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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 …

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

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

As easy as theĀ NuvaringĀ is, there were still times I made mistakes using it. I was half way to …

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Recently, pictures like this …

.. have been floating around Facebook more and more. It has people asking:

What is all this talk about size acceptance? fat acceptance? body acceptance?

Defining size/fat/body acceptance is just as difficult for me as defining feminism. Generally size/fat/body acceptance are all terms used to name the social movement to end discrimination based on body size, or weight. Body acceptance is my name of choice. Activists in the community have many different definitions, and engage in the movement in different ways. Again, it is …

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 I love my job as a political organizer, and with the 2012 election approaching I have many friends that are starting their careers as organizers. Here are the top 5 pieces of advice I can give to young people starting/pursuing a career in political organizing.


ONE: Boundaries are important.

One of my organizer friends said it best: “they come for the president, and stay for you.” This is so true. Volunteers come to your organization because they connect to your cause or candidate. People end up staying because they …

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Many activists are calling the current battle to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) the next step of the Republicans’ war on women. First abortion, then birth control, and now programs that aim to end violence against women (and men, VAWA also assists people who do not identify as women). I am not sure if the attack on women’s issues is a calculated “war against women,” but I am sure that it is unprecedented for civil rights won in our country to be revisited and then taken away …

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I previously wrote a post reaffirming that young feminism is thriving. Recently I have had the chance to meet and work alongside young reproductive justice advocates that are leading by example and fighting for the rights of their friends and peers. Here are some suggestions to help others who are wondering, what can I do to help foster the next generation of leaders?

PS – I should have added — STOP asking me if young people care about social justice issues. They do, o.k.? Stop asking me already.

1.

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During undergrad I loved being a peer health educator and activist with Advocates for Youth. That love and passion for health promotion and advocacy led me to Ohio State to study public health. My specialization was Health Behavior and Health Promotion. I have had many friends and fellow Advocates for Youth organizers ask me about MPH programs and graduate school.

Well — here you have it folks! Here are my thoughts and advice on going to graduate school for public health!

Sexual health education is complicated, and prevention is

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Representative Tom Price (R-GA) does not believe any women have EVER had problems accessing birth control. Specifically, he stated, “Bring me one woman who has been left behind. Bring me on. There’s not one.”

I am a woman, a woman with a lot of privilege in my life. I have always had insurance coverage and many other resources, yet I have had challenges accessing birth control. I asked my friends on Facebook if they had experienced challenges as well. Many women responded.

Ok Tom, you wanted to be

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Last Thursday was an interesting day. Let me recap for you.
 

First I headed down to the University of Akron to lead a discussion following the screening of The Abortion Diaries. The presentation was put on by the University of Akron chapter of Sociologist for Women in Society. There are some great faculty and students at UA and it was great to visit their campus.

Our discussion at UA was rich and diverse. One man brought up the impact abortion can have on men and shared a …

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Recently, people have had a lot to say about Planned Parenthood, specifically their government funding. During debates at the federal government and state government levels, there has been a lot of misinformation spread about Planned Parenthood and how public funding is used. This misinformation has come from various organizations which have publicly stated their goal is to “defunding Planned Parenthood.” The Expose Planned Parenthood Coalition includes many of these organization, such as Live Action, the Susan B. Anthony List, Concerned Women for America and LifeNews.com. …

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You wouldn’t know it from some of the current laws being introduced to the Ohio General Assembly, but there are AMAZING reproductive justice activists in Ohio! I was reminder of the power of our movement early last January. 

As January drew closer I wanted to do something to honor the anniversary of Roe V. Wade. I also have been wanting for over a year to host a screening of the Abortion Diaries. I loved the film when I first saw it at Preterm, and loved it more

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1. Elect prochoice candidates. 

Reproductive rights impact the economy, educational attainment and public health of our country. It is a cornerstone of the American dream for not only women, but all people. It is not a single issue, it is essential for the betterment of all people. Therefore, we must promote candidates that support reproductive justice.

2. Elect women. Women, run.

If we want the issues that most intimately impact women to be addressed, the perspectives of women need to be brought to our legislative bodies. This is like …

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 Just when you think Ohio cannot get weirder, it does. 

Anti-choice activists in Ohio are continuing their fight for the Heartbeat Bill. Their new stunt is to use children as the, well, poster children for the bill. In this video various young people describe why they support the Heartbeat Bill. 

After the press conference the children delivered teddy bears with "beating hearts" (audio of beating hearts) to Ohio legislators. Yes this is really happening! I could not make this stuff up. 

To see more videos, check out OhioCapitalBlog’s youtube

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It is completely unacceptable that the over 200,000 women serving in our military do not have access to basic health services. The 19,000-23,000 servicewomen who face an unintended pregnancy annually do not have access to comprehensive reproductive healthcare.

