The lack of vaccinations for children under five years of age is atrocious in California. The article ”
More Calif. Kindergarteners Under-Immunized Than Unvaccinated” from CaliforniaHealthline.org has an excellent summary of vaccination rates statewide, and the appalling lack of vaccinations within Los Angeles County.
Quoting from the article:
While about 2.5% of California kindergarteners’ parents have opted out of vaccinations via personal belief exemptions, nearly 7% start school under-immunized.
According to Amy Pine, director of the Alameda County Public Health Department’s immunization program, under-immunized children still are “vulnerable” to contracting and transmitting diseases.
The rate of under-immunized kindergarteners who are admitted to school on a conditional status varies across the state. For example, the rate is:
- 12.28% in Los Angeles County — nearly double the statewide average;
- 11.62% in San Francisco; and
- 9.68% in Alameda County.
Few counties have taken steps to stem the number of “conditional entrants,” but some stakeholders have made recommendations to the state to improve the tracking of such students (“State of Health,” CHCF Center for Health Reporting/KQED, 2/2).
This is really a setting for an epidemic of previously eliminated childhood diseases, such as mumps, measles, rubella, and perhaps even polio. Only time will tell!
“Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. This is not a way of life at all in any true sense. Under the clouds of war, it is humanity hanging on a cross of iron.”
― Dwight D. Eisenhower
by Neetzan Zimmerman / gawker.com
The longstanding severity of Yemen’s child marriages is gaining some much needed sunlight this week after a young survivor of this shocking custom took it upon herself to speak out on behalf of the untold many who can’t.
Nada al-Ahdal, an 11-year-old from Sana’a, had been promised by her parents to an adult suitor not once, but twice.
The “gifted singer” had been raised by her uncle Abdel Salam al-Ahdal since practically birth, and had been given the opportunity to go to school and learn English.
Abdel Salam, who was also raising a nephew and his aging mother, attempted to guard young Nada from any attempt by her biological parents to marry her off to a rich groom, having experienced the death of his sister by self-immolation over an arranged marriage.
When Nada turned 10, Abdel Salam learned that Nada’s mother and father had indeed sold her off to a Yemeni expat living in Saudi Arabia.
He phoned the groom in a panic, desperate to get him to rescind his offer.
“I called the groom and told him Nada was no good for him,” Abdel Salam told the Lebanese publication NOW. “I told him she did not wear the veil and he asked if things were going to remain like that. I said ‘yes, and I agree because she chose it.’ I also told him that she liked singing and asked if he would remain engaged to her.”
The man was persuaded to call the whole thing off, leaving Nada’s parents “disappointed.”
Months later they arrived in Sana’a, ostensibly to visit their daughter, but in reality were there to kidnap her and attempt another arranged marriage.
Nada asked to be returned to her uncle, but was told she had already been promised to someone.
Saying she would run away, Nada’s family reportedly threatened her with death, but were unable to stop her escape.
She reunited with her uncle, who took her straight to the authorities.
After an investigation was opened into the forced marriage allegations, Nada’s dad suddenly backed off the idea, and permitted her to continue living with her uncle.
“I managed to solve my problem, but some innocent children can’t solve theirs,” Nada said in a confessional released yesterday by MEMRI-TV. “[A]nd they might die, commit suicide, or do whatever comes to mind…It’s not our fault. I’m not the only one. It can happen to any child.”
“It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.” – Frederick Douglas
by Lisa Belkin / huffingtonpost.com
Cristin Lind couldn’t find the words, so she drew a picture.
The artistic inspiration hit about a year ago, after she’d been asked to speak to a meeting of primary care physicians, telling them what it took to manage the complex care of her special needs son. Her page was still empty, despite hours trying to collect her thoughts, so she found some colored markers and began drawing circles.
Inside a small purple circle, smack in the middle, she placed a G, for her son Gabe. “He’s not always the center of the universe,” she says with a smile. “But for these purposes he was.”
