A SMATTERING OF NOTES FROM MY FAVORITE COLLEGE CLASS, "BODY POLITICS: WOMEN AND HEALTH IN AMERICA"

Some of the information I got in the college elective I was lucky enough to take that should have been required material in high school. I have never been a good note taker so this is a collection of a few random days I took notes on Google Docs and is not thorough, but still full of some great stuff. TRIGGER WARNING: Domestic violence is discussed
  1. ~~ Note on these notes: They are in random order and cover a lot of topics to varying degrees of depth, and it's not nearly everything. This may be boring but I find women's health issues to be sooooo vital and I felt AWOKEN when I learned a lot these things for the first time ~~
  2. Obesity and Eating Disorders:
  3. 4/5 women experience disorder eating. 1/5 women will develop an eating disorder in their lives.
  4. Weight is the most stigmatized thing about a person's body other than skin color
  5. Height/weight BMI charts were created by insurance companies, not medical professionals
  6. "The most liberating gift a woman can give themselves is the decision that they are not going to try to lose weight."
  7. Mammograms:
    You should get a mammogram every two years beginning at 50
  8. Getting a mammogram every year in your 40s does more harm than good
    Your breast tissue is still dense and does not show much
  9. Doctors should not teach women to do self breast exams
    It can make women less diligent about getting mammograms and cause unnecessary fear. A doctor's test is best
  10. Violence Against Women:
    Centered around victim blaming, bystander effect, don't want to ruin the life of the male, male privileged
  11. Motivated by fundamental need for control and power
  12. Verbal/psychological abuse is set for a long time before battery begins
    If you throw a frog in a pot of boiling water it will jump out, but if you slowly turn up the heat it will stay
  13. Psychological abuse: isolation, self blame, dependency, diminishing self esteem
  14. Why doesn't she just leave?
    This is the time most women are murdered. Woman in relationship knows situation better than you do. Where to go? What to do? Violence shelters are underfunded, unsafe environments
  15. Cycle of battery:
    Battering incident, honeymoon stage -> apologize, say it's a one time thing, tension building stage -> psychological abuse, etc. Another battering incident, cycle begins again
  16. Domestic violence always escalates
    Domestic terrorism is a better name
  17. People who've been in battering incidents and show up at the ER:
    Only 10% of women have the proper cause of their injuries identified. Health care system makes cycle of violence worse, calls women hysterical, problem patients, neurotic. Things health care providers could do: Counter the psychological abuse messages, document the abuse happening
  18. Provisions of Roe v. Wade:
  19. Woman has a right to choose -> not absolute
    The state can restrict the right at the point of fetal viability. But fetal viability is not a definite term
  20. A better way to balance interest: Implement a trimester system
    1st trimester: Mother has absolute right. 2nd trimester: Mother has right but state can intervene in terms of procedure only. 3rd trimester: State can restrict rights
  21. Currently Roe v. Wade does not restrict 3rd trimester, just allows state to do so if they choose
  22. 1977 Hyde Amendment:
  23. No federal funding toward any kind of abortion is in place
    This restricts women on Medicaid, women living on reservations, and women in the armed services
  24. Sterilization Abuse:
    A lot of women of color and poor women were sterilized without being told or forced to do so. Rampant in the 1970's
  25. Women of color in the 1970's abortion rights movement asked to add reproductive justice for forced sterilization to the agenda
  26. Many white women of the abortion rights movement rejected this
    "Not our issue"
  27. CARSA: Committee for Abortion Rights and Against Sterilization Abuse
  28. 1977 Reff Case, Alabama
    Single poor black mother with two daughters on welfare was called to welfare office, asked to sign form to get health care for kids, she was illiterate so she signed without reading it, unbenounced to her she signed a form allowing them to sterilize her two daughters
  29. This was the same year as Roe v. Wade, many white women decide it's time to add this to their fight
  30. By the late 1980s guidelines against sterilization without consent on anyone under 18 are passed
  31. 1980's onward: New forms of sterilization (Norplant) take the place of surgical sterilization~ continues to be a problem today
    Many women on welfare are forced to get Norplant birth control inserts in their arm in order to get care
  32. Abortion Today:
    1 to 1.5 million abortions in the US every year. 1 in 3 American woman will have an abortion in their lifetime. 96% happen in the first trimester -> roughly half within first 10 weeks. Death rate now: 0.006%. Death rate when abortion was illegal: 20%
  33. Assault on Abortion Rights:
    The language itself is an assault -> Pro-Life vs. Pro-Choice
  34. Violence:
    Vandalization of clinics, harassment, blocking doors, arson, bombs (late 80’s) -> became impossible to operate / keep prices low -> funding slashed, lots of clinics have to close. Assassinations of pro-choice advocates (early 90’s)
  35. Clinton elected with Janet Reno as Attorney General
    FACE passed in 1994: Freedom of Access to Clinic Services. Protesters have to maintain a certain distance from clinics. Difficult to enforce when law enforcement is pro-life, etc.
  36. Changes to Roe v. Wade:
  37. Reagan passes Gag Rule:
    If you receive federal funding, you cannot counsel or talk about abortion with your patients. Clinics have to create two entities, one with funding, one w/o
  38. 1992: Planned Parenthood v. Casey (US Attorney General)
    States started passing illegal restrictions against first trimester abortions
  39. Pennsylvania Abortion Control Act:
    Woman has to wait 24 hours between appointment and getting abortion (no medical need for this), has to be given state mandated pro-life information, married woman has to have husband sign, minors have to have parental consent.
