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Resources about Emergency Contraception

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As a student at Georgetown University, I was always thankful to be covered under my mother’s employee-based health insurance plan. When there was debate over how or if religiously-affiliated organizations, such as Georgetown, would adhere to the contraceptive coverage requirement under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), I breathed a sigh of relief because I did not have to worry about losing my access to birth control without cost-sharing, as many of my classmates did. I was able to cheer when the ACA went into effect two years ago on August 1st, 2012, happy that I could stay on my mother’s insurance plan until I turned 26. I could celebrate a year later when, on August 1st, 2013, Plan B One-Step®, an emergency contraceptive (EC), began to be sold over-the-counter with no age restriction. I remembered the story of my 17-year-old friend having to buy EC for our 16-year-old friend, despite the fact that studies have concluded that young people are able to comprehend – equal to adults – the key points necessary for safe and effective use of EC. Now, women and men of any age can purchase Plan B One-Step® and its generic equivalents over-the-counter without presenting identification to prove their age.

This August 1st, on the anniversary of so many advances in reproductive health care, there are both reasons to celebrate and reasons to frown.

We can celebrate that barriers to EC are being eliminated and EC is now easier to access than ever before. AfterPill® is newly available online only for $20, plus $5 shipping and handling – half the cost of Plan B-One Step®! By no longer requiring proof of age to purchase in-store products and with this new affordable online option, more people (and more young people) will be able to get EC and have it when they need it.

Despite this progress, some barriers remain.  Although stores can and should be stocking EC over-the-counter, some aren’t. Only half of stores surveyed were found to stock the product on the shelf. Even among stores that stock Plan B One-Step® on the shelf, two-thirds lock the product in a portable box or fixed case which must be unlocked by a store employee. And while AfterPill® is a great option, the fact that the website does not offer expedited shipping means that one must order the product ahead of time for it to be available when needed.  While the advances break down barriers to access and availability and enable more women to get this important element of their healthcare, clearly there are still improvements to be made.

And unlike in 2012 –  when we were celebrating the Supreme Court affirming the constitutionality of the ACA – this year we are dealing with the disappointment of the Hobby Lobby vs. Burwell decision. The Court ruled that closely-held, for-profit corporations could deny insurance coverage of contraceptive methods to which they object based on their owners’ religious beliefs. With this decision, the Court put the rights of corporations above the rights of women. As Justice Ginsberg put it, “the startling breadth” of this decision means that I too could be at risk for losing coverage for parts of my healthcare if my mother’s employer wanted to limit that access. With all the uncertainty over the impact this decision may have, the Georgetown student health insurance plan, which covers contraceptives through its third-party insurance provider in adherence to the accommodation for non-profits, suddenly does not seem so bad.  As a young person and a student, my options for health insurance are either my university or my parent’s employers.  Unfortunately, my access to reproductive health care is now threatened on both of those fronts.

Let’s celebrate August 1st as a day which reminds us of the forward strides we have made in making sure everybody, including young people, has access to reproductive health care! Yet, let us also be aware of the missteps of the last year and continue to fight against those wrongs to ensure access for all.

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JeopardyBW

 

It’s been a tough few days for us here at Advocates. Last week the Supreme Court ruled against buffer zones at abortion clinics, and just a couple hours ago the Court put women’s access to contraception in jeopardy.

We could give you a long, legal explanation of the cases, but in short—until our society recognizes that sexuality is a normal, healthy part of being human, we’ll continue to get devastating decisions like these.

Donate today so we can continue to fight for our personal freedoms and reproductive health services.

Shifting the culture around these issues is one of the most powerful tools we have as activists. Young people in communities around the world are already fighting for change. Help support them. Donate today.

 

Tweet now!It’s been a tough few days in the battle for #sexual & #reprorights. But it’s not over. Help us continue the fight! http://ow.ly/y64og

tweet-now-toutLast week the #SupremeCourt ruled against #bufferzones at #abortion clinics and just a couple hours ago the Court put at jeopardy women’s access to #contraception. It’s been a tough few days in the battle for sexual and reproductive healthcare. But it’s not over. Help us continue the fight! http://ow.ly/y64og

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Bill O’Reilly believes that Beyonce does not deserve to be on the cover of Time magazine because she causes young women in the black community to have unintended pregnancies…. Seriously, he said that.

As a young black Latina who had her daughter at 15, I don’t even know where to start with his ridiculous claim. I can however promise you that Beyonce and her music were the LAST things that led to my being pregnant at 15 years old. Terrible sexual health education classes in my conservative southern school; poverty; lack of access to  affordable  birth control options; and low self esteem are a few of the things that led to my unintended teenage pregnancy –  but certainly not Beyonce.

While O’Reilly is making ridiculous claims about the black americans and unintended pregnancies being attributable to a very married, committed, and self employed black women, Beyonce, I wonder when he will address the lack ofcomprehensive sex education being taught in public and private schools across America? When will he address the fact that low wages keep many parents out of the home for hours on in, working for wages so low that they can barely afford to pay the rent  – let alone spend real and quality time with their children? I wonder when/ if he will take a look at policies in place that keep access to affordable birth control options to all persons, free of coercion, an option?

It simply doesn’t work or add up to be anti- birth control, anti livable wages, anti Beyonce and paint yourself as the voice of reason for a group of people you know very little about.

This decline seems to coincidentally line up with that fact that Beyonce’s first single album was released in 2003, and since then teenage pregnancy rates have continued to drop.

 If we want to play the game of false equivalencies and correlation being causation, I will take a note out of the Brookings Institute “findings” and say that it is not the show Teen Mom but is in fact Beyonce and her jezebel music you speak of that have led to the decrease in teenage pregnancy.

There you have it folks, Beyonce is the cause of the decline in unintended pregnancies. (see how ridiculous that sounds?)

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promswag4-up-M

Prom season is in full swing! Students across the country are reserving limos, renting tuxes, and posing for those classically awkward photos for their parents. But while we’re enjoying the glamour, let’s not forget safety! It’s always better to protect ourselves – and our partners – and these images are a reminder to do it in style. #promswag!

Share on FacebookIt’s always better to protect ourselves – and our partners – and these images are a reminder to do it in style. #PromSwag. http://bit.ly/PromSwag

tweet-now-toutProtect yourself and your partner while getting your #PromSwag on http://bit.ly/PromSwag #safersex

abstinence #promswag
condoms #promswag
condoms #promswag
patch #promswag
pill #promswag
#promswag

Show your love for contraception methods, while getting your prom glam on.

Share on FacebookIt’s always better to protect ourselves – and our partners – and these images are a reminder to do it in style. #PromSwag. http://bit.ly/PromSwag

tweet-now-toutProtect yourself and your partner while getting your #PromSwag on http://bit.ly/PromSwag #safersex

Keep calm, and Prom on.

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I have seen people change and at the same vein witnessed a retrograde in youths. I have been around areas where there\’s no hope for light and peace, but in this same situation some people still survive.

I have been around youths – Boys and Girls, that have made life difficult for themselves due to lack of knowledge. And my countenance has dwindled, because I have witnessed a holocaust of ruined lives in the past, even now.

I love peace and the prospect it brings. I love sanctuary – a foundation laid on the rocks of simplicity and the Arm of Justice.
I stand against the illegal acts displayed by the so-called Governmental body. I stand against rape, child abuse and its associated acts. I stand against the malfunctioning of child rights and value – I stand for a change, as an \”Advocate\”.

I stand as a Youth, Not a man, alone. But with men – the colony of change.
\”A man cannot be a faculty, men can. The necessity of change begins with not one man, but with the uniformity of all\”.
(Victor Omovbude Brown)

I stand against – Child punishment, Tribalism, criticism, Discrimination, and Queer visions. I stand for change, which is my first goal. As a youth, I stand for Unity, Peace and Progress.

I stand for a free and transparent Health service attributed to (children,youths and adults) – I stand against unequal rights and segregation in roles.
I stand for Quality Education – Void of preferential treatment, equal for all.
I stand against poor governance.

I am an \”Advocate For Youth\”.

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I have seen people change and at the same vein witnessed a retrograde in youths. I have been around areas where there’s no hope for light and peace, but in this same situation some people still survive.

I have been around youths – Boys and Girls, that have made life difficult for themselves due to lack of knowledge. And my countenance has dwindled, because I have witnessed a holocaust of ruined lives in the past, even now.

I love peace and the prospect it brings. I love sanctuary – a foundation laid on the rocks of simplicity and the Arm of Justice.
I stand against the illegal acts displayed by the so-called Governmental body. I stand against rape, child abuse and its associated acts. I stand against the malfunctioning of child rights and value – I stand for a change, as an “Advocate”.

I stand as a Youth, Not a man, alone. But with men – the colony of change.
“A man cannot be a faculty, men can. The necessity of change begins with not one man, but with the uniformity of all”.
(Victor Omovbude Brown)

I stand against – Child punishment, Tribalism, criticism, Discrimination, and Queer visions. I stand for change, which is my first goal. As a youth, I stand for Unity, Peace and Progress.

I stand for a free and transparent Health service attributed to (children,youths and adults) – I stand against unequal rights and segregation in roles.
I stand for Quality Education – Void of preferential treatment, equal for all.
I stand against poor governance.

I am an “Advocate For Youth”.

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Sometimes I ask myself questions : questions which are ever aching and proving stubborn to define or understand. I can’t recall the last time; a friend ,organization or social community discussed the affair of Youth Development via Sex Education and the threat it poses to Humanity and its affair.

In America there’s a flexible, progressive link for Sex development. Although not perfect but better than what we have here in Nigeria. At most case I have wondered why we are still in the loop hole ; a pit filled with ill-fated people who only acknowledge the receipt of their welfare.

The role of sex Education , is to foster a spontaneous change in : Sexuality, Heterosexual-conscience,Attitude and also promote a Beneficial role in Moral and Value. Youths , (especially boys), will massively grow in self esteem as it will tremendously shape Thoughts and increase a positive intake in Sex orientation and Education.

Educating people on Pre-sex Affair which is the Basics for a good foundation on Youth sexuality, will change lives. What we fail to understand is our, ” inability to Define what Sex Education and the Orientation it has on Youths”.

Sex education is instruction on issues
relating to human sexuality, including
human sexual anatomy, sexual reproduction, sexual activity, reproductive health, emotional relations, reproductive rights and responsibilities, abstinence, and birth control. Common avenues for sex education are parents or caregivers, formal school programs, and public health campaigns.

sex education is defined as a vital public health strategy – which will play a role in the Reduction of STDs : By initializing Health centers, Health tips, Options (Gadget) and Orientation. And will also diminish an increase in Abnormal Behaviors displayed by Youths (Boys mostly) ; which are ,Bullying, Coercion and Discrimination). If Every youth know the basics (i.e, its preventive methods (Abstinence), techniques, and Healthy tips) then we can have a possible outbreak of change in Heterosexuality.

I believe that when people become enormously aware of their Sexuality and how it tends to : Affect, Diminish and Increase STATUS’, we will begin to see change – Fundamentally, Socially and Mentally in schools, society, Environment and the world at large.

Starting with schools – which is a great idea, is one profound step. Advocating Sex-ed in public places, outlets like Seminars, NGO programs and other governmental aids will contribute too.

We need to spread the word which is a,”PROMOTION ON SEX-ED” in schools, outlets, Rural and Urban sphere and other geographical locations.

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The UK recently introduced new guidelines for making emergency contraceptive (EC) accessible, and similar debate is occurring in the US. EC is now available online widely in the UK and somewhat in the US, allowing people to purchase EC before engaging in unprotected sex.

The ability to buy online saves individuals from stigmatized drugstore encounters and ensures that people will always have access to EC. However, the increased access brings about new considerations. In the UK as online purchases have become more common, the industry has been flooded with multiple retailers. Many of these retailers provide fraudulent or incomplete information. For example, some sites neglect to warn breast-feeding individuals against use, which could lead to more complications if the trend of buying EC online continues to grow.

Further, the ability to buy EC online has economic implications. One of the largest US retailers, KwikMed, charges an extra $42 in addition to the EC itself for a consultation and next-day shipping. Debate over the cost of EC has already proliferated and this additional charge for online purchases introduces new questions of class and health care. There is also a financial incentive to stock up on EC. Buying EC in bulk often is less expensive per item than buying one dose, which prompts some to fear that EC will be abused.

Finally, the ability to purchase online raises new ethical questions about EC. Will sexual behaviors become more risky as people percieve EC to be a fix for unprotected sex that is planned? EC does not always deter pregnancies and does nothing to prevent STIs and STDs.

For more information on purchasing EC online in the UK: read here

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According to DoSomething.org, “more than 90 percent of parents of junior high and high school students believe that it is somewhat or very important for sex education to be included in the curriculum”. And yet, if a basic question regarding sex is typed into Google, some of the most popular results include webpages such as Yahoo Answers. Many schools across the United States currently push for the abstinence-only, Mean Girls approach (“Don’t’ have sex, because you will get pregnant and die!”) Yet even if these schools are not providing students with information regarding sex education, students will find their own means to understand their questions—often, from unreliable sources such as Internet forums, or word of mouth from other students.

College campuses provide a unique opportunity to learn first-hand what high school sex education programs are like in various states; try asking classmates from different locations what their experience has been in the past. For example, I attended an urban high school in Pennsylvania, where I received an intensive sex education class in ninth grade that covered all methods of contraception, how they are used, and their effectiveness. In contrast, I have a friend from a rural town in Washington whose sex education class was shorter than one semester and consisted of an abstinence-only approach. When I asked him how he pursued the answers to his questions regarding sex education, his answer was simple: the Internet.

You know how teachers are picky about research paper sources, strongly against the use of sites like Wikipedia, but advocating for researched articles? Those Internet forums on informal sex education are like Wikipedia for your body. Young students are getting their own information from complete strangers on Internet forums who claim to know all the answers—answers that may prove unreliable and unsafe. Our generation is at high risk for unplanned pregnancies and contraction of STDs, and the public school system is doing little or nothing to help. Abstinence-only methods are ineffective; if students want to know more, they have endless resources—thank you, Internet—to help them do their own research. Yet these methods are not as reliable and not nearly as trustworthy as a researched curriculum would be to students in the classroom.

Young students have the right to learn about their sexual health. The choices they make outside the classroom are their own. But if every student is provided with an equal level of education in regard to prevention of STDs, unintended pregnancies, and equal understanding of their sexual health, then every student has an equal chance to be healthy in their sexual choices. (And P.S.—the parents agree.)

 

Sarah Bradley ’17

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For the month of February, besides attending a Jack and Jill health fair in Fort. Lauderdale, I began my ‘Contraception Awareness Campaign.’  This project is an endeavor that will last for about 8 weeks at my attempt to get 200 people on my campus to learn something new about contraception. My goal is to peer educate at least 25 people every week while I table at my college.  (I will provide information like how to get contraception, the proper way to store them, comparative analysis between brands including breaking myths, as well as educating the importance of contraception in preventing pregnancy). In my first week, there were approximately 40-80 people in attendance and we collected 40 sign ups. The focus was ‘How well do you know your STI’s?’ Although many people came up and played our game, it took an engineering major to win the $25 It’s sugar gift card give-away!  Also around Valentine’s Day, I took part in hosting a love Workshop on my campus in order to educate the students on healthy relationships and contraception use. My passion for educating my peers on this controversial topic comes from recognizing the important role contraceptives play in people’s futures.  As an incredible philosopher once said “Neglect of an effective birth control policy is a never-failing source of poverty which, in turn, is the parent of revolution and crime.” —ARISTOTLE, Politics.

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This month I planned my Passion Project which I will be focusing on for the first half of 2014. It is centered on providing people with information on contraceptive access, and bringing awareness to my campus about ways the students can protect themselves.  I plan to table on campus weekly for two consecutive months in order to reach a minimum of 200 people. During these tabling events I will have one on one peer education sessions, a question box, interactive training, and giveaways. Most excitingly, I will be gaining more support for the Healthy Teens Campaign. February and March are going to be productive months, and I most look forward to seeing the positive impact that educated youth will have on our communities.

 

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(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.”

 

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I was talking to a male friend who purchased Plan B for a female friend.  She was too embarrassed to purchase it herself, so he went to the store for her. Within our conversation he made a comment about it aborting the baby.

There seems to be misconceptions about what Plan B is for and what it does. Plan B gets confused by many and people think it aborts the fetus when this is not true. Plan B will ONLY prevent ovulation (the release of the egg) if it has not occurred. It WILL NOT abort the fetus. This means that if the sperm has fertilized the egg, Plan B will have no effect and it will not harm the fetus.

Plan B can be taken more than once in a lifetime, however, it should not be used as a consistent method of birth control. Always remember that safe sex is the best sex, but in case of emergencies, Plan B is available over the counter.

