Friday, April 17, 2015

Thank you! on "Kathy Hodge Can Make HISTORY with YOUR Financial Help!"

YOU CAN MAKE HISTORY HAPPEN!

Your donation can fund Kathy Hodge* to present the report of the 1975 Women’s Health Center’s participant-controlled study of the female menstrual cycle at the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research Conference in Boston, June 4th to 6th, 2015.

“In male-dominated science, not as much work has been done to find a simple indicator of a woman’s days, which begin prior to the basal body temperature change at ovulation, as has been done on walking on the moon”

DONATE to cover Kathy’s out-of-pocket expenses
Needed: $1500.00

Donate via PayPal or check c/o Carol Downer 



 Thank You for Your Support!
  • Karen Nixon ($25.00) 
  • Francie Hornstein ($50.00)
  • Judith Kaluzny ($50.00)
  • Shelby Coleman ($50.00)  

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Kathy Hodge Can Make HISTORY with YOUR Financial Help!

YOU CAN MAKE HISTORY HAPPEN!

Your donation can fund Kathy Hodge* to present the report of the 1975 Women’s Health Center’s participant-controlled study of the female menstrual cycle at the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research Conference in Boston, June 4th to 6th, 2015.

“In male-dominated science, not as much work has been done to find a simple indicator of a woman’s days, which begin prior to the basal body temperature change at ovulation, as has been done on walking on the moon”

DONATE to cover Kathy’s out-of-pocket expenses
Needed: $1500.00

Donate via PayPal or check c/o Carol Downer



HISTORY
In 1975, the Feminist Women’s Health Centers did the first-ever participant-led menstrual cycle research. 

http://www.womenshealthinwomenshands.org/History.htm9 staff members of the Feminist Women’s Health Center (including Kathy Hodge) met each day for over a month, recording changes in our vaginas and cervixes, our moods, basal body temperature, and other physiological changes.
FINDINGS
http://www.womenshealthinwomenshands.org/History.htm“We found that healthy females can have a wider range of normal than previously believed.  We did see cyclic changes, but not the ones medical textbooks focused on.  Moods defied cyclic interpretation in our study, which frankly surprised us.”

PUBLICATION OF RESULTS
The findings were published in the journal, Women’s Health (now defunct), Helen Marieskind, editor-in-chief.


ABOUT THE SOCIETY FOR MENSTRUAL CYCLE RESEARCH
The Society for Menstrual Cycle Research is a nonprofit, interdisciplinary research organization.  Its membership includes researchers in the social and health sciences, humanities scholars, health care providers, policy makers, health activists, artists and students with interests in the role of the menstrual cycle in women’s health and well-being.

http://menstruationresearch.org/

The Society works to have menstrual health respected as a human right.  The UNDP and UNICEF have highlighted menstruation as “the single most important factor affecting school drop-out among girls”.

THE CONFERENCE
http://www.lorettaross.com/
  • Keynote by Reproductive Justice Pioneer Loretta Ross
  • Kick-Off Flash! Plenary showcasing several short diverse talks that make the menstrual connection
  • 2015 Making Menstruation Matter award presentation to Our Bodies, Ourselves
  • Plenary on Menstrual Cycle Hygiene Management campaigns around the globe
  • “Mainstreaming the Flow”: (Still) Selling my Soul to Start the Conversation” with Tomi-Ann Roberts
  • Widening the Cycle”, a menstrual art exhibit and plenary
  • Poetry Open Mic and Raffle hosted by Dominique Christina
  • Lunette Comedy and Cocktails with the Crimson Wave Girls

KATHY WILL PRESENT A SUMMARY OF THE FINDINGS
This breakthrough study exploded the medical myth that any variation from the 28-day cycle was “abnormal”.  We also found that relying on the results of routine one-time, “snapshot”, readings of lab tests could result in grossly inappropriate and even harmful diagnoses and treatments. Mood changes during our cycles seemed more impacted by the environment.




WE HAVE THE FOLLOWING PERKS TO SHOW OUR APPRECIATION FOR YOUR FINANCIAL SUPPORT

THE PERKS!

