LPJL Daily Takedown – September 19th, 2017

Scary Healthcare 2: Featuring Bill Cassidy and Lindsay Graham

The reviews are in… and this Obamacare Repeal sequel is the WORST one yet for women (not to mention EVERYBODY!) These two stories go deep into how it would kill abortion care coverage—on its way to killing people by doing things like blocking millions from getting preventative care at Planned Parenthood. Be afraid! And then be energized! 

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Dallas Parents Apparently Don’t Want Their Kids to Know About Abortion Or Sex Trafficking

Friday Night LOW-Lights: Actor Janine Turner, formerly of Friday Night Lights and now   Incoheranter on Fox News and other various rightwing podcasts, gave a group of Texas schoolchildren material railing against abortion and talking about sex-trafficking, all under the guise of a presentation about the Constitution and “patriotism.” Like everything from the lunatic anti-choice fringe, it was wrong—on multiple levels. 

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The Handmaid’s Tale Sweeps the Emmys, Gathers Activists, and Pisses Off Anti-Choicers

Handmaid in America! Anti-Choice whiners are pissed about the big Emmy win by “The Handmaid’s Tale” and the fact that the series is often used to point out the real-life dystopia that evangelical nutcases are trying to foist on us. Hey assholes—if you keep coming up with nightmare scenarios, somebody is likely to turn it into riveting TV. 

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The Anti-Choice Organization, 40 Days For Life, Kicks Off Its Tour of Shaming Women This Sunday!

It’s almost time for Intolerance Fest 2017! (Name not trademarked yet!) Or as participants prefer to call it, “40 Days for Life.” Starting September 27, it’s  40 days of ratcheted-up chanting, yelling, and harassment outside of clinics all over the country. We’ll keep you up to date with coverage of the intimidation AND the resistance. 

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Red Rose Rescue, Hopes to Make Abortion Clinics Its New Playground For Harassing Women

A rose by this name… smells like shit. Anti-abortion extremists in VIRGINIA and MICHIGAN are going beyond sidewalk harassment to perform CLINIC INVASIONS they call “Red Rose Rescues.” Law enforcement calls it “trespass” and 10 perpetrators have been arrested. But those behind this are encouraging people to get arrested for the sake of disrupting the clinics. These freaks will literally stop at nothing. 

PCOS Awareness Month

Today’s #DailyTakedown is brought to you by badass health teacher and guest contributor, Christina Valcarel – Mikijanic

If you have ever spent a few weeks working out, eating healthy, and not lost an ounce, raise your hand. If you find yourself shedding hair more than your other female counterparts, raise your hand. If you find yourself tweezing more than a few whiskers or nipple hairs, raise your hand. If you get your period so heavy you’d swear a small animal was slaughtered in your underwear, raise your hand. If your period comes and goes, whenever it wants to, with no rhyme or reason or pattern, raise your hand. If you have brought any of these concerns up to your doctor and been dismissed, ignored, or told “that’s just the way your body is”: RAISE (clap) YOUR (clap) HAND (clap). And you are NOT ALONE.

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) supposedly affects 1 in 10 women and is the main cause of infertility in women. I say supposedly because, in my very humble and personal opinion, more than 1 in 10 women experience the symptoms listed above, and don’t know to follow up and pester their doctors into follow up tests to receive an actual diagnosis. Not that we should HAVE TO pester a doctor into taking the time to see us as a whole picture and take the time to actually give us a diagnosis. But I digress… Let’s take a look at what PCOS actually is and what it does.

So, in a nutshell, PCOS is an endocrine disorder (like diabetes). It’s not specifically dealing with the ovaries – it’s a much bigger, broader picture. To be diagnosed with PCOS you need two of the following:

  1. Cysts on your ovaries
  2. Signs of high progesterone/testosterone
  3. Irregular menstrual cycle

(excess body hair, weight gain/ trouble losing weight, and high blood glucose are also strong indicators)

Any combination of these should be enough of a red flag for your doctor to run some further tests, although (again in my humble opinion) a lot of doctors don’t know enough about PCOS to realize these are markers. Or maybe we are too quick to accept that “this is how our bodies are” and we don’t push the issue, because women in our society have been taught to play nice… but again, I digress.

