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Rose Bennett(PEMBROKE PINES, Fla.) -- A 1-year-old boy in Pembroke Pines, Florida can't stop hugging a bag of diapers -- because he's convinced he is the baby on the bag, his mom Rose Bennett told ABC News.

"He said, 'Ben!'" she recalled. "[I said,] 'No, Ben that's not you!' He said, 'Ben!' And then he hugged it. It was just too cute."

The Internet seems to agree. After Bennett, 21, snapped photos of her son hugging the diapers, the images went viral with more than 12,000 sharing it on Twitter.

Bennett explained that she normally doesn't buy the type of diapers her "really intelligent" son has fallen in love with. But since the store ran out of Ben's size, "I grabbed a size 5."

Rose Bennett

"There’s not a brown child on the packaging on the size 4, but on this size there is," she explained.

Bennett said she loves the fact that her son can see images of himself even at such a young age.

Rose Bennett

"Representation really does matter in the media and in packaging for children apparently," she said. "[The pampers] are not marketed towards me. I’m not looking at the child on the package. I’m looking at the price, but Ben cares. It’s the first time he's looked at the package and knows it’s a baby."

"I think it’s great," Bennett added. "I’d like him to see more figures that look like himself."

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Annual pelvic exams -- often an uncomfortable part of a woman's visit to the gynecologist's office -- may no longer be recommended for all women, according to new guidelines by a federal task force.

The United States Preventive Service Task Force (USPSTF), the expert committee that advises U.S. doctors on all matters concerning preventive medicine, says there is “not enough evidence” for or against pelvic exams in women without any pelvic symptoms.

The committee conducted a full review of all studies to date pertaining to screening pelvic exams. USPSTF did not find any studies that directly showed improved quality of life or lifesaving events due to pelvic exams.

The pelvic exam includes visual and physical components that can be performed by providers for screening purposes. The USPSTF has already established recommendations for screening pelvic exams for specific diseases such as cervical cancer and sexually transmitted diseases. Until now, there were no prior recommendations for screening pelvic exams for women without symptoms.

Interestingly, the USPSTF said 68 percent of U.S. obstetrician-gynecologists it surveyed routinely perform a pelvic examination, and 78 percent of all surveyed physicians (including family/general practitioners and internists) believe that pelvic examinations are a useful screening test for gynecologic cancers. Some organizations such as the American College of Physicians and American Academy of Family Physicians have recommended against screening pelvic exams.

However, other organizations such as the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG), still recommend yearly pelvic exams for women over the age of 21.

“In addition to the screenings, evaluations and counseling that clinicians can provide, the annual well-woman visit is an opportunity for the patient and her ob-gyn to discuss whether a pelvic examination is appropriate for her," Dr. Thomas Gellhaus, president of ACOG, said in a statement.

Gellhaus recommends that patients and physicians communicate and discuss concerns together regarding pelvic examinations.

Dr. Taraneh Shirazian, assistant professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology in the Joan H. Tisch Center for Women’s Health at NYU Langone Medical Center, said the pelvic exam is an extremely useful diagnostic tool.

"Pelvic exam is used to educate and empower women about their gynecological health," she told ABC News Tuesday. "Women usually understand the value of [screening pelvic exams]."

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Following the mass shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando earlier this month, the national conversation has once again turned to the link between gun violence and mental health. But would improving mental health care in the U.S. have a major impact on gun crimes?

In the second episode of ABC News Pulse Check, two experts -- one in gun violence, the other in mental health -- challenge headlines suggesting that an overhaul of the mental health system would address widespread gun violence and other violent behavior.

“If we were to eliminate the risk associated with mental illness, about 96 percent of the violent behavior out there would still be there,” said Dr. Jeffrey Swanson, a leading gun violence researcher at Duke University.

Ron Honberg, senior policy adviser for the National Alliance on Mental Illness, welcomes the call to improve the mental health system but thinks that overstating the link between mental illness and gun violence only adds to the stigma of people with mental health issues.

“Most people with mental illnesses are not violent,” Honberg noted. “And most struggle, oftentimes silently, because of the stigma.”

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- A billion-dollar bill to help address the Zika virus crisis fell apart on the Senate floor Tuesday over perennial partisan squabbles -- namely, about whether to devote funding to the family planning organization Planned Parenthood.

Democrats blamed Republicans for using the bill to “whack” the organization, while Republicans say the bill includes plenty of funding, allocated in the most effective way, to target those most affected by the Zika virus, including those seeking contraceptive services.

Both statements are disputed by the opposing side, but the fact is that the bill failed to receive the 60 votes necessary to advance, largely over disagreements about a portion of the money that amounted to less than 9 percent of its total funding.

The Zika bill also contains provisions related to the environment and the display of Confederate flags that Democrats find objectionable. In addition to the policy specifics, Democrats also object to the fact that the House Republicans revised and passed the conference report on a party-line vote in the dead of night last week amid the protests of House Democrats who were staging an unrelated sit-in on gun safety.

