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originally posted at bostonreprojustice.blogspot.com

Gillian Stoddard Leatherberry, Guest Blogger (Boston University School of Law ’15, Law Students for Reproductive Justice)
This post is part of Blog for Choice, launched by Boston Students for Sexual and Reproductive Justice (BSSRJ).
You’ve probably heard about Savita. She recently died of septic shock in Ireland after physicians refused to perform life-saving surgery that may have saved Savita, but would have aborted her fetus. Many women world-wide, like Savita, aren’t lucky enough to have access to legal abortion. Roe means that Savita might have

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Originally posted on bostonreprojustice.blogspot.com

Thomas Dohle, Guest Blogger (Boston University School of Medicine, ’16, Medical Students for Choice)
This post is part of Blog for Choice 2013, launched by Boston Students for Sexual and Reproductive Justice (BSSRJ)

To all the ladies out there on this 40th anniversary of Roe vs. Wade:

I want you to know that not all men look down on you for considering or having an abortion, for using Plan B when plan A failed, for taking a handful of condoms from the bowl on the …

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Originally posted at bostonreprojustice.blogspot.com
The Tufts OB/GYN Department’s celebratory uterus-shaped cake in honor of the 40th Anniversary of Roe v. Wade. Sent to us by one of their residents.

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originally posted at bostonreprojustice.blogspot.com

Morgan, Guest Blogger (Boston University School of Medicine ’15, Medical Students for Choice)
This post is part of Blog for Choice, launched by Boston Students for Sexual and Reproductive Justice (BSSRJ).

This morning, I paid $500 for a piece of plastic about the size of my thumb, and I am happy about it. Before I was allowed to buy it, I had to walk past a woman chanting slogans at me: “abortion is murder” and “don’t kill your baby.” Her car was parked behind her, …

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Originally posted at bostonreprojustice.blogspot.com. This post can also be found at:  http://www.momsrising.org/blog/reproductive-rights-and-realities-on-the-40th-anniversary-of-roe-v-wade/#ixzz2IeykSDEi.

Rachel Roth, Ph.D., Guest Blogger (Arlington, MA)
This post is part of Blog for Choice 2013, launched by Boston Students for Sexual and Reproductive Justice (BSSRJ)

When we observe the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade on January 22, we are celebrating a major milestone in women’s health, equality, and status as citizens. At its core, Roe stands for women’s right to make important decisions about our own lives.

This momentous Supreme Court decision protects

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originally posted on bostonreprojustice.blogspot.com
Alice Buttrick, Guest Blogger (Harvard Law School ’15, Law Students for Reproductive Justice)
This post is part of Blog for Choice 2013, launched by Boston Students for Sexual and Reproductive Justice (BSSRJ).
As many advocates well know, success can be paradoxically frustrating. In Massachusetts, and especially in Cambridge, we are very fortunate to have found real success around many of the issues championed by the reproductive justice movement. This state has universal health care and excellent access to family planning and contraceptive services. In my …

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Originally Posted at bostonreprojustice.blogspot.com
Daine Stevens, Guest Blogger (UIC-College of Medicine ’14, Medical Students for Choice)
This post is part of Blog for Choice 2013, launched by Boston Students for Sexual and Reproductive Justice (BSSRJ).
The 40th anniversary of Roe vs. Wade is likely to bring as many protests as it brings celebrations. While American culture tends to be liberalizing in its attitudes toward civil rights, those of us in the pro-choice movement find ourselves forced to once again defend positions we thought we’d long ago settled. While …

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Originally posted at bostonreprojustice.blogspot.com

Betty Yang, Guest Blogger (Boston University School of Medicine ’15, Medical Students for Choice)
This post is part of Blog for Choice 2013, launched by Boston Students for Sexual and Reproductive Justice (BSSRJ).
The term “pro-life” sounds like it should have a nice sentiment. It conjures up the pursuit of health and wellness, the prevention of disease, ambitions not unlike the themes of the Hippocratic Oath. As a future physician, though, the words “pro-life” evoke a very different, less wholesome feeling.
I feel scared. …

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Originally posted at bostonreprojustice.blogspot.com
Dr. Megan Evans, Guest Blogger (OB/GYN Resident, Boston)
This post is part of Blog for Choice 2013, launched by Boston Students for Sexual and Reproductive Justice (BSSRJ).
It’s funny when you hear something so outrageous on the radio or read it online.  Just for a moment, you feel like you accidently stumbled upon a faux-article from The Onion or you completely misread the piece on your smart phone before your morning coffee.
And then you realize- no, somebody actually said those words. And maybe …

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Originally Posted at bostonreprojustice.blogspot.com

Jennifer Rosenbaum, Guest Blogger (Boston University School of Medicine ’15, Co-President, Medical Students for Choice)
This post is part of Blog for Choice 2013, launched by Boston Students for Sexual and Reproductive Justice (BSSRJ).
The first political position I can remember having is pro-choice.  I have this vivid memory of coming out into the backyard one day when I was in elementary school to see my mother putting a bumper sticker on our newly-cleaned car that read “A World of Wanted Children Would Make a …

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Originally posted on bostonreprojustice.blogspot.com

Taylor Stanton, Guest Blogger (University of Ilinois College of Medicine at Rockford ’15, Medical Student for Choice)
This post is part of Blog for Choice 2013, launched by Boston Students for Sexual and Reproductive Justice.

