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October 5, 2007

To Choice II

Another Choice Update for October

Sex Toy Ban Stays Intact
We originally wrote about this back in February. Alabama's ban on the sale of sex toys almost made it all the way to Supreme Court. Adult-shop owners asked that the law be thrown out on the grounds that it is "unconstitutional intrusion into the privacy of the bedroom". Unfortunately, the Supreme Court declined to hear the appeal, leaving the original ruling intact. It is not illegal to own/use sex toys in Alabama, but now residents must leave the state to purchase them. Our advice is to them is: leave the state altogether. Who wants to live somewhere if you can't even buy a dildo in peace?

China Bans Sexy Ads
In addition to banning "sexually provocative sounds" from television, China has added to their restrictions: ads for push-up bras, figure-hugging underwear and sex toys. Might as well just go to Alabama.

Condom Fashion Show Held In China
Over the summer, a condom fashion show was held in Beijing at the Fourth China Reproductive Health New Technologies and Products Expo to promote HIV/AIDS awareness. The show was organized by China's largest condom manufacturer and featured a variety of clothing and accessories made from condoms. (Some of them are actually pretty cool, check out a bunch of pictures on Babeland's awesome blog.) Now, obviously this isn't as choice-y as some of our other stories, and a condom manufacturer has an ulterior motive in putting on a show to promote their product. But in a very choice-challenged county like China (see above), where AIDS is either not talked about or misconstrued as a problem that doesn't affect average Chinese people, we think that an event like this, which raises awareness about sexual health and choices that people can make to protect themselves, is a good step forward.

Employees of Religious Groups Entitled to Contraception
In happier Supreme Court news... Some religious groups were petitioning to overturn New York's law that says all employees must have access to birth-control benefits as part of their insurance coverage. The petition was overturned, despite the fact that these groups feel that contraceptives are "intrinsically evil". Score one in the Church vs. State debate!

Security vs. Menstruation
Quite possibly the most ridiculous PC safety enforcement in schools I've ever heard of. A school in Sullivan County, New York had a little trouble when they instated their absolute "no bag" policy. (That is, all bags were prohibited for "safety", not just large backpacks). In hindsight, they realized this left female students who had their periods with no way to carry their tampons/pads... so get this, they allowed girls to carry small bags only when they are menstruating. Because what shy teenage girls doesn't want to advertise that she's on the rag and be questioned about it by school faculty?

Supreme Court Declines To Hear Abortion Case

The Supreme Court has declined to hear a decade-old case of a New Jersey woman suing her abortion doctor for "emotional distress". We're sort of on the fence with this one as a Choice/Anti-Choice issue. On the one hand, I feel for this woman and think she may have grounds to sue her doctor for performing an "incomplete abortion" (which in turn, exacerbated a kidney disorder). On the other hand, in no way do I feel that doctors should be required to "tell a woman seeking an abortion that the procedure would kill a human being". The New Jersey Supreme Court unanimously has previously ruled against her motion.

NY Rejects Funding for Abstinence Only Sex Education
Top health officials in New York have announced that they have canceled all federal abstinence only education contracts, rejecting millions of dollars in funding. Their reasoning is pretty simple: abstinence only sex ed doesn't work. Or, to put it another way, "The Bush administration’s Abstinence Only Program is an example of a failed national health-care policy directive, based on ideology rather than on sound scientific-based evidence that must be the cornerstone of good public health-care policy." The money will be redirected towards comprehensive sex ed programs instead, which hopefully means that a lot more young people in New York will be getting better information and making healthier choices.

(Thank you to ifeminists, where we found a lot of this information).

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Here's one more:
House leaders have decided to change the language of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) so that it only includes sexual orientation and not gender identity. They have said that they couldn't go forward with the original fully-inclusive bill due to a lack of votes. Now obviously, we're all for the ENDA because no one should have the right to refuse to hire someone based on sexual orientation. But the exclusion of gender identity is pretty sucky. ENDA already contains an exemption for "religious organizations" (which is kind of vague).