Friday, March 27, 2009

Family Planning and the Economy

This is a guest post from our new intern, Amy.

A story published by the AP a couple of days ago talks about abortion and the economy. The article provides a powerful example of how an economic downturn influences women's health and their decisions about family planning.

It's interesting for us to see at Planned Parenthood, since we're a safety net provider for so many women (meaning basically that we don't turn anyone away, irregardless of financial means or insurance). Right now people are losing their jobs and their health insurance. Luckily this means that more and more women can still turn to Planned Parenthood to help pay for birth control and other reproductive health needs like OBGYN appointments and cancer screenings.

Interestingly, legislators are starting to take an interest in these issues too. The AP article quotes Lori Lamerand, the CEO of Planned Parenthood of Mid and South Michigan, suggesting, "We're seeing a receptivity among our legislators to hear about prevention policies . . . Folks who wouldn't have opened the doors to a Planned Parenthood representative are now willing to talk to us."

Everyone's talking about the economy now, and it's important to remember that when making tough decisions about how to cut costs, birth control shouldn’t fall by the wayside. We can use this opportunity to get legislators on board with funding to help millions of women continue to exercise their right to family planning.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Would you be able to use these condoms?

And more importantly, do you think they're safe to use? (via)

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Teen pregnancy health care crisis

From Cecile Richards today:

Today's news from the CDC that the teen birthrate is on the rise for the second straight year clearly demonstrate that abstinence-only programs are failing our teens. We agree with President Obama that our nation must leave behind the divisive politics of the last eight years and move forward with commonsense policies that achieve our shared goal of truly preventing unintended pregnancies. That?s why we believe that the time has come for everyone who cares about teenagers to start focusing on real policies that will help reduce the teen pregnancy rate. This begins with honest communication between young people and parents, comprehensive and accurate sex education, and access to affordable contraception.

With nearly 750,000 teens getting pregnant every year, the United States is facing a teen pregnancy health care crisis. When something is broken, our country works to fix it. We must work together to fix this crisis and reduce unintended pregnancies.

Congress should put the right foot forward and immediately stop funding for abstinence-only programs that deny young people information about how to prevent pregnancy, protect their health and make responsible decisions. In the last decade, more than $1.5 billion has been wasted on abstinence-only programs, when studies show they don?t reduce the number of teen pregnancies or sexually transmitted infections.

As a nation, we must invest in policies and programs that will help prevent unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections among teenagers.

It's nice to know that Christopher Walken is on our side.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Voice of the Youth!

Let's take a break from national politics for a second, and talk about youth.

Specifically the 23 amazing youth from New York City that were in Albany yesterday, meeting with legislators to convince them that comprehensive sex education is important enough that ALL of New York State schools should have it.

The teens were some of Planned Parenthood's amazing teen advocates, from the Lower East Side, the Bronx and Brooklyn. They all got up incredibly early in the morning to make the long bus trek up to our State's capitol - something I know I was never jumping to do when i was between the ages of 14 and 18. Still they all braved the trip, and not only met with legislative staffers but participated in workshops in online organizing and knowing your rights (that last workshop was thanks to the NYCLU).

Pictures are coming soon, but I wanted to take a step back and recognize our amazing young volunteers. You'd be surprised at just how powerful a group of teenagers thoughtfully talking about sex education to their legislators can be. So thanks guys, it's good to know that our future is in your hands.

Friday, March 13, 2009

You Heard it Straight From MTV

You know, even rock stars can't be too careful. Use a condom. (via)

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

National Day of Appreciation for Abortion Providers

In 1993, Dr. David Gunn was assassinated, the first provider murdered by an anti-abortion extremist. March 10 was set aside in 1996 as the National Day of Appreciation for Abortion Providers to commemorate him.

Let's take today to pause and honor the men and women who put their lives at risk to make reproductive choice a reality. Thank you for all you do everyday to ensure that we have quality health care services and access. Thank you for standing up for what is right in difficult times and for providing life-saving care for women.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Palin appoints former Planned Parenthood board member to Alaska Supreme Court

Will wonders never cease. Is this another result of the Obamization of the nation?

Read on...

In a move that should give social conservatives great pause, Governor Sarah Palin has appointed a former board member of Planned Parenthood to the Alaska State Supreme Court.

Palin appointed Anchorage Superior Court Judge Morgan Christen to the state’s highest court on Wednesday.

There is no disputing Palin’s appointment of Christen with her association with Planned Parenthood will cause the Alaska Supreme to lean left and will ensure a more activist court when it comes to gay marriage, and abortion.

The Christen appointment is key because she replaces justice Warren Mathews, one of the dissenting votes striking down the parental consent legislation.

The Governor, who early on won the support of Alaska liberals after she pushed through an enormous, unprecedented tax increase on the oil industry, seems to be back in their good graces with this appointment.

