Weekly Parenting News Roundup

Cross-posted at Daily Kos. Please recommend so people get directions to the Hard Rock Cafe this Thursday! Thanks, Elisa

Hello fellow moms, dads and caregivers!

I am back with your weekly parenting news update. Here are some topics we recently discussed here at MotherTalkers:

Girl Scouts and their moms are rightfully upset to learn that Wal-Mart was at the BlogHer conference last week giving away samples of its own version of Thin Mints and Tagalongs. You can read about it here and here.

Parenting magazine ran an article about the difficult decision facing couples who have conceived through IVF: What to do about the leftover embryos? Some parents, including a mother quoted in the article, shared their stories here at MotherTalkers.  

P.E. injuries are on the rise, according to an article by the Associated Press. The injuries are not due to rigorous exercise, but a lack of adult supervision as staff like nurses are laid off and class sizes grow.

Here is one last important news story I want to highlight: Drinking and driving is up among women, according to an Associated Press report. Even more disturbing, drunk women are more likely than inebriated men to drive with children in the backseat. This story was covered in light of the tragedy that occurred in one of New York’s highways, in which an intoxicated mother caused a one-way crash that claimed 8 lives, including her own.

I hate to end on that note, but I am off to the east coast to visit my parents in New Hampshire and attend Netroots Nation in Pittsburgh. In the meantime, I want to alert you of some important dates so please pull out your calendars:

I am helping MomsRising.org pass important legislation in California that would ban the toxic chemical bisphenol A (BPA) from baby and toddler products like bottles and sippy cups. The chemical and canned goods industry, including the formula companies, are fighting this bill. We are holding two important rallies to let the state Assembly know that families in our state support this bill.

The first one is in Los Angeles on Wednesday, August 19. Check out the Facebook page on it and pass along to all your family and friends in SoCal!

The second one is in front of the state capitol in Sacramento on Wednesday, August 26. Again, please see the Facebook page here and forward to all your family and friends in northern California.

It is important that Assemblymembers see a lot of us at these rallies as they will be heavily lobbied by the chemical industry.

Now onto other fun events: I will be hosting the Netroots Nation Parents Caucus at the Hard Rock Cafe this year on Thursday, August 13 at 1:30 p.m.. A group of us will meet in front of the convention center between 1 and 1:15 to share cabs or take public transportation. Here are directions to get to the Hard Rock Cafe via the “T” public transit station: Exit the convention center and walk up 10th Street away from the river. Walk 3 blocks and take a right on Liberty Avenue. Walk 2 long blocks up Liberty — the cross-streets will be 9th and 8th streets — and on your left will be the Wood Street Galleries at the intersection of Wood Street and Liberty Avenue. The T station is down the escalator.

You will take the “outbound” train. The train numbers are 42S or 47L, but the sign should say “to Square Station” or “to South Hills.” It is easy in that the T has only one line in town. The train comes every 8 minutes and it is a 5-minute trip to Station Square. Expect to travel like 3 stops. Once you get to the Station Square stop, cross the street (Carson Street) and head towards the river where you will see the Hard Rock Cafe. You will walk about a block to get there.

I will make sure to re-post these directions before the event on Thursday. Hope to see you there! Remember, the first 20 people to arrive will receive swag bags.

One last event I want to highlight: DH will be signing books at our Katie’s bookstore. Come out to meet the snark queen herself! Here are the details:

When: Monday, August 24
Time: 7 p.m.
Where: Gibson’s Bookstore, 27 S. Main Street, Concord, NH

The whole family will be there, including the kiddos. Please do come and bring your families!

What’s up with you?


Parents of Embryos Speak

If you’ve been following the movements of Bush’s pen, you know he recently vetoed a bill that would have lifted limits on federally funded research on embryonic stem cells. Currently, federally-funded stem cell research can only be done on 20 existing cell lines that were derived from embryos over six years ago. Many of those snowflakes haven’t aged well–scientists claim many have been compromised or corrupted. In other words, the research is being done on a shrinking pool of damaged goods.

As fast as Bush could veto the new bill, the Democratic-controlled Senate Appropriations Committee got busy sticking a provision in another bill that would allow taxpayer dollars to be spent on stem cells extracted from embryos before June 15. So the tug-o-war continues.

But some interesting voices have been added to the debate: the preferences and opinions of those people whose gametes created the frozen embryos in the first place. A 12-page survey was given to 1000 patients at nine fertility clinics in the US, and the results were published in the journal Science.

“We understand the perspective of lawmakers, advocates, etcetera, but we really didn’t know what the preferences of infertility patients were or what animated their decisions,” Lyerly said. “We wanted to bring their voices into the national debate and also try to understand how these decisions were made.

“We understood that infertility patients were facing a very difficult moral decision about what to do with excess embryos left over after infertility treatment, and these are the people who have interfaced most intimately with moral decision-making around embryos. Yet their perspectives are really absent from national debate,” she continued

What is the will of the snowflake-makers? you may be asking.

Half the people were willing to donate some or all of their excess embryos to research in general. The number bumps to 60% when patients were asked if they were willing to donate the embryos specifically to stem cell research and “research aimed at developing treatments for human disease or infertility.”

Stem cell research is strange territory for an egg-layer. I will never know when the “soul” enters the “body” because I don’t even know what “souls” are or where they come from. I can’t defer the solving of that mystery to some other human, because they have no way of knowing either (I don’t care how many times they’ve read the Bible, which was also written by humans…) Mystery’s a bitch when you’re trying to make an ethical decision about a blastocyst.

Curiously, the least attractive options for the respondents were to have the embryos destroyed or donated to another infertile couple.