Currently, a ban is in place that denies military women access to abortion in cases of rape. Health insurance for service women only covers abortion in cases when the pregnancy threatens the life of the woman. This year, an amendment was introduced to the National Defense Authorization Act to end this …

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1. Do not dehumanize or minimize the emotions of the other side. Their passion and pain is real.

When you work in such a divisive issue, it is easy to fall into the habit of dehumanizing the other side. They are all ignorant, hateful, and bigoted. After hearing testimony after testimony it became clear to me the heartbeat activists truly believe they are saving lives. Also, I heard many women testify about the suffering they have faced after their abortion. Regardless the root of these feels, I have no …

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This is the third post in a three-part series on some of the most contentious aspects of proposed “personhood” laws. I’ll be focusing on the impact that these measures would have on birth control, in vitro fertilization, and medical emergencies during pregnancy. 

The downfall of “personhood” – BC, IVF and medical emergencies during pregnancy

There is a national movement to adopt state law or amend state constitutions to define a person as a fertilized egg. This movement is often referred to simply as “personhood.” This month Mississippians voted on …

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 “Personhood” and Fertility Treatments Demystified

This is the second post in a three-part series on some of the most contentious aspects of proposed “personhood” laws. I’ll be focusing on the impact that these measures would have on birth control, in vitro fertilization and medical emergencies during pregnancy.

The Downfall of “personhood” – BC, IVF and medical emergencies during pregnancy

There is a national movement to adopt state law or amend state constitutions to define a person as a fertilized egg. This movement is often referred to simply as “personhood.” …

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This is the first post in a three-part series on some of the most contentious aspects of proposed “personhood” laws. I’ll be focusing on the impact that these measures would have on birth control, in vitro fertilization and medical emergencies during pregnancy.

The Downfall of “personhood” – BC, IVF and medical emergencies during pregnancy

There is a national movement to adopt state law or amend state constitutions to define a person as a fertilized egg. This movement is often referred to simply as “personhood.” This month Mississippians voted on …

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 USA Today ran and article claiming young women are no longer interested in the feminist movement. This is my response. 

In the past several years I have found myself as the youngest women in packed rooms at a number of feminist events. At these events speakers stand before the crowd and preach the importance of nurturing the next generation in the movement. They say there is so much work still to be done, and that the current generation is ready to take the torch. At this point either …

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 Day 31 of the 40 Days for Life Blogathon

In politics, (this year in particular) access to abortion is a frequently mentioned topic. Young people and sexuality is also a common topic, manifested as debates on sex education (hello Wisconson, yes I noticed you are using your special session on jobs to roll back sex education). While abortion and young people are often the main subjects of discussions on public policy and sex, rarely is access to abortion services for young people mentioned.

Only a small fraction of all …

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Day 29 of the 40 Days for Life Blogathon

Ballot issues are confusing. Campaigns for and against issues can make an already complex issue even more confusing. 

This November voters in Mississippi will vote on a "personhood" amendment, which would define a person as a fertilized egg. This would not only completely ban abortion, with no exceptions for life of the mother, rape or inceset, but also could lead to a ban of many common forms of birth control. 

Since 98% of women use birth control at some point …

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Day 27th of the 40 days for life blogathon! 

This past week the 1,000 signatured need to confirm language for the personhood petition in Ohio were filed. Today the Ohio Attorney Genereal Mike DeWine declined their petition. I never thought I would say this but, thank Mike DeWine! 

Rule number 1 – when filing a petition, the summary of your amendment must be TRUTHFUL. This was their big mistake made by the personhood people- the ability to the the truth. No shocker there! 

The saga of Ohio personhood will …

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Day 26 of the 40 Days for Life Blogathon 

STOP PERSONHOOD! 
Campaign ad from Miss in their efforts to STOP a new "personhood" initiative! To learn more check out Mississippians for Healthy Families

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Presidential candidate Mitt Romney is being highly criticized (and for good reason!) for stating he would support a constitutional amendment that would completely ban abortion AND birth control. Mitt isn’t a fringe candidate, he is the leading candidate for a mainstream political party, and he wants to complete ban birth control.

Many people argued that anti-choice organizers only want to ban abortion (as if that isn’t already egregious) but that they will not continue their fight to then ban birth control. It is apparent this is their next move. …

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Day 21 of the 40 Days for Life Blogathon

FACE Act is a law that helps protect abortion clinics by prosecuting prohibited behavior as a federal crime. Below are behaviors that are prohibited by the FACE Act (wiki, thanks) and coverage from the Rachel Maddow Show on the law. 

Prohibited behaviors

Blocking a person’s access to the entrance of a facility
Impairing cars from entering and/or exiting a facility
Physically stopping people as they are trying to walk toward an entrance or through a parking lot
Making …

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Day 20 of the 40 Days for Life Blogathon

Guest post from Nate, one of my amazing progressive friend studying history at Bowling Green State University:
 
"First, an e-shout-out to Ashley for protesting in style with this 40 day blog.