            Somehow, my medical school curriculum has timed out perfectly that right now we are studying female reproduction.  So far it has been mostly my own independent study, preparing for upcoming lectures, so I can first read it all in my objective terms of zona pellucidas and acrosomes, blastocysts and syncytiotrophoblasts, …

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Originally posted at bostonreprojustice.blogspot.com
Nanako Tamaru, Guest Blogger (Boston University Law Students for Reproductive Justice)
This post is part of Blog for  Choice 2013, launched by the Boston Students for Sexual and Reproductive Justice (BSSRJ).
I am a 30 year old woman, unmarried and child free.  Over the past 12 years, I have lived an amazing life of independence and adventure.  I have moved across the country; I have travelled abroad.  I have lived with reckless abandon and I have lived with passion.  Don’t get me wrong – while

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Originally posted at bostonreprojustice.blogspot.org

 

Kate Aizpuru, Guest Blogger (Harvard Law School, ’14, Law Students for Reproductive Justice)
This post is part of Blog for Choice 2013, launched by Boston Students for Sexual and Reproductive Justice (BSSRJ)

Reproductive freedom is essential to achieving gender equality; only when people have full autonomy over their sexual and reproductive choices, and only when they possess the right to freely decide when and whether to have a family, can they truly be said to have access to full participation in society. Roe v. …

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Originally posted at bostoreprojustice.blogspot.com

Evelyn Atkinson, Guest Blogger (Alum, Harvard Law ’12, Law Students for Reproductive Justice)
This post is part of Blog for Choice 2013, launched by Boston Students for Sexual and Reproductive Justice (BSSRJ).

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Originally posted at bostonreprojustice.blogspot.com.

Megan J. Smith, Guest Blogger. (Repeal Hyde Art Project). This post is part of Blog for Choice 2013, launched by the Boston Students for Sexual and Reproductive Justice (BSSRJ).

This post can also be found at Megan’s personal blog, meganjuliasmith.wordpress.com.

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Originally Posted at bostonreprojustice.blogspot.com

Quin Rich, Guest Blogger (2016, Hampshire College)
This post is part of the Blog for Choice 2013 launched by the Boston Students for Sexual and Reproductive Justice (BSSRJ).

Tota mulier in utero…woman is a womb.”  Such is how Simone de Beauvoir described one prevailing view of women in her introduction to The Second Sex.  Surely, more than 60 years removed from de Beauvoir’s treatise and 40 years past Roe v. Wade, this view must be thoroughly repudiated.  But to listen to …

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This post originally appeared at bostonreprojustice.blogspot.com

Susan Yanow, Guest Blogger (Consultant to UCSF/ANSIRH, Ibis, Reproductive Health Access Project and Women on Waves/Women on Web, Board of NARAL ProChoice Massachusetts, Board of ACLU of Massachusetts, BSSRJ Advisor)

This post is part of Blog for Choice 2013, launched by Boston Students for Sexual and Reproductive Justice (BSSRJ).
The Roe v. Wade decision in 1973 gave women cause to celebrate. An end to unsafe clandestine abortion was a core component of a women‘s movement which included a vision of women-centered health care, …

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This post originally appeared at bostonreprojustice.blogspot.com.

by Lisa Kip, Guest Blogger (Tufts University School of Medicine \’15, Medical Students for Choice) This post is part of Blog for Choice 2013, launched by Boston Students for Sexual and Reproductive Justice (BSSRJ).

This post can also be found at http://lisakip.blogspot.com/2013/01/blog-for-choice-2013-roe-vs-wade.html.

\"\"Last week I bought a cake, had the baker write \”Roe vs. Wade\” on it, lit some candles, and sang an anniversary song with friends from multiple graduate programs across the city who love reproductive justice as much as I …

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A version of this introduction was o riginally posted at bostonreprojustice.blogspot.com

Happy 40th Anniversary of Roe v. Wade from BSSRJ! Throughout today we will be posting the reflections on Roe from our members that appear at bostonreprojustice.blogspot.com on Amplify as well.

