Tag Archives: Take Action

VBAC Summit

As long promised, here is my wrap up of the VBAC Summit, hosted by the illustrious Birthgirlz, aka Miriam Pearson-Martinez and Michelle Fonte. I was one of many speakers at this year’s summit. I was part of an impressive line up including Miriam Pearson-Martinez, Laureen Hudson, R. Zachary Pearson-Martinez, Jill Arnold from The Unnecesarean, Tamara Taitt, Dr Christ-Ann Magloire, and Nancy Wainer.

I had a fantastic time at the summit. Here are a few pictures from the summit, including a not very flattering one of me starting off my presentation with a grin. Jill Arnold and I spent the weekend together and caused all sorts of trouble and were very silly. All of the speakers were wonderful.

Here is a link to my presentation, “ACOG, VBAC and other four letter words,” a history of ACOG’s position on VBAC.

I was promised audio of my presentation, so I am hoping that shows up in my email inbox sometime soon. In the meantime, I am wrapping up my Geriatrics rotation and really looking forward to finally starting ob/gyn next month!

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Invasive abortion law is vetoed!

(Trigger warning, description of forced medical procedures)

Governor Charlie Crist of Florida vetoed Florida HB 1143, which would require transvaginal ultrasound (also known as the affectionately as the “dildocam”) for women seeking abortion in Florida, above and beyond what was medically necessary (which would be more likely a much less invasive transabdominal ultrasound if needed for dating purposes). In fact, many women consider being forced to have a vaginal procedure against their will as medical rape.

Gov. Crist said:

“This bill places an inappropriate burden on women seeking to terminate a pregnancy. Individuals hold strong personal views on the issue of life, as do I. However, personal views should not result in laws that unwisely expand the role of government and coerce people to obtain medical tests or procedures that are not medically necessary. In this case, such action would violate a woman’s right to privacy.”

I was one of the many Florida voters who emailed and called to urge for this bill to be vetoed.

Charlie Crist was elected to governor as a Republican. I have been a fan of his since his election. He has continuously been a moderate who is highly practical and responsive to the state’s will and needs. He is running for Senate now, but will be running as an Independent, due to a far right tea party challenger.

I hope this veto helps him with the moderate and liberal vote. I will be voting for him. Sorry, Kendrick Meek, but Crist continues to deliver.


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Exciting things a-brewin’

I am going to be in a production of Eve Ensler’s The Vagina Monologues tomorrow night. This is my third year being involved with our medical school V Day production. I was the narrator for the past two years. This year I am performing the poem at the end, a poem about birth called “I Was There in the Room”. It ends with:

The heart is capable of sacrifice
So is the vagina
The heart can forgive and repair
It can change its shape to let us in
It can expand to let us out
So can the vagina
It can ache for us and stretch for us, die for us
And bleed and bleed us into this difficult, wondrous world
I was there in the room
I remember

I also was selected to be a delegation coordinator for Amnesty International’s lobbying effort to bring attention to maternal mortality, including lack of prenatal care and racial disparities.

So, I know I am supposed to write up my cousin Susan’s birth story (which will probably be my first non guest post at Mothers in Medicine), and talk about the whole NIH VBAC conference thing, and recruit more doctors for my survey, but I’m a little busy right now. I’ll get to them soon, I swear.


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Update on the Tebow ad

Since I posted about the Tim Tebow anti-choice Scrutinize Your Focus on the Family ad that is scheduled to air during the Super Bowl, I have found out some more disturbing information.

Mrs. Tebow claims that she was told to get an abortion while pregnant in the Philippines, where she and her husband do missionary work. In fact, they run an orphanage there. But, abortion is and has been illegal in the Philippines. Making abortion illegal does not reduce abortions. It just makes them more deadly.

According to this UN Humanitarian Affairs report:

there are an estimated 560,000 cases of induced abortions per year, resulting in some 90,000 women being hospitalised for post-abortion care; and about 1,000 deaths a year in the island nation.

Most of these women are already mothers. Their children are much more likely to die before the age of 12 without a mother. It also makes them more likely to need to go to an orphanage. Like the one the Tebows run, out of the kindness of their Christian hearts.

But, it is the Christian religion* that is contributing to the orphan problem in the Philippines. According to this 2006 Guttmacher report (pdf) on Unintended Pregnancy and Induced Abortion in the Philippines:

At the same time, weak government support for modern contraception and the insistence of the Catholic Church on natural family planning methods contribute to low levels of modern contraceptive use and persistent reliance on less effective methods. Many women use no family planning method at all.

I am all about the middle ground on this issue. I don’t have a problem, like some reproductive rights activists do, with saying I want abortion to be rare. I know it’s hard to discuss something with nuance, but that doesn’t necessarily say it’s because it’s an evil procedure. Unintended pregnancy is the problem. No one wants to be in that situation. The only way to prevent it, experts say in so many places I won’t even bother to link it, is by increasing the autonomy of the women in the community: access to affordable effective contraception and abortion without shame, education, microloans, and the like.

