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Jun 15, 2013
“Together we can end HIV stigma, but we need to be able to TALK ABOUT IT. Share this graphic to continue the conversation and encourage your network of friends to speak up!”
Jun 12, 2013
A dangerous development in Myanmar is largely going unreported. Recently, local authorities announced their support for the enforcement of a two-child limit for Rohingya Muslims. While not an official policy of the central or state government, the policy has been implemented on a grass-roots level. The most recent public endorsement for this policy comes from Immigration Minister, Khin Yi who stated that Rohingya families of 10-12 children are “not good for child nutrition. It’s not very easy for schooling. It is not very easy to take care of the children.” While details of this discriminatory practice are recently reaching the international community, some believe this policy has been in effect for years, possibly decades.
This stateless, minority group primarily lives in one of Southeast Asia’s poorest regions, Rakhine state. They have been excluded from Myanmar’s 1982 Citizenship Act which recognizes 135 ethnic groups. Bangladesh has also disowned the Rohingyas and denied them refugee status, although they migrated from Bangladesh between 1824 and 1948. The two-child policy is aimed at controlling unrest between Buddhists (the majority in Myanmar) and Muslims. As a result of increasing violence, stricter policies have been placed on the Rohingyas, risking the spread of wider anti-Muslim sentiment. More worrisome is the belief that the child restriction is a form of ethnic cleansing.
Health experts fear this policy could encourage unsafe abortions in Myanmar, where abortion is illegal except in cases of maternal life. Women that already have two children who become pregnant might have an illegal abortion in order to avoid fines or incarceration. Vickie Hawkins, Deputy Head of Mission of Myanmar’s Doctors Without Borders divisionv often sees “Women coming in [the] clinics with infections and medical complications because they have had unsafe abortions”. Doctors Without Borders operate in Maungdaw and Buthidaung townships where there are the largest Rohingya populations in the state. Journalists are not allowed to visit either town, making it difficult to access correct information and rally the international community behind this issue.
The UN and other human right organizations have condemned Myanmar’s unofficial policy, arguing it violates international law and harms women’s mental and physical health. While family planning is an issue that should involve both parents, this policy attacks women’s autonomy over their bodies. In addition, this ban circumscribes the construction of Myanmar Buddhist families onto the Rohingya population. Forcing cultural and ethnic norms onto groups has never worked and will only intensify the animosity between Myanmar’s populations.
Source: Reuter’s. “Myanmar Minister backs 2-child Policy for Rohingyas”
Jun 11, 2013
Jun 7, 2013
As a follow up, to my post about CPCs in Louisville, here are a few tips about distinguishing CPCs from real clinics.
Crisis pregnancy centers, or pregnancy resource centers, disguise themselves as medical facilities, but usually have no licensed doctors, nurses or counselors. They often appear under “Abortion Alternatives,” and may have names similar to abortion clinics nearby in order to confuse patients into entering their buildings instead of the real clinics.
Once you enter a CPC, their mission is to prevent you from getting an abortion at any cost. They will use misleading language, delay tactics, emotional manipulation, intimidation, and outright lies to either persuade you against abortion or to make you miss your appointment. The worst part? It’s all completely legal and funded by federal dollars.
CPCs do their best to appear as legitimate abortion clinics, so how can you tell which is which? Here is a list of red flags for CPCs:
- The words “crisis” or “resource” appear in the center’s name
- Their ads use language like “Pregnant & Scared?”
- They offer free pregnancy tests and ultrasounds
- When asked if they provide abortions or contraception, they will not give a direct answer
- The waiting room has biased pamphlets, sometimes with graphic pictures labeled as abortions
- They attempt to make you feel guilty about considering abortion
- They offer baby items, such as diapers and formula
- They downplay the effectiveness of contraception and emphasize abstinence
- They emphasize the dangers of abortion (Fact: fewer than 0.3% of patients experience complications requiring hospitalization)
- They discuss the false connections between abortion and breast cancer, infertility, or mental illness, often referred to as post-abortion stress syndrome
- Regardless of how you talk about the pregnancy, they refer to “your baby,” the “preborn child,” “post-abortive women,” and say that you are “already a mother.”
A list of licensed abortion clinics in the United States can be found on the Abortion Assistance Blog.
Jun 6, 2013
Just in case women didn’t have enough to deal with Repro-Justice wise, there are also fake abortion clinics to contend with in addition to pro-life hecklers.
I’ve always known about CPCs (Crisis Pregnacy Centers), but I never knew just how horrible they could be until now.
There have been reports of a couple of fake clinics in downtown Louisville, KY. These clinics are right next to a genuine one – EMW Women’s Surgical Center on Market street.
Tumblr user thisgingerisback reports, “…this place is seriously a nightmarish hell-hole for any unsuspecting women tricked by the anti’s [sic]. They assure you this this the abortion clinic, they get you inside, and then offer you food and drink—which of course, means that once you realize your mistake, you can’t run next door and catch your actual appointment, since you need to fast.
Women have come out of this building crying, and on a few rare occasions, without their pants. They take you to a back room for an ultrasound, have you remove your pants, and then begin lecturing you on the sins of aborting. They do not give you back your pants until you have listened, and a few women tricked this far refused to listen and stormed out furious, ashamed, and in their underwear…”
Signal boost, spread the word, give everyone you know a heads up.
Jun 3, 2013
In an interview with the Guardian on June 2nd, actor Michael Douglas revealed that his throat cancer was caused by HPV (human papillomavirus). The stage four cancer was originally deemed fatal when Douglas was diagnosed in August 2010. While he has been cancer free for two years, his outcome could have been much worse if he had not seen a doctor in Montreal who correctly diagnosed him. Before learning HPV had caused the cancer, he had seen many specialists who failed to notice the large tumor on his tongue and link it to HPV.
Approximately 25-35% of oral cancers are HPV-related, yet many of Douglas’s doctors and various media outlets assumed that the cancer was caused by Douglas’s tobacco and alcohol use. Substance use is often correlated with cancers of the throat, however, oral sex is often not connected in our conversations. Our culture tends to stigmatize those experiencing STIs and downplay the frequency of occurrence. Often this stigma drives people away from seeking the treatment they require. While the Guardian article is fairly objective, it does subtlety further this norm through its diction. By declaring Douglas’s admittance as “surprisingly frank”, the article acknowledges the silence regarding this subject, while simultaneously assigning oral sex and its possible health risks as a subject that is unnatural to be discussed.
In addition, this article and similar conversations are worrisome because they sensationalize the act of oral sex, rather than focus on the health implications of such cases. Instead, conversations should center on how to adapt our health institutions and processes to better diagnose and treat HPV-related cancer cases. The article quotes a recent study in which 57% of 1,316 patients with oral cancer tested positive for HPV-16. Over 100 variants of HPV exist and many are symptomless, but HPV-16 has been linked to a type of oral cancer. This increase in HPV-related oral cancer cases can be attributed to various factors such as the rise of oral sex and fluctuations in safe sex practices. Whatever the cause, health professionals must adapt to the changing causations and be open to discussing their patients’ sexual history, so that the diagnostic period can happen as quickly and as accurately as possible. Luckily for Douglas, oropharyngeal cancer is highly curable even in the latest stages of intervention. If dialogue about our sexual practices and history becomes more embedded in our culture, then the linkage between certain health problems and sexuality will not be an afterthought, leading to earlier intervention.
Jun 1, 2013
May 31, 2013
On Wednesday, the highest court in El Salvador denied an abortion to a woman with a pregnancy that is so high-risk that doctors say it could kill her. Beatriz, 22, is carrying a 26-week fetus with anencephaly, a birth defect that means part of the brain and skull are missing and that the baby will almost certainly die at birth. Beatriz’s doctors say the abortion is necessary for Beatriz’s health and perhaps to save her life. But by a vote of 4–1, the Salvadoran judges ruled that in light of the country’s absolute ban on abortion, “the rights of the mother cannot be privileged over those” of the fetus.
El Salvador’s complete ban on abortions has become relatively rare worldwide, as the first map below shows. Keep scrolling and you will see enormous variation in how countries (and states in the U.S.) regulate abortion and birth control. Our main sources of data for these maps are the United Nations, the Guttmacher Institute, the Population Reference Bureau, the National Conference of State Legislatures, and Harvard University’s Center for Population and Development Studies.
The maps reflect continuing change: Uruguay recently legalized first-trimester abortions, and courts in Columbia, Brazil, and Argentina have begun to allow them in certain cases. Meanwhile in the United States, Republican-led statehouses have been tightening restrictions since the 2010 election. It’s the largest wave of legislation in the decades since Roe v. Wade.
May 31, 2013
Whenever abortion is the topic of a conversation, especially when spoken of as a choice that someone wants to make for whatever reason that’s personally valid to them, there is always someone who pops up and says, “Adoption is an option too!” You know, as if that thought never occurred to anyone ever or it’s some kind of a magical word to rid one of an unwanted pregnancy. I witness it all the time on my STFU Pro-Lifers blog through the large amount of messages I receive on a daily basis, but yesterday a self-proclaimed pro-choicer shared that familiar, derailing insight you hear from anti-choicers. Granted, she had her own personal experiences with abortion and adoption. I made sure that she knew how appreciative and grateful I was to her for sharing those experiences with me. But it was something she said that really bugged me. There were a few sentences subtly expressing privilege and ignorance.
“It isn’t that hard to find someone to adopt a baby…”
She also mentioned the baby she gave up for adoption was blonde haired and blue eyed. It’s another discussion that makes it clear how important it is to be intersectional. She was speaking solely as a white woman in her experiences with adoption. She somehow gained an adoption lawyer at no personal cost to her. Adoptive parents quickly lined up for this white blue eyed baby. And the parents the girl chose to adopt her baby paid for her one year of school tuition. She was happy with her decision, and that’s great. I’m happy for her. Anyone would be.
But for the part about how “easy” it is to get someone to adopt a baby… well, I quickly and politely corrected her. She thanked me and then told me that she loves my blog. The matter was settled. It still bugs me though, and it’s not so much the person but the original line of thinking shared by so many people. You hear things like that all the time. Oh, you’re pregnant and don’t want to be? But there are tons of people out there who can’t have children! You should consider adoption!
I guess no one told them that less than 2% of our entire population actually adopts, and when they do adopt, the less than 2% tend to favor the able-bodied, young, emotionally sound, sibling-less, white baby. [source] And really? Agreeing to the idea of an adoption won’t make an unwanted pregnancy go poof! There are still nine, agonizing months of a condition that was never consented to. I mean, most pregnancies are already really difficult for those who do it willingly. There are tons of complications that arise during those three, brave trimesters. I can’t even begin to imagine how traumatic it is for those who desperately don’t want to be pregnant but were forced to remain so.
Don’t want to raise a child? Fine! Adoption is definitely an alternative to parenthood. Just keep in mind that abortion is an alternative to a pregnancy. That’s how it works. Don’t talk to me about how there are tons of people in the world who can’t have children. No one should be forced into being a brood mare for someone else. No one owes their body to anyone else.
As pro-choicers, it’s inherent in our very name that we celebrate choice whether it be parenthood, adoption, or abortion. We keep in mind that our lives are individual, and the same can be said about our choices.
May 30, 2013
Beatriz is 22. The mother of a 1-year old boy. She has lupus. Kidney malfunction. And her doctors say she will likely die if the pregnancy continues. But, there is still hope for Beatriz.
May 30, 2013
There are a lot of forces out there trying to misinform the public, especially the youth, when it comes to reproductive/sexual health and rights. One of the biggest groups out there is called Live Action. When you look up Live Action on Google, they’re listed as a non-profit pro-life organization. According to them, they are a “youth led movement dedicated to building a culture of life and ending abortion.” They claim to do undercover investigation in clinics to prove and document “illegal, inhuman, and gruesome” practices and share it on social media sites. To this organization, abortion is:
An enterprise built on destroying pre-born children for money leaves few rules unbroken. But the abortion industry’s corruption goes deeper than most people would think: from threatening women’s lives with dangerously bad medical advice, to protecting child sex-trafficking rings, to covering up statutory rape, to actions even more heinous. Live Action’s undercover exposés document these many abuses, so the whole world can see the horrors going on right in our backyards – and paid for with our tax money.
The above statements were taken right off of the home page of their website. Now despite their best efforts to intentionally misinform the public about abortion and Planned Parenthood services, people have caught on. One of the many people to call out Live Action’s lies is a YouTube vlogger named Cristina Rad who is popular on the Internet for her commentary on her atheism, gender politics, and casual ideas of social justice. The Live Action video she tackled and is most popular for is called We are the Youth. You can watch her video response here. I would definitely recommend ignoring the Live Action video and go straight to Cristina’s response, especially since Cristina actually cites some statistics in her description.
It’s beyond a YouTube vlog debunking Live Action videos though. Media Matters, “a research and information center dedicated to comprehensively monitoring, analyzing, and correcting conservative misinformation in the Media,” lists hoax after hoax created by Live Action. Even Slate, a major online magazine on politics and culture, has recently come out with a video that reveals how Live Action’s deceptive editing is intentionally done to frame doctors and clinic staff. The video that Slate chose to analyze has unfortunately already been promoted and aired on TV news (if you really count Fox News as news at all–countries with laws against lying on the news certainly don’t) and commentary programs after the Kermit Gosnell incident. But Slate’s video is worth the view, because they go through all the raw footage that Live Action leaves out and reveals what Live Action didn’t want the average viewer to see.
Seriously! Click the link below to watch!
May 29, 2013
Integration can be an imperative thing which will result in success of the story. When we integrate thing, a synergetic effect can be seen, which makes things go easier as well as coverage of the service will also increase. Remembering this important thing and taking an glimpses of the integration in other countries, its important and need can easily be recognized
Nepal, a growing country where still people die lacking health service, people don’t show their disease felling shame and health service reach is still a story. While these things continue, an important thing is going outside the country to make health service more better i.e. integration of SRHR and HIV services, resulting in more coverage of SRHR as well as of HIV services.
Country like Nepal where reach of health services is still need to be strengthens. Implementation of this can be an important big step in progress of health service. Research in various countries shows that integration of these two big services help to reach many people’s home which shows a success rate of this new strategy. Still in many part of the world discrepancy exists related to HIV and SRHR. So this integration can be a success step for the removal of these specific differences.
So why shouldn’t focus on the thing which can result a synergetic effect regarding its reach and success. Integration can be an important thing which will help us in the following ways: low manpower consumption, one door service delivery, discrepancy get removed which result increase in coverage of service provided.
Making our hand together, we can work out making this specific program success, because when come together thing will come together.
May 28, 2013
I write about issues that people hardly worry about: Health, Politics, Media, Kids, Entertainment, Poetry, and unusual stories.
Keep yourself informed, entertained and educated.
Begin by looking at your breasts in the mirror with your shoulders straight and your arms on your hips.
Here’s what you should look for:
If you see any of the following changes, bring it to your doctor’s attention:
Raise your arms and look for the same changes
Feel your breasts while lying down, using your right hand to feel your left breast and then your left hand to feel your right breast. Use a firm, smooth touch with the first few fingers of your hand, keeping the fingers flat and together.
Cover the entire breast from top to bottom, side to side—from your collarbone to the top of your abdomen, and from your armpit to your cleavage.
Finally, feel your breasts while you are standing or sitting. Many women find that the easiest way to feel their breasts is when their skin is wet and slippery, so they like to do this step in the shower. Cover your entire breast, using the same hand movements described in Step 4.
Next, feel your breasts while lying down, using your right hand to feel your left breast and then your left hand to feel your right breast. Use a firm, smooth touch with the first few finger pads of your hand, keeping the fingers flat and together. Use a circular motion, about the size of a quarter.
Cover the entire breast from top to bottom, side to side — from your collarbone to the top of your abdomen, and from your armpit to your cleavage.
Follow a pattern to be sure that you cover the whole breast. You can begin at the nipple, moving in larger and larger circles until you reach the outer edge of the breast. You can also move your fingers up and down vertically, in rows, as if you were mowing a lawn. This up-and-down approach seems to work best for most women. Be sure to feel all the tissue from the front to the back of your breasts: for the skin and tissue just beneath, use light pressure; use medium pressure for tissue in the middle of your breasts; use firm pressure for the deep tissue in the back. When you’ve reached the deep tissue, you should be able to feel down to your ribcage.
I’m sure most of us on twitter have heard about @debbified also known as Osarere Idiagbonya. For those who haven’t heard about her, she was diagnosed with breast cancer at a young age of 27 So my beautiful, sexy, traffic stopping ladies, it is important to do a breast self-examination. If you notice anything unusual about your breasts, PLEASE get to a hospital fast! Remember that cancer has no cure yet, but it can be prevented.
Do this examination every month and ensure that you’re living a cancer -free life.
May 27, 2013
What if all the empathy that transpired in the speeches and talks of policy makers I listened to today at the Women Deliver pre-youth conference could immediately be converted to action? This is the question I asked myself during my reflection on the pre-youth conference that ok place on the 27th May 2013 in Kuala Lumpur.
Passion, enthusiasm, and determination were perceptible in the way the policy makers I listened to and spoke with today spoke about how painful, frustrating, and humiliating the consequences of inequalities that exist in today‘s world are. But does this mean these people have finally heeded to the call of social activists to act now for inequality to be eradicated? Only time will tell as youths will be keeping a keen eye on these people to ensure that all the promises they will make this time around are kept and within the minimum possible time frame.
