Callie Mitchell, a 25-year-old student and photographer, documented her pregnancy and decision to place her child for adoption. Photographs.
The Geography of Abortion Access - Forty years ago Tuesday, the Supreme Court ushered in legal abortion for American women when it decided in Roe v. Wade. Today, states—particularly in the South and Midwest—are eroding that right by legislating hundreds of provisions intended to impede access with burdensome obstacles. To understand more fully the complex state of access to abortion services in America, The Daily Beast identified and confirmed the location of the country’s remaining 724 clinics and calculated the distance from every part of the country to its closest clinic. (more)
Jennie Linn McCormack "isn’t the only woman in recent years to be prosecuted for ending her own pregnancy. But her case could change the trajectory of abortion law in the United States": The Rise of DIY Abortions. [more inside]
Photographer Patrice Laroche has created an image series that answers, once and for all, how to make a baby. [sfw]
The news that Duchess Catherine is expecting a baby set off a storm of tabloid squee, speculation on her maternity wardrobe, and, of course, a joke Twitter account (@RoyalFoetus: RT IF YOU ARE LOOKING FORWARD TO SERVING ME). But the reason the royal family announced the pregnancy so early, reportedly shy of 12 weeks, is not very funny. A Royal Spotlight on a Rare Condition:
It used to be a major cause of death in women until the 1950s when they introduced IV fluids. ... there are a lot of misconceptions about it. A lot of women are treated really badly. They’re treated like they’re faking it or that they just don’t want their child. We have a lot of women who have lost pregnancy after pregnancy, or who had abortions because they just couldn’t tolerate it.[more inside]
"Then one of the nurses calls me and says, “The doctor would like to know why you’re rolling around on a table full of semen.” And I say, “TELL HIM THAT’S NOT HOW I NORMALLY SPEND MY SATURDAYS.”Author Pamela "Pamie" Ribon: "How I Might Have Just Become the Newest Urban Legend" [more inside]
Human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) is a hormone produced during pregnancy and a marker in many pregnancy tests. After one man tested himself for pregnancy "for shits and giggles", his friend posted the surprising result in Rage Face form on Reddit... only to find out that elevated hCG levels in men are actually not lulzy (Reddit thread), resulting in an emergency visit to the doctor and a more thoughtful follow-up Rage Face comic.
What is it like to be a woman in the Pacific Northwest craft beer industry? The 2011 documentary The Love of Beer offers a look into the lives of several women who work with beer: Tonya Cornett, the brewmaster of Bend Brewing Company in Central Oregon; Teri Fahrendorf, who started the Pink Boots Society, the US's first professional society for female brewmasters; Sarah Pederson, a beer retailer who owns a Portland tavern; and Lisa Morrison, known as the Beer Goddess, who hosts a Portland radio show and writes about beer.
the Contraceptive Choice Project finds that free birth control access significantly cuts abortion rates
Free birth control cuts abortion rate dramatically, study finds: "When more than 9,000 women ages 14 to 45 in the St. Louis area were given no-cost contraception for three years, abortion rates dropped from two-thirds to three-quarters lower than the national rate." [more inside]
Knocked Over: On Biology, Magical Thinking and Choice “Spare me the self-help bullshit,” I snarled at my sister while I sat, snot-nosed and gasping, behind a gas station off I-88 on my way home from Iowa. “Life isn’t Eat, Pray, Love. If you try to turn this into a teachable moment I will fucking scream.”
For US$1275, You Can Get a 3D Model of Your Foetus The result is a scale reproduction of your unborn baby, composed of an opaque white fetus encased in the mother’s clear, colorless abdomen. [via The Verge]
"The only thing that makes my abortion decision different from anyone else’s abortion decision is that some people who are against abortion will think that my abortion is acceptable." Boing Boing's Maggie Koerth-Baker on what she's dubbed "The World's Shittiest Secret Society."
If you asked me two years ago whether I’d have a baby and give it away for money, I wouldn’t just laugh at you, I would be so insulted I might hit you in the face,” said Indirani, a 30-year old garment worker and gestational surrogate mother.
Consumer Reports May 2012: What to reject when you're expecting (10 procedures to think twice about during your pregnancy; 10 things you should do during your pregnancy; 5 things you should do before you become pregnant). Mentioned in particular is the conclusion found in a federal study: Babies Take Longer To Come Out Than They Did In Grandma's Day."One big implication: Today's obstetricians may be rushing to do cesarean sections too soon because they're using an out-of-date yardstick for how long a 'normal; labor should take... The definition of a 'normal' labor — the range of times when a woman in labor reaches certain milestones — was laid down in the 1950s. Contemporary obstetricians still use that 'labor curve.'"
A short and sweet pregnancy [slyt] The impending arrival of a baby inspired this happy couple to track their pregnancy in a short time-lapse video.
