Category > Abortion
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Feb 28, 2014
Jan Brewer will not get a thank you out of my for vetoing PART of the highly homophobic and highly criticized bill that reached her desk this week after state representatives signed the bill.
Feb 28, 2014
It was probably the second last thesis dissertation of the day. The man over the projector was talking about the study of side effects during the combined therapy of mefipristone and misopristol used for medical abortion. As the clock on the wall was running on its third round of 60 ticks of 11 pm, i felt drenched in the hot sensation after accumulation of carbon dioxide from two hours long self breathing. The only reason that was refraining me from leaving the hall were those imposed sanctions not to leave.
I would have hardly noticed, had not the women from the panel of judge given a sign of astonishment towards the number of women receiving medical abortion at Marie Stopes, Gongabu. The number was more than 45 per month who take the service of medical abortion. The fact had not poked me to a extent of astonishment but her reaction, ” The data clearly shows people are not using contraceptives” did.
As my retina projected the picture which my lens found finally found catchy to click on, I started wondering over the hues.
Despite our knowledge, what is making us away from contraception? why do we prefer choosing medical or surgical abortion rather using a temporary contraceptives? and why not permanent contraception who are already blessed with the number we want? why don’t we use contraception? simply why don’t we?
Feb 24, 2014
Feb 23, 2014
For as long as I have advocated for abortion rights, the conversation has always seemed to carry that old fashioned us vs. them attitude. But from what I have experienced as of late, this issue is not one of “freedom and genocide”, or “us vs. them” as my university’s newspaper likes to claim, but one in which I believe there to be much more gray area and overlap.
The Students United for Reproductive Justice Group, of which I am apart, at Colorado State University partook in “1 in 3 Week”, a weeklong series of events aimed to raise awareness and challenge the stigma and shame around women who have had an abortion. We started by sticker bombing our campus and chalking our Free Speech Plaza. We aimed to draw attention to and start a conversation on CSU’s campus about how we treat & talk about women who have had an abortion.
What quickly developed was more of a debate than a conversation. The morning after we chalked the plaza with 1 in 3 slogans, such as, “These are our stories” and “End the Silence and Shame,” we found a new message had been written. Students who identified themselves as “pro-life” brought their own chalk and adapted what we had written to fit into their message. What had previously read, “Pro-Choice does not equal Anti-Life” had been altered to “Pro-Choice is Anti-Life”. Their website address: www.silentnomoreawareness.org was written in multiple places under our slogan “End the Silence & Shame”. The short term implications of this included: 1) people might have visited their site instead of ours: www.1in3campaign.org , 2) people were/might have been unwilling to talk to us because they thought we represented an anti-choice group, 3) our message was hijacked by Student’s for Life (an anti-choice group) on the plaza in order to draw attention to themselves and their message, and 4) Our message was misrepresented in the university’s newspaper. After an article, titled “Freedom, genocide…and sidewalk chalk”, appeared in the Rocky Mountain Collegian about the plaza chalking, our club President responded with a letter to the editor clarifying what the 1 in 3 campaign stood for. As for the chalk, it was washed away within a few days by snow & rain along with any other mention of the controversy. Despite the obstacles we experienced, we continue to table in the plaza, host events, and facilitate conversations on CSU’s campus about the 1 in 3 campaign.
The long term implications of this kind of action are even more disconcerting, reaction debate. I feel we are constantly acting in response to anti-choice protests rather than working together to find common values & goals. I believe the 1 in 3 campaign is a huge step in the right direction as it aims to tell women’s stories without bias. That being said, there is still a long way to go and a lot of cultural stigma to overcome. As a lifelong proponent of women’s rights, including the right to choose, I find the idea of working with anti-choice groups a challenging strategy.
The reality is, working in opposition and in reaction to anti-choice groups only creates further stagnation & fails to change the stigma around abortion. Framing abortion in a binary light perpetuates the sigma that it is a divisive issue, and that you must pick only one side.
I believe it is important to move past this if we hope to reduce the number unwanted pregnancies and the stigma and laws that prevent safe access to legal abortion. I envision pro-choice and anti-choice groups coming together to have a discussion about how to prevent unwanted pregnancies and how to support women and men post-abortion or post-partum. In having these conversations, creating common goals, and taking action, we can advance the health and well-being of all of those affected by abortion. Together we can shift how we treat these women from stigmatizing and shaming to respecting and supporting regardless of their personal decisions. There is a very clear amount of energy and passion on both sides that together, can help change the way we frame abortion.
That being said, there is a fine line to walk when working with anti-choice groups. There are major fundamental differences between the pro-choice & anti-choice movements and it’s important to stand by one’s own values. If ever these differences begin to harbor hostile interactions or cause more harm than good it is always acceptable to end your affiliation with an anti-choice group or individual.
For me personally, when I am engaging with an anti-choice group or individual I establish very clear boundaries. The first is I will not speak on the morality of the act of abortion. That meaning, I believe abortion is a very personal choice to be made between a women and her faith. I will not entertain questions on my own religious beliefs or ethical principles regarding abortion. The second boundary I set is, I will not enter or continue a conversation if it is hostile or accusatory in nature. By choosing to only engage in conversations in which there is mutual respect I am protecting myself and the organizations I represent. I highly recommend my fellow activists establish their own boundaries before beginning to work with anti-choice groups.
I invite my fellow activists to rethink how we frame the discussion of abortion and start to explore where we have overlap with those who identify as pro-life. Shifting from a debate to a discussion can help bring clarity & productiveness in how we talk about abortion rights, the stigma and shame women who have had an abortion experience, and unwanted pregnancy prevention.
The following are some discussion ideas and solutions, in which we may find overlap:
1. Prevention of unwanted pregnancies.
- Many anti-choice groups are not necessarily anti-contraception.
- Work together to distribute condoms.
- Host safe sex workshops.
2. Support women and families post-partum.
- It is important that people’s personal choices are supported, whatever they may be. Extra support may be especially needed for parenting teens and students.
- Cohost a diaper/ baby supplies drive for teen parents.
- Work with schools to ensure affordable daycare is provided for parenting students.
3. Talk about abortion-related violence including personal & interpersonal.
- Understand that abortion can be a traumatic or uncomfortable experience for both women and men, which can lead to doubts of self-worth, depression, and suicide. Restrictive abortion laws can also force women to seek out unsafe abortions and endanger their lives.
- Start a conversation about the language we use to ensure women are not shamed before or after having an abortion.
- Ensure that unbiased counseling services are offered.
- Discuss how laws pertaining to abortion can negatively impact women’s health and safety.
This semester, I hope to convene CSU’s Student’s for Life group, Student’s United for Reproductive Justice, and other interested individuals to start a conversation and identify ways in which we can work together.
By reducing the polarity of how we talk about and take action around abortion, common ground can be found. These are not always easy conversations to have but they can lead to productive ends. I challenge you to think critically about how we frame abortion and work to find common ground with those who historically been viewed as our opponents.
Feb 18, 2014
by Jen Sorensen via Talking Points Memo and the ACLU
Feb 17, 2014
I discovered that TED and TEDWomen have never featured a talk on abortion.
…When I asked around, the consensus was that the omission was simply an oversight. But it turns out TED is deliberately keeping abortion off the agenda. When asked for comment, TED content director and TEDWomen co-host Kelly Stoetzel said that abortion did not fit into their focus on “wider issues of justice, inequality and human rights.”
“Abortion is more of a topical issue we wouldn’t take a position on, any more than we’d take a position on a state tax bill,” Stoetzel explained. She pointed me to a few talks on women’s health and birth control, but this made the refusal to discuss abortion only more glaring. In the last three years, the United States has seen more abortion restrictions enacted than in the entire previous decade; the United Nations has classified the lack of access to abortion as torture; and Savita Halappanavar died in Ireland because a Catholic hospital refused to end her doomed pregnancy. Just how is abortion not an issue of “justice, inequality and human rights”?
OPPRESSED MAJORITY (Majorité Opprimée English), by Eleonore Pourriat
“On what seems to be just another ordinary day, a man is exposed to sexism and sexual violence in a society ruled by women.”
What they say: “People are just people.” ”I don’t see color.” ”We’re all just human.” “Character, not color, is what counts with me.”
Response: “Colorblindness” negates the cultural values, norms, expectations and life experiences of people of color. Even if an individual white person can ignore a person’s skin color, society does not.
For all you Americans, lad mags are pornographic men’s magazines. Y’know Hustler, King, Penthouse etc.
This article by Jezebel features a study done by the University of Surrey, on the very thin line between derogatory statements in these magazines, and actual quotes from rapists.
Feb 10, 2014
via Al Jazeera America
Feb 4, 2014
Recently fans and non fans of MTV’s Teen Mom 2 show found out that one of the cast members, Jenelle Evan’s, had an abortion. There were many mixed reactions ranging from support to anything but support and everything in between. I applaud Jenelle for being open and standing up for herself and her reproductive decisions. Jenelle maintains that she does not regret her abortion and feels it was the correct decision for her since she was in a ‘bad place’ when she was pregnant.
Jan 31, 2014
Jan 24, 2014
via Media Matters
Jan 22, 2014
Don’t Tread on Me…Or My Buffer Zone
The SSH E-Board
Happy 2014! In the spirit of starting fresh, we would like to share some good news for those of you who thought that BCSSH was waaay too long of an acronym to bring up in your frequent casual conversations about sexual health. Trip over your tongue no longer! From here on out, we will be shortening our name to Students for Sexual Health — or SHH. Or Shhhh!, if you’re in the library.
Our new name aside, there’s something that’s gotten us pretty upset over the past few weeks that we won’t Shhhh! up about. A 2007 Massachusetts law, commonly called the “Buffer Zone” law, is currently being threatened by anti-choice activists, and is set to be reviewed by the Supreme Court tomorrow, on January 15.
The Buffer Zone law is the most recent is a series of legislation that followed the fatal 1994 shooting in two Brookline health clinics. The law ensures the safety of patients and employees of health care clinics that provide abortion services against intimidating and violent protests. It mandates that anti-choice demonstrations cannot occur within 35 feet of the entrance to a health clinic, ensuring that women are safely able to access their health care without interference. The shootings that sparked the drafting of this law are certainly a tragic extreme; however, before the law was enacted, many protesters harassed patients, physically touched them, threatened women entering the clinics, and physically blocked them from leaving their cars or entering the facilities.
Almost before the ink had dried on the Buffer Zone bill, anti-choice activists challenged it, claiming that the zone was a violation of their freedom of speech. Now, the Court must balance First Amendment rights with public safety concerns. Anti-choice activists claim that the law prevents them from being close enough to talk to patients, and that by singling out clinics that provide abortion services, the law is targeting a specific kind of speech.
Last January, the US Court of Appeals for the First Circuit upheld the Massachusetts law, ruling that the First Amendment ensures the right to free speech, but does not guarantee an attentive audience. It ruled that the protesters had appropriate access to patients and that it was okay for the law to target abortion clinics because officials had identified a specific public safety concern.
While SSH would like to offer a few choice words to people who seem to think that a woman’s access to healthcare is somehow the protesters’ business, we recognize that Massachusetts’ law is the closest we may be able to get to a “happy medium” between free speech concerns and patient safety. Should the Supreme Court strike down this legislation, it could also mean disaster for other state laws (Colorado and Montana, specifically) that have defined buffer zones, as well as municipalities such as San Francisco and Portland, Maine that have passed similar laws.
The Court won’t be ruling on this case until this upcoming summer, but in the meantime, you can get involved in the fight for patient safety by volunteering to be a Planned Parenthood Clinic Escort to ensure the safety of Planned Parenthood patients.
Peace, Love, and Lube
Students for Sexual Health
Jan 22, 2014
Check out this awesome graphic from New York Magazine! Read the stories that accompany the image too.
Jan 22, 2014
Here’s a short video of me talking about what Roe vs. Wade means to me. I’d really love to hear back from other young people. It would help to dispute the rhetoric that we don’t care about the repro-justice movement anymore.
Jan 22, 2014
(reposted from USAToday, David Jackson, click for original and full post – Image of President Obama: Charles Dharapak – AP)
President Obama has put out his annual statement on the anniversary of Roe vs. Wade, praising the 1973 Supreme Court ruling that struck down anti-abortion laws.
“We reaffirm our steadfast commitment to protecting a woman’s access to safe, affordable health care and her constitutional right to privacy, including the right to reproductive freedom,” Obama said in a statement.
The president said he also wants to re-affirm commitments to “reduce the number of unintended pregnancies, support maternal and child health, and continue to build safe and healthy communities for all our children.”
Jan 20, 2014
Forty-one years ago, women won their constitutionally protected right to choice and gained access to safe, legal, and accessible abortions. However, soon after the passing of Roe v. Wade, legislatures quickly began to pass measures to hamper access to abortion across the globe. Even under new restrictions, women in the United States could still practice the right to decide when and if they are prepared to become mothers. However, women across the globe do not have access to abortion care due to a relatively undiscussed piece of legislation.
The Helms Amendment was passed shortly after the Roe v. Wade ruling, banning the use of any U.S. foreign assistance on abortion services, even in countries where it is legal, even in the case where the woman’s life may be in danger. Especially in poor countries, the Helms Amendment has lead to stigma, misinformation, injury and the deaths of tens of thousands of women a year.
The global aid fund is supposed to help – not harm. Unsafe abortions remains a leading cause of death for women in the global south and the Helms Amendment does nothing to protect the lives of women around the world. With more countries reforming abortion laws, the international community is acting on the need to provide abortion services to women as part of comprehensive sexual and reproductive healthcare. Unfortunately, 41 years after the passing of Roe v. Wade, the United States stands on the opposite side of the rest of the global community.
So, to our Congressmen who are “committed to reproductive rights at home and abroad” – use the anniversary of Roe v. Wade as a reminder to stay true to your commitment. Protect the lives of women. Recognize safe abortion care as a necessary intervention to ensure comprehensive sexual and reproductive health care. Understand denying abortion access is correlated with higher abortion rates and allowing access can actually decrease the rates. Acknowledge a woman’s right to choose – both domestically and abroad – and repeal the Helms Amendment.
Jan 17, 2014
Sonia Renee – “What Women Deserve”
Katie Helm – “If My Vagina Was a Gun”
Jan 16, 2014
Every time I pass by my local Planned Parenthood and see a group of protesters I get really angry. I’ve never been a fan of anti-choice tactics; I feel there should be more respectful and sensitive (not to mention honest and effective) ways to protest. I believe Buffer Zones may be the only chance at having some sort of respect and sensitivity in this situation. Anti-choice protesters still get crazy even with these buffer zones in place (I’m sure we all may have heard a “protester against employee, patient, or other” horror story), imagine how much worse it would be without them.