AND liberal bloggers responded to Palin’s Supreme Court appointment writing, “Ohmigawd!??The governor's been taken over by space aliens.??What an improvement!”

“Wow. Way to go Palin! I can't believe I just said that. But hey, credit where credit is due.”

“Glad to see a woman in the position to balance out the court. Good for Palin for keeping bible thumper beliefs out of the court system and honoring the separation of Church and State.”

Read more in The Alaska Standard...

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Cecile Richards Speaks at the WHite House on Health Care

President Obama held a summit at the White House to discuss health care reform, and our own Cecile Richards was there to speak! Watch the video below:

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

The War on Planned Parenthood Continues

As columnist Lynn Harris so accurately states, "Sen. David Vitter reminds us that the anti-reproductive-rights movement has hardly gone fishin."

And Lynn's right - the anti-choicers are still anti-woman, and anti-contraception and as anti-Planned Parenthood as ever.

Here's Lynn's hot-off-the-keyboard article on Broadsheet @ ....

Thanks Lynn, great article and great reminder!


The war on Planned Parenthood

Sen. David Vitter, who we assume has availed himself of contraception and/or STI screening,so '07 -- is to strip federal funding for Planned Parenthood from the 2009 omnibus appropriations bill currently in the Senate. The vote on Amendment 601 -- if it comes to the floor at all -- could take place this afternoon. has risen from Crystal Lake to get all Friday XIII on Title X. His goal -- which is

This bill, it should be noted, is a bit of a sham to begin with. No federal funding may be used to support abortion services in the first place. (Some states now pitch in.)

But Vitter's plaint, as paraphrased it, is that "while the money Planned Parenthood receives from Title X funds doesn't pay for abortions still helps the abortion business." Mmm, except for the part where access to contraception er, hurts the abortion business, in a way we can all kind of agree on.

Further, no one should have to explain why it'd be a particularly bad moment to make the full range of Planned Parenthood services (including breast and cervical cancer screening) less accessible to low-income and uninsured patients. In fact, as Feministing notes, US News has reported that in these tough times, more and more women (and men) are visiting Planned Parenthood, many as their source of primary health care. Yet since the anti-reproductive rights movement sees Planned Parenthood as the veritable Death Star of abortion, it will always be a major, if symbolic, target.

Will the Vitter bill actually make it to the floor? And if so, how much do we really need to worry that this rather preposterous piece of work would pass? Well, if the bill does not come to a vote, it'd be because Republican lawmakers (especially with PP already rallying its troops) decided not to choose a losing fight. Sorry, Senator.

That said, this effort -- while a bit flailing in and of itself -- should serve as a reminder that the anti-reproductive-rights movement has hardly gone fishin'. Their forces remain plenty active at the state level, with some scary successes. Just because we've got a fella in the White House who rescinds gag rules, strikes "conscience" clauses, re-ups health coverage for kids, and supports planned families (did I just type all that? Pinch me!) doesn't mean we can start mixing Obamatinis and call it a day.

So, in the meantime, it wouldn't hurt to call your senators, and let 'em know you're still watching.

UPDATE: Broadsheet hears that Senator Jim DeMint has just filed an amendment (No. 649) to "strike provisions relating to the Medicaid drug rebate program and prevent the implementation of a funding earmark for the Planned Parenthood Federation of America." His goal: to remove from the appropriations bill a long-needed, much-discussed, technical -- and no-cost -- correction that would restore the ability of pharmaceutical companies to offer nominally priced drugs to college and university health clinics and family planning health centers without penalty, just as they had done for decades before a change to the law went into effect in 2007. There is no federal funding in this provision. So while you're calling your lawmakers, perhaps ask Sen. DeMint exactly how it constitutes an "earmark."

Monday, March 2, 2009

Obama picks Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius to head HHS

President Obama today picked Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius to head the office of Health & Human Services.

And almost immediately the hate-mongering
anti-choice crowd, seemingly stranded on the shores of civil dialogue, started throwing threats and barbs around.

A Roman Catholic who supports abortion rights, Sebelius' nomination prompted angry reactions from anti-abortion groups. Groups including Operation Rescue and Concerned Women for America vowed to mobilize against her nomination. The American Life League said it was rolling out a "STOP Sebelius" petition and asking other anti-abortion groups to join.

Meanwhile, on saner shores, labor unions, the American Medical Association and the Hispanic advocacy group National Council of La Raza applauded the nomination.

Returning health care to an issue based on real science and real needs is the goal here. We've survived 8 years of health care being held hostage to
right-wing ideology. No more! It's time to move on.

It's time to move on and get to the business of the people - reforming health care and providing coverage for everyone.

As Kansas' former insurance commissioner Sebelius
has a ready-to-go understanding of health markets.

She's a sound pick to head HHS

I applaud President Obama's pick.