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Archive for the ‘political’ Category

Politics: How is the healthcare crisis related to the high cost of healthy foods?

Posted by Catherine Morgan on March 18, 2010

Are healthcare, politics, and the high cost of healthy foods related?

Yes.

Let me start by saying…I am so sick of politics I could throw-up. But that said, this is about much more than politics. It’s about the warped reality we are all living in, from the White House to our local supermarket and fast food joint.

About two weeks ago I read an article comparing the cost of health care to the cost of food. It suggests that the best way to solve the healthcare crisis, is for all consumers to be forced to pay more for healthcare – Because then people would think about the cost before “choosing” certain tests and treatments. What a shocking revelation…Who would have thought (other than the CATO Institute) that the people who can’t afford expensive health care services would “choose” not to have them? Although, I wouldn’t really consider that a choice.

*Read full post at catherine.morgan.com

Posted in family, food, Health, heart disease, life, lifestyle, news, nutrition, opinion, political, Politics, universal healthcare, Women, women's health | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Breast Cancer Screening Controversy: Are women just too emotional for mammograms before 50?

Posted by Catherine Morgan on November 22, 2009

Unless you’ve been under a rock all week, you have probably heard about the government task force that has recommended new guidelines for breast cancer prevention.  It goes something like this…

If you’re younger than 50 or older than 75, you no longer have to worry your pretty little head about breast cancer, or getting those pesky boob squishing mammograms.

Hallelujah!  I wonder how long it will be before we go back to giving women Valium for chest pain?  Who needs preventative care when it’s not 100% effective anyway?  Hell, just go ahead and give us anti-anxiety meds for all of our ills…I’ll betcha we save a bundle on healthcare costs. Women already outlive men by a bunch of years, maybe this will even things out a bit…Isn’t equality what we’ve been cryin about all these years?

OK, I know, I went a little too far with my analogy.  But seriously, this is what’s going on…

*Read full post at catherine-morgan.com

Posted in BlogHer, breast cancer, cancer, chronic illness, Health, life, mothers, news, opinion, political, thoughts, Women, women blogging, women's health, women's issues, YouTube | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

The High Cost of Cheap Food

Posted by Catherine Morgan on September 1, 2009

There was an interesting article this week in TIME magazine – Getting Real About The High Cost of Cheap Food.  The article goes into detail about the harmful effects of cheap food on our environment, our finances, and ourselves.

Have you read the article?

From Choosing Raw – Nutrition in the News:  The High Price of Cheap Food

Hope you’re enjoying your start to the week. I just wanted to draw everyone’s attention to Time Magazine’s very excellent cover article this week. It details the true cost–economic, medical, cultural, environmental–of mass-produced and processed food, and it’s worth reading and sending to your loved ones A.S.A.P. The article probably won’t tell you anything you didn’t learn from Food, Inc. or The Omnivore’s Dilemma, but it’s powerful, succinct, and uncompromising. Most importantly, it’s a huge sign of progress that major newsweeklies are spreading word about the true cost of cheaply produced, high-protein diets.

*Read full post at catherine-morgan.com

Posted in cooking, food, Health, life, lifestyle, news, nutrition, opinion, political | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Why Are Women Dying Younger In America?

Posted by Catherine Morgan on April 26, 2008

Why Is Life Expectancy For Women Going Down In America? – by Catherine Morgan (cross-posted at BlogHer)

A new study has found that the life expectancy for women in the United States is on the decline. But don’t worry, this is not something that will affect ALL women in our country – just the poor women.

Even more troubling, is that the study doesn’t include any statistics after 1999. What that means is, the Bush years have not been figured into these statistics. I can only imagine how the last eight years of the Bush administration have impacted the reality of these numbers.

It seems like it wasn’t that long ago, that I heard how the US life expectancy had slipped in ranking from 11th to 42nd, behind most European countries.   SEE VIDEO HERE

John Edwards was absolutely right when he talked about two Americas. Try to picture America on one side, and a third-world country on the other. Now picture that third-world country within the United States. Thanks to a failing economy and a serious health care crisis, that is exactly what we face today. It’s really not surprising at all. Very sad, but not surprising.

From The New York Times

Life expectancy has long been growing steadily for most Americans. But it has not for a significant minority, according to a new study, which finds a growing disparity in mortality depending on race, income and geography.

The study, published Monday in the online journal PLoS, analyzed life expectancy in all 3,141 counties in the United States from 1961 to 1999, the latest year for which complete data have been released by the National Center for Health Statistics. Although life span has generally increased since 1961, the authors reported, it began to level off or even decline in the 1980s for 4 percent of men and 19 percent of women.

