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This article was originally posted in The Georgia Straight. Since then, the Wildrose Party's stance on the "conscience rights" of pharmacists has become a bigger and bigger issue. Effectively, this upstart Canadian party seeks to give the same rights to Canadian pharmacists currently enjoyed by American pharmacists -- namely that if your religion opposes the use or dispensation of a particular drug, they have the right to refuse to assist you even though the Morning After Pill -- or "Plan B" -- is completely legal, over-the-counter and currently does not come with an age restriction in Canada.
.With that said, the College of Pharmacists still supports conscience rights, even though they're not officially recognized by the government. Below is the account of one Vancouver woman's experience with an anti-choice pharmacist who not only refused to dispense the drug, but refused to give any reason for her lack of dispensation and then led the woman to believe that a prescription was necessary for first-time users.( Collapse ) This is the real problem with conscience rights -- we cannot and should not trust pharmacists who oppose the use of certain contraceptives to then follow protocol and say, "But by all means, my colleague here can help you."
By Sarah Arboleda, April 17, 2012
Editor's note: London Drugs has responded to this article. See: London Drugs apologizes to customer denied morning-after pill by anti-choice pharmacist
A few months ago, I prowled around downtown Vancouver in the early morning hours waiting for a pharmacy to open so I could buy the morning-after pill. My story was not terrifically unique: the condom broke the night before, and even though I was also using a diaphragm, I wanted to be careful.
As the London Drugs on Granville opens about an hour earlier than the rest, I headed to the back of the store to ask the pharmacist where I could find it, and how much it was, since I couldn’t find it anywhere in the store. Keep in mind that, a few weeks earlier, I’d seen the pill available and on the shelves of a local Rexall and a Shoppers Drug Mart in the far more conservative city of Surrey, so I thought they may simply have been out.
The pharmacist—a somewhat older woman in her 40s or 50s—looked me over ungracefully and said that while the pill was for sale at their location, she required me to complete a questionnaire before she would release it. I assumed this was standard procedure. She asked me a number of questions—maybe four or five—included in them whether I’d had the pill before. When I said “No” she wrapped up the interview and told me that I needed to see my doctor and that she would not allow me to buy the pill.
Again, this was a health professional employed by a major pharmaceutical retailer in Canada. Clearly she was not just acting of her own volition. Clearly this was a genuine requirement.
Actually, no. What the Canadian National Association of Pharmacy Regulatory Authorities (NAPRA) stated in 2008 was that Plan B was now an over-the-counter drug available without a prescription. In fact, the only requirement was that the pill be stocked close to the pharmacy so that customers may ask questions if they chose. However, the purchase of the pill would no longer require a doctor’s prescription or a pharmacist’s oversight. In fact, I cannot even find information about a specific age requirement for the pill within Canada. Even in the United States the pill can be purchased without a prescription from age 17 onward.
I left the pharmacy feeling anxious and not a little judged, yet I hadn’t thought to look into the legality of her actions at the time. In fact, because I assumed she was telling the truth, I hadn’t even tried other pharmacies for fear of further embarrassment. It wasn’t until recently, when I browsing articles online, that I realized I had been grossly misinformed.
My experience was far from unusual, as I found out. This questionnaire is administered in many pharmacies around Canada, with pharmacists charging up to $40 just for the consultation—if they choose to allow you to buy the pill—which is anywhere from $25 to $40 itself. Keep in mind that this questionnaire is neither requested nor required by NAPRA, yet many pharmacists will refuse to release the pill without its completion as they feel that Plan B should not be as easy to buy as aspirin, despite its very clear and very legal classification as an over-the-counter, prescription- and consultation-free drug.
Now I was angry, and I called the pharmacy department of the Granville and Georgia store directly. The gist of the call was this: I asked whether I could get the pill without a prescription or consultation, and she said yes. When I asked her why the pharmacist I spoke with months earlier told me a different story, the woman on the phone sounded genuinely shocked. She confirmed that this was not the policy of the store or the company (or Canadian law) to deny the pill to anyone and that while a first-time user is advised to ask questions first for safety’s sake, they should not—and cannot—be outright denied.
Put simply, the pharmacist from months earlier had lied. And her lie could have resulted in a much more difficult and much more life-altering decision down the road. But regardless of any larger implications, in that moment, she—and many pharmacists around Canada like her—decided that her own moral compass should somehow supersede her legal and professional duty as a pharmacist.
