Obama Administration Urges Supreme Court to Reconsider TX Abortion Law

photo-1422245041700-c8f78523d97d-1On Monday, the Obama administration urged the Supreme Court to reconsider a Texas abortion law that would cause half of the clinics statewide to shut their doors. The administration claims that the closures would actually do more harm for women’s health than good.

If the Republican backed regulations were allowed to come to fruition, clinics across the state would be forced to close for good. The result would be detrimental; thousands of Texas women seeking an abortion would now be forced to travel far and wide to seek medical attention. Not only would they have to arrange transportation, accommodation, and child care but they would also have to miss work, resulting in loss of wages. It has also been proven that when clinics close, there is an increase in self-abortions performed.

The outcome of this ruling will set the precedent of how other states will handle similar regulations.

Within the last year, lawmakers have redshifted their focus on creating regulations that require women’s clinics to have hospital grade-facilities and clinic doctors. This is all under the false pretense that women’s health is at risk otherwise. The truth is, however, that abortions provided in Texas (and throughout the nation) are some of the safest procedures with a minimal amount of complications.


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My Letter to the Editor in NY Times: Another Year, Another Round of Abortion Debates

steamA letter I recently wrote to the NY Times editor was just published yesterday. The letter is in response to an article published on December 19, 2015 entitled The Reproductive Rights Rollback of 2015Read the entire letter here.

The year in review:

  • States have enacted 288 abortion restrictions since the beginning of 2011
  • In 2015 alone, state legislators passed 57 new constraints on a woman’s right to choose.
  • Lawmakers have been writing TRAP laws (or Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers) that disguise their true intent, to eradicate abortion altogether.
  • Going after the health clinics causes an increase in closures, which then increases the chance that a woman will attempt a self-induced abortion.
  • It is estimated that 100,000-240,000 TX women have attempted a self-induced abortion, likely due to having limited access to legal abortion clinics.
  • More than 24 states already require waiting periods for abortions and an additional five more states joined their ranks this year.

It seems that the assault on a woman’s right to choose isn’t going away any time soon. There is no doubt that 2016 will be filled with even more new constraints. Stay informed, stay alert.


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39 US States Rely on Abstinence-Only Education

abstinence only educationAn article recently came out about the perils of abstinence-only education. Despite all the research that proves abstinence-only education doesn’t work, 39 states in the US still solely rely upon it.

Let’s look at the facts about sex education in Alabama:

  • 50% of high school students in Alabama have had sex
  • half of those same high schoolers have had unprotected sex
  • 13-24 years olds in Alabama are the only age group that have seen an increase in HIV contraction
  • According to the CDC Montgomery, AL has the highest STD rate of any city in the nation
  • Education on where to get and use condoms is not regularly taught during Alabama’s sex education programs
  • Sex education is not being tracked across the state; some teach abstinence-only until marriage programs, other teach evidence-based programs, while others teach nothing.
  • School administrators in Alabama are afraid that parents won’t like sexual health programs being taught to their high schooler. When parents were polled, however, 66% said they believe sex ed should be taught ins school and 79% said their children should be taught how to use a condom.

How do other states add up?

  • Only 21% of schools in Arizona cover 16 sex education topics recommended by the CDC while 90% of schools in New Jersey do.
  • 2/3 of Georgia schools fail to teach all of the recommended sex ed topics
  • The states of Georgia ranks 3rd in the nation for Syphilis and 9th for Chlamydia

Conclusion:

Abstinence-only education does not delay students from having sex. In fact, it may deter them from using contraceptives which increases their risks of contracting an STI or becoming pregnant. Comprehensive sexual education, however, helps youth to gain a positive view of sexuality, thus giving them the tools to make healthy decisions in the future. Teens that receive a comprehensive sexual education are more likely to delay the age of their first sexual encounter and are less likely to participate in risky sexual behavior.

After reading the above information, tell us what you think. Should states be given the choice when it comes to teaching sex ed? Or should there be a comprehensive sex education program mandated nationwide?


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What We Know About the TN Woman Indicted for a Botched Abortion

 

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Here is what we know:

  • Three months ago, Anna Yocca (31) decided to terminate her pregnancy with a coat hanger.
  • Yocca was six months pregnant.
  • After she began to bleed, she had her boyfriend take her to the emergency room.
  • Emergency room staff delivered the child who weighed just 1.5 pounds.
  • The child, who is still alive, will need oxygen and daily medications because of the premature delivery.
  • Yucca is currently incarcerated, being held on $200,000 bail, and faces first-degree murder charges.
  • She is due in court on December 21.

