Elizabeth's picture

Q: When is an abortion not an abortion?

A: When it is a selective reduction

I don't imagine this post is going to make me popular.

Today's New York Times has an article about the very painful choices faced by prospective parents who make use of fertility treatments, find that they are pregnant with multiples, and then are faced with the risk of those pregnancies - both to the hopeful mom and the soon to be children. Successful fertility treatments often produce multiples because hormones are used to stimulate egg production or because multiple embryos are implanted. But because being pregnant wtih twins or triplets or even more developing fetuses is risky, and because children born from those pregancies are more likely to be born very premature and are thus at risk for greater and more serious health problems than babies born from singleton pregnancies, doctors sometimes counsel prospective parents to consider "selective reduction" where some fetuses are eliminated.

I am not going to write about the painful choice this must be. I am not going to write about whether or not such fertility treatments are ethical given their potential for resulting in pregnancies risky enough to warrent advising abortion. Nor am I going to address the fact that in vitro treatments require the creation of more embroys than anyone intends to implant. I am not even going to write about whether we should be spending so much health care money on helping people to reproduce and then paying for the complications that occur as a result of those treatments. Not today anyway.

Today all I am going to write about is the use of the term "selective reduction" itself.

Elizabeth's picture

Progress NEVER comes fast enough. But it comes.

Winning rights isn't about patience. It is about persistence and perseverance and the recognition of progress that it happens.

President Obama speaking to the Human Rights Campaign meeting last night.

A wonderful orator, he started with gratitude for the opportunity to open for Lady GaGa. He went on to say many important things but one was "None of us wants to be defined by just one part of what makes us whole" after saying that every issue he deals with touches on the LGBT community: jobs, war, schools, health care. EVERYTHING is an LGBT issue. And he recognized progress made in some areas specific to LBGT communities while acknowledging that progress has not come fast enough in other areas, saying that it was not for him to counsel patience any more than it would have been appropriate to counsel patience for African Americans during the civil rights movement.

Meanwhile in DC: 

 

What progress:

  • President Obama attended the HRC event and promised to sign the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Bill next week.
  • President Obama acknowledged that LGBT residents are denied their full rights and responsibilities as citizens, but also that justice is not done by seeing people for a single part of their identities.
  • President Obama indicated that he supported an inclusive ENDA.
  • President Obama said we are going to end the discriminatory practice of keeping people out of the country based on HIV/AIDS status.
  • President Obama indicated that we are moving ahead on Don't Ask Don't Tell.
  • President Obama called for the rest of us to pressure him to make the case across America that these changes and others need to be made.

Is there much more that needs to be done.

Yes.

Can we do it?

Yes, we can.

(Do I still get a thrill out of typing 'President Obama'? Yes, I do!)

Elizabeth's picture

"Doing it Decent" answers your questions about sexual ethics

There are lots of sex advice columns out there. Most deal with practical, technical, emotional and idenity-related questions about sex. Now there is a place you can go to get your ethics questions answered. Cory Silverberg, the sexuality guide at About.com launched Doing it Decent, a twice-a-month column that will address your thorny sexual ethics dilemmas.

Here's a peek at the first two questions:

My girlfriend and I both work from home and last Wednesday we took a lunch break to go for a walk in our local park (which I’ll add is usually deserted). I was feeling bored and horny and suggested to my girlfriend that we have sex in an area almost completely hidden by bushes. She didn’t want to and said it was wrong, I think she’s just a prude. Is there anything to her argument?

Read the answer here.

 

BeckySharp's picture

Grand Opening of the Center for Sexual Pleasure and Health Censored by Pawtucket, RI Mayor in Response to Anonymous Complaint

By Rebecca Chalker, author of The Clitoral Truth and articles on sexuality and women’s health.

The Center for Sexual Pleasure and Health, new non-profit educational organization focusing pleasure and sexual advocacy issues, was scheduled to hold its Grand Opening in Pawtucket, Rhode Island on Saturday, September 26.  The Center’s Director is Megan Andelloux, a graduate of the University of Rhode Island (1997) and a Certified Sexuality Educator of the American Association of Sexuality Education, Counselors, and Therapists (AASECT) and a Board Certified Sexologist by the American College of Sexologists.

Last week Andelloux, learned that the Pawtucket City Council had received a complaint “warning” about the Center’s opening and premier event.  “I was then informed that without proper zoning and event licenses, I would be arrested if I held the event in Pawtucket,” she says.  “Although I had landlord approval and the building is zoned for retail, business, entertainment, and office use, I was told that I had to get a special zoning application for ‘education’ and approval,” which typically takes up to two months.  She had to scramble to find alternative space in which to hold the Grand Opening event and retained a lawyer.

The  Grand Opening will be a three-hour extravaganza of sex-positive, health-promoting information featuring nationally recognized experts including Bill Taverner, former Director of Education for Planned Parenthood of Greater Northern New Jersey, Gina Ogden Ph.D., psychologist and author of The Return of Desire, Barbara Carrellas, author of Urban Tantra, Elizabeth Wood, founder of Sex in the Public Square, an online community forum devoted to sexuality issues, myself, and Carol Queen, Director of the Center for Sex and Culture, a similar educational forum in San Francisco sex-positive sexuality education and support to diverse populations.  It may be no coincidence that Queen and her partner Robert Lawrence, had a similar call about their Center recently.

Elizabeth's picture

Stimulus Response?

