Monday, October 19, 2015

Don't Ask, Don't Tell; Stop Repeating the Cycle-- It's Not Helpful!

Hello my fellow Planned Parenthood people! Its Omiyea here sharing thoughts and ideas about “The Talk” with you, and how to make it a little less terrifying and a lot more productive.


In what world has allowing the blind to lead the blind ever worked? In other words, what’s the point in letting a big cycle of confusion go on, and on, when you can just end it? We’re talking about the cycle of Don't Ask, Don't Tell when it comes to conversations about sexual health in the home. How does it go? Just like this: a teen’s body starts changing, or has changed, and they become sexually aware. New things are open to them and they need answers. Teens Don’t Ask their parents to explain anything because it’s way too weird and awkward to talk to them about this stuff. Or maybe it’s because the thought of an adult knowing their thinking about, or having, sex makes them feel gross, or ashamed, or like their doing something wrong.

But it doesn’t just stop there. Teens Don’t Ask but neither do parents. Parents Don’t Ask their teens how they are feeling or if they need to know anything for fear of the inevitable, which is that they actually need and want to know things. It’s hard, and understandably so, for parents to come to terms with their kids entering a mature part of life when they believe their kids minds aren’t necessarily mature enough to handle it. Not to mention they might feel like its way to weird a conversation to have. That’s right parents, we know it’s weird for you too.

For a lot of people it’s nearly impossible to allow their minds to put the innocent vision of their kids together with the explicit realities of the sexual realm. Some parents out there may have the “not my angel” mentality, which basically puts their teens up on a pedestal or believe that they can do no wrong. Thinking like this in terms of sex makes goodness synonymous with sexual inactivity, and paints being sexually active and being bad as evil twins.

Along with all this, it could just be your personal views and experience as a teen that keep you from talking about sex with your kids. For example if a parent strongly believes that sex should only take place on ones wedding night, then it would make sense in a lot of ways to not feel obligated to talk to your kids about sex and their bodies until hmm… they get engaged? The same could be said for your beliefs about the appropriate ages for sex; you may feel that because your kid hasn’t reached this magic number in your head that you don’t have to talk to them about the subject.

Any-who, after all this non-asking, then comes the inevitable and very silent Mr. Don’t Tell. Teens Don’t Tell their parents they need answers, and parents don’t exactly volunteer information. Teens are experiencing new emotions and sometimes finding themselves in very peculiar situations. But because they are concerned of feeling judged, embarrassed and disappointing they hold it in. Parents Don’t Tell their kids that what they are experiencing is a normal part of life. Stayed tuned next week when I discuss YOU DON’T KNOW, UNTIL YOU KNOW!

Monday, October 12, 2015

Ignoring it, muting it, and stalling it to no avail. Stop it, do you hear me? STOP IT RIGHT NOW!

Please enjoy another educational installment from our Youth Health Promoter series!  Please check out our first installment on legal consent vs parental consent here.

I am Omiyea, a Youth Health Promoter at Upper Hudson Planned Parenthood in Albany, and I have been given the opportunity to talk to you about the "big conversation”. I will try my best to give you some insight from a teen's point of view on many aspects of the matter, in the hopes that sharing my thoughts and ideas with you will help you, help parents, help their kids.

Sit tight because we’ve got a lot to say, and we thank you for being willing to listen. Let’s talk about talking about sex!

Ignoring it, muting it, and stalling it to no avail. Stop it, do you hear me? STOP IT RIGHT NOW!
by Omiyea Stanford

Way too often you will see parents dismiss all logical thought when it comes to the subject of sex and their kids, and don’t get me wrong; it's understandable as to why. Most times parents just want to preserve their child's innocence for as long as possible and protect them from the not so pretty realities of life-- which is fine. What’s NOT fine though is using this type of blind protective thinking as a guide in place of common sense reasoning, real facts, and straight forward honesty to deal with your confused, ever-changing, hormonal, and fertile teens. So lesson number one? Stop forcing the innocence of a child onto a physically, mentally, and sexually maturing human being.

A lot of times what you will see happening at home are these three things:  Parents trying to #1: ignore, #2: mute, or #3: stall their child’s budding sexuality. Parents ignore it by choosing not to acknowledge that their teens have changed, or are changing, into sexually able and conscious people. Instead parents continue to treat their teens like oblivious little kids in terms of sexuality and sexual awareness. Parents try to mute it by stringing up a curtain of pure stubborn iron will that keeps out all mention of sex and sexuality period point blank, in the home and any other place it can. Lastly, parents try to stall it by creating an overbearing and unrealistic network of rules, regulations, and morals that completely stomp out the slightest possibility of sex or any other outward display of sexual desire or expression like a stank, all-controlling, giant soul-crushing foot.

