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*RITUAL*
Two dedicated practitioners talk about rituals and women:
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- A Community Creates a Rite of Passage for Girls
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*Bitter Harvest* Thailand's sex industry went big time with help from the U.S. military and the World Bank. The insatiable demand fuels a sex traffic that consumes the lives of ever-younger girls.>> A special report by Betty Rogers
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*Studying Womanhood*
Author Noelle Howey was entering puberty when her father announced that he wanted to change his sex. A provocative memoir...

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A study of first births of college-educated women, published in the Journal of the National Medical Association, reports that black women are more likely than white women to deliver by cesarean section. Black women's cesarean rate was 31%; whites' was 21.3%. While black women's risks for pregnancy complications proved higher than those of whites, researchers said that could not entirely explain the significant gap. The study concludes that "nonclinical" factors (i.e., race) may influence delivery method decisions.

 

The vast majority of women in the U.S. know that an annual Pap smear is essential to their gynecological health. Why, then, did nearly 40% fail to have the exam last year? If plain forgetfulness is the answer, the College of American Pathologists has a solution with its free e-mail reminder service. The quick set-up involves merely logging on to www.papsmear.org and selecting a date. On your chosen day, the service will send you a cybernudge. It's up to you to call your health care provider to schedule a visit. If you're not online, call the college at (800) LAB-5678, and they will send you a free Pap smear brochure.

Last July, beauty parlors in the Washington, D.C., area became the site for HIV/AIDS education in a pilot plan by the district's department of health. In 25 salons, clients were offered ConPacts, a slender, black plastic case resembling a makeup compact (it even includes a mirror), containing a condom and an HIV/AIDS education pamphlet.

 

Although only 3% of OB/GYNs surveyed in a 1998 poll by the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation said they performed surgical abortions, 54% said they would be "very" or "somewhat" likely to prescribe a medical abortion--a method of terminating pregnancy using oral or injected medications. Similarly, in a 1996 survey of doctors who belong to the Society for Adolescent Medicine, only 1.7% offered surgical abortions, while 42% said they would prescribe a legal medical abortion.

 

By the time we are 18, we have soaked up 80% of our lifetimes' exposure to the sun. But all those summer days outdoors can come back later to haunt adults in the form of melanoma, the deadliest of skin cancers. In a step toward prevention, the first sun-safe park has been built at the Goodhue Center on Staten Island, New York. In what designers hope will be a model for skin-smart playgrounds everywhere, all romping equipment is covered by a light-filtering overhead screen, trees and shrubs are placed strategically to create natural shade patterns, and sun-free benches have been strewn about for the benefit of caregivers. Coppertone not included.

 

By Moira Brennan

Photos by Charles Manson/Tony Stone Images

 
 
           
     

Copyright Ms. Magazine 2009