"Every so often I notice that someone has found this site by searching "Pregnant Woman Porn" and I have no doubt that I am not what they are looking for. But it got me to thinking..."
Since 1988, the Center for Reproductive Rights has compiled a visual map of the laws regulating abortion throughout the world. Earlier this month, they released their 2011 Map in pdf and updated their online World Abortion Laws Map in a new interactive format which allows country comparisons and provides text of abortion laws for certain countries. (Via Good: Can I get an Abortion Here? The Abortion Rights Map of the World)
"What Every Woman Should Know" by Susie Cagle on Cartoon Movement provides an illustrated investigation of "crisis pregnancy centers" like First Resort. (via)
Birthweight link to lifespan and lifelong health. 'Why does one person die younger and another survive to old age? Lifestyle and genetic factors play a role, but' 'a better predictor of future health is our birthweight and what it tells us about our development in the womb.' 'The birthweight of a baby reflects how well it was nourished in the womb and the risk of chronic disease in later life. It is better to be 7lb (3.2kg) at birth than 6lb - better to be 8lb than 7lb. This implies that variations in the supply of food from normal healthy mothers to normal healthy babies have huge implications for the long-term health of the baby.' [more inside]
"Americans who carry a firearm are often viewed as rough, gruff, middle-aged men with over-developed trigger fingers. [more inside]
30 and Pregnant "How did this happen?" he said. I couldn't believe he didn't know. "We were so careful." I sighed heavily, twirling a piece of spaghetti around my fork, feeling overwhelmed that now I would officially have to come down on one side of the cloth versus disposable diapers debate.
One in every 8 babies born in the US is premature. A new study (pdf/via) published online Wednesday in Ultrasound in Obstetrics and Gynecology indicates that vaginal progesterone gel can help women who are pregnant for the first time and at risk of premature birth extend their pregnancies, reduce potential complications and boost the health of their newborns. [more inside]
Can I sit down, please? Elizabeth Carey Smith of The Letter Office charted her progress in the subway while pregnant and presented the results in graphic form. The WSJ is there.
Progesterone caproate injections have been used to reduce the likelihood of premature births in at-risk pregnant women for years. Up until now, the drug was custom-compounded by wholesale and specialist pharmacies, legally, but without federal approval. These injections cost between $5 and $15 a dose and were regularly reimbursed by insurance companies and Medicaid. Last month, the FDA announced their approval of a commercially produced version of the compound, to be marketed under the brand name Makena by a company called KV Pharmaceuticals. No stranger to controversy and trouble, KV barely survived a rash round of layoffs and wrongful termination lawsuits. Their former chief executive now faces criminal charges surrounding the company's failure to notify the FDA that they were producing oversized morphine tablets. (He could also do for a shave, it appears.) Now, KV has announced that the new drug will be available at a cost of $1,500 per dose, bringing the total pregnancy term cost of treatment to $25,000-$30,000, from its former cost of $250-$300, a 100-fold increase—but it gets worse... [more inside]
It's Only Rape if They Say So House Republicans decide to fight abortion access by redefining rape.
"Nearly half of pregnancies among American women are unintended, and four in 10 of these are terminated by abortion.... At least half of American women will experience an unintended pregnancy by age 45, and, at current rates, about one-third will have had an abortion." Abortion is one of the most common medical procedures in the U.S., but it can be very difficult to get unbiased information about the procedure. From Jezebel: The Girl's Guide to Having an Abortion.
"Normal" human pregnancies last 40 weeks, right? Well, no; they can vary quite a bit by the mother's race, age, number of previous children, family history of delivering early or late, home state, work habits, and even the fetus' HLA type. So where does that "40 week" thing come from? Oh, dear. So check out this super-nerdy pregnancy statistics website, from an engineer mom who is collecting data from the public (see the raw data and auto-generated graphs, and read the FAQ about the survey, with more cool graphs). Looking for day-by-day probabilities on when that baby's due? This would be your stats table with daily prediction (adjust dates at top of page as needed). Of course, you could always shut up your constantly inquiring relatives and friends another way.
Invasive amniocentesis and chorionic villi sampling (CVS) tests are commonly used to determine the chromosomal, structural and genetic abnormalities in fetuses. But could they eventually become obsolete? A Chinese study has found that a complete copy of the fetal genome exists in the mother's blood, suggesting many prenatal diagnoses could potentially be performed noninvasively. [more inside]
"The fact is that the Pill, while giving women control of their bodies for the first time in history, allowed them to forget about the biological realities of being female until it was, in some cases, too late." New York magazine explores the connection between the Pill and the infertility industry. The XX Factor blog takes issue with the article, calling it "sexist" and "condescending."
Old anatomical illustrations that provide a unique perspective on the evolution of medical knowledge in Japan during the Edo period (1603-1868) [more inside]
j and Bear have a baby. The Small Person Acquisition ProjectMP3.
