Imagine this conversation with your employer:
YOU. Hey, it looks like my paycheck is $25 short.
EMPLOYER. Oh, no, that’s for Kitten Day.
YOU. I’m sorry?
EMPLOYER. Once a month, we bring in kittens for everyone in the office to cuddle for a day. Studies show that it reduces stress. It’s adorable.
YOU. I’m sure it is, but you’re paying for it out of my paycheck.
EMPLOYER. Yes. Kitten Day is part of your overall compensation package.
Tampa Family Health Centers is a Title X health care facility in Florida that found itself in need of certified nurse-midwives. Up-and-comer Sara Hellwege graduated from nursing school in June, took her boards in July, and is all about certified nurse-midwifery, except for the part where she would have to provide health care because that would violate her religiously held but not scientifically supported beliefs that hormonal contraceptives “have the potential to act in a manner potentially threatening the lives of embryos after their conception/fertilization.” With that in mind, she applied for a nurse-midwife position at Tampa Family Health Centers, and when they declined to interview her for a job she had religious objections to performing, she decided to sue....read more
Following the Supreme Court decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, which established that companies are free to enforce bullshit restrictions on women’s health care on their employees if said bullshit corresponds with their religious beliefs, another religious group has stepped forward to claim their religious exemption: the Satanic Temple....read more
Before we even get started: The universally accepted definition of “pregnancy” within medical science begins at implantation — at the moment a fertilized egg adheres to the wall of the uterus. That’s when pregnancy begins. Not at ovulation, not at ejaculation, not when the winning sperm meets the egg and wriggles its way in. Implantation. But what if you’re comfortable rejecting medical science out of hand and insisting that emergency birth control — the morning-after pill — is an abortifacient for preventing implantation? Well, you’re still wrong. But that particular mistake is a little easier to make....read more
They’re frequently identified as “Women’s Health and Safety” laws, but a growing number of laws regulating abortion providers are more accurately called TRAP laws — Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers. Last week, we looked at hospital admitting privileges. Another favorite restriction is unreasonable requirements for the medical facility itself, holding it to standards that have little impact on keeping women safe and, ultimately, plenty of impact on keeping them pregnant....read more
I’ve been writing about it over at Cosmopolitan.com. Here’s the basic summary of the case. Here are 13 of the biggest misconceptions about the case (this one is especially helpful for Twitter / Facebook / family dinner table fights). And, finally, how the right-wing reaction to women with opinions on Hobby Lobby is a pretty good illustration of how this is all about misogyny and hostility toward female sexuality, not religious beliefs....read more
They argued they are not anti-abortion protesters but peaceful “sidewalk counsellors” who want the freedom to talk to women entering the clinic.
They want to counsel women who are entering Planned Parenthood clinics for Pap smears and pregnancy wellness checks against abortions they’re not planning to have, too....read more
They’re frequently identified as “Women’s Health and Safety” laws, but a growing number of laws regulating abortion providers are more accurately called TRAP laws — Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers. They’re aimed at stopping abortion by making them logistically impossible — shutting down clinics — rather than flat-out illegal. One favorite tool of the TRAP law is a requirement that physicians performing abortions must have admitting privileges at a local hospital. Doctors say the requirement is unnecessary and frequently well-nigh impossible to satisfy....read more
Just in time for LGBT Pride Month: The Department of Health and Human Services has lifted the national policy barring Medicare from paying for gender-confirming surgery. Decisions will still be left up to regional administrators, but claims will be subject to individualized review and will no longer be automatically rejected for gender-related procedures, just like any other medical procedure. The blanket exclusion will be fully lifted by June 30....read more
A bit over 10 years ago I had breast reduction surgery after thinking about it for years and finally deciding that the constant pain between my shoulderblades (due to the weight on the front of my chest distorting my spinal alignment) was no longer bearable.
This weekend I’m nursing somebody else through their recovery from the same reduction mammoplasty procedure …...read more
I’m in Brazil right now with the wonderful International Reporting Project, and while here I spoke with a young woman who, like many women around the world, got pregnant when she didn’t want to be. Here in Brazil, abortion is generally illegal. After trying several different methods unsuccessfully and reaching out to a variety of slightly-shady people for help, she decided to go the safest route: To say she had been raped and get a safe, legal abortion in a Brazilian hospital. Her story is here. Women in this country are understandably very afraid to speak with anyone about abortion, and lots of women die or are injured from unsafe procedures. I’m particularly grateful to this young woman, who I’m calling Juliana, for her generosity, her honesty and her courage in sharing an extremely complicated story....read more
[Trigger warning for eating disorders]
This week has been designated National Eating Disorders Awareness Week, and the tagline for 2014 is I Had No Idea. It recognizes the fact that eating disorders are more prevalent and more dangerous than many people recognize and that they touch every aspect of life. Talking about eating disorders is always a question mark for me — for some women, simply discussing it can be immensely triggering, and in areas of education, one girl’s cautionary tale can be another’s instructional video. (I’ve mentioned in the past that my introduction to bulimia came through educational efforts.) But for a week like this one, raising awareness — and, as part of that, dispelling myths — makes it worth the risk. Because a lot of people really do have no idea....read more