“The biggest risk to the continuity of humanity is inequality“, declared UNFPA‘s deputy Director; Kate Gilmore during an intervention at the Women Deliver pre-youth conference. Conscious of this, it is unavoidably true that, by delivering on their promises to not only reduce but eradicate inequalities and injustices of every nature, policy makers will be contributing to the continuity of humanity. Therefore by failing to deliver for Girls, women, and Youths, policy makers of this generation will be committing a crime that present and future generations will not pardon.
But well, we the youths of this generation won‘t sit arms folded to see you commit such heinous crimes, because our silence-that of Girls, Women, and Youths is a roar that will degenerate into something worse if not listened to.
May 27, 2013
May 25, 2013
Mississippi Could Soon Jail Women for Stillbirths & Miscarriages?
On March 14, 2009, 31 weeks into her pregnancy, Nina Buckhalter gave birth to a stillborn baby girl. She named the child Hayley Jade. Two months later, a grand jury in Lamar County, Mississippi, indicted Buckhalter for manslaughter, claiming that the then-29-year-old woman “did willfully, unlawfully, feloniously, kill Hayley Jade Buckhalter, a human being, by culpable negligence.”
The district attorney argued that methamphetamine detected in Buckhalter’s system caused Hayley Jade’s death. The state Supreme Court, which heard oral arguments on the case on April 2, is expected to rule soon on whether the prosecution can move forward.
If prosecutors prevail in this case, the state would be setting a “dangerous precedent” that “unintentional pregnancy loss can be treated as a form of homicide,” says Farah Diaz-Tello, a staff attorney with National Advocates for Pregnant Women, a nonprofit legal organization that has joined with Robert McDuff, a Mississippi civil rights lawyer, to defend Buckhalter. If Buckhalter’s case goes forward, NAPW fears it could spur a wave of similar prosecutions in Mississippi and other states.
May 18, 2013
May 17, 2013
May 16, 2013
Melissa Harris-Perry’s Panel looks at Elizabeth Smart’s recent comments on abstinence-only sex education and whether the policy is effective.
WATCH IT HERE: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ty_MA_mrow8
May 13, 2013
May 11, 2013
“Sadly, real or perceived controversy keeps schools from providing young people with the information and skills they need to become sexually healthy adults. Just like other topics taught in school, sexuality education should be developmentally appropriate, sequential and complete.
Irrational fear – the cultural belief that teaching young people about sex will cause them to have sex – keeps administrators and educators from doing what they know is best: providing young people with developmentally appropriate, sequential and honest sex education. Never mind that 30 years of public health research clearly demonstrates that when young people receive such education, they are more likely to delay sexual initiation, and to use protection when they do eventually become sexually active, than those who receive no sex education or learn only about abstinence. Withholding information about sex and sexuality will not keep children safe; it will only keep them ignorant.
Ninety-five percent of all Americans have sex before marriage. About half of all young people begin having sex by age 17. Providing a foundation of quality sex education is the only way to ensure that young people will grow into sexually healthy adults. It can augment what children learn at home and combat misinformation learned from peers or found on the Internet. Porn is not the best way for teenagers to learn about sex, but it will fill the vacuum when sex education is politicized and withheld from our classrooms.
Quality sex education should start in kindergarten. Early elementary school students need to learn the proper names for their body parts, the difference between good touch and bad touch, and ways in which they can be a good friend (the foundation for healthy intimate relationships later in life). Fourth- and fifth-graders need information about puberty and their changing bodies, Internet safety, and the harmful impact of bullying. And seventh-, eighth- and ninth-graders are ready for information about body image, reproduction, abstinence, contraception, H.I.V. and disease prevention, communication, and the topic they most want to learn about: healthy relationships.”
May 8, 2013
TODAY, the North Carolina House of Representatives will be debating a bill (HB 693) that would require teenagers notarized parental consent form in order to access STD testing and treatment, mental health counseling, pregnancy prevention or care, or substance abuse treatment. Teenagers without a parent or guardian would be required to stand before a judge and request a judicial bypass in order to obtain those health services.
Let’s do a quick before and after:
RIGHT NOW, a young person in North Carolina can see a doctor for STD testing and treatment, mental health counseling, pregnancy prevention and care, or substance abuse treatment WITHOUT parental consent.
IF THIS LAW PASSES: A young person would need NOTARIZED parental permission to see a doctor for any and all of these services (including abortion).*
Obvious problematic scenarios arise: For example, a young woman who may be sexually active may decide to forgo birth control because she is not willing to speak with their parents. There’s also the question of how often signatures are required? Is it every time you get a pap test or every time you pick up monthly contraception or antidepressant prescriptions? Does this include OTC contraception? Would young people need notarized parental permission to buy condoms?
The bill is so vague that it offers more questions than answers and the answers we do have are problematic and dangerous for young people’s health and safety.
If this law passes, North Carolina would be the ONLY state in the U.S. to amend that parental consent requirements include STD testing and treatment and mental health counseling.
It’s also worth noting that even though every state has some type of parental consent law in some form or fashion, NO state has ever required notarization. That extra step will undoubtedly make it harder for young people in North Carolina to access the services they need to lead healthy lives.
The bill is going to the House today. I hope the House leadership feels embarrassed about how far this bill goes and does the right thing for young people in their state. Crossing my fingers that House leadership doesn’t allow this crazy to go any further!
If you live in North Carolina, I recommend contacting Republican members of the House to let them know why you’re concerned about this bill. They need to hear your perspective as a young person, parent, or professional to know about how truly outrageous this effort is for our young people’s safety and health.
*However, Title X clinics, meaning any clinic which receives federal funding under Title X and including all Planned Parenthood clinics, must still by law offer confidential STI testing and treatment, and contraception, regardless of any state law.
May 8, 2013
Health is a key component for all. Statistics show that nearly one third of Nigeria’s total population, totaling about 148.1 million is between the ages of 10 to 24 years. Nigeria’s adolescent sizeable share of the population makes them integral to the country’s social economic development.
Nigeria development has compromised sexual and reproductive health issues and services making young people vulnerable to sexually transmitted infections (STI) and unintended pregnancy. However many organizations are working to improve adolescent reproductive and sexual heath through advocacy and prevention programming.
Reproductive and sexual health services if offered for the youth can, among other gains:
We young people therefore call upon the government and other civil society actors to ensure that young people, who are the bulk of the Nigerian population, can access reproductive health services without any difficulty or discrimination.
May 8, 2013
I often wonder about sex after pregnancy, so here are some facts:
Pregnancy does not mean the end to sexual desire, before or after child birth, yes women do experience pain during labor how ever for some times after delivering a baby, some women experience pain and this can be very distressing.
This is particularly after first and second babies. Painful sex after child birth varies from women to women and can occur if caused by the general trauma to the vaginal area during childbirth, or cut during the delivery, but it can also be caused by hormones.
The key is to know that its normal and that won’t last forever. If having sex after childbirth is painful some women find that they can get over the discomfort by talking with their partners about it and working through the issue together.
If the discomfort is serious however, women should be encouraged to talk to their gynecologists to get their opinion and help.
Many doctors recommend waiting four to six weeks before resuming sex, to allow the cervix to close and bleeding to stop.Sex should be pleasurable.
If you didn’t know, now you know…
May 7, 2013
The other day I was online and came across an article about Ben Affleck and several other political and celebrity figures becoming part of a campaign to raise awareness about global poverty by living on $1.50 a day.
May 5, 2013
*This is a long post. Just a heads up! Grammatical errors and misspelled words are inevitably bound to show up, as well as the extreme use of the words, awesome, FIERCE, amazing, radical and inspiring.
From April 12- April 14, I had the amazing opportunity to attend the 27th Annual CLPP Conference at Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts. This was my first time visiting Massachusetts and attending CLPP Conference, so needless to say, I was extremely blessed and excited to be in a safe space to discuss abortion rights and reproductive justice (RJ)!
If you don’t know what CLPP Conference is, let me copy and paste the mission for you, so you can read about how awesome it is!
CLPP(Civil Liberties and Public Policy program) Conference is held every year to create a welcoming space for RJ activists!
“CLPP’s annual conference connects activists from across the U.S. and internationally to build a stronger movement for reproductive justice and social change. We support intergenerational dialogue, encourage youth leadership, and foster cross-movement collaborations. Through plenaries, workshops, panels, and trainings, speakers will highlight successful examples of activism and illuminate how struggles for reproductive and sexual rights are intricately linked to movements for economic, social, gender, and environmental justice.”
Reading that description just got me juiced to write this blog! I have not had much time to reflect on my trip (the reason why this blog is so late) due to school and personal life, but I am just as excited as when I got on the plane to go, so let me give you some amazing highlights from my trip!
Day 1: My six hour red eye flight from SFO to New Jersey to Connecticut has left me feeling groggy, tired, and in need of stimulants! Luckily, I consumed two cups of coffee before I headed out to begin day 1! After picking up the rest of the Advocates crew, we headed out to Hampshire College! The weather was rainy, windy, and the crisp air was not a fan of my sun tinted California skin. East coast weather was not a fan of me and I was not a fan of it either! We remained civil to one another for most of the trip, so it did not ruin my time at CLPP Conference!
After our bellies were fed and we checked into our hotel, we headed to Hampshire College. To be honest, I was a bit deterred upon arrival because I was not accustomed to being at such a small, liberal, privileged campus in the middle of what looked like a scene from a Twilight movie. I also was not fond of the lack of people of color at a reproductive justice/abortion rights conference, which I felt was necessary in such a big, popular space. I ended up giving them the benefit of the doubt, since it was the first day after all.
I helped set up our vending table for the 1 in 3 Campaign (if you don’t know what 1 in 3 is, check it out: 1in3campaign.org). I also got to chat with a few other vendors and hung out with my sistahs! Unfortunately, due to my jet lag, I did not attend the Abortion Speak Out that night, which I deeply regret. I hope that my other sistahs who attended will give you better details on that portion of the conference. I apologize, I teased you with my banter about the weather and small talk. Let’s move on to Day 2….
Day 2: The next day, I felt refreshed and ready to attend workshops! But here are some highlights in the form of quotes from the Opening Plenary:
“I could be killed for doing this work. I face that w/ full knowledge, knowing I’m going to be held + supported by this community”- Anonymous
“In many countries, if you ask a crowd “raise your hand if you know someone who’s died from an illegal abortion” every hand goes up” – Anonymous
“Fuck off Human Rights Campaign” – 16 year old FIERCE QUEER, Trish Bryant
“When we talk about reproductive justice we must also talk about immigration.” – Sonia Guinansaca
“As we continue to build in solidarity and continue to say fuck them…” -Monica Raye Simpson
These lovely gems pumped me up and got me out of my seat praising my fellow RJ sistahs (unbeknownst to them that they are, my sistahs) for their inspiring, unapologetic, FIERCE, words of wisdom and truth! MMM! I just got excited all over again!
Let’s go on to workshops, shall we?
Unpacking Oppressions: Liberation through Media Making:
This workshop gave me life! I truly believe that youth have the power and tools to create and gain acknowledgement through popular social media tools to spread RJ messages more than ever before. The first facilitator, Jamia Wilson, used her journalistic expertise to tell attendees that mainstream media is not the end all be all to spread news. Other sources of media, such as tumblr, youtube, blog sites, etc. have become more advanced at creating a steady platform that gains widespread audiences so much, that mainstream news has caught wind of RJ issues. For example, alternative media helped push the Planned Parenthood situation into becoming national news because RJ activists got upset and took to their blogs! Of course the event spiraled into a lot of negative feedback from Fox News and other conservative outlets, but it went on to show that we do have a voice and a platform to engage audiences about what we stand for.
During the second half of the workshop, Colorado queer youth activists, Trish Bryant and Eleanor Dewey, engaged the audience by telling us the story of how they have created their own media in order to spread the voices of queer identifying youth of color in Colorado. Using little resources, they bought a camera, tripod, and editing equipment and made their own documentary because they felt that queer youth did not have any positive images in the media. I cannot express to you how empowering this was for me. Seeing young people take matters into their own hands to create positive images for the next generation really inspired me to create videos on my own. I am also a new fangirl of 16 year old, Trish Bryant, who is just way too cool and more bad ass than I will ever be. She is a fan of bell hooks. Enough said.
*I forgot the name of this workshop:
Facilitators, Steph Harold and Poonam Dreyfus-Pai presented their research thesis, called Reading Women’s Lives. During this study, they observed a group of women in book clubs, who read a book about abortion stories and discussed their findings. They found that these women were affected and transformed by storytelling, which is crucial in framing abortion rights. This small group setting and reading material allowed a safe space for women to tell their abortion stories, whether they were pro-choice or pro-life. As I am training to be a peer counselor for an after-abortion hotline, I have realized that having a space to express your thoughts and feelings around abortion is necessary. We must validate and put a name to people’s individual experiences. Abortion should not be seen as a political stance. It is an individual experience and people have the right to tell their stories and put a face to the experience in a public space if they choose to.
At Your Cervix: A Self-Exam Workshop:
Lauren Mitchell, facilitator, taught us how to perform a self pelvic and breast exams. I was quite nervous to attend this event because I am extremely sensitive to graphic material. Lauren was an amazing teacher and taught us step by step instructions. Although I don’t think I will be performing any self-exams soon, I did find this workshop to be empowering in the sense that women have the right to learn and explore their bodies. I also got a free speculum!
Day 3: I will keep this quick because I’ve already written enough!
The Revolution Starts with Me: Incorporating Self-Care and Preventing Burnout: This workshop was the perfect ending to a lovely weekend. For many activists, such as myself, it can be difficult to practice self-care when you are out trying to educate, empower, and uplift others folks. In my personal life, I struggle with aligning school, activism, and work into an organized manner, which leaves me tired and listless at the end of the day. Facilitators, Adaku and Nicole, started the 90 minute workshop off with meditation. After our relaxation session, we went on to discuss reasons why we are burned out and how it is easy to forget about our body temples. While our work is never done, we can take a break to go out dancing, take naps, go running, and eat healthy. We do not have to feel guilty about saying no or eating ice cream. We deserve it! We compiled a list of self-care tips, which I have found extremely useful. Bubble baths and my India Arie pandora playlist are officially a weekly thing for me.
To sum it up, CLPP Conference has changed me. I love life changing conferences! Being around such radical people has led me to check my privilege, change my dialoguem share my stories, and provide a listening ear to those who need it the most. CLPP Conference created a safe space for me to promote the work I do in the Bay Area, establish a network of women I can lean on, and take what I have learned and put it into practice. There were more POCs being represented at CLPP than the years before, from what I heard, which was great! Being a women of color in the same space as Eesha Pandit Monica Ray Simpson and Miriam Zoila Perez (to name a few) was life altering!
Amherst, you were hella cold, but you were good to me. That six hour flight was totally worth it.
Thank you to Advocates for Youth and Trina Scott for giving me the opportunity to attend CLPP Conference 2013! I am ever so grateful!
May 4, 2013
May 2, 2013
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.
And the Ugly:
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.
Apr 30, 2013
Transgender women are the fastest growing population of the HIV-positive. The National Institutes of Health came out with a report, noting that almost a third of transgender Americans have HIV. Trans women of color specifically are at a greater risk than their white sisters. Through a survey, it was found that 56% of black trans women have HIV. The 2009 study from NIH also noted that many transgender women may not even know their HIV status. With an alarming statistic like this, we have to wonder what’s causing it.
When individuals are thrown into social injustice, it can be difficult to escape from. Trans women are profiled and disproportionately targeted and arrested by the law enforcement. The police will try to use condoms as evidence of sex work, so trans women face the “choice” of keeping themselves and their partners safe or getting arrested. When they’re forced into jail, trans women are often housed with male inmates or they are put into solitary confinement, as if either path is any better. Sex workers are generally more likely to be HIV-positive than those who are not engaged in sex work, but because of the disproportionate targeting of trans women, trans women sex workers’ risk for HIV is four times greater.
While sex work is a valid way of meeting financial needs, some trans women turn to it as an option because of discrimination in employment. In most of the United States, it’s completely legal to turn down or dismiss a person based on gender identity and sexual orientation. People can even be denied housing or become evicted because of their gender identity and orientation. This leaves a dangerously negative and significant impact on their economic well-being and safety. It also makes it difficult for trans women especially to keep up with their hormonal therapy, since it’s often not covered by insurance, if they can even pay for that insurance with what the circumstances are. With lack of access to basic health care, many incompetent doctors, clinics, social stigma, and overall institutions that discriminate against trans women, especially those of color– it’s all a very nasty formula expressing why trans women are hit so hard with HIV.
So, what can we do to help? Trans people are often absent from public campaigns for sexual health and safety. We can start by including them into that, and into many of our discussions and campaigns of social justice as well. We could get trans-specific in our literature in safer sex guides. We could also set up community centers as a safe space for trans people and create some peer groups, which would be strong social networks and a good use of peer outreach for safer sex and HIV testing. And of course we could and should create social support and do our part to de-stigmatize our trans brothers and sisters. Look up a local or national activist organization today.
Apr 29, 2013
Being able to attend the 46th Untied Nation Commission on Population and Development during the 22nd and 26th of April was definitely a great experience for me. While entering the UN not as a tourist excited me since my dream since childhood is to be able to work for the UN, attending the sessions enabled me to have a deeper understanding of the political debate of sexual and reproductive health and rights at an international level.
This year’s CPD focused on “demographic changes and new trends in migration”. Although the meeting started somewhat like a statistical presentation, the debate over the resolution quickly started around numbers of red-lights issues.