$5.00 OR MORE 
YOU WILL RECEIVE A SOCIAL MEDIA SHOUT-OUT AND A REPORT OF THE CONFERENCE FROM KATHY (We will list your name on our website, blog, facebook, and twitter as a supporter of Kathy’s presentation.)

$25.00
A copy of Pat Maginnis’ “Condom Coloring Book”
Donate: PayPal or check c/o Carol Downer
$40.00
A Self-Examination Kit, including speculum, flashlight, hand mirror and instruction sheet (donated by Women’s Health Specialists)
Donate: PayPal or check c/o Carol Downer
$50.00
A used, good-condition copy of A Woman’s Book of Choices” by Rebecca Chalker and Carol Downer (it’s out of print)
Donate: PayPal or check c/o Carol Downer
$100.00
Framed Pat Maginnis cartoon showing a uterus being pulled in a tug-of-war between patriarchal men and population controllers) OR a PDF copy of Kathy Hodge’s paper, with tables and charts.
Donate: PayPal or check c/o Carol Downer

https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=KW6TNHQGN9ZQY
We gladly accept checks!  Please write the check to:
Women's Health in Women's Hands c/o Carol Downer

Mail to:
Womenshealthinwomenshands.org
2451 Ridgeview Avenue
Los Angeles, California 90041

Social media shout out will be posted immediately.  Kathy Hodge’s PDF report will be e-mailed, and other perks will be mailed by July 31st.

Thank You for Your Support!

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

SUPPORT PURVI PATEL’S RIGHT TO CONTROL HER OWN BODY

By Carol Downer

In our rush to support Purvi Patel, who was sentenced to 20 years in prison on April 6, 2015 by an Indiana Judge on the charges of child neglect and feticide (inducing her own abortion) by adopting Patel’s claim that she miscarried, we risk implying that if it were a self-induced abortion, we might not support her.

The prosecution introduced evidence that Patel had told a friend about ordering pills to induce an abortion and about taking the medication, and had then texted her to say, “just lost the baby”.

We have seen abortion rights curtailed in recent years.  The desperation of females who have denied a way to solve their problem of unwanted pregnancy and the availability of abortion-inducing pills, and female’s dependence on medical help if complications of miscarriage or induced abortion will continue to produce these horrific outcomes.  We’d better think this through and take a position that doesn’t embroil us in factual evidentiary disputes or place us in the position of accepting the legitimacy of the State punishing a female for trying to control her own body.

Given the evidence that Patel induced an abortion, many of her supporters have shifted to the question of whether the fetus was viable and if so, whether it was a stillborn.  Viability is not determined by whether a particular fetus of a certain age will live, it is determined by the statistical probability that it will live, based on whether any fetuses born at that stage of development who were cared for in a well-equipped neo-natal unit have lived.  Whether the defense’s estimate of the fetus’ age was correct or the prosecutor’s estimate of a later fetal age, the fetus was very premature and its chances of survival under the best conditions were problematic.  

But why are feminists basing our support on whether the fetus was viable?  And, why are we challenging the tests for whether the fetus managed to take a breath?  Don’t we support Patel in her right to rid herself of an unwanted fetus.  It is her body, after all, and when a female is forced to maintain a pregnancy, it is reproductive slavery.  Just because the Supreme Court decided that there was a point during pregnancy when the fetus’ rights trumped the female’s rights, why do we accept that?  Of course, her attorney should and must present every defense, but unless we agree that the State has the right to control our reproductive organs under some circumstances, we must uphold Patel whether she had a miscarriage or expelled a premature fetus.

If the authorities pay attention to our Petitions, it will be because they see how outraged the females of America are at this prosecution and sentence and because they feel compelled to respect the national outcry.  They will not be swayed by the fact that we’ve believed the defense’s version of the facts, or that we’ve presented a legal argument.

As a female and as a feminist, I support Patel unequivocally.  FREE PURVI PATEL!

Monday, March 16, 2015

Report of discussion with Max Dashu

 January 27, 2015

http://www.suppressedhistories.net/

Before I left Oakland for home, I stopped by Max’s archives.

