G spots

You may have heard about the “friend-zone” (a platonic relationship where one person has unrequited feelings for the other), but here’s a new term: the “co-zone” — short for “condom-zone.”  MTV and Trojan Brand Condoms have partnered to create a series of commercials designed to encourage younger Americans to practice safe sex every time, no matter what “zone” their relationship is in. There’re lots of hang-ups surrounding sex, but condom use should not be one of them. We hope the campaign is a huge success.

Never doubt the power of feminists using the Internet to organize and create change. Students and alumnae used social media to raise awareness and pressure about trans-discrimination at women’s colleges. As a direct result, Mount Holyoke (the Massachusetts’ women’s college) changed its admissions policy to allow trans-women to apply for admission. Kudos to Mt. Holyoke! We hope to see policy changes at other U.S. women’s colleges as well.

All students have the right to go to school safely.  Emma Sulkowicz, a student at Columbia University, is protesting the University’s mishandling of her sexual assault case by carrying a mattress around campus until her reported rapist is removed.  Her campus activism has drawn out more survivors, and garnered the support from many of her peers. Sulkowicz joined 22 students in a Federal complaint against Columbia’s overall mishandling of sexual misconduct cases. We applaud Emma and the other activists’ efforts to bring this issue to the forefront under Title IX’s provisions.

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Sore Spots

There is no mistaking the red blotches on Urban Outfitters’ $129 “Vintage Kent State Sweatshirt” as anything other than bloodstains, but the company maintains the red marks are normal “discoloration.” Kent State University was the site of a 1970 shooting in which Ohio National Guards killed 4 students and wounded 9 others during peaceful anti-war protests. The University and others lit up social media in outrage over the company’s lack common sense and decency — and the company eventually pulled the sweatshirt off the shelves.

The controversy over self-induced medication abortion is a hot topic. A Pennsylvania mom bought the drugs that cause a medical abortion (misoprostol and mifepristone) from an on-line European pharmacy for her 16-year-old daughter, since the nearest abortion care clinic was 74 miles away. It’s illegal to import these pills, however; the mother was sentenced to up to 18 months in prison for violating state law requiring abortions to be performed by a physician. This case highlights the need to expand access to safe abortion care, not restrict it!

Women shouldn’t have to pay additional fees to get birth control — or, at least, that was the intent behind the Affordable Care Act’s guarantee that women could get birth control without cost. In September, however, a Washington DC CVS Pharmacy was caught charging women a $20 copay for their birth control prescriptions. CVS has identified the glitch that caused the charges, and promised to resolve the issue. We hope this will serve as a lesson to providers and pharmacies to know the law, and follow it!