Wellness

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    Since 2005, the organization Women on Web, founded by Dr. Rebecca Gomperts, has provided women with the medication to perform at-home abortions. Gomperts' operation is straightforward: for $95 (though the organization will assist women facing financial barriers), an online consultation will be reviewed by a pharmacist. WoW will in turn fill a prescription, and ship the medication. Every day, The Netherlands-based company answers 10,000 emails in 17 languages. After over ten years in action, more than 200,000 women from 140 countries have completed the online consulation. 

    But during that time, WoW wouldn't mail to the United States, citing the exceptionally fervent anti-abortion activists who could threaten the entire international operation. It’s a sorely needed service; though abortion is technically legal in the US, it grows more difficult to access. In the 45 years since Roe v. Wade, nearly 1,200 restrictions have been enacted across the country: waiting periods, ultrasound laws, hiked costs. 

    A recent report by The Atlantic is means to celebrate, though: Gomperts has launched a new service, Aid Access, which will ship to American women. Aid Access works similarly to Women on Web: women will be screened for their eligibly to take the pill through an online consultation. Gomperts will then personally fill a prescription for misoprostol and mifepristone. The prescription is then sent to a trusted Indian pharmacy for shipping. Taken together, the pills are estimated 97% effective in causing an abortion within the first trimester. If bleeding is heavier than expected (which happens in about 3% of cases), women are advised to go to the hospital and claim a miscarriage. In countries with absolute anti-abortion laws such as El Salvador and Guatemala, this can save women from feticide convictions. 

    Organizations such as Students for Life and Americans United for have already vowed a fight for Aid Access. Despite a 15-year history of safe use, pro-life groups maintain the medication is unsafe, primarily citing the risk of ectopic pregnancy – a condition in which the fertilized egg implants outside the uterus. These claims that have been steadily debunked and a recent Guttmacher Institute report on self-induced abortion legitimized Gomperts' operation. Before Aid Access, US women had access to unverified online services – to the consequence of damaged medication, unidentified dosage, and little or zero instructions.

    It’s a long-held truth that governments can never end abortion, only safe abortion. During a briefing concerned with Kavanaugh and Roe v. Wade, representative Lois Frankel, a Democrat from Florida, banged a coat hanger against the table – reminding everyone that, when given no choice, women's history can repeat itself. 

    So we say it again: Gomperts service is one we’re glad to have and one we hope is here to stay. 

    Top Image: Women on Web

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    This weekend, I will be attending Elements Lakewood Camping Festival, which will take place on the gorgeous 60-acre lakefront & wooded property in Lakewood, PA. The three-day festival (May 25-27, 2018) will feature an incredible lineup with headlining acts including Claude VonStroke, City of the Sun, Desert Hearts and Sphongle. The stacked lineup will be held acorss over 8 stages, several including of which built through a collaboration of Rhizome NYC and The Reliquarium. Although I am stoked about the lineup, it is the abundance of wellness and health programs being offered at the festival that I am most looking forward too. 

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    The festival will provide accessible health and wellness programs for all attendees, including reiki, meditation, yoga, sound healing, and more. The health and Wellnestprogram at Elements Lakewood Camping Festival is lush with opportunity to grow and connect. Although I always enjoy partying at a festival, I think it is equally important to call attention to the issues and create a safe environment for all parties. This is exactly what Elements is doing, going above and beyond to provide inclusively, and professional wellness treatments.

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    There has been a lot of talk across festival culture regarding how music festivals can be breeding ground for sexual harassment, and Elements Lakewood Camping Festival is doing their part to ensure that this is not the case at their festival. The weekend will kick off with an opening ceremony, "Cuddles and Consent," in which Rachel Santos will lead a workshop for people of all genders and identities to talk openly talk about consent. This is something I truly believe ALL festivals should implement into their programs. 

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    Beyond the wellness programs, there are a variety of exciting things to do at the festival, including rock climbing, lounging at the pool, fire walking classes, putt-putt golf, and more. There is something for everyone to enjoy at this year’s Elements Lakewood Camping Festival.

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    So who will we be seeing this week? Got something cool you think we should cover? DM @made_in_colombiaaaon Instagram. Take a listen to this playlist featuring some of the incredible artists you can find this weekend:

    Photos courtesy Elements Lakewood Camping Festival
    Stage deisgn in first photo by The Reliquarium

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    A legal reckoning has finally come for Gwyneth Paltrow’s lifestyle company, Goop—in the form of a $145,000 settlement, reports The Guardian. Investigations by the California Food, Drug, and Medical Device Task Force into three products by Goop, including two now-infamous vaginal eggs, found the products made unsubstantied scientific claims.

    Goop claimed the vaginal “eggs”—made of jade or quartz—increased bladder control, regulated menstrual cycles, balanced hormones, and prevented uterine collapse. Along with two eggs, the task force investigated the Inner Judge Flower Essence Blend, which the site claimed “could help prevent depression.”

    The vaginal eggs first spurred headlines, and ridicule, a few years backs. Backlash from the medical community was swift. On Twitter, gynecologists begged women to stop using the eggs, citing the risk of bacterial vaginosis or even Toxic Shock Syndrome.

    In a recent New York Times article, Santa Clara district attorney Jeff Rosen says, “The health and money of Santa Clara County residents should never be put at risk by misleading advertising. We will vigilantly protect consumers against companies that promise health benefits without the support of good science…or any science.”

    Despite the settlement, the $66 Jade Egg and $55 Rose Quartz egg are still for sale on the site—but Goop has tweaked the product description. The site now claims the items “cultivate sexual energy, clear chi pathways in the body, intensify femininity, and invigorate our life force.”

    Goop spokesman Heather Wilson released a statement saying, “This settlement does not indicate any liability on Goop’s part. The company has not received any complaints regarding these product claims.”

    It seems the eggs are here to stay. 

    Photo Credit: Andrea Raffin / Wikimedia Commons 

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