• Ohio Republicans declare motherhood “necessary,” want to make it mandatory |

    While the name of Brett Kavanaugh has fallen out of the headline news cycle, the religious right has not forgotten that his recent addition to the Supreme Court now means they likely have five votes to overturn Roe v. Wade and allow states to ban abortion. While the endless churn of outrageous Trump stories occupies national headlines, anti-choice activists and politicians are swiftly moving to pass laws that they clearly hope will lead, perhaps within a year, to vacating the current legal protections for abortion rights.

    In the stampede to ban abortion, Republican politicians don’t always bother to keep up the pretense that their opposition to abortion is about “life.” All to often, they let slip how much it’s rooted in contempt for women having control over their own bodies and their own futures.

    Last week, the Ohio state house passed a bill that would ban abortions at six weeks. That would effectively a ban on most abortions, since performing the procedure before a pregnancy shows up on an ultrasound, which happens at just about six weeks, is not medically recommended. During debate over the bill in the Ohio state house, Republican state Rep. Christina Hagan brought her infant twins onto the floor to shame women who aren’t mothers about their alleged selfishness.

    “Motherhood isn’t easy but it’s necessary,” Hagan dramatically declared when arguing for her bill to make motherhood mandatory.

    Perhaps we should be grateful to Hagan for using her floor time to unsubtly suggest that women who have abortions are lazy and selfish. There should be no doubt that this is the belief that motivates the anti-choice movement in general, but most abortion foes have become media savvy enough to realize that they get more sympathy if they ascribe views to a religious delusion that equates embryonic life to that of actual babies. So at least Hagan showed her true colors, revealing the resentment of childless women and desire to exert control over other people’s lives that lies at the center of the anti-choice movement.

    Still, this rhetoric is enraging on a couple of levels. First, there’s the deep sexism of assuming that a childless woman has nothing to offer society, that our value is only in the womb and not in the brain and the heart.

    Furthermore, Hagan’s insinuation — that forced childbirth is needed to ensure the continuation of the human race — simply doesn’t reflect reality. The majority — nearly 60 percent — of women who seek abortions are mothers already. Among the rest, plenty plan to have children in the future, but are waiting for stability in both their economic and romantic life — because that’s best for the child. Women have abortions because they take motherhood seriously and believe that it’s better for children to be raised in homes that are ready to accept them.

    That’s why it shouldn’t be controversial to point out that anti-choice views are rooted in misogyny. These people actively choose to ignore the carefully collected evidence about women’s lives, in order to cling to sexist stereotypes painting women who have abortions as lazy and slutty. The only reason to choose ugly stereotypes over facts is because you want to believe the worst about women.

    That, in turn, should explain why, after passing this already egregious abortion ban, the Ohio legislature is now considering an even more draconian bill that would reclassify fertilized eggs, embryos and fetuses as “persons” in the criminal code.

    This bill received a lot of national attention, because headlines emphasized that it could make performing or getting an abortion a capital offense. That’s alarming, absolutely, but it barely touches the surface of how troubling this bill actually is. It could very likely criminalize more than abortion, putting women in danger of prosecution if they have a miscarriage, or even use birth control.

    The six-week abortion ban is enough to end abortions in Ohio, if that’s all the Ohio Republicans wanted. This bill, on the other hand, would go much further. By designating an embryo or a fetus a person, the state could open the door to charging women for child abuse or manslaughter if authorities believe their personal choices — ranging from using drugs to eating soft cheeses — were to blame for miscarriage or poor birth outcomes.

    This isn’t just “Handmaid’s Tale” speculation, either. Many states have already experimented with charging women for child abuse for drug use during pregnancy. In Montana, women are frequently held captive during pregnancy for just this reason. Formalizing these efforts by declaring that embryos are the same as babies could drastically expand these efforts, moving it past just punishing women for drug and alcohol abuse and towards criminal investigations for any failure to follow medical advice during pregnancy.

