Contraception

Stay classy, Limbaugh.

US politics are notoriously nasty. Throw the media's talking heads (especially those from the far right) into the mix and things get even uglier. Currently, the US administration is discussing the option of making coverage for contraceptives, in particular the pill, a required part of medical insurance. The proposal has sparked outrage on the part of social conservatives.

A law student from Georgetown, Sandra Fluke, recently spoke before the House in support of the proposal. Rush Limbaugh, perhaps the most popular of the conservative talking heads, weighed in on her testimony and set off a furor. He suggested that by making contraceptives a required part of health insurance, women like Sandra were being paid to have sex (i.e., because her contraceptives would be paid for by her insurance, which in his head equates to paying her to be able to have sex).

From CNN:

[...]

On Wednesday, the radio host [Limbaugh] disparaged Fluke, saying the law student wants '"taxpayers to pay her to have sex."

"What does it say about the college co-ed [Sandra] Fluke, who goes before a congressional committee and essentially says she must be paid to have sex?" Limbaugh asked. "What does that make her? It makes her a slut, right? It makes her a prostitute. She wants to be paid to have sex. She's having so much sex she can't afford the contraception. She wants you and me and the taxpayers to pay her to have sex."

[...]

On her part, Fluke said in an interview with CNN that she felt "upset and outraged" when she first read online that Limbaugh had personally attacked her.

"I felt probably the way many women do when they are called those types of names," Fluke said. "Initially hurt and then very quickly upset and outraged because somebody is trying to silence you."

On Friday, President Barack Obama called Fluke to offer his support to the law student, according to White House Press Secretary Jay Carney.

[...]

Even all the Republicans are calling out Limbaugh. Read about their responses here.

Teen access to Plan B turned down by Obama administration.

From Salon.com, and making the rounds on all the news sites (passed along by Jeremy - thanks!):

Obama says no to Plan B for teens

 

Once again, fear of teen sex trumps public health as a Cabinet secretary overrules the FDA

Why does Obama want your innocent little girl to have sex without you knowing?

The fear of an attack ad along those lines must have motivated the Obama administration’s decision today to overrule the Food and Drug Administration’s recommendation to allow emergency contraception to be sold on store shelves, and made available without a prescription to those under 17. There’s certainly no explanation based in science.

In an extraordinary statement, FDA commissioner Margaret Hamburg said she agreed with an internal study that “there is adequate and reasonable, well-supported and science-based evidence that Plan B One-Step is safe and effective and should be approved for non-prescription use for all females of child-bearing potential.” But, she said, the secretary of Health and Human Services, Kathleen Sebelius, disagreed. Sebelius issued her own wishy-washy statement,claiming there wasn’t enough data on the drug’s effects on adolescents.

But there is no honest public-health reason to force teenage girls to see a doctor before accessing emergency contraception. There are only political ones. (The morning-after pill will still be available at pharmacies without a prescription for women over 17.)

Read the rest of the article here.

Mitt Romney gets schooled by Rachel Maddow.

For those of you who don't follow American politics, the Republican party is in the process of selecting its candidate for the presidential election next year. The selection process (i.e., the debates) has been a bit of a gong show, mostly because the candidates are all...how to say this without sounding like a jerk...rather eccentric. The Republican party is almost universally opposed to abortion - many would like to see a constitutional amendment declaring that life begins at conception, making any sort of interference after that point murder. Mitt Romney, the main contender as the Republican candidate, made himself look like an ignoramus this week when asked about this change to the constitution, and how it would affect women who take hormonal birth control. Rachel Maddow (who I have total crush on), of MSNBC, had this to say to him (and a lesson for the dudes - the lesson starts just after the 4:00 mark):


Spring break loving may explain increased teen pregnancies.

teenpregnancy
teenpregnancy

From the CBC:

Teen pregnancy peak may coincide with March break.

Parents may want to recap discussions of the birds and the bees with their high school students prior to March break in light of new study results on teen pregnancies.

Researchers who conducted the study in the Kingston, Ont., area say they have found the relative likelihood of conceiving in the month of March is higher for school-aged adolescents than adults. If March break is driving an upswing in teen pregnancies then perhaps just before the vacation would be a good time for a proactive burst of family planning information, a researcher says.

"This adolescent pregnancy peak may be explained by biological reasons such as variations in fertility over the course of a calendar year, but it's also possible that this increased conception rate in March is because of spring break," Dr. Mary Anne Jamieson, study co-author and an associate professor in the departments of obstetrics and gynecology and pediatrics, said in a statement.

Read the rest of the article here.