I met with Max for four hours; it was extremely interesting and helpful.

My goal in the meeting was to learn from Max about the Witch Hunts.  I achieved my goal; I learned so much.  It was in reading Caliban and the Witch that I saw that the motivation of the Witch Hunters went beyond their desire to suppress women’s sexuality and their activities which were competitive with the developing medical profession, and by reading John Riddle’s book, I also realized the existence of and the significance of a widespread knowledge and use of contraception and abortion.   This was the real power of women-the power to decide whether or not to create the next generation.  This was the power that those who were in control could not abide.

I originally learned about the Witch Hunts from Witches, Midwives and Nurses by Ehrenreich and English and I knew that women who were burned as witches were many times healers.  I definitely saw that what we were doing represented a revival of women’s knowledge around healing.  

Max rounded out my knowledge hugely.

Max became irritated with me because she said I wasn’t listening.   It is true that I sometimes interrupted her (as she did me), and also I sometimes didn’t get the full import of what she was trying to communicate.

Despite certain differences, mostly in emphasis, it was clear that we profoundly agree about the origin and nature of women’s oppression.  We both see that the development of patriarchy resulted in the lowering of women’s power and status. We both see capitalism as an “advanced form” of patriarchy.  We both think that ethnicity and class have to be taken into consideration in any historical explanation.  We both think that the causation of the Witch Hunts and other attacks on women as being multi-causal.  Both of us distinguish between capitalistic or imperialistic patriarchy and the patriarchy found in non-capitalistic or imperialistic societies, and agree that patriarchal capitalism and imperialism is worse for women. In other words, “all capitalistic societies are patriarchal, but not all patriarchal societies are capitalistic.”

Both of us kept the free-ranging discussion from turning into an argument; neither of us were there to convince the other, so we kept bringing the conversation back to a discussion where each of us would have the opportunity to explain our points more fully, etc.

We also talked about the recent attacks of trans-gender women.  Max has worked with atheist groups, and told me about a recent conference where transgender women wanted to participate in a female-only workshop that is traditionally held at the atheists’ conference.  The workshop is held in the nude and the females did not want the transgender women to attend.  (I know she said they wouldn’t allow those who had not had surgery, but I don’t remember whether she said they also objected to those who had had genital surgery).  In protest, the transgender women sat, knees akimbo, around the entrance to the workshop and sent looks of disapproval to the participants when they came in.  Max supported the females by also sitting on the floor and encouraging the participants when they came in.

We both see this is a serious attack and it constitutes a crisis in feminism.  We also agreed that those who want to destroy feminism, including some leftists who have always been hostile to feminism, are taking advantage of this opportunity to attack feminists by supporting the transgender women.  I think the support is also material.

We talked about Caliban and the Witch.  Max was critical of Federici’s mischaracterization of the era prior to the 14th century.  Federici said that Witch Hunting had started then; that before there was no Witch Hunting.  She has the references to show that in fact, there was Witch Hunting several centuries prior.

I don’t think that Federici’s definite assertion that there was no history of Witch Hunts in the preceding era, negated the value of her insight that the crime of Witchcraft, which focused on contraception and abortion, was invalid.  In reading the whole sentence that Federici had stated, she left room for at least some of the facts that Max had alluded to.  Perhaps I’m conflating the explanation of Heinsohn and Steiger with Federici’s, but I recall that she emphasized that the crime of Witchcraft (as compared to Sorcery) was invented in the 14th century.

Max feels that everything flows from the establishment of patriarchy, and we should not focus on some of the subsequent developments, but rather fight against patriarchy in all of its manifestations.  I feel that a quantum leap happened as a result of the Witch Hunts (as well as the enclosures) that helped the feudal lords to accumulate capital, that this enabled them to launch a campaign of conquest and pillage and colonialization that would result in the establishment of capitalism in Europe and in the huge expanse of territory in the colonies.

We didn’t talk about it too much, but I agree with Max that the viewing the earth as a resource to exploit, and starting with seeing women as resources to dominate and exploit is the root of the problem.  I just think that we need to apply that insight into the current manifestations of this patriarchal/capitalist/imperialist/industrialist outlook.