All three of these tactics and every other combination in-between works toward one simple and actually reasonable common goal: kids waiting to have sex. Having a mind to push your kids toward waiting is great and lovely-- beautiful even. But defaulting to these infamous three techniques to do it is NOT the way to go. Ok sure, sometimes these tactics work. But even more times they just result in any number, variance, or combination of rebellion, confusion, dishonesty, ignorance, misinformation, fear, and a crippled acceptance of oneself or one’s sexuality. And why? Because all of these tactics fail to acknowledge and normalize one common denominator: that sex is a basic human want and need. This is true for the most mature adult, and the most immature teen. To try to take out this one simple fact from the mix of logic behind any strategy put toward curbing the sexual agendas of sexually mature and/or maturing people, will result in either failure or some degree of harm. Let’s go out on a limb and make this an official no-no. As far as focusing on making your kids wait, maybe think about it this way: a lot of times once the mystery is taken out of something, it becomes less desirable. Educate the living day lights out of your teens about sex and sexuality and just maybe they won't be so eager to get things going. Even if this doesn’t work and your teen doesn't choose to wait after all, at least you could rest easy knowing that they know how to protect themselves and proceed safely. Parents? You’re welcome.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Legal Consent V.S Parental Consent

We are venturing into exciting territory here at the blog!  We are going to launch a series of entries by our Youth Health Promoters.  We are so proud of our educators and what they do for the community all around the Capital District.  So without further ado, please enjoy this enlightening post by our own Blinky Lawrence.

Legal Consent VS Parental Consent

By Blinky Lawrence

Blinky wants to teach you a thing.
In New York, the age of consent for sex is 17 years old. This applies to men and women, and applies to both heterosexual and same sex conduct. But as statistics show us, we know people are having sex before 17 years old. Not only are they having sex, but they are also getting pregnant and getting STDs at a crazy high rate. According to the CDC there were 12,733 births to women 19 years of age or younger in 2012, with 29 percent of this group aged 17 or younger. Statistics show nearly two out of three cases of chlamydia are among youth ages 15-24 and one out of three are aged 15-19.

We all understand why we have laws around consent, and the importance of them, but we all also know that they are nearly impossible to enforce in some cases. It is in my personal opinion that when it comes to the age of sexual consent that this is something that should be negotiated between teens and their parents or guardians (if they are under 18 and being cared for by an adult). I trust that by having a real conversation between the two, teens and parents can come up with a time or age they think is appropriate based on how they feel, and not a law.

I think it really should be up to the person that will be having sex to decide when or what age they are ready, without laws or pressure from other people telling them what to do. As a young adult I know I would rather have a talk with parents than feel like I’m breaking a law. I think instead of being so focused on the law we should focus on getting teens the information they need to make smart and healthy choices. You know-- like UHPP Youth Health promoters do every da


For more information on the Youth Health Educator program at UHPP, please call 518-434-5678 x 139 or email

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Last chance for tickets to see movie star Kathleen Turner at the Planned Parenthood Gala!

Upper Hudson Planned Parenthood invites you!

Friday, October 2, 2015

Ferris Grand Ballroom of The Hilton Garden Inn, 235 Hoosick Street in Troy

Please join Upper Hudson Planned Parenthood as we celebrate A Legacy of Choice, an evening with film and stage star, and tireless advocate for reproductive health, Kathleen Turner.

VIP cocktail reception with Ms. Turner for Honorary Committee members will be held in the Roebling Library at 6 pm.

Our Legacy of Choice dinner and program will be held in the Ferris Grand Ballroom at 6:30, including the presentation of the Giraffe Award to Ms. Turner, for sticking out her neck to support women, abortion and reproductive rights.

UHPP will also honor three amazing local volunteers who've passionately supported services and programs for the people we care for.

VIP Cocktail Reception (Honorary Committee) at 6:00 pm
General Admission Cocktail Reception at 6:30 pm
Dinner & Program at 7:00 pm

Check out this article about Kathleen Turner's involvement with Planned Parenthood, and click here to purchase tickets to the gala. If you have any questions, please call 518.434.5678 x.121.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

The Shocking-Poster Attack- still a trusty fallback for radical antiabortionists!

Submitted by UHPP Board Member Dyrleif Bjarnadottir

It's been a rough few weeks for Planned Parenthood supporters. A radical group of antiabortionists is on the offensive, releasing tapes from what they are calling an "undercover sting operation", supposedly showing Planned Parenthood employees callously talking about selling human body parts. One look at any one of the tapes quickly confirms that this is not actually what is happening. But the insinuation has been made and the climate created for discussing this as if it were a real possibility. So we must endure for a while answering questions about legitimate practices carried out according to the strictest government standards by highly trained professionals in certified state of the art clinics, as if unscrupulous individuals were engaged in shady unethical doings for profit. Endurance is the name of the game here - the bully is on the playground who cannot be reasoned with, we must stand patiently and endure the taunting and teasing and even the occasional injury, knowing that we have the high ground, that we are right, but the bully still gets the attention of the hour.

So what can we learn from the recent and ongoing "Undercover tape" events? No new and interesting facts about Planned Parenthood have come to light. We already knew that a few Planned Parenthood clinics in the country collect fetal tissue for research. We already knew that Planned Parenthood follows the strict rules set out by government agencies about human tissue samples, collecting, storing, and use. We know there is informed consent from the women who make the choice to donate their fetuses for scientific research and we know that the money that changes hands as a result of the collection of these samples is solely for the storing and proper shipping. (As a side note here: It is always useful to remember that informed consent is a big deal in modern medical research. Many people, scientists, doctors, clinicians, ethicists, philosophers, and policymakers, spend good portions of their careers making sure that we get both parts of the process right, the informed part and the consent part).