Who / what is BSSRJ?
Boston Students for Sexual and Reproductive Justice (BSSRJ) is a coalition of pro-choice professional student groups that works to promote a multidisciplinary approach to reproductive justice.
Recently, BSSRJ has has become a pilot for the national organization, Professional Students Coalition for Reproductive …

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There has been a lot of coverage this past week about the Guttmacher Institute’s new report "Abortion Worldwide: A Decade of Uneven Progress", which shows contraceptive use up and abortion laws becoming more liberal worldwide, and, correspondingly, abortion rates down worldwide. This is great news and shows what family planning advocates have been arguing for years; if you want to lower abortion rates, if you want to lower the rates of women dying and being injured from unsafe abortion, then you need to make contraceptives readily available and …

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In Ghana, Pathfinder International has found a gap in the provision of seuxal health services: their ability to reach young people. They are working toward filling that gap, http://news.peacefmonline.com/social/200909/27216.php…

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It’s been a rollercoaster couple of weeks for men, women and uteruses. I’ll start with the bad news:

A new Pew survey shows that support for abortion rights in the US is down significantly from last year. They attribute this partially to Obama’s election, with complacency on the side of pro-choicers and fear of Obama’s policies among anti-choicers resulting. One bright note: The poll also found that less people see the issue as a game changer (insert quote), meaning maybe abortion is beginning to approach a day where …

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It’s been a rollercoaster couple of weeks for men, women and uteruses. I’ll start with the bad news:

A new Pew survey shows that support for abortion rights in the US is down significantly from last year. They attribute this partially to Obama’s election, with complacency on the side of pro-choicers and fear of Obama’s policies among anti-choicers resulting. One bright note: The poll also found that less people see the issue as a game changer (insert quote), meaning maybe abortion is beginning to approach a day where …

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In 1977, a 43 year old man pushed Champagne and Quaaludes on a 13 year old girl and then proceeded to perform “oral, vaginal and anal intercourse on her despite her demands to keep away”. That sounds pretty much like the definition of a rapist to me, one who should have been sent to jail for a while. But in the case of Roman Polanski, that is not what happened.

The details of this case have been scrutinized by the media many times, so I’ll keep it short. …

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Recently, UNESCO and UNFPA issued new voluntary sex ed guidelines that advocate for educating children and young people throughout thier lives in age-appropriate lessons about thier body, sexuality and sexual health.  The UN guidelines for educators, the International Guidelines on Sexuality Education:

are organized around six key concepts: relationships; values, attitudes and skills; culture, society and law; human development; sexual behaviour; and sexual and reproductive health.

They are based on dozens of studies worldwide and are designed to combat the ever-rising rates of HIV and STIs around the world. …

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Last week 18 year old South African Caster Semenya took the gold medal in the women’s 800 meter at the world athletics championships in Berlin. But she was not able enjoy her gold without accompanying public humilation. Why? Because Semenya has a "masculine appearance" – larger muscles, facial features and hair and deep voice- and she run so fast that many people believe she can’t possibly be "all woman". So in front of the world, she is now being subjected to complex and invasive tests to check for any …

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I was excited to go to Netroots Nation this year in PIttsburgh, but that excitement was tempered by some unease. Although I write for Amplify and have written blogs for other websites as well, I do not self-identify as a blogger (I know- gasp!), because to me my work online is a direct and necessary extension of the work I do offline. Unlike many of the people at Netroots, I am skeptical of the power of internet to truly be a democratizing and equalizing force- particularly when knowledge of …

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I am in Pittsburgh at Netroots Nation with Advocates for Youth, and I just left a panel called "Building A Conversation Across Generations of Progressive Women".  The panel addressed generational divisions that are said to have arisen from the 2008 primary election between then Senator Hillary Clinton and then Senator Barack Obama. This premise is almost exactly the same to panels I’ve attended at many other progessive and feminist conferences since the ’08 election, because apparently we just can’t get over these cavernous divisions. I was interested in attending …

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Yesterday, Brian Ackerman from Advocates for Youth held a brown bag lunch to discuss whether or not the Obama administration and others’ "common ground" messaging around reproductive health was regressive or progressive. It was a great discussion, focusing on the dangers of compromise, but also its potential.

I came to the discussion skeptical of the "common ground" messaging: as someone who works with abortion providers and women seeking abortions, I see all to well that common ground ideas pioneered in the 90s with the Democrats’ "safe, legal, rare" and …

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Nicaragua has a ban on all abortion, including in cases of where life and health of a woman is in danger. The ban comes with potential jail time for both women and health professionals and is one of the most extreme in the world.

As someone who works with women and girls seeking abortions everyday it is no surprise to me, then, that Amnesty International recently released a report with a damning critique of the ban, saying that it is hurting and even killing women.

