Last-Minute Reminder: Judy Norsigian, executive director of Our Bodies Ourselves, will be at Women & Children First bookstore in Chicago Sunday, April 6, at 4:30 p.m. to discuss OBOS’ new book, “Pregnancy and Birth.”
Get event details here. Oh, and I’ll be there, too!
Judy has two events in Chicago on Monday — both of which are free and open to the public. Then it’s on to Austin, Texas. Check the OBOS events calendar for more cities and dates on the OBOS book tour.
Single Mothers in China Forge a Difficult Path: The New York Times reports on the plight of single mothers in China, some of whom lie about their marital status or enter into marriages solely to obtain basic identifications for their children to attend school or to receive other social services. Howard French writes:
In a society where until quite recently premarital sex was often punished, the issue of single motherhood has been slow to enter the public arena. But now, a new awareness of the issue is raising questions about the status of women in China. And the debate is also stretching to other areas of citizens’ rights, including the most basic societal tenets like the hukou, or residency permit, a central tool of population control passed down from the Maoist era that restricts movement by linking people to the towns of their birth.
The Chinese government has long maintained that the Communist Party liberated women in 1949 along with the rest of the country. But in an era of rapid modernization, China has lacked anything like a broad current of thought about women’s rights.
“When we argue that a woman owns the uterus, and it’s her right to decide whether to deliver the baby or not, people won’t buy it,” said Yuan Xin, director of psychology at the Consulting Center of Nankai University. “If you are a woman, your personal choice is monitored and supervised by a lot of others, and they expect you to do what everyone else does.”
Bush AIDS Initiative Gets Bipartisan Renewal: “A bipartisan coalition in the House voted Wednesday to significantly expand a popular program aimed at combating HIV and AIDS around the world, renewing the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief by authorizing $50 billion — $20 billion more than the White House requested — over five years,” reports the L.A. Times. The story also notes the political compromises over PEPFAR:
Conservatives gave up a demand that abstinence be the centerpiece of efforts to fight AIDS; when the program began five years ago, the Republican majority then in control of Congress included language requiring that one-third of all funds spent on prevention go toward abstinence-related initiatives. The legislation approved Wednesday mandated “balanced funding” to support a so-called A-B-C strategy: abstain from sex until marriage; be faithful; and use condoms.
Liberals agreed to accept some restrictions on activities by family planning organizations. Under the bill, funding may go to family planning clinics to pay for HIV/AIDS testing and education but not abortions. Faith-based organizations will also continue to receive funding.
Health Database Was Set Up to Ignore “Abortion”: The New York Times today caught up with the controversy over the restrictions on the word “abortion” in the world’s largest database on reproductive health. Known as POPLINE, the database is managed by Johns Hopkins University and receives funds from the U.S. Agency for International Development.
Rachel has an excellent report on how it all went down — including tons of links to more coverage — and how it turned out. Kudos to medical librarians and all activists who protested the restrictions and got the word out quickly and effectively.
Global Health Summit: The 2nd Annual GlobeMed Global Health Summit took place this week at Northwestern University. It’s mission: to mobilize and unite university students “to think critically about global health issues, develop personal and professional skills for building a sustained commitment to social justice, and share ideas about the role of students in catalyzing a movement to improve global health.”
I learned about the summit listening to a Worldview radio interview on Thursday with Catherine Quinn, coordinator of field program operations at Concern America, an international development and refugee organization. Quinn discussed maternal health and public health training in Latin America.
Public Masturbation as Teachable Moment: Courtney Martin raises a good question: What do you call it when a man publicly masturbates in your presence? “When I brought up this experience to friends, just about every one of them had a similar story, but we all realized there’s no real name for this kind of violation,” writes Martin. More than 100 readers weigh in.
Birth Control Options: “Birth control options are growing for women 40 and older — a group that once viewed its choices as pretty much limited to tube-tying surgery and condoms,” reports the AP. The story covers a safer birth control pill, the IUD and a nonsurgical method of tube-tying.
“Exile” Turns 15: This isn’t really health related — unless you think of feminist music as necessary for mental health — but Kate Harding has a great post at Broadsheet titled “The Album That Made Me a Feminist.” Take a guess what it is … OK, I’ll spill: Liz Phair’s “Exile in Guyville,” which Harding notes will be re-released on June 24, marking the album’s 15th anniversary.
The only thing I’d add to Harding’s post is that Phair’s third album, “Whitechocolatespaceegg,” is every bit as good. Really.