Whose Uterus is it Anyways?

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I know it is not Mitt Romney’s. I posted over a year (A YEAR!!) ago about the attacks on Planned Parenthood on my old blog in February of 2011. And yet, women’s battle for reproductive freedoms continues to rage on today. Republicans are still fighting to advance even more severe legislation surrounding women’s health.

First there are the conscience clauses that allow health-care providers and pharmacists to refuse to administer services related to contraception, like birth control or plan B. Granted, living in NYC where Duane Reades and Walgreens are on every corner, this might not seem like a big deal. But in rural, isolated counties where one pharmacy is the only game in town? It’s essentially cutting off women’s access to medications they were previously entitled to have, and protected by law.

Then there are these pesky personhood amendments that are fighting to mark pregnancy as the moment of implantation of a fertilized egg, and give those fertilized eggs the rights of a human being. Think about that—implantation is weeks before an over the counter pregnancy test could even let a lady know she’s knocked up, and up to 50% of fertilized eggs don’t even result in pregnancy. And yet, giving these zygotes human rights criminalizes all abortion and plan B. That’s only a shade away from directly putting women’s lives in danger in cases of ectopic pregnancy, or extreme pulmonary hypertension when sadly the choice comes down to saving a mother’s live or the fetus’s.

One of the things that I value most about being a woman in a free and democratic nation is the ability to do what I please with my own body. It sounds cheesy, I know. And my friends and I always joke around about that line they teach you in Health class, “It’s my body, I’ll do what I want.” Maybe we changed it around a little in retrospect, but the message is the same. I have control over my body, and I can decide if I want to have sex, have a baby, prevent having a baby. Then after that, I have the resources to obtain health care for whatever choice I make. Simply put, being able to control what we do with our own bodies, to have autonomy over our uterus’s is a fundamental prerequisite to having control over our own lives as women.

Fact. Even a woman who wants to get married, lead a traditional married life, and have two kids will be avoiding pregnancy for approximately thirty years. While pro-life activist say that avoiding pregnancy is simple—abstinence—what about women’s inherent right to choose to have sex if she wants without the risk of pregnancy? Is anyone else a little surprised that the men aren’t fighting a little more vocally in this battle? These attacks are still linking women’s sexuality to loose morals, promiscuity, and all sorts of other evil, when the reality is that married women in monogamous relationships with their husbands are going to be affected. Limiting women’s access to contraception or abortion is essentially saying that a woman cannot plan her pregnancies around having a good job, and a stable marriage. She cannot choose to advance her career and then have kids. She cannot decide that children are well, just something she never wanted without constantly dodging pregnancy for three decades of her life.

Not only that, many women take the pill to avoid other negative health outcomes like ovarian cysts, to relieve pain associated with endometriosis, and to clear up acne. An abundance of research shows that the introduction of the birth-control pill is associated with better life out comes for women. More women completed higher education, and the pay gap narrowed. The ability to obtain birth control is linked to higher hourly wages (read: success) for women. The attacks on contraception are undermining not just women’s reproductive rights, but advances that women have made in equality, the workplace, and independence by even deigning to say that anyone (especially the mostly male politicians making these decisions) should have control over her own bodily affairs.

It seems simple, but the reality is that women around the world don’t have these freedoms. In the United States, if someone attacks a woman and forces her to commit sexual acts, that person can be prosecuted. If a woman is raped, and decides she doesn’t want to carry her attacker’s baby, she has legal access to abortion. Here, if a woman finds herself being abused by her partner, she can leave the marriage and seek help at a medical facility or crisis center. If she contracts a sexually transmitted disease, there are places to seek treatment. These things set us apart from much of the world. Let’s keep it that way, and not take HUGE step backward in the wrong direction.

Vote on November 6th. Do your research and find out where all the candidates in your area stand on women’s reproductive rights using plannedparenthoodaction.org. Contact your legislators. Support planned parenthood and the national women’s health network with donations and/or volunteer support.

Life with Dogs

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Life with Dogs is an entire website devoted to touching stories about your favorite pet (although there is a link to Life with Cats for those feline lovers out there). It has feature stories on pet news from breed bans to regulations on retail pet sales. There’s a healthy section of fan photos, an area to adopt, and a place where you can submit photos of your own favorite pup. Best of all there’s heartwarming posts about dogs rescuing pups from a fire, police officers adopting “vicious” dogs and strangers coming together to rescue a stranded dog. Be prepared to spend hours.

Have to Have High Low

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If I see one more girl walking down the street in an adorable mini skirt with a gauzy chiffon tail billowing behind her I might die of jealousy. In this transitional season between summer and early fall, these high-low skirts are the best of both worlds between your mini and maxi.

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Your legs don’t stick to the back of your chair, but you don’t have to hide those tanned stems behind a floor length hemline just yet. The chiffon overlay on opaque mini adds a sense of sneaking a peek of skin. Their shape lends itself to blowing in the breeze giving the whole look a sense of drama that you just can’t get from that leopard print short skirt you lived in all summer down the shore. Long story short (see what I did there?) they’re a must have for these last few weeks (hopefully month!) of warm weather. These two are available for purchase at Lulu’s.

When You’re Moving and You Don’t Want to Pack All Your Stuff

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Moving is the worst. Actually, it’s not so much the actual moving that’s a pain in the neck (if you hire movers like I do), but all the packing leading up to it that makes things difficult. It always seems like there isn’t that much to do, until you start emptying out closets and realizing how much you had squirelled away in hidden corners that you forgot all about long ago. I’ll be moving at the end of the month, and have been dealing with sorting through four years of clutter I accumulated in my current apartment.

In college, we all got used to packing up and moving several times a year. Into the dorms, out of the dorms and back to our parent’s houses again, then repeat-in the frantic frequent moves, it was easy to just bring everything you brought the last time. Then when I moved after college, I simply hadn’t accumulated enough stuff to get rid of anything. The name of the game was getting more furniture, not emptying out. Now I am upgrading to a better location and a smaller space and am using it as an opportunity to ditch any belongings that I don’t really love, or never really use.

And the best way to get rid of stuff it to have others come and take it away for you. If you have an item that you don’t plan to take with you, don’t pay the movers just to take it to the curb, post it on Craig’s List as free, and get someone to come take it away. No matter how bad shape it’s in, there’s always someone who will want it if they don’t have to pay for it.

Instead of wasting time packing all your soft things (think all your clothes, extra sheets and towels) buy contractor grade garbage bags. I like the 3 ML ones. You can stuff them full, and they’re so thick they almost never rip. It also makes it easier to pack up your bedding really quickly that morning before the movers come.

Once you’ve arrived in your new location, I’ve found inviting over a couple of friends and fixing some cocktails makes the whole unpacking process a lot less painful. They can give you opinions on which furniture arrangement looks best, if that painting is really level, and keep you from dying of boredom when you re-hang every item of clothing in your closet. Just make sure you clearly label the box with your corkscrew and your cups.