The first, without any doubt, was around the sexual and reproductive health and rights. Although I definitely understood the cultural differences among countries and their reasons for arguing against SRHR, at some point, the debate became too frustrated for me to continue engaging since the oppositions started to become irrational. The misunderstanding of SRHR was huge. The major argument of oppositions was SRHR=abortion without realizing all other great things that SRHR promoted—for example, maternal health, empowering women, and in fact, with proper use of contraception method, abortion, especial unsafe abortion, could be avoid. However, they argued one-sidely about abortion. But, as a matter of fact, they themselves also argued for better health of mothers as well as economic opportunity for migrants—which was ironic because to achieve all of these goals, promoting SRHR is necessary.
The second red-light issue that received a lot focuses was the argument of national sovereignty and migrants’ equal access to services. This debate was actually heart-breaking for me to observe. Apparently, while conservative countries remained in opposition, countries which had a tradition of supporting universal human rights turned against migrants’ rights majorly with the consideration of national sovereignty and the fear of undocumented migrants’ usage of social welfare. As a politician put in his words—“I don’t care the human rights of migrants, because they are in my country, they need to play by my rules.”
Rules, or as a delegation stated during the plenary—“legal status and regulation”, separated migrants’ rights from universal human rights and turned the discussion during the 46th UN CPD into a debated of “us” and “them”. While migrants should be considered as natural human beings, their manmade titles such as “undocumented” make them subject to structural violence—defined by Johan Galtung as a form of violence where some social structure or social institution purportedly harms people by preventing them from meeting their basic needs—created by legal systems which are intended to protect universal human rights but become institutions only for “us”, not “them”.
Consequentially, this legal barrier makes migrants, especially those undocumented migrants, more vulnerable to ill health. On the one hand, administrative hurdle and legal status, sometimes couple with other social risk factors such as poverty, stigma, and social exclusion, lead to the lack of social security and protection for migrants which cause the exacerbation of health conditions may due to migrants’ suffering of human trafficking, sexual violence, and exploitation, on the other hand, legal status also blocks migrants’ access to services. As a result, migrants face a health disparity that sometimes even cannot be voiced due to legal barriers. For example, migrant women frequently endure sexual coercion and abuse, without the ability to report these crimes to a local authority; young migrants are often afraid to access health services for fear of discrimination, detention or deportation because of their migratory status. In fact, I have a much deeper understanding of this fear. On the one hand, during my spring trip to Immokalee, Florida with the George Washington University Alternative Spring Break program, I heard lots of stories from undocumented migrant workers there about their inability to use healthcare services. One young lady said she had to turn to unsafe abortion method because she entered the country illegally and was afraid hospitals would report her to the government. On the other hand, as an international student with legal status, I still cannot fully utilize health services like an American citizen. As a result, I urge countries to ensure migrants’ equal access to basic health services regardless their legal status and their ability to pay. I also hope to call for international society’s recognition of migrants’ rights as human rights.
The last thing I learnt from CPD was the importance of NGOs. Imaging the one-week debate among politicians will determine people’s lives around the world made me somewhat cannot accept. Although I totally understood each nation’s position and the obligations for its own politicians to stand for the position, I also felt there lack a representation of the real people in the country. While the nation may argue from a religious point of view to against SRHR, it was the people who were suffering from this decision. As a result, NGOs are very important because they are the channels of the real voices and demands of people. I am very proud of myself can be part of this channel for young people’s voice to be heard.
Apr 27, 2013
« KO! KO! KO! », shouted the crowd .Mind you, they weren’t participating in a boxing match, neither were they at a musical concert, they shouted KO! in response to the health officials that took turns in sensitizing the crowd of more than 5000 that gathered at the Douala Place du Gouvernement to participate in the 9KM sensitization Walk that was organized by the Cameroon’s Coalition of Businesses for the fight against HIV/AIDS, Malaria, and Tuberculosis and better known by its French acronym CCATSIDA, Cameroon’s Ministry of Public Health, and other stakeholders (local and international) in the fight against Malaria this Saturday 20th April 2013.
Being a participant, I could not help but be marveled at how engaged fellow participants were as we criss-crossed the streets of Cameroon’s most populated town. Young and old, and from diverse horizons, one thing united this people; that Malaria be kicked Out of Cameroon.
This passion and demonstrated in the endurance of the participants all through the alertness of their footsteps and the smile on their faces, could not however stop me from asking myself fundamental questions around the strategy for the fight against Malaria in my country. Thus, when one of the thousands of spectators that had amassed at streets corners shouted, “Where are condoms?”, there was an outburst of laughter from the crowd, I began asking myself what might have prompted this spectator to ask the question he did. As I thought about this, my eyes fell on the logo of the Cameroonian Coalition of Businesses for the fight against HIV/AIDS, Malaria, and Tuberculosis and on the T-Shirt of the participant ahead of me, my answer was here. The words AIDS on this coalitions logo prompted the question from this spectator.
AIDS and its prevention methods are better known in Cameroon than Malaria and its means of protection. This is paradoxical given that Malaria kills in Cameroon and Sub-Saharan Africa than HIV/AIDS. Mind you, I am in no way saying that resources (human and material) should be shifted from the fight against HIV/AIDS, which is causing havoc in Cameroon especially amongst youths, to the fight against Malaria. The point I am trying to make is that the fight against Malaria, HIV/AIDS, and Tuberculosis has for long been done as though they were isolated.
It is true that a person that has Malaria or Tuberculosis is not automatically an HIV/AIDS patient, but most often people suffering from HIV/AIDS in Cameroon are victims of the Malaria and tuberculosis given the milieu in which they live and the little means they have to survive on.
I have for long being convinced that an effective fight against Malaria cannot be done in an isolated manner but must be inclusive; taking into consideration the vectors of the disease in various communities in Cameroon. A dirty environment provides good breeding grounds for Mosquitoes especially the female Anopheles mosquito, through which Malaria is spread, the fight against Malaria must start from there. If a clean environment is achieved through mechanism through efficient urban development and poverty reduction strategies, Malaria will be made history. After all, isn’t it common knowledge that prevention is better than Cure?
In Cameroon and I guess is the case elsewhere in the world, a change from a dirty and crowded environment to a cleaner environment is the main indicator that a person has emerged from poverty. This is so because people who could barely afford 3 meals a day will have little time to think about the environments in which they live talk less of women in this bracket going for prenatal consultation or even having time to take their infants to the hospital when they are sick. Thus, despite the bed-nets distribution campaigns that have been organized all over Cameroon and despite the fact that Malaria treatment is free for children and pregnant women in Cameroon, Malaria killed more than 3000 people most of whom children.
Without an efficient attack on poverty, which is fertile ground for poor living conditions, I am afraid our walk and much talk on the fight against Malaria will be in vain. For Malaria to be kicked out of this country, we must not only walk on occasions like those organized to mark the World day for the fight against Malaria, we must truly walk the talk on the fight against Malaria daily, by launching an immediate assault and poverty. Because Malaria is the consequence of a dirty environment which is its self a glaring consequence of poverty.
Apr 25, 2013
The two years I spent serving as a health volunteer with the Peace Corps in West Africa were some of the most formative years of my life. They fostered my sense of independence and resourcefulness, solidified my career and life goals, and taught me to question injustices, particularly those injustices that jeopardized the sexual and reproductive health and rights of young women and girls and placed them at an educational, economic, social, and political disadvantage. I never imagined that one day I would find myself questioning injustices faced by Peace Corps volunteers themselves.
More than 210,000 of us have served in the Peace Corps since its founding 52 years ago. As anyone can attest, Peace Corps volunteers provide an invaluable service to our country and the countries in which we serve, but we often do it at risk to our own safety and security. Over the past decade, more than 1,000 volunteers have experienced sexual assault. Women—who comprise more than 60 percent of the 8,000 currently serving volunteers—should never have to face the tragedy of a sexual assault, but if they do, they should be able to access comprehensive health care and support services. Yet, Peace Corps volunteers are now one of the only groups of women who receive their health care through the federal government who are denied coverage for abortion services in the cases of rape, incest, or life endangerment.
We must change this outrageously blatant discriminatory policy! Join me in demanding health equity and fairness for Peace Corps volunteers!
Denying volunteers a basic health care benefit that is extended to all other federal employees—including the Peace Corps employees who work with these volunteers—is grossly unfair and denies thousands of volunteers access to vital health services. Women serving our country deserve equity and fairness in access to health care, consistent with other areas of federal law.
Fortunately, Senators Lautenberg, Shaheen, Gillibrand, Boxer, Murray, Warren, and Murphy introduced the Peace Corps Equity Act (S. 813), which would repeal this inequitable restriction on women’s health and allow the Peace Corps to provide the same coverage for abortion care—in cases of rape, incest, and life endangerment—as employees covered under other federal health plans currently receive.
No woman should face life endangerment because she cannot access a medical procedure that is safe and legal in the United States.
Director of Public Policy and Returned Peace Corps Volunteer
Apr 24, 2013
“I also came to realize that the focus on personhood ignores the fact that a zygote, embryo, or fetus is growing inside of another person’s body.”
|—||Libby Anne, “How I Lost Faith in the ‘Pro-Life’ Movement”|
This is really important to consider. You absolutely can advocate for a zygote, embryo, or fetus. But understand that in doing so, it subsequently infringes on the rights of the person this being resides in.
Giving a fetus personhood is not equality. No one currently has the special right of using another’s person body without constant consent.
Apr 23, 2013
Earth Day is more than appreciating the way in which trees grow from nourished soil— though that is a refreshing sight. It’s a day to be reminded of our relationship with the planet and how we have the power to make it an even better place to live and breathe. However, the quality of the air that fills our lungs and bodies can almost be suffocating.
You see, even in the most frequented of places, breathing can be risky. Take nail salons, for example. Getting manicures and pedicures are a regular beauty regimen for many women. The strong fumes of nail products are as unpleasant to smell as they are for your health. Nail salons aren’t only a place for customers to prepare for a glamorous occasion; they are a site of environmental injustice.
There are thousands of chemicals in nail salon products, the vast majority of which have never been tested for safety. The three that advocates are working the hardest to remove are dubbed the “toxic trio”— toluene, formaldehyde, and dibutyl phthalate. These ingredients have been found to cause cancer, infertility, miscarriages, birth defects, wheezing, coughing, skin rashes, headaches, and dizziness. Once emitted into the air, toluene, which is a volatile solvent, has the power to impact, even worse, damage our reproductive and central nervous systems. Formaldehyde is known to cause cancer, skin irritation, coughing and wheezing. Finally, the last coat for a sheer finish for manicures involves dibutyl phthalate, which causes reproductive harm. This all leaves women with the unfair choice between their health and working to support themselves and their families.
Most nail technicians are Asian American women; Vietnamese women make up the highest percentage of technicians, followed by Korean women. There’s an unbreakable connection between the environment and our health and, unfortunately for many women, income level and immigration status can create heightened vulnerability to environmental harm. Most nail salon workers are immigrants with limited English proficiency and low levels of education, so their occupation choices are very limited.
So why isn’t the government protecting women from these toxins? Unfortunately, the law that “regulates” the cosmetics industry was passed in 1938 and has not been updated since. Therefore, it does not address the myriad of new, dangerous chemicals that have come into use since then. Moreover, it allows the industry to self-regulate. A panel of industry representatives, called the Cosmetics Ingredient Review Panel, is charged with oversight. Further, regulatory agencies that should be able to do something about this don’t have the authority to do so. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) cannot pull products off the market or even demand that products be clearly labeled with all their ingredients.
The National Asian and Pacific American Women’s Forum (NAPAWF), as part of the National Healthy Nail and Beauty Salon Alliance (The Alliance) are pushing for justice within nail salons. They have urged beauty supply companies to come clean about the ingredients presented in their products, are advocating for the Safe Cosmetics Act, and are working with federal agencies on this issue.
Until we are able to get these toxins off the market and out of our salons, here are some suggestions for safety:
1. Purchase nail care products that do not contain the “toxic trio.”
We can’t be too sure that all ingredients are posted the label. If you want to stay safe, contact the companies directly to ensure your products are clear of toluene, formaldehyde, and dibutyl phthalate
2. Pay attention to which nail and beauty brands are being honest with their consumers
When an urgent letter was distributed to a pool of nail and beauty companies, some responded with honest answers while others didn’t respond at all.
3. Learn about best practices for making salons safer work places.
For more information on safe and healthy nail salon practices, you can check out and share the following resource, which has been translated in Vietnamese and Korean: http://www.epa.gov/opptintr/dfe/pubs/projects/salon/index.htm
On this Earth Day, yes, hug a tree, take a deep breath, and give thanks to this planet. But also remember the people who are most affected by environmental injustice, including nail salon workers. One day, I hope nail salon workers can take a nice deep breath in their work spaces, knowing that it’s safe to do so.
For more information and references:
The American Civil Liberties Union and the Center for Reproductive Rights have filed a lawsuit to block an Arkansas law banning abortion care after 12 weeks from going into effect.
Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe had vetoed the extreme measure in March, citing concerns that it violated Roe v. Wade and that subsequent legal challenges would prove “very costly to the taxpayers of our state” as the “costs and fees [of defending an unconstitutional law] can be significant.” The Legislature overrode Beebe’s veto in March.
The suit seeks a preliminary injunction against the law, which is set to take effect in July.
“This law is one of the most dangerous assaults on women’s health that we’ve seen in decades,” said Rita Sklar, executive director of the ACLU of Arkansas. “We may not all agree about abortion, but we can all agree that this complex and personal decision should be made by a woman, her family, and her doctor, not politicians.”
And not just women, of course. Everyone is entitled to reproductive/sexual healthcare and rights.
When debating whether a fetus’s “right to life” trumps a woman’s “right to choose” — or whether the news media has paid enough attention to the trial of a Philadelphia doctor who allegedly killed seven babies born alive during late-term abortions, as well as a pregnant woman — Americans are bitterly divided on abortion. Before abandoning facts for rhetoric, let’s tackle some misunderstandings about this procedure’s history and impact.
Read more: http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/five-myths-about-abortion-rights/2013/04/18/bd53c884-a5e5-11e2-b029-8fb7e977ef71_story.html
Remember to always reduce, reuse, and recycle.
And maybe start some eco-feminist discussions?
Enjoy some Captain Planet.
Gonna take pollution down to zero.
By Max Smith
Apr 22, 2013
Social justice and environmental justice have a very direct
correlation. The environmental movement and the feminist movement both
advocate for the health of humanity, but in different ways. There are
many subject matters that exemplify this intersectionality.
For example, the way people use and abuse nature can easily be
compared to how society uses and abuses women.
Toxic Chemicals. We clearly need to do something about how easy it is
for major companies to slowly pollute our bodies and our earth. There
are over 84,000 chemicals in popular consumer products and only 200
have been tested. When chemicals even are tested it is primarily on
men, so these companies clearly do not care about the effect they are
having on women’s bodies. Some of these chemicals are made from toxins
that pollute our water and air. Many of these chemicals have been
shown to cause infertility, low sperm counts, sexual dysfunction,
miscarriage, and different types of cancer. Not to mention women use
personal care products far more often than men and are therefore more
negatively affected. Here at ETSU we’re celebrating Earth Day with a
festival and a young man best summarized it when he said “unnatural
chemicals don’t make natural beauty.”
Not everyone can afford ridiculously expensive so-called “natural
organic” personal care products to keep themselves and their children
healthy. In addition, toxic waste dumps are disproportionately located
near minority communities. Women of color are targeted by systematic
racist beauty standards convincing them to buy hair relaxers and skin
lightening creams with chemicals that have severe damage potential.
For example, the chemicals found in common African-American hair
products are known endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs). EDCs are
linked to a range of reproductive health issues, like premature
puberty, gynecologic cancer, and birth defects. Look at who is hurting
the most by toxic chemicals. This is clearly a social justice issue
activists need to rise up against.
Quick Fact: 80% of federal transportation funds go to highways while
only 20% goes to mass transit. Not only does this hurt inner city
communities, but it’s a contributing factor to global warming.
Reproductive Justice. You know what’s really hurting our resources?
Overpopulation. People are using up far more than they need to and it
is growing out of control. If reproductive health options were more
readily available this would alleviate a great deal of that
Here is a quick review on what the Toxic Substances Control Act is and
why we need it to be updated. This site also helps teach you on how
you can help.http://www.saferchemicals.org/resources/opinion.html
Find out what is in your cosmetics:
Wake up to the threat of toxic chemicals!
www.rhtp.org/fertility/ToxicZombie.asp (Many resources used in the
writing of this blog were obtained from this site.)
“Toxic Combination: Fact Sheet on Toxic Chemicals and Reproductive
Health”—Center for American Progress:
“Women of Color are at Greater Risk for Toxic Chemical
Exposure”—Women’s Voices for the Earth:
Apr 22, 2013
Photo Credit: Sacramento Earth Day
Today is Earth Day.
It’s a day that many of us associate with recycling and celebrating trees, wildlife, and rivers. And as a recreational tree-hugger, I can appreciate those traditional connotations of Earth Day.
But today’s environmental issues run much broader than just our waterways and forests.
Examining environmental issues with a feminist lens enables us to see the intersection of gender, socio-economics, and the environment.
The exploration and study of this intersection is formally referred to as eco-feminism.
Although no single definition of it exists, I would define it as a feminism that works to examine how environmental degradation and climate change impact communities and community members based on their socio-economic status and gender.
It’s important that the valuable intersectional perspective of eco-feminism doesn’t get lost amidst the green frenzy on Earth Day.
Natural disasters and resource shortages hit impoverished communities first and worst. With women making up an estimated 70% of those living below the poverty line, they are most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change and environmental degradation.
Women living in developing nations tend to be natural resource managers as the gatherers of food, water and firewood. And from a young age, girls traditionally assist their mothers with this work.