Around him, she drew another purple circle containing the rest of the family: Cristin, her husband Dan, and their daughter, Dagny. She built outward from there: the health care providers in blue — pediatrics, endocrine, cardiology, orthopedics; school-related specialists in red — everyone from the teacher to the bus driver to the special education director; turquoise for the world of advocacy and support groups; pink for recreation; lavender for those who do the assessments and testing; orange for those who help fight against the rules and for the money.
We each have scaffolding in our lives, usually unseen. We are surrounded by a web we don’t always know is there, but every so often — usually in crisis or its aftermath — makes itself visible. By the time Lind finished drawing, there were 70 labeled ovals on her page, which she calls “Gabe’s Care Map.”
She felt overwhelmed, yet empowered, just looking at it.
She appeared to be the perfect plaintiff in a case that changed America’s political landscape: Roe v. Wade, decided by the Supreme Court 40 years ago this month. But Norma McCorvey, now 65, was never what she seemed: neither as the pregnant Texas woman who won fame as abortion-rights icon “Jane Roe,” nor as the pro-life activist she would become.
by Joshua Prager / vanityfair.com
It is a spring night in rural Texas, and crickets sing as a woman in her 60s with broad shoulders and short brown hair stops a pregnant young woman on an empty sidewalk. The older woman has heard that the younger woman, her neighbor Lucy Mae, may be seeking an abortion. “You don’t have to do this,” she says, her brown eyes and long loose cheeks filling with emotion. “Children are a miracle—a gift from God!”
The women are performing a scene in Doonby, a movie about a drifter who awakens a sleepy Texas town to its spiritual possibilities. The movie, tentatively set to be released this year, is directed by Peter Mackenzie, a Catholic filmmaker from Britain. It stars John Schneider, best known for The Dukes of Hazzard, who is a born-again Christian.
The older woman is born-again, too. Her name is Norma McCorvey. She is not a professional actress. But back when Nixon was president, McCorvey landed the role of a lifetime: that of “Jane Roe,” the plaintiff in what would become one of the most divisive legal actions in American history.
Forty years ago, on January 22, 1973, the United States Supreme Court ruled in Roe v. Wadethat women had the right to an abortion “free of interference by the State,” as Justice Harry A. Blackmun wrote in the Court’s majority opinion. The decision greatly expanded the legal boundaries for abortion in the United States, allowing women to terminate a pregnancy at any point during the first 24 weeks—that is, through the first and second trimesters. (Roe did, however, permit states to impose regulations in the second trimester, including who could perform abortions and where. It also gave states the right to ban most abortions in the third trimester.)
McCorvey, under the pseudonym Jane Roe, had brought the precipitating lawsuit in 1970, when she was pregnant for a third time and living in Texas, where abortion was prohibited unless the life of the pregnant woman was threatened. (The Wade in Roe v. Wade was Dallas County district attorney Henry Wade, the named defendant.) Roe v. Wade was a watershed legal ruling. But it also helped to turn abortion into the great foe of American consensus. Subsequent cases have made it clear that the Supreme Court majority in favor of abortion rights has been eroding, from 7 to 2 in Roe to 5 to 4 in cases decided in more recent years (with the majority deciding against abortion rights in a number of cases). Roe is undoubtedly the most familiar legal ruling in the minds of most Americans—not for nothing did Katie Couric ask Sarah Palin in a 2008 interview to cite any Supreme Court case except that one. But few people know much about the woman who prompted the ruling in the first place.
Norma McCorvey, now 65, has presented a version of her life in two autobiographies, I Am Roe(with Andy Meisler, 1994) and Won by Love (with Gary Thomas, 1997). In McCorvey’s telling, the story is a morality tale with a simple arc: An unwanted pregnancy. A lawsuit. Pro-choice. Born-again. Pro-life. Peace. The truth is sadder and less tidy. And with the help of a cache of documents retrieved two years ago from the clutter of a Texas home she had abandoned, as well as interviews with people once close to her, the story can be more accurately told.