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’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
My latest at Al Jazeera America is about how Catholic health care services put women’s health at risk:...read more
Conscience laws. Fucking conscience laws. In this case, the fucking “Health Care Rights of Conscience Act,” Alabama HB31, which would allow the entire hospital staff, including but not limited to physicians, nurses, pharmacists, counselors, and social workers, to refuse to provide medical care in situations that would “violate their conscience.”...read more
The Supreme Court of the United States will hear two cases about the Affordable Care Act, brought by businesses who claim their religious freedom is violated by the mandate to cover contraception. I’m writing about it in the Guardian this week:...read more
The state of North Carolina has passed a $10 million compensation plan for victims of its eugenics program, which ran from 1929 to 1974. It’s estimated that 7,600 people were forcibly sterilized under the program; 177 have since been identified.
[Strong content note for ableism and racism]...read more
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.
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:...read more
This week at the Guardian I’m writing about the gay conversion therapy ban passed in New Jersey, and how religious freedom is too often used as an argument for abusing kids — at the expense of children’s own equal protection under the law....read more