  40. All of these violate Roe v. Wade
    Planned Parenthood sues state → funding gets tied up in court case. Goes to Supreme Court. Court alters Roe, reaffirms validity of a woman’s right to choose up to the point of fetal viability, discards trimester framework, new standards on abortion legislation -> okay to impose restrictions in first trimesters as long as it doesn’t impose an undue burden on the woman. 24 hour waiting period is deemed reasonable, spousal consent unreasonable, uphold minor consent and mandated state information
  41. Fetal Rights:
    Katha Pollitt argues that fetal rights violate mothers’ rights
  42. Concern has gone from woman’s health to fetus’s health
    This includes restrictions on smoking, fetal alcohol syndrome (even more so now after the most recent stuff about women drinking ever!). The narrative has become antagonistic between mother and child
  43. Fetus is regarded as person, woman as container which goes back to treating women as objects
    women are selfish, confused, violent, and incapable of making responsible choices
  44. HR358
    Established that fetus's life takes precedent over the mother
  45. Drug Addicts:
  46. 80's and 90's launches movement against crack addicted mothers
    Mostly black women
  47. This is a deep historical process
    Devaluing of black women’s motherhood beginning at slavery, this is the latest form -> modern manifestation of racialized birth control policy
  48. White women often have more access to family physicians whereas black women are often monitored by government agencies and demonized when receiving prenatal care
    With drug addicted mothers it's about saving the fetus and criminalizing the mother. Many rehab facilities do not emit pregnant women
  49. DIFFERENT WAYS YOU CAN APPROACH THESE PROBLEMS:
  50. 1. Looking at the behavior of the individual in isolation
  51. 2. Hold system accountable
  52. The Menstrual Cycle:
  53. Hormones
    What. the body uses to talk to each other. Circulate through blood stream -> effect all different parts of your body in different ways. One of which is menstruation
  54. Pre-Ovulation
    Estrogen is designed to encourage conception. Estrogen makes cervical mucus slippery and allows sperm to survive 3-5 days. Estrogen makes endometrial lining grow and fill out. Estrogen makes the fallopian tubes’ cilia to move toward the uterus to move egg along
  55. Progesterone makes cervical mucus tacky to prevent sperm from travelling through
  56. High estrogen means the egg is ready
    The brain gives ovary the ok to ovulate with lutenizing hormone
  57. Luteal Phase (14 Days)
    How long corpus luteum lives, the empty follicle that held egg. Endometrial lining begins to shed on Day 1
  58. The Dark & Complex History of Women's Health in America:
  59. Throughout history men are thought to have a sexual instinct, while women have a maternal instinct
    Women are seen as passionless
  60. 1873: Federal Comstock Law passed
    No obscene materials can travel across state borders (birth control, info about birth control, pornography). They are classified as immoral and obscene
  61. 1910s/1920s: Sexual revolution, birth of the flapper
    Women are now thought to have sexual desire, but it's not a complete shift. Social push for birth control begins
  62. Margaret Sanger
    Many lovers, public health nurse in New York on Lower East Side with immigrants, tenement houses, sees poverty and people having too many children
  63. Published letters to raise awareness as a public health concern
    Her work found her, tells stories of the women she meets. Margaret decides to dedicate her life to making birth control available to women so "every child a wanted child”
  64. Little Comstock Laws make birth control illegal
  65. Margaret Sanger founds American Birth Control Lead
    Becomes Planned Parenthood, crusades creation of the pill
  66. Fear in the 20th century
    Birth control rate is dropping. There is a move to try and force white upper/middle class women to have children and stop lower class women from having children. Margaret Sanger supports this
  67. 1907: Indiana passes first sterilization law
    If you have mental health issues you must be sterilized
  68. Carrie Buck
    Considered feeble minded by her family because she was raped and had an illegitimate child, committed to an asylum and therefore sterilized.
  69. 1927 BUCK VS. BELL -> Carrie Buck vs. Virginia
    Supreme Court held that the state had the right to forcibly sterlize people they thought were unfit
  70. Sterilization abuse persists until the 1980's
  71. Anti-miscegenation laws outlaw interracial marriage
    On the books until 1967
  72. The History of Feminism:
  73. First wave feminism: 1848-1920
  74. 1950s: Era of intense conformity
    Nuclear family, happy housewives, The Feminine Mystique is published a begins path to second wave feminism
  75. 1960s: women start rebelling, want control of their bodies. Women’s Health Movement begins
  76. Second wave feminism: 1960s-1970s
  77. Grassroots movement outside of patriarchy
    Women are in charge of everything, decentralized authority
  78. Consciousness raising
    Women sit and talk without judgement, start to see sexism
  79. Education is a focus
    Our Bodies, Ourselves is published. Characterized by two philosophies: Women demand knowledge about their bodies. Women want greater control over their bodies.
  80. Self-Help groups form
    Carol Downer is a white working class housewife, 7 pregnancies (1 aborted). She's working to reform abortion laws. A doctor teaches her procedure because she realizes she’s never seen her own body. She invites women to look at their own cervix
  81. Feminist health centers open
  82. Third wave feminism: 1990s-today
  83. A brief note on birth
    Birth is not a medicalized event: doesn't need to have medical interventions: fetal heart monitor, etc. is not necessary
  84. ~~ Like I said these notes are very incomplete. This may also be way too dense for people. But if there is interest I would love to go through more notes and share more, I feel really strongly that we should all know this stuff ~~
    They also have a somewhat controversial POV at some points that I believe is backed by the evidence present. Would love an appreciate supportive and open minded attitudes about ladies and their bods, especially if you are not one!
  85. Anyway, keep rocking every1