Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Anti-abortion groups step up attack on Planned Parenthood with Madison billboard

Pro-Life Wisconsin has teamed up with a national anti-abortion campaign to put up a billboard near a Madison Planned Parenthood clinic today. "CHOICE KILLS THOSE WITHOUT ONE," the sign says in giant letters. A photo of an African American baby is in the center of the letter "O," a slash across it.
The billboard has been placed near the Planned Parenthood clinic on South Park Street.
It is the latest salvo in what has been a stepped-up campaign not just against abortions but against sex education and family planning and birth control programs across the state. It is also an example of the anti-abortion movement's efforts to revive old and widely debunked charges that Planned Parenthood has links to the eugenics movement.
“Abortion is not a true choice for the unborn, for women or for men. Abortion providers prey on those who feel they have no choice, and this campaign highlights this daily reality,” says communications director Virginia Zignego in a press release.
Pro-Life Wisconsin opposes sex education and the use of all forms of contraception. The group has been invigorated by the Republican charge in Wisconsin to defund and shut down various family planning programs across the state. The Governor's budget includes significant funding cuts and the elimination of some of these programs.
So if the group opposes sex ed and birth control, what alternatives are there for poor women who want to avoid or end unintended pregnancies? I asked Zignego. Adoption and crisis pregnancy centers supported by anti-abortion groups, she said.
The Madison billboard takes aim at Planned Parenthood for what the group’s press release describes as a "history of racism and the continuing eugenics movement in Wisconsin."
The billboard is just a small example of what has been a ferocious attack, even including undercover sting operations, by anti-abortion activists against Planned Parenthood clinics across the country.
The Madison billboard refers viewers to a website called TooManyAborted.com, run by a group called The Radiance Foundation and headed by Ryan Bomberger, who the press release points out is biracial. 
 “Our goal is to expose an industry that doesn’t trust women enough to tell them the truth, injects gender animosity by demonizing men, and targets minorities resulting in hugely disproportionate rates of abortion in the urban community,” Bomberger says in the release.
Supporters of Planned Parenthood point out that the clinics are often the only affordable providers of not just family planning services, but of much needed health care in many minority neighborhoods.
Every year, says Amanda Harrington of Planned Parenthood, more than 11,000 Wisconsin women receive screenings for cervical and breast cancers, annual check ups, STD testing, and family planning services that many of them can not get anywhere else. "The simple fact is that many communities in Wisconsin suffer from a lack of access to basic health care. An inability  to access preventative health care leads to many health disparities," she says.
Last December, the Radiance Foundation worked with Pro Life
Wisconsin to put up 13 billboards in mostly minority neighborhoods
in Milwaukee. "Black children are in danger: too many aborted,"
some said. Others read "Black and Beautiful: Too many aborted."

At that time, Amanda Harrington, a spokeswoman for Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin, called the charges against her organization "lies and distortions" and the billboards "reprehensible."
"They are using racism to interfere with a woman's ability to access health care," she told me, as quoted in my Vital Signs post.
Harrington called Planned Parenthood "the state's largest and most trusted health care provider," with "doors open to all."
Racial disparities in abortion rates are not the result of a conspiracy, she said. They occur because minorities experience greater numbers of unwanted pregnancies because they lack access to adequate sex education and affordable health care including birth control.
"If organizations like Pro-Life Wisconsin were truly concerned about reducing unintended pregnancies, they would work with us to increase access to sex education and affordable birth control," Harrington said. "Instead, they work against us to eliminate health care to women who really need it."
Just days after the Milwaukee billboards equating abortions with black genocide, Pro-Life Wisconsin erected two signs in La Crosse featuring ultrasound images the organization claim represent the baby Jesus in the Virgin Mary's womb. Here is an image of that bilboard.
Placed over the fetus in the billboards was a miniature halo. "He's on His Way. Christmas Starts with Christ," the sign read, linking viewers towww.churchads.net, described by a Pro-Life press release as a Christian nonprofit in England that sponsored the campaign there.
In my post about the La Crosse billboard, Zignego said the group planned to step up its anti-abortion work in Wisconsin, targeting the state's controversial sex education law, passed last year.

