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Reproductive justice advocates have long puzzled over the irreconcilable dissonance inherent in legislative efforts to target family planning services within the context of a larger anti-choice agenda.

On its face, it makes no sense. If you oppose abortion, you should probably support increased access to family planning services. If you’re a self-righteous fiscal conservative who begrudges every penny of his taxed income spent on the social safety net, you should probably support increased access to family planning services. If your religious convictions have you wringing your hands at the …

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BC

It looks like the good folks over at Planned Parenthood Action have hired a comedian to manage their social media. That makes sense, since so many of these measures intended to block women’s access to health care are so mind-blowingly outrageous that all you can really do is throw up your hands and laugh.

Case in point: Right now, a group of CEOs has gone to court to demand the power to decide whether their employees get access to affordable birth control. Anti-choice, anti-contraception politicians are super gung-ho about this, …

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nochoice

In case you were worried that Arkansas had run away with the most-restrictive-abortion-law-in-the-country crown, good ol’ South Dakota is staging an upset.

Last Friday, the South Dakota legislature approved a “heartbeat” bill that would ban abortion at 6 weeks. Whereas discussion of a 6-week ban in Arkansas was scrapped in favor of a 12-week ban after Republican state legislators wisely decided to sidestep outrage over the transvaginal ultrasounds the 6-week ban would entail, South Dakota legislators have boldly gone where no anti-choice state legislators have gone before by drawing …

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“I think that the entire conversation is wrong. I don’t want anybody to be telling women anything. I don’t want men to be telling me what to wear and how to act, not to drink. And I don’t, honestly, want you to tell me that I needed a gun in order to prevent my rape. In my case, don’t tell me if I’d only had a gun, I wouldn’t have been raped. Don’t put it on me to prevent the rape.”

-Zerlina Maxwell on Fox News Sean Hannity Show

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Recently, a woman in Maryland passed away while having a very late-term, medically-indicated abortion. Naturally, anti-choice activists have been having a heyday with this tragedy. In an efforts to portray this woman as a hapless, uninformed victim of her abortion provider (while totally flouting her and her family’s privacy in the process), these anti-choicers have provided a telling glimpse at the seedy underbelly of the supposedly ‘pro-woman’ vein of the anti-choice movement, one that continues to push the notion that women are somehow incapable of making important medical decisions for themselves. …

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Have you been watching coverage of today’s One Billion Rising events? Have you seen or participated in one of the hundreds of flashmobs taking place across the world? Check out the One Billion Rising website for some amazing live footage of these dance parties, and stay up to date by searching the #OneBillionRising hashtag on Twitter. If you’re participating in a V-Day event in your area, tell us about it in the comments!

 …

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“I’m beginning to get some evidence from certain doctors and certain scientists that have done research on women’s wombs after they’ve gone through the surgery, and they’ve compared the wombs of women who were on the birth control pill to those who were not on the birth control pill. And they have found that with women who are on the birth control pill, there are these little tiny fetuses, these little babies, that are embedded into the womb. They’re just like dead babies. They’re on the inside of the

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Have you heard about the anti-choice bill that was just introduced in the New Mexico state legislature? You know, the one that purports to “deter sex offenders” and “protect women” by making it a federal offense for providers to perform abortions on women who are pregnant as the result of rape because to do so would be tantamount to “tampering with evidence? Because apparently the bodies of rape survivors aren’t bodies, they’re crime scenes.

Deeeeep breath.

Can New Mexico stop trying to pretend like it cares …

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Mississippi’s all-out assault on women’s reproductive freedom might be coming to a head as Governor Phil Bryant vies to shut down the state’s only remaining abortion clinic, thereby making Mississippi the nation’s first “abortion-free” state.

After an inspection by Health Department workers on January 16th, it was determined that the clinic staff had not complied with a 2012 state law that requires anyone providing abortion services to be an OB-GYN with hospital admitting privileges. But the Mississippi state legislature passed the 2012 TRAP law knowing full well …

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laci green on abstinence

Is it just me or has Laci Green been making some killer videos lately?? Her latest, A is for Abstinence, just might be the most spot-on five minute take-down of abstinence-only education that I’ve ever seen. YOU GO LACI.

