Our Bodies, Our Blog

Striking the Work-Life Balance with Campbell Brown

By Christine Cupaiuolo |

Television newcomer Rachel Maddow is the best thing to happen to cable television this year. Campbell Brown, veteran political reporter, is a close second.

During the campaign, Brown took on sexist treatment of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin. Before that, she held the line during an interview with Tucker Bounds, spokesman for the McCain campaign, about Palin’s lack of foreign policy experience. That interview made me an eternal fan.

On “No Bias, No Bull,” a daily show on politics, Brown calls it … Read

Still Waiting for Administration to Impose “Conscience” Rule

By Rachel Walden |

As we’ve been covering since August, a proposed rule out of the Department of Health and Human Services purports to protect provider “conscience” (extending that explicitly to those who clean instruments and other non-physician roles). The rule is ostensibly protect providers from having to perform abortions (although this right is already protected), but would likely have the effect of seriously reducing access to legal health care such as oral contraceptives.

The proposed rule has already been through a formal public comment period (without a real public … Read

New from the Journals: A Brief Overview of Current Literature on Women’s Health

By Rachel Walden |

A quick summary of a few papers in the recent medical literature:

Ford J, Grewal J, Mikolajczyk R, Meikle S, Zhang J. Primary cesarean delivery among parous women in the United States, 1990-2003. Obstet Gynecol. 2008 Dec;112(6):1235-41.

This paper used U.S. birth certificate data from 1990-2003 to figure out how many women who had previously given birth vaginally had a first-time c-section (of a single infant) during a subsequent birth. Most existing literature focuses on c-sections for first deliveries or repeat c-sections. The authors found … Read

Reimbursement for Birth Centers: Ask Congress to Act Now

By Christine Cupaiuolo |

We’ve written before about the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services — the federal agency that runs Medicare/Medicaid — refusing to pay the federal percentage of Medicaid payments that states might make to birth centers.

Now, the American Association of Birth Centers, which had called our attention to the funding issue, is stepping up efforts to get Congress to mandate the birth center facility fee. The AABC is asking midwives, birth center staff members and clients to their representatives … Read

Action Alert: Empowering Women & Girls Against HIV/AIDS

By Christine Cupaiuolo |

The International Women’s Health Coalition is encouraging health activists to tell Michel Sidibé, the soon-to-be executive director of United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), what needs to be done to empower women and girls against HIV/AIDS.

The IWHC action alert includes the sample letter below, or you can write your own letter. Send correspondence to [email protected].

Dear Mr. Sidibé,

As HIV infection rates among young people and women rise, we look to UNAIDS leadership to recognize gender inequality as a driver of … Read

World AIDS Day: 1988 – 2008

By Christine Cupaiuolo |

“Stop AIDS. Keep the Promise” is the campaign message of the 20th annual World AIDS Day. The theme this year is leadership, same as it was in 2007. But while last year people were encouraged to take the lead, this time the emphasis is on delivering on those promises.

“Building on the 2006 theme of accountability, leadership highlights the discrepancy between the commitments that have been made to halt the spread of AIDS, and actions taken to follow them through. Leadership empowers everyone -– … Read

Quick Hit: My on Jay Parini’s List of Influential Books

By Christine Cupaiuolo |

Middlebury College professor, poet and author Jay Parini has a new book out — “Promised Land: Thirteen Books That Changed America.”

I caught Heller McAlpin’s short review in the San Francisco Chronicle and was delighted to see that “Our Bodies, Ourselves” made Parini’s “bonus list” of 100 additional influential books.

Parisi cautions that he did not set out to list “the ‘greatest’ American books,” but rather “an exploration of national myths” and “books that played a role in shaping the nation’s idea of … Read

Double Dose: Surrogacy, Adoption and Privilege; Terror’s Many Forms; Can Some Breast Cancers Go Away on Their Own?; Meet the 5-Year-Old Dribbler …

By Christine Cupaiuolo |

Her Body, My Baby: Here’s an article sure to spark some discussion about class, privilege and maternal desire. Writing in the Sunday New York Times, Alex Kuczynski explains why — and how — she chose a surrogate mother and describes the relationship that developed between them.

Feminist Lens on Adoption: Read on reproductive rights and who has access to those rights … Katie Leo, who was adopted from Korea, writes in Minnesota Women’s Press that her personal story and research on adoption inform her perspective on international adoption: “Could … Read

Thanksgiving Day Our Way: No Turkey, but Lots of Tasty Choices

By Christine Cupaiuolo |

My partner and I don’t eat meat, so Thanksgiving usually involves bringing our own Tupperware-packed entrees to large family gatherings. This is necessary, since well-meaning cooks are known to encourage us to have read green beans (cooked with bacon bits) or marshmallow-covered yams.

This year we’re trying something different: cooking a mostly vegetarian meal for 12 (we’re breaking from all-vegetarian to serve fish). Most of the family members and friends due to arrive this afternoon are enthusiastic about the menu, but there are a few tough customers who will need read convincing … Read

Call for Action on HPV Vaccines for Immigrant Women

By Rachel Walden |

Last month, I wrote about the new requirement that immigrants seeking permanent legal status in the United States receive the HPV vaccine (along with other required vaccines).

Briefly, my concerns about this change included “the lack of an opt-out provision (in contrast to requirements for U.S. citizens), the expense of the series, the lack of significant public health risk posed by omitting this vaccine, and the vulnerability of the affected population.” See the original post for read details and links to further … Read