    To understand the full scope of how awful this bill is, note that it defines as “persons” entities that are undetectable by either the woman herself or by any medical instruments. It takes a number of days for a fertilized egg, which this bill would declare a “person,” to attach to the uterine lining and start the process of pregnancy. About half of all fertilized eggs fail to attach, and the woman then experiences a normal period with no way to know the difference. This bill would render every menstrual period, at least for women who have sex with men, into a legally ambiguous area, where she may or may not have a “corpse” of a “person” in her tampon.

    It’s no mysterious why anti-choice activists think creating this troubling legal ambiguity is a great idea. For years, the movement has been spreading pseudo-science about female-controlled birth control methods, such as the pill or the IUD, claiming that they kill fertilized eggs. (In reality, they work primarily by preventing fertilization to begin with.) This pseudo-science gives anti-choice activists an excuse to claim that female-controlled contraception is a form of “abortion” — as Kavanaugh did during his confirmation hearing — and thereby lay the groundwork to restrict contraception access.

    Tendering every period a woman has as a maybe-person admittedly creates such an enormous legal gray area that it’s unlikely even Republicans want to go there. But that’s why there’s no downside for anti-choice politicians in introducing this bill. It makes the six-week ban look “moderate” in comparison. It’s unlikely that the birth control pill will ever legally be considered “murder,” but anti-choice activists are using the claim that it kills fertilized eggs as a pretext for cutting off government and insurance funding for contraception. The appointment of Scott Lloyd, a lawyer who has worked to allow pharmacists to deny contraception prescriptions to women, to work at the Center for Faith and Opportunity Initiatives in the Department of Health and Human Services suggests that this new office, created in May, department, exists mostly to create bureaucratic obstacles for women seeking contraception.

    In Mississippi, a ban on abortion after 15 weeks was struck down by a district court judge, who pointed out that multiple court decisions, including at least three from the Supreme Court, have upheld that states “may not ban abortions prior to viability.” Because of decisions like this, it’s believed that Ohio Gov. John Kasich will veto the six-week ban, rather than commit state resources to defending it through the lengthy appeals process as lower federal courts strike it down.

    Still, if Mississippi chooses to fight that, and if that leads to a real chance to overturn Roe v. Wade before the Supreme Court, there’s no telling how aggressive Republicans might become. Abortion bans that once seemed blatantly unconstitutional now have a real shot at being upheld. It’s likely just a matter of time before there’s a showdown in the Supreme Court over whether or not abortion rights in the United States will stand.

  • Listen to women’: UK doctors issued with first guidance on endometriosis | Society | The Guardian

    Doctors are being advised to listen to what women tell them about crippling pelvic and period pain and look out for the symptoms of endometriosis in a bid to speed up diagnosis of a disease that can wreck lives and careers.

    It takes an average of seven to eight years to be diagnosed with endometriosis, according to the first-ever guidance on managing a disease that affects one in 10 women from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) in England. Experts say the long wait is the same all over the western world. Many women are told they are making a fuss about normal period pain. Some are unable to work and the disease causes others to become infertile.

    The NHS must listen to women, says Nice. If they have symptoms including continuing pelvic pain, severe period pain, pain during sex or they suffer from infertility, endometriosis must not be ruled out. It should not be discounted if the woman continues to say she has symptoms when examinations such as ultrasound scans are negative.

    Delayed diagnosis is a significant problem for many women with endometriosis leading them to years of unnecessary distress and suffering,” said Professor Mark Baker, director of the centre for guidelines at Nice.

  • Possible Bodies : Ultrasound Mishearings

    This summer, the Possible Bodies inventory travels to Hangar (Barcelona) to mutate with local affinity networks and communities of concern. During a two-week #Residency, the collective research will focus on biomedical 3D imaging and how it models, scans and renders “real bodies”. Possible Bodies is concerned by the merging of pharmacopornographic, Hollywood and military industries. In this techno-colonial and hetero-patriarchal landscape, violent ableist, misogynous and xenophobe (...)

