Our Bodies, Our Blog

Gardasil and Fear-Mongering

By Rachel Walden |

Combine girls, vaccines, and sex, and you apparently get a recipe for sensationalism and poor reporting. CNN yesterday featured a piece, “Should parents worry about HPV vaccine?” which notes that “Gardasil has been the subject of 7,802 ‘adverse event’ reports from the time the Food and Drug Administration approved its use two years ago.”

What the article doesn’t explain is how the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) system works. Reports to VAERS can be submitted by anyone, and are not verified or definitively … Read

Summer Reading List

By Christine Cupaiuolo |

The Chicago Foundation for Women today published a list of recommended books for summer reading, including such notables as “The Girls Who Went Away: The Hidden History of Women Who Surrendered Children for Adoption in the Decades Before Roe v. Wade,” by Ann Fessler (Penguin Books, $15), and “Undivided Rights: Women of Color Organize for Reproductive Justice,” by Jael Silliman, Marlene Gerber Fried, Loretta Ross and Elena Gutierrez (South End Press, $20), with the comment, “The history of women … Read

When Physicians Talk About Hysterectomy (It’s Cringe-Inducing)

By Rachel Walden |

In the April issue of the journal Obstetrics and Gynecology, ob/gyn Julian M. Thomas published an editorial, “Vaginal Hysterectomy: An Apparent Exception to Evidence-Based Decision Making,” and questions why read hysterectomies aren’t performed vaginally rather than abdominally/laparoscopically – most are currently performed abdominally. Thomas asks, “With evidence showing vaginal hysterectomy offers most patients the best combination of results, cost, and morbidity for hysterectomy, shouldn’t that be enough for surgeons and patients to demand it?”

The most interesting pieces of this editorial and the follow-up letters, however, … Read

Double Dose: Inside Baltiread’s Home Birth Underground; This Week’s Feel Good Story; Medical Students, Papayas and Abortion Training; Medical Care in Immigrant Prisons …

By Christine Cupaiuolo |

Home-Made – Inside Baltiread’s Home Birth Underground: “Disenchanted with a medical system that treats birth as an emergency instead of an emergence, seeking an alternative to the tubes and wires and monitors of a high-tech birth, some women are stepping outside of the hospital to have their babies. And some say their numbers are growing,” writes Michele Gienow in the Baltiread City Paper.

While the headline makes it all seem very radical, the women interviewed consider themselves pretty mainstream. And Gienow does a terrific … Read

Transgender Advocates Discuss Thomas Beatie and What His Pregnancy Delivered

By Christine Cupaiuolo |

Writing at Salon, Thomas Rogers looks at whether the publicity surrounding Thomas Beatie, aka “the pregnant man,” who has willingly appeared on “Oprah” and in many other media outlets, has ultimately helped or hurt the public perception about transgendered men and women.

Beatie, 34, was scheduled to give birth today via caesarean section. He first told his story in The Advocate back in March, when he explained:

I am transgender, legally male, and legally married to Nancy. Unlike those in same-sex marriages, domestic … Read

Coming Clean About Our Own Fruit & Vegetable Intake

By Christine Cupaiuolo |

Following up on our recent discussion about whether it’s OK to hide veggies in food prepared for picky little eaters, there’s an interesting post at Well about the tendency of adults to, er, vastly overestimate their own intake of fruits and vegetables.

The post, which is based on a small, self-reporting study of 163 women, also includes a funny excerpt of “Unhappy Meals,” a 2007 NYT magazine article by one of my favorite food writers, Michael Pollan.

Plus: Beets …. mmmm … Read

Selling Women Unsupported Health Messages and Insecurity about Their Vaginas

By Rachel Walden |

An article in today’s New York Times describes a “medical spa” in Manhattan described as the first facility “dedicated to strengthening and grooming a woman’s genital area.”

The facility’s own website refers to its services as addressing “feminine fitness.” The physician running the “spa” stated, “If you can vote and you have a vagina, you should do these. It’s the dental floss of feminine fitness.”

To be clear, “feminine fitness” is a made-up phrase with no standard medical meaning, and the definition of physical … Read

Side Effects Revealed: Women Share Their Experiences with Breast Cancer Drugs

By Christine Cupaiuolo |

Our Bodies Our Blog has invited the folks at Breast Cancer Action to write monthly guest posts on breast cancer and related issues.

by Pauli Ojea

Women facing a life-threatening illness like breast cancer often have very difficult decisions to make about whether they can live with the side effects of what could be a helpful drug. Deciding whether the benefits outweigh the risks can happen only if all the information on side effects is available. All too often it’s not.

In an effort to remedy this situation, … Read

UNFPA Funds Withheld Again

By Rachel Walden |

President Bush has decided for the seventh year to withhold funds allocated to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), which conducts global work on issues such as reducing obstetric fistula, increasing access to contraception and family planning, HIV prevention, and improving obstetric care.

The administration has withheld funds allocated by Congress to UNFPA since 2002, citing concerns that UNFPA work in China was supporting forced or coerced abortions. However, a report delivered to the President in that same year resulting from a fact-finding mission … Read

Double Dose: Planned Parenthood Expands Reach; Pack Journalism in Search of a Pregnancy “Pact” in Gloucester; Teen Pregnancies at 30-Year Low; Mandating Insurance Coverage for Anorexia; Will Women Give Hormone Maker a Second Chance? …

By Christine Cupaiuolo |

Planned Parenthood Expands its Reach: “Flush with cash, Planned Parenthood affiliates nationwide are aggressively expanding their reach, seeking to woo read affluent patients with a network of suburban clinics and huge new health centers that project a decidedly upscale image,” reports the Wall Street Journal.

Unfortunately the full story is available to subscribers only, but the WSJ health blog has a summary that includes these remarks:

Despite some critiques to the contrary, Planned Parenthood insists it’s not compromising is long-held focus on serving … Read