For more information please visit www.not-2-late.com.

 

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Seeing a pregnant teenager makes many people uncomfortable. The discomfort is rooted in facing the reality that the comforting lies these people tell themselves about youth not being sexual beings, don’t have questions about sex, and aren’t having sex are wrong.
By finding comfort and silence in their disillusions they too play a role in the high rate of unintended pregnancies experienced by teenagers and young adults everyday.
I remember being a pregnant 15 year old and complete strangers glaring at me, stopping me to lecture me on what a mistake I have made and how terrible I make the world, and telling me how dumb I was for not just saying no and keeping my legs closed.
After having my daughter some of these things subsided because I was no longer a pregnant teen they felt inclined to harass instead the disillusions took on a new form. When people would see me with my daughter they told themselves I was the baby sitter, older sister, nanny, cousin, anything BUT the mother.
The few rude brave ones would approach me and ask me if I was her mother. “YES!” I would proudly answer with the new mother glow only to be scoffed at, looked up and down, and walked away from.
Teenagers become pregnant for a variety of reasons: inadequate sex education, lack of access to affordable contraceptives, no one to talk to about sex and relationships, poverty, boredom, sexual assault, planning a pregnancy, all types of reasons. However, the overwhelming consensus is elders are failing to help youth navigate the world of relationships and sexuality in a healthy way so teens are figuring it out on their own.
Don’t like it? Change it by changing the way YOU (read adults) address and deal with approaching the topic. It isLet’s Talk Month… maybe you should start listening and stop comforting yourself with lies.

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(Image reposted from Amplify Facebook – click here for more)

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.

 

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As of August 1, Plan B has been available at drug stores for women and girls capable of childbearing. Despite the increased access to emergency contraceptives in the US, the fight to secure basic medication for reproductive health continues in some communities, such as in the US indigenous communities.

Nearly 1.8 million indigenous women can access free emergency contraceptive at 161 Indian Health Services clinics in 35 states.  Although a campaign highlighting these services has been launched, many women still do not even know they exist. Others who know about the clinics and their services cannot easily access the clinics.

Bitsinnie, a Diné woman, explains that language has barred many from understanding the new regulations. She explains, “We don’t use the phrase ‘emergency contraception’ in our communities. We call it ‘Plan B’ or ‘the morning-after pill”. References to “EC” thus cause much confusion. Social media campaigns aim at making this knowledge more accessible.

Spreading information to some indigenous communities will be difficult though. Many communities are rural and low-income, with little access to common communication tools such as cell phones, social media, cable, and newspapers.

Another prominent challenge is the fear women who experience sexual assault face. Estimates predict that one in three indigenous women will be raped in their lifetime, compared to one in five women in the US overall. Victim blaming and fear of retaliation often stop women from seeking out health care post-assault.

Learn more: http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2013/9/24/in-indian-countryunevenaccesstoplanb.html

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With the rapid changes regarding EC restrictions over the past several months, advocates and health professionals have had to distinguish further what it means for EC to be OTC (“over-the-counter”). In previous years, most people would just use the term OTC (“over-the-counter”) to refer to the point that EC was available behind the pharmacy counter for those meeting the required age restrictions to have access to EC, without a prescription. But just what does the term OTC mean now since the FDA has approved the Plan B One-Step EC pill to be made available OTC for everyone of any age?

Well, I’m glad you should ask… OTC, as this point in time for EC, essentially means that as long as the local pharmacy (not necessarily the pharmacy counter) is opened, the Plan B One-Step EC pill option will be available “on the shelves” for anyone to purchase regardless of age. Most specifically and for example, this brand of EC is offered directly on the shelves in the feminine hygiene aisle by your favorite ribbed, flavored and tribal print condoms!  The generic versions of the EC, such as Next Choice and My Way, are only available  “behind the counter”, meaning  that a pharmacy personnel will be the one to provide you with these options directly at the pharmacy counter upon request and providing that you meet the age requirement of being 17 years and older. As of the present time, if the pharmacy counter is closed, those not offered OTC (a.k.a “on the shelves”), such as the Next Choice and My Way options, will not be accessible; this is a major difference between Plan B One-Step and the generic options. One should additionally note that the EC Pill Ella, is till only available with a prescription for those 17 years and older.

So what the exclusivity for just the Plan B One-Step EC pill to be sold OTC, well a wonderful document on the History of EC created by the Charleston County Teen Pregnancy Prevention Council puts it best in the “the FDA formally approved the application for Plan B One-Step from Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, and these other forms of EC will have to be submitted to the FDA for approval.  Actavis Inc. markets a generic version of Plan B One-Step called Next Choice.  Actavis will apply to the FDA for approval to sell Next Choice without restrictions, as will Watson Pharmaceuticals, Inc., the manufacturer of Ella.” So short and sweet, according to the FDA, Teva Pharmaceuticals has been the only pharmaceutical company to submit their application to the FDA which provides sufficient research to prove that their EC product is safe and effective for young women of any age to use, and thus making that argument that it should be made available without age restrictions.

While the latest piece of legislation to allow the Plan B One-Step EC pill to be made available OTC (a.k.a “on the shelves”) is fairly new as of June 20th, 2013, we are glad to see that many pharmacies are already carrying it on the shelves. Although there is much room to cheer, unfortunately, in most pharmacies the Plan B One-Step is being sold in locked boxes for security and loss prevention purposes; however, this does not change the fact that the Plan B One-Step EC pill is still referred to as OTC (a.k.a “on the shelves”). So let’s put this potential barrier (to some) in a favorable context, it is not unlike buying your favorite pair of pants at a trendy store, and having to have the security tag removed before leaving the store. We can even take this idea a step further and attempt to look on the bright side. Wouldn’t you much prefer to have the EC pill in its own individual lock box, as opposed to having it in a security lock rack of which you may have to call a staff person over “for assistance” to open the rack or either having to hear that annoying and blatantly obvious loud noise that some lock box racks make when trying to get your most durable razors, for example?  In comparison, having to wait the extra 5 seconds to have the EC box removed from it’s individuals lock box at the general pharmacy check out counter, pales in comparison.

Let’s face it, while lock boxes may seem like another barrier to obtaining the Plan B One-Step EC pill, it is a great step forward to having EC readily available on the shelves (OTC) during pharmacy store (not necessarily the pharmacy counter) hours to prevent an unplanned pregnancy. One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind! J #SCECOTC #reduceunplannedpregnancies.

For additional information on the legislation which approved Plan B One-Step for OTC sales without age restrictions, and for FAQs on which particular EC options are available OTC versus at the pharmacy counter, please visit the Not-2-Late and the official Plan B One-Step  websites.

 

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August 2013 is the beginning of my second year as a Broward County Youth Council member. This year will be bitter sweet for  me because I am aging out. I am extremely excited for what this year has to bring. All of the hard work we did last year is slowly coming to fruition. I am excited to see how everything falls into place regarding comprehensive sex ed in the Broward County school system. This year we have a few new members and I am anxious to work with them on our upcoming projects. This year will be EPIC for me. I plan on having a blast. Urban Retreat is s quickly approaching and I am ready to learn new techniques and tools that will help me be a better advocate. This year will definitely be a memorable one.

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Majority of our world’s youth are indulging in sexual activities. Thus, the ugly truth is that, preaching the power of abstinence is rarely having the desired effect. Many hear the message, but many also disregard it. Frankly, there is not much that can be done. the only method left is to try and at least show these youths the safer road to take, wen dealing with intercourse.

Below are methods and ways of preventing unwanted pregnancies. Posted on a site called, womenonweb.com : whom is an online abortion agency.

 

About 85% of sexually active women who do not use contraceptives become pregnant within a year. A woman can become pregnant while breastfeeding, from about 10 days after childbirth, and even during her menstruation. Withdrawal of the penis prior to ejaculation and periodic abstinence does not prevent pregnancy or spread of sexually transmitted diseases. Here you can read more about several forms of contraceptives.

You can prevent an unwanted pregnancy with:

  1. Total Abstinence
  2. Use of contraceptives

If you are sexually active and do not want to get pregnant, always use contraception.

Methods of Contraception:

No method of contraception gives 100% protection.
The male latex condom is the only contraceptive method considered highly effective in reducing the risk of sexually transmitted diseases (STD’s). Birth control pills, Implant and IUDs do not protect against STD infection.

For the Woman

  • DIAPHRAGM is a rubber disk with a flexible rim that covers the cervix and must be used together with spermicide. It is available by prescription only and must be fitted for size by a health professional. The diaphragm protects for six hours and should be left in place for at least six hours after intercourse but not for longer than a total of 24 hours.
  • ORAL CONTRACEPTIVES protect against pregnancy by the combined actions of the hormones estrogens and progestin. The hormones prevent ovulation. The pills have to be taken every day as directed and do not work after vomiting or diarrhoea. Side effects of the pill can be nausea, headache, breast tenderness, weight gain, irregular bleeding, and depression.
  • DEPO-PROVERA is a hormonal contraceptive injected into a muscle on the arm or buttock every three months. The injection must be repeated every 3 months. The menstruation can become irregular and sometimes even absent.
  • IMPLANTS (such as Norplant or implanon) are made up of small rubber rods, which are surgically implanted under the skin of the upper arm, where they release the contraceptive steroid levonorgestrel. Their protection lasts from 3 to 5 years. Side effects include menstrual cycle changes, weight gain, breast tenderness and loss of bone mass.
  • IUD is a T-shaped device inserted into the uterus by a health-care professional. The IUD can remain in place for 5- 10 years. IUD’s have one of the lowest failure rates of contraceptive method. Sometimes the IUD can be expelled and a woman has to check each month after her period with her finger if she can still feel the threads of the IUD. Other side effects can include abnormal bleeding and cramps, but this usually only occurs during and immediately after insertion.
  • FEMALE STERILIZATION is done surgically. The tubes are ligated, preventing the egg-cells from encountering the sperm cells and preventing any future pregnancies. It is a permanent form of contraception.
  • EMERGENCY CONTRACEPTION must be taken within 72 hours of unprotected sex in order to prevent an unplanned pregnancy. A woman must take 1 Norlevo and a second pill 12 to 24 hours later. Beside Norlevo, most combination (estrogens and progesterone) birth control pills can also be used. Take within 72 hours of unprotected sex. One dose 100 µg ethinylestradiol + 500 µg levonorgestrel (2-4 birth control pills), 12 hours later a second dose.
  • MORNING-AFTER IUD must be inserted within 5 days of unprotected intercourse. The IUD can stay for 5 to 10 years.

For the Man

  • CONDOMS are usually made from latex rubber and can be used only once. Some have spermicide added to kill sperm. They act as a mechanical barrier, preventing direct vaginal contact with semen, infectious genital discharges, and genital lesions. Condoms are the most effective method for reducing the risk of infection from the viruses that cause AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases (STD’s). It is important to put a condom on properly before intercourse
  • MALE STERILIZATION also known as vasectomy, is a quick operation performed under local anaesthesia with possible minor postsurgical complications, such as bleeding or infection. The ability to get an erection and an ejaculation does not disappear. The sperm cells are just a very small part (1%) of the fluid and a man will not notice any difference in ejaculation. The body will absorb the sperm cells.

 

Rates of Effectiveness of Different Contraceptives:

Estimated Effectiveness
Male Latex Condom 86%
Female Condom 79%
Diaphragm with Spermicide 80%
Oral Contraceptives Over 95%
Injection (Depo-Provera) Over 99%
Implant (Norplant, Implanon) Over 99%
IUD (Intrauterine Device) 98-99%
Surgical Sterilisation Over 99%
Emergency Contraceptives 75%

 

In reference to the prevention of sexually transmitted diseases, these methods of contraception do not fight againt disease. Basically, you have to know and trust your partner.

Do not risk your life, for a night that may or may not have been so pleasurable. :)

 

Sashii. <3

#NoToDiseases .  #WantedPregnanciePrevention .. #TheBigPicture.

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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?

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New York City’s Health Department understands that you have to meet youth where they’re at and today youth are almost always on their phones.
Knowing this NYC’s Department of Health has released two apps, Find Condoms NYC and Teens in NYC Protection+ that help youth locate sexual health services as well as LGTQ counseling centers in their immediate locations through the “near me” or “current location” options or through typing in an address.
Both apps are extremely user friendly and are available through the app store for free! In addition these apps help youth locate FREE condoms!
While some individuals are trying to lessen the amount and or access to medically accurate sexual health and mental health consoling for youth, I applaud New York Cities Department of Health for releasing these apps which are literally at any youth’s fingertips who have a smart phone.
One of the things I would like both apps to have is a set by set guide or video on how to properly place both a female and male condom because although many people know what a condom is many have no idea how to properly use one. Thankfully fellow Amplify contributor has outlined the 12 Steps, yes there are 12, to using a male condom properly.
I hope more cities that lack comprehensive sex ed are taking similar strides to providing youth and young adults in their cities the information they need and want by developing sexual health apps for smart phone users.

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After over a decade of pointless restrictions and politics taking priority over science, emergency contraception (EC) is finally on store shelves where it belongs! Regardless of age, anyone can now buy Plan B One-Step® as easily as they stock up on ibuprofen—no need to show identification or get a pharmacist involved. This is especially important for young people, who no longer need to get prescriptions or show ID they may not have. At last, we’re trusted to make responsible decisions about our bodies and lives.

Want to join in on the celebration? There’s a fun and simple way to show your support—here’s how:
1. Go to rhtp.org/ECotcGraphic.asp and print out a Healthcare in Your Hands graphic. Fill in your name and location.

2. Take a trip to your local pharmacy and find EC in the family planning aisle, near the condoms and pregnancy tests.

3. Either pose for a picture with your graphic and EC in the store or buy some and take your picture at home. (Remember, EC is always good to have around!)

4. Submit your picture to ecotc.tumblr.com/submit and tell us about your experience finding EC or why you’re excited that it’s finally on store shelves.

It’s that easy to join the party and show how many people can finally take their healthcare into their own hands! Check out ecotc.tumblr.com for more helpful information about the new rules for purchasing generic emergency contraception and what to do if a pharmacist denies you access.

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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.

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California’s teen pregnancy rate has dropped nearly 60 percent as a result of expanded sex education programs, according to a report released by the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) on Wednesday.

The report –- which was based on data collected until 2011 — revealed that the California teen pregnancy rate reached a 20-year low that year. While in 1991, there were 70.9 births for every 1,000 teens aged 15-19, in 2011 this number decreased to 28 births per 1,000 teens.

Teen pregnancy rates fell across all ethnic groups, according to the report. The Hispanic teen birth rate dropped from 73.6 in 2001 to 42.7 in 2011 –- although Hispanics continue to be the group with the highest teen birth rate. Teen pregnancy rates for African-Americans, Whites and Asian-Americans also decreased significantly.

Several factors contributed to the falling pregnancy rates, the department said in a press release. One factor was the state’s school sex education program, which law requires to be comprehensive and medically accurate. The report also credits community-based education programs that provide sexual health information to teens and their parents.

“We do believe that our programs are behind these numbers,” Karen Ramstrom, the chief of the program standards branch at the California Department of Public Health’s maternal child and adolescent health division, told the Los Angeles Times.

“California’s innovative strategies and community partnerships aimed at lowering teen pregnancy are helping young women and men make responsible choices,” Dr. Ron Chapman, director of the CDPH, said in a press release. “We must not be complacent; we must continue to promote teen pregnancy prevention programs and strategies in all communities.”

As Think Progress noted, California’s teen birth rate decreases are part of a national trend. The national teen birth rate dropped nearly 50 percent between 1991 and 2011, NBC’s Today Health reported.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/07/19/california-teen-pregnancy-rates-drop_n_3625090.html?ncid=txtlnkushpmg00000037

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Texas Lawmaker Says Sex Ed Makes Teens ‘Hot and Bothered’ Leads to Sex and Babies

The Texas house recently passed an extreme bill that could force most of the state’s abortion clinics to close. Many of the debates over the bill were heated, but one of the more interesting ones started last Tuesday night after a house committee vote was over and three members of the committee had a conversation that was audio-taped by a reporter for theHouston Chronicle. In that conversation, Rep. Donna Howard (D-Austin) pointed out to two of her Republican colleagues, Reps. Steve Toth (The Woodlands) and Bill Zedler (Arlington), that sex education that includes information about contraception can help prevent unintended pregnancies, and therefore can reduce the number of abortions that are performed. Toth was quick to disagree about the merits of sex education.

READ MORE HERE.

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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.