I’m 24 years old. I’m in a committed relationship. I’m responsible with birth control. I’m not saying that if any of the above factors hadn’t been true that somehow this pharmacist would have been right in denying me the pill. However, my bigger concern was that if I couldn’t get Plan B, who could? Did I need a punch card for abortive drugs through my family physician? Did I need to collect all 10 before I could have free access to a legal, over-the-counter drug? Did she have a similar policy with everything in her pharmacy? If you’d never previously tried grape-flavor Dimetapp was she uncomfortable dispensing that as well? What about anti-fungal creams?
I know that I am neither the first nor the last person to be denied access to the morning-after pill in a Canadian pharmacy. The truth is that while we Canadians seem so eager to pat ourselves on the back over our government’s stance on women’s rights, healthcare, and contraceptives (especially compared to the “War on Women” happening down south at the moment), I wouldn’t declare victory on this issue just yet.
Sarah Arboleda is a recent graduate of Simon Fraser University with a BA Honours in English. She has written for a number of online and print publications, including the Peak at SFU, Sad Mag, Zelda Lily, and her own blog, Tea Leaves and Dog Ears.
As part of a new advertising campaign for the candy, “Mike and Ike” have announced that they are divorcing so Ike can pursue a career in the arts and Mike can fulfill his dream of becoming a “music legend.”
Advertisers hope that the “fight” between Mike and Ike can win the candy more attention among consumers, and it already grabbed the attention of Family Research Council president Tony Perkins, who is upset that Mike and Ike are a gay couple. Perkins said today on his radio bulletin:
"These days, you can’t get a sugar high without experiencing a cultural low. Hello, I’m Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council in Washington, D.C. There’s trouble in candy land. After more than 70 years together, Mike & Ike are calling it quits. The duo is staging a gay divorce as part of a new ad campaign to draw in younger customers. In this society, even candy has an agenda! From Facebook to Tumblr, the fruity pair says, “The rumors are true. We just couldn’t agree on stuff anymore.”
"Starting this summer, the company will spend $15 million on billboards and TV commercials that poke fun at the breakup. It’s just another subtle example of society chipping away at the value of marriage. And I don’t know what’s more disturbing–that advertisers think divorce appeals to kids or that sexualizing candy will make people buy more. After a year-long build-up, the company will reveal if the couple reconciles. Until then, look for Mike & Ike to have a distinctly liberal flavor.
A Boulder mother says she's concerned that a Boulder Valley School District abstinence presenter is sending girls the wrong message, equating sexual activity with being dirty.
Laura Binegar said she became concerned after her daughter detailed a recent presentation on abstinence given in her health education class at Southern Hills Middle School. Her daughter described an activity where students spit food into water glasses, then were asked if they would rather drink from a clean glass or a dirty one.
"I trusted the school," Binegar said. "They're telling teenage girls that they're dirty and bad. It sounds like it was just awful. I don't understand what the message was."
The presenter, Brad Seng, said the student appears to have misconstrued the talk.
"One of the first things I say is that it's not that sex is bad or is a dirty activity to be engaging in," he said. "That's not it at all. It's about encouraging young people to make healthy lifestyle decisions. Our method is grounded in truth and non-judgmental."
He said he provides information on sexually transmitted diseases from the Centers for Disease Control, as well as information on "the emotional strife when children choose to be sexually active."
The water glass activity, he said, is a way to engage students. He said students drink the water while eating a snack and mixing some of their snack in the water. Then they exchange glasses. He asks them to drink the water, prompting students to say, "No, it looks nasty."
"It's a way to show them that, if they decide to be sexually active outside of a long-term committed relationship, they're putting themselves at risk," he said.
Seng is the abstinence educator for Boulder's Real Choices Pregnancy Care Center. The center describes itself as "a Christian, nonprofit, non-political organization that helps clients find constructive alternatives to abortion."
Seng said he's spoken to classes at Southern Hills for five years. There haven't been any other complaints about his presentations, according to the school principal and the school district.
Along with presenting in Boulder Valley schools, Seng also has talked at the University of Colorado, Colorado State University and private, religious schools.
Altogether, there are 33 approved organizations on the district's health education presenter list. Teachers choose presenters to augment the curriculum, which takes a comprehensive approach to sex education that includes information about abstinence and contraception. Presenters do not charge a fee.