The report has …

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This past week I attended the 80 Million Strong Campaign for Youth Jobs Summit in DC with a bunch of the Advocates crew. It was an…experience. I met very interesting people who came to issue of youth unemployment from very different lenses and I had some extremely stimulating discussions on healthcare, education and ideas for a newer, stronger economy.

Okay, so that was the good part. On to the ‘teachable moments’, and I use that term loosely, as I’m not sure if much was learned. From the outset of the …

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At their meeting in Italy, the G8 leaders wrote a full third of thier declaration about Africa and development in African countries. The section focused on development efforts in light of the current financial situation and made some extremely important points, including the disproportionate effects of both the financial crisis and world crises in general (such as climate change) on low-income countries.

The section also made specific mention of the importance of African governments and communities having autonomy over thier own development, but also the need to make sure …

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China’s 1-child family planning law has long been condemned as anti-human rights and an ineffective and harmful way to deal with high population growth. Now there is evidence that the policy is being used in even worse ways.

China recently had to punish six government officials for sending three baby girls to orphanages without properly investigating the babies’ background, and the officials have been accused of selling up to 80 babies seized as violations of the 1 child rule.

This is an awful example of coercive laws and corrupt …

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Draft language in a Rwandan reproductive health bill threatens the human rights of many Rwandan citizens. The Human Rights Watch has highlighted several provisions that they say should be struck from the bill, including:

  1. compulsory HIV testing
  2. sterilization of all individuals with intellectual disabilities

These two provisions are not only counter to human rights, but counter to the interests of better reproductive health.

The HIV testing language is specific to three provisions: it would require all individuals who want to be married to undergo testing first and present a …

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Recently, the UN and World Bank have expressed concern because family planning funding is falling off the radar of development aid in low-income countries.

“New preliminary figures from the World Bank show that official global development aid for health increased from $2.9 billion in 1995 to $14.1 billion in 2007, or roughly a five-fold increase in 12 years.

During the same period, aid for population and reproductive health made a more modest increase from $901 million to $1.9 billion.”

This is particularly worrying because need has been increasing, and …

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Of all the chains I spend too much money at, Cosi has been my favorite. I love their bread, their cookies, their TBMs, pretty much everything. There is one across the street from Advocates for Youth and I think our office probably contributes thousands a month to that place. I also love the idea that Cosi has free wireless, and I can get work done there.

Except I can’t. A couple months ago, I was doing some research that involved looking up SIECUS, but instead of the organization’s website …

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Last year, Congress made it clear that the HIV travel ban needed to be lifted in the United States. Since then, not much seems to have been happening to achieve this. Today a step has finally been taken to lift the discriminatory travel ban. The Office of Management and Budget has given the go-ahead today to the Department of Health and Human Services to change the regulation.

The HIV travel ban prevented any HIV-positive non-US citizen from traveling to the US without a permit, and required everyone immigrating to the …

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In Kenya’s Daily Nation today there are some shocking statistics that make the case for just how ineffective it is to seperate funding streams when it comes to global health. The article, aptly titled "Family Planning? Not for women with AIDS", shares these scary stats:

Between 50 per cent and 90 per cent of the pregnancies among women with HIV in Kenya and other sub-Saharan Africa are unintended
About half of the HIV/Aids programmes in the country lack a family planning component

Of the 27 healthcare workers interviewed,

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For the past two years, the international family planning community has been working on the $1 billion ask campaign to get Congress to give $1 billion to international family planning each year. Prior to last couple years, international family planning aid had essentially been flat-funded, or taking inflation into account, decreased, for decades. Our work began to pay off in the past couple years, and yesterday there was more good news.

Yesterday, The House State-Foreign Operations Appropriations Sub-committee approved funding international family planning at $648 billion for fiscal year …

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This past week I represented Advocates at the America’s Future Now conference put on by the Campaign for America’s Future (formerly Take Back America, but "we took it back"). The conference was put together as an annual "check-in" on the progressive agenda for the US, with the main priorites this year being healthcare, immigration reform, and the employee free choice act, and other discussions focused on civil liberties, student debt, taxation reform, LGBT issues and more.

The conference was an interesting look into the progressive wing of the Democratic party, …

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I will write more on this once I have processed my thoughts, but for now I just wanted to update everyone.

