Bleeding for SCIENCE!

Menstrual Blood: A Valuable Source Of Multipotential Stem Cells?

Researchers seeking new and more abundant sources of stem cells for use in regenerative medicine have identified a potentially unlimited, noncontroversial, easily collectable, and inexpensive source — menstrual blood.


Tests showed that MenSCs could differentiate into adipogenic, chondrogenic, osteogenic, ectodermal, mesodermal, cardiogenic, and neural cell lineages. According to Patel, the sample MenSCs expanded rapidly and maintained greater than 50 percent of their telomerase activity when compared to human embryonic stem cells and better than bone marrow-derived stem cells.

Our ability to bear children is considered a handicap, a burden, a weakness, even by some who consider themselves pro-woman. Breastfeeding in public is still considered obscene by many. Menstruation is a taboo — we’ve all heard the jokes about how nobody wants to see commercials for those products. Hell, I’ve made them.

Funny, isn’t it, how that which is life-giving in women is so often that which is reviled?

speaking of Intelligent Design

I thought this was a nice try:

TALLAHASSEE – If teachers need free speech protection in science classrooms, why not extend it to sex education classes?

The same First Amendment protection should be offered to both, argued local Democratic Sens. Ted Deutch of Boca Raton and Nan Rich of Weston, as the Senate Thursday began debating whether teachers need a law that would allow them to present “scientific evidence” critical of evolution.


“We’re talking about academic freedom,” said Deutch. “In an abstinence-only sex education program, a teacher may wish to answer a student’s question and provide additional information that may protect a life or stop an unwanted pregnancy.” But the Republican-led Senate wouldn’t buy it.

Cue whining: “But it was just a JOKE!”

So, apparently Damon Wayans is working with handpicked young artists to “develop innovative television shows for the internet.” And apparently their idea of innovation is making fun of violence against women and children. (Warning: the video is potentially triggery, as is the rest of this post.) For those of you who would rather not watch the video and possibly generate ad revenue for its creators, here’s the rundown: a woman calls her boyfriend to tell him she’s pregnant. He pretends to be happy about the news; she’s thrilled that he wants the baby, and starts making plans for their new family life. When he gets off the phone, he calls for help, and “Abortion Man” answers the call. Abortion Man accosts the young woman as she’s walking down the street and beats and kicks her. Miscarriage hilarity ensues.

I really hesitated to post this, because I know that giving the creeps who made this video more publicity is exactly what they want, and will let them claim they’re “edgy”. But we need to speak up and let them know that they’re not edgy or funny or clever; they’re just misogynistic bullies.

This isn’t funny:

At 1:15 in the morning a pregnant woman is beaten in her apartment on Hickory Street. Police say the suspect, who’s apparently the baby’s father, repeatedly punched the woman in her body, face and head. He reportedly told her he was going to “make her lose that baby.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control, some 324,000 pregnant women are hurt every year by an intimate partner or former partner. And a study a few years ago that found homicide was a leading cause of death among pregnant women.

This isn’t edgy:

Excited by the ultrasound Jan. 7, [Ashley] Lyons made plans to show the fetal pictures to her ex-boyfriend, Roger McBeath Jr., 22. She left her family’s home, telling her mother she would be back for dinner. But when her father and brother found her, she was sitting in her parked car — with the car engine running and the headlights on.

She had been shot twice in the head and once in the neck. In her lap was her handbag — half opened — with the ultrasound picture inside, her father said.

“He knew that if she had that baby that she would be in his life forever, and he didn’t want that,” said prosecutor Shawna Jewell.

On a cold Kentucky afternoon four days later, Lyons was buried with her tiny baby tucked into her arms.

And this is the work of monsters, not superheroes:

[Roxanne] Fernando was pressured to terminate her pregnancy and initially agreed. She later had a “change of heart” and that set in motion a chilling chain of events, he said.

