Forced Sterilization of Native American Women

While surfing the web to find out a little more about Native American culture, I came across information that I found unbelieveable. It was shocking for me to learn that in the 1970s, U.S. doctors forced sterilization and abortions on Native American women! Of course I had known about unethical practices performed on minority populations in the late 1800s and in the first half of the twentieth century… but in the 1970s??? What may be the most horrific part of the investigations was the discovery that it was physicians and healthcare professionals in the Indian Health Service who coerced these women. These healthcare professionals’ coercive tactics included the threat of taking custody of the women’s children (the ones already born) or refusal of any healthcare provisions for them in the future. Many doctors were paid by the U.S. government (by contract) every time they performed a sterilization.

I listened to the audio file below and learned a great deal about this subject.  I hope you are able to download the file. It is about 20-25 minutes long but well worth listening to.

The Center for Bioethics & Human Dignity also published an essay about this topic by an MD named Gregory W. Rutecki. I have provided the link to the essay below.

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Boycott Botswana Tourism

botswanaWe have been reading and studying about the !Kung San people. There is a serious situation in in Botswana and Cultural Survival is calling for people to sign and circulate a petition. The Khoisan peoples are being denied basic rights and pushed off of lands dedicated to tourism. Check out the following link to become more informed.

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Do You Know About CEDAW?

On December 18, 1979, the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW); an international agreement designed to codify standards that would eliminate all forms of economic, political, and social discrimination against women and hold nations around the world accountable for injustices visited upon them.  Despite the overwhelming support that CEDAW has garnered around the world, to date, the United States has not ratified the Convention. For many, this would call into question the U.S. commitment to specify, guarantee, and protect the rights of women in our country.  In response to the inaction of our federal government, a few national women’s organizations such as the NGO Committee on the Status of Women/New York (NGO/CSW NY), have begun to organize grass-roots movements to bring CEDAW to the local level.  One such effort is the Cities for CEDAW campaign which hopes to recruit 100 cities by December 2016. In our state, the North Carolina General Assembly passed a resolution in 1999 to support the passage of CEDAW at the federal level. In 2009, WomenNC was founded with one of its main goals being to engage in efforts to pass CEDAW.  Raleigh is the first city to launch a CEDAW Cities campaign in NC (in May of 2015). A coalition consisting of six women’s advocacy groups, local politicians, and residents was created for the express purpose of forwarding the “CEDAW City” agenda for Raleigh. I wrote to the WomenNC organization and I heard back from one of their staff.  She stated that she is very optimistic that Raleigh the first city in North Carolina to be named a CEDAW City – and predicts it will be soon! Keep your fingers crossed!

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Interested in working to help women in Ghana this summer?

Saha Global (formerly known as Community Water Solutions) empowers women in rural communities to solve their village’s need for clean water and electricity by providing business opportunities. How do we do it? We bring leaders from around the world to Ghana through our Global Leadership Program where they train local women to launch profitable social enterprises. All of the revenue from these businesses stays in the community and is managed by the women entrepreneurs.

Learn about Saha’s Positions in Ghana
Free, online info session Wednesday, February 17th

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This “Men’s Rights” Group Wants To Make Rape Legal

I have seen this “men’s rights” group all over social media recently. This leader is getting a lot of publicity recently and has been trying to set up meetings in different countries. His viewpoint is that “rape should be legal if it is done on private property.” One of the current strategies that is becoming popular is not to teach the victim how to prevent being rape but teach the perpetrator male or female not to rape. This man is claiming this will teach women not to care about being raped and not want to take responsibility for “easily preventable situations.” I am absolutely outraged with this group and cannot believe they are obtaining such a following! I would not feel safe at all knowing that I was near one of these public group meetings.

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Women and Zika Virus

Why are governments telling women in Central America not to get pregnant when there are few health facilities available and women have  limited access to contraception and/or abortion? Wouldn’t it make more sense for governments like the one in El Salvador to do a campaign for men, telling them to use condoms and not get women pregnant??

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Sex Trafficking During the Superbowl?

With the Super Bowl coming up, I found this article to be interesting to read in relation to how we talked about human trafficking not too long ago. The article questions whether there is a strong relationship between major sporting events and human trafficking. This is something I didn’t realize has been happening in the United States for years. After reading the statistics, it’s evident that high-profile events attract more people, which in return brings in profit for sex trafficking.