So, the subject of abortion and reproductive rights isn’t something that I would naturally discuss. I’m not particularly involved in the movement, nor am I as educated about it as I should be. These are the reasons that, when assigned to read an oral history for a class …

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Day 15 of the 40 Days for Life Blogathon:

The heart beat bill has become a divisive issue among the community. Some stand with the Ohio Right to Life in not supporting the heart beat bill, but instead other smaller attacks on reproductive justice – burdens to the judicial bypass system, 20 week bans, and bans in health plans through the new state exchange. The rest of the community stands with Faith2Action and Janet Porter in supporting the heart beat bill.

This division has led to the creation of …

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Day 14 of 40 Days for Life Blogathon

Guest post from future husband/on hand law student: 

Often times legislatures and people push for and pass laws that have unintended consequences, many of which were not foreseeable when they were passed. For instance in the State of Ohio in 2004 we passed an amendment to the state constitution banning Gay Marriage. This action seemingly could hardly have any negative consequences, seeing as Gay Marriage was already illegal. However, it suddenly ensured that any unmarried couple living together could not file …

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Day 13 of the 40 days for life blogathon

NOTE: I wrote this really fast, and am half asleep. Please excuse typos and general ranty nature of this post. 

A believe that if mainstream media is not covering an issue fairly or completely, then it is the job of advocates to put proper coverage out there through whatever means necessary. This concept is widely adapted by the growing Occupy movement, who has been live streaming their movement in response to not getting coverage from mainstream media sources.

While I …

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Day 12 of the 40 Days for Life Blogathon

Abortion stories projects:

My Abortion My Life – http://myabortionmylife.org
1 in 3 – http://www.1in3campaign.org
Abortion Conversation Project – http://www.abortionconversation.com/index.php
45 Million Voices – http://www.45millionvoices.org
 …

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Day 9 of the 40 Days for life blogathon.

 …

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Day 8 of the 40 Days for Life Blogathon  
I came across this video of a man responding to anti-choice protesters. His wife’s pregnancy is no longer viable and they have come to the cilnic to terminate the pregnancy. It is Interesting to see the reaction of the protesters. 
  

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Day 7 of the 40 Days of Life Blogathon


I am proud to call myself a 1 in 3 activist. I support access to abortion and support the women who have had abortions. Watch my video to learn more about my story! 



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Day 6 of the 40 Days of Life Blogathon

From Planned Parenthood:

Name: Ru-486, mifepristone 
Used from 63 days to 9 weeks after the first day of a women’s last period 
Costs: 300-800 dollars 
The abortion pill is SAFE and EFFECTIVE 

To learn more about abortion, Planned Parenthood’s website on abortion has plenty of information! 

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Michelle Bachmann at a recent debate suggested that the HPV vaccine is dangerous. I have seen the impact of misinformation on vaccines first hand from teaching community education programs on flu prevention and volunteering at vaccination clinics. At one clinic I met two grandparents that had brought in the grandson for the H1N1 vaccine. They explained to me that their daughter had taken her son from pediatrician to pediatrician until she found one that supported her belief that vaccines were unsafe. The grandparents were worried about the reaction of …

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Day 5 of the 40 Day for Life Blogathon 

 

Great image from the Third Wave Foundation that shows the true difficult in accessing abortion in the US. See larger image here. …

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Day 4 of the 40 Days of Life Blogathon

Fast Facts on Abortion:

49% of pregnancies in the US are unintended (2006 data)
43% of intended pregnancies are terminated. 
95% of abortions are before 16 weeks 
abortion is NOT linked to breast cancer and does not pose hazards to a women’s mental health 

(From Guttmacher)

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Day 3 of the 40 Days of Life Blogathon

Faith2Action is the organization supporting the heartbeat bill, the proposed Ohio laws that would virtually ban abortion. I found it strange to see that the organization was creating a romantic comedy about the leader of their group, Janet Porter. This further shows the disconnect between the anti-choice movement and the real needs of women and families in our country. The thought that outlawing access to abortion can be taken so lightly as to frame it as a romantic comedy …

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Day 2 of the 40 Days of Life Blogathon

When watching videos about abortion on YouTube (stuff from Guttmacher for example) I’ve noticed that the majority of videos that generate on the side are anti-choice. This made me wonder – are the majority of videos on YouTube anti-choice?

I decided to do a little experiment. On the site I searched the word "abortion." Of the 26 videos that were listed on the first page 20 were anti choice, that is over three fourths!