But no provision got more public push-back from Democrats than the lack of direct funding to Planned Parenthood.

Just before the 52-48 vote on the Zika bill, Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer assailed his Republican colleagues for blocking funding specifically to the organization.

“Republicans can't miss a chance to whack Planned Parenthood, even if their services are exactly what can help prevent the spread of this debilitating virus,” said Schumer, the likely incoming Senate Democratic leader.

The White House threatened on Monday to veto the bill, citing its inadequate funding overall and claiming it would “block” access to contraception.

“The bill includes an ideological rider blocking access to contraception for women in the United States, including women in Puerto Rico, even though this is a sexually transmitted disease,” White House deputy press secretary Eric Schultz said.

While the bill doesn’t directly provide funds for private family planning organizations, Republican Senate aides note that it does contain $95 million for public health departments, hospitals and public health plan reimbursement through what’s known as a Social Services Block Grant (SSBG).

Republicans say this grant allows each state and territory the maximum flexibility to deliver the funding wherever it is most needed. Of the funding, $40 million also goes specifically to 20 community health centers throughout Puerto Rico, where the virus is expected to have the biggest impact.

They also note that the SSBG funding would be available to a network of 13 federally funded family planning clinics throughout Puerto Rico called PREVEN, which among other services provide contraception, and that Planned Parenthood providers and patients can still get Medicaid reimbursements for Zika care.

“If Planned Parenthood wants to accept your Medicaid, you can absolutely get a reimbursement through them,” a Senate Republican aide said. Democrats and Planned Parenthood argue that using the SSBG to fund Zika efforts in this bill, which is the final product of a reconciling or “conference” between House and Senate versions, is not the most effective way to target funds, as Republicans claim.

A Senate Democratic aide said the initial Senate version of the bill, which had bipartisan support, contained a more workable proposal: funding health care services through a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services program called the Maternal and Child Health Services Block Grant Program, which the aide said more directly assists women and babies, the populations most affected by Zika infection.

“You would think that in response to a virus that primarily impacts women’s health that has a lot to do with pregnancy, and contraception is uniquely equipped to prevent, then you’d want to invest in organizations that are really good at providing that kind of care,” the aide added.

The aide also noted that the bill makes access to contraceptives more difficult for women, especially in Puerto Rico, because the Senate bill structures its SSBG funds to exclude private health care agencies like Planned Parenthood.

“Eligible providers could only be public health departments, hospitals and entities reimbursed by public health plans. This would make access to contraceptive and prenatal services more difficult, especially for women in Puerto Rico.”

In response to that criticism, Stephen Worley, a spokesman for Senate Appropriations Committee Republicans, said, “Democrats should be more concerned with the outcome than whether or not their preferred programs are funded.”

But Senate Democrats also acknowledge that the current bill doesn’t “block” access to contraception, which is what the White House claimed Monday. Rather, Democrats object to the bill’s lack of additional funding specifically for Planned Parenthood and other family planning clinics.

“Obviously there’s no rule in this legislation that says you can’t get care for Zika as an individual if you go into a clinic. But there’s no supplemental funding to address the additional need that goes to providers who are uniquely equipped to support this kind of response,” the aide said.

Planned Parenthood also slammed the bill in a statement, saying it “exclude[d] the International Planned Parenthood Federation Puerto Rican member association, Profamilias, from the Zika response.” Profamilia appears to have seven facilities around the island.

After the bill failed Tuesday morning, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the Senate would address the issue again sometime after the Fourth of July weekend. But time is running out for the body, with only two weeks of the legislative session left before it leaves for the rest of the summer.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Gillian Mohney/ABC News (WASHINGTON) -- Gay rights groups and members of Congress called on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to reverse the guideline that bars gay and bisexual men from donating blood unless they abstain from sex for one year.

Florida Rep. Alan Grayson, whose district includes Orlando, said not allowing many gay and bisexual men to donate blood is discriminatory during a call with reporters Tuesday, adding that the ban should be lifted to "treat all people equally." He pointed out that in times of crisis, such as the June 12 shooting at the Pulse nightclub that killed 49 people, people want to give back to the community.

"We had two blocks that had to be cordoned off of people anxious to give blood that day, in the rain," Grayson said, referring to the day after the Orlando nightclub shooting. "Recognition of the impulse we all feel in times of tragedy, to help. No one should be turned away under those circumstances."

Grayson also said new testing could be done to more accurately test for HIV.

Rep. Jared Polis, who represents Colorado's 2nd district, called on the FDA to update its blood donor regulations to focus on behavior rather than sexual orientation.

"Gender of one’s partner has nothing to do with whether one is engaged in risky behavior or not," he said Tuesday. “Nothing [is] inherently different about the blood of gay or bisexual Americans."

The congressmen were joined by the LGBTQ rights groups National Gay Blood Drive, Equality Federation and the Progressive Change Campaign Committee. In December, the FDA changed its guidelines to allow gay and bisexual men to donate blood if they abstain from having sex with a man for one year. Prior to December, gay and bisexual men were barred from donating blood for life.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.





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