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So lately I have been on a health kick. I partake in so many things to try to get to my goal weight. Green smoothies, juicing, exercise, detoxes, weight loss challenges, you name it. This health binge that I’m on is basically like a whole new lifestyle. Today while I was in the gym I noticed there were many other dedicated individuals who were working hard towards what ever goal they wished to achieve. As I sweat bullets on the elliptical I though to myself that if people where as concerned about their sexual health as they were with their physical health there would be a significant change in the number of sexually transmitted diseases. There are individuals who dedicate hours in the gym each day, eliminate carbohydrates from their diet, and even refrain from eating meat to be “healthier” but do not even know their HIV status. Obviously, there is a disconnect somewhere. Your sexual health is just as, if not more, important as your physical health. We need to focus on the body as a whole and not only the outer part. Let’s start working out and getting our sexual health in shape. Knowing is half of the battle. Know your status, get tested, use protection, and spread the knowledge.

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“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.”

Crisis Pregnancy Centers: An Affront to Choice

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IT’S one of the latest advertised emergency contraceptive pills on the market, and is considered accessible and effective in preventing unwanted pregnancies. But Qualcare, the sole distributors of Pregnon in Jamaica, is cautioning women to use it only in cases of emergency, and not as a substitute for a regular contraceptive method.

District manager at Qualcare Limited, Othneil Brown, said like most doctors he too has a problem with women abusing Pregnon, which should only be taken as an emergency contraceptive method.

 

“They (doctors) prefer if you use it only as recommended as an emergency method. [It should be used] when either your regular contraceptive method has failed — like a break in condoms perhaps — or when you have had probably a sexual assault, but not necessarily to use it as your main means of contraception,” he said.

“It is an emergency method and that is the way we recommend it,” he added.

Pregnon has been available in Jamaica for the past two years and is available in most pharmacies for about $800 per pack. There are no restrictions to purchasing it, but Brown stressed that it is not an abortifacient.

“If a woman suspects that she might be pregnant or if a woman is pregnant, we don’t recommend that the woman use it, because it is not abortifacient. It will not abort an ongoing pregnancy.”

The pill contains a high dosage of progesterone which prevents the release of the eggs from the ovaries while increasing the thickness of the mucus in the cervix. This thickness creates a barrier so the sperm cannot get from the vagina to the uterus.

For the pill to be effective it has to be taken within 72 hours of unprotected sex. Although the recommendation on the package insert suggests that a user should take one tablet up 72 hours after sex and then take the other one 12 hours after the first, Brown said it is okay to take both at the same time.

“The World Health Organisation has said that they will support patients taking those tablets together. It is much better, because the patient doesn’t necessarily stand the risk of forgetting to take the second one or taking it too late, so they can take both together if they wish,” he said.

The district manager said women have been very receptive to Pregnon, because it is safe and it prevents unwanted pregnancies

“Many people are on a regular contraceptive method, but on occasion it may fail or they might forget. They might just be in a situation where they can’t necessarily help themselves and they have intercourse and they don’t have any protection; for cases like those, definitely it is their only recourse,” he said.

But while the pill is effective, there are some side effects. Some women experience discomfort in their stomach, changes in their menstrual cycle and nausea after taking it.

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Reposted from Feminists-At-Large and the Voice

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.

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The Ministry of Educations says “No to condom in Schools.” I beg to differ. Yes to Condoms in Schools…..

By now we must all be aware of the National Family Planning Board (NFPB) and National HIV/STI merger to form the national authority for sexual and reproductive health. While it is a good move to have the merger, we are now faced with the question, will these two entities — now made one — make more success in its endeavour, and what about the rights component associated with sexual reproductive health?

One of the issues that this authority needs to examine is the debate on whether condoms should be distributed in schools or not. In order to tackle this correctly, the first step that must be taken is for us to scrutinise the readiness of individuals at this age to be engaging in sexual encounters.

There needs to be greater transparency in the age at which one can start engaging in sex and the age at which one can access sexual reproductive services. At present, it is 16 years old and 18 years old respectively. This is contradictory, but the sad reality is, it is our law, so we have to abide by it or else we know the result will be jail time or be fined large sums of money when brought before the courts. There have been several consultations over the years with the relevant authorities involved; however, we are yet to see any real change with regards to having consistency in light of this discrepancy.

Let us examine the pros and cons of distributing contraceptives in schools moreso condoms. Many argue that if this is done we are sending a strong message to children that they should be engaging in sexual activities at their young age, even though they are not emotionally ready for this act. How many of the children in schools are married? Well, we have to take into consideration the moral standing of most of the country being Christians, and we all know that it is a sinful act to be engaging in sex before marriage.

When last did you stop to check the statistics as it relates to teenage pregnancy? The last time I did, it still showed Jamaica having one of the highest in the region. What about that for HIV and other STIs? The 14-24 age groups have the highest rates in the total population. This should not be the case, but it is a reality that these unwanted diseases and pregnancies are occurring among our young people. How else can we deal with this in our society but to distribute condoms to students to rid the society of these unwanted actions? This should always be a last resort, but if the family was playing its role and educating children from within the home from an early age about sex, then the school wouldn’t have to be faced with this burden.

At the end of the day, we should also be advocating for comprehensive sex education in schools. Not only should we teach about abstinence — which is the greatest prevention strategy — but for those who are involved already there needs to be intervention strategy, and this can come in the form of condom distribution to protect these students against unwanted pregnancies and diseases. There should also be a supportive component which can come through counselling and effective referral services where needed. Students have the ability to make informed decisions and should be trusted in taking on this role at times.

Jason Madden

IYSO Council Member

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Judge Wordle

In early May, the Justice Department announced that it would appeal District Court Judge Edward Korman’s April decision on emergency contraception being available over the counter with no age restrictions.  Judge Korman was not happy, calling the appeal, among other things, “nonsense,” “baloney,” and “a charade” – especially since his order had granted the FDA what they asked for in 2011.  (See the word cloud above for some more of the Judge’s choice words!) Judge Korman followed up his comments on the case by denying the Obama Administration’s request that he delay his order making Plan B widely available. He again blasted the Administration, observing, “If a stay is granted, it will allow the bad-faith, politically motivated decision of Secretary Sebelius, who lacks any medical or scientific expertise, to prevail — thus justifiably undermining the public’s confidence in the drug approval process.”

Judge Korman gave the Justice Department through today to get the verdict suspended by an appeals court.  If the Justice Dept. is not successful, then Judge Korman’s order must be followed immediately.  We’ll be keeping an eye on this case and what it means for young women’s access to emergency contraception!

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The age restriction has been lifted for emergency contraception! You no longer have to be 17 years old!

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Yesterday I was in my 1st block class which is Government. My teacher had pulled up on his computer where President Obama was saying it was “OK” selling the morning- after pills to young females at the age of 15. Now see at that time I didn’t know that President Obama was Pro- Abortion. As I had started to think I was like “Why would he do that? It seems like to me that he is promoting young teen girls to have sexual intercourse with a partner at a young age.” But, then one of my classmates said “Well they already having sex” still I said “That’s not an excuse we need to try and prevent more teen pregnancies as much as possible.”

M.D.F

 

 

 

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Last week, governments from around the world met at the United Nations for the 46th Commission on Population and Development (CPD).  Throughout the week-long deliberations, governments, UN agencies, demographers, and NGOs debated the topic of migration and its relationship to the 1994 ICPD Programme of Action—a groundbreaking declaration which signaled a major shift in population policy from one based on population control to one based on human rights, including sexual and reproductive health (SRH).

What’s migration got to do with sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR), you ask?  Well, just about everything.

Today, more women are migrating than ever before, representing nearly half of the total international migrant population, and in some countries, as much as 70 to 80 percent.  And young migrants under the age of 29 make up half of all global migrants. During the process of migration, women and girls tend to be more vulnerable to human rights violations, particularly SRHR violations, including violence, exploitation, and sexual coercion.  Moreover, migrant women and young people are also at increased risk of unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections due to inadequate access to health services, including SRH services.  As a result, ensuring access to SRHR information and services and protection of women’s and young people’s rights was our number one goal at the CPD.

So, how’d we do?  Well, this year’s CPD proved interesting, to say the least.  Traditionally progressive countries that fight every year to advance SRHR found themselves in a bit of a pickle given their countries’ rather regressive migration policies.  Against the backdrop of comprehensive immigration reform playing out on Capitol Hill, the US delegation—typically a stalwart champion of young people’s SRHR and LGBT rights—sought to include language restricting access to non-emergency services to only those migrants who are documented or in legal status. The same was true for other Global North countries like the UK, Canada, Denmark, and the EU. At the same time, conservative countries with strong religious views (think Nigeria, Egypt, Qatar, Honduras, Malta, and Poland) joined forces with the Holy See (aka, the Vatican) to denounce any inclusion of SRHR or sexual orientation and gender identity.  Discussions grew more and more tense by the day, resulting in an eventual breakdown of the negotiations and a final “take it or leave it” declaration drafted by the chair of the commission.

From a youth SRHR perspective, the declaration is just so-so.  Here’s my take on it.

The Good:

  • Recognizes that human rights are universal and must be promoted and protected regardless of migration status
  • Mentions SRH/SRHR five times, with specific attention paid to the prevention of and response to sexual violence, including the provision of emergency contraception and safe abortion services where permitted by law
  • Calls for gender sensitive migration policies and actions that empower women and prevent and eliminate all forms of violence, coercion, discrimination, trafficking, and exploitation and abuse of women and girls, including protections for women migrant domestic workers
  • Urges special attention (albeit only in a preambular paragraph) to young people’s vulnerability to HIV due to social and economic inequities, stigma, discrimination, gender-based and sexual violence, gender inequality, and lack of access to information on HIV prevention as well as access to sexual and reproductive health services
  • Encourages governments to eliminate any remaining HIV-related restrictions on entry, stay, and residence

The Bad:

  • Includes language in two places which restricts access to services based on migration or legal status, as well as an entire paragraph reaffirming the sovereign right of each country to implement recommendations in accordance with national laws, “with full respect for the various religious and ethical values and cultural backgrounds of its people”—in essence rendering everything in the resolution optional if countries disagree with its tenets
  • Neglects young people, who are only mentioned twice, both of which are in the preambular paragraphs which carry less significance than the operational paragraphs; adolescents do get a minor mention in OP30 which calls for services to be provided to women and adolescents that are sensitive to their needs, with particular attention to sexual violence survivors

And the Ugly:

  • Rejected language suggestions from several countries that would recognize the rights of young people, including access to SRH services and information, including comprehensive sexuality education
  • Eliminated the only operational paragraph solely addressing the specific rights, needs, and vulnerabilities of young migrants
  • Refused to include a single mention of sexual orientation and gender identity, despite three attempts to do so

After a groundbreaking resolution on adolescents and young people at last year’s CPD, we’ve certainly got our work cut out for us to ensure young people’s rights are front and center in the 20-year review of the ICPD in 2014 and in the post-2015 development agenda. We simply cannot afford to go backwards; we need forward progress if we are ever to see the full implementation of the ICPD Programme of Action.

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by Kate Stewart, Executive Vice President for Public Affairs

When I wrote about access to emergency contraception a year and a half ago, the Obama Administration had just overruled the FDA’s ruling that would have made Plan B available over the counter, without age restriction or ID requirements. With loaded remarks about “bubble gum and batteries,” the President had decided that Plan B had to remain locked up, accessible only to those who can prove they are 17 or older.

Since then the Administration’s decision-making has gone from bad to worse, continuing to allow politics to trump the health and well-being of young women. The events of this Spring and the moves by the Administration are truly mind-boggling.

First, in early April of this year, we all hailed a judge’s ruling that emergency contraception must be made available on store shelves within 30 days with no age or identification requirements. We thought – finally! – the decade long battle over emergency contraception has come to a close, and now young women and their partners will have access to back-up birth control without unnecessary and burdensome restrictions.

Not so fast. Earlier this week, the FDA, in a downgrade of its own 2011 ruling, announced that Plan B was approved for those with ID who could prove they were fifteen or older. Not so great.

Then last night, the Justice Department announced that it would appeal the judge’s April decision on emergency contraception being available over the counter with no age restrictions.

Never mind the absurdity of the picture the White House paints of a child buying a $50 pregnancy prevention medication from the drugstore, or that that same drugstore sells thousands of non-age-regulated chemicals and medicines which cost far less and pose far more danger to someone who uses them incorrectly. Never mind that science has shown that young people are capable of assessing when they need emergency contraception and using it appropriately (according to the FDA’s own 2011 ruling and to what its scientific staff have been recommending since 2004). And that the medical community supports making emergency contraception available with no age restriction.

The political machinations are dizzying. But forgotten are the real victims of this shell game: young women who need emergency contraception, for whom there is now one more barrier to preventing unintended pregnancy.

Many teens do not have picture ID of any kind. Some look very young into their late teens and twenties. And some, like undocumented immigrants,cannot get ID. Should these young people be barred from preventing pregnancies they did not intend and do not want?

When a young person has experienced contraceptive failure, or been sexually assaulted, the decisions they make in the next couple of days are crucial. When they decide that preventing pregnancy is a priority, they deserve support in that decision, not roadblocks created to protect politicians.

As I wrote in 2011, a part of me can understand that President Obama is uncomfortable with the idea that young teens may need emergency contraception. That worries me too. But, rather than deny them access to a fully safe medication that could help prevent unintended pregnancy, perhaps we should be doubling down on comprehensive sex education — and expanding access to contraception in the first place — so that fewer of our daughters ever need Plan B at all. But, for those young women who do, we still have a responsibility to make sure that any woman who needs emergency contraception has access to it when they need it.

Moms and Dads, Aunts and Uncles, we can help by keeping on hand emergency contraception in the family medicine cabinet (where a worried teen can access it without being carded). And we can help by continuing to raise our voices in protest at the now decade-long farce surrounding this safe, essential medication moves into the next phase. Once again I find myself disappointed, angry and scared about the direction we are going in this country when it comes to access to basic health care for women. But not hopeless. Because as I ate breakfast this morning with my daughters and thought of their friends and all the other young women who may one day be faced with an emergency it reminded me of who and what we are fighting for.

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text GetHipDC to 74574

text GetHipDC to 74574The GetHip DC line is a resource for you to find information about sexual health. It’s free and available 24/7.
You can get info about STDs and birth control, as well as where to go locally for help. Just text GetHipDC to 74574

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I have seen this post circulate on Facebook and loved its message. I apologizing for not crediting it since I am not sure who put it together. There is absolutely no way to sugar coat the rape stories that are happening today and we should keep doing our great work loud and proud until we no longer hear about these savage crimes happening in our world. It is about time we teach our fellow humans NOT TO RAPE. Full Stop.

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“To be clear, reproductive justice is not a label—it’s a mission. It describes our collective vision: a world where all people have the social, political, and economic power and resources to make healthy decisions about gender, bodies, sexuality, reproduction, and families for themselves and their communities. And it provides an inclusive, intersectional framework for bringing that dream into being. Reproductive justice is visionary, it’s complex, it doesn’t fit neatly on a bumper sticker, and it has a lot to teach us about how to be successful in a changed and changing world.”

— Jessica Gonzalez-Rojas and Kierra Johnson, Beyond Choice: How We Learned to Stop Labeling and Love Reproductive Justice

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While browsing through my twitter page I came across an ad directed at teen mothers in NYC. While seeing this ad disgusted me; I was a little relieved that I had not seen it person in my city, Brooklyn. Not only is this ad extremely offensive (the Post calls it a “Tad” offensive), it has racist, classist and sexist undertones. The ad I saw featured a beautiful brown girl with big brown eyes and read “Honestly Mom… chances are he won’t stay with you. What happens to me?” It also quoted a statistic that 90% of teen parents do not marry each other. While this statistic can be shocking to most it also seems to continue to push the agenda of marriage and “nuclear” families among young people, something I wish this country would have let go of in the 1976 Reagan “Welfare Queen” era.

After further research, I discovered that this ad was part of a larger campaign created by the NYC Human Resources Administration. For an agency with the word “resources” in its name, it appears that they do not know how to use them very well.  Especially considering the fact that the United States is preparing to undergo sequestration and they thought it wise to use government funding to disseminate disturbing, stigmatizing and shameful ads about teen mothers. Also considering the fact they are a “Human Resources” agency, I would think funds would be better allocated to real initiatives to help young mothers, such as creating real job opportunities for young moms and working with other agencies and organizations to provide childcare so that young women could support their families. It is resourceful to create life-size ads that basically say “Mom you suck for having me.”

While NYC has taken steps to improve the lives of young parents, like closing Pregnancy Schools after advocates insisted these institutions were in violation of Title IX, this initiative seems backwards. This is the same city responsible for the Living for the Young Family through Education program which provides free childcare around the city to help teen parents graduate from high school. In addition to these efforts, the NYC Department of Education mandated Comprehensive Sexuality Education in schools in 2011 to decrease the rate of teen pregnancies, HIV and STIs among young people. However, many of the youth that I work with in Brooklyn still report receiving little to no sex education even after the mandate was placed into effect. Having grown up in Brooklyn my entire life and having never received formal sexual education, I know they are telling the truth.

