War on Women continues

By Jamila Bey

Journalist and co-author of Crow After Roe: How “Separate But Equal” Has Become the New Standard In Women’s Health And How We Can Change That, Robin Marty joins the Sex Politics And Religion Hour to explain the tactics and political game plan of the factions that want to eliminate health care parity for women and eliminate the right of women to bodily and reproductive autonomy.

Follow her at @RobinMarty.


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Five days at Memorial: when will US hospitals prep for natural disasters?

The horrors of the deadly Hurricane Katrina showed to the entire world what can happen when poor planning and extreme weather collide.

Memorial Hospital, New Orleans’ fortress against even the deadly 1965 Hurricane Betsy, proved that the Katrina storm was far beyond the worst that planners imagined. Facing potential riots and looters, once the flood waters started to rise inside the hospital and there was no water, power, or hope for rescue, those remaining believed there was no hope.

Patients were euthanized. And while those medical officials who brought about the deaths of patients were arrested, they were never put on trial.

Journalist and MD Sheri Fink won a Pulitzer Prize for her reporting on the event, called, “The Deadly Choices at Memorial.” For six more years, Fink has investigated why things at Memorial went so terribly, interviewing more than 500 people and talking with the medical professionals about the choices they made. She joins the Sex, Politics, and Religion Hour to talk about why Katrina should have taught the country how to prevent similar tragedies at other hospitals, and how last year’s Hurricane Sandy illustrated that there have been hardly any improvements since Katrina.


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Kim Coles on natural hair and more

Actress, comedian and author Kim Coles joined Jamila to talk about the “Let Your Hair Down” expo this coming Saturday the 14th in New York City.

Coles, who has decided to wear her hair however she wishes, talks with me about her hair journey and her career journey to date. She also dishes on what she thinks of the rumor that there will be a “Living Single” reunion now that Queen Latifah is back on television.


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Ending religious mistreatment of children

“Spare the rod and spoil the child,” is a saying many parents cite as justification for instilling discipline and obedience into their children through corporal punishment.

However, in cases where religious parents take authority and discipline too far, resources to help the abused children may be scarce. Unfortunately, moreover, society has a hard time determining when “discipline” in the name of religion is taken too far. Our guests in this episode are here to help us understand how to identify and stamp out this form of child abuse. One is Janet Heimlich, president of The Child-Friendly Faith Project. (there is additionally a closed Facebook group for survivors called “Child-Friendly Faith.”) Heimlich’s book, Breaking Their Will: Shedding Light on Religious Child Maltreatment was a groundbreaking work on the topic. Also joining our discussion is Dolon Hickmon, himself a survivor of religious child abuse, and author of the forthcoming book “1324: A Story of Faith and Obsession.” He’s launched this project in addition:

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Filibusterer Wendy Davis in DC

The Texas State Senator who filibustered her way onto the national stage a month ago made a stop in Washington, DC at the National Press Club.

VOR’s Jamila Bey was there, and took the time to talk with two of Davis’s colleagues who assisted her during the 13 hour effort to block Governor Rick Perry’s restrictive abortion law: Texas Senator Leticia Van de Putte, famous for inquiring “At what point must a female senator raise her hand or her voice to be recognized over her male colleagues?”, and Texas Senator Rodney Ellis, who helped Davis into her back brace during her effort.

They spoke about their hopes for the future of Texas politics.


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Texas to have special session after successful filibuster of abortion bill

Texas Gov. Rick Perry is calling for a second special session of the legislature to try to pass restrictive abortion regulations after the successful filibuster of Democratic state Sen. Wendy Davis.

Davis filibustered for more than 10 hours on Tuesday night to delay the senate vote on the SB 5 Pro-Life Omnibus Bill, which would have banned abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy and shuttered most of the state’s abortion clinics due to more stringent requirements.

While the events in Texas were watched around the world, other states watched in hopes of learning how to successfully pass similar laws.

