Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Well, I haven't been posting that much - and I think everyone is really getting busy. I know that I am scheduled finally to start working at the Children's Place. I guess, too that I start training on a really busy weekend so that should be exhilarating and terrifying at the same time. There's a big bicyclist race coming through Iowa this weekend called the RAGBRAI - Lance Armstrong will be riding through even and about 10,000 people will be in the park and along the roads to watch. Next year, Nick is planning on competing - or at least riding in it..it's a bicycle race across the state. Totally cool! Of course, I have to work that night so it will really be difficult getting out of the parking lot. But yay for the money! That's about it really, except that I have been thinking about high school a lot lately, probably cause school stuff is coming out and I haven't seen my friends for awhile. So, I was thinking - if any of you who knew me in high school would, email me or post a memory on my blog. I'd appreciate the trip down nostalgia lane.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Okay, so I didn't get much of a response to the last few articles I posted. But this is something that really bothers me about the pro-life movement - it lies. Oh, not everyone; probably not the majority even. But there are enough of the people that do to really make things that much harder. This article is from the US House of Representatives. Waxman is a Democrat from California so his is going to be a bit biased toward pro-choice; but when a member of Congress leads a federally funded study and finds out about these things, it really should make people thing, despite his bias. Just think of the the percentage of those that lie- 80% of "crisis pregnancy centers" lie to women in order to futher their own ideas about morality and force it on others!



Public Health
Federally Funded Pregnancy Resource Centers Mislead Teens about Abortion Risks
Monday, July 17, 2006 --

A new study released by Rep. Henry A. Waxman finds that federally funded pregnancy resource centers often mislead pregnant teens about the medical risks of abortion, telling investigators who posed as pregnant 17-year-olds that abortion leads to breast cancer, infertility, and mental illness.

87 percent of the centers reached by investigators provided false or misleading information about abortion. Under the Bush Administration, pregnancy resource centers, which are also called “crisis pregnancy centers,” have received over $30 million in federal funding. The new report assesses the scientific accuracy of the information they provide. Female investigators, who posed as pregnant 17-year-olds seeking advice about an unintended pregnancy, telephoned the 25 pregnancy resource centers that have received capacity-building funds from the Department of Health and Human Services.

Twenty of the 23 centers reached by the investigators (87%) provided false or misleading information about the health effects of abortion. According to the report:

The centers provided false and misleading information about a link between abortion and breast cancer. There is a medical consensus that induced abortion does not cause an increased risk of breast cancer. Despite this consensus, eight centers told the caller that having an abortion would in fact increase her risk. One center said that “all abortion causes an increased risk of breast cancer in later years," while another told the caller that an abortion would “affect the milk developing in her breasts” and that the risk of breast cancer increased by as much as 80% following an abortion.
The centers provided false and misleading information about the effect of abortion on future fertility. Abortions in the first trimester, using the most common abortion procedure, do not pose an increased risk of infertility. However, seven centers told the caller that having an abortion could hurt her chances of having children in the future. One center said that damage from abortion could lead to “many miscarriages” or to “permanent damage” so “you wouldn’t be able to carry,” telling the caller that this is “common” and happens “a lot.”
The centers provided false and misleading information about the mental health effects of abortion. Research shows that significant psychological stress after an abortion is no more common than after birth. However, thirteen centers told the caller that the psychological effects of abortion are severe, long-lasting, and common. One center said that the suicide rate in the year after an abortion “goes up by seven times.” Another center said that post-abortion stress suffered by women having abortions is “much like” that seen in soldiers returning from Vietnam and “is something that anyone who’s had an abortion is sure to suffer from.”

