Two rather contradictory topics — abortion and parenthood — seemed to dominate the news this week. At Broadsheet, we investigated an ex-Planned Parenthood employee’s decision to defect to the anti-choice movement, and talked about women who have done the exact opposite by switching to the pro-choice side. We also explored the struggles of parenthood — from the tragedy experienced by the mother of Neda Agha-Soltan, the young women who in death became symbolic of the Iranian protests, to the trouble of handling a child’s poor behavior in public. While these topics, and others, commanded our attention this week, some stories inevitably slipped through the cracks.
Don’t mess with (DNA tests in) Texas
In a legal event reminiscent of HBO’s cult hit “Big Love,” Texas prosecutors are struggling to peg FLDS leader Raymond Jessop with charges of statutory rape, as the woman involved in the case has refused to cooperate with authorities. The prosecution’s evidence rests on DNA samples that indicate, with a 99.9 percent probability, that Jessop fathered the girl’s child. But the defense is working overtime to cast doubt on the DNA data, proposing that mistakes with DNA samples have occurred before, and Jessop should not be convicted based solely on this evidence.
Born on the Internet
If you thought live-tweeting a birth was bad, prepare to be further floored: a woman in Minneapolis has decided to broadcast the birth of her first child live on the Internet. Having tracked her experiences with pregnancy for the past few months on the motherhood site MomsLikeMe, 23-year-old Lynsee decided to air the birth on the site “to document the pregnancy and create a one-of-a-kind memento for our baby to have forever.” Lynsee’s due date is November 19th, and she’s inviting the whole world to join in on every detail of her child’s birth — “tastefully,” of course.
Forget sexting, think contraceptexting
A new experiment conducted in high schools in the UK has attracted more debate over birth control access for teens. Students at six schools deemed “high risk” due to their elevated level of teen pregnancies were given the option of texting requests for emergency contraception. Instead of automatically having their requests filled, the five students who participated were given an appointment with a nurse to evaluate their needs and answer questions.
School sued for considering MySpace their space
After posting risqué pictures of themselves taken at a sleepover to their MySpace accounts, two Indiana high school students were suspended from extra-curricular activities and forced to apologize to the athletic board for their “inappropriate” behavior. Now, ACLU lawyers have taken on the case, arguing that the students’ right to freedom of expression were disregarded. With students’ lives moving further into the public sphere of the Internet, ACLU staff attorney Catherine Crump stated that, “this is something that’s happening more and more.”
The sexual dysfunction you never knew you had
You’ve probably seen the commercials for the much-questioned Restless Leg Syndrome, but did you know that your vagina can develop a similar condition? On Tuesday, AlterNet reported on a “Journal of the American Medical Association” study that stated that “43% of women experience some degree of impaired sexual function.” By coining new diseases that may afflict that 43 percent, pharmaceutical companies are able to hock some rather laughable medical solutions. The larger slight here is that Big Pharma seems to think that if you’re not screwing like a porn star, you’re clearly a frigid nun incapable of orgasm.
Kate Winslet’s revolutionary road
On Tuesday, Academy Award winner Kate Winslet won the libel suit she filed against the “Daily Mail,” which accused her of lying about her exercise habits. The newspaper was forced to pay her $40,000 in damages. Winslet is a well-known critic of the media for its part in perpetuating body image issues. “I was particularly upset to be accused of lying about my exercise regime,” she said, “and felt that I had a responsibility to request an apology in order to demonstrate my commitment to the views that I have always expressed about body issues, including diet and exercise.”