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Entries in Catholic Church (37)

Sunday
Mar242013

Melinda Gates Is A Leader In The Global Movement To Empower Women With Contraception

Can Melinda Gates save the women and children of the world? The female half of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is increasingly focused on the topic of maternal health, including a woman’s right to contraception. Gates continues to be a practicing Catholic and she talks about her faith and the Vatican’s opposition to contraception in her TED video.

As Republicans in Congress seek to once again ban any US aid that promotes contraception — returning us to the Bush years — Melinda Gates explains why the world must once again open up a conversation around a woman’s right to contraception. 

After an update about recent naked aggression by Republican politicos against the rights of American women, we share more news about several Melinda Gates initiatives and a GREAT new grant opportunity for birth control innovators. 

1. Right to contraception coverage? Ask you boss. Sens. Fischer (R-NE), Cruz (R-TX, Johanns (R-NE) and Enzi (R-WY) introduced an amendment this week that allows a woman’s employer to deny her birth control coverage based on their beliefs. The amendment fell but did have the support of two Democrats Manchin (W. VA) of West Virginia and Pryor (ARK). 

The Senate passed exactly the opposite amendment, introduced by Sen. Shaheen (D-NH), that authorizes a deficit-neutral reserve fund to protect women’s access to basic health care. Included are primary and preventative health care; family planning and birth control; and employer-provided contraceptive coverage. 

Republicans Susan Collins (ME), Lisa Murkowski (AK) and Mark Kirk (ILL) also supported the amendment.

2. Sen. Rubio (R-FLA) wants to make it a federal crime to transport a minor across state lines for an abortion, evading parental consent laws.  

3. Sen. Wicker (R-MISS) wants to stop all US dollars to the UN Population Fund, ending all efforts to bring contraception to women in developing countries. He proposes using the $23 million to fight malaria instead.

4. Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) introduced legislation banning abortions based on gender.

5. Sen Fischer (R-NEB) wants a federal law that allows hospital and health care workers to opt out of dispensing emergency contraception or assisting in an abortion if they morally object to it.

6. What War on Women? Republicans acknowledge their recent report on the state of their party that President Obama won the single women’s vote by a “whopping 36 percent”. The report recommended reminding women of the historical role of the Republican Party in advancing women’s rights.

Unfortunately, today’s Republican party bears no resemblance to the one that lead the way for women’s rights.

A Republican court gave women the right to birth control; a Republican court passed Roe, granting women a right to an abortion. It was President Richard Nixon himself who supported the passage of Title X, a law that expanded the federal government-funding of contraception for poor women. (cont)

Today’s Republican party seeks to defund Title X. Today’s Republican party seeks to put Planned Parenthood, the largest provider of health care to poor women in many states, out of business. Refusing to accept the Hyde Amendment that insures no federal funds go for abortion, Republicans seek to put Planned Parenthood out of business. The fact that Mrs. Barry Goldwater started Planned Parenthood in Arizona is irrelevant to today’s Republican party. 

As Rachel Maddow said this week while Beltway leaders are “preaching about how to appear more reasonable to the women folk among us,” Republican governance has become a competition – a race – “to see who can get the most extreme the fastest.” Read on at Salon GOP will never reach women.

7. States determine women’s rights. Your rights are increasingly dictated by your zip code in America, making women and doctors criminals in some states and not others. 

Arkansas is competing with North Dakota to see who can pass the most anti-women legislation. Last night 800 people protested at the State Capitol.  In words that represent the old Republican party:

“We just wanted to come together and bring our voices together and say this is not right,” said Holly Barron. “We’re citizens of this state too. We’re just as equal as you and we deserve freedom and autonomy over our reproductive health and to make those private decisions with our family, with our faith and with our doctors, not with politicians.”

Tomorrow’s Condoms

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is prepared to support visionaries who conceive of a next-generation condom that enhances sexual pleasure. Today’s male condoms were first used about 400 years ago for contraception. In spite of an explosion in the world of technology, condoms haven’t changed much, leaving men totally reluctant to use them. 

On their website Impatient Optimists, the Gates Foundation writes:

“Researchers at the University of Washington are developing a condom using a technique known as electrospinning, which creates tightly woven fabric out of nanometer-sized polymer strands and which could be used to deliver spermicidal or microbicidal agents in addition to providing a barrier. 

