Double Dose: Hormone Therapy Affects Mammogram Results; UN Meetings on Status of Women; African Lesbians Demand End to Criminalization of Homosexuality; A Dose of "Slow Medicine"

By Christine Cupaiuolo — February 29, 2008

Planned Parenthood Stands to Lose State Funding: “The Virginia Senate voted Wednesday to cut off state funding to Planned Parenthood of Virginia because it offers abortions, an action that could endanger hundreds of thousands of dollars in state aid for women’s health-care program,” reports the Washington Post.

“The irony is, Planned Parenthood probably prevents more abortions than any other organization in the country,” said Sen. Janet D. Howell (D-Fairfax).

Online Rally for Paid Sick Days: Join in at a project of the National Partnership for Women & Families and the Healthy Families Act Coalition. supports the Healthy Families Act, proposed federal legislation that would guarantee workers up to seven paid sick days per year to recover from an illness or care for a sick family member. (Radical stuff, eh?) Via Half-Changed World, which has more good links.

Hormone Therapy Impedes Cancer Tests: “Women who take hormones to ease the symptoms of menopause are more likely to have abnormal mammogram results – and, therefore, more breast biopsies – than women who don’t take the therapy, researchers found,” reports the San Francisco Chronicle, which also notes that “the tools used to diagnose breast cancer are less likely to catch malignant tumors in women taking hormone replacement therapy, despite the fact that they have a slightly increased risk of cancer.”

The findings were published in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

The Wrong Target: “Society (and thus law enforcement) needs to view any adult who sexually exploits a child as a villain, and the exploited child as a victim of that villainy,” writes New York Times columnist Bob Herbert. “If a 35-year-old pimp puts a 16-year-old girl on the street and a 30-year-old john pays to have sex with her, how is it reasonable that the girl is most often the point in that triangle that is targeted by law enforcement?”

Mark the Calendar: March is Women’s History Month and March 8 is International Women’s Day. And Feminist Peace Network is the go-site for information and events related to both.

UN Meetings on Status of Women: The 52nd Session of the Commission on the Status of Women is meeting in New York from Feb. 25 – March 7. Here’s a look at all the panels (PDF).

Zohra Moosa and Jane Gabriel are live blogging the sessions. Check out their reports at Open Democracy. Developments will also be posted at PeaceWomen, the website for the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom.

Plus: “[N]ot one presidential candidate has chosen to highlight the profound threat that gender inequality is posing to the development, economic stability and future peace of our world,” writes Kavita Nandini Ramdas, president and CEO of the Global Fund for Women, in The Nation.

Africa’s Lesbians Demand Change: BBC News reports on efforts by the Coalition of African Lesbians to highlight discrimination across Africa and to get governments to stop treating homosexuality as a criminal offense. The Coalition organized a conference in Maputo, the capital of Mozambique, that was attended by 75 activists. According to the International Gay and Lesbian Association, homosexuality is outlawed in 38 African countries and is legal (or unmentioned in the statute book) in at least 13.

Postpartum Depression: A University of Iowa survey of 4,332 new mothers from four Iowa counties found that 40 percent of Iowa mothers with a household income less than $20,000 suffered from clinically significant postpartum depression. In contrast, only 13 percent of new mothers with a household income of $80,000 or more were considered clinically depressed, according to this release.

A second UI study on race and postpartum emotions found that African-American mothers are more likely than white mothers to experience depressed moods immediately after giving birth, while Latina mothers are less likely to experience depressed moods. The study’s authors are now working to help mothers suffering from postpartum depression by teaching caseworkers and nurses how to screen for depression and by implementing a new intervention program involving “listening visits.”

A Dose of Slow Medicine: “For the very elderly … most agree the usual tough love of modern medicine in all its hospital-based, medication-obsessed, high-tech impersonality may hurt more than it helps,” writes Abigail Zuber, M.D., in this look at “slow medicine” — described as “a family-centered, less expensive” alternative to modern, impersonal treatments — and review of the new book “My Mother, Your Mother: Embracing ‘Slow Medicine,’ the Compassionate Approach to Caring for Your Aging Loved Ones,” by Dennis McCullough, M.D.

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