Now that we understand the markers, how do they all fit together? (And this is where it’s really amazing how the human body works.)

The pancreas starts to super crank out insulin, more than we should need, because the cells of the body are not absorbing sugar. This is called being insulin resistant. The main job of insulin is to unlock the body’s cells (any and all of them) and escort the glucose into the cell for energy. When the cells decide “No, thank you” the glucose stays in the blood. Which leads to a high blood sugar indicator on your blood test. Glucose in the blood then makes the pancreas crank out more insulin, which in turn leads to excess insulin in your system, making you hungry. You are hungry, so you eat more, which leads to more glucose in the blood. It’s a vicious cycle. Additionally, increases in insulin within the body also trigger your ovaries to produce too much progesterone. This will affect cycle regularity and also leads to irregular ovulation. MEANWHILE, your cells are not getting as much energy as they need, so while you might be eating enough to power you through a marathon, after actually running a mile your body goes – “Fuck this, we’re done here”.

You ovulate when the estrogen in your cycle hits it’s peak. When your progesterone levels are out of whack, this can affect the amount of time it takes to hit your peak – which leads to periods coming on with no rhyme or reason. Additionally, you may get a period without actually ovulating at all. As you progress through your cycle, your ovary starts to mature many eggs – called follicles (I believe the average is 12 follicles between the two ovaries, but in a person with PCOS that number can be much MUCH higher). Eventually, with the development of these follicles, one will really take off and actually release an egg. After this happens, this follicle and the other ones that were developing shrivel back and become what is known as the corpus luteus. The corpus luteus is shaped like a lifesaver and sometimes the center of the lifesaver can become filled with fluid (creating a cyst). Excess follicle production can cause ovulation to be a little uncomfortable and some people might feel cramping or discomfort in their ovaries while the follicles are developing.

So how does this work together? Insulin and progesterone go up, cells don’t get the energy that they need, increased insulin makes you hungry so you eat, more sugar in the blood, more insulin, more hangry-ness going on, more progesterone in the system, more irregularity in the cycle, and in a lot of cases weight gain from eating and the body not working correctly to burn it off.

This is enough to make anyone’s head spin, so it’s no surprise that women with PCOS are at a higher risk for depression, anxiety, diabetes, obesity, heart attack, and certain kinds of cancer.

So, when you get a diagnosis, what is the answer? How do you treat it? Many doctors will say, “Well, if you can lose weight, your hormones should regulate.” Fuck you. Some will say, “Birth control pills will help regulate the hormones.” This is like putting a bandaid on a wound that needs stitches. It masks the hormone imbalance and perpetuates it by adding hormones to your system. Although the birth control can be helpful if you are trying to manage the cysts that may be developing. You might hear, “Stress management might help because stress increases your progesterone…” ::Evil side eye while you consider everything you already do to manage your stress:: Some doctors will say, “You can try cutting out gluten, soy, dairy, and processed sugars.” The thought process behind this might be that excess soy converts to estrogen in your system, dairy stimulates progesterone production (and mucous production), and processed sugars would drive up your blood glucose level and agitate your insulin production. You can try tackle the symptoms by using medications that address the symptoms in its side effects, but many of these medications cannot be used while you are pregnant. And a lot of PCOS diagnoses occur while people are trying to get pregnant.

Right now, the cutting edge medication and treatment is Metformin. Metformin is a diabetes drug that reminds the cells that they want to process the blood glucose for energy. Blood sugar levels come down and insulin levels calm down because the cells are letting the insulin escort the sugar through. When insulin levels come down to a normal level they also stop jacking up progesterone levels. But this is not the solution for everyone.