Making abortion illegal and letting them die, bleeding in the hallways of hospitals or in their beds, surrounding by their surviving children, is not pro-life. How can members of the same party who houses Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer, also align themselves with groups like Focus on the Family? The supporters of this ad, Focus on the Family and their socially conservative hardline choir, think talking about the poor as breeding stray animals who don’t know any better with unconcealed contempt is compatible with calling the birth control and the IUD “a chemical assault and destruction of some unborn?”.

Let’s reduce abortions, spontaneous or medical. Let’s reduce death. Let’s reduce the number of orphaned children. Let’s prevent unintended and intended pregnancy losses. Effective, affordable contraception is the best way to do this.

*I am not anti Christianity, nor anti all Christians. My family is all quite religious, most of them practicing that religion as pro-life, socially conservative Presbyterians. We don’t see eye to eye on this issue. I was tipped off about the disconnect between Mrs. Tebow’s claims and the reality of reproductive care and maternal mortality by someone who went to Catholic school with my husband. I am off to a celebration of a Catholic christening today of a boy at whose birth I was the doula.

Religion, to me, is personal. That is why I support conscience clauses for health care practitioners, and (edited to correct major typo!) STRONGLY OPPOSE one-child only laws, and forced abortions or forced sterilizations. But, when it comes to maternal mortality and public health, I don’t think religion has a place in the discussion. Any group that would worship a god that thinks maternal mortality isn’t a higher priority than their rules about sex and reproduction isn’t someone I want at the table. They can preach to their choir all they want, and people can choose to observe in the way that is right between them and their deity(ies) of choice, or lack thereof.


Go to Emily’s List and sign their petition. This is what I wrote in the comment section:

1000 women died in the Philippines (where Tim Tebow was born, and his family does missionary work) in 2008 alone due to the unavailability of safe, legal abortion.

How many of the orphans at the Tebow’s orphanage had moms who died from the lack of contraception and legal, safe abortion there?

This is not something worth breaking your non controversy Super Bowl ad over.


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Blog for Choice

I missed Blog for Choice day this year. Rachel has a great round up at Women’s Health News. The research team I am doing my fellowship had a grant application due today. I rocked the references. We had some long days, and it finally was finished yesterday afternoon.

On to the choice stuff. I am of course extremely annoyed about this Tim Tebow Focus on the Family Super Bowl commercial nonsense. NPR reports that CBS has made an announcement in defense of accepting the ad, which, based on an anecdote about Tebow’s mother refusing a medically recommended abortion when she had amoebic dysentary and ending up with a Heisman trophy winner, encourages people to ignore medical advice during pregnancy when they take teratogenic medications. Or is just about a mom lovin’ her son, depending on who is telling you about the ad.

CBS has refused to take Super Bowl ads they have deemed too controversial in the past from the likes of MoveOn.org, PETA, and the United Church of Christ, who were simply stating that they were inclusive to everyone. Now that the Tebow Focus on the Family ad is causing an uproar, CBS has announced oh, by the way, did we mention we have changed that policy? Coincidentally, right before FOTF approached them, I suppose.

I took the Redhead’s advice (hat tip to SharkFu) and made a donation to Planned Parenthood. I also threw some money at Medical Students for Choice, a group of which I am a proud member. Please join me as part of the backlash to this nonsense.

I trust women. I trust Tim Tebow’s mother to make her own choice about her pregnancy, and I trust all women to have that choice, too. Even if they come to a different decision than she would. I also hate that this anti-choice advocacy totally ignores all of the women (and mothers! and their children!) who die every year due to illegal abortion. Here is my blog for choice day post from last year if you mistakenly believe that anti-choice laws don’t kill mothers and their children, or other myths about abortion.

If you can’t afford to give money, consider installing the GoodSearch toolbar on your browser, and your searches will earn money for Medical Students for Choice.

I am having a Beatles Rock Band party during the Super Bowl. My hubby will have the game on in the living room, but I will be in the back room doing the Beatles thing. And making and serving food. I hope to miss the Tebow commercial. And any commercial with farting horses.


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Personhood bill in Florida

The radical anti-choice lobby has brought a so-called “Personhood” Bill to Florida. This would try to extend human rights to conceptus “at the beginning of biological development”.

If the physiology of pregnancy (like, there is no biological test for conception, and the vast majority of fertilized eggs do not implant, and no major medical organization defines that as the beginning of life) and the major ethical concerns with this don’t already sway you to sign this petition against the Personhood amendment in Florida, maybe this will:

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Call to action on breastfeeding

The HHS has a call to action on breastfeeding that is currently open for comments. (h/t to Our Bodies, Our Blog.)

I commented on Maternal and Infant Care Practices: Prenatal, Hospital, and Post-Delivery Care, and Paid Maternity Leave so far, but could easily comment on all of the topics. I hope they get lots of good feedback. Please comment!


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