operating tables or wound up in the emergency room of the local hospital with their “miscarriage.”

Incredibly, some women who could not find the abortionist wound up performing an abortion on themselves.   The bloody coat hanger became a (harsh but real) symbol of the pro-choice movement because so many women used them to self-abort.  Others concocted medical potions that they hoped would kill the fetus in utero.

There have been many books and movies about the world of illegal abortion.  John Irving’s “The Cider House Rules” is a good one and the movie “If These Walls Could Talk” contained an excellent segment on a woman seeking an illegal abortion.

Ultimately, some more enlightened states like Colorado, California and New York passed laws legalizing abortion.  Clinics were quickly opened and they were barraged with patients.  Women from all over the world, yes, the world flew into those states to procure a legal (and safer) abortion.  Clinic owners talk about sending out buses or limousines to the airport to transport the dozens of women who had flown in to get an abortion.

Then, everything changed on January 22nd.  The Court said abortion was legal in all of the states with some caveats – and the floodgates opened up.  Suddenly, all across the country doctors, feminists and others started opening up clinics.  The rest is a long story, but the story is a celebration to women’s health.  Today, abortion is one of the safest and most common surgical procedures performed on women.

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Abortion Supreme Court

Abortion Supreme Court

Do you believe that a woman should have the right to terminate her pregnancy?

Well, if you do then you need to find some time in the next week or so to take some simple, political action.

The question of whether or not abortion should be legal rests in the hands of the nine judges who sit on the United States Supreme Court.  As most of you know, it was the Supreme Court that made abortion legal in this country in the first place when they decided the Roe v. Wade decision in 1973.  On a 7-2 vote, the court held that the constitutional right to privacy extended to the right to have an abortion.   Parenthetically, with that decision the pro-life movement was born.

Over the years, the Supreme Court has obviously changed as justices have retired or died.  And over those years, the Court has never had an occasion to specifically decide whether or not abortion should remain legal.   For the most part, the cases dealt with peripheral issues, like whether or not states could enact parental consent laws or 24 hour waiting periods.  Still, in some of those cases, a justice might add, almost as an aside, whether or not they supported the original Roe v. Wade decision.  Thus, we now know that at this moment in time, the Supreme Court favors legal abortion by a 6-3 vote (although some pro-choice advocates express concern about the Court’s swing vote, Justice Anthony Kennedy).

But now Justice John Paul Stevens, a clear pro-choice vote, is retiring and President Obama has nominated Elena Kagan to replace Justice Stevens.  It is generally assumed that Ms. Kagan is pro-choice, although some Presidents have been surprised in the past.  Still, the consensus is we need her on the court to retain the 6-3 vote.

The next step is for the U.S. Senate to confirm the nomination but the Republican Party, led by numerous pro-life activists, will pull out all the stops to hamper or even prevent her from being confirmed.  Should her nomination be stalled, President Obama may be forced to find a more moderate justice, perhaps one that has no record on abortion, and that could be disastrous.

So, it’s time for you to take action.

Write to your two Senators and ask them to support Elena Kagan.  If you do not know who your Senators are, go to the U.S. Senate website for that information.  Sit down and compose a very simple message urging your Senators to confirm President Obama’s nominee.  If your Senator happens to be pro-choice, urge him or her to support Kagan to help preserve the right to choose.  If your Senator is pro-life, don’t mention the abortion issue.

The worst thing pro-choice people can do is to get complacent.  Democracy is a participatory sport, it takes energy and we owe it to future generations to do what we can to preserve this precious constitutional right.

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I found this testimony the other day:

While stationed on Miramar and living off base with my Marine husband, I received a couple of black eyes that were reported.  I was made to leave my home and move into the barracks without my newborn daughter.  During visitation I had to go to my husband’s residence to see my daughter.  We got into a verbal fight and when I tried to leave he pinned me up against a door breaking my ribs…  I reported it to my command and was told nothing could be done (because) it happened off base. The ER called the police and filed a report.  The next week I went to my husband’s house to pick up my daughter and he sent me back to the ER. This was reported. Finally after much persuasion by the counseling center a board conducted an investigation concluding that there was enough evidence to substantiate that my husband did commit these crimes, level 4 out of 5. No disciplinary action was taken and he was then promoted to CPL and given an honorable discharge at the end of his tour.”