So if you think scare tactics and shameful ads are going to work, think again.  In fact it is just making the situation worse. I’m mostly concerned with who the agency talked to before creating these controversial ads. It definitely was not teen parents!! I wonder how agencies feel they can solve a problem without consulting the people on the ground and the young people with the “situated knowledge.” As a millennial of color, research shows that although my peers would like to decrease the rate of teen pregnancies, they also feel that society has a responsibility to provide young parents with the necessary resources and opportunities to lead healthy lives.

Lastly, I think these ads should be taken down, and the funding for this so-called Teenage Pregnancy Prevention Initiative should be redirected to organizations working to provide real comprehensive sexual education, access to contraception, teen parenting programs, affordable childcare and job opportunities for young people. Education, inclusion and empowerment is how we solve real issues not by attaching stigma to young people, especially young women!

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Roe v. Wade guaranteed abortion as a legal right across the country. A separate decision two decades later, Planned Parenthood v. Casey, guaranteed states’ rights to limit access to abortion, so long as it did not pose an “undue burden” on the woman.

States have, over the past four decades, made no short use of that latter right. Only one state, Oregon, has not layered additional restrictions on top of the Roe decision. At the other end of the spectrum is Oklahoma: With 22 abortion restrictions, it has more than any other state. The chart below, courtesy of Remapping the Debate, has the full list. You can also gohere for an interactive version of the graphic, which will let you look at what type of restrictions each state has set.

SOURCE: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/01/31/all-states-except-oregon-now-limit-abortion-access/#

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Tell Them is proud to announce the release of a new report: 25 Years and 250,000 Teen Pregnancies Later.

This report examines the multitude of research surrounding the need for comprehensive sex education programs in South Carolina.

The report highlights 5 major problems with current sex education programs:

  • - No accountability for what is being taught in sex ed classes
  • - Lack of teachers trained in health education instruction
  • - Information provided to students is not medically accurate
  • - Discriminatory information being imposed on students
  • - No “checks and balances” on the local level

The Comprehensive Health Education Act was passed in 1988. Twenty-five years later, we are still facing the same problems. Condom use among teens is down (67% used condoms in 2005, 58% used condoms in 2011); more than 50% of high school students (and nearly 20% of middle school students) report that they have already had sex; and there are an average of 68 newly reported cases of Chlamydia or Gonorrhea in youth every day.

This should enrage every parent in our state. Let’s see this report as the catalyst for change. Visit www.reformsexed.org now and email your legislator. Tell Them that you support sex ed reform and demand that we get comprehensive sex education programs in our schools.

While the report focuses on information released Monday by the New Morning Foundation in their new report A Sterling Opportunity, the Tell Them analysis also examined recent studies by the South Carolina State Alliance for Adolescent Sexual Health, the SC Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, the 2010 US census, the CDC’s annual youth risk behavior surveys and a regional report published last year. For a complete list of sources, visit our webpage.

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Political Info and Laws in Brief

Executives

  • Governor Rick Snyder (R) is anti-choice.

Legislature

  • The Michigan House is anti-choice.
  • The Michigan Senate is anti-choice.

ANTI-CHOICE LAWS

Abortion Bans

Michigan bans a safe abortion procedure and has unconstitutional and unenforceable criminal bans on abortion.
Details »

Biased Counseling & Mandatory Delay

Michigan has a partially unconstitutional and unenforceable law that subjects women seeking abortion services to biased-counseling requirements and mandatory delays.
Details »

Counseling Ban/Gag Rule

Michigan prohibits certain state employees and organizations receiving state funds from counseling or referring women for abortion services.
Details »

Refusal to Provide Medical Services

Michigan allows certain individuals or entities to refuse to provide women specific reproductive-health services, information, or referrals.
Details »

Restrictions on Low-Income Women’s Access to Abortion

Michigan restricts low-income women’s access to abortion.
Details »

Restrictions on Young Women’s Access to Abortion

Michigan law restricts young women’s access to abortion services by mandating parental consent.
Details »

Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP)

Michigan subjects abortion providers to burdensome restrictions not applied to other medical professionals.
Details »

PRO-CHOICE LAWS

Contraceptive Equity

Michigan law requires health-insurance plans that cover prescription medication to provide the same coverage for contraception.
Details »

Low-Income Women’s Access to Family Planning

Michigan provides certain low-income women increased coverage for Medicaid-funded family-planning services.
Details »

Protection Against Clinic Violence

Michigan law protects women seeking reproductive-health care and medical personnel from blockades and violence.
Details »

OTHER RELEVANT LAWS

Post-Viability Abortion Restriction

Michigan restricts post-viability abortion.
Details »

83% of Michigan counties have no abortion provider.

*an issue that does not affect *just* women.

Source: NARAL

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When I attended the One Voice Summit in Washington D. C. on November 16-19, 2012, I didn’t know how they were going to fill one hour, much less three days with information about how the environment and reproductive health were related.

After attending the conference, I learned how the world is acutely affected by our reproductive choices through population control, sustainability, and resource consumption and how we are affected by the environment we live in. The reproductive system is one of the most easily affected by its environment. In one instance, an umbilical cord was found to contain approximately 287 industrial chemicals. We’re being exposed to more chemicals at an earlier point in our lives and it’s affecting how we reproduce. Phthalates, BPA, and PAH are in the air we breathe and the everyday items we use. These chemicals have been linked to premature births, endometriosis, genital abnormalities in boys, sperm damage, reduced sperm count, and hormone disruption, to name a few.

Needless to say, this is some pretty serious stuff. When I arrived home, I was determined to change my lifestyle and start living more eco-friendly. Although I had recycled before, I became even more rigorous about recycling and making sure nothing recyclable was being thrown away. No receipts, no water bottles, no cans. Though this was a good beginning, I still found myself surrounded by toxic chemicals. I swapped out cleaning supplies for white vinegar, began leaving my shoes at the door, avoided plastic like the plague, and looked up my personal care products using cosmeticsdatabase.com. It’s so easy to change a few simple things in your lifestyle that can cause a world of difference in your toxin intake and your carbon footprint.  There’s even an app for that. The free GoodGuide Mobile app allows you to scan the barcode of an item and find out its health, environment, and society scores, combining them to give you an overall rating. It’s so simple, even my mom can do it.

As a result of this conference, I found out more than I ever thought possible about how environmental issues and reproductive issues go hand in hand. It caused me to reevaluate my choices. I don’t reach for bottled water anymore. I make sure that I know what my products have in them. This conference made me want to research the things in my life that I took for granted. Because of that, I’ve become an organic gardener. I’m attempting to change my life, it’s true. But, I’m also attempting to change the world. And it’s the easiest thing I’ve ever done.

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Talking about young people in the part of the world where I come is already a sensitive issue and adding ‘rights’ which is another very explosive issue to this makes advocacy for the placing of youth rights at the heart of development a very difficult but not an impossible task. Behind these words lies the fears, doubts, and optimism of a participant at the just ended International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD)-Beyond 2014 Global youth Forum (GYF) which held from the 4th to the 6th December 2012.They are also the words that come to my mind whenever I think about this forum and the impact its outcomes will have on the future of young people and therefore our world as a whole. The fruits of the optimism raised and the hopes re-enkindled by the ICPD-Beyond 2014 GYF not only in the young persons that attended this event but above all in the lives of the millions of young persons that are marginalized, down trodden, and persecuted because of their gender, age, political choices, and sexual orientation, will no doubt become reality as youths irrespective of their social status, religious beliefs, and gender have been empowered and energized by this forum. With most of the recommendations from the ICPD-Beyond 2014 GYF urging governments, international bodies, and civil societies to recognize the rights of all young persons especially the marginalized, suffering and persecuted(the girl child, sexual minorities, rural dwellers, the uneducated) and establish an enabling environment for the potentials of every young person to be unleashed and his/her dreams fulfilled, the forum is ended but has opened an avenue for youths to claim what is theirs and take their places in decision making cycles in their various countries. Enlightened, empowered, and inspired by the passion and enthusiasm I witnessed in Bali, the following words came to my mind in the evening of the 6th of December as the forum ended: ‘What happens when it comes time to part? Well you know how when you’re listening to music from another room and you’re singing along, because it’s a tune you really love, when the door closes, or a train passes, and you can’t hear the music anymore, but you sing along anyway?’ Just like the song described in this scene from the movie, ‘Music from Another Room’, the journey towards achieving youths rights might have begun long ago, Bali marked a new beginning in this fight for the rights of young people in all their diversity to be recognized and respected in the society where they live.

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WHAT THE MICHIGAN ANTI-ABORTION BILL REALLY DOES

SOURCE: http://www.michnow.org/memo_hb5711analysis.pdf

The Republican-controlled Michigan Senate now has before it a draconian anti-abortion clinic bill designed to make the
full range of reproductive health services, including abortion care, inaccessible for Michigan women. The bill passed
the Michigan House in June. The most potentially dangerous, expensive, and degrading provisions in HB 5711 would:

REQUIRE DISPOSAL OF “FETAL REMAINS” LIKE A DEAD BODY
– Michigan will become the first state in the nation to
require any woman who seeks an abortion or miscarries to decide how she will dispose of the “fetal remains.”

WHAT THIS REALLY DOES:
At 10 weeks: A woman must pay for a funeral home to transport fetal remains and to decide amongst burial,
cremation, or interment. Current law requires the products of conception to be hygienically incinerated.

HB 5711, if passed,
Misleads women into thinking of the fetal issue as a person and abortion as murder.
Traumatizes and shames women at a difficult time and adds unnecessary expense to an abortion.

At 20 weeks: Additionally, either the physician or the coroner must file a Death Certificate, a public record which
may be reported in the local newspaper and remains permanently on file with the State. HB 5711, if passed,
Robs women of their right to privacy and potentially makes miscarriage and abortion public.
STOP DOCTORS FROM PERFORMING ABORTIONS – Doctors who would perform more than five abortions a month in the office (or who meet other criteria) must do so only in a licensed freestanding surgical facility and buy $1 million in liability insurance.

WHAT THIS REALLY DOES:
Makes providing abortion services prohibitively expensive for doctors so that they will give up the practice.
The requirements for surgical facilities won’t make women safer, the insurance is not currently available in
Michigan and, even if it were, it would likely be prohibitively expensive and make the cost of abortion beyond
the reach of most women. Current laws adequately protect women and should be enforced.

RESTRICT FREE SPEECH IN THE GUISE OF PREVENTING “COERCION” – Doctors must verify that patients have been “screened” about whether they were coerced into seeking an abortion.

WHAT THIS REALLY DOES:
Makes parents, spouses, and others subject to lawsuits for counseling a woman about making informed
choices, while frightening doctors from providing abortions for fear of legal action.

END THE TELE-MEDICINE OPTION

The new law would prohibit doctors from dispensing safe medication abortions or emergency contraception drugs such as Ella through telemedicine protocols. The bill even requires that medication abortions be performed at a licensed freestanding surgical facility!

WHAT THIS REALLY DOES:
Adds physical and financial barriers that discourage women from exercising their legally-protected rights
without making them any safer.
Makes abortion unavailable to women in underserved areas, which includes more than 83% of Michigan
counties.
WHAT THESE LAWS ALSO DO IS DISCOURAGE GOOD DOCTORS FROM PRACTICING IN MICHIGAN

– Dr. Michael Allswede of the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists tes9fied against the bill, arguing that his organization knows the bill will make it harder to recruit doctors to practice in Michigan. Studies show Michigan could lack as many as 4,500 doctors by 2020, and this legisla9on would make matters worse.

Contact your Senator and Governor Snyder and tell them to reject HB 5711.
See www.michnow.org for contact informa2on.

*this does not affect just women

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How The People Who Brought You Curves Are Actually Working Against Women’s Health**

**This issue is not just about women’s health, it’s about every single person who could be affected by an attack on reproductive rights and health.**

Source: http://thinkprogress.org/health/2012/12/07/1300361/curves-founders-against-womens-health/

The latest filings from Karl Rove’s American Crossroads show a last minute contribution of $1 million received just days before the election (10/29/12) from Gary Heavin — the co-founder of Curves International Inc., which calls itself “the world’s leader in women’s fitness.”

Curves, a chain of women-only fitness center franchises, claims nearly 10,000 locations in more than 85 countries. Heavin and his fellow co-founder, his wife Diane, sold Curves International to an private equity firm in October, but they remain prominently featured on the company’s website. The Heavins say they “share a passion for and commitment to women’s health and fitness.” But his massive donation to the right-wing super PAC is only the latest in a long pattern of their efforts
in support of policies that undermine women’s equality in the workplace and restrict women’s access to health care services.

American Crossroads spent $91 million to elect Mitt Romney over President Obama. Romney refused to endorse key pro-women legislation including the bipartisan Violence Against Women Act, the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, and thePaycheck Fairness Act, but backed reinstating the “global gag rule” on even discussing abortion as a family planning option and supported the infamous Blunt Amendment to allow employers to deny health benefits that go against their personal views. Crossroads also worked to help far-right extremists like Todd AkinRichard Mourdock, and George Allen. Much of the American Crossroads attack strategy focused on criticizing Obamacare and those who backed the effort to expand health insurance access to all Americans.

In addition to helping fund American Crossroads, the Heavins also combined to give $92,400 to the House and Senate Republican campaign arms, $2,500 to Texas Governor Rick Perry (R), $30,800 to the Republican National Committee, $7,300 to Romney’s campaign, and $2,500 to House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) in 2012.

And this past election isn’t the only time that Curves and the Heavins have worked against women’s reproductive rights. Gary Heavin pledged hundreds of thousands of dollars for controversial “pregnancy crisis centers” that try to talk women out of abortions and have been accused to providing false information. They also made large donations to abstinence-only education programs — programs which often misinform and make teens more likely to engage in risky behavior and become pregnant. Curves also pulled its funding for the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation over its objection to the charity’s funding for Planned Parenthood’s breast cancer screening services. In a 2004 editorial, Mr. Heavin attacked Planned Parenthood’s sex education literature, writing “I have a 10-year-old daughter. I would absolutely not allow her to be exposed to this material. I don’t want her being taught masturbation and told that homosexuality is normal.”

That anti-choice and anti-LGBT stance was further demonstrated when Curves partnered with the American Family Association — a group that has been identified by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a “hate group.” They joined for a 2009 healthy recipe contest and sold a Curves fitness CD on the AFA’s website. Gary Heavin has also been an outspoken enthusiast for televangelist Pat Robertson, who has blamed natural disasters on same-sex marriage equality and blamed 9/11 on abortion, the separation of church and state, and civil liberties groups.

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Anti-Choice Senators Block Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Treaty

Sadly, we’ve all grown used to the idea that nothing gets through the U.S. Senate these days without the support of at least 60 senators. Procedural tricks and a misuse of the filibuster rule has ground legislation to a near halt in the years since President Barack Obama took office. But when it came to a vote to ensure that disabled persons have the same rights as anyone else—including the right to avoiding pregnancy or terminating unwanted ones—even 60 votes wasn’t enough.

The Senate voted 61 to 38 to ratify the United Nations Rights of Persons with Disabilities Treaty, which stated “nations should strive to assure that the disabled enjoy the same rights and fundamental freedoms as their fellow citizens,” according to the Associated Press. The treaty was modeled after the Americans with Disabilities Act, but anti-choice activists rallied against it, claiming it “sacrifices the most vulnerable—the disabled and the unborn—all in the name of population control,” according to Bradley Mattes, president of the International Right to Life Federation.

Although anti-choice activists claimed concern that the treaty, if ratified, could expand access to abortion and somehow impede their efforts to overturn Roe v. Wade, many of those who voted against the measure, such as Utah Sen. Mike Lee, pointed to fear of losing United States “sovereignty” as their reason for opposing the treaty.

Source: http://www.rhrealitycheck.org/article/2012/12/04/anti-choice-senators-block-convention-on-rights-persons-with-disabilities-treaty

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Hope you’ve already signed the petition asking Secretary Sebelius to follow the science and make emergency contraception available over-the-counter without age restriction.   Don’t miss this entry from last year when the decision came down; it’s still relevant!

Common Sense Isn’t So Common:  How Preventing Access to EC hurts young women of color

 

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A year ago today, Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius took the unprecedented step of overriding the FDA’s recommendation to make Plan B emergency contraception available over-the-counter without age restrictions.  That’s right – scientists recommended the over-the-counter status, finding the drug safe for young women under 17. But the Obama administration denied it, ignoring the evidence in favor of politics.

