Friday Double Dose: Pro-Choice License Plates; Drugstore Skin Care; and Epidemic of Diagnoses

By Christine Cupaiuolo — January 5, 2007

Honk for Abortion Rights: “The design for a proposed specialty license plate advocating abortion rights will be unveiled tonight at the National Organization for Women’s state conference in Orlando,” reports the Orlando Sentinel. Amy Hunt writes:

NOW’s Orlando chapter spent a year on the project, and it will be another year before the group is ready to seek legislative approval. But after years of unsuccessful court battles to curtail “Choose Life” tags, organizers are eager to get the word out that they are ready to counter with a message of their own.

The Choose Life license plate — on 60,556 vehicles across the state — is one of the most popular in Florida.

“Why have a statewide platform where only one side of the argument gets to speak?” said Cicely Scheiner, vice president of NOW Orlando. “We want the right to display our viewpoint.”

The folks at Choose Life Inc., the Ocala nonprofit that distributes the cash raised from the specialty plate, agree.

“We’ve been telling them to do that for five years and quit suing us,” said Choose Life’s secretary/treasurer, Russ Amerling.

Newsflash!: Claims made by over-the-counter diet drugs are not credible, the Federal Trade Commission determined this week, reports the Washington Post.

Meanwhile, the New York Times turns to dermatologists who believe women should put their skin care routine on a diet. “Just two products, a gentle cleanser and a good sunscreen, are enough daily skin care for most people, and you can buy those at a drugstore or a grocery store,” says Dr. Fran E. Cook-Bolden, a dermatologist in Manhattan and advocate of skin-care minimalism.

Maybe You’re Just Fine: “The larger threat posed by American medicine is that more and more of us are being drawn into the system not because of an epidemic of disease, but because of an epidemic of diagnoses,” writes a trio of doctors in the New York Times.

Read and Listen: Campus Progress interview (via AlterNet) with Linda Hirshman on women in the workplace, family leave and abortion; remarks by Barbara Ehrenreich on Democracy Now!, from a speech Ehrenreich gave at the 20th anniversary event for the media watchdog group FAIR. Sample: “I acknowledge that there are some innate differences between the sexes. For evolutionary reasons that we don’t yet understand, if you’re a male, you’re 10 times more likely to be a columnist for The New York Times.”

Ready and Waiting: “In the event that the U.S. Supreme Court were to overturn the Roe v. Wade decision, Oklahoma needs to be ready, a state lawmaker said Wednesday,” reports the Tulsa World. “In preparation for that possibility, Rep. Mike Reynolds, R-Oklahoma City, has filed a bill with the state Legislature to trigger a return to Oklahoma’s anti-abortion laws.”

Low Folate Levels Cause Concern: “Blood levels of folate in young women are dropping, a disturbing development that could lead to increased birth defects and may be due to low-carbohydrate diets or the popularity of unfortified whole-grain bread,” reports the AP.

FDA to Label Anti-Osteoporosis Foods “Foods, beverages and dietary supplements containing both calcium and vitamin D may soon carry labels saying they help reduce the risk of osteoporosis, according to a U.S. government proposal made on Friday,” reports Reuters. “The U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s proposal came in response to a petition from Coca-Cola Co., which makes Minute Maid orange juice products fortified with calcium and vitamin D.”

Today’s Most Shocking Read: “In a case fraught with ethical questions, the parents of a severely mentally and physically disabled child have stunted her growth to keep their little “pillow angel” a manageable and more portable size,” the AP reports. “The bedridden 9-year-old girl had her uterus and breast tissue removed at a Seattle hospital and received large doses of hormones to halt her growth.”

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