As resources become scarcer with decline in the environment’s health, girls are attending less and less school to be able to dedicate more time to finding water, or simply because school fees are no longer available as crop cycles become less predictable.
You can imagine the cycle of poverty that this spawns.
As primary natural resource managers, these women are especially well-equipped to lead environmental mitigation and adaptation efforts.
But due to traditional and patriarchal gender roles that devalue unpaid work like childcare and water retrieval, women’s specialized knowledge in smart and effective climate change adaptation is typically not respected or taken into consideration in most community decision-making processes.
In our own backyard, low-income communities and communities of color bear the greatest burden of environmental injustice.
Take Mossville, Louisiana as an example.
The small, rural, and predominantly African American town became the site of the highest concentration of vinyl plastic manufacturers in the US, in addition to housing a coal-fired power plant, oil refineries and other chemical production facilities.
Together, these facilities produce more than 4 million pounds of carcinogenic toxic chemicals that end up in the soil, air and water of Mossville. This community’s exposure to these toxins has resulted in grave health impacts, from high incidences of asthma to a cancer epidemic.
It is not a coincidence that these toxic plants were built in a lower-class community of color and not a place like downtown Washington, DC, a place populated by people of privilege and significant socio-political power.
Mossville, Louisiana is a clear cut incidence of environmental racism.
Another alarming instance of environmental and social injustice happening right before our eyes has to do with toxic chemical exposure.
Mounting scientific evidence reveals that chemicals in our air, water and everyday products—from our furniture to our personal care and cleaning products—are harming our reproductive health and fertility.
This is frightening news for those of us that are planning big spring cleaning extravaganzas or like to paint our nails every few weeks.
But what about if you clean houses for a living or work in a nail salon? Your exposure to toxic chemicals is likely to be constant and severe.
Women of color and immigrant women are overrepresented in professions that entail extreme and dangerous exposure to toxic chemicals.
Again, it’s not a coincidence that low-income women of color are disproportionately burdened by toxic chemicals through their jobs, and the eco-feminist lens helps illuminate this reality.
The eco-feminism lens is helpful in addressing environmental issues because it allows us the unveil oppressive societal structures – like racism, sexism, and classism – that play a significant role in the health of the environment and who is most impacted by this health declining.
So from now on, when you’re discussing recycling with your friends, don’t just think about where your un-recycled items will end up.
Dig deeper and consider which communities tend to live near the landfills in which non-recyclable waste is dumped.
Then dig even deeper and consider how living near the landfills may impact their health and wellbeing and if they are likely to have access to health insurance or not when it comes time to address these health impacts.
That is the beauty of the intersectional nature of eco-feminism.
With eyes wide open to the importance of justice issues on Earth Day, let’s take action in support of legislation that would make the 84,000 chemicals in commerce today safe for use by all consumers, but most importantly, communities that are disproportionately harmed by toxic chemicals.
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Apr 20, 2013
Restrictions Will Force 40-
Year-Old Abortion Clinic To
Close This Weekend
Last week, Virginia’s Board of Health voted to finalizeunnecessary regulations that will force many of the state’s abortion clinics to shut down. Those new restrictions — which are known as the Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers, or TRAP laws — are already having their intended effect. Hillcrest Clinic, which opened to the public just nine months after the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision legalized abortion services, will be closing its doors this weekend.
Apr 19, 2013
As advocates for young people’s sexual health and rights, many may not think of us as having a stake in the immigration reform game. But in fact, it’s quite the opposite. The health and wellbeing of young people both within and outside our borders, regardless of immigration paperwork, is of the utmost importance to our organization. While we may not take a stand on every issue in immigration reform, there are a few that rise to the top—some of which were included in the Senate’s Gang of Eight bill, and others which were left out.
In 2010, Advocates for Youth stood strong with DREAMers (undocumented youth) across the country and had our hearts broken when the Senate voted down the DREAM Act, which would have given young people who arrived in the United States as children a pathway to citizenship. In the current bill, DREAMers who arrive to the United States before the age of 16 and who have completed high school in the United States can apply for a Registered Provisional Immigrant (RPI) status and move more quickly through the process to become citizens. There is also no age cap to this provision.
Currently, those who apply for asylum in the United States have one year to do so. The current bill would lift that extremely short deadline which would help reduce the burden of those needing asylum in the United States, many of whom identify as LGBT and are coming from countries that persecute these communities.
Many of our families have had members who were deported for low-level offenses, simply because they were without papers. As a result, they are barred from re-entering the United States for extended periods of time, even if they have children here who are citizens. The current bill gives those who have been deported with family still in the United States the ability to apply for RPI status.
Too often individuals, and especially those who identify as LGBT, have been abused in immigration facilities. This bill would provide training and resources on appropriate use of force, individual rights, and cultural sensitivity.
Because of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), same-sex couples do not receive the same benefits of heterosexual couples when it comes to sponsoring a spouse from another country. The Uniting American Families Act (UAFA) would have resolved this situation, but unfortunately it was left out of the bill.
For those that gain RPI status, they will not have access to public benefits like Medicaid, Children’s Health Insurance Program or food stamps. For the 11 million undocumented people who now will have a pathway to citizenship (yay), that 13-year process could mean no access to healthcare during that time (extra boo). We’ve already had long discussions around the Affordable Care Act about what it means to go without healthcare (from awful health outcomes to additional costs being placed on hospitals), and especially those who would be given RPI status should be able to access the healthcare they need to lead healthy lives.
There is a lot more good and a lot more bad, but these are the issues we’ll be watching closely.
Apr 16, 2013
Among both pro-choice and anti-abortion activists, the story of the abhorrent conditions and Kermit Gosnell’s actions at the Women’s Medical Society clinic in West Philadelphia brought feelings of anger and sadness as it lit up Facebook and social media. People expressed outrage not only at the death of Karnamaya Mongar, a Nepalese refugee who died after receiving an overdose of a sedative at the hands of Gosnell’s staff, but also at the failure of officials to close Women’s Medical Society and revoke Gosnell’s license, and at the media for failing to give the story the attention it deserves. (To read a more complete story, read this article at The Atlantic, one of the first news outlets to cover the case)
I agree that people should feel outraged. They should feel outraged for all of the reasons listed above, and they should feel outraged because no woman, no person, no girl should ever have to face the conditions that Gosnell’s patients did. This situation could have been prevented if the United States guaranteed every woman’s right to safe, affordable, legal abortion. Unfortunately, it does not.
One of the most shocking aspects of the story were the fetuses found stored in jars and refrigerators in Gosnell’s office. Many of the fetuses were over the age of 24 weeks, the cut-off for legal abortion in Pennsylvania. One question that has not been asked is why? Why were these fetuses aborted so late? The most likely answer: these poor women did not have access to an abortion any earlier than that. Even if they realized they were pregnant at 8 or 10 weeks, it could have easily taken them 3 months to save up the hundreds of dollars they needed to afford an abortion. This is yet another example of why there should be funding to pay for abortions for those women who cannot afford them.
Another question: why did these women go to Gosnell’s office? Why did they not leave when they saw the terrible conditions? The answer: they had nowhere else to turn. There are four abortion providers in Philadelphia, and in 2008, there were only 50 total abortion providers in the entire state of Pennsylvania. 46% of Pennsylvania women live in a county without an abortion provider. Even if a women or girl could have gotten transportation to see a different provider, it could have taken weeks to get an appointment, after the weeks it took her to raise the money. In addition, Pennsylvania law states that a woman must receive state-directed counseling that includes information designed to discourage her from having an abortion, and then wait 24 hours before the procedure is provided. This is why clinics cannot be closed, why providers must be able to continue providing safe, legal abortions, and why these restrictions must be removed.
Gosnell’s case should be receiving publicity. Not only does it show the terrible situations in which women who are exercising their right to have an abortion find themselves in all too often thanks to restrictive legislation, but it shows what will happen if abortion becomes illegal.
I would also like to use Gosnell’s case to shine light on another pervasive problem that threatens women’s and girls’ lives around the world: unsafe abortion. In 2008, 21.6 million unsafe abortions took place worldwide; only 360,000 of these occurred in developed regions. As a result of these unsafe abortions, 47,000 women in developing countries will die; only 90 will die in developed regions. Complications from pregnancy, including unsafe abortion are the leading cause of death for young women ages 15 through 19. Among those who survive the procedure, many suffer from post-abortion sepsis, hemorrhage, and genital trauma.
As in the case of Gosnell’s patients, we must ask ourselves: why? Why do 3 million girls between the ages of 15 and 19 receive unsafe abortions? Why are over 21 million unsafe abortions performed annually? One major barrier is the legality of abortion. Only 15% of developing countries permit abortions on request, and only 39 percent of women live in a country where it is available upon request. In 4 countries, abortion is not permitted under any circumstances, even to save the life of the mother. In addition, many of these countries have additional restrictions on abortion like those we see in the United States. Even if abortion is legal, women may have to go through a waiting period or receive an endorsement from several doctors or specialists. In developing countries where physicians are few and far between, this can make the process nearly impossible.
Several other issues restrict women from accessing safe and legal abortion care. Many countries have failed to make provisions for abortion services, often due to social and cultural beliefs. Women are often uninformed of their right under the law, or they cannot afford the services. Abortion services are often not well distributed throughout the country, they are insufficient to meet the demand, or they are of poor quality.
Sound familiar? Women cannot afford services? Abortion services are not well distributed throughout the country? The United States is quickly going down a dangerous path that leads to unsafe abortions, far more than those seen in Gosnell’s clinic. In the United States and in other countries, women must have the right to choose, and the right to a safe, legal, affordable abortion. That should be the discussion around the Kermit Gosnell case. That should be why people are outraged.
Apr 16, 2013
The rate at which hospital authorities are medically negligent has recently come to the fore again when a 13-month boy was not attended to in time after being rushed to a general hospital in Lagos, culminating in the boy’s death.
According to a petition written by his father, Mr. Olusoji Daomi, the late infant, Oluwasegunfunmi, was taken to the general hospital on February 22 “where he was received at the Paediatrics/Emergency department, but was not attended to until about 9.30pm after one Dr. Idowu intervened.”
After some necessary protocols of injection administration and purchase of drugs, they were advised to return the following day, which they did. The father said they were rudely and impatiently attended to by the doctor they met, even after they had complained about the late Segunfunmi’s rising temperature and stooling.
Because of wrong procedures that the care providers followed, the baby’s condition worsened by February 25, “prompting his father to rush him back to the hospital where they “met a friendlier doctor who patiently attended to him, but it was too late” as the doctor tried all she could. The boy finally gave up about 5am of that same day.
Posers raised by Daomi included:Why the doctors that attended to him on February 22,23 and 24 refused to administer drips on him, since they were aware that the boy was stooling uncontrollably, as a result of which the boy must have lost so much water, energy and strength? Whether the doctors and nurses at the hospital’s paediatrics/emergency department are unqualified and as such didn’t know what best treatment the late Oluwasegunfunmi should have been given to avoid his death.
Perhaps until medical care givers are severely sanctioned by the higher authorities when cases of medical neglicence are proved, may be those entrusted with providing medical care and services, following their Hippocratic oath, would begin to do what is expected of them – treat patients with patience, care and love, devoid of neglicence.
Apr 16, 2013
The Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), has revealed about 63million Nigerians have sleep problem, which also affects By Adetutu Audu, about 45 percent of the global world population.
Speaking at the third edition of the world sleep Day with the theme Good sleep, Healthy aging packaged by Mouka Limited, Okubadejo said sleep and good health are closely linked.
According to her, the dictates of the modern world has drastically rehours that people sleep because of their lifestyle or natural process controlled by the brain, which restores body functions.
Okubadejo, who is also an associate professor, College of Medicine University of Lagos, sated the consequences of lack of proper sleep in clued poor memory recall, decreased academic performance, decreased work productivity, reduced attention, alertness and concentration.
Others, she said, are irritable mood and poor social interaction, increase risk hypertension, increase risk diabetes, mood disorders, reduced immunity memory deficit, increased vulnerability to accident and errors and reduced lifespan.
She recommended daily sleep of 14 to 15 hours for infants, 12 to 14 hours for toddlers, 10 to 11 hours for children and 7 to 9 hours for adults.
Apr 10, 2013
Only 23% of sexually active teens have been tested for HIV. Are you one of them? Find free or low-cost clinics near you!
Apr 9, 2013
Tomorrow is the first ever National Youth HIV & AIDS Awareness Day. Why is it important you ask? Here’s why
Apr 9, 2013
April is Autism Awareness Month, and although most of us would like to think that organizations like Autism Speaks are doing autistic people a world of good, it turns out that may not be true. I came across a post on Tumblr, written by an autistic individual, who finds fault with the way that Autism Speaks portrays the people it is supposedly advocating for.
April, as you might know, is Autism Awareness month. If you want to help, I’d urge you to follow Autism Acceptance Day, check out & donate to ASAN, and educate yourself on what the Autistic community is and looks like. Hint: we’re people, not puzzles.
As you probably know because I say it all the time, I am Autistic. Therefore, April is generally the month where I get to hate myself, and the entire world, the most. I have a whole drinking game done up to survive watching the media teach the world how to fear me. Bingo cards and everything.
The post goes on to discuss the way that autism is portrayed in the media – like a contagious disease that every parent is terrified of. Reading that post, I could kind of see how this particular type of advocacy could be damaging instead of helpful. The aim of the whole campaign is to educate people and raise money for research right? But that doesn’t mean that we should forget about the faces behind the cause. Combine that with the fact that whatever services provided for autistic kids supposedly ends when they transition into adults, and the reason for that Tumblr post is understandable.
Another blogger wrote a post in March last year outlining the many reasons why people should not donate to Autism Speaks but to other organizations. Some of which include the fact that only 4% of the AS budget actually goes to helping autistic children and families (as of 2010) and the fact that there are no autistic people on their board of directors or in some other form of leadership. How is it possible to advocate for people without them?
Overall, it seems like AS is doing a very good job of contributing to the negative stereotypes about autistic people rather than combating said stereotypes. They have been known to describe autism as a disorder that works “faster than pediatric AIDS, cancer and diabetes combined,” will ensure that your marriage fails, will bankrupt you, cause you not to sleep and make it “virtually impossible” to go out in public without experiencing embarrassment or pain. Yes it’s important to let people know what living with autism entails, but why portray them as less than human?
Apr 6, 2013
A few weeks back I listened attentively to ‘SOS Doctor’, one of the best health programs that be on Radio in Cameroon. As I listened, I got very happy at the great job that Dr. Dion Grace, a member of the National AIDS Control Committee of Cameroon was doing to educate Cameroonians on anti-retroviral drugs. She eloquently and insightfully answered every one of the questions that were posed to her by listeners who called-in and am sure her intervention in the program was a timely one. Everything was fine until when a listener called-in to ask what is it that could be done to reduce stigma on people who are on anti-retroviral drugs. Dr. Dion as usual gave a very insightful answer to this question going as far as citing the example of Ivory Coast where the drugs are put in anonymous packages so that they can be taken by patients without fear of stigma by the people around them. She went ahead to cite cases where some special containers of various doses is been used in some countries to reduce stigma. This was quiet interesting to know, but when she started advising people on anti-retroviral that they could tell people around them that they are taking vitamins or pills in order to avoid stigmatization I grumbled the following to myself: Do I have to be so ashamed of my status that I have to lie to others?
I have no statistics on this but I can assure you that having to lie on your HIV status is the order of the day in Cameroon especially amongst young people to avoid stigma and discrimination. Well, this to an extend is understandable given that People Living With HIV/AIDS(PLWHA) are considered as being punished by God for either their sisns or those committed by their family. But when telling a lie to avoid stigma is a behaviour that is reinforced health professionals, I have reservations and clearly doubt how efficient this approach could be.
I am utterly convinced that a problem can only be solved if its root cause(s) is/are carefully tackled. As a young person living in a society where most PLWHA are young persons, I compare telling a lie on your HIV/AIDS status to survive to deliberately refusing to tackle the problem from it’s source and launching an attack on its leaves instead.
To reduce stigma in the most sustainable way possible, education rather than lies is required.Young People, their families, and the communities in which People on anti-retroviral drugs have to be educated on the dangers of stigma and on the importance of accepting PLWHA. Ban Ki-moon, the United Nations’ Secretary-General, vividly spelt out society’s responsibility to PLWHA when he declared that, “We can fight stigma. Enlightened laws and policies are key. But it begins with openness, the courage to speak out. Schools should teach respect and understanding. Religious leaders should preach tolerance. The media should condemn prejudice and use its influence to advance social change, from securing legal protections to ensuring access to health care.”
Lies do nothing but contribute in amplifying the myth around HIV/AIDS in the Cameroonian society. People on anti-retroviral drugs do not need to lie on their status to survive stigma, they need to accept themselves as they are and deserve the care and protection that every other human being is due by the society in which they live.They deserve to live a real life and not a life of lies.
Apr 3, 2013
Thanks to Advocates For Youth, I had the privilege and pleasure of attending the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health’s National Advocacy Weekend for 5 days this past March. As I packed my bags and boarded the plane that would take me from Ithaca, NY to Washington DC, I had no clue as to the intense intellectual, emotional, and passionate environment I was about to step into.
This year’s Advocacy Weekend was focused on the inclusion of immigrant women’s health care in immigration reform. Immigration policy directly affects an immigrant woman’s access to health care. According to the NLIRH website, the majority of female immigrants do not have healthcare coverage. State legislatures continue to introduce legislation that would restrict non-citizens’ access to basic public health programs, including prenatal care. Immigrant women are less likely to receive adequate reproductive health care, including cervical and breast cancer screening and treatment, family planning services, HIV/AIDS testing and treatment, accurate sex education and culturally and linguistically competent services.