What we have been reminded of is that facts were not the issue in the first place. The people who spent 3 years gaining access to and secretly taping Planned Parenthood employees, the people who lied about who they were and presented fake identification, who collected hours upon hours of footage so they could edit it to make it say whatever they wanted, those people didn't care about the facts. Again, nothing new here. What is mildly interesting is how completely without shame this radical wing of the anti-abortion movement is. There is no accountability anywhere in this chain of events. Accountability, as in having a reference point in reality that guides your actions. Without the minimal integrity provided by a standard of honesty or accountability you can pretty much reach your goal by any means you can come up with. In this case the anti-abortionists took a leaf out of an old playbook, and in the absence of any facts to support their claim, they appealed directly to emotion. The edited snippets in the tapes shown to the public and the politicians they want to influence are a much more elaborate and high tech version of the gruesome posters of aborted fetuses we have seen paraded in front of health centers, designed to shock and evoke negative emotions. They have set out to create an emotional response of disgust amongst people who are already inclined to support their views. They do this to create an environment of confusion and emotional upheaval because, in such an environment, the levelheaded scrutiny that prevents their agenda from going forward, may temporarily take the backseat.

A prime example of how the 'shocking poster effect' works can be seen in some of the media coverage of the past several days. Take a look at George Stephanopoulos interviewing Cecile Richards on NBC a few days after the first tape hit the airways.  Mr. Stephanopoulos hones in on the "tone" of the PP employee in the video. Not on the facts diligently presented or on the points repeatedly made that exonerate Planned Parenthood of any of the accusations made. It is the tone of the woman on the tape that is incriminating. If we learn nothing else from this episode of attacks, let’s take note of this: The case against Planned Parenthood relies on gruesome posters and the many forms they take in our technologically advanced world. This time it took the form of the "wrong tone of voice". Thankfully our elected representatives still see the difference between shock tactics and facts. At least some of them.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Facts about the Latest Video Smear Attack on Planned Parenthood

"On July 14, anti-abortion activists with a long record of deceiving the public released their latest campaign — the latest in a seven-year string of false bills of goods they seek to sell to the media and the public."

Click here to read:

Some additional points:

● I will not back down. I will not be silenced. I will continue to fight for what is right and stand with #PlannedParenthood— no matter what.

● Anti-abortion extremists trying to silence me will be sorely disappointed. I won't back down from speaking truth.

● This harassment is unacceptable. I refuse to be bullied. I refuse to be undone by triggering comments. I refuse to be silenced.

Remember, Planned Parenthood is the most trusted women’s health care provider in this country, and we have provided high-quality care for nearly 100 years. Nothing is more important to us than the health and safety of our patients.

This is just the latest political attack on women's health. The group behind this fraud has done 10 separate attack campaigns like this over the last eight years.

These tapes are heavily doctored, and the full tapes show that it is false and outrageous to suggest that Planned Parenthood profits from women’s decisions to donate fetal tissue. To be clear: There is nothing in these videos that suggest any violation of law.

In this new video, extremists badgered and hounded a longtime physician for hours, trying to get her to discuss unethical and criminal activity that she doesn’t engage in or know anything about.

The real agenda here is becoming clearer every day. These false claims are being used to advance a political agenda to ban abortion and to defund Planned Parenthood, which would cut 2.7 million people off of birth control, lifesaving cancer screenings, STD testing and treatment, and other preventive health care services.

Also, check out PPFA president Cecile Richards' statement about the attacks.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Save Title X!!!

From Planned Parenthood Action:
"They're back. Four years after we stopped Congress our opponents are at it again. They are attacking women and men's access to basic and essential care by pushing a bill that would eliminate federal funding for Title X, the grant program dedicated to funding family planning. That means cuts to federal funding for birth control, lifesaving cancer screenings, HIV testing, and other essential care that Planned Parenthood health centers provide every day."
This is actually a huge deal. Title X was established by Richard Nixon in 1970 because he understood the importance of everyone, regardless of income or social status, having access to family planning services. These services include cancer screenings, birth control, STI testing and treatment, and other preventative care.*

Even the Wikipedia definition sounds important:
"Title X is the only federal grant program dedicated solely to providing individuals with comprehensive family planning and related preventive health services."
Why on earth would you get rid of that?!  But believe it or not, there are already states who refuse Title X funding for reasons that I cannot comprehend, and their people suffer for it by having to pay exorbitant fees for these fundamental services. If it was eliminated altogether it would be a disaster. Doesn't Congress understand that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure? What do they think this will do to the national average of teen pregnancies and STI rates?  Please, lend your voice to cause and help stop this madness. Sign the petition, Tell your friends.  Let everyone know that Congress needs to leave Title X alone!

*Title X does not include funding for abortion services.