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public policy

Civil Unions Now Recognized in New Hampshire

I don't think I need to explain that this is a step in the right direction.

The Boston Globe and AlterNet have articles going into more detail.

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Presidential Candidate Mike Huckabee on AIDS

Mike Huckabee has recently be taken to task for his positions on the transmission and treatment of AIDS.

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Potential Don't Ask, Don't Tell Policy Repeal

Congress is considering repealing the military's discriminatory "don't ask, don't tell" policy. At present the bill (The
Military Readiness Enhancement Act (H.R. 1246)) is in committee with 136 cosponsors.

In the past fourteen years Don't Ask, Don't Tell has done a great deal of harm, not only to the military but to the country and individual servicepeople as well. These numbers are nothing to be proud of:

Since 1993, the federal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" law has cost American
taxpayers more than $364 million. An average of two service members are
dismissed under the law every day. According to the Government
Accountability Office (GAO), nearly 800 people with skills deemed
'mission-critical' by the Pentagon have been dismissed under the law,
including more than 322 language experts, at least 58 of whom specialized
in Arabic.

What's especially interesting to me is that fourteen years of debate about this policy have gone on without homosexual service members being able to weigh in; Do

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Low-Income Access to Contraception... Orr Not?

U.S. President Bush has just appointed a visible critic and opponent of contraception to head Title X, our family planning program whose purpose is to provide access to contraception and other family planning services.

In a 2000 Weekly Standard article, Orr railed against requiring health insurance plans to cover contraceptives. “It’s not about choice,” said Orr. “It’s not about health care. It’s about making everyone collaborators with the culture of death.”

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Hormonal Birth Control Costs Soar on College Campuses

Recently, the cost of hormonal forms of birth control such as the pill and the patch, among others, have skyrocketed. At least if you're buying them from a campus health clinic. Up until this year, pharmaceutical companies gave colleges deep discounts on contraception. Time Magazine explains why costs have gone up so much and The Chicago Sun-Times gives an example of the consequences.

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Dear New York Times

I sent this in response to the New York Times piece published last week regarding abstinence-only education. Alas, I didn't hear back from them, so I offer it up here instead. I feel it's important to get as much informed commentary out there on this issue as possible right now, especially considering the recent continuance and increases given to abstinence-only funding.

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Teen Birth Rate at All-Time Low Due to Condoms, but Abstinence-Only Funding Goes Up?

"In 2005, 47 percent of high school students (6.7 million) reported having had sexual intercourse, down from 54 percent in 1991. The rate of those who reported having had sex has remained the same since 2003.

Of those who had sex during a three-month period in 2005, 63 percent -- about 9 million -- used condoms. That's up from 46 percent in 1991.

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Here we go... AGAIN.

James Holsinger, a Kentucky cardiologist who President Bush last month nominated as the next surgeon general, might "be headed for a nomination fight," after lawmakers and gay and lesbian advocacy groups raised concern about his position on gay-rights issues, CQ Today reports (Armstrong, CQ Today, 6/8). According to some gay rights groups, Holsinger in 1991 wrote in a report for a United Methodist committee that gay sex is unnatural and potentially leads to serious health issues (Alonso-Zaldivar, Los Angeles Times, 6/9).

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Greetings from Bloglandia!

I'm about to take a much-needed week off -- one I've needed for a good year or more! -- but I wanted to hop in and catch all of you up with some recent changes here at the site, some new articles, and a couple pressing issues out and about in the world.

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The morning after the morning after (or, what the FDA decision about Plan B means to you)

The morning after pill is now legal in the U.S. for over-the counter use, without a prescription, for those over 18.

But what does that mean to you?

Following is an in-depth question and answer page about the decision and how it will be applied for all women, about Plan B, and about pharmacist refusals and how to manage them. Please circulate this information and/or link it as widely as possible, (with attribution to the author, please).

The FDA press release from the day of the decision stated:

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