The Law in Tennessee:

  • In Tennessee, it is illegal to have an abortion past the 12-week mark.
  • Though abortions up until the 24-week mark are legal, in Tennessee, there are no clinics that perform abortions past 16-weeks
  • Earlier this year, the governor of Tennessee, Bill Haslam, signed a law that requires women who are seeking an abortion (before the 12-week mark) to make two visits to the abortion clinic, attend in-person counseling, and then wait 48 hours before having the procedure.
  • Tennessee only has 14 abortion providers in the entire state. That means 63% of TN women live in counties with no abortion clinic.
  • TN residents face up to 15 years in prison for harming a fetus

Our Thoughts

There is no denying that this is a terrible thing for everyone involved, but it does bring to light the need for less restrictive abortion laws. According to a study recently done by the Texas Policy Evaluation Project, self-induced abortions increase in states that restrict access to safe, legal abortion clinics. If women don’t have access, they feel compelled to take matters into their own hands, often resulting in detrimental consequences.

5 Gifts for the Fearless Feminist in Your Life

“I don’t want any gifts this year.”

“Love shouldn’t be proven by giving and receiving gifts.”

“Consumerism is the bane of my existence”

If any of the sentences about sound like something your wife, mom, sister, or friend as ever said, then you are definitely in the right place. Since showing up to the gift exchange empty-handed is simply out of the question, you’ll need to think of something to bring your fearless feminist that won’t send her into a relentless rant about the toll that commercial holidays has on the environment. Fear not, we have you covered.

Below are five items that would make a perfect gift for the fearless feminist in your life. Not only are the items below hip and unique, but they also support a non-profit organization, political movement, or cause that we think is important. Enjoy 🙂

 

supriya box packSupriya Box Pack by Sari Bari

$45

Why we love it: Sari Bari makes and sells handmade items that were up-cycled from saris. All the designers over at Sari Bari are women survivors of Kolkata’s red light district. Each product is marked with the woman who made it.

BUY NOW

Stella Earrings

Stella Earrings by PURPOSE

$26

Why we love it: One-hundred percent of the proceeds collected from this site goes to International Security, a non-profit that provides care for women who are rescued from human trafficking. This item was made by a survivor of modern-day slavery.

BUY NOW

Girls Just Want to Have Fun Tote BagGirls Just Want to Have Fun Tote Bag by Feminist Apparel

$25.95

Why we love it: Each item on the Feminist Apparel site was designed by a member of the Feminist Creatives community. We love any site that gives up and coming feminist designers the opportunity to share their vision with the world (and also get paid for it.)

BUY NOW

private_parts_full_body_grandePrivate Parts Bath Mat by Anomie

$60

Why we love it: 10% of the profits Anomie makes per month is donated to various charities and causes. The current organization that Anomie is supporting is called The Charlotte Maxwell Clinic, an Oakland based non-profit clinic providing free integrative cancer care and critical support services to underserved women with cancer.

BUY NOW

a woman's right to know bookA Woman’s Right to Know by Carol Roye, EdD, RN

$13.57

Why we love it: Women’s health has been a political pawn since the beginning of time. The only way to fight back and make a change is to educate yourself and others. Great stocking stuffer!

BUY NOW


 

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What We Know About the Planned Parenthood shooting in Colorado

Stand With PP

  • Three people were killed: Ke’Arre Stewart, 29, Iraq veteran and father of two, Jennifer Markovsky, 36, a friend who was accompanying her friend to the clinic, and Garrett Swasey, a police man who responded to the 911 call
  • Nine others were injured
  • The shooter was Robert Lewis Dear, a 57-year-old white male and North Carolina native who has a history of being preoccupied with right wing sentiment (including handing out anti-Obama flyers in his neighborhood)
  • Dear used an AK-47 style, high powered rifle. There was nothing in his background (such as a felony conviction or mental issue) preventing him from owning such a weapon.
  • However, Dear has been arrested for domestic violence against his then-wife as well as watching his neighbor through her window.
  • The Justice Department is currently building a “domestic terrorism” case against him
  • Dear’s motive remains unclear although he did mention “no more baby parts” and President Obama after being taken in for questioning.
  • Dear is currently being held without bond and will appear in court today, Monday November 30th.

This is not only a crime against Colorado Springs but also a crime against women seeking services at Planned Parenthood and similar clinics across the nation. Though Dear’s motive is till unclear, it’s obvious that the smear campaign created by right-wing extremists has contributed to the negative sentiments that Dear and other feel towards Planned Parenthood. We will continue to update this case as more information becomes available.

