A teen girl in the United States can walk into a pharmacy and buy the emergency contraceptive Plan B. Unless she happens to live on a Native American reservation, in which case the process of acquiring Plan B will likely be more complicated.
• It turns out that Plan B—the emergency contraceptive pill that reproductive rights advocates have spent a decade trying to make accessible to all American women—may not be effective for women who weigh over 176 pounds. The European manufacturer of an identical "morning after" pill says the medication begins to lose effectiveness in women who weigh over 165 pounds, which is especially upsetting as the average weight of American women is 166 pounds. [Mother Jones]
• In case you missed it: Katy Perry's "geisha" performance at the American Music Awards was not okay. [The Atlantic]
• Immigrant rights activists calling for an end to deportations of undocumented immigrants' family members disrupted Obama's speech in San Francisco's Chinatown yesterday. [Colorlines]
• Feminista Jones explores an interesting question: Does sex addiction exist? Is there a double standard around how women are diagnosed as hypersexual? [Ebony]
• Obamacare enrollment is targetting moms, encouraging them to get their kids and communities to sign up for healthcare—a strategy that makes clear how women do a social and emotional work in communities that is often invisible. [Guardian]
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As of August, the emergency contraception pill Plan B is supposed to be available over the counter for women of all ages. This 20-minute show investigates whether that's actually true. Meet the Native American activists pushing to make emergency contraception accessible to all women. Plus, we secretly shop for Plan B in pharmacies around Portland, Oregon.
Photo: A still from Young Lakota, a documentary about women's activism in South Dakota.
“Every other race of women in this country has access to emergency contraceptives as an over-the-counter, except for native women,” says Charon Asetoyer, executive director of the Native American Women’s Health Education Resource Center who is fighting to change that reality. Most press coverage celebrating recent changes to federal law around Plan B have left at least one group behind: Native Americans. That's why Native American activists are still pushing the slow-moving bureaucracy at the Indian Health Service to make Plan B available over-the-counter for women of all ages. And while progress is being made, challenges to accessing emergency contraception remain in Native communities, where high rates of sexual assault make the need particularly dire.
In collaboration with the radio journalists at Making Contact, I put together an audio story about Native women pushing for emergency contraception access. The story will be featured in our podcast coming out later this week, but you can listen to it now or read the transcript below.
• Indiewire looks at women in sitcoms and argues that while Jess from "New Girl" has evolved over time, Mindy from "The Mindy Project" still doesn't know who she is. [Indiewire]
• Indian Health Services finally expands over-the-counter Plan B access for Native American women to be in line with federal law (though it's still not part of their policy to make it available to all ages without a prescription). Access to emergency contraception is particularly important for Native American women because of the high rates of sexual assault they face. [Feminist Majority Foundation]
• A Norwegian citizen visiting Dubai reported to police that she had been raped. The police responded by charging her with the crime of having sex outside of marriage. Thanks to international attention, she's now free—but what would have happened if she wasn't a foreigner? [Slate]
This article from The Feminist Wire re-examines the subject of black women's hair. [The Feminist Wire]
JCPenney CEO and gay advocate Ron Johnson was fired and is to be replaced by his predecessor. Johnson supported Ellen DeGeneres as the spokesperson for the company and used gay couples in advertisements. [Advocate]
Michigan Governor Rick Snyder refused to get involved when a member of the state's Republican National Committee made offensive comments about gay people on Facebook. Instead, he made vague statements condemning discrimination and bullying. [Think Progress]
In what can only be called an astounding move by an Administration that pledged on inauguration day that medical and health decisions would be based on fact not ideology and for which women are a major constituency, today Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) overruled a much-awaited decision by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to make emergency contraception (EC) available over-the-counter (OTC) to women of all ages.
The emergency contraceptive pill is now mandatorily available at US military bases worldwide. I would think there are a lot of us out there who assumed - as government employees in a situation detrimental to their health in a whole range of ways - that all US soldiers would have access to the best of health care and any prescription drugs they wanted.