Is the reproductive justice movement losing …

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This year 80 laws — an unprecedented amount — have been passed that restrict access to abortion. This is over twice as many as the previous record (34 in 2005). Many of these laws have been stricken down by the courts, on the basis of unreasonably restricting access to abortion. While the courts can help ensure that legislation does not restrict abortion care, they cannot stop cultural factors from limiting access. Cultural factors include aspects of our culture that stigmatize abortion, and effectively silence women who have terminated a …

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Here are your pieces of Ohio culture that made it just a little bit harder to be a women or LGBT in the Midwest. Not that it was that easy before. I don’t know if this will be an ongoing series, but it might be if we keep sucking it up here in Ohio.


The Cleveland lingerie football league

Cleveland is being blessed with a team in the lingerie football league. This is where women play football, full tackle mind you, in nothing but their underwear, bra, and garter …

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Be organized!

When planning a large event there are A LOT of details. To help keep things straight I had an Excel spreadsheet with different tabs, such as – location, volunteers, day of event agenda, and materials. Whatever your organization system is use it and live by it!

Be flexible!


 

While organization is important, you also need to be flexible. A the last minute we learned that the amazing Connie Shultz would be available to speak, and I had to move some things around with my program. Also …

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40 Days for Life will kick off in Northeast Ohio on September 26th. 40 Days for Life is a national anti-choice campaign to end abortion through prayer, fasting, and "vigils" (i.e., protests).

The campaign made me reflect on my own work in the reproductive justice movement. For the next 40 days people from over 290 locations will be commiting to the creation of a culture around reproductive health that shames and silences women — what am I going to do in response? 

I have decided in response I …

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In Ohio this year there has been an onslaught of draconian legislation drastically limiting access to reproductive health services for women. To learn more, visit Planned Parenthood Affiliates of Ohio. Many of these bills are championed by legislators that campaigned and built their political career off their supposed high moral standard. For example, back in June I sat in the gallery of the state house and heard Rob Mecklenborg in one breath claim moral supremacy while also comparing women’s rights activists to Nazis.

Another legislator out to …

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Days are getting longer and hotter and you know what that means – August Recess!
This is the time federal legislators hang out in their district and meet with constituents. This is the perfect time to do a little advocacy! Here are some great places to start.

1. Attend Town Hall Meetings

Town hall meetings are great! Every legislator has a slightly different format, but the basic idea is that legislators hold a public forum to answer constituent questions. If there is an issue you want to ask your …

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Ohio HB 125, or the “heartbeat bill” could come to a floor vote as early as NEXT WEEK in the Ohio House of Representatives. This bill will make abortion illegal after a fetal heartbeat is detected, which is before some women even know they are pregnant. This is the farthest reaching abortion restriction ever, and will be tied up in the courts for years, and funded by Ohio tax payers.

The Heartbeat Bill is supported by an organization called Faith2Action. This group states that their main goal …

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Here is my first try at a video blog! Besides the creepy way I say my name at the beginning not too bad! 

 

To see videos of Danny and I from the school board meeting, check out the Ohio Advocates Facebook page. Like us while you’re there! 
 

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Tomorrow I defend my graduate project on sexual health education. I have read about the history and current status of sexual health education, and the factors that impact it.

One common belief for a long time was that you couldn’t increase condom use and delay the initiation of sex at the same time. Current research has shown programs are capable to positively impact both behaviors – abstiencing form sex, and condom use, concurrently.

This post isn’t actually about sex ed, but it is about respecting our bodies.

In the …

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 I don’t even know what to say, just watch this:

from Everything is Terrible. I agree, this is pretty terrible. 

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The Ohio House and Senate recently passed bills that will make it more difficult for people to vote in Ohio. HB 194 and SB 148 decrease the time for early voting and specifically eliminate a period known as “golden week,” were voters can register and vote at the same time. Early voting and golden week are important for young people. Many are newly registered, or are reregistering to vote in their new county of residence where their school is located.

Secretary of State John Husted stated his election …

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Beyoncé has release a video for her new song “Who Runs the World (Girls).” I first heard this song on the radio and thought; can this song have a positive impact on women and women’s rights? I was hopeful. It reminded me of girl power via the spice girls from when I was in grade school.

Then I saw the video, ew. I am not a fan of seeing women wiggle around half naked in the name of girl power. Then again, I guess the spice girls were the …

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I recently attended a screening of the movie Bullied. The screening was held by GLSEN of Northeast Ohio to raise awareness of bullying in schools. GLSEN, the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network has been working around LGBT issues in schools for the past two decades. Our local chapter in Northeast Ohio is working to conduct trainings and help form gay straight alliances in schools.

preview for Bullied: 

After the screening of Bullied, there was a discussion about how to end bullying in our schools in Northeast …

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From PFLAG:

History will be made on May 13, 2011 when the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights convenes a hearing on the bullying and harassment of LGBT youth. This will be the first time that the Civil Rights Commission has ever addressed an LGBT-related issue! Tammy Aaberg, a Minnesota mother who lost her son last July, and Russlynn Ali, Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Education, are scheduled to testify.