I am shocked, I am depressed, I am furious. This morning, Dr. George Tiller was shot and killed on his way into church in Wichita, KS. I have mentioned before that I do some work with the National Abortion Federation, and as a well-respected abortion provider and a NAF member, I had heard his name a lot. Dr. Tiller was one of the only doctors in the US …

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I sometimes get frustrated with the larger progressive movement, and even the sexual and reproductive health movement when it comes to the topic of abortion. Ever since the 1990s, the mantra in the Democratic party has been "safe, legal and rare", with abortion treated as a necessary evil that no good person would actually choose, but must remain legal just in case. The sexual and reproductive health movement even often cedes abortion as political and complex and when fighting for comprehensive sex education, or family planning funding is extremely …

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South Africa broke ground Monday on the first "Football for Hope" center. 20 Football for Hope centers are being built around Africa as part of a World Cup campaign from FIFA. The mission of Football for Hope is

"to bring together, support, advise and strengthen sustainable social and human development programmes in the areas of peace promotion, children’s rights & education, health promotion, anti-discrimination & social integration, and the environment. These programmes must be aimed at children and young people, and use football as an instrument to promote participation

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The Solomon Star, the newspaper of the Solomon Islands, reports today that 40 young people, in partnership with Marie Stopes International and Solomon Islands Planned Parenthood, are learning how to be sex educators and condom distributors in thier community.

They are brainstorming ways to market condoms and spread information on safe sex to young people in thier communities and are even preparing to a release a new condom brand: Score.

(Hey…this reminds me of something. Great American Condom Campaign anyone?)

This sounds like an awesome program, and is …

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Recently, I have learned about a great organization called the National Abortion Federation , and thier hotline. The NAF hotline helps women gain access to abortions by referring them to quality clinics, counseling on abortion laws in different states and provinces (in Canada) and helping women who cannot afford the procedure through small donations and financial counselling. As part of my training, I learned about the complex web of laws in different states that limit and restrict access.

While limiting access to second trimester abortions directly is not usually …

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I just got home from a drawing class. No, I have not touched my sketchpad in years. I have been a model for an art school for the past two years- a nude model. I love it, and I credit my relationship with my body to it. Now, as someone who has wrestled with her fair share of feminist media and art theory, this is a complex issue for me.

My parents had been art models to make extra cash in college and when I heard of an opportunity to …

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In an editorial in the Washington Post today, the editors identify a key area of failing of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief: prevention. While PEPFAR is responsible for a major scale-up of treatment, prevention efforts have not been successful because of unnecessary, politially-motivated restrictions such as abstinence-only programs and the siloing of global health programs to treat each health problem as a seperate and distinct problem

Thank god then, that President Obama called on Congress today to fund all global health programs in a broader, more comprehensive …

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Want to know what we talk about here at Advocates for Youth? Welcome to one of the intern chats:

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My friends and I are all abuzz: we are graduating college in 19 days. We are running around finishing up work, organizing travel for family members and making plans for celebration. We fantasize about being done with writing papers, and having real free time. We also have a rule: no talking about day 20.
 
Because after walking in commencement, I will be an unemployed college graduate relying on part time jobs I can find for money and my parents for health insurance. When my lease runs out June …

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 Secretary of State Hillary Clinton went before the House Foreign Affairs Committee yesterday, and let me say, she rocked! If you want to watch the whole hearing, or clips, go here

I have to say that my favorite parts were in her exchanges with Rep. Smith, Rep. Fortenberry, and Rep. Inglis. They tried to challenge her on international family planning and the administration’s stance on abortion, and she basically owned them. Some choice quotes-

In response to Rep. Smith’s and Fortenberry’s questions on how she could admire Margaret …

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300 Afghan women (mostly young women) gathered in Kabul today to protest new measures that may be put in place in Afghanistan for the Shiite minority. These measures have gained international attention because they would essentially legally reseal women’s roles as second class citizens. The laws would legalize marital rape, would restrict when and why women could leave thier homes, and much more.

The young women chanted  "we want our rights" and other slogan and marched amid violent counterprotesters (mostly men and numbering around 900) who called them whores …

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So, I’ve written about this before, but I am big on how much sexual and reproductive health and rights are interwoven with so many other issues we face on a daily basis. Last night, my roommate was talking about the DC Sweat Free campaign that her organization, International Labor Rights Forum, is working on with Sweatfree Communities, to make the federal government stop using taxpaer money to purchase goods from companies that violate labor rights. She was telling me about the various rights abuses by corporations around …

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Reports of setbacks in the fight against HIV/AIDS have come from East and Central Asia recently. First, a government report released in China in February showed a doubling of HIV cases since 2005. Some of this number is due to better reporting and testing, but officials still say this is most likely on a fraction of the actual cases. The number itself, around 700,000 people, isn’t overwhelming in a country of over 1.3 billion, but the outlook is not optimistic. HIV/AIDS is an issue met with an extreme amount …

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So I spent an amazing weekend with some lovely Advocates peeps and our Reproductive Justice friends at the Civil Liberties and Public Policy Program Conference at Hampshire College this weekend. I learned a whole lot, and am excited to talk about all that I took from the conference. But first I want to make sure to give some love to a few amazing organizations I learned about this weekend. There are many more organizations doing great and important stuff, in prison rights, environmental justice, youth empowerment and beyond, but …

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Japanfocus.org compares and contrasts the situations for women with AIDS in Indonesia and its neighbor Singapore that shows how important structural realities are in dealing with the HIV/AIDS pandemic around the world.

