Double Dose: Obama's Pre-Inauguration Boom for Women's Health; Baby in the Home (and Garden); Changing the Culture of Rape Prevention; Prescription Drugs Deliver Phthalates ...

By Christine Cupaiuolo — November 15, 2008

Obama Does More for Women’s Health Pre-Inauguration Than Bush in 8 Years: “President-Elect Obama has not been inaugurated yet and, already, he’s taken some critical steps towards restoring the United States as a leader in global women’s health,” writes Amie Newman at RH Reality Check. Newman goes on to identify global reproductive and sexual health mandates that Obama has prioritized since he won the election way back on, oh, Nov. 4.

Plus: NARAL Pro-Choice America Foundation has unveiled a new initiative, Free.Will.Power. Check out the t-shirt design contest.

Baby, You’re in the Home (and Garden): The New York Times published a cool story on the increasing number of women opting for home births (still a very small percentage of all births) that took a very New-York perspective: How does one give birth in a small apartment — especially if the room is filled with family and the walls between neighbors are thin?

If the story had left it there, it’s placement in the Home & Garden section might have been more justified. But as it reads — complete with condemnation of home births from the American Medical Association — it’s better suited for Health.

Plus: Don’t miss the related slide show of home births. And here’s a great trivia question: Who was the first American president to be born in a hospital? Answer: Jimmy Carter.

Sexual Assault on Campus – Changing the Culture: Terrific story in the Star Tribune about rape prevention programs on college campuses that focus on men. Check out the intro below:

Tyler Jones was tipping back a couple of beers with friends at a Dinkytown bar when he suddenly had to take a stand.

“Hey, see that girl over there?” Jones recalled an acquaintance asking, nodding toward a woman he wanted to take home. “She’s almost drunk. Not quite drunk enough. … What shot should I buy her?”

There was a time, Jones says, when he might have laughed off the remark. Not anymore.

“You want to buy her something really strong to like, basically knock her out?” Jones, a University of Minnesota senior, recalled saying. “Man, that’s not right. That’s rape. That’s sexual assault.”

The acquaintance looked stunned. “Whatever,” he mumbled, and walked away.

It was one moment at one bar. But it’s also a sign of a big shift in strategy on campuses trying to tackle a culture that some say tolerates sexual assault. Instead of teaching women not to walk alone at night or to carry Mace, some colleges are trying something much harder — changing college men. Jones, fresh from sex assault prevention training, is in the vanguard of the movement.

Hat-tip: Kay Steiger

Women Gain Some Access, but Not Political Power: “Women still lag far behind men in top political and decision-making roles, though their access to education and health care is nearly equal, the World Economic Forum said Wednesday,” reports Reuters. “In its 2008 Global Gender Gap report, the forum, a Swiss research organization, ranked Norway, Finland and Sweden as the countries that have the most equality of the sexes, and Saudi Arabia, Chad and Yemen as having the least.”

Where does the United States rank? A measly 27th — below Germany (11th), Britain (13th), France (15th), Lesotho (16th), Trinidad and Tobago (19th), South Africa (22nd), Argentina (24th) and Cuba (25th). Here’s the full report (PDF).

The EPA’s Stalin Era: Yes, it really has been that bad, reports Rebecca Claren at Salon. To wit: “[T]he story of the hundreds of sick people who live near the former Kelly Air Force Base illuminates an entirely new manner in which the Bush administration has diluted science and put public health at risk. This year, largely in obeisance to the Pentagon, the nation’s biggest polluter, the White House diminished a little-known but critical process at the Environmental Protection Agency for assessing toxic chemicals that impacts thousands of Americans.”

Prescription Drugs May Deliver Phthalates: We’ve written before about the potential dangers of phthalates — chemical compounds commonly found in plastics, perfumes and lotions that are linked to reproductive abnormalities. But this one is news to me: Environmental Health News reports that prescription drugs can deliver high doses of phthalates.

“At least 47 prescription medications — including the colitis drug Asacol, an antacid and an HIV drug — contain phthalates, according to scientists at the Harvard School of Public Health and U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,” writes Marla Cone.

Victoria’s Toxic Secret: Feminist Peace Network picks up the story concerning allegations that Victoria’s Secret’s bras are causing skin irritations. The suspect irritant? Formaldehyde.

Racial Barriers Between Doctors and Patients: “In politics, the racial barriers might have fallen, I thought, but what about in health care?” asks Pauline Chen, MD, in her latest doctor/patient column in The New York Times. Chen looks not only at the striking health care disparities and racial inequality, but also at the experiences of minority physicians:

Of all the surgical residents I trained with, “Eric” was easily one of the smartest. He possessed a great bedside manner, brilliant clinical skills and plenty of that Obama cool. Eric was African-American, and one night, when we were both on call together, he told me something I have never forgotten.

“You know, Pauline,” he said, “there are a lot of times when I go to a patient’s room for the first time and they ask me, ‘Are you transport? Are you here to wheel me to radiology?’” I can remember Eric shaking his head as he spoke. “They never assume I’m one of the doctors.”

Supreme Court Hears Gun Rights Case: Allison Stevens of Women’s eNews explains a gun-control case heard before the Supreme Court this week that could effect abusers’ access to guns in some states.

If the justices side with the U.S. government’s challenge — which argues the law should not be restricted to just a portion of the states — batterers in every state and territory would be subject to the gun control ban.

If the court rejects the government’s reading of the law and limits the application of the law to those states with specific anti-domestic violence laws, safety advocates are apprehensive that thousands of abusers across the country will be erased from criminal lists, giving them new access to guns, said Peter Hamm, a spokesperson for the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, a group in Washington, D.C., that lobbies for gun control.

One response to “Double Dose: Obama’s Pre-Inauguration Boom for Women’s Health; Baby in the Home (and Garden); Changing the Culture of Rape Prevention; Prescription Drugs Deliver Phthalates …”

  1. I have always dislike Victoria’s Secret. I have never spent money there. I have a bunch of underwear that I got for free from some coupon giveaways. I did noticed how poorly they were made. They fell apart rather quickly. I always thought of that store is a place that sold overpriced, low quality crap…played on women’s insecurities.

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