Join us in taking action:

A broad coalition of medical professionals and advocates is sponsoring a petition to urge Secretary Sebelius to revisit the evidence and remove the restrictions.  Please sign and share with friends!

Then join us and others in a “twitter flurry” directed at HHS throughout the day – let them know we haven’t forgotten and we want action!

Sample tweets:

@HHSGov It’s been a year since you let politics trump science on emergency contraception. It’s time to put women’s health first. #ECOTC

@HHSGov Birth control isn’t a “convenience”; it’s necessary 4 health. Revisit the evidence and remove the EC age restrictions. #ECOTC

Dear@HHSGov emergency contraception has been proven safe for young people. The age restriction is just wrong. #ECOTC

During his 2009 Inauguration speech, President Obama said, “We will restore science to its rightful place.”  And since a year ago, the science has only gotten stronger, with the American Academy of Pediatrics now recommending that doctors routinely talk about EC with teens and provide them with prescriptions as needed.

Tell Secretary Sebelius to stick to the President’s commitment and follow the science: make emergency contraception available over-the-counter without restriction!

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锘緿o you know that you could possibly conclusion up outliving your partner? Statistics now verify that girls are very likely to dwell more time than gentlemen. If [url=http://www.uggbootsukincheap.co.uk]ugg sale[/url] God crafted them each equivalent, why do guys have a shorter everyday living? Examine much more on this. Gals are recognised to age quicker than fellas, but have you observed how they are equipped to dwell extended than fellas? Probably, they nonetheless take care of to keep on being healthier in their old age. This actually perplexes me. No, you can not blame their nagging to shorten the lives of their sons, boyfriends and husbands. There is more to it. Mainly in produced nations around the world, girls are living almost five to ten yrs prolonged than guys! Did you know? Of persons dwelling for much more than one hundred years on Earth, eighty five% are gals. 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These kinds of variation on the same or distinctive set of genes contributes to their more time life. While, this explanation is a modest difficult to realize as to why adult females dwell prolonged than fellas, but it performs a critical job to their life expectancy. Evolution of Species: Given that women of all ages give beginning to the offspring and are key caregivers to their little ones, they are genetically made to have bodies that can withstand these kinds of disorders and therefore, remain healthier than guys. In most mammals, the ladies are likely to dwell prolonged than males. The position of males is confined to reproduction only. Iron Deficiency: Girls are likely to be more deficient in iron in their bodies due to monthly blood decline during menstruation. Iron, discovered mainly in red meat, contributes to the generation of free of charge radicals that speedup growing older and clog arteries, raising [url=http://www.uggbootsukincheap.co.uk]ugg sale[/url] the hazard of a heart and soul stroke. Adult men effortlessly have much more iron in their blood, than girls. Delaying Health and fitness Checkups: Just like most males refuse to acquire instructions, they refuse to go for health checkups believing they are hale and hearty. Connect with in the moi or about-assurance, they don’t actually have a look at the health care provider unless of course something key comes about to their wellbeing. And, then girls are blamed for nagging to go for common check-ups… huh? Clinical Boom: Aside from just becoming mindful about their overall health, lower women die while in childbirth. A substantial mortality rate because of to the similar was typical among the our ancestors. On the other hand, now lower and lesser females die due to childbirth, vitamin deficiencies and other health conditions. Nevertheless, a position to be famous right here is that in the earlier ten years there has been a declining pattern in the lifetime expectancy ratios of adult men and females. As adult females much too keep on to indulge in harmful life-style practices these as drinking, smoking, getting medicines, not feeding on nutritious foods and acquiring aggressive with women top to enhanced levels of worry as very well participating in violent conduct also in their youthful years, the everyday living expectancy of women is also expected to decline, shortening the gap amongst them and adult males. Also, the criminal offense versus females this kind of as homicide and rapes are on the increase. Whether you are a male or a lady, we will need to all start off dwelling a holistic way of living to like the present of life for more time and with a wholesome physique.

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Check it out! The folks behind the YouTube channel AsapSCIENCE have broken down exactly what happens when you take emergency contraception in a fun new video.

Science! Yeah!!

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DSC01080

Another day has come and gone over Bali ICPD Beyond 2014 Global Youth Forum.But as days come and go, the discussion intensifies and young people are more demanding to their governments, religious and traditional authorities, parents, and society at large.

Universal access to education,inclusive education, relevant education, quality education ,financing and partnerships, as well as ccomprehensive sexuality education were identified by participants at the ICPD beyond 2014 Global Youth Forum participants as being vital for comprehensive education to become a reality in our world and were thus recommended in that other for discussion by the United Nations and possible inclusion in its post-2015 international  development agenda.

Transitions to decent work, and famiies,youth Rights and well being are the themes which were on the discussion table today.These being of course issues which are relevant to every young person irrespective of  where he/she hails, the debate in the plenary was so intense and continued into the various work groups.

During the plenary on transitions to decent employment, it was revealed by the International Labour Organisation’s representative that we now have the highest number of unemployed youths that the world has ever. Also, during this plenary it was disclosed that 1 in 9 young workers in Africa are in the informal sector, 4 out of 10 young workers are working on a temporary basis, and 5 in 10 low paid persons are youths.

Productivity, fairness, and rewarding are the major characteristics of a decent job as defined by the International Labour Organisation(ILO). If one is to go by this definition, one will have no choice but agree with the above statistics. One other area in which there was total agree is on the fact that  stronger families, respect of  youth rights, and the well being of youths are the basis for any society and so for  a world at peace with itself, there was need for these issues to be tackled with maximum care.

According to Mr.Anatole Makosso, the president to the conference of African youth ministers and youth minister of Congo Brazzaville, there exist three reasons for governments to carefully consider the above mentioned issues and ensure that the needs of youths are met: They are the majority, they are the future, they will not identify with any decisions taken without them.

Another day is come and gone,  and the desire for action by youths on the part of their governments has not faultered Youths want to make the Bali declaration not only a declaration but a platform for action. Hear our voices!

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Gaston

What a long awaited and historic day for mankind has today being. The ICPD Beyond 2014 Global Youth Forum was officially opened today. In the presence of   close to a thousand participants, Indonesian officials, and  representatives of governments the world over, Dr Babatunde Osotimehin, UNFPA’s executive Director , in his speech  decried the  situation in which so many young people, especially those in the global south, live in before pointing  out the importance of this event, and then inviting  representatives of governments and those he termed “Seniors” to look  at the  young people around them and  challenge  how they  relate to them, and then think of how they can release  the potentials of these young people.

Further setting the context of the Bali ICPD Beyond 2014 Global Youth Forum, the Indonesian minister for people’s welfare, declared that: we believe that a meaningful dialogue is necessary on the means and ways of engaging young people to release their potential. He further emphasized that , young people need to understand the values of life that will make them  stay healthy, be educated, foster family life, actively participate in building the  world they have always dreamed of.

Staying healthy, comprehensive education, transition to  decent work for youth, Families, youth rights and well being, leadership and meaningful youth participation, and realizing youth rights are the themes which will be discussed and recommendations made by the over 650 participants for  discussion and adoption  by the UN member states as one of its post-2015 agenda.

 

Staying healthy and comprehensive education were tackled today in discussion groups (world Cafés) and recommendations made on the former. Access to data, putting in place of an enabling environment for youths by governments, religious and traditional authorities, access to   quality, affordable, and comprehensive health services, and finally  the abolition of laws and policies that   that hinder youth empowerment   are the recommendations that came out from the 15 sort of work groups that brainstormed on this topic. The recommendations on the comprehensive education will be presented  tomorrow, Wednesday December 5th 2012.

It should be noted that the above recommendations were arrived at by participants including representatives of governments, UN agencies, and civil society in a very interactive, safe, and open environment  after attending the plenary session that addressed  the issue of staying healthy for a young person. At this plenary Advocate for Youth’s Meredith Waters acting in her capacity as young person commentator for this theme, declared amid thunderous applause from the audience  that: the Global Youth Forum is a great way to start but not enough. Dr Nafsia Mboi, Indonesian minister of health, answering to questions from the participants declared to conclude the plenary that: Every person, I repeat every person including young people has the right to health.

Good as the speeches may be, world leaders should be conscious that young people are tired of speeches and want to see concrete actions being taken solve the pile of problems in which young people from all part of our beloved world are drowning. World leaders! Take action now or be fired! We are ready for the fight and I assure you we will always out power you; for we are the majority.

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Let me tell you a little story about my relationships with Emergency Contraception, or EC.

Since I have been sexually active, I have been a consistent birth control user, advocate too as I might add! For about a year I was the proud how to a Nuvaring each month. I loved it! I specifically loved that I could take it out for up to an hour without any decrease in effectiveness.

As easy as the Nuvaring is, there were still times I made mistakes using it. I was half way to Cleveland Pride in 2011 when I realized I didn’t have my trusty ring-shaped friend with me. I believe I literally said, “stop the car! We need to go back, I forgot my Nuvaring!” Another time I had taken it out, and then fallen asleep. I woke up the next morning, reached for my cell phone to turn off my alarm, and then realized what I was touching was not a phone but my Nuvaring.

Did I have unprotected sex? How long has it been out? Questions started to pile on, and I started to get worried. OK, I thought, I have to be in to work in an hour which gives me time to run by the drugstore to buy emergency contraception (EC) before I need to get there. I called the pharmacy, they confirmed that taking EC would be the best plan of action. I made it just in time to get my EC before heading into work. This is how me and EC became friends.

My experience with EC was pretty smooth. Sadly, this is not true for all women in the US. My experience was made easier because I was older,  married, had health insurance, a state issued ID, a car, a steady income, and a little extra time. Now imagine a similar instance happened to a younger woman, one under 18. Before they could access this safe and possibly life-change medication they would have to jump through several hoops.

Hoop one: They would have to meet with their doctor to get a prescription. For me, It takes AT LEAST two weeks for me to get in with my doctor (which is a whole other conversation about the US healthcare system). Therefore, who knows if they could even get an appointment with their doctor within the 72 hour time frame in which EC is most effective.

Hope two: A younger person would have to face more stigma regarding EC use. Even as an adult, I was a little nervous calling the pharmacy and talking to a stranger about my birth control accident. Not just an adult, but former sexual health educator and Planned Parenthood employee! Luckily the person I spoke to was understanding.

A younger woman would be much more likely to face a judgmental look or tone of voice from the doctor or pharmacists. Not to mention that the woman might have to tell her parents about using EC, and not all young women have relationships with their parents that allow open and honest conversation about sexual health.

The experience of a young woman accessing EC could have been different and better this time last year. The Reproductive Health Technologies Project stated:

In December of 2011, the FDA was prepared to make emergency contraception accessible to consumers without restriction, based on more than a decade of medical research and policy debates. Instead, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius overruled the FDA, putting politics ahead of women’s health. Her decision created unnecessary confusion for women and couples at a moment when clarity and timing matter most.

The bottom line is, EC is safe, and can make an incredible difference in the life of a woman. When I needed EC my husband was in law school, and I was not in a place to support him and a child financially, emotionally or physically. It would have even been harder for me if I was 17.

There are things you can do today to let policy makers know that you oppose unfair restrictions to accessing EC for young women.

  • Sign the petition here.
  • Share the petition link and encourage friends to sign. The petition site makes it easy to share on Facebook, Twitter or through email. We need your help reaching your friends!
  • “Like” RHTP on Facebook to share images containing facts from the campaign with your social networks.
  • “Follow” @RHTPorg on Twitter and retweet campaign and petition links using #ECOTC
  • Commit to sharing a few social media memes, facts, or articles with your social networks throughout the campaign. Not everyone sees a post that only happens once and repetition really is important for public education.

Help protect reproductive rights for young women, but taking action today! 

In solidarity,
Ashley 

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December 7th marks the 1 year anniversary of Secretary Sebelius’s short-sighted, election-minded decision to flat-out ignore the FDA recommendation that Plan-B One Step and its generic equivalent be made available on drug store shelves. Instead, the Department of Health and Human Services ruled that EC must remain behind-the-counter.

According to RHRealityCheck, that decision has led to all sorts of confusion and unnecessary obstacles for women, teens and couples. For instance:

  • Doctors and teens have been given misinformation about the age restrictions applied to emergency contraception over the counter (currently 17) or told that teens could not get the product at all (not true). This confusion helps no one.
  • Men have been told by pharmacists in several states around the country that they could not buy EC (not true), presenting obstacles and delays when timing matters.
  • Rape survivors have been denied access to EC by doctors and prison staff.
  • Individuals without government issued identification may have difficulty accessing EC because of the restrictions.
The harmful access restrictions/misinformation/general chaos and confusion will all just go away as soon as HHS stops letting anti-choice interests (who don’t quite seem to understand how EC works) influence important health policy decisions. Tell Secretary Sebelius and HHS to a) reverse this decision ASAP and b) stop prioritizing politics over women’s health! Sign & circulate this petition to get as many signatures as possible by December 7th.

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The United Nations announced, “Access to contraception is a universal human right that could dramatically improve the lives of women and children in poor countries.”  CBS News says that this is the first time the United Nations Population Fund’s annual report describes family planning as a human right.  CBS even quotes the executive director:

“Family planning has a positive multiplier effect on development,” Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin, executive director of the fund, said in a written statement. “Not only does the ability for a couple to choose when and how many children to have help lift nations out of poverty, but it is also one of the most effective means of empowering women. Women who use contraception are generally healthier, better educated, more empowered in their households and communities and more economically productive. Women’s increased labor-force participation boosts nations’ economies.”

But not everyone is happy with this progress.  Groups like Human Life International are disgusted with this development.  Really, the idea of having some control over when and where to get pregnant, spacing the births far apart enough for optimal health of pregnant person and children, and actually being able to care for the resulting children while saving some money in medical fees is mortifying.  Let’s all get up in arms and fight this!  I kid, of course.  Albeit, there are people who serious with this kind of sentiment, like the folks at LifeSiteNews:

Declaring birth control a right means “everyone else must pay for…the new right” Clowes told LifeSiteNews, “even if those forced to pay for it may object to it on moral grounds. This violates the more basic human right of freedom of conscience, which has for some time now been dispensed with by UN ‘human rights’ champions.”

Despite what they’re saying, the UN declares “that legal, cultural and financial barriers to accessing contraception and other family planning measures are an infringement of women’s* rights.”

*Let’s all try to remember that now all women can get pregnant and not all those who have the ability to become pregnant are women.


SOURCES:
http://blogs.babble.com/strollerderby/2011/08/01/big-win-for-women-family-planning-and-contraception/
https://www.unfpa.org/public/
http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-204_162-57549577/un-calls-contraception-access-a-universal-human-right/
http://www.rhrealitycheck.org/article/2012/11/15/they-are-coming-your-birth-control-condoms-are-murder-and-contraception-is-rape
http://www.lifesitenews.com/news/un-declares-birth-control-a-39human-right39#comment-710831021

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I live about five minutes away from this.

Their typical show of “slactivism” is anti-choice chalk writing on school property, which reeks of emotionally manipulative messages full of misinformation and bad spelling.

And now there’s this recent sign they put up, even after what happened to Savita Halappanavar, see what AFY_EmilyB has to say about that.

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This is something you can use if you didn’t use birth control or were late on your regular method.  It’s really stronger doses of the same hormones that are found in regular birth control.  And it’s most effective if it’s taken within 12 hours after sex.

A lot of people make the mistake of thinking that Plan B and RU486 (also known as the ‘abortion pill’) are the same thing.  It’s not.  Pregnancy is defined by implantation, and Plan B can’t harm an egg that has finished implanting–thus can’t cause an abortion.  It also cannot cause birth defects.

Source: http://www.plannedparenthood.org/health-topics/emergency-contraception-morning-after-pill-4363.asp

Click on the image and then print it out for the Plan B Coupon!

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by Deb Hauser
President, Advocates for Youth

Advocates for Youth congratulates President Barack Obama on his historic reelection. We also celebrate the amazing role that young people played within his administration and his reelection, and we recognize the growing power of youth to drive social and cultural change for a better world. Young people represented approximately 19 percent of the electorate yesterday—a larger percentage even than in 2008!

In the years ahead, we call on President Obama to stand with us in recognition of every young person’s right to honest sexual health education, safe and affordable sexual health services, and an equity of social, educational, and economic opportunity – the type of opportunity that builds healthy lives and strong communities.

(more…)

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THE DEADLINE HAS BEEN EXTENDED TO DECEMBER 7th

Boom. The International Youth Leadership Council is looking for college students in the DC metro area to apply to be new council members to start this January.

Need some background?

Advocates for Youth sponsors a project called the International Youth Leadership Council (IYLC), which is designed to develop youth leaders in the areas of international sexual and reproductive health and rights, abortion access, global HIV and AIDS, and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) and other sexual orientation and gender identity rights. The Council currently consists of seven members who are a diverse group of young people with backgrounds from around the world.  Members attend colleges or universities in the Washington, DC Metro area.

