We like to issue some reminders now and then about some common discourses regarding teen pregnancy. We often have a LOT to say about those, but one of the core issues that comes up is the idea that high rates of teen pregnancy are largely due to ignorance about contraception.
Setting aside the matter that teen pregnancy is often assumed to be exclusively unplanned or unwanted (it’s not), in reality, while lack of understanding about proper contraceptive use is certainly one factor, access to contraceptives in the first place, and consistently, is another huge one, so is sexual agency (and youth rights and agency more broadly), and certainly access to abortion.
For that reason we always encourage you to look into the stance on support for all reproductive choices at any site or organization you link or refer others to for information about pregnancy or contraceptives. Some very visible sites and orgs are not fully pro-choice and do not include or even mention abortion in their information, or, if they do, like the American Pregnancy Association, for example, include misinformation about abortion and links to “information” or “help” are links to CPCs.
As well, sound, broad research done about teen pregnancy (we really like Kristen Luker for this topic, a nearly flawless researcher who has done a great job avoiding the usual biases) has shown that socioeconomic factors and the impact of those factors — read: poverty — are really the biggest player here. Far more so than knowing about or knowing how to use contraception.
So, by all means, having accurate, in-depth information about how to prevent unwanted pregnancy or parenting is vitally important: we obviously think so as an organization. But so is being careful none of us obscure the larger picture here or unwittingly support anyone or any initiative that may be acting counter to helping young people who do not want to become or remain pregnant.
Pro-tip: Abortion is — literally — birth control. If and when sites or orgs with birth control information and apparent support for birth control or preventing unwanted pregnancy don’t include or mention it? Look deeper and ask questions.
Florida’s Lt. Governor Jennifer Carroll has been accused by Carletha Cole, a former administrative assistant to Carroll, of being involved in an inappropriate sexual encounter with a female subordinate. Cole is a grandmother and a minister, who took a lie detector test regarding the accusations and passed.
When Carroll decided that she was going to defend this matter publicly, she stated that her accuser is not only attacking one person but is attacking her entire family. Her actions that followed demonstrated that she needed to transfer her pain.
In an attempt to seek public sympathy for her personal and professional matter, Carroll decided to insult every black woman who is a lesbian, bisexual and/or single. She decided that her personal status as a wife and mother with a long-lasting marriage to her husband was somehow superior and above reproach for inappropriate, extramarital relations. She further decided to insult my beautiful black sisters by comparing her life situation to those of longtime single women, and imply that women who engage in sexual relations with other women could not possibly look like her.
I am so furious and frustrated by a black woman of power trying to bring other black women down to save face. Jennifer Carroll, the core of your character is at stake, and you are showing your true colors. Leadership requires grace and dignity under fire, and you are showing that your character includes misguided superiority and poor judgment.
Read the rest at HuffPo Gay Voices here.
A principal in Onalaska, Wash., was accused of “raping” her fifth-grade students. Not actually — this isn’t a case of, you know, rape-rape but rather rape as an inappropriate metaphor: “rape” by sex ed. James Gilliland, the parent of an 11-year-old girl who took C.J. Gray’s class on the birds and the bees, told Seattle’s KING 5 News: “It’s basically the same as raping a kid’s mind and taking their innocence.”
What got this father and other parents so fired up? In a recent lesson on HIV, Gray answered a student’s question about what oral sex and anal sex are. Onalaska superintendent Scott Fenter told KING 5, “She only gave factual information, no demonstrations.” Gray herself told Centralia, Wash.’s Chronicle, “It was very factual and it was dropped. I did not demonstrate it.” Yes, despite at least two parents likening her answering of kids’ questions to child molestation — and others inundating her with angry phone calls and letters — she did not actually demonstrate the act; there were no photos or videos, either. It was just a matter-of-fact explanation of the basic mechanics.
Read the rest at Alternet here.
On June 25, Our Bodies Ourselves will launch Our Bodies, Our Votes — a national education campaign urging women and men to speak out against attacks on women’s reproductive rights and access to health services. We want your support TODAY!
The campaign will include distribution of Our Bodies, Our Votes bumper stickers; a Tumblr site where people can post photos of where they put the stickers (we want representation from every state!); and a website with information on abortion, contraception and reproductive justice.
Here’s where you come in …
In exchange for being an early supporter and helping to build momentum, we’ll send you 3 FREE Our Bodies, Our Votes bumper stickers!
