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This blog post is part of a series here at Scarleteen profiling young people worldwide who are activists in some way in the fields of sexuality, sex education and sexual health.
Steph Herold might be best known for starting the website IAmDrTiller.com, but since getting that project up and running in 2009, she's also started the blog AbortionGang.org, written for RH Reality Check, and put together the Safe Abortion Project and the tumblr I Had An Abortion. She currently sits on the board of the New York Abortion Access Fund, and just finished a master's degree in public health. You can find her on twitter @StephHerold and read more about her work at stephherold.com.
When you started the I Am Dr Tiller Project as a response to the murder of Dr George Tiller in Wichita, Kansas, you were working at an abortion clinic. What got you interested in the issue of abortion and abortion care in the first place?
I grew up in a progressive home in the liberal suburbs of Washington, DC. Abortion wRead more...
Yeah, we meant to say that. Boy do we wish we didn't.
Here's the spiel: it's Back Up Your Birth Control Day today, but as you may have heard, or personally experienced, here in the states, we're still having a lot of trouble with pharmacists refusing over-the-counter Plan B (emergency contraception, the morning-after-pill, or whatever you like to call it), for a whole of reasons, including because of age, even though most of those asking for or about it are of legal age to get it over-the-counter, and without a prescription. We knew that was happening already, but that recent covert study linked there brought it more to light and gave this some more (very needed) attention.
We understand that dealing with being refused something when you're likely already feeling panicked, and also asking for something pretty private without much, if any privacy, can make dealing with refusals even more hard and maddening than they already are.
We also know that in thRead more...
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.”
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: itRead more...
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.
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 HealtRead more...
Me and my boyfriend want to get me birth control pills, as we've had the condom break three times on us already, and we're really fearful of pregnancy. I've already seen on this site a question on how to get birth control, but I have more questions than were answered. I'm 16, as is my boyfriend. Neither of us are able to drive yet because we didn't get our permits at the correct time (though we can take a cab to get somewhere), my mom would be highly unsupportive of the fact me and him are having sex (and even more unsupportive of me being pregnant), but we don't want to stop or anything, we just want more ways to protect ourselves against pregnancy. So, I need a way to get birth control without my mom's know. In the question I've read, you guys said that the doctor would ask for my name, address, phone number, and social security number. By giving them any of these things, would my mom be able to know I had seen the doctor? One of my main fears of getting birth control is my mom finding out somehow. Also, I don’t know where my mom keeps my social security card, and I haven’t memorized the number, so how can I find it out? Can I not have to tell the doctor?
All of us who work at clinics that provide abortion, or as abortion or reproductive rights educators or advocates know we do so at substantial risk. Women who come to our clinics as clients also know that they, too, may be at risk. The slaying of Dr. Tiller yesterday is tragic and upsetting, but it is not surprising or new. We didn’t become scared for the first time yesterday. We’ve always been scared, and we have always had cause to be scared.
The independent clinic I work for part-time had a branch firebombed three times in 1983 until it shut down. In 1988, via Operation Rescue, unending and intense harassment of children from demonstrators in another of our clinics forced us to close our on-site clinic childcare center for clients and staff. And our clinic, despite being one of the 40 or so in the U.S. which provides procedures through the second trimester like Tiller's did (though Tiller’s was one of but three to go past 25 weeks to 28 weeks, the legal limit), could very wellRead more...
My girlfriend is 17, and I am 19. We had unprotected sex a few days after she finished her period. I know its foolish to not use protection, however we both decided we didn't want anything in between us. I made certain that I didn't ejaculate inside her. She might be pregnant, but right now I'm really just looking at all the options. The state we live in, Virginia, requires one parent to be notified of a decision to get an abortion. However, in Washington D.C. there are no rules saying a minor has to contact or notify her parents or anything. I've read that it is illegal to transport or drive the minor across state lines to get an abortion. Is that true? If yes, could she drive the car and I be a passenger? Or follow her in my car? If she is pregnant, I know she wouldn't want to get her abortion alone... so what is the current laws on this? I have the money to pay for it!
I'm posting most of the text of the lecture I just gave at the University of Texas through the NSRC Regional Training last week. A bunch of people there asked for it, and it was a great experience for me (how awesome was it to be in a room full of current and potential sex educators? VERY). So much of what I said really sums up where I'm at with this work right now, have been going and want to keep going. Obviously, every current and potential sex educator in the world wasn't or couldn't be there, so here is my offering to all of you -- including you peer educators, formal and informal -- and I hope it's something you can use and be inspired by.
You might also notice that some of this lecture borrows some bits from a couple other pieces I've written recently, namely this one.
My name is Heather. I'm turning 39 this spring, and I'm a full-time sex educator.
I was asked to come talk to you to about how to be both innovative and inclusive with sex education.
In many ways, sex educatioRead more...