So where do we go from here and what do we do? If you think you have any symptoms, take your concerns to your doctor (your GP or OB/GYN), express your concern about your symptoms and ask for a full blood panel – specifically make sure the panel will cover your progesterone, blood glucose, and DHEA levels. Based on the results of the test, and other symptoms you might have, your doctor may make a diagnosis or may refer you to the Endocrinologist (where you will need to repeat the cycle again before a diagnosis). Yes, it’s annoying, but at the end of the day, our bodies need us to advocate for them. Life is too short to spend it hating your body and agonizing over why it just can’t be “normal”. Knowledge is power and the more you know, the better you can understand your body and make the best health decisions for you.

Daily Takedown 6/27/17 – SCOTUS Anniversary!

Happy 1st Anniversary, Whole Woman’s Health v Hellerstedt!

YAAASSS PLUS!

One year ago today, we led off our blog post with a big fat YAAASSS! for the brand new Supreme Court ruling in Whole Woman’s Health v Hellerstedt that reaffirmed abortion rights for a new generation! Many thanks & MUCH LOVE to Amy Hagstrom Miller and the Center for Reproductive Rights for taking this fight to the courts for all of us. Because you rule, SCOTUS RULED FOR JUSTICE! !

The 5-3 Whole Woman’s Health ruling said that bogus Texas TRAP laws placed an “undue burden” on abortion providers and those seeking an abortion. The law being challenged in this case was Texas’s notorious HB2. Under the obviously bullcrap guise of protecting women’s health and safety, the law was 129 pages of regulations about the width of hallways in clinics or the type of air conditioning used. And it forced providers to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles–all regulatory red tape meant to make running a clinic impossible.  

For 43 years since Roe v Wade in 1973, anti-abortion nuts had chipped away at reproductive rights. One year ago today, the Supreme Court told them to quit chipping.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote that it was “beyond rational belief” that the Texas restrictions could protect women’s health. It was a ringing endorsement of reproductive freedom.

And lot of good has happened since. Two of the 22 Texas abortion clinics that were forced to close down in the aftermath of the TRAP laws have reopened. It doesn’t seem like a lot, but it’s a step forward. In fact, since the ruling, new laws are being drafted to actually PROTECT abortion rights–133 bills in 33 states to be exact.   

But that said, the fight is often an uphill battle. The election results and the mini Scalia Trump appointed to the Supreme Court, have been emboldened the legislative shit-stirrers who fucked with abortion rights before. They are creating a slew of new TRAP laws that yet again have nothing to do with healthcare, and everything to do with closing down clinics. The Whole Woman’s Health ruling gave us a legal precedent to challenge these onerous abortion restrictions, but that doesn’t seem to stop the crazy fucknuts from churning them out.

Since January alone, Oklahoma legislators attempted to make abortion first degree murder. Arkansas passed legislation requiring that fetal tissue from abortions performed on minors be preserved for possible police investigations! Even Creepier? Laws requiring that aborted tissue be given burial or cremation have popped up in Texas, Louisiana, and Indiana. And the safest and most common method of performing a 2nd trimester abortion has been banned in Arkansas, West Virginia, Mississippi, and of course, Texas!

But the law most likely to end up back in front of the Supreme Court in the not so distant future is the ban on any abortion performed after 20 weeks as extremists continue to push non medical quackery that could sway a hostile court to determine the lives of women based on their junk science. This ban has reared its ugly head in numerous states including Tennessee, Kentucky, Iowa, and Ohio, and is the one pushed the hardest on the federal level. And if put before the Supreme Court could, it could undermine and overturn Roe V Wade.

And because no one knows who the fuck will be on the Supreme Court in 2018 and beyond, we should all be very concerned. The 5 justices who represent the majority in Whole Woman’s Health are still on the bench, but with the addition of Gorsuch the Terrible, (And any new Trump nominees) we could be facing a very grim fate for reproductive rights.