Reproductive Justice tells us that these services are essential for women to have the basic human rights to dignity and self determination. It was under this belief that over 50 activists from across the country joined together. We represented the full spectrum of american latina identity- some of us were undocumented, others were second and third generation citizens. Our command of English and Spanish differed, but we were united in our conviction, and most of all in our support of one another.
Yo te apoyo. This is one of NLIRH’s campaign slogans, and it was this sentiment that was most felt throughout the weekend. As we learned about the intricacies of immigration reform and of it’s intersections with Reproductive Justice, we were free to voice our personal experiences and frustrations. People spoke of very personal obstacles- young motherhood, the pain of familial disruption by deportation, the inability to be seen by a doctor for a cyst in the breast- openly and honestly, and were always received with respect and the assurance that they had in their power the ability to create change.
At the rally for Immigrant Women on Sunday, speakers shouted, “We are on the right side of history!” to a church full of applause. I clapped and shouted right along. It was only later that I questioned the assurance I felt that this is true. I suppose I feel that I am “on the right side of history” when I am working with people who sound least like a history textbook.. People who choose not to simplify and sterilize an issue, because they are not afraid to admit to and confront the complexity and diversity of it. People who gain collective power through their willingness to admit to vulnerability, to the need to support and be supported in their struggle.
For more information about the issue of Immigrant women’s access to healthcare, and how it is affected by immigration policy, check out:
Apr 3, 2013
Two nurses of a private clinic were recently arrested by the police for allegedly exchanging a new baby boy for a girl. The suspects, who are in the custody of the State Criminal Investigations Department (SCID) Osun State police command, were said to have exchanged Semia Nurudeen’s baby boy for a baby girl belonging to another woman. The children were born in a private clinic. It was gathered that Semia gave birth to a set of premature twins in the private clinic, but one of the babies, who were confirmed to be boys, died, while the other survived.
The surviving baby was referred to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) where the suspects work. The father of the twins, Ibrahim, said: “My wife was rushed to the hospital and gave birth to a set of twins prematurely. One of the babies – both boys – died immediately and the other, because of his situation, was referred to the ICU of the hospital for further medical care…” A new twist on the matter arose on March 6 when Ibrahim discovered that his child had been exchanged for a baby girl. The nurses are being interrogated, while the doctor on duty on the day of the incident is said to be on the run.
If nurses would live to the billing of what is expected of them – compassion, care and professionalism – situations like this would not have arisen. The need to discard greed, avarice and love of filthy lucre to display every sense of responsibility and duty required of them by society.
Apr 1, 2013
Mar 26, 2013
“Guess I hooked up with last night?” I asked my homeboy.
“Who?” he responded.
“Courtney,” I said with a huge grin.
“For real brother,” said my friend sitting across from me, “Me too.”
“Huh,” I responded.
“Me three,” said the guy sitting next to us that I didn’t even know.
“Yea I hit that too,” said the janitor as he walked by trashing our lunch trays.
“Damn,” I thought to myself, “I think I need to get checked.
I had to go to clinic three times before I could get checked. The first time they were closed. The
second time I had to have an appointment. The third time I finally got in and boy was I scared.
It was even worse when I found I had to wait 2 weeks for the results. When those 2 weeks
were up I was released of a ton of stress. My test results read negative down the line. If you are
reading this I’m sure you have had a similar situation. What happened?
Mar 26, 2013
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.
Mar 23, 2013
If you haven’t heard already, the law makers in North Dakota are pushing for another anti-choice bill. This time it’s an abortion ban on the basis of personhood. If passed, this would effectively give fertilized eggs all the rights of U.S. citizens. And it would cut off abortion care completely. Beyond abortion this bill would also charge doctors who damage embryos in any way with criminal negligence. It also prevents doctors from being able to perform in vitro fertilizations. Now you might be thinking an unconstitutional bill like this couldn’t possibly get passed by Senate or the House, but it did. Shockingly, it passed the House by a vote of 57-35 and it’s currently making its way to the Governor’s desk.
The state’s recent six-week abortion ban is already in direct violation of Roe v. Wade and will bring about several legal costs for taxpayers when challenged. This next measure of a total abortion ban will surely cause North Dakota to face the same results, costing the state more than they bargained for. And how will they pay for these litigations?
During a recent debate between Senator Margaret Sitte and Dr. Kristen Cain about the abortion restrictions and pending abortion ban, Senator Sitte accidentally lets something slip. When asked if these bills will cost taxpayers possibly millions, Senator Sitte unintentionally admits that there are outside interests behind the unconstitutional abortion bans who are willing to spend those millions to make sure people in North Dakota will not have access to reproductive healthcare and rights. Watch as Senator Sitte tries to lie her way out of it.
This abortion ban won’t be a law until Governor Jack Darlymple of North Dakota signs it, and it’s unclear if he will or won’t.
To contact Governor Jack Darlymple:
Office of Governor
State of North Dakota
600 East Boulevard Avenue
Bismarck, ND 58505-0100
Mar 22, 2013
Two personhood bills — Senate Bill 2303 and Senate Concurrent Resolution 4009 — have already passed the Senate, and the GOP-controlled House is expected to take them upsometime this week. But if North Dakota successfully enacts a total abortion ban, there will be serious consequences for the state that extend even beyond women’s reproductive freedom. Here are five ways the state will suffer under personhood:
1. There will be fewer doctors in the state available to provide medical care. In a historic move for the North Dakota Medical Association, the nonpartisan organization has come out againstpersonhood. The group points out that the anti-abortion measures go too far to “interfere with the physician practice,” and they suspect it will be harder to find qualified medical professionals willing to practice in North Dakota if the state imposes so many complicated restrictions on doctors. Some doctors have already testified before state lawmakersto say they will leave North Dakota if the abortion bans pass.
2. Maternal health care will be compromised. Doctors could becharged with criminal negligence if anything happens to an embryo — which could prevent them from making quick decisions that could help save women’s lives. The tragic case of Savita Halappanavar, a woman who died after being denied an abortion in a Catholic hospital because her doctors were reluctant to provide care that could get them in trouble with the law, highlights the serious consequences of state lawmakers coming between a woman and her doctor.
3. Women could be forced to resort to illegal abortion procedures.Under a personhood law, women will end up resorting to dangerous “backroom” abortions, one former pediatrician warned North Dakota lawmakers last week. That Fargo-area doctor did his medical training before Roe v. Wade, when women were dying of bacterial infections after botched abortion procedures — and he warns that the passage of the proposed personhood measures would pull North Dakota back into “the stone age of medicine.” There’s evidence to back up that claim. According to the Guttmacher Institute, the legality of abortion hasabsolutely no correlation to abortion rates around the world, because women will continue to seek to terminate pregnancies regardless of the law.
4. Women won’t be able to use in vitro fertilization to try to have a family. Ironically, in addition to compromising medical procedures for the women seeking to terminate a pregnancy, personhood measures also place restrictions on the women who are trying to get pregnant. “These bills will stop the practice of in vitro fertilization in this state,” Dr. Stephanie Dahl, an obstetrician-gynecologist and reproductive medicine specialist in Fargo, explained to lawmakers. Doctors wouldn’t be able to perform any procedure that carries the risk of damaging some embryos, so women would be forced to travel to South Dakota or Minnesota for in vitro treatment, a six-week process that requires multiple sonograms and up to 12 visits to the doctor.
5. The state will become embroiled in expensive lawsuits. North Dakota’s six-week abortion ban already runs afoul of Roe v. Wade, and will certainly invite several costly legal challenges. A total abortion ban would lead to similar consequences. Two personhood bills were recentlystruck down in Oklahoma, suggesting that the courts won’t take kindly to North Dakota’s push to restrict women’s constitutional rights, either. Nevertheless, even the self-proclaimed “fiscally conservative” Republicans in the state are willing to defend their abortion bans on the state’s dime.
Mar 20, 2013
Kansas House members on Tuesday gave first-round approval to sweeping new restrictions on abortion after refusing to add exceptions that would allow victims of incest or rape — including children who are raped — to get late-term abortions.
Mar 20, 2013
— Jessica Gonzalez-Rojas and Kierra Johnson, Beyond Choice: How We Learned to Stop Labeling and Love Reproductive Justice
Mar 19, 2013
The war against women continues in Texas. It seems as if the attack against women’s health will not stop. Recently, Texas State Senators Deuell, Campbell, and Schwertner introduced Senate Bill 537. This bill also known as the “Back Door Abortion Ban” is an attempt to restrict a women’s basic right to living a healthy life. Under the guise of safety and more regulation, Senate Bill 537 would in fact not improve safety of abortion care, but instead place medically unnecessary requirements on health centers such as becoming licensed Ambulatory Surgery Centers (ASCs).
These requirements would force all but five women health centers that offer abortion services to shut down in the state of Texas. This would have a devastating impact on thousands of women, especially low income women. Low-income women and women of color who live in the rural parts of Texas do not have access to the necessary resources to protect themselves and live a healthy life. To attain a basic cervical cancer screening sometimes they need to take time off work and travel miles to go to the nearest health clinic.
My mother and myself are prime examples of this. We both do not have health insurance because we cannot afford it. My mother lives in South Texas and has traveled to Mexico to consult a doctor. She only goes to the doctor when about once every two years because she cannot afford losing a day of work, paying doctor visits, and buying prescribed medicine. I am a fourth year student at the University of Texas at Austin. I do not have my yearly check ups due the inability to afford health care insurance. It is difficult, frustrating and stressful living each day without health care and hoping you do not get sick and continue to work or pursue a higher education.
Texas has the highest percentage of women who are uninsured . Also, Texas ranks one of the top ten highest rates of women having cervical cancer. Yet, the 2011 Texas Legislature cut 66 percent of family planning funds. About 300, 000 fewer women will now receive health care . Unfortunately, Texas State legislature does not support women’s health. Every year, the state of Texas is limiting a women’s basic right to living a healthy life.
SB 537 is another example of the Texas State Legislature trying to limit women’s health rights in Texas. However, we will not let that happen because we decide what is best for our future. Young leaders in Texas such as myself working with the Young Women of Color Leadership Council with Advocates for Youth, Katy Waters Vice-President for Voices for Reproductive Justice at the University of Texas at Austin and organizations such as NARAL Pro-Choice Texas, and Planned Parenthood are working hard to make sure our communities are aware of what the Texas State legislature is doing. Through advocacy, lobbying, community outreach, petition drives, and speak outs at the Texas State Capitol we are making sure to create conversations with our families and friends All women in Texas deserve access to HIV tests, birth control, safe and legal abortions. Women’s health is not a just a women’s issue. It is an inclusive problem that affects everyone. Family planning cuts and closing down of abortion clinics will affect mothers, wives, daughters, husbands, sons and the list continues.
Simple actions such as following bills that may affect women’s lives and what is going on at the Texas legislature online at http://www.legis.state.tx.us/Home.aspx or signing online petitions such as opposing SB 537 online https://secure.ppaction.org/site/Advocacy?cmd=display&page=UserAction&id=15903 to hold our political leaders accountable are ways communities can speak up.
 Guttmacher Institute. State Facts About Title X and Family Planning: Texas.http://www.guttmacher.org/statecenter/title-X/TX.html.
 Legislative Budget Board. http://www.lbb.state.tx.us/
Mar 17, 2013
Technology has become more integral to our daily lives, so it’s no surprise that millions use online dating websites and social apps in search of friendships, romance, and sex. This reality continues to bring individuals closer while removing personal communication as well as creating controversial news headlines.
For many LGBTQ youth, using their internet devices to interact with others is both convenient and comfortable, especially for those who are in the closet about their sexual or gender identity. While most of these youths are skilled at using electronics and social media networks, they are also unaware of the potential risks that come with meeting strangers and sharing extremely personal information.
Just recently, a 16-year-old Broward County student contracted HIV after having unprotected sex with two older men he met through a social app. Stories like this as well as rapes, abductions, and murders have been in the news, where young teens meet unknown persons through websites as popular as Myspace and Facebook, yet end in tragedy.
More than ever, it’s become a necessity for teens and adults to become informed about bullying, privacy, and sexuality so they can actively defend themselves from cyberbullying, predators, and sexually transmitted diseases.
As a young queer male, I’ve studied the habits of friends and pop culture trends. While South Florida has a rich network of resources for the LGBTQ population, a large portion prefer to join websites like Craigslist, Manhunt, Plenty Of Fish, BGCLive or download apps like Adam4Adam, Grindr, and Jack’d seeking a new friend, love, or a one night stand.
These websites and apps (especially those catering to LGBTQ persons) emphasize shallowness (you can filter users based their physical appearance, age, and ethnicity) and reinforce unrealistic social standards (many profiles will write phrases like “No Fats, No Fems, No Blacks, No Old”).
I don’t suffer from social anxiety or instant gratification and declare myself an online dating skeptic. In the past, I browsed these websites to understand the psychology of online dating and was shocked at how the members had no hesitation in revealing their partially or fully nude bodies and used explicit or unintelligent language in messages.
When I downloaded an app 2 weeks ago, I revisited the same behaviors I encountered on those sites, except it’s more invasive: you can see how many miles each user is from you. I was messaged daily from users aged 18 to 45, of various racial groups, hobbies, and intentions.
Not only did these last 2 weeks teach me that we’re too dependent on technology, but that it’s important to maintain meaningful and personal contact with each other. Online dating has its upside, but with the increasing lack of privacy and dangers associated with chatting to strangers, you never know who is on the other side of that laptop or iPhone.
We may be more connected than ever, but we must be more safe and protected than ever.
Mar 16, 2013
Grassroots activism is when a small group of citizens mobilize together to fight for something they believe in. With so many bills up for discussion this year at Florida’s Legislative Session, it would be difficult to make a movement for all of them. However, one in particular stood out to the volunteers, including myself, at Planned Parenthood. Senate Bill 1816 by Sen. Joe Negron suggest to expand Medicaid by excepting federal funds for a state-based health insurance program. This program would make one million new people eligible for Medicaid. People like single mothers who are just barely clearing the poverty line and hard working college students.
Over the last few months, advocates at Planned Parenthood organized a Legislative Summit in Tallahassee for their volunteers to meet with over 30 government officials and lobby for the Negron bill.I was honored to be a member of the gathering. Our first night there, we were given a crash course on the upcoming bills in this legislative session. Informing the group of all the alternative viewpoints really reminded us why we were there to lobby. Everyone deserves the peace of mind that comes from knowing you and your family’s health are covered in case of an emergency.
The second day of the summit, we had a panel of leaders from Catholics for Choice, America Votes, and Planned Parenthood answering questions about the specifics of several bills. I did not know it beforehand, but we had an entire coalition of community organizations fighting along side us for the same cause. Planned Parenthood activists from all over Florida joined together with signs saying, “Floridians, students, and I stand with Planned Parenthood”, as newscasters recorded the speakers. Sen. Eleanor Sobel spoke to the crowd about Florida’s right to federal dollars for health insurance. I felt so much pride as I stood in my blue Planned Parenthood t-shirt, holding my sign with my other advocates. We were letting those in Tallahassee know that as voters, we would not let our voices go unheard.
Monday ended with everyone splitting into groups for our appointments with senators and house representatives. When lobbying, each group member is assigned a task before the meetings. In our group, I was chosen to tell each official about my story of being a young mother who relied on Medicaid’s health coverage. Sharing my story with real government officials gave me a sense of both great patriotism and accomplishment. I was no longer complaining to friends about the way things were; I was speaking with the people who can truly make a difference.
My experience lobbying this past Monday was a phenomenal one. I feel that every American needs to understand the process of how grassroots movements get started and propel forward. It is a democratic right that we often take for granted in our fast-paced society. We often get stuck in a sense of compliancy because we our told our voices won’t make a difference. Maybe my story did nothing to change the senators’ minds, but I know it made more of an impact then if I would have stayed silent.
Mar 15, 2013
BREAKING: North Dakota legislature passes nation’s most restrictive abortion law, bans all abortions after 6 weeks
Mar 15, 2013
One State. A Country worth of Disappointment.
12 is the new 20
If you’ve been following any news about reproductive health recently, you may have seen a thing or 12 about Arkansas. Just a reminder: Arkansas passed the most restrictive abortion law in the country, banning abortion at 12 weeks of pregnancy. There are a few factors to note about this piece of legislation and what it means for the future of anti-abortion policies throughout the states.
The bill was actually vetoed by Governor Mike Beebe (D) and his veto was overridden by the Republican-controlled legislature (shout out to the Beebe for trying!). Its sponsor is Republican Senator Jason Rapert (self-identified tea partier), who actually submitted a bill to ban abortions at 6 weeks but decided to retract since the only way to know anything about a fetus at 6 weeks is with a transvaginal ultrasound (and he didn’t want to feel the heat Virginia felt when they tackled that issue). The final approval of the bill was surprisingly unemotional, with consideration taking just a few minutes and with no one refuting, pushing back or making a statement against the decision. Mere moments that would potentially put hundreds of women at risk. Mere moments that put Arkansas at the center of the abortion rights movement. Mere moments that pushed fetal heartbeats and 12-week bans as a possible and passable policy option. This is unsettling, to say the least.
Fetal Heartbeat is the new Fetal Pain
Interestingly, what we’re seeing now are certain old school anti-abortion leaders worried that this new wave of (tea party-inspired) radical anti-abortion activism is only going to push abortion ban policies to federal courts, get struck down, and actually just REINFORCE Roe. And they’re right. While we’re on the topic, let’s just revisit the Supreme Court and Roe v. Wade for a moment, which states that women have a constitutional right to an abortion until the fetus is viable outside the womb (24-26 weeks into the pregnancy).