Looking first at Indonesia, the authors see a country "in trouble". Indonesia is the largest country in Southeast Asia with what is believed to be the largest sex industry and is dealing with poverty, political transitions and change. In 2002, it was reported that Indonesia could see an AIDS epidemic on the scale of some African countries …

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As well as the possibility of the Obama administration signing the UN decree for LGBT rights, Senate Democrats are looking towards a fight to ratify CEDAW- the Convention of All forms of Discriminations Against Women. The treaty was adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1979, and since then the United States is one of the only holdouts among UN member nations in ratifying it. The other holdouts are Sudan, Somalia, Qatar, Iran, Nauru, Palau and Tonga.

This would be a great win and an important action …

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I am home from spring break and just found a whole bunch of kangas and kofia that I had brought home from my study abroad semester in Kenya last year. It got me all reminiscent, particularly there has been some interesting, and frustrating, news out of Kenya recently. So I decided to put together a little update on current events in Kenya and what we can learn from this.

1. Yesterday, The East African reported on a study from the East African Medical Journal that showed that VCT (voluntary …

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I was interested to see how the news media covered International Women’s Day yesterday, so naturally I google-newsed it. The articles that came up reveals snapshots of women’s lives around the world. While the stories showed vast differences in women’s experiences, they were all linked by a common theme of activism and the fight for justice.

Here in DC, the Examiner profiled a Code Pink vigil, while in New Delhi protests condemned recent "moral policing" attacks on women. In Nepal, women called for more substantive work on the part …

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Today, the senate defeated an amendment by Sen. Wicker to the 2009 Omnibus bill to prevent funding from going to the United Nations Population Fund. A bit of background- the US did not fund UNFPA under the Bush administration (even though we can previously pledged to fund our part) because the administration supposedly objected to what the UNFPA was doing in China with coercive abortions. The only problem? The UNFPA was actually actively working against coercive abortion in China.

Under the Democratic congress and the Obama presidency, the international …

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On Friday, Feministing posted this great video from UNICEF on the effects of high rates of maternal mortality around the world. I think it does a great job of showing how interconnected the issues of maternal mortality, child survival, hunger, family planning, education, development, etc.(the list is endless) are.

The thing I think it is missing is a look at how much this is specifically a young person’s issue. Let’s look at the facts.

1. Complications from pregnancy are the leading cause of death in young women ages 15-24 worldwide.…

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So over Valentine’s day weekend a straight man in my group of friends asked if gay people celebrate Valentine’s Day, and if so who takes who out for dinner, gets the flowers, etc.( No, I am not proud of knowing someone who is this ignorant). Today I re-found this video. I’m going to email him the link.

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Bad news out of North Dakota today. A bill has passed in the North Dakota House that is similar to the measure that failed in Colorado on election day (Prop 48). The bill, also known as a "personhood" bill, would define a fertilized egg as a human being. It passed 51-41 in the House and now goes to the Senate

This is not only about abortion, which it would effectively define as murder and therefore make illegal. Some of the reasons why the Colorado measure went down in …

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The Boston Globe has an article today profiling a Kigali, Rwanda program for children and young people living with HIV and AIDS. The program takes place on Sundays, providing activities, support groups, food and healthcare. While HIV is still a huge problem in the area;

HIV treatment has improved drastically since 2004. Today, the Rwandan government reports that over 60 percent of those needing antiretroviral medications (ARVs) are on them. This is higher than most of the rest of sub-Sahara Africa, where average uptake of ARVs is reported at

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At a CEDPA (Center for Development and Population Activities) panel today on integrating family planning and HIV/AIDS services, a discussion arose about how to sell the integration of services to donors, such as the US. Services right now are funded seperately for many reasons, some of them being the US’s large funding project that is PEPFAR and our political resistance to funding family planning activities (since they are clearly a code for sinning, etc.).

Someone stood up and said that when selling family planning and HIV programs we should …

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This is part 2 in a series, for part 1 of the environment and reproductive health series, click here

So in my last post I sounded like a negative Nancy, calling out people who whine about population issues as they affect the environment. But that doesn’t mean I think there is no area where environmental activism and the women’s movement or the sexual and reproductive justice movement can come together. In 2008, Giovanna Di Chiro, a scholar on both women’s issues and environmental issues at Mt. Holyoake College, wrote an article …

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One of my big pet peeves in the international reproductive and sexual health community is this "new" Population and Environment linkage. Because I have so much to say about this supposed area of activism, this is going to have to be one post in a series, but to start off the discussion, let’s turn to this article by John Feeney on the BBC News website.

