People gathering in street, a woman People gathering in street, centering a woman holding the portrait of Savita, a man holding slogans

Motivation for Change in Ireland

By Helen McBride

It’s no surprise that laws concerning family planning have remained within a grey area in Ireland. Following the tragedy of Savita Halappanavar’s death, Amnesty International has called upon Ireland to clean up its act. Halappanavar entered University Hospital, Galway on 21st October due to severe back pain. This back pain was diagnosed as a symptom of a miscarriage, being 17 weeks pregnant at the time. Halappanavar later died on 28th October, the cause being classified as septicaemia. The situation has been explained by Halappanavar’s husband that upon discovering the miscarriage, they repeatedly asked for a medical termination, as Halappanavar was in substantial pain. This request was denied repeatedly over three days. RTE has outlined the timeline of events.

Sunday Morning Medicine

By Jacqueline Antonovich

-Strangest modern-day menstruation myths.
-Is neuroscience helping vegetative patients communicate with their doctors?
-The history behing the father of the modern cigarette.
-Eugenics and Nikola Tesla.
-How not to run a secure archive.
-Recording of Lee Atwater’s infamous 1981 interview released for the first time.
-Is your illness named after a Nazi?

We All Are Big Bird

By Cheryl Lemus

I am a child of Sesame Street. My afternoons in daycare began with “Sunny days. Sweepin the clouds away. On my way to where the air is sweet. Can you tell me how to get, how to get to Sesame Street?” I had my favorite characters. Oscar the Grouch made me giggle as he told everyone to “scram!” Grover’s silly antics brought smiles to my face on the gloomiest days and I always counted along with the Count. I cannot say I was ever a huge fan of Bert and Ernie, but I did like it when Ernie got on Bert’s last nerve. I was a fan when Mr. Hooper and Kermit the Frog were regulars, and I became a fan again, when Elmo’s cuteness made my kids’ eyes light up. But there was one character who was always a favorite and that was Big Bird. His gigantic proportions never overshadowed his kindness So, when Mitt Romney said during the first debate, “I’m sorry Jim. I’m gonna stop the subsidy to PBS. I’m gonna stop other things,…I like PBS, I like Big Bird, I actually like you too,” I instantly thought I had heard it wrong, but then I quickly realized that Romney did indeed say Big Bird was on menu for Thanksgiving. Romney’s comments are incredibly sad because Big Bird, and everything he stands for, such as kindness, honesty, toleration, sharing, generosity, hope, and curiosity, are all the qualities that we, as Americans, supposedly value. So, in many ways, we all are Big Bird because he represents the best of America and by making him a political target, Romney essentially places the bull’s-eye on the backs of most Americans.

“My Job is Not to Worry About Those People”

There is a lot of controversy over Mitt Romney’s latest “off the cuff” comments he made to a room full of donors:

“There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it. These are people who pay no income tax. My job is not to worry about those people. I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.”

Let the memes commence! Of course, there have been a lot of reports refuting these so-call facts and rightly attacking Romney for his misconstrued perceptions of who does not pay what. (BTW, Romney, how much did you pay in taxes for the last 10 years? Just asking.) I’ll let them hash out how wrong Romney is and always will be.

I want to concentrate on one line: “My job is not to worry about those people.”

Michelle Obama in pink dress, standing on the stage giving a speech

Democrats’ Success and Gender Equality Depends Upon Identity Politics

Women speakers made the greatest impact on the first night of the Democratic National Convention. Clearly the Democrats aimed to exploit the Republican Party’s woman problem. Women like veteran Tammy Duckworth, republican defector Maria Ciano, NARAL president Nancy Keenan, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, Lily Ledbetter, citizen Stacy Lihn, and Michelle Obama, all ventured to speak explicitly about a range of policies that the Republicans remained vague about during the RNC last week. Many of them explicitly placed very controversial issues like income equality, contraception, and Obamacare on the table, and not just during the early evening speeches, but during prime time.

A women holding her baby in arms, with her back facing the camera

Mom Shaming: America’s Favorite Pastime

Recently, a Facebook app came out called Unbaby.me that blocks pictures of children in your news feed and changes them to something more “entertaining,” like cats. Now, I love Lolcats and Anxiety Cat memes as much as the next person, but really?!? If we are discussing Facebook etiquette, then let me chime in. I can’t begin to count how many posts could qualify as annoying. Let’s take drunken bar pics or updates from playing Farmville or Lose It calorie counter apps or even those Ecard memes. How many are considered acceptable before they cross into “you are getting on my nerves, can’t you post something else” territory? Moderation in all things is my mantra- kid pics or other. But let’s face it: it’s a choice to subscribe to a friend on Facebook (or even to have them as a friend on Facebook), so why is an app needed specifically for blocking baby pictures?

Yes, Virginia, You Can Get Pregnant From Being Raped

In a T.V. interview on Sunday, August 19, Representative Todd Akin stated, “First of all, from what I understand from doctors [pregnancy from rape] is really rare…. If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.” I don’t know whether we should be livid about his qualifying rape into “legitimate” and “illigetimate” (whatever those categories are) or that he is perpetuating a myth- a horrible ignorant fabrication- about pregnancy and rape. Sexual Assault survivors have endured enough after such a traumatic event. Already, rape victims face a society that perpetuates blaming the survivor, as I mentioned in my prior post on Victim Blaming. Do we really need to add even more problems onto their plate?

Community Nurse

Combatting Bigotry: Activist Opportunities with Unite Women

Are you bothered by the nearly 1,000 in anti-woman legislation proposed in the past two years? Are you flabbergasted that the Violence Against Women Act is having trouble passing this session? Are you livid over bigoted comments like abused women should “remember the better times” or LGBT individuals should be put behind “electric fences”? Are discussions over the pill and birth control making you ask “this is 2012, right?!? And not 1960?….” Here is a chance to do something!

In memorial of gay holocaust, a picture of two gay men on the window, German words.

Does Pastor Worley Know (or Care) about the Origin of the Pink Triangle?

We interrupt your regularly scheduled blog post to bring you this late-breaking historical analysis of the news. I planned on devoting my blogpost this week to my experiences documenting the history of Alcoholics Anonymous, but then Pastor Worley happened. The head of the Providence Road Baptist Church in Maiden, North Carolina recently delivered a fiery sermon denouncing President Obama’s endorsement of same-sex marriage rights. His now-infamous sermon has swept the blogosphere and created easy fodder for the 24-hour news cycle. In Worley’s sermon he urges his congregation to never vote for “a baby killer and a homosexual lover.” Although some in the LBGT community would question whether the President is, in fact, a “homosexual lover,” many others, however, see the President’s public proclamation of support as a monumental step forward in the Gay Right’s Movement. Worley, on the other hand, sees Obama’s endorsement as a sin against nature, America and Christianity.