Abortion bans, at 12 (fetal heartbeat) or 20 weeks (fetal pain), are being argued in court because, get this, they actually ARE unconstitutional. Just last week, a federal court struck down Idaho’s 20-week abortion ban. Luckily, the Center for Reproductive Rights and the American Civil Liberties Union have challenged the 12-week ban in Arkansas and are hopeful they will strike down the legislation before it comes into effect.
But that doesn’t mean this new wave of anti-abortion activists and elected officials won’t continue to introduce legislation like wildfire. Nebraska started this trend with a 20-week ban in 2010, which prompted five more states to follow suit in 2011 (Alabama, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, and Oklahoma), and then three more in 2012 (Arizona, Georgia, and Louisiana). Thus far, Arkansas is the first state this year to approve an abortion ban.
Let’s Back up…What’s with the numbers? These measures are premised on the idea that fetuses can feel pain at 20 weeks of gestation and have a detectable heartbeat at 12 weeks, and should therefore be afforded state protections. Well actually, in 2005 the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) published a statement that, after rigorous scientific review, states that “fetal perception of pain is unlikely before the third trimester.” And, as of a statement released in the summer of 2012, there have been no new studies since that have changed this dominant view of the medical profession. And that’s just the opinion of the entire medical profession and rigorous scientific review. No big deal.
But the real point is that 20-week bans, 12-week bans, and whatever ban that occurs before viability are straight-up unconstitutional. We can see this doesn’t seem to stop radical anti-abortion crusaders, which is the worrying part. And the questions we must ask ourselves as abortions-rights activists: What number is next? What state is next?
Actually, we have the answer to that last question. Drum roll please….. NORTH DAKOTA. Yup. A similar ban is under consideration in North Dakota RIGHT NOW. In the light of recent events in Arkansas, this bill may be all the more likely to pass. Other states that have introduced similar heartbeat bans during the current legislative session include Ohio, Kansas, Texas and Alabama. Be on the lookout for actions to plug into in the near future.
BUT FOR REALSIES…. Arkansas takes the cake on worst reproductive health policies this week. And that 12-week abortion stuff above? That’s not the end of it. Earlier this month, they also passed a law that limits abortion coverage in the state’s upcoming health exchange. Oh, and if Senator Rapert didn’t feel like he had done enough passing the nation’s most restrictive abortion ban, the next day he co-sponsored a bill designed to strip Planned Parenthood of all state and federal financing. Wow, Arkansas. Just… WOW.
I’m feeling a bit underwhelmed with the state of states these days. But I can’t end this on such a negative note. There HAS been some good coming out of the states, right? Right.
Shout out to…. ILLINOIS! Why?! Well a few things.
On the local level:
The Chicago Board of Education recently passed a policy that mandates a set amount of time be spent on sex education in every grade, beginning in kindergarten. In addition, for the first time, sex education instruction in Chicago will cover sexual orientation and gender identity. CHEERS to Chi-Town for getting that all young people deserve the right to lead healthy lives and access to complete and accurate information.
On the state level:
This week, HB 2213, passed through the House Education Committee, which seeks to remove the barriers to school attendance, safety, and completion among young parents, expecting parents, or survivors of domestic or sexual violence. This “Ensuring Success in Schools” Act is now on its way to the House floor for debate. One step closer to ensuring the rights of pregnant and parenting teens!
Also, this week, Illinois’s comprehensive sex education bill (HB 2675) passed out of the Human Services Committee and is heading to the House floor, which requires that if sex education IS taught, then the curriculum needs to be comprehensive, medically accurate, and age appropriate. One step closer towards a more comprehensive approach to sex education!
And to continue on the shout-out train, major props to our friends over at the Illinois Caucus for Adolescent Health (ICAH) for all their advocacy work and youth mobilization on both of these statewide efforts! Young people and sex education for the win!
Curated by Diana Thu-Thao Rhodes, State Strategies Manager, Advocates for Youth
Mar 8, 2013
“The story of women’s struggle for equality belongs to no single feminist nor to any one organization but to the collective efforts of all who care about human rights” Gloria Steinem
Today, International Women’s Day, let us remember women and girls around the world who are not as free as some of us are. Being a foreign national, I can speak on this lack of freedom. Although I was born in to modern times, decades after it was thought a waste to educate the girl child, in my culture, there are still inequalities. Men are still the heads of households, and there are still tasks and behaviors designated to specific sexes.
This year, the theme of IWD is “The Gender Agenda: Gaining Momentum”. It focuses on celebrating the achievements of women thus far, while remaining hopeful about new progress on all fronts. Women have come so far through the years, but there is still much to do. There is still a great gap in gender equality, and there is an assault on our rights. Can you believe that in 2013 there are still arguments about what rights we have to our bodies? Can you believe that congress would pay for an old dude to have sex but won’t pay for women to protect themselves against pregnancy or save their own lives when necessary? Can you believe that in this day an age, women are killed for trying to empower themselves an others? That an Oscar host can stand up in front of thousands of people and make jokes about rape?
This International Women’s Day, take a stand for something you believe in. Donate to an organization that supports women’s rights, attend an event to show your support for women’s rights, highlight an important woman who has done much for the movement and effect change by supporting efforts to help women around the world.
SEE COMPLETE IMAGE:
The Arkansas Legislature has approved the earliest abortion ban in the nation.
And it’s now up to Democratic Gov. Mike Beebe to decide what to do next. If he vetoes the bill, his veto could be overridden by a simple majority in the Republican Legislature as it was earlier Thursday on a similar 20-week abortion ban bill.
The Arkansas Senate gave final approval Thursday morning to the Human Heartbeat Protection Act, which would ban abortions at 12 weeks into pregnancy if a heartbeat is detected, with exceptions for cases of rape or incest, to save the life of the mother or for a lethal fetal condition. The bill now goes directly to Beebe.
Through “fetal pain” laws, other states have begun approving abortion bans at around 20 weeks into pregnancy — such a ban became law in Arkansas with the veto override early Thursday — but this bill would go further, turning Arkansas into the only state to ban abortions that early in a pregnancy.
Abortion rights groups immediately urged Beebe to reject the bill. “This extreme legislation would insert politics into women’s personal medical decisions, and we urge Gov. Beebe to veto it immediately,” Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Action Fund, said in a statement.
“Lawmakers in Arkansas are placing women’s lives on the line by passing the most severe ban on access to safe, legal medical care this country has seen in recent years,” said Talcott Camp, deputy director of the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project.
In vetoing the 20-week ban on Tuesday, Beebe said the bill violated Supreme Court precedent that establishes states cannot limit abortions before viability. That was one of 10 “fetal pain” laws that have been enacted in 10 states, based on the assertion that the fetus can experience pain after 20 weeks. Cases have been filed against such laws in Arizona and Georgia.
By Max Smith
Mar 1, 2013
I have had an abortion. Most people who know me know that. I’m very open about it and fervently pro-choice. I had to start my piece like this, so you’ll understand where I’m coming from. I’m not writing this post out of malice, but for educational purposes. I haven’t been able to find any other pieces on this subject, so maybe I’m wrong. If I am I would appreciate any readers to provide me with some cold hard medical facts. Okay?
Before my abortion I had a transvaginal ultrasound. This was in mid-2011, so before TVUs got famous. When I saw the device I was wary and my reaction was something along the lines of “woah what’s that? Do I have to have that because I don’t want it.” The woman said yes it was necessary for the procedure and she’s sorry. She didn’t say it was required by law or whatever, but that it was necessary. She didn’t show me the ultrasound or talk about it or even offer to. The whole thing was over in about two minutes. I had a surgical abortion at nine weeks and I was assured this was needed for my procedure.
Then eventually the TVU law proposals starting arriving and I was incredibly confused and hurt. Had something wrong been done to me? By that clinic? That clinic that saved my future? That clinic I was eternally grateful to? That clinic that advertises “comprehensive reproductive services in a supportive, nonjudgmental, knowledge-based environment?” That clinic that boasts that it has “the most experienced clinic staff in the region?” That clinic which is part of the National Abortion Federation?
All of these activists were and still are posting images of ultrasound wands with captions like “up mine? Up yours?” and talking about TVUs being a violation and comparing them to rape. This was/is really upsetting to me. I felt weirdly betrayed by my savior clinic. So I called them. I just briefly asked why they do TVUs and the clinic worker said because it was needed for the procedure. I felt pretty satisfied with that answer.
Of course I think this mandatory TVU legislation is terrible and wrong. It’s unethical for legislators with no medical expertise to be putting this into law. Since when are bills about medical procedure? Those are two entirely different fields. Where are the laws going into detail about thermometer or blood drawing procedure? Why is abortion any different? Why would a bill by those with no medical degree be dictating what practitioners do? Also, are states competing for the most ridiculous TVU bill? Now apparently there are bills requiring two TVUs.
Honestly I have not take part in this debate because it made me uncomfortable. The anti-choice side was clearly wrong, but for the first time I also felt the pro-choice side was wrong. They weren’t being outraged about the right things. They weren’t being outraged about why specifically this legislation was terrible instead they were just proclaiming TVUs were terrible. I don’t know why I’m talking in past tense. This is still going on. So, pro-choice activists are proclaiming that what is in some clinics vital to abortion is a violation and basically a desecration of human rights. They’re starting to sound like the anti-choicers to me. I mean what if legislators start listening? What if they start believing TVUs are a violation and try to ban them? What does that mean for the clinics that use them? Will abortion access become more difficult and expensive? Are these pro-choicers hurting the movement?
I’m working on expanding my knowledge. Nowhere on prochoice.org does it say TVUs are “medically unnecessary” like so many pro-choicers are claiming. This week I asked my abortion clinic for more in depth reasoning into their usage of TVUs. This was their response:
“There is no mandated law in TN that requires a vaginal ultrasound although they are trying to pass a law currently to require an ultrasound 24 – 72 hours before an abortion with the sound of a heart beat, verbal description of the u/s picture and a copy of the picture given to the patient. Here at [name removed] we routinely perform a vaginal ultrasound for patients who may be under 12 weeks and an abdominal ultrasound for patient who may be over 12 weeks. Because a patient can have missed a period and not be pregnant or can have a period and be pregnant, (it is possible to have periods all the way up until delivery) until we do an ultrasound we do not know for sure her gestational age. An accurate gestational age supports providing the best possible care for our patients. We do not however show her a picture, hear a heartbeat (which we don’t have the equipment for) or describe the u/s to the patient unless she requests it.”
Basically I’m demanding more education on this issue for everyone. Because honestly I’m offended that my supposed allies are telling me I was violated. It almost feels like they’re belittling rape. Why is it so difficult to find resources on this? Why can’t I find other articles with this viewpoint? Is it the abortion stigma? Are women not talking about it because they don’t feel comfortable talking about their abortion? Are abortion providers not coming forward so that they don’t disclose their profession and put themselves at risk? I’m concerned and I demand more information.
This is a post by a fellow blogger called BrashBlackNonBeliever. These are her words and feelings about how “pro-life” advocates use PoC, specifically Black women and children, to further their agenda. Some of it will be edited for language censorship.
“I am beyond f****** SICK of these so-called “pro-life” advocates using Black women and children to further their agenda.
Those conservative assholes don’t give a F*** about us when we’re walking this earth, but I’m supposed to believe they give a f*** about Black babies? I’m supposed to believe these motherfuckers actually care about pregnant Black women?!
They don’t give a f*** about Black families in the hood, struggling to live.
They don’t give a f*** about the single Black mothers doing everything they can for their kids.
They really don’t give a f*** about the Black parents on welfare.
No, to them, we’re nothing but welfare queens and wh**** who never should have spread their legs.
Our children are nothing but drug dealers, thugs, or future drug addicts and prostitutes who need to be put down like dogs.
That is, until one of us gets pregnant and they need a new face for their “pro-life” campaign.
Then our babies are “precious children.”
Then they pretend to be worried about the future of the Black race.
Only then do we need to protect ourselves against “extinction” by never having abortions.
Only then do they care oh so much about racism and they seek to warn us about how racist Planned Parenthood and abortions are.
Well I, for one, am completely fed up with their BS. I can see right through them. They don’t give a f*** about Black people and they never have.
Stop using Black bodies as props and pawns.”
“When I introduce the concept of reproductive justice to new audiences, at lectures or workshops, I always frame it in the same way. I use a really simple exercise, where I draw a stick figure on a piece of butcher paper, or an easel, or a chalkboard. Then I ask the question: “What things in this person’s life will impact their ability to create the family they want to create?” Usually it takes a few minutes for the audience to get going, but within five or ten minutes the result is a stick figure with many, many issues written in bubbles around them. Things like religion, money, environment, language, race, gender, sexuality, laws, incarceration end up surrounding the person.
This activity is a pretty decent illustration of my definition of reproductive justice—it’s working to build a world where everyone has what they need to create the family they want to create. And that work requires incorporating and taking into account all of those items written in bubbles on the diagram, as well as many we probably leave out. Almost always this exercise results in “ah ha” moments, and it’s had a striking universality—from using it with college students to using it in Latina immigrant communities on the border. Reproductive justice is an easier concept to explain in ten minutes than in a two-word soundbite, like pro-choice, but that additional context also allows for so many more of the issues and challenges or our every day lives to be made visible and explicitly included in our work.”
Feb 19, 2013
(See link: http://stfuprolife.tumblr.com/post/42021609348/all-states-except-oregon-now-limit-abortion-access)
The above graph lists all the states and their abortion restrictions. Although, Roe v. Wade gives people the right to abortion, Planned Parenthood v. Casey gave states the right to limit access to abortion without posing an “undue burden.” Even though the World Health Organization has already declared that a restriction or limitation of safe, legal, and accessible abortion leads to a decrease in health for people, specifically women (although we all have the understanding that it’s not just women who are affected by this).
Some states have less than a handful of clinics that can even provide these services and some states simply have unreasonable restrictions that prevent people from getting the healthcare they need. This forces people to travel, sometimes out of their means, to get an abortion. Others seek more dangerous options. Until this changes, there are some things that are helping people right now.
There is a particular page that I have been supporting on my own site (ST*U, Pro-Life) called the Abortion Assistance Blog. This is how it describes itself:
A collection of abortion funds, individuals willing to provide transportation and/or lodging before and after your appointment, and other resources.
This blog is intended to be a resource for people of all genders, races, sexualities, and abilities. If you are offering help, but not willing to help someone based on one of those categories, please say so. Everyone deserves to be safe and supported.
This blog has several links, providing help and information. It lets readers know how they can help or where they can find help. Many people go on the blog leaving contact information or simply letting others know that they could provide transportation, lodging, or monetary support. I recommend to everyone to check it out and share.
It’s just not enough to just say that we support reproductive/sexual health care and rights anymore. It never has been.
Feb 14, 2013
Whether we choose to celebrate Valentine’s Day or not, the fact of the matter is that it’s nearly impossible to ignore the roses, teddy bears and big red hearts abound today.
Of course the big elephant in the room on Valentine’s Day is sex — oftentimes the unspoken piece of the puzzle amongst all of those cheesy gifts.
Part of being responsible while sexually active on Valentine’s Day and every day is practicing consent with your partner(s) as well as safe sex. But what about the impact your birth control has on the environment? Not something we always stop to think about.
It’s an important thing to think about and I’m happy to deliver some good news. Any birth control is better than no birth control when you’re looking out for the planet’s health.
You’ve probably heard somewhere along the line that the estrogen-based hormones in birth control make their way into our waterways and in turn cause a host of health issues. While estrogenic compounds are found in waterways, birth control and other forms of hormonal contraception are not major contributors to this issue.
Instead, agricultural and industrial waste are the more likely culprits. The total yearly volume of entrogenic growth hormones given to farm animals is more than five times that of humans’ consumption of oral contraceptives. Estrogen also makes its way into our waterways through the use of common herbicides, like Atrazine and Roundup, as well as common industrial chemicals like BPA, which is commonly found in our plastics.
If you’re interested in using a contraceptive method that’s hormone-free, consider the copper IUD. And if it isn’t a good fit for you, choose another method rather than going without. When it comes to having sex, the greenest thing you can do is use birth control!
While birth control pills aren’t to blame for the presence of the majority of hormones in our environment, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t care about the issue.
Early puberty, infertility, and developmental defects have all been linked to hormone disruption as a result of the estrogenic compounds in our water. Compounding the problem are endocrine system disrupting toxic chemicals in our everyday care products.
So what’s an aspiring green valentine to do? Continue using your birth control method, learn about the link between reproductive health and environmental health and current thinking on greening contraception, and ask your Senator to support the Safe Chemicals Act, which would regulate hormone disrupting chemicals before they end up in our products and harm our health.
Feb 13, 2013
Where we share all of our emotions. About all of the states.
Just say NO to… Abortion?!
It’s basically the mantra of anti-choice lawmakers across the country and one that they’re now espousing inside the classroom. Currently there are two similar bills, one in Montana (HB 239) and one in Texas (HB 1057), that prohibits a school district from allowing any abortion services provider to teach sex ed in schools. And of course, by abortion providers, they really mean Planned Parenthoods.
