The Government Just Funded The Biggest Long-Term Study Of Black Cancer Survivors

The National Institutes of Health recently announced that it will fund the largest-ever study of African-American cancer survivors. The agency is providing a five-year, $9 million grant for the Detroit Research on Cancer Survivors study, which will lo…

How Being A Surrogate Showed This Mom How Strong Women Can Be

For a mom in Australia who has been a surrogate and has donated her eggs, helping others welcome children into their families has shown her the true strength of women.

Melissa Holman has been a surrogate twice, once using her eggs and once using the intended mother’s. She has also been an egg donor for 17 other babies, including four sets of twins. Holman told The Huffington Post that her surrogacy journey has been “both hard and extremely satisfying.”

She has also learned how strong women can be, and wrote about her appreciation for “the sisterhood” in a Facebook post that blogger Constance Hall shared on her page

“While supporting women through infertility, I am constantly amazed at the strength, resilience and determination of these women,” she said. “Most of all, their endless capacity to love and care for their sisterhood.”

In her post, Holman shared a photo that shows her holding a baby boy she had recently given birth to. This marked the second time she had been a surrogate.

“He was perfect ― a screaming newborn mess, lifted off my stomach and put gently into his Mother’s loving arms,” she wrote. “Those arms were not mine. She’s next to me in this picture.”

Holman, who has three kids of her own, wrote that while watching women experience problems with fertility and learning about their past miscarriages she also learned how tough these women who were once strangers could be. 

“In all these women, donors, recipients, those who never conceived … I found the meaning of strength,” she wrote. “Resilience. And love.”

Holman told HuffPost she originally wrote the post for International Women’s Day, but Hall, whom she described as “all about strong women,” shared it online about a week later.

“I hoped it would promote causes close to my heart, egg donation and surrogacy ― which is altruistic and has a shortage of donors and surrogates in Australia ― and might encourage a few to look into it,” she said. “It has. I’m really happy about that.”

When asked how her surrogacy and egg donation journey has changed her, Holman replied, “In more ways than I ever thought possible really.”

She had never known much about fertility problems until she learned that someone she worked with was having difficulty becoming pregnant. Later, as she began meeting similar women who were looking for donors and surrogates, she was moved by their stories. 

“They fight really hard to have what I always took for granted,” Holman told HuffPost. “I admire and respect their strength and courage. I also love when women look out for each other. The sisterhood is a beautiful thing. For me, it’s taught me strength and gratitude for what I have.”

Though it hasn’t been easy (Holman had multiple miscarriages while being a surrogate), she said with confidence that her experience has been worth it and that she has no regrets. In her post, she wrote that she feels especially happy thinking about the milestones that these “fierce and bold and determined” women will experience as mothers.

“Now they’re mums who get a rainbow macaroni necklace on Mother’s Day just like I do,” she wrote.

The HuffPost Parents newsletter, So You Want To Raise A Feminist, offers the latest stories and news in progressive parenting. 

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GOP Senator Sorry For Joking About Mammograms, But Still Won’t Cover Them

WASHINGTON ― Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kansas) had a disturbing response Thursday to a reporter for who asked if he supports Obamacare’s “essential health benefits,” which require insurers to cover basic services like maternity care and prescriptions.

Talking Points Memo’s Alice Ollstein tweeted Roberts’ answer: 

I asked Sen. Roberts if he supports scrapping Essential Health Benefits. “I wouldn’t want to lose my mammograms,” he snarked. #AHCA

— Alice Ollstein (@AliceOllstein) March 23, 2017

Ollstein told The Huffington Post she posed the question while Roberts “was getting into the senators’ only elevator.”

“That was the last thing he said and I didn’t have a chance to follow up. He had a deadpan face but the tone/comment was snarky,” Ollstein said.

Roberts tweeted an apology shortly after Ollstein’s tweet went viral:

I deeply regret my comments on a very important topic. Mammograms are essential to women’s health & I never intended to indicate otherwise.

— Pat Roberts (@SenPatRoberts) March 23, 2017

Roberts’ snarky comment is awful for a multitude of reasons. For one, mammograms aren’t included in the essential health benefits rule. They are required under a section of Obamacare that requires insurance plans to cover preventive care benefits for women. 

Ollstein raised the question as the White House and GOP leaders continued negotiating major changes to GOP legislation to repeal and replace Obamacare, including provisions that would undermine Obamacare’s consumer protections.

Republican leaders are reportedly discussing whether their legislation should abandon Obamacare’s essential health benefits rule. The rule requires insurance plans to cover services that include emergency room visits, hospitalization, outpatient services, maternity care, mental health and substance abuse services, prescription drugs, rehabilitative services, lab tests, preventive care and pediatric care. 

Another reason Roberts’ response is off-putting is that many men get breast cancer or need mammograms. This year, an estimated 2,600 men in the United States will be diagnosed with breast cancer, and an estimated 440 will die from it. If a man has certain gene mutations or a family history of breast cancer, screening may increase the chances of early detection and successful treatment, according to the Susan G. Komen foundation.

Ollstein makes the point in her article about Roberts’ comment that the senator “is referring to the common Republican argument that men should not have to pay for insurance that includes services only women use.” That argument, Rep. Judy Chu (D-Calif.) pointed out, is invalid:

Cancer is no joke. Mammograms save lives. Same reason we pay for prostate exams. Government shouldn’t decide what care women can access.

— Judy Chu (@RepJudyChu) March 23, 2017

Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) and Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) also commented:

.@AliceOllstein @SenPatRoberts I don’t want to lose my prostate cancer screenings either. #AHCA #Trumpcare

— Jackie Speier (@RepSpeier) March 23, 2017

40,000 US women will die from breast cancer this year. But Republicans think taking away coverage for mammograms is funny. #TrumpCare

— Rep. Barbara Lee (@RepBarbaraLee) March 23, 2017

Another Twitter user made this observation: 

GOP leadership is in talks now on how to no longer make mammograms an “essential” benefit—a move Roberts supports. and yet he tweets this.

— Taniel (@Taniel) March 23, 2017

Roberts, who has long advocated the repeal of Obamacare, has in the past supported breast cancer research. He’s written about it, attended various fundraising events, and helped pass a law that allowed the Postal Service to issue a charity stamp to raise funds for breast cancer research.

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NRA to Campaign Against Red State Democrats who Oppose Gorsuch

With a vote on the confirmation of Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch fast approaching, the NRA is making clear they will campaign against Red State Democrats who vote against the nominee.