We have already seen some ominous signs from Trump and co. Trumpcare proposes to ban insurance coverage of abortion care and to defund Planned Parenthood. His Health and Human Services  department is now stocked with  ideologues who claim that abortion causes breast cancer, birth control is a hoax, and abstinence is the cure for everything.

So yeah, there are a lot of nasty fights ahead on both the state and national level.

But let’s not forget, one year ago today, we scored a great victory! So for the next 24 hours, let’s party like it’s 2016—forever the year of Whole Woman’s Health!

And then let’s WAKE UP TOMORROW and devote ourselves to beating back whatever new trap-crap the anti-abortion forces can throw at us. Let’s champion our courageous providers and the all people who need their services. Let this anniversary be a time to recommit our unwavering support for the full humanity and bodily autonomy of everyone. And then 2017 will be a year that we can celebrate too!

LPJL Daily Takedown – June 8th, 2017

What Happens If You Lose Your Insurance While You’re Pregnant?

Romper

EXPECTING TROUBLE: Here’s an EYE-OPENING article about what happens if you lose your health insurance while you’re pregnant! That is one VERY pre-existing condition! The answers aren’t all pretty, but they’re in this article. Even under Obamacare you face a lot of bureaucratic static getting from here to maternity. But the thought of being in that situation under TrumpCare is enough to make you have a cow! Take it as more motivation to FIGHT FOR PREGNANCY RIGHTS!

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Win! Win!

Rewire

Here’s a handy guide to winning on abortion from some sisters in the fight for reproductive justice. It’s all about acknowledging the contributions of Women of Color, their innovation, strategic insights, and general bad-assery! We can WIN IT if we’re ALL IN IT.

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KANSAS’ FONT OF IGNORANCE

Wichita Eagle

That giant sucking sound you hear is the sound of reproductive rights going down the drain in the middle of the country—the sewage drain that Sam Brownback and Republican lawmakers have made from the once-great state of KANSAS. Brownback just signed Kansas’ new PAPERWORK TRAP LAW that forces abortion providers to cough up absurdly detailed paperwork including specified types of paper, ink, and even font size. Kansas just gave abortion rights a major PRINT JOB.

Film Society of Lincoln Center school mad annoyed ugh GIF

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BUCKEYE FUCKERY

WOSU and ABC 6

OHIO is just a heartbeat away from considering YET ANOTHER anti-abortion bill so extreme that GOP Governor John Kasich vetoed a prior version and even Ohio Right to Life refused to back it because it’s clearly unconstitutional. The bill bans abortion any time after a fetal heartbeat is detected… usually about SIX WEEKS! A similar bill actually passed last time and was vetoed by Kasich. Who knows if he’ll have the heart to do it again?

#tbt

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CRISIS PREGNANCY CENTERS cause CRISES

KCRG

Phony CLINICS KNOWN AS  CPC’s and other “Pro-Life” facilities that routinely lie to pregnant women may at least be held accountable in certain circumstances. The IOWA Supreme Court has ruled that parents can sue because doctors failed to warn them that their child had abnormalities that would have made them consider having an abortion had they known. This wasn’t a case of a CPC, and there’s no evidence it was done intentionally, but CPC’s lie and deceive expectant mothers routinely. This ruling might make them think twice.

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VAGICAL MYSTERY TOUR UPDATE!

Arkansas Times Interview with Lizz!

ON THE RAZORBACKS’ EDGE! Last night, Vagical Mystery Tour Comics brought down the house at Jackson, MI! The team is traveling to Little Rock, Arkansas today where we’ll bring aid and comfort to Little Rock Family Planning services, and in just two days (Saturday JUNE 10!!), The VAGICAL MYSTERY TOUR will be going HOG WILD at Vino’s in Little Rock, ARKANSAS! Check out this great local interview with LPJL’s own LIZZ WINSTEAD about the fun to come. If you’re within a stone’s throw of Little Rock this weekend, DON’T MISS THIS SHOW!