New Health Care Legislation Says Life Begins at Conception—and Other Notes from the Week

Catch up on all the news you might have missed with our handy summary of the week’s top stories.
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We’re pleased to bring you “While You Were Out”—the Verily editors’ quick takes on the happenings of this week.

Royal Baby No. 3 Has a Due Date

The due date of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's third baby has just been revealed. According to The Sun, it will be sometime in April 2018. Middleton recently announced her pregnancy after missing almost a month of official engagements due to extreme morning sickness. However, she has emerged again into the public eye looking as classy and regal as ever (in fact, check out Verily’s take on Middleton’s fall style). Catherine and her husband, William, already have two children, little Prince George and Princess Charlotte. While some are saying, “She sure isn’t wasting any time,” Verily couldn’t be more excited for this April baby. —Mary Margaret Olohan

#MeToo Took Social Media by Storm

In the wake of the Harvey Weinstein allegations, actress Alyssa Milano took to Twitter on Sunday night asking people everywhere to use the hashtag #MeToo if they had ever been sexually assaulted or harassed. The result was a stunning avalanche of revelations across all social media platforms around the world, proving that behavior like Weinstein's unfortunately runs deep and has gone unexposed for far too long. As assault survivor Gabriella Patti courageously shared with Verily readers earlier this week, the hashtag has gone far beyond other social media activism for many women, finally giving them a voice to talk about something that many have been struggling with in secret. —Sophie Caldecott

Trump Supports Legislation to Say Life Begins at Conception

President Trump and his administration have released a draft of the Human Health and Services Act which stirred controversy this week. Notably, this new legislation supports the assertion that life begins at conception and ends in natural death. Similarly, the draft also refers to its intention to support faith-based groups in an effort to promote healthy marriages and strong family values, according to Vox. The HHS plan is revised every four years in accordance with the priorities of healthcare at that time. Supporters of Barak Obama’s previous HHS amendments are crying foul at the lack of any mention of birth control in this new legislation, as well as the faith clauses regarding religious freedom. Supporters of the new suggestions have praised the amended language having to do with start of life. The drafted plan is out for public comment until Oct. 27. —MMO

Monica Lewinsky’s New Anti-Bullying Ad Packs a Powerful Punch

A few years ago Monica Lewinsky's essay for Vanity Fair and TED Talk about cyberbullying and the toxic effects of online shaming made us all stop and think. Now her latest work, a PSA exposing cyberbullying and trolling for the horror that it truly is, challenges us all to "click with compassion." The video shows actors recreating real-life offensive comments that people have used online in front of unsuspecting members of the public; how they react (before they are told that the scene was staged) is truly heartwarming and proves Lewinsky's point that if we wouldn't put up with this behavior in "real life," we shouldn't tolerate it online, either. —SC

New Sexual Harassment Laws Are in the Works

Meanwhile, conversations about predatory male behavior have been going on in government, too: the French minister for gender equality is working on a plans for a new law that would "include on-the-spot fines for catcalling and lecherous behavior in public", as the BBC reports. In New York, Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal announced plans to introduce legislation requiring companies seeking tax credits to disclose details of any sexual harassment complaints and settlements, so that companies with poor track records could be denied tax breaks. Harvey Weinstein's former company reportedly received more than $400,000 in state tax credits since 2011. —SC

New Reports Suggest Dads Can Suffer Postpartum, Too

Over the past ten years, new studies have emerged that aim to identify depression and lower testosterone levels in new fathers. The New York Times cites Darby Saxbe, USC professor and author of the newest study regarding paternal testosterone, as saying, “It’s often been suggested hormones underlie some of the postpartum depression in moms, but there’s been so much less attention paid to fathers. We were trying to put together the pieces to solve this puzzle.”Although not coined as postpartum depression, a term many mental health professionals reserve for women’s sometimes extreme hormonal changes, new dads are certainly experiencing something. Many men have undergone something similar to postpartum depression, with markers such as feelings of anxiety, disappointment, and sadness. Looking forward, it seems as those these symptoms won’t last forever. The NYT reported on new dad Rob Sandler, writing, “‘After three months, I started coming around,’ he said. He credits the medication for helping ease his anxiety — ‘It helped not having those peaks and valleys’—and his ‘very supportive wife’ for helping him focus on the joys of having a baby.” —Victoria Rabuse