Host Jamila Bey spoke with Jodi Jacobson, editor-in-chief of RH Reality Check, and Austin-based journalist Jessica Luther to talk about Texas and the potential encroachments that would restrict care to all American women.

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Stories from the press focused on many aspects of her filibuster, including what was to some a distressing focus on her “pink tennis shoes.”

Bey also spoke with freelance journalist Tracie Powell and Rachel Larris of the Women’s Media Center to talk about the coverage of the story and how mainstream media was flat-footed in running down the details of the evening.

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Exhibit on African American hair draws supporters, detractors and more

The hair of African-Americans who choose to wear their hair in its natural, coiled texture can often be a thing of great beauty and great interest.

In an effort to spark some discussion and dialogue, Antonia Opiah, entrepreneur and founder of the Web site, decided to explore the reasons that some people are so interested in black hair with an exhibit at New York City’s Union Square.

She held an interactive public art exhibit in New York City last Thursday and Saturday. The “You Can Touch My Hair” exhibit drew a crowd of supporters and hair-feelers.

But there were also detractors who called the display a “Human Petting Zoo,” while others took to social media to claim that this exhibit fetishizes and celebrates the legacy of a time when black people were displayed as oddities and curiosities for their natural-born characteristics.

Host Jamila Bey hosted a round table discussion to recap the exhibit and touch on the issue at hand.

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Jamila Bey, host of SPAR With Jamila Bey

Antonia Opiah, founder of “You Can Touch My Hair”

Crystal Blanton, blogger

Angela Brown, a health care worker who just did the “Big Chop”

Denise Clay, a journalist in Philadelphia

Victor Harris, Jr., a California restaurateur

Ronnelle Adams, a D.C. author

You can watch a video of the exhibit here:

New Studies Reveal Increasing Presence, Costs of STIs in US

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has released two new studies this week detailing the rates of sexually transmitted infections among men and women in the United States.

According to researchers, there are nearly 20 million new infections annually in the country, showing a dangerously increasing presence in men and women.

One study released detailed the cost of treatment for the various infections and “HIV was the most costly, exceeding more than $12 billion in 2008,” CBS News reported.

Host Jamila Bey spoke with Dr. Caleph Wilson of the Translation Research Unit and the Department of Microbiology at the University of Pennsylvania, to discuss his research in finding a cure for HIV.

Guide to Natural Black Hair

In a special edition of the Sex, Politics and Religion Hour, host Jamila Bay straightens out all of the ideas on natural hair and its care, feeding and development in an all-hair blow-out.

In part 1 (in two segments), she speaks with Nikki Walton about her book “Better Than Good Hair: The Curly Girl Guide to Healthy, Gorgeous Natural Hair!” available online now.

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In part 2, she speaks with Pamela Jenkins, the proprietor of online store, about the natural hair convention circuit.


Research Finds That Sports Results are God’s Will

A recent study at the Public Religion Research Institute has found that more than half of Americans believe that God has a hand in choosing sports victors and many also say God rewards faithful athletes with victory and good health.

Host Jamila Bey spoke with Daniel Cox, the director of research with the Public Religion Research Institute, about the institute’s findings.

How to Find Inspiration for Living a Healthier Life

As the New Year gets underway, many are looking to find inspiration on how to live healthier. Atlanta fitness and lifestyle trainer Derek Caffe may have the secret. He’s just published a book called “4 Secrets to a Healthy Life!”

Host Jamila Bey spoke with Caffe about why small steps are the way to go when it comes to deciding to become inspired and to go for fitness gold in one’s own life.

Spa Centers Not Just for the Jet-Setting Celebrity Types

While spas may be seen as a luxury strictly for the jet-setting celebrity types, there are spas out there more everyone.

Host Jamila Bey spoke with Deb Berlin, executive director of the Green Spa Network and a board member of the Washington Spa Alliance, to discuss how to bring more spa time into the lives of more people.