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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Virgina News

(See what I did there?)

If you paid any attention to media coverage of the Virginia Governor’s race, you know the singular talking point was ‘both of these guys are horrible.’

But Republican Ken Cuccinelli is a NIGHTMARE on reproductive rights. As Attorney General:

– He tried to outlaw abortion (with no rape exception) AND several forms of contraception, and force women to undergo vaginal probes before being allowed to get a legal abortion.

– He opposed the Violence Against Women Act.

– He masterminded the effort to pass purposeless construction regulations that would force the closure of all 20 abortion providers in the state.

– He tried to defund Planned Parenthood, supported state funding of abstinence-only sex education, supported 2 “personhood” bills that would grant full civic rights to the unborn, and supported a bill that would require doctors to save tissue from the fetus of a mother under 15 for forensic investigation.

– He funded “Choose Life” license plates, whose profits fund Crisis Pregnancy Centers where women are lured with the promise of reproductive health services and then misinformed, shamed, and guilted about wanting contraception or abortion.

And yesterday, he lost.

He lost to Terry McAuliffe, who has a long track record of unwavering support for reproductive rights, and was endorsed by Human Rights Campaign, Planned Parenthood, and NARAL Pro Choice America.

So screw the media narrative. I’m ELATED.

Messing with Texas

A Federal Judge has ruled that the restrictions on reproductive rights passed by Texas – the ones Wendy Davis filibustered – are unConstitutional! Hooray!

Of course Texas Republican Attorney General and Governor-wannabe Greg Abbott (the guy behind Texas’s recently-passed sexist Voter ID law) is expected to file an emergency appeal to the 5th Circuit Court in New Orleans…

And these laws are specifically designed to make their way through the appellate system until one reaches the Supreme Court because anti-choicers think that’s the key to overturning Roe v. Wade…

And this ruling does not affect the part of the law that bans abortions after 20 weeks, because most abortions take place before that; or the part requiring that all abortions take place in an “ambulatory surgical center,” which means only 5 of Texas’s 42 abortion providers would be legal, because that part doesn’t go into effect until 2014…

But the rest of this terrible law was supposed to go into effect TOMORROW, and for the moment anyway, it looks like it won’t.

I’m taking my yays where I can get ’em!

Los Angeles Premiere of ‘After Tiller’

Here’s some important event info for Vagina News readers in Los Angeles:

The LA Premiere of ‘After Tiller,’ a documentary about the four doctors in the US who provide late-term abortions, and the mortal danger they face every day, evidenced by the 2009 murder of one of their colleagues, Dr. George Tiller.

Friday 10/4, 7:30 PM at the Landmark NuArt Theater, tickets are $20. The screening will be followed by a Q&A with the filmmakers, and proceeds benefit the wonderful Women’s Reproductive Rights Assistance Project (WRRAP).

Tickets and information at http://oscilloscope.net/shop/tickets/index.php?event_id=1

Happy Vagina News Tuesday! We just passed the first anniversary of no co-pay contraception (thank you Obamacare) AND as of August 1, emergency contraception is available over-the-counter with no age restriction.

That means fewer unwanted pregnancies, which means fewer abortions. If you can’t get behind that, well I don’t even want to know you.

(Extra points if you caught the West Wing reference.)
Not sure about the new guidelines for emergency contraception products? Here’s the Emergency Contraception 101 infographic to guide you! (From http://ecotc.tumblr.com/Resources🙂

North Carolina & Facebook – Fighting the Good Fight

First, I want to salute friend and reader Alicia, who is at the North Carolina capitol today. She’s part of the protest against the last-minute attachment of anti-choice provisions to an already-insane anti-Sharia-law bill. The provisions will make it all but impossible to get a legal abortion in North Carolina.

Alicia, we’re all there with you. Thank you for raising your voice.

Now I have a bit of exclusive Vagina News for you, from my first foray into investigative journalism. 

Remember the fight to get Facebook to effectively moderate content that advocates violence against women? Remember how the thing that finally worked was showing advertisers that their ads were appearing next to this content, prompting them to pull ad money from Facebook? Well this week, Facebook announced a decision…

To pull ads from pages that advocate violence against women.

A lot of people, myself included, thought that SUCKED. But before reacting, I decided to find out if there was more to it. So I reached out via Twitter to Women, Action, & Media – the organization partnering with Facebook on this issue – to get the scoop. 

Here’s what they said.

Vagina News Link Roundup – The Science of Sexism

– Diana Greene Foster, a demographer and an associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of California, San Francisco, has completed a study on what happens to women who are denied abortions. (Aside from a similar study in the 60s in Czechoslovakia, this is surprisingly unprecedented.) The article is long and detailed and excellent. Spoiler Falert – it doesn’t bode well for mother or child. 

– Another study (thanks Jason!) shows that 1 in 6 women who seek treatment at clinics specializing in bone fractures have been abused by intimate partners – and that’s a low estimate. “Neck and head injuries are the most common for women who have experienced domestic violence, he said. Also common are “bruising or broken jaws, teeth being knocked out, black eyes.”… By the time a woman receives broken bones, she’s at sharp risk of being killed by her partner. That’s why orthopedic surgeons need to get better at noticing the signs, he said.”

– To lighten things up a bit, 6 female scientists to tell you friends and family about. We don’t know about these women because institutional sexism prevented them from being recognized alongside their male peers. (Like, Nobel prizes being awarded to all the men around them, but not to the women… That kind of thing.) Let’s help right that wrong by learning and talking about them.