Happy New Year!

Photo by foxypar4

Happy New Year!

The Real Controversy About Rick Warren's Inaugural Invocation

Forget separation of Church and State, debasing women, and support for Proposition 8. The real problem with choosing Rick Warren to deliver the inaugural invocation is...wait for it...that Warren might mention the wrong god in his prayer!

Rabbi Burt Visotzky, a professor at the Jewish Theological Seminary, the flagship institution of Conservative Judaism, has the best take on this:

"For me as a Jew, hearing the name of a first-century rabbi isn't the worst thing in the world, but it's not my God."

ROTFLMAO, indeed.

A Spy Like Everybody

Photo by Hamed Saber

Between our allies steeling classified military documents from us and our enemies, allegedly, acquiring the secret of the hydrogen bomb from an atomic spy at the Los Alamos weapons lab you have to wonder, do other countries even bother with their own military R&D?

Dog Zen

The Rule of Dog: Here's something guaranteed to put a smile on your face as you start your week.

Independent Mortgage Brokers "Are the Whores of the World"

Herbert and Marion Sandler
Richard A. Wright/The New York Times

Meanwhile, Herbert and Marion Sandler, the lenders who pioneered “Pick-A-Pay” (the Typhoid Mary of the mortgage industry) and who used brokers to generate some 60% of the loan business for World Savings Bank, the mortgage lender ran by the couple, are highly ethical, virginal innocents.

Merry Christmas!

And Happy Holidays to you and your families!

The Birth Control Pill Available Over-the-Counter

Photo by nateOne

In the UK, that is.

[Did you really, even for a moment, think that US politicians would put the health of women of repro age above the interests of assorted religionists by allowing women to make their own medical decisions? Silly, silly you!]

So, back to London:

Pilot schemes to enable pharmacists to give women the Pill without the need for a GP prescription will go ahead next year.

Two London primary care trusts (PCTs) have received cash to act as pilot sites to see if the scheme is suitable for rolling out across England.

Women will be able to obtain the oral contraceptive after an interview with a qualified pharmacist.

If the pilots are successful, the Pill could be put on the same footing as the morning-after pill, which is already available at pharmacies without direct authorisation from a doctor.

Health minister Lord Darzi insisted last year that "robust" standards would be put in place to ensure that staff were up to the job.


A spokeswoman for the Department of Health said: "We will be receiving quarterly updates from SHAs on improving access to contraceptive services and will be working with them to assess the success of the schemes in their areas."

She added: "Any woman who receives contraception from a pharmacy without a prescription can still expect a full consultation with a health professional such as pharmacist or a nurse. We want to improve women's access to contraception and help reduce the number of unintended pregnancies without undermining patient safety."

Needless to say, I think this is a very good idea. Start out small, evaluate as you go along, work out the inevitable kinks and tweak as needed, and see if the intervention has the desired effect. You know, reality-based health care.

If you recall, a study that looked at the ability of US women to self-screen for contraindications to Pill use concluded that:

The percentage of women who incorrectly self-identified as not contraindicated (6.7%) is similar to the proportion of actual pill users in the US who are contraindicated for use (6%). Over-the-counter provision of COCs [combination Pill] would likely be safe, especially for younger women and if independent blood pressure screening were encouraged.

The sad part is that it's hard to imagine a scenario in this country where science and the female patients' best medical interest would be considered legitimate reasons to make the Pill available over-the-counter.

Plan B TV Ad

Photo via

Just saw, for the first time ever, an ad for Plan B on We tv (shown during a program on female criminals, heh!).

It's not yet online anywhere and I'd like to view it at least one more time before critiquing it, but, overall, good for We for airing an ad about emergency contraception.

Essure Permanent Birth Control

Photo via

Of course, there is another choice for couples who don't want to take any chances [with female sterilization]--right, gents? But twice as many married women as married men in the U.S. get sterilized. "I would've gotten a vasectomy, if that's what she wanted," says Theresa Jackson's husband Mike. "But then we talked about Essure," he says. "And I'm a sissy."

More on Essure and Adiana (also, here).

The Female Condom

Photo by sylvar

Q: Which female birth control method is classified by the FDA as a Class 3 Medical Device (more regulation, more expensive to produce), while the corresponding male method is classified as a Class 2 Medical Device (less regulation, cheaper to produce)?


WEGO Health Interview

Photo by boliyou

Head on over to WEGO Health to find out what I have in common with Mighty Mouse, and the real reason why I blog.

Forty is the New Twenty When It Comes to Pregnancy

Photo by SantaRosa

Advances in full ovarian transplant techniques--using a full ovary and reconnecting the blood supply to feed the graft--have led to the live birth of a healthy baby girl, reports Dr. Sherman Silber of the Infertility Center of St. Louis.

Commenting on the potential of full ovarian transplant, Silber identified two groups of patients who stand to benefit from the technique, if frozen ovaries turn out to be as viable:

"One is the young cancer patient who is about to lose all her ovarian function as she's about to undergo chemotherapy. We just take that ovary out, freeze it and transplant it back. That's one big payoff," he said in a telephone interview.

The other, he acknowledged, is more controversial: extending the time a woman is fertile.

Women in their 20s could have one of their two ovaries removed so it can be frozen. "If she's 40 or 45 when she has it transplanted back, it's still a 25- or 30-year-old ovary, so she's preserving her fertility," he said. "We've actually done it for quite a few patients. I think there will be many more women who will want to do that.
I don't see what's so controversial about extending the time a woman is fertile, but one thing is certain. This development goes a long way to lending credence to the "40 is the new 20" meme.

In Support of Jon Favreau

Photo via

Wow, you can't help but feel for incoming Obama administration director of speechwriting Jon Favreau!

If only he'd used a cardboard cutout of Michelle Obama instead of one of Hillary Clinton, there'd be no question that his behavior was quite acceptable, excusable, and inconsequential, not to mention entirely appropriate for a professional who has been vetted for a White House job.


Vatican Prepares for War With the United States

Q: When is lying and calling for a foreign religious potentate to threaten our legislators in order to interfere with the passage of laws acceptable?

A: Do you even have to ask?

(Freedom of Choice Act)

Chlamydia Testing and Treatment Without Prescription

Looks like people in the UK are now able to walk into a pharmacy and have access to Chlamydia Test and Treat services:

Members of the public can purchase a chlamydia test kit from any participating pharmacy for £25, send a urine sample for testing and, if a positive result is returned, purchase treatment over the counter for a further £20. Testing of samples is included in the cost of the test kit, with results returned either direct to the customer or to the pharmacy where the test kit was purchased – or both.

Azithromcyin is available as Clamelle Tablets for people 16 years and over who have tested positive for chlamydia but have no symptoms and for their sexual partners.

Pharmacists can only supply Clamelle tablets to individuals who are confirmed as having a positive Nucleic Acid Amplification Technique (NAAT) chlamydia test result and to their sexual partners (without them needing to take a test).

Meanwhile, here in the US, our beloved politicians are still trying to decide if [female] patients can walk and chew gum at the same time, while principled pharmacists insist that dispensing meds is all about them.