Abortions are just like any other medical procedure and should be treated with respect and privacy. (It’s not like groups of people stand outside Plastic Surgery practices telling everybody going in “Don’t do this, you’re beautiful the way you are. God made you special this way. Love the way He made you.”)
It’s really sad that in this day and age, especially after 41 years of Roe v. Wade, that this is still an issue. Even more so, that there are people trying to reverse all the great work that has been done for women.
We need abortions to be safe and legal. Not just the actual procedure in the doctor’s office, but also the process of even walking in the building. Women deserve to be able to make their own decisions without the input or judgment of strangers. Abortion clinic staff deserve to have a safe working environment. We need Buffer Zones.
-Also if you haven’t yet, please check out the stories on http://www.1in3campaign.org/ to see how Buffer Zones have affected women.
Jan 8, 2014
“[Marlise Munoz's] case has become a strange collision of law, medicine, the ethics of end-of-life care and the issues swirling around abortion — when life begins and how it should be valued.”
via The New York Times
Jan 6, 2014
Hey Fellow Activist, Bloggers, Youth, Etc…
Check out this amazing opportunity to advocate for the protection of Women’s right to access to birth control, increase awareness of teen pregnancy, and ensure the equal and fair treatment of employees who are pregnant!
For more information and to sign please lick the link!: http://www.wvfree.org/advocacy-2/2014-lobby-day/
If you can’t attend brainstorm someways to be an effective and awesome ally to women!
A little more info on Allyship (from the perspective of an Ally)
Here is my truth: I practice being an ally to women by recognizing my privilege (male, white passing, able-bodied, college educated privilege). I attempt to do this everyday, some days I am better than others. For example, I often thing about the intent and the impact of what I say and how that would change if I were not in my privilege. Or, I sometimes think about was what I said was accepted because of my privilege.
Another way to practice being an ally to women is by not engaging in behaviors that sexualize/objectify women’s bodies for the sole purpose of pleasing men and by not engaging in behaviors that demean women.
The Take Home from this is that being an ally is an active role and that as an ally it is important to be aware of your privilege and understand that intent and impact are not one in the same. Also, that as an ally your behavior speaks louder than your words. I can’t be an ally to women if I engage in behaviors such as treating women as less than equal and calling it chivalrous.
Jan 6, 2014
We as advocates for women’s health seem to take 1 step forward and 2 steps back. I just read that now Ohio is one of those states that passed more restrictions against abortion in the year of 2013. as if Roe vs. Wade was in vain. I still don’t understand why it is even up for discussion about what women do with their own bodies.
its a step back because according to City Beat, the restrictions against abortion were up almost by 100 more restrictions and Ohio is following that same trend.
so for 2014 we need to get the voices out there and we need to be at every single election no matter how small or how big it may seem.
Jan 3, 2014
Why 2014 Could Be A Huge Turning Point For Reproductive Rights
Roe v. Wade will mark its 41st birthday later this month, amid ever-increasing assaults on reproductive rights across the nation. According to the latest report from the Guttmacher Institute, states have imposed a staggering 205 abortion restrictions between 2011 and 2013. That legislation has attacked access to abortion from all angles — targeting providers and clinics, driving up the cost of abortion for the women who need it, making women travel farther and wait longer to get medical care, and outright banning the procedure. Since 2000, the number of states that Guttmacher defines as being “hostile” to abortion rights has spiked from 13 to 27.
That’s left abortion rights advocates on the other side, working hard to stem the tide of anti-choice attacks. Constantly warding off restrictive legislation hasn’t left much space for proactive policies to expand women’s reproductive freedom, like expanding access to maternity care or making family planning services more accessible to low-income women. Most of the headlines about abortion issues are bleak.
But there may be a shift on the horizon.
Dec 31, 2013
After Michigan House and Senate’s shameful support of a law that would force burial and cremation costs on those who sought abortions, they decided the next step would be to establish a “rape insurance” for people who have the ability to get pregnant earlier this month. The bill is infamously known as Michigan’s Rape Insurance bill, the actual name being The Abortion Insurance Opt-Out Act. It places a ban on private insurance companies from covering abortion. This forces women into buying extra coverage for their abortion care on top of their paid plans. What’s more is that this legislation has no exceptions for rape or incest. And the coverage can’t be purchased during a pregnancy, it has to be bought prior to one–because those who have the ability to become pregnant are in a constant state of being pre-pregnant.
The Guttmacher Institute’s research in payment for abortion shows that almost 70% of women pay out of their own pockets for this medical procedure, and almost 52% of those women found it difficult to pay. So, what’s to become of that 52%? What’s to become of those who already can’t pay for the treatment they need? We already live in a system that routinely and unapologetically ignore the needs of the people. It’s not just a limiting of our right to the health care we need. It’s one more step to further marginalizing those who are already feeling the burden of an oppressive, unfree economy.
Not all are sitting idly while outside groups and politicians pushed for this. Michigan Senator Gretchen Whitmer shared her own thoughts in a Huffington Post blog:
“I shared my story of being sexually assaulted because even if it wouldn’t give my Republican colleagues pause to reconsider the vote they were about to take, I at least wanted them to, for the first time, have to directly consider the consequences of their actions and see that those being hurt by it aren’t anonymous faces, but friends, family and, yes, even their colleagues on the Senate floor.
What’s too easily dismissed in these types of discussions is that this issue is not simply about pro-choice or pro-life, it is about interfering with contracts between women and our health care providers. This new law forbids private insurance companies from covering abortions unless a woman buys additional and preemptive coverage, even in the case of rape, incest, or even medically necessary dilation and curettage (D & C) procedures for planned pregnancies that went wrong.
This measure is extreme, ignorant and insultingly misogynistic. I’m disgusted to say that it is now the law of the land in Michigan, but how it became law is just as offensive as the law itself.
Right to Life of Michigan, an extremist special-interest group with significant financial backing from a select few secretive donors, has pushed for this law twice before. Both times they failed, as two different Republican Governors stood up to them and vetoed it. In fact, in explaining his veto of this measure earlier this year, Governor Rick Snyder, someone I don’t often agree with, rightly stated, “I don’t believe it is appropriate to tell a woman who becomes pregnant due to a rape that she needed to select elective insurance coverage.”
But instead of admitting defeat, Right to Life took their crusade even further. They exploited an obscure loophole in Michigan’s Constitution that allowed them to bypass the governor’s veto entirely, as well as the will of the people, by securing the signatures of only four percent of Michigan’s population to bring a so-called “citizens’ initiative” before the legislature and then flexed their political muscle over the Republican majority, forcing them to immediately vote it into law.”
Dec 30, 2013
Buffer zone laws are meant to serve the simple purpose of aiding legal protection to abortion access and vary state to state, even country to country. They are viewed as bordering provisions for anti-abortion speakers and protestors to not infringe on the safety and well-being of an abortion provider’s patients and staff. In a few weeks, the Massachusetts buffer zone law will be heard in the Supreme Court, with anti-abortion activists and abortion activists ready and waiting. Reporters have already covered both sides of the story, and everyone in the reproductive justice community in Massachusetts is keeping a close eye on this decision.
With the Supreme Court hearing on Jan. 15, I wonder how the verdict will turn out. While anti-abortion activists will claim freedom of speech and assembly, these freedoms are not justified with previous histories of aggression, violence, and libel nationwide.
For those who work at the Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts, this decision hits close to home. Nearly two decades ago, a shooter entered a Planned Parenthood in Brookline, Massachusetts, and killed two people and wounded five others. As a result, Planned Parenthood moved to a new location, but the memory of those who died and were affected by this tragic incident sparked a movement to further protect staff and patients in abortion-providing settings.
Fast forward to 2013, and as I walk into Planned Parenthood for my internship, I see signs of defaced babies and crowds of people distributing anti-abortion material. The amount of anti-abortion activism varies, but it’s enough to know that the anti-abortion movement is strong in Massachusetts.
Let’s see what the new year brings.
Dec 29, 2013
“I invite you to find your voice and let it be known that you stand for abortion rights and the dignity of a woman to be the master of her own life and body.” – Mark Ruffalo
Dec 27, 2013
I am a pretty big fan of sitting at home with food and shows to binge on. And East Los High caught my full and undivided attention. I’m not normally into soapy teen dramas, but the problems teens face everyday, especially teens of color in neighborhoods like East Los, were real.
While many find sex and the details of it to still be taboo to discuss, teens are left without the rights and respect to get the knowledge they need to better protect themselves. I found it so refreshing to find a series that is easily relatable, stimulating, and educational. Oh, and guess what? Characters in the show can actually say the word “abortion.” There wasn’t a Voldemort treatment of an actual medical procedure that one out of three women in the United States will experience in their lifetime. Even better, several choices and paths that follow unprotected sex are explored and tidbits of helpful sexual health facts and info are casually placed into the dialogue. There’s even brief but impactful conversations on masculinity and gender roles in regards to safe sex throughout the show.
I had a Hulu Plus account and was fortunately able to view the “Hulu exclusive” series, but anyone can watch the full episodes on the East Los High website. It’s a good and fairly accessible teen drama with lots of examples and lessons to share. There are little whispers about a second season to appear, and I am excitedly waiting. Not everyone shared my enthusiasm for the show though. An online “news” article from Life Site News expressed an opinion:
Planned Parenthood’s has its guns aimed squarely at Hispanic teens, as it continues its latest foray into eugenic targeting via an unbelievably salacious novella featuring an all-Latino/Latina cast…
What kind of public service is done by the airing of this trashy novella directed to Hispanic teens? And just what is the “moral” of Episode 1? Finish the dance with your boyfriend before dashing to the car to have sex with someone else? Watch out when you have sex in a car because someone may be videotaping you? Being voted Winter Queen will make you extremely popular on the hookup circuit?
How can anyone even use the word “moral” in connection with this series?
There are some other significant things that this writer neglects to mention besides the awesome sexual health info and examples found throughout the series. East Los High is the first English language show with an all Latino cast. And what is even better is that the cast defies the mainstream roles that Latino people are often forced into. For something like this to be left out in this diatribe is quite telling of the kind of perspective the writer has, especially with the condescending and twisted but very nonexistent link between the show and fictitious eugenic attempts.
Miriam Perez, a past contributor on Racialicious, Feministing, and RHRealityCheck, has written on this topic of anti-choice movements making it seem like they care about women of color. Her post was originally found on RHRealityCheck, but I pulled it off Racialicious. From the succinct and eloquent post Worried About Women of Color? Thanks, But No Thanks, Anti-Choicers. We’ve Got It Covered:
At first glance, it’s nice to see the anti-choice community pretending to care about communities of color. But within a few minutes, the skepticism sets in. What’s really behind these tactics, coming from a group that is majority white, middle-class and Christian? In the end, we know this isn’t actually about women of color and their well-being. It’s a sensationalist attempt to pit women of color against the reproductive rights movement. Classic divide and conquer…
We’ve fought back against governmental policies like welfare family caps and limits on access to certain types of contraception over others. We’ve fought with the reproductive rights community to get them to care about these issues and how they affect our communities—and we’ve won.
We’re fighting for access to contraception, to abortion, to options for childbirth and parenting. And now we’ll fight the racist and paternalistic logic behind the eugenics arguments being made by anti-choicers.
Life Site News has urged concerned citizens to call Hulu’s corporate headquarters at 310-571-4700 to remove the series and to make sure a second season contract cannot be extended. Please use the number to the opposite.
(This has also been posted on my blogs FanTalk and STFU, Pro-Lifers.)
Dec 25, 2013
So my mom just recently found out that AFY is pro-choice, and she completely freaked out on me. This is how the conversation went down:
“So, do you want kids?”
I replied, “No, not anytime soon.”
“You would get an abortion instead of dealing with your consequences?”
“You’re for abortion! I found out, so now you’re a baby killer!”
I literally just looked at her with a disgusted face because not once did I ever say I would get an abortion. So, I calmly said to her, “I believe in women having a choice to do whatever they like to their own bodies, I didn’t say I would do it, but having a choice is nice.”
After I said that she just looked at me with disappointment and didn’t reply because she knew this debate would turn ugly.
Just because you’re pro-choice doesn’t mean you would actually get an abortion, its a tough decision and not for everyone.
Also, people who are pro-choice shouldn’t be viewed as “baby killers”.
Every time my mom brings up this whole abortion issue, I just look at her and say, “SERIOUSLY?”
Nov 29, 2013
Nov 18, 2013
As you’ve heard, there is an upcoming ballot measure in Albuquerque mandate government interference in a woman’s personal decision about abortion. This is not what Albuquerque women and families need. Vote AGAINST on Tuesday, November 19.
Extremists are flooding millions of dollars into our communities to pass the ban that would deny women access to legal abortion care.They think they know what is “best” for Albuquerque women.
This effort heartlessly disregards all of the personal considerations that go into a woman’s decision to end a pregnancy, and is a shameful attempt to limit access to safe and legal abortion care. We cannot stand in a woman’s shoes nor can we make these decisions for her.
This vote will be close, so make sure your voice is heard. Vote AGAINST on Tuesday, November 19.
If you are not registered to vote in Albuquerque, forward this email to friends and family who can and encourage them to vote AGAINST.
Advocates for Youth is proud to stand in solidarity with the Respect ABQ women campaign, a group of women, families, and allied organizations working to defeat this harmful and misleading ballot measure. Albuquerque women and families deserve respect, and that means respecting the real life decisions Albuquerque women and families face every day. Respect Albuquerque women and families. Vote AGAINST on Tuesday, November 19.
For more information or to find your polling place, click here.
If you want to join the efforts on the ground to defeat this ballot measure, RVSP for a volunteer shift here.
Paid for in kind by Advocates for Youth. Authorized by Respect ABQ Women Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains/ACLU-NM Foundation/ACLU-NM/Young Women United/Feminist Majority Foundation and not authorized by any candidate or candidate committee.
Nov 11, 2013
Nov 7, 2013
“I care about the life of every child: every child that goes to bed hungry, every child that goes to bed without a proper education, every child that goes to bed without being able to be a part of the Texas dream, every woman and man who worry about their children’s future and their ability to provide for that future. I care about life and I have a record of fighting for people above all else.” – State Senator Wendy Davis
Nov 5, 2013
Upcoming documentary, Young Lakota, highlights the restricted access to abortion among the Ogala Sioux tribe. The film will air Monday, November 25 at 10pm on Independent Lens on PBS.
Oct 31, 2013
Who invented abortions? I’ve always wondered who was the first person to decided that the practice of abortions needed to be invented! After doing some research I found that abortions date back to ancient China, but the first abortions weren’t even surgical. Surgical or not, they’re still WRONG. I hate abortions with a passion, and I don’t understand who could kill a child that they birthed. Learning how to have better sex habits would definately solve the problems of abortions, but people rather have unprotected sex than wrap it up. So what is your considerably “too young?” If you weren’t too young to have sex then you aren’t too young to take care of a child that you helped make. People should learn to woman or man up to their responsibilities and face the fact that babies are innocent. They didn’t ask to be here and they definately didn’t ask to be kilt!