The bill in Texas was just introduced last week, and includes a ban on “any entity or individual that performs abortions or an affiliate of an entity or individual that performs abortions” from providing human sexuality or family planning instruction. Talk about a case of the scarlet letter (“A” for abortion, in this case). The motive behind this piece of legislation is clearly to ensure any organization that is either a Planned Parenthood or any individual and/or entity that affiliates with Planned Parenthood is not welcome in Texas classrooms. It even reinforces stigma against abortion providers themselves, by actually banning individuals that perform abortions inside the classroom. This lawmaker (and so many others) simply does not want a more comprehensive conversation about sex education, including contraceptives, even when the Lone Star State has the fourth highest teen birth rate in the country. The bill would also put an “opt-in” requirement for sex ed, meaning all students must obtain a written consent form from a parent or guardian to even be able to sit in the classroom.
Montana is in the same boat, except it’s just further along in the process. On Wednesday, February 6, the House passed a bill (HB 239) that would, like Texas, require parental permission before students can attend sex education classes (“opt-in”) and also ban any “person, entity… affiliate or agent” that is a provider of abortion services to offer, sponsor, or furnish any course material on sex ed. The definitions are broad enough to, again, be harmful to local Planned Parenthoods or any organization that affiliates with the group, that has a stake in sex ed curriculum.
And to round out the “don’t you dare affiliate with anyone who dare say the A-word” news in the states, we turn our head to North Dakota, where two researchers who were granted federal funds to evaluate a local sex education program had their funds frozen from the University’s president (North Dakota State University) because they had signed an agreement to work with Planned Parenthood. While he justified his actions because of a (vague and contested) 1979 state law that prohibits any federal funds being used by entities that provide or refer abortions, the real reasons seems to be political pressure more than anything. Once anti-Planned Parenthood legislators caught wind of the grant and made comments about cutting the University’s funding if it dared move forward with accepting the grant, NDSU president peculiarly decided to freeze the funds (and without conferring with the researchers OR anyone from faculty leadership), making the announcement on a local conservative talk radio show.
Texas, Montana, North Dakota FAIL.
Now here are some other states and my emotions about them.
North Dakota vs. South Dakota = STALEMATE
Apparently, the Dakotas have gotten together and decided they want to make it as hard as possible for women to have any type of access to abortion. North Dakota’s Senate just passed a Personhood Constitutional Amendment initiative on Thursday that would amend the state’s constitution to give legal rights and protections to human embryos. YUP, you read that right, the state’s CONSTITUTION. If it passes the house, North Dakota voters will decide on it in the 2014 elections. And then South Dakota decides to hop back on the anti-abortion bandwagon and introduced a bill that would redefine the 72-hour waiting period as to not include weekends or holidays, which could drastically eliminate access to safe abortion for women – especially since there is only one comprehensive women’s clinic that provides abortions in the entire state. So yeah… neither state wins this round this time around. Sorry, Dakotas. Better luck next time.
And the winner is…
The state’s House Health, Insurance, and Environment committee passed a comprehensive sex ed bill last week (HB 1081) that would define sex education in the state as having to be age appropriate, culturally sensitive, evidence-based, and include positive youth development. It also creates a grant program and a cash fund to ensure the implementation of comprehensive sex ed programs throughout the state. Legislatively, it’s only part-way there (and there are Senate challenges ahead), BUT we should all give a round of applause for Colorado ‘cause they are on their way.
But the real winners are the activists who told their representatives why comprehensive sex education is important. Big high-fives go out to Colorado Youth Create’s youth activists, Scarlett and Adrian, who were the only high school students testifying during the hearing. Listen to their awesomeness HERE!
Do you have any rants or raves about things going on in YOUR state? Or maybe you live in one of the above states? Please share all of the feelings in the comments section below!
Curated by Diana Thu-Thao Rhodes, State Strategies Manager, Advocates for Youth
Feb 10, 2013
Feb 10, 2013
(oldie but goody)
Feb 3, 2013
Health is a major part of our lives, something I am currently experiencing since my recent bout of malaria has left me restricted to my bed, unable to walk or even eat without taking multi-vitamins to make me feel hunger and a state of constant headache – literally.
But thankfully, I’m getting better but time is ticking.
Before this onslaught of malaria, I attended the World Bank Youth Forum (WBYF) of which I have the privilege of being a member of. The Forum is an eclectic mix of young Nigerians from entertainment to youth development, from human resource management consultants to Education as a Vaccine (EVA Nigeria) advocates. It’s a quarterly meeting where World Bank representatives and experts have a forum, a think tank if you will, to share their ideas, ensure a better understanding of their work and implement community development projects. We’re presently raising funds and materials for a primary school in desperate need.
The Forum focused on Results based Financing for Service Delivery in the Health Sector.
The Meeting continued with presentation from the Health Sector team of the World Bank on its portfolio of projects in Nigeria.
Dr. Dinesh Nair – Lead Health Specialist the Bank is a finance (HIV/AIDs, Malaria, Polio, Results Based Financing – RBF), and knowledge institution (status of health in Nigeria, nutrition ESW, impact evaluation (result financing Vs normal financing, pharmaceutical work). As at 2011, the Human Development Indicators ranking was 156/187. Needless to say that the Giant of Africa is off-track to achieve the health MDGs and not surprisingly, the nation seems to be taking steps back in their attempt to meet the MDGs, especially where women and children are concerned.
World Bank supports the Health Sector in Nigeria with the aim to strengthen health systems and address MDGs, focus on input and results based programs, and contribute to body of knowledge through analytical work.
Dr Mariam Olaide Jagun shared insights on the World Malaria Projects which aims to strengthen communities (through community directed interventions – CDIs by providing information and services in terms of commodities in 3 LGAs), communities systems strengthening (improve access (Patent Medicine Vendors), health systems strengthening (logistics management information system – Anti malaria drugs, M & E)
WB has a new strategy – work in a few states, introduce innovations & focus on results
A participant raising a question at the meeting
Dr. Wole Odutolu made a presentation on the Bank’s NSHIP. The Bank launched the PBF project in April, 2012 to be implemented in 3 states – Adamawa, Nasarawa and Ondo States. Pre pilot started in December 2011. Results from the pre-pilot show increased indicators in the three states. A key challenge is child delivery at home.
The project has a 4 pronged approach:
Performance based financing (PBF). This ensures hospital autonomy, community involvement, hospital bank account, quality as against quantity of the facility/service.
DFF – operational costs are given to hospital to run the hospitals. This ensures control
LGA PHC – provides incentives to LG to supervise Health facilities
Disbursement Link Indicators (DLI) for Governance issues
Presentation on World Bank Programmes in the Health Sector in Nigeria The Session was facilitated by Dr. Dinesh Nair – Lead Health Specialist. According to him, the Bank is a finance (HIV/AIDs, Malaria, Polio, Results Based Financing – RBF), and knowledge institution (status of health in Nigeria, nutrition ESW, impact evaluation (result financing Vs normal financing, pharmaceutical work). According to World Bank Research, Nigeria is a potential economic tiger with large HD issues. The population of Nigeria is 167 million . As at 2011, the Human Development Indicators ranking was 156/187. He used indicators to emphasize that Nigeria is off-track to achieve the health MDGs. Such indicators (2003 – 2008) include Modern Contraceptive Prevalence Rates, Antenatal Care Coverage, Delivery in a Health Facility, Skilled Birth Attendance, DPT3 Coverage, and Measles Coverage. Very low service uptake is also an indicator.World Bank supports the Health Sector in Nigeria with the aim to strengthen health systems and address MDGs, focus on input and results based programs, and contribute to body of knowledge through analytical work Dr Mariam Olaide Jagun shared insights on the World Malaria Projects which aims to strengthen communities (through community directed interventions – CDIs by providing information and services in terms of commodities in 3 LGAs), communities systems strengthening (improve access (Patent Medicine Vendors), health systems strengthening (logistics management information system – Anti malaria drugs, M & E)WB has a new strategy – work in a few states, introduce innovations & focus on resultsDr. Wole Odutolu made a presentation on the Bank’s NSHIP. The Bank launched the PBF project in April, 2012 to be implemented in 3 states – Adamawa, Nasarawa and Ondo States. Pre pilot started in December 2011.
Results from the pre-pilot show increased indicators in the three states. A key challenge is child delivery at homeThe project has a 4 pronged approach:Performance based financing (PBF). This ensures hospital autonomy, community involvement, hospital bank account, quality as against quantity of the facility/service. DFF – operational costs are given to hospital to run the hospitals. This ensures control LGA PHC – provides incentives to LG to supervise Health facilitiesDisbursement Link Indicators (DLI) for Governance issues
2 key decisions that contributed to the success of the July meeting are:
* the decision by the forum to open up some of its meetings to non-members which saw the attendance of 15 non -WBYF members at the meeting, especially young people working around health issues as it concerns the theme of the July meeting
* The newly introduced Youth Forum Training Series also added the necessary flavour to the meeting as it provided an opportunity for young people to learn from their peers
-Courtesy of World Bank Youth Forum
Feb 3, 2013
It was my first year in the University of Abuja, and I must say, I wasn’t impressed. The student hostels were an abomination, and goodness knows that I still don’t know how I got the resolve to stay there during the entire course of my studies at the University. That was 5 years to long. The hostels were filthy and badly maintained. It also didn’t help that the spaces we were all crammed into had the breathing space of a can of sardines, or less, to be honest.
I’ll never forget the day that a neighbour of mine in the hostel recalled the time she caught “something” from the public bathrooms. That was just…NASTY!!!
When she first started living in the hostels, she was a good girl. I mean a very good girl. The porters and hall administrators absolutely adored her. But then, something terrible happened…she caught what people around here like to refer to as “thrush” or more aptly “the vaginal scourge.” It itched, it shed, it was irritated by almost every single movement you made, and worse of all, it was humiliating.
Now thrush isn’t that much of a big deal, really. But then again, those who say stuff like that are:
1. Those who probably will never get infected the way girls do. That includes the entire male population of the world who will probably never itch and smell himself in that way.
2. Those disgustingly lucky women who the rest of us secretly hate. All I can say is, their time will come…
Thrush is an infection caused by a yeast fungus called Candida spp. Small numbers of Candida spp. commonly live on the skin and around the vaginal area and are usually harmless. The immune system and the harmless bacteria that also normally live on the skin and in the vagina usually stop Candida spp. from thriving. However, when conditions are good for Candida spp., numbers multiply and may invade the vagina and cause symptoms. Conditions like dirty pit toilets without an adequately closed off base that stops hot air rising from the clogged pits…I forgot to mention that some school are still archaic in this decade.
My dear, sweet friend caught this pretty embarrassing issue and went home to get treated, away from the sniggers of girls and the indiscreet school doctor whose credentials were more than a little doubtful.
Now, the traditional treatment was not fun. First of all, it was believed, and maybe still is, that in order to stop thrush from occurring at the infected area, that is, the vulva and the skin around it had to be scrapped with a razor. When infected that area of the skin is already weak and peeling and incredibly painful. Ouch isn’t enough to quantify the pain a razor would cause.
Secondly, that newly scrapped area had to be submerged into a basin of hot, anti-septic water for a period of days at least twice a day. I wish I could swear on this blog, but I’ve been warned in writing and over the phone that the F word and the S word aren’t words I’m allowed to use. But by all means, feel free.
Thirdly, and thankfully, less brutally painful, she underwent a series of medication where pessaries (vaginally inserted pills) and orally taken drugs were used.
I guess what I’ve been trying to say through this very sad and painful post is that, all that stress and pain and humiliation she had to go through for what?
I was brought up to think that women who have thrush are to be laughed at. I never got any form of sex education or any real information that referred to “the talk” in high school (where I was told by my biology teacher that if I sat on a toilet seat that had sperm on it that I could get pregnant) or by my parent (who till this day still refuses to recognise that their kids may probably have sex before they get married in the catholic church).
I’ve known young ladies who have suffered in silence for months at a time because they were embarrassed to confide in anyone, or even go to a hospital or gynaecologist to seek treatment. What’s even sad is that thrush isn’t even a sexually transmitted disease. And it does make you wonder – if people react so negatively to a vaginal infection that has nothing to do with sex, what else are they hiding under there?
If educational institutions can’t even get the courage or initiative to discuss feminine hygiene that goes beyond washing “that” area properly without using the appropriate words, then when are we going to have the courage to discuss other important issues like HIV, gonorrhoea or even contraception? They believe that ignorance is key to reducing the rate at which young people have pre-marital sex. But then, they fail to realise that with hormones, anything can happen.
Instead of holding vital information back that could potentially save someone’s life, why not give them the information and trust that as responsible individuals that young people will be able to make their own choices? Why not help, instead of laughing at a girl who has trouble with an issue she’s embarrassed about?
When we give young people access to relevant information, we give them the power of choice, the power to make their decisions knowing that whatever they pick, whatever the outcome gives them the confidence to be responsible members of the society, to be empowered young men and women around the world that could contribute their views, to the development and advancement of their communities and the world to a larger extent.
Information and the use of said information is key to ensuring innovative solutions to issues concerned with sexual and reproductive health.
Feb 1, 2013
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.
Jan 31, 2013
Text message conversation:
Friend: What up!
Me: Chillin. You?
Friend: I gotta talk to you but I’ll text you in a bit….
oh man. this might be big.
Me: What’s up ma?
Friend: Nothing what up?
Me: How was school?
Friend: Fo sho! So Umm I gotta talk to ya…
breathe, Rebecca, breathe.
Me: What’s up?
Friend: So umm I kinda need something… From you..
Friend: Lol… Take a guess.. “be protected”
Me: For you?
no, Rebecca, for her cat. of course it’s for her. get it together!
Friend: Mhm.. Lol
Me: Is this something you want?
Friend: Not that I want, I need it. “stay protected” lol you have them…
Me: Yes I know, but have you and _____ talked about this? And have you had time to think about what you want?
Me: Okay, I had to ask. I trust you and I’m glad you asked me. Is there a certain time you need it by?
Friend: I don’t need it soon. Whenever you can (:
Me: Okay, well I want to make sure you have them for protection when and if you need them. I assume you haven’t talked to your mom about this?
why, Rebecca? why are you making assumptions? have you learned nothing from your social work classes??
Friend: We’ve had the “talk.”
Me: Ight lil’ ma. If you have any questions just ask
Friend: Ight I will (:
This was a conversation between a friend and I from a couple of weeks ago. If you can’t tell by the coy wording, we are talking about condoms and sex. Looking back on the conversation I wish I would have just said condoms and sex instead of “it.” What can I say? I was caught off guard. I have known this friend of mine all her life. She is a special person to me, and I consider her to be a little sister, especially since I don’t have any younger siblings. I have always been very open and honest with her, hoping that she would return the favor by trusting me, and I’m glad she did.
Back when I first began my activism with sex education and sexual health, I asked my middle/high school aged cousins and friends about the type of sex ed they were receiving in school. Some were a little embarrassed and tried to laugh my questions off, while others were straight forward and told me that they don’t remember learning anything, but that so and so was pregnant and had to leave school for a bit. No matter which way the conversation went, I always ended it with something like this, “I just want you to know that I will always be here for you, if you ever need anything. I’m in college, and I remember my years in high school; I know sex happens. I can’t tell you how to live your life, but I can tell you this, if you choose to have sex you should respect yourself and your partner by using protection.” I didn’t want to come off as preachy by telling them what to do, but I wanted to get a message across.
When I started having sex I had no formal education and had to research everything online. You can imagine how amazing that process went. I feel that I knew more than some of my peers because I knew that you could get pregnant “even if he pulls out,” and that you can’t get pregnant by having oral sex. However, I didn’t know that oral/anal sex are still sex, so condoms should still be used.
I have always had a great relationship with my parents, but in high school I was scared to talk to them about sex. Growing up in a devout Catholic household might have that effect. I wasn’t scared of them, but I didn’t want them to judge me or get angry. I didn’t know how to approach them. Now, things are much different. My parents are very much aware of the work that I do, and they respect me for it. While there is one particular issue we don’t see eye to eye on (I’m pro-choice, they are pro-life), we still respect each other and love each other. I often joke with my mom and tell her we will probably run into each other at a rally but will be on opposing sides. She rolls her eyes and responds with something like, “estas loca,” and I tell her to pray extra hard for me.
I love my parents, family, and friends. I’m glad that my relationships are always strengthening and growing thanks to the big questions and conversations that allow for both parties to gain trust. These conversations are important, not only for the obvious reasons like preventing pregnancy, STI’s, or HIV, but also to have healthy relationships with the people you love or care about.
Jan 28, 2013
Let the record show that this U-DGurl is in absolute LOVE with Laci Greene!
I am literally watching her video on “A is for Abstinence” and I think it’s such a great thing to do for those who need (and may not need) to be informed about abstinence and making the choice
She’s funny and so real…did I mention funny, too?
I do wish there was a Laci Greene symbol back in my high school days. So many girls grew up, confused about the changes in their bodies, confused about their desires and the world they lived in that seemed to change after they discovered two weird things growing on their chests. And what towhere telling you was worse, the “grown ups” we turned to made it their duty to give developing girls and growing boys the most untrue and confusing information possible. Either that, or they made you feel guilty about know what was happening to your body. It’s Yours! It’s your duty and privilege to know as much as possible about your body, your likes and so on without anyone, anywhere telling you that it’s wrong and sinful to.
Jan 26, 2013
‘I am tired of being ill-treated and falsely accused of being mentally ill and being treated with such scorn because of rumours that I am an HIV sero positive patient.’ These are some of the words left behind by Emmanuel Eyo in the early days of the year 2013. A 30 year-old Cameroonian young man, Emmanuel tired of life and committed suicide by throwing himself into the Wouri river- one of Cameroon’s most renowned and dangerous rivers.- in the early days of the year 2013.