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Something new with the Zika virus

On February 1, The World Health Organization declared a global emergency over the rapidly spreading Zika virus. The WHO was quoted as saying that it is an “extraordinary event” and that it poses a threat to the rest of the world. This statement was made after an emergency meeting was called because of the unusually high number of babies born with brain defects and small heads in Brazil since the virus was detected there last year.

The Zika virus is a mosquito-borne disease that usually does not result in serious illness. Researchers now suspect, however, that it is causing serious birth defects. The World Health Organization predicts that it will spread to all countries in the Americas. The past four months have seen 4,000 cases of the virus in Brazil alone.

Although there have been cases of the virus in Texas before now, Dallas Co. Health and Human Services is especially concerned with one case there. Dallas County Health and Human Services said the patient was infected after having sexual contact with an someone who apparently contracted the virus while in Venezuela. The person from Venezuela also has the virus.

“Now that we know Zika virus can be transmitted through sex, this increases our awareness campaign in educating the public about protecting themselves and others,” said Zachary Thompson, DCHHS director. “Next to abstinence, condoms are the best prevention method against any sexually-transmitted infections.”

The Center for Disease Control says that it does not have any valid information regarding the infectious time period but it will provide the public with guidance as it learns more about the virus.  In the meantime, the CDC advises that those who are exhibiting symptoms, or those who have had sexual contact with someone who has symptoms, should seek immedicate medical care. The CDC also advises that these individuals should avoid getting any further mosquito bites and to that they should avoid any further unprotected sex.

For more information on the Dallas case, see below:


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Return Of Kings

I’m sure many of you know who Sophia Bush is, the actress that starred as Brooke Davis on the hit show One Tree Hill. Today on Twitter, she posted a link to an article about the Return of Kings. With us having discussed rape in todays class, I felt compelled to share the link with the rest of you.

The Return Of Kings is a community of men who “aim to usher the return of the masculine man in a world where masculinity is being increasingly punished and shamed in favor of creating an androgynous and politically-correct society that allows women to assert superiority and control over men”. You can read their full list of “community beliefs” here.

I personally don’t agree with any of their beliefs, but they have gained a lot of momentum this past year and have set out to recruit even more “masculine men” on February 6, 2016. They have managed to organize 165 meetings in 43 different countries, and are open to requests for hosting in cities not listed. I am aware of a few feminist groups that are planning to show up at the intended meeting locations hoping to bring public awareness to the controversial “pro-rape” and “anti-women” rhetoric. While these beliefs might not be threatening when privately practiced, this group continually publishes their beliefs online in hopes of expanding their followers.

Here is a list of a few posts:

8 Things That Make A Girl Stupid And Useless

Why You Should Avoid Women Who Claim Rape At All Costs

5 Simple Steps For Not Getting Raped

Women Should Not Be Allowed To Vote

I focused more on the group’s beliefs toward women, but the Return Of Kings have equally degrading posts about anything that does not meet their heterosexual male criteria.

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Should HPV vaccines be mandatory in developing nations to ensure women’s health?

This issue would make a good paper topic. We know women die from cervical cancer in large numbers in many developing nations. Mandatory HPV vaccination would cut this death rate, but at what cost? It is projected that it would

take up most of the entire health budget in India. If not, then decisions have to be made about who gets the vaccine and what they have to pay. The abstract from the article below sums up the issues. What do you think?

Int J Equity Health. 2011; 10: 27.
Published online 2011 Jun 30. doi:  10.1186/1475-9276-10-27
PMCID: PMC3143925

Global challenges of implementing human papillomavirus vaccines


Human Papillomavirus vaccines are widely hailed as a sweeping pharmaceutical innovation for the universal benefit of all women. The implementation of the vaccines, however, is far from universal or equitable. Socio-economically marginalized women in emerging and developing, and many advanced economies alike, suffer a disproportionately large burden of cervical cancer. Despite the marketing of Human Papillomavirus vaccines as the solution to cervical cancer, the market authorization (licensing) of the vaccines has not translated into universal equitable access. Vaccine implementation for vulnerable girls and women faces multiple barriers that include high vaccine costs, inadequate delivery infrastructure, and lack of community engagement to generate awareness about cervical cancer and early screening tools. For Human Papillomavirus vaccines to work as a public health solution, the quality-assured delivery of cheaper vaccines must be integrated with strengthened capacity for community-based health education and screening.

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