Senate Says “No” to Medically-Accurate Sex Ed

Once again – trying to stop abortion by limiting access, rather than preventing unwanted pregnancy...

A bill to limit access to abortion for young Americans is being debated in the Senate.  In an effort to strengthen the bill, both Senators from New Jersey offered an amendment to provide funding for medically-accurate sex education that helps to delay sexual activity and give young people the information they need to make healthy decisions. They also tried to get support for programs to help parents learn how to talk with their kids about sex.  But unbelievably, I mean really unbelievably, this common sense provision could not get a majority of support in the Senate.  I honestly just do not get it – what is so terrifying about this information?  Boggles the mind.  Kudos to Senators Lautenberg and Menendez for trying.

And the Philosophical Swing of the Courts Continues…

Today the Senate confirmed ardently anti-choice and anti-woman judge Jerome Holmes to the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals. This means one more anti-choice individual who thinks that “no issue of our time is more important, not the economy, not the deficit, not health care, not foreign policy, as important as those matters are” will be a sitting judge. A believer that a wife is to subordinate herself to her husband and former president of a state-wide “right to life” coalition, Holmes believes that Roe v. Wade is contrary to the principles of natural law he finds in the Constitution. Holmes was “promoted” from the US District Court to a court that sets binding precedent. No doubt he’s hoping to have some opportunities to set new precedents sometime soon.

Boxer on Lieberman on EC and Women’s Rights

In the great tradition of the Senate, you rally 'round your own, no matter what, so here is blogger Connecticut Bob filming the "Boxer Meltdown" as reporters pepper Senator Barbara Boxer (D) about Senator Joe Lieberman's (D) position on emergency contraception, women's rights, and other issues. The video via the bloggers at Firedoglake.

You may recall that Lieberman suggested women who had been raped, and are in need of emergency contraception, should just drive, drive, drive if they can't find emergency contraception because a local individual pharmacist, or a Catholic hospital, is exercising their right of refusal, sometimes known as a conscience clause.

Senate Vote Expected on Teen Endangerment Act

Senate debate began on Friday on a bill, S. 403, otherwise known as the Teen Endangerment Act.  The bill would make it illegal for anyone other than a parent to transport a minor across state lines for an abortion.  Pro-choice Senate Democrats are expected to offer a variety of amendments to the bill in order to soften its restrictive impact, including a provision that would allow clergy and grandparents to transfer minors as well as parents.

As debate progresses and the Senate votes on the bill, which is expected to happen as early as today, Rewire will be keeping you up-to-date with more commentary.

Self-Described “Pro-Lifers” Lobby EU on Stem Cells

In the ongoing global search for reason on stem cells, the European Union yesterday refused to ban funding for stem cell research, but also refused to allow scientists to use embryos discarded following in vitro fertilization (IVF). Scientists were disappointed that the EU didn't go further, and Stephen Hawking called the manuever a "fudge." Self-described "pro-life" lobbyists, who seem more concerned with life before birth than they are with the challenges life presents to people who might benefit from this research, continued to push the argument at the EU that use of discarded IVF cells constitutes taking a human life.

Evidently discarding them doesn't.

Evidence-Based Prevention to be Highlighted at AIDS Conference

In the weeks leading up to the 16th annual conference of the International AIDS Society, to be held this year in Toronto, Canada from August 13-18, Rewire will from time to time be looking at issues related to the conference.

The Toronto Star has begun covering some of those issues as well, and today, they profile issues of censorship and misinformation promoted by the Bush Administration in the fight against HIV/AIDS. No surprises here perhaps, but the Bush Administration has attempted to limit the number of NIH and CDC employees attending the conference to 50 people, when there could potentially be hundreds from those organizations who would want to join the 26,000 other attendees from around the world.

Denialists Only Detract and Delay Scientific Progress

Denial, as the saying goes, is not just a river in Egypt.

When it comes to HIV/AIDS, denial, which leads to delay, can be deadly. Unfortunately, a handful of people continue to deny that HIV causes AIDS, creating doubt where scientifically there should be none. AIDS very clearly debunks any myths deniers succeed in ciruclating. The alternative therapies deniers promote may stregthen the immune system, promote a healthier life and are significantly less expensive than the pharmaceuticals prescribed to manage HIV. There is no denying the fact that the medications are toxic and have side effects that can be difficult to manage, and are expensive if available. But alternative therapies alone will not work.

The Blinding Whiteness of Snowflakes and the Stem Cell Veto: Master Race Anyone?

I've been following the stem cell issue and first ever veto from President Bush in a couple of previous posts, because for social conservatives the issue is linked to abortion. But in the Senate debate, and at the veto ceremony, the issue moved even closer to reproductive health with the introduction of "snowflakes."

Snowflakes refers to frozen embryos, ten percent of which are adopted by infertile, largely white, legally heterosexual, mostly Christian parents, and the other 90% are discarded ... instead of being used for life saving research for diabetes, Parkinson's, spinal cord injury, alzheimers and the list could go on and on.

President Bush was literally adrift in a blizzard of snowflakes at his veto signing, surrounded by the blinding whiteness of parents and children who participated in this ..... amazing triumph of science.

Microbicide Research: Can it Save Women’s Lives?

Microbicides are one of the most promising technologies ever for preventing HIV/AIDS. They could do more to stop the virus -- especially for women -- than any other prevention tool besides a vaccine.

A briefing on the status of microbicide research was held in Washington, D.C. this week, entitled "Microbicide Reseach, A Promising Prevention Strategy for HIV/AIDS: Can It Save Women's Lives?" A videocast of the entire presentation is available from the Kaiser Network.