False and Misleading Information Provided by Federally Funded Pregnancy Resource Centers



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Some documents are in .pdf format. Download Adobe Reader. | Photos of Rep. Waxman: [c] 2004 Kay Chernush
I have already started training for my job at the GAP and just for anyone who likes to shop there - I have some coupons for Friends and Family Days (30% off on a certain weekend in August, 35% off if you open a GAP card) so if my close friends/family are interested, let me know, email me your address and I will try to send you them. So far, no word on scheduling for my job at Children's Place. I can't wait, in a few weeks I get to go on vacation with my sister! YAY! I actually had a plan of what I was going to talk about today, but for some reason my mind went blank and my chosen topic is now reduced to the mundane details of my life. Very mundane, cause nothing really exciting is happening. It's raining..that's a relief cause now maybe I can run without having to carry oxygen! It's been so hot and humid, it's hard to breathe. Anyway, that's all. Not much going on...

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

No comments at all?!

I was so disappointed to read no comments. It must be I am annoying people and not stimulating discussion. I need to broaden my debate interests. In other news..things are good!

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Another interesting discussion?

What the Research Shows: Abstinence-Only-Until-Marriage Sex Education Does Not Protect Teenagers' Health (5/4/2005)

There is no conclusive evidence that abstinence-only sex education, which teaches students to abstain from sex until married and generally only teaches about contraceptive failure, reduces the rate of unintended pregnancy or sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). Moreover, research indicates that many of these programs do not help teens delay having sex. Yet the federal government has funneled well over half a billion dollars since 1997 into abstinence-only programs, steadily increasing funding in recent years to more than $165 million annually.
On the other hand, evidence shows that comprehensive sexuality education programs that provide information about abstinence and contraception can help delay the start of sexual activity in teenagers and increase condom use among sexually active teens. Yet there is currently no federal program dedicated to supporting comprehensive sexuality education.

Studies show that most abstinence-only programs do not help teens delay having sex, and some show evidence that these programs actually deter teens who become sexually active from protecting themselves from unintended pregnancy or STDs.

A recent review of program evaluations in 11 states (AZ, CA FL, IA, MD, MN, MO, NE, OR, PA, WA) indicates that after participating in abstinence-only programs, teens are less willing to use contraception, including condoms. And in only one state, did any program demonstrate any success in delaying the initiation of sex.
D. Hauser, Five Years of Abstinence-Only-Until-Marriage Education: Assessing the Impact, Advocates for Youth, September 2004.

Many abstinence programs include "Virginity Pledges," whereby teens sign cards promising to remain virgins until they are married. While data suggests that under limited circumstances, teens who sign a pledge may delay sexual intercourse, 88 percent still have sex before marriage. Recent research also shows that pledgers' rate of STDs does not differ from the rate of nonpledgers because pledgers are less likely to use condoms at first intercourse or to be tested for STDs.
H. Br├╝ckner and P. Bearman, "After the promise: the STD consequences of adolescent virginity pledges," Journal of Adolescent Health, 36 (2005) 271-278.

A recent Congressional report found that widely used federally funded abstinence-only curricula distort information, misrepresent the facts, and promote gender stereotypes.

More than 80 percent of the abstinence-only curricula reviewed contain false, misleading, or distorted information about reproductive health.
The curricula reviewed misrepresent the effectiveness of contraceptives in preventing STDs and unintended pregnancy. They also contain false information about the risks of abortion, blur religion and science, promote gender stereotypes, and contain basic scientific errors.
"The Content of Federally Funded Abstinence-Only Education Programs," Prepared for Rep. Henry A. Waxman, United States House of Representatives, Committee on Government Reform - Minority Staff, Special Investigations Division, December 2004.


Parents want schools to teach comprehensive sexuality education and do not think taxpayer dollars should be spent on abstinence-only programming.

More than 85 percent of Americans believe that it is appropriate for school-based sex education programs to teach students how to use and where to get contraceptives.
National Public Radio, Kaiser Family Foundation, and Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government, Sex Education in America, January 2004.

70 percent of Americans oppose the use of federal funds for abstinence-only sex education programs that prohibit teaching about the use of condoms and contraception for the prevention of unintended pregnancies and STDs.
Advocates for Youth and SIECUS, "Americans Oppose Abstinence-Only Education Censoring Information on Contraception," 1999.


