FDA Advises Against Keepsake and Elective Fetal Ultrasounds

No one is really sure what the effects of ultrasounds are on fetal development. Although considered safe the FDA is now advising against keepsake and elective ultrasounds.

So what is the State of Wisconsin’s liability if their forced ultrasounds convince a woman to give to a child but later congenital defects or illnesses are blamed on fetal ultrasounds?

Ultrasound technology is generally considered safe by doctors, but it’s unknown what prolonged and frequent ultrasounds could do to a fetus.

In December, the Food and Drug Administration renewed its advisory urging women not to seek ultrasounds outside their doctor’s office or a hospital. In recent years several medical groups have denounced keepsake ultrasounds, including the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the American Medical Association and the American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine.

Whitney You, a maternal fetal medicine physician at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, said routine prenatal care usually doesn’t involve conversations about ultrasound safety. However, if a patient brings up elective ultrasounds, she advises against them.

“The use of any medical equipment outside of its indicated use is dangerous for lots of reasons,” You said. “We don’t know what prolonged exposure can do to a fetus.


Saudi Female Drivers Sent To Terrorism Court

In an act of civil disobedience, two women in Saudi Arabia defied an archaic cultural ban that prohibits females from driving a car and were arrested a month ago. They have been detained since and are about to get their day in court…but not in traffic court…or municipal court…but Saudi Arabia’s anti-terrorism court. WTF?

Two Saudi women detained for nearly a month in defiance of a ban on females driving were referred on Thursday to a court established to try terrorism cases, several people close to the defendants said.

They did not elaborate on the specific charges or what the opinions were. Both women have spoken out online against the female driving ban. Activists say they fear the case is intended to send a warning to others pushing for greater rights.

The Specialized Criminal Court, to which their cases were referred, was established in the capital Riyadh to try terrorism cases but has also tried and handed long prison sentences to a number of human rights workers, peaceful dissidents, activists and critics of the government

This was the first time women drivers have been referred to the court, activists said.

If that weren’t bad enough…women driving isn’t even officially against the law. No really, it’s not…yet they are being treated as criminals:

Though no formal law bans women from driving in Saudi Arabia, ultraconservative Saudi clerics have issued religious edicts forbidding women from taking the wheel, and authorities do not issue them driver’s licenses. No such ban exists anywhere else in the world, even in other conservative Gulf countries.

So we continue to embrace as an ally a nation that openly abuses its women. A nation that knows enough to avoid codifying that oppression but openly practices it anyway. Yet the very same people who ignore Saudi Arabia’s refusal to live in the 21st are aghast as normalizing relations with Cuba? Get out!

SCOTUS Turn Their Own Decisions Into A Moving Target

Just days after opening a second front on the war on women, the Supreme Court of the United States back tracks on one of the alternatives they delineated in their Hobby Lobby decision. No really!

Birth Control Order Deepens Divide Among Justices

WASHINGTON — In a decision that drew an unusually fierce dissent from the three female justices, the Supreme Court sided Thursday with religiously affiliated nonprofit groups in a clash between religious freedom and women’s rights.

The decision temporarily exempts a Christian college from part of the regulations that provide contraception coverage under the Affordable Care Act.

The court’s order was brief, provisional and unsigned, but it drew a furious reaction from the three female members, Justices Sonia Sotomayor, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Elena Kagan. The order, Justice Sotomayor wrote, was at odds with the 5-to-4 decision on Monday in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, which involved for-profit corporations.

“Those who are bound by our decisions usually believe they can take us at our word,” Justice Sotomayor wrote. “Not so today.”

The court’s action, she added, even “undermines confidence in this institution.”

Monday’s decision and the order on Thursday were dual blows to the Obama administration’s efforts to provide contraception coverage, said Walter Dellinger, who was acting United States solicitor general in the Clinton administration.

“Before the Hobby Lobby ruling women had guaranteed contraceptive coverage as part of their employment health insurance,” he said. “After today, it is clear that their access to contraception is by no means guaranteed given the administrative complexities the court has now imposed upon” the Department of Health and Human Services.

Justice Sotomayor said the majority, which acted on an emergency application, had not only introduced pointless complexity into an already byzantine set of regulations but had also revised its Hobby Lobby decision.

That decision, Justice Sotomayor said, endorsed an arrangement allowing nonprofit groups to sign a form that would transfer the delivery of free contraception under the Affordable Care Act to others. But Thursday’s order rejected the mandatory use of the forms for Wheaton College in Illinois.

Justice Sotomayor said the ruling reached beyond Wheaton and could lead to similar results at many other nonprofit religious organizations that have similar concerns. “The issuance of an injunction in this case will presumably entitle hundreds or thousands of other objectors to the same remedy,” she said.

This is turning into a really ugly mess!