“It’s very troubling that there are parts of the wealthiest country in the world, with the highest health spending in the world, where health is getting worse,” said Majid Ezzati, the lead author and an associate professor of international health at Harvard. It is a phenomenon, he added, “unheard of in any other developed country.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in blogging, BlogHer, family, feminism, Health, life, lifestyle, mothers, news, opinion, parenting, political, Politics, pregnancy, thoughts, Women, women's health, women's issues, YouTube | Tagged: , , , | 8 Comments »

Women Political Bloggers Are Changing The Face Of Politics

Posted by Catherine Morgan on March 27, 2008

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Political Voices of over 375 Women Bloggers — by Catherine Morgan

When I first published this list back in October, we had links to 100 women blogging about politics. Today, the count is at 375, and still growing. Are you a woman blogging about politics? Are you on the list? If not, please leave me your link in comments, so I can add your blog. And, if you would like to be a guest blogger on The Political Voices of Women with a guest post, please join our community.

I hope you’ll take some time and check out the women on the list…and if you blog about politics, consider adding some of these women to your blogroll, or linking to them in a post.

Now, in alphabetical order – links to 375 women blogging about politics…

Click Here to go to the list at The Political Voices of Women.

Posted in bloggers, blogging, feminism, life, media, news, opinion, political, Politics, Women, women blogging, writing | 2 Comments »

What Women Need To Know About Environmental Causes of Cancer

Posted by Catherine Morgan on March 25, 2008

What Women Need To Know About Environmental Causes of Cancer — by Catherine Morgan (cross-posted at BlogHer)

Last week the Breast Cancer Fund released it’s State of the Evidence Report for 2008. The 2008 report, provides the most comprehensive listing to-date of chemicals linked to breast cancer. It also provides a much more complex picture of breast cancer causation than traditionally accepted, one in which timing, mixtures and dose of environmental exposures interact with genes and lifestyle factors.

In conjunction with the release of this report, they also held a blogger-only telephone conference to discuss the report. The informative conference featured Janet Gray, Ph.D., and Breast Cancer Fund Executive Director Jeanne Rizzo, R.N., and for an hour they took questions from bloggers on the latest studies linking environmental exposures to breast cancer.

Findings…

While each study, chemical and exposure source alone doesn’t tell the whole story, looking at them together allows us to better understand how to prevent the disease. Learn more about major emerging themes in breast cancer causation through the links below.

Sources of Exposure…

Learn more about where and how we come into contact with chemicals and radiation linked to increased breast cancer risk. Then learn what can be done to reduce those exposures.

Chemicals of Concern by Type…

The evidence is divided into three main sections, examining the scientific links to breast cancer within each category. Click on each category for an overview and list of chemical fact sheets.

There is also a Moving Forward section that outlines state and federal policy recommendations…

Together with other breast cancer prevention, women’s health, environmental health and environmental justice advocates, the Breast Cancer Fund seeks to make policy changes—in states and nationally—that will mean less breast cancer for our children and grandchildren.

If you would like to listen to the one hour conference call discussing these new findings, it was made into a podcast at Ready Talk.

Here is some of what other participants in the conference are blogging about…

From Girl-Woman-Beauty-Brains-Blog

According to Dr. Gray and Ms. Rizzo, two themes emerged in examining the evidence related to environmental risks and breast cancer:

  • Mixtures: In real life, we are not exposed to single chemicals but chemical cocktails. There is growing evidence that supports the need to further study the interaction between chemicals, radiation, and genes.
  • Timing of exposure. Scientists now know that the timing, duration, and pattern of exposure are at least as important as the dose. Mammary cells are more susceptible to the carcinogenic effects of hormones, chemicals, and radiation during early stages of development, from the prenatal period through puberty and adolescence, and on until the first full-term pregnancy.

From Frances Ellen SpeaksAt Your Own Risk

A good place to start would be to throw away those plastic containers you use for warming up foods in the microwave. Switch to glass containers. It’s a proven fact that toxic chemicals contained in plastic leach into food during the warming process.

And if you’ve been using plastic baby bottles–STOP.

Following is a small section of the report regarding plastics.

The three plastics that have been shown to leach toxic chemicals when heated, worn or put under pressure are polycarbonate (leaches bisphenol A), polystyrene (leaches styrene) and PVC (leaches phthalates).

Bisphenol A is used in the linings of cans, baby bottles, sports water bottles and dental sealants. The evidence about bisphenol A and its many effects on human health is convincing and growing. Studies funded by the chemical industry say it’s harmless; non-industry studies show it’s a powerful hormone-disruptor linked to breast cancer.

From The Breast Cancer Fund Blog

Equipped with this strong foundation of science, together we have much work to do. This release is really a beginning, not an end. We’ll keep you posted on the reach and impact of State of the Evidence 2008.