Oct 30, 2013
The image above pretty much sums up the pro-life movement. Fetuses are more valuable than women in utero. And after they are born, the same people who professed to fight for its rights suddenly couldn’t care less.
Oct 27, 2013
I made a quick list of films about abortion and reproductive/sexual justice issues and posted it on STFU, Pro-Lifers.
Oct 24, 2013
Oct 14, 2013
Oct 7, 2013
Urban Retreat 2013 was truly an experience beyond any tier. Never have I ever been surrounded by so many like-minded individuals–as much of an oxymoron as that might sound. We were all individuals because we all had our own story to share. We came from many different walks of life and parts of the world. All of us had to overcome some type of unique trauma and oppression that we were facing in our own separate lives. But we celebrated our diversity. And we were all there in unison trying to contribute to the vision we shared for the world.
I might have been a tiny bit apprehensive about making the trip to Washington, D.C. at first. I wasn’t really enthusiastic about being away from my girlfriend. It was a place I had never been to on my own. I would be surrounded by strangers. But these strangers quickly became my friends. And these friends were all activists and advocates for social progress in their own communities from all over the world, so I had a lot to learn from them. And I found, to my surprise, that I had things I could share with them as well. Together we received training to become more effective activists and leaders. And after the inspiring trainings and workshops, we headed to Capitol Hill together to share our stories and insight with our representatives. It was a self-affirming and inspiring experience.
I even got to meet Janet Mock! We talked and had dinner. She even tweeted me and followed me on Twitter!
It’s thanks to Urban Retreat that I’ve gained new tools, resources, and concepts that would empower me and inspire me to be more involved in activism and advocacy for social justice. And it’s thanks to Urban Retreat that I’ve gained a new family with YouthResource. Today I woke up this morning and found myself in my own bed in Michigan. I wasn’t in Washington, D.C. with my fellow advocates anymore. The realization was bittersweet. But I know I’ll see these faces soon enough with stories to share.
Sep 30, 2013
Texan First Lady, Anita Perry, describes abortion as a woman’s right in this interview.
Sep 29, 2013
Sep 25, 2013
Documenting the Social and Economic Benefits of Family Planning
Reposted from: Guttmacher Institute, written by Adam Sonfield
Public health experts have long emphasized the benefits to maternal and child health of helping women and couples avoid unintended pregnancy and better time and space the pregnancies they have. Notably, numerous U.S. and international studies have found a causal link between closely spaced pregnancies and three key birth outcome measures: low birth weight, preterm birth and small size for gestational age.1 And a large body of literature highlights an association between unintended pregnancy and delayed initiation of prenatal care, as women are more likely to realize early that they are pregnant if they were trying to become pregnant.
Yet, although the preventive health benefits of unintended pregnancy prevention are clear and persuasive—and, indeed, provided the impetus for the new federal requirement that most private health plans cover contraception without copays or deductibles (see “The Case for Insurance Coverage of Contraceptive Services and Supplies Without Cost-sharing,” Winter 2011)—the primary reasons American women give for why they use and value contraception are social and economic. Women know that controlling whether and when to have children has positive benefits for their lives. A pair of recent Guttmacher Institute analyses explore their motivations and the benefits they accrue from acting on them. READ MORE
Sep 25, 2013
Koch Bros. Give Millions to Anti-Choice Efforts in the States
Reposted from: RHRealityCheck, written by Adele M. Stan
To hear the billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch tell it, they’re all about business; they don’t give a whit about those messy, so-called “social issues” like abortion, contraception, or same-sex marriage. The billions they dump into the political coffers of the right, they’ll tell you, are to further what they call “free enterprise” (translate: killing unions and regulations on business) and, more generally, “freedom” (by which they generally mean freedom from things they don’t like, such as regulations and unions).
But a blockbuster report published Thursday by Politico reporters Mike Allen and Jim VandeHei shows otherwise. How else to explain why Freedom Partners, a shadowy group that Politico refers to as the “Kochs’ secret bank” gave $8.2 million to the virulently anti-LGBT, anti-abortion Concerned Women for America Legislative Action Committee (CWALAC), which lobbies for such bills as the recently passed law in Texas that will effectively ban all abortion 20 weeks after fertilization, and includes unnecessary and onerous regulations on abortion clinics that are designed to compel many to close their doors.
Sep 25, 2013
Texas woman drives four hours to Planned Parenthood after being shamed for hickey
Reposted from: Raw Story, written by David Edwards
A Texas woman who was shamed by her doctor for having a hickey and wanting birth control says she is now forced to drive four hours to a Planned Parenthood clinic for health care due to the state’s new anti-abortion laws.
Athena Mason told KUT that her first visit to the doctor as a student at Texas A&M was awkward.
“I had a hickey and the doctor was just like, you shouldn’t be doing that,” she recalled. “I’m like, ‘It’s a hickey, it’s nothing major.’ But I got a big lecture. [He said] my boyfriend was abusive and all of these things. And then I asked for birth control. I did not hear the end of that. So I said never mind, I’ll go somewhere else.”
Mason started using the Planned Parenthood clinic in Bryan. But that facility is one of four women’s health service providers that closed in August after the state passed new regulations restricting abortions.
So Mason now drives four hours to the Planned Parenthood clinic in Austin for health care.
In 1998, Cadence King was diagnosed with pre-cancerous cells on her cervix and became a patient at the Planned Parenthood clinic in Bryan. She had returned for regular checkups in the years since, but she has missed visits in recent weeks because the clinic closed.
King is now struggling to find a new health care provider. Her only options are driving three hours to Beaumont or waiting four months for the next opening with the one Bryan clinic that’s willing to take her case.
Sep 1, 2013
Just yesterday on a Friday afternoon, I posted the petition to make The Real Education for Healthy Youth Act a reality on my reproductive justice blog. It’s not much, but it’s already gained a little less than 900 notes on Tumblr. Popular blogs like ST*U, Sexists and F*ck Yeah, Sex Education just gave the petition a signal boost and I’ve seen a lot of #vision4sexed hashtags on Twitter, so we’ll be sure to see more feedback before September 10. And the youth activists have been out and about getting physical signatures, which is something I’m doing once school is back in session. Some people are reblogging it with their own commentary to emphasize the importance of it, and sometimes it’s all in caps so you know it’s a pretty big deal. Especially with our current culture’s views on sexuality and education. No one should have to suffer another abstinence only class in which our youth, especially girls, are compared to used up candy wrappers and dirty pieces of tape if they’re sexually active. If you haven’t already and you support comprehensive sex education, definitely sign the petition and share it!
The petition page lets you know exactly what you’re saying when you’re leaving behind a signature:
I support the Real Education for Healthy Youth Act, a sex education vision that outlines what young people truly need. The bill not only authorizes funding for comprehensive sex education directed towards adolescents and college students, but also prioritizes teacher training so that our nation’s educators have the tools they need to be effective in the classroom.
Let’s work to realize our vision of young people receiving the sex education they need in order to lead healthy lives and have healthy relationships. We owe it to them to provide them honest sexual health education. With the Real Education for Healthy Youth Act we can start bringing our vision for sex ed to life!
My vision for sex education includes letting our youth know that it’s never okay to shame others for being sexually active or abstinent by choice. My vision for sex education also includes teaching our youth the signs of an abusive relationship, whether it’s emotional, physical, or both. I’d love for there to be discussions that include the LGBTQ community because often they are erased from the topic, leaving many without resources. I find it to be very dangerous to let our youth go through life without the tools they need to have healthy lives. Comprehensive sex education just makes perfect sense to me. What’s your vision for sex ed?
Aug 24, 2013
First- Ever Legal Abortion,
And It Saved A Dying Woman’s
(Re-posted from ThinkProgress)
The first legal abortion in an Irish hospital has been carried out in Dublin, the Irish Times confirmed on Friday. It represents the first pregnancy termination under Ireland’s historic new abortion law, which slightly relaxed the country’s total ban to allow for legal abortions in cases when it’s necessary to preserve a woman’s life.
Before Ireland’s prime minister approved the new law in July, the country’s abortion laws had not been updated since 1867. Now, there are 25 Irish hospitals that are authorized to perform legal abortions in life-threatening cases without worrying about legal repercussions.
The National Maternity Hospital in Dublin carried out the pregnancy termination for a dying woman whose membrane had ruptured for more than 24 hours. She ran a high risk of sepsis, and her 18-week twin fetuses had no chance of survival outside of the womb. Doctors said her case bore many similarities to that of Savita Halappanavar, a 31-year-old woman who died after being denied an emergency abortion in an Irish Catholic hospital last year. Halappanavar developed sepsis after she began to miscarry, but doctors wouldn’t terminate her doomed pregnancy until the fetal heartbeat had officially stopped three days later — and by that time, it was too late.
The Irish Times reports that in contrast to Halappanavar, the woman who received a legal abortion this month “has made a good recovery after receiving antibiotic treatment and undergoing the termination a number of weeks ago.”
Ireland’s new abortion law was spurred by Halappanavar’s tragic death, which sparked a global controversy. Reproductive rights activists vowed that an individual would “never again” be denied the life-saving medical care that could avert this type of tragedy. But even though Ireland has slightly relaxed its stringent abortion law to successfully avert another Savita, a handful of other conservative Catholic countries still impose total bans on the procedure. Following Halpannavar’s death, similar controversies have unfolded in El Salvador and Chile.
The Guttmacher Institute’s research has found that harsh bans on abortion don’t actually lower abortion rates. Instead, they simply encourage women to risk their lives to end a pregnancy illegally. An estimated 47,000 women around the world die each year from unsafe abortions — and that figure doesn’t include women like Halpannavar who die from pregnancy-related complications that an abortion could have averted.
Aug 21, 2013
“We are ready to start the fire again,” said state Rep. Christina Hagan at the press conference, which was filled with reporters as well as members of the Duggar family, reality television stars who have become some of the new faces of the evangelical anti-choice movement.
Speaking in favor of the ban was Michelle Duggar, matriarch of the 19 Kids and Counting family. With 17 of her 19 children in tow, Duggar spoke against the “baby holocaust” occurring in the United States, a talking point she also used at a Texas press event roughly a month ago: “There is a baby holocaust taking place, where doctors and nurses are paid to take the lives of innocent, unborn children. … If we do not speak up and do something to stop this holocaust, the blood of these little ones will be on our hands.”
Michelle’s oldest son, Josh, was recently named executive director of FRC Action, the political arm of the right-wing Christian group Family Research Council, an avid heartbeat ban supporter.
Aug 21, 2013
Prison Birth: Exploring Prison Justice Through Orange is the New Black
(Re-posted from Because I Am Woman an AH-MAZING sex-positivity, sex-ed, feminism, reproductive justice, birth justice, intersectionality, and activism blog. Check them out, and THANK YOU for letting us post this piece here.)
Orange is the New Black has been getting a lot of press lately, and it is certainly well deserved. The dark comedy features a dynamic and multi-faceted cast of women and gives a first-hand look into many of the realities women in prison face that are often left out of the conversation in mainstream culture and other prison related media. The visibility of the series has opened up many vital conversations on topics such as birthing, healthcare for trans people, mental health, privilege, sexuality and even the prison industrial complex itself. Over the course of the next couple of weeks, I will be exploring these issues (and more) through the lens of the Orange is the New Black.
First up, we will be taking a good hard look at birthing in prison. Although birth has been an increasingly popular topic in reproductive justice and feminism in recent years, people experiencing it in prison aren’t often considered as part of the equation. In Orange is the New Black we are introduced to what birthing in prison might look like for people who are incarcerated when one inmate, Ruiz, is about to give birth during episode 8. Over the course of the episode, (although only a minor plot point), we see Ruiz go into labor and be told by a pharmacy tech that she may not go to a hospital until her contractions are extremely close together. When the time finally comes, Ruiz is taken away only to return at the end of the episode silently wheeled back into a room of women without her child. As the room of women turn to look at her, the silence that fills the room provides viewers with a shared sense of loss and sadness for the new mother, one that is likely in prison for a minor crime, who has already been taken from her child.
What we saw in this episode is only the beginning of what pregnancy and birth actually look like for many in prison. According to The Prison Birth Project, “In prison, 4-7% of women are pregnant, the same percentage as in the wider population; 85% are mothers, and 25% were pregnant upon arrest or gave birth in the previous year.” This demonstrates that reproductive health and pregnancy are clearly an issue for those incarcerated, and an issue that cannot be ignored in the reproductive justice movement. There is a need for education, advocacy, and support amongst these populations.
The reality of giving birth for many prisoners is also much worse than what we saw on Orange is the New Black. Many in prison are denied the medical care they need (pre and post-natal), and many more give birth still shackled in prison instead of in a hospital. Although advocates in many states have been pushing for change, only 16 states have passed legislation to outlaw the barbaric shackling of prisoners birthing and in labor. In their report “Mothers Behind Bars”by the National Women’s Law Center and the Rebecca Project for Human Rights, the organizations gave almost half of all states a failing grade for their treatment of pregnant and birthing people, and point out that there is no national standards for treatment and care of those who experience pregnancy behind bars.
Fortunately, there are people and organizations out there organizing around these issues. The Prison Birth Project and Birth Behind Bars both act as advocates in their respective areas and bring doulas into prisons to aid in birth and pregnancy. You can support them by volunteering your time, money and support, as well as by continuing to spread the word on these issues.
As for Orange is the New Black, we can likely count on this not being the last pregnancy and/or birth we see in the series. Since the pregnancy of Daya by a prison guard is a much bigger plot point in the show, it is my hope that we see a more well-rounded and realistic depiction of what this experience looks like for inmates in the second season.
Aug 21, 2013
Here we go again. Although the most restrictive abortion bill (‘the Heartbeat bill’) in the nation was tabled in Ohio’s last Senate session, it’s coming back – and this time with the full backing of America’s largest reality TV family, the Duggars. The Duggars are from Arkansas which is currently the home to the most restrictive abortion ban in the country, banning abortion after 12 weeks of pregnancy. Arkansas got the idea from Ohio, where the bill would ban abortion after a fetal heartbeat is detected, which could occur as early as 6 weeks of pregnancy, often before a woman even knows she’s pregnant. Unlike Arkansas’ bill, Ohio’s bill does not include an exception for cases of rape or incest, or the health of the woman. The Ohio bill passed the House but stalled in the Senate.
Ahead of an inevitable bill reintroduction, the Duggars participated in a press conference at the Ohio Statehouse in Columbus to show their support for this extreme and heartless bill. During the press conference, mother of the brood, Michelle Duggar, crudely asserts that “there is a baby holocaust taking place” across the nation.