Origami Condoms provides an excellent example of a private enterprise focused on new condom design to promote consistent use by emphasizing the sexual experience.”

The Gates Foundation is prepared to fund up to a $1 million grant to support the discovery of new condoms that men, in particular, will love and want to wear. 

Global Mom Relay

By Melinda Gates @ Huff Po

That’s why I’m excited to be supporting GirlUp for my leg of the Global Mom’s Relay, and I’m also enthusiastic about the other campaigns that are part of the Relay, including Shot@Life, Mobile Alliance for Maternal Action and Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves. I’ve also included GirlUp on my Catapult page, a new crowdfunding site that helps fund projects that are improving the lives of women and girls around the world. GirlUp helps hundreds of thousands of girls in the United States build leadership skills by engaging them in important issues affecting their counterparts in poor countries around the world, issues like child marriage. The result of these campaigns is better, richer lives for girls everywhere through the nurturing of a common bond — the desire to determine their own future. Read on 

Gucci for Women

Global luxury brand Gucci has launched a new global equality campaign for women, enlisting support from Facebook and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Chime for Change was formally launched at the TED conference in Long Beach last month. 

The founding committee for Chime for Change consists of pop star Beyoncé Knowles-Carter, Gucci Creative Director Frida Giannini, and actress Salma Hayek Pinault, married to a Gucci’s parent company executive. 

We’ll be writing a separate piece on Chime for Change. AOC has a long history of praising Gucci’s work for women. 

Gucci Brand’s Deep Commitment to Women in Need AOC Style

Friday
Feb082013

Teen Pregnancy Rate Plummets in NYC with Access to Contraception | Catholic Bishops Reject Contraception Compromise

1. Preschoolers and Oral Sex? In an article that begs the question os where America’s sexual revolution is going, The Daily Beast reports that a California lawsuit claims that two 5-year-old girls were performing fellatio on classmates with the knowledge of teachers. The lawsuit has been filed against the First Lutheran Church of Carson School on behalf of one of six children involved in this very disturbing allegations. 

The lawyer explained that ‘“sexual encounters” between the 4- and 5-year-old tots were initiated by a 5-year-old girl in June and again in September. It wasn’t until October, when another girl of the same age was caught by a teacher with her mouth on a 4-year-old boy’s genitals that the Carson School “dealt with the incident internally,” according to a school spokesperson.” The preschool will close its doors on Friday.

2. Woman at Interior. President Obama has appointed Sally Jewell, CEO of outdoor retailer REI to the position of Secretary of the Interior. The appointment has been met with applause on both sides of the aisle.

In a brilliant twist of a nomination, Sally Jewell is described as being much closer to a community organizer than a traditional CEO. REI’s sales were more than $1.8 billion at the beginning of 2012, with 122 stores in 29 states and 11,000 employees. 

An oil industry veteran, Jewel now runs a company that is — for all practical purposes — a cooperative that is owned by its members. REI has ridden the explosion of American snowboarding and mountain-climbing. It ranked eighth on Fortune’s 100 Best Companies to Work For in America for 15 consecutive years. 

3. Genetically Engineered Foof 101. The Atlantic attempts to clarify key facts about genetically engineered food exploring six key myths:

Myth: ‘Frankenfoods’ made with GE ingredients are harmful to eat.

Myth: FDA approves GE foods before we eat them.

Myth: Monsanto and other seed developers are the main beneficiaries of GE crops.

Myth: GE crops are environmentally sustainable.

Myth: Mandatory GE labeling would increase consumer choice.

Myth: GE is the best way to increase farm productivity and reduce world hunger. 

The article should be read accompanied by the comments, which clarify and dispute the author’s statements. This is a passionate topic to many, and 700 words can’t do it justice.

4. Female and Male Online Networks. A fascinating study of a multiplayer online game Pardus shows how females and males manage their social networks very differently. Researchers say that behavior differences studied online reflect behavior very similar to real life social systems.