Binegar said inviting a speaker from a Christian organization violates the separation of church and state.
"It's very clear that he's pushing Christ," she said.
But Seng said he understands the boundaries and doesn't bring religion into his talks at public schools.
Binegar took her concerns to Southern Hills Principal Terry Gillach, saying she was told that Seng is a "great guy" and the school would continue to use him as a speaker.
Gillach said he only saw a small part of the presentation but, based on the teacher's description, it was "completely innocuous."
"He never talks about religion," Gillach said. "He talks about abstinence with kids. It's one method of the many other options students have."
The mother of an eighth-grader at Lyons Middle/Senior High School also recently complained about a similar abstinence presentation. The mother said that presenters affiliated with a faith-based nonprofit, Longmont's Life Choices, are teaching a slanted view of reproductive health in her son's health class
In before someone says parents should have to teach their own kids sex ed (when they themselves might be lacking medical facts) as opposed to 'sex philosophy' (which might be equally skewed) and "But he didn't mention Christ, so it isn't a religious message!
(Ack! Edited for HTML fail. Sorry!)
The Trayvon Martin case has gripped Americans since February 26, but Florida isn’t the only state reeling from the shooting of a 17-year-old at the hands of a man who claims he acted in self-defense.
A coastal community next door in Alabama is suffering over its own tragic episode that shares some similarities with the Sanford, Fla. case.
The Mobile Press-Register reported that 17-year-old Summer Moody, a star high school volleyball player in Baldwin County, Ala., was shot in the head April 15 after authorities said she and three other teens were caught breaking into a fish camp early in the morning.
Three men who found the teens trespassing on the Gravine Island property admitted to firing the shots that hit Moody.( Collapse )
So, they're both 17. They were both shot by people claiming self-defense. Both events are tragic, but other than that, this is in no way comparable and it does both cases a disservice to do so. The media kills me with this BS, I swear. Plus, you know some concern-trolling white folk somewhere are going to pull this case out and claim it didn't get as much attention because the victim was white.
Gary Lapon reports on the frightening reach of a corporate-backed lobbying group.
THE GROUNDSWELL of anger and protest following the murder of Trayvon Martin has forced the discussion of racism onto the center stage of national politics after years when it was consigned to the margins.
One part of that discussion has been the spread--and the consequences--of supposed self-defense laws like Florida's "Stand Your Ground" law, which was the excuse used by police and prosecutors for not charging George Zimmerman with Trayvon's murder for a month and a half.
The questioning of the "Stand Your Ground" law has, in turn, cast a spotlight on the legislative laboratory that produced it--a shadowy, conservative non-profit organization called the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).
Think of a right-wing legislative initiative at any level of government, and there's a chance ALEC had a hand in it. In spite of its innocuous-sounding name, ALEC represents a fusion of corporate money, super-rich reactionaries and right-wing politicians behind the spread of not only "Stand Your Ground"-style laws, but a whole host of other issues.
According to the Center for Media and Democracy, the more than 800 model bills and resolutions promoted by ALEC:
reach into almost every area of American life: worker and consumer rights, education, the rights of Americans injured or killed by corporations, taxes, health care, immigration, and the quality of the air we breathe and the water we drink. Only by seeing the depth and breadth and language of the bills can one fully understand the power and sweep of corporate influence behind the scenes on bills affecting the rights and future of every American in every single state.
According to the Center, ALEC's membership includes approximately 2,000 legislators, almost all Republicans, as well as over 300 corporations. The organization is dedicated to promoting model pieces of legislation to serve as templates for bills introduced at the local, state and federal level.
Almost all of the organization's funding comes from corporate sources, but the most notorious funders of all are the billionaire Koch brothers. With their help, ALEC was essential in developing the strategy behind the attack on public-sector unions following the Republicans' 2010 election victory, with Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker leading the charge.
But as ALEC faces growing scrutiny, we're learning that all this was the tip of the iceberg.
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 22, 2012, 6:07 a.m. EST
What: Occupy Wall Street and its allies in the organized labor and immigrant rights movements are excited to announce that on May 1st, Tom Morello, Dan Deacon, Immortal Technique, Das Racist, Bobby Sanabria and other special guests yet to be announced will be performing on stage at the May Day rally in Union Square, Manhattan.