    4. And more... / #Body_and_software, Residency

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  • Abortion Rate In U.S. Falls To Lowest Level Since Roe v. Wade : The Two-Way : NPR

    The abortion rate in the United States fell to its lowest level since the historic Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision legalized abortion nationwide, a new report finds.
    Perhaps not surprisingly, given the longstanding controversy around abortion policy, the meaning of the report is somewhat in dispute.

    Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards said efforts to help women get better access to contraception are paying off. She points in particular to recent improvements in the rate of unintended pregnancies, and a historically low teen pregnancy rate.
    Some anti-abortion groups, meanwhile, argue the Guttmacher report shows new state restrictions on abortion are working. Kristi Hamrick, a spokeswoman for Americans United for Life, said she has her doubts about the Guttmacher report — since the data come from surveys of abortion providers — but accepts the overall conclusion. She emphasized the impact of new regulations on clinics and laws requiring women seeking abortions to get an ultrasound, which she said are having a “real, measurable impact on abortion.”

    These have been game-changers, and we see the abortion rate dropping in response,” Hamrick said.

    Hamrick said she believes abortion numbers are also falling in part because public sentiment is turning against abortion — although surveys by the Pew Research Center show opinions on abortion have been largely stable over the past two decades. The Gallup polling firm has found Americans largely divided on abortion in recent decades, with a majority labeling themselves “pro-choice” in a 2015 survey.

  • Russian Health Officials Comment on Proposed Condom Ban | News | The Moscow Times

    Russia’s proposed restrictions on condom imports would make citizens more “disciplined,” and may also help raise the birth rate, a Cabinet adviser and former public health chief was quoted by Russian media as saying.

    Gennady Onishchenko, a former chief sanitary doctor known for his creative approach to medical advice, said Tuesday that “rubber technical goods [condoms] have nothing to do with health,” state news agency RIA Novosti reported.

    Onishchenko was commenting on import restrictions proposed by the Industry and Trade Ministry earlier in the day, which also called for a ban on X-ray and ultrasound machines, defibrillators, incubators and other medical equipment.

    Banning condom imports “will simply make one more disciplined, more strict and discriminating in choosing partners, and maybe will do a favor to our society in respect to solving demographic problems,” Onishchenko was quoted by RIA Novosti as saying.

    His comments come at a time when sexually transmitted diseases are widespread in Russia and HIV infection rates are on the rise, even as most European countries have succeeded in bringing them down.

    But the head of a federal center for combating AIDS, Vadim Pokrovsky, argued that there is “no direct link” between HIV infection rates and the availability of imported condoms, because they are too pricey for many students and other low-income Russians, Interfax news agency reported.

    If a [trade school] student has to choose whether to buy a beer or a condom, he will probably buy a beer, because it’s cheaper,” Pokrovsky was quoted as saying.

    The real issue is the shortage of cheap condoms in the country, he said, conceding, however, that the quality of the cheaper varieties that are available might not make them particularly popular.

    Of course, there is a question of quality, and in this regard a problem certainly exists,” Pokrovsky was quoted by Interfax as saying.

  • (En relation avec
    Abortion foes get up close and personal after court erases buffer zones

    Patients and staff at the Boston clinic say they have noticed a big difference since the buffer zone law was struck down.

    On Wednesday, protesters walked with impunity over the yellow line that had been painted on the sidewalk after the 2007 law was passed. They sat in chairs and prayed, sang hymns, and offered to help anyone walking into the clinic, handing them fliers that pictured an ultrasound with the words, “How could I ever have thought of aborting this baby!”

    The protesters largely ignored the volunteer escorts in vests helping women into the center and the three police officers standing on a corner nearby, who ignored them back.

    “Good morning, Jesus loves you,” said Mary O’Donnell, an 82-year old woman carrying rosaries and pamphlets who arrived at the center at 7 a.m. to try and stop women from having abortions.


  • Our liver vacation: Is a dry January really worth it?