*image by Charlotte Cooper, Flickr


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California and Oregon Leading the Way in Making Birth Control More Accessible

womens health

If you are a woman living in either California or Oregon, consider yourself one of the lucky ones. Groundbreaking laws in these two states will soon make it legal for women to obtain birth control directly from their pharmacist, completely bypassing the need for a prescription from their doctor. This will not only make women’s reproductive healthcare more accessible and convenient but also less expensive.

Most states in the US are currently grappling with consistent high rates of unintended pregnancy. In fact, nearly half of pregnancies in the US are unintended. As it stands now however, all states require a doctor’s prescription before they can receive hormonal birth control including pills, patches, or rings.

Here is how it will work: After filling out a short health and medical history questionnaire, women will be able to obtain a contraceptive directly from their pharmacist. The cost of birth control will be covered by insurance, just as it is now under the Affordable Care Act.

Though reproductive health groups are pushing to make contraceptives available over the counter, we feel that this is a step in the right direction. Here is to hoping that other states follow in their footsteps.


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290.6 Million Women Living in Poverty Now Using Contraception

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A new study by a global family planning rights group revealed that 290.6 million women and girls living in poverty stricken nations are now using modern forms of contraception.

The program was launched in 2012 in 69 focus countries. It is estimated that the program’s efforts have prevented 80 million pregnancies, 28.6 million unsafe abortions, and 111,000 maternal deaths in just one year. Though these numbers seem impressive, the program didn’t reach its intended goal. The number of contraceptive users is 10 million fewer than what they had hoped for.

Here are some of the positive outcomes:

  1. In South Asia, the contraceptive usage went up 47 percent.
  2. In Eastern and Southern Africa, the usage went up 22 percent.
  3. Kenya showed some of the best progress. The contraceptive use amongst married women rose from 46 percent in 2009 to 58 percent in 2014.
  4. Zambia’s usage rose from 33 percent in 2012 to 45 percent.

Injectable contraceptives and an increase in budget contributes to a country’s family planning success. Family planning not only saves lives but it also contributes to healthier women, children, and communities.


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Supreme Court Will Review Strict Texas Abortion Law

4f900e54The Supreme Court will have a chance to decide whether or not they think the drastic Texas abortion law interferes with a woman’s constitutional rights. The law, which was filibustered by the previous state senator Wendy Davis, would require the remaining 18 abortion clinics in the state to meet very strict regulations including doorway standards and ventilation systems.

In June, the law was deemed constitutional because the stringent regulations were said to benefit maternal health. Those in favor of the law used the 1992 ruling of the Planned Parenthood v. Casey case to reaffirm their viewpoint. Though Casey believed that no state should place an “undue burden” on a woman who is seeking an abortion, the court determined that making a woman travel 150 miles to have an abortion was not considered an undue burden.

Abortion opponents are remaining optimistic. The Justice of the Supreme Court of the US, Anthony Kennedy, will likely be the swing vote in this case. He has only voted against one abortion law in history (one that proposed to make women obtain consent from their spouse before undergoing an abortion.

The arguments will be heard in the coming months and a decision will be handed down in June of 2016.


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Women’s Health Care in Washington

While the state of Washington is doing many things right in terms of protecting women’s health care, they do have some room for improvement. The state could be better at enforcing state laws that protect women’s reproductive health choices.

Here are some things Washington is doing right:

  1. This state supports and funds Planned Parenthood time and time again. More than 100,000 women and teens have received long term contraception in this state alone, a very effective way to prevent pregnancy.
  2. In 1991, the state passed a Reproductive Privacy Act which assures that every individual has the right to choose or refuse birth control. In addition, every individual has the right to choose or refuse an abortion.
  3. Their schools teach comprehensive sex education versus teaching abstinence only education.

Though the measures listed above have contributed to helping reduce statewide abortion and teen pregnancy dramatically, equal accessibility to reproductive health care is becoming harder and harder to achieve.

  1. In 2014, there was a huge budget reduction in Seattle which caused many family planning clinics to shut their doors.
  2. US Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Spokane continues to advocate for the defunding of Planned Parenthood.

Why is it that the poor, uninsured, and minority women struggle the most when trying to find adequate family planning and abortion services? Access to health care should not be dependent on the socioeconomic status of the individual regardless of which state, country, or planet you’re from.

*image by Unsplash


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