Category Archives: Reproductive Rights

For Me, It All Comes Down to the Judges

I don’t know about you, but the constant patter of election rhetoric has worn me out.

The campaigns, the PACs, our friends on Facebook, they’re all telling us what’s really important about this election:  it’s about The Economy, it’s about The War on Women, it’s about The Environment, it’s about The War on Terror.

Here’s a factor that few of them are talking about, but one that will make a huge difference in all of these issues and so many more — Continue reading

Be Noisy!

This week’s blog post is guest-written by a family planning supporter who shares this message she sent to everyone on her personal email list. It’s an important call to action that I hope you will share with your friends and family — most especially the young women in your life.



Hello All,

The hardest part of this coming election, for me, is the probability that we will, if more social conservatives are elected, lose much of our right to reproductive choice in this country.

I’m not sure that enough of us are thinking about this: access to contraception, birth control, family planning, sex education, reproductive health, abortion rights… and what it was like before Roe vs Wade in 1973, when it was hard for the young, the unmarried, the poor, the rural, even married people … to get contraceptive help, much less have an abortion if needed. Abortions were dangerous and hidden, whether you were not married, or already had enough children, or had a life that didn’t work with children, where a child would not be supported, or had decided not to have children at all.

Whatever your reason, you were trapped, in a situation that would affect the rest of your life and a society that would not help you.

I am afraid that many young women don’t realize how serious this threat is, that the far right has been chipping away at family planning with hostile legislation in many states, and succeeding in making it harder get contraceptives, and more and more difficult to have a safe early abortion.

Many men think it is none of their business, or not as important as the other heavy issues we are dealing with. But access to contraception, and safe abortion if that fails, is crucial to quality of life for women, the children they have, the men that care about them, their families and communities.

It matters to the whole country, in health and savings, in education and ability to earn a living, in people being better able to take care of themselves.

Please be noisy about this issue before the election, and pass this message on to whoever you can. Don’t let us lose our family planning clinics and access to reproductive choice.

Thank you,
Beedy

“Legitimate Rape” — The Real Agenda

By now, you’ve probably heard the astonishing comments about rape and abortion made by Congressman Todd Akin (R-Missouri).

Akin, a long-time opponent of abortion rights, is running for the U.S. Senate in Missouri.  When asked on local TV about whether he thinks women who have been raped should be able to access abortion, Akin said, “It seems to me, first of all, from what I understand from doctors, that’s really rare. If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.

That’s right. According to Representative Akin, a woman’s body can tell the difference between sperm from a rapist and sperm from consensual sex, and can “shut that whole thing down.”  Which means, of course, if a woman says she became pregnant as a result of rape, she must be lying. And if you’re trying to outlaw abortion, there’s no need to provide for an exception for rape survivors, because survivors of “legitimate rape” don’t get pregnant.

Politicians of all persuasions have expressed outrage at Akin’s statements. And they’re right. This is outrageous.

But here’s what’s really troubling — Akin didn’t just make this stuff up on his own.  When you look at what’s happened in Congress over the past two years, you’ll see that Todd Akin isn’t the renegade crackpot his party is making him out to be, he’s in the mainstream of the conservative majority in Congress. Continue reading

Because the 1950’s Was Such a Great Decade for Women

Last week the conservative majority of a U.S. House subcommittee voted to completely eliminate the federal Title X Family Planning Program, cutting nearly $300 million in funding. They also voted to cut $85 million from the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program and increase funding for abstinence-only education by $15 million.

Seems kind of crazy, right? Unfortunately, it’s been crazy times for women’s health care and reproductive rights in this country for a couple of years now. And the lunacy continues.

We’ve got people saying low-income women shouldn’t have access to birth control and people arguing that preventive care for women shouldn’t be covered by insurance. These are the same folks fighting against birth control coverage in the Affordable Care Act.

The recent subcommittee vote is merely political posturing since the Senate is sure to reject the proposed funding cuts. The vote to cut all funding for family planning is another in a long line of actions designed to… well, I’m not quite sure what they’re designed to do but I have a hunch.

I’ve made a list of what I think these conservative legislators may be trying to achieve with their actions. Let me know what you think. Continue reading

One of the Best Organizations You’ve Never Heard Of…

Last week, I shared this cool video from the Gates Foundation as a way to highlight the impact of family planning efforts in developing countries. An astute On the Front Lines reader posted a comment in which she mentioned Pathfinder International.

You’ve never heard of Pathfinder International? Until I started working at the FPA, I hadn’t either. But I’m so glad to have learned about this amazing organization, with roots right here in New England.

It’s not a surprise that many people here in the U.S. don’t know about Pathfinder. Even their website acknowledges this with the comment, “We’re often unseen.”

How does an international organization that’s been around since 1957, works in over 20 countries, collaborates with more than 200 local partner organizations, and employs over 850 people remain relatively unknown even among advocates and supporters of family planning in this country? Continue reading

And the Word of the Week is…

Vagina!

Well, it’s been nearly impossible to ignore the happenings in Michigan over the past week.  But just in case you missed it, here’s a recap.

Last week, the leadership of the Michigan House of Representatives rushed through a bill described as the most restrictive abortion bill in the country. The bill would restrict access to abortions and heavily regulate clinics that provide them, likely causing most of them to close.

Michigan Representative Lisa Brown spoke against the bill. She argued that her Jewish faith allowed for therapeutic abortions when the mother’s life is in danger without regard to length of pregnancy. “I have not asked you to adopt and adhere to my religious beliefs. Why are you asking me to adopt yours?” she said.

In concluding her speech Lisa Brown noted, “Finally, Mr. Speaker, I’m flattered that you’re all so interested in my vagina, but ‘no’ means ‘no.'”

And that’s when things got really interesting! Continue reading

Election 2012 — Why It’s Crucial for Choice & What You Can Do About It

If ever there was a time when the outcome of an election matters for Mainers who care about reproductive rights, this is it! For two major reasons.

This November, voters in Maine will be asked to make a choice for almost all of our elected officials  — President, U.S. Senators & Representatives and State Senators & Representatives. That’s right, our ballot will include all of those folks. That’s the first reason to get out and vote for choice this fall.

Here’s the second reason. Continue reading

Calling All Bloggers & Activists — Blog for Choice Day 2012

Election season has begun! The Iowa and New Hampshire primaries are behind us and in Maine, the Republican and Democratic caucuses are scheduled for later this winter.

Each year, election fatigue seems to set in earlier and earlier and the temptation to ignore it all grows stronger.  But this year, more than ever, tuning out is something we cannot afford to do. The 2012 election is a crucial one for pro-choice advocates and supporters. Continue reading

New Year’s Resolutions? Trying Something Different

Warning: My inner dork is revealed at the end of this post.

In years past, I’ve tended to establish new year’s resolutions with three basic themes:

  • Eat Healthier
  • Exercise More
  • Be Nicer

Like many people I know, my inner struggles don’t seem to change that much from year to year. Unless we’ve had a major, life-changing experience we tend to keep battling our well-known demons.

This year, I’ve decided to try something new — something that boils down to “find the positive” and “be part of the solution.”

What does this have to do with family planning and reproductive rights? Funny you should ask. Continue reading

Anti-Choice Protesting as a Career Path

Are you feeling ready for a career change but you’re just not sure what your next move might be?

Allow me to assist you.

Last week a colleague pointed out this little gem on the 40 Days for Life website. Apparently you can get credit at “Pro-Life University” for protesting in front of the FPA offices in Augusta.

University credit?

This is just the sort of tidbit that fuels my imagination and I’m wondering what classes at a “pro-life university” might entail.

Here’s a list I came up with — Continue reading