If you or someone you love has experienced bullying and harassment, consider sharing your

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 While in DC, activist from Cleveland were able to meet Senator Sherrod Brown. He speaks on the intersection of progressive issues, and offers a call to action. 

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April 7th, 2011 was the Stand Up For Women’s Health Rally and Lobby Day in DC. For this event I was the Cleveland bus captain. On our bus we had people of all different ages, and backgrounds. Many of the Planned Parenthood peer educators from Akron and Cleveland attended as well along with Planned Parenthood staff. 

The bus ride to DC went very well! We were ahead of time and the first bus there. It was great to get to DC and see my favorite smiling faces from Planned …

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This past week myself and other Ohio Advocates implemented focus groups with parents in Parma. We haven’t done our final analysis on data we collected (grad school nerd alert), but I will share some insight I gained from conducting the focus group. The focus groups really made me think about the way I go about advocacy.

As an advocate, it is important to focus on legislative and electoral tactics to move our cause forward. On the other hand, it is ineffective to try to ram through legislation without winning over

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What just happened to me last week?

As in tradition with most of my other posts, I thought I would detail my experience assisting with the Planned Parenthood Pink Bus Rally here in Cleveland, Ohio diary style.

As I am sure you can tell from my other posts, I am a huge supporter of Planned Parenthood. I was provided with the amazing opportunity to attend the Policy and Organizing Summit with other Planned Parenthood volunteers last July. Ever since I have been doing everything I can to help support …

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Big Pink Bus Stops in Cleveland! 


Date: Wednesday March 23rd 
Time: 12:00-1:30pm 
Place: Planned Parenthood Cleveland Health Center 
7997 Euclid Ave, Cleveland, OH 

Planned Parenthood is sponsoring a rally on Wednesday March 23rd in Cleveland, Ohio. I encourage all Planned Parenthood supporters in the area to come out and stand with Planned Parenthood! 

Also we are looking for speakers who feel strongly about supporting Planned Parenthood. Contact me through facebook if you would be interested in speaking. 

Rally Sign Making Party
Date: Tuesday, March 22nd
Time: 6-8pm
Place: Planned

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Rob Portman is the freshman Senators from Ohio. From what I can tell he is not very helpful when it comes to reproductive justice, as On the Issues reports. The site notes:

Portman earned a National Right to Life rating of 100%.
Portman voted for the Unborn Victims of Violence Act.
Portman was an original co-sponsor and voted to ban Partial Birth Abortion.
Portman voted for the Human Cloning Prohibition Act.
Portman voted to ban Overseas Abortion funding and consistently opposed the use of taxpayer funds for abortion.
Portman

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Two bills in Ohio are going to directly impact abortion access among young people in Ohio.

HB 63 – adds additional burdens to minors trying to access abortion through a judicial bypass
HB  79 – prohibits women from using public exchanges to buy insurance that covers abortion, even if they use their own money

These bills are headed for a floor vote in the Ohio House of Representatives. 

TAKE ACTION
 now with Planned Parenthood Affiliates of Ohio to let Ohio legislators know we do NOT want these new burdens …

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Just when you think politics in Ohio couldn’t get more bizarre, a group from Ashland Ohio, Ashland Care Center, performed an ultrasound on two different women during a committee hearing in the Ohio House of Representatives.

Let me start at the beginning. From an action alerts from NARAL and Planned Parenthood Affiliates of Ohio I was aware that SEVEN different anti-choice bills had been introduced to the Ohio House of Representatives. I heard from my Ohio Advocates Coordinator early last week that some of these bills would be receiving …

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Last Saturday was a great day for a rally. All the elements were in place to get people fired up and ready to fight. The sun was shining, weather was not too bad for a February day in Ohio, and people were angry.

From every level of government, women in Ohio have been facing attacks on their rights and access to basic healthcare services. At the state level, 7 anti-choice legislations have been introduced, including the most restrictive abortion law in the country. At the federal level, the most …

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Tomorrow, a fetus will be testifying before the Ohio House of Representatives. 

WTF. 

Tomorrow after the hearing I will provide more info. To add to this, there were women who wanted their voices to be heard at this hearing, but were denied. Several women were unable to attend the committee hearing tomorrow and wanted to give testimony through video. This was denied, yet a fetus, in the womb, is being able to give testimony. 

This is what the world has come to! Speak up and help fight against this …

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Planned Parenthood Affiliates of Ohio just sent out an action alert regarding laws that make it more difficult for women to access completely legal medical procedure abortion. 