Tired of being stigmatized by his family and people in the neighbourhood in which he lived, Emmanuel decided to put an end to his days. Though committing suicide has arguably never being a solution to stigma and discrimination, Emmanuel’s act in a country where many still consider HIV/AIDS to be a mysterious disease and a curse from the gods, is comprehendible and raises questions about the treatment of people Living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA).
This blog might be about Emmanuel, but what may be hard for you to imagine is that, like in Emmanuel’s case, many suicide cases in Douala and other towns are happening because of stigma related to being HIV positive. It is becoming clear from these acts of suicide that stigmatization is rising and having a ravaging effect on the physical and mental health of PLWHA in Cameroon.
The above observation is quite paradoxical because it is largely observed that the level of awareness on HIV/AIDS has increased among Cameroonians in the past decade while at the same time the number of people committing suicide for reasons related to stigma and discrimination because of their serological status is rising. Urgent action needs to be taken if this must be stopped.
In recent years, commendable efforts have been made by Cameroon’s Ministry of Public Health, Civil Society Organisations(CSOs),United Nations’ agencies, and other development partners to fight against HIV/AIDS and avoid any new infections. That said, the fact is that the emphases of the different campaigns and programs implemented by these stakeholders has been around raising awareness about the existence of HIV/AIDS and how to avoid or protect oneself against it with little or nothing done around the stigma suffered by young people like Emmanuel because of their serological status . In my opinion, this gap in programming could explain the fact that despite rising levels of awareness about HIV/AIDS, the level of stigma towards PLWHA appears to be increasing instead of decreasing.
It is high time that the clinical approach to the fight against HIV/AIDS, which is dominant in initiatives and programs run by various community stakeholders in Cameroon, be complimented by the community approach to fighting against HIV/AIDS. When given its place in the fight against HIV/AIDS, sufficient attention will be paid to socio- cultural and religious factors that impact perceptions that people have of PLWHA in their communities. In order to truly combat stigma, integrating a community-based approach must be given the place that it deserves in the formulation of policies and implementation of health programs.
Stigma is an important factor in the effective fight against HIV/AIDS and should be considered as such. I am convinced that, unlike Emmanuel’s story which l have shared with you through this blog, untold is the story of millions of PLWHVA, especially the young people among them, who are languishing in stigma and wishing that they had never been born. Let’s act now, all together, to make the fight against stigma become as important as the distribution of condoms. It is only by so doing that we can effectively fight not only against HIV/ AIDS but also against the stigma and discrimination that is killing PLWHA in my country.
Jan 26, 2013
It’s the New Year and as 2013 begins in most parts of the world, loved ones and people you are in anyway close to express their wishes for you in diverse ways. One popular way of expressing wishes to others for the New Year is through greetings cards and I did receive quite a good number of them this year. Unlike in the past years, I decided to make a careful study of the messages on these greetings cards. ‘This Guy is crazy!’, is the thought that might be lingering in your mind. Just stay with me so that I can share my surprising discovery.
Though written in different styles and strongly influenced by the nature of my relationship with the sender of the greetings card, there is a wish that was omnipresent in all the messages: Wishes of Good Health. The result of this crazy study revealed to me how much Cameroonians care about their health.
The health of the average Cameroonian, like that of any normal human being in the world, is very important to him/her. What would vary might be the approach to ensuring that they stay healthy and maintain an equilibrium that is necessary for them to live a life worth living. Important as being healthy might be to Cameroonians, they are not unaware of the barriers to staying healthy. Talking about barriers to staying healthy in Cameroon, if you ask any Cameroon what the greatest barrier to staying healthy is, you would likely hear him/her answer ‘ACCESS’.
While it is clear from all indications that access to health is a stumbling block to Cameroonian’s staying healthy, it should be noted that even where these health facilities are available, users complain bitterly of the quality of the services rendered. Thus, it is common place to see a health practitioner sarcastically questioning a teenage girl about the reason for her pregnancy and making fun of her pregnancy by using very insulting and violent language. Worst still, it is common place to get a health practitioner who openly discusses results of the medical test of his/her patients without any sense of guilt or fear. The judgemental nature and lack of confidentiality in Cameroon’s health services is so widespread and across all spheres of society that a government minister recently declared that a journalist who had been tortured to death while in detention had died of HIV/AIDS.
With judgemental attitudes like these from health professionals and lack of confidentiality, no wonder an ever increasing number of pregnant teenagers refuse to go for prenatal checkups. To stay clear of insults and other traumatising language and behaviours, they thus decide to stay at home with the risks that this carries.
It is high time the quality of health services in existing health facilities be improved so that patients,especially young persons, can have the best possible experience and not be afraid, for instance, to get an HIV test because they are not sure the results will remain between them and the health professionals.
The quality of health services, though often ignored, is an important factor in reinforcing the access of young people in particular and society at large to health facilities and should be considered as such by policy makers and health professionals. The availability of health facilities that have little or no consideration for the quality of the services offered creates more problems than it solves.
Jan 24, 2013
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:
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.
Jan 20, 2013
Jan 17, 2013
This election, I was proud to work with many young people to engage our communities and campuses in the issues that impact us. One issue that engaged many young women in Ohio this election was access to healthcare, especially pregnancy related services, such as pre and post-natal care, maternity care, and abortion care. 65% of 18-24 year olds believe abortion should be legal all or most of the time, which is higher than any other age group. I am lucky to have employer-funded health insurance that allows me to access a full range of preventive services, including all pregnancy related services.
Sadly, not all women – even women with insurance – have access to these services. Current law unfairly limits insurance coverage for abortion for women with government-funded insurance. This is because federal dollars are withheld from covering a woman’s abortion except in limited circumstance.
It seems unfair to withhold insurance coverage or try to influence a woman’s decisions about whether to end a pregnancy just because of the type of insurance she has. These are decisions best made by a woman, her family, faith and doctor, not politicians.
These laws also put the lives of women at risk. When a woman is pregnant, it is important that she has access to safe medical care. Providing insurance coverage insures she will be able to see a licensed, quality health care provider.
Even if we don’t personally agree with abortion, it is unfair to restrict insurance coverage, or try to influence a woman’s decision about whether to end a pregnancy, just because she has government-funded health insurance.
I care about women in Ohio, which is why I supported Barack Obama and Sherrod Brown. Both pledged that they would work to ensure all women have access to essential reproductive health care services.
Women and youth voters played a huge impact in Obama’s win this year. Not only did young people, 18-24, turn out for the president in 2008, they continued to turn out for him as they aged, now in the 25-29 year age bracket. This demonstrates how important issues such as insurance coverage for abortion are to this generation.
Now my generational must hold Obama accountable to his commitments. That includes urging President Obama to submit a budget to Congress without unfair restrictions on coverage for abortion care. Obama Administration, take note that Ohio women will be watching to see if you live up to your commitments to women’s healthcare.
Jan 13, 2013
Click on the link to see the images in full!
Jan 11, 2013
Political Info and Laws in Brief
- Governor Rick Snyder (R) is anti-choice.
- The Michigan House is anti-choice.
- The Michigan Senate is anti-choice.
Michigan bans a safe abortion procedure and has unconstitutional and unenforceable criminal bans on abortion.
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.
Counseling Ban/Gag Rule
Michigan prohibits certain state employees and organizations receiving state funds from counseling or referring women for abortion services.
Refusal to Provide Medical Services
Michigan allows certain individuals or entities to refuse to provide women specific reproductive-health services, information, or referrals.
Restrictions on Low-Income Women’s Access to Abortion
Michigan restricts low-income women’s access to abortion.
Restrictions on Young Women’s Access to Abortion
Michigan law restricts young women’s access to abortion services by mandating parental consent.
Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP)
Michigan subjects abortion providers to burdensome restrictions not applied to other medical professionals.
Michigan law requires health-insurance plans that cover prescription medication to provide the same coverage for contraception.
Low-Income Women’s Access to Family Planning
Michigan provides certain low-income women increased coverage for Medicaid-funded family-planning services.
Protection Against Clinic Violence
Michigan law protects women seeking reproductive-health care and medical personnel from blockades and violence.
OTHER RELEVANT LAWS
Post-Viability Abortion Restriction
Michigan restricts post-viability abortion.
83% of Michigan counties have no abortion provider.
*an issue that does not affect *just* women.
Jan 9, 2013
The Gulabi gang is a group of women vigilantes active across North India. It is named after the pink saris worn by its members. The group was founded as a response to widespread domestic abuse and other violence against women. Gulabis visit abusive husbands and beat them with bamboo sticks. In 2008, they stormed an electricity office and forced officials to restore the power they had cut to extract bribes. The Gulabis have also stopped child marriages and protested dowry and female illiteracy.
Jan 7, 2013
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.
Dec 23, 2012
Georgia HB 954, also known as “Women As Livestock,” passed. The bill caught national attention after State Representative Terry England (R) came to the bill’s defense and shared his thoughts a few months ago, “…if farmers have to ‘deliver calves, dead or alive’ then a woman carrying a dead fetus or one not expected to survive should have to carry it to term.”
Because that worked so well with Savita Halappanavar, right? And we thought the GOP couldn’t be any more openly misogynistic.
At first this bill criminalized all abortions after 20 weeks, regardless of health conditions. After weeks of negotiation the bill was revised in a way that an exemption will be made for medically futile pregnancies or if the health of the pregnant person is in danger. The revised bill still neglected to make an exemption for pregnant people with mental illnesses. So, those suffering with mental illnesses will still be forced to continue their pregnancy. The bill still has no exemptions for rape or incest.
According to Ms. Magazine and the bill itself:
In order for a pregnancy to be considered “medically futile,” the fetus must be diagnosed with an irreversible chromosomal or congenital anomaly that is “incompatible with sustaining life after birth.” The Georgia “fetal pain” bill also stipulates that the abortion must be performed in such a way that the fetus emerges alive. If doctors perform the abortion differently, they face felony charges and up to 10 years in prison.
And this “fetal pain” bill is just based on this silly notion that fetuses feel pain at 20 weeks, even though doctors and scientists keep coming up with new studies that the nervous system of a fetus does not register pain until much later in the third trimester–one of many sources being The Journal of the American Medical Association. But whatever point of the pregnancy the fetus feels pain is actually not an issue for me. Pain, sentience, and/or personhood of the fetus, etc, none of that matters to me in this discourse for reproductive health care and rights. Pregnant people continue to be erased from this conversation, and I’m done with that. We need to stop participating in this erasure of people who are actually affected by these restrictions. The focus of the conversation should always be about choice and the people who can make one. Actuality should always come before potentiality. And remember, no one–whether it’s a fetus, a child, or a grown adult–has the right to another person’s body without constant consent.
I post this with the understanding that this issue does not affect only women or all women. I post this with the hopes that we all continue this fight for reproductive health care and rights.
The two sides of the abortion debate in America literally face one another in this documentary from filmmakers Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady. In Fort Pierce, Florida, a women’s heath care center is located at the corner of 12th and Delaware. On the same corner, across the street, is another women’s heath care center. However, the two centers are not in the same business; one provides abortions along with a variety of other health services, while the other primarily offers counseling to women considering abortion, urging them to keep their babies.In 12th and Delaware, Ewing and Grady offer a look inside both offices, as pro-life counselors give women a mixture of concern and disinformation about terminating their pregnancies and the pro-choice medical staff struggles to work under the frequent threat of violence against them. The film also examines the handful of protesters who stand outside the abortion clinic, confronting both patients and staff as they enter and exit.
See the movie: http://stfuprolife.tumblr.com/post/38560890103/because-some-followers-have-asked-about-this-i-am
Congress Passes Amendment to Lift Abortion Ban on Military Rape Survivors
Washington, D.C. – Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, applauded Congress for supporting a provision sponsored by Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) that would lift the ban on women in the military using their health insurance for abortion care in cases of rape or incest. Now, the bill makes its way to President Obama’s desk to be signed into law.
The Obama administration already has voiced its support for lifting the ban on sexual-assault survivors using their health insurance for abortion care.
“Sen. Shaheen and retired military leaders advocated tirelessly to end this discriminatory policy,” Keenan said. “Protecting those who serve our country is an American value. There is no better time than now for President Obama and Congress to remind the country of their commitment to protect and support our servicewomen by signing this bill into law.”
The Shaheen amendment has widespread support ranging from retired military officers to former Secretary of State Colin Powell to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta.
This ban is one of two unfair restrictions on women’s access to safe abortion care. Looking to the future, NARAL Pro-Choice America also urges lawmakers to repeal the ban on military women using their own money for abortion services in situations beyond sexual assault at overseas military hospitals.
NARAL Pro-Choice America is a longtime leader in advocating for servicewomen’s reproductive rights and has been working with lawmakers and other allies for more than 15 years to repeal this unfair abortion-coverage ban. Nearly 89,000 of the organization’s member activists have taken action to support lifting the ban.
H.B. 5711, the Michigan omnibus anti-abortion “super bill” passed last week during the lame duck session of the state legislature, is a hefty 80-odd pages worth of restrictions and regulations on abortions, providers, clinics, and medical practices. It was overwhelmingly passed by both chambers of the legislature, but how many even knew what they were actually voting for?
Emily Magner of Social Work Advocacy Coalition of Michigan, shares a story onEclectablog of her late November meeting with one local legislator, state Senator Howard Walker, who voted in favor of the bill. A bill which as of the end of November he couldn’t even be bothered to read.
e went on to talk specifically about how this bill will harm Michigan women, disproportionately women living in rural areas like ours. After we brought up a few of these points he put up his hands and said that he couldn’t really speak to those topics … he had not read the bill.
In front of him was a one paragraph synopsis I assume was from the Right to Life special interest organization who drafted the bill.
Howard Walker had not even bothered to read it.
We spoke with him for 20 minutes, the whole time he was dismissive, misinformed, and rude. When his handler told him, “5 more minutes,” I told him that I would never ask him to change his beliefs on abortion, I would protect his right to believe whatever he wanted, but I did want him to consider the harmful implications that this legislation would have on women and consider his ethical obligation to his field to leave his personal views at the door.
Before I could finish my sentence, he waved his hand dismissively and interrupted, “THIS ISN’T ABOUT WOMEN! THIS IS ABOUT PROTECTING FETUSES!”
Republican Governor Rick Snyder has less than two weeks to decide whether he is just as dismissive of women as Senator Walker is or whether he will veto the bill.
Dec 18, 2012
Check out SWARM-er Darian James’s experience at the World AIDS Day march in Orangeburg, SC!
Dec 18, 2012
By Jordan Craven
I’m pretty sure we’re all familiar with the dishonorable Todd Akin; you know, the one who thinks a woman’s body will prevent pregnancies in the event of a rape? Yeah, well he’s not the only one misinformed about sex.
Read it and weep. This survey from the Bristol Youth Project has shown that many young men and women still do not understand what ‘consent’ really means.
Well? What is consent? Good question. First of all, consent is more than just saying yes (or no). If you are not comfortable with having sex with someone, no matter how long you may have known them, you DON’T have to have sex with them. No joke. If you want to stop having sex while having sex, as disheartening as it may be to the other party, you still have the right to call it quits. Sex, like many have said over and over, should be something you cherish or enjoy, not something you must endure.
As for the ones who are a little too pushy about having sex… Stop it right now. There is never at time, ever, that it is okay to force someone into having sex with you. Like, never ever. Rape is very real, and it happens to people all the time. If the other person shows any inkling of NOT wanting to have sex (and yes, that includes: fellatio, cunnilingus, analingus, or anything that involves sexual gratification), then, sorry pal, you’ve lost your pass. No means no (even if “no” was never said, but implied).
Communication is always important in any relationship involving sex, whether it be a one-night-relationship, or a long-term one. Always communicate what you want and what you don’t want. If the feeling isn’t reciprocated, well, that’s OKAY. If you’re not sexually pleasured, that doesn’t mean you’ll die. That just means you’ll be solo for the night… and honestly, we all know it wouldn’t be your first time on your own.
For the sake of learning, let’s role play.
Assume you’ve been out at the bar with a few of your friends. One of them has shown previous interest in you before, but neither of you have acted on it. Somehow, the both of you end up at the bar alone. A little drunk, you suggest it’s time to take a cab home. Both of you get in the cab, drive to your place, and walk inside. It’s too late to walk home, so your friend asks to stay the night; you oblige. You both talk, things get a little heavy, and before you know it, you’re putting the moves on. But wait! Are you still drunk? No? That’s good, you can make decisions. Cool. Oh, but your partner is still a little out of it? Hmm. Here lies the problem.
To give consent, you need to be ABLE to give consent. Both parties need to be sober & fully capable of letting the other know that “yes, it is okay to have sex with me” (granted, they may be a tad more suave in their wording, but you get the point).
Another point to be made, is body language. Does your partner seem like they want to consent? (Do you want to consent?). Saying just yes or no doesn’t cover it. Make sure, before you indulge in any intercourse or sex act that your partner isn’t just saying yes to please you; make sure they really do want to have sex. If your partner seems timid, shy, or reserved then they may not be ready. Talk first. Ask questions, and let them know that saying “no” is a real option.
Like I said before, sex should be enjoyable, not something you must endure. If you or anyone you know has been forced/coerced into having sex, then please report it. There are plenty of people out there willing and able to help you or your friends. No one should have to tolerate sexual abuse.
So, to all the previously uninformed young men and women (you too Todd), consider yourself informed & make sure you understand what consent really means.
Dec 17, 2012
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.
Dec 13, 2012
A follower submitted this tidbit to my STFU, Pro-Life blog.
Dec 12, 2012
WHAT THE MICHIGAN ANTI-ABORTION BILL REALLY DOES
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
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