Comprehensive sexuality education helps teenagers delay sex and protects their health.

A review of a large body of evaluation research on programs to prevent teenage pregnancy found conclusive evidence that comprehensive sex education programs do not increase sexual activity or hasten the onset of first intercourse. To the contrary, several of these programs have been shown to delay the onset of sex or increase condom or other contraceptive use among sexually active teens.
Douglas Kirby, Ph.D., Emerging Answers: Research Findings on Programs to Reduce Teen Pregnancy, The National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, May 2001.

In an evaluation of 19 sex education programs, 12 programs - 11 of which included information about abstinence and contraception and 1 of which is an intervention for elementary school children and their parents - helped delay timing of first sex; 11 programs increased condom use among sexually active teens.
Advocates for Youth, Science and Success: Sex Education and Other Programs That Work to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, HIV & Sexually Transmitted Infections, 2003.

The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention note that "research has clearly shown that the most effective programs [to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS] are comprehensive ones that include a focus on delaying sexual behavior and provide information on how sexually active young people can protect themselves."
Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, Fact Sheet: Young People at Risk: HIV/AIDS Among America's Youth, National Center for HIV, STD and TB Prevention, March 2002.

I love the Bill of Rights

Please read both articles, there's another one about a student - they're taken from the ACLU website (there's a link on my blog). Isn't it cool?


ACLU of West Virginia and Americans United Seek Removal of High School Portrait of Jesus (6/28/2006)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: media@aclu.org

CHARLESTON, WV - The American Civil Liberties Union of West Virginia and Americans United for Separation of Church and State today asked a court to order the removal of a large portrait of Jesus prominently displayed outside the principal's office at Bridgeport High School, saying that the display is an unconstitutional endorsement of religion.

"The Constitution's ban on government endorsement of religion is good for both government and religion. It keeps religion free and allows government to represent us all," said Andrew Schneider, Executive Director of the ACLU of West Virginia. "In violating that ban, Bridgeport High School is interfering with the right of all students to freely express their religious beliefs."

The current debate dates to a March meeting of the Harrison County Board of Education, when a local resident, Harold Sklar, submitted a formal request that the portrait be taken down. However, this is not the first time the display has been questioned. Sklar had asked for the portrait's removal several times over a 10 year period, but his requests were ignored.

Schneider noted that even if the portrait reflected the beliefs of a majority of individuals, the United States Supreme Court ruled unequivocally in 1943 in a landmark West Virginia case that the purpose of the Bill of Rights was to ensure that fundamental liberties like freedom of religion are not subject to the whims of a majority.
"School officials are flouting the First Amendment principle of church-state separation and in the process providing students a shoddy civics lesson," said Richard Katskee, Assistant Legal Director of Americans United.

The lawsuit, filed in the United States District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia, seeks to remove the portrait and obtain damages as well as reasonable attorneys' fees.



ACLU of New Jersey Defends Second-Grader's Right to Sing Religious Song (6/5/2006)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: media@aclu.org

NEWARK, NJ -- The American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey today filed a friend-of-the-court brief in a case seeking to uphold an elementary school student's right to religious expression.

The Frenchtown Elementary School student, whose initials are O.T., wanted to sing the song "Awesome God" in a voluntary, after-school talent show. School officials refused to allow the student to sing her song, saying it would give the impression that the school favored religion. “O.T.” remains anonymous to protect her privacy.

"There is a distinction between religious expression initiated or endorsed by school personnel, and speech initiated by individual students," said ACLU of New Jersey cooperating attorney Jennifer Klear of Drinker, Biddle & Reath in New York. "The Constitution protects a student's individual right to express herself, including religious expression."

In its brief, the ACLU argued that no reasonable observer would have believed that the school endorsed the religious message behind the student's song, and that the school therefore had no right to deny her choice of song.