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Friday, March 4, 2011

Frugal Tips to Help You Afford Your Inner Diva

. Managing Your Foot & Ankle Pain and Deformities ... Lakes Foot & Ankle Associates ... Dr. Daniel Shanahan & Dr. Aimee Boyette-Popofski discuss the multitude of problems that can affect women's feet including bunions, hammertoes, heel pain, and injuries. Details regarding conservative care and surgical care will be covered. Additionally, they will elucidate topics on your children's feet, diabetic foot issues, sports medicine, proper shoe gear, and the many myths that surround foot and ankle pathology. Lastly, they will provide valuable information on how to save your health care dollars!

Our hair is our crowning glory, and we treat it as such -- we shell out on average $252 a year on haircuts, according to the Professional Beauty Association. But you can slash that bill by a third by selecting a long hairstyle that doesn't require a lot of maintenance.

"As a general rule, shorter cuts need to be maintained more often to keep their shape, and with a 'bob' haircut, it just looks frumpy as it grows out," says Brian Magallones, a hairstylist to stars like Keri Russell and Olivia Wilde. "The easiest haircut that will grow out with style is a classic, long-layered cut. With a cut like this, you can go three to four months between visits, depending on the length and condition of your hair."

But that also means keeping your hair healthy. Save by investing in 2-in-1 products, such as shampoo-conditioner, and heat protectant-shine enhancer, a spokesperson for Totalhair.net recommended to WalletPop. And keep that shampoo bottle around longer by washing every other day. Have your conditioner double as a deep conditioner by leaving it in your hair for 15 to 20 minutes.

Hair Coloring

Hair highlights and coloring take a big bite out of our wallets. We spend about $1,000 a year to brighten our manes, according to the Professional Beauty Association. You can keep within budget by opting for one color, which is cheaper than foil highlights, according to Totalhair.net. And choose a color that's closer to your natural shade so you're not sporting two-toned hair when your tresses grow out.

Make the color last longer by washing with color-extending shampoo and conditioner. The ultimate money-saver: turning to the drugstore instead of a salon to color those locks.


To keep eyebrows in line, we spend on average $516 a year, according to the prices listed in Allure.com's salon and spa directory that shows beauty costs in 14 cities across the United States. To trim that bill down, eyebrow and make-up guru Ramy Gafni recommends spending a little more at first to have an expert shape your brows and then being vigilant about maintenance.

"Think that there's a halo around your eyebrows and clean obvious strays every day," says Gafni, owner of Manhattan's RamySpa. "Mishaps occur when you skip a couple of days and lose the line. So keep the tweezers by your toothbrush. A good point of reference to see [an expert] is when brow hair has to be trimmed. Trimmed hair takes longer to grow back, so you don't want any mistakes."

Gafni, who charges $75 per session, has trained the brow experts at Duane Reade's Look Boutique, where a tweeze costs $30 a visit. A Tweezerman tweezer -- the kind experts often use and recommend -- will run you about $20.


On average, American women plunk down about $100 every month, or $7 billion a year, on cosmetic products, according to the YWCA's 2008 report, "Beauty At Any Cost." But our makeup habit doesn't have to be so steep. Instead, fulfill your craving with strategic buys, said Gafni. He urges splurging on name-brand specialty items, concealers, foundations, and powders. Their high price tags can be worth it, he explained, as they "wear better, have better pigment and are better for your skin" than some drugstore brands.

Pare down your bill by hitting your local drugstores for mascara, lipsticks and glosses, blush and other eyeshadows. Maybelline's iconic Great Lash mascara, for example, sells for just $4.99; on the high end, Lancome's Definicils mascara rings in at $25.

Wean yourself off pricey face lotions by making your own. Kimberly Sayer, founder of Kimberly Sayer of London Organic Skincare, has a recipe for a moisturizer with just enough alpha hydroxy acids to help your face look smooth and youthful at just $9 for at least 25 applications.

1. Combine 1 teaspoon of honey with 1 tablespoon of coconut oil.
2. Next add 1 tablespoon of rice or almond milk.
3. Finally add 1 teaspoon of apple juice. Those with sensitive skin should skip this step.
4. Mix together well. Apply generously to face.