Max recognized a lot of the components of the creation of capitalism, bringing precious metals to Europe to enable monetarism, raw materials, slaves, etc.  But, if she sees that these developments forced women into the modern mold, the housewife who recreates the labor force and recreates the worker too, she didn’t say so.  She did say that her criticisms of C&W are “additive”, meaning she doesn’t criticize what Federici said, but thinks she omitted significant information.

My impression is that Max thinks that I over-generalize to pinpoint a particular point in history.  She sees the evolutionary aspect of patriarchy and how it leads to capitalism.  How men in patriarchy saw women as a resource, the same as other natural resources.  I agree with that, but I think that the Witch Hunts had the effect of terrorizing women, resulting in seeing their reproductive activities as resources to enable the modern work force to arise.

We also differed on whether the reason they went after the Witches was to control their sexuality.  To me, patriarchy wants to control women’s sexuality as a means to control their reproduction.  

Max has devoted her life to studying and gathering together the information to support her view of history, and the result is awesome.  She allowed me to read her manuscripts. (Much of the original material that she viewed at the local San Francisco Library was right on the shelves.  She said they’ve now been placed in less accessible sections.)  The wealth of detail that she has gathered brings home the reality of how the Witch Hunt played out all over Europe over four centuries.

I agree with her that the concrete detail is necessary to prevent us from romanticizing the Witches and seeing the Witch Hunts as some kind of medieval aberration.

As to the Witch’s costumes.  She said that women accused of witchcraft were forced to march through town wearing the pointed hats.  Also, she said that much of the details, like the shoes and the dress come from the everyday wear of poor women, especially older poor women. She mentioned Belgium, in particular.

We both are worried about what may happen in this country if the depression gets worse and people are turned against each other.  Some modern version of the Witch Hunts are possible.

Academic Women:
  Our discussion of the role of academic women is illustrative of how Max and I both agree and still go a different place with the significance for action.  She sees the way that the academic world influences academic women to look at their goal as getting prestige, seeing who can get their papers published, etc.  I focus more on the power relationships and the way that patriarchal academia uses its control of jobs and the prestige that goes with it to derail young feminists who seek a career in women’s studies.  I think that we see the cause and effect differently, but we both see how empty and irrelevant most of their work is.  I, in addition, believe that they are being manipulated by academia to spin their wheels, or even worse, to attack the second wave of feminism with their emphasis of personal liberation and changing society by changing labels and self-definitions.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

REPORT OF TRIP TO BERKELEY TO ATTEND BAY AREA DOULA PROJECT’S MEETING

GUEST: MOLLY DUTTON-KENNY REGARDING HOME ABORTION

I went to Berkeley on March 3rd to hear Molly Dutton-Kenny speak on home abortion.  She spoke regarding medical abortion, herbal abortion, menstrual extraction and vacuum aspiration abortion, all of which she is advocating being done at home.

Molly has observed women receiving vacuum aspiration abortions in a home setting in other countries.  She travelled to Mali to learn about female health care.  She has worked with IPAS for a time.  She learned about menstrual extraction from reading “A Woman’s Book of Choices”, and she learned about vacuum aspiration abortion from WHO informational material.  She has personal experience with taking herbal abortafacients. She is presently a midwife and is based in California and Canada.   

She was delighted that I was at the meeting, and turned it over to me to speak about Menstrual Extraction.  The group showed great interest in all the types of home abortion that she talked about.  There was a member of Shodhini who lives in the bay area at the meeting, and she was approached about starting a self-help group there.

I believe that Washington State’s abortion law, which was voted on by the people before Roe v. Wade, could be interpreted to permit home abortion.  Medical abortion, taking mifepristone and then expelling the embryo at home, offers a opportunity for a doula to provide information and support.  Herbal abortion is becoming a feasible alternative to females.  In all of the above situations, including vacuum aspiration, it is an experienced person either providing information and support or actual hands-on assistance, however menstrual extraction as developed by the Feminist Women's Health Centers requires a group of minimally-trained women who have learned through vaginal self-examination together how to do the procedure.  