Want more hilarious, sex-positive health advocacy and educational tidbits from Laci? Check her out on Youtube, Twitter, and Tumblr.…

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Recently I lent a friend my copy of Feminism is for Everybody by bell hooks. When he was done reading it, he told me that it made him “appreciate the importance of reproductive rights.” Obviously I’m happy to hear it, but there was also a part of me that was thinking what, so you didn’t appreciate them before? It was almost as if he hadn’t previously made any connection between modern feminism and the struggle for reproductive freedom, which was a hard thing for me to fathom.

Then …

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roe0101

Check out this great Roe 101 infographic from the National Women’s Law Center if you need a refresher on what Roe v. Wade was all about. Then think about new ways you can get involved in the struggle for reproductive justice!…

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Keep this in mind the next time someone tries to tell you there’s no such thing as rape culture. Here are some choice excerpts from a satirical post on the Wronging Rights blog:

What If We Responded to Sexual Assault by Limiting Men’s Freedom Like We Limit Women’s?

Calls for Men to Be Blindfolded in Public
In response to claims that men are unable to restrain themselves from committing rape if they see women in skimpy clothing, members of law enforcement agencies around the country have called for men

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I interned at Planned Parenthood during the summer of 2011, which was around the time they were commissioning focus groups to gauge people’s feelings about the labels “pro-choice” and “pro-life.” According to their findings, most people today find the pro-choice/pro-life labels too reductive to adequately characterize their complex feelings about abortion rights. Many have chosen not to adopt these identifiers for themselves, which may account for the recent drop in the percentage of Americans who self-identify as pro-choice.

I remember watching a presentation of these findings during my …

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It’s sobering to think that the women with the fewest resources for preventing unintended pregnancy are also the ones most affected by abortion access restrictions. Something’s gotta give.…

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Check out this incredible Democracy Now segment on the reaction to India’s gang rape case.

In the first half of the segment, women’s studies scholar Elora Chowdhury offers a particularly relevant critique of the media’s coverage of this tragedy:

“I would suggest that we bring a dual critique to these events. On the one hand, we see in the Western media some reporters taking this moral high-ground and pointing fingers and demonizing Indian culture as though sexual violence against women is pervasive in only certain parts of the world,

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support comp sex ed

In middle school, my American History teacher helped us prepare for the Illinois 8th grade Constitution Test by drilling these important historical facts into our heads:

  • The Constitution was written by Aaron Burr, with a little help from his BFF Alexander Hamilton.
  • The 1st Amendment protects our constitutional right to fast-forward through commercials. DVR is a right, not a privilege.
  • When the Constitution was fully ratified and adopted in 1788, it immediately conferred full legal voting rights upon every single American of voting age.

Just kidding, none of that is …

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

Science! Yeah!!…

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On Thursday mornings, I wake up at the crack of dawn, bundle up in my puffiest jacket, and hop on the Soutbound Metra train to the Albany Park neighborhood of Chicago, Illinois. I arrive at the clinic by 8:00, by which point the small, intrepid group of anti-choice regulars has already set up camp. Like me, these protesters regularly spend their Thursday mornings slowly losing the feeling in their limbs as the ruthless Chicago wind chill turns us all into human ice cubes. Unlike me, however, these protesters congregate …

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swedish 1

In Sweden, toy retailer Top-Toy, a licensee of the Toys “R” Us brand, has boldly gone where no toy retailer has gone before by making a concerted effort to stop gender policing young children through toy marketing. This year’s catalogue features images of boys playing with beauty supplies and girls playing with dragons. I kind of love it! What do you think? (More photos after the jump).…

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 Watch "HIV Is Not a Crime, 2011 Film by Sean Strub, Edit by Leo Herrera/HomoChic"

In addition to thinking and talking about “getting to zero” this World AIDS Day, there needs to be an equally strong emphasis on the 34 million people worldwide who are already living with HIV/AIDS and must regularly contend with the stigma and oppression that too-often accompanies a positive  status. The SERO Project is an initiative that attempts to expose the unjust criminalization of HIV/AIDS in the United States. Check out their website and …

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Today marks 34 years since Harvey Milk was killed in San Francisco City Hall. Let’s take a moment to remember his fight and to rededicate ourselves to his ideals.