Mayim Bialik Spent the Week Defending What Many Called Victim Blaming in Her NYT Op-Ed

Backlash erupted this past week after Mayim Bialik’s New York Times op-ed last Friday, which was titled “Being a Feminist in Harvey Weinstein’s World.” In her testimony, she wrote, “As a proud feminist with little desire to diet, get plastic surgery or hire a personal trainer, I have almost no personal experience with men asking me to meetings in their hotel rooms.” She continued, writing about how she makes “self-protecting” and “wise” choices, such as dressing modestly. Bialik, known for her roles as Blossom on Blossom and Amy Farrah Fowler on The Big Bang Theory, has spent the last week putting out fires as critics accused her of implying only attractive Hollywood actresses who dressed scantily were sexually harassed, and that in doing so they brought sexual predation upon themselves. Bialik responded, tweeting, “I applaud the bravery of the women who have come forward. I support these women as we seek out and demand accountability from the only ones responsible for assault and rape. I am motivated and driven to work hard to empower women.” She also hosted a Facebook Live with the Times on Monday during which she said she had no intention of saying that any women ever asked to be assaulted or harassed. —VR

New ‘Chinning’ Trend Is Taking the Eye-Roll Out of Selfies

There's a refreshing new Instagram trend in town that's making us all giggle and take ourselves a little less seriously—all good things in our book. Michelle Liu started "chinning" (posing for goofy selfies that show off as many chins as possible) just over a year ago via her Instagram account, chinventures, and it's catching on. Instead of perfectly curated, high-angle shots of her posing next to famous sights around the world, she shoots herself from below, head tilted back, in a deliberately unflattering pose that is endearingly hilarious. Thank you, Michelle, for putting the fun back into selfies! —SC

As More Weinstein Allegations Mount, a Sad Trend Emerges in Media Coverage

Verily reported this week on the eery similarities between press coverage of Hugh Hefner’s death and Weinstein's downfall. While outlets such as the Washington Post and the LA Times are certainly weighing in, they waffle between praising these men and pointing out their long history of notoriety. By letting their "careers cushion their crimes," these media outlets are contributing to the dangerous confusion that surrounds sexual assault in our times. Good news is, more and more celebrities have begun to speak up about their own experiences and take decisive stances about Harvey Weinstein—and Hollywood's pervasive sexual misconduct. This week, we saw Jennifer Lawrence talk about a time when she was made to participate in a nude lineup for a role and subsequently instructed to lose fifteen pounds in two weeks. We saw Channing Tatum pull a project from Weinstein's company and vow to never work with them again. —MMO

Just in Time for Christmas, NASA Launches Lego Sets Featuring Women

We’ve all seen the elaborate mini-bricked Death Stars and Hogwarts castles and firetrucks, but get ready for something completely new: Women of NASA. Lego announced that the Women of NASA set will be released on November 1, just in time to snag before the holiday shopping rush. According to Space.com, “The women featured in Lego's ‘Women of NASA’ set span the first five decades of the U.S. space agency's sixty-year history.” The Lego mini-figures will include astronauts Sally Ride and Mae Jemison, astronomer Nancy Grace Roman (Mother of Hubble), and computer scientist Margaret Hamilton, who led the MIT software engineering group for developing the Apollo spacecraft software. The mini-figures will be accompanied by models of space shuttles and the Hubble Space Telescope, creating a 231-piece Lego set. Women of NASA was submitted to the Lego Ideas program by Maia Weinstock, an MIT employee, taking a new spin on the oft-heard encouragement “shoot for the stars!” —VB