Gross overstatements such as this won’t help their cause. Opponents are geared up to take on the threat with rallies and conferences already in the works. Grassroots activists and statewide organizations are primed to defend against this bill again. Arkansas is seeing court challenges and so will Ohio if it goes that far. Let’s make sure that it doesn’t. Get ready to fight!
Aug 20, 2013
One year ago, then-Rep. Todd Akin (R-MO) uttered his infamous “legitimate rape” comment when explaining his opposition to abortion even in the case of rape. The comment gave the public a rare peek into the extreme views Akin and other like-minded conservatives have on reproductive rights and how fundamentally misinformed they are on matters of basic biology.
The comment was the beginning of the end of Akin’s Senate run. But while it may have cost him an election, it hasn’t stopped Republicans across the country from trying to legislate legal abortion out of existence. On Friday, the National Women’s Law Center (NWLC) quantified those efforts in a new report, Shut That Whole Thing Down: A Survey of Abortion Restrictions Even in Cases of Rape. The report looks at abortion legislation in the states and Congress from the first half of 2013 and finds that:
86 percent (235) of the 273 provisions that politicians introduced in state legislatures to restrict a woman’s access to abortion apply to a woman whose pregnancy resulted from rape.
71 percent (27) of the 38 state provisions restricting women’s access to abortion enacted by the states apply to a woman whose pregnancy resulted from rape.
72 percent (18) of the 25 bills introduced in Congress to restrict a woman’s access to abortion apply to a woman whose pregnancy resulted from rape.
Aug 14, 2013
New laws banning abortion after 20 weeks are based on pseudoscience — and real research proves it conclusively.
This article originally appeared on Salon.com.
Since Nebraska first jump-started the trend back in 2010, close to a dozen state legislatures across the country have passed laws banning abortion at 20 weeks. Most of these restrictions are given grave-sounding titles like the “Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act,” or some near-identical riff on the words “fetal,” “pain” and “protection.” All of them, no matter what they’re called, rest on the stated premise that a fetus can experience pain at 20 weeks, and that this is a sufficient justification to ban all abortions after this gestational stage.
But “fetal pain” in the popular discourse is a nebulous concept, one that lawmakers like Jodie Laubenberg, Trent Franks and others haven’t much bothered to define or help ground in available medical evidence.
Probably because there really isn’t any. The limited research used to support such claims has been refuted as pseudoscience by both the Journal of the American Medical Association and the British Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. (Not to mention smaller studies from researchers at Harvard University, University College London and elsewhere.)
“We know a lot about embryology [in the field]. The way that a fetus grows and develops hasn’t changed and never will,” Dr. Anne Davis, a second-trimester abortion provider, associate professor of clinical obstetrics and gynecology at Columbia University Medical Center, and consulting medical director at Physicians for Reproductive Health, told Salon. “And what we know in terms of the brain and the nervous system in a fetus is that the part of the brain that perceives pain is not connected to the part of the body that receives pain signals until about 26 weeks from the last menstrual period, which is about 24 weeks from conception.”
Because the neural structures necessary to feel pain have not yet developed, any observable responses to stimuli at this gestational stage — like the fetal “flinching” during an amniocentesis — are reflexive, not experiential. Which is to say, the fetus at 20 weeks can’t actually feel anything at all. Which is to say, the fundamental justification for these laws is a really big, really popular lie.
Aug 14, 2013
North Carolina House Republicans have, without notice, inserted sweeping changes to the state’s abortion rules into a motorcycle safety law. Effectively, they’ve reintroduced the abortion bill that Governor Pat McCrory had threatened to veto.
Aug 7, 2013
On July 30th, my Fellowship with Planned Parenthood Health systems ended. Working for PPHS has truly opened my eyes to the services that are available to both women and men here in the Columbia area. The staff is extremely nice and welcoming, and they know exactly how to help you. If you are looking for a new reproductive healthcare provider, go check them out! They are located at 2712 Middleburg Drive. For additional information on their office information, text SEXT to 74574.
Jul 31, 2013
When we hear about politicians making unqualified and uneducated statements about abortion and reproductive/sexual health, we just shake our heads, asking ourselves and our peers, “How does someone like that get into office?”
Not to diminish your faith in humanity, but less than a couple weeks ago, Brian Nieves, a Republican state senator of Missouri, commented in a Facebook argument to a pro-choice priest, “‘Life of the Mother?’ Your own argument proves it is a matter of convenience!” State senator Brian Nieves later denied that he said this. But the denial wouldn’t do him any good since his comments have been screencapped and the comment is still on the Facebook page.
There are people who treat this like it’s an isolated incident. Like it’s nothing to worry about, but you’d have to imagine the kind of culture it takes to condition people to be able to say these things. You don’t even have to imagine because that’s the culture we’re living in. It’s not just one old, white male politician. It’s several. And they’re not necessarily always white men.
Brace yourself. This is pretty triggering.
“These Planned Parenthood women, the Code Pink women, and all of these women have been neutering American men and bringing us to the point of this incredible weakness…We are not going to have our men become subservient.”
— Florida Rep. Allen West expresses a clear understanding of how oppression and privilege works.
“In the emergency room they have what’s called rape kits where a woman can get cleaned out.”
— Texas state Rep. Jodie Laubenberg, discussing why there shouldn’t be a rape or incest exception in bills restricting reproductive health care because clearly she understands how health care works.
“I think even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something God intended to happen.” —Richard Mourdock, an Indiana state senator candidate who fortunately did not win.
“Understand though, that when we talk about exceptions, we talk about rape, incest, health of a woman, life of a woman. Life of the woman is not an exception.”
—Joe Walsh, former Illinois congressman revealing just how “pro-life” he really is.
“If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”
—Missouri Representative Todd Akin basically sharing how much he doesn’t know about a female body in one terrible sentence.
“The facts show that people who are raped —who are truly raped—the juices don’t flow, the body functions don’t work and they don’t get pregnant. Medical authorities agree that this is a rarity, if ever.”
—former North Carolina Rep. Henry Aldridge using imaginary doctors as his sources.
“As long as it’s inevitable, you might as well lie back and enjoy it.”
—Clayton Williams regarding rape, he was a former Texas Republican gubernatorial contender and a past fundraiser for John McCain.
This is one of the many reasons why I’m in total support of Advocates for Youth. The politicians I’ve listed are the kind of people who have been supporting legislation that not only hurts people who need abortions, but rape victims and teens in desperate need of comprehensive sex education. It hurts people who need access to contraception, affordable health care, and everything else a person would need to live a quality life. And it’s not going to stop until we change the culture and institutions that allows it to happen. So, we advocate for the youth. We have a responsibility to them to ensure that they have their rights and are to be respected.
Jul 23, 2013
Young sexual and reproductive rights advocates continue to push for the full integration of a rights-based approach in relation to advancing population and development goals. That was the overarching message of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) and the United Nations Population Fund’s (UNFPA) Regional Youth Summit.
Earlier this summer, I had the opportunity to travel to Istanbul, Turkey, where activists representing over 40 international organizations gathered and developed a Call to Action, ensuring young people sexual and reproductive rights continue to be integrated in development agendas.
The summit brought together a diverse group of 40 young people from Eastern Europe, North America, Central Asia and Israel (EECARO region), to discuss and develop priority goals. During the summit, we organized ourselves into three sessions based on interest and expertise
- Population Dynamics and Sustainable Development,
- Families, Sexual and Reproductive Health over the Life Course,
- Inequalities, Social Inclusion and Rights.
After lengthy conversations, each group came up with a number of recommendations to share with the entire forum for us all to debate and finalize. The culmination of our work was translated into a solid document that represents what the youth from the EECARO region want elected officials and leaders to take into consideration. You can access the full document here.
The outcome of the summit embodied the youth vision and development priorities for the region over the next decade and was presented at the Regional Conference in Geneva. Fifteen delegates from our group (bearing in mind equal representation) attended the Geneva Conference and shared our declaration (Youth Call to Action). The speech, delivered by Grace Wilentz from YouAct (European Youth Network on Sexual and Reproductive Rights) and Jakub Skrzypczyk from Youth Coalition for Sexual and Reproductive Rights can be found here.
On a personal note, I had a great time interacting with all the youth participants at the Regional Youth Forum and learning more about the EECARO region. It became clearer to me that the same sexual and reproductive health and rights issues we are advocating for in the US are found in other parts of the world. I was happy to discover that we are not alone in this battle. Young people from all over the world are rising up to the challenge, demanding greater youth representation in world affairs and better human rights conditions for all.
About United Nations Population Fund’s (UNFPA)
Tasked with the mission of delivering “a world where every pregnancy is wanted, every birth is safe, every young person’s potential is fulfilled,” UNFPA is a UN organization whose efforts are guided by two main frameworks, 1) the Program of Action adopted at the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) and 2) the Millennium Development Goals (MDG), which are eight targets to reduce extreme poverty by 2015.
With the date for achieving these goals fast approaching, UNFPA and its partners, such as the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), have been working together to ramp up their efforts. UNFPA and UNECE have been involved in the Beyond 2014 Review, an effort to engage world leaders from governments and civil society in drafting a new global commitment to create a more equal and more sustainable world.
The ICPD Operational Review has been taking place as part of the Beyond 2014 Review, and UNFPA and UNECE have been facilitating this process. Within this process, UNFPA and UNECE organized three thematic meetings on the following topics:
- “Population Dynamics and Sustainable Development”,
- “Reducing Inequities, Fostering Social Inclusion” and
- “Life Course, Sexual and Reproductive Health, and Families”.
As a culminating event, the agencies planned for a two-day Regional Conference entitled “Enabling Choices: Population Priorities for the 21st Century,” which was just held in Geneva (1-2 July), gathering leaders from all over the EECARO region (Europe, North America, Central Asia and Israel).
Young people are at the core of the UNFPA’s mandate, offering an essential voice to help shape the future development agenda. Therefore, young people have participated in the operational review at the country level and in all the thematic meetings mentioned above. In order to continue their involvement, UNFPA EECARO has organized the Regional Youth Forum in Istanbul (30-31 May) and in which I participated, representing Advocates for Youth and the US at large.
Jul 22, 2013
Jul 22, 2013
Latin America is home to five of the seven countries in the world in which abortion is banned in all instances, even when the life of the woman is at risk: Chile, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Honduras, and the Dominican Republic, with the Vatican City and Malta outside the region.
Jul 22, 2013
All too often our stories are told for us. Last week, I had the honor of presenting to members of congress, their staff and other people in the reproductive health and rights field during a congressional briefing with Black Women’s Health Imperative. I took this opportunity to use my voice as an African American young person to tell anyone listening that we Millennials are not only invested in creating change but we are committed to making sure our generation can lead healthy lives. Read what I had to say!
As a member of Advocates for Youth’s Young Women of Color Leadership Council, I have been organizing and advocating around the sexual and reproductive health and rights of young people for the last 5 years. I am dedicated to this work not only because I believe that young people like me deserve the right to lead healthy, self-determined lives, but also because I know first-hand what it is like to navigate this world without access to accurate and honest education and services.
At 23 I can say that I never received any type of formal sexual education from any educational institution I attended. The first time I was tested for HIV happened completely by accident. One day during my junior year in high school I wandered into a mobile testing unit in hopes of receiving a free metrocard. That would be the first day I would find out about HIV and other STIs. The woman conducting my test asked me if I was nervous and I proceeded to tell her no and then asked her would I have a reason to be. She began to explain sexually transmitted infections and diseases to me. Thus giving my first “sex education class” in the back of a mobile testing unit. Although my results that day revealed that I was not HIV positive, I remember feeling like someone had robbed me. I felt cheated. Lied to. I could not fathom at that time how learning about preventing diseases that could potentially make you sick and claim your life were not as important as math and science. The even more depressing part is that even when I went to college many of my peers were still uneducated about their sexual health, and how prevent HIV, STIs and unplanned pregnancies. I began wondering whether we all needed to wander aimlessly into a mobile testing truck to learn about saving our lives.
As leader of a campus organization that provided sexual health information specifically geared toward Black and Latino students at Syracuse, it became more and more clear to me that I was not the only person who had been robbed. Some of our campus events attracted over 200 young people interested in learning about what they could do to lead sexually healthy lives. Many of these young people expressed that they felt that this is something that should be taught in school, by the administration. They were not alone.
Not only do African American Millennials believe that comprehensive sexuality education should be available to young people in high school, overwhelming majority, over 90% believe that it should include information about preventing HIV/AIDS and other STDS, unplanned pregnancy prevention, and abstinence. Over 80% also believe that comprehensive sex education programs in high school should cover information about pregnancy options including abortion.
Many of the young people I worked with in college constantly spoke about the barriers, many financial, to accessing contraception and abortion services. Research shows that over 90% of African American Millennials believe that contraception needs to be available and affordable to help young people stay healthy. 75% of African American Millennials believe that regardless of how they feel personally, abortion should remain legal and that women should be able to get safe abortions.
There is still much to be done to ensure that young people like myself have access to medically accurate and culturally competent information regarding their sexual health, and we young people across the country are working diligently and organizing to make it happen.. While the media and other people are committed to portraying my generation as apathetic and removed from this type of work, I can insure you that those statements are indeed false. In fact, according to research conducted by the Reproductive Justice Communications Group and Advocates for Youth, over 7 in 10 of African American millennials say they are interested in improving young people’s access to sexual health services such as contraception and testing for HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases. 7 in 10 expressed interest in getting personally involved in promoting honest and accurate sex education programs in their communities. Another 6 in 10 are personally interested in making sure that safe abortion is available and accessible in their community. We African American Millennials are interested and committed to helping our friends, our families and our communities access services and information to live healthy, autonomous lives.
Here’s video of my remarks at the briefing!
Jul 19, 2013
On the same day that Texas Governor Rick Perry signed a controversial abortion omnibus bill into law, Republican legislators in the state introduced yet another anti-abortion measure, this time looking to ban abortions after 6 weeks. And while it seems very unlikely at this point that the bill will make it through the state’s legislative process by July 31, the end of the current special legislative session in Texas, the timing is still drawing a decent bit of attention.
There’s only one state in the U.S. with an abortion ban after 6 weeks: North Dakota. And that law is being challenged in the courts as unconstitutional. The 6-week bans, like the one proposed in Texas, rely upon the detection of a fetal heartbeat by a doctor. Arguing that a fetal heartbeat is “a key medical predictor that an unborn child will reach live birth,” the Texas bill, HB59, would require doctors to determine whether a fetal heartbeat exists before legally performing an abortion. Fetal heartbeats typically register at around 6 weeks, meaning that the bill would effectively make that the cut off for the procedure.