Also See:

Nina’s Interview with Dr. Susan Love

When Olivia’s “Cruise for Our Cause” heads to the Caribbean on March 30, 2008 it will be the first cruise experience dedicated to breast cancer, women’s health awareness and research funding. So it’s timely that we catch up with Dr. Susan Love, President and Medical Director of the Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation. Her name and life work is synonymous with the breast cancer advocacy movement and it’s an absolute honor to have her participate in our money talk.

And, my previous post on environmental causes of breast cancer.

Posted in BlogHer, breast cancer, cancer, chronic illness, Health, life, news, opinion, parenting, political, thoughts, Women, women's health | 1 Comment »

Breaking Autism News – See YouTube CBS Video with Katie Couric

Posted by Catherine Morgan on March 6, 2008

ALSO SEE:

Autism: The Disease, The Debate, and the Devastated Families

Posted in autism, blogging, children, chronic illness, current events, family, Health, kids, life, news, parenting, political, vaccines, Women, YouTube | 6 Comments »

Universal Healthcare, Medicaid, and Cancer

Posted by Catherine Morgan on February 19, 2008

Universal Healthcare, Medicaid, and Cancer – by Catherine Morgan (cross-posted at BlogHer

I’m not sure how much we really needed a study to determine that uninsured people are more likely to be diagnosed with cancer too late to be treated successfully. In most cases, a person actually needs to see a doctor to be diagnosed with a disease. So, is anyone surprised to find out that poor, uninsured people, aren’t going to the doctor? I didn’t think so. The only thing this study does do, is underscore the healthcare crisis we are currently facing (with 47 million Americans uninsured), and the need for all Americans to have access to quality healthcare. However, in order to prevent this study from being used as an argument for some type of universal healthcareMedicaid has been thrown into the mix.

Here is an example from The New York Times, of how the news of this new study is being reported…

A nationwide study has found that the uninsured and those covered by Medicaid are more likely than those with private insurance to receive a diagnosis of cancer in late stages, often diminishing their chances of survival.

Cleverly, someone decided to throw a monkey wrench into this study, by comparing having no insurance at all, to having Medicaid. I say “cleverly”, because without that little snip-it of information, this study would appear to be the perfect argument for universal healthcare. But now some can argue, that Medicaid is a government program that isn’t working…So, how could the government ever be capable of implementing a healthcare program that would work?

From WebMD

Researchers say the findings should have important implications for the nation’s health care system and policy decisions about health care reform.

Here is what Jude, from First Draft thinks, in a post titled “Two Americas“…

Now, this might not be the biggest revelation ever, but it seems that people who don’t pay a lot for their health care get lesser-quality care. I can hear the wingers already screaming that this is obviously a failure of public insurance, as private insurance leads to better care.

I admit, I know very little about Medicaid, but when you dig a little deeper into the reporting of this study, it appears there is more to the “Medicaid” aspect then meets the eye.

This study seems to find that having Medicaid is still better than being one of the 47 million that are uninsured…

Results showed that uninsured patients were 90% more likely and Medicaid patients were 40% more likely to be diagnosed with stage II than stage I disease compared with those who had either private insurance or Medicare (difference not significant between the two latter groups).

And, are the Medicaid patients in this study mostly from nursing homes? If so, this study on Medicaid and nursing homes seems to indicate the problem is more to do with the actual care being given in nursing homes, and less to do with being insured with Medicaid.

A study in the January 2008 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute suggests that Medicaid patients in nursing home care receive limited cancer services. While the prevalence of cancer in nursing home patients is 1 in 10, according to Dr. Bradley and coauthors this population has received little attention in outcomes research.

The report concludes that nursing home patients had a preponderance of late or unstaged disease, high mortality with a few months of diagnosis, low hospice use, and very little cancer-directed treatment, even among patients with early stage cancer where treatment can alleviate symptoms.

I’m pointing these discrepancies out because – If this study is really going to be used to help determine our country’s healthcare policy, then we need to understand a few things. Most importantly, that the problems facing Medicaid are much different than the problems facing any plan to insure the uninsured. In other words…Don’t use statistics on orange trees, to determine whether or not to grow an apple tree.

Also see:

Health Insurance only for the Healthy — If 47 million uninsured Americans is not high enough a number of vulnerable people who often do not visit the doctor soon enough to receive an early cancer diagnosis leading to a higher cancer survival rate, Blue Cross of California is looking to increase the number of uninsured — with the help of doctors.

Sweet Surrender — C is for CANCER

Anyway, I still don’t know what this post is really about, I guess it could mean different things to different people. If you have good insurance it may mean one thing…but if you have a parent in a nursing home, or are uninsured yourself, probably something totally different. What does this information mean to you? Will these issues have any affect on how you vote in November?

