Our Bodies, Our Blog

Viagra for Afghan Patriarchs, to Hell With Women

By Christine Cupaiuolo |

You may have missed this front-page Washington Post story on Friday about our wonderful CIA handing out Viagra to aging Afghan tribal leaders:

“Take one of these. You’ll love it,” the officer said. Compliments of Uncle Sam.

The enticement worked. The officer, who described the encounter, returned four days later to an enthusiastic reception. The grinning chief offered up a bonanza of information about Taliban movements and supply routes — followed by a request for read pills. […]

In their efforts to win over … Read

Double Dose: Breast Reconstructive Options Not Fully Discussed; Connecticut to Fight New HHS Rule; FDA to Reconsider Risk of BPA; Plus the Top Stories of 2008 – Add Your Lists

By Christine Cupaiuolo |

First, An Important Announcement: Don’t burn the gift-wrapping paper. In case you didn’t know, it’s bad for you. And remember to check new toys for lead.

New Reconstructive Surgery Options Not Discussed: Women undergoing reconstructive breast surgery are often not told about the full range of options available to them, reports The New York Times.

For instance, there is a new procedure that involves transplanting a wedge of fat and blood vessels from the abdomen or buttocks, which would be refashioned … Read

New Administration = New Chance to Rescind the Global Gag Rule

By Rachel Walden |

EngenderHealth has put together an excellent video providing a straightforward and simple explanation of the global gag rule and its effects on world health.

The organization is encouraging others to sign a petition asking President-Elect Obama to rescind the global gag rule during his first 100 days in office.

Relatedly, the “Open Government” section of the Change.gov website presently includes the “Global Health Council Recommendations to President-elect Barack Obama on US Global Health Policy and Programs,” with documents recommending rescinding the Global Gag … Read

Statins and Pregnancy

By Rachel Walden |

Statins — drugs intended for lowering cholesterol — have been in the news a lot over the past few years. Spending on the drugs increased from $8 billion in 2000 to $20 in 2005, and there have been a number of research papers during that time focused on the potential dangers of statin use in pregnancy, including questions about whether the drugs can cause birth defects.

Although not a full study report, a letter to Journal of Cellular and Molecular Medicine has been generating Read

The Girl Effect: Spread the Message

By Christine Cupaiuolo |

Earlier this year, the Center for Global Development released a report on girls in developing countries and the disadvantages they face. The report includes specific policy recommendations that apply to several key actions:

  • Count girls. Disaggregate data of all types — from health and education statistics to the counts of program beneficiaries — by age and sex. Doing so will make girls read visible to policymakers and reveal where girls are excluded.
  • Invest in girls. Make strategic and significant investments in programs focused on adolescent … Read

Double Dose: Discussing Health Care Reform; Study: HIV Infects Women Through Healthy Tissue; Facebook Censors Breastfeeding Photos; “Unofficial” Feminists …

By Christine Cupaiuolo |

What to Discuss When You’re Discussing Health Care: If you’ve signed up to join or lead a health care discussion in your community — as requested by President-elect Barack Obama and Obama’s secretary-designate for Health and Human Services, former Sen. Tom Daschle — you might want to read Judith Graham’s “community discussions” blog series. Graham, a health writer for the Chicago Tribune, poses questions to ask and consequences that should be considered as part of any conversation.

And if you … Read

New Public Service Announcement on Funding for Birth Centers – Please Share!

By Christine Cupaiuolo |

Massachusetts State Rep. Kay Kahn has recorded a 30-second public service announcement urging Medicaid funding  for birth centers. Have a listen:

Birth Centers PSA

Please feel free to use this PSA on your website, or encourage your local radio station to air it. The PSA is sponsored by Myhags and the American Association of Birth Centers.

“Medicaid wants to cut funding for birth centers, where midwives give families personalized care,” says Kahn, who is also a registered nurse. “Help me … Read

HHS Publishes New “Conscience” Rule — What’s Next?

By Christine Cupaiuolo |

This just in, from the Washington Post:

The Bush administration today issued a sweeping new regulation that protects a broad range of health care workers — from doctors to janitors — who refuse to participate in providing services that they believe violates their personal, moral or religious beliefs.

The controversial rule empowers federal health officials to cut off federal funding for any state or local government, hospital, clinic, health plan, doctors’ office or other entity if they do not accommodate employees who exercise their “right … Read

Live Chat on Future of Reproductive Health and Rights in an Obama Administration

By Christine Cupaiuolo |

Update: The transcript of today’s chat is now available — just click on the replay button to view the full discussion. Thanks to RH Reality Check for putting this together!

Participants include:

Marilyn Keefe, National Partnership for Women & Families

William Smith, SIECUS

Heather Boonstra, Guttmacher Institute

Cristina Page, BirthControlWatch.org

Kay Steiger, RH Reality Check (moderator)