It’s not just forced ultrasound: Abortion rights under assault

From Salon:

In 2012, some 1,100 bills targeted reproductive rights — and 135 passed in 36 states. The cost? Women’s health

Sunday, Oct 21, 2012

A young girl in a green tank top lies on the examination table in a stark exam room in a Houston clinic. Her pink toenails dangle belowthe sterile covering draped over her thighs. The doctor inserts a probe between her legs and the two watch a grainy blob blossom on a sonogram screen suspended below the room’s industrial fluorescent lights. He gives a state-mandated description of the fetus: almost exactly seven weeks, he says, “nice and early.” She is well within the time frame for an abortion pill, rather than surgery.

The doctor, an avuncular, silver-haired man who’s been providing abortions, in the words of one colleague, “pretty much since Roe v. Wade,” turns the screen toward her and traces the outline of her uterus and the embryo, while the girl looks on blankly. He plays the heartbeat, which rises from the machine in a loud, shrill electronic pulse. The ritual, which is repeated several times a day at this Planned Parenthood in Houston and in clinics across the state, is mandated by a new Texas law designed to intensify the experience of abortion — to impress upon a woman, with images and sounds, the sense that she’s about to terminate a living thing.

Ultrasounds are a routine procedure at Planned Parenthood and many other clinics, a tool doctors use to gauge gestational stage — which can affect which procedure to use — or to detect complications. Some abortion patients prefer to see the sonogram, others are indifferent, others are traumatized by the very idea. But the new law makes displaying the ultrasound mandatory. Under Texas law, even if a woman averts her eyes, the doctor must give a verbal description of the fetus anyway. And it’s just the latest addition to a bureaucratic juggernaut of regulations that restrict how abortion providers practice in Texas.

In recent years, lawmakers across the country have enacted a dizzying array of arcane rules dictating everything from the dimensions of their buildings to the advice they must offer to patients about “abortion alternatives.” Thirty-five states, including Texas, have enacted pre-abortion counseling laws, which in many cases force women to make extra clinic visits. Legislatures in 10 states have introduced new measures for pre-abortion counseling and waiting periods in 2012. In addition, 18 states have introduced bills for ultrasound requirements this year, according to the Guttmacher Institute, a reproductive rights research institute.

Continue reading at:

Posted in Abortion, Choice, Feminist, Health Care, Medicine, Misogyny, Reproductive Rights, Right Wing Bug F*** Insanity, Right Wing Extermist, Uncategorized. Comments Off on It’s not just forced ultrasound: Abortion rights under assault

Conservatives’ HPV vaccine dilemma: are they anti-cancer, or just anti-sex?

From The Guardian UK:

Proof that vaccinating girls against the HPV virus does not cause promiscuity puts culture warriors in a spot, Tuesday 16 October 2012

According to a recent study, giving children tetanus shots will not, in fact, encourage them to stab themselves with rusty nails or be less cautious when playing outdoors. Various political organizations have advocated against the tetanus vaccine, arguing that tetanus shots send the message that recreation is acceptable, and that if children know they’re protected from lockjaw, they will be less vigilant about avoiding the kinds of cuts and scrapes that can lead to deadly nervous system infections. Attempts to require tetanus vaccination have met extreme backlash from conservative groups who argue that mandating the vaccine is an assault on parental rights and family values.

Even bills that simply would have made the vaccine free for low-income children without mandating it were vetoed by Republican governors. Doctors hope that these study results, which show that tetanus-vaccinated children are no more likely to engage in unsafe recreational behavior than their unvaccinated peers, will increase the tetanus shot rate for children of parents who fear that tetanus shots encourage risk-taking.

At this point, you’re thinking, I hope:

“What in the world is this lady talking about? Everyone gives their kids tetanus shots! You’d be irresponsible not to inoculate your child against tetanus, and you’re nuts if you think that giving a kid a tetanus shot will make him be less careful about slicing his skin with filthy rusted metal. And there’s absolutely no political controversy around tetanus shots.”

You would be right. If only the same were true of the HPV vaccine.