Feeney argues that unchecked population growth is a drastic problem, but that because some acitivists say that telling people they need to stop having …

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This afternoon, I attended a break-out session at the Feminism 2.0 Conference focused around generation, gender, and race issues in the past election and how to move forward. The session was run by Shireen Mitchell, the Vice Chairman of the the National Council of Women’s Organizations, Karen Mulhauser of Mulhauser and Associates, and Rene Redwood of Rewood Enterprise, LLC. It was a room full of a mix of generations and a mix of races, though it was about 95% women.

As we went around the room and listened to …

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I like to think I’m a wholehearted advocate of a reproductive justice framing, and looking at the bigger picture. However, I very rarely get involved or pay attention to social justice issues outside of the sexual and reproductive health realm. So when my roommate, who works for the International Labor Rights Forum, told me about this, I thought it would be a great opportunity to make good on a promise, at look at reproductive and social justice from a different perspective.

The campaign they are working on is against Bridgestone- …

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(The following is part of our weeklong Roe v. Wade Blog-a-thon)

I think about how escorting today was different. About once a month I escort at a DC Planned Parenthood. This Planned Parenthood happens to be right down the street from the White House, so it attracts crazies from all over the country around the anniversary of Roe.

Us escorts always manage to have a good time, joking around, teasing the antis, etc. Being in NW DC we also get tons of support from the passersby. But usually our …

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(The following is part of our weeklong Roe v. Wade Blog-a-thon)

I can barely stay awake from all the inaugurating this weekend, but I am excited for my favorite day of the year- January 22nd. President Obama is a great 36th birthday present for Roe. v. Wade!

Every year, the pro-choice group at GW, Voices for Choices, holds a birthday party for Roe. Tomorrow night at 8 pm in the Marvin Center on campus, we will be playing music, decorating cupcakes, handing out prevention t-shirts, and sighing a …

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In light of the UNICEF’s report yesterday, I thought I would talk a little bit about why some girls become pregnant so young. According to the report, girls who give birth before the age of 15 are five times more likely to die in childbirth than those over 20, and ever year about 70,000 young women between 15 and 19 die from complications from childbirth.

I am not going to talk about young women who become pregnant outside of marriage, and I want to be clear that when I …

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There is no real profound point to this post, but I fell in love with this Durex ad when I saw it on Jezebel this morning, and the "outtakes" on the designer’s website are hilarious.

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Last week, I wrote about Pastor Rick Warren’s problematic activities when it comes to his HIV/AIDS involvement. Well, his good friend Mark Dybul, Bush’s Global AIDS Coordinator doesn’t have such a hot record either. And as of this morning, the new administration has asked him to stay on, at least temporarily. Really Obama? It makes me really sick to quote the McCain-Palin ticket, but that is just not change I can believe in.

Let’s review Dr. Dybul’s record in his years as Global AIDS Coordinator, implementing the multi-billion dollar …

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Max Blumenthal wrote an article for the Daily Beast on Tuesday outlining what Rick Warren has actually done "to fight AIDS" in Africa. As you may know, I was not too happy with President-elect Obama’s decision to include Rick Warren in his inauguration ceremony. Mr. Obama’s defense of his choice was to highlight the areas where he and the pastor supposedly do agree, the fight against AIDS in Africa.

I hope Obama does not agree with what Rick Warren has actually been doing there. Blumenthal outlines the Pastor’s alliances …

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On Wednesday there was an article in the UK’s The Guardian about a new Catholic church appeal against birth control. The article mentions that an Austrian scientists whose discoveries helped to create hormonal birth control is having some regrets, saying that

in most of Europe there was now "no connection at all between sexuality and reproduction". He said: "This divide in Catholic Austria, a country which has on average 1.4 children per family, is now complete."

The scientist went on to say that the low birthrate in Europe …

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Before I launch into this blog, let me post a bit of disclaimer. I am not religious or spiritual in anyway- I grew up with a Jewish secular humanist background. So I am writing this as an observer. If I got something wrong- tell me! Okay, so here it goes:

The New York Times today profiles Ahmad al-Shugairi, a 35 year old who preaches moderate Muslim values from his religiously themed television show. The article likens him to TV Evangelical ministers here in the states, and casts him as …

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I was going to write a list of things that I hope will be addressed in 2009 (by the Obama administration, congress, UN, activist community, etc.), but I think it’s a bit unfair to write a list of demands without a corresponding list of personal pledges. So here it goes. The lists are by no means extensive, and feel free to add on your own requests.