 

IYLC members work with the staff of the Policy Department and The Youth Activist Network to increase U.S. support and leadership for improving young people’s sexual and reproductive health and rights globally and domestically. As members of the council, they develop an understanding of a broad range of issues, including international family planning; maternal health and adolescent maternal mortality; gender inequality; harmful traditional practices, such as child marriage; HIV and AIDS; and LGBT rights. They in turn become familiar with related U.S. domestic and foreign policy, and international agreements that address youth sexual and reproductive health and rights.

 

Throughout the school year, council members serve as youth educators, advocates, and spokespeople on sexual and reproductive health issues and polices that affect young people around the world. They organize campus events, utilize online and traditional media outlets, conduct educational workshops, attend conferences, and lobby policy makers at the national and international level.

To Summarize:
-opportunities to shape policy from the local to international level

-resources to mobilize your communities

-meet some pretty fantastic people

-be fancy

Be a part of a movement to make youth voices heard!

Apply Now!

https://advocatesforyouth.wufoo.com/forms/international-youth-leadership-application/

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Talk to your parents about sex.  No, really.  Do it.  I’m being completely serious.

If your parents aren’t around and/or conversations with your parents never go well and you fear an extreme negative reaction, find a local clinic/Planned Parenthood and direct some of your questions there or do some research using the Internet or find a trusted adult who you can talk to.  The education is worth it especially with all the risks that do come with sex.

But if the worst that can happen from talking about sex with your parents is just awkwardness, then it’s definitely worth the try.  And it might not just be awkward for you, it’s probably this way for them too.  But they care about you.  And I’m sure you care about them, even if you’re not ready to admit that quite yet.

Studies show that the closer the relationship is between parents and children, the less likely it is that a teen pregnancy or an STI will occur.1  Open communication can only help. I know, I know.  Easier said than done.  So, how do we bring it up?  Mom or Dad hands you your lunch or allowance or whatever and you just go, “Hey, can we talk about sex?”  If that works for you, try that.  I mean, yeah.  Your parents will be caught off guard, but it’s better than never finding out what your parents know or if they’re willing to help you reach a better understanding of sex and all it entails.

You can also try pulling up some article from a magazine or off the Internet about sex education and/or prevention care and try discussing that with your parents, then casually ask questions about your own interest, but be sure to have those questions prepared.

Why would you want to ask your parents about sex?  Why is it so important to have comprehensive education not only from school but from your parents as well?

It’s just important to gather all the information you can about sex.  Let’s look at it this way.  There are approximately one billion people ages 15-24 in the whole world, and there are about 42 million in the United States.  48% of high school students are currently sexually active, and 62% of those teens report using a condom the last time they had sex. Just 62%.  That’s like a D minus.  But get this, in 2006, only 5% of American high schools made condoms available to students.2

Maybe you’re thinking, “How hard can putting a condom on be?”  It’s a good question.  You probably know all the necessary steps, like checking the expiration date on the package, opening it with just your fingers and never your teeth, squeezing the tip of the condom, when exactly to put it on, leaving a half-inch space at the tip, which side to roll down, etc.  And did you know that with typical use of a condom, 15 out of 100 people face an unintended pregnancy?  When condoms are used consistently and correctly, less than 2 people experience an unintended pregnancy.3  Almost half of all new infections are happening with people under 25, but only less than a third of these people know how to protect themselves from STIs and HIV.4  So, think about those numbers again.  Weigh the awkwardness and the importance of sex education together for a minute and decide what matters more to you.

For more facts, please click this link: http://www.advocatesforyouth.org/press-room/get-the-facts

SOURCES:
1) Journal of HIV/AIDS Prevention & Education for Adolescents & Children 5.3-4 (2003): 7-32.
2) http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/FB-ATSRH.html
3) http://www.advocatesforyouth.org/press-room/get-the-facts
4) http://www.advocatesforyouth.org/hiv-home 

 

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Click to watch: Fundamental Human Rights.

Every day, governments all over the world violate the fundamental human rights of millions of women. The Center for Reproductive Rights fights on the front lines every day to beat back these assaults — and Meryl Streep, Sarah Silverman, Amy Poehler, Billy Crudup, Audra McDonald, and many more are standing beside us in this call to action in the global battle for reproductive freedom.

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This is outside the State Capitol building in Lansing for a free viewing of The Vagina Monologues, in which Eve Ensler made an appearance on her day off, in support of Representative Lisa Brown and overall reproductive healthcare and rights this past summer.  I was definitely there.

Michigan is trying to pass what is considered the worst anti-abortion bill in the nation.

What HB 5177 entails:

1) Bans Abortions After 20 Weeks, Even For Rape And Incest Victims: A woman would not be able to have an abortion after 20 weeks of gestation based on the widely disputed idea that a fetus can feel pain after that point. The only exception would be if a woman’s life was in danger.

2) Transforms Doctors Into Detectives: The Republican-backed legislation would make it a crime for anyone to coerce a woman into having an abortion. Doctors will have to give their patients a questionnaire to inform them of the illegality of coercion and determine if the woman had been coerced or is the victim of domestic abuse before the abortion procedure.

3) Limits Access For Rural Women: Under the omnibus bill, doctors would have to be physically present to perform a medication abortion, thus preventing a doctor from administering abortion-inducing medication by consulting via telephone or internet. This would especially hurt rural women, who may have to travel hours to meet in-person with a specialist.

4) Requires Doctors To Purchase Costly Malpractice Insurance: If HB 5711 goes into effect, then doctors would be required to carry $1 million in liability insurance if they perform five or more abortions each month or have been subject to two more more civil suits in the past seven years, among other requirements. But the qualifications are so vague that almost all doctors who perform abortions could be requiredto carry the additional liability insurance at a potential cost of hundreds of thousands of dollars.

5) Regulates Clinics Out Of Existence: HB 5711 would create new regulations so that any clinic that provides six or more abortions in a month or one which advertises abortion services would have to be licensed as a “freestanding surgical outpatient facility.” That means that even if a clinic does not offer surgical abortions, it would be required to have a full surgical suite.

Click here to see the progress of the bill.

I hope I don’t get in trouble for this following one.  I don’t really think it’s profane.

You probably can’t see me, but I’m somewhere in here.  I’ll have to look it up but I think over 500 people were there.

 

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One of the things I like to do as the moderator for STFU, Pro-Life is share pro-choice music.  People ask me why I do this, how is it relevant, etc.  I just think it’s cool to know if our favorite bands or singer supports a cause that we believe in.  A lot of these artists actually put their money into supporting sexual and reproductive health and rights.  Giving them a shout out just seems like the thing to do.

As stated on the STFU, Pro-Life blog:

This is based on their support for Planned Parenthood (either by playing for feminist events and/or knowingly signing onto labels that donate to PP) and continuous work for feminism and overall pro-choice awesomeness. You might be surprised by some of these artists. And if there’s a musician(s) you know that’s pro-choice and it’s not on this list, let me know! Progress never sounded so good.

And here are some of the bands:

311
AdeleAgainst Me!

Against All Authority

A.K.As

Alanis Morisette

Alice in Chains

Alkaline Trio

Aimee Mann

Andrew Bird

Angels and Airwaves

Ani Difranco

Animal Collective

Anti-Flag

The Antlers

Aphex Twin

Archers of Loaf

Asobi Seksu

Ataris

Atlas Sound

Audio Karate

Au Revoir Simone

Avail

Bad Astronaut

Bad Religion

Barenaked Ladies

Bayside

Beach House

Beastie Boys

Beck

Beirut

Ben Folds

Ben Harper

Best Coast

Beyonce

Big D and the Kids Table

Bikini Kill

Billie Holiday

The Black Keys

Black Mountain

Blink 182

Bloc Party

Blondes

The Bloodsugars

Boards of Canada

Bob Marley

Bon Iver

Born Ruffians

Bouncer Fighter

Bright Eyes

Broadcast

Broken Social Scene

Brother

Bruce Springsteen

Bush

Caribou

Cat Power

Chaka Khan

Cher

Christina Aguilera

Clap Your Hands Say Yeah

Cloud Cult

Coldplay

Cornelius

The Cure

Crystal Antlers

Cyndi Lauper

Dam Funk

Dan Deacon

Danielson

Dar Williams

Dave Matthews Band

The Dears

Death Cab for Cutie

The Decemberists

Deer Hunter

Destroyer

Devendra Banhardt

Digable Planets

Dillinger Escape Plan

Dinosaur Jr.

Dirty Projectors

Discovery

Dixie Chicks

Dom

The Donnas

Dropkick Murphys

Dry the River

Editors

Ellie Goulding

Elvis Perkins

Emilie Autumn

Errors

Everclear

Everlast

Expensive Looks

The Explosion

Feist

Femi Kuti

Fish Bone

Flogging Molly

Florence and the Machine

Freelance Whales

Flying Lotus

Foo Fighters

Forest Fire

The Format

Four Tet

Fox and the Law 

fun.

Gang Gang Dance

Get Up Kids

Good Charlotte

Goo Goo Dolls

The Go Team

Green Day

Gregory and the Hawk

Grizzly Bear

Hayden

Henry Rollins

Hole

Holly Throsby

The Holograms

Hospitality

Hygiene Wilder

Iggy Pop

Indigo Girls

IUD

Janis Ian

Jessie J

Jewel

Jimi Hendrix

Joan Jett

Joanna Newsom

Johnny Cash

Justin Timberlake

Kate Nash

The Kennedys

Kings of Convenience

Kinky Friedman

Kitten Forever

Korn

Lady Gaga

Lenny Kravitz

Less Than Jake

Le Tigre

Lily Allen

Little Boots

Living Colour

Liz Phair

Ludacris

The Lunachicks

Madonna

The Magnetic Fields

Manic Street Preachers

Maps & Atlases

Marilyn Manson

Marina and the Diamonds

Marnie Stern

Mary J. Blige

Melissa Etheridge

Metric

Mirah

The Mountain Goats

The Mighty Mighty Bosstones

My Brightest Diamond

My Morning Jacket

The National

Neil Young

Neko Case

New Found Glory

The New Pornographers

Nice Nice

Nice Purse

Nina Simone

Nirvana

No Age

No Doubt

NOFX

No Rey

No Use For a Name

Odetta

The Offspring

Of Montreal

Passion Pit

Patti Smith

Pavement

Pearl Jam

Pennywise

Phantogram

Phish

Pink

The Postal Service

The Presidents of the United States

Queens of the Stone Age

Radiohead

Rage Against the Machine

The Raincoats

The Ramones

Rancid

Ra Ra Riot

Regina Spektor

Red Hot Chilli Peppers

R.E.M.

Rilo Kiley

Rise Against

RZA

Salt ‘n’ Pepa

Santana

Sarah McLachlan

The Scissor Sisters

Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings

Sheryl Crow

The Shins

Sigur Ros

Sleater-Kinney

Social Distortion

Sonic Youth

Sorry OK

Sound Garden

Stars

The States

Steel Train

Stone Temple Pilots

Straylight Run

Strike Anywhere

Sugarcult

Sum 41

The Summer Set

Surfer Blood

Sweet Secrets 

System of a Down

Ted Leo

Teenage Moods

Telekinesis

Tegan and Sara

Thao Nguyen

Thom Yorke

Those Darlins

Tom Waits

Tool

Tori Amos

Tupac Shakur

TV on the Radio

U2

Uh Huh Her

Usher

The Vacancy

Vampire Weekend

Veruca Salt

The Volcano Diary

Wavves

Whetherman

White Zombie

Wolf Mother

Wolf Parade

Women

Yann Tiersan

Yeasayer

Yellowcard

Yo La Tengo

Zola Jesus

 

 

 

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Everyone makes mistakes and accidents can sometimes happen. But none are as scary as the ones during sex – the condom breaking, forgetting to take birth control or not using protection at all. If any of these happen to you (or someone you know) and a concern about pregnancy follows, there is emergency contraception to prevent an unintended pregnancy.

Emergency contraception is a safe and effective way to prevent pregnancy after unprotected intercourse. It’s commonly known as the morning-after pill. Brand names of the morning-after pill are ella, Next Choice, and Plan B One-Step. Emergency contraception works by keeping a woman’s ovaries from releasing eggs and prevents pregnancy from happening because there is no egg to join with the sperm. If the sperm has already joined with the egg, however, emergency contraception WILL NOT work. Emergency contraception DOES NOT cause an abortion.

Also, there is no harm in taking the “Morning After” pill more than once. Your uterus won’t fall out or you won’t become barren! Emergency contraception is safe and effective to use. The only side effect from using emergency contraception more than once is that your menstrual cycle may become irregular. To be sure you are not pregnant and that emergency contraception worked, take a pregnancy test two weeks after taking the morning after pill. If you do become pregnant despite taking the “Morning After” pill and want to continue the pregnancy, it does not increase the risk of birth defects.

Lastly, do not use emergency contraception as a permanent method of birth control. There are so many fabulous methods out there you can choose from that will be much cheaper on a long term basis. No matter what you choose though, always remember that SAFE SEX is the best sex and only you can be in charge of YOUR sexual health!

Check out Planned Parenthood’s website for more information on the “Morning After” pill and other methods of birth control.

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blog.tellthemsc.org/2012/06/aaron-searches-for-emergency-contraception-at-the-university-of-south-carolina/

Check out this blog from S.W.A.R.M. (Students With A Responsible Message) council member Aaron about his experience looking for emergency contraception around the University of South Carolina campus. Spoiler alert: yeah…it’s not easy to get!

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Sunday morning, a 24-year-old woman was raped in an apartment complex. She contacted her mother, who drove her to the nearest hospital (Integris Canadian Valley Hospital) to receive medical care for her assault. When they got there however, mother and daughter were shocked when the doctor assigned to her treatment informed them that due to budget cuts, there were no Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners on permanent staff to provide a rape kit. SANE nurses are specially trained and work only with rape victims, ensuring “the proper collection, preservation, and documentation of evidence” be provided to local law enforcement and the District Attorney “without re-traumatizing the victim.” Apparently, someone thought it was good enough to have SANE staff rotate monthly between four hospitals, each about 25- 35 minutes away from each other.

Worse, even though the hospital had emergency contraception available on hand and was not religiously affiliated, the doctor refused to provide emergency contraception to the young woman, based solely on the fact that it was against her “conscience.” In Oklahoma, and many other states, this is legal. “Conscience clauses” mean that if a medical provider has any personal, moral, or religious objection to performing or providing any specific act, they have the right to refuse care.

In an interview with KWTV News, the rape victim’s mother describes her shock and disappointment with how her daughter was treated.

“I was shocked that they wouldn’t provide treatment to a rape victim.”

“Her attitude was so condescending. It was like she was treating my daughter like she had done something wrong.”

My daughter said, “Is it you that won’t give [emergency contraception] to me? Do you have them here, and you just won’t give them to me?” And she said, “That’s right. I will not give you emergency contraceptives because it goes against my beliefs.”
“Even though she’d been advised that your daughter had just been raped?”
“Yes. Absolutely. She knew my daughter had just been raped.”

Reporter: Rhonda says at no time did the doctor offer to get another doctor at Canadian Valley Hospital to see them or to help her daughter.

“Her attitude was so judgmental. And I felt like she was just judging my daughter.”

This is yet another big problem because although the doctor had a right to personally refuse care, she also had “an obligation to minimize disruption in delivery of care,” which she clearly did not provide.

Rhonda decided to take her daughter to Integris Baptist Medical Center in Oklahoma City, where she was relieved to see that her daughter was given proper medical care and treated with respect.

“She was treated so well there. The staff, the doctors, the SANE examiners, they were just so wonderful to her. She stopped feeling like she was at fault.”

It is beyond comprehension how someone with a medical degree would reject medical science. It is impossible that this young woman was pregnant, having come to the hospital the day she was raped. That’s just not how pregnancy works, and a doctor should know that. IF her ovary had released an egg sometime in the past 24 hours and was making its way through her fallopian tube, and IF her rapist hadn’t been wearing a condom, and IF one of his sperm had reached the egg by the time she got to the hospital, she would STILL be about 8 to 11 days away from the fertilized egg becoming fully implanted in her uterus, making her officially pregnant. This means that there is absolutely no way for the doctor to object to emergency contraception on the basis that it would end a pregnancy. And then she has the gall to talk down to this woman whose been raped, as if she can’t believe that anyone who was forced to have sex wouldn’t love to become a mother because of it. This woman doesn’t deserve to practice medicine if she’s going to prioritize religiously-influenced beliefs over provable medical facts.