“It would be the fetus that would drive the planned and deliberate killing of Ms. Fernando,” Davidson said.
Fernando was hit with a wrench up to 20 times, bound with tape and wrapped in a blanket before being stuffed in the trunk of the car.

It was thought she was dead. But as the car began driving away, sounds could be heard coming from the rear.

“There was a realization Roxanne Fernando was still alive. They could hear moaning,” Davidson said. […]

Fernando was taken to a remote area near Mollard Road and Ritchie Street in northwest Winnipeg and repeatedly beaten with a broken hockey stick until she was obviously dead.

I’ll update this post with contact information for Damon Wayans or as soon as I find some — it’s surprisingly difficult to come by. I left a comment on their web site, but you have to create an account to do that. (On the bright side, you can use Mailinator to create a throwaway email address for your account.) If anyone finds a better way to contact them, please let me know.

(ht: feministing)

Pro Every Life, Pro Woman, Pro Reproductive Justice for All

Marysia has the manifesto online and ready for signing!

Pro Every Life, Pro Woman, Pro Reproductive Justice for All: A Manifesto

Sponsored by: Turn the Clock Forward & the Nonviolent Choice Directory

We, the undersigned, affirm that:

We are pro every life, before, during, and ever after birth.

Therefore we vigorously, straightforwardly advocate women’s right to nonviolent sexual and reproductive choice.

What is nonviolent choice? (more…)

MySpace weirdness

When I cross-posted yesterday’s post at MySpace, I noticed that the line, “It’s pretty easy to find the candidates’ stands on abortion” had been changed to “It’s pretty easy to find the candidates’ stands ..ion”. I thought maybe I’d made a weird copy-paste error, but I retyped it several times and it happened every time. I even tried sticking periods after the “o” and “n” in “on” to try to fool the filter. Nothing doing. So, for the record, here are phrases you can post in a blog post on MySpace:

  • an abortion
  • for abortion
  • of abortion
  • about abortion
  • pro-abortion
  • anti-abortion
  • against abortion
  • saline abortion
  • medical abortion
  • RU-486 abortion

But not, apparently, “on abortion”.

I don’t get it either.

Cleaning out bookmarks

* Discrimination against blacks linked to dehumanization, study finds. This study looked at the racist association of blacks with apes, and its consequences for people’s willingness to accept violence against them. Any anti-violence advocate could tell you that one way to get people to accept violence is to dehumanize its victim.

* It’s pretty easy to find the candidates’ stands on abortion, but glassbooth has also collected their stands on birth control and sex education.

* A New Zealand Idol contestant was kicked off the show for being pregnant. “Public life is set up with the assumption that people participating won’t have primary responsibility for childcare. This is incredibly anti-woman and extremely restrictive for women who do have children. A huge part of what I’m fighting for, as a feminist, is ending the notion of a ‘private sphere’ the idea that child-rearing is an individuals (usually a woman’s) primary responsibility, and that you have to choose between that role and any other role that you want to take.” Maia isn’t pro-life, but this is one area where feminists should be able to find common ground. (No, I haven’t actually had that bookmarked since August 2006. I’m not that far behind.)

* From another of Maia’s posts come two links to brownfemipower on the struggles of women, especially women in marginalized communities, to have their right to give birth respected.

* In that vein, Marysia (with a bit of help from me) has been working up a manifesto for an inclusive reproductive justice organization. This organization will encompass the rights of the unborn and already-born, and will advocate for all women’s rights to the full spectrum of nonviolent reproductive choices.

Cranky today

Not for the first time, the letters-to-the-editor section is making me dream about a web app. It would let you feed in keywords (“Hussein Obama”, “Billary”, “Bush Derangement Syndrome”, to name a few), then it would scan the local paper’s website for people writing letters containing those keywords. It would look up the addresses of the letter writers and via the Google Maps API, it would build a map of houses to avoid.

(I’m tempted to put the word “liberal” on the keywords list, since it only seems to appear in the types of letters where it’s used as a swear word.)