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Posts Tagged ‘Supreme Court’

Roe v. Wade Anniversary

Well, today is the 38th anniversary of the Roe v Wade decision!

When I think about what life was like over 38 years ago – before abortion was legal in this country – I can’t help to think about this nut ball doctor up in Philadelphia who a few days ago was indicted on several counts of MURDER for basically performing “illegal” abortions.  Now, I have not had the time to look closely at the indictment and, frankly, I’ve never heard of this guy but the only thing I thought of when I heard the news was that what he was doing was just how it worked in the old days.  We had all these sleazy illegal abortionists with unqualified staff, using unsterilized instruments and offering no counseling.  As a result, women throughout the country were being harmed physically and, worse, dying.  This guy up in Philadelphia is just an old “abortionist.”   Unfortunately, it’s someone like that who makes the headline and that, of course, gives the legitimate doctors a bad rap by association.

In the grand scheme of things, I can see how certain anti-abortion folks are so totally fixated on “saving” that fetus.  It’s just their thing and I am not qualified to psychoanalyze their thinking.  But while these folks are seemingly mesmerized by the quest to “save babies” do they not see what might happen if abortion were made illegal again in this country?  Do they not see what happened up in Philadelphia recently?  Do they have absolutely no compassion for the real, live, breathing woman?   I mean, they’re not all totally myopic, are they?

I think I know the answer that the pro-lifers will give me, I’ve certainly heard enough of the rhetoric over the years.  But, at least at this time, 38 years later, I can breathe a sigh of relief that in 1973 the Supreme Court in 1973 was brave and smart enough to realize what they were doing.  They struck a blow for woman’s health and that’s what I choose to celebrate today.

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Teenagers

Okay, girls, it’s time for some basic info.

Let’s start with you youngsters.  Are you between the ages of 13 and 15?  Ah, God bless ya if you are!   I remember those days well.  I can remember cute little Tommy Kosky who sat in front of me in Algebra class.  To this day, I can still smell that cheap cologne that probably cost him $2.00 a gallon.  I remember asking him dumb questions just to get him to notice me…uh, I’m sorry, I’m digressing here.

Okay, earth to Pat.

As I was saying, if you are between the ages of 13 and 15, it’s time you picked up the phone and made your first appointment with an Obstetrician-Gynecologist, otherwise known as an Ob-Gyn.  Don’t know who to call?  Well, ask around, talk to your friends.  Don’t rely on the Google-meister.

The important thing is that this first visit will help you establish a relationship with the doctor of your choice and you’ll be able to talk candidly about your medical and sexual history (even if you have not had sexual intercourse.) This is a good time to ask questions about sexually transmitted diseases and contraceptives.   In many cases, this can become a life-long relationship.

If you are 21 years or older and have not yet had a pelvic exam or a Pap test, what the frig are you waiting for?   Get on your cell phone right now!

Ob-Gyn First Visit

If you have had these tests, then the question is how long has it been since your last Pap smear and pelvic exam? According to the American College of Ob-Gyns, women 21 to 29 should get a Pap smear every year, then every other year (or as often as your doctor recommends) from ages 30 to 64.

Meanwhile you should always see your gynecologist if you experience any bleeding between periods, bleeding after sexual intercourse or an unusual or constant vaginal discharge.

If you are over 30 years old, it is not necessary to get an annual Pap smear but you still should get an annual pelvic exam to check for any other changes or infections. If you’ve had an HPV test that was negative that doesn’t mean you don’t need to have a yearly pelvic exam. And remember that with each new sexual partner your risk of getting HPV increases by 15 percent. According to the ACOG guidelines for Pap testing women diagnosed with HIV or other diseases or conditions that lower immunity should continue having annual Pap smears after age 30.  Indeed, the greatest single reason for the occurrence of cervical cancer is not having Pap smears according to recommended guidelines.

Get with the program.  Don’t be a silly girl.  After all, it’s only your life.

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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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