Our Bodies, Our Blog

Massachusetts Report Provides Insights into Barriers that Remain After Health Reform

By Rachel Walden |

A new report released by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health Family Planning Program and Ibis Reproductive Health examines the barriers low-income Massachusetts women face in accessing contraception services since Massachusetts implemented a universal health care bill.

The bill, enacted in 2006, allows low-income residents who are not eligible for Medicaid or Medicare and don’t have insurance through an employer to join one of four government-subsidized private insurance plans. In addition to these government plan options, low-income women without health insurance can also access contraceptive and … Read

Put Simply, It’s Rape: Chris Rock on Roman Polanski

By Christine Cupaiuolo |

Last week we heard that Roman Polanski’s rape of a 13-year-old girl wasn’t “rape-rape“; the media downplayed the crime; and celebrities petitioned for Polanski’s release.

Comedian Chris Rock’s disbelief over the reaction captured our own. During an interview on The Jay Leno Show, Rock cut through the messy rhetoric and exclaimed, “Rape! It’s rape!”

“People are defending Roman Polanski because he made some good movies?” Rock continued. “Are you kidding me? He made good movies 30 years ago, Jay! Even Johnnie Cochran don’t have … Read

Reading List: Crash Course in Sex Ed for Adults

By Christine Cupaiuolo |

Following up on the battle over funding for comprehensive sex education, here’s a list of 40 books and articles about sexuality that are well worth a look at any age.

Compiled by Anna Clark, who blogs at Isak, these texts cover not only the basics, but the complex policies and politics surrounding birth control, gender, race, abortion, adoption and read. From the introduction:

If we can agree that few teens learn about sexuality in an accurate, age-appropriate, and comprehensive way, then where … Read

Health Care Reform Update: Effort to Restrict Abortion Coverage Fails, Mixed Results on Abstinence Only Funding

By Christine Cupaiuolo |

The health care reform debate hasn’t been encouraging for reproductive health advocates, but on Wednesday the Senate Finance Committee pushed back against a Republican amendment designed to “doubly triply restrict abortion coverage in the bill,” as Rachel Maddow described it last night.

Republican Olympia Snowe of Maine joined almost all of the Democrats to defeat the amendment 13-10. Sen. Kent Conrad of North Dakota, a Democrat, voted for the restrictions along with the rest of the Republicans. Robert Pear of The New York … Read

Providers’ Liability Concerns Limit Women’s Birth Options

By Rachel Walden |

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has recently released findings from its 2009 Survey on Professional Liability, which asked practicing ob/gyns and ob/gyn residents if and how their practices have been affected by liability concerns. Respondents were asked whether they had made any practice changes since January 2006 because of the affordability or availability of professional liability insurance, or because of fear of liability claims or litigation.

Among the findings, 59.2% (of 5,644 respondents) reported having made one or read changes to their practice since 2006 … Read

Health Care Reform Update: Senate Finance Committee Rejects Public Option

By Christine Cupaiuolo |

The Senate Finance Committee today rejected two proposals to add a public option — a government-sponsored insurance policy that would compete with private plans — to the health care reform bill put forth by Senator Max Baucus (D-Mont.).

David M. Herszenhorn of The New York Times writes:

The committee on Tuesday afternoon voted, 15 to 8, to reject an amendment proposed by Senator John D. Rockefeller IV, Democrat of West Virginia, to add a public option called the Community Choice Health Plan, an outcome that … Read

Women & Health Care Reform – The Debate Continues

By Christine Cupaiuolo |

Women received a serious wake-up call Friday when Sen. John Kyl (R-Ariz.) questioned why his insurance should include maternity care. A comment left on my post asks, “Why require this in EVERY plan? Won’t that just raise costs? Men don’t need it, working feminist women who don’t have children certainly don’t either.”

Hmmm. Without taking that bait, I will say that the commenter, as well as the senator, apparently is unaware that insurance works on pooling of risks. While it might be interesting to see … Read

New Study Finds Increases in Medical Abortion, but not Access

By Rachel Walden |

A new study in the journal Obstetrics and Gynecology, conducted by researchers from the Guttmacher Institute, attempts to quantify the availability of medication abortion (non-surgical abortion via the medication mifepristone/Mifeprex) in the United States, and the overlap between medication and surgical abortion providers. The authors explain that it was hoped that the availability of this non-surgical option might increase abortion accessibility “because it could be delivered read privately and without surgical facilities, [and] offered by a wider range of providers, such as private obstetrician-gynecologists and … Read

Could a Smart Retort on Maternity Care Help Build Support for Comprehensive Health Care Reform?

By Christine Cupaiuolo |

That’s what reform advocates are hoping, as a video from Friday’s Senate Finance Committee spread over the weekend. The short clip, embedded below, shows a great practical and philosophical divide over women’s health care.

During discussion on the health care bill proposed by Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.), the committee debated one of Sen. Jon Kyl’s (R-Ariz.) amendments, which would prohibit the government from defining specific health benefits that insurers must offer.

Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) argued that under a new system, insurance companies should be … Read

How Does Hormone Replacement Therapy Affect Lung Cancer?

By Rachel Walden |

A new study in The Lancet looks at hormone replacement therapy, and concludes that while the combination of estrogen and progestin doesn’t increase women’s risk of lung cancer, it increases their risk of dying from the disease. This finding has generated a fair bit of media coverage, but – although the issue of HRT and lung cancer is an important one – the study itself is perhaps not as definitive as that coverage might suggest.

The authors analyzed data from the Women’s Health Initiative … Read