I’m working on gathering more information on this doctor, including confirming her name, determining if any disciplinary action is going to be taken, and if she has a history of providing inadequate care. I’ll provide updates as the story progresses. In the meantime, you can contact the hospital through their website if you’d like to voice your opinion

~ Samantha
Community Editor

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The Pill. For many of us who are members of Generation Y, the pill is as universally known to us as the internet. It is a very easy form of birth control that is 99% effective at preventing pregnancy, when taken as instructed. The pill should be taken everyday at the same time in order to be effective. The pill does not protect against sexually transmitted diseases and should always be used with a condom or some other barrier device. Also in an emergency, one could take extra doses of the pill, his has the same effectiveness as an emergency contraceptive pill. For more information on birth control pills and emergency contraception, please visit www.bedsider.org and www.carolinateenhealth.org.

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Your youth is supposed to be some of the greatest years of your life, filled with excitement and fun-filled parties, nights out to bars and going to concerts. However, that group outing to the hottest club or that night out on the town can turn horribly wrong if you are not careful. On college campuses specifically, sexual assault involves the use of alcohol or drugs 90% of the time and more than 75% of college students who experience unwanted intercourse are under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time of the incident. April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month and with end of the semester and graduation parties approaching, it is important you keep yourself safe – especially from people you do not know.

Date rape drugs are powerful and especially dangerous because they often have no odor, color, or taste. They cause the individual who has consumed them to become weak, confused or to even pass out. Three of the most common date rape drugs are Rohypnol, nicknamed ruffies, GHB, and Ketamine. The have become known as “club drugs” because they tend to be used at dance clubs, concerts and raves. They come in a pill, powder and liquid form.

These drugs are legal when lawfully used for medical purposes and should only be used under a doctor’s order and care. While these drugs may have to be made or obtained illegally to use, another drug that is easier to come by and can have similar effects is alcohol. Alcohol is a drug and can affect one’s judgment and can put a person at risk for unwanted or risky sexual activity just like Ketamine, GHB or Rohypnol.

Some good ways to protect yourself are:
• DO NOT accept drinks from people you do not know or drinks you did not see prepared.
• Keep your drink with you at ALL TIMES, even when you go to the bathroom. If you realized you left your drink unattended, DO NOT drink it.
• DO NOT drink anything that tastes or smells strange.
• Have a non-drinking friend with you.
• If you feel drunk and have not drunk alcohol or feel the effects are stronger than they should be, get help right away.
• Attend parties in groups and never leave a party without accounting for those you came with. ALWAYS pre-plan a safe, sober ride home.

For a full list of nicknames of the common date rape drugs, effects of the drugs, what to do if you think you have been a victim or for a list of people to contact about date rape drugs check out Women’s Health or Kansas State University Counseling Services. You can also check out Date Rape Drugs for more information on other reliable sources.

And please remember that if you or someone you know should find yourself a survivor of sexual assault, you will want to report the incident, get tested for STDs/HIV, and exercise your right to seek Emergency Contraception as a pregnancy prevention option; EC is available at most local pharmacies, family planning clinics, and Planned Parenthood. For more information on EC, please visit www.morningafterinfo.org.

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Amplify has the stories you need to hear! With so many great contributors from all over the world, you definitely don’t want you to miss out on the top insightful and informative stories of the week. Check in each week for a list of must-read posts. Whether it’s a national story or a individual experience, these are the issues you care about!

March 25- March 31

Stats this week: 19 posts by 15 writers

Why EC=BC: Emergency Contraception is a Form of Birth Control- by Amplify_Staff

Inside this post:

Over the last two months, religious opposition to insurance coverage for birth control, right-wing resistance to the Affordable Care Act, and GOP presidential nominees’ attacks on family planning created a perfect storm of anti-EC propaganda that not only threatens to set our advocacy back by years, but risks discouraging women from using this safe, effective method of preventing pregnancy.

The Broward Youth Council supports LGBT Rights!- by Jenny_BCYC

Inside this post:

However, Florida Statute 1003.46 implicitly forbids teaching gay students about HIV prevention, requiring that HIV/AIDS education in schools promotes “monogamous heterosexual marriage” and teaches “the expected standard for all students is abstinence outside of marriage.”
As advocates of comprehensive sexual education, we think that it is important to include LGBT language in our curriculums.

“Factors affecting abortion decisions amongst young couples in Nepal”- by PragunMhr

Inside this post:

Only 39 percent of currently married women report using a modern method of contraception. Furthermore, contraceptive use amongst young women is very low compared with that reported by older women. Only nine per cent of women aged 15-19 years are currently using a modern method of contraception, compared with 52 per cent of women aged 35-39 years.

Supreme Court Victory: Trans* Inmates Must Receive Surgery And Hormones- by Jordan

Inside this post:

So, now, those inmates who are being denied necessary treatment have the Supremes on their side and now must receive treatment for their condition. And perhaps there may be redemption for certain prisoners, as their feelings of hopelessness which lead to the transgressions that they have committed can be adequately addressed in an institutionalized setting through hormone therapy, surgery, and other responses, and can then have a smooth transition to the outside world once released.

Thank you to everyone who posted a blog this week! You are part of what makes this community great!

~ Samantha
Community Editor

——————————–
My blog this week:
New Shave Gel Ad Puts a $10,000 Value on What’s In Your Pants

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By Andrea Miller, NARAL Pro-Choice New York/NIRH

Editor’s Note: This article was cross-posted from RH Reality Check’s 2012 Back Up Your Birth Control series.

The claim started out on the lips of the Catholic bishops and anti-choice activists: Obamacare will mandate coverage for abortion-causing drugs – by which they meant emergency contraception (EC), a form of birth control (BC) that does not actually terminate a pregnancy. But that little detail didn’t seem to matter. Soon anti-choice politicians jumped on the bandwagon. Before long the mainstream media was uncritically repeating the mantra. In a moment of directorial carelessness or simple misunderstanding, a popular television show even got in on propagating the lie that emergency contraception is an abortifacient.

Today is the 11th Annual Back Up Your Birth Control (BUYBC) Day of Action. For 11 years, this campaign has served a dual purpose: increasing consumer knowledge about EC and advocating that it be available and accessible for anyone who needs a second chance to prevent pregnancy.

For more than a decade, the campaign has spread the word that EC is a safe and effective method of birth control that can prevent pregnancy when taken up to five days after sex, while also providing a forum for increased activism around making EC available over-the-counter for people of all ages. In a serious battle for women’s reproductive freedom, the Back Up Your Birth Control campaign has been a vehicle to infuse a little levity into the debate, reach new and diverse audiences, and keep ourselves sane. Using iconic pop cultural images, at-times irreverent messages, and guerilla-style tactics, thousands of people have engaged in street action, online activism, and good old-fashioned public education about this important birth control method.

It (almost) makes me feel old that I remember when a dedicated EC product was first made available by prescription in 1998, even though women’s health advocates knew for more than a decade prior that the hormones found in many birth control pills could be used after sex to prevent pregnancy. It (almost) makes me tired to remember that it then took constant advocacy, consumer education, lawsuits, court orders, and a scathing GAO report over the course of the next seven years before the FDA approved EC for over-the-counter access for those 18 years and older – a significant step yet one that ignored the scientific studies finding that EC was safe and effective for all ages. And it definitely makes me mad that, to this day, the “behind-the-counter” status conferred on this safe, effective contraceptive requires everyone to request EC from a pharmacist and present a government-issued ID to get it. What gives me hope is that, while the pace is glacial at times, there has been progress.

In 2009, we won over-the-counter access for 17-year-olds, and, this year, we anticipated science was finally – FINALLY – going to trump politics. The FDA was set to make EC available over-the-counter for all ages, which would have made EC available next to the condoms and pregnancy tests at pharmacies, grocery stores, and other retailers, without the need for prescriptions or proof of age. (For undocumented people, those too intimidated to ask the pharmacist for EC, or those in the suburbs or rural communities, where you might have to drive 20 miles just to buy a potato, much less EC, this would have been huge.)

But it was also too good to be true. In an unprecedented move, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius swept in to override the FDA’s decision. Then, the President – who so often speaks passionately as a parent who wants a better future for his daughters – made the groan-inducing claim that “The reason Kathleen made this decision is that she could not be confident that a 10-year-old or an 11-year-old going to a drugstore should be able — alongside bubble gum or batteries — be able to buy a medication that potentially, if not used properly, could have an adverse effect.”

We barely had time to regroup and take stock after this unscientific, but sadly unsurprising, attack on EC before we witnessed an even more powerful backlash of a different sort. Over the last two months, religious opposition to insurance coverage for birth control, right-wing resistance to the Affordable Care Act, and GOP presidential nominees’ attacks on family planning created a perfect storm of anti-EC propaganda that not only threatens to set our advocacy back by years, but risks discouraging women from using this safe, effective method of preventing pregnancy. And it’s not just consumers who are affected. Health care providers, pharmacists, educators, parents, and others also need and deserve to have correct and truthful information about what EC is, how it works, and who can purchase it.

This year, the Back Up Your Birth Control campaign is addressing the lies head-on. Our theme is as simple as it is scientifically accurate: EC=BC. EC is a form of birth control. It will not end a pregnancy – not that there’s anything wrong with that, if it is the best decision for a woman and her family. EC will not interfere with a fertilized egg that has already implanted. There is no controversy here, and the scientific and medical communities are unanimous. EC=BC.

So, hoping to reach beyond our usual suspects again this year, we have launched www.ECequalsBC.tumblr.com. Check it out, pass it along, add your own images and thoughts, and join with us as we refuse to leave misinformation unchallenged and insist on creating a conversation in which contraception – of any sort – is the norm and a no-brainer.

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In December of 2011, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius overruled the FDA’s recommendation that the emergency contraception pill Plan B OneStep be permitted to be sold over the counter. Sebelius expressed concern that younger teens and pre-teens were not cognitively advanced enough to use the product without talking to a health care professional. Research published in April’s issue of Obstetrics and Gynecology explored this supposed potential misunderstanding of how to use Plan B by providing an EC product to young women who requested it at a clinic, but not providing further instruction, simply allowing them to read the label. Researchers found that 92 percent of the women in the study correctly selected to use or not use the product, and 93 percent used it according to the instructions on the label. They also found that correct use of the product was not associated with age. That is, a 13 year old was as capable of assessing her need for EC, and taking EC, as was a 17 year old.

Researchers observe that only 3 percent of young people initiate sexual activity before age 13, so therefore, the study’s age range represents the majority of youth ages 17 and under who are in need of emergency contraception. (And, even if participants did use the product incorrectly, it would not cause harm beyond the product’s typical side effects of headache and nausea; Plan B cannot harm an established pregnancy.)

Meanwhile, additional recent research found that some pharmacists are misinformed about EC: in a study in the journal Pediatrics, one-fifth told callers they believed to be 17 years old that they could not access emergency contraception, and 43 percent gave incorrect information about at what age teens can acquire EC without a prescription. While pharmacists can be great partners in helping young people access emergency contraception, including emergency contraception, if they don’t have correct information they create a barrier: a barrier that would not exist if emergency contraception were available over the counter. Common sense says young women can decide if they need EC, and they can take Plan B OneStep’s one pill correctly – and science says so too.

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 http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/09/the-rosie-show-chelsea-handler-abortion-video_n_1264676.html?ref=chelsea-handler

Wow.
I don’t know about you but it pisses me off that every time a woman says she’s had an abortion – she is judged for making the right choice for her and her situation. This time Chelsea Handler is under attack.
Now I don’t know about you, but I love comedy. Watching Chelsea Lately’s mix of comedy, news, and celebrity interviews is one of my favorite parts of the weekend. I know she’s made mistakes (we’re all human) but I love her.
She’s revealed the fact that she had an abortion at 16 (quite commendable since it’s a rather personal experience and because of the irrational stigma) on the Rosie O’Donnell show on Wednesday 8, February 2012. Since then, some people (anti-choicers and even some pro-choicers) have come from left and right declaring their opinions on her choice.
Personally, I’m glad abortions are legal (although they’re under constant attack in red states) in the US and I’m not sure why anyone would think to judge her.
_ She was only 16 at the time; it’s not as if she would have been a responsible mother – financially or emotionally. (I believe every child should be wanted and that they should be cared for by capable parents)
_ Her parents did inform her that they wouldn’t help her raise it. (Fine by me – grandparents aren’t supposed to be raising their grandkids except for sad cases where both parents pass away and the children’s aunts or uncles can’t care for them for some reason)
_ If she’d had the child the same people who’re complaining about her having an abortion would be complaining about having to pay welfare for her child. (One reason I support free contraception and the right to have an abortion is because I believe in personal responsibility. If a person has a child; they should be able to provide for that child. I don’t believe it should be my responsibility and/or my fellow taxpayers’ responsibility to pay for that child for 18yrs.)
_ If she’d had the child and given it up to the state foster care system, she’d have added one more child to our broken foster care system.
Don’t judge a person for having an abortion unless you’re willing to take care of that potential child for 18+ years (and even then abortion isn’t just about being pregnant and unable to provide for a child – it’s about the choice to not be a parent. It’s not something everyone wants to be and once you have a child, you’re a parent for life.) Ultimately, abortions are unselfish acts. If that potential child had been born – it would’ve been born to unfit, unready, unloving parents or to parents who loved their child to death but had absolutely no way to provide for it.
And if the potential child was born and placed for adoption it would most likely bounce from foster home to foster home (some of which are dangerous and/or abusive – many have been shown to use multiple phsycotrophic drugs unnecessarily) for its whole life if it doesn’t get adopted within the first five years of its life (research shows that as a child ages; its chances of getting adopted start dropping.) And depending on the woman’s ethnicity the child may have a low chance of getting adopted (research shows that Caucasian babies have a higher chance of getting adopted than babies of minorities.) Not to mention some women personally don’t agree with adoption (though they’re probably fine with others doing it) and will view it as letting strangers raise their child – something they aren’t comfortable with. And the fact that not many foster care children actually get adopted.
In short, no one (pro-choice or anti-choice) has the right to judge a woman for her choice. Chelsea Handler has said she’s glad she decided to have one. She’s said that she wouldn’t have the career she loves today if she hadn’t. And isn’t that what abortions for? A tool (when BC and emergency contraception fail) to help woman stay in control of their bodies and lives to help them fulfill each and every dream they have.
Sources on Adoption and Foster Care Information:
http://abcnews.go.com/US/study-shows-foster-children-high-rates-prescription-psychiatric/story?id=15058380
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/04/18/foster-children_n_845894.html
http://www.davethomasfoundation.org/news_story/national-adoption-month-foster-care-adoption-statistics/

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Each week, I’ll be posting a list of the most news-worthy and/or inspirational, informative, well-written, thought-provoking, and/or unique posts of the week. While every post and every contributor is valuable to our community, these are the blogs that I feel are must-reads.

December 4- December 10

Stats this week: 39 posts by 26 writers

BCSSH Sex Files #16: The Busy Woman’s Guide to Health Care Reform- by bcssh

Inside this post:

Since all of this legal jargon can be tricky even for the Pre-Law students among us, we’ve broken down the things we think every woman should know about the Affordable Care Act, and possible threats to it.

Who Knew Fundamental Rights Could Disappear in a Heartbeat?- by OberlinSURF

Inside this post:

Learn more about the anti-abortion “heartbeat bill” in Ohio.

In Emergency Contraception Decision, Obama Administration Undermines Young People and Women’s Health- by Amplify_Staff

Inside this post:

Against the recommendation from the Food and Drug Administration, the Department of Health and Human Services have decided that young people under age 17 will not be able to buy emergency contraception without a prescription.

Myths and Messages About HIV- by Media_Justice

Inside this post:

Here are some of the top questions and myths I receive and challenge/rectify when providing HIV education in high schools…


10 Must-Read Reactions to President Obama’s Emergency Contraception Decision
- by AFY_Nikki

Inside this post:

Here, President Obama and Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius are the objects of outrage for good reason: their decision to reject the clear-cut medical science in this case exposes their willingness to sacrifice young people and women’s health in the interest of continuing a cowardly brand of politics.

Thank you to everyone who posted a blog this week! You are part of what makes this community great!

~ Samantha
Community Editor

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I am absolutely outraged with President Obama for supporting the Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius’ decision to enforce age restrictions on Plan-B One Step (emergency contraception) for individuals 17 years of age and younger.

Essentially President Obama is afraid that 10 and 12 year old girls will take/use Plan B (the morning-after pill) without supervision or guidance and get hurt. President Obama is afraid that young girls/women can go inside a drug store alongside bubble gum and batteries and buy a medication, which if not used properly could potentially have an adverse affect. President Obama says, "And I think most parents would feel the same way."