The talent show was open for anyone from the 1st through 8th grades who wished to play a solo instrument, dance, perform a skit or sing karaoke. Students were permitted to select their own songs or skits.

"We are dedicated to protecting the right of individual religious expression," said ACLU of New Jersey Legal Director Ed Barocas. "O.T. has our full support in defense of her right to sing a religious song in the talent show."

The ACLU of New Jersey has participated in other cases involving the right of individual religious expression, including recently helping to ensure that jurors are not removed from jury pools for wearing religious clothing and that prisoners are able to obtain religious literature.

The case, O.T. v. Frenchtown Elementary School, was filed in federal court in Trenton.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

News!

Well, I got a job! Finally. And actually, it's two jobs: both part-time, so no benefits and fairly low pay, though above minimum wage! One is at a children's clothing store, the other at the Gap. I am quite excited, and hoping that eventually I will be able to put a lot of one salary into savings so that I won't someday be destitute and have to live off of my wealthy friends: the psychologist and lawyer, for some examples. Also, I just sent in a resume for this tutoring company - and if I get it, and work 25 or more hours a week (at 22.50/hr.) I will also get full medical, dental, vision. How cool is that! I am so hoping I get that job. I might even keep one of my part-time jobs just for fun and to save for a new car (my dream: a blue Toyota Prius..ahh, heaven!) So, that's news for me.
Oh, and don't think I haven't been paying attention to the debate on Kristi's blog; abortion; the atomic bomb! (I have some comments about that; as a historian I took offense to the argument.) But I will weigh in another day.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Embarassment

I can never seem to come up with a catchy, creative title to my blog. I think after years of history research I have lost my ability to be creative quickly. Today I was thinking about embarassment..the things that make us embarassed actually. For example, I was at Panera, buying breakfast for me and Nick and I handed the girl my credit card. I KNEW I had plenty on it, because I had just paid the bill yesterday. But, alas! the payment had not posted because I hadn't paid at the perfect time on a weekend. So, my card was rejected. Luckily I had cash, but that left me with only $1 left. My point though is this...I was really embarassed. It wasn't my fault that the payment hadn't been posted, because I was going by central standard time and my credit card company was on eastern standard time, and I hadn't done anything on purpose to make the cashier have to run it again and then change the order and all - and yet, I was really embarassed, thinking "gosh, what are they thinking, probably that I should pay my damn bills on time, etc." So I got all defensive, in my head.

Being embarassed is such a weird thing isn't it? It's so based on how others view us - and I really didn't care what that cashier thought - I don't even know her - and yet, I DID care for just that tiny amount of time and I was embarassed.

In other news, it's possible I spelled embarassed incorrectly. If someone actually knows if it's right or not, let me know.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Happy Fourth of July! I honestly don't know if anyone is still reading my blog, since it takes me such a long time to write between blogs..but hopefully someone is reading. I can't believe that I have been in Iowa for over a month! It's so weird. A good weird, but weird nonetheless. The other night I had a dream that I was back in high school. Only, it was a high school after 9/11 and all the students had to register for ID cards to get into their lockers, and the classrooms, and almost everyhing was videotaped. I woke up going, well, at least now I won't have to remember my locker combo anymore!

In August I get to go white-water rafting!!!! I am so excited, it's not even funny. My sister Jackie and I are going for a few days to Colorado - all on her new job's tab. Well, sorta. Anyway, she has a new job for the Y and she and a friend (she picked me!!! Yay!) are going to Colorado for a career oriented trip - white-water rafting. I know, cool career! But I have always wanted to go, and she thought of me when she heard and so YAY! I get to take a vacation with my sis!

I have another job interview on Thursday. This whole searching for a job thing sucks. I get all excited and then they decide, you know - no..you're just not what we're looking for. Hopefully it's because they're intimidated by my intelligence, but I think I'm reaching for that one.

Anyway, not much else going on. My dad is doing better, and they should be scheduling the surgery on his legs soon, so he will be able to play golf again. That's all for now.