Molly’s ideas are very provocative, and I hope to hear more about it from her in the future. 

REPORT: Trip to San Francisco to Protest Against Walk for Life on January 24, 2015

By Carol Downer

Background:  StopPatriarchy.org counter-demonstrated against the Catholic Church’s annual Walk for Life.  As a member of the Advisory Committee and because I love to join in with like-minded people and yell myself hoarse at anti-abortionists, I went.

http://stoppatriarchy.tumblr.comThe Report:  I took the train to Oakland the day before the event and enjoyed the opportunity to look out the window and work on my computer and read.  I stayed at a low-cost motel, and went by BART to meet Pat Maginnis at Powell and Market Street where Stop Patriarchy had set up large signs and banners, wearing T-shirts “Abortion on Demand and Without Apology!”

Many thousands of “good” Catholics marched by.  They had come by bus from all the western states and their priests shepherded them.  Their mood was festive, even though their signs were disgusting.  There were lots and lots of kids, even babies in strollers.  They looked over at us like we were monsters.  The adults mostly ignored us or smiled.  The marchers filled the street, curb to curb, and the march went on for more than an hour.  Most of the Stop Patriarchy protestors marched alongside them, leaving the banners, the bullhorn, a few protestors and Pat and me.

Pat and I went to dinner at a vegetarian restaurant.  Pat recounted some of the arrests of the “Army of Three” for holding classes in self-abortion, which consisted of herself, Lana Phelan and Rowena Gurner.  I wrote a quick summary when I got home.  Pat’s storytelling is very droll.  The self-abortion method was a digital abortion.  Pat, a nurse, had aborted a later pregnancy by inserting a gloved, lubricated finger into her cervix on a daily basis until bleeding started and the fetus was expelled.  So the self-abortion kit consisted of a hairnet (to keep the hair out of your eyes), a glove, lubrication, a nail clipper to cut your nails, a page of instructions and another item we couldn’t remember. 

The next day I drove to Chico to visit my grandchildren, Carmen and Joe, and my 2-year-old great-grandchild, Vanessa.

I stayed with Thora DeLey Cox (a former director of the Feminist Women's Health Center and an author of A New View of a Woman’s Body).  

Thora and Jim Cox, her husband, are doing well, as are her daughters, Vanessa and Rosalind, who are now grown females (note the new terminology).  Thora and I walked in Bidwell Park and discussed the Mexican situation (the killing of 43 students who had expressed opposition to the ruling politician and the drug cartels who totally run Mexico).

I drove back to Oakland.

I met with Sunsara Taylor

Stop Patriarchy got good press coverage of their protest.

PAT MAGINNIS’ WORK 
Pat Maginnis is a gifted cartoonist.  She has poked fun at the enemies of women’s reproductive rights, such as the Catholic Church (she is an ex-Catholic).  Also, she has been active in the peace movements, the Occupy Movement and every other progressive movement in the bay area.

Pat’s political strategy is to take her cartoons and her leaflets with her at all times, distributing them to the waitress, to the person sitting next to her on the bus, or to passers-by at demonstrations.  She also speaks out for animals’ rights and childrens’ rights.

I wish we could put together a book of her cartoons, each with a brief paragraph explaining the political situation that provoked the cartoon.  It would be good to have a brief biography in the front.  She has also written some auto-biographical accounts of her childhood in Oklahoma.

Laurie McConnell has assisted Pat to have a website, which is excellent.  Pat has a circle of friends also who stop in from time to time or go with her to events.  But Pat lives on a fixed income, and without support, even a relatively modest project such as a cartoon booklet can’t happen. Laurie has offered to help put the book together, but she would need some assistance to reimburse her for travel (she lives in Redding, CA which is a few hours’ drive from Oakland, CA) and some compensation for her time.   

Any ideas?  I would love to hear from anyone who can get this project together, or at least  connect me up with someone who could do a kickstarter campaign or some other fund-raising event. 

With Pat’s permission, I’m putting in my favorite cartoon (although she has many that ran a close second).

Friday, January 16, 2015

Roe v. Wade Anniversary Protests and Events