All you have to do is:
1. Stick a sticker on your car or any creative place
2. Take at least one photo
3. Post that photo to Tumblr by midnight on Thursday, June 21
Interested? You have to act fast! We’ll send stickers to the first 75 people to contact officeATbwhbcDOTorg with Send Me Free Stickers! in the subject line and your mailing address in the body of the email. The cut-off is 4 p.m. EST on Thursday, June 14.
The stickers will be mailed by Friday along with Tumblr posting instructions. Once the campaign launches on June 25, stickers will be available for a $10 donation to OBOS.
Thanks for reading, and please consider becoming an early supporter of Our Bodies, Our Votes!
Remember? Remember how our president gave speeches shortly thereafter about finding “common ground” on abortion? Don’t you wonder where, exactly, that common ground is? Is it on “Let’s come to a compromise on how many healthcare providers you assassinate per year”? In the wake of a Southern string of 3 targeted burglaries at clinics and 3 women’s health buildings set aflame (some of which don’t even provide abortion care), wouldn’t you really like to know what common ground looks like? “Let’s agree that no one likes fires in the summer; you could at least save arson for the winter months”?
Where’s a libertarian declaring “Those who would trade liberty for security…” when you could actually use one?
Dr. Tiller didn’t fuck around like that. They massed outside his office, and he had a huge sign printed: “Women need abortions, and I’m going to provide them.” No mincing, no equivocating, and no compromising his patients’ care. He went to work every day to protect women’s freedoms. Someone shot him in both arms, and he went back to work the next day. He had a gate at the clinic and wore a bulletproof vest — but his murderer shot him in the head, at church.
When President Obama embraced same-sex marriage last week, he tried to frame it as an issue for the states to resolve. But federal laws and policies are very much front and center in the battle for a level financial playing field for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Americans - especially seniors. And the Obama administration is taking a more active role in that battle than the president let on in his historic interview.
One of the key pocketbook issues is that it is impossible for LGBT couples to access the valuable spousal, survivor and death benefits from Social Security, although they pay the same FICA taxes as heterosexual workers, and are nearly twice as likely to live in poverty than heterosexual seniors. Average Social Security benefits are 32 percent lower for LGBT couples than for heterosexual couples, according to The Williams Institute, a think tank focused on sexual orientation and gender identity law and public policy at the UCLA School of Law.
Same-sex couples also face financial trouble with their healthcare when they are seniors. Eligibility for Medicare is based on the number of quarters in which you have paid payroll taxes into the system. At age 65, anyone with a work history of at least 40 quarters can enroll for Medicare Part A (hospitalization) without paying a premium. Everyone pays a premium for Part B (doctors’ visits), Part D (prescription drugs) or a supplemental medical policy. But access to the entire program is predicated on Part A enrollment.
You can also enroll without paying a premium if a spouse qualifies.
But DOMA means that a legally married LGBT same-sex spouse lacking those 40 quarters must take the other route into Medicare - buying into the system by paying a hefty Part A premium out of pocket. This year, the monthly Part A premium is $451 for those with less than 30 quarters in the system.
The problems extend to access to social services, nutrition, housing and nursing home care. LGBT seniors are twice as likely to be single and up to four times more likely to be without children than their heterosexual counterparts, according to the AARP Public Policy Institute.
"There are issues around caregiving and social isolation," says Aaron Tax, director of federal government relations for Services and Advocacy for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual & Transgender Elders, also known as SAGE. "Pile onto that their lower incomes, benefits discrimination and higher poverty rates, poor health and access to health care."
Read all of this here.
Tennessee has the tenth highest rate of teenage births in the United States. At Planned Parenthood Greater Memphis Region, we hear every day from young people who say they were never taught the facts about sex and pregnancy prevention. That’s why we were especially disappointed today to hear that Governor Bill Haslam had signed a bill that guts the state’s “family life” sexuality education program.
HB 3621/SB 3310, signed by Governor Haslam today, will change Tennessee’s family life curriculums to “exclusively and emphatically promote sexual risk avoidance through abstinence, regardless of a student’s current or prior sexual experience”—effectively denying students valuable and even life-saving information about contraception and the prevention of sexually transmitted infections.
This new law also allows teachers or outside contractors to be sued for “encouraging” or “condoning” nonspecific “gateway sexual behavior.” Some critics have speculated that teachers could even be held liable if students hold hands or kiss in their presence.
Read the rest here.