According to a recent study, giving girls the HPV vaccine will not, in fact, encourage them to engage in sexual activity any earlier than their peers. Various political organizations have advocated against the HPV vaccine, arguing that the vaccine sends the message that sexual behavior is acceptable, and that if girls know they’re protected from HPV, they will be less vigilant about avoiding the kinds of risky sexual behaviors that can lead to pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections.

Continue reading at:

Posted in Choice, Christo-Fascism, Feminist, Gender, Health Care, Male Privilege, Medical Studies, Medicine, Misogyny, Sexism. Comments Off on Conservatives’ HPV vaccine dilemma: are they anti-cancer, or just anti-sex?

Medical Issues and Openness

I have been on my own almost my entire adult life when it comes to health  care.  I have only  been covered with health insurance for maybe five of the last 45 years.

Outside of about a 5 year period when I was in transition and surgery including the labial revision my seeing doctors has been a rather hit or miss affair.

I’ve gone to doctors at free clinics who wrote scripts for my hormones.

In the past, on occasions when I’ve had access to someone who has a lot of TS/TG patients, I’ve felt comfortable enough to be open about my medical history and actually get a physical exam.

But for most of my life I’ve tended to avoid doctors unless I was in need of emergency medical attention.

In most cases where it wasn’t relevant for me to share my information I haven’t shared it.

That includes when I required the emergency surgery to remove the breast implants that were causing the breast tissue above them to die and were coming out one way or another.

Then Tina found a really good doctor, one we both felt comfortable with and who didn’t have a problem with us both in the exam room at the same time.

Having a doctor recognize that you are a family unit and not act strange because you are a same sex couple is important.

He also took Medicare.

Late last year Tina insisted I see a doctor.

Just as a couple of years before that I had insisted she see one.

She learned she is diabetic.  I learned that along with being over weight I have high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

We, initially she found the doctor, who is now our family doctor through several references from the doctor who removed my implants.

I think sometimes we are more driven by fear of prejudice than by actual prejudice.

We are afraid doctors will mistreat us or not value our relationships.  In some cases they do mistreat us and in some cases they are prejudiced.  But we are in a way not just patients, but consumers of medical services.

This means we can do a certain degree of shopping.

Now for some matters how much we share with the doctor treating us may well be based on, “How much do they need to know?”  Does a dentist really need to know about our having been transsexual years ago?  Or our being in transition?  Or our being transgender, lesbian, gay, bisexual?

Now mileage may vary, and someone such as an optometrist, whose questionnaire lists medications you are taking may well need to know if you are taking hormones, because of the potential side effects of certain medications.

At the same time when I was treated for a broken wrist I didn’t feel compelled to share my past medical history.

As L/G and especially as people with either transsexualism or transgenderism, we often have medical needs that straight people do not.  At the same time we sometimes do not have the needs that they have.

Medicine is not nor should it ever be the same as religion.

We should not have to fear discrimination or unequal treatment.  We should demand our relationships be treated with the same dignity and respect accorded straight people.

Call it Radical Egalitarianism if you will, but human dignity demands no less.

The United States has what is perhaps the worst Health Care Insurance structure in the developed world.

It leaves many of us uncovered until we reach the age where we are eligible for Medicare.

Lack of marriage equality plays a major role in this lack of coverage since we are often not eligible to be covered by partner’s benefits.  Add to this the fact that so many of us are victims of the erosion of the middle class, coupled with minority group status means that often we are either  unemployed or under-employed.  Either way that means we are uninsured as part-time employees are rarely covered by health insurance.

This means we are paying out of pocket and postponing medical treatment.

Way too many of us engage in risky sex, drug and alcohol abuse.  L/G and especially TS/TG people smoke at a much higher rate than the general population.  Yesterday I was listening to Michelangelo Signorile, who was speaking to some one involved with an LGBT/T health study and I learned that in general the rate of smoking among LGBT/T people is double that of the straight communities.

Many of us are afraid of doctors.  That fear probably dates from childhood when many of us were threatened with horrifying treatments and cures  because we were born different.

