Our Bodies, Our Blog

New York Times on Advocating for Your Health

By Rachel Walden |

The New York Times recently published a special series to help individuals advocate for their own health. The series included information on reliable health information websites, patients’ use of the Internet for self-education about their symptoms and diagnoses, how to understand a medical research report, what FDA approval really means, and several other topics.

Importantly, the Times pieces represented a largely positive take on patients becoming informed and active in their own healthcare, recommending that people seek second opinions when needed and become informed about what … Read

“Never Having to Wear a Bra Again”

By Christine Cupaiuolo |

Carol Ciancutti-Leyva, director of “Absolutely Safe,” a documentary on the controversy over the safety of breast implants, critiques a recent “Oprah” episode that discussed breast cancer and breast reconstruction surgery without mentioning the health risks associated with implants.

The title refers to something the actress Christina Applegate said during the episode. Applegate, 36, was diagnosed with breast cancer in July and underwent a double mastectomy after also testing positive for the BRCA gene.

Ciancutti-Leyva writes:

I applaud her openness … Read

Double Dose: Palin Condoms; Dispute Over Vaccines Reframed as Catfight; Chicago’s Toxic Air; Black Midwives Conference Oct. 10-12; Pregnant Women & Medical Research; Questioning the “War on Fat”

By Christine Cupaiuolo |

Always Carry Protection: Lucinda Marshall has the goods on the Palin condom.

And did you know that as of Sept. 26, Planned Parenthood took in read $802,678 in donations from 31,313 people made in Sarah Palin’s name?

Donations poured in after an anonymous email was circulated urging donations in any amount and recommending that the personalized thank-you card from Planned Parenthood be sent to Palin at the McCain-Palin campaign headquarters in Virginia.

L.A. Times columnist Patt Morrison took credit for the … Read

The Real Cost of Prison Comix

By Christine Cupaiuolo |

Prisoners of a Hard Life: Women and Their Children

PM Press has recently published “The Real Cost of Prisons Comix,” three comic books produced by the Real Cost of Prison Projects in one volume. The book includes:

“Prison Town: Paying the Price” tells the story of how the financing and site locations of prisons affects the people of rural communities in which prison are built as well as urban communities from where the majority of incarcerated people come from. Illustrated … Read

Insurance Obstacles for Women: Best Not to Get Sick or Pregnant

By Christine Cupaiuolo |

The National Women’s Law Center has released a new report, “Nowhere to Turn: How the Individual Health Insurance Market Fails Women,” and is hosting a webinar on Thursday, Oct. 16, to discuss the findings. Register here.

The majority of women (and men) are covered either by their employers or through Medicare or Medicaid. But as Lisa Codispoti, NWLC senior advisor, and Brigette Courtot, policy analyst, explain on the NWLC blog, women seeking insurance on the open market face numerous obstacles:

The … Read

Health Care and Politics: “NewsHour” Special, New Documentary and New Tools for Voters

By Christine Cupaiuolo |

Here’s another health care and politics update …

First up, we’ve mentioned Health08.org before, but it is seriously so good it deserves to be spotlighted again — especially now that it includes a new interactive tool that allows users to compare Sen. John McCain’s and Sen. Barack Obama’s “proposals and positions on a range of health care issues not necessarily addressed in the candidates’ health care reform proposals.”

The comparisons — based on information compiled from the candidates’ websites, speeches and campaign … Read

Ask Congress to Ensure Funding for Birth Centers

By Christine Cupaiuolo |

The American Association of Birth Centers has issued an appeal to supporters to Congress concerning a payment crisis that threatens insurance support for birth centers around the country.

After read than 20 years of providing funding, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) — the federal agency that runs Medicare/Medicaid — is now refusing to pay the federal percentage of Medicaid payments that states might make to birth centers.

“This is not a Medicaid crisis but a payment crisis … Read

What Will Happen if Roe Goes?

By Christine Cupaiuolo |

Linda Hirshman, a lawyer whose most recent book is “Get to Work: A Manifesto for Women of the World,” addresses that question in this Washington Post piece. Here’s the frightening intro:

In the 1980s, when abortion was severely limited in then-West Germany, border guards sometimes required German women returning from foreign trips to undergo vaginal examinations to make sure that they hadn’t illegally terminated a pregnancy while they were abroad. According to news stories and other accounts, the guards would stop young women and … Read

Double Dose: Sex Trafficking Doesn’t Make Discussion Cut; Sarah Palin and the Rape Kits; Congress Approves Mental Health Parity Legislation; Why Don’t the Candidates Speak Out on HIV?; A Finanical Incentive to Keep Poor Women from Having Children …

By Christine Cupaiuolo |

Slavery Overlooked: “World leaders are parading through New York this week for a United Nations General Assembly reviewing their (lack of) progress in fighting global poverty. That’s urgent and necessary, but what they aren’t talking enough about is one of the grimmest of all manifestations of poverty — sex trafficking,” writes columnist Nicholas Kristof, who had doggedly stayed on this issue (view related columns here).

“This is widely acknowledged to be the 21st-century version of slavery, but governments accept it partly because … Read

Abortion Rate Falls, but Not for Everyone

By Christine Cupaiuolo |

“The rate of abortion in the United States is at its lowest level since 1974, having declined 33% from a peak of 29 abortions per 1,000 women aged 15–44 in 1980 to 20 per 1,000 in 2004. However, this overall trend masks large disparities in rates of unintended pregnancy and abortion across demographic subgroups,” according to “Trends in the Characteristics of Women Obtaining Abortions, 1974 to 2004,” a new report released by the Guttmacher Institute.

The abortion rate among Hispanic and black women is … Read