Our Bodies, Our Blog

Quick Hit: Defense Authorization Would Repeal DADT, Prohibitions Against Abortions in DoD Facilities

By Rachel Walden |

According to a release on May 28 from the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee, the proposed National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for 2011 includes provisions both to repeal the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy and the prohibition on performing legal abortions in Department of Defense medical facilities.

The ACLU and Planned Parenthood have further commentary.

Debate Ensues on Over-the-Counter Genetic Testing

By Rachel Walden |

Earlier this month, a company announced its plan to offer over-the-counter genetic testing kits. The news generated considerable debate, as this would be the first time an over-the-counter genetic test has been available directly to the public.

The FDA, though, responded to this plan with a letter to the company indicating that their product met the definition of a medical device and would therefore require FDA approval. The agency indicated that they could find no such approval on file, and asked … Read

Work by Artist Kaucyila Brooke Censored at Bucharest Biennale

By Christine Cupaiuolo |

When Los Angeles-based artist Joanne Mitchell wrote to us with news of the removal of a gender-oriented work from the Bucharest International Biennale, we asked her to share the information with readers. Joanne’s piece “Our bodies, ourselves – the book, I mean” will be showcased as part of the organization’s 40th-anniversary celebration in 2011.

By Joanne Mitchell

The Bucharest International Biennale opened last week without “Tit for Twat,” a 20-year long, ongoing project made by a former teacher of mine, the artist Kaucyila … Read

Meet the New Inductees to the Women’s Health Heroes Hall of Fame

By Christine Cupaiuolo |

On April 1, Myhags asked, “Who’s your women’s health hero?”

Dozens of you responded enthusiastically, sending in essays and videos describing the heroes who most inspire you.

Among them: a women’s studies professor who is a role model for her students; midwives and doulas who empower women to trust themselves and their bodies; activists and legislators pressing for real health care reform; numerous individuals and organizations advocating for reproductive rights and justice; a friend who provides a safe … Read

CDC Releases Report on Trends in Out-of-Hospital Birth

By Rachel Walden |

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has released a new report, Trends and Characteristics of Home and Other Out-of-Hospital Births in the United States, 1990–2006 [PDF]. It uses U.S. birth certificate data to describe trends in place of delivery. Among the findings:

  • After declining from 1.13% in 1990 to 0.87% in 2004, the percentage of out-of-hospital births increased slightly to 0.90% in 2005 and 2006;
  • Home births alone were 0.67% of births in 1990, declining to 0.56% by 2004, and 0.59% in 2005 and … Read

My’s Judy Norsigian on Health Care Reform at Salon

By Rachel Walden |

Our own Judy Norsigian – along with Ellen Shaffer of the Center for Policy Analysis – has a new piece up at Salon.  A practical guide forward for progressives on healthcare looks at the myths that have undermined  enthusiasm for the new health care reform package and encourages people to build upon its successes.

Norsigian and Shaffer also propose next steps for progressives who share the goal of affordable universal health care. Check it out, and let us know what you think in the … Read

Plan Outline Released to Shape Public Health Approaches to Infertility

By Rachel Walden |

In 2007, the CDC formed a working group to coordinate public health-related infertility activities, and identified opportunities for improvement in public health activities to understand and address preventable causes of infertility. The group subsequently published a white paper in 2008 on infertility prevention, detection and management, which included a call for the development of a national plan of action to address infertility issues.

A CDC representative from the Women’s Health and Fertility Branch of the agency’s Division of Reproductive Health has now informed … Read

FDA Unveils Next Steps in Transparency Initiative, Public Comment Requested

By Rachel Walden |

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration last year formed a task force to increase the agency’s transparency to the public, with a goal to “develop recommendations for making useful and understandable information about FDA activities and decision making read readily available to the public in a timely manner and in a user-friendly format.” This effort stems from the Obama administration’s goal of increasing the transparency of government agencies in general.

In a newly published perspective piece for the New England Journal of … Read

President’s Cancer Panel Reports on Environmental Causes of Cancer

By Rachel Walden |

The President’s Cancer Panel, created in 1971 to monitor the National Cancer Program, provides reports to each sitting President on the nation’s cancer programs and priorities. Previous reports have covered topics such as health disparities, translational research, cancer survivorship, barriers to care, and cancer among Native American populations.

The Panel’s recently released report, “Reducing Environmental Cancer Risk: What We Can Do Now,” [PDF] focuses on potential risks posed by contaminants in the environment from industrial, manufacturing, agricultural, medical, military, natural, and other … Read