Contributing Editor Catherine Morgan
CatherineBlogs, The Political Voices of Women, Care2 Election Blog

Posted in BlogHer, cancer, chronic illness, family, Health, life, news, opinion, political, Politics, thoughts, universal healthcare, Women | 1 Comment »

Healthcare Reform: A Tour Around Health and Political Blogs

Posted by Catherine Morgan on February 11, 2008

A Tour Around Health and Political Blogs, that are taking on the issue of healthcare reform. — by Catherine Morgan (cross posted at BlogHer and CatherineBlogs)

With more and more people becoming uninsured in our country, healthcare reform is becoming an increasingly important issue.

Voters are interested in knowing where the candidates stand on the issue of healthcare. Now you can find health bloggers and political bloggers addressing healtcare reform. Here is a quick tour around some of these bloggers talking about the issue of healthcare and healthcare reform.

From Maggie Mahar of Health Beat

As for issues, if voters are concerned about healthcare, “they probably don’t perceive too much difference between Clinton and Obama,” says Blendon, who is also a professor at Harvard’s School of Public Health. “I think they believe that either Democrat will try to do something big. Healthcare won’t become an issue until the general election.”

But in November’s general election, healthcare will be at the center of the debate, Blendon declares. “John McCain now appears to be the front-runner among the Republicans, and if, in November, he turns out to be the party’s candidate, he will not see providing health coverage for everyone as a priority for his administration,” says Blendon.

“Nor will Republican Congressmen view universal coverage as something that their constituency wants.” As I noted in a post last week, polls show that “the majority of Independents and Republicans are not convinced that health care is a “fundamental right.”

So an election that pitted either Clinton or Obama against McCain would become, in part, a referendum on healthcare reform. Who would win? “Again, it would be very close,” says Blendon. “We’re in a hostile environment for Republicans, but McCain is stronger than his party.

This is from Danieldoo

Where do the candidates stand on this life changing issue? One place to look would be health08.org. This is a site put together by the Kaiser Family Foundation, who claims to be non-partisan, non-profit, private operating foundation.

If you want to know who is pushing the candidates then you will want to swing by Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease.

Another grassroots organization fighting for healthcare reform is Americans for Health Care. Here you will also find a comparison of the candidates, along with updates and ways to take action.

The New York Times also has a candidate comparison, which still includes folks that have dropped out, in the Election Guide 2008. I am not sure how up to date this one is, you know how those political beings change direction mid stream more often than not.

The American Academy of Family Physicians has the candidates positions on health care under the policy and advocacy section of their website.

WebMD even got in on the fun with a page devoted to Health Matters in the 2008 Election.

From TPM Cafe

Should you care about the flap over healthcare “mandates”? Does it really tell us anything about whether Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama is more likely to deliver healthcare reform?

In yesterday’s New York Times, Paul Krugman said “Yes.” He pointed out that Clinton’s plan favors mandates that would require everyone who can afford the premiums to sign up for healthcare insurance. Low-income and lower-middle income Americans who cannot afford the premiums would receive subsidies from the government, just as they do in Massachusetts.

My Relationship With Breast Cancer

It’s certainly no secret that an election year is upon us. I say this over and over – one person can make a difference! One voice can echo, and cause other voices to rise in unison. As we face the election of new officials it is important to raise our voices so that our healthcare needs are met. We need to make certain that each and every person has access to quality care!

Also See:

Sassafras Mama on thoughts on healthcare reform

Our Bodies, Ourselves

Cold Coffee – Healthcare Reform: A Macro Viewpoint

What do you think about the healthcare issue? Will this issue affect your presidential vote?

Contributing Editor Catherine Morgan
CatherineBlogs, The Political Voices of Women, Care2 Election Blog

Posted in blogging, BlogHer, Health, opinion, parenting, political, thoughts, universal healthcare, Women, women's health | 1 Comment »

Gardasil For Boys Too?

Posted by Catherine Morgan on February 4, 2008

This is from Mir at BlogHerGardasil’s Back in the News:  Boys Now Need It, Too?

There’s been a lot of talk here at BlogHer about Gardasil, over the past year or so. I wrote about it a year ago, trying to articulate my feelings on it as a mom to a daughter who would soon be eligible for vaccination. Catherine Morgan has kept her finger on the pulse of the matter with multiple posts, including pointing out that several young girls have died within hours of receiving the vaccination.

My initial optimism was, perhaps, premature.

In the meantime, various states have been discussing mandating the vaccine, or trying to, with varying levels of success. (Check out Vaccine Awakening for a good explanation of what recently happened in the Virginia legislature.)

And now there’s this — HPV-caused oral cancer is on the rise in men, prompting Merck to seek government approval to make Gardasil available to boys, as well.

