It’s Vagina News Link Madness!

Holy cow, there’s a lot going on. Time to play catch-up. Ready? Let’s go:

  • I just finished a free online class in International Women’s Health and Human Rights through Stanford (they’re going to offer it again, and I HIGHLY recommend it – get on the list here). I learned a lot about the history of these issues in the UN, and specifically about the Millennium Development Goals. Last week, the 2014 Commission on the Status of Women ended “with an agreement that called for the acceleration of progress towards achieving the millennium development goals, and confirming the need for a stand-alone goal on gender equality and women’s empowerment in the set of international targets that will be introduced once they expire in 2015. The agreement also said gender equality must underpin all other goals.” The details are interesting and encouraging, and very much worth a read.
  • Last week also saw the Hobby Lobby case argued before the Supreme Court. The craziest part of the case, IMHO, is the fact that the entire argument is based on an objection to ACA coverage of IUDs and the morning-after pill, based on the belief that they cause abortion – which they absolutely, undeniably DON’T. (They prevent conception. Hence the word “contra-ception”. Spermy no meet eggy.) Yet this case has risen all the way to the Supreme Court because the owners of Hobby Lobby (and another company) BELIEVE they cause abortion, and that would violate their religious beliefs (never mind that a corporation can’t believe anything.) Anyway, I bring it up to introduce this great piece on our three female Supreme Court Justices, which pounds home the importance of gender parity in all levels of government.
  •  Buzzfeed isn’t just lists of .gifs… They’ve done some important reporting on campus sexual assault; specifically, legal violations serious enough to prompt the federal investigation of a school less than a mile from where I’m sitting right now.
  • Jimmy Carter has a new book out, ‘A Call to Action’, and in it, he blames selective application of religious dogma for the unconscionable treatment of women and girls around the world. “The most serious and unaddressed worldwide challenge is the deprivation and abuse of women and girls… This claim that women are inferior before God spreads to the secular world to justify gross and sustained acts of discrimination and violence against them… This is not just a women’s issue. It is not confined to the poorest countries. It affects us all.”
  • And finally, a great article from the Money section of The New York Times about how gender discrimination affects women’s salary negotiations in the workplace. Like most contemporary manifestations of sexism, it’s not overt; rather it’s a combination of learned behavior and double standards that make everyone complicit. The article is a solid step toward becoming aware of how we may be participating unknowingly, and how to stop.
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Arizona v. Women – The Sequel

Remember the law in Arizona that allows a doctor to withhold information from a patient if the doctor believes it may lead the patient to choose to have a legal abortion? Here’s Part 2.

Pending legislation in Arizona would:



1 – Repeal the standing requirement that employers who cover
prescription medication also cover birth control.

2 – Require female employees
who want covered birth control to submit a claim proving that they need it for a medical
condition, rather than for contraception.

3 – Allow employers to fire a female employee if they
discover she is taking birth control for contraceptive purposes – even if she
purchases the medication outside the employer’s health plan.

(You have to look closely to find the firing part. It’s not
explicit – rather, they REMOVED the following language:

“A religious employer shall not discriminate against an
employee who independently chooses to obtain insurance coverage or
prescriptions for contraceptives from another source.”

See what that does?)

The AZ House passed it in March. The AZ Senate rejected it,
but scheduled a revote, which as far as I can tell is still pending.

To learn more, Google some combination of:

‘arizona’ ‘hb 2625’ ‘fire’ ‘birth control’

The Jewish Vagina

My dad sent me this yesterday:

According to Jewish law, a fetus is not considered a full human being and has no juridical personality of its own. While recognizing the potentiality of becoming human, Rashi, the great 12th century commentator on the Bible and Talmud, states clearly of the fetus “lav nefesh hu – it is not a person.” 

The Talmud contains the expression “ubar yerech imo – the fetus is as the thigh of its mother,” i.e., the fetus is deemed to be part and parcel of the pregnant women’s body.

While I practice very little of the religion I was born into, There are a number of things I really admire about it. This is among them.

Also, my dad is awesome.