Double Dose: Breast Cancer and the Environment, Boosting the G-Spot and Rep. Dingell Tells It Like It Is

By Christine Cupaiuolo — May 18, 2007

Common Chemicals Are Linked to Breast Cancer: From the LA Times: “More than 200 chemicals — many found in urban air and everyday consumer products — cause breast cancer in animal tests, according to a compilation of scientific reports” published in the journal Cancer. The reports are based on research that also led to the creation of a database on cancer-causing chemicals and breast cancer studies. The database is available for free at

Gay Youths Find Place to Call Home: Ruth’s House in Detroit “is one of a small number of shelters for gay youths that have opened around the nation in the past four years, reflecting an increasing awareness among child welfare advocates of the disproportionately high number of gay youths in the homeless population and the special problems they face,” writes Ian Urbina in The New York Times. There are now more than 25 such shelters nationwide. Good sidebar links are included with the story.

Women Raise Heat on Immigration Debate: Cynthia L. Cooper reports for Women’s eNews on the activism of female immigrants as Congress heads into debate on immigration reform and the confluence of gender issues and immigration politics.

“Democracy” Is Hell: Katha Pollitt writes: “In the early days of the occupation, we heard a lot about building schools, starting women’s health programs, funding women’s microenterprises. At the 2005 State of the Union address, Laura Bush sat with proudly purple-fingered Safia Taleb al-Suhail telegraphing the message that women’s rights and democracy went together and that both were part of the big plan for Iraq. Well, scratch that.”

Finding Justice for Native Women: At, Natalie Hudson points to the recently released report from Amnesty International on the failure to protect indigenous women from sexual violence in the United States, and this response by Rita Pyrillis, a member of the Cheyenne River Sioux tribe.

Women Encouraged to Ask Doctors About Episiotomy: “Two years after a landmark study concluded that routine use of episiotomy — a surgical incision made between the vagina and rectum during childbirth — was unnecessary, approximately one-quarter of U.S. women who give birth vaginally still undergo the procedure, often without their consent,” Andrea L. Hall writes at Women’s eNews.

In New Hampshire, Soft Sell Eases Vaccine Fears: “A vaccine for a sexually transmitted virus that causes cervical cancer may be creating controversy across the country, but in New Hampshire physicians say so many people want it that they cannot satisfy the demand,” reports The New York Times. “New Hampshire has critics of the vaccine, too. But its health officials, wanting to encourage use of the vaccine, called Gardasil, say they have hit on an optimal method: making it voluntary and giving it free to girls ages 11 to 18.”

Latest Tool in Battle Over Abortion: “Ultrasound technology — which allows doctors to ‘see’ into the womb to check on fetal development — is among the latest weapons in America’s arduous battle over abortion. So far, 10 states have approved ‘witness to the womb’ laws of some kind, and South Carolina has been wrestling this spring over how to craft similar legislation,” reports The Christian Science Monitor.

Plus: “Whatever their specific intentions in doing so — and they invariably seek to scare women into changing their minds about having abortions — the [Republican presidential] candidates must recognize that it is a perversion of the concept of informed consent, let alone an unconscionable intrusion into the doctor-patient relationship, to impose medically unnecessary procedures,” writes Sigrid Fry-Revere, director of bioethics studies at the Cato Institute, in this commentary published in the Chicago Tribune.

Funding for Abstinence Likely to Drop: “Federal funding for abstinence education will likely fall considerably this year as Democratic leaders said Wednesday they will let a $50 million grant program expire on June 30,” according to the AP’s Kevin Freking. “The program, known as Title V, has not proven to be effective, said Rep. John Dingell, chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. Dingell’s committee has jurisdiction over Title V funding. With a budget deficit and a war, he said the decision to eliminate funding was not a difficult one. ‘Abstinence-only seems to be a colossal failure,’ Dingell said.”

G-Shot: The Latest in Designer Genitalia: A new medical procedure promising instant G-spot amplification gets a comprehensive critique at Feministing: “Apparently some women are shelling out $1,850 every four months for a shot of collagen to the G-spot,” writes Ann. “This is what you get when you cross labiaplasty with the myth of the vaginal-only orgasm.”

Feminist Icon or Random Building?: “Ask the Chicagoist” answers whether “the Smurfit-Stone Building (aka the “Diamond” building) was built to be a feminist icon (read: vagina) in the sea of monolith phalli known as the Chicago Skyline.” Alas …

Plus: Chicago’s biannual Estrogen Fest is going on through May 25. Plenty of cool performances, workshops, panels and more.

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