President Obama, I think you are wrong. I believe most parents would rather have their daughter have unrestricted access to PlanB than to find them pregnant. It is already difficult to have conversations about sexual activity with one’s parents. Plan B is most effective if used within 72 hours of unprotected sex. If a young person who is sexually active has had difficulty talking about sex for their entire upbringing, why would President Obama assume the young person would come up with the courage to have this conversation within recommended time frame?

So if the young woman cannot have this conversation with her parent/guardian so she can get Plan B, then where will she go? It only makes the situation more difficult, and I believe this will lead more young women to make more difficult decisions in the future.

Why are we punishing young women for engaging in sexual activity? I believe President Obama decided to oppose the FDA’s recommendation because he is worried political opponents will accuse him of "giving young girls permission to have sex." But his fears won’t stop young people from having sex – and it won’t stop them from needing Plan B. President Obama needs to understand that people are sexual beings and sex is an action that occurs, and young people engage in sexual activity. He is trying to not make Plan B be a panacea for young women who choose to have unprotected sex. I understand this, however, he needs to provide another option, and there is no other option on the table at this moment for young women 17 and under.

The fact is that he is hoping that young people will communicate with their parents regarding their sexual life is a difficult feat in itself, and could potentially lead to young women having to turn to abortion because the former option of preventing pregnancy through the option of Plan B has already been taken off of the table.

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Last week, we were all psyched because the Food and Drug Administration recommended that Plan B One-Step (also known as emergency contraception) be approved over-the-counter for women and young people of all ages…then the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) gave the FDA the shaft, with Secretary Kathleen Sebelius ruling that younger adolescents don’t have the same capacity to think as critically as their older peers. Everybody had something to say about it, including Jessica Valenti, Jezebel, NARAL, The Washington Post, doctors groups, The New York Times, the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, and RH Reality Check.

Then President Obama decided to defend the Secretary Sebelius’s decision, stating that, as a father of two daughters, the government should "apply some common sense" — as opposed to what? Listening to science? While I understand President Obama’s stance and I can see where Secretary Sebelius is coming from to a certain degree, I also understand a couple of things:

  1. 2012 is an election year: This is really about the Obama administration taking all necessary routes to make sure that Obama is re-elected in 2012. What better way to assist in that than by appealing to the "moral consciousness" of many people who are undecided if they should vote for Obama or for the yet-unknown Republican candidate, and by throwing young people under the bus in the process?

  2. Making access to contraception more difficult can result in negative consequences: If a 16-year-old cannot get access to Plan B, the chances of experiencing an unwanted pregnancy or having an abortion increase significantly. Thus, if the goal is to decrease the number of abortion procedures and the number of teen pregnancies, it makes sense to provide everyone with access to an array of birth control options, including emergency contraception. Emergency contraception is safe when used as directed, and it can stop unwanted pregnancies from occurring. This is why comprehensive sex education, combined with parent-child communication, is extremely important.

  3. All young people are not the same: Secretary Sebelius’s statement that younger adolescents may not have the same capacity to think as critically as their older peers makes sense on a surface level, but in working with young people throughout the years, I know that not all young people think alike, act alike, and many are more mature and can think critically than many adults give them credit for. In fact, I believe I know more young people who know what Plan B than older adults. Sebelius provided no scientific evidence that would actually say why the FDA is incorrect in their recommendation. To say that younger adolescents do not know how to effectively read a label and take the correct dosage (or that they wouldn’t be able to go to their nearest clinic or to a trusted adult if they have questions) is bizarre and condescending.

  4. The same HHS that vetoed the FDA’s recommendation on Plan B is the same HHS that recommended health insurance companies provide birth control prescriptions with no co-pay starting August 2012: Was the HHS thinking about any potential damaging consequences when this recommendation was made?

  5. Medical science should always prevail: Common sense isn’t so common when it’s used to trump scientific evidence. Politics should not win out over medical science. I expected for President Obama to focus more on the best medical and scientific research.

Though teen birth rates have steadily declined over the years, young women of color still experience unintended pregnancies at a disproportionate rate.

These are some reasons why not making Plan B available over-the-counter affects young women of color:

  1. Significant barriers: Youth of color experience more financial, cultural, and institutional barriers in obtaining health care compared to white youth, and many youth of color are receiving limited access to medical services that can aid in their overall health and wellbeing. Denying young women of color access to emergency contraception over-the-counter, when they are already receiving little or no medical services, places them in a precarious situation.

  2. Abortions on the rise: Women of color are having abortions at higher rates than white women, often because of financial constraints. With no access to Plan B, the rates of abortion will continue to rise for young women, especially young women of color.

  3. Limited proper identification: In order to get any type of prescription, one will need access to proper identification outside of a school ID. How many young people are walking around with proper identification? This can definitely be a problem for young immigrant women.

  4. Negotiating condom use: This places an even greater burden on young women of color who have difficulty in negotiating condom use with their sexual partners.

Yes, President Obama may have been thinking of his daughters when he defended the HHS’s decision to overrule the FDA. However, many young women of color may not be growing up in homes where they have access to healthcare services that the Obama children most likely have. In order to work towards decreasing the rates of unintended pregnancies and abortion for young women of color, we need to make Plan B available for all young people.

Take action with me and many others in telling the Obama administration and HHS to stop preventing the FDA from recommending scientifically based and sound decisions for the health and lives of women and young people.

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Dr. Susan Wood never thought that she’d see this day again.

In August 2005, Wood resigned from her position as Assistant Commissioner and Director of the Office of Women’s Health at the Food and Drug Administration in protest of the Bush administration’s refusal to grant Plan B One-Step emergency contraception over-the-counter status.

In an interview earlier this week with MSNBC’s Chris Hayes, Wood discussed the Obama administration’s new politically motivated restrictions on Plan B and its unprecedented overruling of its own top medical scientists. The interview is a must-watch:

Also check out Wood’s recent Op-Ed in The Washington Post. Here’s an excerpt:

In his scientific integrity memo [from March 2009], [President Obama] stated:


"When scientific or technological information is considered in policy decisions, the information should be subject to well-established scientific processes, including peer review where appropriate, and each agency should appropriately and accurately reflect that information in complying with and applying relevant statutory standards."

In overturning the well-considered, scientifically based decision of the FDA, Sebelius and the Department of Health and Human Services certainly did not "appropriately and accurately reflect" the available scientific information. Her precedent-setting action undermines the principles of scientific integrity and science-based policymaking — and could pave the way for a future HHS secretary to overrule the FDA in other areas.

The president should stand by the principles of scientific integrity and restore science to its rightful place. He should support the FDA commissioner and direct the secretary to allow the agency to do its job. By doing so he will fulfill the promise of that beautiful day in March 2009 when he pledged that science would trump politics, not the other way around.

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Disappointed doesn’t cut it anymore.

Disappointed, angry, dismayed — these are only some of the emotions I am feeling this afternoon after hearing President Obama’s poor excuse for restricting access to Plan B One Step.

I am also scared.

Scared about the health of my daughters. As the mother of two daughters, just like President Obama, I try to use "common sense" as much as possible. But, also like President Obama, I am not a doctor; I am not a scientist. I use my own judgment when it comes to things I am confident I can handle — a case of the sniffles, a little cold.

But, I also understand that it is my responsibility as a parent to know when I don’t know all the answers and it’s time to turn to experts. And that, apparently, is where the President and I disagree.

When my daughter’s pediatrician gives me medical advice, I listen. Carefully. American Academy of Pediatrics and the Society of Adolescent Health and Medicine make recommendations about my daughters’ health, that matters to me. A lot. And I believe it should.

Today, President Obama has made the irresponsible — and nearly incomprehensible — decision to support HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius’ move to block the FDA from expanding access to Plan B One-Step emergency contraception. Whether the President’s decision was motivated by well-intentioned ignorance or political cowardice is beside the point. Either way, this move will adversely impact millions of women, particularly young women, across the country.

President Obama has decided to ignore scientific research and medical advice and has sacrificed the health of young women. And I want to know why. Why, Mr. President? Why would you reject years of research and the best scientific thinking the medical community has to offer? Why, for the first time in U.S. history, did your administration intervene to overrule the FDA’s ability to make decision about medical science?

On Monday, I was optimistic. The FDA was expected to expand the availability of Plan B One-Step, a form of back-up birth control that can prevent pregnancy after unprotected sex or if something goes wrong with regular contraception. Indeed, the FDA tried to do just that: make Plan B One-Step available to all women — without age restrictions and without needing a prescription. If either of my daughters ever needs back-up birth control, I hope I will be among the first to know and I would help them in whatever way I could. But, life is not always as we want it to be, and therefore, it is essential that young people have the access to the information and services they need to ensure their health and safety. I thought we were headed in this direction on Monday. But, my optimism suddenly turned to dismay.

Yesterday, in a shocking move, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius took the unprecedented step of overruling the FDA and blocking its decision to expand access to emergency contraception. I held out a brief hope that President Obama would intervene and allow the FDA to do its job unhampered by politics, but those hopes were soon dashed as well. Today, President Obama came out in support of Secretary Sebelius’ action – and, in doing so, decided to play politics with the lives and health of young women.

To say I was shocked when listening to the President is an understatement. It’s not just that I disagree with his position, it’s that his reasoning is so hollow and unsubstantiated. This Harvard-educated legal scholar who has signed presidential directives about the importance of science-based policy suddenly sounded eerily like Rep. Michelle Bachman. He framed his reasoning “as the father of two daughters,” when my own two daughters most needed him to be acting like the President of the United States. He invoked the specter of 11 year-olds buying Plan B next to “bubble gum and batteries,” as if 11 year-olds wander into CVS to buy $50 medications every afternoon. In the end, he felt that these concerns should overweigh the best advice of every major medical organization, years of research, and the recommendations of the FDA itself. How is this different than Rep. Bachman condemning HPV vaccines because of unscientific misinformation from a woman in the grocery store?

I understand that President Obama is uncomfortable with the idea that young teens may need emergency contraception. That worries me too. Rather than deny them access to a fully safe medication that could help prevent unintended pregnancy, perhaps we should be doubling down on comprehensive sex education — and expanding access to contraception in the first place — so that fewer of our daughters ever need Plan B at all. But, for those who do, we still have a responsibility to make sure that any woman who needs emergency contraception has access to it when they need it.

As I write this my daughters are at school and I am figuring out how to get them a quick dinner before heading off to a school holiday party this evening. Of all the other things, on my to do list today as a working mom, I really did not believe I would be writing about my shock and disappointment in President Obama and, yes, my fear for my daughters’ future.

Was this part of a back-room deal, trading away the rights of all our daughters for some inside-the-beltway political ploy? Mr. President, why? I still want to know. I need something more than your current, cowardly excuses.

Mr. President, many of us were stunned by your remarks today. We need a better explanation for why you decided to sacrifice my daughters’ safety and well-being.

I hope you will join me in expressing your outrage and demanding that President Obama reverse this decision. CLICK HERE TO TAKE ACTION.

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By now, the Obama administration must realize the political firestorm that it has created for itself by overruling the Food and Drug Administration and refusing to expand the availability of emergency contraception to women of reproductive age.

Here, President Obama and Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius are the objects of outrage for good reason: their decision to reject the clear-cut medical science in this case exposes their willingness to sacrifice young people and women’s health in the interest of continuing a cowardly brand of politics.

Earlier today, President Obama publicly defended the sudden restrictions on over-the-counter emergency contraception (while simultaneously deflecting blame for this decision). Watch him explain his thinking by citing the non-reason that he is the "father of two daughters" (wait — I am the father of two daughters, and therefore I’m happy to support something that degrades their long-term health?):


(Video from ThinkProgress)

The President may think that this petty maneuvering improves his 2012 election chances, but to this we can only say: you should read and listen to all of the condemnation today. Editorial boards across the country, basically the entire progressive movement, and countless women’s rights and reproductive health organizations and advocates have denounced this administration for selling out and bartering away our health care. This isn’t something that anyone’s going to easily forget.

Below we’ve compiled some must-read reactions to the Obama administration’s emergency contraception reversal:


Jodi Jacobson via RH Reality Check:

Why?

I have one word. P.O.L.I.T.I.C.S.

If we have been reminded of one thing in the past several months, it is that politicians and religious leaders alike will, when it suits them, marginalize the rights and needs of women to advance their own interests and need for power. And somewhere, someone in the Obama Administration, perhaps the president himself, gave the cue to HHS to overrule the FDA decision. And clearly, as she sometimes did as governor of Kansas, Sebelius did the deed.

Because apparently the health and rights of women do not matter, but placating the far right does. Because apparently helping teens actually prevent unintended pregnancies isn’t an authentic a goal of this administration. Perhaps it was among the topics on which President Obama came to "understand the concerns of Catholics [read: the 281 bishops]," as Archbishop Timothy Dolan assured The New York Times after his private meeting with the president.


Amanda Marcotte via Reuters:

Teva Pharmaceuticals, the Israeli manufacturer of Plan B, met every standard the FDA uses to evaluate whether or not a drug should be sold over-the-counter with no age restrictions, and they met the standards years ago. In 2005, Bush administration officials also hijacked the over-the-counter approval process, citing vague concerns about the decision-making skills of the under-18 set. The Government Accountability Office excoriated the politicized process that kept Plan B behind the pharmacist counter, noting that out of the 67 proposed prescription-to-OTC switches considered from 1994 to 2004, Plan B was the only one whose application was denied despite the advisory committee’s recommendation for approval.

In other words, we’re seeing a pattern.

  1. Teva applies to sell Plan B over the counter.

  2. The medical experts weigh the evidence and agree with their application.

  3. But political appointees with ties to the White House block the switch, citing vague concerns about the decision-making abilities of teenagers.


The Abortion Gang:

It’s hard to understand how the Secretary thought there was good reason to contradict the FDA, especially when many clinicians, members of Congress, reproductive rights advocates and healthcare professionals saw no evidence to prevent Plan B from being over-the-counter. In fact, the effort to make emergency contraception available to all people of reproductive age started six years ago. In 2005, Susan Wood resigned from the FDA because of delays in approving Plan B over the counter. Today, she’s quoted in the Washington Post, saying:
"There is no rationale that can justify HHS reaching in and overturning the FDA on the decision about this safe and effective contraception. I never thought I’d see this happen again."


Digby:

Good news. It looks like we’ve finally gotten the long awaited post-partisan achievement: the Democrats have joined the war on science. And women! It’s a twofer…


A New York Times Editorial:

Kathleen Sebelius, the secretary of health and human services, reversed the decision, arguing that younger girls, those 11 or 12 years old, have different cognitive and behavioral skills than older girls. She offered no evidence to challenge her agency’s in-depth analysis. And it is hard not to see this as anything but an effort to blunt Republican criticism in the presidential campaign or shield the FDA budget from retaliation. Unfortunately, the losers will be young girls who need easy access to the pill.


Kaili Joy Gray via Daily Kos:

In other words, there isn’t enough evidence that a 15-year-old girl has the "cognitive" and "behavioral" ability to read a label and properly take a pill. So, since it’s "common knowledge" that girls under 17 are too stupid and/or immature to undertand how to read a label, it’s safer for them if they have to first get to a doctor who will write them a prescription they can take to the pharmacy — all within 72 hours. Which should be easy for a kid to do, right?


Lorraine Berry via RH Reality Check:

I really thought you were going to hold the football steady this time, Obama. I really did.

I’m an idiot. I keep hoping against hope that you’re not going to throw women under the bus. That you can stand up to the ladies who swoon at the Concerned Women for America. You think they’re going to vote for you because you said no to Plan B?


Matt Langer via Wonkette:

Make no mistake: Sebelius didn’t go rogue here; there is no doubt in our minds that she was carrying out marching orders from an administration now fully in re-election mode and — for reasons we’re trying and utterly failing to wrap our heads around — fearing backlash from a conservative bloc that regularly sends people like Mark Foley to Congress and Ted Haggard to the pulpit and would sooner undergo voluntary waterboarding than vote for a Democrat anyway.


A San Jose Mercury News Editorial:

Despite significant progress in reducing the teen pregnancy rate, about 50,000 girls in California have unwanted pregnancies every year. The FDA conducted extensive research and found that Plan B is safe and effective. It is already sold over the counter in more than 40 nations. Case closed. But not for Sebelius — nor, we can only assume, for Obama.


Finally, the last word goes to the actual health care providers. Three expert groups that represent well over 100,000 medical professionals condemned the Obama administration for prioritizing political gamesmanship over the health and well-being of countless Americans:

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (The College) and the Society of Adolescent Health and Medicine (SAHM) denounce the decision today by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to overrule an evidence-based decision by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to approve an application for over-the-counter access without age restriction to the emergency contraception (EC) product Plan B One-Step. This move defies the strong data that EC is safe and effective for all females of reproductive age.