Jul 19, 2013
Before President Obama took office, foreign non-governmental organizations receiving international family planning funds couldn’t answer women’s questions about abortion. They couldn’t provide abortions, refer women to abortion providers, or advocate for safe abortion care in their communities and their countries – even using their own funds.
It was called the Global Gag Rule. And it could come back at any time unless we take action today.
The Global Democracy Promotion Act (GDPA), introduced today by Representative Nita Lowey (D-NY) and over 114 of her colleagues, protects foreign assistance programs from politicized restrictions, especially the Global Gag Rule. This legislation accompanies a parallel bill in the Senate introduced earlier this year by Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA).
The Global Gag Rule endangers women’s health. It forces organizations to make a choice: refuse to answer women’s questions about abortion, or lose funding. The end result is that some of the most effective and experienced providers and clinics are forced to close, often dismantling the only health services available in a community. Not only is this policy dangerous to women’s health and lives, it also violates our own democratic principles of free speech and open debate by silencing advocates who wish to reform their own national abortion laws.
Since 1984, the Global Gag Rule has ridden a merry-go-round of being rescinded and reinstated in accordance with each new President’s priorities. President Obama rescinded it in 2009 – but any new President could reinstate it. The personal decisions a woman makes with her doctor shouldn’t depend on whoever happens to occupy the White House at any given time.
Jul 15, 2013
Flea markets are a one-stop place where people can get every-day necessities, often at a low price or second-hand. Among clothing, food, and furniture a Texas women can also find pills that induce miscarriage, an evocative sign of the role of family planning in everyday life. The pills, known by their brand name, Cytotec, were designed to prevent stomach ulcers, but are being taken without a prescription by many Texan women and causing complications such as extended bleeding and incomplete abortions.
In the Lower Rio Grande Valley, a region along the southeastern border of Mexico, these pills are reportedly popular. One of the states and nation’s most low-income areas, women of the Valley have already had difficulty accessing reproductive health care after the state cut funding for birth control in 2011.
HB 2, the Texas abortion bill that is awaiting Governor Rick Perry’s signature will further restrict access to family planning and reproductive health clinics across the state. Unless clinics meet the requirements of ambulatory surgical center standards within a year, these locations will be forced to close, pushing women to seek risky alternatives. The two clinics currently in the Lower Rio Grande Valley do not meet the requirement of the bill. If these centers close down, women will have to travel hours across that state to receive care and will have additional costs such as transportation, hotel, food, missed work, and childcare.
Erlinda Dasquez, a 29 year-old mother of four who has used the pills, sees the widespread desire for these pills an economic issue. She described how for $40 she received four pills, a sum much less than the $550 pharmaceutical abortion cost at the closest legal provider. Many women and families like Dasquez seek illegal and unsafe forms of abortion due to the staggering costs of abortion which are typically not covered or subsidized by insurance companies or the state. Many undocumented women are also taking Cytotec and similar drugs. These women cannot utilize traditional health care outlets for fear of being reported.
The clinics that are being threatened do not solely provide abortion services. Many of these facilities are a source of free or inexpensive birth control for families, a valuable resource. Without assistance, many low-income people cannot justify paying the amount for contraceptives among other economic priorities. When interviewed, Alma Saldana said, “If I had $100 to pay for birth control or pay the bill for lights, I’d pay the lights”. Saldana stopped taking birth control after two nearby clinics closed and the remaining clinic charged more than she could afford.
Jul 13, 2013
Former CNN (now Fox News) contributor Erick Erickson wants women everywhere to know that we should all stock up on hangers. Basically, abortion is now DIY since all the old, white men have refused to give us bodily autonomy. I’m so full of rage it brings tears to my eyes. There is so much injustice.
Also, how the hell is this man allowed to work for a news source? But then, it’s Fox news. And we all know Fox plays by a different set of rules than the rest of us.
This is beyond disgusting.
Jul 13, 2013
It seems like many around the nation were watching the Texas legislation, regarding abortion access, with high levels of fear, uncertainty and bated breath. Hundreds of women fought to get their testimony brought into the legislative session and they eventually began to be turned away as they were told that their testimony was becoming too “repetitive.” While the women of Texas struggled to get their voices heard, Representative Wendy Davis took the stand to announce, “The leadership may not want to listen to TX women, but they will have to listen to me.” The tides turned allowing for a small victory to the relief of the rest of the country.
With this small victory, it can be easily forgotten that many of these same battles, or sometimes even worse battles, are still being waged all over the country for women to have the right and access to abortions without unforeseen barriers. In Wisconsin, Gov. Walker is attempting to pass a bill that forces women seeking an abortion to have an invasive, unnecessary and patronizing ultrasound. And just a few days ago, Republicans in Ohio added an abortion provision to a budget that passed their legislation: the infamous heartbeat bill, which requires doctors to seek a fetal heartbeat and tell the woman seeking an abortion that it has one. Again, invasive, unnecessary and dehumanizing to the woman involved. While it feels good to win a battle, the rest that are being lost quickly around the country are just as reflective of the immense obstacles we still face in providing free, unrestricted reproductive freedom to the women of the US for generations to come.
To locate an abortion clinic/provider in your area, you can text SEXT to 74574.
Jul 10, 2013
Across the country — in Texas, Ohio, North Carolina, Wisconsin, and too many other states — access to safe abortion care is vanishing before our eyes because of unnecessary and burdensome restrictions.
How can we keep up our commitment to women’s health, even as far right politicians force more and more anti-abortion bills through state legislatures?
We do it by changing the culture of shame and stigma around abortion. We do it by sharing stories and by speaking up in support of women.
- Share a story from the campaign on social media.
- Like the 1 in 3 campaign on Facebook.
- Learn about other ways to support women who need abortion care.
Be a part of creating a culture of compassion, empathy, and support for access to basic health care.
Jul 8, 2013
When I mention the term taboo I DO mean the game in which you guess the word someone on your team is explaining. I mean taboo as in is a vehement prohibition of an action based on the belief that such behavior is either too sacred or too accursed for ordinary individuals to undertake, under threat of supernatural punishment as explained by Wikipedia(you know you refer to that site). Parents today are just not taking the initiative to teach their kids or even answer questions.Everything starts at home. The schools does not enforce sexual education like they should hence why advocates does the work they do. I hearing all kinds of things that are just plain crazy and I have to correct the young people and send to different resource. If different organizations are providing the resources then parents should back the kids it’s only right. I want education for all dispite the topic. If only I can educate the world.Sex shouldn’t be taboo instead it’s should be talked about. I am positive parents don’t want students learning from the wrong person.
Jul 2, 2013
AP: Ireland’s lawmakers voted 138-24 to back a bill legalizing abortions in life-threatening cases. The proposed law faces final passage next week.
Prime Minister Enda Kenny easily prevailed as he sought all-party endorsement of his government’s Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill.
Ireland, almost uniquely in Europe, officially bans abortion in all circumstances. But the Supreme Court in 1992 ruled that terminations should be legal if doctors deem one essential to safeguard the life of the woman — including from her own suicide threats.
Photo: This Saturday, Nov. 17, 2012 file photo shows abortion rights protesters holding pictures of Savita Halappanavar as they march through central Dublin, demanding that Ireland’s government ensures that abortions can be performed to save a woman’s life. (Shawn Pogatchnik / AP file)
Jul 1, 2013
I decided to break the law to provide a necessary medical service because women were dying at the hands of butchers and incompetent quacks, and there was no one there to help them. The law was barbarous, cruel and unjust. I had been in a concentration camp, and I knew what suffering was. If I can ease suffering, I feel perfectly justified in doing so.
-Dr. Henry Morgentaler, a Canadian doctor who was arrested four times for performing abortions, but whose arrests eventually led to the 1988 Canadian Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion in the country.
He died this week at the age of 90. Good obit in the NY Times.
Jul 1, 2013
I posted a couple things here about Wendy Davis’ insanely awesome marathon filibuster to stop SB5, which is a bill from Texas that would close the majority of the clinics in the state that not only provide abortion services, but contraception and general health care. And she wasn’t alone. Hundreds of local supporters stood by her and when the bill was thought to be stopped, the capitol building erupted with cheers.
The lawmakers had to vote on this bill before it hit midnight. But thanks to Senator Wendy Davis, Senator Leticia Van De Putte, and hundreds of reproductive justice advocates, lawmakers fortunately did not get the chance to meet that deadline. Republican lawmakers tried to argue that the bill was voted and passed on time despite clear evidence revealing that the vote ended on June 26 when it was supposed to be June 25. They later took it back and admitted that the vote occurred after midnight and the bill was dead. All Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst could say about it was: “…it’s been fun.” Because taking away people’s rights to health care is so much fun.
The bill was thought to be stopped and everyone in the social justice club was happy. But Texas Governor Rick Perry called for a special session to try to bring SB5 back. This would make all the efforts of the Texans who went to stop this in vain. Governor Rick Perry’s Facebook, Twitter, office website, office address, and phone information has been spreading so that people can voice their opinions. Hopefully the voices of the constituents will be heard.
While the Internet social justice atmosphere exploded at the news of Texan Republicans’ shady tactics, for good reason, Ohio has passed some terrible anti-choice legislation of their own. Ohio lawmakers didn’t even bring it up for debate. They slyly passed the bill last minute the other night. Activists are sharing Ohio Governor John Kaisch’s phone number (614-728-7576) in hopes that he line-vetoes the measure. If he doesn’t, Planned Parenthood and rape crisis centers lose their funding in that state, and those funds will be going to Crisis Pregnancy Centers. And you know what Crisis Pregnancy Centers are like. People will have to will 24 hours before receiving their emergency contraception. Forced ultrasounds will be legalized, and the unwilling patient would still have to pay for it. This measure would even redefine pregnancy, throwing out the actual medical definition, so that using emergency contraception would be considered abortion.
We have our work cut out for us.
Jun 30, 2013
The discrimination that Nepalese women face are from the patriarchal attitude of our society. Nepalese women face discrimination in every aspect of development like education, employment, priority, etc. Talking about the gender discrimination reproductive health of Nepalese women is one of the major neglected area. The discrimination that Nepalese women face in regards to reproductive health is found at every stage from the decision on when to become pregnant, to decide the number of children, to decide about whether or not to deliver the child. One of the most critical reproductive health issue in Nepal is abortion. Because of too many cultural barriers safe abortion is always been a challenge in Nepal. Despite of the fact that Nepal government support the safe abortion law still the government fails to repeal restrictive abortion and effective implementation of reproductive health program. Due to these difficulties Nepalese women are forced to resort to unsafe measures to terminate pregnancies such as inserting a cow-dug smeared stick into the vagina or inserting chemical dyes and thus an average of six women each year die as a result of botched illegal abortion.
Similarly the issue of abortion is again a major challenge in unmarried youth and is a hindrance to reproductive health care in Nepal. The negative attitude of health service providers in health centers regarding abortion of unmarried female leads to the involvement of high numbers of these population to unsafe and painful abortion, ultimately affecting the fertility and life of female. There has always been a conflict between the group supporting legal and safe abortion and those who are against infanticide. But there always arise a question that, is the life of one who is not even born in the world is more important then the one who is already born and has lived the years of their life. And again the question is, does the mother who is not accepting the baby from her soul can provide the baby with better quality of life.
Jun 27, 2013
UPDATE: Governor Kasich signed the budget bill with all of the anti-choice provisions intact. The Governor has proven he is out of touch with Ohioans and his actions will hurt Ohio women and their families.
Ohio Governor John Kasich touted his budget bill as “Jobs 2.0”. What the Ohio legislature turned it into is anything but. The “Jobs Budget” is now an anti-abortion bill filled with amendments that devastatingly restrict access and information from Ohioans at a time when it’s needed most. We know that timing is everything when it comes to reproductive and sexual healthcare. Delaying access to healthcare services does nothing to make an unintended pregnancy or STD disappear, and in fact only increases dire outcomes. Yet the majority of Ohio legislators would rather do just that.
The budget has been passed through the conference committee and is on its way to Gov. Kasich to be signed by the end of the week. If signed as is, here’s what the amendments will do:
- Essentially defund family planning clinics, including Planned Parenthood clinics, through a funding system that is no longer competitive.
- Divert scarce TANF dollars to fake “crisis pregnancy center” that lie to women and provide no medical or health care.
- Prohibit public hospitals from entering into transfer agreements with clinics that provide abortions which will ultimately shut down many clinics in Ohio.
- And in an eleventh hour move, require unnecessary ultrasounds to detect a fetal heartbeat before an abortion is performed.
Now don’t think for a second that Ohio legislators are so brilliant that they came up with these ideas on their own. We are seeing destructive bills like this across the country. Ohio’s only hope now is that Governor Kasich, who is seeking reelection in 2014, line-item veto these amendments. It’s a long shot, but the only shot we have.
Call Governor Kasich today at (614) 328-9435! Tell him to remove these amendments that restrict access to vital (and legal) healthcare services!
Jun 26, 2013
From Huffington Post:
The Texas anti-abortion bill, which threatened to close nearly all of the abortion clinics in the state and prompted an 11-hour filibuster by state Sen. Wendy Davis (D), is dead, The Austin American-Statesman reported.
Lawmakers had to vote on Senate Bill 5 before the special session’s end at 12 a.m. local time. However, more than 400 protesters halted the proceedings 15 minutes before the roll call could be completed with what they called “a people’s filibuster,”The Associated Press reported.
The crowd of demonstrators in the capitol cried “Shame! Shame!” when Davis’ filibuster was halted by Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, who ruled that her discussion of mandatory ultrasound testing was off-topic. Then the protesters roared after state Sen. Leticia Van De Putte asked, “At what point must a female senator raise her hand or her voice to be recognized over her male colleagues?”
Their cries continued to echo inside the chamber — and over a livestream watched by thousands around the world — until after the midnight deadline passed.
Although some Republican lawmakers later claimed the bill had passed in time, Democrats denied that the vote was completed before the clock ran out on the session.
A time stamp showing the vote completed after midnight was the deciding factor. “This will not become law,” Sen. John Whitmire (D), told The Austin American-Statesman.
In response, the crowd of protesters gathered in the capitol cheered and began singing “The Eyes Of Texas,” the alma mater of the University of Texas at Austin.
According to The Texas Tribune, Dewhurst was less than pleased by the evening’s turn of events. After ruling that the time on SB 5 had expired, he told reporters that “an unruly mob using Occupy Wall Street tactics” had derailed legislation that was designed to protect women and babies.
The legislation would have prohibited abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, regulated first-trimester abortion clinics as ambulatory surgical centers and restricted access to medication abortions. Had it passed, nearly all of the clinics in the state would have been shuttered.
Dewhurst also hinted that Gov. Rick Perry may call another special session to get the bill passed, saying: “It’s over. It’s been fun. But see you soon.”
