Health

A Maternal Health Revolution in Republic of Congo

A truly remarkable piece of reporting (including actual good news on maternal health) by Jina Moore in Al Jazeera America:

BRAZZAVILLE, Republic of the Congo – At first glance, Central University Hospital in Brazzaville looks like so many other hospitals in so many other African capitals – home to dimly lit waiting rooms and dirty floors. But inside the freshly painted mint-green walls of the hospital’s maternity ward, a revolution is happening.

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The Feminist Anti-Contraception Crusaders

The right-wing anti-sex “real woman” backlash seems to have hit the feminist movement this month, with the publication of books telling women to swear off the Pill and to swear off sex. I’m writing about it in the Guardian: That we’ve come a long way, baby, but gender relations remain fraught, and living with a wide variety of choices that look wide-open but end up constrained is much more challenging than having one or two paths to choose from. It’s easier, in many ways, to offer simple proscriptive advice about “real” femininity than to have to figure out how to be a woman when the definition of “womanhood” is increasingly broad:

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The NIH has finally sought consent from the family of Henrietta Lacks

On Tuesday, the NIH announced that they have been working with the family of Henrietta Lacks to establish new rules and standards for use of cells that were stolen from her and used without her consent as the foundation of six decades of scientific discovery.

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Let’s Talk About Sex

We live in an era of unprecedented access to information about sex, imagery of sex and health care related to sex. Internet porn is ubiquitous. Sexual health information, though not always easily accessible, is more accessible online, in mainstream publications (hello Cosmo) and at doctor’s offices than ever before. Frank discussion of sexual pleasure is standard on television and in movies. There are entire university departments dedicated to the study of human sexuality. That’s all good, and we have early sexual pioneers and researchers to thank for it. But we still have quite a long way to go. I’d love to see us embrace a vision of sexuality that isn’t transactional or gendered or capitalist:

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Is ABC so desperate for ratings that they need to bring an anti-vaxxer to the View?

I’m sure Jenny McCarthy is a perfectly nice person and I have perhaps laughed at one of her poop jokes once or twice, but she’s the biggest anti-vaccine celebrity out there, spreading all kinds of misinformation. And as far as I can tell, beyond her anti-vax activism, she’s never had even had a passing interest in current events or politics. So why put her on a show where her job is to intelligently discuss current events?

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(My) menstrual blood is gross (to me)

I’m not ashamed to menstruate. I’m not afraid of menstrual blood. But menstrual blood, to me, is gross, in the same way that any other bodily fluid is gross, and I don’t see why I should have to make an exception for menstrual blood, just because it was hanging out in my uterus beforehand rather than my blood vessels or my sinuses. There’s a sense among some women, though, that menstrual blood should be seen and treated differently. Specially. Reverently.

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Female inmates in California pressured into sterilizations

The California Department of Corrections has been coercing pregnant female inmates to undergo sterilization for more than a decade.

Doctors under contract with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation sterilized nearly 150 female inmates from 2006 to 2010 without required state approvals, the Center for Investigative Reporting has found.

At least 148 women received tubal ligations in violation of prison rules during those five years — and there are perhaps 100 more dating back to the late 1990s, according to state documents and interviews.

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