Front page Hobby Lobby photo sends faux feminist message

When I originally saw this photograph, my response was a chuckle while shaking my head. But there is far more going on here than most of us realize. [and I have often complained about how the right ‘messages’ their positions while the left just doesn’t get it, and here’s a perfect example] Subtle but effective…
Here’s a far more serious discussion on Hobby Lobby and the photos that accompanied many of the stories that inhabited the internet sites earlier this week. The link in here but I have copied the blog in it’s entirety:

Sometimes a picture is really worth 1,000 words: it can tell a better story than reams of prose. An example appeared on the front page of The New York Times, above an article reporting on the Supreme Court decision in the Hobby Lobby case. A close reading offers an interpretation of how supporters of Hobby Lobby not only want you, the observer or reader, to feel about the ruling, but also how they want you to feel about its supporters and about women and women’s roles in American society. A thousand words indeed!

The photo depicts a group of supporters of the ruling joyfully demonstrating before the Supreme Court building. In front, not by chance, are several women; some men, as well as other women, are scattered behind them. The women in the forefront are waving signs.

The woman in front at the left has a sign reading: #WomenInControl/Don’t Want/Bosses’ Handouts. The sign totally obscures her face. But she is wearing pink nail polish, so we know she is a lady.

What strikes me first is the pound sign. I must confess that I am unable to give it a literal reading, being technologically back somewhere in the twentieth century. I do know that it has something to do with Twitter, but that’s as far as my expertise will go. But I do know (more or less) what Twitter is, a recent communicative innovation much favored by the young. So carrying a sign that starts with a Twitter tag says: I am a modern woman. I am trendy – “with it,” as the old fogies like to say. Christian women like me are not mired in the past – we are new, vibrant, now. Ours is the new message. Theirs is so over.

The tag itself, “WomenInControl,” is also telling. The words are run together without spaces, another signifier of the colloquial and trendy. But what do the words mean? How does losing the ability to control what goes on in your body (because of not having access to contraception) put you in “control”? Not in control of your body. Not in control of your identity as a woman or a human being. Not in control of your mind. Yet the words suggest a compelling equation: opting out of contraception is being in control. And while this statement doesn’t make a lot of sense (some would consider it oxymoronic), it sounds good because it is stated with certainty. The phrase also denies a common assumption about Christian women. Such women, it says, are not helpless slaves of their Church and their men: they are in fact in control of everything they need to control. There is no evidence in the sign or elsewhere of the validity of that proposition, but the very fact that it is stated, and in the trendy way in which it is stated, is tacitly persuasive.

The main message makes its point by inference: “Don’t want bosses’ handouts” means, of course, that paying for an employee’s contraception would be a “handout”: demeaning, reducing her to the status of a beggar. This too immediately evokes in a reader an unwillingness to be such a person. But don’t give in to that first impression: it, too, makes less sense than it might seem to on superficial inspection.

Why is contraception a “handout” when other medications – Viagra, for instance – are not? Why does wanting contraception transform a woman into an object of disgust? I am reminded of Rush Limbaugh’s demonizing of Sandra Fluke as a prostitute for making just that demand. Of course Limbaugh’s rant goes far beyond the sentiments of the well-behaved sign, but both make the same threat: ask for contraception and you are contemptible.

At the far right, also in front, is a similar sign, held by a woman who is shouting and raising a fist defiantly in the air. Here again the viewer comes up against an apparent contradiction: the devout Christian woman who is also active and defiant: strong and powerful, her posture suggests. The message on her sign is similar. #WomenInControl/can Manage their/fertility. The last word is written in cursive script , quite feminine, but at the same time childishly round and legible, perhaps unintentionally suggesting that the bearer of the sign has a sort of childlike innocence (or childish naiveté) – which may be good or bad.

The message itself, though, is neither childish nor naïve, but disturbing. How, precisely, does any woman (even one who is InControl) “manage” her fertility without the aid of contraception? Shades of Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock – the Republican candidates for the Senate in 2012 in Missouri and Indiana who talked about how, in a “legitimate” rape, women’s bodies did something spooky so that they never got pregnant. (And, by the way, remember what happened to them.) That is at any rate the only sense I can make of the signage: that women “InControl” don’t need contraception to keep from getting pregnant. I didn’t think it was Christian to bear false witness.

Between these two sign-bearers is a third, carrying a smaller, purple sign on which is written: WOMEN for/[drawing of the Christian fish symbol, with an eye on top of which are curly eyelashes]/RELIGIOUS FREEDOM. The curly-eyelashed fish (and perhaps the purple color of the sign) evoke traditional female and “girly” stereotypes: the good Christian woman is the stereotypical girly woman.

On the surface, these women might appear both holy and wholesome, worthy role models for other women. But upon close interpretation (and this is the job of voters), their messages turn out to be neither of the above.

Robin Lakoff, professor of linguistics, UC Berkeley

Thanks to SPM!

Senate Hearing On Bill 95 – the Bill to Reform Milwaukee County Government

Elections and Urban Affairs

The committee will hold a public hearing on the following items at the time specified below:
Wednesday, April 24, 2013
9:30 AM
411 South

Senate Bill 95
Relating to: changing the compensation structure by which a Milwaukee County supervisor may be paid, changing the term length of a Milwaukee County supervisor, affecting the right of an annuitant under the Milwaukee County Employee’s Retirement System to be rehired by Milwaukee County, limiting the authority of Milwaukee County to enter into certain intergovernmental agreements, removing and clarifying some authority of the Milwaukee County board, increasing and clarifying the authority of the Milwaukee County executive, deleting obsolete statutory references, and requiring a referendum.