Despite a long day of filibustering, Davis was upbeat when she greeted the crowd of supporters, who applauded the senator and chanted her name.
“Today was democracy in action,” Davis said. “You all are the voices we were speaking for from the floor.”
Jun 26, 2013
Today, you are our heroes.
You stared down a bullying legislature that had repeatedly shown it would stop at nothing to pass a sweeping abortion restriction bill that would endanger millions of women’s health and lives.
Senator Davis, your filibuster was among the most courageous acts we have ever seen by a legislator. Following the rules of the Senate, you stood for over 11 hours, with no food or drink, barred even from leaning, and shared women’s real stories of their experiences with abortion – stories that had previously been ruled “too repetitive” by the legislature.
After 2 trumped-up warnings, they finally shut you down after 11 hours on false charges of going off topic.
And then the people took over.
The hundreds of activists who had filled the chamber for days would not be silenced. From all over the state, you had been watching since Thursday as Republicans attempted to ramrod SB-5 through the special session.
Your cheers and shouts delayed the session, and the bill was unable to pass before midnight.
Thank you, Senator Davis and the People’s Filibuster , for your courage and your leadership. You showed that the people of Texas won’t stand for attacks on women’s health. Today, you inspire us to keep fighting. You weren’t silenced and we won’t be either.
To the women of Texas and to the 1 in 3 women who will need an abortion in her lifetime: we’ve got your back!
Jun 26, 2013
From Tumblr blogger kat1712:
(edited for language)
Senator Wendy Davis is a f*cking badass.
There’s this bill that they are trying to pass in Texas that would make it illegal to get any abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy, and would make it very difficult for abortion centers to continue doing what they do. Governor Rick Perry has already said that if the bill makes it to his desk, he will sign it. And Wendy Davis said f*ck no that is not happening.
So she’s filibustering it. That means she asked to talk on the subject at 11:18 this morning, and if she can continue talking about abortion until 11:59 tonight, the bill won’t reach Governor Perry, and they would have to start all over with the bill next time they meet- 2 years from now.
But Wendy has to keep talking. She can’t pause for even a minute, not for food or a sip of water or to go to the bathroom or sit down. She can’t even lean up against anything, or she’s out. So she’s wearing motherf*cking PINK NIKE TENNIS SHOES in the middle of the state senate.
She also has to continue talking about the topic. She sent out tweets an other messages last night asking for anyone and everyone’s abortion story, and received a sh*t load of answers. Her staff is still collecting them, and she’s reading them aloud to the senate. Not only is she making this bill impossible to pass, she may just change some minds while she’s at it.
This is history, guys. Wendy Davis is a motherf*cking badass, and we are watching it happen.
Jun 25, 2013
This weekend in Texas, hundreds of protestors packed into the Texas State House Capitol to protest SB-5, an omnibus anti-choice bill that would shut down all but five abortion clinics in the state, ban abortions after 20 weeks, and make medical abortions all but impossible to prescribe or obtain legally.
The Texas legislature insulted and then ignored them.
House Affairs Committee Chairman Byron Cook barred hundreds of women from sharing their real experiences, saying the public testimony was becoming “repetitive.” In the course of forcing this bill through, the legislature suspended rules, restricted testimony, and now Senator David Dewhurst is trying to do the same tonight.
Join protestors at the State House in Austin now. Or call your Senator RIGHT NOW, share your story, and tell them to vote AGAINST SB-5. (512) 402-8385
The bill still has to get through the Senate, and Democrats have promised a filibuster. There’s still time to stop this bill in the next 24 hours.
1 in 3 women will have an abortion in her lifetime. Limiting access hurts all Texans. Call your State Senator at (512) 402-8385 and speak out against SB-5 right now.
Jun 21, 2013
For decades, most Crisis Pregnancy Centers have been lying to women, evading questions, and disguising their institutions as health care facilities. They receive federal funding to shame women into believing lies- “abortion causes breast cancer”, “it will make you infertile”, “condoms do not protect against STIs”, etc. They do not have a doctor at these facilities, and are not under HIPAA regulations of non-disclosure of medical records. They are against all contraception forms. They will harass a woman until she is in tears, and then send her on her way with a Christian religious token, and a promise from her that she will keep her child, they will only provide “help” if she agrees to go to Bible Study. This is not health care. Title X funding should be revoked.
Jun 21, 2013
“CPCs have a long history of engaging in deceptive advertising. For example, some CPCs intentionally choose their name to mislead women into believing that they offer a wide range of services, including family planning and abortion care. The Family Research Council investigated what names would be most likely to appeal to women, particularly pro-choice women, in a 1998 report. Women’s Resource Center, which gives the impression of a full range of services, was deemed to have the most strategic value in reaching women “at risk for abortion.” The report also showed that women faced with an unplanned pregnancy were most likely to look in the Yellow Pages under the words “Pregnancy,” “Medical,” “Women’s Centers” and “Clinics.” Accordingly, CPCs often are advertised under these categories, as well as “Abortion Alternatives,” and “Women’s Organizations.” CPCs also advertise through posters, signs, and billboards that contain messages like, “Free Pregnancy Test,” or “Pregnant? Scared? We Can Help! Call 1-800 #.” Women report, however, that when they call these numbers the CPC representatives evade questions about whether they provide abortions, and urge the women to make an appointment to meet with a ‘counselor’ to talk in person.”
Jun 19, 2013
BREAKING: Lawmakers have solved all of the United States’ problems through legislation. Now they have time to devote to dangerous, blatantly unconstitutional bills that they know have no chance of becoming law!
That’s what you’d think is going on anyway. Congress yesterday passed a nationwide ban on abortion after 20 weeks.
They know that Roe v. Wade ensures women the right to an abortion to the point of viability, without a specified time limit.
They know that just a month ago a federal court struck down Arizona’s 20-week ban.
And they know that this bill is doomed to fail in the Senate.
But since they were bored (I guess?), they went ahead with it anyway.
Anti-abortion activists brought their usual common sense and intellectual rigor to the debate, with the bill’s sponsor Trent Franks arguing against allowing an exception for rape and incest on the grounds that that doesn’t happen; and with Michael Burgess (R-Texas) claiming that abortion is wrong because male fetuses masturbate.
Meanwhile, within a few hours, a thousand of you signed a petition urging Congress to drop the bill. Many of you observed in comments that the bill was unconstitutional. Others mentioned the danger barriers to access pose to women. Some called the bill “using women’s bodies to further a political agenda,” ”an embarrassment,” “a waste of time and money,” and “a violation of women’s rights.”
Here’s a short list of the stuff Congress totes fixed before they took up the 20-week ban:
- LGBT discrimination
- Sexual assault in the military and on college campuses
- Deadly gun violence
- A little thing called The Economy.
….Wait no. I meant: A short list of things they still haven’t managed to fix, which still cry out for their attention, which are receiving widespread media attention and which millions of Americans care about. That kind of stuff. I guess they’ll work on it when they have time.
Jun 19, 2013
Lisa Hanna, Jamaica’s minister with responsibility for youth, has suggested that the time has come for the country to review the legality of abortion.
In making her contribution to the Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives today, Hanna said the law which prohibits abortion is outdated and debate on changing the legislation has been ongoing for the past 38 years.
She told parliamentarians that Jamaica needs to face the reality that many persons having children are themselves children with no parenting skills.
I have been saying this ever since i was a teenager, we need a review of the abortion laws not only because children are the ones that are having children but because there are so many young girls whose lives are ruined by rape and being forced to carry the child or by just carelessness and i think everyone deserves a second chance so why shouldn’t these teenagers who made one mistake or whose innocence was taken away by some sex crazed beast be given the chance to correct there mistake and try to make a future?
Minister Hanna also told parliamentarians that Jamaica needs to face the reality that many persons having children are themselves children with no parenting skills.
Meanwhile Hanna said neglect by parents and guardians is the number one form of abuse recorded by the Office of the Children’s Registry.
She noted that a United States study found that there was a direct correlation between crime and unwanted children.
She also said the landmark ROE vs WADE court case changed the direction of women’s rights.
for more on this release see the link below:
Jun 13, 2013
On Tuesday, over 100 activists gathered together in DC\’s Dupont Circle to honor Beatriz and all women who have experienced abortion at a vigil hosted by Advocates for Youth, Ipas, Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice (RCRC), and The National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health.
The vigil began with a prayer from the Rev. Harry Knox, President and CEO of RCRC. ”We are comforted in knowing that justice was finally accomplished and that the life of this blessed woman was spared. We give thanks that you see Beatriz, and other women in similar circumstances, not just in El Salvador but around the world.”
Debra Hauser, President of Advocates for Youth, then shared remarks.
“For months Beatriz was denied the care that could save her life. Her story is her own but it is also ours. We are Beatriz. We are also the teen in Jackson, Miss., forced to obtain permission from an abusive parent who denies it; the middle-aged mother in El Paso, Tex., with so few resources she can’t scrape together enough money to end her pregnancy but can\’t fathom how she can possibly support another child; the couple in Salt Lake City, Utah, forced to endure a barrage of falsehoods about the \”side-effects” of abortion and made to wait three days in a roadside motel before being permitted to return to the clinic for the procedure; the young girl in Lancaster, PA afraid to tell her parents she is pregnant and who instead gives birth in a high school bathroom. We are 1 in 3.\”
Readers stepped forward to share women\’s real stories of abortion from the 1 in 3 Campaign. Each story was different, and each was important to understanding women\’s real experiences with abortion.
The vigil closed with remarks from Jessica Gonzales-Rojas, ED, National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health. Jessica reminded people of the deadly cost of policies like the Hyde amendment and the El Salvador restrictions.
Although anti-abortion protestors attempted to disrupt the vigil, activists stood together in solidarity for Beatriz and women like her. We are 1 in 3!
Jun 12, 2013
A dangerous development in Myanmar is largely going unreported. Recently, local authorities announced their support for the enforcement of a two-child limit for Rohingya Muslims. While not an official policy of the central or state government, the policy has been implemented on a grass-roots level. The most recent public endorsement for this policy comes from Immigration Minister, Khin Yi who stated that Rohingya families of 10-12 children are “not good for child nutrition. It’s not very easy for schooling. It is not very easy to take care of the children.” While details of this discriminatory practice are recently reaching the international community, some believe this policy has been in effect for years, possibly decades.
This stateless, minority group primarily lives in one of Southeast Asia’s poorest regions, Rakhine state. They have been excluded from Myanmar’s 1982 Citizenship Act which recognizes 135 ethnic groups. Bangladesh has also disowned the Rohingyas and denied them refugee status, although they migrated from Bangladesh between 1824 and 1948. The two-child policy is aimed at controlling unrest between Buddhists (the majority in Myanmar) and Muslims. As a result of increasing violence, stricter policies have been placed on the Rohingyas, risking the spread of wider anti-Muslim sentiment. More worrisome is the belief that the child restriction is a form of ethnic cleansing.
Health experts fear this policy could encourage unsafe abortions in Myanmar, where abortion is illegal except in cases of maternal life. Women that already have two children who become pregnant might have an illegal abortion in order to avoid fines or incarceration. Vickie Hawkins, Deputy Head of Mission of Myanmar’s Doctors Without Borders divisionv often sees “Women coming in [the] clinics with infections and medical complications because they have had unsafe abortions”. Doctors Without Borders operate in Maungdaw and Buthidaung townships where there are the largest Rohingya populations in the state. Journalists are not allowed to visit either town, making it difficult to access correct information and rally the international community behind this issue.
The UN and other human right organizations have condemned Myanmar’s unofficial policy, arguing it violates international law and harms women’s mental and physical health. While family planning is an issue that should involve both parents, this policy attacks women’s autonomy over their bodies. In addition, this ban circumscribes the construction of Myanmar Buddhist families onto the Rohingya population. Forcing cultural and ethnic norms onto groups has never worked and will only intensify the animosity between Myanmar’s populations.
Source: Reuter’s. “Myanmar Minister backs 2-child Policy for Rohingyas”
Jun 10, 2013
On Mondays, after spending my day working for and with young college sexual health and reproductive rights activists as the Manager of Campus Organizing at Advocates for Youth, I come home to cook dinner and text my sisters as we prepare for yet another drama filled episode of Love & Hip Hop Atlanta. Yes, I enjoy my fair share of terrible yet entertaining reality TV shows like most Millennials and LHHA happens to be one of the train wrecks that I can’t turn away from!
Let me start by saying I’m well aware that there is much to be said about LHHA’s fictitious and at times demeaning portrayal of Black life. The women are constantly fighting each other and the men seem to have little to no respect for the women they claim to love (Oh Stevie J how I loathe you and your silly grin!)
However, much of the turmoil that exists on the show is clearly created to move the plot and keep the show’s millions of viewers watching and tweeting. My baby sister and I agree that the show can hardly be considered “reality” or an accurate depiction of all Hip Hop artists, Black people, and our love lives. However, my interest was further sparked in the show when one of the main cast members, Rasheeda, told her husband she was pregnant with their second child. When the words hesitantly came out of her mouth, her husband of 13 years reacted with the same hesitation in acceptance of the news.
To give you a brief rundown, Rasheeda is a business owner and an Atlanta based Hip Hop artist who is signed to her husband’s label and management company. Though Rasheeda is excited about her pregnancy she’s not happy with her husband Kirk’s reaction to the news. Kirk voices his concerns about the bad timing of the pregnancy considering Rasheeda’s demanding schedule of upcoming performances, previous turmoil within their relationship, and the responsibility of caring for their pre-teen son. During the course of their discussion Kirk suggested that Rasheeda consider an abortion.
Did someone on television say the word abortion?! In one of the segments of the show Kirk even refers to the common procedure as “the A-B word” while talking with one of his friends about the situation.
Though I believe the decision to carry her pregnancy to term should ultimately be determined by Rasheeda (which she has clearly decided to do considering all of her recent baby bump pictures she’s posted to Instagram), everyday intimate partners around the world make family planning decisions together. While many people watching, like my sisters, were taken aback by the idea of a married couple possibly deciding to terminate an unplanned pregnancy, these types of conversations are not that uncommon.
At Advocates for Youth, I work with our program called the 1 in 3 Campaign. Did you know that 1 in 3 women in the United States will have an abortion in her lifetime? The 1 in 3 campaign is about ending the cultural stigma and shame women are made to feel around abortion through storytelling. By sharing stories, we empower others to end their silence about their experience as well as take away some of the very negative views we have about abortion and the women who choose to access them. After last week’s LHHA show aired, I was able to have a very interesting conversation with my 19 year old baby sister.