READ FULL POST AT BLOGHER

Also See:

What is Not Being Reported about the Merck Cervical Cancer Vaccine

Ten Reasons Why HPV Vaccine is ‘Murky’

Gardasil:  The Three Faces of the HPV Vaccine

First Update

Second Update

Third Update

Posted in BlogHer, cancer, cervical cancer, daughters, family, Gardasil, Health, kids, news, opinion, parenting, political, teens, vaccines, viruses, Women | 2 Comments »

Blog For Choice Day 2008

Posted by Catherine Morgan on January 22, 2008

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Here is a post by Heather at the Care2 Election Blog. Reproductive Rights Check-in: 35 Years after Roe v. Wade

The day is almost over, but I didn’t want to let it go by, without my own Blog for Choice. It’s another year, and another anniversary of the seminal abortion-rights decision Roe v. Wade. This year, the 35th anniversary, is actually a pretty big one, even though we’ve not yet heard much about this issue from the presidential candidates in either party — for the most part, the Democratic candidates all agree with each other as do the Republicans. Plus, it doesn’t appear to be that big of an issue so far in this election cycle. And that certainly makes sense—there are a lot of issues that people perceive to require greater attention (i.e. ending the war, better health care, dealing with the economy, addressing immigration, etc.), plus I have a hunch that because of its divisive nature, folks would rather come together around the issues that we might be able to agree on.

READ FULL POST at the Care2 Election Blog

—–

Today is Blog For Choice Day. And many women bloggers posted on the issue of choice today…

Fact-esque: Why I Vote Pro-Choice

The Curvature: Blog For Choice

PunditMom: A Few Words…

The Democratic Daily: The 35th Anniversary of Roe V. Wade

BlogHer: Grateful for the Choice

If I Ran the Zoo: What Do We Choose?

The Radula: Blog for Choice Day

Pandagon: Are Women Human?

Feministe: Your Best Source For Roe-Day Commentary

Production, Not Reproduction: Blog For Choice 2008

Peggy, as she is: ABC on Abortion: The ‘Other’ Choice

Feministing: Why I Vote Pro-Choice

Girl with Pen: Happy 35th Anniversary, Roe v. Wade

The Road to Surfdom: Today is Blog For Choice Day

Chasing the Southern Cross: It’s Blog For Choice Day

Posted in blogging, family, feminism, Health, news, opinion, political, thoughts, Women, women blogging, women's issues | 1 Comment »

Note To Presidential Candidates: Women Hold The Key To Your Election

Posted by Catherine Morgan on January 10, 2008

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Women Will Play A Key Role In 2008 Election — by Catherine Morgan (cross-posted at The Care2 Election Blog)

The presidential campaign has taken an interesting turn in the last few days. It’s finally become apparent to the media, the pundits, and the candidates, what has been obvious to women all along…Women hold the key to the White House, ignore them and you shall be locked out.

How important will the “women’s vote” be in the 2008 presidential election? The answer – It’s going to be more important than anyone can even begin to imagine. If that fact hadn’t been abundantly clear before now, it certainly should be after Iowa and New Hampshire. Obama won in Iowa with the majority of women voting for him there, and Clinton won in New Hampshire with the majority of women voting for her there. When all is said and done, the next President of the United States will be coronated not by the media, but by the women.

In 2004, 8.8 million more women voted than men, that number is going to be even greater in 2008.

So, do your homework candidates. This election is not about race, gender, or tears…It’s about the issues, especially the issues that are important to women voters. You will need a message that resonates with all women voters…all colors, ages, income levels, married, single, soccer moms, and single moms. Don’t feel bad men, women ultimately want what’s best for the country, so that includes you too. And NEWS FLASH…Just “pandering” to the women is not going to do the trick, we can actually see through that.

NOTE TO CANDIDATES: Now might be a good time to check in with Lisa Stone of BlogHer about the BlogHer’s Voter Manifesto. FYI…Women who blog not only vote, but they influence other voters. With that said, you may also want to check out The Political Voices of Women, where a list has been compiled of over 300 women blogging about politics and the election. And, don’t forget to check out our very own Care2 Groups, with millions of members, many of whom happen to be women.

So, what are some of the women of the blogosphere saying about the events of the last few days? Here is a little sampling…

READ FULL POST AT The Political Voices of Women

Posted in blogging, BlogHer, current events, feminism, informed voters, life, media, news, opinion, political, Political Voices of Women, Politics, thoughts, Women, women blogging, women's issues | 1 Comment »

My Top 10 Hot Topics From BlogHer Health and Wellness in 2007

Posted by Catherine Morgan on January 1, 2008

It’s the last day of 2007, and I thought I would do this post on some of the hot topics from BlogHer Health and Wellness. So, in no particular order, here is what I think are the top ten. — read the full post at BlogHer.