Here are the explanations of the bills, again from PPAO: 

House Bill 7 – Makes it a felony for a physician to perform an abortion after 22 weeks, with a very narrow exception for the mother’s health.
House Bill 63 – Adds additional burden of proof to any minor asking a judge for permission to obtain an abortion.
House Bill 78

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Justin Bieber, boy wonder, made a statement on abortion in Rolling Stone recently. Many in the reproductive justice community are disappointed that a public figure adored by young people would make such a misinformed/ignorant/hateful (notice as I get progressively more annoyed) comment in regards to abortion.

My initial reaction was that his statement sounds like something I would hear from other young people I talk to in schools. His statement was a reflection that no one has ever had a discussion about abortion with him. Not the rhetoric or …

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Last time I wrote from the newbie perspective it was about phone banking. Now I am here to talk about my first experience as a patient escort!

Patient escorts are volunteers with family planning/abortion clinics that walk patients from their cars to the clinics. This service is necessary because many of these clinics are surrounded by protestors. The patient escort serves as a barrier between the patient and the protestors.

I heard about the idea of escorting from a couple different friends. I never really thought about all the …

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For some reason, which I am sure someone else knows better than me, conservatives and anti-choice activists have claimed the word family. I think this is horribly unfair, because their movement does not support families. It supports one type of family, and assumes this is the only acceptable kind of family. It supports a family where a woman is the primary care giver, and the parents are heterosexual. Oh and the two married people must have kids (one boy, one girl) as well.

While there is nothing wrong with …

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Last week I attended a volunteer orientation for the My Abortion My Life campaign. The campaign is through Preterm, an abortion clinic in Cleveland. The goal of the program is to bring forward the stories of women who have abortions.

The topic of abortion is littered with rhetoric and ideology, and the voices of women who actually experience abortion are lost in the mix. With one in three women having an abortion in their lifetime, and these women deserve to be heard. Also, our current culture in the …

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Last week at Bowling Green State University two Ohio Advocates, Ashley and Madeline, BG community members (i.e. I LOVE MICHAEL), Planned Parenthood of Central Ohio and Planned Parenthood of Northwest Ohio hosted an Activist Training at the BGSU Women’s Center.


 

The event started with a discussion defining reproductive justice lead by Stephanie Craddock Sherwood, Regional Field Manager with Planned Parenthood. She explained the benefits of using a reproductive justice framework. 

Ashley Thompson from Ohio Advocates then led a discussion on methods of advocacy. She (me, I do not …

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Many women shy away from activism around reproductive choice because they see it as only advocating for access to abortion. They feel, they aren’t the “kind of person” to need an abortion, or disagree with abortion all together, therefore, do not need to advocate for its access. First off, there is not a “type of woman” who is likely to get an abortion, it is a decision that could face any woman who is sexually active. Secondly, there is more to reproductive choice than deciding to terminate a pregnancy.…

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 I will admit, sometimes I am shy about mentioning to strangers of family members the work I do around sexual health. Currently I work as a Sexual Health Educator. When the topic of what I do for work comes up, I am always worried how people will react. When I mention that I do advocacy around reproductive justice and abortion access, again I take a breath and wait for them to respond.

It is not that I am ashamed of the work I do, but I know there are …

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A few weeks ago, I represented Ohio Advocates at the Spiritual Youth for Reproductive Freedom Summit in Columbus Ohio.

This event was a much needed learning experience for me. First off, as an activist around reproductive justice my interaction with faith-based and religious groups has usually been pretty negative. For me, this was the first time to interact with people who were faith leaders and also proud activists in the field of reproductive justice.

One speaker set the tone of the event by saying spiritual and religious prochoice people …

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Today a local NPR show The Sound of Ideas brought up the topic of a proposed law in Ohio called the "Heartbeat Bill." This law would restrict abortion once a heartbeat is detected. The Ohio Right to Life isn’t even bothering to get involved, because they see other abortion bans as more likely to pass and not face legal challenges, you know, because it’s unconstitutional. 

Anyways, I heard this conversation, ironically, on my way to patient escort at a local clinic, which again is another story in itself. I …

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Sexual health activist, if you ever plan to come to Ohio, make sure to stop by the Dittrick Medical History Center and see the History of Contraception in America exhibit. Ohio Advocates visited it during their winter retreat. 

This is our attempt at the "Advocates" shot as we call it. 

Below are pictures from the museum. I think they speak for themselves. Make sure to check out their website for more info. Oh, and our website too (shameless plug). 

IF YOU READ ANYTHING FROM THIS BLOG READ THE …

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Ohio Advocates held their winter retreat this year in Cleveland, Ohio. The goal of the retreat was to review what one another have been working on, learn about our new legislators in Ohio (sad memories of the election, ew) and prepare for the rest of the year. 

Oh yeah, and swim. 

Swimming for us is key. Please note, after our work in advocacy is done, we might have a future calling as a synchronized swim team, we are pretty amazing. 