I found out that my youngest sister barely knows what an abortion even consists of, yet she had strong feelings against them. My sisters and I were raised in a loving and Baptist Christian family in Columbus, Ohio. Though I personally know more than one person I have shared a Sunday school class with who has accessed abortion care, it was not something we talked about outside of it being totally wrong. Until my sophomore year of college I had never even heard the words “reproductive justice”. Therefore I was not surprised when my baby sister said, “The only thing I know about abortions was through Tyler Perry’s For Colored Girls!”. The abortion in this movie was a “back-alley” illegal abortion because the young girl did not have enough money to pay for a safe and legal abortion procedure.
Thankfully at the end of our conversation, directing her to 1in3campaign.org to read the countless stories of women who have accessed abortion care, and giving her some interesting statics about abortion, my baby sister said words that made me smile. “I have never actually thought about this. I feel like I should look up more information now.” Success!
Since our research on storytelling around abortion access played out to be completely true right in front of my eyes with my sister, I figure I can try to do it again! It’s another Monday, folks! That means a brand spanking new episode of Love and Hip Hop Atlanta! Since I have the coolest job in the world, I will be living tweeting with you at 8pm EST during this week’s episode of Love and Hip Hop Atlanta on VH1! So make sure you are following us @AmplifyTweets and tune in to see how the abortion conversation between Rasheeda and Kirk will continue to play out on the show! This should be fun, yes?!
See you all then!
A luta continua.
Jun 7, 2013
As a follow up, to my post about CPCs in Louisville, here are a few tips about distinguishing CPCs from real clinics.
Crisis pregnancy centers, or pregnancy resource centers, disguise themselves as medical facilities, but usually have no licensed doctors, nurses or counselors. They often appear under “Abortion Alternatives,” and may have names similar to abortion clinics nearby in order to confuse patients into entering their buildings instead of the real clinics.
Once you enter a CPC, their mission is to prevent you from getting an abortion at any cost. They will use misleading language, delay tactics, emotional manipulation, intimidation, and outright lies to either persuade you against abortion or to make you miss your appointment. The worst part? It’s all completely legal and funded by federal dollars.
CPCs do their best to appear as legitimate abortion clinics, so how can you tell which is which? Here is a list of red flags for CPCs:
- The words “crisis” or “resource” appear in the center’s name
- Their ads use language like “Pregnant & Scared?”
- They offer free pregnancy tests and ultrasounds
- When asked if they provide abortions or contraception, they will not give a direct answer
- The waiting room has biased pamphlets, sometimes with graphic pictures labeled as abortions
- They attempt to make you feel guilty about considering abortion
- They offer baby items, such as diapers and formula
- They downplay the effectiveness of contraception and emphasize abstinence
- They emphasize the dangers of abortion (Fact: fewer than 0.3% of patients experience complications requiring hospitalization)
- They discuss the false connections between abortion and breast cancer, infertility, or mental illness, often referred to as post-abortion stress syndrome
- Regardless of how you talk about the pregnancy, they refer to “your baby,” the “preborn child,” “post-abortive women,” and say that you are “already a mother.”
A list of licensed abortion clinics in the United States can be found on the Abortion Assistance Blog.
Jun 6, 2013
Just in case women didn’t have enough to deal with Repro-Justice wise, there are also fake abortion clinics to contend with in addition to pro-life hecklers.
I’ve always known about CPCs (Crisis Pregnacy Centers), but I never knew just how horrible they could be until now.
There have been reports of a couple of fake clinics in downtown Louisville, KY. These clinics are right next to a genuine one – EMW Women’s Surgical Center on Market street.
Tumblr user thisgingerisback reports, “…this place is seriously a nightmarish hell-hole for any unsuspecting women tricked by the anti’s [sic]. They assure you this this the abortion clinic, they get you inside, and then offer you food and drink—which of course, means that once you realize your mistake, you can’t run next door and catch your actual appointment, since you need to fast.
Women have come out of this building crying, and on a few rare occasions, without their pants. They take you to a back room for an ultrasound, have you remove your pants, and then begin lecturing you on the sins of aborting. They do not give you back your pants until you have listened, and a few women tricked this far refused to listen and stormed out furious, ashamed, and in their underwear…”
Signal boost, spread the word, give everyone you know a heads up.
Jun 6, 2013
Beatriz is a 22-year-old woman, a mother of a one-year-old son, who is facing severe health consequences because she was denied access to abortion care for weeks. She is not alone. Women in this country and across the globe face unnecessary and burdensome barriers to basic medical care, jeopardizing their health and their lives.
Join Advocates for Youth, Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, and the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health on June 11 at 11:30am to stand in solidarity with Beatriz and with women across the world.
May 31, 2013
I used to consider myself “transiently pro-choice,” mainly because I didn’t know enough about the issue to restrict anyone’s rights, but I certainly wasn’t comfortable with abortion.
Then things started to change as I came to college and, through my studies, came to some startling realizations about women’s health.
I felt that way before I developed a greater understanding of healthcare in America, particularly the fact that millions are uninsured and underinsured. Not only that, but also that it is easier in this country to get insurance for Viagra than for birth control.
It was before I understood sex and how much easier it is to be sexually irresponsible than responsible. It is not easy to take one pill at the same time every day, especially when your insurance plan does not cover contraceptives. I was “transiently pro-choice” before I had ever taken Plan B, placed that second pill on my tongue and realized that to some I was now a “murderer.”
Most importantly, it was before I understood the meaning of choice. “It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.” If Dumbledore said it, then it must be true. However, there are no identical choices, and not everyone has the same opportunities or resources, not everyone has bootstraps or even boots with which to pull themselves up.
But most of all, it was before I delved into the field of Global Health.
Internationally, 222 million women have an unmet need for family planning. For those who pretend that statistics about women’s issues are in some way fabricated or exaggerated, women with an “unmet need” are those who are sexually active, and are not using any method of contraception, but either do not want to become pregnant or want to delay their next pregnancy.
Over 40 million women have abortions annually. 40 million. And nearly half of them are unsafe. 47,000 women die from complications due to unsafe abortion every year. 47,000. Not to mention the 8.5 million others who suffer serious medical complications from unsafe abortions. 13 percent of maternal deaths are attributable to unsafe abortions. Women drink turpentine or bleach, insert haphazard herbal mixtures into their vaginas, penetrate themselves with hangers or chicken bones, and jump from roofs or fling themselves down stairs because they don’t have access to abortion services.
This is what is known as a preventable cause of death. This is on us. We can’t ascribe these deaths to the long Latin names of communicable diseases. These women do not die of natural causes. These women die because of us, namely bad governance and worse laws. These women die because lawmakers ignore science and statistics, and they ignore history. Policymakers are more concerned with the life of a fetus than the life of its mother.
These policies cannot be categorized as “third world problems.” Less than two weeks after Rep. Joe Walsh (R-IL) claimed that in abortion “there is no such exception as life of the mother [...] with advances in science and technology,” Savita Halappanavar became a martyr to the cause, dying because despite pregnancy complications and her inevitable miscarriage, she was denied an abortion in a Dublin hospital.
Criminalizing abortion is not a tradeoff. Save some fetuses, lose some women; there are no winners. Rather than decreasing abortion rates, it merely decreases the proportion that are performed in a safe, sanitary manner. Western European countries, home to some of the most liberal abortion laws, have the lowest abortion rates globally, with an estimated 12 per 1,000 women of childbearing age annually. Whereas regions with highly restrictive abortion laws have rates two to three times that, at 29 per 1,000 and 32 per 1,000 in Africa and Latin America, respectively.
How one can call oneself “pro-life” while striving to criminalize abortion is one of the greatest health paradoxes known to humankind. If pro-lifers want to save lives they should take a leaf out of South Africa’s book. The country has the lowest abortion rates in the continent due to the liberalization of its laws in 1997, which led to a decrease in abortion-related deaths by 91 percent in the first five years.
Another way to save lives is to financially support mothers and women of childbearing age, which decreases abortion rates even in developed countries.
However, the most direct way to prevent abortion-related deaths, both those of the mothers and those of the fetuses, is to make modern contraceptive methods affordable and accessible. Approximately 80 percent of unintended pregnancies in developing countries can be attributed to unmet need for contraceptives. Even here, we have much to gain from improving access to contraceptives. A recent study performed in St. Louis, surveying over 9,000 women, showed that providing a variety of free contraceptives decreased teen pregnancy rates from 34 to 6.3 per 1,000 women, and abortion rates dropped from between 13.4-17 to between 4.4-7.5 per 1,000 women.
Contraceptives, not restrictive abortion laws, save lives.
May 31, 2013
On Wednesday, the highest court in El Salvador denied an abortion to a woman with a pregnancy that is so high-risk that doctors say it could kill her. Beatriz, 22, is carrying a 26-week fetus with anencephaly, a birth defect that means part of the brain and skull are missing and that the baby will almost certainly die at birth. Beatriz’s doctors say the abortion is necessary for Beatriz’s health and perhaps to save her life. But by a vote of 4–1, the Salvadoran judges ruled that in light of the country’s absolute ban on abortion, “the rights of the mother cannot be privileged over those” of the fetus.
El Salvador’s complete ban on abortions has become relatively rare worldwide, as the first map below shows. Keep scrolling and you will see enormous variation in how countries (and states in the U.S.) regulate abortion and birth control. Our main sources of data for these maps are the United Nations, the Guttmacher Institute, the Population Reference Bureau, the National Conference of State Legislatures, and Harvard University’s Center for Population and Development Studies.
The maps reflect continuing change: Uruguay recently legalized first-trimester abortions, and courts in Columbia, Brazil, and Argentina have begun to allow them in certain cases. Meanwhile in the United States, Republican-led statehouses have been tightening restrictions since the 2010 election. It’s the largest wave of legislation in the decades since Roe v. Wade.
May 31, 2013
Whenever abortion is the topic of a conversation, especially when spoken of as a choice that someone wants to make for whatever reason that’s personally valid to them, there is always someone who pops up and says, “Adoption is an option too!” You know, as if that thought never occurred to anyone ever or it’s some kind of a magical word to rid one of an unwanted pregnancy. I witness it all the time on my STFU Pro-Lifers blog through the large amount of messages I receive on a daily basis, but yesterday a self-proclaimed pro-choicer shared that familiar, derailing insight you hear from anti-choicers. Granted, she had her own personal experiences with abortion and adoption. I made sure that she knew how appreciative and grateful I was to her for sharing those experiences with me. But it was something she said that really bugged me. There were a few sentences subtly expressing privilege and ignorance.
“It isn’t that hard to find someone to adopt a baby…”
She also mentioned the baby she gave up for adoption was blonde haired and blue eyed. It’s another discussion that makes it clear how important it is to be intersectional. She was speaking solely as a white woman in her experiences with adoption. She somehow gained an adoption lawyer at no personal cost to her. Adoptive parents quickly lined up for this white blue eyed baby. And the parents the girl chose to adopt her baby paid for her one year of school tuition. She was happy with her decision, and that’s great. I’m happy for her. Anyone would be.
But for the part about how “easy” it is to get someone to adopt a baby… well, I quickly and politely corrected her. She thanked me and then told me that she loves my blog. The matter was settled. It still bugs me though, and it’s not so much the person but the original line of thinking shared by so many people. You hear things like that all the time. Oh, you’re pregnant and don’t want to be? But there are tons of people out there who can’t have children! You should consider adoption!
I guess no one told them that less than 2% of our entire population actually adopts, and when they do adopt, the less than 2% tend to favor the able-bodied, young, emotionally sound, sibling-less, white baby. [source] And really? Agreeing to the idea of an adoption won’t make an unwanted pregnancy go poof! There are still nine, agonizing months of a condition that was never consented to. I mean, most pregnancies are already really difficult for those who do it willingly. There are tons of complications that arise during those three, brave trimesters. I can’t even begin to imagine how traumatic it is for those who desperately don’t want to be pregnant but were forced to remain so.
Don’t want to raise a child? Fine! Adoption is definitely an alternative to parenthood. Just keep in mind that abortion is an alternative to a pregnancy. That’s how it works. Don’t talk to me about how there are tons of people in the world who can’t have children. No one should be forced into being a brood mare for someone else. No one owes their body to anyone else.
As pro-choicers, it’s inherent in our very name that we celebrate choice whether it be parenthood, adoption, or abortion. We keep in mind that our lives are individual, and the same can be said about our choices.
May 30, 2013
Beatriz is 22. The mother of a 1-year old boy. She has lupus. Kidney malfunction. And her doctors say she will likely die if the pregnancy continues. But, there is still hope for Beatriz.
May 30, 2013
There are a lot of forces out there trying to misinform the public, especially the youth, when it comes to reproductive/sexual health and rights. One of the biggest groups out there is called Live Action. When you look up Live Action on Google, they’re listed as a non-profit pro-life organization. According to them, they are a “youth led movement dedicated to building a culture of life and ending abortion.” They claim to do undercover investigation in clinics to prove and document “illegal, inhuman, and gruesome” practices and share it on social media sites. To this organization, abortion is:
An enterprise built on destroying pre-born children for money leaves few rules unbroken. But the abortion industry’s corruption goes deeper than most people would think: from threatening women’s lives with dangerously bad medical advice, to protecting child sex-trafficking rings, to covering up statutory rape, to actions even more heinous. Live Action’s undercover exposés document these many abuses, so the whole world can see the horrors going on right in our backyards – and paid for with our tax money.
The above statements were taken right off of the home page of their website. Now despite their best efforts to intentionally misinform the public about abortion and Planned Parenthood services, people have caught on. One of the many people to call out Live Action’s lies is a YouTube vlogger named Cristina Rad who is popular on the Internet for her commentary on her atheism, gender politics, and casual ideas of social justice. The Live Action video she tackled and is most popular for is called We are the Youth. You can watch her video response here. I would definitely recommend ignoring the Live Action video and go straight to Cristina’s response, especially since Cristina actually cites some statistics in her description.
It’s beyond a YouTube vlog debunking Live Action videos though. Media Matters, “a research and information center dedicated to comprehensively monitoring, analyzing, and correcting conservative misinformation in the Media,” lists hoax after hoax created by Live Action. Even Slate, a major online magazine on politics and culture, has recently come out with a video that reveals how Live Action’s deceptive editing is intentionally done to frame doctors and clinic staff. The video that Slate chose to analyze has unfortunately already been promoted and aired on TV news (if you really count Fox News as news at all–countries with laws against lying on the news certainly don’t) and commentary programs after the Kermit Gosnell incident. But Slate’s video is worth the view, because they go through all the raw footage that Live Action leaves out and reveals what Live Action didn’t want the average viewer to see.
Seriously! Click the link below to watch!