And, my New Years wish for you…and the world.

Posted in awareness, blogging, BlogHer, body image, Care2, children, empowerment, faith, family, feminism, Health, life, opinion, peace, political, thoughts, top ten, YouTube | 4 Comments »

Bush Vetoes HealthCare Bill SCHIP – Leaving Millions Of Children Without Health Insurance

Posted by Catherine Morgan on December 13, 2007

Bush Vetoes Another HealthCare Bill For ChildrenBy Catherine Morgan (links to my post at Care2)

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SEE POST AT CARE2

Posted in blogging, Care2, children, chronic illness, current events, family, feminism, Health, life, news, opinion, parenting, political, Politics, thoughts, Women | Leave a Comment »

Care2 Launches A New Election Blog

Posted by Catherine Morgan on December 12, 2007

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Hi everyone.  I want to take this opportunity to tell you that I am helping to launch a new blog by Care2.  It’s called the Care2 Election Blog, and I will be the primary blogger.  I hope you’ll stop by and check it out.

I’ll be here at the Care2 Election Blog each day with posts on the latest election news, political commentary and, of course, will address campaign issues that are especially important to the Care2 community, with an emphasis on non-profits. Since this is Care2’s first blog, I hope to get as much feedback from the members of the community as possible…and I look forward to hearing all of your comments and suggestions (so please…don’t be shy).  — read my full first post here

If you are not already familiar with Care2, you should go over and check them out.  It’s a site that makes it easy to take action on issues that are important to you.

Posted in about me, blogging, Care2, election blog, life, news, opinion, political, Politics, Women | Leave a Comment »

Teen Pregnancy On The Rise – Abstinence Only Programs Failing Our Children

Posted by Catherine Morgan on December 8, 2007

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Teen Pregnancy On The Rise – Abstinence Only Programs Failing Our Children — by Catherine Morgan (cross-posted at BlogHer)

I was shocked to read a headline this week, that the rate of teen births is on the rise.

The rate had been steadily declining since 1991, after an intense educational campaign, that included contraception, condom use, and the risk of Aids and sexually transmitted disease. But now, for the first time in 14 years, statistics show a 3% increase in teens having babies.

How could that be? Could it be that sex education programs aren’t working very well? Actually, the sex-ed programs were working just fine, until the Bush administration began diverting funds from them to abstinence only programs.

It doesn’t take a sexologist to explain why abstinence only isn’t an effective means of sex education. But just in case, here is Logan Levkoff of Third Base Ain’t What It Used To Be

Hmmm…looks like abstinence only programs don’t work. Oh, have I said that before? Sounds familiar, but now there is a new study that is saying the same thing. Last week, the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy released a study confirming that ab-only programs don’t delay sex. Even more exciting, the review of teenage sexual behavior also concluded that comprehensive sexuality education does delay the initiation of sex, reduces a teen’s number of sex partners, and increases condom and contraceptive usage. Hurray!

Needless to say, this is terrific news. So I ask you all this: Why have we spent over $1.5 billion in the last ten years on abstinence only? And why is Congress even considering a bill to spend another $141 million on it?

It seems to me that with teen pregnancy on the rise, this would prove that abstinence-only programs are not working. However, instead of recognizing the failure of these programs, the Bush administration is increasing funding.

Ideology, not science, has been driving America’s response to the twin epidemics of teen pregnancy and STD/HIV infections. Funding for abstinence-only censorship programs is dramatically increasing. All told, abstinence-only programs have received over half a billion dollars in federal funds since 1997, and the Bush administration requested yet another sharp increase to $204 million for fiscal year 2007. By 2009, President Bush proposes that funding for abstinence-only programs reach $270 million.

This huge investment of taxpayer funds in abstinence-only programs conflicts with scientific and medical research: abstinence-only programs are not proven effective and may in fact result in riskier behavior by teenagers. Responsible sex education programs, on the other hand, have demonstrated positive results such as delayed initiation of sex, reduced frequency of sex, and increased contraceptive use. — read full article here

Parents really shouldn’t be relying totally on schools to teach their children about sex anyway. It’s not any easy subject to talk about with our children, but it is very important that we do (especially given this latest information on teen pregnancy). Here is a site that seems to include all aspects of sex education…Teensource, and here is one on talking to you kids about sex.

This is from a post by Susan (a parent coach)…

Don’t wait too long to have these conversations. Kids are experimenting with sex and drugs earlier and earlier. The younger you start the easier it will be to continue bringing it up. A great conversation starter might be after you and your child have seen a movie with sex or drugs being part of the content. “What did you think about that movie? What did you think about the choices that Josie made? What would you have done? Do you have any questions about anything that you saw?”