Countless military women and military spouses are victims of sexual assault and domestic violence. It is estimated that rates of marital abuse in the military are two to five times higher than civilian rates of domestic violence. Moreover, one in three women in the military will be sexually assaulted during their tour of duty.

Congresswoman Louise Slaughter has introduced legislation called “The Military Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Response Act” to address this national epidemic and stop the violence against military women and military families.

Among other things, the bill would:

Establish an “Office of the Victims’ Advocate” to facilitate access to services for victims of domestic or family violence, sexual assault, and stalking in the military;

Support crisis intervention services for victims of such violence and provide training on prevention of such violence;

Provide for the employment of a sexual assault nurse examiner, a psychiatrist, and a complimentary clinical team at each DOD military treatment facility; and

Specify circumstances under which military law enforcement officers shall arrest a person for committing domestic violence.

This legislation has been referred to the House Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security but no action has been taken on it.

WHAT CAN YOU DO?

Go to:  http://www.opencongress.org/bill/111-h840/show and indicate your support for the bill.

Go to:  http://www.opencongress.org/people/representatives and determine who your Member of Congress is.  Then, email him or her and ask them to “co-sponsor” this bill.

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Abortion HPV

Abortion HPV

Genital human papillomavirus (HPV) is the most common sexually transmitted infection.  There are more than 40 types of HPV that can infect the genital areas of females and males, as well as the mouth and throat.  HPV is not the same as herpes and it can be acquired not just during sexual intercourse, but during any form of sexual activity that entails genital contact.

Most people with HPV do not develop symptoms or health problems because, in 90% of cases, the body’s immune system clears HPV naturally within two years.  However, there are certain types of HPV that can cause genital warts in males and females. More important, however, is the fact that HPV is the leading cause of cervical cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, approximately 10,000 women will get cervical cancer this year and over 3,500 of those women will die.

Let’s talk about the symptoms for a second.

Genital warts usually appear as a small bump or groups of bumps in the genital area. They can be small or large, raised or flat, or shaped like a cauliflower. These warts can appear within weeks or months after sexual contact with an infected partner—even if the infected partner has no signs of genital warts. If left untreated, genital warts might go away, remain unchanged, or increase in size or number. They will not turn into cancer.

The problem with cervical cancer is that there are usually no symptoms until it is quite advanced. That is why women should get regular screenings for cervical cancer.  Taking these tests can help you find the early signs of the disease so the problem can be treated early before it turns into cancer.

Now, let’s talk about preventative measures that you can take.

There is a vaccine that can help prevent HPV.  It is called Gardasil.

Gardasil protects you against Squamous Intraepithelial Lesions which are pre-cancerous lesions of the cervix. Specifically, the vaccine prevents diseases caused by HPV types 16 and 18, which are associated with about 70 percent of cervical cancers, and types 6 and 11, which are associated with genital warts.

The vaccine is given in three separate injections over a six-month period. You must complete the entire series of shots. It’s believed that immunity is achieved one month after the last shot and that it remains effective for at least five years.

If you are a woman between 11 and 26, you should get the vaccine.  If you receive the vaccine before becoming sexually active, the vaccine offers the most protection because, if you have had even one sexual partner, you may have already been exposed to HPV.

If you have been sexually active for a while and are under the age of 26, the vaccine may still offer cancer protection.  Even if you have been exposed to HPV, research shows that you may not have been exposed to all four types “covered” by the vaccine. So even if you’ve been exposed to and infected with one, two, or even three types of HPV, you can benefit from the vaccine.

If you have a young daughter, you should begin your daughter’s reproductive health care before she becomes sexually active. This is a wonderful time to talk frankly about issues of puberty and growing up female.  The first reproductive health visit is an ideal time to discuss the benefits of the vaccine and to offer it as a protective vaccination against cancer.

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