    Our project was on a small scale, but Jalan felt it could yield clues as to the effects of short-term abstinence. On 5 October, 14 members of the New Scientist staff – all of whom consider themselves to be “normal” drinkers – went to the Royal Free Hospital in London. We answered questionnaires about our health and drinking habits, then had ultrasound scans to measure the amount of fat on the liver. Finally, we gave blood samples, used to analyse levels of metabolic chemicals linked with the liver and overall health.

    For the next five weeks, 10 of us drank no alcohol while four continued as normal. On 9 November, we returned to the hospital to repeat the tests.

    “You’re going to be very excited,” said Jalan, when the results were in.

    First off, he revealed that there had been no significant changes in any of the parameters measured for the four people who didn’t give up alcohol.

    But the changes were dramatic and consistent across all 10 abstainers (see charts).

    Liver fat fell on average by 15 per cent, and by almost 20 per cent in some individuals. Jalan says this is highly significant, because fat accumulation on the liver is a known prelude to liver damage. It can cause inflammation, resulting in liver disease. “This transition is the harbinger first for temporary scarring called fibrosis and ultimately a non-reversible type of scarring that destroys liver structure, called cirrhosis,” says Jalan. Although our livers were all judged to be generally healthy, the fat reductions would almost certainly help to retard liver deterioration, he says.

    Then came another surprise. The blood glucose levels of the abstainers dropped by 23 per cent on average, from 5.1 to 4.3 millimoles per litre. The normal range for blood glucose is between 3.9 and 5.6 mmol/l. “I was staggered,” says Kevin Moore, consultant in liver health services at UCLMS. “I don’t think anyone has ever observed that before.”

    Glucose was measured using a fasting blood glucose test taken after participants had refrained from eating or drinking anything but water for 8 hours. This stimulates production of the hormone glucagon, which releases glucose from body stores into the blood. In a healthy person, a rise in glucose triggers the production of insulin, which tells certain cells to take up glucose from the blood to maintain a safe blood sugar level.

    Type 2 diabetes results when cells no longer respond to insulin, leading to high blood sugar. A drop in circulating glucose in our tests could mean that our bodies had become more sensitive to insulin, removing more glucose from the blood – a sign of improved blood sugar control. We also lost weight, by 1.5 kilograms on average.

    Total blood cholesterol, a risk factor for heart disease, dropped by almost 5 per cent, from 4.6 to 4.4 mmol/l. A healthy amount is considered anything below 5.2 mmol/l. “Basically, you’re getting improved glucose and cholesterol management,” says Moore.

    The benefits weren’t just physical. Ratings of sleep quality on a scale from 1 to 5 rose by just over 10 per cent, improving from 3.9 to 4.3. Ratings of how well we could concentrate soared 18 per cent from 3.8 to 4.5. “It represents a significant effect on quality of life and work performance,” says Jalan, although he acknowledges that self-reported experiences are open to bias.

    The only negative was that people reported less social contact.

    Our experiment gives no indication of how long the improvements persist. “Whether it’s 15 days or six months, we don’t know,” says Jalan. However, it lays the ground for larger studies, he says.

    #santé #alcool

  • Éditorial du NYT rappelant les grandes manœuvres des pro life
    Au Dakota du Nord, avortement impossible dès la détection de battements de cœur (soit autour de 6 semaines après la conception !)

    The Campaign to Outlaw Abortion -

    But North Dakota joins a growing list of states trying to set that limit earlier, including Arkansas and its unconstitutional ban after 12 weeks, enacted just three weeks ago.

    North Dakota’s Republican governor, Jack Dalrymple, signed extreme laws that went even further, centering on a brazenly unconstitutional ban on nearly all abortions once a fetal heartbeat is “detectable.” That could be as early as six weeks into pregnancy, when some women do not even know they are pregnant, and requires testing with a transvaginal ultrasound.

    The six-weeks ban stands little chance of surviving a court challenge.

    Le NYT rappelle le vaste mouvement anti planning familial en cours dans de nombreux états.