If your child ignores you or doesn’t want to talk about it don’t give up. Keep looking for opportunities to bring up those uncomfortable issues. Soon you will notice that it isn’t so awkward after all!

From Moms Speak Up

In May, according to NPR, “Democratic Rep. John Dingell, chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, made it clear that Democrats do not intend to re-fund a $50 million grant program for abstinence-only sex education. Dingell says he considers the funded programs ‘a colossal failure.’”

“Democrats would still include money for abstinence teachings in schools, but would combine it with comprehensive sex-ed program* that would teach about birth control and other safe sex methods.” (Click here to read the full USA Today article.)

The abstinence-only grant was set to expire on June 30, 2007.

However, despite Democrat statements and the factual studies that revealed the fallibility and lack of efficacy of abstinence-only education, in June, the U.S. House Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations voted to increase federal funding for community based abstinence-only education programs (CBAE) in this country by $27.8 million.

In November, the increase amount was officially set at $28 million for a grand total of $141 million. President Bush would like that amount increased to $204 million for 2008.

Could this be what Bush has in mind?

An easy solution to the problem of teen pregnancy.

If we just had a couple more million to add some critical “family values” classes along with the “abstinence only” program, it wouldn’t matter that the teen birth rate is increasing. It would go something like this…High school counselors could stop pushing college on everyone (it’s getting awfully expensive anyway), and instead they could encourage parenting classes. Picture this…The “advanced placement” pregnant teens could take classes in wedding planning. This could even help solve the divorce problem in our country…With no education and just their husband to count on, these women would be virtually trapped in their marriages, with no possibility of getting a divorce or making it on their own.

Seriously, we are really taking major steps backward these days…even our life expectancy is going down.

What do you think about these new statistics? How do you feel about our government spending millions of tax dollars for abstinence only programs? Do you think the schools should be teaching sex educations? Do you talk openly with your kids about sex?

An open question to the candidates: How will you address the problem of teen pregnancy if you are elected president?

Contributing Editor Catherine Morgan
also at CatherineBlogs.com and The Political Voices of Women

Posted in blogging, BlogHer, children, current events, family, feminism, Health, life, news, opinion, parenting, political, school, teens, thoughts, Women | 12 Comments »

Report: U.S. Teen Births Are On The Rise For The First Time In 14 Years

Posted by Catherine Morgan on December 5, 2007

teens-pregnancy.jpg image from

This post has been cross-posted at The Political Voices of Women


Teen Births Are On The Rise For The First Time In 14 Years

The nation’s teen birth rate has risen for the first time in 14 years, according to a new government report.

The birth rate had been dropping since 1991. The decline had slowed in recent years, but government statisticians said Wednesday it jumped 3 percent from 2005 to 2006.

“It took us by surprise,” said Stephanie Ventura of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a co-author of the report. — see full article here

It seems to me that this latest report proves that abstinence-only programs are not working.

Ideology, not science, has been driving America’s response to the twin epidemics of teen pregnancy and STD/HIV infections. Funding for abstinence-only censorship programs is dramatically increasing. All told, abstinence-only programs have received over half a billion dollars in federal funds since 1997, and the Bush administration requested yet another sharp increase to $204 million for fiscal year 2007. By 2009, President Bush proposes that funding for abstinence-only programs reach $270 million.

This huge investment of taxpayer funds in abstinence-only programs conflicts with scientific and medical research: abstinence-only programs are not proven effective and may in fact result in riskier behavior by teenagers. Responsible sex education programs, on the other hand, have demonstrated positive results such as delayed initiation of sex, reduced frequency of sex, and increased contraceptive use. — read full article here

I would love to know how these programs have spent over half a billion dollars of taxpayer money teaching abstinence? I would also like to know what the current presidential candidates will do when elected to lower the rate of teen pregnancy in this country?

Posted in children, daughters, faith, family, feminism, Health, kids, life, motherhood, news, opinion, parenting, political, pregnancy, school, teens, Women, women's health | 2 Comments »

A Violation Against A Woman’s Right To Choose

Posted by Catherine Morgan on December 4, 2007

A Violation Against A Woman’s Right To Choose — by Catherine Morgan (cross-posted at BlogHer)

A man purposefully puts RU-486 in a woman’s drink, causing her to miscarry, not just once but twice (CNN News clip).

This is truly a heinous crime and an affront to a woman’s right to choose. A woman’s reproductive rights are sacred, and just as no man should be aloud to force a woman to have a child if she is not ready, no man should be able to force her to lose a child if she is choosing to keep it.

This man (and I use that term lightly) should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law, sending a clear message to any man or woman who would consider poisoning a pregnant woman for the purpose of having her miscarry.

Since Wisconson is one of 37 states that has a fetal homicide law, one of many charges this [sorry excuse for a] man will face is attempted first-degree intentional homicide of an unborn child.