We literally are everywhere.  From the smallest village to the biggest city.  Many of us do not have the luxury of living in a ghetto or even near one where one can look up a doctor in the LGBT/T Yellow Pages.

This means that when we look for a family doctor and find one who is open we may have to become a teacher for someone who is an authority figure we are going to for help.  Sort of the way many TS/TG people had to do in the 1960s and 1970s.

You can’t do this from the closet.  Your relationship with your family practitioner is one of the most intimate relationships you will ever have.

Tina says I am not a complainer.  We are both in the exam room when our doctor examines either of us.  We each bring up things that the other one of us glosses over or fails to admit.  I am sometimes afraid to mention I have chronic injuries that bother me.  I tough it out and compartmentalize pain.  I had planer fascitis for over a year while I was working on the concrete floor of the big box.  I took ibuprofen and worked through it.

I didn’t tell my doctor for the first six months of seeing him.  I guess I figured it would just heal itself as I was on my feet less.  When I told him he gave me a name for the condition and suggested a couple of things I could do to help it heal.  I went home and searched for information on the condition, discovered that Birkenstocks were highly recommended.  Now some three months later the pain has diminished considerably.

Most of my friends from the early days are dead.  Or perhaps I should clarify that a bit, with most of my friends who lived fast, died young.  Often times they refused to see doctors about issues until they got to a point where they were seriously ill.

I know it is embarrassing, especially when you have to teach your doctor, but decent medical care should be our right as  human beings.  Even if we were born different.  Along with equal access to health care our relationships deserve to be treated as being equal in every respect to those of straights.

Posted in Health Care, Medicine. Comments Off on Medical Issues and Openness

Ghostwriters in the sky

For all the pseudo-scientific psychiatric, sociological and psychological follow-up studies done by agenda driven anti-SRS doctors or by people doing push surveys that require us to identify as transgender there have been damned few studies regarding the medical impact of long term hormone usage upon us.

We tend to operate on a basis of almost folk lore and accepted wisdom that we require massive amounts of hormones.  But what about someone in their 60s who has been on hormones for 40 years and is nearly that long post-SRS?  Women of that age are post-menopause.  We haven’t had testes for many, many years.  Maybe we don’t need the same high level of hormones we needed when we were younger?  Maybe we should go to a lower level?

Maybe we should be demanding some long term studies?  And not ghost written self serving drug ads from drug manufacturing corporations.

From Bad Science:

September 18th, 2010 by Ben Goldacre in bad science
Ben Goldacre, The Guardian, Saturday 18 September 2010

If I tell you that Katie Price did not, necessarily, write her own book, this is not a revelation. From academics I have slightly higher expectations, but now the legal system has spat out another skip full of documents: this time, we get a new insight into the strange phenomenon of medical ghost-writing.

Attributed authorial assistance is one thing. This is different, and more cynical. A commercial medical writing company is employed by a drug company to produce a programme of academic papers that can be rolled out in academic journals to build a brand message. After copywriters produce the articles, in collaboration with the drug company, to their specifications, the ghostwriting company finds some academics who are willing to put their names to them, perhaps after a few modest changes.

The latest documents come from a court case brought against Wyeth by around 14,000 patients who developed breast cancer while taking their hormone replacement therapy, Prempro. The open access journal PLoS Medicine, acting with the New York Times, argued successfully in court that 1500 documents from the case which detailed the ghostwriting should be placed in the public domain, because they represent important information on a potential threat to public health. Now, PLoS has published the first academic analysis of these documents, which is free to access online.

HRT, we should remember, has had a rocky history. Initially the panacea to all ills, by 1998 the HERS trial showed it didn’t prevent cardiovascular events after all, and by 2002 the Womens Health Initiative trial showed it also increased the risk of breast cancer and stroke. We now know it increases the risk of dementia and incontinence. Survey data shows that even today, many gynaecologists continue to have beliefs about the efficacy of HRT that are in excess of the evidence. Reading how the literature was engineered, it’s not hard to see why.

Continue reading at:

Posted in Medical Studies, Medicine. Comments Off on Ghostwriters in the sky