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Morning-After Misunderstandings

Labels inside every box of morning-after pills, drugs widely used to prevent pregnancy after sex, say they may work by blocking fertilized eggs from implanting in a woman's uterus. Respected medical authorities, including the National Institutes of Health and the Mayo Clinic, have said the same thing on their websites.

Such descriptions have become kindling in the fiery debate over abortion and contraception. Based on the belief that a fertilized egg is a person, some religious groups and conservative politicians say disrupting a fertilized egg's ability to attach to the uterus is abortion, "the moral equivalent of homicide," as Dr. Donna Harrison, who directs research for the American Association of Pro-life Obstetricians and Gynecologists, put it. Mitt Romney recently called emergency contraceptives "abortive pills." And two former Republican presidential candidates, Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum, have made similar statements.

But an examination by The New York Times has found tha

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Abortion, Pregnancy Options & Scarleteen

While we're on this topic today, on this day, just a couple reminders about where we stand and what we can help with should you or someone you know become pregnant when it was not wanted or intended.

1. We are a fully pro-choice organization, resolutely supportive of everyone's -- at every age -- right (even when they legally do not currently have that right) to choose to remain pregnant or terminate a pregnancy; to choose to parent, to choose to arrange an adoption, or to choose abortion. We feel that any and all of those choices are potentially best and most positive for a given person who is pregnant, that no one is unilaterally better than the other for all people.

2. We recognize that unintended pregnancy can and does happen to anyone who can become pregnant; that it happens to those who use contraception and those who do not, that it happens to those who choose to engage in sex and those who were not given a choice, that it is not a "punishment" for anything, nor a mark of anyon

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The Cutting Room Floor: Ms. Magazine/Future of Feminism

As we've done in the past -- like here and here -- today we've got a the whole of a short interview that was excerpted in small part for a piece over at Ms. Magazine yesterday, Future of Feminism: Sex Education As a Human Right.

Given some of the content and certainly some of the comments on another (just a note: a lot of the comments there are really rough, and there is intense transmisogyny afoot) of those pieces, one that I saw right after I'd sent this interview back to the author, I feel like the second half of this interview is particularly important, and I was sorry to see it didn't make the cut.

Q: How would you define feminist sex education?

A: I consider that a work in progress, ever-evolving, but you can see how I do that currently here:

Feminist sex education:
• Emphasizes -- for all sexes and genders, not just one or two -- autonomy, personal responsibility, full and active consent, sexuality in the holistic context of a whole, well-rounded life and healthy, equitable r

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I take birth control because it is my f*@&I#g right to take it.

I am so fucking fed up.

The latest is from Arizona: now, if an employee uses the company’s health insurance to purchase contraceptive pills, they must prove to their employer that they are using them for “non sex” purposes. If they don’t, they could be fired.

How is this supposed to go?

“Oh, yeah here is my ultrasound from my ovarian cyst. See it over there? Yeah, its a big one.”

“Here is a testimony from my ex-boyfriend about just how terrible my PMS is that it lead to our eventual, inevitable catastrophic breakup. Then he became gay.”*

How are you supposed to prove that you have ovarian cysts popping a mile a minute and a slough of gay ex’s to prove how terrible your PMS is while simultaneously proving that there is no way in hell you are using it for "sex purposes?"

How are we supposed to prove that birth control–whose very name not so implicitly implies controlling a birth–is not our bang without a baby free card?

We can’t even refer to it by its official name, contraception: it

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Please Speak Up About the Plan B Decision!

It was probably obvious yesterday that we earnestly thought the FDA might finally turn around a longtime decision, one largely against all advice, information and recommendations from sexual, reproductive and adolescent health and rights experts and advocates, when it came to unfounded restrictions long put on teen access to Plan B.

And that was going to actually happen. The FDA was on board this time around and made the decision to ditch those restrictions. People under 17 were finally going to have the same kind of access to a safe, important kind of contraception those over 17 had, a kind of access there is simply no sound reason to restrict.

And yet.

In what Jodi Jacobson of RH Reality Check so rightfully said can, "only be called an astounding move by an Administration that pledged on inauguration day that medical and health decisions would be based on fact not ideology and for which women are a major constituency, today Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of the Department of Healt

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Ready for arguments about increasing your access to Plan B? We can help.

You may have heard that the FDA may finally remove age restrictions for the morning-after emergency contraception pill in the United States. If you've heard that, you may have started to hear some panic or fear-factoring, not just gratitude and relief.

Currently, in the United States, someone must be over the age of 17 in order to get Plan B at a pharmacy without a prescription. Until two years ago, the age limit was 18. It's still kept behind the pharmacy counter for people of all ages, but those over 17 do not need a prescription from a doctor or a clinic to purchase it.

For a long time now, organizations like ours and many, many other reproductive choice, justice and health organizations, have been lobbying to remove that age restriction, something other nations -- like Canada, Australia, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Israel and others -- do not apply; a restriction which has never been supported by sound health data. The restriction per age has long been about politics, not health.

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This is What a SlutWalk (Really) Looks Like

SlutWalk Manchester by Man Alive!SlutWalk Manchester by Man Alive!This is part two of three entries about the Slutwalks this week. I wrote the first part of what I had to say about them yesterday here.

Today I want to briefly address the way that the walks have been visually represented in the media and by many bloggers writing about them, especially those who have been nonsupportive or critical.

In a word, they have frequently been represented by photographs which expressly stated or just implied they represent what people at the walks looked like as a whole, and have been anywhere from just incorrect to exceptionally dishonest in those assertions or implications. Because as far as I can tell, the images that keep getting picked aren't those which are most representative of the protests as a whole, but which are most representative of what a given person either found most provocative or most interesting. Or, which best represent their reasons for nonsupport or mockery.

This isn't unusual with images of protest at

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The Truth Behind the Trope: Understanding the Realities of Teen Parenthood and Teen Pregnancy Prevention

What do we know about teen parents? Take a moment to make a mental list (or, if you’re motivated to get out a pen and paper, I won’t stop you) of all the facts and statistics you’ve heard.

In case you’re coming up short, I’ll give you a few:

  • Most teen parents drop out of high school.
  • Only 2% of teen parents will graduate from college by age 30.
  • Many teen parents will end up on welfare, costing tax payers billions of dollars nationwide.
  • The children of teen parents are more likely to fail a grade in school. Their sons are more likely to go to jail. Their daughters are more likely to become teen mothers themselves.
  • The relationships of teen parents almost always fail, leaving teen mothers to be single parents.

You can read more here or here or here or watch any episode of 16 and Pregnant that features Dr. Drew. He’ll usually cover most of these points before the hour is up – while interviewing young people who are actually parenting.

Beyond these “facts”, we hear plenty of othe

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I Used to Be a Pro-Life Republican

I had a favorite line, in high school, when debating people on the subject of abortion. It was "Hey, that thing in your stomach's not gonna come out a toaster, right? It's a baby!"

Oh, I thought I was really, super clever with that one. Because I loved talking about the babies. I talked about the babies at the high school Young Republicans Club--not only was I the president, but also the founder. I talked about the babies at Club 412, the evangelical punk teen hang-out in Fort Worth I frequented with my friends. I talked about the babies in class. I cried about the babies while I strummed my guitar. I wrote songs about the babies, imagining myself as a broken, murderous whore who regretted her abortions.

I didn't have an opinion one way or the other on abortion until I started hanging out with right-wing punk rock kids in high school. Then, somebody -- probably one of the older teenage punk rock boys I would later fend off in the back of a car or behind the chapel at church camp -- ha

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