While Dysport is making some inroads in the smooth face arena, Botox is still the drug of choice when it comes to removing those pesky frown lines. If you can't kick that $443 per session three times a year habit the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons' 2007 Cosmetic Surgery National Data Bank Statistics reports that we have, there are still some ways to save.

Some of Dr. Anthony Youn's patients are stretching their dollars by asking him to inject half a treatment dose in an area instead of the full dose. Others are seeing him a little less frequently.

"Nothing works the same," says Youn, a board-certified plastic surgeon based in Michigan and author of the memoir In Stitches. "Until Dysport, there was no other FDA approved botulinum toxin for cosmetic use so it had a monopoly on the cosmetic neurotoxin market."


This skin-smoothing treatment is so popular that we spent on average $834 per year on it, according to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons.

Fortunately, obtaining younger-looking skin just got a little easier, thanks to over-the-counter microdermabrasion kits like Olay Regenerist's Microdermabrasion and Peel kit (about $27) and Neutrogena's Advanced Solutions At Home MicroDermabrasion System (about $104).

"These aren't as powerful as the ones we do in the office, but they can exfoliate nicely for a lower cost," says Youn. "You'll need to use them more often to get the same professional results."

Another inexpensive solution: Make your own kit. Organic esthetician and chemist Kimberly Sayer's Baking Soda Treatment, which will run you almost $10 for 30 treatments, is great once a week for sensitive skin, twice a week for less-sensitive skin.

1. Pour 2 tablespoons of baking soda into a small bowl.
2. Slowly add water until you make a thick paste.
3. Add the juice of half a fresh lemon. Forgo this step if your skin is highly sensitive and substitute chamomile tea instead.
4. Wet fingertips, dip them into the paste and gently massage in small circular motions.
5. Massage entire face area for one to five minutes, depending on your skin's sensitivity level.


Who doesn't love a relaxing visit to the nail salon for a mani-pedi? But a $500 bill every year, according to the Professional Beauty Association, can be a bit hard on your pocketbook. Lower your costs by extending the life of each mani-pedi by investing in a bottle of clear top coat, says Susan Nam, co-owner of Polished Beauty Bar in Manhattan. "Between manicures and pedicures, you should put a top coat on to help extend the life of the polish."

Be a frugalista by saving nail polish for summer months, when your feet will actually be seen and noticed. Lastly, turn your bedroom into a nail salon whenever you feel the urge to try out a new color. For a DIY pedicure, Nam recommends cleaning your feet and then soaking them for about 20 minutes before scrubbing and moisturizing each foot. Clean each nail surface with acetone or rubbing alcohol before applying polish. Repeat twice. Protect with a good top coat.


Looking sun-kissed is great, but the price tag can melt your wallet. We spend about $150 to $1,050 a year on tanning beds and spray tans, according to John Overstreet at The Indoor Tanning Association. To lower our sun bill, International Smart Tan Network executive director Joseph Levy recommends signing up for packages which offer discounts for multiple vists, spray tanning only body parts that are visible during the winter months, and alternate between over-the-counter spray solutions and salon visits.

"The technology in today's sprays has improved so much that these tans look natural," Levy told WalletPop in a telephone interview.

For the ultimate savings plan, Dr. Richard Baxter, a board-certified plastic surgeon and medical director of Seattle-based Calidora Skin Clinics, recommends forgoing tanning all together. "Tanning beds are a class 1 carcinogen," Dr. Baxter says. "Skin damage will lead to higher skin-care costs later on."

Body Waxing

That weekly waxing visit is getting a tad hairy -- ringing in at about $246 per year, according to Newsweek.com. Nix this from your planner by opting for hair laser removal, advises Dr. Baxter. The nearly $1,000 procedure, with a $100 maintenance treatment every few years, removes hair from your body for a lifetime.

If you're not ready for such a commitment, then volunteer your body to salons likeShobha in New York City. Trainees will wax you for free, but you can't be shy as several observers will also be on hand to check out the results.

Another strategy clients use, Shobha brand manager Jennifer Pesce says, is to opt for the cheaper shaving method and save waxing for special occasions. Or do most of the maintenance yourself by using Shobha's Sugaring Kit ($30).