Couples from Western countries, such as Australia, the US, and the UK are turning to surrogates in India to carry their babies. [more inside]
A D.C. couple wants children, but not now, and are worried about infertility creeping up on them as they get deeper into their thirties. They came up with a novel solution -- donating frozen embryos to their future selves. The procedure is not uncommon for couples with fertility problems; will it become a popular insurance option for young couples who just aren't ready for kids? They might want to think about what to do if they have more embryos than they want. Or what happens if they get divorced.
Should we start doing medical research on pregnant women? In the wake of the H1N1 epidemic, in which pregnant women had a disproportionately higher risk of death, the question of including pregnant women in clinical trials has begun to be tentatively breached. [more inside]
Abortion Drugs Given in Iowa via Video Link. "The situation has played out hundreds of times. From his office here, a doctor asks a woman on the computer screen before him one final question: Are you ready to take your pill? Then, with a click of his mouse, a modified cash register drawer pops open in front of the woman seated next to a nurse in a clinic — perhaps 100 miles from this city — with mifepristone, the medicine formerly known as RU-486, that is meant to end her pregnancy." [Via]
Marie Stopes International will tonight screen the first pro-choice Television advert to air in the UK - you can watch it on YouTube here. Debate on the appropriateness or otherwise if the advert has been predictably fierce. Meanwhile, Channel 4 have chosen not to screen the advert in Northern Ireland, prompting further arguments.
Provoking pro-choice advocates, Oklahoma passed two highly restrictive abortion laws on Tuesday. One (rtf file) requires doctors to show women an ultrasound of their fetus and point out its physical characteristics — even if the patient was impregnated through rape or incest. The second (rtf file) stipulates that doctors cannot be sued if they decide to lie to an expectant mother regarding her baby's birth defects. A third requires clinics to post signs telling patients they cannot be forced to have an abortion. The first law prompted an immediate lawsuit from Tulsa's only abortion clinic. [more inside]
In the US, the conservative movement’s latest rallying cry against abortion claims pro-choice groups are conducting a systematic eugenics campaign to turn African Americans into an "endangered species." The idea is finding renewed traction and condemnation in Black communities. Several bloggers at RHRealityCheck are offering counter-arguments. [more inside]
This year's winners of the Ig Nobel prizes are a bumper crop of wild and crazy SCIENCE!, featuring sword-swallowing, knuckle-cracking, benefits of cow-naming, pregnant women NOT tipping over, a household use for giant panda poop (take that, Packham), diamonds made from tequila, a brassiere that can be used as TWO gas masks, "Ireland's Worst Driver", Icelandic banks, Zimbabwean currency, and a 'Peace Prize' earned by hitting people over the heads with beer bottles (and comparing the effects of empty vs. full bottles) (related inquiry)
Let's Panic About Babies! "Fortunately for everyone in the whole wide world, Alice Bradley and Eden M. Kennedy have created the only website that accurately explains the journey from morning sickness to third-degree tears to keeping that baby alive for a year–or more! LET’S PANIC ABOUT BABIES will serve as a salve to the mystery and degradation of this most female of challenges. Its authors may not have 'science' on their side, but what they do have is far more valuable: a heady mélange of female intuition, sentence-forming know-how, and the achingly vivid memories of their own gestational journeys and unending motherhoods. So join Alice and Eden as they tell you exactly what to think and feel and do on every one of your 2,681 days* of pregnancy. They know everything! * 'Science' would tell you that human gestation is actually, on average, 266 days. This is one of many ways in which science is terribly wrong." [more inside]
William Saletan has been writing about abortion for a while. In Slate he recently discussed the Preventing Unintended Pregnancies, Reducing the Need for Abortion, and Supporting Parents Act, and some hard line pro-life groups resistance to this bill. Doug Johnson, the National Right to Life Commitee's legislative director responds stating that the bill is a "prop in a political charade" to "provide camouflage for pro-abortion politicians". Saletan tears holes in Johnson's stated objections, calling out the NRLF's unstated objection to contraception.
Does it cause hairy palms? (No, that is a myth.) Will it make you go blind? (No, though zinc deficiency can be detrimental to one's vision, and semen contains a small amount of zinc.) Are you going to hell for it? (Maybe, maybe not.) But what if it helps with conception? (well, the men doing it, anyway)
"Every day I talk to people who have always been against abortion, . . . who are having an abortion. Or I talk to people who are pro-choice, [yet are] freaked out by [having an abortion]." Many women you know [have had an abortion]. Odds are, they never said a word about it to you. "We need to discuss the complex feelings of women who've had abortions." While many women experience only relief after an abortion, others may grieve for the lost pregnancy."Why flatten the decisions around abortion to just abortion?" [more inside]