We also bowled, and the pictures are AMAZING, but …

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Last weekend I headed down to Columbus, Ohio to hang out with youth activists and professionals and talk sexual health for the SYRF Summit.

SYRF, Spiritual Youth for Reproductive Freedom, is a program of the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, that trains young people to fight for reproductive justice in their communities. The summit started with a discussion on sexuality and religion/spirituality. This was an important discussion, as in the mainstream, the religious right has high-jacked the spiritual voice on reproductive freedom issues, while many prochoice activist …

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In all honesty I have been upset all day. I would read article after article about different attacks on women and reproductive justice. I think part of my frustration/anger is because I am new to this fight. When I began my work in political activism abortion wasn’t an issue I addressed. It was actually one I chose to ignore.

Whenever the issue of abortion came up among friends, it felt like a meaningless discussion, because mainly it would end in an agreement to disagree. Each part was stuck in …

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 My new governor , John Kasich, is taking Ohio one big step backwards with his recently appointed cabinet.

Kasich is the first Ohio governor to select a cabinet with no racial minorities since 1962. Don’t worry ladies, he is thinking about us at least with a whooping 4 women on his cabinet.

Facepalm.

Diversity creates innovative solutions. Diversity is more representative of Ohio. Diversity is what leadership for state agencies needs to ensure creative ideas and high quality services that truly meet the needs of people throughout the state. …

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Teens in 6 counties of Northwest Ohio are facing deceptive, biased information on their sexual health from an organization called Project Respect. At first glance their website seems tame enough. They state on their website that their organization:

“believes that each generation has the power to shape and change the world. We envision a community of young people that STAND UP against social pressures and STAND OUT as people of character.”

With further digging I found that the program was linked to an organization called the Medical Institute

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Winter vacation left me with some free time on my hands, so I decided to joined Netflix. First off, I am obsessed with Netflix, and second, I watched a lot of great videos that address reproductive justice, so I thought I would share! I think all of these episodes would be great for a movie/discussion event on campus or in the community. The episodes are short and all bring up a lot of important issues surround sex education, abortion, and LGBTQ rights.

30 Days: Abortion

30 Days was a …

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In the Ohio House of Representative legislation was introduced (HB 611) that would restrict safe abortion care for women after 22 weeks of pregnancy. This is a time women with wanted and planned pregnancies learn of dangers complications that threaten their health and the health of the fetus. During this difficult time, women need the most sound medical advice and care. Instead, the Ohio legislature wants to determine difficult medical decisions for women in Ohio. 

Rep. Lorraine Fende, who introduced this bill, has said, “it is my hope that

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Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, has been accused for sexual violence by two women in Sweden. He claims the charges are a smear campaign against him, while advocates for survivor of sexual violence argue that charges should be taken seriously and not contested so publicly. 

Then, Michael Moore came into the situation by posting bail for Assange. 

This whole situation is leaving many activist furious. They are being told to support Assange, because many progressives are supportive of Assange’s work to increase government transparency, regardless of his obvious …

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This week we saw a major victory with the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, but there are still other important legislative issues to be addressed in the Senate. 

One important issues is the ratification of the START Treaty. START, the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, was originally implemented at the end of the cold war to reduce the amount of nuclear weapons in the US and Russia and improved relations between these two countries. Ratification of the treaty will continue to reduce the number of nuclear weapons in …

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I am studying for my final in environmental health and came across the ethical principles of public health as stated by the American Public Health Association. APHA is fabulous in similar progressive ways to the World Health Organization, who state health is a human right. Just thought I would share these: 

  • Humans have a right to the resources necessary for health
  • Humans are inherently social and interdependent 
  • The effectiveness of institutions depends heavily on the public’s trust 
  • Collaboration is a key element to public health 
  • People and their

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Myself and some great friends from Bowling Green State University are working on starting a student sexual health advocacy organization on campus. Our first event was the phone bank for the 2010 election. For World AIDS Day we had a table at the World AIDS Day Carnival, a wonderful event sponsored by the Student Wellness Network (I am an alum, and am so proud of their great work!) 

We were able to get sign ups for our email list AND handed out great things like condoms and policy cards! …

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Most people I talk to who are activist had a moment that motivated them to act. For me that moment came in class during the fall of 2007. I was a junior in college and in a class on international health. We had a class on the impact of HIV/AIDS globally. I just remember sitting there and hearing about HIV/AIDS prevalence around the world and being astounded. I couldn’t believe it, I was truly stunned.  Then later in my microbiology class the topic of HIV/AIDS came up again. I …

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There was a recent post on the impact words have on culture. I want to use this moment to draw attention to another word that is commonly misused and contribute to discrimination against people: bipolar.

