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What we know about “Megxit,” remembering a trailblazing meteorologist, and the sharp rise in alcohol-related deaths among women.
For women under 21, pelvic exams — in which doctors insert two fingers into the vagina to inspect irregularities in the uterus or ovaries — aren’t generally recommended at visits to the gynecologist. A new study published in JAMA Internal Medicine found that more than half of the pelvic exams conducted from 2011 to 2017 among U.S. women aged 15 to 20 were “potentially unnecessary,” and that 71.9 percent of the Pap smear tests among the same age group in the past 12 months were potentially unnecessary.
As NBC News reports, the study authors said this may be a holdover from “outdated OB/GYN practices.” In light of the news, we asked several OB/GYNs to weigh in on the research. They pointed out when a pelvic exam may be required — certain STD tests, before getting an intrauterine device or in the case of abnormal pain, for example. But they especially emphasized that it is time to “reevaluate” the practice for all women and that everyone should feel “empowered” to know why they’re receiving a certain procedure. Read their full responses and their advice for OB/GYN visits here.
After Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, and Prince Harry announced Wednesday that they are “stepping back” from their royal duties to become “financially independent” and split their time between the United Kingdom and North America, Meghan flew to Canada, where her son, Archie, was staying with a nanny and a close friend. British media reported that the prince remained in Britain, where his grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II, has convened a family meeting to figure out the options for Harry and Meghan.
Much speculation has swirled since the announcement. For one, Meghan’s trip to Canada prompted speculation that the couple will take up part-time residence there. Others mused about what drove the couple to make the decision. Meghan and Harry have repeatedly complained about being pursued by British tabloids, in which the mixed-race former actress has been “routinely picked apart and reassembled as a vicious caricature,” as journalist and author Yomi Adegoke wrote in The Washington Post.
The criminal trial of Harvey Weinstein started last week in New York City. The same day, Weinstein was charged with sex crimes in Los Angeles. Only three women are involved in the Manhattan trial, but more than 80 others have alleged sexual misconduct or assault. As Washington Post columnist Monica Hesse argued, Weinstein’s appearance — “sloppy and weak,” using a walker — seemed to mirror the disheveled appearance of convicted rapist Bill Cosby in his own trial.
Throughout the week, the trial was eventful: On Tuesday, Justice James Burke, the judge presiding over the case, threatened to put Weinstein in jail for using cellphones in the courtroom. The next day, Weinstein’s lawyers called for Burke to step down from the case. Dozens of potential jurors have been excused for declaring they could not be fair and impartial toward Weinstein.
Kimia Alizadeh, the 21-year-old who won a bronze medal for Iran in taekwondo at the 2016 Olympics, said she has defected. In an Instagram post, Alizadeh announced her departure from the country amid escalating conflict with the United States; Iran admitted Saturday it brought down a Ukrainian airliner due to “human error,” killing all 176 passengers on board.
The post went on to address her love of the country but anger with its regime, including making her compete in an Islamic headscarf, which is required for women under Iranian law.
Remembering a history-making woman
For generations, female meteorologists were practically unheard of, as were black atmospheric scientists. But June Bacon-Bercey broke barriers: After being one of the first women to receive a university degree in meteorology in the 1950s, she worked for the Weather Bureau and then the National Weather Service.
On Jan. 3, AccuWeather reported that Bacon-Bercey died July 3 at 90 in Burlingame, Calif. When she was starting her career, many Americans got their daily forecasts from “weathergirls,” women with little knowledge in meteorology. “I did not want to do weather on television, only because at that time I felt it was still gimmickry for women,” Bacon-Bercey said. But she was a hit, and in 1975 became a founding member of the American Meteorological Society’s Board on Women and Minorities.
Five need-to-know stories in 100 words or less
1. A study found that the number of Americans who died from alcohol-related problems more than doubled between 1999 and 2017, and the largest annual increase in deaths was among women. About half of the deaths were due to liver disease or an overdose; rates of deaths also increased more for people between 55 and 64.
2. Self-help author Marianne Williamson dropped out of the 2020 presidential race. On Friday, she said: “The primaries might be tightly contested among the top contenders, and I don’t want to get in the way of a progressive candidate winning any of them.” Three women remain in the Democratic primary: Sens. Elizabeth Warren (Mass.) and Amy Klobuchar (Minn.) and Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (Hawaii). Warren and Klobuchar have qualified for the next Democratic debate, which happens Tuesday in Iowa.
3. In her first public comments following the release of “Bombshell” — a movie that tracks allegations of sexual misconduct by former Fox News chief Roger Ailes — Megyn Kelly, who is portrayed by Charlize Theron in the film, said, “I do wish I had done more.”
4. After staving off pressure for weeks, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said she will start the process of handing over the articles of impeachment to the Senate. Although Democrats said that holding the articles was beneficial, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has still not released a resolution laying out rules for the historic trial of President Trump.
5. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, 86, announced she is “cancer free.” The feminist icon beat the disease for the fourth time.
This week, we hear from musician Patty Schemel
Patty Schemel rose to fame in the 1990s as the drummer of the alternative rock band Hole, which was helmed by singer and guitarist Courtney Love. Schemel has been open about her recovery from heroin addiction in the early 2000s, including in her memoir, “Hit So Hard,” and still plays music with her band Upset. She recently spoke about her experience touring again at the Moth, a live storytelling event.
On touring with younger musicians: “I really feel the shift — which I didn’t for a long time — of my age difference, because I never really thought about being the older person. I would say the word album or CD, and they would laugh at that. They’d take me through how to use Instagram and the whole thing around, ‘Patty, you can’t follow more people on social media than follow you.’ It’s like, ‘Okay, got it.’ That journey was fun and interesting but also frustrating.”
On writing her memoir: “My recovering story was important to tell, because I felt that a lot of my friends, some of my friends, didn’t make it through that time. That could have been me that passed away as well.”
On being an openly gay woman in the ’90s: “I felt safe in my band. What Kurt [Cobain] did by just saying, ‘It’s okay to be gay.’ Those were my people, and that’s where I existed. Beyond that, when we did our first Rolling Stones story, it was about Lollapalooza, and I came out. It wasn’t as much a conscious thing as it was being honest about my life, that I’m gay.”
Things we love but weren’t paid to promote
I have a lot of muscle knots from working out and looking at screens. I’m obsessed with relieving them when I’m relaxing at home. The Thera Cane is one of the staples in my collection of self-massage tools. I love it for two reasons: I can get to the hardest-to-reach knots in my back and I can use it while sitting up — unlike other tools like a lacrosse ball or foam roller. It enables me to do other important tasks like binge-watch my favorite television shows.
—Maya Sugarman, Lily video editor
[bye-koo] Saying goodbye with a haiku
Listen to everything we’ve recommended here.
A quick, curated list of Team Lily’s go-to content this week