May 29, 2013
Some South Carolina politicians are really sneaky and conniving with the bills that they try to get passed at the Senate level. Thankfully, there are some members of the senate subcommittee who don’t get tripped up that easily. A senator from Spartanburg named Lee Bright wanted to get a bill passed that would require doctors that perform abortions to be board certified in obstetrics and gynecology, in addition to gaining staff privileges at local hospitals. His reasoning for wanting this bill passed is because he claimed that it would be extra oversight to screen out shady abortionist. He talked a good game, but no one was effortlessly fooled. This bill was not full of bonbons and good intention as it was made out to be. It just created medically unnecessary and redundant policies to discourage abortions. The Senate subcommittee ended up voting 3-2 to carry over the bill, and there were motions made for the proposal to not re-surge again. This is encouraging news for the potential of South Carolina. This proves that our state can make great strides towards letting everyone control their sexual health decisions.
May 27, 2013
May 25, 2013
Mississippi Could Soon Jail Women for Stillbirths & Miscarriages?
On March 14, 2009, 31 weeks into her pregnancy, Nina Buckhalter gave birth to a stillborn baby girl. She named the child Hayley Jade. Two months later, a grand jury in Lamar County, Mississippi, indicted Buckhalter for manslaughter, claiming that the then-29-year-old woman “did willfully, unlawfully, feloniously, kill Hayley Jade Buckhalter, a human being, by culpable negligence.”
The district attorney argued that methamphetamine detected in Buckhalter’s system caused Hayley Jade’s death. The state Supreme Court, which heard oral arguments on the case on April 2, is expected to rule soon on whether the prosecution can move forward.
If prosecutors prevail in this case, the state would be setting a “dangerous precedent” that “unintentional pregnancy loss can be treated as a form of homicide,” says Farah Diaz-Tello, a staff attorney with National Advocates for Pregnant Women, a nonprofit legal organization that has joined with Robert McDuff, a Mississippi civil rights lawyer, to defend Buckhalter. If Buckhalter’s case goes forward, NAPW fears it could spur a wave of similar prosecutions in Mississippi and other states.
May 24, 2013
When Tania became pregnant unexpectedly, she decided to have an abortion. She found that when she told people about the experience, they often reacted negatively, even judging her and calling her a bad person. So she remained silent for years. But now she is speaking out – and joining hundreds of other women who have shared their stories with the 1 in 3 Campaign in an effort to break the silence, end the shame, and change the conversation around abortion.
By sharing these stories we can lift the stigma from abortion and help ensure that all women have access to safe abortion care. Share Tania’s story.
May 24, 2013
I have a friend, who I always go to meet whenever I have a free minute to spare. One day I went to his chemist and met him chatting having fun with a lady, seeing them together I sneaked away to avoid distraction. This happened several times, whenever I went by the chemist. I got so tired of seeing them so one day, I decided to walk in.
Having sat for awhile ignoring their discussion, my friend took the first move, he said he needed my help; I gave him my listening ear. He told me that the lady, who I had suspected was ‘having fun’ with my friend was pregnant and wanted to terminate the pregnancy because at her age, she could not fend for the baby she was carrying and she felt that her future was at stake, her family, her friends, her dreams and ambitions would all go away.
He went further to tell me that the guy responsible told her not to have the child and gave her no money for abortion leaving her all alone. Hearing the poor lady`s story I grew weary, my advice to her was to tell her aunt about it and to keep the baby. I have no clue where she is right now and it kills me…
This story I hear over and over in my community, my advice is to the young ladies out there, when you are In a relationship you should know what is at stake, and try to play safe; abstain and if you cannot, use protection…And if it happens that you are infected or pregnant don’t feel like all hope is lost try as much as possible to keep live going, it is not the end of the road..The Lord is your strength.
May 20, 2013
I have seen worse and witnessed poor humans dragged in the mud due to ill mannered understanding and vague mindedness… Lots of young girls and ladies including boys have misused the concept of being safe and keeping cleare from unwanted issues.. Most of us do NOT set the path for this, it\’s either we were forced to be in it, or due to the kind of friends we work with.. Due to this effect we have made mistakes and this mistakes continuously destroys our lives ..
Abortion in my country :Nigeria, is way beyond careful , because we have people here who are not looking out for the harm this act may cause but the satisfaction from it.. Recently a friend of mine had an abortion, Damaging her internal tissues, this made her unable to bear children.. She didn\’t do it because she had no choice , but because of the stigma and what others laid ON ground…
We become more vulnerable not because we cannot stand and fight , but because the ones we hoped for and look on to dont fit in with the standards of a good heart…
Many of us today has been left aside , left to wallow in shame and mystery. Guys dont feel there\’s need for a condom and the ladies dont want it anymore: they SAY it doesn\’t provide ultimate satisfaction…
All of these happen not because it started anew with them , but it has been laid before they were even born… All they need is knowledge for advancement, knowledge for a better understanding of what these act means, and not the othe way round :.. They need you and ME to make the difference…
They need us..
May 18, 2013
May 17, 2013
May 8, 2013
TODAY, the North Carolina House of Representatives will be debating a bill (HB 693) that would require teenagers notarized parental consent form in order to access STD testing and treatment, mental health counseling, pregnancy prevention or care, or substance abuse treatment. Teenagers without a parent or guardian would be required to stand before a judge and request a judicial bypass in order to obtain those health services.
Let’s do a quick before and after:
RIGHT NOW, a young person in North Carolina can see a doctor for STD testing and treatment, mental health counseling, pregnancy prevention and care, or substance abuse treatment WITHOUT parental consent.
IF THIS LAW PASSES: A young person would need NOTARIZED parental permission to see a doctor for any and all of these services (including abortion).*
Obvious problematic scenarios arise: For example, a young woman who may be sexually active may decide to forgo birth control because she is not willing to speak with their parents. There’s also the question of how often signatures are required? Is it every time you get a pap test or every time you pick up monthly contraception or antidepressant prescriptions? Does this include OTC contraception? Would young people need notarized parental permission to buy condoms?
The bill is so vague that it offers more questions than answers and the answers we do have are problematic and dangerous for young people’s health and safety.
If this law passes, North Carolina would be the ONLY state in the U.S. to amend that parental consent requirements include STD testing and treatment and mental health counseling.
It’s also worth noting that even though every state has some type of parental consent law in some form or fashion, NO state has ever required notarization. That extra step will undoubtedly make it harder for young people in North Carolina to access the services they need to lead healthy lives.
The bill is going to the House today. I hope the House leadership feels embarrassed about how far this bill goes and does the right thing for young people in their state. Crossing my fingers that House leadership doesn’t allow this crazy to go any further!
If you live in North Carolina, I recommend contacting Republican members of the House to let them know why you’re concerned about this bill. They need to hear your perspective as a young person, parent, or professional to know about how truly outrageous this effort is for our young people’s safety and health.
*However, Title X clinics, meaning any clinic which receives federal funding under Title X and including all Planned Parenthood clinics, must still by law offer confidential STI testing and treatment, and contraception, regardless of any state law.
May 5, 2013
*This is a long post. Just a heads up! Grammatical errors and misspelled words are inevitably bound to show up, as well as the extreme use of the words, awesome, FIERCE, amazing, radical and inspiring.
From April 12- April 14, I had the amazing opportunity to attend the 27th Annual CLPP Conference at Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts. This was my first time visiting Massachusetts and attending CLPP Conference, so needless to say, I was extremely blessed and excited to be in a safe space to discuss abortion rights and reproductive justice (RJ)!
If you don’t know what CLPP Conference is, let me copy and paste the mission for you, so you can read about how awesome it is!
CLPP(Civil Liberties and Public Policy program) Conference is held every year to create a welcoming space for RJ activists!
“CLPP’s annual conference connects activists from across the U.S. and internationally to build a stronger movement for reproductive justice and social change. We support intergenerational dialogue, encourage youth leadership, and foster cross-movement collaborations. Through plenaries, workshops, panels, and trainings, speakers will highlight successful examples of activism and illuminate how struggles for reproductive and sexual rights are intricately linked to movements for economic, social, gender, and environmental justice.”
Reading that description just got me juiced to write this blog! I have not had much time to reflect on my trip (the reason why this blog is so late) due to school and personal life, but I am just as excited as when I got on the plane to go, so let me give you some amazing highlights from my trip!
Day 1: My six hour red eye flight from SFO to New Jersey to Connecticut has left me feeling groggy, tired, and in need of stimulants! Luckily, I consumed two cups of coffee before I headed out to begin day 1! After picking up the rest of the Advocates crew, we headed out to Hampshire College! The weather was rainy, windy, and the crisp air was not a fan of my sun tinted California skin. East coast weather was not a fan of me and I was not a fan of it either! We remained civil to one another for most of the trip, so it did not ruin my time at CLPP Conference!
After our bellies were fed and we checked into our hotel, we headed to Hampshire College. To be honest, I was a bit deterred upon arrival because I was not accustomed to being at such a small, liberal, privileged campus in the middle of what looked like a scene from a Twilight movie. I also was not fond of the lack of people of color at a reproductive justice/abortion rights conference, which I felt was necessary in such a big, popular space. I ended up giving them the benefit of the doubt, since it was the first day after all.
I helped set up our vending table for the 1 in 3 Campaign (if you don’t know what 1 in 3 is, check it out: 1in3campaign.org). I also got to chat with a few other vendors and hung out with my sistahs! Unfortunately, due to my jet lag, I did not attend the Abortion Speak Out that night, which I deeply regret. I hope that my other sistahs who attended will give you better details on that portion of the conference. I apologize, I teased you with my banter about the weather and small talk. Let’s move on to Day 2….
Day 2: The next day, I felt refreshed and ready to attend workshops! But here are some highlights in the form of quotes from the Opening Plenary:
“I could be killed for doing this work. I face that w/ full knowledge, knowing I’m going to be held + supported by this community”- Anonymous
“In many countries, if you ask a crowd “raise your hand if you know someone who’s died from an illegal abortion” every hand goes up” – Anonymous
“Fuck off Human Rights Campaign” – 16 year old FIERCE QUEER, Trish Bryant
“When we talk about reproductive justice we must also talk about immigration.” – Sonia Guinansaca
“As we continue to build in solidarity and continue to say fuck them…” -Monica Raye Simpson
These lovely gems pumped me up and got me out of my seat praising my fellow RJ sistahs (unbeknownst to them that they are, my sistahs) for their inspiring, unapologetic, FIERCE, words of wisdom and truth! MMM! I just got excited all over again!
Let’s go on to workshops, shall we?
Unpacking Oppressions: Liberation through Media Making:
This workshop gave me life! I truly believe that youth have the power and tools to create and gain acknowledgement through popular social media tools to spread RJ messages more than ever before. The first facilitator, Jamia Wilson, used her journalistic expertise to tell attendees that mainstream media is not the end all be all to spread news. Other sources of media, such as tumblr, youtube, blog sites, etc. have become more advanced at creating a steady platform that gains widespread audiences so much, that mainstream news has caught wind of RJ issues. For example, alternative media helped push the Planned Parenthood situation into becoming national news because RJ activists got upset and took to their blogs! Of course the event spiraled into a lot of negative feedback from Fox News and other conservative outlets, but it went on to show that we do have a voice and a platform to engage audiences about what we stand for.
During the second half of the workshop, Colorado queer youth activists, Trish Bryant and Eleanor Dewey, engaged the audience by telling us the story of how they have created their own media in order to spread the voices of queer identifying youth of color in Colorado. Using little resources, they bought a camera, tripod, and editing equipment and made their own documentary because they felt that queer youth did not have any positive images in the media. I cannot express to you how empowering this was for me. Seeing young people take matters into their own hands to create positive images for the next generation really inspired me to create videos on my own. I am also a new fangirl of 16 year old, Trish Bryant, who is just way too cool and more bad ass than I will ever be. She is a fan of bell hooks. Enough said.
*I forgot the name of this workshop:
Facilitators, Steph Harold and Poonam Dreyfus-Pai presented their research thesis, called Reading Women’s Lives. During this study, they observed a group of women in book clubs, who read a book about abortion stories and discussed their findings. They found that these women were affected and transformed by storytelling, which is crucial in framing abortion rights. This small group setting and reading material allowed a safe space for women to tell their abortion stories, whether they were pro-choice or pro-life. As I am training to be a peer counselor for an after-abortion hotline, I have realized that having a space to express your thoughts and feelings around abortion is necessary. We must validate and put a name to people’s individual experiences. Abortion should not be seen as a political stance. It is an individual experience and people have the right to tell their stories and put a face to the experience in a public space if they choose to.
At Your Cervix: A Self-Exam Workshop:
Lauren Mitchell, facilitator, taught us how to perform a self pelvic and breast exams. I was quite nervous to attend this event because I am extremely sensitive to graphic material. Lauren was an amazing teacher and taught us step by step instructions. Although I don’t think I will be performing any self-exams soon, I did find this workshop to be empowering in the sense that women have the right to learn and explore their bodies. I also got a free speculum!
Day 3: I will keep this quick because I’ve already written enough!
The Revolution Starts with Me: Incorporating Self-Care and Preventing Burnout: This workshop was the perfect ending to a lovely weekend. For many activists, such as myself, it can be difficult to practice self-care when you are out trying to educate, empower, and uplift others folks. In my personal life, I struggle with aligning school, activism, and work into an organized manner, which leaves me tired and listless at the end of the day. Facilitators, Adaku and Nicole, started the 90 minute workshop off with meditation. After our relaxation session, we went on to discuss reasons why we are burned out and how it is easy to forget about our body temples. While our work is never done, we can take a break to go out dancing, take naps, go running, and eat healthy. We do not have to feel guilty about saying no or eating ice cream. We deserve it! We compiled a list of self-care tips, which I have found extremely useful. Bubble baths and my India Arie pandora playlist are officially a weekly thing for me.
To sum it up, CLPP Conference has changed me. I love life changing conferences! Being around such radical people has led me to check my privilege, change my dialoguem share my stories, and provide a listening ear to those who need it the most. CLPP Conference created a safe space for me to promote the work I do in the Bay Area, establish a network of women I can lean on, and take what I have learned and put it into practice. There were more POCs being represented at CLPP than the years before, from what I heard, which was great! Being a women of color in the same space as Eesha Pandit Monica Ray Simpson and Miriam Zoila Perez (to name a few) was life altering!
Amherst, you were hella cold, but you were good to me. That six hour flight was totally worth it.
Thank you to Advocates for Youth and Trina Scott for giving me the opportunity to attend CLPP Conference 2013! I am ever so grateful!
May 4, 2013
One of the most explosive and controversial aspects of reproductive health is abortion. Issues of morality, religion, and politics are often part of these discussions. Worldwide, it is estimated that nearly half of all human pregnancies are unplanned. Many result from incorrect use or failure of contraceptives. Women may also become pregnant because they do not have access to family planning alternatives or are pressured by a partner not to use contraceptives.
Abortion became legal in 1973 following the landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision in Roe vs. Wade. Since then, the Court has heard at least 20 major cases challenging the law. The Supreme Court, however, has upheld Roe vs. Wade as of 2001.