“It takes no compromise to give people their rights…it takes no money to respect the individual. It takes no political deal to give people freedom. It takes no survey to remove repression.”

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In a landmark resolution, the UN general assembly’s human rights committee has officially recognized female genital mutilation as a harmful practice and a serious threat to the psychological, sexual and reproductive health of women and girls.  The resolution calls on the UN’s 193 member states to enact and enforce legislation prohibiting FGM, protecting at risk women and girls and ending impunity for violators. It also urges countries to launch educational campaigns around the issue.

Although assembly resolutions are not legally binding, they carry considerable moral and political weight and are …

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

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

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Tomorrow is Transgender Day of Remembrance, a day when we honor the memory of all those who have been killed as a result of anti-transgender hatred or prejudice. Recent estimates indicate that a staggering 265 trans people have been violently murdered in the last 12 months, which represents a jump of nearly 20% from last year.

Statistics like that can leave you feeling hopeless, but culture change can start with us. In honor of National Transgender Day of Remembrance, why not share this helpful graphic from the University of California

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Protest at death of Savita, denied an abortion in Irish hospital

In light of the tragic and unnecessary death of Savita Halappanavar, an International Day of Action for Legal Abortion in Ireland will take place this Wednesday, November 21st. Pickets will take place at Irish Embassies or central city locations across the world.

To see if there’s a demonstration scheduled in your city, click here. For a list of Irish Embassies and Consulates, click here. For people living in the NYC area, there will be a vigil

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In the annual Population Fund report released yesterday, the UN called access to family planning services a universal human right. Although the UN has long supported expanding access to contraception, this is the first time they’ve framed it explicitly in human rights terms. The report states:

“Recent statistics show that 867 million women of childbearing age in developing countries have a need for modern contraceptives. Of that total, 645 million have access to them. But a staggering 222 million still do not. This is inexcusable. Family planning is a 

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Recently, anti-abortion protestors in my home state of Wisconsin staged a 40 Days of Life protest at a local family planning clinic in Wausau. The only catch? The Family Planning Clinic in Wausau doesn’t even provide abortion services because, like many clinics in Wisconsin and around the country, they are forbidden by the terms of their state grants from providing abortion services or even referring a woman to an abortion provider. That’s an affront to reproductive justice in and of itself. More immediately, however, we now live in a world where …

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You know that iconic black-and-white photograph of the American sailor kissing the woman in the white dress? Of course you do – it’s quintessential dorm room wall fare. You know, this one:

This photo always made me uncomfortable. In spite of all the post-war jubiliation, something just seems off about this scene. Maybe it’s her clenched fist, her stiff arm, and her awkwardly twisted legs. Or maybe it’s his headlock-esque embrace, or the smushed-up intensity of their kiss. Call me unromantic, but something about this photo twists my stomach …

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Join the National Center for Transgender Equality’s "Voting While Trans" campaign to educate and prepare trans people on how to vote in light of new voter ID laws. This year, over 25,000 trans people could be denied a ballot. Learn more at http://www.votingwhiletrans.org.


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Reflecting back on the great OMG-Planned-Parenthood-Almost-Got-Defunded crisis of 2010, one of the most toxic pieces of rhetorical fallout seems to have been the way that the Hyde Amendment became a sort of reconciliatory football to punt around in public discourse about women’s health. Think about it. Anti-choice legislators justified their decision to strip all federal funding from our nation’s largest women’s health provider by claiming it helped fund abortion services. When women’s health advocates rightly pointed out that, on the contrary, the Hyde Amendment has prohibited public funding of …

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 It’s September, and as my fellow Amplify youth correspondent Hannah pointed out earlier this week, college freshmen around the country are gathering in classrooms and auditoriums for the obligatory sexual violence awareness and prevention programming that has rightfully become a hallmark of college freshmen orientations everywhere. For peer sex educators like me, freshman orientation means perpetually gritted teeth and time spent diplomatically deconstructing cringe-worthy, victim-blamey comments made by hapless freshmen who don’t know any better (see: “Well…she didn’t say ‘no’,” “It’s her own fault for getting so drunk,” and …