In 2009:

1. I hope the Obama Administration repeals the global gag rule and the HIV travel ban, advocates for more sex-positive, inclusive …

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Because they are rights that are due to every human.

A coalition of 66 countries signed a declaration calling for the decriminalization of homosexuality and condemning rights violations on the basis of sexuality  or gender identity around the world at the UN yesterday- that is 1/3 of UN member nations. This is a big win for sexual and reproductive freedom on the international stage and represents a strong move towards a recognition of LGBTQ rights as human rights.

Guess who wouldn’t sign it? The United States of

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An article in the Times of India yesterday reports that 50% of calls made to the Muktaa (Making You Know and Talk About AIDS) HIV/AIDS helpline were made by young people between the ages of 15-25 – not only from India, but from Dubai, Singapore and Africa as well.

IRIN News is reporting that at the International AIDS and STIs Conference in Africa in Dakar, Senegal, youth advocates spoke out, demanding age appropriate sex education for children under 15. They reveal that though there are problems in with sex education …

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ABC News has quite a fearmongering article today on a study that has just come out reporting that anal sex is on the rise. It’s five pages long, so of course there is tons in the article that I have problems with – from the only case study being of a young woman seemingly coerced into having anal sex to the judgement of the act itself as wrong (did you know that we’re having anal sex because social mores are loosening?). And don’t get me started on the article’s …

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With all the planning for Week of World AIDS Day I’ve been doing on campus, I forgot that World AIDS Day actually is observed outside of my small circle of HIV/AIDS activists. Then I flipped on CNN this morning and saw the huge AIDS ribbon at the White House, an interview with Belinda Carlile (a woman living with HIV and now activist in DC) and a special report on stigmatization of people living with HIV. I remembered "oh, right, this is WORLD AIDS DAY, not GW student organizations and Advocates for Youth’s …

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This World AIDS Day it is important to look back at the history of the pandemic, but it is just as important to look toward to the future and take action. Maybe I’ve been bitten by the “hope” bug, but this year seems like the year we can take leadership to change the course of the disease. The new administration in the United States brings with it a new attitude towards sexual and reproductive health. This gives people committed to ending HIV/AIDS the ability to be proactive, rather than …

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Have you heard? Right now is a time of hope and change in the US. For the past couple years we have been on the defensive in the sexual and reproductive health sector, fighting against sneaky U.S. measures undermining access to birth control, reproductive health services and comprehensive information around the world.

While the US has not allowed our family planning funds to be used by groups to perform abortions since abortion was legalized in 1973 (Thank you, Jesse Helms), Since 2001 groups receiving U.S. family planning funds are not …

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I’m a bit shaken up. I just read a New York Time editorial (http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/11/opinion/11tue3.html?_r=1&ref=opinion&oref=slogin) about a 37 year old Ecuadorian man stabbed to death by 7 white teenagers , who allegedly went out seeking to kill a "mexican".

I’m embarrassed, because I probably would not have even stopped to read the article, except the lynching took place in my dad’s hometown, a suburb on the eastern end of Long Island. I have passed through that train station going to visit my grandparents, my cousins, family friends. I have heard …

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 Another "community" (yes, again, I realize this definition of community is problematic and denies agency to define themselves, but for a lack of a better term, I’m going to use it. Feel free to give me better terms or ideas to use) that I struggle with being an ally towards is those from low-income, previously colonized countries (global south, developing, call it what you want). As a member of the International Youth Leadership Council, we work to change US attitudes and actions towards this "community" everyday. However, as I …

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 In honor of Coming Out Day, I thought we should have a discussion about what it means to be an ally to the LGBTQ community, and to other oppressed communities as well (Note: I realize there are problems with my even defining these large, diverse, groups as singular communities, but bear with me for this post). As a middle class, english-speaking white woman who pretty much is just attracted to men, I come from a perspective of immense privilege. I am dedicated to social justice, and want to work to …

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 So this whole gender norm policing by sexual assault has been getting to me lately, but last night an amazing thing happened. This is completely politically incorrect, and i am not advocating in any way that we should be trying to deal with catcallers in violent ways or by destroying others’ property, but…

Last night I was walking home from a meeting (shout out- hey IYLCers!) and a man in a fancy car decided to slow down to catcall me. The smell of weed billowed from his windows as he …

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This is a bit of a delayed reaction, but I’m pissed off. Last Saturday night I was out with a lovely Advocates friend, when a guy pinch my ass on the street. I, shocked (for some reason, I am always shocked when this happens no matter how many time it does), turned around with a "hell no!", to which he responded with denigrating comments about my body, my ass, and referred to me as a "ugly bitch". 

I never know what to do when assaulted in this way. Getting …