    The campaign goes beyond abortion to the continuing Republican drive in Texas and other states to close down Planned Parenthood clinics that provide critical services like birth control counseling and cancer screenings. So far, nine states have acted to defund Planned Parenthood, threatening preventive care relied upon by hundreds of thousands of people. A pending bill in Arkansas takes the ultra-extreme approach of barring any company that contracts with a health center that provides abortions or gives women information about all their pregnancy options from receiving any state contracts or public funds.

    In addition to the outright six-weeks ban, Mr. Dalrymple also approved a copy of a 2012 Mississippi statute (which is under federal court challenge) that requires doctors performing abortions to get admitting privileges at a local hospital. That medically unnecessary requirement could shut down North Dakota’s sole abortion provider.

    Et, cerise sur le gâteau, le Dakota du Nord organisera un référendum sur les droits individuels de l’œuf fécondé…

    And this is on top of the North Dakota Legislature’s decision to put on next year’s ballot a so-called personhood measure that would give a fertilized egg the full range of individual rights, and could outlaw abortion and threaten access to fertility treatments as well as to widely used forms of birth control. Voters have defeated similar measures in Mississippi and Colorado.

    • Virginia police in full riot gear showed up at a women’s rights protest at the Virginia State Capitol this weekend. Hundreds of people were protesting a new amendment that passed that Virginia House that would require women to have an ultrasound before having an abortion. 31 people were arrested. (Thanks to Style Weekly for taking most of these pictures.)

  • Au texas, avant de pouvoir avorter, on t’introduit dans le vagin une sonde à ultrason, pour écouter le cœur du fœtus, Ensuite tu as droit au discours moralisateur du spécialiste, on te laisse mariner 24 h, avec tout ça et seulement tu peux obtenir un avortement. sic

    Under a new law that took effect three weeks ago with the strong backing of Gov. Rick Perry, she first must typically endure an ultrasound probe inserted into her vagina. Then she listens to the audio thumping of the fetal heartbeat and watches the fetus on an ultrasound screen.

    She must listen to a doctor explain the body parts and internal organs of the fetus as they’re shown on the monitor. She signs a document saying that she understands all this, and it is placed in her medical files. Finally, she goes home and must wait 24 hours before returning to get the abortion.

  • Virginia. House says no exceptions on ultrasound viewing before abortion

    House of Delegates Republicans have rejected a last-ditch bid by Democrats to allow women seeking abortions to opt out of an invasive ultrasonic procedure under anti-abortion legislation set for a final House vote Tuesday.

    Legislation that has advanced on the strength of a GOP majority would force women to undergo a “transvaginal ultrasound” that produces fetal images.

  • Tiny bubbles | des ultrasons pour détruire les polluants dans l’eau

    Where drugs, caffeine and other compounds are concerned, algae are unnecessary; the bubbles break down the chemicals by themselves.
    For example, the ultrasound treatment removed half the concentration of ibuprofen from water in less than two minutes. Half the antibiotic ciprofloxacin was removed in 5.5 minutes, Weavers said.

  • Face discovered in testicular tumour - Telegraph

    When “faces” are discovered in unexpected locations they are often hailed as miracles, for example the mysterious appearance of Jesus in a frying pan or - even more improbably - on a toilet door in Glasgow


    G. Gregory Roberts and Naji J. Touma, from Queen’s University in Ontario, Canada, had conducted the ultrasound to examine an unusual mass in the testicle of a 45-year-old patient

  • Kentucky Likes To #Torture Pregnant Women | Death and Taxes

    “The new law mandates “that women seeking an #abortion must wait 24 hours before the procedure is performed, and also must be shown the ultrasound of the fetus,” according to “ThinkProgess”.

    The worst part about this law is that if a woman decides not to look at the ultrasound results, the doctors will describe the images to her anyway. I imagine a slightly fat, gray-haired man with nasal congestion and bad breath vindictively describing to a teenage girl what her soon-to-be-deceased-baby looks like."