When: Tuesday, May 1st, 12pm – 5:30pm (see specific timing details below)
Where: Bryant Park & Union Square, Manhattan, NYC
At 12pm, Tom Morello will arrive at Bryant Park to enlist 1,000 guitarists, string players, and singers to take part in the Occupy Guitarmy. After a rehearsal of Woody Guthrie’s “This Land Is Your Land,” Sergio Ortega’s “El Pueblo Unido,” Willie Nile’s “One Guitar,” The Nightwatchman’s “World Wild Rebel Song,” and the traditional spiritual “We Shall Not Be Moved,” the Occupy Guitarmy will depart from Bryant Park at 2pm, march through midtown Manhattan and arrive at Union Square at 4pm, culminating in their performance on stage with Tom Morello. Dan Deacon, Immortal Technique, Das Racist, Bobby Sanabria and other special guests yet to be announced will take the stage after Tom Morello’s set.
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The May Day Occupy Guitarmy will meet by the Gertrude Stein statue in Occupied Bryant Park from 12pm. Get their early to learn songs, take a lesson, or hear talks by music and social justice teachers!
More info about the Occupy May Day Rally in New York here:
Every weekend we bring you a round up of either the best LGBT moments from the week before -- our Something To Celebrate series -- or, as you'll see below, the worst anti-LGBT stories from the last seven days in our Know Thine Enemy feature.
You can think of Know Thine Enemy as a primer filled with the anti-LGBT rhetoric being leveled against us, as a reminder of how far we still have to go, and maybe even as a chance to have a laugh (because let's be honest, some of this stuff is so ridiculous it's pretty hilarious).
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Source, where you can view the slideshow.
And not to be a total downer, here's the companion article:
Something To Celebrate: 17 Of The Best LGBT Moments From April 9 - April 14
With so much hate continually aimed at the LGBT community, we like to take a moment every once in a while to highlight some of the good news we feature.
Every other weekend we offer our Something To Celebrate feature, a round up of the best LGBT moments from the week before.
It's a great way to catch up on the stories that you might have missed during the last seven days -- not to mention a much needed reminder that though we still face many enemies and we must continue to fight, we are making gains and beautiful things happen in and to the LGBT community every day.
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Source, where you can see the slideshow.
These lists by no means cover everything. Some of these stories have been posted to _p already, but most haven't.
The real war on women is in the Middle East.
BY MONA ELTAHAWY
In "Distant View of a Minaret," the late and much-neglected Egyptian writer Alifa Rifaat begins her short story with a woman so unmoved by sex with her husband that as he focuses solely on his pleasure, she notices a spider web she must sweep off the ceiling and has time to ruminate on her husband's repeated refusal to prolong intercourse until she too climaxes, "as though purposely to deprive her." Just as her husband denies her an orgasm, the call to prayer interrupts his, and the man leaves. After washing up, she loses herself in prayer -- so much more satisfying that she can't wait until the next prayer -- and looks out onto the street from her balcony. She interrupts her reverie to make coffee dutifully for her husband to drink after his nap. Taking it to their bedroom to pour it in front of him as he prefers, she notices he is dead. She instructs their son to go and get a doctor. "She returned to the living room and poured out the coffee for herself. She was surprised at how calm she was," Rifaat writes.
In a crisp three-and-a-half pages, Rifaat lays out a trifecta of sex, death, and religion, a bulldozer that crushes denial and defensiveness to get at the pulsating heart of misogyny in the Middle East. There is no sugarcoating it. They don't hate us because of our freedoms, as the tired, post-9/11 American cliché had it. We have no freedoms because they hate us, as this Arab woman so powerfully says.
Yes: They hate us. It must be said.
Some may ask why I'm bringing this up now, at a time when the region has risen up, fueled not by the usual hatred of America and Israel but by a common demand for freedom. After all, shouldn't everyone get basic rights first, before women demand special treatment? And what does gender, or for that matter, sex, have to do with the Arab Spring? But I'm not talking about sex hidden away in dark corners and closed bedrooms. An entire political and economic system -- one that treats half of humanity like animals -- must be destroyed along with the other more obvious tyrannies choking off the region from its future. Until the rage shifts from the oppressors in our presidential palaces to the oppressors on our streets and in our homes, our revolution has not even begun.
So: Yes, women all over the world have problems; yes, the United States has yet to elect a female president; and yes, women continue to be objectified in many "Western" countries (I live in one of them). That's where the conversation usually ends when you try to discuss why Arab societies hate women.
