Why Did the Chicken Cross the Road?
To Get to Its Birth Control
GOP legislators across the country scored a few victories this week under the ongoing guise of “parents’ rights.” That’s what Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay Bill” which passed on Tuesday is officially called. It seems clear that Governor Ron DeSantis—who firmed up his place as leader of the Secret Society of Douchey GOP Governors (SSDGG) last week when he mocked students for wearing masks to a public event—will sign this piece of trash bill. DeSantis and his GOP colleagues tried to downplay the impact the legislation will have on classroom discussion by arguing that it is only about planned lessons not organic conversations. However, given that parents now have the right to sue over the utterance of anything vaguely homosexual, I’m expecting teachers to stifle most organic conversations for fear of being the one who bankrupts the whole school district.
While most parents’ rights bill—including a federal one that has been introduced by capitol riot supporter Rep. Josh Hawley (R-MO)—are designed to give parents more control over the K-12 public school curriculum, legislators in Georgia tried to slip in an amendment that would extend its divisive topic rule to public universities. That would mean that college professors could not suggest that “the United States of America and the State of Georgia are fundamentally or systemically racist;” that “an individual, because of his or her race, skin color, or ethnicity, bears responsibility for actions committed by other individuals of the same race, skin color, or ethnicity, whether past or present;” or that “meritocracy or traits such as a hard work ethic are racist or were created by individuals of a particular race to oppress individuals of another race.” In order to pass the committee, however, the college amendment had to be dropped which means kids in Georgia may be allowed to think critically about race once they hit college, but not a second before.
In truth, this puts them in a better position than college kids in Wyoming where legislators just voted to defund the University’s Gender Studies program because their constituents wouldn’t approve of it. Sen. Charles Scott (R), the chairman of the education committee said: “This is an extremely biased, ideologically driven program that I can’t see any academic legitimacy to.” Does Senator Scott realize that most college students are adults who can and should be allowed to make their own decisions about what has academic legitimacy? Does he realize that they can vote?
It may also put them in a better position than all kids in Kentucky where the legislature is considering a parental rights bill so broad—essentially the right to be free of intrusion from the state in directing their children’s destinies—that advocates there are worried it will limit the ability of state agencies to protect children from abuse and neglect.
This, of course, brings of us to Texas. Amongst all of this talk about parents’ rights to make decision about what their children—apparently even adult children—can learn (or do or read or think) came Texas’s announcement that it would go after parents who help their transgender kids get gender-affirming treatment and care. Governor Greg Abbott, who clearly serves as DeSantis’s second in command at the SSDGG, sent a letter to the state’s Commissioner of the Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) arguing that “a wide variety of elective procedures for gender transitioning, including reassignment surgeries that can cause sterilization, mastectomies, removals of otherwise healthy body parts, and administration of puberty-blocking drugs or supraphysiologic doses of testosterone or estrogen” are clearly against Texas law and that “DFPS has a duty to investigate parents of any child “subjected” to these treatments.
GOP hypocrisy rears its head yet again: parents should have all the control until they shouldn’t.
Abbott’s actions should serve as a reminder that none of this is about the rights of parents per se. It’s about the rights of certain parents. At its most basic, it’s about maintaining a society in which white Christians have all the power and make all the decisions. To do that, they have to quash the rights of everyone else and prevent the next generation of white Christians from learning how to think critically—oh, and suppress the vote, but that’s a rant for another day.
Can Phexxi Prevent Chlamydia and Gonorrhea in Women?
Evofem Biosciences announced this week that it’s enrolling patients in clinical trials of Phexxi to see if, in addition to preventing pregnancy, the newest contraceptive to hit the market can also prevent chlamydia and gonorrhea.
When Phexxi was approved in 2020, it was the first non-hormonal form of contraception to be introduced in many years. It is a contraceptive gel available by prescription that comes in preloaded applicators. Users insert it into the vagina up to 60 minutes before penis-in-vagina intercourse and must insert another applicator-full if/when they do it again.
Apparently, one of the jobs of semen is to make the vagina more basic (in the scientific sense, not the new-found code for boring) because sperm can’t survive in acidic environments. Phexxi is made of natural acids including lactic acid, citric acid, and potassium bitartrate (also known as cream of tartar). Evofem refers to Phexxi as a “vaginal pH regulator.” Essentially, it keeps the vagina acidic, which is inhospitable to sperm.
Now the company wants to know if this acid-promoter can also act against the bacteria that cause chlamydia and gonorrhea. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that there were four million cases of chlamydia and 1.6 million cases of gonorrhea in 2018. These sexually transmitted infections (STIs) can be cured with antibiotics but often go undetected because they may cause no symptoms. Untreated, both chlamydia and gonorrhea can lead to Pelvic Inflammatory Disease and infertility in women. Moreover, as we have discussed in the past, gonorrhea is becoming increasingly resistant to antibiotics.
Condoms are highly effective in preventing both of these STIs which are transmitted through infected bodily fluids like semen and vaginal fluids. Condoms remain the only form of birth control that also prevents STIs.
Clearly, the makers of Phexxi are hoping to change that. A preliminary study found a 50 percent relative risk reduction in chlamydia and a 78 percent risk reduction in gonorrhea compared to a placebo. Data from this new study are expected later this year.
Hawaii to Puts Ants and Chickens on Birth Control
Hawaii may be considered one of the most beautiful places on earth, but with that beauty come some pests, and officials in the Aloha State have decided to fight back with birth control.
Legislators in Hawaii introduced a bill this week aimed at controlling the feral chicken population on the islands. Residents of Pearl City have been complaining that the chickens are noisy, that they poop everywhere, and, yes, that they are a road health hazard. (Why?) Though the proposal sounds grave as it aims to eradicate the chickens, it is doing this in the most humane way possible: chicken birth control.
The legislation would create a five-year pilot program to spike chicken feed with OvaControl, an avian contraceptive method. The bill has been referred to the Ways and Means Committee, but the state would have to get permission from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency before such a plan could start.
The plan to eradicate fire ants, however, has been underway for years as the ouchy insects were first discovered in Hawaii in 2014. These tiny, red insects live in the ground and in trees and can “rain down” on people when the colonies get big enough. Fire ant infestations are detrimental to agriculture efforts and painful to people and pets. Apparently, fire ants often sting pets in the eyes, which can cause vision troubles and eventually blindness.
So, this week, officials took to the skies over East Maui, spraying a form of ant bait that serves as food for the nuisance bugs but also makes their queen infertile. That’s gotta sting. <sad trombone>