Studying the patterns of 300,000 players — with an estimated 15 percent probability of gender swapping — the paper concludes:

“Females have more communication partners, engage in economic activities to a greater degree, attract positive behavior, organize in clusters, reciprocate friendships, take fewer risks than men, and show a preference for stability in local networks.

Males try to talk most often with those who talk with many, reciprocate friendships with other males much less frequently, and respond quite quickly to female friendship initiatives.” via Science Daily

5. Teen pregnancy down in NYC. The New York Daily News reports that teen pregnancy has plunged in New York by 27% over the last decade, as the numbers of young women using birth control has gone up. In addition to expanded use of contraception, teen are also delaying sexual activity, said Health Commissioner Tom Farley.

Although the decision to dispense condoms, birth control and also the morning-after pill available in the school system was controversial, the benefits are significant.

The Bronx remains the highest teen pregnancy location in the country. And in a staggering differential the pregnancy rate among black girls is 110.7 for every 1000 girls, compared to just 16 for white girls in the city.

Friday
Feb012013

Redtracker: LA Catholic Cardinal Barred from Public Ministry | Gun Control Reduces Violence Against Women 

1. Bonobo empathy innate.  “Our findings suggest that for bonobos, sensitivity to the emotions of others emerges early and does not require advanced thought processes that develop only in adults,” say researchers observing bonobo behavior in the Congo.

 

Science Daily reports that researchers also found that the minority of bonobos in the sanctuary — raised by their mothers rather than as orphans — were more likely to comfort other members of their group than orphan bonobos.

2. Vermont Senator and Judiciary Committee chairman Patrick Leahy effectively tied the Violence Against Women Act to a hearing on gun violence today. Promising to bring the Leahy-Crapo Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act to the floor soon, Leahy confirmed that 38 percent fewer women are shot by their partners partners in states that have background checks. 

Baltimore Police Chief Jim Johnson testified that when females are killed, more than 50 percent of the time, it’s by a spouse or household member. A gun in a home with a history of domestic violence increases the change that a person will be victimized by gun violence by 500 percent. via Huff Po

Politico reports that ex-NRA president Sandy Froman said that the NRA has “changed its position” on universal background checks, because it “doesn’t work”.

Rowan Barnes-Murphy for NYTimes3. As Fall 2013 fashion shows ready for launch beginning Feb. 7 with New York Fashion Week, the global flue epidemic has struck fear into the industry, reports yesterday’s New York Times Style section.

” … with this season’s flu panic, the fear is approaching hysteria. Stressed-out designers recoil in horror if someone coughs within earshot. Frail models shiver their way between fittings, terrified someone will spy their runny noses. And frenemies everywhere are reconsidering the wisdom of the double-cheek kiss, the standard greeting of the global fashion tribe. Air kissing seems safe for now.”

Cardinal Mahony removed from public church duties. 

4. Catholic Cardinal Roger Mahony — now retired — has been banned from performing any public duties in the church, while Santa Barbara Bishop Thomas J. Curry has stepped down. The announcement was made by Los Angeles Archbishop Jose Gomez Thursday afternoon, in response to the priest abuse scandal, writes the LA Times

Gomez’s statement follows a recent release of internal Catholic church records. The records showed an unflinching look at 15 years of Mahony and Curry discussing ways to conceal the molestation of children from law enforcement. Those records are a tip of the iceberg in terms of what is to come in a public release.

5. Women & IQ. It’s only six months now that IQ tests have come down on the feminine side of the argument, finding that women now score higher on IQ tests than men. New Zealand researcher and IQ testing expert James Flynn has tracked the evolution of the rise of female test scores against those of men, the closing of what was once a five-point gap and now the move ahead by women in IQ testing.

“Over the last 100 years, everyone in the developing world has been gaining about three IQ points, but women have been gaining faster,” Flynn told ABC News. “This is the result of modernity. In every country where women have an equal chance of modernity, women have caught men [in IQ testing].”

Business Insider shares 5 Easy Ways To Feel More Intelligent. There’s much good advice in this article, although I’ve taken comment exception to the argument that smoking increases IQ. 

Shop Valentine’s Day online at GlamTribale Freja collection and in Philadlephia at Giant Steps Gallery; 229 S 20th Street, one block off Rittenhouse Square park. Read more about Giant Steps here.