I have heard people call their friend bipolar when they are acting moody, usually in reference to someone acting kind then suddenly becoming rude or inappropriate. Bipolar is a serious mental health issue, and it isn’t a joke. Also, the use of this word infers that people with bipolar are themselves simply rude, inappropriate …

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Bowling Green was my home for four years. It place where I earned my bachelor’s degree, met some of my best friends, mentors and my wonderful fiancé. To me, Bowling Green is home.

When I hear my little town in Northwest Ohio was making news on the national level I was interested. When I learned that the attention was for nondiscrimination ordnances protecting LBGTQ and transgender people, I was even more intrigued.

Here is the history of the now infamous Bowling Green Ordinances. In August 2009 Bowling Green City …

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It has already been reported on amplify, but I am again proud to report that the two non-discrimination ordinances in Bowling Green, Ohio passed last week! It was such an honor working with the organizers on this campaign, and I am happy to see a positive outcome. To read more about the Bowling Green ordinances, check out this article. I guess it shows, against my initial reaction, there were positive outcomes this election!

On a related note (it might not seem related at first, but just go …

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I am proud to be a young person. I am constantly told from messages all around me I shouldn’t feel this way. I am told, young people don’t vote. Young people aren’t informed on what is going on in the world, they are small minded. I am told all young people want to do is sit on facebook, abuse the English language, and have fickle personal relationships. Young people aren’t smart, they are naive and day dreamers. Their ideas are too big, their ideas are too small. I am …

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My last post was about the election coming to an end. Soon after I wrote that post I learned the party which is electoral advocacy wasn’t over yet! I just had to head north to find more work to do.

One Bowling Green asked Ohio Advocates to help out with this last effort of their campaign. Read about what was going on with the One Bowling Green campaign here. I learned that roughly 900 people had voted provisionally, with the majority of these voters being students. Usually in this

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Since September I have been working to promote progressive, pro-choice candidates in Ohio. Now it is November 3rd, and I can’t believe it is all over. It all seems like a blur. With the election over I filled with different thoughts and feelings.

First is the shock. I knew the projections, but still I am shocked. I haven’t even looked over all the results because I honestly just can’t handle it right now. I knew we were going to lose seats federally and lose keep state positions, yet seeing …

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Hello everyone! Last week was the first phone bank for choice in Northwest Ohio for the 2010 election. The event was held at Bowling Green State University and was complete success.

Throughout the evening we had 5-7 people on the phones. Most people were new to phone banking and jumped right in. I was so impressed with the positive spirits and dedication to voter education everyone displayed.

Myself and my right hand man Michael worked hard to recruit people to the event. We mainly used social media, cosponsorship with a student …

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   Michael’s STI experience

Michael is doing everything backward! You should talk to your partners about their sexual history BEFORE sex, not after. Also, regardless of showing symptoms for an STI like herpes you should get tested regularly! Just make it a habit and everyone is better off, because the most common symptom of an STI is no symptoms. Go to your doctor, health department, or Planned Parenthood to get tested!

Stigma around Meredith having an STI

This is so reflective of US culture. There is a belief that

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This is my first year phone banking. At first I was very apprehensive. I had experience making calls in the past and did not enjoy it. Someone handed me an excel spreadsheet and said, call these people. I dialed with apprehension always worrying if the person would be rude or if I would trip over the words in the script. I was also alone, just me, my phone, and 2 hours to kill.
 
When I started my internship with Planned Parenthood I worried it would be the same. …

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Currently there is a lot of media coverage of LGBTQ youth who have committed suicide after being bullied. It made me think back to times I have been bullied.

I am no LGBTQ so I was never teased about that, but I was overweight. I remember boys pretending to flirt with me in middle school to give their friends a laugh. There was one boy that constantly made fun of me in the 5th grade. One day in class we were learning about angles and the term “obtuse” came

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Like many other people my age I am in transition. I work, I intern, and I am in grad school. I am trying to figure out when, where and how to fund my wedding. I am looking for a job. My fiancé just moved across the state.

My life has a lot of unknowns.

The one thing that should always be certain is my access to birth control. During college for a short period of time my BC was only 10 dollars. Something happened; I now pay 60 a month.

To me,

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During undergrad I was a peer educator and now in grad school I volunteer here and there presenting community presentations on health topics. I really enjoy educating others and the classroom setting has always been comfortable to me. In the classroom people expect to be educated. Even if they don’t specifically want to be there, they are still are aware that information will be coming their way.

Recently I realized if I want to be an effective advocate and educator I must provide education outside of the structured setting of the classroom. For …

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Hey everyone! I am currently in DC for the One Voice Summit! It has been a great time! I have met so many amazing people and learned so much in the past three days. I am really excited to end the weekend with a lobby day addressing the REAL Act and international family planning.

Also while I am here I am still working hard on sexual assault awareness events which will begin next week at Bowling Green State University in Ohio. Many of our events are new this year, so it has really been …