Thursday, May 22, 2008

Finding Jessica

My staff and I are fans of and blogger Jessica Valenti. My co-worker made a wish to the brightest star during a recent conversation, "I wish I had Jessica's new book to take with me on the beach during my vacation."

Of course! I'll run down and get her Jessica's new book before she leaves on vacation and it'll be an early birthday present. Little did I know finding He's a stud, she's a slut and 49 other double standards every woman should know would be so difficult.

Walking into B&N, I was under the assumption that when I said her name, everyone would know what I was talking about. As I was directed to the small five tierd shelf of women's studies and feminism books...while being cut off by my daughters running to the kids/pre-teens section...her new book wasn't there. And why are there so few books on the subject? So after negiotiating with my kids to only get one book a piece, we headed to the next bookstore.

Once again no "He's a stud, she's a slut..." only this time the women's study/feminism section was only two shelves and in the corner. Hmmm, the shelves for feminism related books are getting smaller.

On to the next family owned bookstore, no Valenti books at all this time. In my frustration of not finding this new book, I may be the only person in the city asking for it. Surely that's not right.

I finally found the Norman. So 60 miles later, AB has her book and I have an increased appreciation for Jessica and her writings on feminism...and all books related to empowering women. Oklahoma women take notice, our bookshelves are getting smaller...maybe Jessica needs to visit us soon.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Expressing Concern...

Written by guest blogger Anita Fream

Unless you’re on a reproductive health listserv, you probably didn’t read about a recent South Carolina Supreme Court ruling concerning a woman named Regina McKnight. Ms. McKnight was convicted of homicide by child abuse in 2001 for suffering an unintentional stillbirth.

Yes, you read that right. Even though both sides in the courtroom acknowledged that Ms. McKnight had no intention of harming her fetus, because she was a cocaine user, she was convicted of homicide and sentenced to 20 years in prison with no chance of parole.

It you think that couldn’t happen here, you missed the Teresa Hernandez case right here in Oklahoma City. Late last year, Ms. Hernandez struck a plea bargain that reduced her charges from first degree murder to second degree murder because she, too, suffered a stillbirth. In Ms. Hernandez’ situation, her addiction was to methamphetamines. According to the terms of her plea bargain, she will spend the next 15 years in prison, even though, again, no one has accused her of intentionally harming her fetus.

Some find it difficult to see a drug user with any sympathy. Fine. I think we can all agree that taking drugs while you’re pregnant—and I do include tobacco and alcohol when I say this—is a bad idea.

But let’s get a couple of things straight. First, the claim that cocaine or methamphetamine use causes stillbirth—let alone a particular stillbirth—is unsupported by medical research. The South Carolina Supreme Court acknowledged exactly that in its decision last week.

Second, limiting prosecutions to illegal drugs that are favored by the poor is the height of hypocrisy. If we’re so concerned about stillbirths, tobacco users are the target we should be going after (not that I think that’s a good idea, either). So where’s the D.A. who wants to take that one on?

Third, though Teresa Hernandez’ judge shared in the courtroom that he didn’t believe the research, we do in fact know that when states maintain social policy that threatens pregnant women with arrest, their response is to avoid prenatal care. Isn’t that a no-brainer? Who’s going to volunteer to get caught using drugs and jailed for the duration of her pregnancy?

Prenatal care is one of the best things we can do to ensure healthy birth outcomes. Let’s not create public policy that drives some women away from the one thing that keeps them in the health care system where problems can be addressed.

If we want to help women in tough circumstances give birth to healthy babies, let’s offer our assistance. That should include, at the very least, access to good, safe, consistent prenatal care and drug abuse treatment options for pregnant women and women with children.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Once again...

The Chicago Tribune featured an opinion piece by Katha Pollit on what she sees as growing anti-woman sentiments and the affect on reproductive rights legislation.

Are you paying attention Oklahoma anti-choice legislators! You've made a mockery of our state!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Dr. Stone on Alternet

Dr. Stone wrote an article recently for, a progressive site, regarding SB 1878.

I can't help but wonder, when will karma kick in? I hope it's in the form of SB 1878 authors/supporters not getting re-elected. Wouldn't that be something?

It matters desperately who you vote into office and what matters even more is that you keep tabs on their voting habits.

Karma...if you're listening...