June 21, 2008

Double Dose: Abstinence-Only Funding Survives Another Vote; Statement of Black Men Against the Exploitation of Black Women; UN Addresses Rape as War Crime; Debate Over Islam and Virginity; Shopping for Breast Cancer and More …

Best Headline: “Abstinence-only funding is like an evil Energizer Bunny,” courtesy of Vannesa at Feministing. Why the evil? The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies voted to continue funding the Community-Based Abstinence Education (CBAE) program, an abstinence-only education funding stream, despite all the research that’s it’s a waste of money and resources. Scott Swenson of RH Reality Check has a good wrap-up here.

Share This: Via Brownfemipower, I found an online petition — Statement of Black Men Against the Exploitation of Black Women — written in the wake of R. Kelly’s acquittal. The petition and related useful books, films and organizations are also listed on Mark Anthony Neal’s blog, which itself is a terrific resource on issues on issues of race and masculinity.

UN Addresses Rape as a War Crime: “In Sudan, girls as young as four are raped by rebel forces and government-backed militias. In Democratic Republic of Congo, women are sexually mutilated by roving gangs. In Burma, they are systematically raped as part of a military offensive,” writes Olivia Ward in the Toronto Sun. “[Thursday], the United Nations Security Council agreed that sexual violence against women and girls in war zones is a threat to international stability, opening the way for action against countries that condone or promote atrocities.”

Here’s more from the BBC, and the full text of UN Resolution 1820, which states that “rape and other forms of sexual violence can constitute war crimes, crimes against humanity or a constitutive act with respect to genocide.” The 15-member Security Council also demanded the “immediate and complete cessation by all parties to armed conflict of all acts of sexual violence against civilians.”

In Europe, Debate Over Islam and Virginity: From The New York Times:

As Europe’s Muslim population grows, many young Muslim women are caught between the freedoms that European society affords and the deep-rooted traditions of their parents’ and grandparents’ generations.

Gynecologists say that in the past few years, more Muslim women are seeking certificates of virginity to provide proof to others. That in turn has created a demand among cosmetic surgeons for hymen replacements, which, if done properly, they say, will not be detected and will produce tell-tale vaginal bleeding on the wedding night. The service is widely advertised on the Internet; medical tourism packages are available to countries like Tunisia where it is less expensive.

“If you’re a Muslim woman growing up in more open societies in Europe, you can easily end up having sex before marriage,” said Dr. Hicham Mouallem, who is based in London and performs the operation. “So if you’re looking to marry a Muslim and don’t want to have problems, you’ll try to recapture your virginity.”

A 23-year-old French student of Moroccan descent who paid $2,900 for the procedure, said: “In my culture, not to be a virgin is to be dirt … Right now, virginity is more important to me than life.”

Plus: Read Judith Warner’s column, which links hymen surgery, father-daughter purity balls and other news stories related to patriarchy and female chastity.

World Refugee Day: In recognition of the 8th Annual UN World Refugee Day on June 20, Worldview looked at the plight of Iraqi refugees.

Cervical Cancer Screenings Lacking in Developing Countries: “A study published in the open-access journal PLoS Medicine has found that women in the developing world are not getting the cervical cancer screenings that they need,” according to Medical News Today. “Researcher Emmanuela Gakidou (University of Washington) and colleagues report that although women in the developing world have the highest risk of developing cervical cancer, few are effectively screened. Additionally, there exist severe inequalities between and within countries concerning the access to cervical cancer screening.”

Plus: A survey of 38,000 Canadian women found that obese women are significantly less likely (30 to 40 percent, depending on the degree of obesity) to be tested for cervical cancer than women of average body weight, according to CBC News. Breast and colon cancer screening are unaffected by a woman’s body mass.

Shopping for Breast Cancer: The Center for Media & Democracy’s PRWatch recently posted an article about “Pinkwashing” — which is what happens when corporations try to boost sales by associating their products with the fight against breast cancer. “The worst pinkwashers exploit the intense emotions associated with breast cancer while selling products that actually contribute to breast cancer,” writes Ann Landman, who goes on to offer some key examples, including a Ford 2008 V-6 Mustang with Warriors in Pink Package, which proclaims to “add more muscle to the fight.”

Landman also links to Breast Cancer Action’s excellent Think Before You Pink campaign.

Study Finds Drop in Use of HRT: “Fewer older women in Canada are using hormone-replacement therapies to treat the symptoms of menopause, turning instead to natural remedies, says a study released Thursday,” reports The Vancouver Sun.

“The Canadian Institute for Health Information has found only five per cent of women in five provinces who are 65 years and older use hormone-replacement therapies — a drop from 14 per cent six years ago, when a report found the risks of using the menopause therapies outweigh the benefits.”

The Number of Underinsured Grows: Via the L.A. Times – A new study published in Health Affairs journal found that 25 million people ages 19 to 64 were underinsured in 2007, up from 16 million in 2003.

Nearly 50 million additional people have no health insurance at all. In all, “You end up with about 75 million adults who were either underinsured or uninsured at some time during the year,” says study co-author Sara Collins, an assistant vice president of the Commonwealth Fund, a foundation that supports independent healthcare research.

Those who had inadequate insurance coverage were almost as likely as those with no insurance to avoid getting needed care or to suffer medically related financial problems. Some 53% of the underinsured went without needed care, compared with 68% of the uninsured. And 45% of underinsured people had trouble paying medical bills, compared with 51% of uninsured people. “You can have health insurance and still go bankrupt if you get sick,” the authors note.

ACLU Symposium on LGBTQ Rights: Melissa points to a number of pieces posted at the symposium, including her piece on gay marriage written as a LGBTQ ally. I loved what Rachel Maddow had to say in an interview with the ACLU:

So far the state where I grew up (California) and the state where I live (Massachusetts) and the state where I work most of the time (New York) have legalized, legalized, and agreed-to-recognize-other-states’ same-sex-marriages, respectively. I am accepting applications now from other states that want me to relocate, since apparently I am to second-class gay citizenship what Saint Patrick was to snakes.


One Response to “Double Dose: Abstinence-Only Funding Survives Another Vote; Statement of Black Men Against the Exploitation of Black Women; UN Addresses Rape as War Crime; Debate Over Islam and Virginity; Shopping for Breast Cancer and More …”

  1. Jacqueline Says:

    Re: Drop in HRT among older women… It appears from all the studies constantly coming out that at least one thing is clear — HRT is not beneficial for post menopausal women. I’m glad this message seems to be firmly taking hold.

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