By Senators Darling, L. Taylor, Vukmir, Lazich and Farrow; cosponsored by Representatives Sanfelippo, Kooyenga, Hutton, Craig, Kuglitsch, Knodl, Stone, J. Ott, Honadel, Pridemore, Weatherston, Stroebel, Brooks, LeMahieu, Bernier and Tittl.
Senator Mary Lazich

Domestic Violence and the GOP War on Women

In the wake of the Azana Salon & Spa shootings, the media around town published letters, articles and op-ed pieces asking “WHY”.

One particularly heartfelt question came from an area doctor via a letter to the editor of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Here’s the most pertinent question from the letter:

What is it about our enlightened society that so many men think it is OK to control, dominate, hurt and kill women who dare to say “no” or “enough” to them? Domestic violence spills over and puts our entire society at risk.

From what we’ve seen this past year, I would have to question whether we are actually living in an enlightened society. The fact that domestic violence remains so prevalent would be one example that supports the fact that we remain unenlightened. I won’t go into other issues here because I don’t want to diminish the seriousness of domestic violence.

But why are we surprised when a mean spirited and manipulative misogynist attacks the woman in his life when we all see these examples of misogyny in our society?

Republican Indiana Senate Candidate Richard Mourdock: “When life begins with that horrible situation of rape, that is something God intended to happen.”

Republican Senator and Former Presidential Candidate Rick Santorum: “The right approach is to accept this horribly created in the sense of rape, but nevertheless…a gift of human life, and accept what God is giving you.”

Republican Congressman and Senate Candidate Todd Akin: “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”

Republican Congressman and Former Presidential Candidate Ron Paul: If it’s an honest rape, that individual should go immediately to the emergency room, I would give them a shot of estrogen:”

Our own State Representative Roger Rivard: “If you go down that road, some girls, they rape so easy.”

Republicans up and down the board support the Blunt Amendment to limit women’s access to affordable birth control.

Republican Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney adds de-funding Planned Parenthood one of his day one initiatives.

Republican Representative Steve King has never heard of anyone getting pregnant from statutory rape or incest.

Police Departments don’t enforce the laws about taking suspected abusers into custody when confronted with domestic violence situations.

Politicians wanting to usurp women’s control over their own bodies not without a great deal of similarity to sharia law?

And the deafening silence from the much of the media or the pundits and apologists (yes they’ve been trying to spin this nonsense).

The Republican party officers who don’t just flat out dump these jerks from their party.

Under these circumstances and many many more…why wouldn’t an abusive man think he’s going to get away with it? Or worse yet, continue to think this is acceptable behavior?

It’s time these ideas from the 14th Century be ended once and for all! Vote in favor of women’s safety. Vote in favor of women’s health. Vote if favor of an enlightened society in the United States.

Sen. Ron Johnson: Wisconsinites care about Benghazi, not reproductive rights

This morning on Fox News Sunday, Republican Senator Ron Johnson told host Chris Wallace that Wisconsinites don’t care about women’s reproductive rights, according to The Raw Story. Said Johnson,  “It’s not even an issue here in Wisconsin. I mean, it doesn’t even move the radar at all.” He went on to explain that what Wisconsinites really care about is Benghazi. Seriously.

From The Raw Story:

Republican Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson says that voters in his state are going to vote for GOP hopeful Mitt Romney because they are not “at all” concerned about preserving reproductive rights for women.

On Sunday, Fox News host Chris Wallace asked Johnson why women should vote for Romney after he endorsed Republican Indiana Senate candidate Richard Mourdock, who recently said that pregnancy from rape “is something that God intended to happen.”

“I’ve had one person at all talk about the abortion issue during this entire campaign,” the tea party-backed senator explained. “It’s not even an issue here in Wisconsin. I mean, it doesn’t even move the radar at all.”

“What people are concerned about is — it is unbelievable how many people came up to me demanding answers on Benghazi,” Johnson added. “That’s really the question on the table in the last ten days, is what happened in Benghazi.”

“Abortion doesn’t even show up.”

Here’s the video:

I’m embarrassed for my state.

Ignore the Binders, It’s the Real Truth Behind That Statement To Fear

Mitt Romney’s turn of phrase, Binders Full of Women, has become the meme from the second Presidential Debate. But all of the bloggers and wags and commenters have missed the real point buried in that statement.

Mr. Romney, after all of his years in college and business and running for governor, didn’t know any women qualified to assume posts in his cabinet. And Mr. Romney’s inner circle of advisers and confidantes didn’t know any women qualified to assume posts in his cabinet.

I can’t even fathom how someone who is supposedly so successful could be so entirely lacking in social, business or political contact with over half of the American population. This lack of understanding of women and culture and society underlies many of the misguided planks in his platform. This is truly one of the most frightful things about Mr. Romney and his campaign.