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Sometime after that, it was decided that the Bible teaches that human life begins at conception.
Ask any American evangelical, today, what the Bible says about abortion and they will insist that this is what it says. (Many don’t actually believe this, but they know it is the only answer that won’t get them in trouble.) They’ll be a little fuzzy on where, exactly, the Bible says this, but they’ll insist that it does.
That’s new. If you had asked American evangelicals that same question the year I was born you would not have gotten the same answer.
Tamron Hall broke the news on "News Nation" this afternoon that Lee, who'd stepped down "temporarily" back in March after his name became synonymous with "embattled," planned to resign today, effective at midnight. Thing is, the city won't let him quit:
At the end of a spirited hour-long meeting, the Sanford city commission voted to reject Chief Bill Lee’s resignation, which he offered to the city earlier in the day. However, the commission decided to keep Lee off the job for now and search for an interim chief until a full investigation of his conduct could be completed. Lee temporarily stepped down last month after the commission voted it had no confidence in him.
“I’m not ready for him to come back to the police department. But I’m not sure I’m ready for this, either,” Mayor Jeff Triplett said, referring to the resignation.
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Source at MHP.
The newest cause célèbre for men's right activists (MRAs) has nothing to do with divorce law, "false rape allegations", or the dangers of "sperm-stealing" feminists. It's about the C-word. No, not the ladybusiness one. We're talking about "creep."
As Jessica Wakeman discovered last week when she wrote about a first date gone wrong, the MRAs are up in arms about "creep-shaming." "The ability to label men as ‘creepy' is just one privilege that women enjoy, and a constant source of fear of ostracizing that all men must fear in our society," says one apparently anguished man on Reddit. Creep is "the worst casual insult that can be tossed at a guy" claims Jeremy Paul Gordon at the Hairpin. "Douchebag," "asshole," and "pussy" can't compare, Gordon insists, largely because the charge of "creep" is so much more difficult to disprove. These guys argue that "creep" has a greater power to wound than any other word, and yet it's tossed around with cavalier impunity by cruel women who ought to know better. Thus the campaign (particularly big on Tumblr, apparently) to bring awareness to the ongoing tragedy of creep-shaming.
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omg, no men's right's tag? what a tragedy.
I really hate when people complain about being called creepy. Spend your time thinking about what you did that made that person uncomfortable instead of making it all about you, jfc.
A US judge has put a bomb under the Megaupload case by informing the FBI that a trial in the United States may never happen. The cyberlocker was never formally served with the appropriate paperwork by the US authorities, as it is impossible to serve a foreign company with criminal charges.
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TLDR: The FBI was in such a hurry to shut down Megaupload that they forgot to do the paperwork and check if they could legally do anything. The whole case is a trainwreck.
My apologies to the mods for goofing up the post earlier.
A group of 20 Republican state representatives introduced the so-called "don't say gay" bill last week to prevent the teaching of sexual orientation in public schools, with the exception of classes relating to human reproduction. The group includes some of the most powerful Republicans in the Missouri legislature -- House Speaker Steve Tilley (R-Perryville), Majority Leader Tim Jones (R-Eureka) and the chairs of the Rules and Ways and Means committees. Tennessee legislators have been debating a similar proposal.
"When it comes to sexual orientation, that is a discussion that should be left for the most part up to the parents," House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Andrew Koenig (R-Winchester) told HuffPost. "It is a pretty political subject. I know there are a lot of parents that do not want the homosexual agenda taught in the schools."
Koenig said he has heard of what he called a "homosexual agenda" being taught in elementary school, but when questioned, said he did not know of specific incidents "off the top of my head."
"I have heard of instances with story books in grade school where it has come up," Koenig said. "You have heterosexuals pushing an agenda and you have homosexuals pushing an agenda."
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Update: April 24, 11:46 a.m. -- State Rep. Steve Cookson released a statement Tuesday morning explaining his sponsorship of the "don't say gay" bill and why he does not view it as discriminatory. He said that he believes the bill's intent has been misreported in the media and that the bill's purpose is to shift discussion of sexual orientation out of the schools.
"Many of the recent articles on HB 2051 have shifted focus away from the true intent of my legislation, which is meant to protect the moral values that are most important to Missouri families. ( Collapse )
Link to a petition to tell Missouri lawmakers how wrong this bill is.
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