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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Fabulously Feminist News

The Dangerous Masquerade of “Crisis Pregnancy Centers”

These fake medical centers try to fool college students in order to spread an anti-abortion message.

A new study just released by the Feminist Majority Foundation (FMF) reveals nearly half of college health centers refer students seeking reproductive health care to so-called "crisis pregnancy" or "pregnancy resource" centers. These centers pose as comprehensive health clinics, luring women in with promises of "free" pregnancy tests and "options" counseling for unintended pregnancies.

In reality, many of these centers attempt to coerce and intimidate women out of considering abortion as an option, and prevent women from receiving neutral and comprehensive medical advice. They are typically run by anti-abortion volunteers who are not licensed medical professionals. Crisis pregnancy centers also often spread false information, such as the disproved and discredited claims that abortions increase the risk of breast cancer and frequently cause mental trauma.

Of the 398 campus health centers at four-year colleges that responded to FMF's national survey – accounting for 34 percent of the total student population in the country attending four-year schools – 48 percent routinely refer women who might be pregnant to crisis pregnancy centers. "So-called crisis pregnancy centers are targeting young women by advertising in student newspapers and on billboards located on and near campuses. And most recently, these centers have started advertising on social networking sites popular with college students," says FMF's Nikki Border. "They urge campus health centers to include crisis pregnancy centers in student referral lists.""

Any attempt to delay care and try and scare a woman into keeping an unwanted pregnancy only serves to put her at higher risk—especially if she has an ectopic pregnancy," says Beth Jordan, M.D., a women's health specialist and medical director of the FMF.

The Feminist Majority Foundation's CHOICES Program helps student reproductive health activists launch campaigns on their campuses to warn students about these fake clinics.


ACLU Questions Segregation in Mobile, Alabama School

The American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Alabama sent a letter last week to the Mobile County School System, the largest school system in Alabama, warning that mandatory sex segregation policies are illegal. Hankins Middle School, one of the system's schools, was segregated by sex for the 2008-2009 school year and currently has no co-educational options. This move was allegedly made without notifying students’ parents and goes so far as to prohibit students from interacting socially with those of another sex, according to the ACLU.

The letter (see PDF) states that the segregation reported to the ACLU by parents of students at Hankins Middle School "appears to violate Title IX and its implementing regulations, the Equal Educational Opportunities Act (EEOA), and the Constitution."

According to Allison Neal, ACLU Alabama staff attorney, "mandatory sex segregation in public schools is not only clearly against the law, it's also an empty promise for failing schools…Inevitably these experimental programs deny equal opportunity to girls and boys and distract much needed time and money from efforts that we know work like smaller classes, highly trained teachers, sufficient funding and involved parents."


Professional Japanese Baseball League Drafts First Woman Player

Sixteen-year-old pitcher Eri Yoshida became the first woman to be drafted by a professional Japanese baseball league this week. Negotiations are still being made, but Yoshida could become the first woman to share the field with professional male players, breaking a huge barrier for female athletes.

According to
Fox News, Yoshida, who began playing baseball in second grade, said in a news conference, "I want to pitch against men." Known for her knuckleball, Yoshida pitched to eight batters in her November tryouts without giving up one hit.

It was only about 10 years ago that Japanese women were allowed to join little league teams other than softball. Yoshida's recruitment has been met with skepticism, but opens a new door for aspiring women professional athletes.

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