However, I think the main focus of this case should be the violation of the woman, although I have no problem with this man being charged with murder since the state already has a law that allows for that. Since there are many other charges as well as murder here, I would leave it up to the judge or jury to decide the extent of this person’s punishment. Regardless of the charges, I would hope that this case be treated very seriously, and have serious consequences.

It seems odd to me, but many are taking this clear criminal violation of a woman, and turning it into a debate over abortion. For example…If a woman has the right to terminate her own pregnancy…Why shouldn’t a man be able to secretly and maliciously terminate a woman’s pregnancy if that’s what he wants to do? No, I’m not making this stuff up…

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in BlogHer, current events, daughters, family, feminism, Health, life, marriage, opinion, parenting, political, Politics, pro-life, thoughts, Women | 2 Comments »

Are You Going To Let The Government Tell You What’s Best For Your Child?

Posted by Catherine Morgan on November 19, 2007

vaccineshot.jpg

Get Your Child Vaccinated or Go To Jail — by Catherine Morgan (cross-posted at CatherineBlogs.com)

More problems associated with vaccines, this time the controversy is with the Chicken Pox vaccine. I haven’t been silent about my distrust with the pharmaceutical industry, and most recently with the collaboration between this industry and our government…specifically the rush to make the HPV vaccine mandatory for 9 to 12 year old girls. As much as I have a problem with *some* vaccines, I have a much larger problem with our government forcing parents to vaccinate for viruses such as Chicken Pox and HPV.

I am not someone who is against childhood vaccinations, as a nurse I fully understand the necessity for vaccinating children against polio, measles, mumps, and rubella. However, vaccinating against these diseases was begun for the sole purpose of saving the lives of children, that can not be said for most of the newer vaccines (Flu, HPV, Chicken Pox, Hepatitis, etc). The sole purpose for pharmaceutical companies to develop vaccines today, is for one purpose and one purpose only…money (and a lot of it). I wont be able to go into each one in detail for this post (maybe in a future one), but here are a few statistics to just give you an idea of what I am talking about.

But now, let me talk specifically about the Chicken Pox vaccine and this latest controversy.

In Maryland parents are being threatened with fines and jail if they do not comply with vaccinating their children for chicken pox. Does anyone NOT see how insane that sounds? What the bleepidy-bleep is going on????

Speaking as one of the lucky ones, who lived through “The Great Chicken Pock Pandemic” of the 1970’s…oh wait, there was no pandemic and everyone I knew got the chicken pox and a couple days off from school, and actually lived to tell the tale. For those of us old enough to remember having the chicken pox…The memories are horrifying…the pustules, the itch, the dreaded calamine lotion. If you haven’t been through it yourself, you can not begin to imagine what we suffered with for those never ending couple of days. [My attempt as sarcasm…I know, don’t quit my day job.]

Seriously now. When my children were born (and at that time the vaccine was not yet mandatory), the pediatrician told me about it, and I decided that if my children weren’t exposed to the virus before they would be attending school, then I would consider it. [CHOICE…it’s a beautiful thing, but becoming more and more rare in our society.] My reservations had nothing to do with a possible adverse reaction to the vaccine…It was the fact that, getting chicken pox as a child is not serious, and getting the virus actually gives a life-long immunity (the vaccine does not). I also wondered why anyone would consider this vaccine, when there was already an anti-viral medication available, that reduced the severity of the symptoms and cut the duration of the illness?

READ FULL POST AT CatherineBlog.com

Posted in children, current events, daughters, Health, hpv vaccine, kids, opinion, parenting, political, thoughts, Women, YouTube | 4 Comments »

My First YouTube Video: Made for the 10Questions project.

Posted by Catherine Morgan on November 12, 2007

10Questions:  My Health Care Question for the Presidential Candidates — by Catherine Morgan (cross-posted at BlogHer)

Morra Aarons asked me if I would contribute to the 10 Questions project, by making a video question about the issue of healthcare.

The questions are taken from the BlogHer Voter Manifesto.

As Morra Aarons wrote earlier this week, 10Questions is “a giant, web-wide contest where anyone can submit an online video question, view others’ questions, and vote for their favorite. At the end of the voting period, the top ten questions will be submitted to presidential candidates for answering. It’s like the CNN/YouTube Debate on steroids.”

READ FULL POST FROM LISA STONE

I was very flattered to be asked, and excited to participate. There was only one problem…I didn’t have a web-cam, and I had no idea how to make a video for YouTube…I guess that’s two problems, huh?

You can see the full post and my first ever YouTube video, at BlogHer.

Posted in 10questions, about me, blogging, chronic illness, Health, life, opinion, political, Politics, thoughts, Women, YouTube | 1 Comment »