This is the cover of a 1930s pinup magazine. Sweet. Demure. Not the kind of thing you might expect to find in today's adult entertainment world. Yet there is something on the cover of this magazine that is much more radical - way more out there - than anything you'd probably find at your adult book store today. It's so subtle you could miss it. Mick Farren at Adult Video News nearly missed it when he happened upon some Cupids' Capers covers. It's a little blue eagle under the S in Capers. What is it? Take a look:

Elizabeth's picture

A new sex education center is born

Next weekend, on September 26th, I'll be speaking at the grand opening of the Center for Sexual Pleasure and Health, a nonprofit resource center run by certified sex educator Megan Andelloux. I'll be on a panel with some of my role models in the world of sex education and research: Carol Queen, Becky Chalker, Barbara Carellas, Gina Ogden and Bill Taverner. I'm also very excited about the screenings of Tara Hurley's Happy Endings? and At Your Cervix by Amy Jo Goddard and Julie Carlson.

I admire Megan's work a great deal and was thrilled to be invited to participate in the grand opening of her center. Several times I've been struck by the courage she's shown in the simple act of including the word "Pleasure" in the name of her center. It shouldn't require courage to pair pleasure and health in talking about sex, doing sex education work, or naming sexuality resource centers, and yet it does. Sexual pleasure is a lightening rod in this culture. Pairing pleasure and health takes special courage because while we are willing - sometimes, grudgingly - as a society to spend money on sexual health education we are most unwilling as a society to spend money on sexual pleasure. Publicly recognizing that sexual health and pleasure go together could seem very threatening not only to those whose conservatism requires the public denial of most sexual pleasure in the first place, but also for those who depend on the health discourse to legitimize their sex-related work in the eyes of funders. Megan's insistance that sexual pleasure is an integral part of sexual health is admirable for its honesty in the face of tremendous pressure to disguise or hide the connection.

Anyway, I mention all of this because Megan recently published a piece on Carnal Nation (where Chris Hall, co-founder of Sex In The Public Square lives these days) that reflects on the challenges she's faced in getting her center born. I asked her if I could reprint it here, she said yes, and so here it is, below the fold.

Elizabeth's picture

Intersections

While I blog mostly about sex and society, my partner Will blogs mostly about New York Harbor, working waterfront issues, and takes fabulous pictures of tugboats, and in rare moments of synchronicity our interests blend in beautiful and unexpected ways.

One recent such blending occured when I chose the location of my Sex Blogger Calendar photo shoot. We shot it on Frying Pan, a beautiful yet decaying light ship that now serves as part of a floating bar and grille at Pier 66 on the Hudson River. I love exploring the artifacts of urban industrial history. I also think boats - workboats in particular - are pretty sexy. So when Will said he had connections and we got permission to shoot there I was thrilled. (To get a sneak peek at the shoot click here.)

Another unexpected intersection between our worlds occured last weekend when we spent Sunday at the Great North River Tugboat Race and Competition, the Working Harbor Committee's annual celebration of New York City's working waterfront. More than a dozen tugs participated and we ended up gathering afterwards with Will's sister, some of my friends from sex-blogger circles, and some of Will's friends from waterblogger circles. Several children rounded out the group and we all had a great time

But the most recent intersection between waterblogger and sexblogger worlds came just yesterday. We spent Friday and Saturday in Waterford, NY (a bit north of Albany where the Hudson River turns into the Erie canal headed west and Champlain canal headed north). We were there for the annual Tugboat Roundup. I was chatting with Don Sutherland, a prominent working harbor photographer and journalist, sipping wine, and waiting for the fireworks to start (best fireworks ever!) when the subject of my blog came up. He pointed to the tug attached to the fireworks barge. It was New York State Marine Highway's Mame Faye. He asked me if I knew who Mame Faye had been. I did not. So he told me.

Melissa Ditmore's picture

review of Siddarth Kara's Sex trafficking

Here is a short excerpt from my review of Siddarth Kara's book Sex Trafficking for the  Women's Review of Books.

Unfortunately, although Kara understands the variety of trafficking situations, he is stuck on sex trafficking. He meets trafficked workers in fields such as agriculture and construction, but pursues elusive sex slaves.  He never asks any of the people he seeks out—the poor women, sex workers, child carpet-weavers, or bonded-laborer families making bricks—what would actually help them. Although he is sensitive to their plights, he is insensitive and uninterested in their needs and desires. Rather than focus on structural issues, his book turns to salacious material and hero fantasies. A romantic outsider, he pushes ineffective remedies.
....

Elizabeth's picture

Labor Day 2009 - Some thoughts on the interdependence of work

Today, Labor Day, I'm thinking about work. I look around my apartment and am awed by the amount of work required to produce everything in it. The hours of labor represented by just the items sitting on my desk is astonishing. There are about a dozen books, an eye glass case, a tape dispenser, a roll of fishing line (why do I have fishing line on my desk?), a lamp, a bottle of ink, a couple of fountain pens, a wooden top, a few CDs, one DVD (Kill the Artist, by Andreas Troeger), a cup full of pens and pencils, two flash drives, an iPod, a pack of stationery, two notebooks, a date book, a New York Times magazine ("Why women's rights are the cause of our time", Aug. 23, 2009), and that is just the layer that is visible! When I add to that the service work involved in my day to day life. And it makes me think about the many paths that lead to all that work.

Michael's picture

Science and Responsibility: A response to Margaret Brooks and Donna Hughes

Margaret Brooks and Donna Hughes of Citizens Against Trafficking (CAT) criticise our lettter to the Rhode Island legislature of July 31st raising concerns about proposed criminalisation of sex work. . In their article "International Sex Radicals Campaign to Keep Prostitution Decriminalized in Rhode Island" they claim the presence of an international conspiracy.

Syndicate content